Pastor Bugingo case flops

By Sania Babirye

Hearing of a noise pollution case against a re-known city pastor Aloysius Bugingo has flopped today at the high court in Kampala.

The case involves Over 200 residents of Makerere zone in Kawempe division kampala district who dragged pastor Bugingo accusing him and his church of making noise for them.

It had come up for hearing before justice Andrew Bashaija but this could not go on because the trial Judge is currently away on official Leave.Hearing of the case has now been pushed to the 2nd of October 2019.

On the 12th of February this year, the residents led by a 85 year old Hajji Ali Sserunjoji sued Bugingo accusing him and his House of prayer ministries of producing excessive remission of noise.

The petitioners claim that before Pastor Bugingo constructed his Pentecostal church in 2015, they enjoyed a quiet , serene and clean environment but currently their peace and serenity has been taken over by his temporal church structures and its noise that comes from it.

These are also suing the National Environmental Authority and Kampala City Council Authority which they are accusing of failing to regulate the amount of noise emitted by pastor Bugingo’s church day and night as required.

They are now seeking court to cancel pastor Bugingo’s license which permitted him to erect a church in a residential area or compel both NEMA and KCCA to regulate the emitted sound to the approved 60 decibels.

These are further demanding that Pastor Bugingo pays them damages for infringing on their right to enjoy a serene and health environment for now close to 3 years .

UCC asks court to maintain directive on suspended journalists

By Sania Babirye

The Uganda Communication commission has asked high court judge Lydia Mugambe to not issue an interim order stopping the 30th April directive suspending head of programming, producers and News managers of 13 media houses.

Today, UCC lawyers led by Abdul Salam Waiswa and Mastiko have told justice Mugambe that if the interim injunction is issued, it will undermine UCCs Authority to regulate Media houses.
These have now asked court to matain the directive of the alleged 39 journalists to be given other roles until on going investigations are complete.

The judge has now set the 23rd of this month to rule on the said application.
The journalist body says the UCC directive is disproportionate, excessive, unconstitutional and that in doing so UCC exceeded the powers vested in the media council.

Through its two members, calling themselves concerned citizens are seeking an interim injunction against a directive of the Uganda Communication Commission until their main case is heard and disposed off.

The petitioners include Bwire Arnold and Henry Byansi.

According to the duo who calls themselves Human rights activists and advocates of the rule of law among other things, the UCC directive was unfair and unjust since UCC did not act fairly yet by law its mandated to be fair and just.

These claim that UCC is using the said directive to gag the media,curtail free speech and freedom of expressions, impose unconstitutional limitations and blanket bans on the media.

These further claim that the said limitations are not acceptably and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and what is provided for under the constitution and the law.

According to the petitioners, “The aforesaid directives interfere with editorial freedom and independence of the media by purporting to set arbitrary and unconstitutional standards which are neither enshrined in the Constitution nor in the laws of Uganda generally.”

The duo say that the famous UCC directive infringes on the rights of both media houses and journalists to be heard, presumption of innocence until proved guilty and the Right to equality under the law on top of curtailing journalists rights to practice their profession and the right to fair and just administrative treatment .

The directive is also said to be very discriminating, oppressive , highhanded, arbitrary, illegal and contravenes the constitution and the law in general.

These are now asking the high court to declare the directive null and void because it is not only illegal but biased, irrational and unfair among others.

They are also seeking an injunction against UCC from proceeding in taking any action against the said media houses as per the directive.

They are worried that if court does not restrain UCC, UCC will freeze and stagnate the citizens right to information, freedom of propagation and inter change of ideas and dissemination of information which is very essential in enlightening and educating the public, formation of citizen opinion on matters of of public concern.

They further state that is court does mot restrain UCC, the rights of many journalists will continue to be trampled upon since UCC regulates media houses.

The petition follows a 30th of April order by UCC in which it ordered 13 media houses including capital FM and its sister station Beat FM to suspend its head of news and programing and producer or failure to do so face losing their licenses.

UCC also suspended three journalists from NBS Tv however, following a meeting today with the National association of broadcasters, UCC has reascended the said suspension and instead asked the said journalists to step aside to allow on going investigations into their alleged unethical behavior.

The journalist were suspended following their coverage of the the arrest of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi wine as he was going to the CID offices at Kibuli on the 29th of April 2019.

Witness jailed for howling threats before the judge

By Sania Babirye
A witness has been arrested and thrown into court cells for threatening to kill a suspect in front of a judge.

