Court to summarize evidence against Kitata, judgement set for May

By Sania Babirye
The General court Martial sitting in Makindye has adjourned to the 6th of May 2019 the case in which the patron of bodaboda 2010 group Hajji Abdullah Kitata and 9 others are charged with unlawful possession of firearms , ammunition and Military gear.

Today, the seven member court chaired by Lt.Gen.Andrew Gutti said that they are going to use the said period to summaries all evidence adduced both by the state and the defense and later set a date to deliver their judgement.

On the 23rd of April this year, the state asked the army court to find guilty and consequently convict Hajji Abdullah Kitata and his co accused.

While making their final submissions state prosecutor Raphael Mugisha informed court that they had adduced sufficient evidence to prove the charges against Kitata and his co accused.

On the 8th of this month, Kitata’s defense team closed their case and asked court to acquit him.

These led by Shaban Sanya told the army court that their client is innocent and should be freed on all charges on grounds that prosecution failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove the alleged charges including the required ingredients in the said charges.

According to Kitata’s defense team, the state did not produce any concrete evidence to link Kitata to the recovered golden pistol and an SMG riffle which were allegedly found on him at the time of his arrest in a Hotel room at Vine Tea hotel in Wakaliga a Kampala suburb.

The lawyers stated that prosecution through out the trial, did not provide any evidence from an independent witness out of the four witnesses including any staff of Vine Tea Hotel , footage from a surveillance camera, a ballistic report or an Investigating officer who would have proved beyond reasonable doubt that Kitata was indeed in possession of the guns in the said hotel.

During the trial two out of the four state witnesses including the arresting officer claimed that they had arrested Kitata and also recovered the said items on Kitata from his hotel room.

According to Sanywa, his client’s prosecution is cosmetic and one intended at pleasing the public since parliament had already singled out Kitatta as one of the alleged untouchable because he was close to now former Inspector General of police General Kale Kayihura.

Sanywa says his client should be set free since the stated two guns were given to him by police as it was stated by the jailed SIU commandant Nixon Agasirwe .

Sanya also claims that his client Can not be the owner of the alleged guns and army uniforms as stated by the state since by the time of their arrests neither him or his nine co accused were present in the said hotel room and the security agency did not have a search certificate
as they carried out a search at their offices in Lubaga.

Kitata and his co accused have been further remanded to Luzira prison were they have been on remand since February 2018.

On the 25th of March, the former patron of the defunct boda boda 2010 group was forced to pre maturely ended his defense witnesses failed to turn up in court t to testify in his favor

The summoned witnesses who were meant to appear before the army court were Private Kenneth Okello in charge of Old Kampala police Armory , Sgt. Allan Matsiko who was Kitata’s second body guard and the owner of Vine Tea Hotel where Kitata was arrested on the 22nd of February 2018.

His lawyer had told court that they had issued summons requiring the three to appear in court to testify and convince court that Kitata is innocent and were dully served and received by the police Headquarters at Naguru and Vine Tea Hotel but the alleged witnesses refused to show up.

prosecution also asked the General court martial to remand Kitata back to a civilian prison at Kigo from Makindye Military police barracks where he was transferred due to security reasons and albeit that had been taken on his life while at Luzira prison.

Kitata was then remanded to Luzira prison after the court chair ruled that it’s nearer than Kigo prison and that Kitata will be more safer there since his case is almost coming to an end.

On the 18th of this month, the former commander of the special Police Investigations Unit (SIU) SSP Nixon Agasirwe failed to show any evidence to prove that former IGP Gen. Kale Kaihura ordered that Kitata be given guns for security reasons.

Agasirwe who is also on remand at Makindye military barracks over kidnapping Rwandese and illegally taking them back home appeared before the General court Martial as Kitata’s witnesses.

This is after, Kitata listed Agasirwe as one of his witnesses to prove his innocence.

He informed the court that it was his former boss, also former Inspector General of police General Kale Kaihura who instructed him to give Kitata three guns and a body guard a one Sowali Ngobi.

He further explained that this was because Kitata had become an informant of police after the 2010 Buganda Riots .

However, when Agasirwe was asked for any proof to show that Gen.Kaihura issued to him instructions or order to issue Kitata with guns, Agasirwe could not show any evidence.

He instead told court that the IGP did not issue any written order but it was verbally issued.

Agasirwe’s testimony follows after Kitatta, while defending himself in January this year informed court that he requested security from Gen.Kaihura in exchange for information that would lead to the arrest of criminals and rioters in Kampala .

And as a result, Gen.Kaihura who is also a suspect together with Agasirwe on also charges of failing to protect war materials but out on bail then ordered that a police body guard and guns be given to Kitata to keep him safe as an informant.

However, prosecution is accusing Kitata of illegally and unlawfully being in possession of the said guns for the past eight years since the said guns are only a monopoly of the Army .

