When a witness is called to give evidence in a criminal proceeding, the first thing the court will do is to ask them whether they would like to take and “oath” or “affirmation”. This is a person stating that they will tell the truth to the court. In Uganda, oaths are governed by the Oaths Act Cap 19.
Difference between an Oath and Affirmation
An oath is a verbal promise, to tell the truth, made while holding the Bible. A witness may choose to swear an oath in another relevant religious text.
An affirmation is a verbal, solemn and formal declaration, which is made in place of an oath. A person may choose to make an affirmation rather than taking an oath. An affirmation has the same effect as an oath but does not use a religious text.
The wording of the oath and affirmation
“I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.
“I solemnly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.
If you have problems with literacy, then let the court know. If you require an interpreter to give evidence, then they will interpret the oath or affirmation for you.