The top administrators of Southern and Eastern Africa Judiciaries have discussed ways on how to continue learning from different countries that are doing better in justice dispensation in order to improve the efficiency of all the judiciaries within the regions.   

The Executive leaders under their umbrella body, Southern and Eastern Judicial Administrators Association (SEAJAA) which is a subordinate Association under the Chief Justices Forum of  Southern and Eastern Africa held meeting at the Judiciary Headquarters in Kampala on Friday.

The administrators are currently preparing for the East and Southern Africa Chief Justices summit to be held  in September 2024 in Kampala.  

Their association is mainly comprised of the Accounting officers, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Registrars and Chief Court Administrators of the member countries.

According to SEAJAA- Chairperson Professor Elisante Ole Gabriel, the association seeks to exchange best practices and foster co-operation among members on matters of common concern, promote the rule of law, democracy and the independence of the Judiciary and its administration and to assist in strengthening institutions tasked with judicial administration in member countries.

He said the association was established in 2017 and currently has 13 member countries, although they are rallying other members to join for purposes of judicial cooperation and addressing pertinent issues of rule of law and the need to promote a common judicial interest.

SEAJAA members include Uganda, Eswatini, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. 

Professor Elisante who is also  the Chief Court Administrator of Tanzania’s Judiciary also urged the media to communicate Judicial matters ethically and professionally saying that justice dispensation is delicate and when not handled properly, it can affect the public and cause confusion in communities.

He commended the Judiciary of Uganda for automation and modernization of the courts encouraging them to learn from Tanzania which he said is now at 99 percent in terms of applying ICT in the court system and leading in Africa.

“We are now paying an advanced electronic case management system and we are moving to translation and transcription software. Therefore, Uganda will not struggle for bench making on this,” said Elisante.

Professor Elisante’s remarks come at the time when the Ugandan Judiciary is in the process of putting a Judgement writing tool within the court’s so as to expedite hearing of the cases and also to reduce on the workload by the judicial officers, hence reduction on case backlog as well.

The Ugandan Judiciary has 43000 backlog cases according to recent reports from the Chief Justice and more than 85 trillion Uganda shillings were locked up in the Commercial Court alone as per last year’s mini report. 

On his part, the Ugandan Judiciary’s permanent Secretary Dr. Pius Bigirimana said that hosting the Executive Committee of the Southern African Judicial Administrators Association at the Judiciary will help in sharing and learning about where other states have been able to excel.  

Bigirimana emphasized the need for the delivery of timely justice noting that the Judiciary of Uganda is still struggling with the problem of case backlog with some cases affecting the economy especially the Commercial Courts with trillions of shillings stuck there due to the failure to have such cases disposed of in a timely manner.

He said other cases that continue to stagnant in the Court system are related to Land matters,construction,banking and insurance  which he  said have big economic implications.

Tanzania is doing well in electronic case management and with this visit, Bigirimana hopes to share the experiences with Tanzania on how it has been successful in that filed and fighting case backlog. 

At the closure of the day’s meeting was the launch of the association website where member states will easily share ideas on how to dispense justice to litigants and to improve service delivery.

Apart from Bigirimana and Elisante, the Executive meeting was attended by Executive Director of Judiciary of Namibia Benhardt Kukuri, Deputy Registrar of High Court of Namibia Susan Hinda, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court of Malawi Kondwani Banda. Others are:  David Mbeha from the Judiciary of Namibia, judiciary of Malawi Accountant, Samuel Manyowa and Beaulah Kgakgamatso Mguni the Chief Registrar of Botswana Judiciary.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *