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West Nile residents petition Principal Judge over slow handling of land cases

Dr. Flavian Zeija. File Photo

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Litigants in the West Nile region have asked the Principal Judge, Dr Flavian Zeija about the slow process of handling land disputes.

According to the litigants, many of their relatives are facing charges of criminal trespass which have not been heard over the past 2 years and have left their colleagues languishing in prison. They also decried discrimination in bail and fixing of cases for hearing, inequality before the court, loss of court files from the court and delivery of judgement in absence of the accused persons.

The litigants raised the concerns on Wednesday during the Arua High Court Circuit Open day in Arua City.

Adam Agnasi, from Yumbe district explains that the lower courts take long to hear cases, especially land matters which he says often leads to delayed justice.

John Onzoma, another litigant wonders why the judiciary takes long to deliver judgement on land matters. Onzoma says he filed an appeal in the high court which has taken over 4 years to be disposed of.

“When I filed the appeal we were young but now I am getting old. Do they first want us to die and then the judgement can be passed”, Onzoma noted.

Grism Agonda, a resident of Estate Eceko Parish in Arivu sub county appealed to the judiciary to prevail over the rich and landlords who are evicting people out of their land.

“We were chased away from our land in 2019 and up to date, we are still suffering due to the land dispute”, he said.

The outgoing Arua Resident Judge Justice Isah Serunkuma said that the Arua High Court Circuit is faced with understaffing due to its wide area of coverage.

Justice Flavian Zeija admitted the problems but noted that the challenge has been due to the few numbers of judicial officers. He however says the judiciary is currently addressing the challenge which will go a long way in addressing cases of back lock.

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