Opinion
Let us make justice affordable to the poor
Publish Date: Mar 31, 2014
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By Mwaka Emmanuel Lutukumoi

Justice delayed is justice denied, say the legal fraternity, but justice hurried is also justice buried. The moral question remains, how can the narratives change and the story be different in Uganda where justice seems to be made by a few in the justice sector very costly and too expensive for an ordinary Ugandan.

The tenets of democracy dictates that the court is the last place where life is renewed, hope is made and the only habitat for justice. The NRM Government since 1986 has made remarkable inroads into Justice, peace and a growing democracy.

However, the Government must quickly investigate why there is overcrowding in prisons, delayed justice and those hurried.

Art 28 (1) of the Constitution states that (1) In the determination of civil rights and obligations or any criminal charge, a person charge, a person shall be entitled to a fair, speedy and public hearing before an independent and impartial court or tribunal established by Law (3) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall – (a) be presumed innocent until proved guilty or until that person has pleaded guilty among others.

The greatest disaster that happened in Uganda is the lost moral sense of shame and natural patriotism. This has made justice too expensive to procure and a case for rampant mob justice. The Government has excelled in infrastructural development, energy sector, security and peace among others, but a poisonous orgies remains graft and bribery.

 A rat smells when criminal cases are ignored and civil cases are seen to be upheld. The locals in Lira for example lost interest in police in the month of January when thugs would rob and kill people in broad day light and go scot free, when suspects bribe their way out, when the police and court delays prosecution.

 However with drastic change in the leadership of the security team, the RDC, George Odongo, DPC Ashraf Seiko Chemonges and criminal sector, the last one month has registered only one case of broad day robbery and the thieves are on the run.  The current DPC works day and night in the district.

In Lira, there are 566 prisoners detained as of February 1, but only 59 cases were executed, and convictions. Most of the cases, if not all, were civil cases. The moral question remains, why the civil not criminal cases?  How can Ugandans gain confidence on our legal and justice system?  The greatest legacy of NRM government will be making justice free and less costly from the way it is. Let the security investigate, and let us rebuild the moral sense of shame we lost.

The greatest bed rock of NRM government is social economic transformation, Pan Africanism, justice, freedom and democracy. If we are to make them a reality, we should change the bed story so that the narrative should be different but stronger political will.

Bernard Shaw, in his book the Devil’s society, taught us that “it’s at the hour of trial that a man finds his true profession” At 50 as country, aware of the fact that state making in Uganda was art of war, aware of the prevailing peace, it’s paramount that government should put more efforts to make justice affordable by a poor Lango man in Lira village.

Let’s make Judiciary strong, honest and open, let the police criminal department be trained for patriotic and moral uprightness for the interest of Uganda.

The writer is the deputy resident district commissar for Lira District

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