NUP supporters protest continued detention as army court denies them bail again

Some of the NUP supporters in the dock

A National Unity Platform (NUP) supporter, Muydin Kakooza aka Saanya who has been on remand since May 2021, on Monday jumped out of the dock to charge at army court’s chairman Brig Robert Mugabe after being denied bail again for the third time.

Kakooza is accused alongside 27 others including Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kikaabe, Olivia Lutaaya, Abdu Matovu, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato, and Musa Kavuma of being in illegal possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices between November 2020 and May 2021 in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete, and Kampala Central.

The seven-member panel of the court chaired by Brig Mugabe denied the suspects bail on grounds that they did not prove that they have fixed places of abode in the court’s jurisdiction.

Although the court found the sureties of the accused persons who included politicians such as the leader of opposition in parliament (LoP) Joel Ssenyonyi to be substantial, they couldn’t be released on the basis that they are most likely to abscond once granted bail.

“In the premises, this court finds no merit in the application and declines to grant bail to the applicants. The application is hereby dismissed. Court orders an expeditious trial of the applicants in the main case. we so rule.”

Immediately after the ruling, Kakooza and other suspects together with their relatives turned rowdy, prompting the reinforcement of security at the court premises. 

Kakooza was beaten and lifted out of the court hall by military police and locked in a waiting military van where he continued to shout at the top of his voice, saying he was ready to pay with life to secure the freedom of other Ugandans. This is the second time that Kakooza has charged at the army court chairperson protesting the long stay on remand on bailable offences.     

The relatives of the accused person together with their sureties condemned the court ruling saying it is a violation of the accused person’s right to liberty. The accused persons have now been further remanded until May 6, 2024, for the prosecution to present their seventh witness.

Initially, the suspects were 32 in number, however, in April 2023 when the court heard their second bail application, it released only four of their co-accused whom the court found had substantial sureties.  

The remaining 28 supporters have been on remand in Kitalya and Luzira prisons since May 2021. The accused persons were arrested by CMI operatives after the police accused them of plotting to carry out petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings in various places in the country.

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on the Kasubi Royal tombs, on former Jinja resident city commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, on the Uganda Registration Services Bureau building, and the Katwe Police station, among others. They were reportedly planning to block President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni from swearing-in for his sixth term of office.

Source: The Observer

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