Ntungamo, 28th/November/2012; Court in Ntungamo has dismissed a case in which the Daily Monitor Journalist Perezi Rumanzi has been facing charges of incitement to violence.
Rumanzi, 27 was arrested on April 29th 2012 by Special Forces Group (SFG) guarding the first Lady Janet Museveni at Kyamate Cathedral which is the seat of South Ankole Diocese. He was allegedly compromising the security of the First Lady by interfering with their movement. Rumanzi, a freelance reporter with the Daily Monitor in Ntungamo District in Western Uganda was covering the installation of the members of South Ankole Diocese Synod at St. Mathew Cathedral Kyamate in Ntungamo district where Mrs. Museveni was the chief guest. Upon his arrest he failed to provide sureties on that day, and was remanded to Ntungamo Government prison until May 30.
Prosecution had alleged that Rumanzi conducted himself in a manner that got the security concerned. It is alleged that he interfered with the movement of security people, and hurled insults at them, saying their time will come like it happened with Muammar Gaddafi.
The dismissal of the case followed the letter written by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard Buteera to court dated October 10th stating that the State had lost interest in the case. “This is to inform Court that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to discontinue proceedings against Perezi Rumanzi charged with incitement to violence.” Read the withdrawal letter presented by the prosecutor Wamudat Moses Wasome.
“The case has been dismissed and the suspect be discharged.” said the Ntungamo Grade One Magistrate Francis Matenga Dawa on Wednesday 28th November 2012 to a fully packed court.
It was a mixed reaction for Rumanzi, “Am happy that the case was dropped but unhappy that I did not get a chance to defend myself. It’s bad that they (State) bring up trumped charges, and then drop them as they wish.” he said soon after court. He was represented by Monitor Publications lawyer Joshua Mariiro who referred to the charge as “hopeless meant to intimidate Rumanzi from reporting freely.”
Human Rights Network for Journalists –Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) welcomes this victory in Court.