Prosecution alleges that Otunnu caused publication of a defamatory matter against President Museveni.
By Farooq Kasule
The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court has ordered a local Journalist to submit in court audio and video clips where former Uganda People's Congress (UPC) party president Dr. Olara Otunnu allegedly defamed President Yoweri Museveni.
A one Gideon Tumusiime asked court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Joan Aciro to testify on camera which the court accepted.
Consequently, the case was heard in the Magistrate's chambers amid protest from Otunnu's lawyer Asuman Basalirwa who argued that the case had no security threat to the country or even the witness. Otunnu, clad in an African print outfit, was also in court.
Prosecution alleges that on January 16, 2013 at the UPC headquarters at Uganda house in Kampala, Otunnu, while addressing a weekly party press briefing, caused publication of a defamatory matter against President Museveni.
Otunnu is also battling an alternative charge of disobeyed police summons that were duly issued requesting him to appear at the media crime police department at CIID to record a statement about the briefing.
It is further alleged that on February 28, 2013 without reasonable excuse, the UPC leader also ignored a police summon to appear at CIID despite acknowledging receipt of the summons at a press conference he convened at Uganda House.
At the said press conference, Otunnu also allegedly pointed out several major incidents of atrocities and crimes during the liberation (‘bush') war that were committed under the command of Museveni.
He allegedly pointed out the liberation war in Luwero between 1981 and 1986, the massacres of Muslims in Ankole in 1979, when Museveni was commander of the Western Axis of anti-Amin forces, composed mainly of his FRONASA contingent.
Other incidents he allegedly quoted include the alleged massacre at Ombaci in West Nile in 1981, the scorched-earth the wanton killing of unarmed demonstrators on the streets of Kampala in September 2009.
Otunnu also reportedly pointed out that a lot of disappearances and mysterious deaths had occurred under Museveni's watch and authority since the Front for National Salvation's (FRONASA) struggles to-date, saying they should be investigated.
The court also heard that his utterances prompted the Attorney General to write to him, giving him five days to make a public apology for his comments or face legal action but in vain.
State prosecutor Peter Mugisha said that five witnesses have been summoned to testify in the case.
The case was adjourned until June 28 for further hearing.