30 December 2012

Uganda: Nebanda - Nsereko Hopes to Gain Freedom Tomorrow

After eight days in police custody, Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko is expected to get his day in the Chief Magistrate's court in Tororo tomorrow.

Nsereko was on Friday evening charged with inciting violence in Butaleja, during the burial of the Area Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda. Nsereko didn't enter any plea because the magistrate agreed with his defence team that the original charge sheet was defective. The charge sheet didn't give particulars of the charge and it wasn't translated in English.

Stuck without a charge sheet, Chief Magistrate Charles Emuria decided to remand Nsereko until tomorrow, when he returns to court. The vocal MP was picked up early on December 24 following his harsh criticism of government's handling of the investigation into the cause of Nebanda's death. Nsereko was initially held at the Special Investigations Unit offices in Kireka, until December 28, when he was suddenly transferred to Tororo.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who was travelling to the east with Nsereko, was dramatically forced out of the vehicle by security personnel, leaving Nsereko to rely on Medard Seggona as his lawyer. Seggona had been traveling in a separate vehicle. On reaching Tororo, Nsereko was charged with inciting violence in Butaleja, during Nebanda's funeral.

In the meantime, four other MPs are also expected to present themselves to the police after they were requested to help with investigations into Nebanda's death. These are; Dr Medard Bitekyerezo (Mbarara municipality), Dr Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Emmanuel Dombo (Bunyole East) and Betty Nambooze Bakireke (Mukono Municipality).

Earlier Kinkiizi East MP Chris Baryomunsi, who was also picked up on December 24, was charged before Buganda Road Magistrate's court with attempting to smuggle Nebanda's body parts out of the country, last Friday. Baryomunsi appeared before Chief Magistrate Sylvia Nabaggala along with pathologist Dr Sylvester Onzivua, who was charged with abuse of office.

Baryomunsi was represented by Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu and Fred Mukasa Mbidde. They argued that the charges against Baryomunsi were unfortunate and unconstitutional given that the accused had been held for more than 48 hours. Six MPs acted as sureties for both doctors.

They include; Mathias Nsubuga (Bukoto South), Amuriat Oboi (Kumi County), Brenda Nabukenya (Luweero Woman), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala), David Bahati (Ndorwa West), and Jalia Bintu (Masindi Woman).

Onzivua and Baryomunsi, who were granted a grace period to pay for their bail, will next appear on January 28, 2013.

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