KAMPALA – President Museveni has urged African judges to address the causes of injustices and human rights abuses that are deeply rooted in the social, economic and cultural set up of the African society.
Speaking during the 4th judicial officers’ dialogue organised by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Kampala on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, Mr Museveni said most causes of human rights abuses are not of legal nature hence cannot be addressed by mere legislation.
“For me, I think it’s a good chance for you (African Chief Justices) to see how we apply our original traditional justice towards the struggle for human rights and also enhance harmony in society,” Mr Museveni told the 20 Chief Justices from across African judiciaries.
The President said there are fundamental human rights such as the right of access to food, shelter, clean water, clothing, education and health, which cannot be addressed legally but rather by developing the economy to enable the state to support her citizens.
“Man has not only been abused by fellow man. He has also been abused by nature such as floods, drought, diseases, famine, and earthquakes, among others. These can only be addressed by development solutions and not by legislation,” he said.
Mr Museveni called upon the justices to always priotise the hearing of cases that will bring about economic development rather than hearing cases like assult.
“I usually talk with their lordships in Uganda and their issue is case backlog but if I am faced with a case of people who fought in a bar and another involving a factory, I would deal with that of the factory since it employs many people, pays taxes to government instead of that of people who fought,” the President said.
He also re-echoed the need to hang those who have murdered others in cold blood instead of handing them jail sentences.
“The legal system in Africa is merely transplanted from the West and needs to be harmonised. Some people are, for example, against the death penalty but for me, I am for the laws of Moses of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Laws should be aligned to society otherwise some laws may end up being an injustice to the population,” he added.
Amb. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the deputy chairperson of the African Union, said since Africa has witnessed decades of numerous human rights challenges resulting from a diverse range of factors which include among others war, poverty, corruption and autocratic governance, it was prudent that African states solemnly resolve to promote and safeguard freedom, equality and human divinity across the continent.
Citing the theme for the dialogue: “Tackling contemporary Human Rights Issues” Amb. Kwesi called upon members of the Judiciary at all levels to collectively work together to promote and protect the human and Peoples’ rights in Africa.