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Ugandan laws can tame errant officials

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th November 2011 03:16 PM

Public officials should adhere to their oaths and the rest of the citizens, should put in place structural policies that will put in place policy reforms.

By Joseph Kasibante

JOHN B Kakooza in his article Kampala Capital City Authority, A case of abuse of the law published in New Vision of November 18 lined up a number of abuses in both the central and local governments.

Kakooza particularly zeroed on the KCCA councillors who played gutter politics of quorum and blocked the approval of Sula Kidandala as deputy Lord Mayor. 

I wish to inform Kakooza that there are enough laws in Uganda to tame  those who abuse office. 

Kakooza as a lawyer should not bother about all that but roll his sleeves for a legal battle that will help Kidandala and others justify their  rights as provided for in; 

  • The 1995 Uganda Constitution Chapter Four, Articles 20-58 very well protects all the fundamental rights one can dream of.
  • The Inspectorate of Government Act,
  • Equal Opportunity Commission Act 2007 
  • Magistrate’s Act Cap 42
  • Leadership Act 2002 and others 

Not withstanding other generous laws against human rights abuses, I may not have mentioned, there are landmark judgments like the case of Butz v. Economou, the Supreme Court declared that federal officials and employees do not enjoy absolute immunity from lawsuits arising out of discretionary acts within the scope of their authority. 

The Court found that federal officials are not liable for mere judgmental or factual errors.  But it refused to construe earlier cases as creating a blanket bar against, suing an official who willfully violated the constitutional rights of individuals. Within these principles, the court granted absolute immunity to administrative judges, prosecutors, and attorneys, in view of the need for preserving independent judgment.

In Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, female city employees had challenged an official policy compelling pregnant employees to take unpaid leaves of absence before such leaves were medically necessary.

Lower federal courts rejected their back pay claims, citing Monroe v. Pape, a 1961 Supreme Court decision declaring that local governments cannot be sued for civil rights violations.

In the Monell case, however, the Court, in a 7-2 decision, scrutinised the legislative history of civil rights acts and concluded that the 1961 decision had been incorrect. Thus, the justices ruled that the plaintiffs in the case could recover monetary damages for lost wages.

Public officials should adhere to their oaths and the rest of the citizens, should put in place structural policies that will put in place policy reforms.

The writer is  president National Taxpayers Protection Organisation

Ugandan laws can tame errant officials

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