By Hillary Kiirya and Anne Mugisa
THE Government yesterday pinned Col. Kizza Besigye and 22 others on charges of treason and concealment of treason.
The state also pinned Besigye on a rape case for which he was charged alone. Besigye and his alleged accomplices were later taken back to Luzira Prison after he was committed to High Court for trial.
The state, in its summary of evidence, said after the results of the 2001 presidential elections, Besigye held several meetings to launch an armed struggle against the government of Uganda.
â€œOur investigations reveal that Besigye on different occasions met with LRA commanders at Okidi, who included Onen Kamdulu, Okello-Aboro, Dominic Okeny Ongwen, so as to jointly overthrow the government by force of arms,â€ the state said. Jane Kajuga, the Buganda Road resident State Attorney, appearing on behalf of the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP), said during and after the meetings, Besigye and others posed for a photograph with the LRA coordinators to prove to the rebel commanders that they had met.
The evidence was read out to Besigye and his co-accused by chief magistrate Margaret Tibulya before sympathisers, who filled the courtroom and spilled into the corridors and the court compound.
Before the evidence was read out, Kajuga reported that she had received a report from the DPP discharging Justus Namanya, who was reportedly granted amnesty.
Envoys, heads of missions, local and international media and security personnel were among those who jammed the courtroom. They came in their official vehicles that remained parked at the court premises as they held discussions among themselves.
The accused included Capt. James Katabazi, Godfrey Mwebaze, Frank Atukunda, Jackson Jurua, Abubakar Baiga, Amiye Abuko, James Kabaka Tabuga, Umaru Kissa, Abeli Kacwano, Yahaya Amir Asega, Iddi Ahmed, George Tumwesigye, Robert Tweyambe, Peter Atwongyeirwe, Yusuf Odugo, John Arike, Yasin Kesia Gele, Musa Zacharia Obba, Patrick Okiring, Bruhan Iwago, Samson Agupio and Joseph Masasizi Kifefe, Besigyeâ€™s brother.
The state said as leader of PRA, Besigye coordinated recruitment, funding and supply of weapons to the rebels undergoing training in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda.
â€œIn 2001, Opoka led a delegation from Besigye that met Kony himself at Okidi where Opoka presented Besigyeâ€™s operation plan. Later in December, some rebel recruits crossed into Rwanda through Kabale and were coordinated by Mzee Manenero and his two sons,â€ Tibulya read out in English before the alleged evidence was translated into Lugbara and Kakwa languages.
A panel of 10 lawyers led by Sam Njuba represented Besigye.
The state further said Besigye made several phone contacts with rebel groups after about 400 rifles had been secured for the 700 recruits that were undergoing training.
â€œWe shall also prove that the money to buy arms was always sent from Kampala by Joseph Musasizi and that Besigye, with the assistance of his co-accused, succeeded in buying arms from Sudan.
â€œThe said arms were recovered underground in the homes of Abuko and Odugo. Investigations revealed that Tabuga would help Cpt. Katabazi in collecting and ferrying the purchased arms.â€
Recruitment was handled by Tweyambe under the orders of PRA commanders Lt. Col. Anthony Kyakabale and Col. Samson Mande.
The state said in October/November 1997, Besigye carried Joanita Kyakuwa from the TV room to the visitorâ€™s room where he raped her.
The State said around February 1998, the girl realised she was pregnant and informed Besigye who took her to a clinic in Kamwokya for an abortion.