Ssewanyana, Ssegirinya protest as state demands more time to amend charge sheet
Incarcerated MPs; Allan Ssewanyana (Makindwe West) and Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) have protested a plea by Masaka resident chief state attorney to amend the charges sheet in the alleged murder case trial against them.
The two legislators who are on remand at Kigo prisons were rearrested in September last year shortly after being granted bail on related offenses of murder and terrorism, which they allegedly committed in the greater Masaka sub-region between July and August 2021.
Yesterday Thursday, the two MPs and their lawyer Shamim Malende returned before Masaka grade one magistrate Christine Nantenge to receive updates on the progress on investigations in their case file and when they are likely to be committed to High court for plea taking.
But Richard Birivumbuka, Masaka resident chief state attorney told court the MPs’ committal papers were not ready because the state wants to make amendments in the charge sheets on file, which required more time.
He requested the court for one more adjournment which he said would be enough for them to complete the files and accordingly have the MPs committed to the High court for trial. His submissions angered both the accused persons and their lawyer, who accused him of being used to play deliberate delaying tricks that are intended to prolong their stay in incarceration.
Unsatisfied with the submission by the state attorney, both MPs sought audience from the magistrate to address their displeasure with the manner the case is being handled. Sssewanya complained that they have endured a long remand sentence of close to six months, which was enough time for the state to thoroughly study the case file, conduct and conclude the necessary investigations in the allegations against them.
He argues the sudden request by the state to make amendments in the charge sheet in a case file on which they were rearrested is illogical and only intended to further subject persecute them on offenses they are innocent of.
Ssegirinya also indicated that although they are not worried about being investigated on charges leveled against them, they are aggrieved with the sluggishness of the process which he says treats them as though they are already guilty.
He pleaded with both the court and the state to allow them be released on bail, to allow them to attend to urgent demands that include accessing specialized medical care they have failed to get in prison.
Malende, their lawyer, indicated she was also caught by surprise by the state’s request, arguing that she came expecting to have the suspects committed to High court after close to six months on remand.
However, Birivumbuka requested the court to grant him only one adjournment, to allow him to make the little amendments in the case file, for purposes of effectively proceeding with the due prosecution.
Before the magistrate granted the last adjournment to March 23, the court was treated to chaos when Ssegirinya’s mother, Justine Nakajumba lost her patience and shouted at the state attorney accusing him of persecuting her son based on cooked-up charges.
Shouting on top of her voice and wailing for mercy for her son, Nakajumba brought the court process to a standstill until security personnel intervened and took her out as she threatened to end her life over the continued incarceration of Ssegirinya.
Notably, Nakajumba has recently become synonymous with protests demanding the release of Ssegirinya, whom he says, was unjustifiably arrested. Late last month, Nakajumba protested at parliament before the deputy speaker Anita Among consoled her with Shs 1 million.