Saturday May 3 2014

State withdraws charges against pro-Mbabazi youth

Mr Adam Luzindana (L) and Mr Omodo-Omodo (R),

Mr Adam Luzindana (L) and Mr Omodo-Omodo (R), flanked by their supporters celebrate after court granted them bail at the Anti Corruption Court last month. PHOTO BY Faiswal Kasirye 



The State has dropped charges against NRM youth leaders who have been pushing for Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s candidature in 2016 presidential elections.
Charges of abuse of office against Mr Omodo-Omodo, 29, the NRM Youth League Vice Chairperson for Northern Region and Mr Adam Luzindana Buyinza, 31, the NRM Youth League Vice Chairperson, were dropped yesterday when the case came up at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala.

The youthful politicians, who have been out of prison on bail, were arrested and charged last month in relation to mobilising youth for Mbabazi’s presidential bid. Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the premier’s wife, was one of their sureties.

However, when they reappeared in court yesterday for the hearing of their case, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced that the charges were being withdrawn.
The state prosecutor, Ms Jane Abodo, presented to Chief Magistrate Sarah Langa a letter stopping proceedings against the accused. The letter was signed by the DPP Mike Chibita.

Ms Abodo told court that the NRM party had resolved to settle their internal wrangles outside court, forming the basis for the withdrawal of the case.
The prosecution had accused Mr Omodo-Omodo and Mr Luzindana of abusing their authority when they bribed and tricked NRM members and mobilisers into signing a petition to convene a delegates conference.

The conference was reportedly meant to discuss an earlier resolution by the party’s parliamentary caucus to endorse President Museveni as its sole presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.

Mr Severino Twinobusingye, one of the NRM lawyers, yesterday said the party had not consulted them before the charges were dropped but welcomed the decision.
“According to us (defence lawyers) we have no objection to the charges being withdrawn. After all, the charges were in actual sense never there from the beginning,” he said.

The NRM party MPs during a retreat at Kyankwanzi in February passed a resolution endorsing President Museveni as the party’s only presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.
The February resolution by NRM MPs and the recent decision to send them to market it in their constituencies has provoked countrywide debate on the 2016 elections.

Mr Mbabazi, however, has publicly denied he intends to contest for presidency against Museveni in 2016 although he has said nursing presidential ambitions should not be seen as a crime.