Presidential hopeful jailed 3 years for abusing judges

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By New Vision

Presidential hopeful has been sentenced to three years in jail for using abusive language in court.

Ivan Ssebadduka was on Wednesday (November 25, 2020) sentenced to three years in jail by a panel of seven justices of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo after finding him guilty of uttering statements that tantamount to contempt of court.

Other justices are Stella Arach Amoko, Faith Mwondha, Paul Mugamba, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Mike Chibita, and Percy Night Tuhaise.

It all started when Ssebadduka filed a presidential Election petition against President Yoweri Museveni in the Supreme Court on September 4.

The court dismissed the petition on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to handle the case since it was not a petition challenging the election of President Museveni.

The court, however, found Ssebadduka in contempt of court for referring to the judges who presided over the case as ‘incompetent and fools’

Chief Justice said by referring to the judges as incompetent, Ssebadduka was in contempt of Court.

“In the whole length of his petition, the petitioner has done nothing else, but to rain torrents on every party to the suit except on himself.

It is unmistakably evident that the poorly veiled purpose of the petition has been to afford the petitioner use of the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country, to pour scorn, contempt, disdain, and ridicule at the other party to the petition, whom he referred to as foolish, stupid, incompetent and a host of other offensive descriptions or accusation that would not be permissible even in a political rally. He has, most surprisingly, not spared the justices of this court, who he has accused of all sorts of imaginable wrongdoing,” court ruled.

Asked to defend himself, Ssebadduka maintained that the court was ‘incompetent’ because it presided over a case in which it had no jurisdiction.

“Why did you fix the hearing dates if you knew you had no jurisdiction to handle the case? It is as if you have unlearned everything you learnt in law school and needless to say, you are not fit to be judges because how can justices of the Supreme court fail to know that they have no jurisdiction,” Ssebadduka submitted.

Ssebadduka told the court that his case was a trap to expose the ‘ignorance’ of the judges to the whole world.

He also submitted that the court had no powers to charge him with contempt of court since it is not provided for in an Act.

“The contempt of court charges against me have no basis in law because in Uganda there is no such a thing as contempt of court Act. Therefore, what is the basis of your contempt of court? Do you think that you just wake up and enact a law in court?” Ssebadduka said.

Ssebadduka was among the 82 people who expressed interest to run for President in the forthcoming 2021 general elections but never showed up for nomination after failure to collect the required signatures backing him for the office.

Eleven people including incumbent President Yoweri Museveni have since been nominated to contest for the top prestigious office in the country.

Ssebadduka is a resident of Mengo- in Rubaga Division in Kampala district and describes himself as the Editor in Chief of Journal of True Science.

Ssebadduka has been in detention for close to two weeks at Jinja Road Police station.

In his petition, Ssebadduka contended that he is the only presidential candidate qualified to run against president Museveni, whom he says is purportedly a mortal man, and death awaits him anytime.

He wanted a waiver on the collection of required signatures for one to be nominated for presidency due to COVID-19 pandemic which he claims does not exist.

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