2 January 2013

Uganda: Dombo Heads Nebanda Sister Campaign Plan

Alice Namulwa, the mother of the deceased Butaleja Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda, has appealed to government to drop all charges against MPs charged in relation to the death of her daughter.

She said government is causing her more, yet unnecessary trauma. Namulwa, who was in court on Monday, as Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) was charged with inciting violence at Nebanda's funeral, said she was making her appeal as a mother.

"Ever since my daughter died and was buried, I have had a lot of trauma. I'm on my knees, I'm appealing to the NRM government, especially President Museveni, to save me from more suffering by dropping charges against all MPs because they all stem from Nebanda's mysterious death and instead concentrate on finding who killed her," Namulwa said.

Namulwa said she had decided to attend court because she considered Nsereko a brother to her late daughter, adding that anybody who killed her had no parental love. Apart from Nsereko, other MPs facing charges in relation to Nebanda's death include Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkiizi East) and Emmanuel Dombo (Bunyole East).

Others yet to be charged include Dr Medard Bitekyerezo (Mbarara municipality), Dr Sam Lyomoki (Workers), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) and Betty Nambooze (Mukono municipality).

"The struggle to find out who killed my daughter is still long and prosecuting the MPs will not yield much. Me as the mother of the deceased I'm still with Parliament in this struggle," Namulwa added, as Nsereko finally secured bail.

Namulwa has since requested Dombo to return to Butaleja to help the planning committee for her eldest daughter, Florence Nebanda, 27, who has said she intends to run for Nebanda's seat.

Nsereko charges:

Nsereko, charged with inciting violence, was granted a cash bail of Shs 500,000 and two of his sureties, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, and Dombo, were bonded Shs 5m each, not cash.

Under the amended charge sheet, Nsereko, 31, is alleged to have uttered a statement calculated to bring death and physical injuries to government officials on December 23, 2012 at Butunga, Butaleja Town Council, during Nebanda's burial.

"The statement says in Luganda:

"Owekitiibwa third deputy Prime Minister aleese obubaka bwa abo, abo, oli gwowuliddeko sebbutto bbuto, oli ooh sibawulira: oli tawulidde, ssebbutto bbuto, mumugambe yalidde nsangi. Ensi Uganda efirridwa, naye Butaleja, abadde anywa omwenge? Batwagaza ki abantu bano? Bakyakola ki? Tukyabalinza ki? N'olwekyo bakola ki?

The crowd responded, "Bagende, Bakolaki? Bagende!"

Prosecution translated this as: "The Right Hon Third Deputy Prime Minister has brought a message from those people, those people, those people, the other person that you have just heard about, and the one with a bulging stomach.

The one with a bulging stomach has not heard. Tell him he is the one who has eaten the little girl. Uganda as a country has lost, but Butaleja, has she been drinking alcohol? What do these people want from us? What are they still doing? Why are we not acting on them? What should they do? (Before the crowd responded)

"They should go! What should they do? (Crowd responds again) "They should go!"

After a plea of not guilty was entered, Nsereko's lead counsel, Medard Sseggona, who was assisted by seven other lawyers, applied for bail, saying his client had not been earning for the period in detention. Others on the defence team included, East African Legislative Assembly member, Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Gerald Karuhanga (Youth, Western), James Gyabi, Edward Muyiisa, Haniifa Nabukeera and Nsereko's own sister, Saudah Nsereko.

The Tororo Resident State Attorney, Charles Bogere Bwiso, did not object to the bail application. He, however, called for stringent terms, adding that investigations into the case were incomplete. Nsereko, dressed in blue jeans and a white T-shirt along with a scuff, walked to his freedom as the magistrate adjourned the case to January 31, 2012.

The MP's supporters then spontaneously burst into the Buganda anthem followed by the ani alidde Nsangi song. Before he was taken back to the court cells pending payment of the bail fees in the bank, Nsereko was given a black cap with Nebanda's photograph by the chairman of Buganda's Parliament caucus, Godfrey Kiwanda, while another MP, Patrick Nsanja (Ntenjeru South), ensured he signed the list of petitioners seeking to recall Parliament from recess.

Yunus Kasirivu, one of Nsereko's lawyers, noted that despite the prosecution's best efforts, the charge-sheet was still defective.

"For someone to have incited people, prosecution must among other things prove that there were people incited ... but let's wait for the prosecution evidence when time comes," the lawyer told The Observer.

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