Work at all courts of judicature all over the country has come to halt Friday morning, as all Judicial officers laid down their tools in demand for better pay and working conditions.
The judges had given government 30 days — which elapsed today – to provide a response to their list of demands.
The judicial officers on strike include the Judges of Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Registrars, Deputy Registrars as well as Chief Magistrates, Grade One and Grade Two Magistrates.
These, through their association of the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) voted in favour of the industrial action during their General Assembly, held on 22nd July 2017 at High Court in Kampala.
At different courts in the capital Kampala, complainants, witnesses, defendants, their relatives and friends as well as Prison warders were seen stranded.
Most of them learnt of the strike this morning.
At the Buganda Road Court most of the court rooms were closed and Court Clerks could be seen handing suspects new adjournment dates.
Some judicial officers however, did not participate in the strike. At the Kampala High Court for instance, Justice Wilson Kwesiga, who is the head of the Criminal Division of the court, was today seen hearing cases.
Godfrey Kaweesa the President of UJOA, while speaking to Chimpreports this morning, said they received some circulars informing them that their issues are being worked upon by the concerned authorities.
He noted however that only the association General Assembly which has the powers to cancel the strike.
He added that once the judiciary avails them with funds they will summon another extraordinary meeting where they come up with another resolution to follow but short of that the indefinite strike will continue.
“We have received some good news that the President of Uganda His Excellency Yoweri Museveni has agreed to meet the Chief Justice and the Speaker of Parliament to rationalize and harmonize the budget of the three arms of government. We are also happy to hear that the president after that meeting will be able to meet all the judges to discuss on their problems,” he said.
Among the issues which the judicial officers want government to address is the salary increment for all officers from the lowest rank to the highest, to provide each of them with medical insurance, security and housing allowance,.
If government is unable to provide them with houses and motor vehicles, they want to solve the transport challenges.
These want the salary of the Chief justice increased from 20million to 55 million shillings.
Deputy Chief Justice – 18M to 53M
Principle Judge – 10m to 50M
Justices of the Supreme Court – 9M to 34M
Justices of the Court of Appeal – 9M to 33M
High Court Judges – 9m to 31m
Chief Registrar – 4M to 27M
Registrars – 4m to 23m
Asistant Registrars – 3m to 20m
Chief Magistrates – 2m to 17m
Principal Magistrates Grade one – 2m to 14m
Senior Principle Magistrate Grade one 2M to 14m
Senior grade one magistrate 1.5m to 2.9m