Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has clarified that city lawyer Julius Galisonga was erroneously summoned to take plea on an offensive communication case against satirical Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.
According to the correspondences seen by Uganda Radio Network, the Court erroneously summoned Galisonga to take plea instead of summoning him to appear and explain why he shouldn’t be arrested for failure to produce Kakwenza in Court yet he was his surety.
On March 23th 2022, Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Dr. Douglas Singiza issued a warrant of arrest against Kakwenza after he skipped bail on charges of offensive communication.
Kakwenza is accused of using his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to post a series of tweets about President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba. In one of the tweets, Kakwenza refers to the President as an election thief and in another, he calls Muhoozi overweight and intellectually bankrupt.
However, the last time Kakwenza was expected in Court on March 23rd, 2022, he didn’t turn up and neither were his four sureties. Lawyer Galisonga, David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary-General for National Unity Platform, Annah Ashaba a teacher at Kololo High School, and Job Kiija were Kakwenza’s sureties.
As a result, the Court issued a warrant of arrest against Kakwenza and issued criminal summons to his sureties requiring them to appear before Court on April 11th, 2022, and explain why an arrest warrant shouldn’t be issued against them for failure to produce the accused in Court.
But the Court document that was sent to Galisonga instead commanded him to appear and be answerable to charges of offensive communication.
As a result, Galisonga’s lawyers led by Eron Kiiza on April 5th, 2022 wrote to the Chief Magistrate Dr. Singiza asking him to avail a certified copy of the signed and sanctioned charge sheet spelling out the particulars of the offense against their client. They also asked court to give them full documents, materials, and evidence the State intends to rely on in the case against Galisonga.
“We pray for the said information before the 11th April 2022 to enable our client to prepare his defense in accordance with article 28 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” reads the letter in part.
But in response to a letter dated April 6th, 2022, Dr. Singiza has issued fresh summons to Galisonga and said he and his lawyers should ignore any errors in the earlier summons.
“This is to inform you that the summons was intended to show cause why a warrant of arrest should not be taken against sureties for Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. There are no formal criminal charges against Galisonga Julius. Please ignore any errors in the earlier summons. Please find the fresh summons against the three sureties,” reads the feedback.
When contacted by Galisonga’s lawyer Kiiza for a comment on the matter, he noted that the evil intention is clear but the methodology is what they are pondering.
“How can a Chief Magistrate make such an error of issuing criminal summons, sign them and indicate an offense Galisonga has allegedly committed and pretend it is an error after we ask for the charge?,” said Kiiza. He added that all this is in bad faith and that they want to arrest sureties to intimidate people who stand as sureties for government critics.