Government sued for trying Bobi Wine in a military court

Male Mabirizi. Photo credit: Watchdog Uganda.

The trial of Kyandondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in the military court is facing legal contention.

This follows a petition to Constitutional Court on Monday by a self-styled City Lawyer, Kassim Male Mabirizi who’s challenging the trial of Bobi Wine, a civilian in the General Court Martial.

Mabirizi, speaking to journalists Monday, says the constitutional provision that allows trial of civilians in the court martial needs to be revised or many people especially those opposing the government are likely to suffer more consequences.

“Many people, including me who sued government over the Age Limit constitutional amendment may end up being framed. Arrested and tried in wrong courts of Law,” he says.

He added: “They may say they found a big bomb in my house which is a monopoly of the UPDF, and take me to the military court. Legally, this must be addressed.”

In this constitutional Petition 28 of 2018, Mabirizi Male says subjecting none members of UPDF to military law merely by aiding and abetting members of UPDF in commission of service offences, is inconsistent with various articles of the constitution which guarantee rule of law, equality before the law, right to life, right to fair hearing, and independence of the judiciary.

Mabirizi points out that charging Hon Kyagulanyi before the General Court martial in Gulu on 16, August 2018 as a person subject to military law under section 119(1)(h) of the UPDF Act 2005 under section 3(2) of the Fire arms Act cap 229 are inconsistent with section 3(2) of the Fire arms Act

“If anybody is convicted under the fire arms act for unlawful possession of ammunition, he suffers a maximum sentence of 7 years yet in the military court he is most likely to suffer death or life imprisonment.”

“Section 119 (1) (h) of the UPDF Act  that subjects none members of UPDF to Military Law because  of mere possession of a fire arm is inconsistent with and /or in contravention of Articles 8A,20(1),20(2),21(1),28(1) ,44 (c) 126(1) ,128(1) ,128(1) ,128(2),129 and 210 of the constitution which currants rule of law, right to life , right to fair hearing, administration of justice in the name of people and mandates parliament to only make laws to regulate discipline of members of UPDF,” he said.

The lawyer further asked court to order for unconditional release of Hon Kyagulanyi and any other member who could have been charged or convicted under section 119 of the UPDF Act 2005.

He further asked for general damages and costs for this application.

Bobi Wine remains detained in a military facility at Makindye army barracks in Kampala after he was arrested on Tuesday, following the deadly Arua by-election campaigns on Monday.

He was earlier to be charged with treason, a charge which was later dropped. Wine now faces charges of possession of illegal firearm and ammunition.

Since he was arrested amid bad health status, an accounts of his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi last week, and quashed by President Museveni on Sunday – in his statement – his supporters – both in Uganda and globally, have been holding protests and marches, with messages, calling on President Museveni to release him –  dead or alive.

On Monday, fresh protests erupted in Kampala [CBD] and other places not far from city. This was jointly thwarted by Police and army.

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