The ruling on a case of incitement to violence involving detained legislator Mohammad Ssegirinya has today flopped.
The Kawempe North Member of Parliament is currently on remand at the Kigo government prison on seven counts of murder, attempted murder and terrorism for a spate of killings in the Greater Masaka region in 2021.
He was expected to appear before the Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu this morning for the hearing of the case.
The state accuses Ssegirinya, alias Mr Update, of posting statements on his Facebook page “Ssegirinya Muhammad Fans Page” calculated to incite the public to participate in violence against a section or group of Ugandans.
He is quoted to have posted on his Facebook page between August and September 2020 that “I am warning those who are trying to assassinate Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu that what will happen will be forty times worse than the 1994 Rwandan genocide.” The genocide left at least one million people slaughtered in the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda within 100 days.
However, Ssegirnya failed to appear both in court and via Zoom technology, raising concern among his relatives and colleagues who had filled up the court for the ruling.
The presiding Magistrate, Kamasanyu, postponed the matter to 12th September 2022 for ruling after explaining that Kigo Prison had informed them that they were unable to present Ssegirinya in court.
It is alleged that the Prisons Bus had mechanical issues and asked for a date when they will present a second witness; a cybercrimes expert who couldn’t be allowed to testify today in the absence of an accused person.
Ssegirinya’s lawyer Kinene Abdul didn’t make any submissions following the communication. He, however, expressed disappointment at the prisons for not issuing prior communication.
Meanwhile, Ssegirinya’s mother Justine Nafuma stated that she was disappointed that her son’s case ruling was postponed. She, however, didn’t cry nor yell for mercy as has always been the case.
This is not the first time that Ssegirinya has failed to show up in court.
On 3rd August 2022, Prosecution, represented by Ivan Kyazze, told court that the Prisons Bus had mechanical issues and asked the court for another hearing date when they will present a second witness; a cybercrimes expert who couldn’t be allowed to testify in the absence of an accused person.