Court issues criminal summons against Dodoviko, FFU commander

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Ndeeba Demolished Church

Kampala, Uganda |  The Grade One Magistrate Court in Makindye has issued criminal summons against city businessman Dodoviko Mwanje and the Field Force Unit-FFU Commander for the Kampala Metropolitan Police South Region Martin Adero, over the demolition of St Peter’s Church in Ndeeba.

The duo will be jointly charged with 17 others who appeared before Grade One Magistrate Jude Okumu, on Thursday, in a session held between 6:30 p.m. and 7: 20 p.m. However, during the session, the State Attorney Jacqueline Akao noted that Dodoviko and the commander had evaded arrest, yet they are key, to the case.

The Court heard that Mwanje, Adero and four senior police officers, between March 20 and August 10, 2020, conspired to illegally demolish St Peter’s Church, Ndeeba,  a property of the Church of Uganda. The senior officers include the Kampala Metropolitan Police FFU commander Rashid Agero, Katwe District Police Commander David Epedu,  The Officer in Charge of Ndeeba Police Station Mugira Yeko Kato, and Isabirye Kaloli, an officer attached to FFU-Katwe.

The police officers were also charged with disobeying lawful orders when they disregarded orders issued by the Commissioner of Police Moses Kafeero to deploy guards at St Peter’s Church Ndeeba and avert any possible demolition or destruction of the said Church.

Two other police officers; Assistant inspector of Police Anthony Kiro and Corporal Richard Kasule together with 11 civilians were also charged with malicious damage and theft of church property. The civilians, mostly casual labourers, who were found at the scene include Kawooya Mohammad, Bbosa Muniru, Kiberu Amza, Mutebi Abbasi, Bulega Ali, Matovu Simon, Kalika Ali, Mujuzi Andrew, Ssekito Badru, Isirinya John and Maruti Bashir. They all denied the charges. 

Their attempts to secure bail through their lawyer Joel Allan Kabona were also rejected because of the time at which the session was held. They return to the Court on August 24.

Meanwhile, prosecution notes that they are still investigating circumstances under which St. Peter’s Church was brought down in the middle of the night. Available documentation indicates that the Church demolition was as a result of a court decision in a four-decade property wrangle between the Church of Uganda and the joint administrators of the estate of the late Evelyn Nachwa, a Buganda Kingdom Princess.

The paper trail indicates that the court ruled on the matter of the ownership of the land in question noting that it had been fraudulently registered in the names of Bishop Danistan Nsubuga, Rev. Yuda Kitaka, and Esau Kizito, thus ordering the church to vacate.

Basing on the court ruling, the victors acquired an order to demolish the Church structure. However, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango recently noted that Police had not been informed about the eviction and demolition as the practice is.

Original Post: The Independent