Politics

We don’t have money to dispense justice, says Otafiire

gen-kahinda-otafiire

Gen Kahinda Otafiire.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Hon Kahinda Otafiire says the judiciary is financially constrained and can’t effectively dispense justice.

While appearing on “NTV The Spot” last night, minister Otafiire said with time, judiciary shall rebuild public trust in the justice system of the country and dispense justice as it should be.

“There are many things the judiciary would like to undertake but because of limited resources of the country, we can’t do much. Our capacity to cover everybody is limited by lack of resources.”

Otafiire says the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and his team are trying to solve that problem.

“Until they have failed, then we can set up commission of inquiry. Being minister of justice doesn’t give me authority over government.”

He added: “I’m not going to accuse anyone of being corrupt until I have evidence lest I hurt innocent people. When you say the system is corrupt, provide the evidence to support the claim.”

Otafiire said fighting corruption is a question of how much it has been tackled and it what areas, noting that the trust judiciary wants people to have in them is not PR trust.

“Judges operate like aircraft maintenance engineers, you don’t rush them. Some of the faults we attribute to judges are not their problem as he decides a case based on facts before him.”

He went on: “Uganda is not about what I believe in or what I don’t believe on. Do I believe in electoral reforms? Ugandans can answer that.”

According to Otafiire, when police, prosecution and defence lawyers don’t do their job well, no one should blame the judge because judges are tied by evidence.

Meanwhile, Otafiire is preparing to table before Parliament the Administration of Justice Bill that seeks to provide for and strengthen the independence of Judiciary.

Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ogenga Latigo, who was appearing on the same programme, said the problem with Uganda is unless it is loud, there is no action.

“Usually we attack corruption from the offence perspective instead of institutional weakness perspective. We can only encourage the judiciary because when they perform well, so does democracy,” Latigo noted.

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