A Ugandan film maker who went missing on April 24, has been charged with among others kidnap, abduction, slavery and possession of firearms.
Joseph Mabirizi Busuulwa, a film maker with a Makindye-based film studio, Group 7 Works, emerged at Buganda Road court on Monday morning and broke down in tears as he listened to charges preferred against him.
Grade One magistrate however, released Mabirizi on bail pending further investigations.
Mabirizi’s lawyer, Farouk Kiggwawo Kitaka of Nsereko Mukalazi & Co. Advocates told the media that charges brought against his client were laughable and that Claire Nabagesera, the person he is accused of kidnapping has since left the country.
Kitaka says Nabagesera’s fiancé, a high ranking security official, was arm twisting the law to bring down his client by claiming Mabirizi aided her escape to Europe.
He added that his client was arrested upon returning from a trip to Europe on April 23 where he had travelled with Nabagesera.
The arrest was condemned by Ugandan film makers who asked court and the police to get to the bottom of the matter.
“We condemn the arrest and charging of our brother Busuulwa. We don’t know him as a criminal and he is surely not capable of kidnapping anyone or do any of the things they are talking about. We appeal to the magistrate to dig deeper than the charge sheet,” said Mr Hussein Kagolo, the producers’ guild president.
Mabairizi has starred in several Ugandan films including ‘Standing Alone’, ‘Mukyala Mugerwa’, ‘Blood on Me’, ‘Akadingano the Reunion’ among others, which have run on Africa Magic a continental film channel.
His contemporaries believe his arrest could be connected to the feature film he has been shooting titled “Raid on a Kingdom” about the government attack on the Rwenzururu kingdom in Kasese, south west of Uganda.