The chief Justice Alfonso Owiny-Dollo has urged judges in public offices to respect the rule of law while serving the public.
The theme of this year’s Memorial Day celebration is, “Benedicto Kiwanuka: Enhancing Judicial Accountability, Transparency and the Rule of Law.”
“For those of us, who hold public offices, history will judge us harshly; we owe it to ourselves to respect the rule of law,” Owiny-Dollo said.
He added, “Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka lives with us. He is our inspiration and he is the reason why we are here. It is part of honoring his memory for us to speak to one another instead of going up in arms as this is costly.”
CJ Owiny-Dollo noted that it is the responsibility of the judges in this country to protect and defend the rule of law. Adding, “I have seen agencies of the state committing sacrilege in interpreting court decisions. This is wrong and contrary to the rule of law.”
He cautioned the members that the proper thing to do is to come back to the courts and satisfy clients with the decision of the court
As the Judiciary Service continues to draw inspiration and motivation from the works and service of Benedicto Kiwanuka, CJ Owiny-Dollo reminded the judges of the constitutional obligation, and accountability, to all justice seekers in Uganda in the actions and decisions.
“Accountability has been expressed to mean the acceptance of responsibility for one’s own actions, including a willingness to be transparent and allowing others to observe and evaluate one’s performance. Judicial Officers are not only individually accountable internally to the Judiciary Service but we are also externally accountable to the public that we serve,” CJ Alfonse Owiny- Dollo said.
“With better funding of the Judiciary, we can truly honor the memory of Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka better, by affording access to justice to all justice seekers in this country. We owe it to Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka to do all that is within our individual and collective power, to further advance the cause for justice. I call upon all the people of Uganda, the Government, and Non-Government Agencies, to join hands, so that together we strive for the Rule of Law, access to justice and observance of human rights for all our people. It is incumbent on all of us to search our individual and collective souls and establish whether in the pursuit of the law we are inspired by what he stood for without fear,” CJ Owiny- Dollo added.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy CJ Richard Buteera said that judges should see to it that citizens enjoy equal treatment of the law- Chairperson of the organizing committee of the Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial
The Uganda Law Society President Bernard OundoI applauded the Judiciary leadership and the Government of Uganda in ensuring that the Judiciary gets the required resources to administer Justice in this country.
“We must reflect on the issue of appointing people in acting capacity before we end up with acting Judgements,” Bernard Oundo said.
Jeremiah Ntabgoba the Widow of the late Benedicto Kiwanuka said it is a great honour to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the icon that is being awarded.
“Being at the High Court after so many years since his service is nostalgic because this is where he spent many hours in his chambers and courts dispensing justice,” said the Widow.
Former Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who represented President Museveni thanked the leadership of the Judiciary for organizing the 6th Benedicto Kiwanuka as he appreciated for being highly trained in matters of law. He was a great national asset, given his qualifications and experience.
In 1972, soldiers under the command of then President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada dragged Ben Kiwanuka out of his chambers at High Court and up to now, he has never been seen again.
Ben Kiwanuka is remembered for having been a selfless defender of human rights and rule of law for which is said to have paid a precious price.
Before joining the Judiciary, he was a strong politician who was instrumental in the process of Uganda gaining its independence from the colonialists in October 1962.
Kiwanuka was born on May 8, 1922 in Kisabwa village Bukomansimbi District.
He served as a clerk and Interpreter at High Court in 1945 before being appointed as Library Assistant which enabled him to read a number of books on law.