Uganda’s government has charged four people with trying to overthrow President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
The government contends that James Karuhanga Nayebale, Moses Nuwagaba Kakarugahi businessman Abel Twinamasiko and Frank Ninsiima conspired with others to overthrow the government. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death.
But, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, the defense attorney for the accused says the charges are politically motivated.
“They are kind of in a panic and they just want to charge somebody who is related to Tinyefuza [Sejusa]. I have talked to them and they are quire innocent young boys who are doing their day-to-day errands in the office of Tinyefuza and they did not do anything, subversive activities,” said Rwakafuuzi.
The accused worked in the office of Uganda’s renegade army General David Sejusa, who was coordinator for Uganda’s intelligence agencies at the president’s office.
Fearing for his life, General Sejusa refused to return to Uganda from exile, after he petitioned the administration to investigate rumors of a plot to assassinate senior administration officials opposed to Mr. Museveni’s alleged succession plan. The government has so far denied the existence of any such plan.
Rwakafuuzi says his clients are innocent.
“They have all pleaded not guilty. They said they have been executing their duties normally without any breach of the law. So they don’t know any of those allegations that they are guilty of treachery and actually they are denying those allegations,” said Rwakafuuzi.
The four accused have been detained since May after government investigators raided Sejusa’s offices as part of an investigation into demands for an inquiry into Museveni’s succession plan.
Rwakafuuzi said his clients have been charged in a military court in spite of repeated efforts to have the case sent to a civilian court.
“Now we are going to defend them at a military court. But for the time being we are trying to get bail for them which would be Tuesday next week,” said Rwakafuuzi.
“There are other avenues in case we are not successful, we can appeal to the Court Marshal Appeal and if we fail to succeed we will go to the Civilian Court of Appeal.”
Six soldiers have also been charged with plotting to overthrow the government.