“When you start drawing cartoons of judges in yellow gowns, you are discrediting the judicial branch,” said Minister Mao
Government warns cartoonists on insulting judges
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Nobert Mao has issued a warning to Ugandan media to desist from portraying senior members of the Judiciary as being politically compromised.
“Now, you are drawing the Chief Justice (Alphonse) Owiny-Dollo with a yellow gown…it is ridiculous and it discredits the entire judicial arm of Government.”
Mao sounded the warning today, Friday May 19th while making his ministry's presentation during the ongoing NRM Manifesto week in Kampala.
The Minister warned that judges such as the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court bench are highly qualified officers of the law who deserve utmost respect.
While it is acceptable to disagree with their views, he said, such disagreements should be channeled intellectually and not through insults.
He cited the example of the US Supreme Court which last year struck down Roe Vs Wade, an earlier Supreme Court landmark decision which for over 50 years had guaranteed women’s rights to abortion.
Although the June 2022 decision sparked outrage and nationwide protests, Mao says there were never cartoons published in the media, connoting the court judges as politically biased.
“I never saw American cartoonists putting elephants on the heads of the judges,” Mao said. (The elephant is the symbol of the US Republican Party, which had for decades fought to end abortion rights).
Minister Mao therefore, appealed to the Ugandan cartoonists to be respectful of the judges, bearing in mind that even the few court rulings which appear to favor the ruling NRM government, are a small fraction of the cases that the judges entertain every year.
“What about other cases? Why focus only on elections? These judges have decided your mothers’ land cases, your uncles’ criminal cases, they only decide elections once in 5 years,” he said.
“I therefore call for responsible journalism; I want you to analyze our judiciary because these people are the most highly qualified jurors we have. Tackle them intellectually, but do not debase them,” he said.
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