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Bottle-throwing incident shows public has lost confidence in Uganda’s courts, says expert

Associate Director at the Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS), Godber Tumushabe (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The throwing of plastic water bottles at the magistrate in the Dr Stella Nyanzi case shows that the public has lost confidence in the country’s legal justice system, an expert has said.

Six youths were arrested last Friday after one of them threw a plastic bottle at Grade One magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu after she sentenced Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi to 18 months in prison after being found guilty of cyber harassment.

While the Judiciary and the Uganda Law Society have since condemned the action, Dr Godber Tumushabe, the Associate Director at the Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS), said the act shows an angry society that now believes that courts can no longer offer justice.

Former Makerere University Don Stella Nnyanzi (FILE PHOTO)

“It is meaningless to discuss who threw the bottle. The dysfunctionality of the court helps this kind of hooliganism flourish. As a country, we need to look into these systems. What happened in court wasn’t planned. There’s immense injustice in our society. There is tension and anger that is accumulating. Even when the Chief Justice condemns this action, people need to go back and think about what is fundamentally worn, he’s not being honest about what is happening,” he said.

“I don’t think I can get justice from the courts of law. I’ve handled cases for over 5 to10 years and nothing has happened. The throwing of the bottle is a consequence. Every time you focus on the consequences, you escalate the problem,” he added.

Whereas the Judiciary blamed the act on inadequate security in the court, Dr Tumushabe disagrees.

“We’re targeting the wrong problem. The most important business of the state is to provide security for its citizens. Because we’re not providing security to the citizens, we’ve started guarding ourselves against the people,” he said.

“What we saw in court is just a symptom, not the problem. It’s what we’ve created over the last 57 years of independence. As civil people, we should condemn all acts of this nature without any conditions. What happened here has been happening over time. Unfortunately, we’ve been seeing this happen and we’ve been quiet because it’s politically correct to keep quiet,” he added.

Dr Tumushabe was appearing on NBS TV morning talk show on Monday.

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