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Museveni vows to scrap court bail, bond for capital offenders

President Museveni

STATE HOUSE, NAKASERO: President Yoweri Museveni has further re-echoed his proposal to scrap court bail and police bond for murder suspects and other capital offenders describing it as “nonsense” and an undermining of the fight against such criminal offenses.

While delivering his address to the nation on Friday, October 1st, 2021 at State House in Nakasero, Museveni said suspected murderers cannot be granted bail when victims are dead.

“For the Police, ‘‘I will not accept the issue of bond by police in cases like this. I’m going to discuss with the Attorney General to see how we stop this nonsense,” said Museveni.

The President added; “On side of bail, we are going to discuss with all the stakeholders; the NRM caucus people (NRM MPs), the Wananchi (citizens) in the countryside, and the Judiciary to see how we stop bail being misused to cover criminals.”

Mr. Museveni who has recently been consistent with his quest for the move essentially packaged by him as justice for the victims- said bail is provocative and interferes with security investigations. 

”How can we have a system like this? First of all, it annoys people because for them they may not know the difference between bail and being released. The public gets annoyed,’’ he explained. 

The President was majorly referring to recent Greater Masaka killings that left at least 26 people dead. The killings led to the arrest of Makindye West MP, Allan Ssewanyana, and his Kawempe North counterpart, Muhammad Ssegirinya who were later granted bail by the Court, but got rearrested by the heavily armed security operatives and remanded back to Kigo.

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Referring to the bail granted by the two accused MPs, Mr. Museveni described some Judicial Officers as having “no connection to reality.”

“Some of the Judicial Officers are doing things which have no connection with the reality… Suspects are given bail, and we are told bail is a right. How about the right of the victims. What do you say about the rights of victims? Victims have no rights? People have been killed, instead of defending them, you are defending the criminals,” he wondered.

The right to bail is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 23 (6) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Its basis is found in Article 28 of the same Constitution which states that an accused person is to be presumed innocent until he/she is proved or he/she pleads guilty.

Critics have accused Museveni of trying to amend the law to target political opponents and the motive has already been blocked by some parliamentarians with members of the opposition storming out of the House in protest over the rearrest of their colleagues, Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya. Mr. Museveni labeled these MPs as false prophets.

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“I saw the other day, some politicians walked out of Parliament. They walked out because some politicians (Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya) were not given bail. Be aware of the false prophets. They are in sheep’s clothing, but inside of them are wolves.”

Quoting Jesus’ words in the Bible, Mr. Museveni added that politicians will be known by their fruits saying a good tree bears good fruits, but a bad tree bears bad fruits and is cut and thrown into fire.

“We shall know them by their fruits. By what they do. By their actions,” the President said quoting the bible.

He added that instead of the opposition MPs walking out of Parliament in protest, they should have advocated for a quick trial of the suspects.

“Even if suspects were members of my political party. That is a very serious crime (murder). I would not say, don’t touch him or her. Have a quick trial so that innocence comes out, instead of cover-up.”

“If suspects are innocent, their supporters should be saying, quick trial. But people don’t want investigation to be concluded. So, if you are innocent, demand a quick trial,” he added.

A few days ago, Museveni held a meeting with NRM MPs at Kololo Independence Grounds to convince them amend the law to deny bail to capital offenders.

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