Court Dismisses Inciting Violence Charges Against Besigye

The Buganda Road Magistrates Court has dismissed charges of inciting violence against former Presidential Candidate Dr Kiiza Besigye.

The charges were instituted a year ago after protests that Besigye led, against commodity prices that were skyrocketing at the time. The increase in prices which started in November 2021 saw prices of fuel increase by almost 2,000 Shillings a litre and edible oil prices almost doubled.

Court heard that on May 24, 2022, while at Arua Park in Kampala Central Division, without lawful excuse at an assembly, Besigye made statements implying that it would be desirable to demonstrate, an act which was reportedly calculated to lead to destruction or damage to property.

Besigye beat security teams which had been deployed at his home in Kasangati for almost two weeks, to hold the protests. At the time of his arrest, he was found addressing traders through a megaphone and was taken to the Central Police Station in Kampala.

He was later transferred to Nagalama Police Station where he spent a night before he was produced in Court for reading of charges which he denied. He applied for bail and was ordered to pay 30 million Shillings in cash by the trial Magistrate Siena Owomugisha.

With such a condition, Besigye chose to stay in Luzira Prison and appeal against the decision. As a result, the High Court Judge Michael Elubu acknowledged that the terms of the grant of bail were harsh and ordered him to pay 3 million Shillings instead.

Besigye accordingly paid the money to secure his temporary release. He, however, kept reporting to Buganda Road Court to see the progress of his case. Today, the Prosecution led by Sarah Nakandi had no witnesses to testify when the matter came up.

As a result, Besigye’s lawyers led by Musa Matovu asked Court to dismiss the charges arguing that this amounted to political persecution because it was the seventh time that the Prosecution is failing to adduce witnesses. He also argued that the Prosecution uses it as a delayed tactic aimed at depriving their clients of the constitutional right to a speedy hearing.

Matovu also prayed for the release of Besigye’s vehicle which had been impounded following his arrest. As a result, the Magistrate granted his prayer and went ahead to dismiss charges against Besigye for lack of witnesses, a developement that Matovu welcomed.

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