Johannesburg, South Africa Kizza Besigye, former leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), says he is unsure how and why information about the withdrawal of his treason case is only now becoming public. The former presidential candidate was charged with treason for allegedly swearing himself in as president following the 2016 election.
“This case was, apparently, stealthily dropped 2 yrs ago! Neither me, the accused, nor my lawyers knew about this! Charges were dropped by the same DPP who’d sanctioned the (trumped-up) charges- now Supreme Court Judge Michael Chibita! It’s curious how/why the info came out now,” he wrote.
The treason charges came shortly after a video of the alleged swearing-in went viral on social media on May 11, 2016, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni’s swearing-in for the fifth elective term in office.
“I was first charged with same treason case in Moroto, Karamoja and remanded in Moroto prison. Later that case was withdrawn; I was transferred to Luzira and charged afresh in Nakawa court. I was released on bail after 2 months in Luzira, I told court that it was true I had declared myself the winner of 2016 presidential election. I demanded for the case to be committed for hearing, so that I could show that I had, indeed, won the election,” he wrote.
Besigye has challenged Museveni for the country’s presidency four times since 2001 and has on each occasion accused him of rigging the elections. He has gone to the Supreme Court two times in 2001 and 2006 to challenge the election outcome. In the 2021 presidential race he decided not to run for presidency because “I was angry over leaders failing to understand the political dynamics of the time and instead turning to fight for political positions”.
The news of the charges withdrawal comes as opposition and activists are questioning President Museveni’s proposal to deny bail to capital offenders and or expedite determination of murder cases arguing that doing so would deliver justice to victims. Lawyers, activists and opposition parties including the Democratic Party (DP) disagreed with this proposal saying that scrapping the right to bail for presumed capital offenders is a strap for dissenting leaders.
Here is what some social media users had to say about the news of the case withdrawal…
Joseph Sentongo @jsentongo – “I think this case ended the day you “respectfully informed court that you will not go back to the court unless the investigations are over.” Since there were no investigations, it was game over.”
Brooke Williams @ssozigeorge1 – “State always with no evidence but just persecuting political opponents”
job muhumuza @JobMuhumuza – “I wonder what the no bail guys are thinking now that they see state we use this for Political arrests. I think a person should never be arrested without sufficient evident warranting prosecution.”
Blessed Bakerman @BakerMukalazi – “Just Imagine if He wasn’t able to receive bail? Guy would be in prison for nothing.”
Johnson A. Okonya @JohnsonOkonya – “What a coincidence …This comes in the same time of launch of new pressure group!!! I hope it’s not what am thinking … Politics is indeed a dirty game.”
Johnnie Musinguzi @musyaba “The number of constitutional cases that are never heard is a harbinger of things to come”