NUP sues Government, Uganda Police, UPDF and Uganda Prisons

By Sania Babirye
The 49 National Unity platform party members who were charged remanded to both Kitalya and Kigo government prisons by the general court martial on charges of illegal possession of four fire arm magazines have petitioned the high court seeking for their immediate release.

Through their lawyer Katana Benjamin of Lukwago and company advocates, the applicants have sued the attorney general, the chief of the Ugandan Defense forces,commissioner general Uganda prisons and the Inspector general of police for continuous violation of their rights .
These are accusing the security agencies of among other things holding them beyond the mandatory 48 hours without being charged and in un-gazatted detention centers including Kasijjagirwa and Makindye military barracks, defying a Masaka order to grant them bail,and denying them medical attention of their choices despite having visible signs of torture.

They also claim that their trial at both Masaka chief magistrate court and the the general court martial and denial to access their lawyers, next of kin and medical doctors of their choices also violates their rights guaranteed in constitution of Uganda.

These now want court to order for their immediate release and also declare that their trial both at Masaka and Makindye army court is illegal and was in violation of their constitutional rights including to a fair hearing before the army court since they were also denied access to their lawyers while being charged and remanded.

They also want court to declare that the actions of the head of Uganda prisons to defy the orders of the Masaka chief magistrate to release them after giving them bail and instead hand them to the UPDF leading to their further illegal detention at Makindye military barracks was a violation of their rights and freedoms.

The NUP members want court to declare that the procedure leading to the detention was irregular, unlawful and marred by gross human rights violation specifically the right to a fair hearing and freedom from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and also issue a permanent injunction restraining the respondents from further trial and prosecution on the alleged illegal charges.

They have also asked the court to order to stop the said security agencies from having their officers from removing their name tags from their uniforms and car number plates for easy identification of the violators of Human rights and the DPP to commence investigations into the said officers.

New documentation manual to aid reporting of political violence cases

By Alice Lubwama

The African center for treatment and rehabilitation of torture victims has launched a documentation tool that will guide victims of torture to report their experiences and health consequences to the authorities during and after the elections.

The head of programs at the center Esther Nabwire says although this particular election period has been very volatile and tense ,the center has received only 20 cases of political violence since September last year to date yet they are many out there.

She adds that the awareness campaign they have launched will encourage the public to report the torture cases so that they can be helped to access justice.

She also says that because of limited awareness coupled with fear of the consequences a number of torture cases have gone unreported.

Nabwire now says that the center is prepared to support the victims as they expect the cases of torture to spike.

“We want to be prepared as an organization so that our professionals are available to provide the services to Ugandans.” Nabwire said .

Nicholas Opiyo’s case adjourned

By Sania Babirye

The Anti-corruption High court has adjourned to the 28th of this month mention of the case in which Human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo is charged with with money laundering.

This is after state informed court that investigations into the case are still ongoing asking for more time to finalize them.

However, Opiyo’s lawyers led by David Mpanga have criticized state for falling to commence trial of their client, wondering why they arrested him without evidence.

Opiyo was granted a 15 million cash bail by justice Jane Kajuga on the 30th of December 202o after spending days including Christmas at Kitalya government prison after he was charged and remanded on the 24th of December 2020.

Opiyo was remanded to Kitalya government prison on the 24th of December 2020 by the Nakawa chief magistrate court on charges of money laundering.

Nicholas Opiyo , the Executive Director of Chapter 4 Uganda is charged with money laundering where the state says he received 34,0000 US dollars well knowing the said money was proceeds of a crime .

He allegedly committed the said offence on 8th/October 2020 at one of the local banks at Garden city in Kampala.

Court dismisses Lukwago’s petition

By Sania Babirye

Kampala high court Judge Musa Sekana has dismissed an application filed by Kampala Lord mayor Erias Lukwago which was challenging the ECs decision to ban campaigning in the alleged 13 districts strongly hit by COVID-19 including Kampala.

Justice Sekana has ruled that although EC’s decision to suspend campaigns in Kampala and other districts is a violation of freedoms of expression, assemble and association, but the limitation of enjoyment of those freedoms is demonstrably justifiable due to the prevailing COVID-19 infections in those areas.

Justice Musa Sekana has further stated that there was no breach to a fair hearing on Lukwago’s side since EC did not sit as a tribunal and that there was justification for dispensing with the right to be heard due to the urgency and emergency in order to stop the spread of corona virus.

In the said petition, Lukwago was seeking orders to overturn the Electoral commission decision to suspend campaign meetings in the said districts.

Through his law firm of Lukwago and company advocates, Lukwago claimed that the EC’s decision contained in a press statement of 26th of December waa irrational and an infringement on his rights to associate , interface and convince the electorate to vote him for the 3rd time in the office of the Lord mayor .

He further claimed that as a candidate and the political head of the city, EC did not give him a fair hearing before issuing the said ban depriving him of his right to disseminate their ideas to citizens , which is a fundamental component of a free and fair election.

Lukwago said that the advise given by the EC that candidates should campaign through media outlets (radios and TVs) in the contentious districts was not tenable since government had not taken any measures to ensure that Radio or Television sets were distributed among citizens despite a huge budget to purchase them being allocated by parliament during the last quarter .

Lukwago then asked the High court to quash EC’s decision and issue an injunctive order stopping the Inspector General of police who was directed to ensure that no campaign meeting occurs in Kampala , Masaka, Luweero, Mbarara , Kasese, Wakiso , Jinja , Kalungu , Kazo and Tororo from implementing the same.

He also wanted court to order EC to pay him general damages for the inconvenience as his campaign schedules have been disrupted by this decision.

