By Farooq Kasule
High Court Judge Isaac Muwata has directed the officer in charge of Kitalya Prison, Hussein Aikomungu, to allow jailed lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi to use the internet to enable him to prepare court documents.
About two months ago, High Court judge Musa Ssekaana imprisoned Mabirizi for 18 months over contempt of court after finding him guilty of attacking him (Ssekaana) on social media and other judicial officers.
Mabirizi had already opened a private prosecution case against Pastor Aloysius Bugingo over bigamy.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has since taken over the matter.
However, Mabirizi had filed an application for cancellation of Bugingo’s bail which is pending a hearing.
The judge has also ordered Aikomungu to forthwith return to Mabirizi all the documents which he purportedly confiscated from him.
The order followed a complaint by Mabirizi as he appeared before the judge to hear his application in which he wants Bugingo’s bail cancelled for allegedly threatening violence against him at the High Court in Kampala on Thursday.
Bugingo and his friend, Suzan Makula Nantaba, are indicted with bigamy, an offence that relates to contracting marriage while one of the parties is under another valid monogamous marriage.
Mabirizi told the judge that he could not proceed with the matter because Aikomungu had purportedly confiscated all his documents, including a list of decided cases he was supposed to rely on to argue his case.
“The OC superintendent of Kitalya, Hussein Aikomungu, confiscated all my court documents, which include affidavits and authorities so I am unable to proceed with the matter today. He took them on Tuesday this week after learning of a letter I wrote to the secretary of the cabinet about the removal of judge Musa Ssekaana from the office and since he could not get the letter, he confiscated all my court documents,” Mabirizi submitted.
Mabirizi further told the judge that he is being persecuted at Kitalya Prison and that he has been barred from using the prison internet, which he has been using ever since he was remanded to the facility.
“Ever since I wrote the letter to the secretary to the cabinet to have High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana removed from office, I am going through a lot of persecution. I have been checked five times as they look for the copy of the letter,” Mabirizi said.
Mabirizi said because Aikomungu is the commander of Kitalya Prison, whatever he says must be obeyed and that’s why he has since been blocked me from accessing the internet.
State Attorney Timothy Amerit from the ODPP did not object to Mabirizi’s request, prompting the judge to grant it.
“I have no objection to Mabirizi’s request, if documents were confiscated from him, they should be returned for justice to be seen done,” Amerit submitted.
The case has been adjourned to April 21 for hearing.
Pastor Bugingo and Makula are accused of offences in relation to bigamy under the Marriage Act.
Bigamy is the offence of marrying someone while already legally married to another person.
It is alleged that Bugingo contracted a marriage by customary law when there was an existing one.
Bugingo was reportedly introduced by Makula on December 7, last year, at Kawuku, Katabi town council, in Wakiso district.
Bugingo’s wife, Teddy Naluswa, filed a case on December 9, last year, at Kawempe Police Station, accusing him of committing the offence of bigamy.
She filed the case in her capacity as the lawful wife of Bugingo. Bugingo, founder of House of Prayer Ministries International, however, denies having been introduced by Makula.
In 2019, Bugingo filed a divorce case at Kajjansi Chief Magistrate’s Court in Wakiso district, against his wife (Naluswa) and sought dissolution of the marriage.
The matter has since been transferred to the Family Division of the High Court in Makindye for adjudication.
He accused Naluswa of being disrespectful to him.
In her response to the divorce case, Naluswa maintains that she has never been disrespectful to Bugingo since they walked down the aisle.
She argues that she still has faith in their marriage and that that is why she considers it valid.
The couple got married at Victory Christian Centre Ndeeba in Kampala.
It is purported that the divorce is premised on a disagreement over the purchase of church land which remained unresolved, an assertion Naluswa has denied.
She opposed the dissolution of their marriage, saying what God has put together, no person can separate.
The case is yet to be determined by the court.