RWAMAGANA/NYAGATARE - Over 1000 mediators in Rwamagana and Nyagatare districts, commonly known as Abunzi, were sworn in on Thursday.
The Rwamagana ceremony was presided over by Judge Theogene Nyirinyindi of Kigabiro Primary Court.Mediators are mandated to resolve a certain category of land issues and immovable assets cases, whose values don’t exceed Rwf3 million.
On criminal cases, the mediators will handle crimes like defamation, larceny and petty cases provided the cases involve compensations worth less than Rwf 3 million.
Jean D’arc Horanimana, a local official said the appointment of the mediators is expected to ease pressure on the courts and help reduce backlog of cases.
She pointed out that the new mediators’ mandate has been increased from two years to five years.
“Training people to work for only two years is not economical,” she said.
“Mediators are very important in that they handle cases almost of the same magnitude with that of the primary courts. The new mediators will no doubt ease the work load of other courts.”
The legal advisor of Rwamagana district, Alphonsine Mukakamari, urged the mediators to exhibit integrity in their work.
Josue Magarisitwenimana, a mediator in Kagarama village, Musha sector, said he was ready to serve his people as a mediator.
Meanwhile, Gaspard Gakundanyi, the legal advisor in Nyagatare district, while officiating at the swearing- in -ceremony of local mediators from eight sectors of the district, urged the new officials to be honest while executing their duties.
The sworn-in-mediators were publicly elected by residents in their respective sectors and 12 mediators will represent each sector.
Gakundanyi told the newly sworn in officials that they cannot do their work successfully unless they command trust among residents.
“You cannot be good mediators when you still harbour nepotism, sectarianism…a good mediator is characterised by integrity and justice,” he said.