Kawempe North MP Ssegirinya battling skin cancer, lung infection

Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana denied bail by Masaka High court
MPs Allan Ssewanyana (left) and Muhammad Ssegirinya (right) in court

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Kawempe North Member of Parliament, Muhammad Ssegirinya has informed the International Crimes Division of the High Court that he is battling skin cancer and lung infections. Ssegirinya disclosed this before Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha on Monday 25, September 2023 during his pretrial on terrorism charges.

He is jointly charged with his Makindye West counterpart, Allan Ssewanyana, and four others for their alleged involvement in machete killings that occurred in Masaka and Lwengo districts in 2021, resulting in over 20 fatalities and numerous injuries.

The other suspects are; Jackson Kanyike, John Mugerwa, Bull Wamala, and Mike Sserwadda. When the matter came up for mention, the Prosecution, led by Richard Birivumbuka, requested an adjournment to provide the defense lawyers with more evidence for the prosecution.

In response, Ssegirinya expressed gratitude for the court’s patience, as he had missed two sessions. He also revealed that, in addition to battling skin cancer and lung infections, he suffers from hypertension, which occasionally causes his blood pressure to spike to 200 over 140.

He told the court that when he sought treatment in the Netherlands, doctors implanted a body monitoring device in his left arm to track his condition while he was in Uganda. He wanted to undress before the country to prove his case, but the Judge continued listening to his submission.

Ssegirinya further explained that doctors in the Netherlands advised him to return for a review on October 10, 2023. However, his lawyers recommended that he return to Uganda and attend court since he had missed two consecutive sessions.

To substantiate his claims, Ssegirinya informed the Court that he possessed relevant documentation, although it was not present in Court, except for a letter from the Ambassador of Uganda to Belgium, which he showed to the Judge to read on his phone.

At this point, the Judge extended her best wishes for his quick recovery and adjourned the case until October 24, 2023.

Earlier, Justice Komuhangi had dismissed an application by Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana, in which they sought to halt their trial pending the determination of a constitutional petition challenging the legality of the charges against them.

In February 2023, Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana filed a petition with the Constitutional Court, arguing that their separate trials in different courts, namely the Masaka High Court and ICD, amounted to an abuse of the court process and political persecution. They also submitted an application to the International Crimes Division (ICD), requesting a stay on their trial until the Constitutional petition was resolved.

Grief as 'Ssegirinya’s hospital' closes over lack of funds
Established in July 2021, Kawempe North health center started experiencing challenges following the arrest and subsequent jailing of legislator Muhammad Ssegirinya on a string of accusations including terrorism, attempted murder, and murder.

The legislators contended that their application to consolidate the cases was dismissed, and no progress was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to commence the trial. They raised concerns over the DPP’s actions, alleging inconsistency and contravention of the Constitution, which prompted them to file a constitutional petition.

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The MPs argued that if the trial was not halted at these preliminary stages, potential injustices could occur before the constitutional petition was resolved. The Prosecution, led by Richard Birivumbuka, urged the court to dismiss the petition for lack of merit, viewing it as a tactic to delay the trial. In her ruling, the Judge emphasized that she had already dismissed their application to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court due to a lack of merit, and as a result, she could not stay the proceedings before her.

“I wish to note that the applicants are considering their convenience without due regard to the totality of the entire case. As already observed, the applicants are jointly charged with four others. Whereas the applicants were admitted on bail, the other accused persons are still on remand. I therefore find that staying the proceedings in this matter will cause immense inconvenience to the other accused persons,” said Komuhangi.

She added that if Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana wished to seek an order for a stay of the proceedings, they should do so through the Constitutional Court. The main cause of terrorism is scheduled to continue on October 24, 2023.

Speaking to this publication, lawyer Samuel Muyizzi Mulindwa stated that, as advised by the Court, they would file an application for a stay of proceedings in the Constitutional Court, where their petition was already filed.