Otunnu in the dock for defaming Museveni


The trial of UPC party president Olara Otunnu in a case in which he is charged with defaming President Yoweri Museveni has kicked off.

Mr Otunnu Tuesday appeared before the Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court to answer charges of defamation and ignoring police summons over the matter.

Prosecution alleges that on January 16, 2013 while at the UPC party headquarters at Uganda House in Kampala, Otunnu with intent to defame President Museveni allegedly made defamatory remarks.

Last year, Mr Otunnu while appearing in court denied the charges and was released on a sh20m cash bond.

Otunnu woes stem from a press conference he addressed, pointing out several major incidents of atrocities and crimes during the liberation (‘bush’) war.

The said incidents include: atrocities in Luwero while Museveni commanded rebellious forces between 1981 and 1986; the massacres of Muslims in Ankole in 1979, when Museveni was commander of the Western Axis of anti-Amin forces, composed mainly of his FRONASA contingent.

Others are; the massacre at Ombaci in West Nile in 1981; the scorched-earth counter-insurgency operations and genocide in northern and eastern Uganda between 1986 and 2006; and the wanton killing of unarmed demonstrators on the streets of Kampala, in September 2009.

Otunnu reportedly pointed out that a lot of disappearances and mysterious deaths had occurred under Museveni’s watch and authority since the Front for National Salvation’s (FRONASA) struggles to-date, saying they should be investigated.

His remarks prompted the Attorney General to write to the then UPC president giving him five days to make a public apology for his comments, or face legal action.

Otunnu has since declined to make any apologies for that matter.

The State further claims that on February 28, 2013 without reasonable excuse, the UPC leader also ignored a police summon to appear before the Media Crime Department at CIID despite acknowledging receipt of the summon at a press conference he convened at Uganda House.

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