Centre for Legal Aid

Centre for Legal Aid Centre for Legal Aid is a nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organisation dedicated to adv
(3)

Fellow Countrymen and women, It is with great sorrow that we invite you to join the family of the bereaved in the burial...
15/04/2020

Fellow Countrymen and women,

It is with great sorrow that we invite you to join the family of the bereaved in the burial of Principal Judge Herbert Ntabgoba at Kisoro township in southwestern Uganda.

Don't miss the first ever digital burial of an icon of judicial excellence.

It will be streamed live on the page of KISORO FM (91.1 Kisoro FM) from 8:00am to 12:00 noon on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

Award winning counsel Isaac Ssemakadde will be providing live updates on Twitter

Let us all be live and honor the Fearless One with our presence in the landmark E-burial.

Many thanks to Advocates Isaac Ssemakadde, Sulaiman Kakaire and Isabella Nakiyonga for supporting the Covid-19 rapid res...
12/04/2020

Many thanks to Advocates Isaac Ssemakadde, Sulaiman Kakaire and Isabella Nakiyonga for supporting the Covid-19 rapid response desk at our Centre for Legal Aid throughout this lockdown period.

Your courage and sacrifices have helped bring Easter cheer to many families that had almost lost hope of fair and just treatment for their beloved.

Folks, let's end the stigma against Coronavirus/Covid-19 suspects together. Let's win this war together, without panicking and excessively burdening the rights of the most unfortunate in our society.

Remember our Centre for Legal Aid remains open for all those still in quarantine who want to speak to a lawyer, during this difficult time. Don't suffer alone this Easter.
We love you.

Jesus chooses to lay down on the cross in place of us so that we can have life. So great is his love for each one of us....
12/04/2020

Jesus chooses to lay down on the cross in place of us so that we can have life. So great is his love for each one of us. Let us praise and worship Him.

May the joy of the resurrection of Christ guide us to overcome our fears so that we can end the stigma against Covid-19 suspects with compassion and boldness.

The Season of the commemoration of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ is one of great pain, hope and joy.
May it be an inspiration and reminder to us, Ugandans and the entire humanity that every situation that we currently face will come to an end and the end will be a glorious one.

At the Centre for Legal Aid, our dedicated team of Advocates is available to offer support to all that are still under quarantine.
With love, respect and dignity, we shall overcome this difficult period more United and stronger.

He has risen, He Lives!

Jimmy Spire Ssentongo

11/04/2020

DR JIMMY ‘SPIRE’ SSENTONGO, ABSOLVED: ‘I HAVE CONSISTENTLY TESTED NEGATIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19’

Kampala, 10 April 2020, 1800 hours

The celebrity cartoonist, distinguished scholar and popular columnist for The Observer was a victim of a bureaucratic mess and an injustice.

Immediately upon returning from an academic retreat at Cambridge University in the UK on 18 March 2020, Spire and others on different flights were accused of being Coronavirus/Covid-19 carriers and sentenced to an indefinite period in prison, disguised as ‘mandatory institutional quarantine’ in terms of Uganda’s public health measures for combating the global pandemic.

However on 7 April 2020 attorneys from Centre for Legal Aid (CLA), a division of the Kampala-based democracy and human rights watchdog Legal Brains Trust, petitioned the minister of health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng against her decision to keep Spire and ‘others similarly situated’ in institutional quarantine beyond the 14 days recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Award-winning lawyer and CLA director Isaac Ssemakadde argued that the minister’s decision was neither backed by law nor sufficient evidence, and thus his clients must be ‘absolved, discharged and released without further delay.’

Minister Aceng, who defended her stance on NTV primetime show ‘On The Spot’ the night before, grudgingly agreed to green-light the ‘phased’ release of Spire and other suspects at the Ntinda-based Arch Apartments quarantine centre with effect from 1730 hours on Good Friday, 10 April 2020.