The hostile suspect names withheld had appeared before Buganda road court grade one magistrate Robert Mukanza to testify against a one James Okecho whom he accused of robing him one million shillings and other personal valuable belongings including National ID and other original documents.

However when the suspect went into the court dock for witnesses to further testify, state prosecutor Cingtho informed court that the family of the suspect had agreed to pay back the money Okecho stole from him.

However, the witness instead informed the magistrate that he would only accept the said money with all other documents that were stolen returned in their original form.

The suspect also told court that the documents were in his house in Mbale but the relatives who were sent to collect the said documents instead informed court that the documents were not there but were willing to give him other documents that are certified but not original.

This angered the witness who started screaming and banging his hands in the court room stating that he was going to kill the suspect if his documents and National ID are not returned in their original form.

His threats went on for about 20 minutes and eventually when they let him off the stand and went in court, two court security officers came and arrested him and took him behind court cells.

Meanwhile his case was further adjourned to the 28th of this month.

Eight men to clean court premises for being a nuisance

By Sania Babirye

Buganda road court has ordered a group of 8 men who were charged of being a common nuisance to clean the court premises for three hours each.

The group led by a one Keiturema Nicolas have been ordered to clean by after they pleaded guilty on their own plea.

The magistrate then sentenced them to one day of community service with each ordered to clean for three hours or failure to do serve 6 months in Luzira prison.

These had first denied the offense but later changed their not guilty plea to guilty claiming that they were family men who needed to go and fend for their families.

These were arrested on the 17th of April this year around Sheraton and Grand imperial hotel disturbing the peace of Ugandans walking by.

These were found bu KCCA law enforcement officials loitering around these places aimlessly.

Mumbere trial judges appointed

By Sania Babirye
On the 12th of December 2018, the Attorney General of the Kingdom Alfred Makasi whils accompanying the Omusinga at the International Crimes Division of the high court in fulfillment of his bail terms revealed that the acquittal or conviction of the king and his subjects on charges of terrorism and murder that stem from the 2016 Kasese killings will not reclaim the peace and glory of the Rwenzururu kingdom .

As a result he revealed that peace talks between the two parties are in advanced stages and soon they will yield positive results.

In February 2017, Jinja High court Judge Micheal Elubu granted bail to the the Omusinga after the king entered a memorandum of understanding with government to honor nine bail conditions.

Some of the conditions included Mumbere to have unlimited access to only his lawyers,close relatives and doctors but must brief his security detail to see any other visitors.

He also agreed to not travel to the districts of Kasese,Bundibugyo and Kabarole but only travel in the districts of Kampala, Jinja and Wakiso among others.

The king is also to report to CID headquarters in Kampala and before the Jinja magistrates court once every month until he shall be committed to the trial court.

This was Mumbere’s second time to be granted bail after he was first released on the 13th of January 2017 before he was immediately re-arrested on fresh charges of Treason,terrorism, murder and attempted murder.

Mumbere is jointly charged with 112 others for offenses allegedly committed between the months of July and November 2016 at Bukara Village, Kabonero sub county, and at Nyabutsi village, Karangura sub county in Kabalore district and are waiting to be tried by the ICD court on charges of Murder, terrorism , robbery and malicious damage to property allegedly committed in April 2016 at the Rwenzururu palace.

Prosecution states that the crimes were indiscriminately committed with out due regard to the safety of others or property, when the accused directly or indirectly
involved themselves in the murder of police officers , Army men and members of the public

Head of the International Crimes Division of the High Court, Justice Moses Mukiibi, has allocated the pretrial hearing of a case against King of Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbere & 159 others to High court Justice Michael Elubu

And in a related development justice Mukiibi has also appointed a panel of three justices of the International crimes division of the high court led by Justice Duncan Gaswaga, Eva Luswata and Susan Okalany yo hear the main case.

The Pre-trial hearing is scheduled to commence in the last week of May 2019 at the Law Development Center court in Kampala.

Wife pinned for killing husband

By Sania Babirye

A house maid has pinned her boss of murdering her husband.

Hearing of the case started today before Kampala high court judge Jane Francis Abodo in which a one Diana Nabbengo is charged of murdering her husband in 2016.

And today, the former house maid whose names have been withheld by court testified that she saw the suspect murder her husband in cold blood.
The maid who is the state’s first witness told court that on that fateful day, Nabbengo a resident of Kazo Lugoba zone in Kawempe division Kampala district stubbed her husband and after, she instructed her to lie on her behalf in case the authorities questioned her over the matter.

