A military judge on Monday sentenced six soldiers, among them two junior officers of the elite Special Forces Command to 15 years in prison, but said the men’s real punishment for plotting to overthrow president Yoweri Museveni’s government was a life sentence.
“The accused persons didn’t only withhold information but went ahead to mobilize fellow soldiers to join the scheme,” Lt Gen Andrew Gutti of the Makindye-based General Court Martial said adding:“They opted not to pass it (information) despite the fact that it was a threat to country’s security.”
The four other suspects worked in various capacities in the Office of the Coordinator of Intelligence Services, formerly headed by renegade General David Sejusa, aka Tinyefuza.
Those convicted of treachery are Lance Corporals Grace Nasasira Rwakyozi, 39, and Geoffrey Mwebaze Karuhanga, 36, attached to SFC’s Task force Battalion and Tank Battalion, respectively while Mr Frank Ninsiima, who was an operative in Tinyefuza’s office, was found guilty of aiding or abetting commission of offence.
Others are James Karuhanga Nayebare, Moses Nuwagaba Kakarugahi and Abel Twinamasiko, aka Rubanuma.
Prosecution told Court that the two SFC soldiers and others still at large, in or around the months of March to May 2013, and while in the areas of Mityana and Kampala, ‘consciously failed to disclose to proper authorities vital information about the recruitment of people to engage into activities intended to overthrow the legitimate government of Uganda’.
The evidence showed that the recruited forces were to contrive a plot to overthrow the government on grounds that they had gathered intelligence information that President Yoweri Museveni had intentions of making his son Maj. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba the next president of Uganda.
In today’s ruling Lt Gen Gutti observed that he’s seen many cases involving young people who made bad decisions and had to weigh how the punishment would impact on the victim, the defendants and their families.
The prison term Lt Gen Guti handed down was the minimum allowed by law. The soldiers must serve all 15 years which will run concurrently with the period of three years the convicts have already spent on remand.
Seperately, General Sejusa, 61, was on February 2 in military court charged with absence without official leave, participating in partisan political activities and insubordination. He however petitioned the Kampala High Court challenging the trial by the Court Martial, arguing that he was no longer a serving soldier, an argument upheld by court.