Court Suspends Trial Session Citing Sanitation Crisis

1637 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Another court official who spoke on condition of anonymity said adequate water last reached the facility three weeks ago. The official says the water was delivered from external tanks at a cost, which became unsustainable.

The trial session of the northern Uganda court circuit in Gulu district has grounded to a halt due to the sanitation crisis. The northern Uganda Court circuit is home to two grade one magistrate courts, a grade two magistrate Court, Chief Magistrate's Court, Gulu High court and the Civil Court, which serves people from the eight districts making up Acholi sub region.
 
 
The decision follows the closure of all toilets used by inmates, court officials and prison warders due to lack of water for cleaning and flushing. Henry Twinomuhwezi, the Gulu High Court Registrar says Court can't continue sitting in a filthy environment.
 
 
Twinomuhwezi wrote to the prison authorities on Tuesday last week asking them not to bring inmates to court. Twinomuhwezi told URN this morning that they can no longer handle the high number of inmates coming to Court without proper sanitary facilities.
 

"For the meantime, we have asked prison officials not to bring inmates to courts because of the current water crisis. As a public facility, we need enough water, which we are not getting", Twinomuhwezi stated. According to Twinomuhwezi, currently they receive few drops of water during the morning hours that can't sustain the toilet facilities. 



Another court official who spoke on condition of anonymity said adequate water last reached the facility three weeks ago. The official says the water was delivered from external tanks at a cost, which became unsustainable. 



Twinomuhwezi says the court has been halted for a week as the devise means of addressing the water crisis. "Court will only hear bail applications and civil matters which don't attract a very high number of people", he said.  Our reporter tried to access the toilets but found them locked.



Hundreds of residents were gathered outside the court facility waiting to be served.  On Thursday, Gulu Chief Magistrate, Deogratius Ssejembea complained of foul smell in the premises in open court.
 
He said the whole facility stinks with maggot emanating from court wash rooms. For nearly two months, National Water and Sewerage Corporation has been rationing water supply in Gulu town. The authority blames the crisis on prolonged drought, which affected Oyitino Dam, Gulu's major water reservoir.