Our Mandate

To strengthen coordination and networking of LASPs, harmonisation and standardisation of legal aid service provision by the different service providers, lobbying and advocacy to facilitate a favourable legal and policy environment.


 The Legal Aid Service Providers’ Network (LASPNET) in partnership with National Social Security Fund (NSSF), on 29th April 2022 conducted a Legal Aid Open Day at Boma grounds and an outreach at Kabalye Remand Home in Masindi district. The event was organized under the theme “Promoting Legal Aid Employees’ Rights by bringing Justice closer to the People” and was presided over by His Lordship Hon. Justice Byaruhanga Jesse Rugyema of Masindi High Court Circuit attracted a total of 133 clients (85-male and 48 female) who flocked the grounds to seek legal aid services on legal issues affecting their communities especially in relation to land grabbing, corruption, human rights violations and abuses among others.  Also in attendance were justice institutions such as Uganda Prison Services; Judicial Service Commission; Uganda Human Rights Commission; Local Government; Legal Aid Service Providers and Media.

A group photo of all the participants at the NSSF-LASPNET Legal Aid Open Day in Masindi

In her introductory remaks, Dr. Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa, the CEO of LASPNET informed the participants that LASPNET and NSSF have leveraged on their mutual partnership since 2017 to convene legal aid open days across various hard to reach districts with an aim of extending legal aid services to the poor and vulnerable. In order to sustain such intervention, she underscored the need for government to fast track the enactment of the National Legal Aid Bill 2022 into law citing that over 80% of Ugandans cannot access services of a conventional legal practitioner due to the fact that the available Legal Aid Services Providers are few and restricted to urban centers.

While commenting on legal issues affecting the community in the district, she reminisced about her stay in Masindi as young Judicial Officer in 2000 and said, “Over the years this area has notably known for particular crimes such as land grabbing and cattle rustling. I am not certain whether such crimes are still persistent however one thing I need to bring to your attention are land related cases that are likely to escalate around this region as a result of the oil discovery and production and this will obviously call for the need for legal aid since often times it’s the indigent that suffer land injustices.” She therefore concluded by calling upon the public to report human rights violations and abuses to the responsible authorities and thereafter shared the LASPNET Toll free line (0800100155) as one of the response mechanisms.

On the side of NSSF, Mr. John Ahebwa, the NSSF Area Manager for Masindi before inviting the NSSF Legal Advisory Services Manager appreciated the partnership between LASPNET and NSSF which he said has been a great deal in deepening Corporate Social Responsibility especially in deprived communities. He said NSSF is mandated by government through the NSSF Act, Cap 222 (Laws of Uganda) to provide social security services to all employees in Uganda in the private sector.

 The same mandate was re-echoed by Mr. Joseph Kalinaki, NSSF Legal Advisory Services Manager who represented the Corporate Secretary of NSSF, additionally said that the NSSF is a key promoter of Access to Justice because it has a bearing on the social security and welfare of its members. “This Legal Aid Open Day is twofold; it is meant to extend legal aid services to the poor and vulnerable and at the same time enlighten the public about NSSF’s mandate through helping them to understand their rights as employees and employers to ensure that they comply with the provisions of the NSSF Act. We hope to continue this partnership with LASPNET by convening more joint legal aid open days in other districts,” he assured the masses.

Ms. Nyakato Pamela the representative of LC5 district Chairperson was very excited about the event and in particular was appreciative of the organizers for having chosen Masindi district. She emphasized the timeliness of the Legal Aid Open day and implored the public to seize the opportunity by seeking legal aid services from the available Legal Aid Service Providers (LASPs). Her unreserved commitment on behalf of the district was that they were willing to support poor and vulnerable to access justice.

Also, at the event, Ms. Annet Karamagi, the District Probation Officer read out the Masindi statistical district report that revealed increasing cases of defilement which stood at 1675 noting that majority of the cases remain unreported. Whereas on the other hand, cases of teenage pregnancies recorded were 1703 and most disturbingly majority of the teenage victims had contracted HIV. She revealed with concern that in some instances parents negotiate cases of Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) involving their children thus calling upon law enforcement agencies to deal with such dubious practices. In her concluding remarks, she urged LASPNET to interest more LASPs to establish offices within the region since apparently there a few LASPs in the area amidst the ever-increasing socio and legal related problems.

SSP Elubu Francis Xavier, the Regional Commander of Masindi Prisons Service briefly addressed the public by warmly appreciating the opportunity extended to Uganda Prisons to participate and showcase at the open day. He mentioned that the role of Prisons is to transform criminals and that they have exceled in that realm through making prisoners productive by engaging craft making; carpentry and agriculture. He then invited the Chief Guest to make his key note address.

