Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo Warns Judicial Officers Againt Partisan Attire

Chief Justice Owiny Dollo. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kampala, Uganda | The Black Examiner  – The Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, has issued a warning to judicial officers, advising them against wearing clothing with partisan colors. This marks the first instance of the head of the Judiciary discussing the appropriate attire for judges beneath their robes.

Owiny-Dollo stressed that wearing colors associated with political parties, such as blue, yellow, red, green, or any other party-related hues, could lead court users to perceive the judicial officer as having political bias. This, he cautioned, might potentially compromise the fair administration of justice and undermine the judiciary’s integrity and independence.

The importance of a fair and independent court system cannot be overstated in the proper functioning of justice.

Owiny-Dollo delivered this message on Thursday during the swearing-in ceremony for 86 newly appointed Grade One Magistrates, including Registrar Allen Rukundo Owembabazi and five Assistant Registrars. During the event, Owiny-Dollo singled out a judicial officer wearing a yellow necktie as an example of the kind of colors that should not be worn in court.

He emphasized that serving in the judicial service was a commitment to uphold core values such as integrity, propriety, independence, and a zero-tolerance stance on corruption. He also emphasized that the judiciary’s integrity is a priority, and those who fail to uphold these values may find themselves exiting the service.

Owiny-Dollo expressed satisfaction that the number of judicial officers has increased from 180 to 366, indicating a positive development for the judiciary.

The Chief Justice encouraged the Magistrates to prioritize Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as an effective method to resolve disputes swiftly and reduce case backlogs within the justice system.

In a separate message, Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera emphasized the significant responsibility facing the new officers. He urged them to serve with humility, without bias, malice, or ill will, in alignment with the judicial code of conduct.

Buteera stated that the judiciary is prepared to take action against those who act against the interests of innocent Ugandans seeking justice. He advised the officers to maintain professionalism, be open to learning, remain composed in their supervisory roles, dispense justice impartially, and ensure timely decisions.

Principal Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija emphasized the importance of good customer care at court, maintaining neat and corruption-free environments, and exhibiting strong moral values and high levels of integrity. He warned that failure to adhere to these principles could result in job loss, referencing a recent incident involving an appointee, Musa Amaari Ssemogerere, who was dismissed due to misconduct shortly after his appointment.

The Judicial Service Commission Rules of 2005, specifically Section 19, provide guidance on the nature of appointments for judges, registrars, and other judicial officers. The recently appointed Assistant Registrars include Christine Namutebi, Nusura Nankya, Rania Naluyima, Hellen Atigo, and Kenneth Tumwebaze. They have taken an oath to dispense justice faithfully to all Ugandans without bias and to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution.

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