Grade One Magistrate Court in Mbarara headed by Judge Sanyu Mukasa has issued criminal summons against Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) former President, Col Dr. Kiiza Besigye, the President, Patrick Amuriat Oboi and others for disrespecting court session which was scheduled for Friday.
Dr. Besigye, Amuriat, Ingrid Turinawe, Mubarak Munyagwa and Besigye’s driver Fred Kato have been battling 6 charges of; conducting unlawful assembly, malicious damage, inciting violence and assaulting police officers while on duty during.
These stem from a fracas that occurred on November 2017 at the Mbarara main roundabout during a rally.
However, to the judge’s, surprise none of the above mentioned defendants appeared in court.
The State prosecutor, Caroline Keshubi was also not present in court.
One of the witnesses to testify in court was ASP Kambugu Isaac who was then the Acting DPC Mbarara CPS at the time the alleged cases were being committed.
This prompted the Judge to proceed with the matter after the accused defied court orders.
“I am unable to precede. I don’t have the state attorney and the accused are not in court” said Mukasa.
Lydia Ahimbisibwe, counsel to the accused asked court to issue criminal summons against the five defendants who did not serve court with any notice.
“The guarantors are here my worship but I have just been informed that my clients are attending important meetings. My worship I pray that criminal summoned be issued,” Ahimbisibwe said.
She also revealed that the case has stalled in court and pleaded for a shorter adjournment.
“We are praying for the dates of August worship since the matter has been long in court we pray that you also reserve the dates of august so that we can be able to complete” explained Ahimbisibwe.
The magistrate judge adjourned the matter and issued criminal summons against the accused to appear in court in person on 9 July 2019.
“Criminal summons will be issued to the accused 9th of August please come up on 9th of August” said Mukasa.
After court, counsel for the defendants, Lydia Ahimbisibwe confirmed that her clients were attending other businesses outside the country.
“My clients have not come to court today they had big business to attend to and the senior counsel (Elias Lukwago) whom I am appearing with was also not able to come. He was outside the country however the matter has been adjourned to another date and the court has issued criminal summons so that they can be able to come in the next day,” Ahimbisibwe explained.
“We are ready to proceed and we are ready to conclude this matter.” she added.
Stanley Katembeya, the chairman for FDC in Mbarara revealed that Besigye and his team are law-abiding citizens, adding that the summoned will appear in court on the adjourned date.
“The people’s President has not been in court for some reasons. They have issued criminal summons so that he can be arrested if he doesn’t come. But hopefully, I know he is a careful man he must come on 9th August”.
However, Besigye had earlier told this news website in Mbarara that these are just trumped-up charges aimed at weakening the FDC party.
“This is one of the many trumped-up charges whose intention by the Museveni junta is to harass and undermine our finances. These are ridiculous charges but this will never disrupt us from the legitimate struggle (political change) to challenge and remove a bad government”.
Besigye vowed never to attend such unserious courts intended to waste his time.
“We shall resolve not to come to court again unless we are arrested; we cannot keep on spending our money, time coming to courts that are not serious,” Besigye earlier.
“We are waiting to see if Besigye and his colleagues will make it on 9 July 2019”.