Uganda: District Security Committees Warned Against Disrespecting Court Orders

20 November 2023
Nile Post News (Kampala)

Resident District Commissioners, Resident City Commissioners, and District Security Committees are under scrutiny following accusations by Minister of Justice Nobert Mao that they are undermining court decisions, particularly in land matters.

Speaking at the 15th Uganda Law Society Rule of Law Symposium on November 17, Minister Mao expressed concern over the District Security Committees' influence, citing an incident in Sembabule where they questioned the authenticity of a court order.

Mao emphasized,"We now have a creature called District Security Committees which has put itself above the courts."

In response, Rubaga Deputy RCC Anderson Burora defended their actions, stating that they are acting within the presidential directive.

Burora urged Minister Mao and the Judiciary to consider the broader impact of court rulings on the majority public.

"The president directed that the District Security Committees, in consultation with the Minister of Lands and the Minister of Security, should harmonize on those court orders," explained Burora.

However, Lawyer Tonny Tumukunde disagreed, asserting that the District Security Committees are misinterpreting the president's directive.

"The president did not say those District Security Committees interpret court orders," Tumukunde advised. "If an order was issued, what you were meant to do is to take it to the RDC, the RDC reads the order whether it is in the terms of the judgment."

Burora countered, suggesting that some court orders are problematic, and Minister Mao and the Judiciary need to be informed about the aftermath of the court rulings, particularly in land-related issues.

In response, Tumukunde advised the District Security Committees to know their limits and file complaints about dissatisfying court rulings rather than interpreting them. He emphasized,

"the executive has where it ends and should not cross into the powers of the Judiciary."

As the controversy unfolds, there are calls for the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Presidency to collaborate and harmonize on implementing directives, aiming to eliminate counter accusations and ensure a smoother legal process.

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