The Chief Justice, Alphonse Owiny-Dollo has warned against the creation of more administrative units which he said is affecting the dispensation of justice.
Speaking at the third edition of the annual Bendicto Kiwanuka memorial lecture, Owiny-Dollo castigated the government’s policy of creating more administrative units on grounds of “taking services to the people” under decentralization while limiting it to political and administrative services and ignoring other critical areas like the delivery of judicial services.
Owiny- Dollo said the decentralization that includes splitting of districts and counties should not only focus on political and administrative services because as such, the process is incomplete when the courts of law are not included in such decision-making policies.
While the number of districts and counties has gone up, Dollo argued, the judiciary still has 40 Chief Magistrates courts that are vacant across the country which affects an ordinary person from getting Justice.
Uganda currently has some 135 districts with a population of 45 million people compared to 57 Judges who are distributed in various High Court circuits to dispense justice to the citizens.
Unlike in the past when each sub-county had a Judicial Officer, the multiple splits by the government without enhancing the manpower of the Justice system has since left gaps in the dispensation of justice by the Judiciary.
“We have situations where a Chief Magistrate has to cover an area covering five Magisterial areas; such a judicial officer’s service cannot be well felt by the people or court users”, said Owiny-Dollo.
Owiny-Dollo said that the situation is very painful especially in High Court circuits, noting that the pressure on the Judiciary’s performance must be directed to Parliament and the Executive which are fully empowered instead of expecting the judicial officers to do the impossible with limited capacity.
The chief Justice was tickled by Dr Kabumba Busingye, a lecturer at Makerere University’s School of Law who challenged the Judiciary to mind about an ordinary person when they are dispensing Justice. He argued that ordinary citizens who are the majority in this country need to be reflected or considered in a number of decisions they make instead of being left behind.