By Pascal Kwesiga
The former chief of the Internal Security Organisation, Brig. Henry Tumukunde, faces a life sentence coupled with dismissal from the defence forces with disgrace if he is convicted of charges of spreading harmful propaganda and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, court has said.
Military court judge advocate Maj. Augustine Bwegendaho on Thursday summed up the case and gave a 10-member panel of the military court one month to study the law and submissions of the state and defence before delivering an appropriate judgment for Tumukunde.
Quoting the UPDF act of 2005, Bwegendaho said any person subject to military law, who spreads harmful propaganda, commits an offence and is, on conviction, liable to suffer death or life imprisonment.
He added that the act also provides for dismissal from the forces with disgrace for officers convicted of the crime of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.
Tumukunde is accused of having committed the offence on May 5, 2005 when he was hosted on a talk show on Radio One in Kampala without authorisation from “appropriate” authorities.
He was charged before the same court on May 30, 2005.
Bwegendaho explained to a fully-packed court that under the UPDF Act, a soldier commits the offence of harming propaganda if they make ill statements against the army or the Government.
He said such statements should not constitute constructive criticism.
For the charges to stand, Bwegendaho added that it should be proved that Tumukunde, who was an MP representing the army at the time, did not seek approval to make public statements and that the statements he allegedly made were not constructive.
The state, Bwegendaho said, relied on four witnesses, including army spokesperson Col. Felix Kulayigye and a recording of the talk show on which Tumukunde was hosted.
Tumukunde pleaded not guilty throughout the trial.
Tolit said the judgment would be delivered on April 18.