Former presidential candidate Joseph Kabuleta was yesterday remanded to Luzira prison on charges of promoting sectarianism.
Mr Kabuleta, who was picked up on Monday by security operatives in plain clothes from his Bugolobi party offices before being whisked away to unknown destination in the infamous drone (Toyota van), was produced before Nakawa Chief Magistrates’ Court. He denied the charges.
He appeared before Grade One Magistrate, Ms Ritah Neumbe Kidasa, who remanded him until December 14 when she will hear his bail application in which he seeks temporary release.
It’s alleged that on May 30, Mr Kabuleta and other members of the party held a press conference in Kampala where they alleged that social service delivery in Mbarara is based on ethnic lines of the Tutsi, Bahima, Bakiga and Banyankole.
“I am constrained to hear your bail application for now as it is very late and I have other court matters to attend to. But you can still access your personal doctor while in prison,” Ms Neumbe said.
Through his lawyer, Mr Kabuleta, a journalist turned politician, had asked court to release him on bail pending the hearing of his case, reasoning that he was unwell and in need of daily medication.
Prosecution led by Ms Doreen Elima told court that investigations in the matter were still ongoing.
The prosecutor said Mr Kabuleta and Ms Ms Prossy Ayebare, who is on the run, and others still at large, on May 30, 2022 in Kampala, allegedly uttered and published on a you-tube channel, National Economic Empowerment Dialogue press conference, statements which are likely to create alienation or despondency, raise discontent or disaffection and promote feelings of ill will or hostility among the Banyarwanda, Bahima and Banyankole.
If convicted on charges of promoting sectarianism, Mr Kabuleta, who is the president of National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) party, faces up to five years in jail.
Video footage captured by the CCTV cameras at the office showed about six plain-clothed men entering his office building.
Four of the men approached Mr Kabuleta, who was chatting with two other men and exchanging pleasantries.
The arrest came shortly after Mr Kabuleta had just finished addressing his weekly press conference where he spoke about the recent attacks on security installations and theft of guns in the country.
“We have security issues here, a lot of uncertainties going on here. The President should come out and address the nation on these insecurity problems that are popping up in the country instead of travelling to Vietnam and USA, claiming that he is attracting investors. Who can invest here with this uncertainty around?” Mr Kabuleta asked at the press conference before his arrest.
He said Ugandans should be told whether there is a rebel group that they should be worried about.