Parliament warned against amending retirement age for judgesBy

Parliament warned against amending retirement age for judges

By Solomon Lubambula

Parliamentarians have been put on notice to out rightly reject the proposed constitutional amendment seeking to revise the age limit for judicial officers.

The call was made by civil society activists, who argue that these political moves orchestrated by President Yoweri Museveni aim at further weakening the institutions and entrench his rule.

Although MPs swear to uphold and defend the constitution, there are reports indicating that the executive through a private member’s bill intends to bring proposals to amend the supreme law to extend the age limit for judicial officers. Bufumbira East MP Eddy Kwizera who is reportedly responsible for the Private member’s Bill wants to scrap off the age limit for the judicial officers and subsequently that of the president.

The Executive director Human Rights Network Uganda, Mohammed Ndifuna says that after the chief justice retired upon clocking 70, the ruling government found it necessary to craft a plan through amending the constitution to return him to office.  

This will not be the first to amend the constitution for the benefit of one and few individuals.

Ndifuna recalls that in 2005 the presidential term limits were lifted without being tested and now the very constitution is going to be defiled through similar political machinations which bear the finger prints of the President.

 Calling on the Parliament of Uganda to reject those treasonable proposes, Ndifuna said government should focus at constituting the Directorate of Public Prosecution, and appointing a substantive Chief Justice to address the looming constitutional crisis.

“as citizens and citizens organizations we shall not stand by and watch as our constitution is abrogated”-Ndifuna stressed.

Ndifuna accuses Presidency for the crisis the country is in now, on grounds that the president knew that the chief Justice and deputy chief Justice were going to retire but he has deliberately delayed the appointment of the foregoing positions among other vacant post within the courts of Judicature.

The activists say everybody, every leader must do whatever they can,  because the judiciary is in a crisis, in its current form  today the judiciary is totally disabled, the Directorate of Public Prosecution is not fully constituted, it with no substantive DPP and deputy, there is no chief justice not even a deputy, said Niringiye .

Niringiye says that the onus is on the president because the appointing authority is vested in him and the judicial service commission has done its part of forwarding the names of the potential candidates for the vacant posts.

Retired Archbishop of Kampala Dr Zac Niringiye tasked the outgoing chief justice Benjamin Odoki to break the silence and clearly come up with a position on what he calls the unfortunate plans.

“There insinuations that there is an attempt to return justice Benjamin Odoki, am sure he hears this, so what a responsible leader does is for avoidance doubt, stands out and says here is my position, Justice Odoki who has clocked the required seventy years should stand out and say I am have no interest in this”-Niringiye .

 Kwizera’s justification

Kwizera insists that there is need to have the retirement age for all civil servants reviewed in order to avoid certain costs. The confident NRM Bufumbira East MP urges that if the retirement age is not reviewed, government will incur unnecessary expenses on recruiting and training workers that will eventually leave the country for jobs abroad.

 Kwizera says it would be unfair to have an age limit for president standing at 75 years yet other organs of government like parliament continue to have persons beyond 75 years.

He has vowed to continue with what he terms as his research paper on lifting age limits where necessary to foster continuity of public servants.

Other Parliamentarians

Meanwhile a section of lawmakers have formed a forum to oppose what they call plans to amend the constitution to lift the age limit requirement for some constitutional and elective offices in the country.

The formation of the forum known us “Mps against lifting of age limit” has been triggered by reports that MP Eddy Kwizera is planning to table a motion in parliament seeking to have the retirement age of the chief justice which is 70 years old scrapped.

MPs resisting Kwizera’s move include Mathias Mpuuga of Masaka Municipality, Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga, Butambala District Woman representative Mariam Nalubega, Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu, Butambala MP Muhammed Muwanga Kivumbi.

The lawmakers say that the efforts by Kwizera would act as a litmus test for plans to scrap the age limit for one to contest for the presidency which is now 75 years.



Donated Arthroscopy Equipment to ease knee surgery OperationsBy

Japanese Ambassador to Uganda at CoRSU Hospital

Donated Arthroscopy Equipment to ease knee surgery Operations

By  Solomon Lubambula

Ugandans who suffer joint injuries are to start receiving more efficient surgical operations within the country at the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital in Kisubi, courtesy of a donation by the Japanese government.

