Combating Judicial Corruption in Uganda

September 23, 2009


A constitution is only as good as the people who respect and abide by it. People can only respect and abide by it if they know it. The first step of leaders who want to move from democracy to dictatorship is to either change the constitution or try to keep people ignorant of what is in the constitution.

People cannot clamor for rights about which they have no knowledge. And, of course, the one branch of government which is consistent in its protection of the constitution and the rule of law is the judiciary. Unfortunately, in many developing countries, the judiciary is weak, corrupt and without independence. And since people do not understand their right to a strong, honest and independent judiciary, they do not demand change. It is time to give up band-aid approaches to long-term problems of judicial weakness and corruption. It is time to realize that the solutions may also have to be long term.

This paper addresses the institution of methods that may take as much as a generation to instill, but will be sustained. It is imperative to educate a nation’s citizenry as to their rights and responsibilities and to continue to educate the judiciary as to its role and the institution of best practices within the judiciary. A four-part approach to control judicial corruption in Uganda includes: reform of judicial governance; continuing education of the judiciary; enhanced judicial independence through budget and staff control; and introduction of public civic education.