Kampala, Uganda | URN | The four members of the Bizonto comedy group and local music artist, Gerald Kiwewa are out on police bond. The comedians are Julius Sserwanja aka Kidomoole, Marcelo Mbabaali, Peter Sssaabakaaki (Omuzinyuuzi) and Gold Ki Matono, aka Opeto.
The five were released on Tuesday 28th from the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka where they spent four days in detention. Their lawyer, Ivan Bwowe says his clients were released shortly after serving police with a court order directing their unconditional release.
According to Bwowe, Buganda Road Magistrate, Stella Maris Amabilis wrote to the Inspector General of Police, the Director Criminal Investigations Directorate and Commandant of the Special Investigations Unit ordering for the unconditional release of the comedians and Kiwewa who was arrested for his song allegedly mocking the Kayunga Woman MP, Ida Nantaba.
He however, says police decided to release the suspects on bond, which Bwowe says is inconsequential since court had already made an order. The comedians were arrested on July 24th from Radio Simba premises in Bukoto on allegations of sectarianism.
The comedians ran in trouble when they produced a skit asking Ugandans to teach their children to pray for top leaders in the country.
The said leaders included President Yoweri Museveni, Electoral Commission Chairperson, Simon Byabakama, Uganda Revenue Commissioner General, John Musinguzi, Central Bank Governor, Emmanuel Tusiime Mutebile, the Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary, Keith Muhakanizi and Deputy Inspector General of Police, Sabiiti Muzeyi among others.
The list comprises leaders from Western Uganda, which police say promotes sectarianism and is punishable in Ugandan laws. On Tuesday, a section of lawyers, family and artistes stormed City Hall and Buganda Road Courts with the hope that the comedians would appear in vain.
Human right activists called for their immediate and unconditional release, saying their continued detention beyond the 48 mandatory hours was illegal. The activists also argued that police was abusing the comedians’ rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Marcelo Mbabali alias Giant Zonto, one of the comedian said their rights and freedoms were infringed upon when they were arrested. He says although they were not physically tortured, having their rights suspended while under detention tortures the mind.
He said they were picked up like terrorists, adding that officers showed up with about fifteen guns to pick them up from Radio Simba premises before they were driven to their homes for a search as if they were dangerous people.
Regarding the accusations, Mbabali says the information provided in their skit was accurate and carried no hidden meaning.