The five directors and three editors who have been incarcerated for almost a month have arrived in court today (December 19), to have their bail application reconsidered by Buganda Road chief magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda.
The Red Pepper editors and directors were at the notorious Nalufenya detention for more than a week before being remanded in Luzira by Mawanda in Novembere were arrested over a story their newspaper published implicating President Yoweri Museveni and General Salim Saleh in a plot to overthrow Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
The group which includes the tabloids 5 founder’s Richard Tusiime (CEO), Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni, Patrick Mugumya and Johnson Byarabaha plus the RedPepper’s Managing Editor Editors Ben Byarabaha, his deputy Richard Kintu and Francis Tumusiime had been initially charged with treason, but the charge has been dropped by the prosecution and the Red Pepper managers have instead been accused of disturbing Museveni’s peace, among other charges.
They were charged with seven counts including publication of information prejudicial to security, libel and offensive communication.
Prosecution alleges that on the 20th November 2017 at the Red pepper offices in Namanve Mukono district, the accused unlawfully caused publication and distribution of a newspaper headline regarding military operations, strategies, and troop location well knowing that such publication can disrupt public Order and security.
The accused are further said to have willifully and repeatedly used their computers to disturb the peace and privacy of his execellecy Museveni, Gen Saleh and Lt Gen Tumukunde by portraying them as people who contrived to overthrow the president of the Republic of Rwanda.
The magistrate twice declined to grant the accused’s bail application presented through their lawyers Max Mutabingwa and Kandeebe Ntambirweki on grounds that Abdul Salam Waiswa who was borrowed from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to handle the case on behalf of the striking state prosecutors needs adequate time within which to scrutinise the documents presented by the sureties.