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Court bailiff Kirunda petitions Court Martial over media coverage

Moses Kirunda in court. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Renowned court bailiff Moses Kirunda, who is standing trial for murder before the General Court Martial wants the court to bar the media from covering his case. Kirunda, who is jointly charged with Major Nelson Kyatuuka for the murder of city businessman Magid Mugwanya, says that the media coverage negatively impacts his health.

“They take my photos and videos without my consent and publish them. It raises my pressure since I’m hypertensive with worries of these publications”, wrote Kirunda in his petition to the Judge Advocate, Col. Richard Tukacungurwa. On Monday afternoon, Kirunda returned to the Court Martial chaired by Lt General Andrew Gutti for further hearing of his bail application.

He had previously asked to be released on bail on grounds of ill health, and the fact that the charges against him are bailable. The prosecutors were expected to file a reply to the application. The court prosecutor, Lt. Alex Lasto Mukhwana informed the military court that they hadn’t yet responded to the bail application because the officer who was supposed to swear an affidavit in the matter is away on official duties.

Mukhwana thus asked the court to adjourn the case to February 28th 2022, with the hope that the officer he didn’t mention will have returned. Prior to the start of the court proceeding, the chairperson Lt. Gutti ordered journalists not to film or take pictures of Kirunda, saying that he had written to them saying that he doesn’t want media coverage. He allowed journalists to stay inside the court but with orders that they don’t take pictures or film the proceedings.

Kirunda who oversaw the demolition of St. Peters Church Ndeeba in 2020, first appeared before the Makindye Chief Magistrates Court on August 17th, 2021 over the murder of businessman Mugwanya and was remanded to Kitalya government prison. Court heard that Kirunda and Kyatuuka, who is attached to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence-CMI and others still at large, caused the unlawful death of Mugwanya on July 14th 2021, in Kitanzi zone in Lungujja, Lubaga division in Kampala district.

It is alleged that Mugwanya who had parked his car on the roadside, saw a woman crying for help as she was being dragged by three men into a waiting car at night. Mugwanya reportedly got out of his car to help the woman but three armed men shot him in the chest even after identifying himself.

The businessman died on the spot and the suspects fled the crime scene. However, days later, the Director of Public Prosecution Jane Frances Aboddo withdrew the charges against the duo. However, military prosecutors instituted the charges afresh in the General Court Martial.

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