Kampala city Hall Magistrates Court has rejected pleas by Lt. General Henry Tumukunde to direct the state to expedite investigations into the treason and illegal possession of firearms charges slapped against him.
The former Security Minister was appearing before the court this morning for the first time following his release from Luzira Prisons last week. Tumukunde had spent close to two months in Luzira.
Through his lawyers, Anthony Wameli and Geoffrey Turyamusiima, Tumukunde asked City Hall Senior Grade One Magistrate Valerian Tumuhimbise to give the State the last adjournment to conclude investigations in the matter.
Turyamusiima told the court that his client being a presidential aspirant needs time outside the court to consult on his ambitions. However, the State Attorney Joseph Kyomuhendo objected to Tumukunde’s plea saying it’s still too early for the General to ask for the last adjournment.
Kyomuhendo explained that the prosecution team are constrained by the prevailing conditions arising from the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic which has affected investigations.
In his ruling, Tumuhimbise said it is impractical for him to order the last adjournment in the matter. He cited the March 19, 2020 guidelines issued by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe directing that trials are suspended until further notice except for bail and other urgent applications.
Tumuhimbise, therefore said he would not direct the state to start the trial.
Tumukunde’s case stems an appearance on the Morning Breeze programme on NBS TV on March 5, 2020, where he allegedly called for the unlawful change of the legitimate government of Uganda.
“If I was Rwanda I would wish to support people who want to cause a change in Uganda,” Tumukunde said. The State says the statement was aimed at instigating Rwanda to invade Uganda to cause an unlawful change of government.
It is also alleged that on March 13, 2020, while at his residence on Impala Avenue in Kampala, Tumukunde was found in illegal possession of an AK 47 rifle Registration number 19865 and Star Pistol Registration number EL 860030.
Tumukunde has since pleaded not guilty to the charges. u.r.n