The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces’ (UPDF) 1st Division Court Martial chaired by Col Sam Mugyenyi has acquitted two Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel of the charge of assault of Mityana District Chairperson, Mr. Joseph Luzige.
They had been accused of allegedly assaulting Luzige causing bodily harm.
The court also reduced the charge placed against a third militant to common assault after the complainant was found to have falsely accused the militants and initiated the scuffle.
The trio; LDU Okello Isaac, LDU Odeke Solomon and Lance Corporal Angulia Simon Peter had been arrested and charged for assault causing bodily harm following an incident on 7th July 2020 where they were filmed in a scuffle with the LC V Chairman and allegedly injured his eye as they enforced COVID-19 guidelines.
The two LDUs were acquitted after cross examined four witnesses, including the complainant. There was no proof that the District Chairman’s eye was injured or that he had obtained grievous bodily harm as he alleged. A witness, Dr. Lubogo, denied having treated the District Chairperson after the scuffle as had been recorded in the charge sheet and statements. Dr. Lubogo is a Senior Medical Officer in Mityana.
According to a statement by UPDF, eye witnesses proved to the army court that it was the District Chairman, Joseph Luzige, who sparked off the scuffle by violently grabbing Lance Corporal Angulia Simon Peter by the collar of his military attire while on duty.
Nevertheless, considering the subsequent actions of Lance Corporal Angulia against the district leader, having failed to observe restraint as required by the Standing Operating Procedures, court did not set him free but reduced his charge from assault causing bodily harm to common assault. He was convicted of common assault and sentenced to four months detention in a government prison.
This case has been concluded after three court sittings;
at Kakiri for mention and twice at Mityana for hearing. This followed a visit of Mityana by a team comprising of the Deputy Commander Land Forces Maj Gen Sam Kavuma, 1st Division Commander Maj Gen Samuel Kawagga, and the Chief Political Commissar Maj Gen Henry Matsiko, to make inquiries on the alleged assault of the District Chairperson. The UPDF has a zero tolerance policy on indiscipline and remains respectful to the civilian authority.