Local leaders who obstruct justice must be held accountable

Delayed execution of court verdicts has increasingly been cited by residents, countrywide, among the main causes of conflicts at the grassroots. Residents of Nyarubuye Sector, Kayonza District are among the latest to voice their frustrations arising from the reluctance by bailiffs to enforce court decisions.

Delayed execution of court verdicts has increasingly been cited by residents, countrywide, among the main causes of conflicts at the grassroots. Residents of Nyarubuye Sector, Kayonza District are among the latest to voice their frustrations arising from the reluctance by bailiffs to enforce court decisions.

This comes barely months after local watchdog, Transparency Rwanda, highlighted delayed execution of court orders as one of the major concerns that were raised by the public during a national survey.

The idea of having local leaders doubling as court bailiffs is not only cost effective, for the taxpayer, but it is also built on the premise that the authorities are the enforcers of the law, including court orders. Furthermore, this arrangement also helps avoid unnecessary power struggles and potential stalemate, while it helps enhance coordination at the grassroots. As such, stripping local leaders of the bailiff powers might end up counteractive.

Therefore, it is important that local leaders understand their role as court bailiffs and endeavor to dispense that responsibility with the same sense of urgency they demonstrate with other duties. They should understand that failure to implement court decisions amounts to blocking justice, an act they should be held responsible for.

Additionally, it is necessary that relevant organs launch a thorough investigation into the continued reluctance of some local leaders to execute court decisions with a view of bringing this disturbing tendency to an end. If a local leader is found to have taken a bribe to frustrate a judicial process, they should be punished according to the law. And, should such a leader have conflict of interest in the case in question, it is important that a solution is urgently devised to ensure that justice prevails.

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