- Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1325 EAT on Friday 27th May 2022.
The trial of jailed Kawempe NorthMP Muhammad Ssegirinya who is facing charges of inciting violence has for the fourth time, failed to resume before the Buganda Road Magistrate’s court.
Yesterday Thursday, court presided over by grade one magistrate Siena Owomugisha adjourned the case to June 30 for further hearing after being informed that Ssegirinya’s lawyer Shamim Malende was still unwell.
The news about Malende’s sickness was brought to the attention of court by lawyer Kassim Damulira who said that the lawyer cum politician had instructed him to go and seek for an adjournment.
Ssegirinya also known as ‘Mr Update’ is being accused of inciting violence when he posted a statement on his Facebook page that “I am warning those who are trying to assassinate Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu that what will happen will be forty times worse than the 1994 Rwandan Genocide”.
It is estimated that about one million people were slaughtered in ethnic cleansing in 100 days of the genocide in question. Prosecution led by Ivan Kyazze said he had summoned two witnesses – all police officers but after being informed about Malende’s sickness, Kyazze said he communicated to them not to proceed to court. The magistrate was left with no choice but to adjourn the case.
This is the fourth time that Ssegirinya’s trial is failing to take off. Earlier on March 22, 2022, the case was scheduled for hearing to resume but on that day, Malende told court that she was not ready to proceed because; the opposition which she subscribes to as Kampala District Woman MP, was in the preparations to look for a candidate to participate in a race to replace the former speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah.
Malende informed court then that lawyer Medard Lubega Sseggona had joined the defense team and was still studying Ssegirinya’s file. The case was then adjourned to April 28 . But on that day, prosecutors were attending the fallen state attorney Joan Namazzi Kagezi’s Memorial Lecture and neither did Ssegirinya’s lawyers turn up in court.
The case was adjourned to May 12 but on that day, court heard that Malende was sick, and she sent some lawyers to seek adjournment. Court directed her together with Sseggona to turn up on May 26 but again they failed to turn up.
Ssegirinya was granted bail on these charges of inciting violence. However, prior to his arraignment before Buganda Road court, he had been arrested on September 7, 2021 by police in Masaka district together with Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana and accordingly, sent to Kigo prison on charges related to terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, murder and attempted murder.
These charges stem from their alleged involvement in the Greater Masaka region machete killings which claimed more than 20 lives of people between July and September 2021. The duo has since been denied bail by the High court on these capital offenses and to date, they are still at Kigo prison.