The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Uganda, Justice Jane Frances Abodo, has raised concerns about understaffing in her office, revealing that approximately 40 districts do not have prosecutors. She pointed out that while the judiciary has been hiring judicial officers regularly, the number of state attorneys doesn’t match the pace of recruitment.
Abodo emphasized that ideally, there should be more prosecutors than judicial officers. This would ensure there are enough personnel to handle tasks such as reviewing case files, providing legal advice, and representing the prosecution in court.
She made these remarks during the induction and swearing-in ceremony of 100 newly appointed state attorneys in Kampala. Abodo explained that they currently lack prosecutors in 101 courts, and despite the recent recruitments, they are primarily strengthening existing DPP offices.
Abodo highlighted that the Office of the DPP last hired prosecutors in 2015 and has been operating with a structure designed for 300 prosecutors, even though an approved structure calls for 800 prosecutors.
The understaffing has affected the 48-hour rule for producing suspects in court. Abodo acknowledged that it’s challenging to observe this rule given the circumstances. Suspects may take advantage of the situation.
In response to the challenges faced by the DPP’s office, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni recently announced a tax waiver on prosecutors’ salaries and a salary increment to improve their welfare. The Justice Ministry has also assured prosecutors of the government’s commitment to enhancing their well-being.