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Our families are breaking down! Magistrates decry poor working conditions

Judges procession at an official ceremony. Low bench lawyers have expressed dissatisfaction over the poor pay (DILE PHOTO)

MUKONO – Lower bench judicial officials have said the tough working conditions they are subjected to have resulted in a breakdown of their families and failure to get suitors.

Speaking during a workshop at Ridar Hotel in Mukono District on Saturday, the officers, who included registrars and magistrates, said they are overwhelmed by a lot of work, with some working for 12 hours a day, meaning that they have no time for their families.

“Our work is so hectic, we leave early and go off late, meaning we spend more time at work than we spend home due to workload. Sometimes transfers affect us a lot,” said Ms Gladys Kamasanyu a grade one magistrate.

Ms Carol Adong, another magistrate, said because of lack of time for their families, their husbands have turned adulterous. This, she, said is exacerbated by transfers to distant areas.

“Our husbands end up getting other women near them just because we only turn up once a month depending on the distance,” Ms Adong said.

Ms Kamasanyu added that most of the judicial officials are not married because they see their colleagues’ marriages breaking down every now and then.

“Those married are out and those who joined single have failed to marry due to transfers,” she said.

Other magistrates pointed out some of the challenges afflicting them as sexual harassment by their bosses, rejection by communities, and transport due to long distances, language barrier and political interference.

The workshop was organized by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Ms Christine Amongi, the chairperson for JSC Education And Public Affairs Committee, commended the judicial officers for airing out their grievances, which she said can effect dispensation of justice.

Last year, judicial officers right from the appellate court down to the lower magistrates courts, voted to lay down their tools by August 23 if their biting welfare issues were not addressed.

The five key areas that more than 400 judicial officers want government to address are salary increment, provision of vehicles to enhance land justice, medical insurance, housing and security.

Earlier, state prosecutors had gone on a strike over welfare issues.

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