The Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Justice Benjamin Kabiito has called for rising of the Chief Justice’s retirement age from 65 years to 75 years.
Currently, Justices of the High Court and the CJ retire at the age of 65 but according to Justice Kabiito, “the country misses their services and this has resulted into backlog of cases despite of the new recruitments.”
Citing countries such as Ghana and Kenya, Justice Kabiito said the current retirement age of the judges, coupled with the human resource constraints, lead to case backlogs.
Uganda has 11 justices of the Supreme Court; 15 at the Court of Appeal and 50 High Court Judges compared to Kenya which has 150 at the High Court, 35 at the Court of Appeal and five at the Supreme Court.
“We paid a courtesy visit to the President and persuaded him for 10 more judges to overcome the backlog of cases,” Justice Kabiito said at Uganda media Centre.
He added: “The human resource shortage is a great challenge which the commission faces. Out of a staff establishment of 117, the Commission currently has 56 staff.”
Further, Justice Kabiito said the JSC budget had been increased from Shs3.3 billion in the last financial year to Shs5 billon this year, enabling them to improve on their performance. The Commission, he said, has handled 335 complaints against errant judicial officers against an accumulated backlog of 564 cases and issues resolved.
Justice Kabiito also said that the JSC held 33 radio talk shows in over 20 districts, creating awareness about the operations of the judiciary and opening up of channels of communication.
He also lauded the government for positively responding to the JSC’s gripes regarding the salaries of State Prosecutors, which saw their pay increased from Shs500,000 to Shs3.5million per month.