Kampala - A Ugandan police boss is determined to block opposition party presidential candidate Kizza Besigye's bid to become the east African nation's president.
Lieutenant Colonel Ndahura Atwooki Birakurataki had written to the High Court civil division head, Justice Steven Musota, asking him to fast-track the defamation case against Besigye.
The Observer reported that in a letter dated January 7, Birakurataki asked that the case be heard before the presidential elections scheduled for February 18. Birakurataki said if his bid succeeded, Besigye would be prevented from running in the presidential race.
Uganda's constitution forbids any person convicted of dishonesty and immorality by a competent court from taking part in the country's presidential election.
"I therefore pray that the defendant is stopped from running for office which gives him immunity as well as power until the matter is resolved," Birakurataki was quoted as saying.
The Daily Monitor reported that Birakurataki sued Besigye in October 2012 for allegedly defaming him in an interview with the then Weekly Observer, now The Observer newspaper. He accused Birakurataki of having a hand in the murder of one John Baronda in Rukungiri District, while he was commander of the Presidential Protection Unit.
According to the report, Besigye alleged that afterwards the army promoted Birakurataki to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
The Kampala High Court dismissed Birakurataki's case with costs in December 2013. Birakurataki appealed the ruling in March 2014. Since then the case had not been in court.
The Daily Monitor reported that Birakurataki urged the court to expedite the case, to stop Besigye's "aims at defeating justice by running for immunity against any court proceedings".
Besigye said the interview with The Observer was in the public interest, and not intended to ridicule or defame Birakurataki.