President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to fight against court bail and police bond being given to murder suspects, describing it as “nonsense.”
Museveni who on Friday evening was addressing the nation on the state of security in the country, said suspected murderers cannot be granted bail when victims are dead.
“For the Police, I will not accept the issue of bond. I am going to discuss with the Attorney General to see how to stop this nonsense,” said Museveni.
“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,” he said.
Museveni 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, Mohammed Ssegirinya who were later granted bail by the Court, but got rearrested by the heavily armed security operatives.
Basing on the bail granted by the two accused MPs, 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.
However, the President noted that although the current law says that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty, no much time should be spent on the suspect to be freed when the victim is dead.
“This is not correct. We will not accept it,” he said.
This week, Members of the opposition in Parliament walked out of the House in protest over the rearrest of their colleagues, Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya.
Museveni described them as “false prophets.”
“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, he added, the politicians will be known by their fruits.
He said 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,” he said.
The President said 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.