MASAKA – Grade one Magistrate in Masaka, Arthur Ziraba on Tuesday dismissed a case against 36 supporters of the National Unity Platform-NUP party.
The supporters, had since last November, been facing charges of inciting violence and committing acts that were, reportedly likely to lead to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many of the accused included leaders and supporters of NUP in the greater Masaka, who were arrested on November 18, 2020, shortly after the arrest of their party president and former Presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine in Luuka district.
The suspects included among others Florence Namayanja – the Bukoto East constituency MP, Dr Abed Bwanika, and Juliet Kakande – the MPs elect Kimanya – Kabonera division. They were arrested on suspicion of masterminding the protests in Masaka that followed the arrest Kyagulanyi.
Prosecution states that the accused persons were arrested during a police operation in, which they were found in breach of the Covid-19 preventive guidelines as they coordinated protests in the area.
But His Worship – Ziraba noted that after repeated adjournments due to the prosecution’s failure to adduce the required evidence against the accused, the case had to be dismissed.
Senior State Attorney, Caroline Opio had told the presiding magistrate that she had a list of witnesses – including the Masaka RPC, Enock Abaine, Sergeant Godfrey Juma – the head of the police political desk and detective Innocent Musinguzi but none was produced before court.
Ziraba, in his ruling, rebuked police for congesting courts with ‘unfounded cases’ which can’t be proved beyond hearsay. He noted that the only available option was to dismiss the case because prosecution had failed to present evidence.