MPs Lutamaguzi, Mbogo detained over Covid-19 rules

What you need to know:

  • Meanwhile, Budaka County MP Kezekia Mbogo was yesterday afternoon arrested by the police in Budaka District over accusations of holding an illegal rally contrary to Covid-19 guidelines.

Nakaseke South Member of Parliament Paul Lugtamaguzi and 21 supporters were on Thursday remanded to Wakyato prison after being arrested on Wednesday for allegedly violating Covid-19 guidelines.

Lutamaguzi and a section of his supporters appeared before the Nakaseke Grade One Magistrate Court and were charged with conducting an act likely to spread the Covid-19, common nuisance and unlawful procession.
Prosecution says they committed the alleged offences on Semuto Road in Semuto Town Council in Nakaseke District, on Wednesday.

Trial magistrate Milly Nankya deferred ruling on their bail application and remanded them until September 3.
“I defer the ruling on the bail application and seek for adjournment to September 3. I cannot make unfounded decision to grant bail at this material time. I need to ascertain the facts on the information presented by the security officer,” Ms Nankya ruled at a tightly guarded court premise where the military police kept guard duty outside the court premises.

Meanwhile, Mr Richard Lule, one the lawyers for the accused, put up a spirited defence for his clients, argued that it wasn’t normal for the magistrate to allow a stranger in the gallery who only identified himself as a police officer to contribute to the court proceedings.

“I was surprised that the magistrate allowed a contribution from somebody at the gallery without swearing a court affidavit. The magistrate made her decision to deny my clients bail basing on the allegations of an individual who did not carry any document but simply raised his hand from the gallery. This is very strange,” Mr Lule said during a brief interview with Saturday Monitor outside courtroom on Thursday.

He added: “It is also unfortunate that about 10 of the sureties who were travelling from Semuto to Nakaseke Chief Magistrate Court were arrested by police and their respective documents taken away. The situation at the court has been politicised but we shall have to abide by the court decision.”

As Lutamaguzi was appearing in court, the police backed by the Military police deployed heavily outside the court premises and dispersed his supporters.

Conflicting accounts
While the police claim MP Lutamaguzi was arrested after a tip-off that he had planned to convene a meeting near Semuto roundabout in Semuto Town Council, witnesses, including Mr John Mary Ssempagala, a resident of Semuto town, told Saturday Monitor that their area MP was arrested on Semuto Road where the police mounted a roadblock.

Mr Ssempagala said MP Lutamaguzi was due to deliver road culverts in fulfillment of an earlier pledge to the people of Semuto Town.

“Lutamaguzi was due to deliver the road culverts when he was intercepted. It is not true that he had arrived at Semuto town as alleged by the police. We have particular roads at the swampy sections that need the culverts. It is unfortunate that service delivery is being compromised by selfish individuals in Nakaseke,” Ssempagala said in a brief interview on Thursday.

Nakaseke Resident District Commissioner Nayebale Kyamuzigita in a brief interview said a police officer had died in line of duty as they tried to calm the situation.

But the Savana Region Police spokesperson, Mr Issa Ssemogerere, later told Saturday Monitor that the officer died after falling off a speeding police patrol car as police dispersed the protestors in Semuto town on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Budaka County MP Kezekia Mbogo was yesterday afternoon arrested by the police in Budaka District over accusations of holding an illegal rally contrary to Covid-19 guidelines.

Mr Martin Orochi, the Budaka Resident District Commissioner, said the MP had defied the guidelines by holding a gathering without adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.

“This will serve as a lesson to other contenders that they should adhere to the laid down guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. The guidelines or SOPs are clear and the candidates were advised to use radio, TVs and social media. Nobody should hold open campaigns”.

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