CJ Katureebe commissions virtual courts

By Sania Babirye

The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe, has today commissioned a video conferencing system to Luzira Maximum Security Prison and Buganda Road court.

Justice Katureebe has called upon all judges and other stakeholders to see that the system is used to serve its purpose.
He said that if fully used by judges to serve its purpose, they will see that the system is enrolled in all courts starting from the smallest (grade one courts) to the highest court (Supreme court).

To see the whole system enrolled, this will cost government 12 billion shillings annually.The facility will be used for the mentioning of criminal cases before they are fixed for trial.
Justice Katureebe has also operational two virtual courts that have been set up within the Luzira upper Prison male and female wings.

According to Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire of the court of appeal judge and also chair of the Judiciary’s technological committee , the facilities are satisfactory.

Justice Kiryabwire has also revealed that they will be needing 12 billion shillings for the next five years to see that the technology is enrolled in the whole country.

He says that this money will enable them to see that all courts in the country from the magistrate courts to the supreme court are connected to video conferencing.

He however says that right now the funding they are getting from ministry of finance is inadequate to allow their plans since they only received UGX 6 billion which is about 50%.

He however says that he is hopeful that government will increase their funding but are also happy to start with the little they have to start on their plans.

He says that the program is going to save suspects and Luzira prison officials the burden of coming to court even for short sessions like mentioning of case as it has been the case.

He also says that the public will also stop being inconvenienced through road closing by security personnel as it has been the case when key suspects are being brought to court.

He said that although proceedings like mentioning of cases takes a little time, however it has been costly in transporting suspects from Luzira prison to court were some of them have in the end escaped from court docks as it was the case in Masaka.

This means that the judge or magistrate will sit at Buganda road and mentions all cases through video conferencing with suspects at Luzira prison

The lawyers will also have a chance to file their cases through E filling without necessarily moving to court to file paper work as it has also been the case.

“We have entered the courts of the future in Uganda,” he said, adding: “Uganda is the first country in East Africa to set up courts inside a prison. Judiciary’s strategy is to revolutionalise how justice is dispensed.Uganda is the first country in East Africa to set up courts inside a prison.”

“We are moving courts from buildings to services that are available to Ugandans who need them. With such a facility, people should be coming to the physical courts only for trials,” said Justice Kiryabwire

Hosted at the National Data Center under the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), the high-tech court conference facilities were recently installed both in the Luzira Prison and Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court in Kampala.

The technology is designed to aid the mentioning of all criminal cases at Buganda Road Court involving accused persons on remand in Luzira Prison before their cases are fixed for trial.

Buganda Road Court will also handle related cases on behalf of the Magistrates Courts of Makindye, Nakawa, Nabweru, Law Development Centre (LDC), Kira, City Hall, Nateete/Rubaga, Luzira, Kasangati and the Anti-Corruption Court.

NITA’s Executive Director, James Saaka, said the facility is designed to connect the courts beyond the geographical boundaries to provide faster administration of justice.

He said recordings from all court sessions will be safely kept in the National Backbone Infrastructure at the National Data Centre.

The Officer in Charge of Luzira Upper Prison, Moses Sentalo, applauded the move.

“The system will save us the costs involved in the back and forth transportation of prisoners to courts as well as the stress that comes with moving high risk inmates. Imagine, transporting one inmate to court requires five prison officers handling different roles: driver, gunman, orderly, warder and supervisor).”

He said a team of Uganda Prisons staff have been trained to operate the facility and they are ready for the

The facilities will help among other things,

• Lower costs of prisons operations since preliminary stages of cases can be handled online.

• Minimise risks of transporting high profile prisoners as such cases will be handled online in the safety of Luzira Prisons.

• Ease access to information during court sessions since document sharing/storage will be electronic and will be accessed remotely by the concerned parties.

It will also reduce on the case baklog which has also brought about by suspects missing court sessions due to lack of transport.

The prisoner’s right’s will also be protected since they will no longer be chained as it has been while beong transported in court.

Leaders give guidelines on new policy to regulate religious organizations


By Deo Wasswa

Religious leaders under their umbrella organisation, Christian Ecumenical council of Uganda have today handed over a document to the ministry of Ethics and integrity involving suggestions to be considered when drafting the the policy that intends to regulate the operations of religious and faith based organization in the country.

The Christian ecumenical council of Uganda is made up of seven religious and faith based organization which includes, Evangelical Orthodox church, Orthodox Anglican Church, World Wide Church, Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, Charismatic Episcopal Church, Universal Peace Federation and Anglo Catholic Church.

While handing over the document to Rev. father Simon Lukodo, Bishop Jacinto Kibuka, the head of Evangelical Orthodox church has noted that this is done to ensure their views are captured before drafting this policy.

He added that as consultation are going on, the ministry of ethics and integrity has been only focusing on those tradition churches and this created a fear that they may be left out during the consultations.

While receiving the document, Father Lukodo noted that they are not going to tolerate religious leaders who preach falsehoods and there fore the policy must be in place.

He however called upon religious leaders to be on fore front of supporting this policy other than opposing it.

