What you need to know:
- The magistrate, Ms Nazifa Namayanja, read to him the charges and informed him that he could not be allowed to take plea as the offences are of serious nature and the court does not have jurisdiction to hear them.
BY MONITOR TEAM
President Museveni Tuesday suggested that remanded state minister for labour, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana should not be given bail on grounds that police have clear evidence against him and his co-accused.
According to the president who is also the national chairperson for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), "the image of impunity is not acceptable."
“In the case of the Rukutanas, the Police did not give Police bond because, according to the Police, the evidence is clear and they should go for trial. I hope the DPP will also oppose bail. The image of impunity is not acceptable,” Mr Museveni said in a statement posted on his social media platforms.
The statement was posted hours after the former deputy Attorney General was further remanded until September 15 after he failed to secure court bail.
Mr Rukutana, who is also the Rushenyi County MP, is charged with attempted murder, assault occasioning bodily harm, malicious damage to property and threatening violence during the NRM primaries on September 4.
He appeared before Ntungamo Chief Magistrate’s Court presided over by Ms Sarah Mponye. Mr Rukutana denied the charges.
The prosecution states that the minister committed the offices on September 5 at Kagugu Village in Ntungamo District. He was arrested and detained at Mbarara Central Police Station. On Monday, he was produced before Ntungamo Grade One Magistrate’s Court and charged.
The magistrate, Ms Nazifa Namayanja, read to him the charges and informed him that he could not be allowed to take plea as the offences are of serious nature and the court does not have jurisdiction to hear them. Mr Rukutana was remanded to Kakiika Prison in Mbarara.
He returned to court yesterday, arriving at 10.40am aboard Uganda Prisons van. Mr Rukutana sanitised and his temperature was measured before he was ushered into the courtroom.
Mood in court
There were about 20 people, including his family members, lawyers and those who were supposed to stand surety for him. Journalists were not allowed inside the courtroom.
His lawyers, Mr Gaston Kamugisha of Nsubuga and Co. Advocates and Mr Owen Murangira, applied for bail, saying he is sick and bail is a constitutional right. Mr Rukutana presented former Information minister Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, Igara East MP Michael Mawanda, and businessmen Ali Muteeba and Robert Bob Kabonero as his sureties.
The prosecution as represented by state attorneys Eunice Mbaine and Robert Arinaitwe. The prosecution demanded medical documents to support the claim that Mr Rukutana is sick, but they were not readily provided.
After hearing long submissions from lawyers on both sides, the Chief Magistrate said she will give the ruling on the bail application on September 15. Mr Rukutana was further remanded until then. He was seen being escorted by prison warders out of the courtroom to the prisons van at around 12.40 pm.
As he entered the van Mr Rukutana waved to people who had camped outside the court premises, moving some to tears weeping. “The magistrate has remanded him until September 15, it’s her discretion. We respect the law but we say this is completely unfair [to our client],” Mr Kamugisha told journalists after court.
Mr Murangira said: “Our expectation was that this was a simple application and for her to give it a week and without a reason, I think it’s unfair.”