On Friday, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched the New Law Year 2022 at a colorful ceremony held at the High Court Grounds in Kampala.
Speaking at the function, President Museveni congratulated the judiciary and law society in general upon completing the outgoing year and for the great work done.
“I would like to use this occasion to congratulate the judiciary on the beginning of the New Law year. I want to thank you for the great work you have done for all the years in spite of some challenges”. President Museveni said.
“Transforming the judiciary”, President Museveni said, is a very good theme for this New Year, adding that Judiciary needs to transform so that the people get the judicial services and eventually justice.
“In this transformation, you should not only transform the administration but also you should reflect on the what? What is the substance of this judicial service? The judicial service you are rending must be for people,” Museveni said.
The President said the primary task of organically bringing together these constituencies (the people) is primarily with parliament, who must make sure that they legislate policies in favor of the people.
“Myself I represent the freedom fighters, and the Army, I also represent the population (Wanainch). Somehow, I also represent the private sector (manufacturing and services). These are the groups I came from to come to government,” he said.
President Museveni re-echoed the need for Judiciary to look into the issue of bailing out criminals with offenses like rape, defilement, murder etc saying this is a provocation to the people.
“I have been complaining about the issue of bail. This bail is a provocation and you would not want people to kill themselves over it,” President Museveni said.
The President explained the crucial elements that the Judiciary must look at keenly including; Protection of life with no extra judicial killing, Protection of people’s property and thirdly no raping women and children.
“Protect our women. Anybody who rapes a woman or defiles a girl must die,” he said.
President Museveni added embezzlement of government money and corruption, as another vice which the Judiciary must fight.
The President also spoke against provocations from the sections of the public saying this must stop.
“The Chief Justice was talking about attacking the judiciary. The other thing I must warn you against is attacking the army. The soldiers are people. So, for you to attack them and think things will remain the same, you are lying,” he warned.
President Museveni pledged government commitment to increase the budget for the judiciary to enable it transform better.
The Chief Justice of Uganda, Hon. Justice Alfonso Owiny Dollo revealed that in 2021, the Judiciary embarked on a grand agenda to transform the judicial landscape in Uganda by providing a meaningful access of justice to the people of Uganda in fulfillment of their aspirations and desire.
“This mission can only be realized when there is equitable visible presence of a functional judiciary within reach of our people throughout the country,” Justice Owiny Dollo said.
He said, the Judiciary must be true to its duty to do justice to all manner of persons and lays emphasis on the principles of Integrity, impartiality, and Zero tolerance to any vice that negates the requisite principles of justice.
The Chief Justice revealed that the Judiciary has dedicated energies to fighting delays in rendering justice, notoriously known as case backlog through bringing Courts nearer to the people, advancing ICT and other technologies at all stages, enhancing human resource capacity in terms of numbers, skills, motivation and commitment among others.
The acting Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs who is also the Minister of Public Services Hon. Muruuli Mukasa commended the President for always standing by and with the Judiciary which has seen this arm of government transform over the years.
“We need more financial support and resources so that more judicial officers are recruited,” he said.
He appealed to the President to approve the structure of the judiciary to take care of the non-judicial staff in the office of DPP, IGG etc, because they too play a very important role
The Attorney General of Uganda, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka commended the Judiciary for a great job done even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He warned lawyers who fail to account for their client’s money and those involved in corruption in and outside the judiciary.
“Some of you are involved in land fraud transactions, corruption and even failing to account for your client’s funds. Please stop this unethical conduct,” Kiwanuka said.
The President of Uganda Law Society, Ms Phiona Nabasa Gladys Wall commended the President for the financial support rendered to them in building the Law Society House.
Ms Wall spoke against the recent security brutality towards some opposition politicians who were allegedly beaten and tortured in the hands of the security forces. She called upon security officers to always respect court orders.
“Thank you for setting the record straight about torture when you spoke against the vice during your recent address. Unfortunately, security is not listening. They are continuing to torture people. They should respect the human rights of the citizens of Uganda.” Ms Phiona Wall said.