Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Prosecutors have again opposed a second bail application filed by 32 supporters of the National Unity Platform who are facing trial before the General Court Martial in Makindye on charges of unlawful possession of ammunition.
The group is accused of having been found in 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.
They are Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Muhydin Kakooza , Olivia Lutaaya , Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Olivia Lutaaya, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.
The others 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.
On Wednesday, the suspects appeared before the Court presided over by Brigadier Freeman Robert Mugabe for the prosecution to make a response to their second bail application which was filed early this year. The first application was rejected on grounds of lack of substantial sureties.
In their fresh application, the applicants argued that they have fixed places of abode within the jurisdiction of the court martial and that they also have substantial sureties including relatives, friends, and politicians from the National Unity Platform Party-NUP which they subscribe to.
However, on Wednesday, the prosecution led by Lt. Gift Mubehamwe opposed the application while relying on an affidavit of Lt Elly Musinguzi an Investigator from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence who says that the applicants swore affidavits full of falsehoods.
He says, for instance, one of the applicants Muhydin Kakooza indicated in his affidavit that it was signed from Kitalya Prison yet he is on remand in Luzira Murchison Bay. He adds that another affidavit from Swaib Katabu was never signed.
“That is a joint reply to the applicant’s affidavits, the substantiality of the sureties presented by the applicants is questionable as they were not honest before Court and indeed their demeanor was suspicious as to how best they knew the applicants they had come to stand surety for”, reads the affidavit.
The court heard that some of the sureties presented are also facing criminal charges of unlawful assembly at City Hall.
Mubehamwe further revealed that the sureties were untruthful because they shopped recommendation letters from different areas in Kampala on the same date and failed to convince the court that they understood their roles as sureties, and therefore they are not substantial.
“That some sureties presented by the applicants did not only know why the applicants are in the dock but could not identify the applicants or tell where they will even reside or upon being granted bail”, Mubehamwe told Court.
Court has further heard that one of the sureties David Lewis Rubongoya the Secretary General of NUP knew the accused persons politically but didn’t know more details about them.
According to the prosecutors, the applicants are likely to interfere with investigations and state witnesses once released on bail and they do not have fixed places of abode within the jurisdiction of the General Court Martial.
The prosecution told the court that they are willing and ready to expedite the trial of the applicants instead of having them released on bail and they abscond from the trial.
The suspects’ lawyers George Musisi, Benjamin Katana, and Remmy Bagenda reiterated that the submissions by the state are not true because his clients have fixed places of abode within the jurisdiction of court-martial. Musisi said the information regarding where the applicants stayed was well captured in the charge sheet when they were arrested by the state operatives.
Court has heard that one cannot limit a right guaranteed in the constitution because of fear, or speculation but on justifiable circumstances which the prosecutors have not demonstrated.
The lawyers also described the response by the prosecution as meritless and therefore one that should be ignored such that their clients are granted bail on affordable terms and conditions.
The Court Martial Chairperson Mugabe has fixed April 3rd as the date for ruling and further remanded the suspects.