Dr. Stella Nyanzi appeals

BY Sania Babirye

Kampala high court judge Angelin Flavia Ssenoga is today expected to hear an appeal filed by jailed Makerere university Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi.

On the 16th of August, 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 challenging her conviction and sentence basing on ten grounds.

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

She also claims 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 is accusing 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 says 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, Buganda road court 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.

As always, the controversial scholar did not disappoint her supporters who were packed in court because immediately when she was produced before the magistrate via a video link, she did not waste any time in putting up a show to show her dissatisfaction with the video conferencing system.

She started shouting and raising her middle finger at the magistrate as she shouted on top of her voice before finally exposing her breasts on the video screen as the magistrate sat there and watched in total dismay.

However, Luzira prison security later whisked Dr.Nyanzi away from the video link forcing the magistrate to sentence her in absentia.

Meanwhile, Nyanzi is serving only 9 months out of the 18 sentenced after the magistrate subtracted the 9 months she had so far spent on remand.

There was also drama in court after Nyanzi’s supporters turned rowdy and started shouting, abusing and throwing bottles at the magistrate to show their dissatisfaction with the decision by the magistrate to not have Nyanzi brought in court for her sentencing and the actual punishment of 18 months that she was given.

This forced police to intervene to try and calm them down.

While sentencing her, the magistrate ruled that the offense of Cyber harassment crimes are on the rise and that there is need there is need to curb it down .

She also stated that she would have sentenced Nyanzi to a fine but a fine will not occasion any impact on Nyanzi since she is unremorseful despite being convicted of posting an obscene and vulgar poem attacking the person of the president and that of his late mother.

And since then, six people have been charged with assaulting the magistrate after a mineral bottle was thrown at her.

These also include a one Abalinabyo Fatuma who is separately charged with the actual throwing of the mineral water bottle at Kamasanyu but are out on bail.

Nyanzi petitions court to seek fresh trial three days to judgement

By Sania Babirye
Kampala high court Jane Francis Abodo has set this Wednesday to rule on whether to stop Buganda road court from delivering its judgement and order fresh case hearing under a new magistrate in the concluded cyber harassment and offensive communication case against troubled Jailed Makerere University researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi in which she is accused of disturbing the peace of President Museveni and that of his late mother Esteri Komuntale.

On the 16th of this month, Grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu set this Friday the 1st of August to deliver her judgement after she forcefully closed the case after Nyazi’s alleged 19 witnesses failed to turn up in court to testify in her favor since Nyanzi had herself chosen to stay silent and defend herself through her alleged witnesses.

However, being dissatisfied with the magistrates’s decision to close the case, Nyanzi and her legal team led by Isaac Ssemakade appealed in the High court against her decision citing unfair hearing and biaseness by the trial magistrate. .

These now want justice Abodo to stop the said ruling and order that a new magistrate be assigned to the case to be retired.

Accordingly to Ssemakade, Kamasanyu failed to effectively summon their witnesses as the law requires including the president whom they claimed to be their key witness despite him being the complainant.

Other witnesses included CID boss Grace Akullo, linguistic and cultural experts plus senior citizens .

Specifically, Ssemakade is accusing Kamasanyu of leaving them with the burden of making sure that their own defense witnesses honor court summons since her summons did not state the consequences if the said witnesses who were issued with criminal summons failed to honour them.

Ssemakade is further accusing Kamasanyu of dictating the manner and order in which the witnesses had to be presented which he says contributed to those summoned of failing to show up in court.

However, prosecution led by Timothy Emilit has asked court to dismiss the said application saying it is baseless.

Emilit has submitted that the trial magistrate was very fair to the defense team and gave them ample time to present their witnesses by allowing numerous adjournments as asked by lawyer Ssemakade to serve the said witnesses with court summons to come to court.

Emilit further has submitted that Ssemakade kept on prolonging the case by making numerous court applications all in an effort to interrupt court proceedings which delayed the conclusion of the case in time.

He says that the trial judge did her duty in issuing court summons to the alleged witnesses including Grace Akullo but Ssemakade instead neglected his duty o also to ensure that the their own alleged witnesses receive the said summons and come to court to defend his client who deliberately chose to stay silent instead of the magistrate pleading with her to defend herself.

He has now asked justice Abodo to let the lower court continue and determine the case this friday submitting that the trial magistrate gave the defense team a fair trial including allowing a defense witness who was not briefed about the case to come in court but only for the to tell court that he did not know whu he had been summoned since Ssemakade did not brief him about the case .