His Lordship Jesse Byaruhanga, the Resident Judge of Masindi began his Key note address by joining the previous Speakers to commend LASPNET and NSSF for the considerations to convene the legal aid open day in Masindi. While alluding to delayed justice within the region, His Lordship noted that the High Court of Masindi covers a wider area including Kibaale, Hoima and Kiryandongo with only one Residential Judge. “Prisons and Police end up being congested because of delays and backlog in courts hence translating into delayed and denied justice” he added.  His Lordship on the other hande appreciated the role played by LASPs in helping the poor access to justice, making a mention on the Legal Aid Clinic of Law Development Center (LAC-LDC), whose Lawyers he commended for professionalism, quality documents and helping court in creating awareness about court processes to Litigants. He then implored LASPs to take on plea-bargain as a tool to use in reducing prison decongestion.

While concluding his remarks, His Lordship reiterated the need to have more LASPs in Masindi. He thereafter his with rest of key guest inspected the different stalls of the different exhibitors who included Judicial Service Commission (JSC); Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC); Justice Centers Uganda (JCU); LAC-LDC; LASPNET; Uganda Prisons Service (UPS), LASPS such as; CEDO, LAP-ULS and FIDA-Luweero. The Judge was very fascinated by all the institutions that exhibited that day, most especially Ugandan Prison Services that showcased the food stuffs, crafts and carpentry items produced by Prisoners. Impressive of the stalls was the Uganda prisons where the guest listened to testimonies of reformed convicts, that were skilled to do carpentry, arts and crafts. Critical to note at the prions stall was the record management of prisoner at entry during and exit of the facility. Indeed, the open day guest were amazed by the professionalism of the Uganda prisons and commended them high for a great service to the nations.

During the Q&A question, the public raised several issues ranging from absenteeism of lower judicial officers; corruption and uncooperativeness of the Police; appreciated professionalism of the Prison officers; land grabbing and failure to meet compensations for locals by Chinese companies, non -cooperation of Uganda Police a situation that was affecting community policing; the army was not spared  where by members reported the rate of torturing Ugandans by the soldiers in Masindi Barracks coupled with the noise occasioned by the bombs detonated in the barracks is appalling. They said the residents of Kirasa sub-county are terrorized by tear gas, bullets, and bombs used by the UPDF training soldiers. Other clients sought to understand more about the procedural aspects of recovering their NSSF funds. All the questions were effectively handled by the various institutions who later shared their compliant and toll-free lines.  Specifically, to note was the fact that the Judge invited clients who had complaints about how their matters were handled to report to court in the subsequent week to have their concerns addressed by his office, which was a very good outcome of the open day.

As the legal aid open day was taking place, a team led by Ms. Faith Kimuli, Head Legal and Compliance Department of NSSF and a select LASPs paid a courtesy visit to Kabalye Remand Home where they interacted with the Officer in charge Ms. Ihungu Judith and the Juveniles. According to Ms. Judith, the home covers 8 districts in the region and it mainly receives only boys who have committed capital offences such as defilement, murder, robbery and theft. On a quarterly basis, the remand home receives between 25-30 juveniles and on that day, the facility had only 10 juveniles four (4) of them charged with capital offences and six (6) charged with petty offences. The children had an opportunity to share a meal with the guest and The Legal aid project of Masindi (ULS) arising out of this visit committed to regularly provide legal support to the children as need will arise.

Her Worship Bridget Nasasira Magistrate grade 1 Masaka and the - Western Region Board Representative gave closing remarks   at the open day. In her remarks she appreciated the NSSF for providing resources and LASPNET for organizing the Legal Aid Open Day as well LASPs for the commitment they have persistently shown toward the cause of Access to Justice. She implored the Judicial Service Commission to take the feedback on the insufficiency of judicial officers to appoint more human resource.

In a nut shell, the legal aid open day provided yet another opportunity for LASPNET and NSSF to extend legal aid services to the people of Masindi. It contributed towards increased awareness and provision of legal services in Masindi who remain yearning for more in terms of establishing legal aid offices for LASPs in the region.  LASPNET remains grateful to NSSF for this continued and mutual partnership reducing the gap in access to justice in Uganda and strengthening awareness and compliancy for the social security fund.

The open day in pictorial

In the above photos, His Lordship Hon. Justice Byaruhanga Jesse Rugyema touring the exhibition stalls; From top left, LASPNET stall, followed by LAP-ULS stall; And below from left; NSSF stall and Uganda Prisons’ stall.

From Left: A group photo of the Juveniles at their Remand home of Kablye and on right; the participants asking questions during the plenary session

Article compiled by

Mutebi Peter M.

Networking, Coordination & Partnership Officer

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