Police Cordons Off Go Forward Head Offices

Government has been asked to do more in increasing access to justice for the poor, site vulnerable and marginalized groups in Uganda.

Key among the bottlenecks is the high charges combined with the adversarial procedure, illiteracy among the citizenry and poor distribution of legal service providers in rural settings.

Only 18.2 percent of people in rural areas are able to access a Magistrate Court within a distance of less than 5kms compared to 56percent in the urban areas.

The Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) on Tuesday launched a report on ‘Poverty, Marginalization and Vulnerability in the Context of Access to Justice in Uganda’.

Lady Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza who represented Principal Judge of Hight Court, Hon Justice Yorokamu Bamwine said “Legal advocates need to collaborate with the Police in ensuring these special groups access justice because a lot of human rights violations occur at the level of police procedures.”

In his statement, Justice Yorokamu Bamwine admitted that poverty continues to obstruct justice despite people having good cases.

“The government has established more court structures across Uganda but justice goes beyond having many court buildings. It involves affordability of fees and availability of legal officers to handle cases,” read the statement.

He however stated that government has made efforts to ease accessibility of justice through; small chain court procedures for capital offences, mediation, plea bargaining and community service.


“I urge lawyers to be receptive to and adopt the new public interest litigation methods and show kindness to the poor. Courts should be seen as a place for refuge – it’s our duty to show people that courts provide justice,” further said Justice Bamwine.

According to the report findings, the disabled, elderly, refugees, children and women are the most marginalized in the process of accessing justice in Uganda.
It also highlights lack of confidence in the judicial system as a major hindrance with courts being perceived as less transparent and favoring the rich.

Cultural norms also pause a challenge as people tend to refuse solving their disputes through state forums under the guise of ‘washing dirty linen in public’

“In the case of poor and vulnerable persons who are already disadvantaged in several ways including illiteracy; interfacing with legal processes can be a formidable task,” reads the report.

The report recommends that legal aid be extended to offer other services such as counselling and psyco-social support. It also suggests availing of state legal aid to children in both civil and criminal proceedings as well as family law matters.
Security operatives in civilian clothes this evening surrounded the Nakasero based offices of Presidential candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s Go Forward campaign.

The armed officers cordoned off the building on Plot 29 Nakasero at around 6pm on Tuesday.

It is believed that the operatives had come for some of the members Mbabazi’s security detail, buy who last Sunday beat up President Yoweri Museveni’s supporters in Ntungamo district; who has come to antagonize the Go Forward candidate’s rally in the area.

A number of people were injured in the scuffle that followed an assault by the youthful group donning yellow t-shirts on Mbabazi’s convoy.

Police boss General Kale Kayihura rushed to the district the following morning and expressed anger at the masterminds.

After ordering for airlifting of the injured victims to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the Police boss vowed to have the members of Mbabazi’s team who were filmed beating the NRM group arrested and questioned.

We reported this morning that Kayihura has since commissioned a highly trained squad to truck down and apprehend the Go Forward team members involved in the incident.

By publication time, the plain clothed officers were still occupying the campaign offices in Nakasero,

We were still unable to reach the police spokesperson Fred Enanga for a comment as his known mobile phone was not being picked.


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