Police yesterday evening confirmed arrest of six people (Five males and one Female) suspected to have assaulted a trial magistrate during delivery of sentence to Dr. Stella Nyanzi convicted of ‘harassing’ the President using social media.
Dr. Stella Nyanzi a university researcher is a prominent activist and a known critic of President Museveni.
The suspects currently in police custody include Augustine Ojobile, Abdullah Waiswa, Joel Kabali, Simon Wanyera, Fatuma Abenabyo, and Moses Katumba. All the 6 suspects have been charged with Assault, Malicious Damage, and Contempt of Court.
The arrest followed an incident in Court yesterday when an empty plastic bottle was swung from a crowd attending court proceedings hit the magistrate in the face during delivery of sentence to Dr. Stella Nyanzi. A calm and composed Kamasanyu had delivered an 18 month jail sentence to Nyanzi who was absent in court at the time.
Following her conviction, Nyanzi faced a fine of 1.4m, or jail sentence. However magistrate Kamasanyo chose a jail sentence citing that a fine would have no impact on a defiant and an unremorseful Nyanzi who on conviction was quoted to have said she is ready for the consequences.
All the suspects, sabasabaupdates has confirmed belong to strong activist groups allied to the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), while others hold big positions in FDC.
Fatuma Abenabyo is a NEC member of the FDC, and Secretary for Environment. She is a hardened and fearless activist known to dare police. Also known as ‘Naigaga,’ a mother of two was all over media in 2015 accusing police for manhandling her and undressing her during a brutal arrest. Police claimed that Fatuma undressed herself.
The incident happened when she and other FDC activists confronted police at Kanyaryeru, along Masaka Mbarara road when police blocked FDC convoy to Rukungiri for a mobilization tour ahead of 2016 election nominations.
Augustine Ojobile is a member of an activist group Jobless Brotherhood that had been cited in several activism campaigns often running battles with police and dropping piglets around town.
On 30th Nov 2018, Ojobile and Robert Mayanja were charged for being a common nuisance after they carried heads of pigs along streets of Kampla bearing placards with pictures of Governor Mutebile.
Ojobile is a resident of Walukuba Village, Masese Divison in Jinja Municipality.
Simon Wanyera is another strong activist who commonly identifies himself as ‘The Revolutionary Son.’ A graduate of Education and a Law Diploma at Makerere LDC, Wanyera has a record of violent activism, police arrests, and a regular in police cells.
Abdulla Waiswa, Joel Kabali and Moses Katumba are also known members of FDC.
Sources indicate that FDC has owned the group and efforts of putting up a team of lawyers to defend the suspects are ongoing. FDC claims the suspects are innocent because not all of them could have thrown the bottle.
However, legal experts have opined that on conviction, a suspect on such an offense is likely to face a sentence heavier than what has been handed to Dr Stella Nyanzi.