Hearing continues against Ugandan journalists in criminal defamation case

February 1, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Robert Ssewankambo

The hearing of a criminal defamation case in which four journalists, Ronald Nahebwa and Benson Tugumisirize of Ugandan newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ and Madina Nalwanga and Patrick Tumwesigye of news agency ‘New Vision’, are accused of defaming city tycoons continued last week with one of the prosecution witnesses Ephraim Ntaganda revealing that he never actually complained to police about the journalists.

Ntaganda, who was cross-examined by four lawyers, told court that he did not lodge a complaint with the police against the four journalists, but rather against Juma Ssegawa Tamale, a city business man with whom they have a land dispute.

Asked whether he was sure the journalists are the ones who wrote and published the defamatory stories he is complaining about; Ntaganda told court, presided over by Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Kalemani James, that he is not a ‘specialist’ to know who writes and publishes stories in newspapers.

The Prosecution alleges that the four journalists on 18th, 31st May and 4th June 2015 published in Bukedde and Red Pepper newspapers defamatory statements against Kampala city businessmen Drake Lubega and Ephraim Ntaganda, and that the stories published suggested the duo were trailing Ssegawa Tamale Juma to kill him over land ownership disputes.

They further alleged that Juma Ssegawa Tamale told them that Ntaganda was conniving with Drake Lubega and others to forcefully grab his land and had hired boda boda (commercial) cyclists to trail Juma, threatening to kill him if he does not leave the land.

The journalists are represented by Wameli Anthony, Tom Ochaya, Tonny Kirabira and Joseph Kiryowa. The Prosecution is led by Peter Mugisha. The case was adjourned to 4 March 2016 for further hearing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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