The Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, has asked Ugandans and religious leaders to support President Museveni’s proposal to deny bail for people accused of capital offences.
President Museveni has since renewed his unpopular debate on scrapping of bail in which he seeks to make it hard for judges to release suspects of capital offences on bail before at least serving 180 days on remand.
Speaking during the Kampala Archdiocese Day celebrations at Rubaga Cathedral yesterday, Ms Nabbanja said the issue of bail is of great concern and should be appreciated by everyone and not only the government.
Ms Nabbanja said the bail reform is aimed at reducing the power of the judges, murder cases and mob action.
“People are angry, just imagine, someone kills the other and everyone gets to know, but because they have money, they look for ways of getting bail and return to the same village where they killed someone,” said Ms Nabbanja.
She added that the proposal would also help reduce recidivism.
“People should understand that every time criminals are arrested and taken to police or court and they are given bail, they go back to the villages and repeat the same offence. Some people defile young girls and they are given bail, they defile more girls,” Ms Nabbanja said.
Meanwhile, Bishop Joseph Kizito, a Uganda priest at Aliwal Catholic Diocese in South Africa, used the church celebrations to task the government of Uganda to benchmark the democracy of South Africa.
“We have to take this great nation to heights, let us borrow a leaf of democracy that we cherish from the Republic of South Africa. We cannot work from a democratic country like South Africa and yet back home we are undemocratic,” Bishop Kizito said.
In response, Ms Nabbanja, said Uganda is a democratic country that holds elections after every five years. She assured the Kampala Archdiocese apostolic Bishop, Paul Ssemogerere, who in his sermon had expressed fear over the state of insecurity following the terror attacks that the situation is under control.
“I want to inform Ugandans that the bomb blasts are isolated cases and as the government, we shall defeat anyone trying to jeopardise the peace of Ugandans. It is not scary at all, we are almost on top of the game,” she said.
The Attorney General, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, last month said the government is yet to decide on the final court bail amendment proposals that would be tabled before Parliament soon. He said the discussions are still ongoing before Cabinet and was not committal about the specifics.
However, a Cabinet memo leaked and among the reforms for consideration was amendments to the Constitution to limit the discretion powers of judicial officers to grant or deny bail.
The Executive also seeks changes in the Police Act to change the period of suspects to only be released after 48 business hours and not within 48 hours.
Former Supreme Court judge George Kanyeihamba has since sued the President, the ruling NRM party and the Attorney General over the matter.
Recently, the State House issued a statement scoffing at the petition which Mr Faruk Kirunda, the deputy presidential press secretary, described as “speculative, premature and misleading.”