Uganda: Stella Nyanzi Case Fixed for Judgment With No Defence Witnesses On Record

Court in Kampala has set August 1 as the date it will deliver its judgment in a case in which suspended Makerere University research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi is accused of insulting President Museveni and his late mother.

The trial magistrate, Ms Gladys Kamasanyu, set the date after closing the defence case on grounds that they have failed to produce witnesses.

"Defence saying that court is biased is a baseless allegation. It never compelled its witnesses which they served the summons to appear," Ms Kamasanyu said on Tuesday.

She added that basing on the consecutive adjournments sought by defence, it clearly indicated that they had no witnesses.

Upon court giving its ruling the defence lawyers intimated to court that they will not make any submissions.

The state attorney, Mr Timothy Amerit asked court for one week to make his response.

In June this year, Dr Nyanzi asked court to summon President Museveni as one of the witnesses that need to be examined for her defence.

Ms Nyanzi through her lawyer, Mr Isaac Ssemakadde, had said the reason for summoning Mr Museveni was that he had material evidence for the most part of an expert nature to be given by him in her case.

According to Article 98(4) of the Constitution of Uganda, the president shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court while still in office.

The research fellow also said that 19 other people would be summoned to appear as her witnesses to ensure her acquittal.

Other witnsses included; Ms Grace Akullo the Police Criminal Investigations Director, Prof Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala of Makerere University (Mak) School of law, Eng Frank Kitumba the head of Directorate ICT Support at Mak, Mr Mustapha B. Mugisa a member of the Institute of Forensics and ICT Security, Dr Dason Sylvester Kahyan and Dr James Ocita both in the Department of Literature at Makerere.

Dr Nyanzi listed Dr Suzan Kiguli, a distinguished African poet, Prof Abasi Kiyimba, Prof Sylvia Tamale Coordinator of the Gender Law and Research Project at Mak, Prof Fredrick Jjuuko a distinguished Scholar in Media Law and Political Studies, Mr Allan Tacca, a columnist in the Daily Monitor, Ms Mildred Apenyo, Omumbejja Salome Nakaweesi from Buganda, Bishop Zac Niringiye and Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, among others as her other witnesses.

However, the magistrate on Tuesday said defence presented one witness, Mr Mustapha Mugisa, "who was not even ready to testify. The defence case is hereby closed" before sending Dr Nyanzi back to remand at Luzira Prison.

The charges

Prosecution contends that on September 16, 2018, Dr Nyanzi posted on her Facebook page suggestions deemed obscene against the President's deceased mother.

It is stated that she also repeatedly posted messages to disturb or attempted to disturb the peace, quiet or right to privacy of the President. This is the second time police are accusing Dr Nyanzi of allegations of abusing President Museveni and his family.

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