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45 Court Appearances, No Hearing for FDC Leader Accused of Offending President

The three parties through their lawyer of Rwakafuuzi and Co. Advocates said that the offense of criminal libel and offensive communication, when used against citizens who criticize politicians and public figures, are not reasonable and justifiable in an open democratic society based on humanity, equality and freedom
Copy of Petition challenging the offenses against Nsamba. The Constitutional Court has never heard it since 2017

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The Forum for Democratic Change-FDC chairperson in Katikamu South, Luwero district Swaibu Nsamba Gwogyolonga, has faulted the courts for denying him justice in a case where he is accused of making offensive social media posts against President Yoweri Museveni.

Nsamba, a resident of Nakasero zone in Wobulenzi Town was arrested by Police in December 2016 after  expressing how he will announce and mourn President Yoweri Museveni when he passes on. The post was accompanied by a Photoshop of Museveni's supposed corpse.

On January 11, 2017, Nsamba appeared before the Chief Magistrate Court at Buganda Road to answer charges of offensive communication contrary to a section of Computer Misuse act 2011 and libel contrary to section 179 of the penal code act cap 120. He was granted a non-cash bail of 50 million Shillings while his sureties were also bonded at 50 million Shillings.

But Nsamba, through the Unwanted Witness and Human Rights Enforcement Foundation petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the charges. They argued that the charges contravened the Constitution as well as Regional and International human rights norms and standards, which grant citizens a right to freedom of expression.

Through their lawyer of Rwakafuuzi and Co. Advocates, the parties said that the offence of criminal libel and offensive communication, when used against citizens who criticize politicians and public figures, is not reasonably justifiable in an open democratic society based on humanity, equality and freedom. But the Constitutional Court never fixed the case for hearing.

However, the magistrate's court ordered him to report to the court on a monthly basis until the matter is disposed of. Nsamba says that he has appeared before the Magistrate Court at least 45 times, spending an average of 100,000 Shillings on every visit. He last appeared before the magistrate on May 25, shortly before court business was suspended as a result of the lockdown.

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Jameson Karemani Karemera, the Judiciary's Public Relations Officer says that the delay to hear Constitutional petitions is due to limited manpower. Karemani explains that currently, they are only 13 justices who are supposed to hear 8,700 cases and these may not be able to handle all matters before them expeditiously.

By the time Nsamba complained of delaying justice, Police in Luwero had detained Peter Ssekyondwa aka Jamir,  a resident of Kamira sub-county on similar charges after he shared a message announcing President Yoweri Museveni dead.