Quorum problem and challenges for cause in Ugandan brigadier's court-martial
Brig. Michael Ondoga, UPDF (right)
The difficulties of seating the panel in high-profile cases are apparent in this account of the trial of Brigadier Michael Ondoga, former commander of Uganda's troop contingent in the African Union Mission in Somalia. "Ondoga faces service offences that reportedly resulted into loss of lives and army equipment, diversion of fuel, loss of troop morale and feeding soldiers on food rations and consumption of dirty water . . . ." One member was disqualified because she had celebrated when Brig. Ondoga and a co-accused were arrested, but the defense later offered to allow her to serve because their concerns had been allayed. The prosecutor has objected on the ground that a member who has been removed cannot be restored to the panel. Despite the apparent loss of a quorum, the court-martial seems to have taken evidence. According to New Vision, "Lt. Col. Edson Muhanguzi, a key prosecution witness, told court recently that Ondoga penned a confidential letter to the army chief of defense forces (CDF), Gen. Katumba Wamala[,] in which he highlighted the anomalies in their operation in Somalia." If any readers can clarify the process, please do so in a comment.