By Anthony Wesaka
Uganda is the worst country in the East African region in terms of not adhering to justice and rule of law, a new report indicates.
The report titled “The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2020”, ranks Uganda at number 117 globally out of 128 countries.
The report shows that Uganda has dropped in the observance of justice and rule of law by two positions from the previous ranking.
The global ranking makes Uganda the worst performing country in the East African region.
In the region, Rwanda is the best in adherence to rule of law though globally, it is ranked at number 37, followed by Tanzania at 93 and Kenya at 102.
The annual report that was released in Washington paints a picture of the rule of law in 128 countries across the globe by providing scores and rankings based on eight factors.
The factors include constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.
The report examines practical and everyday situations, such as whether people can access public services and whether a dispute among neighbours can be resolved peacefully and cost-effectively by an independent adjudicator.
Further, according to the report, some of the key indicators that the researchers looked at included whether legislative bodies have the ability to exercise effective checks on and oversight of the government, whether the judiciary has the independence and the ability in practice to exercise effective checks on the government.
Reacting to the report, Mr Jameson Karemani, the Judiciary spokesperson, said despite the Covid-19 challenges, they feel they were underrated. “We are not sure of how the research was conducted but it’s on the rule of law as a whole. The rule of law encompasses various sectors and one of them is the Judiciary. Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and limited funding and human resource, we feel we ranked better than what was portrayed,” Mr Karemani said yesterday.
The president of the East Africa Law Society, Mr Bernard Oundo, faulted the report for not including Burundi and South Sudan, before saying the data on most of the countries is worrying.
“The data on the rest of the countries is mostly worrying and confirms what we have been observing in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania-a persistent failure to effect real and meaningful changes to existing governance systems,” Mr Oundo said last evening.
“The political will to uphold the rule of law remains unsatisfactory. What this means is that we have to intensify our efforts at advocacy for change as a regional bar association...,” he added.
The world justice report comes out at the time when the Uganda Law Society has also just released the first quarterly rule of law report, listing a litany of rule of law atrocities allegedly committed by the regime, especially during the just concluded elections.
Criminalisation of the practice of journalism, serial killing of women and disappearance of citizens especially from the Opposition side, were some of the rule of law documented incidents by the Law Society.
This article was published by the Daily Monitor.