By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC) chaired by speaker Rebecca Kadaga has approved Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo as Uganda’s chief justice replacing justice Katureebe who retired after clocking the retirement age..
As soon as he stepped out of the committee, Justice Owiny-Dollo expressed the need to increase the number of magistrates and Judges in a bid to dispense justice quickly as a solution for case backlogs, noting that one magistrate adjudicating eight districts is too much for the judiciary.
While addressing the media he said, “First of all, of the 80 chief magisterial areas which we have in this country, I have only 40.There are some chief magistrates who are looking after three magisterial areas. One person for three areas. In terms of the new districts, you are talking about 8 districts. There is no way such a person can render justice without creating a backlog “.
Owiny Dollo revealed that Uganda’s population stands at about 45 million and has 60 High Court Judges, a trend he says is not sustainable.
“Comparing to Malaysia which had a population of 30 million and 150 high court judges, where for us backlog means a case has stayed in the system for two years and more, in Malaysia it is eight months, they did not do any miracle, they had the personnel to do it.” say Owiny.
‘Unless we recruit judicial officers in tandem with the population of the country, you will continue to hear case backlogs even when I am long gone from office’ he said.
Speaking about his competence, Gulu Municipality Member of Parliament Lyandro Komakech has hailed the appointment saying that he qualifies for the job but the challenge has to do with ensuring access to justice for the majority of Ugandans who are poor.
Relatedly, the appointments committee vetted newly appointed Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera who in his remark to the press decried the levels of corruption in the Judiciary and called for stringent penalties for officials found to be engaged in the vice.