Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has ordered the Uganda Police Force to release a vehicle belonging to opposition politician Dr Kizza Besigye, which it impounded more than four months ago.
The order arises from an application filed by Besigye in the criminal proceedings instituted against him and activist Samuel Walter Lubega Mukaaku following their arrest on June 14, 2022, on charges of inciting violence. The two were arrested for leading protests against skyrocketing commodity prices at Kikuubo Shauriyako Parish in Kampala Central Division.
Besigye’s vehicle, registration number, UAK 773F was impounded and taken to Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) where it has been parked to date, while he was arraigned before the court and accused of staging an illegal assembly and inditing traders into staging protests, an act the prosecution said was calculated to cause damage and destruction of property.
When the trial started last week, the head of operations at CPS David Nahamya testified that Besigye and Mukaaku had blocked traffic on the roads in the area, and they later locked themselves in the said vehicle. Nahamya said he sought reinforcement to restore normalcy, a result of which Besigye’s vehicle was towed and taken to CPS.
But after Nahamya’s testimony, Besigye through his lawyers led by Erias Lukwago, applied to court to have the vehicle released, saying that their client is currently inconvenienced. The lawyers said that the vehicle in question is what Besigye uses for transport, and therefore, commuting from his home in Kasangati in Wakiso district to come for trial in Kampala is inconveniencing him in the absence of his vehicle.
The defense lawyers added that since the prosecution witness who impounded it has already testified, it will not prejudice the state if the vehicle is released to Besigye. State attorney Ivan Kyazze did not o object to the request when the matter came up today.
Kyazze instead told court that they conducted a search and found out that the said vehicle is registered in the name of a one Obed Kamulegeya. But Lukwago insisted that the vehicle was recovered from Besigye and there is no contention about it.
The presiding magistrate ordered the Inspector General of Police to release the vehicle to Kamulegeya on condition that he proves ownership of the registration, a decision that Besigye welcomed.
The case has been adjourned to December 14, 2022, for more evidence from prosecutors to continue. Besigye and Mukaaku’s bail has further been extended until then.