Punish unethical judicial officers

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) made stern revelations when it listed 15 ways through which unethical judicial officers abuse their authority.

In the report presented during the Magistrates Conference at Colline Hotel in Mukono on September 5, it was reported that judicial officers steal money paid for bail, have sex with minors in their chambers, receive bribes to make favourable judgments and victimise those who complain about their delayed cases.

The above are just a tip of the iceberg of what the damning report says of a body that ought to serve as an example to the rest of the institutions in the country.
Even as the Acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma urged the magistrates at the same conference to change the negative public perception of the Judiciary by avoiding such unethical behaviour in executing their duties, it remains the duty of the Judiciary principals to bring to book culprits involved in such behaviour.

It is interesting that Justice Kavuma even assured the magistrates that they, at the helm of the Judiciary, are strongly committed to supporting the judicial officers at all levels to enable magistrates perform better in their day to day work. And the Principal Judge, Dr Yorokamu Bamwine, cautioned the magistrates to always conduct themselves in a manner that gives the Judiciary its respect and confidence. However, what Justices Kavuma and Bamwine forget is that there is need to walk the talk. Cautioning and aising yet the ills continue to brew under the heavy blanket of a weak system is like putting a candle in the wind and expecting it to continue lighting.

Already, a section of the public hold the view that the Judiciary is partisan and not strong enough to overcome political influences.

Whereas it might be easy to excuse the Judiciary of being partisan, sex, bribery, drunkenness, favourtism and other ills of such nature must not be tolerated at any cost.
In a country where domestic violence, human rights violations and corruption are surging by the day, the Judiciary is the safest bet to safeguard and reinstate sanity among the citizens.

The Judiciary must identify such culprits, dismiss and even imprison them. There should be robust disciplinary measures against officers found wanting. Just because they are the custodians of the law does not warrant them to abuse it with impunity.

If the Judiciary, which is supposed to be the temple of justice, is showing signs of dirt and rot, where will Ugandans go for legal redress? Let the Judicial Service Commission not end at listing the rot in the Judiciary but follow up on implementation of punitive action against those found culpable.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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