Judicial system in turmoil over increased unfair eviction orders

Katureebe Chief Justice

The Chief Justice (CJ), Bart Katureebe, has cautioned judicial officers on the issuance of eviction orders, saying their directives must be considerate and should not cause unrest. Katureebe made the call during the Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and International Justice Mission (IJM)dinner at Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala on Friday.

The event was marked under the theme: Making justice unstoppable.

“Before judges and magistrates make orders involving the eviction of families, they should consider administering justice for the people, bearing in mind their norms and values,” Katureebe said.

 “Although the law allows you to evict people, how would you feel when you do it to a family without any alternative arrangement for where they will sleep the next night,” he said.

He said before judicial officers make such orders, they should think of what the framers of the law meant with Article 126 of the Constitution, which says judicial power is derived from the people. Katureebe said the provision stresses that such power shall be exercised by the courts established under the Constitution in the name of the people and in conformity with law and with the values, norms and aspirations of the people.

The Chief Justice said the courts should administer justicefor the people.

“We have practice directions governing evictions which people sometimes ignore,” he said.

Katureebe also urged the Government to solve the problem of land grabbing in the country.

He recommended the introduction of legislation in Parliament to amend the Land Act with stringent Judicial officers cautioned on eviction orders By Juliet Waiswa Betty, a Primary Six pupil at Nakivubo Blue Primary School in Kampala Central Division, says when she is in her menstrual periods,she uses toilet paper or stays away from school for the duration of the periods.

Several girls in the country drop out of school or stay away from classes, until the bleeding stops. To stop this, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), last week launched a menstrual hygiene management programme in some of its schools in the city. KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi,while launching the programme at Nakivubo Blue, told the pupils that the purpose of the measures on how to deal with land evictions.

He said he had forwarded a write-up to President Yoweri Museveni, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney General. Katureebe also said the World Bank had pledged to fund Judiciary activities, but on condition that the Government shows a commitment that the Judiciary was a priority in the country.

He revealed that Uganda in 1970 had the highest rate of economic growth in East Africa, but when Idi Amin became president, law and order broke down and there was economic collapse. Shawn Kohl, IJM’s director,said they entered into a landmark memorandum of understanding with JLOS in October last year in a bid to end violence against women and children in Uganda.

“The community cannot come out of poverty when there is still violence against the poor, women and children,” Kohl said.

Grace Akullo, the Criminal Investigations Directorate boss,said apart from gender based sexual violence cases, they had other crimes to deal with, but lacked resources.