Uganda’s Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana has refuted reports that the state was prolonging the hearing of former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye’s defiance campaign ban case hearing after two of the judges required to constitute the quorum were unavailable.
The main opposition party FDC claimed that it received reports alleging that the Attorney General’s office was working tooth and nail to prolong cases for Dr. Besigye and keep him in Luzira prison thus two justices on the panel of five were prearranged to become indisposed on Friday and have the case at Court Of Appeal flop.
The Registrar of the Court informed the concerned parties that one of the Justices (Catherine Bamugemereire) on the panel had lost a relative and another Justice (Cheborion Barishaki) was away attending a conference in Nairobi Kenya.
The other justices on the panel include; Richard Buteera, Elizabeth Musoke and Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma the same judge, sitting as a single justice of Constitutional Court, had issued interim orders banning defiance activities for four weeks effective April 29.
In his statement to reporters outside court, the Deputy AG Rukutana said both parties had been informed that two judges on the panel were away and there were no such plans by government to prolong cases for Dr. Besigye or keep him incarcerated. The case was adjourned to June 23, 2016.
FDC lawyer Mr Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi argued that Dr Besigye who is currently on remand at Luzira prison on treason charges for allegedly swearing-in himself as the president of Uganda, can’t easily come to court by himself unless a production warrant is issued by the court to prison authorities.