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Local Council Courts in Masaka Struggle to Attract Public Trust

Paul Kangave the Greater Masaka Regional Police spokesperson says that majority of the lower local leaders in the area are failing to execute their mandates of managing simple conflicts through their local council courts.

Audio 4

Local council courts in Masaka District are struggling to attract public trust.

In July 2018, the Electoral Commission organized nationwide elections for village and parish council leaders whose mandate had expired in 2006.

Parliament in 2003 gave powers to local council courts to adjudicate in petty offences like theft, assault, domestic violence and land disputes, for which the culprits are sentenced to community service, imprisonment or fines once they are proven guilty.

But Paul Kangave the Greater Masaka Regional Police spokesperson says that majority of the lower local leaders in the area are failing to execute their mandates of managing simple conflicts.

He says that police are still grappling with many petty offences that could have been resolved by the village council courts.

 According to Kangave, most of the village council leaders are not confident enough to convene the courts or are ignorant about their mandates, which has contributed to case backlog at Police and in courts.

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Deogratius Ssejjemba, the Masaka Chief Magistrate says that the incompetence of the village courts is reflected on the high number of minor cases filed in courts. 

He however noted that despite their efforts to refer the matters back to village councils, many people insist on having the minor cases be heard by courts.

 Ssejjemba wants the public to vest confidence in the local leaders as well as accord them the necessary support to perform their mandate.

Jamir Birende, the Chairperson of UTC cell in Masaka municipality says that as local council leaders are still struggling to rebuild public trust in their community; which he says had been lost due to vacuum of leaders.

 He explains that they are encouraging the local communities through village meetings embrace their leadership, as well as ensuring impartiality while resolving the few matters that are brought to village courts.

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