She stated that after her boss stubbing her husband, she instructed her to lie that her husband was stubbed by thugs who had entered into the house to rape the maid.

And that in that process of the male boss rescuing the maid, the thugs stubbed him to death.

Further hearing of the case has been adjourned to tomorrow. On the 29th of April 2019, the high court cancelled Nabbengo’s bail after state completed investigations into the matter and was ready to begin trial .

Nabbengo had appeared that day before the office of the registrar for her usual bail reporting and extension but was surprised when she informed that her case is ready for hearing and 8 witness were ready in court to testify against her.

And as a result justice Jane Francis Abodo cancelled her bail and read to her the murder charge.

She however pleaded not guilty and was remanded until today to start trial.

Prosecution led by Fatinah Nakafeero states that on 24th August 2016 at Kazo Lugoba zone Kawempe division in Kampala district, Nabengo with Malice aforethought killed her husband Hannington Musasizi Asimwe.

The mother of two who was also pregnant at the time is alleged to have stubbed her husband in the kitchen.

Evidence shows that on that fateful day, the suspect was at home with her husband. two kids and their house help.

And that since it was one of their child’s birthday, she sent both the kids and the maid away to buy a birthday cake and when they left, she went and found her husband in the Kitchen and stubbed him.

Evidence also shows that after the stabbing, she locked her injured and dying husband in kitchen, changed the blood stained clothes and went to her work office to disguise the murder.

And that she later returned home with a special hire and took her injured husband to Mulago hospital for treatment.

Evidence further shows that while in hospital, her dying husband who came out of coma shortly informed his sister that it was his wife who had done this to him and immediately after the dying declaration passed on.

Hearing of UJA case against UCC flops

By Sania Babirye

Hearing of an interim injunction application in which the Uganda Journalist Association (UJA) seeks court to halt a directive by Uganda Communications Commission- UCC to media houses to suspend 39 journalists, has failed to take -off today before the High court.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) lawyer Abudl -Salaam Waiswa asked for more time to adequately respond to UJA’s application that was filed and served to his client yesterday.

According to Waiswa, the only available response on court file was that in a case where 2 lawyers sued UCC for similar orders.

However after a brief meeting between the 2 lawyers at court, it was agreed that the 2 cases should be consolidated since the petitioners have a common interest.

Waiswa has however refused to agree to the issuance of a formal temporary injunction that commits UCC to a resolution made yesterday to Media owners that the 39 journalists should just step a side but not be suspended .

This has prompted justice Lydia Mugambe to set 15th /May as a date to hear the interim injunction that UJA seeks .

UJA a professional body that brings journalists together and fights for their professional rights

In its application filed yesterday before the High Court in Kampala UJA sought a temporary injunction restraining the directive of UCC of suspending the producers, editors and heads of progrmme from 13 media houses before the main case challenging the same is heard.

In its main case the journalist’s body is challenging UCC’ disproportionate, excessive, unconstitutional and arbitrary exercise of its statutory powers, violation of media freedom, freedom of speech and expression, human rights of media workers.

UJA avers that UCC threatens to usurp the powers vested in the media council through its directive that the 13 media houses should within three days submit to the commission the names, particulars and qualifications of the producers, editors and head of programs for investigation over breach of minimum broadcasting standards.

Last week two lawyers, Ronald Bwire and Henry Byansi petitioned the same court accusing UCC of targeting media stations of airing content, especially live broadcasts of breaking news in a manner likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public.

The petitioners also want court to check UCC’s excessive powers against the media in order to ensure respect of media freedom and adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism by other government agencies.

The media houses affected include; Radio Simba Akaboozi FM,BBS TV,Beat FM, Bukedde tv,Capital FM, CBS FM, Kingdom TV, NBS TV, NTV, Peal FM, Salt TV, Sapientia FM .

Journalists sue deputy registrar over assault

By Sania Babirye

Two court journalists who were allegedly assaulted by the Deputy registrar of planning and Development in the judiciary Fred Waninda have dragged him to the high court in Kampala seeking over 150 million shillings in compensation for their alleged human rights violations.

Under their umbrella organization: the Uganda Journalist Association, Hannigton Kisakye working with salt TV and Eric Yaga of smart 24 TV claim that the actions of Waninda including verbal and physical assault and other threats of further harming them by Waninda and breaking their camera, while they were exercising their journalistic duties infringed on their journalistic human rights and freedoms which are protected by the constitution of Uganda.

