Stella Nyanzi’s first witness refuses to testify in his favor

By Sania Babirye
Drama continues in the cyber harassment and offensive communication case against Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi after their first defense witness refuses to testify in her defense in court.

A certified expert in Computer hacking and information system Audit, forensic and survey investigations Mustapha Mugisha has today appeared before Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu and instead informed court that he did not know why he was summoned in court today.

He informed magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu that for the past 10 years, he has not been practicing his profession after losing interest and cannot be of any help to Dr.Stella Nyanzi ‘s defense.

He further explained that his opinion is not relevant and therefore he cannot give it.

And as as result prosecution led by Kitimbo Janat wondered how the defense can not inform their own defense witness on the matter before court so that a witness can be in position to defend their client.

Prosecution then asked the magistrate to excuse Mugisha since he did not know why he was summoned which forced court to adjourn the case to tomorrow the 10th of July 2019.

She has also ordered Ssemakade to present the remain 18 defense witnesses tomorrow since she on my have them two days including today and tomorrow to present their witnesses and both the defense and state make their final submissions on Thursday and close the case.

However, it should be noted that Ssemakade objected to the two days given to him to present all his 19 witnesses since court declines to summon President Museveni as a defense witness despite being the complainant.

Ssemakade instead told court that he needed three months to fully have all his witnesses testify in court, a request the magistrate declined to accept.

The magistrate has also warned the defense team from presenting defense witness who are clueless to as why they have been summoned.

She then advised Ssemakade to first prep their witnesses before bringing them to court to save courts time.

Defense lawyer Isaac Ssemakade has refused to accept the witnesses’ reasons for not giving his opinion saying he deliberately chose to not testify in court because the case is sensitive since it involves the President of Uganda.

On the 28th of June, Ssemamakade revealed before court that although their client had chosen to remain silent right now, however, they had 20 witnesses led by President Museveni and CID of the Uganda police force Grace Akullo to argue their case and have Nyanzi freed and asked the magistrate to summon President Museveni, Grace Akullo among others.

However, Kamasanyu declined to summon President Museveni on grounds that being a sitting President, he has immunity from prosecution and that according to article 98 (4) such summons are illegal because “while holding office the President shall not be liable to any court proceedings in any court, however,He may appear voluntarily if he so wishes.”

Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu wondered how some of the alleged defense witnesses including the complainant President Museveni can give evidence to exonerate Dr.Nyanzi over cyber harassment and offensive communication charges.

But Ssemakade insisted that their alleged witnesses including President Museveni who is the complainant are not a mistake and are part of the defense’s strategy to see that his client is set free and the said charges dismissed.

He then sked magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu to issue court summons to all their 20 witnesses to appear in court without fail to defend Dr.Stella Nyanzi so that she is set free.

Other witnesses include Prof.Sylvia Tamale(Feminist activist prof.Fredrick Juko a former law professor at Makerere university, Columnist Allan Taaka, Feminist Mildred Apenyo, princess Solome Nakaweesi, Kakungulu Mayambala at the Makerere university school of law , Bishop Zaaka Niringiye,Rev.Father Gaetano Batanyenda among others.

Ssemakade further asked court to prioritize the first witnesses to be summoned to testify led by President Museveni, Dr.Mayambala,Eng.Frank Kitumba who heads ICT at Makerere university and others can follow later.

He also informed court that today, they did not have any of the 20 listed witnesses available in court to testify and asked for an adjournment.

When the magistrate wondered why Nyanzi who was not present in court could not defend herself, Ssemakade has replied that the accused for now remained silent and will be defending herself through her summoned witnesses.

Ssemakade however refused to affirm to court if Dr.Nyanzi’s decision to remain silent for now meant that she will be choosing to remain silent in her defense.

The frustrated magistrate reached an extent of informing Semakadde that without him bear clear on the way his client is to defend herself, he has nothing to write in relation to today’s proceedings or on how she can help the defense team in summoning President Museveni and other witnesses.

Nyanzi is at Luzira prison after refusing to seek bail and she is facing charges including attacking the privacy of President Museveni and that of his late mother , Esteri Kokundeka through her social media Facebook page.

Prosecution states that while armed with a motive to disturb the peace of President M7, Nyanzi posted obscene messages on her official face book page(Stellah Nyanzi) while attacking the privacy of the President .