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Prosecution ready to proceed in Ssegirinya’s case

Ssegirinya appears before court. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Investigations into the charges of inciting violence against Muhamad Ssegirinya, the Kawempe North legislator are complete, Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court heard on Monday.

The State Attorney Joan Keko told the court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Doreen Olga Karungi that their inquiries into the matter are complete, adding that they are ready to adduce evidence implicating the legislator. She however noted that they can not proceed with the trial in the absence of Ssegirinya who is currently admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

As such, Karungi adjourned the matter to December 2nd, 2021, and issued orders directing the Uganda Prisons Services to produce Ssegirinya in court on the said date without fail. Ssegirinya’s lawyers led by Shamim Malende objected to the said, saying it is very far. According to Malende, Ssegirinya wrote to his legal team indicating that his health has since improved and he can at least appear in court physically or via zoom for the proceedings.

Ssegirinya is accused of posting a statement on his Facebook page, “Ssegirinya Muhammad Fans Page,”  allegedly calculated to incite the public to participate in violence against a section or group of people. He reportedly posted, “I am warning those who are trying to assassinate Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu that what will happen will be forty times worse than the 1994 Rwandan Genocide”.

It is estimated that one million people were slaughtered in the ethnic uprisings in Rwanda within 100 days during the 1994 genocide. The charges against Ssegirinya date back to August 2020. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions had repeatedly asked for more time indicating that police investigations into the matter are still ongoing.

Ssegirinya has been on remand since October 15th, 2021 on this charge for which he has since pleaded not guilty. Prior to his arraignment at Buganda Road Court, Ssegirinya was arrested on September 7th, 2021 in Masaka district together with his Makindye West counterpart, Allan Ssewanyana on charges related to terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, murder, and attempted murder and remanded to Kigo prisons.

These charges stem from their alleged involvement in the Greater Masaka region machete killings, which claimed the lives of more than 20 between July and September 2021. Court has since denied the two bail on grounds that they are capital offenses.

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