Public Order Management Act declared null and void

By Sania Babirye

The constitutional court has after six years delivered the judgement outlawing the public order management act ruling that the entire public order management act is inconsistent with the 1995 constitution of Uganda.

In a majority judgement, four out of the five justices led justice Kenneth Kakuru, Geoffrey Kiryabwire,Elizabeth Musoke and Cheborion Barishaki have declared that the said that is used to regulate public demonstrations and gatherings by police raised issues of constitutional interpretations there by declaring null and void section 8 for being unconstitutional.

According to the justices, the act sets a limitation that are far beyond what is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and as such void by giving police powers to clear and give permission to public demonstrations and gatherings.

The government through the attorney general had defended the said act claiming that it used it to keep peace, order, and tranquility in the country especially in urban areas to protect shop keepers and businesses from undue interference, however, the four justices have dismissed the said grounds stating that in every democracy,the economy is propelled by Democratic principles and not repression, emphasizing that repression stifles economic growth.

The justices explained that even traders, teacher, doctors, vendors among others would want to be free to demonstrate against unjust taxes and other unjustifiable policies which can be achieved if there isn’t such a law that curtails their protests, public gatherings and demonstrations.

In 2013 civil society organizations including FIDA,DANIVA,rtd.Bishop Zack Niringiye and MP Muwanga kivumbi petitioned the constitutional court seeking orders to declare the POMA inconsistent with the 1995 of the constitution and in contravention of Uganda’s international legal obligations.

“The action of the respondent in enacting and assenting to Section 5 and 6 of the Public Order Management Act, which sections are substantially and materially similar to Section 32(2) of the Police Act that was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in the constitutional petition number 9 of 2005 – Muwanga Kivumbi Vs Attorney General – is inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 92 of the Constitution,” the petition reads in part.

The petition was filed in the wake of the opposition walk to work protests in which FDC’ former presidential candidate was protesting against the increasing cost of living.

However, these claimed that the act was formulated to curtail and silence their voices and also questioned police’s powers to give them permission to hold public gatherings.

Shisha smokers fined Ugx 480,000

By Sania Babirye

Three people who were found smoking and selling Shisha at August 80 bar in Bukoto have been ordered to pay a court fine of 480,000 shillings or in default serve one year in Luzira prison.

This is after the three pleaded guilty to the offense of selling and displaying tobacco products.

The convicts include 30 year old Muhumuza Alphonce a resident of Nakawa division,23 year old Joanita Nabase a resident of Najeera and 33 year old Jerry Bigena a resident of Kisasi in Nakawa division within Kampala district.

Court has also issued criminal summons to a waiter at August 80 bar Serunkuma Abdul to appear in court and answer to the said charges on the 23rd of this month.

Prosecution states that on the 6th of March 2020 at August 80 bar, the convicts were found displaying /smoking flavored tobacco product which is in contravention of the 2015 tobacco control act.

Sheikh killer to stand trial despite confessing

By Sania Babirye

The General court martial has set the 13 of March to start hearing a murder case against a 40 year old security guard Mugoya Biasaali despite him confessing to murdering sheik Masood Mutumba in Bugiri district in February.

This is after Prosecution led by Lt. Raphael Mugisha maintained that its not true that the self confessed killer murdered the Muslim clerk alone as he claims but committed the offense with seven others.

The case had returned today for prosecution to read to court how the suspect committed the said murder offense, so that Biasaali can be officially convicted.

Buy when Lt. Mugisha maintained that the the said convict committed the said offense with seven others, Biasaali refused the said facts and maintained that he had murdered the deceased alone because he had causes him enormous pain.

This forced the army court chaired by Lt.Gen.Andrew Guti to record his statement as not guilty since he had denied committing the said crime alone.

