Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the human rights watchdog in the country, is stuck with 1756 cases in its tribunal that have not been disposed off for the year 2020.
This has been attributed to lack of a substantive chairperson for the organ since the passing of Hajji Medi Kaggwa, the then Commission head, last year.
Mr. Katabalirwe Amooti, who took over the said office under the Acting Capacity, UHRC officials stated, does not possess the mandate to handle most of the essential roles of the chairperson.
ChimpReports, in an exclusive interview with Ms Aida Nakiganda, the Director Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services in the Uganda Human Rights Commission, established that the lack of a substantive Chairperson has greatly affected the day to day operations of this body.
“UHRC rules provide that the Commission shall comprise of a Chairperson and at least three members but currently we have four members without a Chairperson,” said Nakiganda, adding that in the past few months, they have not been able to hold any tribunal due to lack of quorum.
“It has affected the access to justice especially to most of the complainants who always bring their cases to us for further investigation,” she said.
Another activity which was affected by the absence of the Chairperson was the Annual Report which couldn’t be presented to the Speaker of Parliament without the signature of the head of the Commission.
Nakiganda has assured the public that there is hope that the Commission, in this period to and after elections, will have a Chairperson to dispose off all the pending cases.
“The Commission has not stopped handling investigations so we urge all those facing acts of human rights violation not to sit back but to report the matters to any nearby UHRC office for a quicker response,” she said.
On various occasions, Legal Practitioners and Human Rights defenders have advocated for the appointment of the Chairperson of the Commission especially during this campaign and election period when cases of human rights violations tend to rise.