By Aminah Nabuule
Cabinet has approved the implementation of the revised structure that will see the Judiciary become an autonomous arm of government and among others, the salaries for judges increased by about 40% whereas the Court of Appeal will extend wings to regions.
Whereas Judiciary is the third arm of government, it is currently operating as a government department.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Judiciary spokesperson, Jameson Karemani said the cabinet approved the implementation of the revised structure, establishment, and salaries for judicial officers.
“The Court of Appeal will be decentralized to regions. Construction (of headquarters) has already started in Gulu and Mbarara whereas Fort Portal and Mbale are also soon coming up,” Karemani said.
“We hope that if the new structure is realized, we shall have improved service delivery.”
The Court of Appeal currently sits only in Kampala and all cases for its adjudication are handled from the country’s capital, to the detriment of many people.
Speaking during the annual general meeting for Uganda Judicial Service Commission last month, the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny said the approved structure for the judiciary will also see the salaries for judges increased by about 40%.
“When approved, your salaries and allowances will be increased by about 40%. We hope this will energize you towards greater successes,” Dollo said last month.
According to the approved structure, the number of judges will also be increased to help deal with case backlog.
The Judiciary spokesperson told journalists on Wednesday that the number of Justices for the Supreme Court from the current 10 to 21 whereas the Court of Appeal/ Constitutional Court justices will also increase to 56.
On the other side, High Court judges will go up to 228 whereas 160 Chief Magistrates and 514 grade one magistrates will be in place.
“We are also going to phase out grade two magistrates. It will be a gradual process that will come in our five year strategic plan,”Karemani said.
The new structure will also see all Judicial staff fall under the Judicial Service and not Public Service as before.
In the past, non-judicial staff like accountants and drivers were recruited and transferred by the Public Service.
“They will no longer be part of public service but ours. There is over shs500 billion for the new structure but it won’t be done in one financial year because we are mindful of the source of the funds. We will implement the new structure gradually,”Karemani said.
“The new structure will ensure judiciary becomes an independent arm of government and not a mere department.”