DPP ABODO: MINE IS THE HARDEST JOB IN UGANDA
By Mulengera Reporters
DPP Jane Frances Abodo used her acceptance speech of Uganda Visionaries Award during a Thursday ceremony at Serena Hotel in Kampala to share on the ups and downs of her job as the country’s chief prosecutor.
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The Uganda Visionaries Awards night is organized annually and the overriding objective is to recognize and motivate Ugandan private and public sector leaders who lead in a way that amplifies the realization of Uganda’s long term planning ideals that are embedded in both Uganda Vision 2040 and NDP III. The two policy documents highlight what must be done or prioritized for Uganda to transform from a peasant economy to a modern and prosperous country.
The event is organized in conjunction with National Planning Authority which is the GoU agency that is responsible for the realization of Uganda’s economic transformation ideals and objectives. For prosecuting crimes in order to engender peace and create a conducive environment for the country’s transformation, Abodo was among the 58 public and private sector leaders who were recognized this year for their outstanding performance and their respective entities too.
In her acceptance speech, a clearly overjoyed Abodo she and her staff were exceedingly humbled and motivated to even do more. “We really get appreciated in such a way because there are always a lot of complaints than compliments,” she asserted. She said that contrary to what the public thinks, their job (which is imposed under Article 120 of Constitution) is among the hardest in Uganda.
She said even when her prosecutors take huge personal risks to prosecute criminals (75% of whom end up convicted), they don’t easily get appreciated. She said that quite often aggrieved complainants in criminal cases storm their office to cry or even rant from there each time things don’t go the way they wanted.
That even when the problem was with the way police investigated or the judge arrived at his decision, such aggrieved public members will put the blame on ODPP. She revealed that those whose conviction they cause never take things lightly either. Many of them go cursing the entire ODPP.
Saying that it’s important that wrongdoers who cheat private sector investors get successfully prosecuted once caught, Abodo demanded that the private sector begins to closely work with her office because that is the only way the badly needed peace and stability can be enforced as is well articulated in President Museveni’s election Manifesto, Vision 2040 and NDP III which is further engendered in ODPP’s 5th Strategic Plan.
Abodo implored the private sector not to imagine they have nothing to do with ODPP insisting that there is a lot they can achieve from such cooperation. She said the ODPP needs the private sector actors and vice versa.
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She narrated how there is a lot of workload amidst human and financial resource constraints. She revealed that since she became DPP in 2020, the office has annually been recording 200,000 new criminal cases or complaints which require prosecution in courts of law. That since she took charge, the HR-constrained ODPP has concluded prosecution of 53,553 criminal cases of which 75% ended into conviction.
She said they never set out to immediately prosecute all the 200,000 cases they get annually. “We prioritize and take out those which are human interest for instance those relating to murder and corruption,” explained Abodo who is Uganda’s first female to become DPP. She also hails from Karamoja, a sub region which had never produced a DPP since Uganda existed.
She said the ODPP can’t be avoided because the prosecutors she supervises are, by law, the lawyers of the ordinary people besides being the foot soldiers of justice. That even as they work towards securing a conviction, they are equally obliged to ensure the accused person gets justice and is fairly treated throughout the trial.
Saying she was hugely motivated to learn through her Visionaries Awards nomination that there is someone out there who realizes and appreciates the thankless job the ODPP does, Abodo revealed she recently decided to focus her staff on the need to perceive their offices as a hospital which is visited mostly by sick people in need of some emotional healing.
“I daily tell my prosecutors to be calm and dedicatedly do their work because people come to us because they are sick and it’s the system which has made them sick-being told by Police the problem is with DPP and when they come we refer them back to Police. Some cry and others even attack us inside our own offices while saying we have let them down. They need to be talked to well because this is someone whose 6 year old daughter has been defiled and they need help from us as the public prosecutor.”
She added: “It’s really very tough working in some of these offices but we keep doing our best. When I help anyone I imagine I’m doing this for my sister and my own person because anyone can be a victim of crime. We must work together towards a crime-free society, regardless of whether you are in private or public sector, because that is an aspect of Vision 2040 which we are here to celebrate,” Abodo told an audience which had Ministers, public sector and private sector leaders.
Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service, represented Vice President Jessica Alupo to preside over the well-attended Visionaries Awards night for 2022. Other speakers at the even included Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) CEO Ernst Rubondo and NPA Chairperson the very eloquent Prof Pamela Mbabazi. A total of 58 private and public sector entities were recognized at the Thursday during which Presidential Advisor Mathew Bagonza kept guests smiling and beaming with blessedness because of the excellent corporate emceeing skills he exhibited. (For comments on this story, get back to us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734 & 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).