Uganda: Judiciary Short of Shs1.2b for Poll Petitions

A crisis is looming in the Judiciary over lack of funds to facilitate judges to hear parliamentary election disputes.

According to the Judiciary, 104 parliamentary petitions arising from the January 14 elections have been filed across the country.

"I am waiting on Finance ministry to release the funds. We should have received the money by now but not yet," Mr Pius Bigirimana, the secretary to the Judiciary, said by telephone last evening.

Mr Bigirimana said about Shs1.2b is needed to facilitate the hearing of the said election petitions. A quick calculation shows that on average, Shs11m will be spent on hearing one petition.

Ms Sarah Langa Siu, the chief registrar of the Judiciary, told this publication yesterday that their prayer is for Finance ministry to release the money, latest the first week of May.

She said if this doesn't happen, they risk running late to hear the petitions that are usually time bound.

Ms Langa also revealed that the Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija, is in the process of deploying judges to different duty stations throughout the country to hear out the said poll disputes.

Mr Jim Mugunga, the spokesperson for the Finance ministry, said they release funds on quarterly basis. "The quarterly releases were made last week; so that money is available. The Judiciary knows the processes they should go through to access the said money," Mr Mugunga said by telephone.

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