ULS – USAID(SAFE) Project on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
The Uganda Law Society, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development - Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity & Peace (USAID-SAFE), is running a project on ADR in land matters in the region of Kiboga and Kibaale.
SUMMARY REPORT ON SENSITISATION AND MOBILE LEGAL ADVICE CLINIC HELD IN KIBOGA DISTRICT (LWAMATA TOWN COUNCIL & KISAGAZI VILLAGE; 18 - 20 FEBRUARY 2015)
BACK GROUND AND OBJECTIVE
One of the key objectives of this Project (USAID-SAFE) is to increase public awareness about mediation and ADR and general knowledge of how those processes are used to facilitate efficient resolution of disputes. The awareness raising programmes is to conducted by the Uganda Law Society (ULS) and targets members of the general communities in Kiboga and Kibaale districts.
Sensitizations and mobile clinics to provide legal advice and mediation services were held in Kiboga District at Lwamata Town Council and Kisagazi village. The team from ULS together with trained community based paralegals participated in the mobilization and sensitization of the residents in the above mentioned places. 204 people were sensitized of which were 123 male and 81 female. There were 19 male youth and 5 female youth at Lwamata out of a total attendance of 52 people.
LWAMATA TOWN COUNCIL
The sensitization started with an introduction by Herbert Mugabe, one of the trained paralegals from Kiboga. The Monitoring team from ULS was comprised of Mr. Kiyemba Moses (Legal Officer), Ms Albine Atugabiirwe (Assistant Legal Officer) and Mr. Kwikiriza Benson (Programme Officer).
Mr. Kiyemba Moses educated the locals about the ULS; its mandate, goals, structure, various projects and activities, branches/offices etc. The sensation was participatory and the participants were encouraged to feel free and ask where they felt they did not understand.
The people present for the sensitization were briefed on why we choose to concentrate on land matters and mediation and arbitration namely; the increasing disputes regarding land from Kiboga district that are attributed to overpopulation hence the growing demand for land and ignorance. Mr. Kiyemba sensitized the residents of Lwamata on the history of land law making reference to the Buganda Agreement of 1900, The Land Decree, 1995 Constitution, 1998 Land Act and other amendments.
The Legal Officer further introduced the people of Lwamata to the different land tenure systems namely; mailo, freehold, leasehold and customary landholding and the rights and obligations accruing from each tenure. He also sensitized the people present on the law of succession.
Ms Albine Atugabiirwe sensitized the populace on issues to do with protection of land. She educated the locals on what family land entails the requirement for spousal consent and common tricks used by fraudsters to circumvent this requirement. The Legal Assistant also elaborated on issues to do with security of occupancy of land and encouraged the locals to always respond to court orders lest they will fall victim to exparte court orders.
Mr. Kwikiriza Benson introduced the locals to mediation practices citing the numerous advantages as it is faster in dispute resolution, cheap as no complex court fees are involved, reconciliatory. He elaborated on how the ULS/LAP has been able to settle so many land cases through mediation at their offices and encouraged the locals to embrace it even at village level. He educated the participants on the recent mediation rules 2013 that made it compulsory in court noting that even if they shunned it, they cannot escape it if the matter proceeds to court. He discussed some of the elements of mediation such as confidentiality, giving each party a chance to be heard and other aspects liking caucusing.
Mr. Kwikiriza at this point also introduced a Legal Officer from the USAID SAFE Secretariat who briefly addressed the people present. It was at this point that IEC materials such as the booklets on land rights and mediation and others on succession rights, children rights and family matters were also distributed to the locals. The organizers at this point also attend to people who sought legal advice and representation and assessed their cases.
The sensitization started with an introduction by Mr.Mugabe Herbert who informed the natives the purposed of the visit. He introduced the team and asked them to go straight into the sensitization in the interest of time. The sensitization team however asked any LC present to say something which was done by the LCII Women Representative.
Mr. Kiyemba Moses then took the lead in sensitizing the locals about the ULS, the history and evolution of land law in Uganda, the different land tenure systems etc. He paused to ask when the constitution was made and many seemed ignorant about the same with one mentioning 1993. He encouraged the people present to know their rights so that they can avoid these disputes. Ms. Albine Atugabiirwe also sensitized the people of Kisagazi on the security for occupy, family land etc. Many questions were asked also relating to payment of busulu and one Nuwagira John asked about sub-leasing. The sensitizers endeavored to use relevant examples during the sensitization and also offered legal advice.
The Legal Advice and sensitization visit was an overwhelming success due to the fact that the paralegals were effective in the mobilization; the sensitization team had fully grasped the issues at hand and educated the locals on matters that they considered very relevant. The locals seemed to have appreciated the message and it is hoped that the sensitization will contribute to a reduction of land disputes in Kiboga District.