On the 11th of July, after failing to have any of her alleged 19th defense witnesses to come to court and testify in her favour, Ssemakade told court that they had resorted to use newspaper advertisement to ask her would be defence witnesses to voluntarily come to court and testify in her favour which court refused to grant.

The magistrate had given Nyanzi and her lawyer two days (9th and 10th of July ) to present all their witnesses, however, by 11th July only one witness an IT expert in computer hacking Mustapha Mugisa appeared in court and informed court that he cannot testify because he did not know why he had been summoned since he had retired 10 years ago and had no material evidence to provide making his opinion not relevant to Nyanz’s case in anyway.

Ssemakade further informed court that they had been able to fully serve CID boss Grace Akullo and Makerere university associate professor Dr.Kakungulu Nayambala with the summons but all had deliberately declined to attend court asking the magistrate to issue a warrant of arrest for the witnesses which submission was declined.

He further informed court that they will be mobilizing their witnesses through Newspaper adverts and asked court to give them one month since its their remaining option since even court summons could not compel the witnesses to attend court.

However, Ssemakade put the whole blame for the failure of their alleged witnesses to attend court on the trial magistrate saying she refused to supply them with certified copies of the proceedings which some defense witnesses has requested for in order to accept the court summons.

State prosecutor,Timothy Amerit however accused the defense team of asking requests to prolong the case which only adds another number to the ongoing increased case backlog and asked court to dismiss their request.

According to Amerit, the defense team needed to just close its case because since they had failed to secure their own defense witnesses to attend court and defend his client which the magistrate agreed to.

On the 26th of June, Ssemakade revealed to court that although his client was not in position to defend herself now, however, she had 20 witnesses lined up to defend her.

These were led by President Museveni who is also the complainant and asked court to summon them.

However, the magistrate declined to summon President Museveni because as sitting President,he has immunity from prosecution or any other court proceedings and can only appear to testify voluntarily.

Others included CID boss Grace Akullo whom Ssemakade marked as their “star”witness, Dr.Mayambala.

Other witnesses included Prof.Sylvia Tamale(Feminist activist) prof.Fredrick Juko a former law prof.at Makerere university, Columnist Allan Taaka, Feminist Mildred Apenyo, princess Solome Nakaweesi, ass.prof.Dr.Ronald 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, Grace Akullo, Dr.Mayambala,Eng.Frank Kitumba who heads ICT at Makerere university and others can follow later but non of them responded to the summons.

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 on the 16th of September 2018, while armed with a motive to disturb the peace of President M7 and that of his late mother Esteri Komumtale, Nyanzi posted obscene messages on her official face book page(Stellah Nyanzi) while attacking the privacy of the President .

Court closes Nyanzi’s case without her defense

By Sania Babirye
Buganda road has closed the case in which troubled Jailed Makerere University researcher Dr Stella is charged with offensive communication and cyber harassment for disturbing the peace of President Museveni and his late mother.

Grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu has been forced to close the case without Nyanzi defending herself after her alleged 19witnesses which she had claimed will compose her defense failed to turn up in court yet Nyanzi had chisen to stay silent.

While closing the defense case against Nyanzi’s lawyer’s wishes, the magistrate noted that she had given Nyanzi and her team enough time to hold their defense but non of of them including the suspect herself have been able to defend herself but instead chose to be silent.

However, Nyanzi’s lawyer, Isaac Semakadde has expressed disaffection saying the court has not been fair and just while handling his client since the magistrate refused to summon their defense witnesses.

The magistrate has now set the 1st of August to deliver her ruling.

On the 11th of July, after failing to have any of her alleged 19th defense witnesses to come to court and testify in her favor despite being summoned by court, Ssemakade told court that they have resorted to use newspaper advertisement to ask her would be defense witnesses to voluntarily come to court and testify in her favor which court refused to grant.

The magistrate had given Nyanzi and her lawyer two days (9th and 10th) to present all their witnesses, however, by 11th July only one witness an IT expert in computer hacking Mustapha Mugisa appeared in court and informed court that he cannot testify because he did not know why he had been summoned since he had retired 10 years ago and had no material evidence to provide making his opinion not relevant to Nyanzi’s case in anyway.

Ssemakade further informed court that they had been able to fully serve CID boss Grace Akullo and Makerere university associate professor Dr.Kakungulu Nayambala with the summons but all had deliberately declined to attend court asking the magistrate to issue a warrant of arrest for the witnesses which submission was declined.

