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Besigye to sue govt over ‘malicious prosecution’ in Kyakuwa rape case

The state lost interest in pursuing an appeal against acquittal of Besigye last week, ending 12 years of the sensational charges

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KAMPALA–Four time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has moved to sue government for what he calls “malicious prosecution” in the 2005 rape charges levelled against him.

The former Forum for Democratic Change president and President Museveni’s strongest ever political challenger over the last 32 years told Crime24 at the High Court Friday that he has already instructed his lawyers to file a case seeking general damages, special damages, exemplary damages and costs of the suit.

“I have already asked my lawyers to start a process of filing a case of malicious prosecution and seeking the attendant damages that have been occasioned to me,” Besigye said.

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) earlier this week ended the state’s interest in pursuing a 12 year-standing rape case appeal. Besigye was acquitted by the High Court in 2006 but the state appealed.

In 2005, Dr Besigye was charged with the rape of his former maid, Joanita Kyakuwa, who testified that Besigye had forced himself on her from his home in Luzira in 1997 and 1998.

The sensational charges were brought up against Besigye soon after he had shocked the government and sneaked back into the country from exile in South Africa to challenge Museveni in the 2006 presidential election.

However, High Court judge John Bosco Katutsi found no merit in the ‘flimsy’ charges and acquitted Besigye of all counts, saying the main witness, Kyakuwa, had failed to substantiate any of her accounts and that Police CID director Elizabeth Kuteesa had fabricated the case.

“In the trial in the High Court, the Police chief witness Commissioner Elizabeth Kuteesa, who was then Director of Criminal Intelligence Department, admitted on oath that she deliberately and knowingly falsified evidence in order to incriminate me,” Besigye said in a statement on Saturday.

He said Kuteesa had falsified evidence knowing she was committing a crime to incriminate an innocent citizen.

“This is a clear case of extreme abuse of power,” Besigye, a former personal doctor to President Museveni during the bush war that brought the NRM government to power in 1986, said.

Besigye believes from the start, the case was a concoction manufactured in State House and that “all the evidence that was presented in court was collected from State House.

“So it was the most clear case of political persecution orchestrated using state institutions,” he said.

‘Ridiculous evidence’

Besigye’s assertions are in a way vindicated by the judgement acquitting him of the rape charges. Justice Katutsi had ruled that Kyakuwa’s evidence lacked credibility, noting a number of inconsistencies in her testimony.

Quoting Lord Brougham, Katutsi said: “The evidence before this court is inadequate even to prove a debt; impotent to deprive of a civil right; ridiculous for convicting of the pettiest offence; scandalous if brought forward to support a charge of any grave character; monstrous if to ruin the honour of a man who offered himself as a candidate for the highest office of this country.”

In a malicious prosecution case, the court has the total discretion to determine the damages as they are categorised, says Crime24‘s Jens Mukiibi at the High Court.

Besigye said the political persecution against him is not about to end, and that he must wake up everyday to work hard to end the abuse of power by the rogue regime that he helped bring to power, served until 1999 when he fell out with Museveni.

Besigye has since lost four presidential elections to Museveni but maintains that the elections have always been rigged.

Since his arrival on the opposition scene, Besigye has spent more time shuffling between his home under house arrest, police cells, courts and prison. He has faced a plethora of charges, including rape, treason and assault.

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