By Spy Uganda
During its weekly presser at the party’s headquarter Najjanankumbi, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) opposition political party has condemned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa’s move to abolish bail applications on capital offences such as murder.
Via its Deputy Spokesperson, Kikonyogo John, FDC says the right to apply for Bail is inherent to all Ugandans, and therefore Museveni has no absolute powers to abolish it as it’s only granted on the desecration of the Court.
“Bail may be denied or restricted, the duty to deny bail lies on the state/ prosecution which may present compelling reasons to move Court to deny bail. In other words, every bail application is considered on its own peculiar merit and circumstances,” noted Kikonyogo.
The party further lectured Museveni that Uganda being a commonwealth country falls under the Common Law system which is based on the presumption of innocence thus no reason one should be held in jail before proven guilty.
In Uganda, the presumption of innocence is created under Article 28 (3)a of the 1995 constitution and it is entrenched under Article 44(c) of the same Constitution which makes the whole Article 28 non-derogable.
Under Article 260 of the Constitution, the presumption of innocence as created by Article 28 (3)a of the 1995Constitution entrenched by article 44c can only be repealed or amended by a decision of the people of Uganda through a referendum. Therefore the presumption of innocence is a back born of Uganda’scriminal justice system.
The law requires that whoever grants bail it must be through discretional power, such a discretion must be exercised, judiciously (meaning balanced mind with a high degree of ethics and professional competence.
FDC says this isn’t the first time Museveni has tried to abolish bail citing that on May 15th 2011, Museveni set up a 5 member team to examine his idea of amending the Constitution to deny bail to suspects of economic sabotage, murder, rioters, and hostile media among others.
“We have Ugandans who were imprisoned, granted bail and were rearrested but Court found them innocent 10years later. Joseph Musasizi Kifefe (Kizza Besigye’s brother) Rebert Tweyambe and Frank Atukunda were accused of killing a none existent John Byarugaba in Bushenyi in July 2002,” reveals the party.
Kikonyogo adds that in 2007 the above were granted bail and re-arrested, however the then DPP Richard Buteeradropped charges on 18th Aug 2009 in a letter he wrote to Charles Kisakye, the Chief Magistrate of BushenyiDistrict by that time.
During that period Joseph Musasizi was allegedly denied treatment and later died in incarceration, later after 3years, he was declared Innocent after his death.
“As FDC, we want to tell Ugandans that this Bail discussion is not new. Mr Museveni has tried it many times before, the latest being in 2011. We call upon Ugandans not to take this discussion literally, his intention is to engage Ugandans into a constant discussion on merits and demerits of bail,” noted the party.