These have now asked the court to issue an order that Wanida’s alleged mos conduct fell short of his obligations to respect ,uphold, protect and promote freedoms as required by the constitution.

Through their lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha advocate, the two journalists allege that Waninda’s actions amounted to abuse of his powers as an officer of the judiciary since he is bound to observe, protect, respect and uphold fundamental human rights and freedoms of all citizens of Uganda.

They also want court to order Waninda to award them damages which is equivalent to the camera Nikon D 3100 which was allegedly destroyed by Waninda while they covered a land case at commercial court on the 24th of April this year in which Waninda is accused of grabbing 13 acres of Land in Kawuga village.

They are also seeking 100 million shillings in general damages for the physical and psychological torture, stress and inhumane degrading treatment allegedly subjected to them by the Deputy registrar which they say violated their human rights and 50 million shillings each as aggravated damages for the oppressive and cold hearted treatment on top of costs of the suit.

Evidence before court shows that on that fateful day, Kisakye was covering the said land case court proceedings after the proceedings he was physically tortured, slapped and his camera was allegedly destroyed by Waninda.

And that when Yiga inquired why Waninda was manhandling his colleague, Waninda turned on him and held him by the collar of shirt while squeezing his neck.

He says Waninda’s actions were so painful, shocking and offensive for him as a journalist.

These now say that “court needs to breath life into the constitutional imperatives of open justice by holding liable any person including judicial officers like Waninda who unjustifiably impede or attempt to frustrate journalists from covering otherwise public court proceedings and also enhance the administration of justice ”

They further state that ” in order to promote open justice, press freedoms, rule of laws and respect for human rights, it is just and convenient for this honorable court to allow their application and all remedies sought”

On the 29th of this month, the judiciary launched an investigation into the said assault allegations

According to a press release by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Esta Nambayo, the Inspector of Courts was tasked to investigate and present its findings within seven days for further management.

This follows after the chief registrar received media reports that Waninda, assaulted the said journalists at the Commercial Court while working.

The Inspectorate of Courts is mandated to receive and investigate complaints of maladministration of justice against any staff of the Judiciary and all cadres of judicial officers.

This is not the first time that a public servant has attacked court journalists while on Duty.

In March 2016, drama engulfed at the anti corruption court after Former works minister who was facing corruption charges beat up a female journalist Judith Nalugwa of Bukede TV and paper.

The journalist was trying to record the minister during one of his court appearances although the journalist recorded a statement at police, the matter was later settled out of court.

And in June 2017, the same Minister boxed a male journalist of NTV Denis Kabugo who was video taping him over the same corruption case at the anti corruption court.
The minister has since then been cleared of all the corruption charges.

Wife sent to jail for murdering her husband

By Sania Babirye
The high court in Kampala has cancelled the bail of a wife who is accused of murdering her husband in 2016 and consequently remanded her to Luzira prison.

Diana Nabbengo luutu a resident of Kazo Lugoba zone in Kawempe division Kampala district has had her bail cancelled by justice Jane Francis Abodo today after state completed investigations into the matter and is ready to begin trial .

The suspect who had appeared before the office of the registrar for her usual bail reporting and extension was surprised when she informed that her case is ready for hearing and 8 witneses were ready in court to testify against her.

And as a result justice Jane Francis Abodo cancelled her bail and read to her the murder charge.

She however pleaded not guilty and was remanded until Thursday this week when hearing of her case is expected to begin.

Prosecution led by Fatinah Nakafeero states that on 24th August 2016 at Kazo Lugoba zone Kawempe division in Kampala district, Nabengo with Malice aforethought killed her husband Hannington Musasizi Asimwe.

The mother of two who was also pregnant at the time is alleged to have stubbed her husband in the kitchen.

Evidence shows that on that fateful day, the suspect was at home with her husband. two kids and their house help.

And that since it was one of their child’s birthday, she sent both the kids and the maid away to buy a birthday cake and when they left, she went and found her husband in the Kitchen and stubbed him.

Evidence also shows that after the stabbing, she locked her injured and dying husband in kitchen, changed the blood stained clothes and went to her work office to disguise the murder.

And that she later returned home with a special hire and took her injured husband to Mulago hospital for treatment.

Evidence further shows that while in hospital, her dying husband who came out of coma shortly informed his sister that it was his wife who had done this to him and immediately after the dying declaration passed on.

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.