Fort Portal Judge Enraged by Heavy Police Deployment at Court

2694 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Fort Portal High Court judge suspends proceedings in an elections malpractice case for 20 minutes because of the unusually high deployment of anti-riot police around the court premises. Hearings resume after 8:00 p.m.

The unusually heavy deployment of anti-riot police outside Fort Portal High Court yesterday evening has infuriated the resident judge, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi.
Justice Byabakama yesterday presided over two highly contentious election cases in Fort Portal. Large crowds turned up to witnesses the proceedings and police deployment of a kind unseen in the town surrounded the country.
Justice Byabakama was enraged by the police presence. He ordered the Western Regional Police Commander, Wilson Kwanya, to his chambers to explain the heightened activity. However, Kwanya was in Kampala and no one else offered a justification for the anti-riot patrols.
The judge adjourned the hearing of the two electoral cases for about 20 minutes until the police were withdrawn.
Byabakama said there is no need for the police to make such a show of force over a simple matter.
The cases before the Fort Portal court involve alleged electoral offenses committed in Kasese district.
In the first case, the NRM candidate for the Bukonzo East parliamentary seat, Fred Businge, is suing both the Electoral Commission and his rival from the Forum for Democratic Change, Yokasi Bihande, of rigging the elections. The second matter also involves a conflict between the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the NRM.  In it, Rehema Muhindo of the NRM is suing the winner of last month’s Kasese Woman MP elections, Winfred Kizza, for causing her defeat.
The plaintiffs say they have evidence that ballot boxes were tampered with, seals were missing and the tallying of results was irregular.
By 9:00 p.m. yesterday, court was still in session. Hearings continue today.