The Buganda Road court chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda has given the Red pepper directors and government a last chance to consent and come up with a joint position.
Eremye says reconciliation is the most important direction to take. If it has been initiated, he says it should be concluded. Eremye asked the two groups to put in place an enabling environment such as allowing the proprietors to access their head offices in Namanve which are still cordoned off by police.
When the case came up for mention at the court today, Eremye said if the reconciliation process has started, the two groups should not be presenting divergent statements in court.
This was after state prosecutor, Abdul Salaam Waiswa asked for an extension of the case for police to conclude investigations as Red Pepper lawyer, Nyombi Denis protested continued to cordon off of the Red Pepper offices. Nyombi had asked the magistrate to order police to vacate the Red Pepper offices.
Whereas there have been media reports that Red Pepper bosses reached out to the president who pardoned them, Abdul Waiswa said he has not received any communication from the president or Director of Public Prosecution guiding on the direction of the case.
“I pray that I am given time to seek guidance from the Director of Public Prosecution and engage the accused to see how we can yield tangible results,” Waiswa told the court.
Last year, Red pepper offices were closed down following a publication that is said to have “disturbed the peace of the president”.
Relatedly, eight Red Pepper directors and editors including; Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Ben Byarabaha, Tumusiime Francis, Johson Musinguzi, Richard Tumusiime, Patrick Mugumya, James Mujuni and Richard Kintu were charged with sedition, offensive communication and publication of information prejudicial to national security.
Through a November, 20,2017 publications, the Red Pepper newspaper published a story titled ‘Museveni plans to overthrow Kagame’, a story that is said to have ridiculed president Museveni and also disturbed his peace.
The story according to the state was also prejudicial to national security. The Red Pepper offices have been under siege for over 3 months now.
Early this year, Museveni warned Red Pepper directors against reckless reporting.