The Besigye Court Saga: Delayed Justice or Political Manoeuvring?

The Besigye Court Saga: Delayed Justice or Political Manoeuvring?
Kizza Besigye speaks to press at his home (Photo by Francis Isaano)

Buganda Road Court witnessed a tense session today as the case against Rt Col Dr Kizza Besigye and Samuel Lubega Mukaaku took an unexpected turn. The court presided over by Chief Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko, had scheduled the hearing for witnesses, only to face a surprising request from the state prosecution.

State Attorney Allan Mucunguzi requested a three-week adjournment, citing the deployment of their witnesses to the recently concluded NAM and G77 + China summits. This move sparked criticism from defence lawyers, led by Erias Lukwago, and the presiding magistrate herself, as the case had already faced a year-long delay.

Erias Lukwago, visibly frustrated, questioned the state's consistent use of adjournments, while Chief Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko expressed her concerns about the prolonged delay in delivering justice.

In response, Prosecutor Mucunguzi defended the adjournment, explaining that the witnesses were only recently released from their duties at the summits. Despite the explanation, the court decided to adjourn the matter to February 14th, 2024, with a stern warning of case dismissal if the prosecution fails to present witnesses at the next hearing.

Besigye and his legal team expressed their frustration with the court's handling of the case, urging for a fair and expedited trial. Besigye maintained his stance that the legal battles were politically motivated, accusing the court of being a tool to suppress opposition voices.

As the courtroom drama unfolded, the ongoing legal battle involving Besigye and Samuel Walter Lubega Mukaaku continued to captivate observers. The two are accused of inciting violence on June 14, 2022, and despite the dismissal of a previous case in June 2023 due to lack of evidence, the saga persists with only one witness cross-examined so far.

The stage is set for a pivotal hearing on February 14th, 2024, as the court grapples with balancing justice and the accusations of political interference in this high-profile case.

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