The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has instructed the Director of Public Prosecutions to summon witnesses for the prosecution of opposition politicians Dr. Kizza Besigye and Samuel Lubega Mukaaku on charges of inciting violence. Grade One Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko issued the order on Thursday during further hearing proceedings.
State Attorney Allan Mucunguzi, leading the prosecution, informed the court that the police officers, who are key witnesses, were on special duties and couldn’t attend the hearing. Consequently, Mucunguzi requested a three-week adjournment.
In opposition to the adjournment, Besigye’s lawyers, led by Kampala Capital City Authority Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, argued that the prosecution had not provided substantial grounds for the delay. Lukwago highlighted the accused persons’ responsibilities and expressed concern about the prolonged nature of the case.
Despite the State Attorney citing the deployment of witnesses to conferences, Lukwago contested, stating that the conferences had concluded. In response, Magistrate Nankya Jatiko acknowledged the case’s backlog and granted one final adjournment for the prosecution to summon witnesses, warning that the court might close the case otherwise. She directed the prosecution to file an affidavit as proof of service.
The charges against Besigye and Mukaaku stem from their June 14th, 2022 protest against rising commodity prices. Prosecution witnesses, mostly police officers, have testified that the protest caused disruption and standstill in downtown Kampala.
In October 2022, the court ordered the return of Besigye’s impounded vehicle. Despite a similar case dismissal in June 2023, Besigye insists these charges are politically motivated, emphasizing that he has faced numerous accusations without successful prosecution.
The court adjourned the case to February 14th, 2024.