The Judiciary has recalled senior judges and chief magistrates who had either retired or were about to retire to help government avert a crisis at the country’s highest appellate court and lower courts.
Justice Augustine Nshimye, who left in March, has been recalled, and Justice Jotham Tumwesigye, who was slated to retire in November, has been asked to serve for two additional years in order to establish a full bench at the Supreme Court.
Justice Benjamin Kabiito, the JSC chairperson, told this reporter that the commission asked the two justices who have either retired or are about to retire from service, to serve on contract basis in view of their experience.
This, however, is not the first time for retiring judges to be requested to get extension of their term to serve as acting judges.
Others who have since benefited from the same arrangement include: John Wilson Nattubu Tsekooko, Christine Kitumba, Galdino Okello and former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki.
Addressing a news conference in Kampala, Justice Kabiito also revealed that the commission finalised arrangements to recruit 43 judicial officers including the deputy Chief Justice.
The post of the deputy Chief Justice will fall vacant in September when the incumbent, Justice Steven Kavuma retires.
At least four names have since been forwarded to the President for consideration. JSC shortlisted eight candidates and chose four names.
Other slots include justices of the Supreme Court, Appeal Court, the High Court, registrars, chief magistrates and Grade One magistrates.
JSC has also appointed two acting chief magistrates to work in Pallisa and Kotido districts and 49 officers were recruited to work as Grade One magistrates.
The JSC has asked the government to constitute full-time members in order to deliver on its mandate.
The JSC is charged with, among other duties, recruitment and enforcing discipline among judicial and non-judicial officers.
“With the disciplinary committee sitting only twice a month, and the full commission sitting only once a month, there is an accumulation of backlog of cases, considering the rate of accrual of the complaints is much higher than the disposal rate for the periods under review,” Justice Kabiito said.
Justice Kabiito commission has handled 335 complaints against errant judicial officers out of an accumulated backlog of 564 cases that the commission inherited from the previous commissions.