Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court has referred to the Constitutional Court, the case in which Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and accomplices are accused of holding a protest against the social media tax in 2018.
“You will all recall that in 2018, General Museveni introduced OTT, claiming that social media users in Uganda are rumour mongers,” Bobi Wine said.
The intention was in fact to block many Ugandans from accessing social media which was the only avenue available for them to speak out, he noted.
“We want the Constitutional Court to make a pronouncement on certain matters, including the constitutionality of the charges placed on us.”
Bobi Wine thanked his legal team, including comrades Katana Benjamin, Shamim Malende, George Musisi, Wameli Anthony and others who have for the past two years been actively pursuing this matter.
In a Thursday session presided over by Buganda Road Court magistrate, Doreen Kalungi, the lawmaker did not show up for mention of the charges.
Kalungi referred the case to the Constitutional Court to determine whether sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act (POMA) under which the presidential aspirant is charged, do not infringe on freedoms of speech and association that are guaranteed in the Constitution.
After reading the ruling, the magistrate said the criminal trial will be temporarily put on hold until the Constitutional Court pronounces itself on the challenged sections.
Bobi Wine is facing the charges alongside David Lule (disc jockey), Julius Katongole (student), Fred Ssentamu Nyanzi (businessman and a brother to Bobi) and Edward Sebuufu (barber).
Court issued criminal summons against him for failing to appear despite his lawyer, George Musisi, informing court that his client had been caught up in official duties in his constituency.
Prosecution contends that Kyagulanyi and his co-accused on July 11, 2018, at City Square in Kampala District, disobeyed Sections 5 and 10 of the Public Order Management Act 2013 by holding a public meeting without giving notice to any authorized officer, holding a public meeting without adhering to the required criteria and refusing to cooperate with the police.
It’s alleged that the Kyadondo East MP held a meeting with his supporters to protest against the introduction of new social media tax (OTT) of Shs200 daily and mobile money tax by government mid 2018.