Cultural leaders want power to preside over local courts

Tuesday December 18 2012

By Patrick Okaba


Alur cultural leaders are seeking permission from the government to grant them power to preside over local courts within their areas of operation.

At least 50 traditional chiefdoms of Alur in DR Congo and Uganda made the request during a cultural charter in Nebbi Town at the weekend. The charter, initiated by Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda, aims at promoting culture and governance.

The Rwoth of Panyimur Kaal Kwonga, Mr Charles Ombidi, said in the past, cultural leaders were given a lot of power to rule on cases such as witchcraft, land disputes and dressing in the community which made chiefdoms to gain values and respect.

“Witchcraft practices are common today because cultural leaders are powerless to solve the cases traditionally and yet some of these cases have no evidence when they are taken to court,” Mr Ombidi said.

The leaders want local courts to handle civil cases which have been handled by the lower courts.
The executive director of the foundation, Ms Emily Drani, said cultural leaders need support from NGOs and government. She said crime would be reduced if cultural leaders are given authority to preside over local courts.