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Defence witness refuses to testify in Stella Nyanzi case

Dr Stella Nyanzi

Dr Stella Nyanzi

Barnabas Mustapha Mugisha, one of the witnesses summoned to testify in the cyber harassment case against Dr Stella Nyanzi on Tuesday refused to testify saying he did not know why he was summoned in court.

Mugisha is one of the 10 defence witnesses that were expected to testify today before the Buganda Road Magistrate's court. Mugisha said that despite being a certified expert in computer hacking, information system audit, forensic and cyber investigations, he lost interest in the practice and abandoned it, therefore, he cannot give opinion on the case.   

He added that he is currently a certified accountant. Isaac Ssemakande, one of Nyanzi's lawyer, however, argued that the witness only chooses to distance himself from commenting on the matter due to the sensitivity of the case but not because of what he emphasized.

Nyanzi is accused of publishing a loutish birthday poem on Facebook in which she insulted President Yoweri Museveni and his late mother Esteri Konkundeka. 

Nyanzi’s other lawyer Derrick Bazekuketa also observed that defence only seeks his opinion in the matter which is in light with his knowledge that has both been published in written and spoken and not with what he claims as a career abandoned.

State prosecutors Timothy Amerit and Janet Kitimbo asked court to excuse the witness since he was not informed by the defense the reason he was in court. Gladys Kamasanyu, the Buganda Road Grade One magistrate adjourned court to July 10, ordering defence to present all the 19 witnesses. Kamasanyu, however, warned defense against presenting witnesses without preparing them or not informing them about their need in court.

Other witnesses summoned and expected in courts tomorrow are: Prof Sylvia Tamale, Dr Susan Kiguli, Criminal Investigations director Grace Akullo, Dr Ronald Kakungulu Mayambala, Eng Frank Kitumba, Dr Sylvester Kahyana, Dr James Ociti, Dr Susan Kiguli, and Prof Abas Kiyimba the coordinator of gender, law and sexuality at Makerere University.

Others are; Prof Fredrick Jjuuko, Allan Tacca, Solome Nakaweesi, Bishop Zac David Niringiye, Father Gaetano Batanyenda and Mildred Apenyo, a daughter to prosecution witness Charles Dalton Opwonya.

Nyanzi has been in jail since November 2, 2018 and has refused to apply for bail. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd