Pre-trial of jailed NUP legislators fails again as case gets new judge

Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana with his co-accused Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya at International War Crimes Division Court in Kololo, Kampala, on September 20, 2022. PHOTO | JULIET KIGONGO

The pre-trial of jailed Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) has flopped for the fourth time and is likely to delay, after the case was assigned to a new judge.

The two embattled legislators’ trial faced a setback following the transfer of the trial judge, Ms Jane Elizabeth Alividza, to the Lands division of the High Court last month.

At the time of her transfer, Ms Alividza was in the final stages of hearing preliminary evidence against the accused.

When the matter came up for further pre-trial before the International Crimes Division of the High Court on Tuesday, prosecution led by Mr Richard Birivumbuka, told the newly appointed judge, Ms Alice Komuhangi Khuakha, who needs to first go through the whole file first- that investigations in the case were complete.

The duo is accused of being behind the spate of killings in Masaka Sub-region that left about 26 residents killed between March and August 2021.

They are charged with murder, attempted murder, terrorism, and aiding and abetting terrorism.

Court heard that there are three applications in the case that needed to first be heard before the further hearing of this case, which include; jailed lawyer Male Mabirizi who seeks to halt the trial of the duo, an application for witness protection and bail application.

Justice Komuhangi has fixed September 28 to decide whether to consolidate the applications.

September 7, 2022 marked a year since the duo was remanded to prison. Their trial has never kicked off and their numerous attempts to secure bail have hit a dead end.