The consultations are still on going while capturing different view from academia, lawyers, religious leaders and other stake holders and once its done, drafting of the policy will start immediately.

Female legislators insist on passing the marriage and divorce bill

By Alice Lubwama

Women activists under the domestic act coalition in partnership with Uganda women parliamentary association have joined the international campaign to end violence against women and girls, by calling government to expedite the amendment of the employment act 2006 which will require all employers to have a policy on sexual violence.

The call has been made amidst celebrations for the 16 days of activism to end gender based violence in country. This year’s theme is , “end gender based violence in the world of work”.

Kamwenge woman member of parliament Dorothy Nshaija who is also the treasurer of the association says that among every five women at least one had experienced sexual violence compared to eight percent in men and they would like employers to put in place measures to curb sexual violence and exploitation at the work place.

Nshaija also wants government to regulate alcohol consumption as this is one of the reasons why cases of domestic violence are still many.

Mitooma woman MP Jovah Kamateeka called Government to re-introduce the marriage and divorce bill saying that the continuous clauses on the title and recognizing cohabitation as a form of marriage have been dealt with.

The legislator says that this law is very critical because it will address the conflicts in homes.

People think that this law is for elites yet it’s not the case, this bill proposes that what the man acquired when he was alone will be his but what they have acquired together, they share at the time of separation.

Hon Nshaija has asked all Ugandans to support the law because its intention is not for women to grab men’s property because women also own property.

The Uganda Joint Christian Council warned parliament against passing the Bill arguing that its provisions are like inducements for divorce, turning cohabitation into marriage, and making a woman and a man equal in the marriage setting, are contrary to the Christian teaching.

But the women MPs including the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga have been pushing for the bill saying it’s good for the whole family not only for women.

The 16 days of activism starts on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on 10 December on the Human Rights Day.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to stimulate action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

Human Rights defenders demand that Kayihura be produced in court

Human Rights organizations demand that the Uganda Peaple’s Defense Force as a matter of urgency to produce the arrested people before the competent courts of law and stop abusing their constitutional rights of 48 hours rule.

Among the arrested people mentioned includes the former Inspector General of police General Kale Kaihura who is currently detained at Makindye barracks

The programs officer at the Human rights network Uganda Patrick Tumwine says arresting everyone is not the solution but rather should go through court processes to be charged if found guilty.

Since October 2017, close to 26th senior police officers including the former IGP have been arrested by CMI on allegations of involvement and abating crime.

By Wasswa Deo

Jinja council to approve the waste management law

Residents of Jinja Municipal Council will have to pay an annual  fee to cater for the collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste generated in the area.

This is enshrined in the draft  bylaw on solid waste management that seeks to address challenges of waste generated in the municipality. The municipality has been collecting the waste from households at no cost while every business entity has been paying for it as part of  the trading license.

However, according to Jinja Municipal Environment Officer Earnest Nabihamba,  the municipality has failed to deliver as per the current terms.

Nabihamba notes that it is against this background that the municipality came up with a Solid Waste Management bylaw and a five -year strategic plan to guide the implementation of the law. According to the draft, each entity will pay fees every financial year for waste collection, transportation and disposal depending on how much they generate.

The fees range between 5,000 to 200,000 shillings for households and business entities while big companies will be rated according to the amount of waste generated. This means that the landlords will have to charge an extra fee on top of the money for rent.

Nabihamba says the bylaw stipulates that waste management will be prioritized with a budget which has not been the case. The law also prohibits littering by pedestrians, passengers and motorists.

The draft says that person who fails to exercise or carry out his obligation as a generator of waste or fails to mitigate the impact caused to the environment and the public health commits an offence and shall be held liable.

The Jinja Municipality Public Relations Officer, Rajabu Kitto, says the council spends 24 million shillings which they pay to garbage contractor Bison International every month. He however adds that this accumulates to more than 200 million shillings in circumstances where the municipality can’t pay.

The law now awaits approval by the council.

Some of the residents URN talked to are, however, not in support of the law.

Joan Nabirye, a retailer at Gabula Road in Jinja town says that the municipal fees are exorbitant. She notes that she already pays a lot of money for her trading license meaning that with the new bylaw, the trading license fee will increase.

Paul Waitiki, a landlord in Bugembe town council says that the law will help on cleaning the municipality. He notes that he will increase rent fees the moment the bylaw is passed to enable the municipality do its job.

-URN

Uganda Christian University secures global recognition for Business Adminitration and Law courses

Uganda Christian University (UCU) has secured global recognition for two of its degree programs; the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), and the Bachelor of Laws degree program.

UCU’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program is now accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a global accounting body of accountants and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU).

The exemption followed a review of the UCU faculty of business curriculum and examination by the ACCA examination and accreditation team from UK. The accreditation also came with an exemption of six papers for graduates interested in becoming ACCA members, according to Patrick Mubangizi, the coordinator ACCA and CPA at the Mukono based institution.

“This means that a person who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration majoring in Accounting will only sit for eight papers out of 14,” he said, adding, “For those intending to do CPA, the accreditation team from Uganda exempted us five papers.”

