Rwenzururu kingdom prime minister released on bail, court sets conditions

By Sania Babirye
The Rwenzururu kingdom Prime Minister Thembo Kitsumbire has been released on bail. Jinja High court  judge Eva Luswata granted  Kitusumbire   a non -cash bail of 75 million shillings while his  sureties entered into a non cash bond  of 100 million shillings each.
Court set other  bail conditions  similar to those  set for the temporary release of  the Rwenzururu king  Charles Wesely Mumbere. Kitsumbire’s movements have been   restricted to districts forming the Kasese region. While releasing Kitsumbire on bail, court put into consideration  his  advanced age of 62 , grave illness ;  hypertension, ulcers  and  prostate related problems which cannot be handled in prison.
 The Rwenzururu kingdom premier has been   on remand at Luzira prison since December last year  on  charges of murder, terrorism  and  treason  in connection with  November 2016 violence  in Kasese district that left more than 100  people dead.  . He is charged   alongside Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere and more than 170 royal guards.

South Korean president thrown out of office

Judges unanimously upheld parliament’s decision to impeach Ms Park over her role in a corruption scandal involving her close friend, Choi Soon-sil.

She now loses her presidential immunity and could face criminal charges.

There have been angry scenes outside the court. Police said two protesters had died.

The court ruling is the culmination of months of political turmoil and public protest. An election must now be held within 60 days.

Ms Park’s office said she would not be leaving the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential palace, on Friday nor making any statement.

Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn has called for calm, saying the government should remain stable to prevent internal conflict from spreading.

At the heart of the drama lies the close friendship between the president and Ms Choi.

Ms Choi is accused of using her presidential connections to pressure companies to give millions of dollars in donations to non-profit foundations she controlled.

Ms Park is alleged to have been personally involved in this, and to have given Ms Choi unacceptable levels of access to official documents.

Parliament voted to impeach Ms Park in December and the Constitutional Court has since been deciding whether to uphold or overturn this.

On Friday, a panel of eight judges ruled Ms Park’s actions “seriously impaired the spirit of… democracy and the rule of law”.

The court said she had broken the law by allowing Ms Choi to meddle in state affairs, and had breached guidelines on official secrets by leaking numerous documents.

Ms Park had “concealed completely Choi’s meddling in state affairs and denied it whenever suspicions over the act emerged and even criticised those who raised the suspicions,” it said.

But the judges dismissed some charges, including accusations Ms Park had infringed on freedom of the press by creating a media blacklist of cultural figures, and criticism of her response during the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster.

Ms Park was already suspended from presidential duties, with the prime minister taking over her responsibilities.

But she must now leave office – and her official residence – and a presidential election will be held within the next 60 days.

She has also lost her presidential immunity so could now face criminal charges over allegations she colluded with Ms Choi.





Soldier to sue UPDF for unlawful discharge

By Sania Babirye
A Uganda People’s Defense Forces soldier has vowed to sue the army for unlawful and wrongful discharge from the force which he says he has served for 18 years with a clean record. Major Ronald Iduuli is also seeking a compensation of 1.2 billion shillings as damages after top army bosses illegally dismissed him from the position of defense counsel at General Court Martial sending him on forced leave which contravened the UPDF act.
Iduuli says the two processes violated the constitution since he was dismissed from the office of defense counsel without any instrument from the president (Commander in chief) who appointed him or CDF undermined Article 98 (1) of constitution.
The  forced retirement contravened section 20 (3) (f) of the UPDF Act which mandates only commissions board with powers to retire officers who have applied  be retired, but for his case he had never applied .

Criminal summon issued against Besigye for not appearing in Court

By Sania Babirye
FDC former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has stood his ground and refused to return to  the Nakawa magustrate  court for mention of his treason case as promised.
This is after Besigye vowed to not appear in court willingly until the DPP committed him for trial inthe high court.
Besigye has since then petitioned the high court over the matter and the case is up for hearing on the 22 of March . Even today state informed court that investigations into the matter are still on going.
However, Nakawa grade one magistrate Noah Ssajabi has issued criminal summons to Besigye after  prosecution led by  Racheal Nabwire  asked court to issue criminal summon against Besigye accusing him of missing court with no explanation.
Magistrate Sajjabi has now  signed  summons requiring Besigye to appear in court on the 27th/March 2017 for further mention of his case as police investigations are still  on-going.
Its close to nine months since the DPP charged Besigye with treason but has failed to Commit him for trial in high court which has the jurusdiction to try capital offenses.
And Besigye says that until the DPP concludes his alleged investigations and commits him he will not continue to waste his time and money appearing in the lower court with no powers to try his case.
Besigye is charged with treason after a video of him taking oath as the legally elected president of Uganda in the conclude Febuary 2016 General elections surfaced on social media which he does not deny.

Rubanda Court sessions held at district headquarters compound, magistrate sits on the ground

The Grade Two magistrates Court in Rubanda is now operating at the District Headquarters compound due to lack of structures and furniture. The only available court room is too small to accommodate the Magistrate, lawyers, witnesses, suspects and the audience.

Prior to the creation of the new district last year, court sessions would be held at the County conference (Lukiiko) hall, which was later transformed into the District conference (Lukiiko) hall upon the operationalization of the new district in July.

