KAMPALA – The Judiciary has said the head of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, was wrong to publicly claim that judgments by some judicial officers and courts are escalating land grabbing in the country.
In a statement issued on October 26, Justice Bamugemereire said the Judiciary risks being used by land grabbers if it does not rise up to the occasion.
“The Constitution provides categorical protection to the rights of bibanja holders as well as to the sanctity of protected, fragile and sensitive ecosystems. That the practice in the Judiciary and other critical MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) has consistently undermined these values, reflects an inherent and deep-seated measure, the continual perpetuation of the status quo undermines the rule of law and constitutionalism of which the Judiciary is a vanguard,” she said in her statement.
But in a press statement on Monday, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe said the judge should have used another forum to address such a sensitive subject and not a press statement.
“The Judiciary is concerned with the mode used by the Commission to communicate matters of such serious nature. We would have expected the Commission to communicate findings of such a serious nature in form of an Interim report to the President, not a press release,” the statement reads in part.
“The Judiciary as well as the government, would have studied that report and taken appropriate action, including giving the officers mentioned in therein an opportunity to defend themselves. Nonetheless, we will further study the press release and try to work on it appropriately. Any judicial officer found to have acted outside the law will be dealt with accordingly,” the Chief Justice added.
The Judiciary statement also quoted the Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine saying the actions of a few judicial officers should not be used to brand the entire Judiciary culpable.