At least 14 KCCA ‘Lord’ Councilors including the Speaker Zahara Lyrica and her deputy have been sent on remand on charges of inciting violence.
The others are:
KCCA Deputy Speaker Nasuru Masaba, Gadafi Jafari Kamya, Morshin Kakande, Charles Mpindi, Paul Kato, Richard Ssembatya, Moses Katabu, Winnie Nansubuga, Aksam Ssemakula, Morsh Africkan Ssendi, Fausta Bitaano, Faisal Kibirige Ssebayiga and Rose Kigozi.
The group was on Friday arraigned before Buganda Road Magistrates Court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Sanula Nambozo who read to them one offense of inciting violence.
Court has heard that on February 3rd 2022, the 14 Lord Councilors and others still at large incited members of the public to demonstrate violently against the officials of KCCA by reason of their office to remove street vendors from the streets of Kampala City.
According to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the crime was committed along Allen Road Kampala Central in the Kampala District.
But the group which has appeared in court wearing white t-shirts with a picture of a hawker being removed from the street and inscription “Omutembeyi Simuyekeera” meaning a hawker is not a guerrilla, has denied the charges.
Through their lawyers led by Erias Lukwago who also happens to be their political head as the Lord Mayor and Kenneth Paul Kakande they asked to be released on bail on grounds that the charges against them are bailable and that they are representatives of thousands of people in Kampala to the KCCA.
Lukwago noted that KCCA is in the process of discussing its budget and the Speaker and her Deputy are among the accused persons and therefore if remanded, there will be a crisis and the Council will be nonfunctional.
He added that the councilors were subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in the course of effecting arrest which is a violation of their fundamental rights. According to Lukwago, all the accused persons were beaten, humiliated, had their clothes torn and many need to seek medical attention to examine the extent of the injuries suffered.
One of them identified as Bitaano presented an exceptional ground for having a baby who is breastfeeding and is only 6 months.
They presented 30 sureties who included fellow Councilors, relatives and friends whom they told court were substantial.
However, in response, the Prosecutor asked court for more time to respond to the documents presented by sureties saying that time had gone since it was already 6pm past the court working time.
Lukwago asked court to dismiss the prayer by the prosecutors as it was “aimed at defeating justice” for they are the ones who delayed court saying they first went to City Hall Court thinking that it was where the accused persons would be charged, only to bring them to Buganda Road Court when it was late in the afternoon.
But in her ruling, the Magistrate agreed with the Prosecutors and said she equally needed more time to write her decision.
The Councilors were accordingly sent on remand to Kigo and Kitalya Mini Max prison until February 9th 2022.
Trouble for the Councilors started on Thursday when they went to Allen Street and started protesting against KCCA’s intensified operations against street vendors and hawkers in Kampala under their Smart City Campaign aimed at decongesting the City.
The operation has since left some vendors jobless due to confiscation of their goods and others are trading from Usafi and Segawa Market where they complain of poor sales.
As a result, the Councilors laid a protest saying that the actions to remove vendors was illegal because in 2017, the council resolved to allocate Sebana Kizito Road, Allen Road, and Kafumbe Mukasa road to street vendors to operate but the technocrats wing ignored it.
It is against this background that the Councilors who all belong to the National Unity Platform Political party protested and were arrested and held at Central Police Station in Kampala where they spent a night to be produced in Court this morning where they have been charged amidst tight security.
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