Museveni Rallies Support for Alternative Justice

President Museveni says the Judiciary should be supported to expand the use of alternative dispute resolution in conflict resolution.

According to Museveni, the inclusion of alternative dispute-resolution mechanisms will rejuvenate the traditional ways of resolving conflicts.

Museveni notes that traditional conflict resolution techniques such as mediation, adjudication, reconciliation, and negotiation, which Africans employed in the past, offered great prospects for peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationships in post-conflict periods.

He said such systems related to the people daily and appreciated their need for fairness and harmony in society.

Museveni’s message in support of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism was delivered by Vice President, Jessica Alupo while launching the first-ever High-level national summit on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

The summit organized by the Ministry of Justice and the Constitutional Affairs and Judiciary attracted several participants including Lawyers, officials from Pepperdine University, Civil Society Organizations, Banks, technocrats from different agencies, and private sector members among others.

Museveni said that while the Judiciary puts in place several laws, the legal system must be part and parcel of the organic body of society.

He emphasized that one cannot have the law suspended in space and not rooted in the society, from which it is coming adding that he commends the efforts of the Judiciary to re-orient its philosophy from the colonial disposition of justice to a more Africanized institution, that reflects the interests and values of people.

According to Museveni, Africans were previously more interested in facts than opposed to fighting legal battles.

The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo who delivered his speech via Zoom urged every Ugandan to make a robust embracement of Alternative Dispute Resolution as a way of settling conflicts.

Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has previously indicated he will offer free mediation services to his village mates when he retires from the Judiciary.

He indicated that through ADR, there is the quick and timely resolution of disputes, adding that on average, a single High Court Judge handles 945 cases, which he says is too much for one person and to be handled expeditiously.

The Chief Justice said some cases are complicated, take long in the justice system, and end up causing a backlog which he revealed that it now stands at more than 50,000 cases.

The Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Nobert  Mao speaking at the same event said that there are more than 8 trillion shillings tied by the commercial court and believes that if disputes are settled outside the courts of law, such amounts of cash can be released back to the economy.

He also indicated that government is in the advanced stages to introduce a policy to regulate alternative dispute resolution and that soon, they will be tabling it before Cabinet for discussion and approval.

The Civil Procedure Rules under Order 12, Rule 2 provides for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and the Judicature (Mediation) Rules of 2013 made mediation compulsory in all civil matters.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), refers to several methods of resolving legal disputes outside the courtroom. Civil courts in Uganda encourage the use of court settlements to litigate parties at any time before a judgment is awarded by the court.

Once parties opt for arbitration to settle disputes through alternative dispute resolution, the court can halt proceedings to enable parties to settle the matter.

Unlike the conventional method of resolving disputes through courts, Alternative Dispute Resolution has been found to be cheaper.

Alternative Dispute Resolution has in the last five years gained support from Ugandan legal experts like former Chief Justice, Hon, Bert Katureebe who has since established Praxis Conflict Centre. The Centre provides mediation, arbitration, negotiation, and conflict management advice.

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