Biasaali a Supervisor at SGA UgandaLimited, a Private Security Company Mugoya Biasaali is charged together with Balidhusa James attached to Local Defense Unit, Jagenda John Mary a Special Hire Driver and a resident of Lubowa Seguku in Wakiso District, Alex Mugoya alias Waiswa a Security Guard with Harsh Security Company a resident of Bukedea District, Amos Kojja , Sulaiman Konta, Charles Mwandha and Asharaf Mugoya all residents of Lwemba village in Busimba Zone in Bugiri District who denied the said offense.

They have been back remanded to Luzira prison until the 13th of march to commence trial.

60 year old sheikh Mutumba was gunned down outside his home in a gruesome incident that was witnessed by his 10 year old son on the 14th of February at Lwemba Trading centre in Bugiri district.

According to the deceased’s son, the assailants were traveling on a motorcycle .

Mabirizi’s case hearing further pushed

By Sania Babirye

The East African court of Justice has pushed to the 27th of March hearing of the case in which City lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi is seeking to stop the 2021 general elections roadmap until the same court hears and determines the main case in which he is challenging the the Constitutional Amendment Act 2018 which lifted the presidential age limit of 75 years.

In his application, Mabirizi says that if the elections roadmap is not stopped before determination of his main case, Ugandans will suffer irreparable damages.

He also wants the regional court to stop EC from going on with organizing any process leading to the 2021 general elections including recruiting of polling officials since the process is being led by an illegitimate law which is being challenged in the same regional court.

In the main petition, Mabirizi wants the higher court to declare the supreme court ruling that upheld the constitutional amendment null and void on grounds that it was unconstitutional and also stop the 2021 general elections roadmap .

Mabirizi claims that the actions of Parliament, Executive and the Judiciary in processing, pursuing and upholding the Constitutional Amendment Act 2018 are unlawful and illegal because members of parliament never held any consultative meetings with Uganda’s as provided for by the constitution.

Mabirizi further states that members of parliament were bribed with 29million shillings each to pass the constitutional amendment through claiming that the said funds were meant for Nationwide consultation which they never carried out.

Other illegalities in the passing of the the amendment cited by Mabirizi include the suspension of members of parliament who were opposed to the amendment by the speaker of parliament, the speaker Sending the Bill to the Executive well knowing that it had errors such an invalid certificate of compliance and violence that marred the process of passing the amendment.

Mabirizi says the EACJ should declare all amendment null and void because the actions of the three arms of government contravened the provisions of democracy and rule of law in the East African Community treaty.

The petition is being heard by five justices including Uganda’s justice Monica Mugenyi who has just been appointed by president Museveni as court of appeal judge.

In May this year 4 out of the seven justices of the supreme Court led by the chief justice Bart Katureebe, Stella Arachi Amoko, Rubby Opio Aweri and Jotham Tumwesigye upheld the constitutional court ruling that declared the amendment constitutional while justice .

These ruled that despite several breaches that took place during the tabling , debating and passing the constitutional amendment, they did not have any substantive effect on the whole enactment of the 2018 act while justice Eldad Mwangusya, Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza and Paul Mugambe dismissed the petition and declared the amendment null and void.

Fifty year old ordered to 200 hours of community service over theft

By Sania Babirye

City hall court has ordered a fifty year old man to do 200 hours of Community Service after he pleaded guilty to theft of a mobile phone.

James Katongole a self employed resident of Kyengera in Wakiso District has been jailed by Buganda road court grade one magistrate Marion Mangeni.

He pleaded guilty during a plea bargaining session and accepted to do eight weeks of cleaning Buganda road court.

The convict first denied the said charges when he was charged on the 18th of December 2019 and remanded to Luzira prison.

Prosecution states that on the convict while at Mukwano arcade in Central division Kampala snatched an Itel Mobile phone valued at 250,000 from a one Asiimwe.

The victim however raised an alarm leading to the arrest of the convict and recovery of the phone that was already shattered on the screen.

Stella Nyanzi faints again after hearing of her supporters’ case

By Sania Babirye

Makerere university researcher Dr.Stella Nyanzi has once again fainted while at court.

