Uganda: Govt Gets Extra Two Months to Conclude Consultations On Administration of Judiciary Bill

Kampala, Uganda — The Deputy Speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has granted government extra two months to conclude consultations on the Administration of Judiciary Bill, 2018.

Oulanyah made the decision after Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana asked for additional two months to conclude consultations on a few "sticky issues" in the Bill.

He however, said parliament is ready to debate the report of the Legal Committee on the Bill, which was presented last year.

Rukutana declined to state the sticky issues in the Bill that require extra time for consultations.

The Bill among others seeks to operationalize Constitutional provisions on the mandate of an independent judiciary as an arm of government and provide for retirement benefits of judicial officers. It also seeks to ensure that the Judiciary manages the recruitment, supervision, and discipline of its staff.

The Bill also provides for retirement benefits of judicial officials, which is among the contentious clauses. It provides for retiring judicial officers to leave with their full benefits.

On Tuesday, the Ndorwa East MP, Wilfred Niwagaba proposed that the House adopts the motion for the Bill to be read for the second time for debate to commence.

Oulanyah agreed with Niwagaba and put the question for the motion to be adopted, which was done.

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However, before he could direct that debate on the committee report commence, Oulanyah gave Rukutana a chance to justify his request for an extension of two months.

Kaberamaido Woman MP who also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, Veronica Eragu Bichetero, said that there is need for MPs to read the report because it was presented a year ago.

The Legal Affairs Committee endorsed the Bill with several amendments. They include among others the removal of the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice from the Judiciary Advisory Committee and that the Secretary to the Treasury should be answerable to Parliament and not the Chief Justice.

The committee also rejected the proposal to extend benefits to judicial officers who have since retired.

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