80 New Judicial Areas in Offing

1114 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Currently, the judiciary has only 43 chief Magistrates and 48 high court judges serving the estimated 35 million people in Uganda.

The Judiciary is in final stages of declaring 80 new magisterial areas equipped with chief magistrates to better address case backlogs in the country.
Currently, the judiciary has only 43 chief Magistrates and 48 high court judges serving the estimated 35 million people in Uganda.
Supreme Court Judge Augustine Nshimye, the Chief Inspector of Courts, says the judiciary has been overwhelmed by the high population in the country. He says to better dispense justice, the 116 districts of Uganda should have a chief magistrate each.
//cue in "Within those limited……
Cue out "….can assist our people."//
Justice Nshimye says Uganda requires 80 high court judges to adequately serve the growing population.
The judge is currently inspecting courts in Eastern and Northern Uganda. In Gulu he was told that the Gulu Courts circuit is seeking three new judges to fill positions that have fallen vacant in Kitgum and Gulu districts.
Justice Vincent Okwonga, the Gulu resident High Court Judge says Gulu judicial area is currently being serviced by a single high court judge (himself) after the second judge got transferred to Masaka district.
Justice Okwonga asked the Inspector of Courts to push for deployment of more judicial officers and state attorneys in Gulu Magisterial area to address case backlogs.
The situation has been made worse by the retirement of Gaodense Japyem Okongo, the Chief Magistrate of Kitgum who used to hear cases from Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago and Pader.
East Acholi sub region is now being covered by Deogratius Ssejjemba, the Chief Magistrate of Gulu district, previously overseeing Nwoya, Amuru, Gulu and new Omoro district.
James Ladwar, a lawyer with Ladwar and Company Advocates says having sufficient judicial personnel in a post conflict region engulfed by tensions over land is critical for human security and peace.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.