13 remanded over anti-corruption activism

Friday January 17 2020

Police arrest anti-corruption activists in

Police arrest anti-corruption activists in Kampala on January 13, 2020. They were charged with disobedience of lawful orders yesterday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By URN

Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court Thursday remanded thirteen activists who were arrested on Monday for staging a protest against corruption in the country.
The suspects appeared in two groups before Grade One Magistrates, Marion Mangeni and Stella Maris Amabilis.

They were charged with disobedience of lawful orders.

Those who appeared before Mangeni are Faridah Bikobere, Yiga Muzafalu, Sharon Kemigisha Joan Nakiyemba, Saad Mukooli , Jackson Ssemwanga and Ferdinand Lutta. While those who appeared before Amabilis are Ashraf Lukwago, Badru Kaweesi, Jimmy Gafaayo Richard Kizito, Godfrey Tumukunde and Shailock Nayesiga shailock.

Prosecution led by Ivan Kyazze told court that on January 13, 2020 on Kampala and Entebbe Roads, the accused persons contravened sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act. Kyazze claimed that the group held a public meeting in disregard of the laid down procedures in the Public Order Management Act when they refused to coordinate and cooperate with Police to ensure that all participants are unarmed and peaceful.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges with the exception of Joan Nakiyemba and Faridah Bikobere who were part of the group that appeared before Mangeni. However, court couldn’t convict the duo because the State Prosecutor wasn’t able to conclude his submission.

He briefly told court that police officers at Entebbe Road arrested the suspects who were dressed in black attires because they were shouting and carrying placards with inscriptions “Black Monday. Kyazze explained that Police advised the suspects to abandon the protest, since they hadn’t informed security agencies in vain.

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According to Kyazze, when the suspects arrived at CPS Kampala, both Bikobere and Nakiyemba admitted to have committed the crime in question.

He wanted to tender in court evidence the exhibits recovered from the suspects during arrest but the defense lawyers led by Eron Kiiza objected, saying this isn’t the right time to do so. The Magistrate accordingly remanded the suspects to prison until January 21 and 23 respectively when they will return for the mention of their case.

Zaid Ssempala, the mastermind of the protests, said they made a coalition of three organizations including the Alternative, the Red Top Brigade and Uganda Poor Youth Movement (UPYM) to prepare a real walk against corruption.

He explained that in December when the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Inspectorate of Government organized the walk against corruption, it was dominated by corrupt individual, which he says was insult.

Ssempala says they found it worth to organize one where they can send a message to corrupt government officials.

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