On the 7th of January this year, the former leader of the defunct Boda -Boda 2010 began his defense and wore through the Quran to give his sworn in evidence which will give the state a chance to cross examine him on his defense.

He revealed before the seven member team chaired by Lt.Gen.Andrew that he will be producing three witnesses including his driver Ibrahim Sekajja and bodyguard Sowali Ngobi to prove his innocence .

However , these are all charged with Kitata.

Kitata and nine others are charged with unlawful possession of firearms, ammunition and Military attires that state says are a monopoly of the army.

Prosecution led by Maj. Rapheal Mugisha led 4 evidence from 4 witnesses stating that a golden pistol loaded with live bullets was recovered on Kitata during his arrest at Vine Tea Hotel in Wakaliga.

However Kitata through his lawyer Shaban Sanywa, told court that for the 40 years he has lived on earth, he has never held a gun , live bullets or possessed any military uniforms.

Kitata told court that he came to know about the alleged golden pistol while it was being displayed in court by the state.

He however confessed before court that the pistol and an SMG riffle belonged to his body guard and co accused Sowali Ngobi whom he has listed as one of his witness to prove his innocence

Kitata who has made one year on remand at Makindye military barracks after having his bail application declined then advised the army court to instead ask Ngobi on how the alleged items reached in his car.

He further revealed to court when asked on how he acquired the bodyguard, that that during the 2010 Buganda Kingdom riots , he reached out to his party’s national chairman President Museveni for his security concerns who in turn also delegated former police chief Gen Kale Kayihura to assign him (Kitata) a plain clothed police bodyguard .

Kitata denied being a leader or member of Boda -boda 2010 group clarifying that he is only in charge of two offices; one being that of the NRM chairman of Lubaga division and another is that of National Union of Drivers and cyclists and Allied workers Association (NUDICAWA). As a result he denied having any connection and knowledge of the Military uniforms and caps that the army says were recovered from the offices of Boda- boda 2010 at Nateete.

While beginning his defense, Kitata narrated to court how he was arrested from a Hotel rest room at Vine Tea Hotel in Wakaliga by CMI operatives .

He told court that on the 20th of January 2018 , he left his home in Najjanankumbi at about 10am and headed for Vine Tea Hotel to meet some people being an NRM leader .

That after the said meeting , he booked into one of the Hotel rooms from where he saw Army officers surrounding the entire Hotel and some knocking on his Hotel room door.

He then urged Lt Gen Andrew Gutti to look at the footage caught on a CCTV camera at Vine Hotel before making his decision.

Human rights activists demand for disciplinary action against Kyaligonza

By Alice Lubwama
The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) has tasked Government to take disciplinary action against major general Matayo Kyaligonza for his actions against the police officer on duty rather than selectively applying the law to only his body guards.

The executive director Foundation for Human Rights Initiative Livingstone Ssewanyana says that the act of assaulting the traffic officer by Kyaligonza and his body guards show the increasing acts of impunity perpetrated by state security officers .

Ssewanyana adds that the Impunity by state security agents has reached acute levels and requires urgent remedial actions from the Government.

The Foundation also calls for an expeditious inquiry into the incident to ensure justice is served to the traffic officer and journalist who were both assaulted in the course of duty.

This is not the first time general Kyaligonza has been involved in controversial acts of impunity.

One incident is during the 2016 elections, where General Kyaligonza is alleged to have assaulted a journalist of Radio Hoima, Amlan Tumusiime.

Nadduli condemns the way army is brutalizing masses

By Alice Lubwama

The   minister without port-folio Abdul Nadduli has praised Kyadodndo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi for his slogan people’s power because it’s within the constitution but advised him to form a
political party which he can use to push for the people’s demands.

While addressing journalists in Kampala today, Naduli said Kyagulanyi‘s slogan should not be looked at as a threat to government because power belongs to the people according to the constitution.

‘The constitution says the power belongs to people, so when I criticize Bobi wine on that, am criticizing the constitution.  The slogan is right but the deeds are poor, let him go back and get another avenue to pass his demands to the people,  very many political parties are mushrooming do you see them being beaten.” Naduli said.

The minister has also condemned the army for brutalizing journalists and the opposition saying these are not enemies of the state.

The said that the ones whom the state thinks to be its enemies are not the ones but those army officers who are torturing the masses.

He has asked the president to investigate the motive of the security officers behind the torturing of the people because they could be fighting against the government.

Gen. Gutti sworn in as head of Court martial

Lt.General Andrew Gutti has been sworn in today for another one year term as head of the General court martial .

The sworn in Ceremony has been presided over by new Judge advocate  col.Tukacungura Richard at the army court sitting  in Makindye.
Lt.Gen. Gutti  will embark on his new and last term after being recently re appointed by President Museveni to head the army court after his term in office expired in June this year.
Lt.Gutti was also sworn in along other 10 members  including  Col.Tukacungura who replaced Col. Gidion Katinda as the judge advocate, Major.Henry Serugo,Capt.Teopista Opal and Capt.Paul Mugerwa among others.
These vowed to be object, Impartial and discret in their line of duty.
After being sworn in,the group began doing their work ny hearing caes involving both civilians and soldiers after being on recess for one month which put all cases on hold.

