Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
JLOS impact getting visible across Uganda The Justice, Law and Order Sector’s work is being noticed across the country with the construction of JLOS centres to help people access justice. There is, for instance, the new Gulu Remand Home which is now housing 44 children on capital and minor offences. The facility which was commissioned in July 2009 at Pece, Laroo Division in Gulu municipality is intended to provide accommodation to child criminal offenders as they await trial in courts of law. Those who are convicted are transferred to Kampiringisa, the only national children rehabilitation centre located in Mpigi district. Evaline Akello, the Assistant Probation and Welfare Officer at the Gulu Remand Home is impressed by what JLOS’s work and the support of Unicef and other donors have extended towards improving the justice centres in the country. “Here we are happy to have this kind of facility because it has led to reduction in the number of children escaping from custody,” Akello says. She, however, observes that although child offenders now have good shelter, there are several challenges still facing the remand home. For instance, the boarding rooms, which were meant to accommodate 20 boys and 20 girls are now overcrowded with over 40 boys remanded at the facility. There is inadequate food for the remand children besides shortage of vehicles to transport them to health centres when they fall sick. “These are some of the problems that undermine the good things that have been registered by JLOS. The district budget for the remand home is very small and can only allow for the purchase of half the food the children are recommended to eat each day. “These children are still growing, they need to feed well. But we don’t have enough food here. Their uniforms which were provided by the Ministry of Labour need replacement just like their beddings. Our electricity was also recently cut off due to non-payment of bills and all these challenges negatively impact on our work,” Akello explains. The remand home is also under-staffed. There has been a sharp rise in reported criminal cases at Kiryandongo Police Station, another new JLOS facility. However, this has been attributed to police access rather than a surge in crime rate. Before the police station was set up, it was difficult for the residents to travel a long distance to report crime in their localities. But with the police station near them, it is now easy to report crime and probably this explains the perceived rising crime incidence. “It’s surprising but true. Previously we could hardly receive people here reporting about crime in their localities. But now the reported criminal cases have gone up. I think it has to do with the visibility of the police station and maybe the fact that it’s new attracts people,” says Detective Inspector David Ojwiga who is the station’s Deputy CID Officer explains. Ojwiga, says that although the station is still small for the staff, the prison cells have solved the problem of congestion. Another police station has been built at Panyandoli Hills in Kiryandongo using hydro-form bricks and police labour. This has further extended the JLOS services nearer to the people. firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, September 20, 2014
NEW GOVERNMENT ANALYTICAL LABORATORY HAS BEEN SET UP IN MBALEOne of the primary Justice Law and Order Sector , (JLOS) goal under SIP III is to promote the rule of law and fundamental to this goal is the establishment of justice centers across the country to ensure better delivery of justice services to the people of Uganda. A number of these centers have been constructed across the country over the last 10 years since JLOS was set up was established by government in November 1999 to carry out reforms in Uganda’s justice system. Among the facilities which have been established , is the Mbale Government Analytical Laboratory at Malukhu road opetrating under the slogan : “Go scientific for a safe and just society”. The facility which was commissioned on October 7th 2010, is run by the Government Analytical Laboratory a directorate in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The services which are provided at the laboratory according to Mr. Luke Senkatuka, a government analyst, include forensic tests as back up in ensuring national security, trans-border activities and law and order. “We are carry out statutory testing for enforcement of public health and environmental standards and regulation. We for instance carry out tests on water to ensure its good for public consumption plus pesticide residual , food and drugs tests,” he says. Other services provided at the laboratory include , DNA for parentage, toxicology, questioned documents, ballistics and tool marks identification. Franked by his colleagues Keturah Nakayenga and Francis Ogwal, Senkatuka explained that the Mbale government laboratory which serves the eastern region has a strategic objective of ensuring administration of justice through provision of forensic scientific services. “People don’t have to go to Kampala to get these services. The aim is to bring the services nearer to the people to ensure that as many Ugandans access justice. So we are here to offer specialized scientific support to regulatory and law enforcement agencies for the safety of the people living in Uganda,” he explained. Senkatuka , however regretted to note that few people are aware of the services that are being provided at the facility. “ We need to do a lot more in educating and informing the people about the availability of these services since they are intended for the public good,” he says. Among other challenges faced by the Mbale government laboratory is inadequate equipment, staffing and lack of lack of transport . “ we need a vehicle and motorcycles to access the country side. We are also not fully equipped to conduct some specific tests and this slows down the pace of administering justice ,” Senkatuka notes. He is however optimistic that since the laboratory is new with time it will be fully functional and meet JLOS overall objective of providing adequate and timely services to the people.