President Museveni has appointed in acting capacity 16 Judges of the High Court into the judiciary service to help in clearing the case backlog in Ugandan courts.
Of the 16 judges, seven are male and nine females.
“These appointments are an outcome of the commission’s ongoing recruitment exercise of Judicial Officers at various levels into the judiciary service. This is the largest ever appointment of Judges of the High Court at that level by the president. This appointment will enhance the capacity of the High Court to expeditiously dispose of cases and tackle backlog,” the Judicial Service Commission said in a statement.
The 16 have been drawn from Magistrates court whereas other have been in private practice.
The list includes Dr.Douglas Singiza ,the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate , Mary Ikit, Flavia Nassuna Matovu and Suzan Kanyange among others.
The list also includes Bernard Namanya, Patricia Kahingi Asiimwe and Ocaya Thomas Ojele Rubanga among others from private practice.
Section 19 of the Judicial Service Commission Regulations 2005 says that the commission may advise the appointing authority in the nature of appointment to be made, such as substantive, acting, contract, temporary or probation in respect of judges and registrars and shall have powers to appoint under any nature of appointment in respect of other judicial officers.
The regulations also stipulate that a probationary appointment shall be for a period of two years and any extension of probationary appointment shall not exceed one year.
Established under Article 146 of the Constitution, the Judicial Service Commission is mandated to recruit judicial officers and regulate their conduct.
Ugandan courts have for many years struggled to clear the ever increasing case backlog.
To this end, the Chief Justice has been on the forefront requesting government to ensure recruitment of more magistrates and judges to help judiciary deal with the case backlog.
Speaking in 2020 during his swearing in ceremony, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny Dollo said there was need for many engagements with the members of the Executive arm of government so they can appreciate the role of the Judiciary.
“Many people are not in the know of the role of the Judiciary…we want to have a hearing very soon and we would like you to understand us,” the Chief Justice said to President Museveni.
To paint a picture, Dollo said that he would be presiding over an institution where one chief magistrate presides over six magisterial areas, and a High Court judge with over 4,000 cases.
He added that between shs2 and shs3 trillion is locked up in the Commercial Court because the Court has only five judges.
“We, for instance, need 15 judges to sit in the Commercial Court to quickly handle these commercial disputes and have these trillions released back into the economy. How can justice be served? We must immediately do something to give meaning to the people of Uganda. In this age, court cases should not be staying in the system for 10 years. We want to see cases handled to completion within one year if resources are available to us.”
President Museveni has since promised to act but noted it will be done in a phased manner.