‘For the people in institutional quarantine, when any of them tests positive, we begin the 14 days afresh, and the cycle continues. That is why [Spire and others] people are still in quarantine,’ the minister had initially countered on NTV, reiterating the draconian policy in her ‘Guidance on Institutional Quarantine’ published on 2 April 2020.

Upon his sudden release, the 40-year old academic and social media activist who was in the midst of a hunger strike, said: ‘I hold no ill-will towards my accusers and jailors, but I will continue to advocate for the rights of all law-abiding COVID-19 suspects in institutional quarantine to be treated humanely and to go home after testing negative without being subjected to arbitrary torturous extensions.’

While acknowledging the efforts of his several Facebook friends, some lone voices within the Ministry of Health, and campaigners across the world that amplified his plight, including an impromptu coalition of celebrity editorial cartoonists like John Curtis based in Cape Town, Terry Anderson based in Glasgow, Gado based in Kenya, and local tree-shakers Chris Ogon and Richard Kato, Spire further requested for ‘some privacy and time to heal and rest in self-isolation at his home.’

Any tips on how to survive the heavy toll of lockdown and curfew? ‘One needs to have a support system. I will say more about this in the near future, in case I survive the next ordeal,' the humourist quipped.

©️ Legal Brains Trust/Centre for Legal Aid.
For queries, contact +256-757-200204,

JUDGMENT DAY ANNOUNCED IN THE BIGGEST CORRUPTION CASE EVERJUDGMENT in the 8-year-old case in which Legal Brains Trust (L...
21/03/2020

JUDGMENT DAY ANNOUNCED IN THE BIGGEST CORRUPTION CASE EVER

JUDGMENT in the 8-year-old case in which Legal Brains Trust (LBT), a Kampala-based human rights watchdog, seeks orders of the Constitutional Court compelling city tycoon Hassan Bassajabalaba and 19 other elite respondents, including his bankers (Orient, Tropical, UBA and Baroda) to refund UGX 169 billion which they received from the Central Bank in 2011 shall be delivered on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 at 9:00 am.

Mr. Basajjabalaba’s Haba Group of Companies allegedly got the money as compensation following the cancellation of contracts he had entered into with the defunct KCC to own and manage Owino, Nakasero, Shauliyako and Nakawa markets and the Constitution Square.

Other respondents are the Attorney General, Bank of Uganda and its governor Prof Tumusiime-Mutebile, KCCA and 4 former town clerks of the defunct KCC (James Ssegane, Ruth Kijjambu, Gordon Mwesigye and William Tumwine), former ministers Syda Bumba and Prof Kiddu Makubuya, and the *4 commercial banks Orient, Tropical, UBA and Baroda.*

LBT argues that they all knowingly facilitated the questioned transactions for private gain, and to the detriment of the Ugandan citizens, for whom these funds would have availed the much-needed medicine in rural hospitals, long-awaited salary enhancement for teachers, judicial officers, and other vulnerable civil servants, as well as sanitary towels for girls, among other social amenities.

Although the President led a historic walk against it on 4 December 2019, the scourge of corruption continues to deplete the public treasury.

Will court eventually join the “Walk Against Corruption” and recognize the “right to a corrupt-free society” by issuing an innovative and impactful remedy? Or will it continue with the “Talk Against Corruption” by offering the culprits a declaratory slap on the wrist?

"The case is potentially precedent-setting. Whatever the outcome, this judgment will definitely have far-reaching consequences on the marriage of convenience between Uganda’s political and finance elites," said Mr Isaac Ssemakadde, the executive director of Legal Brains Trust, on receiving the notice of judgment.

For more information, call/SMS/WhatsApp Roy Rugumayo on 0706763599

JUDGMENT DAY: BASAJJABALABA  169B COMPENSATION CASE - THURSDAY, 9 January 2020 at 9:00 am_KAMPALA, Constitutional Court,...
09/01/2020

JUDGMENT DAY: BASAJJABALABA 169B COMPENSATION CASE - THURSDAY, 9 January 2020 at 9:00 am

_KAMPALA, Constitutional Court, Twed Towers, 4th Floor_

JUDGMENT in the 8-year-old case in which Legal Brains Trust (LBT), a Kampala-based human rights watchdog, seeks orders of the Constitutional Court compelling city tycoon Hassan Bassajabalaba and 19 other elite respondents, including his bankers (Orient, Tropical, UBA and Baroda) to refund UGX 169 billion which they received from the Central Bank in 2011 shall be delivered today, Thursday, 9 January 2020.

