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Hearing of petrol bomb suspects bail application flops

MP David Lukyamuzi Kalwanga(C) addresses relatives of the suspects after court. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The court chaired by Lt General Andrew Gutti on Monday failed to proceed with the bail hearing of petrol bomb suspects after one of the sureties, Busujju County Member of Parliament Lukyamuzi David Kalwanga, failed to name all the accused persons off his head.

The suspects are: Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Muhydin Kakooza, Olivia Lutaaya, Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.

Others accused persons are Ibrahim Wandera, Asbert Nagwere, Steven Musakulu, Jimmy Galukande, Paul Muwanguzi, Kenneth Kamanya, Sharif Matovu, Shafiq Ngobi, Davis Mafabi, Abdallah Hakim Gibusiwa, Livingstone Katushabe Kigozi, Obalai Siraji Mudebo, Joseph Muganza and Stanley Lwanga.

The group which has been in jail for almost a year is accused of illegal possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices which are ordinarily the monopoly of the defense forces.

It is alleged that the crime was committed between November 2020 and May 2021 in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete and Kampala Central.

But on Monday when the matter came up for bail hearing, Lt General Gutti sent the accused persons and their lawyers back to first organize themselves properly because one of the sureties, Kalwanga Lukyamuzi did not know the suspects names off his head.

It started when the lawyer of the suspects George Musisi mentioned Kalwanga as the first surety and when he reached front to be seen by the Court Martial panel members, Musisi asked the legislator his age.

Gutti looked surprised and then asked Musisi why he had not asked Kalwanga that question about his age before coming to court.

The practice at the Court Martial is that the lawyer normally gets the brief facts about the surety like what they do for a living, their place of residence and age before they are presented in court.

But after that, Gutti went ahead to ask Kalwanga to mention the names of the accused persons. He didn’t know any. Kalwanga instead asked to be given two minutes to read them from the court documents.

But this didn’t go down well with Gutti who said he should be knowing them to prove that he is substantial because the accused persons all don’t live under the same roof with Kalwanga adding that some suspects runaway after being granted bail.

As if this was not enough, Gutti indicated that the documents for other sureties submitted to court were disorganized in a way that papers of the same information were many in the file which was not necessary.

Gutti also advised the lawyers to introduce the sureties as just leaders without attaching them to their political party the National Unity Platform, unless the lawyer is sure that the party was also involved in masterminding the petrol bomb attacks together with the suspects.

Other people who had come to stand surety included Lubaga South MP Aloysius Talton Gold Mukasa, Geoffrey Kayemba Solo for Bukomansimbi South and Emmanuel Serunjogi, the Kawempe Division Mayor, relatives, friends among others.

As such, Gutti directed them to go back and reorganize their documents and return to court on April 26th, 2022 because the court had a busy schedule.

Dozens of the people who had come to follow up on the case later marched out of court in protest and were escorted outside the premises by the military police.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, MP Kalwanga indicated that it was not possible for him to mention all the names of the accused persons.

On his part, the suspects lawyer Musisi said that the bail application was filed on January 14th 2022 but to date, it has never been heard. He said this is a planned move by the court to continue frustrating them.

Trouble for the accused persons started when Uganda Police Force accused them of plotting to carry out petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings in various places in the country.

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on Kasubi Royal Tombs, on former Jinja Resident City Commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, on Uganda Registration Services Bureau and at Katwe police station among others.

As a result, they were arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence operatives and brought to Court Martial to face justice.

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