The Chief Justice of Uganda Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo has cautioned those intending to interfere with the way Judicial Officers execute their duties to stand warned because they are doing God’s work and nobody has the power to interfere with them.
While speaking during the Annual Registrars and Magistrates Conference 2022 on Monday at Mestil Hotel, Justice Dollo vowed to defend the Judiciary and urged all the Judicial Officers to stand strong while executing their duty because nobody is allowed to overrule their decision.
“Don’t be intimidated by whoever comes to your court and wants you to do something contrary to your judicial oath. We took an oath never to revenge or do ill will. However, the Judiciary will not be intimidated under my watch,” he said.
Justice Dollo’s fury follows the action of Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to save a poor widow Gertrude Nalule who had been jailed for failing to pay her debt.
According to Nabbanja, her move was to help the poor woman who was on verge of losing her property to the scammer who had gained favours from the court.
She went ahead and promised to pay the woman’s debt after meeting with the Grade One Magistrate, Amon Magezi in Mengo who was handling the case. Nabbanja also met him with other judicial officers and political leaders.
The Prime Minister defended her actions that she did not interfere with the independent operations of the Judiciary, as an independent arm of the government but she acted since all arms serve the people of Uganda and act upon the interests of Ugandans.
However, according to Justice Dollo, Nabbanja’s action was uncalled for and vowed to defend his arm by not accepting such interference by the top leaders because the Judiciary is a completely independent arm of government.
“What happened last week at Mengo Chief Magistrate’s Court was unfortunate and unacceptable. I will be failing in my duty as head of the Judiciary if I failed to defend my Judicial Officers and keep quiet. I commend the Prime Minister for her zeal only that in this case it was misplaced. There are other many priorities that she should have focused on. Your (Judicial Officers) responsibilities are ordained by God, you are doing God’s work,” he said.
The Chief Justice however warned all judicial officers to perform their duties with at most degree of integrity and leave no room for prejudice because there are ordained to serve God’s work with fairness and justice.
“I hope the Constitution of Uganda is your daily Bible. You need to understand your role in defending and ensuring you fulfil and achieve our people’s aspirations. We need to be Judiciary born again as we exercise our mandate. Let us rededicate ourselves as we serve our people,” he said.
He also warned that if any Judicial Officer is cited in any unbecoming manner, he/she will certainly be expelled from presiding over the court.
“If you behave in a manner unbecoming of a Judicial Officer I will certainly see your back (exit) and that is non-negotiable.”
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