Kotido court concerned about absence of law firms in Karamoja 

Last Updated on: 5th July 2023, 12:36 pm

“Many people in Karamoja cannot afford to hire lawyers,” says a magistrate.

Kotido – November 25, 2022: The Kotido chief magistrate court which serves Kotido, Abim, Kaabong, and Karenga is concerned about the absence of law firms in the region.

The court says many people in the region are ignorant of the law and therefore need lawyers to represent them in court.

In an exclusive interview with TND News on Thursday, His Worship Awachnedi Fred, the chief magistrate of Kotido, said that many clients appear in court without lawyers yet they also don’t know how to interpret the law.

In his opinion, this is attributed to the high level of poverty in Karamoja, adding that many people in Karamoja cannot afford to hire lawyers.

He also opines that a law firm is a private business that can fail to meet the costs (of running it) if established in a place where there are no clients.

He now calls upon the people who need legal representation to utilize legal aid because their services are free of charge.

Counsel Everest Lowakori who is from Karamoja but owns a law firm in Mbale said in a phone interview that establishing a law firm in a particular place costs between shs 50m to shs 80m. 

“And it is risky to open such a business entity in a place where you cannot make profits to meet the cost,” Lowakori added.

He adds that all the cases that needed High Court were previously heard in Soroto but with the Resident Judge that has now been brought to Moroto, law firms are expected to open their offices in the region soon.


Emmanuel Seyikwo, a prominent businessman from Kotido district got legal representation from a lawyer while battling with Uganda Police Force in court over shs 40m that was not paid to him.

The amount was due after he completed a contract awarded to him to build a police accommodation unit in Kotido town. According to the businessman, he was paying his lawyer shs 1m shillings per appearance in court.

Sometimes, he said, the “money goes in vain when a court hearing is postponed”.

He also told this publication that the law firm took 8 per cent of shs 40m after the case was settled. “Getting legal representation in court is very expensive and cannot be afforded by most of the population in Karamoja.”

Seyikwo is now advocating for a law firm within Karamoja to reduce the burden and cost of getting lawyers from elsewhere.

Akore John Bosco, the secretary for Kotido Elders’ Council implores people to utilize the “court of elders” that prioritizes mediation of the grieved parties, adding that it is faster and not costly.

Legal Aid 

Legal Aid is a national member-based non-governmental organization established in 2004 to advise clients as to their legal rights and obligations, and as to the working of the legal system in as far as it is relevant to those rights and obligations.

It is to assist clients in every appropriate way, taking legal action to protect their interests.

The entire Karamoja currently relies on services from legal aid clinics.

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