Judges and other judicial officers will have to wait a little longer for a salary enhancement.
“It is wrong to prioritise salary enhancement above infrastructure development. You cannot convince me that I stop constructing roads and I pay salaries. You are not the only ones understaffed and underpaid,” President Yoweri Museveni said.
Museveni who said he backs the idea of enhancing salaries of judicial officers because of their crucial role in society, however added: “This we shall do in tandem with the improvement of the economy.”
He made the remarks at the 21st annual judges’ conference at Serena Hotel in Kampala.
Both Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and justice and constitutional affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire, had earlier in their remarks justified a pay rise for the judiciary staff and recruitment.
“Your Excellency, I request you to cause the Ministry of Finance to operationalise a Parliament resolution to increase the number of High Court Judges and implore you to consider the remuneration of judicial officers,” Otaffire submitted.
The four-day conference is held under the theme Judicial Ethics, Integrity and Accountability; A Precondition for Improved Access to Justice and Sustainable Development.
Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Judges of the High Court, retired Chief Justice Wako Wambuzi, and retired Principal Judge James Ogoola, magistrates, justice, Law and order sector members attended among others.
Katureebe appealed to the judiciary to execute their constitutional mandate with independence and without fear of consequences of their decision.
“Let us therefore execute our duties diligently and efficiently and refrain from acts that lead to public mistrust in the institution as we strive to deliver justice for all,” he urged.
Museveni warned magistrates who issue land eviction orders without due consideration of the victims. He asked the Judiciary to protect the masses from unscrupulous individuals who are responsible for rampant land evictions leaving poor people homeless.
The Judiciary also launched a toll-free customer feedback hotlines (0800-111-900/0417-892-900) intended to enhance Judiciary’s public accountability processes through consistent provision of accurate information about Judiciary/court services.