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Bobi Wine’s lawyers challenge constitutionality of charges

Bobi Wine and co-accussed before Buganda Road Magistrates Court 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Defense team of Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and four others have asked court to halt proceedings against their clients, saying the charges against them contravene the Constitution.

The others are David Lule, Julius Katongole, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu and Edward Ssebufu alias Eddie Mutwe. They are facing trial before Buganda Road Magistrates Court for disobeying sections five and ten of the Public Order Management Act, 2013. They are accused of holding a public meeting in disregard of the required criteria and refusing to coordinate and cooperate with Police to ensure that all participants are unarmed and peaceful.

The charges stems from a protest staged by the accused in 2018 against the introduction of the Shillings Over the Top Services (OTT) for social media users. The accused person who appeared before the Buganda Grade One Magistrate, Olga Karungi this morning led by lawyer, Anthony Wameli asked court to send their file to the Constitutional Court on grounds that they are being charged under the laws, which contravene certain provisions in the Constitution.

Wameli noted that the said offenses contravene provisions under Article 29 of the Constitution mostly the one that talks about freedom to assemble and demonstrate peacefully. Wameli thus asked Buganda Road Court to halt the proceedings and refer the file of his clients to the Constitutional Court for interpretation on whether the offenses against them violate their constitutional rights or not.

The State Prosecutor, Ivan Kyazze told court that he wasn’t ready to respond saying that he needed time to internalise Wameli’s submission as well as the laws he has relied upon so that he makes an informed response. As a result, the Magistrate gave him until March 2, 2020 to make a written submission.  She also directed the defense lawyer to put in a rejoinder by March 10th in case there is any.

Karungi then noted that she will be delivering her ruling on the matter on March 24th 2020. The accused persons are represented by a team of lawyers including Wameli, Shamim Malende, Benjamin Katana and Erias Lukwago who arrived late.  In a related incident, police used teargas and live bullets on Bombo Road to disperse hundreds of Bobi Wine’s supporters who were escorting him to Pope John Paul Hotel in Rubaga ahead of a consultative meeting on his presidential ambitions.   Police later escorted Bobi Wine to his Kamokya based offices.

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