Kitata challenges army court trials

By Sania Babirye
Troubled leader of the now defunct   Boda-Boda 2010 Abdullah Kitata who is charged with unlawfully possessing fire arms and army uniforms has challenged his trial by the Army court.
Kitata has filed an application  before the Highcourt  in which he wants court to declare that the General court martial sitting in Makindye is illegally trying him.
In his application , Kitata is suing not only the army court but also it’s registrar John Bizimana, Judge Advocate Gideon Katinda, the Army prosecutors ,  the Attorney Genaral and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He accuses the plaintiffs of  violating his fundamental rights by trying him in the army court yet he is not a soldier.
 According to Kitata, high court should declare his trial null and void on grounds that the army court has no powers to try him since he is not an army officer but a civilian.
He says that in that regard it should be the high court with jurisdiction  to try him and wants an order also transferring his case to either a magistrate or criminal division of  the high court.
This application  comes after the army court last week commenced his trial in which his alleged three guns, 15 bullets and army uniforms were exhibited in court as evidence to prove the charges against him.
The same court also denied Kitata’s bail application on grounds that he is likely to interfere with witnesses due to his close working relationship with the Uganda Police police and luck of substantial sureties.
The same court also refused Kitata’s request to be transferred transferred from the Makindye military police barracks were he is currently on remand to Luzira prison.
Kitata has been on remand  since February /2018 .
Him and 12 others are charged with  unlawful possession of firearms and Military gear.
Kitata   faces  5   counts of being in unlawful possession of an SMG gun, 3 pistols  and 50 rounds of live ammunition that  prosecution states were  found on him on 18th/January 2018 at vine hotel in Wakaliga.
 According to   Prosecution the above items   are  only a monopoly of the UPDF.

Armed groups sexually assaulting young refugees fleeing Congo

By Patricia Osman.
A new assessment by Save the Children has found that 10% of newly arrived children fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo were defiled during their journey to Uganda and 27% assaulted by armed groups.
Johnson Byamukama, Save the Children’s Emergency Response Director in Uganda says the assessment which interviewed 132 refugee children aged 10-17 about their protection and education needs also found that hunger was the biggest issue facing children on their journey affecting 81% while Sickness affected more than 1 in 2 children at 53%.
Byamukama says a lot more needs to be done as the conflict in DRC is one of the world’s forgotten crises.

Gen Katumba asks Somalia to work on building their security apparatus

The Chief of Defence Forces General Edward Katumba Wamala wants Somali leaders to fast-track implementation of security sector reforms and the rebuilding of the national army.

He says this would enable them to effectively take over the country’s security from African Union troops. Gen Katumba made the statement upon his arrival in Mogadishu, Somalia on Monday, for a three-day official visit.

“As you interact politically with whoever will take the chair, this should be among their priority area; to make sure that they address the issue of building their security apparatus,” he told a meeting of senior officials from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Somali security sector reforms which are in line with AMISOM’s revised Concept of Operations (CONOPs) and its exit strategy are aimed at building the capacity of Somali National Security Forces to take over the security of the country, when AMISOM troops begin drawing down in 2018.

Gen Wamala praised the implementation of the quick-impact projects (QUIPs) by AMISOM, describing it is a big asset for the mission in its efforts to provide essential services to populations liberated from Al-Shabaab rule.

Lt. Gen. Osman Noor Soubagleh, the AMISOM Force Commander said AMISOM troops continue to jointly conduct offensive and defensive operations aimed at improving the security situation in Somalia.

“The security situation in Mogadishu city has improved significantly, the city being a strategic value for the seat of power, with a high population density, good infrastructure and good for political and economic activities. Therefore the center of gravity plays an important role for the stabilization of Somalia,” Lt. Gen. Soubagleh said.

Gen. Wamala also held a meeting with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, Michael Keating.

During the meeting, Lydia Wanyoto, the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) updated Gen Wamala on the ongoing electoral process in the country and the security arrangements in place to ensure a smooth transition of power.

“We are doing everything it takes to ensure that we give the support and that our offices are open 24/7 for supporting the troops for which your country contributes,” Hon. Wanyoto stated.

Earlier, military officers from AMISOM Sector One, briefed Gen Wamala on the security situation in Lower Shabelle and Banaadir regions, which fall under the AMISOM Ugandan contingent’s area of responsibility.

 

 

 

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Army boss dismisses arrest claims

UPDF boss General Katumba Wamala has dismissed claims that he has been arrested . Earlier today there were claims making rounds on social media that Gen Katumba  has been arrested.

He says there is no reason for him to be arrested  and has called them false alarms that are causing unnecessary excitement among Ugandans.

Katumba adds that he is in office and working to maintain security during this period in the country.