A pastor in Gulu has been charged with illegal possession of properties of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Upon stepping into Lumumba Hall at the 4th Division army headquarters where the court session was being held at 4:43pm, Pastor Florence Lanyero asked to be allowed to use her local language (Acholi).
She also asked to be issued an interpreter who would translate the court proceedings.
Ms Lanyero is said to have threatened more than three people by sending them her pictures while clad in army uniforms.
A photo that wildly circulated on social media in the past two weeks showed Pastor Lanyero dressed in an army uniform and had ranks of a captain.
While reading the charge, Col George Nambafu, the 4th Division court martial chairperson, said Pastor Lanyero was being tried over unlawful possession of an army uniform and a military tent.
“The accused person is a female adult, a civilian, formerly a resident of Kasubi Parish, Gulu District and she is hereby charged with unlawful possession of army uniform and a tent,” Col Nambafu said.
According to him, the army assets found in Pastor Lanyero’s possession contravene Section 160 and sub-section 1 and 2 of the UPDF Act, 2005.
But Lanyero’s defence team headed by Capt Augustine Tumwebaze, also the 4th Division defence lawyer, asked court to adjourn the hearing since investigations were ongoing.
“We request the honourable court to adjourn the matter to give investigations time to conclude before the accused can take plea,” Capt Tumwebaze said.
Although the suspect admitted before court that she had understood the charges slapped against her, the request by the defence team prompted the court to adjourn the hearing to March.
“In that regard, therefore, this matter will resume on March 5, 2020. But the suspect will be remanded to Gulu Central Prison until then,” Col Nambafu said. Pastor Lanyero is the head of Rest Arena Church in Bardege Division in Gulu Town.
While UPDF soldiers and prison wardens escorted her to a waiting UPDF van, Pastor Lanyero kept waving and chanting: ‘…..in Jesus’s name we shall win it…’
Pastor Lanyero was arrested last Sunday at around 8:30pm by a combined team of UPDF soldiers and police officers from her home at Kasubi Village in Bardege Division.
“Her arrest followed an intelligence report that she was in possession of military hardware, prompting police and the army to launch a search at her house and subsequent arrest,” Maj Caesar Olweny said.