Dr. Nyanzi had come to show support to six FDC members who are charged with throwing a mineral water bottle at the then Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu in August 2019 during her 18 month jail sentence that has since been squashed by the high court.

Nyanzi fainted outside the court room after grade one Magistrate Stella Amirisi Amabirizi adjourned the case to a later date.

However, her supporters managed to sit her a upright and resuscitate her.

The suspects include Wanyera Simon, 39 year old Waswa Abdalla a driver, 30 year old Ojobele Augustine who is self employed, 34 year old Abalinabyo Fatuma Zaina a businesswoman, 40 year old Katumba Moses , 37 year old Joel Kabali and a one lubya a Businessman .

State also did prefer two more fresh charges against the suspects including contempt of court and common assault by interrupting judicial proceedings, throwing insults and throwing a mineral bottle at grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu .
These however pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Meanwhile court identified Abalinabyo Fatuma as the suspect who threw the alleged mineral water bottle at the magistrate and is now separately charged with causing a charge of common assault.
These were first charged with incitement to violence and Malicious damage to property in which they are accused of willfully and unlawfully damaging a walk through detector machine a property of Buganda road court .

Prosecution States that the alleged group and others still at large on the 2nd of August 2019 at Buganda Road Court incited court audience to do an act of violence against Kamasanyu a Magistrate at the same court by respect of her office.

Stella Nyanzi acquitted

By Sania Babirye
Kampala high court judge Henry Peter Adonyo has overturned a conviction and 28 month jail sentence against Makerere university researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi.

According to Justice Adonyo, the trial of Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu did not properly evaluate the evidence that was adduced before her leading to a wrong conviction and sentence.

The Judge has also faulted the state of failing to showing the location where the alleged cyber harassment offense was committed either inside or outside Uganda by Dr. Stella Nyanzi

The Judge further stated that since state was mot able to recover the weapon (phone or computer) used by Dr. Nyanzi in posting the said birthday message,then all evidence they had was circumstantial and ordered her immediate release.

However, Police was forced to fire live bullets to stop Dr.Nyanzi’s supporters from taking her home directly without going back to Luzira prison for official clearance.

In the scuffle, Nyanzi fainted and was carried by his supporters into the prison van alongside them to Luzira prison for official clearance and later be released.

Dr.Nyanzi was decorated with a tiara by the leader of opposition and speaking to the media, she vowed to continue with her activism of good governance and the need for change.

She stated that she was imprisoned for her constitutional right of free speech when she criticized President Museveni whom she claims has failed the country and must step down.

On the 16th of August 2019, the convicted scholar petitioned the High court in Kampala challenging her 18 month jail sentence for assaulting the person of President Museveni and his late mother Esteri Kokundeka.

Through her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, Dr.Nyanzi is challenged her conviction and sentence.

Among the grounds for her appeal Dr.Nyanzi cited an alleged illegal and inappropriate sentence that she says the then Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu handed her on the 2nd of August 2019 after finding her guilty of computer misuse.

She also claimed that her worship Gladys Kamasanyu failed to properly and correctly evaluate evidence adduced by the state on top of being biased.

Further more, Dr. Nyanzi accused Kamasanyu of abusing rules regarding audio-visual proceedings during her sentencing in which she claims that she never consented to be sentenced via video conferencing link while at Luzira prison.

She also said that the lower court committed several procedural errors including failing to compel her defense witnesses to testify which she claims occasioned her a miscarriage of justice.

On the 2nd of August 2019, grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu handed an 18 year jail sentence to Makerere university Researcher Dr.Stella Nyanzi after finding her guilty of cyber harassment

Nyanzi was however sentenced in absentia after she was whisked away from the video conferencing hall at Luzira for insulting the magistrate and flashing her breasts.

Bajjo case dismissed after witness fails to testify

By Sania Babirye

Buganda Road has dismissed the Bajjo case and has ordered the refund of his four million cash bail money.
Andrew Mukasa of Bajjo events has been in court of charges of inciting violence and offensive communication against against the president.

