Court Martial orders mental examination of NUP supporter

Gutti. FILE PHOTO 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | One of the 32 National Unity Platform-NUP supporters facing trial before the Makindye based UPDF General Court-martial for illegal possession of explosive devices is to undergo a mental examination.

The General Court-martial chairperson, Lt. General Andrew Gutti ordered Muhydin Kakooza be subjected a mental examination afterhe turned chaotic during the court proceedings on Tuesday afternoon.

Army Prosecutors led by Captain Ambroz Guma told the military court that investigations into the charges against the accused are complete and asked the court to set a date for the hearing. The other suspects are Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga,  Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Olivia Lutaaya, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.

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, Swaibu Katabi, Obalai Siraji Mudebo, Joseph Muganza and Stanley Lwanga. The accused’s lawyers led by George Musisi asked the prosecution to provide them with all the evidence they intend to use in the trial prompting the court to make an order to this effect.

Musisi also informed the court that despite making a formal application for the bail of their clients the prosecutors had not responded. Gutti advised the defence lawyers to liaise with the Court Registrar, Lt. Col. John Bizimana such that they can fix the bail application for hearing, saying that it was not on the court schedule. He then adjourned the case to February 28th, 2022 for the hearing to commence.

However, shortly after the adjournment, Kakooza rose up against his arm and started complaining loudly that they are living under poor conditions at Kitalya Min Max prison where they sleep in “bigali”, (wheelbarrows).  He also claimed on top of his voice that they are being persecuted because of their political beliefs and do not have any case whatsoever.

The accused persons have spent close to eight months on remand. Kakooza noted that despite their mistreatment, they are hopeful that one day they will wear the crown together with their party President, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. Kakooza’s outburst didn’t go down well with Gen. Gutti who directed the court orderlies to follow him in the cells and get his particulars.

Gutti’s aide Major Kakooza Bugutanya quickly moved out of the court and dashed to the cells. He returned shortly after informing the Chairperson who had adjourned the session that the suspect who turned chaotic is accused number five Muhydin Kakooza. Gutti, who looked perturbed ordered the court-martial Registrar Bizimana to ensure that Kakooza is taken to Butabika National Mental Referral Hospital to establish his mental state.

According to Gutti, who had now turned emotional, Kakooza’s conduct was wanting especially in court proceedings, arguing that his behaviour doesn’t happen even in ordinary civilian courts. He explained that once found to be of sound mind, Kakooza will face additional charges, which he didn’t specify.

Kakooza’s lawyers, Musisi and Benjamin Katana pleaded with Gutti in vain, saying that their client’s conduct was regrettable and it could have been as a result of the prolonged remand period.

Gutti rejected the regrets wondering why it was only Kakooza out of the entire group was the only one behaving this way. Asked to comment about Kakooza’s complaint, the Uganda Prison Services Spokesperson, Frank Baine dismissed them as wild allegations.

He explained that Kitalya is spacious with the capacity of holding up to 3,000 inmates. He noted that there are currently 2600 inmates, arguing that it cannot be possible that the inmates are being mistreated.

“Those people have a problem. Yesterday Nambooze (Mukono Municipality Member of parliament) also accused me that I picked her up at 11 pm from Kawuga in 2007. I think we will take all of them to Butabika. Those people don’t want to focus on their cases and think allegations will help them out of prison. Have you asked yourself why it is only NUP people complaining?”, Baine asked our reporter.

He added that” I want to take you to Kitalya one day and you see how those people are telling you very good lies”.

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