KAMPALA –Kawempe North MP-Elect Muhammad Ssegirinya has been remanded further to Kitalya Prison after his legal team indicated that it was not ready to start his trial on Thursday.
Ssegirinya was arrested on March 22, 2021 and faces charges of inciting violence. He was arrested near Mini Price, downtown Kampala during a protest organised to contest the outcome of the January 14 presidential election. He had planned to demand for the release of National Unity Platform – NUP supporters who are detained in various facilities in different parts of the country.
At the time of his arrest, he was marching through the streets, holding placards with a list of names of those who are still held in custody. “Free, Eddy Mutwe,” read one of the placards, in reference to the Bodyguard of the former Presidential Candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine, who was arrested from Kalangala in December.
Another placard listed Nubian Li, Bobi Wine’s music partner who was also arrested from Kalangala and later charged before the General Court Martial, among others. Nubian Li – Ali Bukeni presented Kyagulanyi before the Electoral Commission for Nomination, as he started his pursuit for the presidential seat.
When he first appeared before the court, a day after his arrest, his team of lawyers led by Shamim Malende attempted to apply for bail citing that their client was unwell. However, the Magistrate declined to hear their application on grounds that the court had several pending matters and Ssegirinya was remanded to Kitalya up to April 8.
Although the prosecution team led by Joan Keko and Jacqueline Akao told the court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu that they were ready to present witnesses and start the trial, the defence team said that they had not been served with witness statements and other disclosures the prosecution intends to rely on during the hearing.
According to Malende, they tried to look for the prosecutors through their known offices in vain. Malende also told the court that they were prepared for a bail hearing not a hearing of the main case.
But the prosecution dismissed the claim as false and baseless insisting that their address was known.
Ssegirinya personally pleaded with the magistrate to grant him bail to allow him to get treatment for injuries he sustained during his arrest and also prepare for his swearing-in ceremony which is scheduled for next month. But Kamasanyu informed him that his lawyers had chosen to take the false path.
Hundreds of Ssegirinya’s supporters including newly elected MPs, Mayors and Councillors attended the court session, while the accused was connected through a video link from Kitalya prison. He is now expected to appear in court on April 15.