Kampala, Uganda | URN | Local comedians commonly known by their stage name as Bizonto have been granted bail, hours after they were arrested from Radio Simba premises on Friday 5, March 2021 morning.
They were re-arrested on Friday 5th on charges of promoting sectarianism and offensive communication. The three, Julius Sserwanja is also known as Kidomoole, Mbabaali Maliseeri (Uncle Luyuguumo), and Gold Ki Matono, also known as Opeto and Peter Sssaabakaaki (Omuzinyuuzi) were arrested from Radio Simba over a satirical skit which, according to the government was used to promote sectarianism. Their counterpart was not found at the station at the time of their arrest.
Today Friday 5th afternoon, the Bizonto comedians appeared before Grade One magistrate Asuman Muhumuza. It is alleged that the comedians and others still at large within the district of Kampala made and published on different social media platforms videos containing information that is likely to incite discontent by citizens of Uganda against the Banyankole tribe. This was reportedly done by indicating that most of the leaders in Uganda are of the Banyankole tribe.
However, they denied the charges and through their lawyers led by Derrick Lutalo applied to be freed on bail pending disposal of the case against them. The lawyers presented several sureties who included their friends, relatives and human rights defenders.
However, in response, the prosecution led by Patricia Cingtho opposed the bail application saying the sureties presented did not have Local Council letters confirming their places of abode.
But in his ruling, the magistrate overruled the submissions of the prosecution saying the national identity cards produced by the sureties are credible and binding documents. He accordingly granted them bail of Shs 100,000 cash while their sureties were asked to execute a bail of Shs 500,000, not cash.
The accused were ordered to reappear in court on April 8, 2021, for mention as inquiries continue. Bizonto comedians were first arrested in July last year after producing and circulating a skit titled “who are our leaders,” in which they mockingly prayed for Uganda’s top leaders.
The seven-minute skit which was uploaded on July 15, 2020, on YouTube, started with a musical and in it, the group members listed all persons who are holding key positions in the Electoral Commission, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda Prisons, Uganda National Roads Authority, National Social Security Fund, Bank of Uganda, Ministry of Finance, Internal Security Organisation – headed by individuals who all hail from western Uganda.
They listed President Museveni, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi, and Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the senior presidential advisor on special operations back then.
The others they listed are Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi, the commissioner-general of Prisons Dr Johnson Byabashaija,
The minister of Security Gen Elly Tumwine, Internal Security Organisation boss Col Bagyenda Kaka, Chief of Military Intelligence Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, the commander of the Special Forces Command Maj Gen James Birungi, and the Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi.
They added that although the known Inspector General of Police (IGP) is Martin Okoth Ochola, the actual police boss then was his deputy Sabiiti Muzeeyi, who also hails from the westen region.
They said that because children were stuck at home following the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was important that they are reminded to always pray for their leaders.
In their latest skit, Bizonto said Ugandans ought to be whistleblowers about the ongoings in the country. They wondered whether God has forsaken Uganda, saying poverty is more rampant, insecurity rife with everyone suspicious of another with belief that they are spying on them.
They said Ugandans now fear to hitch car lifts because of the state inspired kidnaps using vehicles infamously known as drones. They also hinted at the election malpractice, asking why God just looks on as Ugandans continue to suffer from election malpractice with even the Electoral Commission posting fake election results.
The Bizonto comedians also trolled pastor Aloyzious Bugingo, who they said collects tithe from the poor only for his girlfriend to come on social media and pause that he buys her a bra for Shs 2 million.
“God is there any particular group that you gave exclusive rights to own all the land in Uganda, they want to take all the land here…God, if you so wish, manifest yourself. Even if it means through the [American ferry recently docked at Mombasa] so be it…God, really why do you continue to just look on as we continue to suffer and be at the mercy of just a few people.
God, manifest your power and make some of our tormentors suffer as well. We’ll enjoy their suffering when we see them writhing in pain. Did you send these people to be in charge of the lakes that they have now sold?” they said in the skit.
“God, if you want the names of our tormentors we can provide you with the list. They are very few, they borrow money every day to live large and then make us pay back through the nose.
They behave like lords of the earth, they own villages and villages of grabbed land. For sure, God what did we do to you? How can you just look as we continue to be tormented by these few people?,” they added.