Ex-MP Godi takes Museveni to court

Ex-MP Hussein Akbar Godi

What you need to know:

He says the President’s needless utterances about his murder trial are calculated to instill fear among the judges to influence the verdict on the appeal.

KAMPALA- Convicted former Arua Municipality MP Hussein Akbar Godi has petitioned the High Court to stop President Museveni from making statements to influence Supreme Court judges to sentence him to death for murder.

He filed the suit against the Attorney General, the government’s chief legal adviser, yesterday.

Mr Godi is currently serving a 25-year jail term after he was convicted of murdering his wife Rehema Caesar Nasur in 2008.

In the particulars of his suit, Godi says President Museveni’s continued calls asking the judges why they did not sentence him to death are calculated to influence the justices of the Supreme Court where his appeal against the murder conviction is still pending.

He says the President’s needless utterances about his murder trial are calculated to instill fear among the judges to influence the verdict on the appeal.

Godi also wants court to officially remind the President about the doctrines of separation of powers between the Judiciary and the Executive as independent arms of the government.

“An interim order does issue restraining the respondent, his agents acting under them or with their authority from utterances prejudicial and sub-judicial to matters before court until the determination of the case by the Supreme Court..,” Godi’s plaint reads in part.

“The respondent’s utterances are aimed at biasing the mind of the Supreme Court justices to create fear in them to direct the outcome of the judgment to his wish. I will be greatly inconvenienced if the respondent is not restrained in those utterances.

The defendant’s actions are not backed by law and are sub-judice as the matter awaits judgment by the highest court,” Mr Godi states in his petition.

Godi cites the incident during the Annual Judges’ Conference of February 23-26 this year when President Museveni castigated the judges and asked them why they did not sentence him to death on first conviction after it had been proved he killed his wife.

During the judges’ conference, Museveni lashed out at the judges accusing them of hurrying to release murder suspects before expiry of the 180 days on remand just because the accused have a right to be released on bail.

“Like the case of that boy (Godi) who killed his wife, why didn’t he get a death sentence? I know the standard of proof is very high, it’s on the ceiling up there…., okay, if the ceiling has been reached, why didn’t you sentence this person to death, but we had that situation,” President Museveni told the judges who burst into loud laughter.

“Somebody had killed a person and he was in Parliament, why? 180 days are too low for some of the freedom fighters in the Judiciary…”

In his petition, Godi told court he will represent himself in court because he is a lawyer by training.
Godi studied law at Kampala International University on State House scholarship but politically subscribes to the Opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change.
In his petition, he says, his differences with President Museveni started long time ago.

He says when he was released on bail during the first trial, one of the President’s aides deceived him that he (Godi) would defect to the ruling NRM party. He says he did not cross to the NRM and that this hurt the President and is the reason he is calling for a death sentence against him.

“During the 17th annual judges conference in 2015, the President while aware that the plaintiff (Godi) is awaiting judgment in the Supreme Court wondered as to why the trial judge did not hand a death sentence to the plaintiff, a veiled attempt to influence the decision in the Supreme Court that is yet to deliver judgment in the final appeal,” Mr Godi states in the petition.

When Saturday Monitor contacted the Judiciary to comment on the President’s remarks on a matter pending in court in the presence of the very judges handling the case, the spokesman, Mr Erias Kisawuzi, declined.
He said he also would be breaking the same rule on sub-judice.
Mr Godi was convicted by Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the High Court in 2011 for killing his wife after a family misunderstanding.

He appealed to the Court of Appeal which upheld both the sentence and conviction.

He further appealed to the Supreme Court, the court of final jurisdiction, and judgment is still pending.