Uganda: Prosecutors Stuck With Besigye's Treason Case

Kampala — In June 2017, former four-time presidential candidate, Col Dr Kizza Besigye, for the second time vowed never to return to Nakawa Chief Magistrate's Court to answer treason charges where he is accused of swearing-in himself as president after the contested 2016 elections.

Dr Besigye reasoned that since the State was taking forever to conclude investigations into the treason case, the endless court appearances without the trial were wasting his time and money and that he would not subject himself to such injustice any more.

In further defence of his defiance to return to Nakawa Court, Dr Besigye explained that the same court was not going to try him due to lack of jurisdiction and therefore there was no need for him to continue wasting time reporting there.

"As you know, this matter has been going on for over eight months and it has extremely constrained me coming to this court and the investigations are continuing without any end. It's costly both in time and resources moving to this court over charges that are not going anywhere," Dr Besigye vowed at his last court appearance in 2017.

"I will respectfully want to inform this court that I will not come back to this court. When investigations are done they can inform me. I will only come back to this court as a prisoner if they choose to arrest me but I will not come back myself," he added.

Col Besigye, a 1981-85 Bush War veteran and former physician to the then rebel leader now President Museveni, has since last stuck to his vows never to return to the magistrate's court until the State is ready for his trial.

"That matter is still under investigation and he (Dr Besigye) has never been committed to the High Court to stand trial. The accused also has not been coming to court for some time," Mr Solomon Muyita, Senior Communications Officer of the Judiciary, confirmed at the weekend.

At that time, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Justice Mike Chibita had warned Dr Besigye that he would be arrested if he absconded from court.

Justice Chibita told Daily Monitor that the case file does not show that the State has served Dr Besigye with criminal summons requiring him to appear in court. He further said the state prosecution has not applied for a warrant of arrest against Besigye.

Daily Monitor understands that since Col Besigye was granted bail by the High Court, the lower court at Nakawa cannot cancel the decision of the superior court and arrest him.

When contacted at the weekend, Ms Irene Nakimbugwe, the DPP deputy spokesperson, explained that Besigye's treason file came to court once and that it was sent back to police for further investigations.

When this newspaper contacted Mr Vincent Ssekate, the CID spokesperson, on why the police have taken close to three years without concluding the investigations into Besigye's treason case, he instead passed the blame back to the DPP.

Alleged treason charges

Prosecution. The Prosecution contends that Dr Besigye and others still at large between February 20, 2016 and May 11, 2016 in diverse places in Uganda, formed an intention to force or constrain the government of Uganda to change its measures or counsels as to the lawfully established methods of acceding to the office of president of Uganda as by law prescribed and manifested such intention when he demanded for an independent international audit to be conducted before a new president would be sworn-in.

Oath. The prosecution further states that on April 7, 2016 at Kasangati in Wakiso District, Dr Besigye stated that he would establish a cabinet for the Republic of Uganda and between February 20 and May 11, 2016 took the oath of president of Uganda.

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