Concerned stakeholders in Bundibugyo District and surrounding areas have decried the continued lack of a female prison wing.
Bubukwanga Prison in Bundibugyo only accommodates male suspects and convicts.
The Grade One Magistrate at Bundibugyo court, Mr Latif Abubaker Nakibinge, on Wednesday said they remand female suspects to Katojo Government Prison in Fort Portal, which is about 100km away.
Mr Nakibinge explained that it is upon the complainant to foot the transport bills to have the said female suspects moved from Fort Portal to Bundibugyo court if their case is to be heard.
He said this arrangement is affecting delivery of justice in his jurisdiction.
“Since we don’t have a detention facility for the female suspects in Bundibugyo District and its surrounding areas, when we get female suspects we endeavour to release them on bail. It’s only those facing serious charges or the habitual offenders that are remanded to Katojo,” Mr Nakibinge said.
The magistrate revealed this to the visiting team of officers from Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that was interacting with court users in Rwenzori sub-region.
Mr Nakibinge also revealed that they have two female suspects currently being detained at Katojo prison.
Ms Faridah Semyano, the principal legal officer at the JSC, who led the visiting team, appealed to government to construct a prison wing for female suspects and convicts to mitigate the challenge.
“As JSC, we receive complaints from various court users about the administration of justice. We have received this complaint and we would like to call upon government to construct a female wing to cater for female suspects.” Ms Semyano urged government.
The core mandate of the JSC is to recruit, discipline errant judicial officers and act as a link between the public and the Judiciary.
Ms Maria Tereza Nabulya, the communications office of JSC, said they visited Rwenzori sub-region to sensitise the public about their mandate, and the difference between the JSC and the Judiciary.
Mr Jonan Luleti, a legal officer with the JSC, said the Commission is the boss of the Judiciary since they are the ones who recruit and employ them.
In a related development, a visit by this newspaper to the Bundibugyo court on Wednesday, discovered that the attendance by litigants was very low.
Magistrate Nakibinge attributed the low turnout of court users to the planting and harvesting season of cocoa in the sub-region.