Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Patrick Oboi Amuriat was yesterday arraigned in Tororo Chief Magistrate’s Court where he was charged with two counts of disobedience of statutory duty and disobedience of lawful orders.
He was later released on cash bail of sh2m while his sureties were granted non-cash bail of sh5m. The case was adjourned until May 13 when he is expected to return to court. Appearing before Chief Magistrate Masuluta Mulondo, Amuriat who was dressed in a longsleeved blue shirt and a black pair of trousers pleaded not guilty to the two offences.
According to the charge sheet, Amuriat is accused of holding a meeting at Tororo Youth Centre in Tororo town on Wednesday without required notice from the Police authority contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Management Act and section 11 of the Penal Code Act.
He was also accused of disobedience of lawful orders by holding a public rally in the middle of Tororo town despite a directive from the Police authority for them to vacate the place. Through his lawyers Xavier Francis Ochieng and Anthony Obel, Amuriat applied for bail on the grounds that he was a busy person who expected to chair the FDC party national executive committee meeting in Kampala on Friday (today) besides having another activity in Jinja district on Saturday where his personal presence is not only necessary, but mandatory.
Godfrey Owori Oloo, the Tororo district FDC chairperson and Mulanda sub-county district councillor Stephen Othieno Opongi were presented as sureties. The state prosecutor objected to the bail application on grounds that one of the sureties Owori was actually a suspect in the same matter who should be arrested.
He added that releasing the accused was likely to interfere with the investigations since he had the capacity to influence all the witnesses. In her ruling, Mulondo said the objections of the State were just speculations since there was no evidence supporting the allegations presented in court.
However, Amuriat while addressing the media soon after his release said the continuous harassment of the opposition party’s officials was not going to dampen his spirit of causing regime change in Uganda. He castigated at what he called trumped-up charges, saying those perpetrating them will at one time pay for their sins.
Amuriat was arrested on Mbale Road in Tororo town on Wednesday afternoon in the company of the former FDC presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye and other party leaders. The Police blocked them from accessing Tororo Youth Centre where they were scheduled to meet party delegates from Bukedi sub-region. The Police also fired tear gas canisters dispersing supporters who had jammed the town to welcome the FDC leaders.