Court grants bail to artiste who annoyed Uganda's president

Ugandan music producer Jonah Muhanguzi (L) and artiste David Mugema in the dock at Buganda Road Court in Kampala on December 5, 2017. JULIET KIGONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A court in Uganda Wednesday granted bail to an artiste facing charges of uttering offensive communication against President Yoweri Museveni.

Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu granted a cash bail of $289 (USh1m) and their sureties bonded $2,800 (USh10m) non-cash bail to Mr David Mugema, 31, and his music producer Mr Jonah Muwanguzi, 23.

“Although Mr Julius Mboizi a prosecutor from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had objected to the substantiality of Muwanguzi's sureties, Willy Mukaabya, one of the sureties, is a popular musician and an employer of the producer who will ensure that he appears in court,” Ms Kamasanyu said while granting them bail.

The charges

The accused, through their lawyers led by Mr Abdullah Kiwanuka, had informed court that they have a constitutional right to ask for bail since the case was bailable.

The two, who were remanded on Tuesday by the same magistrate on the charges of offensive communication, which they denied, presented five sureties.

Prosecution alleges that Mr Mugema and Mr Muwanguzi, between 2015 and 2017 at Salama Road, Makindye Division in the Kampala District, wilfully and repeatedly composed, recorded, produced and electronically communicated through social media a song titled Wumula, in which they attacked and disturbed the peace of the person of the President of the Republic of Uganda, with no purpose of legitimate communication.

An offence

Mr Muwanguzi was also charged with an offence of abetment of offensive communication.

It was further stated that Mr Muwanguzi, knowingly, aided Mr Mugema in producing the said song which offended the president.

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