By Ronald Kabuye
Uganda’ Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has revealed that the judiciary is committed to making justice accessible to all through establishment of various court division and training of its staff.
Katureebe made the remarks while launching the standards, Utilities and wildlife court division housed at Buganda road chief magistrates court and having chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda as its head, deputised by grade one magistrates Gladys Kamasanyu and Mangino Marion.
Katureebe cautioned the judicial staff to avoid corruption tendencies, serve with excellence and the stake holders to desist from compromising the judicial officers adding that he has high hopes that the launched court will do a great job in as far as improving justice delivery, protecting people’s lives and improving the national economy since he doesn’t expect case backlog to build up in it.
He further said that the division will help in assessing cases of that nature.
“all along there has been no organised mechanism for an efficient and effective enforcement of rights and obligations in the area of consumer standards, utilities and wildlife, there has always been a need to prioritise and improve the institutional, structural and legal mechanism in these areas of justice for purposes of eradicating Misuse of utilities, illicit trade in wildlife, strengthening consumer protection and enhancing delivery of quality services to the people of Uganda” said Katureebe
” cases raising from this area of the law have previously been handled by the courts generally across the country, there has been no fast trucking, no uniform sentence, no monitoring and evaluation mechanism in the handling of these cases it has therefore been difficult to assess how effectively or efficiently we have been performing in that regard.” he added.
In the sameway the principal judge Yorokamu Bamwaine who narrated how the establishment of the division came about told the stakeholders and the judicial officers not to think of imprisonment as the only option but also make use of prebargaining since most of the offenders have the money that can immense help in other nation development.
“Just tell the offender that we have caught you, we are going to send to jail immediately, that person will simply pay and that will increase the revenue so don’t think of imprisonment as the only option when it comes to treatment of these offenders but be firm and remain resolute.” said Bamwaine
“To our staff let’s not add insult in the injury, when they come to us serve them with a smile professionally and promptly, don’t expect favours and don’t demain them and you stakeholders don’t compromise our officers.” he added
in the sameway the Chief magistrate of the launched division James Eremye Mawanda cited training, inadequate legal materials, transport and security as their major challenges given that fact that some of the cases they handle are multi billions and militarised.
On their part the stakeholders that pushed for the creation of the division including Uganda communications commission UCC, Uganda National bureau of standards UNBS, Uganda wildlife Authority UWA, UMEME, national Water and Sewerage cooperation NWSC applauded the judiciary for answering their plea saying it will go far in fighting theft, vandalisation of installations ,cross board of animals and smuggling of ivory among others.
” this court is timely since we loose 200 transformers per annum in vandalism accounting for 500 million dollars and power theft stands at 19 percent” said Sam Zimbe deputy MD UMEME.
” cases of adalutation of products and flooding the market with sub standard goods has become a norm in Uganda yet they greatly affect the economy, causes illness and at times leds to death simply because access to justice is hard and punishments given are restraint.” Said Ben Manyindo ED UNBS.
” communication being one of the fastest going industry world over, it has registered increased cyber crimes, vandalism of telecom equipments and inadherence to law so this will ease the process of bring the culprits to book.
For instance people use social media and the animal of freedom of speech to spread hate speech and can’t bring them to book because we don’t have servers in Uganda and capacity so we need to build capacity and sensitise the judicial officers about this, they always ask us for finger prints and thats what we are doing in the SIM cards registration” Godfrey Mutabazzi the ED UCC noted.