KAMPALA – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has pledged to renew its strategic partnership with the Judiciary – a relationship expected to improve the UN Agency’s support to the third arm of the state.
The Agency has, in the recent past, supported the Judiciary to acquire a Toll-Free Customer Feedback facility, setting up a Call Centre in Kampala, and the implementation of public awareness campaigns to promote access to justice, under its Rule of Law and Democratic Governance Programme.
UNDP’s Resident Representative to Uganda, Ms Elsie Attafuah, while paying a courtesy call on the Judiciary’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Pius Bigirimana on Wednesday, said the UN Agency would soon boost its support streams to the Judiciary.
“As UNDP, we continue to stand ready to support the Judiciary,” said Ms Attafuah, adding: “Obviously there is a lot of innovative work here that I wanted to commend as well and to see how we can build on them.”
She said UNDP would support the expansion of the Judiciary Call Centre, among other things. “The idea of a Call Centre is very critical, and I think we need to advance it, as it is very much essential in promoting access to justice,” she said.
Besides, the official said the Agency was in the process of mobilizing $10 million for a project aimed at ensuring inclusive, transparent 2021 General elections with the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders like the Judiciary.
“We do believe that the Judiciary will have a critical role to play in terms of management of emerging conflict and disputes before, during and after the electoral period. Together, we need to think about prevention of conflict and ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page in understanding issues around the laws,” she said.
She said she had worked with PS Bigirimana before and that the UNDP was banking on his good leadership to get the project off the ground. “We know you and we look forward to your leadership and support to try and implement this project,” said Ms Attafuah.
Mr Bigirimana said the Judiciary was more than willing to partner with the UNDP – listing issues like public awareness sensitizations, support to the Inspectorate of Courts, ADR mechanisms, completion and operationalization of the Judiciary Call Centre, and more support towards the ECCMIS project, as Judiciary’s support priorities.
“The issue of sensitization is very critical and I would recommend that we continue supporting the programme. The Inspectorate too needs to be supported with at least a vehicle so that it can move to verify all these complaints it receives on telephone (Toll Free facility),” said Mr Bigirimana.
“I would also like us to focus on ECCMIS, which we have started designing so that people can start filing cases online and it will be one of the game changers in fighting corruption. We need to do some sensitisation on radio and television and the print media about ECCMIS to inform the people how it operates”.
The UNDP official advised the Judiciary to quickly put together a proposal for consideration. “Your case for support is clear and strong. We shall review your proposal and come back to you,” said Ms Attafuah.
Present in the meeting were Judiciary’s Under Secretary, Ms Maureen Kasande; Simon Peter Opolot (Principal Economist); Solomon Muyita (Principal Communications Officer); Eric Ndawula (Economist); Ms Annet Mpabulungi Wakabi and Ms. Diva Mukisa (technical officials from the UNDP).