Mr. Basajjabalaba’s Haba Group of Companies allegedly got the money as compensation following the cancellation of contracts he had entered into with the defunct KCC to own and manage Owino, Nakasero, Shauliyako and Nakawa markets and the Constitution Square.

Other respondents are the Attorney General, Bank of Uganda and its governor Prof Tumusiime-Mutebile, KCCA and 4 former town clerks of the defunct KCC (James Ssegane, Ruth Kijjambu, Gordon Mwesigye and William Tumwine), former ministers Syda Bumba and Prof Kiddu Makubuya, and the 4 commercial banks Orient, Tropical, UBA and Baroda.

LBT argues that they all knowingly facilitated the questioned transactions for personal gain, and to the detriment of the Ugandan citizens, for whom these funds would have availed the much needed medicine in rural hospitals, long-awaited salary enhancement for teachers, judicial officers, and other vulnerable civil servants, as well as sanitary towels for girls, among other social amenities.

Although the President led a historic walk against it on 4 December 2019, the scourge of corruption continues to deplete the public treasury.

Will court eventually join the "Walk Against Corruption” and recognize the “right to a corrupt-free society” by issuing an innovative and impactful remedy?

Or will it continue with the “Talk Against Corruption” by offering the culprits a declaratory slap on the wrist?

“The case is potentially precedent-setting. Whatever the outcome, this judgment will definitely have far-reaching consequences on the marriage of convenience between Uganda’s political and finance elites,” said Mr Isaac Ssemakadde, the executive director of Legal Brains Trust, on receiving the notice of judgment.

For more information, call/SMS/WhatsApp Roy Rugumayo on 0706-763599

In the name of Justice, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
24/12/2019

In the name of Justice, we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

We are representing the students that were Suspended from Makerere University for allegedly inspiring and taking part in...
16/12/2019

We are representing the students that were Suspended from Makerere University for allegedly inspiring and taking part in the
demonstrations.

Two of these worriers; Siperia Mollie Saasiraabo and Simon Ssenogga have already been found not guilty of the charges the University has brought against them.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 17 December 2019, we shall be pushing hard to see that all the rest are acquited as well.

It is not illegal to peacefully demonstrate.

We shall be sharing the stories of Suspended students we have through the years helped to get reinstated, the economically disadvantaged of society whose land and livelihoods we have salvaged from the hungry grips of the rich and powerful, the workers whose jobs we have returned when they were unfairly sacked..
We shall be sharing with you all our work in the field of defending the rights of David in his struggle against Goliath.

Follow and like our page.

Please

The blanket ban on voting rights of Ugandan prisoners is illegal_By Isaac K. Ssemakadde_A spectre haunts every oppositio...
14/12/2019

The blanket ban on voting rights of Ugandan prisoners is illegal

_By Isaac K. Ssemakadde_

A spectre haunts every opposition politician seeking to participate in the forthcoming presidential, general parliamentary and local government council elections. It is the spectre of automatic disenfranchisement simply by being in prison at a crucial moment of the Electoral Commission’s 2021 roadmap.

In the run-up to the general elections of 2006, a lot of legal firepower was burnt to afford Prisoner No UR 898/05 Kiiza Besigye access to the ballot as a voter and candidate for the highest office in the country. Ruhinda County MP Dononzio Kahonda and Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri won their respective elections by a landslide, and by happenstance, as inmates. Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru, Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga and their numerous co-accused, who are presently battling charges of treason and other public order offences in Gulu High Court and in several magistrate’s courts across the country, are not likely to be as lucky as their aforementioned colleagues and comrades.

