FDC prayers: Lukwago, 30 others out on bail

Suspects including Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago and more than 30 other Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) supporters arrested yesterday are out on bail.

The suspects appeared this afternoon before Makindye Grade One magistrate George Watyekere on charges of disobeying lawful court orders following their arrest on Tuesday at the FDC party headquarters in Najjanankumbi where they had turned up for the banned weekly prayers.
Prosecution accused the suspects of showing up for the prayers in defiance of the Constitutional court order issued by the deputy Chief Justice, Steven Kavuma on Friday last week banning all activities under the FDC defiance campaign.

The order was in response to an application by the deputy attorney general, Mwesigwa Rukutana, saying the defiance campaign is inconsistent with articles 1(1), 1(3), 1(4), 2(1) and 3(1) of the constitution.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through their lawyer, Medard Lubega Sseggona. He told court that his clients had been denied food since they were arrested on Tuesday and detained in different police cells yet some of them have health problems.

Defiance suspects in court

The other lawyers included Adam Kyomuhendo, Luyimbazi Nalukola and Miss Zawede Lukwago. The magistrate granted the accused bail at Shs 5m not cash. In even more defiance during the 15-minute break, Pastor Happy David Ngabo, one of the suspects, led prayers inside court premises reminding the state that they have no powers to ban prayers and that God will eventually reign over.

Each of their sureties executed a non-cash bond of Shs 20 million. Court asked them to return on May 18 for hearing of their case since investigations are complete.


Meanwhile Uganda Law Society through their president, Gimara Francis says justice Kavuma was wrong to issue the order banning defiance activities since he had not hear from both parties.

“We understand that on 29th April 2016, the Constitutional court issued an interim order, among others, stopping the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Dr Kizza Besigye from carrying out their demonstrations, inter alia, on May 5 2016. As part of our mandate to advise on legal matters, we have since had an opportunity to review copies of the orders and the petition. Particularly, we not that the application of the interim order was heard ex parte - in the absence of the respondents", reads the statement.

"Generally, courts are mandated to hear both parties in the determination of civil rights and liberties….In this case we do not see any justification for hearing a politically charged application where the Attorney General is the Applicant ex parte. In fact we believe that no exceptional danger would have arisen from effecting service on the respondents", the statement adds. 

The suspects are:

1. Lord mayor Erias Lukwago
2. Pastor Happy Ngabo
3. Dr  Stella Nyanzi
4. Mutibwa Fred

5. Nabakoza Rema
6. Katende Sulaiman
7. Tugumisiriza Junior
8. Kabayira Phiona
9. Kizito Livingstone
10. Muhereza Ronald

11. Tugume Bosa
12. Mpindi Ahmed
13. Ahmed Serujonji
14. Mushebe Simon
15. Wesoga Samuel

16. Asiimwe Victor
17. Dr. George Okweri
18. Zuwa Mustafa
19. Akakwatsa Anaclet
20. Buhibwe Joan
21. Mbabazi Jackie

22. Namusabi Harriet
23. Damba Abdul Karim
24. Muhereza Godfrey
25. Bukenya Denis
26. Wante Jamal

27. Pastor Serujonji Edward.
28. Jurgens Mushabe,
29. Deo Kizito
30. Joel Bbosa,
31. Obed Sserunjogi.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd