Masaka Grade One Magistrate Christine Nantege has committed MP’s Allan Ssewanyana and Muhamad Ssegirinya to the High Court for trial on offences of murder.
The two opposition MPs who were arrested in September last year, are charged alongside Wilson Ssenyonga alias Tony Nyonga who pinned them for murdering Joseph Bwanika, who was a resident of Kisseka B village in Lwengo district.
The late Bwanika is among the 26 people who were killed during the wave of attacks in Lwengo and Masaka districts between July and August last year.
According to the charge-sheet statement presented to the court by Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney Richard Birivumbuka, Ssenyonga who was arrested shortly after the murder confessed to having been hired by the two legislators to kill Bwanika.
Ssenyonga says in his Charge and Caution statement on court records, that he and other people still at large held a meeting with the two MP’s at Happy Boys-Ndeeba near Kabaka’s Lake in Kampala to plan the killings as a way of sending a message to the government that they were robbed of their 2021 general elections victory.
“The police investigations revealed that after the meeting, Ssenyonga and others still at large proceeded to Lwengo where they executed the murders,” the charge sheet reads in part. Birivumbuka told the court that part of the evidence included among others CCTV footage and data from Ssenyonga’s mobile telephone which all places the accused persons including MPs at the same meeting location.
He asked the court to commit the accused persons to the High Court for trial since the state had already gathered enough evidence to sustain prosecution against them.
However, while addressing the court from Kigo Prison, the two MPs said that they are maliciously framed by the state. Allan Ssewanyana told the Magistrate, that they have never held any a meeting with Ssenyonga, the key witness on who the state is relying to implicate them in the murder.
Elias Lukwago, the lead lawyer to the two accused MPs added that even with the committal after a long period of investigations, the state failed to do adequate disclosure of the offences against the accused persons to enable them properly prepare their defence.
According to him, the conduct of the State Attorney is an indication that the evidence on file is incoherent to the particulars of the offences that the suspects are accused of. He, however, adds that they going to agree on the way forward to seek fairness for their clients.
The two MPs and close to two nine other suspects were also earlier committed to the High Court on charges of aggravated murder and terrorism, which were also committed in the Masaka sub-region between July and August last year.