Court

Judiciary driver remanded to Luzira over hate speech

Kisambira, however, denied the charges and was subsequently handed a 10-day remand in prison by the presiding Grade One Magistrate, Fidelis Otwao until June 2, 2023, when he’s expected to be returned to court.

Judiciary driver Stanley Kisambira at Buganda Road Court in Kampala where he was charged with promoting hate speech on May 22, 2023 (Photo/Courtesy)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Stanley Kisambira, the judiciary driver who complained about his low pay in a viral audio clip has been charged and remanded to Luzira prison on allegations of promoting hate speech.

Kisambira, 46, on Monday, appeared before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s court in Kampala where he was read the charges of spreading hate speech contrary to section 26A(1)(C) of the computer misuse (Amended) Act, 2022.)

State Prosecution in its charge sheet before court contends that, Kisambira, a resident of Sazzagulu zone in Mukono District, “On May 12 2023, within Uganda, through a computer, shared on Judiciary transport WhatsApp group information to wit a recorded audio which was likely to promote hostility against judges in the Judiciary, in that judges’ salaries are unfairly over and above those of their drivers and that a driver can decided to cause road accidents by ramming into a moving truck thereby, killing the judges and their bodyguards.”

Kisambira, however, denied the charges and was subsequently handed a 10-day remand in prison by the presiding Grade One Magistrate, Fidelis Otwao until June 2, 2023, when he’s expected to be returned to court.

Background

The driver’s woes began last week after he was first arrested and detained at CPS in Kampala following the audio clip in which he threatened to cause harm to the principal judge (later identified as Justice Godfrey Namundi attached to Mbale High Court) and his bodyguard if his Shs235,000 monthly salary is not enhanced.

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“I am a driver. I can ram into a stationery trailer, killing all occupants, including the judge and bodyguard,” Kisambira who has been with a judiciary as a driver since 2008 is heard in the audio recording.

The Judiciary through PS, Pius Bigirimana, would later respond to Kisambira’s audio clip dismissing the claims from the disgruntled driver and said he receives approximately Shs1.3 million per month in addition to the known Shs235, 000 salary.

“This driver lied. He receives Shs200, 000 as operation funds, he gets a salary of Shs237,000 and also receives a consolidated allowance of Shs720,000 every three months. Shs1.125m is given to him every quarter as consolidated welfare money,” said Bigirimana said in a May 19 letter.

“This means that in total, Kisambira gets around Shs1.35 million but then he goes around telling lies. I have written to him to show causes to why disciplinary action must not be taken against him,” he added.

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The issue of salaries and allowances for high-profile government officials has made headlines recently following the incident in which a UPDF officer Pte Wilson Sabiiti shot and killed his principal, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola reportedly over stress accumulated from financial difficulties.

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