Kampala, 13th/April/2012; The Judicial Service Commission has embarked on investigating into the alleged misconduct of Justice Faith Mwondha of throwing out journalists from her open court sessions.
The Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission, Justice James Ogoola said that he is convinced that this matter has to be handled following outcry from even different stakeholders including Advocates and State Attorneys.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) petitioned The Judicial Service Commission and the Principal Judge seeking for intervention to restrain Mwondha from witch-hunting the media. This was as a result of various incidents in Kampala, Jinja and Entebe where she reportedly threw out journalists from courtrooms for no clear reason.
In a letter to HRNJ-Uganda, dated 29thMarch 2012, Justice Ogoola said that Mwondha had already been contacted to respond to the complaints against her as part of the investigations.
“We have also received a communication on the matter from a group of interested Advocates and State Attorneys. I am now fully seized of the matter of this petition. I have already set the process rolling by formally informing the Judge of the existence of this petition; and requesting her Lordship to respond to the complaints against her.” Reads part of Ogoola’s letter
HRNJ-Uganda wanted the Commission to use its mandate under Article 147 (d) of the Constitution which is to receive and process peoples’ recommendations and complaints concerning the judiciary and administration of justice, to cause Justice Mwondha to explain her hatred for the media and furnish justifiable reasons, and investigate her conduct and take the most appropriate action to restrain her from further infringing on journalists’ rights and freedoms and to also write a declaratory order allowing journalists to cover all open court proceedings and restrain judicial officers from harassing media practitioners.
“HRNJ-Uganda welcomes the move and hopes that Justice Mwondha would at the end of the process be able to realize her mistake. The journalists are the people’s eyes and ears who need not to be thrown out of open courts.” Said HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.