Several female inmates at Gulu District want the government to speed up the court hearings suspects for the final sentence.
They expect that process to start with the women at Gulu Main Prison, Anena Jessica, the chairperson gender office, Gulu District told TheUgandan.
In an interview, Anena provided the most clear statement yet about what the female inmates want. She also said that over 130 cases of land disputes are reported monthly in her office for mediation and they are trying as much as possible to move from village to village together with opinion leaders in order to sensitize the communities.
Besides being ravaged by poverty and drought, land disputes are still rampant in the entire northern region where widows and orphans are mostly affected.
Anena says the fate of these inmates ought to be decided sooner than later have children in their families and have responsibilities to execute. She also said that as gender, they are visiting children and families of the suspects and together with paralegal officials to help those inmates understand their rights despite the fact that they are in prison.
“We’ve made ourselves their (inmates) voice,” she said. The suspects deserve justice and we try to move all over the district to sensitize the people about land disputes, she said. She described the disputes are “a horrible thing in society.”
Ms. Adong Margret, one of the inmates at Gulu Main prison told TheUgandan that she was arrested because of land conflict with her brother who had denied her access to cultivate their customary land. She has been in the prison for five months without trial.
“I want to go back to my children, to my family but that is not possible if the courts of law do not do their job,” Adong said.
One of the inmates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and is has been in prison for a year now, appealed to the authorities to heed to their concerns.
“As women, things are hard in here (Gulu Main Prison). Help us tell people in courts to hear out our concerns. We are being subjected to too much work coupled with ailing health, yet the officers in prisons do no listen to us,” she said.
Muchinguzi, the O/C of Gulu main prison says some of these prisoners are suspects and they are waiting for the judgment from court to prove them as either guilty or innocent regarding the crimes.
“If the inmates’ desire to pursue court appearances, they have every right to do so,” he said.
When contacted over the matter, Okello Patrick Oryema, the Chairman of Nwoya District Local Government told this reporter that he spends six hours in the office while the rest of his time he is busy handling land conflicts within the community.
The most recent case of land violence ended in a sombre situation when relatives of a family of five people killed in a fire burst into wails after the prime suspect was released on bail.
The five – a man, his wife, and three children – were burnt to death in a suspected arson attack at their home on the night of January 5 this year.
David Livingstone Lakony, 66, was arrested, charged and remanded in connection to the attack.
But a successful bail application at the Gulu High Court saw his released on a cash bail of sh1m on Wednesday and his five sureties were each bonded sh2m non-cash.
Gulu resident judge Vincent Okwanga’s decision angered the bereaved family who wereat court to hear the bail application verdict.
He pronounced that he decided to give the accused bail on grounds of his senior age and health – Lakony is diabetic and has hypertension.
The judge said the sureties presented in court were substantial enough to constitutionally grant the accused person bail.
He is accused of causing the death of a family of five in Koc-Goma sub-county in Nwoya district. The family died after their grass-thatched caught fire.
By Willbroad Onencan, Gulu.