KAMPALA An Opposition member of Parliament representing a division in Uganda’s capital Kampala, Micheal Kabaziguruka and 23 others were arraigned in a military court over plot to wrestle power from Yoweri Museveni.
Kabaziguruka is a senior member of Uganda’s largest political party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) whose leader Kizza Besigye is held for treason charges after a hotly contested election in February 2016.
The rest of the group included an Assistant Inspector of Police Obulejo Ferdinand attached to Uganda police counter terrorism unit and a group of soldiers. They were remanded until July 12, 20016.
“You, the accused persons have been charged before this court and pleaded not guilty to the cases and or kept silence. Court hereby remands you the civilians to Kigo government prison and the soldiers are remanded to Military police cells at Makindye until July 12,” said Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti, the court chairman who presided over the matter.
The legislator declined to take plea in the court saying a martial court had no jurisdiction over him because he was not a serving army officer. He asked to be tried in a substantive court and also be granted the freedom to see his lawyers.
Kabaziguruka said since his arrest on June 8, he was never been allowed to access his legal team.
“My issue is whether I should be tried in this court because I am a civilian and an MP. I am not sure whether I am in the right place.”
“I was arrested on June 8 this year and since then I was not allowed to talk to my lawyers up to date. Therefore I pray to court to allow me time to access and talk to my lawyers,” Mr Kabaziguruka pleaded.
By June 8, over 30 people were being held and others on the hunt over alleged involvement in activity subversive to state security, under unclear circumstances.
Army spokesman Colonel Paddy Ankunda told the AFP news agency that the group was suspected of planning an armed uprising against President Yoweri Museveni, himself a former rebel who seized power 30 years ago.
Ankunda said most of the detainees were soldiers were “linked to a rebel group”, declining, however, to give any further details.