Thursday, May 30, 2024

Uganda: Lawyers, Supporters Protest Over Besigye’s Case Delays

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By Frederic Musisi
Kasangati — Lawyers representing Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday expressed frustration at the way the Judiciary is ‘dragging its feet’ on case(s) of their client protesting the continued abuse of his human rights by police and other security agencies.

This came after the much awaited ruling on the application in which Dr Besigye is challenging his house arrest for 34 days now at the Kasangati Magisrate’s Court hit a brick wall after it emerged that the High Court registrar had recalled the file for revision.

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Grade One Magistrate Prossy Katushabe, who a day earlier had ruled that court would proceed with and a make a ruling on the application, shocked the packed courtroom, revealing that the “respective file was transferred to the Criminal Division of the High Court.”



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Lawyers led by Mr David Mpanga, just like the supporters looked dejected after receiving the news with supporters taking to the streets to protest amid heightened police deployment at court and around Kasangati.



Mr Mpanga told journalists outside court that “if you are a fan of conspiracy theories you might think that somebody is trying very hard to ensure that the matter is not heard”.

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“They have wasted a lot of our time… But the situation is written clearly in black and white that someone has been in detention for more than 48 hours,” he said.



Ms Katushabe on Monday, after ruling that court will proceed with the case, directed both Mr Mpanga and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions [DPP] to immediately file their affidavits to enable her make a ruling. While Besigye’s lawyers filed their affidavits, the DPP wrote to the High Court requesting the file to be recalled.



The DPP’s contention is that hearing of the case at Kasangati, which was filed as a criminal application, cannot proceed when the same applicant filed a parallel civil application at the High Court Civil Division.



The DPP also contends that IGP Kale Kayihura and Kampala North regional police commander cannot be individually sued because in sanctioning Dr Besigye’s house arrest they are acting in official capacity.



There were running battles as police and plain clothed operatives engaged Dr Besigye’s supporters, who were waving placards inscribed “Free our President”.



Protesters attempted to march to his home, a few meters away, but heavily armed police thwarted their plan.



The plain clothed operatives, who had disguised as boda-boda riders and residents going about their daily chores, were seen giving orders to uniformed policemen.



The scuffle lasted about 30 minutes and only Dr Besigye’s lawyers were allowed to access his home.



Mr Yusuf Nsibambi, also Dr Besigye’s lawyer, told journalists after the meeting that their client is “very disappointed with the conduct of the Judiciary” but they were ready to wait until when the High Court will make a decision on the application.


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