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The need to urgently overhaul Uganda's judicial system

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo

I am writing to urgently address the issue of the slow pace of justice delivery in our courts, which is adversely affecting countless litigants across the nation. 

Hundreds or even thousands of unresolved cases are added to the dockets, initiating a seemingly endless journey for those seeking justice. In my personal experience, I faced the inconvenience of being given the wrong court date in Uganda and I had to schedule a flight just two days later.

The lack of clarity on when matters will be determined exacerbates the frustration experienced by litigants. This slow pace is causing uncomfortable, inconveniences, and even hopelessness, leading some to resort to self-help.

I'm currently dealing with a case at the Makindye Magistrate's court, where I sued a gentleman for leaving my rented house uninhabitable. I had to invest over Shs 20 million in renovations. Now, the court claims I didn't attend yet I was given incorrect dates and received no communications to rectify the mistake.

This situation emphasizes the urgent need for reform within our judicial system. I also share the heart-wrenching experience of my late grandmother, Hajjati Fatuma (R.I.P), who won a 20-year land wrangle case in Luwero on February 28, 2023, only to pass away three days later on March 3 with the court papers scattered all over the bathroom floor. The emotional and mental turmoil our family endured cannot be adequately described.

This tragedy prompts a call to our esteemed parliament to enact laws establishing specific timeframes for resolving civil and criminal cases. Leveraging technology, such as email, SMS, or WhatsApp messages, could aid in the fast dispensation of justice, ensuring transparency and keeping parties informed.

Why can't we introduce rules specifying a maximum duration for criminal trials from lower courts to the Supreme court, not exceding 12 months? Implementation of such measures, even considering public holidays, could significantly reduce unnecessary delays in justice administration and delivery.

I kindly request your support in bringing attention to this matter through your esteemed platform. It is crucial to address this issue and ensure that justice is not only served but also served in a timely manner.

As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied. Together, we can work towards a faster and more efficient criminal justice delivery system, reaping endless benefits. When a court messes you up, you remain messed up. It should be unacceptable.

The author is a Ugandan based in Oslo, Norway

Comments

+2 #1 Kidepwe 2024-02-10 20:06
The judicial system is exactly where Museveni wants it to be. He has ensured that he packs it mostly with NRM cadres, subservient to his every whim, and not independent and competent to dispense justice fairly and equitably.to the citizens of this country, regardless of rank or status. Ditto parliament.

You can certainly be sure that such an overhaul, will NEVER happen under his watch. And it certainly suits the current judicial leadership anyway, that the status quo is maintained.
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+1 #2 Akot 2024-02-10 20:16
Uganda belongs to Rwandese Museveni & all those in posts work for him!

So how & who will overhaul the judicial system that is pretending 38 years of Museveni is REAL DEMOCRACY & Uganda is a country?

Why are even the educated not aware of the situation Ugandans are locked in & only NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY, will give chance stop Museveni & give chance to govern as they want?

Why pretend there is justice in a fake country ruled by the same colonialist since 1986, knowing as long as Ugandans are POWERLESS tribally divided ruled, the only replacement will be Museveni's son?

Why are Ugandans ensuring Museveni's life rule, right?

How old will Museveni's son be by the time he replaces the dad in the family business, +70 years old as now King Charles & in what health condition?
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+1 #3 Akot 2024-02-12 18:02
Quoting Kidepwe:


The judicial system is exactly where Museveni wants it to be. He has ensured that he packs it mostly with NRM cadres, subservient to his every whim, and not independent and competent to dispense justice fairly and equitably to the citizens of this country, regardless of rank or status. Ditto parliament.

You can certainly be sure that such an overhaul, will NEVER happen under his watch. And it certainly suits the current judicial leadership anyway, that the status quo is maintained.


Thanks.

Museveni got the land he dreamed of & all is in place to ensure his lifetme rule & succession of his son in the waiting!

Ugandans are doing everything to ensure their enslavement to the migrant family, WHY?
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