By Carol Kasujja
The Equal Opportunity Commission has set up a tribunal to handle complaints of marginalization based on sex, race, age religion, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition and custom.
The launch of the tribunal took place at the Equal opportunity offices in Bugolobi a Kampala suburb. The function was attended by people from across the political and social spectrum.
Speaking at the launch, Rita Matovu, the chairperson of Equal Opportunity, said that the tribunal is a less formal process, in a non-intimidating atmosphere in which the ordinary person will be heard.
“People who feel that they are discrimated now have where to run to lodge complaints,” said Matovu.
Matovu also noted that the tribunal has some similarities like the main stream court, like the need to investigate, reference to proceedings before another tribunal or court and the adoption of any findings.
The tribunal will operate a circuit system whereby it will move outside of the centre and go to different places to deal with complaints.
“We intend to open regional offices so that victims of equal opportunities violations can easily access our services especially the marginalized and the poor who cannot afford to trek long distances to file their complaints in Kampala,” she noted.
Since the commission has an open day policy, she invited all people who have been marginalized and discriminated against in any way, to feel free to contact them for redress.
During the launch, the minister of Gender, labour and social development minister, Mary Karooro Okurut, advised the committee of the tribunal to do away with bureaucracy in order to be a world class institute.
“Since the tribunal is dealing with marginalized group, they should cut out the bureaucracy so that they do not marginalize them more. If someone comes with a problem, do not make him or her sit for days, always listen because everyone has a story to tell,” Karooro said.