President Yoweri Museveni has warned Ugandans courts that the state will continue to ignore their court orders because they sometimes lack a convergence of principles of justice. Museveni further said that courts can't keep invoking the independence card whenever their decisions are defied by the state or questioned by the citizenry.
Museveni argues that the judiciary cannot be entirely independent of the other arms of the government, and the state will always come in to protect the citizens from what he says court decisions that are detrimental to the nation. He further observed a need to amend the prerequisite for the independence of the judiciary. He says the concept is being abused by some judicial officers.
Museveni made the remarks on Wednesday while officiating at the fifth Annual Memorial Ceremony of the first Ugandan chief justice Benedicto Kiwanuka at the judiciary headquarters in Kampala. Kiwanuka died on September 21, 1972, and since then, the country has heard contradicting accounts pointing to the possibility that he was killed shortly after his abduction.
"Now this independence of the judiciary - independence from whom? You cannot be independent of the Ugandan people. So I would want some amendment to this idea. Maybe we could talk of independence within a convergence of principles of justice," said Museveni.
Museveni’s reaction came after the new Uganda Law Society president Bernard Oundo accused a section of government agencies, especially the armed forces of not respecting and implementing court orders. Oundo said such practices threaten the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and constitutionalism.
But Museveni explained that sometimes decisions and orders of the courts are not implemented because they do not rhyme with the interests of both the population and the political side, a trend that creates a lacuna in the administration of justice. To augment his viewpoint, Museveni cited the eviction of families from chunks of land for the benefit of one person. He said with such a decision, a resident district commissioner (RDC) can come in and overrule the court order.
"The new lawyer president was talking of the refusal of some groups to implement court decisions. This is very serious, it is not...I would really want us to get some time not just at the occasion of remembering but we should get time and discuss deeply. Part of the problem of why we don't implement the court decisions is we don't agree, there is lack of convergence on what is justice in some of cases between the courts and the population and sometimes even the political side," said Museveni.