Uganda: Bobi Wine Social Media Tax Case Hits a Snag Over Lack of Witnesses

Robert Kyagulanyi addresses journalists at his home in Magere, Wakiso District.

The state has asked for more time to summon witnesses in the trial of the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and four others for disobedience of statutory duty.

The other suspects are David Lule, Julius Katongole, Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu and Edward Sebufu. T

State Prosecutor, Barbra Kyomugisha made the request this morning when the suspects appeared before the Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Joan Ketty Acaa.

She explained that they hadn't been able to summon the witnesses since some of the suspects didn't show up in the previous court session held in July. Kyagulanyi didn't show up in court as he was away on official duties, prompting court to issue criminal summons against him.

Acaa gave prosecution the second last chance to summon the witnesses to appear before court on September 17, 2019. The suspects' lawyers including Benjamin Katana , Shamim Malende and Luyimbazi Nalukola prayed that prosecution makes sure that the trial begins next time.

The case

Trouble for the accused persons started in July, 2018 at City Square in Kampala where they staged a protest against the introduction of the Shs200 daily levy for social media users. Prosecution alleges that the group and others at still at large contravened sections five and ten of the Public Order Management Act, which regulates public meetings.

Addressing journalists shortly after the court session, Kyagulanyi said the charges brought against them are trumped up. He says the state brought up the charges him and his accused so as to divert them from their political agenda of challenging President, Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 elections.

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