The hearing of a case in which opposition politicians; Dr Kizza Besigye and Samuel Lubega Mukaaku are accused of inciting violence has flopped.
Besigye and Mukaaku today Thursday before Buganda Road Magistrate’s court for the prosecution led by state attorney Ivan Kyazze to bring more witnesses to testify against the duo.
While in court, their file was called before grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao who informed them that the trial magistrate Asuman Muhumuza is indisposed and therefore the trial couldn’t go on.
Kyazze was ready to proceed and had come with another prosecution witness in the case. Defense lawyers led by Musa Matovu who was holding a brief for defense lawyer Erias Lukwago were also ready but had no objection to the adjournment. The case was adjourned to June 21 for the hearing to resume.
Matovu said that there seems not to be any progress in the trial because it is either the magistrate or the state attorney who is absent, which they say, affects their right to a speedy hearing.
Besigye and Mukaaku were arrested in June last year while protesting against the skyrocketing prices of commodities in the country. The prosecution accuses them of staging an illegal assembly at Kikuubo Shauriyako parish in Kampala Central Division where they allegedly made statements, indicating that it would be desirable to demonstrate, which was an act calculated to cause damage and destruction of property.
So far prosecution witnesses who have testified in the case include David Nahamya the head of operations at Kampala Central police station (CPS). He said that Besigye and Mukaaku’s actions caused commotion downtown and disrupted business.
Nahamya said that he was at CPS when he was called by the officers in the CCTV room informing him that there was a group of people gathered at the Qualicel building at Mini Price and that there was a lot of commotion. Court heard that as an officer in charge of operations, he had to mobilize police officers to go and find out what had caused the gathering.
He said that when they proceeded downtown, they found commotion and Besigye had parked his vehicle in the middle of the road together with Mukaaku. He said that they were mobilizing people to rise against the government using a megaphone and speaking in Luganda.
According to Nahamya Besigye and Mukaaku’s actions blocked traffic and people from accessing their shops before blocking the public from moving freely. Nahamya added that when he tried to engage them, they were not cooperative but became violent to his colleague who tried to grab the loudspeaker from them.
Court heard previously that the two later locked themselves in Besigye’s vehicle forcing Nahamya to seek reinforcement to restore calm downtown. Besigye’s vehicle was towed to CPS where it is kept to date as one of the exhibits in this case.
In October 2022, grade one magistrate Asuman Muhumuza ordered the state to return Besigye’s vehicle which had been impounded. The vehicle is yet to be released to Besigye.
Source: The Observer