Buganda Road court magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu has declined to summon President Yoweri Museveni as one of the witnesses in the trail of Makerere University researcher, Dr Stella Nyanzi.
Nyanzi's legal team had asked court to summon Museveni as one of the witnesses in the cyber harassment and offensive communication trial. Nyanzi is accused of publishing an loutish poem on her Facebook page on the September 16, 2018 with intent to disturb the peace and privacy of President Museveni and his mother the late Esteri Kokundeka.
Kamasanyu says while the president is a competent witness, court cannot issue a summon compelling him to appear before it. She said she would be acting in breach of the Constitution if she accepted the defense's application.
Kasamunyu however accepted to summon other witnesses lined up by the Nyanzi’s defense team. On June 26, Nyanzi through her defense lawyers presented a list of sixteen witnesses to be presented in court to be summoned for witness in her defense.
They include, Prof Sylvia Tamale, Dr Susan Kiguli, Criminal Investigations director (CID) Grace Akullo, and Dr Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala. Others are; Frank Kitumba, Mustapha Mugisha, Dr Sylvester Kahyana, Dr James Ociti, Dr Susan Kiguli, and Prof Abas Kiyimba the coordinator of gender, law and sexuality at Makerere University. Other are Prof Fredrick Jjuuko, Allan Tacca, Solome Nakaweesi, Bishop Zac David Niringiye, Father Gaetano Batanyenda and Mildred Apenyo, a daughter of city lawyer Charles Dalton Opwonya.
The defense lawyers had earlier protested against the delays in court, saying it is denying their client justice. The lawyers led by, Isaac Semakadde questioned the trial magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu for not turning up in court as scheduled.
Nyanzi and her lawyers had waited at Buganda Road court from 9:00am but the court session didn't kick off until after midday. The seemingly angered lawyers led by Semakadde rose up and questioned the magistrate why they had not been notified about the change in schedule.
They also protested against the magistrate’s decision to have juveniles out of court saying she is seemingly prejudging their client. The magistrate apologized for not turning up in court at 9:00am as earlier scheduled.
She explained that the courtroom at which Nyanzi was to appear had been occupied for the video conferencing with suspects in Luzira prison. The magistrate defended her decision to have juveniles out of court, saying it was meant to protect them from loutish content.
It was expected that loutish content would again come up in court as it has been in the past when prosecution made submissions to pin Nyanzi who is being prosecuted on two charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication.
Nyanzi has been on remand in Luzira prison since November 2018 after declining to apply for bail.