Kampala- The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has in an unprecedented move declared loss of interest in pursuing an appeal challenging the acquittal of opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, of rape charges, 12 years later.
In 2006, then High Court judge John Bosco Katutsi acquitted Dr Besigye ahead of the hotly contested 2006 presidential race in which he [Dr Besigye] was President Museveni’s rival.
Dr Besigye had been accused of raping a one Joanita Kyakuwa.
But the office of the DPP being dissatisfied, appealed against the acquittal of Dr Besigye of the rape charges that attract a death sentence on conviction.
The same appeal had not been followed up and prosecuted for the last 12 years.
“Take notice that the Director of Public Prosecutions, appellant in Court of Appeal criminal appeal No.06 of 2006 arising from original High Court criminal session case No. 149/2005, intends not to proceed with the prosecution of this appeal pursuant to Rule 70 (1) of the Judicature (Court of Appeal) directions,” reads in part the withdrawal notice of the DPP.
To that effect, presiding assistant registrar Ayebare Tumwebaze, on July 9, 2018, went on to dismiss the rape appeal against Dr Besigye.
This was after Mr David Ndamurani, an officer from the DPP’s office, presented a withdrawal notice to court.
“The appeal is, therefore, dismissed under Rule 70 (1) of the Judicature (Court of Appeal Rules) directions,” assistant registrar Ayebare ruled.
The rape appeal was dismissed in absence of Dr Besigye, according to court records that this newspaper has seen.
During the hearing of the case in 2006, Dr Besigye denied the charges, reasoning that the charges were politically motivated to frustrate his political career.
He says the state tried to bribe some innocent to give false testimonies in the case against him.
"One of my strong supporters, Nasser Kalungi, told me that agents of the state offered him Shs100 million to testify against me, but he turned it down. As a result, they tried to eliminate him but God helped him and he flew outside the country for his safety, you can imagine," Dr Besigye told our reporter
In his verdict in 2006, Justice Katutsi described the investigations headed by then CID boss Elizabeth Kutesa as “crude,” “amateurish” and betrayed the intentions behind the case.
Ms Kyakuwa had in her testimony told court that between 1997 and 1998, Dr Besigye was her guardian and that she went to live at his home in Luzira in 1997 after her A-Level.
Explaining her relationship, Ms Kyakuwa said her aunt, Sauda Kibirige, was a friend of Ms Winnie Byanyima, the wife of Dr Besigye and that is how she came to live at Dr Besigye’s home.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Mr Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, one of the lawyers of Dr Besigye, called upon the office of the DPP to apologise to his client for having embarrassed him in the public by bringing against him what he called flimsy charges that have ended up in withdrawal.