GDM vulnerable legal services was founded as a ministry of Global Discipleship Ministries to serve as a means of advocacy to the vulnerable people of Uganda who can not afford to pay for an advocate. It was started by Anita Tumwine as the advocate and director & Pastor Elijah Sebuchu as Patron.
This ministry, which began in May 2005, advocates for the rights of the orphans and widows and the indigent who are assessed as those who donít earn 1 dollar a day.
In Uganda, orphans and widows whose numbers are hiking due to HIV and Aids, civil wars, and malaria, among other things, are the most exploited yet they are the most vulnerable without security and money.
Some of the major cases which are rampant are;
Some of the activities we are carrying out;
- Property grabbing by the relatives of the deceased husbands especially land. In Uganda 85% of the population depend on agriculture as a source of both food and income.
- The wealthy cheat the poor, widows, orphans by either undervaluing land that they buy from them or by grabbing their land, houses and other properties
- Widow inheritance: forceful marriage of widows by relatives of the deceased husbands.
- Custody issues ( children are grabbed from their mothers after loss of their mothers
- Accident cases (whereby the poor cannot afford lawyers yet they are injured in motor accidents, construction sites, etc.
- Criminal cases(the poor are languishing in court without being heard due to lack of lawyers fees
- Family/maintenance issues ( the rich have children with poor women and neglect maintaining them etc
a) Sensitization at Grassroots levelb) Mediation and conflict resolution
Sensitization about human rights has been carried out in many parts of the country. Since a big percentage of about 85% of the population is ignorant and illiterate the educated take advantage of that, exploiting the poor by using the law to the latterís disadvantage.
Priority for resolving these issues is given to mediation which is considered as less costly and less time consuming.
- In the last four years, there have been at least 20 cases in court that have been completed in the favor of the vulnerable
- There has been sensitization at grass root level through churches.
- There have been at least 49 cases resolved through mediation.
Due to lack of funds, cases take too long to be completed
Due to lack of funds, Anita Tumwine is still the only permanent staff.
There is difficulty in transportation for the attorney who has to use public means or walk on foot in order to reach out to needy.
Some cases are dismissed in court due to lack of private transportation.
The very poor are left out because they cannot afford legal costs even after the professional fees have been waived.
The Organization cannot afford purchasing current laws i.e. statutes, casebooks, or any other necessary materials.
It is hard to pay utility bills
Injustice is done to the poor since the courts are not mindful of them, are corrupt and they end up conniving with the more advantaged side that is able to pay under the table in order to win the case.
The Organization will still carry on its noble activities of defending the defenseless and speaking for the voiceless. However, for its day to day smooth operation, GDM believes God for partners in resources, skills, materials and funds among other things.
For more information, contact:
GDM VULNERABLE LEGAL SERVICES,
P.O BOX 6809, KAMPALA, UGANDA