He further informed court that they will be mobilizing their witnesses through Newspaper adverts and asked court to give them one month since its their remaining option since even court summons could not compel the witnesses to attend court.

However, Ssemakade put the whole blame for the failure of their alleged witnesses to attend court on the trial magistrate saying she refused to supply them with certified copies of the proceedings which some defense witnesses has requested for in order to accept the court summons.

State prosecutor,Timothy Amerit however accused the defense team of asking requests to prolong the case which only adds another number to the ongoing increased case backlog and asked court to dismiss their request.

According to Amerit, the defense team needed to just close its case because since they had failed to secure their own defense witnesses to attend court and defend his client which the magistrate agreed to.

On the 26th of June, Ssemakade revealed to court that although his client was not in position to defend herself now, however, she had 20 witnesses lined up to defend her.

These were led by President Museveni who is also the complainant and asked court to summon them.

However, the magistrate declined to summon President Museveni because as sitting President,he has immunity from prosecution or any other court proceedings and can only appear to testify voluntarily.

Others included CID boss Grace Akullo whom Ssemakade marked as their “star”witness, Dr.Mayambala.

Other witnesses included Prof.Sylvia Tamale(Feminist activist) prof.Fredrick Juko a former law prof.at Makerere university, Columnist Allan Taaka, Feminist Mildred Apenyo, princess Solome Nakaweesi, ass.prof.Dr.Ronald 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, Grace Akullo, Dr.Mayambala,Eng.Frank Kitumba who heads ICT at Makerere university and others can follow later but non of them responded to the summons.

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 on the 16th of September 2018, while armed with a motive to disturb the peace of President M7 and that of his late mother Esteri Komumtale, Nyanzi posted obscene messages on her official face book page(Stellah Nyanzi) while attacking the privacy of the President

Stella Nyanzi loses pregnancy while in Luzira

By Sania Babirye
Troubled Makerere University Researcher Dr. Stellah Nyanzi has informed court that she suffered a miscarriage while on remand at Luzira Government prison.

Dr.Nyanzi made the revelation today before High court judge Lydia Mugambe as she returned for her case in whichb she is suing Makerere university for refusing to reinstate her on her job despite an order to do so.

Nyanzi who appeared frail, sad with her signature dreadlocks shaved off further explained that she lost her pregnancy last Friday after suffering from High blood pressure.

She added that she was admitted to the prison’s sick bay and that is why she could not get in touch with her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde to swear a supporting affidavit in her case .

Her lawyer has now asked court to adjourned the case to the 19th of February 2019 for hearing.

Nyanzi has been on remand at Luzira prison since November last year on charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication to the person of president M7 and his late mother Esteri Kokundeka.

In October 2018 , Makerere University’s appeal tribunal lifted her suspension and directed that she be be re-instated with all salary arrears paid and promoted to the level of a Fellow Researcher with immediate effect.

However , Makerere University did not honor the directives causing Dr.Nyanzi to sue the university the decision by the university has affected her life negatively since she can not take care of herself or her family .

But the university maintains that Nyanzi’s contract did expire and she never renewed it when she learnt that she was transferred to the school of law.

Nyanzi is currently on remand at Luzira government prison on fresh charges of posting obscene birthday poem on Facebook where she attacked president M7 and his late mother and she has also refused to seek bail despite the judge advising her to do so .

Court grants bail to MAK students who led Stella Nyanzi demostration

By Babirye Sania

Buganda road court has granted bail to four Makerere University students who were  remanded to Luzira prison for allegedly holding a unlawful demonstration on the 10th of May  2017 demanding for Dr Stella Nyanzi’s release.

The four students include  Kahigi Edmund, Roy Rugumayo, Hanington Mugarura and Stephen Ariho.

Buganda road grade one  magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu  has ordered each to  sign a court  bond of ten million  shillings to ensure that  they return to court next week for hearing of  their case.

The four were part of a group of 10 students who were arrested at the  gates of Buganda road court  demanding for the immediate  release of Controversial Makerere university researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi who had  been in Luzira prison over a month on charges of cyber  harassment .

Nyanzi was later granted  bail by  the same court and returns to court tomorrow  for her case mention.

Prosecution states that on the 10th of May 2017 at Buganda Road court Kampala without lawful excuse the  four students  made statements calculated to incite violence against the public .