The Deputy Chief Justice, Hon. Justice Richard Buteera, urged Judicial officers, staff, and public servants in the Ntungamo Magisterial area, to serve people with humility, integrity, equity, sobriety, diligence, and Competence.
The DCJ made these remarks as he presided over the Ntungamo Chief Magistrate�s Court Open Day, on Friday at the Court’s grounds.
The tents pitched at the grounds were filled to capacity with members of the public eager to learn about court processes and also for an opportunity to give feedback about justice services.
The Deputy Chief Justice thanked them for turning up in large numbers and advised the court users to refrain from using brokers in order to get justice. This was in response to complaints regarding middlemen whom they accused of harassing them.
He informed court users that the Inspectorate of Courts was being revamped to ensure quality assurance.
“The Judiciary is planning to have a revamped and well-resourced Inspectorate of Courts that will provide information, education and communication materials to empower people on how the Courts operate.”
“The Inspectorate will check on the performance of Judicial Officers. Members of the public can raise their complaints to the Inspectorate of Courts. Resident Judges and Chief Magistrates will also be facilitated to play a role as Inspectors and check on the Magistrates in their areas as well as help to mentor them…,” he said.
The DCJ further informed them that the increase of magistrates would help tackle the issue of delayed delivery of justice. He noted that new magistrates will be deployed following a workload assessment, with courts that have more workload receiving more magistrates.
Additionally, the DCJ asked the Staff of the Judiciary to “strive to attend to the justice needs of our people”.
He emphasized the need for Judicial Officers to make decisions about land cases after visiting the land in dispute.
Hon. Justice Nshimye Allan Paul Mbabazi, the Mbarara Resident Judge, equally warned the public not to pay any money to court brokers but rather report such characters to the relevant authorities. He informed them that police had received reports of bribery of justice actors and that these cases would be handled to their logical conclusion.
The Ntungamo Chief Magistrate, HW Muhimbise Gordon thanked the members of the public for attending the Open Day in large numbers, noting that most of them usually fear going to court.
He expressed his gratitude to the Judiciary for deploying a resident magistrate to Rubare Court, which had resolved the issue of people moving long distances to access court services.
He applauded the community for embracing Mediation and the Resident District Commissioner for supporting the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism.
Additionally, HW Muhimbise expressed his gratitude to the Judiciary Communications and Public Relations Registry for organizing and coordinating the Open Day activities.
HW Muhimbise outlined a number of issues affecting the Ntungamo Magisterial area, including inadequate court facilities (two court halls are shared by four magistrates), few state attorneys, insufficient magistrates, and power outages in the area.
He called for more court buildings, the provision of magistrates for Rwashamire, Ruhaama, Itojo, and Kayonza, a backup generator to handle power outages, a new vehicle among others.
The Resident District Commissioner, Mucunguzi Geoffrey, commended Ntungamo Court for tackling the case backlog and thanked all parties involved in the administration of justice for ensuring that justice is served. He urged the Judiciary leadership to carry out an investigation into operations of court brokers and ensure that they are handled in accordance with the law.
The other issues raised were; cases taking too long in court, issues with property sharing when a spouse passes away without leaving a will, lack of state attorneys, and issues with loans and land. The other issue raised was interference of political actors in the justice chain.
Notably present at the Court Open Day was HW James Ereemye Mawanda (Deputy Registrar Magistrates Affairs &Data Management), HW Alex Mushabe Karocho (the Private Legal Secretary to the DCJ), HW Allan Gakyaro (Personal Assistant to the DCJ), Magistrates Grade One; HW Kakuru Edgar (Rubare), HW Namubiru Mariam and HW Sharon Nassuna (Ntungamo), among others.