30 January 2019

Rwanda: Ombudsman Roots for Mediation in Resolving Family Disputes

The Ombudsman, Anastase Murekezi, has challenged the residents of Rwamagana District to always consider mediation first when dealing with family disputes before rushing to court processes.

Some family disputes taken to the Office of the Ombudsman by citizens, Murekezi said, expose the lack of dialogue among family members.

The Ombudsman was on Tuesday launching a three-day anti-injustice campaign in Rwamagana where he spent the better part of the day listening to cases of injustice that the residents face.

Most of the problems in rural Rwanda, he said, were land related disputes.

"There are problems we found that need to be discussed in families. For instance, we highly appreciated a judgement in Ngoma Intermediate Court where one case had not fairly been solved in lower courts, and the court decided to refer the case back to the family," he said.

"People should first discuss their disputes in families, especially those regarding property inheritance. When this does not work, they have to look for a third party to help them, from local leaders to courts."

The Ombudsman reminded the residents to utilise some of the government programmes in solving disputes before resorting to court processes.

Such initiatives include citizens' forums, parents' forums, as well as Abunzi community courts at the cell level.

He added that Rwandans have always found solutions to their problems from within.

In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, the Office of the Ombudsman received 2,493 cases of injustice dominated by land wrangles.

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