The Kyadondo East legislator was last week charged in Gulu military barracks following his arrest last Tuesday. He returns to court today.
GULU - The stage is set for the trial of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, to kick off in the northern Uganda town of Gulu.
General Court Martial chairman Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti is in Gulu to preside over the trial.
Kyagulanyi's wife, Barbie, also arrived at the Gulu military barracks Thursday morning. Members of his legal team, including Medard Lubega Sseggona, were also seen at the barracks.
When Bobi Wine reappears in court today, the prosecution team, led by Raphael Mugisha, is expected to inform court on the progress of investigations into what he was charged with.
The Gulu General Court Martial is inside the military barracks. As it is a military facility, there is a tight security ring at the entrance, as military operatives frisk journalists and others before being granted entry.
A limited number of journalists and legal teams are to be granted access.
How we got here
Kyagulanyi was last week charged in Gulu military barracks, days after his arrest. His detention followed a violent incident in the buildup of the Arua Municipality by-election. As many as 12 candidates contested in the race to replace slain MP Ibrahim Abiriga, with independent Kassiano Wadri taking the day.
The violence, according to Police began after supporters of Wadri pelted President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade after campaigning for his partyflagbearer Nusura Tiperu, who eventually emerged second-best in the contest.
This episode set in motion a series of events, including tthe arrest of Wadri, MPs Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East) and Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality).
Wadri, the legislators and 29 other suspects were transfered to Gulu, from where they were charged with treason. Meanwhile, Bobi Wine was charged separately before the army court with three counts of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
It was alleged that Bobi Wine was found in possession of two submachine guns, ordinarily the monopoly of the defence forces.
Prosecution also alleged that Bobi Wine was found in possession of 35 bullets of calibre 7.62mmx39mm, equipment of the defence forces, in his hotel room.
On Wednesday, prayers were held at Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala dedicated to Kyagulanyi and others in detention.
"When I met my husband, he asked me to organise Holy Mass sot that Ugandans pray for him and others in detention," Barbie said.
She asked people to light candles in the Church as per her husband's request. The prayers were organised by the Uganda Performers Association.
It was a filled Mass, with the likes of veteran FDC politician Col Kizza Besigye and current and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ochan and Winfred Kiiza in attendance.
Several Bobi Wine supporters demonstrated outside the grand cathedral and demanded his and others MPs' release.
'It should never have happened'
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament visited Bobi Wine and bedridden Zaake, and later condemned the manner in which the legislators were tortured by security operatives following their arrest in Arua last week.
"This situation should never have happened. Never," he said.
"What I have seen is that both of them (Kyagulanyi and Zaake) are in a lot of pain," added Oulanyah.
"When I visited Bobi Wine, he was able to come and sit with me. We joked and we were laughing, but he is in a lot of pain. Similarly, Zaake is in a lot of pain. He has wounds on his fingers. They were both taken for imaging and no internal injuries and bleeding were seen."
Despite receiving treatment at Rubaga Hospital and Makindye Military Hospital, MPs that visited the two legislators intimated that the two MPs need specialised medical care.