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KAMPALA - The Justice, Law and Order Sector has paid glowing tribute to the outgoing First Secretary (Rule of Law / Political Affairs) at the Netherlands Embassy, Mr Theo Oltheten. Mr Oltheten, a veteran foreign service officer in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be retiring after serving the final four years of his illustrious career in Uganda (since 2014). Theo, as he is fondly known, has worked closely with the JLOS Secretariat in implementing the Sector's agenda articulated in the JLOS Strategic Development Plan (SDP IV) that is strongly supported by the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands.




Published: May 24, 2019

Published in Latest News




My Lord, the Chief Justice, 

My Lord, the Deputy Chief Justice, 

My Lord the Principal Judge,

Honourable Ministers in your respective capacities,

Honourable Attorney General, 

Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal,

Your Excellencies and Heads of Diplomatic Missions in Uganda, 

The Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Public Service,

Members of Parliament Present,

Honourable Justices of the High Court and Judicial Officers here present,

The Solicitor General and Chairperson of the JLOS Steering Committee,

Chairpersons and Members of Constitutional Commissions,

Heads of the Justice Sector Ministries, Departments and Agencies, 

Representatives of Civil Society, the Media and Non-State Actors, 

Invited Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 


Good morning

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to make some opening remarks on behalf of the JLOS Development Partners on the occasion of the joint 23nd Annual Review by the Government of Uganda and its Development Partners of the Justice Law and Order Sector. 

First of all, let me express my appreciation for holding this annual review much more timely than last year. The deliberations of today allow us to still adjust the JLOS Work plan 2018/19 if and where required. In particular those result areas where progress is lagging behind, concerted corrective actions could be considered. 

Secondly, I would also like to express from the outset the appreciation of the JLOS development partners for the hard work and commitment of the JLOS Secretariat, the JLOS institutions and the JLOS Leadership, culminating in this annual review where we take stock of the sector performance of the fiscal year 2017-2018.

We recognize that it’s not an easy task to produce an annual report that reflects all the collective achievements of the 18 JLOS institutions and that meets the expectations of all stakeholders involved. 

My Lord the Chief Justice, last year I started my opening remarks by referring to your strong appeal for more transparency and accountability within the sector. And on many other occasions during this last fiscal year, you have by your spoken word and actions, repeated this important message over and over again. 

We applaud your leadership of the Judiciary and your strong commitment to build more confidence of the Ugandan citizens in the justice, law and order sector. 

In fact, building confidence is at the core of the sector development plan 2017 – 2020 with its mission to improve the safety of the person, security of property, and access to justice for inclusive growth with the slogan:  

Empowering the people. Building trust. Upholding rights.  

It is important to keep on reminding ourselves of this ambitious mission since it constitutes the benchmark for the assessment of the sector performance, asking questions such as:

• Is SDP-IV making a difference in the lives of the Ugandan citizens in terms of safety and security and if so, how do we know that? What is the evidence and how has it been measured against baselines and targets? 

• Are the political will and the institutional capacity of the sector strong enough to implement this ambitious agenda of SDP-IV? 

• Are the linkages of the sector with the Social Development Sector, Civil Society and the Private Sector in place to enhance synergy and collaboration? 

• What am I as an individual doing to enhance the work of the JLOS sector? 

These and similar questions, concerns and challenges are on the table and will hopefully guide the deliberations of today.

Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that the Annual Plan 17/18 of the SDP-IV has been implemented under circumstances that were not always very conducive for smooth sailing towards its annual targets. 

There has been some heavy weather so to speak. 

Let me briefly mention just a few front-page events and incidents. 

The constitutional court judgement of 26 July on the Constitutional Amendment Act no 1 has provoked heated debates and the process itself, such as the consultations, has received serious criticisms from many corners of society. 

Similarly, the first local council elections in 16 years, while widely acclaimed, generated a number of questions and concerns from different stakeholders. 

I don’t need to go into the details here, but the suspension of the accreditation of CCEDU to observe the elections, for example, raised many an eyebrow. 

The Ugandan citizens have witnessed a series of still unresolved gruesome murders of women, police officers and key politicians, putting the UPF – one of the core JLOS institutions - in the spotlight of political and public attention.

The arrest and incarceration of the former IGP, former police officers and the leader of the BodaBoda 2010 all of whom are being tried in the military court martial on various charges. 

And going back a little bit further in time, after two years of the Kasese incident, an independent investigation still hasn’t been carried out, reports of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee of Parliament have not been made public and the victims are still waiting for justice for the 151 persons (including children) who were killed. 

I also want to mention Arua and its aftermath although this falls outside the reporting period. 

The scale, the intensity, the type and the outcome of the violent response of the security forces have been well documented, have generated strong condemnation and widespread dissatisfaction among citizens and youth in particular, but so far nobody has been arrested and prosecuted.

My Lord, Chief Justice, I mention these cases not to bash, or to point fingers or to put Uganda in a negative daylight. 

I do so because they jeopardize the mission of SDP-IV and the sector investments of the Government; 

but they also have an impact on the effectiveness of our contributions and on the political space back home to continue supporting the sector.   

In my speech of last year, I alluded already to these risks when I said: “these incidents can set a trend that will compromise the progress made under SIP III of the Justice, Law and Order Sector”. 

Now, one year later, I see that these incidents indeed seem to have set a trend. 

We – the JLOS Development Partners - urge the respective authorities to take all necessary measures to reverse this trend. 

After all, this trend could impact peace, security and stability with all its consequences for the Ugandan citizens and the development of the country as outlined in Vision 2040. 

As we all know, stability and respect for the rule of law are some of the most important selling points to attract trade and investments. 

And Uganda needs to boost trade and investment for the creation of employment for a very fast growing