Mbarara grade one Magistrate Sanyu Mukasa has Tuesday remanded the self-enthroned king of Ankole Umar Asiimwe and four of his appointed ministers, on a number of charges relating to sectarianism.
Asiimwe was arrested on Thursday last week after police summoned him to withdraw the sectarian statements he uttered during a press conference at his palace (Itaaba) in Rwampara.
He allegedly said during the conference that Gender Minister Janat Mukwaya, a Muganda, had no right to interfere in the affairs of Ankole.
He was compelled to record a statement before being taken to Mbarara Central Police Station where he and his co-accused spent the weekend.
The accused are Umar Asiimwe and his ministers Max Muhumuza, Joseph Kankiriho, Wycliffe Amanya and Brenda Katushemerirwe.
The magistrate today read them the charges which included; promoting sectarianism, establishing a kingdom association, unlawful assembly, inciting violence and breaking the minister Janat Mukwaya’s orders.
The accused denied all charges.
State Prosecutor Caroline Keshubi asked court to remand the accused as inquiries are still ongoing.
The defense lawyer Vicent Turyahabwe on the other hand ,asked court to grant them bail, this being what he called a minor case.
“The accused persons politely took themselves to police to honour the invitation and instead of police conducting the inquiry, they detained them; a person who freely invites himself to court without a warrant that person’s conduct is a gesture that when bailed by this honorable court they will always honour the invitation when needed,” he said.
“These are minor charges raised to the accused persons even when you look at their sentences regardless of the gravity of the offence, the 7 cases total up 13 years imprisonment. The accused persons are at liberty to be bailed in a way of restoring their right which has been greatly violated by the Police.”
Magistrate Mukasa in her ruling however, remanded the suspects to Kyamugorani prison and adjourned the case to February 27, 2018 for the ruling on the bail application.