Ebola lockdown affects 500 court cases 

The 21-day Ebola lockdown in Mubende and Kassanda districts will on average affect more than 500 cases lined up for expedited hearing and determination in courts under the Mubende judicial area, the Judiciary has said.
The affected cases are before the Chief Magistrate’s Court which takes charge of both districts. 
Although the area has high courts and a sub-registry for Industrial court, an October 19 cause list displayed at the court notice board yesterday only displayed the cases under the Chief Magistrate’s Court. 
A total of 148 cases were due for expedited hearing and determination respectively between October 17 and 21 but will now have to be rescheduled.

Sources at the Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday told this publication that while the judicial officers are available, a bigger number of the affected litigants and their lawyers are unable to access the court due to the travel ban.
“It would be unfair to cause a hearing for a particular case where one of the concerned parties is unable to come to court because of the travel ban. In such a circumstance, we have to reschedule the case to a date after the lockdown. The court cannot issue arrest and production warrants at the moment,” the source said.

The Mubende Court registry has remained open to receive the cases for those who can travel there but some court staff may find it difficult to walk long distances.
When contacted, the Judiciary spokesperson, Mr Jameson Karemani, said they were in a meeting and would later issue a statement and guidelines for the Mubende Judicial area.
“The meeting regarding the Mubende court is underway and a statement and guidelines will be issued shortly,” he said.
Mr Edmond Kwesiga, one of the affected litigants, said he was on Monday supposed to report back to court for bail extension in a trespass case against him but failed to travel.

“I cannot ride a motorcycle to Mubende Chief Magistrate’s Court for my bail extension. I fear that the court will issue a warrant of arrest because of my failure to report on October 17,” he said. Another source said the court lacks an isolation facility where the suspects can be kept because the prisons cannot admit any more inmates. 
A source said the court cannot also get movement permits for all the staff.
While the lockdown guidelines give powers to the district security committee to issue movement permits, Ms Rosemary Byabasaija, the RDC, said they cannot issue them to every specified category because they have a restricted number for each department.