Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has asked the judiciary to incorporate tribunals in their land adjudication system.
Justice Bamugemereire is the chairperson of the Commission of inquiry into land matters.
According to Justice Bamugemereire, there is need for the judiciary to establish land tribunals with dedicated officers like judges to only hand land matters.
She was speaking at the launch of a report on compulsory land acquisition management compiled by the Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network-LASPNET at Sheraton Hotel Wednesday.
According to the 2017 case backlog report, land cases constituted 25 percent. One of the reasons given for the case backlog was that Land matters often require visiting the contested area yet the mediators lack funding to travel to the villages to meet the affected communities.
Bamugemereire says land tribunals provide a better environment for justice as they are usually quicker. She says that cases in land conflicts under the tribunal can be heard much faster, which saves time and delivers justice much easier.
She says the tribunals should be conducted in a simplified manner without the need of litigation as it is in courts of laws.
Justice Bamugemereire explained that when land cases take long to be heard, it becomes a big inconvenience to the victims because majority of Ugandans use land as a source of livelihood.
Land tribunals were established in Uganda under the Land Act and operationalized in 2001 to act as first reference for land disputes. They were established at both district and sub county levels.
They were however phased out in 2004 due to inadequate financing. The National Land Policy provides for the reinstatement of Land Tribunals but due to funding, their existence is still troubled.
Currently, the Commission of inquiry into land matters has over 400 unheard land cases.
Under its mandate, it can investigate cases and make recommendations but cannot make ruling as established courts or established land tribunals that Bamugemereire is suggesting.