Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Upon assuming office as the new Chairman  of the General Court Martial, Gen. Guti warned members of the court against corruption and leaking court secrets.  The General Court Martial is a Museveni tool to suppress political dissent.  The Constitutional Court has made several pronouncements over the General Court Martial's illegality in trying civilians but Museveni has continued to indict his political opponents before the same court as a way of denying them justice though detention without trial.

In our previous articles we have extensively highlighted the internal operations of the General Court Martial, the incompetence and the corruption of its members - a factor that has fueled swindling public resources in the army with impunity. Any army officer who swindles huge sums of money and is able to bribe his way out gets off the hook thus the warning against corruption.  No army officer has ever been convicted for swindling of money thus some of the richest Ugandans are army officers.

The nature of secrets in the General Court Martial take the form of directives from 'above' (Museveni, Some top army Generals, and the intelligence services) as to how it should execute its functions thus total lack of independence.  The GCM entertains capital offenses which under normal courts would only be tried by the Judges of the High Court because of the gravity of the offence and the corresponding punishment, and the tested experience of a Judge of the High Court in dispensing justice. Such charges are also only sanctioned by the DPP him/herself.  On the contrary, the General Court Martial is chaired by a lay person may of whom are mere secondary school dropouts save for Gen. Elly Tumwine and Brig.

Dibba Sentongo who are university graduates in other fields other than law.  This is regardless of the fact that since the Bush War, the NRA has and continues to have hundreds of professional Lawyers in its ranks some of whom are even Generals.  The constitutions vests all of overseeing all criminal investigations and prosecutions in the DPP who is supposed to be independent but the army has of recent its own DPP under CMI.  The army DPP is used by the regime to selectively  prefer preferential criminal charges to victims and even to withdraw them like was the recent case of a former Mbabazi aide,Pte Katabazi.  Behind the scenes, it is the family, friends, or even Katabazi himself who lobbied Museveni to release their son and in turn he directed the Army Chief to set Katabazi free.  In such a scenario, the GCM and the army DPP only prepare the paper work for formality.

In most cases  the GCM carries out its hearings in camera (closed to the public) under the guise of protecting security secrets. In actual sense, the so called security secrets are nothing but traces of influence peddling, interference, human rights violations, evidence of torture, financial scandals, nepotism, etc that they dont want the public to get to know about. Those are the so called secrets that members of the courts martial are not supposed to leak. The constitution provides for a public court hearing except in very rare cases involving minors (children) that are held in chambers (trial Judge's office) as opposed to open court trial.  The GCM has a huge budget has has on several occasions been swindled and a cause of internal bickering and intrigue among members.

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