 With a US $ 67 000 donation of an Arthroscopy Equipment donated by the Japanese Embassy in Uganda, Ugandans will now be able to receive Keyhole surgery without going to Nairobi or South Africa.

The last Arthroscopy equipment at Mulago Hospital which was the only one in Uganda broke down and it has never been fixed or replaced.

The chief Executive Director Malcom Simpson says that the availability of the Arthroscopic machine will enable Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services Uganda (CoRSU) to start new surgical services that is very new in Uganda. Simpson notes that the service will help change people’s lives without a major surgery.

 Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the examination and treatment of damage of the interior of a joint is performed using a type of very small camera on the need of a thin flexible tube that is put into the joint through a small cut and the surgeon view on a monitor screen

According to Dr. Paul Muwa an Orthopedic surgeon, unlike the tradition open surgery, with arthroscopy, the patients’ injured joint do not have be fully opened for diagnosis and treatment.

Dr.Muwa told The sunrise newspaper that with this Arthroscopy equipment, patients especially with sports injuries will recovery in a shorter time as compared with the tradition open surge.

This brings hope for people with knee injuries especially for sportsmen that usually report with such problems.  Later this year the hospital will also start using this machine to offer arthroscopic surgery for shoulder diseases.  

Dr.Muwa explains that for knee arthroscopy only two small cuts are made, one for the camera and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity which reduces the recovery time.

He says this may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the body and also scarring, because of smaller incisions

 “we were not able to do this operation our patients would be politely send away and some of them had to go all the way to Kenya, South Africa to have this kind of operation done, so now they do have to spend so much out of the country and secondly I think the patients will happier because they will have better results, fewer smaller scars”  – Dr.Muwa

Commissioning the Equipment worth 171 million Uganda shillings, at the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services Uganda in Kisubi, Entebbe, the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Kazuo Minagawa pledged Japan’s continued support and the assistance for humanitarian causes.

Kauzo who seemed to be excited on commissioning the equipment, said that his first project to be implemented in the shortest time of four months will benefit people within Uganda and the region generally.

Applauding the Japanese People for such as sacrifice the Area MP Mohammed Kawuma asked the Hospital Management to show gratitude for the donation by properly maintaining the equipment.

Kawuma said that the hospital management should fairly utilize this equipment, let there be no vandalizing of the equipment because we have already requested for further assistance but how do you go for more assistance when the first support does not exist, Kawuma said.

“When you go to Japan you will find some people who are unemployed, you will find the sick, you find some health centers without such facilities  but when they choose to donate, that does not mean they are done with all their requirements so it is incumbent upon us to utilize this equipment well”-kawuma

According to the 2012/2013 CoRSU report the executive Board president Aloysius Kaganda Bakkidde explains that despite the challenges the Hospital managed to register remarkable achievements. The facility kept its promise to the children with disabilities and their families by changing their lives through surgeries, a total of 3965 surgical procedures were carried out of which 25000 were children.

The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital attends to patients with joint problems, hip joint, clubfoot, Burns, cleft and limb deformities like bow legs.

Meanwhile health providers believe that private Health facilities should be able to get government support especially financial, if quality health care provision is to be guaranteed to citizens.

The Comprehensive Rehabilitation Hospital Chief Executive Officer Simpson said that the facility needs more improved medical equipments for it to offer efficient services to overwhelming demands with the country and the region.

According to statistics at the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services Uganda, the patients with physical disabilities especially among the children are increasingly reporting for correction at this facility.

The Public Relations Manager at the Kisubi based hospital Irene Nabalamba says that after awareness creation about the medical rehabilitation services of the impaired children, the facility now operates at least 4000 children per year.

Nabalamba says that because of the increasing demands, government’s intervention to provide financial support and training of specialists would come in handy for the services. She explains that the facility that attends to the patients with the Uganda and neighboring countries, face financial challenges.

We have not received funding from government yet so we appeal to government to join us and work together so as we extend our services to all Ugandans especially children, Nabalamba said.

Nabalamba says though at CoRSU there is sufficient number of specialists to attend to patients with disability, there is a shortage of specialists in the country, there are a few Orthopedic and re-corrective surgeons, a major challenge that government must urgently respond to.