Since the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, prisoners in Uganda have been subject to a blanket ban on voting in the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. This ban, however, is not sanctioned by any law. It is rather effectuated through prejudice and a long tradition of treating all prisoners as outcasts and good-for-nothing second class citizens.

At Legal Brains Trust, we believe that twenty five years of disenfranchisement of prisoners through prejudice is far too long and plainly unjustifiable in a free and democratic society. It violates the basic tenets of our Constitution which accords every citizen of Uganda of eighteen years of age or above the right to vote. Parliament has not legislated any restrictions on the prisoner’s right to vote. To the contrary, existing laws compel the Electoral Commission to empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens in their own governance, and to ensure that all the people of Uganda have access to leadership positions at all levels, subject to the Constitution.

It is for these reasons that Legal Brains Trust has presented a complaint to the Electoral Commission, which is slated to complete the updating of the voters register today (11 December 2019), urging it to cease and desist from the unconstitutional, unlawful and undemocratic practice of disenfranchising eligible prisoners merely through prejudice.

*The Legal Position*

Article 20 of the 1995 Constitution provides that –

_(1) Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are inherent and not granted by the State._

_(2) The rights and freedoms of the individual and groups enshrined in this Chapter shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons._

Article 38(1) provides that “Every Uganda citizen has the right to participate in the affairs of government, individually or through his or her representatives in accordance with law.”

Article 59 (1) provides that “Every citizen of Uganda of eighteen years of age or above has a right to vote.”

According to Article 59(3), the State is duty-bound to take all necessary steps to ensure that all citizens qualified to vote register and exercise their right to vote.

According to Article 61(1)(e) the Electoral Commission is the State agency mandated to compile, maintain, revise and update the voters’ register. In performing this function, the Electoral Commission shall be guided by the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy among other constitutional values, including the democratic principles enshrined in paragraph II as follows:

_(i) The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance._

_(ii) All the people of Uganda shall have access to leadership positions at all levels, subject to the Constitution._

Whereas the right to vote is not absolute, the decided cases from numerous apex national courts and regional human rights tribunals concur that a general, automatic and indiscriminate restriction on the right to vote for prisoners is unacceptable and demonstrably unjustifiable in a free and democratic society.

In 2014 the UN Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations, reiterated its concern about state-level felon disenfranchisement laws of the United States of America and their disproportionate impact on minorities.

In post-apartheid South Africa, the Constitutional Court has twice struck down attempts by the government to deny the vote to convicted criminals in prison.

Clearly, the Ugandan State's prejudice against prisoners is unjustified and unjustifiable under Articles 21(4)(c) and 43 of the Constitution.

Mythbusting

A common myth is that all prisoners are lawless and on punishment. "Why should they be allowed to make decisions for the free, law-abiding citizens?"

In the first place, not all prisoners are have been tried, convicted and sentenced to serve a custodial punishment for being lawless. Some inmates are in prison on remand awaiting the commencement or completion of their trial.

Meanwhile, the convicts have been sent to prison purposely to undergo rehabilitation and reform in anticipation of reintegration into society as better decision-makers.

No evidence has been advanced or exists to support the proposition that disenfranchisement deters crime. On the other hand, all of the available evidence shows that activities like participating and voting in national elections promote social inclusion, civic engagement and can reduce marginalisation, disadvantage and poverty, all of which are significant causal factors and risk indicators of criminal activity.

Facilitating prisoners to register and vote is therefore likely to promote rehabilitation, integration and participation.

But from a broader human rights perspective, the right to vote is important not only for nationhood and democracy, but also for protecting and promoting the basic dignity of every citizen. Everybody surely counts, and their vote in national elections matters.

_The author is the chief executive of Legal Brains Trust, a Kampala-based human rights watchdog.

Address

Teachers’ House, 2nd Floor
Kampala
256

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Centre for Legal Aid posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to Centre for Legal Aid:

Share

Category


Other Legal Services in Kampala

Show All