1st August 2008
Today at Buganda road court in Kampala, the case against the three LGBTI activists Usaam
Mukwaya, Onziema Julian Pepe and Valentine Kalende .
Started with prosecution asking court for an adjournment since their witnesses were not
present in court. The magistrate asked whether prosecution had the police file and
answer was yes.
The defence lawyer requested that adjournment be denied because the said absent
witnesses had not even recorded statements with police, they had no names and addresses
and hence he wondered how they could testify.
The magistrate however adjourned the case to 8th August and requested the prosecution to
summon the investigating officer and close their case. However a few minutes later, as we walked out of court , one witness appeared and the magistrate accepted to continue with the hearing.
The state witness Mirondo Fred, a 30 year old Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP)
and the divisional CID officer Central Police Station Kampala, said he knows the accused
because he saw them at Kampala central police station when they were arrested for
criminal trespass at a conference at imperial Royale Hotel, although he could not
correctly identify them by their names.
He said every participant was supposed to be invited and provided with an invitation
card yet the three accused had accessed the conference hall with out the cards. He also
said he had recovered a list from the ministry of health that had names of invited
participants but the names of the three LGBTI/HIV-AIDS activists were not on the list.
Prosecution produced this list in court.
The defence lawyer asked Mr. Mirondo whether that was a list of participants or
delegates to the conference to which he said they were participants. However on reading
the document, it read delegates. Defence pointed out a couple of prominent members of
society including Honourable minister Maria Mutagambwa, Dr. Apuuli Kihumuro who
participated in the conference but were not on the delegates list, hence not all
participants in the conference were delegates.
The defence lawyer further asked who the complainant in the case was, Mr. Mirondo said
it was a participant in the conference called Opor Nicholas. But Mr. Opor Nicholas was
not a participant and had even appeared in court on 8th July as a state witness in this
matter. Opor Nicholas was only part of the security at the conference. Thus no
participant at the conference filed a complaint.
To prove that this is a case of homophobia, defence lawyer asked Mr. Mirondo if he loves
the LGBTI/HIV-AIDS activists to which he said, “I did not like or love them” but later
he changed his statement and said he did not "I do not like or hate them”.
He insisted that the LGBTI/HIV-AIDS activists were not invited participants and the
magistrate asked him how he knew that yet he had claimed that the invitation list was
too long for him to go through it.
The defence lawyer told court that at the beginning of the hearing, prosecution said it
had only three witnesses but it was increasing the number of witnesses as the case goes
on with out informing the accused which is against the law. Hence the fear that they may
be manufacturing witnesses. The defence lawyer asked court, that the prosecution
presents the names and statements of its next witnesses to him and his clients.
Prosecution said they would call the investigating officer AIP Malenge, woman detective
AIP Mutabazi and a witness from the ministry of health for next hearing.
The magistrate ordered the prosecution to provide all the names and statements to the
defence lawyer before the next hearing. The case was adjourned to the 15th of August
2008 at 9:00 am.