In the new arrangement, handcuffed suspects, witnesses, sureties and the audience sit on the ground as they listen to the cases read by the magistrate. But locals say that the arrangement is disturbing and are demanding that the district authorities together with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs construct a bigger court room.

Joseph Maguru 59, a resident from Hamurwa Sub County says that he was devastated when a prison warder told him that a person he had visited at the court was among the crowd that was seated on the ground, in front of a small courtroom. He was equally advised to join the group since the court did not have any furniture for visitors.

Jane Mukandinda, 47, a resident of Karukara in Hamurwa Town Council, Rubanda District was also at the court to stand surety for one of the suspects. Mukandinda described the sight of the court session as shameful.

Silva Baguma, the Rubanda District Vice Chairman says that court sessions in Rubanda and often adjourned whenever the weather changes. During rainy days, everyone scampers to the neighborhoods while suspects are taken back to Rubanda Government Prison for shelter.

Baguma says that lack of furniture is a general problem at the district.

Bernard Kasangaki, the Rubanda District Principle Assistant Secretary says that the District is still financially incapacitated. He however says that the district is willing to offer land to any organisation that would offer to construct a bigger courtroom.

Grade two Magistrate Richard Niwagaba says the matter will be forwarded to the judicial service commission for consideration.



Mumbere’s subjects hope that he will be released today following discussions with State

There is calm at Jinja High Court where Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere is expected for his bail application hearing.

Mumbere’s previous appearances have been characterised by heavy security deployment, closing of some roads and restricted access to court premises. Today there is open access to court, no security deployment  and roads have not been closed.

Mumbere was initially granted bail on the 13th January by High Court judge Eva Luswata. He was however, re-arrested immediately upon release and slapped with fresh charges.

Meanwhile there is hope among the Rwenzururu kingdom subjects after the kingdom officials negotiated with the state for Mumbere’s release today.

Clearance Bwambale, the Rwenzururu Spokesperson, told URN that members of the royal family including Mumbere’s brother and Agriculture state minister Christopher Kibanzanga, will stand surety for the king. According to Bwambale, the state wasn’t impressed when opposition politicians stood surety for Mumbere during the first bail application.

Some of the Members of Parliament from Kasese have been at court as early as 9am and are still waiting for Mumbere to appear in court.
Mumbere applied for bail citing ill health, advanced age and having a place of abode in Munyonyo, Kampala where he would stay in case he was granted bail.

Mumbere was remanded together with his Prime Minister, Johnson Thembo Kitsumbire and 161 royal guards to Luzira Prisons in November last year over the Kasese clashes, which claimed the lives of more than 100 people.

They face 41 counts including treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and malicious damage to property.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) raided Mumbere’s palace in Kasese on the weekend of November 26th and 27th after the king reportedly refused to hand over some of his guards. The state accuses the guards of being behind violent attacks on civilians and security installations in the Rwenzori region.




Besigye vows not to return to court for the treason case mention

By Sania Babirye
Former FDC presidential Candidate Dr. Kiiza Besigye says he will petition the constitutional court seeking orders to halt treason charges against him before the Nakawa court.
This follows failure by the DPP to commit Besigye to the high court for trial since May 2016 when he was arrested and charged with treason . Besigye was charged after a video clip  emerged of him taking oath of Presidency months after the February elections.
Prosecution asked for more time to complete investigation of the case which is still ongoing so that Besigye can be committed for trial. Besigye today appeared before Nakawa chief magistrate Noah Ssajabi and  vowed not to return back to Nakawa court for mention of the same case.The case has been adjourned to the 27th of February for further mention.

Man sent to jail for stealing iron bars

By Sania Babirye
A 32 year old man has been sentenced to two months in prison for stealing two iron bars worth 40,000 shillings.
Ivan Kalanzi of Komamboga Kwata zone in Kawempe division appeared before City Hall Court grade one magistrate Moses Nabende and pleaded guilty to the charge.
He committed the offense on 15 January 2017. He will serve his sentence in Luzira prison.

Man sues UK immigration department for losing his passport, demands 60M compensation

By Sania Babirye
A Ugandan citizen has dragged the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration department to the High court seeking 60 million shillings for the loss of his passport and other travel documents.
Moses Kabanda  alleges that  between 29th/June and 6th /August 2016, he  applied for a UK Visa, but after some time  he was informed that   his passport along with other documents were  misplaced  in a consignment while in transit to  the UK Visa and  immigration decision making centre in Pretoria South Africa.
Kabanda now wants court to compel the respondent’s to pay him the money he spent on replacing the lost documents. The UK Visas and Immigration department has been given 15 days to file its response.

Mumbere appears at Jinja high court amid tight security

By  Sania Babirye
Charles Wesley Mumbere the Rwenzururu cultural leader has arrived at Jinja High court amid tight security for his bail hearing.
All roads leading to the high court have been sealed off with a few people who have been allowed to access court being thoroughly checked by security personnel.  High court judge Eva Luswata handling the application filed by the Rwenzururu cultural leader.
Mumbere together with other 160 people including his royal guards women and children are charged with terrorism, treason, murder ,robbery ,attempted murder and malicious damage to property in relation to last year’s  Kasese violence that  left more than  100 people dead. It’s alleged that they committed the offences between the months of March and November 2016. Mumbere is currently on remand at  Luzira maximum prison.