Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 112 people turned for an annual Probono Day in Gulu to access justice through free legal aid services with over 80 percent of them seeking redress on land conflicts.
The Probono day is an annual event organized by the Uganda Law Society through Legal Aid Project to offer free legal aid to the most vulnerable people who can’t afford independent services of the lawyers.
The exercise that was concluded on Friday 04th December 2020 was conducted in nine different places countrywide namely: Kampala at Law Development Centre, Kabarole High Courts Gounds, Kabale Freedom Square and Mbarara University.
Others were Jinja High Courts Grounds, Masindi Chief Magistrate Grounds, Soroti High Courts Grounds, Arua High Courts Gounds and Gulu High Courts Grounds.
Beatrice Babra Angufiru, the Senior Legal Officer for Legal Aid Gulu revealed that of the 112 people who turned for the services, over 80 percent of them were with complaints on land conflicts while defilement, child neglect and other criminal matters take on the least percentage.
She explained that the land conflicts in the region stemmed from resettlement after the communities to their ancestral homes from the internally displaced camps years ago.
She however noted that 50 Advocates are already lined up to represent those whose cases would end up in court to enable them get justice at no cost and urged the locals to denounce mob justice.
Atleast 400 people turned for the same services in last year’s event in Acholi Sub Region and according to statistics, Legal Aid Project Gulu Regional Office has received 90 complaints for legal support since January this year prior to the annual event on Friday.
Anjulina Atto, a 69 year old single mother of eight children from Koro Sub County who turned for the services told URN that she lost seven hectares of land in the outskirts of Gulu City at Kirombe Cell in Gulu West Division to people occupied them at the peak of LRA insurgency in the North.
Similarly, Santo Kinyera, a 52 year old father of four children in Nwoya District at Lamoke village in Anaka Town Council says 15 of his hectares of land were intruded into and he has sought for justice over the matter for two years in vain.
According to statistics from Action Aid Uganda, 286 widows from Amuru District were evicted from their marital lands in the last two years while cases of land conflict registered alone in Gulu at the Office of the Resident District Commissioner have exceeded 480 in seven months.
Land conflicts related crimes top list of people who were convicted in Northern Uganda with 37 percent, more than any other crime committed in the region, according to a 2018 report by Advance Afrika, an organization working with Uganda Prisons Services in the North.