Godfrey Ssempungu, the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business and Administration said, “This stamp of approval is a testament to the rigor of the program and the readiness of our graduates to join the accounting profession.”

Prossy Natukunda, a BBA student described the development as a blessing, “Those professional courses are expensive, but when you are exempted some, the burden of paying is reduced.” With ACCA and CPA, you can work anywhere as a certified accountant.”

Similarly, UCU’s law degree holders are officially accredited to apply for the bar course in England and Wales. This implies that UCU law graduates now possess the required standards to apply for a bar course in the United Kingdom (UK) and become barristers in the UK, the equivalent to an advocate in Uganda.

Dr Anthony Kakooza, the Dean Faculty of Law at UCU said the global recognition for the law course widens the market for UCU law graduates who can no longer be constrained if LDC shuts the door on them, “They should know that there are other places to practice as long as it is a common world vetting.”

Francis Gimara, the president Uganda Law Society said the recognition is a confirmation of the high standards of the UCU law degree.

“It means more opportunities for the graduates to be part of the British barristers. We look forward to working with more lawyers that can practice both in Uganda and in the UK,” Gimara said.

-URN

 

Soldier to sue UPDF for unlawful discharge

By Sania Babirye
A Uganda People’s Defense Forces soldier has vowed to sue the army for unlawful and wrongful discharge from the force which he says he has served for 18 years with a clean record. Major Ronald Iduuli is also seeking a compensation of 1.2 billion shillings as damages after top army bosses illegally dismissed him from the position of defense counsel at General Court Martial sending him on forced leave which contravened the UPDF act.
Iduuli says the two processes violated the constitution since he was dismissed from the office of defense counsel without any instrument from the president (Commander in chief) who appointed him or CDF undermined Article 98 (1) of constitution.
The  forced retirement contravened section 20 (3) (f) of the UPDF Act which mandates only commissions board with powers to retire officers who have applied  be retired, but for his case he had never applied .

Court sets date for ruling of UCU law student’s wrongful dismissal case

By Robert Ssegawa
The high court in Jinja has set September 5th for the hearing of case against Uganda Christian University over alleged wrongful dismissal of two students.
Yasin Sentumbwe and Simon Ssemuwemba both law students at UCU dragged the University in courts of law in May following their dismissal for leading a demonstration. The students were protesting a decision by the university to increase tuition fee for law students from three to four million shillings per semester. Justice Eva Luswata is now set to rule on the matter next month.

80 year old witch remanded for trespassing the chambers of magistrate

Buganda road grade one magistrate Joan Aciro has further remanded an 80 year old man charged with trespassing in the chambers of the Chief magistrate to Luzira prison.

Isa Kiwanuka a resident of Mityana district was last week nabbed red-handed by Buganda road court staff sprinkling fetishes on the seat of magistrate Jamson Karemani and that of the State Prosecutor before that day’s court session could begin. Kiwanuka was jointly charged with Alice Nalule who is said to have procured his services as a native doctor so that he could cast a spell on magistrate Karemani so could soften his heart and release her husband a one Zaccheaus Ssekiziyivu on bail.

Grade one magistrate James Eremye has sent them on remand till the 22nd of January 2016 when hearing of the case will commence.

Upon interrogation at Police, Mr Kiwanuka a peasant from Mityana, revealed that he doubles as a native doctor and Ms Nalule had hired him to cast a spell on the seat of the Chief Magistrate and that of the state prosecutors with the intention of causing them to release her husband who was identified as Mr Zacchaeus Ssekiziyivu from jail.

Mr Ssekiziyivu is facing over 100 charges of obtaining money by false pretense, and his case was coming up for mention the day they were arrested. His case proceeded and he was returned to prison on remand.

Additional information from: All Africa

Oscar Pistorious in court on Bail plea

This bail hearing for Oscar Pistorius is the latest installment of a story which one judge has called a “tragedy of Shakespearian proportions”.

It is the first time the athlete has officially been seen in public since he was sentenced in October last year for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

That followed a manslaughter conviction after a dramatic trial that captured the world’s attention.

However last week after a successful appeal by the prosecution, the Paralympian has now been branded a murderer.

The champion athlete has already served one year of his five year sentence in jail and was serving the rest of his term under house arrest when his conviction was overturned.

The BBC understands that prosecution and defense lawyers have privately agreed that he should be allowed to continue to remain at home until he is formally sentenced at a high court hearing next year.

As the judge considers his decision, this is what’s happened so far:

  • Pistorius’ lawyer said he would be appealing the murder conviction in the constitutional court
  • He said that Pistorius has agreed to strict bail conditions including electronic monitoring
  • The prosecutor Gerrie Nell said that he would not be opposing bail because of the strict conditions and that he does not consider Pistorius a flight risk
  • There was a debate over whether Pistorius should stay in the house during the bail period or whether he can move outside within a certain radius
  • The prosecutor said he would be happy with a radius of 5km

 

Pistorius is a six-time Paralympic gold medallist whose legs were amputated below the knee as a baby. He made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics, in 2012, running on prosthetic “blades”.

 

 

BBC Africa