Olara Otunnu, the President Uganda People’s Congress is facing charges of criminal libel and failure to obey police summons. Otunnu appeared this morning before Araali Muhiirwa, the Buganda road court Grade one magistrate. The charges stem from utterances in the media early this year attributed to the UPC president. Prosecution led by state attorney Deborah Etwau alleges that on 16th January 2013, while at Uganda House during a press conference, Otunnu caused the publication of defamatory statements against President Yoweri Museveni.
It is alleged that in his speech Otunnu claimed that the government of Museveni is tainted with the blood of his former FRONASA comrade Andrew Lutakome, Francis Ayume, the former Speaker of parliament, Noble Mayombo, the former Permanent secretary ministry of Defense and recently Cerinah Nebanda, the former Butaleja district MP. According to prosecution, the statements were made to draw hatred against the person of the president.
Prosecution also Otunnu for failing to obey lawful police summons issued on 28th April that were signed by Emmanuel Mbonimpa, the Officer in charge of Media Crime at Kibuli CID headquarters. Etwau said investigations into the case are complete, saying prosecution is ready to proceed with the hearing. Otunnu, who was dressed in golden Kitenge and looked, composed, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.
Araali Muhiirwa, the Buganda road court Grade one magistrate released ordered Otunnu to execute a non cash bond of 20 million shillings and deposit his passport with court to regain his freedom. His sureties, Mathias Nsubuga, the DP secretary general and Professor Edward Kakonge, the UPC chairperson executed a non cash bond of 40 million shillings. Muhirwa ordered the duo to ensure that Otunnu appears in court when he is needed. He also set 20th August as the date for hearing the case. He however, asked Otunnu to appear before court on July 02 for the mention of his case.