Now, I don’t know if this extract below is from a book about Uganda. I have simply borrowed it from the Facebook wall of Mr. Kakwenza Rukirabaishaija, but it certainly rings bells for me. The few agonizing times I have had to interact with the preferred legal system of our nation-state immediately came to mind when I read it.
Uganda’s justice system, firstly, is conducted in the official language of the nation-state Uganda, English; an exogenous language and of which a significant population of Uganda have insufficient command.
There is a belief in Uganda, moreover, that one who speaks English has to have gone through Uganda’s formal colonial global-western education and is better than one who does not speak English. Read more on it in: “Speaks English = Responsible Citizen?”
Court proceedings happening in English and sometimes the accused and or the plaintiff don’t understand the language. How are the most important parties in the court – the defendant and the plaintiff then expected to appreciate the proceedings and make a determination as to whether justice served was on the basis of the truth.
Perhaps, that is why it is not uncommon for many to come out of court dissatisfied. And, seemingly, in most cases, they would be right to be dissatisfied. I, for one, was often left in disbelief at the blatant lies that were told to courts of law, the times I have been among the parties.
Moreover, some of those liars did so comfortably knowing that turning their lies into what would be allowed as truth was simple. In which case, even Ugandans, such as I, who have a great command of the English language fall victim sometimes.
Apparently, lies are easily turned into truth if one has the money and the propensity for dishing out bribes. I am economically empowered to sustain, somewhat, the costs of pursuing justice through the legal justice system of our nation-state Uganda – which is de facto a bastardized version of the colonial justice system that the English established.
But still I too are often left flummoxed at the degree to which it is based on untruths rather than truths.
Hence, my conviction that the justice systems of the first nations of Uganda, such as Mato Oput of the Acholi Nation, are more based on dispensing justice on the basis of truth, and so they are the better ones.