This came after the only witness and complainant Detective Senior Superintendent of Police Henry Mugunya; the acting commissioner in-charge of media at CID refused to come to court to testify despite being summoned to appear in court on several occasions.

However, state led by Ivan Kyazze and Patricia Cingitho has asked trial magistrate Stellah Amabilisi to instead issue a warrant of arrest against the senior police officer to force him to come to court and testify against Banjo.

But Bajjo’s lawyers led by Erias Lukwago have insisted that the charges against his client should be dismissed because its President Museveni the alleged victim who must come and testify in court but not the police officer.

On the ,23rd of January 2020, the magistrate threatened to dismiss the case if the said witness did not turn up in court to testify.

Prosecution states that in June 2019 at various places in Masaka, Mbarara, Ibanda and Kampala, Bajjo incited members of the public to carry out violent acts against the person of president Museveni .

In the same charge sheet , it’s further alleged that Bajjo with an intention to disturb the peace and privacy of the president, Bajjo recorded a video and posted it on social media containing messages that he would overthrow the government before 2021.

According to prosecution Bajjo used his mobile phone to make suggestions with no purpose of legitimate use /communication hence abusing the computer miss Use Act.

On the 18th of June 2019, Bajjo was charged after spending five hours in court cells.

Bajjo pleaded not guilty to the first offense but when it came to the second offense, he pleaded guilty forcing his lawyer Lukwago to ask the magistrate to read the charge in Luganda saying his client did not understand English.

On the 15th of June, Bajjo was arrested immediately after he addressed a press conference in which he announced that he was going to organise a nationwide a marathon in support to Kyadongo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu to help Bobiwine raise money which he has allegedly lost after police blocked his concerts .

Police has no powers to summon judges over court judgements

By Sania Babirye

The Judiciary says the Uganda police has no powers to summon a magistrate in regard to a judgement she made over a court case.

The judiciary was responding to an article in one of the local news paper on the 11th February 2020 titled: “Magistrate summoned over controversial land eviction order”.

The newspaper article refers to a Police investigation relating to an alleged illegal eviction and malicious damage to property arising from Civil Suit in the Hoima Chief Magistrates’ Court.

According to the summon, the magistrate was needed to record a statement in relation to the investigations.

However, the acting Chief Registrar, Tom Chemutai, has since advised the Director Criminal Investigations that it is irregular for the Police to summon a Magistrate over a court decision.

“The Police cannot summon Judicial Officers to explain how they handle court cases but can only seek clarification from court ”

The chief registrar further says that the constitution gives the judiciary independence and not subjected to the control or
direction of any person or authority.

Chemutai however, has advised anyone dissatisfied with any court decision to appeal to a higher court including
the Inspectorate of Courts, the Chief Registrar, or Judicial Service Commission for
proper investigations to be conducted and appropriate action taken.

Food activists demand for regulations of junk food consumption

By Sania Babirye

A Human Rights Organization named Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights,(CEFROHT) has dragged government to the high court in Kampala over what it has been termed as failure by government to regulate the advertisement and consumption of junk food by children which has affected their health.

Through Dalumba and Company Advocates, Kabanda David, the Executive Director of (CEFROHT)wants court to issue orders compelling government to regulate laws in regard to marketing, sale, importation and subsequent consuming of junk foods to children.

According to documents filed in court,they claim many children are suffering noncommunicable diseases such as cancers, diabetes, heart diseases and obesity due to the failure by government to monitor the sale and marketing of junk foods.

They say that if government restricts the constant marketing and advertisement of junk foods, it will reduce their intake there by protecting then from the said increasing diseases brought by as a result of their increased consumption.

The organisation further claims that they carried out a research in 2019 and discovered that 95% of children in Kindergarten Schools are consuming sweetened beverages and fast foods which is bought and parked by their Parents.

They are suing the government through the attorney general jointly with Uganda Communication commission.

The said suit is going to be heard in the 16th of March before Justice Andrew Bashaija.