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More politicians dragged to court

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MPs, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Theodore Ssekikubo, Mohammed Nsereko and

MPs, Barnabas Tinkasiimire, Theodore Ssekikubo, Mohammed Nsereko and Wilfred Niwagaba after a court session at the Supreme Court. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye 

By  EPHRAIM KASOZI & ANTHONY WESAKA

Posted  Tuesday, December 24  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Compared to last year, this year has seen more politicians dragged to court.

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Kampala-Following tensions in the political field, the courts in 2013 have had more cases involving politicians in both criminal and civil cases than the previous one.
Core in this year’s highlight in court is that the Judiciary spent almost the whole of this year without a substantive Chief Justice following the retirement of Justice Benjamin Odoki in March. He was later controversially reappointed by President Museveni for a two-year contract as Chief Justice, which reappointment has been meted with resistance. Mr Odoki’s appointment has not been approved by Parliament.

The Judiciary also spent the bigger part of this year without a substantive Deputy Chief Justice following the death of Justice Constance Byamugisha early this year.

So here are some of the high profile cases that hit headlines in 2013.

Aronda in court

As Attorney General Peter Nyombi was being taken to court over the controversial recall of Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, Internal Affairs minister Aronda Nyakairima, alongside Nyombi, were also being dragged to court over the minister’s appointment and yet he was still a serving army officer. The petition was lodged in court by a lawyer Eron Kiiza, who is seeking court’s indulgence to interpret and pronounce itself on whether it is constitutionally right for a serving army officer to ascend to cabinet. The matter is still in court.

Besigye, Lukwago
Former FDC leader Kizza Besigye and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, were arraigned in courts and charged over for holding assemblies in Kampala that police deemed illegal. All cases are still in court.

Mukula found guilty, later acquitted

The year began on a bad note for flamboyant Soroti Municipality MP, Capt Mike Mukula, after the Anti-Corruption Court found him guilty of embezzling Shs210 million from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation account. He was subsequently sentenced to four years imprisonment. But being dissatisfied with the verdict, he appealed against the sentence. Justice David Wangutusi then acquitted him on grounds that the lower court did not properly evaluate the evidence on record thereby arriving at a wrong decision.

Anti-graft court suspended
In July, the Constitutional Court suspended operations of the Anti-Corruption Court after a lawyer, Davis Wesley Tusingwire asked the Constitutional Court to halt the operations of magistrates attached to the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court, saying they are working illegally.

The petitioner alleged that the appointment to and exercise of judicial duties by chief magistrate and grade one magistrates in the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court offends the constitutional composition and structure of the High Court which is not a designated magisterial area. Court later ruled that it could operate.

Dr Onzivua arrested
Also charged in connection with the late MP Nebanda’s death was Mulago pathologist, Dr Sylvester Onzivua, who was later acquitted alongside with MP Baryomunsi after court ruled that the duo don’t have a case to answer.

Dr Onzivua had been charged with abuse of office and conspiracy to unlawfully obtain Nebanda’s body parts that he was arrested with at Entebbe International airport enroute to South Africa for post mortem examination in a bid to establish what had killed the MP.

The case or rebels MPs
As the year progressed, two of NRM members, Kibuku MP Lt Saleh Kamba and Maryam Agasha petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of four MPs, Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Mohammed Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga) over their stay in the House following their expulsion from the party they subscribe to.

NRM party chairman, President Museveni and Secretary General Amama Mbabazi signed affidavits in support of the case before another petitioner, Joseph Kwesiga filed to challenge the same MPs.
The Constitutional Court issued a mandatory temporary injunction against the MPs pending final judgment. Upon appeal, the MPs secured a temporary relief following a ruling by the Supreme Court that blocked their eviction from the House pending the determination of the petition challenging the Speaker Kadaga to retain their seats.

Justice Kavuma set October 15, for court to deliver its final judgment but the much awaited judgment had by December 9 not been delivered.

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