Mityana RDC Capt. Yahaya Kakooza has bitterly disagreed with Supreme Court’s Justice Jotham Tumwesigye over the enforcement of court orders. The disagreement relates to complaints by judicial officers and magistrates in Mityana district who accuse political leaders and the RDC of frustrating their work by consistently blocking enforcement of court orders. The area Magistrates reported their complaint to Justice, Law and Order Sector Integrity Committee, which Justice Tumwesigye chairs. A news report carried by Uganda Radio Network shows that Mityana Chief Magistrate Juliet Nakitende is the one leading the aggrieved judicial officers. She says its saddening that many times political leaders and the RDC have blocked the enforcement of court decisions especially on land matters, an act which tantamounts to undermining the authority of the judiciary. RDC Kakooza admits that sometimes his office has blocked court orders to prevent possible bloodshed that could result from its enforcement. He says that in many cases the evictees (people being evicted) tend to become violent and commit crimes which can only be prevented if the order is halted. Mityana LC5 Chairman Joseph Luzige (himself a lawyer & therefore an officer of court) supported the RDC saying that in many cases the mighty easily secure exparte court orders issued by magistrates who always have limited knowledge about the genesis of the land wrangles they are arbitrating upon. Luzige says in such situations, leaders and other concerned officers who interact with the public often find difficulty backing the enforcement of court orders that put the majority at a disadvantage. He makes reference to an incident where a 30-year-old man secured an order to evict his own grandmother who had lived on the land for more than 50 years.
However, Justice Tumwesigye who chairs the Justice, Law and Order Sector Integrity Committee insists that the act of blocking a court order is illegal and cannot be tolerated. “If you are dissatisfied with a court decision, you challenge it by appealing to a court of higher jurisdiction as opposed to reporting to parallel centers of authority that have nothing to do with administration of justice and resolution of disputes,” Justice Tumwesigye said in a contemptuous reference to the RDC’s frequent interference in the enforcement of court orders. Elderly Tumwesigye advised the RDC to desist from such practice adding that, in all situations, the court remains the custodian of law and justice. Tumwesigye, however, notes that the judiciary has over time warned its officials to always ensure that contentious issues like land are not adjudicated exparte and to always ensure that there is a locus visit before a decision is taken. Locus visit refers to the requirement for a judicial officer to visit the subject matter or land being disputed over before writing their judgement affecting the same. While addressing Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) during their induction training at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi in February this year, the Presidency Minister Esther Mbayo (who is directly supervises their work) cautioned the RDCs against usurping the power of the judiciary in resolving land matters. Mbayo noted that when it comes to land matters, RDCs are supposed to mediate in a manner that leads the disputants towards peaceful resolution. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.