Members of Parliament have expressed concern over the current state of the judiciary saying it is not capable of arbitrating on the issues affecting citizens.
The MPs on the Human Rights Committee asked the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Kahinda Otafire to put the judiciary in order to restore the confidence of Ugandans in the third arm of government.
The MP’s main concern is the lack of heads of the judiciary saying that the institution is being undermined by lack of substantive top judges.
Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso also said it is unfortunate that the judiciary has a head whose appointment is being challenged in court and has no deputy.
Just over a month ago, President Museveni endorsed Justice Benjamin Odoki as chief justice, recalling him from retirement.
She asked why a substantive Deputy Chief Justice has not been appointed saying that the issue of acting people has become a habit. Alaso says it erodes the judiciary of its independence.
Otafire said the Deputy Chief Justice retired when there was no judicial service commission in place and that delayed the process of recruitment of the Deputy Chief Justice.
Justice Steven Kavuma of the Court of Appeal is now acting Deputy Chief Justice.
He declined to comment on the issue of the Chief Justice saying that the matter is in court and that he will comment about it after court has pronounced itself.
Otafire said the Judicial Service Commission has now submitted the names of the nominated Deputy Chief Justice and that the matter is being considered.
But Mityana South MP Godfrey Kiwanda wondered why the concerned parties do not prepare in time. He says they are using the excuse of retirement yet retirement does not happen by accident and that it should be planned in time.
The MPs are also concerned about the growing mistrust of the judiciary saying the institution has become political with founders of political parties on the bench as judges. Kiwanda said the Ugandans no longer have confidence in the institution that is supposed to be neutral adding that there is a danger of people turning to mob justice.
Alaso also referred to the case of the NRM “rebel” MPs and asked how the defendants will get justice when the chairman of NRM is swearing affidavits before NRM card holding members.
Otafire said the MPs’ claims are false adding that the courts of law are impartial to provide evidence.
He promised on the insistence of Alaso to investigate the matter and ensure that it is addressed.