Election violence victim asks court to allow him proceed without Attorney General

Lawyer Sulaiman Kakaire talking to journalist Ashiraf Kasirye at the High Court. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ghetto television journalist, Ashiraf Saif-llah Kasirye has asked High Court to allow him to proceed without the Attorney General, in the case in which he wants the government to compensate him for the injuries he sustained at the hands of security personnel during the January presidential campaigns.

The matter was coming up for hearing on Monday before the High Court Civil Division Judge, Musa Ssekaana but the Attorney General, the only respondent in this case was no show. As such, Kasirye through his lawyers led by Sulaiman Kakaire asked the court to proceed without the Attorney General, saying that the evidence on record shows that they dully served him and don’t know why he had skipped court.

Justice Ssekaana did not make any decision on the matter and instead adjourned the case to March 1, 2022 for mention. Kasirye first petitioned the High court in December 2020 accusing the police of teargasing him in the mouth, eyes and hit with batons in the stomach. This he said occurred in Luuka dsistrict on November 18, 2020 while covering the police officers dispersing crowds that had welcomed the former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi.

Kasirye contends that on December 27, 2020, a few days after filing the case, as he was covering Kyagulanyi who was proceeding to Lwengo district, security officers shot him on the head and he started bleeding profusely before being rushed to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital. Subsequently, Kasirye went back to the High Court in Kampala, which allowed him to amend his petition to introduce new complaints relating to the election violence and the injuries he sustained in Masaka.

In March 2021, he withdrew his case before Lady Justice Esta Nambayo on grounds that he was very sick and could not follow the proceedings in court properly. He reinstated his case on October 12, 2021. In the reinstated case, through his lawyers of Shield Advocates, Kasirye contends that when he was admitted at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, medics found that he had suffered life-threatening injuries on the skull and brain following the shooting.

The court records show that he was later referred to Uganda Martyrs Hospital in Lubaga where he underwent an operation and is still under treatment. “That on 2nd day of August 2021, I went back to Uganda Martyrs Hospital Lubaga to do another scan and it showed that the injury on my skull is still visible and my doctor advised that I need to perform a second operation which service should be attained in a different country”, reads Kasirye’s affidavit.

Kasirye argues that he has been subjected to the long-term effect of a permanent scar and severe headache on the left side of the head to the extent that he cannot use a phone on that side of his head. “I have a ringing sound in my head. I have word-finding problems. I most of the time forget people’s names, I cannot pronounce words properly. I have a general body weakness and episodes of extreme and or easy fatigue and visual impairment”, reads Kasirye’s affidavit.

Adding, “I can’t play football or ride my bicycle anymore and these are things I used to do before this injury. I am a Moslem and I cannot profess my faith properly. I only try to pray when the headache is a little less. I no longer shower my head properly. I am only able to clean one side of the head and not the injured part.”

Kasirye contends that he together with his family have been made to pay hefty medical bills, which have put a strain on their resources, adding that, he was informed by his doctor that it might take three years for him to recover. The evidence before the court shows that Kasirye takes medicine every day with the cheapest drug costing him Shillings 38,000 per day and that by the time he reinstated this case on October 12, 2021, he had spent more than Shillings 75 million in medical bills.

Kasirye who also notes that his work gadgets valued at more than Shillings 50 million were damaged in Luuka district by the government agents, wants to be compensated for damages for the abuse of his professional rights, emotional stress, loss of earning, physical and psychological injuries among others.

Kasirye is not the only victim of the violence that occurred in the concluded elections. More than 50 people lost their lives, dozens were injured while others were arrested. To date, some people are still in prison while others are yet to get justice for their people who died in various places across the country.

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