This civil case was referred to the JCU Kasese Centre by the Uganda Human Rights Commission. Involved are 41-year-old John and Elaine, his client. John is a casual labourer and blasts huge stones for a living. He was approached by Elaine to remove stones from her piece of land at the beginning of this year. It was agreed that Elaine would pay UGX 470.000 for two big stones however, upon embarking on the work and completing about 70% of it, John realised that Elaine had underestimated the work. He requested for more money and instead Elaine took him instantly to the police station on charges of “breach of contract”. Robert alleged that he was maltreated and threatened by police, and that the police pressured him to refund UGX 400.000 within three days. John was thereafter released on police bond and asked to hand in his bicycle and 4-inch mattress as security for police bond!
It turned out that Elaine was the wife of a Judicial Officer and she was using her position in society to oppress a defenseless man using the police. Although this was a civil dispute, police had detained John and forced him to deposit his bicycle and brand-new mattress at the police station. Additionally, he had been ordered to pay Elaine UGX 400.000, short of which he would be re-arrested and kept in police custody. Please note that police bond is always FREE and the police have no right to confiscate your property or force you to repay money to anybody! Furthermore, the police have no right to threaten or mistreat anyone in police custody and to detain somebody having a civil dispute!
In October 2021, this matter was brought to the attention of JCU and taken on by the Kasese Centre through a JCU legal volunteer, who informed and requested the Kasese Division Police Commander (DPC) office at Kasese Central Police Station (CPS) to intervene. This was after inviting Elaine for an office mediation which she refused to attend for no valid reason. The legal volunteer followed up with the DPC who informed JCU that the client’s property had been repossessed from the Police Post and sent to Kasese CPS.
The Division Police Commander also mentioned that Elaine had been summoned by police but she still did not turn up hence leading to the closure of the file. There was no acknowledgement from Elaine that she was doing something wrong and that she was the reason for the ill treatment of John. She was unapproachable and ignorant towards the implications of her deeds. Eventually John got back all his possessions but the damage was done and he lost hope and trust in the law enforcers. Nonetheless, he was more than happy that he wasn’t left alone with his problem and he couldn’t believe JCU had intervened in his matter and assisted him for free. “I now have my bicycle and mattress. Thank you, Justice Centres, for the free assistance” said John while he visited the offices.