Amuriat released on bail

By Sania Babirye

Forum for Democratic change presidential candidate Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat has been arraigned at Mpigi magistrate court and charged with accepting to be carried in a dangerous manner.

He appeared before Grade One Magistrate Ruth Nabaasa and pleaded not guilty to the said offence.

He has however been released on a 5 million non cash bail and his sureties ordered to pay 10 millions not cash.

Mention of his case has been adjourned to the 2nd of February this year.

POA was arrested on Sunday in Mpigi for sitting on top of and a motor vehicle and spent the night at Mpigi Central Police Station.

This is Amuriat’s second time being charged with the same offence in less than a week.

Police say Amuriat was sitting dangerously on top of a car and he put his life in danger.

Museveni’s private secretary granted bail

By Sania Babirye

Caroline Kembabazi the Assistant Private Secretary to President Yoweri Museveni has been released on bail by Buganda road court.

Chief magistrate Miriam Akello Ayo has ordered the suspect to pay one million cash while his sureties have been bonded 10 million not cash.

She is charged with giving false information to the Electoral Commission officials.

Meanwhile, the head of Human Resource at the Electoral Commission James Niwamanya has today concluded his testimony.

Niwamanya has told court that Kembabazi used her position to intimidate and harass him to give jobs to three of her relatives to work as Assistant district Registrars by lying that it was a presidential directive whereas not despite the said relatives having failed the said interviews.

These relatives were part of the 7,111 people that applied for 96 vacancies of Assistant district Registrars but majority of the applicants failed to the extent that only 70 out of the said vacancies were recruited .

The case has been adjourned to the 27th of January 2021.

Lukwago’s petition on EC campaign ban flops

By Sania Babirye

Ruling on an application filed by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago on the Electoral Commission’s decision to ban campaigning in the alleged 13 COVID-19 districts including Kampala has been pushed to Monday next week.

This is the second time that justice Musa Sekana has failed to pronounce his ruling after he was indisposed last week but when he came today, he informed court that he was not ready to deliver the said ruling again.

In the said petition, Lukwago is seeking orders to overturn the Electoral commission decision to suspend campaign meetings in the said districts.

Through his law firm of Lukwago and company advocates, Lukwago claims that the EC’s decision contained in a press statement of 26th of December is irrational and an infringement on his rights to associate , interface and convince the electorate to vote him for the 3rd time in the office of the Lord mayor .

He further claims that as a candidate and the political head of the city, EC did not give him a fair hearing before issuing the said ban depriving him of his right to disseminate their ideas to citizens , which is a fundamental component of a free and fair election.

Lukwago says the advise given by the EC that candidates should campaign through media outlets (radios and Tvs) in the contentious districts is not tenable since government has not taken any measures to ensure that Radio or Television sets are distributed among citizens despite a huge budget to purchase them being allocated by parliament during the last quarter .

Lukwago now wants the High court to quash EC’s decision and issue an injunctive order stopping the Inspector General of police who was directed to ensure that no campaign meeting occurs in Kampala , Masaka, Luweero, Mbarara , Kasese, Wakiso , Jinja , Kalungu , Kazo and Tororo from implementing the same.

He also wants court to order EC to pay him general damages for the inconvenience as his campaign schedules have been disrupted by this decision.

IGP Ochola warns against violence before and after elections

By Robert Segawa

The Inspector General of Police Okoth Martin Ochola has revealed that even though there is no specific threat to the country,they have heard several candidates who are threatening violence during the upcoming elections.

Addressing journalists, at a joint security meeting at police headquarters Naguru, Ochola warned politicians against any attempt to cause violence during all even after general election.

IGP Ochola noted that they have prepared various joint inter agency security task teams which were set up to ensure that the elections are conducted in a peaceful manner without violence.

He further warned that whoever wishes to participate in any acts of violence after the 14th general election that they will regret the consequences.

Church locked for keeping mentally ill people

By Robert Segawa

Police in Kajjansi has stormed Glory Sinai Ministries church located in Seguku zone V in Ndejje Urban Division Wakiso District after they found people confined there.

Upon storming the church police found 89 people staying in the church, 9 of which were found fastened on metallic pipes with chains and
52 others including men and women appeared mentally ill and of unsound mind.

According to Luke Owoyesigyire the deputy police spokesman Kampala metropolitan, police acted on intelligence report that led to storm the area and arrest the church leader Pastor Ssemwogere Geoffrey to help in investigations.

Owoyesigyire further added that there is no medical facility at the premise, adding that they are organizing transport to have them transferred to Butabika hospital as investigation is on going.

Judge excuses young man from serving 10 years in jail

By Babirye Sania

Kampala High court judge Anthony Ayuko Ajok has rejected a 10 year jail term that had been given to a youth by state under plea bargaining for killing his step father in self defense and sending his mother a way.

Freddie Erasokota accepted the offence of manslaughter in which he accepted to have stabbed his step father Matovu Kames after he found him beating his mother.

However, when state informed Justice Ajok Ayuko about the punishment agreed, the judge wondered why a child who was trying to save his mother from an abusive stepfather would be jailed 10 years yet their was no malice aforethought.

The judge has now reduced the sentence to six years and after removing the time he has been on remand, the convict will now serve 4 years and 8 months imprisonment for killing his step father.

Justice Ajok Ayuko relied on evidence including the fact that the deceased was always beating the convicts mother and that on that fateful day of 16th August 2019 at Rubaga in Kampala district, he lost it when he saw his step father again mistreating his mother and in out of rage, he lost it and accidentally stabbed James Matovu with a knife in the stomach leading to his death.

Justice Ojok also advised the youth to behave well in the prison to enable him get a remission.