At a recent Entebbe Magistrates Court Open Day, there was a message of hope for the ‘wretched of the earth’ delivered by the Principal Judge Justice Yorokamu Bamwine. According to the topmost administrative official at the High Court and the Magistrate’s courts, he will crack the whip against corrupt and errant judicial officials, in a bid to clean the image of the judiciary.
According to the Inspectorate of Government, over the past few years the judiciary has been competing with the Uganda Police Force, for the two top positions in regard to corruption in this country.
The corruption in the justice system in Uganda is manifest in various ways, among them delayed rulings, absenteeism, missing files for the litigants and, outright demanding and taking of bribes in form of money, and, despite the warning coming a tart late, Justice Bamwine deserves a pat on the back.
As one of the three arms of government, the judiciary in Uganda is supposed to play an important role in promoting democracy and good governance by ensuring the rule of law is upheld. It also supposed to champion equity and justice by promoting human rights, failure of which an anarchical situation is born, mostly affecting the less privileged who are unable to buy their way out.
Indeed, so many people have lost time, property and even life at the expense of capricious judicial officials, something that has put a blemish on the judiciary as an institution.
However, not all is lost as there other judicial officials who still carry out their work with zeal and dedication, and these should be commended and where possible, rewarded with promotions.
Lastly, since we are headed for elections next year, it is important that the judicial officers take cognisance of and play their role as impartial arbiters as this will save the country from acrimonious litigation.