By Teddy Kabasambu & Catherine Nakato
Residents of Kasese region have decried the continued wait for justice for relatives and friends who were charged with treason after the clashes between Rwenzururu and the central government in November 2016.
Their voices are captured in a report by civil society organisations that operate in Kasese.
The report notes that at least 79 cases are yet to be handled, more than five years after the clashes.
“79 cases are still lagging in court. People have spent five years, still on remand in prison, they have more less served sentences. What if they are later found innocent? I think government needs to expedite the processes because delayed justice also has its own implications,” said Johncation Muhindo, the team leader, Creations Forum Afrika, one of the organisations that compiled the report.
The report indicates that 132 people that were released on bail continue to face a number of challenges including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) from incidents that happened in 2016.
“There is an old man who left prison with only one eye but at night, he screams and does not behave normally and he is not the only one.These people need to be treated and rehabilitated but the region lacks such facilities,” said David Nguru, a consultant at Creations Forum Afrika.
Muhindo said most of the victims lack sources of income to be able to afford the basic life needs.
According to the report, a total of 797 children were left orphaned by the clashes which claimed their parents’ lives.
This increased the number of school drop outs with Bwesumbi, Buhuhira and Katebwa being the most affected sub counties.
“While government has good programmes like the parish model program, these do not meet the needs of special interest groups like these of Kasese. I think it’s important to highlight them in terms of development,” Muhindo said.
Godfrey Kabbyanga, the state minister for ICT said efforts by government to help resettle the victims are under way and that Shs 500 million was released to procure land to resettle them.
“We understand the concerns of the residents of the Rwenzori people however efforts to resettle them are on the way. As for lagging cases, judicial matters can’t be rushed and I urge all stakeholders to keep calm and await communication from court,” Kabbyanga said.