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Court dismisses inciting violence charges against Besigye.

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has dismissed charges of inciting violence against former presidential candidate Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye.
The charges were instituted a year ago following protests that Besigye led against commodity prices that were skyrocketing at the time. The rising inflation which started in November 2021, saw fuel prices increase by over Shs 2,000 per litre while edible oil prices almost doubled.
Court heard that on May 24, 2022, while at Arua Park in Kampala Central Division without lawful excuse at an assembly, Besigye made statements implying that it would be desirable to demonstrate, an act that was reportedly calculated to lead to destruction or damage to property.
Besigye beat security teams that had been deployed at his home in Kasangati for almost two weeks to hold the protests. At the time of his arrest, he was found addressing traders through a megaphone and was taken to the Kampala Central police station.
He was later transferred to Nagalama police station where he spent a night before he was produced in court for the reading of charges which he denied. He applied for bail and was ordered to pay Shs 30 million in cash by the trial magistrate Siena Owomugisha.
With such a stringent bail condition, Besigye chose to stay in Luzira prison and appeal against the decision. As a result, High court judge Michael Elubu acknowledged that the terms of the bail were harsh and ordered him to pay Shs 3 million instead.
Besigye accordingly paid the money to secure his temporary release. He, however, kept reporting to Buganda Road court to see the progress of his case. On Wednesday, prosecution led by Sarah Nakandi again had no witnesses to testify when the matter came up.
As a result, Besigye’s lawyers led by Musa Matovu asked court to dismiss the charges arguing that this amounted to political persecution because it was the seventh time that the prosecution is failing to adduce witnesses. He also argued that the prosecution uses it as a delayed tactic aimed at depriving their clients of the constitutional right to a speedy hearing.
Matovu also prayed for the release of Besigye’s vehicle which had been impounded following his arrest. As a result, the magistrate granted his prayer and went ahead to dismiss charges against Besigye for lack of witnesses, a developement that Matovu welcomed.

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