Friday, February 3, 2012
SURELY, THE APPOINTMENT OF JUSTICE OGOOLA IS ON MERIT
Former Principal Judge James Ogoola yesterday pledged that his assignment as the new head of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will yield “tangible results” for the public within three months.
Flagging appointment of more judges to superior courts as a priority, Justice Ogoola pledged to work in “harmony and symphony” with all institutions to tackle the problem of what he called “heavy backlog of work”; citing 14 months of no work at the JSC.
“Concerning the JSC’s own operations, we have a heavy workload to carry. We have a two-year mountain heap of job applications to diligently sift through and sort out,” he said.
“We have Mt. Elgon to scale in terms of the judicial appointments waiting to be made, five at the Supreme Court, nine at the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Courts and approximately 30 at the High Court. I pledge to come back in the next three months to give the nation an account of the JSC’s first one hundred days,” Justice Ogoola said at the swearing in ceremony at the High Court in Kampala.
The other commissioners sworn-in by Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki included Supreme Court Justice Esther Kisakye Mayambala (who will be deputy chairperson), Justice Bart Katureebe (re-appointed), Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa (re-appointed) Mr Charles Okoth Owor, Mr Laban Kirya, and Ms Grace Oburu.
The other commissioner, Henry Kyemba, did not take oath as his documentation was reportedly not ready, while Attorney General Peter Nyombi is an ex-officio member.
The Justice Ogoola-led commission comes into office amid a heavy work load. This follows the expiry of the old commission led by Justice Seth Manyindo in November 2010, but without replacement.
According to statistics from the JSC, there are soem 400 disciplinary cases involving judicial officers that are to be handled by this new commission. Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki asked the commission to start their work by appointing the five Supreme Court judges as it has run out of quorum.
However, Justice Ogoola decried the appointment of the commissioners on what he called “volunteer missionary basis”, saying they do not earn a salary and yet do very important work. Justice Minister Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire promised to take up the issue with the Executive.