JUDICIARY Latest Features

Michigan Varsity to Reorganize Judiciary Archives
The team from Michigan University catalouging and organizing the Judiciary Archives

KAMPALA: A team from the University of Michigan is in the country to help with the reorganization of the Judiciary archives.

The archives comprising millions of paper files of both court and administrative records have been continuously stored in the five basement storerooms of the Kampala High Court building since the late 1940s. They were largely inaccessible to researchers and citizens because they were not catalogued.

The Michigan team is spearheading the clean-up, sorting and cataloguing exercise, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Judiciary and the University earlier in the year.

They will work hand-in-hand with a team of six students from Makerere University as well as four Judiciary records assistants in the project that commenced late May 2018 and is anticipated to last at least two months.

In 2017, there was an attempt to organize the bulk of the files that were formerly scattered on the floor into about 200 boxes full of files in the basement repository - but they were still not catalogued.

Both Hon. Justice Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa, who heads Judiciary's Projects and the Secretary to the Judiciary, Mr. Kagole E. Kivumbi, are enthusiastic about working with the University of Michigan to reorganize the Judiciary archives. Mr. Kagole said the Judiciary is still assessing the cost of the project.

The National Archivist of Uganda, Ms. Justine Nalwoga, has equally expressed interest in taking custody of the Judiciary archive for storage at the new National Archive and Record Centre at Wandegeya (NARC) for the benefit of researchers.

The records from the High Court repository have been relocated to the Judiciary offices at Naguru in Kampala where the exercise is taking place.

Focus will be on organizing files pertaining to the period before 1988 because they are legally open for research under Ugandan law. The files that pertain to the period after 1988 shall be returned to the High Court's repository.

"After being sorted they will be placed in acid-free boxes, and thereafter a team will catalogue each box, creating a list of file numbers, covering dates and titles," explained Ms. Riley Linebaugh, a lead archivist.

She said the properly catalogued records will then be transferred to the NARC in Wandegeya, where they will be open for access by researchers.

"The accessibility of the Judiciary archive will be of great benefit: it will allow graduates tudents and undergraduates working on Uganda's history access to an extraordinarily rich, utterly unique resource for research," said Dr. Derek R. Peterson, the team leader.

The team
The University of Michigan team includes: Dr. Peterson (professor of History, University of Michigan); Ms Riley Linebaugh (PhD student in History Graduate Centre for Cultural Studies in Giessen, Germany; and Ms Sauda Nabukenya, PhD student in Legal History). Others are: Mr Hunter Zhao (MA student at Columbia University; Ms KateBruce-Lockhart (PhD in History from the University of Cambridge). Those from Makerere University are: Mr Ikaliait Daniel and Mr Balonde John (BA Records and Archives Management) and Mr Tumwine Brian (BA Archaeology and History). Others are Mr Mwine Martin (BA Ethics and Human Rights); Mr Kisongoch Elvis (BSc. Political Science and Sociology); and Mr Muhindo Jesse (BA Public Administration and Management). Judiciary's team has Mr Egetu John Maurice, Mr Kirunze Moses, Mr Buhwaddi Abdalla and Ms Mariam Nassuna.

Ms. Nabukenya is currently conducting her Ph.D research on Uganda's legal history, while Ms. Linebaugh has been centrally involved in the cataloguing of several archives in Uganda and in Europe.

Posted 5th, June 2018
  • Share