By Sania Babirye
Buganda road court has set this Thursday the 18th of June to decide on whether the Director of public prosecutions should institute criminal proceedings against foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa after he authorized the return of three family members of businessman Ben Kavuyu from USA during the ongoing COVID-19 lock down.
This after a private lawyer Ronald Otee with Otee and company advocates, dragged Kutesa to Buganda road court to be privately prosecuted jointly with the three members including Barbara Kavuya the wife, his daughter Blanche Kavuya and grandson Isiah Tiba Byabashaija who returned in the country on the 18th of March through Ethiopian airline.
Through his lawyer Nicholas Opio and Derrick Tumusiime , the petitioner wants court to draft up charges including
doing a neglect act likely to cause the spread of an infectious disease (Covid-19) and disobedience of lawful orders; which two offenses carry a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in jail upon conviction against the used.
However, when the application came for hearing before grade one magistrate Stella Amirisi Amabilisi today, the Director of public prosecutions through Jana Kitimbo asked court to take over the matter stating that its only the office of the DPP that can institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the government.
In his petition, Otee claims that Kuteesa’s actions were in breach of a Presidential Directive that bars people from flying within and out of the Country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while other Ugandans abroad including medical students in Wuhan were denied the same privilege.
He then requested Buganda road court to draft a Charge Sheet against the four persons.
Otee states that on the 24th of March the minister of health using the public health act passed an order into law prohibiting any person from entering Uganda effect from Monday 23rd of March to April 23rd which was later extended and remains into effect up to date as measures to contain the virus.
The lawyer however notes that on the 18th of May 2020, the said persons entered Uganda and continue to stay in Uganda and as a result committed a criminal offense together with minister Sam Kutesa who authorized their return via Ethiopian airline.
He says that the actions of minister Sam Kutesa to allow only that family to return home was discriminative in nature since other Ugandans who wanted to return or leave the country were not granted permission.