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Magistrate throws out Aronda coup talk case

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Members of the Special Forces Command clean Entebbe town yesterday as they prepared for Tarehe Sita celebrations to be held today in Arua District.

Members of the Special Forces Command clean Entebbe town yesterday as they prepared for Tarehe Sita celebrations to be held today in Arua District. Court yesterday dismissed a case in which the army commander, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, had been accused of treason. Photo by Ronald Kabuubi/Eappa Images.  

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Posted  Wednesday, February 6  2013 at  02:00
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Court has thrown out an application to issue criminal summons against the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, over comments he reportedly made about the possibility of a coup.

Nakawa Court Chief Magistrate Joyce Kabagye yesterday dismissed the application for the summons, saying the complaint on oath, the charge sheet and the criminal summons prepared were incompetent before the court.

“Since there is no local set up as required by law, then the complaint is incompetent. The complaint should have been accompanied by a letter from the local village chief,” said Ms Kabagye, adding that it appeared that the prosecutors are the investigators, which is against the principles of natural justice.

Ms Kabagye ruled that trial by private prosecutions is supposed to be instituted in the area where the accused person resides unlike the ordinary criminal matters by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, which provides for area where the crime is committed.

While advising the complainant to appeal in case of dissatisfaction, the chief magistrate said her court did not have the jurisdiction to hear cases of treason.

Luweero Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya, through her lawyers Alaka and Company Advocates, had filed the complaint on oath to have Gen. Nyakairima tried by way of private prosecution over statements he allegedly made warning that the army could be forced to take over power if politicians do not change course.

The legislator accompanied by her lawyers; Mr Julius Galisonga and Mr Caleb Alaka, who earlier asked the court to sanction the charges against the army chief to commence proceedings, described the ruling as a “misinterpretation of laws”.

“That is her decision as a magistrate but I still believe there is a case and that is why my lawyers have asked court for the records to appeal,” Ms Nabukenya told journalists soon after the ruling.
Mr Galisonga said their appeal was based on an admission by the magistrate that she was not aware of the laws.

“We appropriately addressed the necessary requirements and the utterances were made in Mbuya, which is under the jurisdiction of Nakawa court but we are surprised,” he added.

Mr Alaka said the chief magistrate wrongly interpreted the law, while those she referred to were “redundant”.

tbutagira@ug.nationmedia.com