KAMPALA. The State failed on Thursday to produce witnesses to testify against former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye and his co-accused at Grade One Magistrate’s Court in Mbarara District. Dr Besigye is accused of inciting violence, holding unlawful meeting, assaulting police officers and malicious damage to property.
He allegedly committed the offences on November 14, 2017, in Mbarara together with FDC party secretary for mobilisation, Ms Ingrid Turinawe.
Other co-accused include Mr Fred Kato, Dr Besigye’s driver, Kawempe North MP Mubarak Munyagwa, and the FDC party president Patrick Amuriat.
Dr Besigye, Ms Turinawe, and Mr Kato appeared in the court with their lawyers Elias Lukwago and Ms Lydia Ahimbisibwe, who also represent all the accused.
But as the court proceedings got underway, State prosecutor Caroline Keshubi failed to produce any witnesses. “Are there witnesses; [any] police officers in court?” Ms Keshubi asked as she scanned the courtroom.
However, once it was clear that none of the witnesses had showed up, Ms Keshubi asked for adjournment to allow the State look for them. Amid the request Mr Lukwago shot up, asking court to dismiss the case for want of prosecution.
“There is no proof from prosecution that the witnesses were summoned. This is a serious matter that relates to offences of 2017, and if the witnesses were summoned, they should be in court. I pray that the court dismisses the case for lack of prosecution because it is not ready to proceed and has lost interest,” Mr Lukwago pleaded.
Trial magistrate Sanyu Mukasa adjourned the case to October 19 to allow prosecution time to produce the witnesses.
Dr Besigye told journalists outside court that its government’s intention to waste their resources, harass and intimidate them, warning that they may be forced not to return to the court as it shows no readiness to prosecute the case.