Leaders criticise government over LC courts

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KAKUMIRO. Local leaders in the greater Kibaale area have accused the government for failing local council courts operations, which they said has fuelled the crime rate in the country.
According to Section 2 of the 2006, Local Council Courts Act, local council courts were established at every village, parish, sub-county, division and town to resolve cases before they are referred to the police.
The leaders said failure by government to conduct LC polls for the last 15 years has crippled the operations of local council courts rendering them dormant and irrelevant.
Mr Charles Magembe, the chairperson Mpasana Sub-county LC III court, told Daily Monitor on Monday that crime is on the increase and people are being denied justice.
‘‘The increase in crime is being caused by failed operations of these courts. The formal courts are distant and many people cannot access them,’’ said Mr Magembe.
He added that in some areas where the courts are operational, the leaders end up politicising them, which he said has resulted into denial of justice.
To this effect, Uganda through the Local Government ministry in partnership with organisations such as the International Law Institute and the Democratic Governance Facility has started retooling the leaders of LC courts with different skills in a bid to re-operationalise them.
Mr Hannington Kiiza, a chief government trainer, said government has started training court leaders from some selected sub-counties.
“We are giving them more skills to enable them make proper judgments, which are cognisant with other laws of the land,” said Mr Kiiza.
He said the common cases originating from local communities, which would ideally be handled by LC courts are land disputes, family wrangles and other petty cases such as theft.
Mr Magembe said the resumption of LC court operations will bring relief to the soaring crimes in local communities.
Mr Kiiza told Daily Monitor that the current LC I structure of leadership is illegal and they are now waiting for LC polls which the government is preparing to conduct.
“LC1 we are talking about today, actually they are illegal’’ noted Kiiza.
Recently, Mr Hassan Mugerwa Katumba, the Kakumiro District police commander told journalists that police are overwhelmed by cases, which would be handled customarily by LC courts.

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