The Judiciary is courting Parliament to approve a supplementary request of Shs1.6 billion for the personal security of judges and other judicial officers.
This request is contained in the Supplementary Expenditure Schedule No.1 that was on Thursday, 23 March 2023 presented by Hon. Fox Odoi Oywelowo on behalf of the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs before the Committee on Budget.
Odoi Oywelowo appealed to the Committee on Budget that is scrutinizing the supplementary requests for different sectors to approve Shs1.6 billion to enhance the personal security of judges.
“The [Legal] committee was informed that judges and other judicial officers face security threats during the execution of their constitutional duties as a result of handling sensitive matters or cases…So, we recommend that Shs1.65 billion supplementary be approved to ensure that the security of judges and other judicial officers is guaranteed,” he said.
He said in the recent past, there were attempts on the lives of judicial officers including the Principal Judge.
In 2015, Joan Kagezi, a prosecutor was gunned down in Kiwatule, a suburb in Kampala.
Odoi Oywelowo said the money will cater for the procurement of specialized security equipment for the protection of judges.
Kira Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju said the supplementary request does not cater for the security of all judges, but a few specific judges because of the specific assignments they were doing which came with threats.
Hon. Maxwell Akora (UPC, Maruzi County) rejected the request saying there is no need to militarise the judiciary that is mandated to dispense justice.
“I wonder how judges get embroiled in security details whereas their job is to dispense justice. I think their security is better secured by fair judicial decisions and not military,” Akora said.
Otuke County Member of Parliament, Hon. Paul Omara decried the increasing public expenditure resulting from the personal security of public officers.
“We are creating a bad precedent for our country. One of the things we can’t afford is an overbearing public expenditure…Why have we created a situation in our country where the big people don’t feel safe?” said Omara.
Similarly, Uganda Police Force is seeking another Shs3.5 billion under the same supplementary request to purchase security vehicles for judges.
When MPs probed why two entities were requesting funds for the same activity, Odoi Oywelowo said the Shs3.5 billion will be used by Police to purchase armoured vehicles and facilitation of bodyguards, while the Shs1.6 billion under Judiciary will specifically cater for procurement of classified equipment.