Tuesday February 2 2016

Gen Sejusa remanded to Luzira prison as tensions mount ahead of elections

Gen David Sejusa (R) consults one of his

Gen David Sejusa (R) consults one of his lawyers Mr Michael Mabikke at Makindye General Court Martial on Tuesday. Photo by Wandera Stephen 

By Ephraim Kasozi

Former intelligence chief and outspoken critic of President Museveni has been charged and remanded to Luzira Prison as tensions mount ahead of a presidential poll this month.
General David Sejusa, 61, was charged before Kampala based military court with several charges including absence without official leave, participating in political activities and insubordination.

However, he declined to plead to the charges arguing that the charges constitute part of a pending case before the High Court in Kampala. Court over ruled him and directed that he files formal application to object to the charges. He was remanded to Luzira Prison until February 9 this year when he will return to court.

In the first count, court chaired by Maj Gen. Levi Karuhanga heard that Gen Sejusa in April 2013 while a member of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and an MP was given permission of leave for three weeks but upon expiry of the said leave, he did not return to the August House.
Gen Sejusa’s lawyers put up a spirited fight, contesting the charge saying their client cannot be tried on service offences yet he has a pending case in the High Court- Civil Division on whether he is still a serving army officer or not.

Gen Sejusa fled the country in April 2013 after he alleged, in a letter, that there was a plot to eliminate top government officials opposed to the “Muhoozi project”.
Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the commander of the Special Forces Command, is son of President Museveni.
In his first statement to court before the commencement of his trial, Gen Sejusa did not object to being tried by panel.
Gen Sejusa’s legal team comprised of Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, Yunusu Kasirivu, Yusuf Nsibambi, Erias Lukwago, David Mushabe and Mike Mabikke among others.

Prosecution was comprised of Col Asingura Kagoro, Maj. Raphael Mugisha, Maj. Moses Buwaso and Lt. Ambrose Baguma.
Gen Sejusa, who is the first UPDF four star general to be tried in the military court on Monday cut a defiant posture, saying he does not care about being charged before the army court in relation to the ‘defiance campaigns’ and his calls for vote protection mechanism, saying such schemes are within the ambit of the Constitution.

Speaking through his lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, the controversial general argued there is nothing illegal about his actions and says that “only a free and fair election can calm tensions in the country”.
“Gen Sejusa says he finds the complaint by the State ridiculous because there is nothing illegal about [his actions],” Mr Rwakafuzi said in an interview, after the two had a meeting at Makindye military barracks where the general had been incarcerated.