Five redpepper directors and three editors accused of disturbing the peace of President Museveni, Gen. Salim Saleh and Lt.Gen. Henry Tumukunde among other charges could walk free soon after Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda asked government and defence to speed up the reconciliation process so that their case can be disposed of.
During their appearance before Eremye today, the two sides were told that reconciliation is the most important direction to take, and if it has been initiated, he says it should be concluded.
Chief Magistrate further tasked the two sides to put in place an enabling environment such as allowing the proprietors to access their head offices in Namanve which are still cordoned off by police.
The development followed state prosecutor, Abdul Salaam Waiswa’s prayer for an extension of the case for police to conclude investigations. This was protested by Nyombi Denis the Red Pepper lawyer who had earlier asked the magistrate to order police to vacate the Red Pepper offices.
Last month, Red Pepper bosses met president Yoweri Museveni at State house Entebbe, and the head of state pardoned them, leading to re-opening of their offices. But, the prosecutor insisted his office had not received any communication from the president or Director of Public Prosecution guiding on the direction of the case.
"I pray that I am given time to seek guidance from the Director of Public Prosecution and engage the accused to see how we can yield tangible results," He said.
The Red Pepper directors; Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime and James Mujuni, and editors; Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Tumusiime Francis were arrested after closure of their head offices in Namanve in November last year.
Their arrests came after publishing a story titled "M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame - Rwanda."
Consequently, the 8 men were charged with three counts of libel, three counts of computer misuse and one count of publication of a story prejudicial to national security.
Court will sit again on February 28.