Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of political leaders from Busoga Sub-region have today launched a fundraising campaign to save journalist Simon Muyanga Lutaaya from prison.
Muyanga, a former Bulamoji Constituency Parliamentary aspirant, was on Monday committed to six months in Kirinya prison by Jinja’s Grade I Magistrate Samanya Kasule for failure to pay court costs of Shillings 51 million.
Muyanja’s woes started when he earlier filed an election petition challenging the election of Kenneth Lubogo, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement as the area representative to Parliament. He lost the case before the High Court on August 19, 2016, and later an appeal on November 22, 2017.
Following the verdict, Muyanga was directed to clear costs of the case, which were estimated at 153 million Shillings. Since then, Muyanga has been making payments in instalments, through selling personal property to raise the money and getting support from friends and politicians, reducing the burden to 51 million Shillings which he was supposed to have cleared latest December 2017.
But his planned fundraising rally in January this year attended was blocked by Police. The rally had been attended by former FDC Presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
In February 2018, the Jinja High Court Deputy Registrar, Jesse Byaruhanga issued an arrest warrant after Muyanga allegedly failed to honour summons issued against him. According to the warrant of arrest, Muyanga was supposed to be arrested and sent to Kirinya prison and his property attached to recover the money.
Following his committal yesterday, a section of leaders from Busoga sub-region launched a drive dubbed ‘SAVE Muyanga Lutaaya CAMPAIGN’, a fresh attempt to raise the money in question. The campaign is spearheaded by former State Minister for Works Asuman Kiyingi, deputized by lawyer Paul Luganda and assisted by FDC’s Vice President Proscovia Salaamu-Musumba as the treasurer.
“You are free now to wire you monetary support to our Treasurer Salaam Musumba as soon as you can, who will keep reporting to us developments. All contributions to be acknowledged unless advised otherwise,” Kiyingi posted on social media.
In an interview, Proscovia Salaamu-Musumba justified the fundraising attributing it to the exorbitant costs slapped on Muyanga. She also condemned the lack of uniformity in justice citing different court costs slapped on different politicians following the loss of election petitions.
Asked about FDC’s past contribution to Muyanga, Musumba said that individual party members have raised some money for him and that the Party will soon discuss the matter.