For close to a year now, High Court has continued to avoid a case in which the commander of Special Forces Command (SFC), Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is accused of torture.
The same court on May 7, 2014, issued summons for Brig Muhoozi in relation to the torture of a former worker at the Aya Group hotel site in Nakasero, a one Jackson Ntwatwa.
Eleanor Khainza, the deputy registrar, gave Muhoozi 15 days to file his defence or the plaintiff proceeds with the suit and judgment be given in his absence.
Muhoozi was sued alongside Mohamed Hamid Latif, a director of Aya hotel, and two police officers.
They are accused of unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, torture and loss of property, among other charges.
How Ntwatwa’s trouble started
Ntwatwa, a construction supervisor in charge of joinery and carpentry, worked at the site between 2005 and 2008.
He fell sick, was given leave but when he returned, he was fired.
Ntwatwa rushed to court challenging his termination, won the case his termination and was awarded Shs 40m in 2009.
He received only Shs 16m at first and when he demanded for the rest, SFC officers arrested him on October 20, 2012.
They detained and tortured him badly.
He was then handed over to Central Police station Kampala and released on bond.
Ntwatwa is quoted by The Observer in May 2013, narrating how he tried to secure his balance for second time but was arrested by SFC personnel and detained at CPS again.
He was released on bond once more but quickly kidnapped by SFC officers who kept him in an unknown location until May 21.
Ntwatwa sues Muhoozi
Ntwatwa then went to Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) and filed a case of kidnap.
CIID told him they could not help and even warned him against going to court.
All the same, Ntwatwa proceeded to High Court and filed a suit demanding Shs 500m in damages.
Maj Chris Magezi, the SFC spokesman, told the paper that Muhoozi’s summons were received but dismissed the allegations saying SFC was “a disciplined force which abhors torture”.
Court delays process, avoids case
Since the lodging of the case, High Court has adamantly refused to fix a hearing date.
KFM quotes one of Ntwatwa’s letters to the Deputy Registrar of the court dated June 18, 2014 saying he filed the suit in May 2014 and defenses were filed but to date the matter has not been fixed for hearing.
The Judiciary deputy spokesperson, Araali Muhirwa, told the radio that the delay was caused by the limited number of judicial staff.
According to Muhoozi’s lawyers, Kiwanuka & Karugire Advocates, SFC “is not an entity with legal capacity to sue or sued”.
Special Forces Group, which contains the unit known as Presidential Guard Brigade, is responsible for providing security to the President of Uganda and to Uganda’s constitutional monarchs.
The Special Forces Group is also responsible for providing security at Uganda’s oil installations.
Its commander, Brig Muhoozi, is the son of President Yoweri Museveni, who he is allegedly grooming him as his successor, according to Wikipedia.