Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The General Court Martial in Makindye has acquitted former Bubulo West Member of Parliament Tonny Nsubuga Kipoi and five soldiers for offenses related to security.
The soldiers are, Rogers Mweru Yunus Lemertga, Ifosiga Saidi Dodla, Cassim Adams Mawa, Sergeant Okeng James Shimali and Yusuf Kiisa.
A seven-member panel of the court martial chaired by Lt General Andrew Gutti on Monday dismissed the charges against the group arguing that evidence that was made by five prosecution witnesses did not in any way connect or criminalize the prime suspect Kipoi and his co-accused of the offenses against them.
The group was previously accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Uganda by organizing meetings, mobilizing funds, acquisition of firearms and military training in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and also mobilizing and recruiting people into their rank and file.
The prosecution had alleged that the above crimes were committed between 2011 and 2012 in diverse places in Uganda specifically in Kampala, Mpigi, Luwero Entebbe, Fort Portal, Mbale, Masaka and Nakasongola districts.
However during the trial, the prosecution brought five witnesses and they included Etienne Muhumuza, the chairperson of Bundibugyo district Public Accounts Committee and Sergeant Major Naswagi Semahera, a soldier from the Uganda People Defense Forces-UPDF Air Defense.
Other witnesses included Lt Col James Wangazi, Captain Abdul El Majid and Bernard Turyamureeba a police officer who arrested them.
But in his ruling, Lt General Gutti noted that out of these five witnesses, only one prosecution witness Wangazi testified that one of the accused persons, Sergent Rogers Mweru had reported to him the actions of Kipoi but still the evidence was not sufficient enough to warrant the accused to defend themselves.
Court heard that the rest of the witnesses did not mention the roles played by Kipoi’s co accused at all.
As such, Gutti relied on regulations 42 of the armed forces rules of procedure and found that there was no establishment of a premafacie case and accordingly set the accused persons free citing that they did not have any case to answer.
Although Kipoi has been acquitted of these offenses, he previously obtained amnesty of which his lawyer retired Major Ronald Iduuli has since stated that it was got under duress.
The soldiers who have been directed to go back to their units looked happy after the court delivered its decision that found that they did not have any case to answer.
The accused have been undergoing trial since their arrest in 2018.