By Juliet Kigongo
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has withdrawn charges of disobedience and common nuisance against Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
The trial Chief Magistrate at Buganda Road Court, Mr Ronald Kayizzi withdrew the charges after prosecution presented a withdrawal form signed by the DPP, Justice Jane Frances Abodo.
“I have perused through the withdraw form, the DPP has decided to withdraw the charges against Muhoozi Kainerugaba and I have also heard the reasons given by the state that a year now there is no credible evidence by the state rightly stated by the complainant, and under Article 23(d) of the Constitution, I accept the withdrawal and the charges against Muhoozi are hereby withdrawn,” Mr Kayizzi ruled.
When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, prosecution led by Mr Ivan Kyazze presented a withdrawal form, seeking leave of court to discontinue the criminal proceedings which was taken over by the DPP.
“Your worship investigations were directed to be carried out in the case and since then nothing fruitful was got and because of that, for lack of credible evidence I have been instructed to inform this court that the DPP has decided to discontinue proceedings against Muhoozi who is charged with disobedience and common nuisance,” Mr Kyazze added.
However, Mr Male Mabirizi who had initially instituted the charges against Muhoozi as a private prosecutor, was not allowed to make any presentation in court after the withdrawal of the charges, something that he did not agree with.
“The magistrate has allowed me to withdraw the case without hearing from me as a person who brought it yet they need consent of the court to withdraw. The constitution says the DPP has no powers to withdraw, moreover, she is required to take over and continue. The magistrate ought to have found out that the witness is in court. Why doesn’t he testify?” Mr Mabirizi said after court.
This is the reason why I have been challenging these takeovers by the DPP and they end up killing the cases. We are going to the High Court to challenge the withdrawal and refusal for stay over proceedings,” he added.
Mr Mabirizi filed the charges against Muhoozi in November 2022 alleging that he addressed a political gathering at Kololo Independence Grounds in Central Division, Kampala City, on October 11, 2022, while still serving as Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer.
According to Mabirizi, this act contravenes section 99 of the UPDF Act, which prohibits serving military personnel from engaging in political activities. Mabirizi further argues that Kainerugaba’s actions caused common annoyance and inconvenience to the public, thereby violating their rights.
He also filed an amended charge sheet, indicating seven more accused people who include, Micheal Mawanda Maranga, Mr. Andrew Mujuni Mwenda, Mr. Barugahare Balam Ateenyi, Mr. David Kabanda, Mr. Micheal Nuwagira Kaguta alias Toyota, Lilian Aber and Mr. Michael Katungi.
The new charges are; scandalous conduct by officers and conspiracy to commit misdemeanors.
According to the amended private prosecution charge sheet, he alleges that Muhoozi a serving officer on October 10, 2022, at Kololo independence grounds, in Kampala addressed a political gathering and made public political statements which was generally against public order, expectations, and morality, which directly or indirectly affected other Ugandans.
It is also alleged that Muhoozi, Maranga, Mwenda, Balam, Kabanda, Kaguta, Aber, Katungi, and others still at large conspired to commit misdemeanors contrary to section 180 of UPDF Act, 2005 and 391 of the Penal Code Act.
But DPP took over the case, thus High Court ruling that Mr Mabirizi had no locus standi and that his amended charge sheet was received in error, meaning that the seven people had no case to answer.