Ssegirinya’s Inciting Violence Case Pushed to August

The hearing of the case in which Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya is accused of inciting violence has flopped due to the absence of his lead lawyer Medard Lubega Sseggona.

On Friday, Ssegirinya told Buganda Road Magistrate’s court presided over by grade one magistrate Siena Owomugisha that Sseggona was unable to appear in court because he is sick.

State attorney Ivan Kyazze was ready to proceed with the trial and said since Ssegirinya’s lawyer is unwell, he will bring the witnesses in the next session. The hearing has now been adjourned to August 11 in the hope that Sseggona will have recovered.

Ssegirinya is facing trial on charges stemming from his alleged Facebook page. The prosecution accuses Ssegirinya of posting a statement on his Facebook page; “Ssegirinya Muhammad Fans Page” calculated to incite the public to participate in violence against a section or group of people.

The prosecution quotes Ssegirinya as having posted “I am warning those who are trying to assassinate Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu that what will happen will be forty times worse than the 1994 Rwandan Genocide”.

It is estimated that one million people were slaughtered in ethnic cleansing in 100 days during the genocide in question. But Sseggirinya maintains his innocence and wants the charges dismissed against him saying he is being politically persecuted. This case has stalled since 2021 when Ssegirinya allegedly committed the crime.

In February, the prosecution brought one witness, Juliet Naiga, a news editor at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) who transcribed the video where Ssegirinya is alleged to have uttered the words. Ssegirinya was granted bail on these charges of inciting violence.

However, in 2022, the Buganda Road court chief magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu dismissed other charges of inciting violence against Ssegirinya which were stemming from the protests that he had conducted in downtown Kampala, demanding the release of political prisoners who had been arrested during the 2020/2021 general elections.

The dismissal of charges for lack of sufficient evidence to pin Ssegirinya left him with one file of inciting violence. In September 2021, Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana were arrested in Masaka district and remanded to Kigo prison on charges related to terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, murder, and attempted murder.

The charges stem from their alleged involvement in the Greater Masaka Region machete killings which claimed more than 20 lives of people between July and September 2021. They spent two years in prison and have since been granted temporary freedom on both files and are out on bail.

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