Otunnu Battles Museveni Defamation Charges


buy geneva;”>seek sans-serif;”>The former UN diplomat who appeared before the court on Tuesday is being accused of defaming President Yoweri Museveni by alleging that he committed atrocities during the National Resistance Army (NRA) guerrilla war and failure to heed to police summons.

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Otunnu’s lawyer, Asuman Basalirwa asked court to stay the proceedings until “the Constitutional Court pronounces itself on the case.”

“The accused challenged the constitutionality of the case (Dr Olara Otunu Vs The Attorney General) and the petition is still pending before the Constitutional Court. I therefore request Court to stay the proceedings until “the Constitutional Court pronounces itself on the case,” said Basalirwa.

Court Magistrate Muhirwa asked to be served with a copy of the request and resolved that the second charge (failure to honour police summons) be stayed until the Constitutional Court makes its decision.

However, the first charge in which Otunu is accused of defaming the person of the president is to go on. The magistrate set July 20 as a date for the mention of the case while hearing will be for next month.

It should be noted that prosecution alleges that on January 16, 2013, Otunnu with intent to defame President Museveni allegedly made defamatory remarks as he addressed journalists at the UPC party headquarters at Uganda House in Kampala.

He allegedly questioned the deaths of President Museveni’s allies since the Front for National Salvation’s (FRONASA) struggles to date, saying they should be investigated.

The State further claims that on February 28, 2013 Otunnu also ignored a police summon to appear before the Media Crime Department at CIID to justify the claims he accused the President.

It should noted that earlier on Otunu refused to honour police summons to answer to claims that he had defamed President Yoweri Museveni on a radio station in Lira district in 2010. He later petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the summons issued under Section 27(a) of the Police Amendment Act.

The lower court therefore put the proceedings on hold until the Constitutional Court disposes of Otunnu’s petition.

Therefore, Chief Magistrate Muhiirwa based his decision on the 2011 Supreme Court ruling on the authority of the Onyango Obbo and Andrew Mwenda Vs the Attorney General.


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