The Uganda People’s Defense Forces General (UPDF) Court Martial has sentenced Muhydin Kakooza, a supporter of the National Unity Platform party to eight months in jail for contempt of court.
The Court Chairperson, Lt. General Andrew Gutti found Kakooza guilty of contempt of court by exhibiting what he described as scandalous behaviour during proceedings, which was unacceptable.
Kakooza’s conviction stems from the February 15th, 2022 session where he burst out in the court saying they are living under squalid conditions at Kitalya prison where they sleep in “bigaali” (wheelbarrows).
He also claimed that they are being persecuted because of their political beliefs and do not have any case whatsoever.
Kakooza is jointly charged with 31 others for unlawful possession of ammunition when they were allegedly arrested with 13 explosive devices, which are ordinarily the monopoly of the defence forces.
According to the prosecution, the suspects committed the crimes in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete and Kampala Central between November 2020 and May 12, 2021.
Kakooza, who denied the said charges on June 8, 2021, has since been on remand at Kitalya Prison together with his co-accused as investigations continue.
In January 2022, his lawyers led by George Musisi applied for bail for the accused persons.
The accused appeared in court on February 15, 2022, but Gen Gutti informed them that their matter couldn’t be heard since it hadn’t been fixed.
He sent them back on remand until February 28, 2022, for the trial to commence because the prosecution informed the court the investigations were complete.
This didn’t go down well with Kakooza who rose up in protest.
He noted that despite their continued mistreatment, they are hopeful that one day they will ‘wear the crown’ together with their party president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
As a result, Gutti directed that he should be subjected to a mental examination to ascertain his mental status.
When the matter returned to court Tuesday, Gutti asked the Court Registrar Lt. Col. John Bizimana if the report concerning Kakooza’s mental health status was out.
Bizimana responded in the affirmative prompting Gutti to read the report written by Dr. Julius Muloni from Luzira Murchison Bay Hospital.
In the report, Muloni noted that Kakooza was of sound mind and understood the court proceedings, the charges against him and their implications.
Consequently, Gutti took a break of five minutes to enable him to make a decision following that report.
He then returned to Court and convicted Kakooza, saying despite the fact that he had apologized for his behaviour, the Court should never be used as a forum for scandalous actions.
Gutti ordered that Kakooza be transferred from Kitalya Min Max Prison to Luzira Prison where he should serve his sentence from.
He later adjourned the case to April 11th, 2022 for a hearing of the bail application for Kakooza’s co-accused. Last month, Uganda Radio Network interviewed people who knew Kakooza before his arrest.
They noted that Kakooza doesn’t tolerate anything against Islam, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the NUP President and his source of income. Kakooza is not the first person to be convicted for contempt of court in the recent past.
On February 15th, 2022, the High Court Civil Division Judge, Musa Ssekaana convicted lawyer Male Mabirizi for 18 months for abusing judicial officers.
In 2020, Supreme Court Justices also found lawyer Ivan Samuel Ssebadduka guilty of Contempt of Court when he described them as a council of fools, incompetent and being high on probable drugs for the dismissal of his Presidential Election petition against Yoweri Museveni and the Electoral Commission.
The justices handed Ssebadduka a three-year jail term, which he is still serving.