LoP faults DPP for sanctioning treason charges against MPs

Monday August 20 2018
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Speaking out. Ms Betty Aol Ochan speaks to journalists in Gulu recently. Photo by Julius Ocungi

GULU-The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Betty Aol Ochan has faulted Mr Mike Chibita, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mike Chibita for sanctioning treason charges against several members of Parliament and their supporters because “there was insufficient evidence to pin them.”

Ms Aol told journalist after visiting the politicians and their co-accused in  Gulu Central Prison that Mr Chibita rushed to sanction the charges before getting well-investigated reports.

“The DPP did not do a good job. He lost his professionalism. Even in the Constitution, truth is emphasised. Where is the truth in this case? Why can’t we do our work with truth, those arrested were not even at the alleged scene of chaos but in their hotel rooms,”  Ms Aol said.

The Gulu Chief Magistrate Court on Thursday charged Mr Kassiano Wadri, the Arua Municipality Member of Parliament-elect and 31 others with treason contrary to section 23 before remanding them to Gulu Central Prison.

Other politicians who were detained are Mr Paul Mwiru (Jinja East MP), Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality MP) and Mike Mabikke, former Makindye East MP.

 They are expected to reappear on August 30 for the mention of their case.

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 Ms Aol also called on the speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga to intervene and follow the matter closely to ensure the release of the politicians.

 

Suspects have TV sets

A journalist who got access to the prison facility together with Ms Aol, but refused to be named for security reasons, said the jailed politicians have TV sets in their rooms and are allowed to make telephone calls.

“I saw them dressed in yellow attires, the legislators told me they are being treated well and have TVs in their rooms. They said they have been watching news bulletins but the government has been giving false information on what led to their arrest,” the journalist said.

Meanwhile, the Gulu High Court Judge Justice Stephen Mubiru is set to make a ruling this afternoon on whether the Gulu Chief Magistrate, Mr  Paul Dawa Matenga should handle the case from Gulu instead of referring it to the High Court in  Arua.

On Friday, Mr Matenga wrote to Justice Mubiru seeking guidance and directives on whether he should  handle the case which falls under the territorial jurisdiction of Arua.

 “I have examined the particulars and find the same matter falls under the territorial jurisdiction of Arua Chief Magistrates Court and Arua High Court. The registration of the same and mention in Gulu in my opinion, is an error,” the August 17 letter copied to the Resident State Attorney and the lawyers of the accused persons, reads in part.

Mr Dalton Opwonya, who leads a team of lawyers representing the accused people, today filed their  bail application at the Chief Magistrates Court in Gulu.

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MPs detained over Arua poll chaos were armed, say police

Tuesday August 14 2018

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KAMPALA- Police have said four Members of Parliament arrested over the chaos on Monday, the last day of campaigns for the Arua Municipality by-election, had guns.

Lawmakers arrested in Arua but detained in Gulu include Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East), Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality).

Former Makindye East representative Mike Mabikke and Independent candidate Kassiano Wadri, for whom they went to drum up support, were arrested alongside two journalists and more than two dozen other suspects.

The arrests followed confrontations between security forces and Opposition supporters late on Monday in which Bobi Wine’s driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead and six others sustained gunshot wounds.
Addressing a press conference at police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, yesterday, the spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, said they are investigating the blood spills.

“We cannot conclude on who shot Yasin Kawuma [dead], because the legislators we have in our cells also had weapons,” Mr Kayima said in reference to a question on whether police had arrested the suspected killer.

Murder probe
He did not specify the type of guns retrieved from the MPs and neither did he say if police licensed them to carry guns.

The Monday melee, the spokesman said, is being investigated to “understand who shot him (Kawuma)”.

Detectives have preferred charges of obstruction and malicious damage [to property] against the lawmakers and their co-accused.

Security forces roughed up journalists Herbert Zziwa and Ronald Muwanga, who work with our sister television station, NTV, as they reported live on the shooting of Kawuma.

Police released the duo on bond yesterday after preferring against them charges of incitement to violence and malicious damage [to property].

Mr Kayima said Bobi Wine, Mr Wadri and their co-accused orchestrated violence in Arua Town in which President Museveni’s motorcade was stoned as it returned from the last campaigns for NRM flag bearer Nusura Tiperu.

“Supporters of candidate Kassiano Wadri with imported support groups led by MPs Kyagulanyi, Zaake, Mwiru, Karuhanga and Mabikke obstructed and violently attacked the presidential motorcade at Prison Cell, Arua Municipality, during which one of the vehicles bearing the presidential coat of arms [number plate] had its hind screen smashed,” he said.
Mr Kayima said security officers fired bullets and lobbed teargas canisters to prevent the situation from degenerating.

Police impounded Bobi Wine’s car in which Kawuma was shot and a grader that Opposition supporters allegedly used to block the President’s convoy. Both vehicles have been towed to Arua Central Police Station.

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