The criminal investigations directorate (CID) has slapped charges of sectarianism against Joseph Kabuleta, a former presidential candidate, and president of the opposition National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) political party.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, deputy police spokesperson, Claire Nabakka, says that Kabuleta was arrested over failure to honour a previous summon inviting him to appear before the CID on November 3, 2022. Plain-clothed security personnel picked up Kabuleta from his party headquarters in Bugolobi in Kampala, on Monday afternoon shortly after addressing a press conference.
According to the police statement, Kabuleta was summoned to respond to allegations that he, and others still at large, made utterances that were likely to create disaffection and promote feelings of ill will or hostility among members of the public.
“They alleged that social service delivery in Mbarara is based on ethnic lines of the Tutsi, Bahima, Bakiga, and Banyakore. Kabuleta and others shall be charged with Promoting Sectarianism C/S 41(1) of the PCA CAP 120,” the statement reads in part.
Kabuleta’s lawyer, Ivan Bowe, who has since condemned the manner in which he was arrested, says that they have been denied access to his client.
“The law states how people are being arrested, where you take them, and equally states their rights. What security agencies did was illegal and now denying us, his family, and doctors access to him is a total violation of his rights,” Bowe said.
Bowe said his client received the summons at around 4:00 pm indicating that he was required to record a statement at 10:00 am on the same day.
“He received a summons to appear on the same day, on time that had passed. This was not an effective summon. But even then, my client should be respected not to think that he can be invited on the same day, and expect him to appear immediately as if he doesn’t have what to do.” Bowe noted.
He claims that he took responsibility, and visited the Kampala Metropolitan CID commandant, whom he requested for another summon in vain without giving any reason until Monday when his client was arrested.
Kabuleta's arrest came hours after unknown men driving a 'drone' picked up Sheikh Ramadhan Mwanja, the Deputy Amir of Jamatil Dawatil Salafiya Tablique Community shortly after stepping outside Nakasero Mosque.