Prosecutors' strike has resulted in paralysis in courts of judicature, with criminal cases the most affected
The trial of 18 people including Dr Aggrey Kiyingi’s sister-in-law Aisha Nakasibante who are battling charges of treason has been adjourned indefinitely over prosecutors’ strike.
On Monday, High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene was compelled to adjourn the case after state prosecutors from the Office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) were a no show in the courtroom.
“You are aware that state prosecutors are on strike, therefore, we cannot proceed. I remand you until further notice,” Musene ruled.
Defence lawyers led by Roberts Kagoro said what was happening was very unfortunate on the side of justice.
“Our people have been on remand for over two years without trial. There hope was in this trial, but it has now also been frustrated,” he said.
This is among thousands of criminal cases that have stalled countrywide due to the strike. Criminal Division Deputy Registrar Emanuel Baguma has advised prison authorities to stop ferrying capital offenders to court until further notice.
On October 10, prosecutors resumed strike after the Government failed to fulfill their promises over pay. The strike has resulted in paralysis in courts of judicature, with criminal cases the most affected.
Ever since the prosecutors invoked strike, criminal cases handled by the DPP have been on hold to date.
In an interview with New Vision, Principal Judge, Yorokamu Bamwine, said the strike is a great setback for the Judiciary.
“We have the money for criminal sessions, but we do not have the prosecutors. I hope prosecutors’ impasse will be settled sooner than later,” he said.
Nakasibante appeared in court alongside Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, 24, Muzamilu Kasawuli, 24, Arafat Serunjogi, 30, Alex Okot, 44, Joseph Olanya, 23, Charles Okidi, 28, and Pte Arajab Mubaje.
Others are Issa Matanda, 39, Hajji Abdul Ratif Byamukama, 24, Asadu Ssemwogerere, 30, Solomon Kibirige, 23, Safiyi Wadwali, 44, Yusuf Ssentamu, 37, Ismail Ssentongo and Muhammad Kaloddo, 44.
The group has been on remand since January 2015.
It is alleged that the accused and others still at large between January 2014 and June 2015 in Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Kenya and Tanzania hatched a plot to overthrow the Government by use of arms.