19 September 2012

Uganda: Lawmaker Accused of Attacking Police Officer Granted Bail

Tear gas clouded Kisekka Market on Tuesday as police clashed with supporters of Kampala Central MP, Mohamed Nsereko on his way from court.

Nsereko was joined by his supporters for a procession after he was granted bail at Buganda Road Court.

He was arrested on Monday for allegedly - with others still at large - attacking a police detective, Godfrey Musobya near his [Nsereko's] Old Kampala residence.

Musobya lost some of his lower jaw front teeth allegedly during the attack. But the youthful MP denied any role in the incident.

Still, reports from either side over the circumstances of the incident are conflicting.

While Nsereko maintains his innocence, Musobya says the MP attacked him while he was talking on phone some 100 metres away from his alleged attacker's house.

"He drove in a white Land Cruiser with another person, he suddenly stopped, jumped out and punched me. His colleague punched me too and took off," he said.

"I lost my balance and fell on the ground after the punch.

"In fact after some minutes, I realized I was bleeding and had lost my lower teeth," he told New Vision.

Nsereko was released on a cash bail of sh600,000 by the Grade One Magistrate, Buganda Road Court, Julius Borore.

His two sureties, MPs Godfrey Kiwanda (Mityana south) and Patrick Nsanja (Njeru south) were bonded at sh50m (non-cash).


After clearance by court, Nsereko, clad in a cream sweater, checkered shirt and blue Jeans trousers, attempted to walk to town.

But he was blocked by police, forced to enter his car and then escorted by police via Buganda road to Kisekka.

All this time, the legislator's fans kept pace with the motorcade where he cheered them on atop his car.

But when the supporters turned rowdy just about an hour into the slow procession, the security officials struck.

They tried to disperse the energized crowd which had congested motor traffic within the area. Business along the procession area came to a near standstill as pockets of people stood outside their business units to glance at the passing MP.

Tear gas canisters were fired into the noisy air which sent the supporters scampering away.

Earlier in court, Judge Borore had fixed the hearing of the case for today (Wednesday).

The state prosecutor, Patricia Cingtho had wanted the case to proceed since the complainant and two police witnesses were present in court.

But Nsereko's lawyers led by Godfrey Nsamba had objected the move, arguing that they needed more time to sift through police files and interview their client.

Other lawyers including Steven Senkeezi, Saudah Nsereko (sister to the accused) and Yunusu Kasirivu had maintained that they had failed to access the police files.

They also said they could not access their client on time since he was in a police station cell then.

The Magistrate ordered the state prosecutor to avail Nsereko's team with the police files in order for the case to take off.

Meanwhile, the attacked police officer Musobya is receiving treatment from Kibuli Hospital and is due for a dental operation.

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