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MPs Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana charged with terrorism

Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana in a Masaka court. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Director of Public Prosecution-DPP has amended the charge sheet against the Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana and his Kawempe North counterpart, Muhammad Ssegirinya.

The two opposition legislators were remanded last week on three counts of murder and attempted murder in relation to the machete murders that took place in Ssetaala and Ssenya villages in Kimanya-Kabonera division in Masaka city on August 23, 2021.

On Wednesday afternoon, the DPP charged the legislators with fresh charges of terrorism. The Masaka Grade One Magistrate Grace Wakooli read the charges for the suspects who are locked up in Kigo prisons in Wakiso district via video link.

The MPs were charged alongside Mike Sserwadda, Jude Mawanda, Buro Wamala and John Mugerwa, who were earlier on remanded to Kitalya prison on murder charges.

Details on the charge sheet presented by Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident State Attorney indicate that between the months of January and August this year, the two legislators and their accomplices directly engaged in terror activities and aided sporadic acts of terror.

Court heard that while in various places in Uganda, with intents to intimidate the public for political, religious, social, or economic gains, the suspects indiscriminately involved themselves in murder and attempted murder of people.

Wakooli didn’t allow the suspects to plead to the charges since her court lacks the jurisdiction to try capital offences. Birivumbuka told the court that the investigations into the matter are still ongoing to gather the required evidence to commit the suspect to the High Court for prosecution.

The legislators through their lawyer Shamim Malende protested their rushed arrest and continued detention without the necessary evidence against them. Malende requested the court to direct the state to expedite the investigations into the matter to support the speedy prosecution of the suspects whom she said are facing serious health complications that cannot be effectively managed in prison.

In his response, the State Attorney argued that they are still within the six-month timeline within which investigations into grave criminal matters can be conducted, adding that the investigations are progressing and will soon be completed.

As a result, Wakooli further remanded the suspects to September 29th when they will return to the court for further mention of their cases. The fresh charges against the legislators come five days ahead of the scheduled hearing of their bail application before Justice Victoria Nakintu Katamba in Masaka High Court.



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