The Sunday Monitor | Besigye Charged In Moroto | When does one commit treason?

Posted May 14, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Analysis ~ 4,466 views


Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye was charged last friday with treason and remanded to Moroto Government prison. Dr. Besigye was charged at about 6.30pm in Moroto Chief Magistrates Court. He was remanded until 25th May when he will re-appear in court for further mention of the case.


 But what is this charge all about?

What law says about treason
Section 23 of the Penal Code Act (PCA) states that a person commits treason when he/she levies war against Uganda; unlawfully causes or attempts to cause the death of the President or maim or disfigure him/her or aims at the person of the President any gun or offensive weapon whether it contains any explosive or destructive substance or not; (c) contrives any plot or act and expresses or declares such plot, act by any utterance or by any overt act in order, by force of arms, to overturn the government….The same Act provides that once convicted of treason, one is liable to suffer death by hanging.

Particulars of Besigye’s treason charge
The charge could have stemmed from a mysterious video clip on Wednesday which went viral on social media showing Dr Besigye being sworn in as the president of Uganda at an unknown location.  In 2005, ahead of 2006 elections, the former FDC leader and 22 others were also arrested for treason and tried in the court martial. Dr Besigye petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging his trial in the court martial saying he was not subject to military law having retired from the army. The Constitutional Court quashed his trial before the military court and later acquitted him.

What State needs to prove treason against Besigye
Human rights lawyer Laudislaus Rwakafuuzi says proving a charge of treason, the prosecution must present evidence that Dr Besigye was waging war against government or that he aimed a gun or any deadly weapon against the President or staged a coup. Mr Rwakafuuzi believes that Dr Besigye was just demonstrating against the government which demonstration is provided for in the constitution.
He also said the defiance campaign message that Dr Besigye was promoting does not amount to treason.

Past treason suspects under NRM government

2009: Mr Patrick Otim, a journalist with Mega FM in Gulu, was charged with treason. He was jointly charged with Alex Okot Langwen, Patrick Komakech, Patrick Okello, Jimmy Oceng Opoka alias Billy, and Alfred Lubel Olanya.  Others were; Lt. Phillip Okello, Michael Obol, Sgt.Deovelente Menya, Francis Akena, John Otim, and Frank Abonga Menya, Francis Akena and Frank Abonga. They were acquitted by court.

2007: Ismail Kajubi, Muzamiru Bogere, aka Philip, Fred Baguma, aka Mudathir, and Abdulsalam Sekayanja were accused of belonging to ADF rebel group. They were later released.

2013: Former Bubulo West MP, Tony Nsubuga Kipoi and Sgt Albino Okeng, Lance Cpl Rogers Mwelu, Clp Yusuf Kiisa, Sgt Yunus Lameringa, Pte Saidi Ijosingo Dodola, Lance Cpl Cassim Adam Mawa and Cpl James Samali were charged. Trial is still pending.

2011: FDC officials Ingrid Turinawe (then head of women’s league), Sam Mugumya, (political aide to Besigye and Francis Mwijukye, head of FDC youth wing. They were arrested for participating in the Walk to Work protests. Status of the trial not known.

See below Besigye’s mock swearing in video —

Source — The Sunday Monitor and NTV news video

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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