Security tight at High court as Muslim clerics murder suspects await judgement

By Sania Babirye

The international crimes division of the high court will at 2 o’clock  deliver its judgement  in a case in which  14 people are charged with masterminding  the murder of several Muslim clerics in the country.

All the 14 suspects have arrived at high court amidst tight security.

Security has also been Tightened at the court premises with anti terrorism police squad surrounding the court.

Relatives of the suspects have also come in large numbers to witness the scheduled judgement and have been subjected to maximum check up at court entries with only those having valid  identification allowed inside the court premises.

On the 11th of July 2017  three court assessors  Robert Lubega Sseguya, Judith Muhairwe and Muhammad Ddumba advised the the international crimes division of the high court to acquit all the accused due to lack of evidence. .

In their joint opinion read by  Robert Sseguya Lubega,  the assessors  told the three justices led by justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi,Percey  Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu that prosecution had totally  failed to prove beyond  reason  doubt the charges of murder, attempted murder, and terrorism against Sheikh Yonous Kamoga the leader of the tabliq sect and 13 others.

The trio told court that despite prosecution claiming that sheikh Mustapha Bahiga left a dying declaration implicating sheikh Kamoga as to have killed him, the doctor who worked on him before he passed away Dr.Emma Muwema in his testimony told  court that he did  not hear the late sheikh  Bahiga utter   sheikh Kamoga’s name in his alleged dying declaration.

The assessors further told  court   that the accused led by sheikh Kamoga could also not have been behind the death of sheikh Hassan Kirya because by the time of his death all the accused where on remand .

The assessors also faulted prosecution for failing to bring before court alleged threatening messages which they claimed the two slain sheikhs receieved from some of  the suspects  before they were actually killed yet police had claimed to being in possession of such evidence.

The assessors  observed that prosecution did not  show how other suspects were linked to the murders giving them  no option but to ask court to acquit them.

The assessors opinion  however is not biding to the judges final judgement since they can choose to regard or disregard it.

The accused led by  Sheikh Yunus Kamoga are charged with the murder of Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga at Bwebajja in December 2014 and Hassan Ibrahim Kirya  at Bweyogerere on June 2015 after they were gunned down by unknown assailants.

High court wins people’s choice award for court ruling made about missing baby

Ugandan High Court decision has won the People’s Choice Gavel at the 2017 Gender Justice Uncovered Awards for advancing the rights of women and girls.

The annual Gender Justice Uncovered Awards are hosted by Women’s Link Worldwide, an international organization to shed light on the positive and negative impacts court decisions have on the lives of women and girls around the world.

In January, Justice Lydia Mugambe rules on the case of a missing baby from the national referral hospital Mulago. She ruled that a public hospital’s negligence resulting in the disappearance of a couple’s baby resulted in psychological torture for the parents and violated their rights to health and access to information. The couple was also granted compensation of 85 million shillings.

In an online process, Justice Mugambe’s decision garnered 3,829 votes to beat 17 other rulings that were nominated for the best judicial decision from all around the world.

“The court decision stood out because it recognized the need to not only address the human rights of the couple who were parties to the case, but also the failure on the part of the state of Uganda to fulfill its obligation of the right to health”, said Lydia Muthiani, Women’s Link attorney.

According to Women’s Link, Justice Mugambe’s decision specifies that a woman’s inability to access sufficient antenatal care demonstrates a failure on the part of the State to fulfill its obligations under the right to health. It also points out that States also have an obligation to devote special attention and resources to women whose circumstances make them vulnerable and those who suffer from multiple forms of inequality.

The Court also pointed to overburdened hospital staff which led to errors as another example of the failure to comply with obligations under the right to health.

A social justice advocacy organisation, the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and the parents of the child sued the attorney general and executive director of Mulago hospital for unlawful disappearance of their baby.

“We applaud the Judiciary for upholding health and human rights of Jennifer Musimenta and her husband Michael Mubangizi,  at a time when they had no recourse for justice”, said Moses Mulumba Executive Director, CEHURD.

“This award comes at a crucial time (because) the ruling required the Uganda Police to make a report on the where about of this couple’s child within six months but we are yet to hear from them,” he added.

Other rulings from African Courts that have won an Award:
The High Court of Tanzania  takes the Bronze Gavel (court ruling with a positive effect on women and girls’ lives) for its ruling instructing the government to ban child marriage and set the legal age for marriage at 18 for both sexes.

The Golden Bludgeon (court ruling with a negative effect on women and girls’ lives) went to the High Court of Kenya for its decision to acquit a man for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, on basis that girls often make false reports of non-consensual sex.



High Court judge okays challenging of MP Kato Lubwama’s election

High Court judge Margret Oguli oumo has dismissed with costs an oral application in which MP  Kato Lubwama was asking her not to give voter Habib Buwembo the go ahead to challenge his election over fake academic papers.

Earlier Margret Oguli had ruled  that Habib could challenege Kato Lubwama’ election over fake academic documents but MP’s lawyer Isaac Ssemakade argued that voter had filed the petition out of the required time needed to do so.

Justice Bamwine announce new changes in High court

By Sania Babirye
Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine has announced transfers of judges  of the high court. Justice Wilson Masalu Musene, who has been heading the Criminal Division of the high court has been transferred to the new High Court Circuit in Mpigi and replaced by Justice John Wilson Kwesiga who has been heading the  Land division. Justice Dr. Andrew Bashaija  is now the new  head  of the Land Division.
 Justice Godfrey Namundi has been   appointed the deputy Head of the Land Division while Justice Elizabeth Kibula Kabanda, who has been caretaker judge of the Mpigi Circuit, returns to the Criminal and Family Divisions of the high court. The changes according to the principle judge are meant to ensure effective delivery of services within the judiciary and take immediate effect.

The attempted fight at High Court.

By Sania  Babirye

There was commotion at the High court when relatives of Kampala business woman Dona Katushabe who was murdered at Pine car bond were denied access to the court room.

The relatives wearing black T-shirts with pictures of Katushabe were told to first remove the t-shirts before entering the court room which angered them.

They started shouting asking court not to grant bail to Pine car bond owner Muhammad Sebuufu who was appearing today for bail hearing.

They also attempted to fight members of the media who attempted to take their photographs.



By Robert Ssegawa

The 31 people accused of murdering Muslim clerics have arrived in high court amid tight security.

Security has been tightened at the high court where the trials expected to kick of today.

All roads heading to the international crime division of the high court are also blocked.

The hearing will be before the panel of 3 justices Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Tuhaise and Jane Kigundu.

The suspect include the leader of tabliq sector at Nakasero mosque Sheikh Yunus Kamoga alleged to have mastermind the murder of several muslims across the country.