By Anthony Wesaka.
Uganda, Kyenjojo. – The design of the facility gives an impression that some retail business is going on in the structures. However the conspicuous gun-toting policemen manning the structure makes you think twice.
Reason? The shop-like structure has been turned into a courtroom. This is how Kyenjojo Court located on Kaguta Road in the middle of Kyenjojo Town conducts its proceedings.
“Most of the times when you are holding court, someone in the neighborhood is playing music, which interrupts court proceedings and this does not go well with administration of justice..” said the in-charge of the court Grade One Magistrate Belomos Opio Ogwang while meeting a team of justice for children, explaining why court is in the shop-structures.
The reason attributed to this unusual arrangement of court proceedings is that the court is located and rented in a busy commercial centre.
The surrounding of the small court is such that on the opposite side of it is a bar that plays loud music all the time, next to the bar is a motor-garage emitting noise from the metal banging.
The other surrounding of the court is characterised with shops selling day to day items and salons.
Further speaking from his small-roomed chamber that has no ceiling, Magistrate Ogwang said, “We seal off the road when the court proceedings are going on so as to minimize the noise. However, this move of sealing off the road also inconveniences the town dwellers who are forced to use alternative longer distances to their different destinations.”
The in-charge attributed this scenario of a shop being turned into a courtroom to creation of many districts and yet there are no funds to put up good administrative structures to house courts.
The same court that has no ceiling-board and full of cobwebs acts as an exhibits room- where exhibits are kept- an act that the magistrate said is dangerous as the exhibits are prone to being tampered with or stolen since they are in the open.
Behind the court room is the holding cell for suspects with two other rooms in the same location being rented out by two private individuals.
Due to space constraints, the secretary to the magistrate’s room also acts as the court’s registry where new cases are registered from.
Other JLOS key stake holders who stressed the importance of the justice for children included; Fort portal high court judge David Batema, Chief Magistrate Samuel Emokor, Grade II Magistrate Tiru Kachwamba, and the in- charge of Fort portal remand home Ms Theopista Bacwa Mutooro among others.
Kyenjojo court is not the only court in such worrying situation as Ibanda Court in Western Uganda is in the same situation.
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