Lawyer Protests Adjournment of Police Housing Case to 2023

City lawyer Steven Kalali has expressed dissatisfaction with the adjournment of his case, in which he sued the government over the sorry police housing facilities. 

It came after High Court Civil Division Registrar, Jamson Karemani adjourned the matter to January 12th, 2023 on grounds that the trial Judge Dr. Douglas Singiza was away on judicial training. 

Although Moreen Ijang, who represented the Attorney’s General’s chambers was okay with the adjournment, Kalali said the adjournment to January was a frustration to the dispensation of justice.

While adjourning the matter, Karemani said it was impossible to get a nearer date because the Judge would still be away on leave in December 2022.   

Details of the Case   

In April 2022, Kalali petitioned the High Court for orders directing the government to provide decent housing for all police officers in the country. His petition came a month after legislators on the Internal Affairs Committee visited Jinja Police Barracks where they were greeted with dilapidated structures built-in 1934.   

In addition to the sorry state of the houses, the legislators also established that the Jinja Police barracks is home to 1,662 people as opposed to the planned population of 249 people. Kalali argued that since the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, police officers have continued living in dilapidated structures unfit for human habitation.   

He attached photos of dilapidated housing units in Mbale, Jinja, and Nsambya Police Barracks and the Auditor General Reports for 2012, 2016, and 2020, which pointed to the sorry state of the police barracks. Kalali further argued that Uganda is a signatory to Regional, International and treaties, which emphasize the right to a healthy environment.

These include among others the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, International Covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights among others. He explained in his petition that the Uganda Police Force receives budgetary allocations annually part of which should be used by the welfare department to cater to the well-being of the officers.   

He, however, said this hasn’t been done. He attached affidavits of some police officers who supported his case contending that there are no decent housing facilities in police facilities. Some of the officers indicated that they lack electricity and are made to sleep like pigs despite the budgetary allocations. 

According to the evidence before the court, officers in Nsambya Police Barracks share decker beds with their children, which clearly infringes on their right to privacy. The officers noted that there is no security for family life as the housing structures are dilapidated and characterized by poor drainage and sanitary facilities among others, which is unlawful. The Attorney General has not yet filed a response to this petition.

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