By Spy Uganda
Chances of Presidential contender Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde vying for the Presidency in 2021 have become slimmer after Court rejected his request to expedite hearing of his cases, such that he can prepare for his campaigns ahead of time.
Gen. Tumukunde, who is facing charges of treason and illegal possession of fire arms, was released from Luzira prisons on May 11 after being granted bail and his case was adjourned to today Wednesday May 20, 2019.
Through his lawyer Anthony Wameli, Tumukunde, who is also a former security minister, applied to court to expedite hearing and trial of his cases, such that he can be able to prepare for the looming campaigns and subsequent presidential election in 2021.
However, Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Valerian Tumuhimbise declined to grant Tumukunde’s lawyers their prayer after he reasoned that there is no way he can order prosecution to expedite investigations and hearing of the matter, since several court departments are currently not functioning because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
Prosecution led by Joseph Kyomuhendo, the State Prosecutor in Tumukunde’s case, told court that hearing of the matter cannot be expedited because the state is still investigating the matter to compile all necessary evidence, although the investigations are being hampered by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“The matter is coming up for mention, but inquiries are still underway, which is why we are praying for an adjournment,” Kyomuhendo submitted.
The magistrate also overruled an application by Tumukunde’s lawyers, Anthony Wameli and Geoffrey Turyamusiima, to give the last adjournment, to the state to finalise the inquiries.
“I have listened to the prayer by defense lawyers for the last adjournment in the matter and a reply for the state, and I find that it is not practical to give the last adjournment because guidelines from the Chief Justice suspended trials except for urgent matters and bail applications,” Tuhimbise ruled.
Magistrate Tumubihimbise thereafter adjourned the matter to June 22, 2020, when Tumukunde will appear again in court for another mention of his cases.
Tumukunde said however that he will issue a press statement to narrate his side of the story regarding his incarceration.
Tumukunde was arrested from his residence in Kololo on March 12th, 2020 over allegations of illegal possession of firearms and treason.
According to Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango, Tumukunde’s arrest was triggered by utterances he made on local TV channel NBS TV during the ‘Morning Breeze’ programme, when he said that if he was Rwanda (or Kagame) he would join and back up all forces that are working towards the overthrow of President Yoweri Museveni’s government.