Magistrate to rule whether constitutional court to hear Bobi Wine case

Grade one Magistrate Olga Karungi will rule on March 24, whether a case against politician Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine will be referred to the Constitutional Court or not.

Lawyers representing Bobi Wine on Monday requested the court in Kampala to refer their client’s case to the constitutional court for interpretation, when the case came up for hearing, with the state providing just one witness.

The musician-turned-politician, who is a member of Parliament for Kyadondo East is charged alongside four others with disobedience of statutory duty.

Prosecution alleges that Bobi Wine and four others on July 11, 2018, at City Square in Kampala District, disobeyed Sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) 2013 by holding a public meeting without giving notice to any authorised officer, and without adhering to the required criteria as well as refusing to cooperate with the police.

The said public meeting, court documents show, was a protest in Kampala that Mr Wine led, against a new tax that required citizens to pay Ush200 ($0.05) a day or Ush6,000 ($1.7) a month to access Over The Top (OTT) services and social media.

The Section 5 and 10 of the POMA requires a person organising a public function to notify the police prior in writing and Mr Wine’s lawyers say this is inconsistent with Article 29 of the Constitution which guarantees freedoms of assembly and association.

“Police has overtime misinterpreted this and they say they want you to request for permission to hold a gathering and we think this is against the rights of assembly that the Constitution gives us as Ugandans,” Shamim Malende, one of the lawyers for Mr Wine told The EastAfrican.

According to Ms Malende, they want the Constitutional Court to determine the constitutionality of the two sections under which their client is been charged.

Bobi Wine has for nearly two years now been barred from staging concerts.