By Elizabeth Ankunda
3rd Aug 2022
The hearing of a case in which Kawempe North Member of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya is accused of inciting violence has not kicked off after the failure by the prison authorities to produce him before the magistrate’s court as planned.
Ssegirinya was expected before Grade One Magistrate Siena Owomugisha at Buganda Road Court on Wednesday morning to allow the prosecution present witnesses in the case against him.
The charges stem from a statement that Ssegirinya posted on his Facebook Page allegedly cautioning security forces against trying to assassinate the leader of the National Unity Platform Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
According to the post, Segirinya cautioned that the aftermath of any such action would be 40 times worse than the 1994 Rwandan Genocide in which an estimated one million people were killed in a space of 100 days.
On February 23, the court heard from Juliet Naiga, a News Editor at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation who transcribed a video containing the same information which, according to the prosecution, was tantamount to inciting violence.
Although he had been granted bail, Ssegirinya has remained in detention on a separate charge for which he is facing trial jointly with Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana.
He was expected to return to court today. However, the prosecution led by Ivan Kyazze said that they were told that the Prisons Bus had mechanical issues and asked the court for another hearing date when they will present a second witness; a cybercrimes expert who couldn’t be allowed to testify today in the absence of an accused person.
But sources who preferred anonymity said that the prison officers said that they are seeking a virtual trial for Ssegirinya and that the trial Magistrate has since sought guidance from the Chief Magistrate.
Uganda Prisons Service spokesperson Frank Baine said he was away in Kigali and could not give details about the matter.