Court dismisses sedition case against talk show host

Court has dismissed a case against former talk show host and journalist Robert Kalundi Serumaga who was charged with six counts of sedition in 2009.

The October 5 ruling comes a month after the Constitutional Court quashed the law on sedition. Five Justices of the Constitutional Court unanimously declared the law unconstitutional saying the sections on sedition are inconsistent with the Constitution.

Mr Serumaga, a Radio One talk show host was charged with sedition at the height of the 2009 September riots in Kampala after he allegedly made statements disaffecting the person of the president while appearing on a talk show on WBS TV.

The host of the popular Spectrum programme on Radio one was later suspended by the Broadcasting Council from hosting or moderating talk shows on air.

Sedition is where a person utters or publishes statements “aimed at bringing hatred, contempt or disaffection” against the President, the Government or the Judiciary. The punishment was imprisonment for up to seven years.

While appearing before Mathias Tumwijukye, Grade One magistrate at Buganda Road Court on October 05, the defense lawyer David Mpanga said it was unlawful for court to continue trying the journalist under the law which was scrapped from Ugandan law books.

Although the Attorney General objected to the dismissal, the magistrate went ahead to dismiss the case.

However, there are still journalists facing sedition charges but their cases are still pending. The journalists include Timothy Kalyegira- editor of the The Uganda Record, Charles Bichachi and John Njoroge formerly with the Independent Magazine, Siraje Lubwama formerly with the Daily Monitor, Musa Kigongo, presenter with the now closed CBS FM.

Democratic Party Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze was also facing sedition charges. Siraje Lubwama formerly with the Daily Monitor, Musa Kigongo, presenter with the now closed CBS FM. Democratic Party Member of Parliament Betty Nambooze was also facing sedition charges.

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