Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The International Crimes Division of the High court has allowed an application seeking to replace Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake Butebi with his Ntenjeru South counterpart, Patrick Nsanja Kayongo as Muhammad Ssegirinya’s surety. Masaka High Court Judge Victoria Nakintu Nkwanga Katamba released the Kawempe North MP, Ssegirinya and his Makindye West counterpart Allan Ssewanyana on September 20th on bail after spending two weeks in prison.
The two legislators together with others are accused of masterminding machete killings in the greater Masaka sub-region. The Masaka high court released them on cash bail of Shillings 20 million each while their sureties executed a non-cash bond of Shillings 100million.
MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda stood surety for Ssewanyana while Francis Zaake stood surety for Ssegirinya. However last week when all the details of the release had been finalized, Zaake wasn’t around to sign the bail papers. He’s currently in the United States of America attending the National Unity Platform diaspora convention.
On Monday morning, Ssegirinya’s lawyers Erias Lukwago and Shamim Malende were at the high court seeking an order to substitute Zaake with Nsanja.
“The applicant is still on remand because one of the sureties Zaake Francis Butebi who was at that time in the country and indeed appeared before the court and stood surety is currently out of the country. The applicant has already deposited Shillings 20million as directed by the court and we are seeking the indulgence of the court to allow us to substitute Zaake with another substantive surety Nsanja Patrick Kayongo. We pray that you find him substantial and adopt him as a substitute for Zaake. We pray that this court issues a release order since the applicant has already signed the bail forms and it’s only the surety who has not signed,” Lukwago told the court.
The Chief State attorney Lilian Alum Omara didn’t object to the application to replace Zaake with Nsanja. “We were served with the particulars of Hon Nsanja Kayongo and we have no objection. We only pray that the bail terms should be the same terms like in the previous order,” Alum said. In her ruling, Okalany allowed the application and said Ssegirinya should be released as earlier ordered by the Masaka High Court.
“I have considered the application…and the state has no objection other than saying that the terms imposed on the previous surety be maintained. I have looked at the supporting documents and I find the documents to be authentic…I accordingly find him a substantive surety who will guarantee that the applicant…will attend court to answer the indictment against him.
The applicant will be set free from prison,” Okalany ruled. Earlier, Lukwago had also asked court to issue a restraining order against security forces not to re-arrest his clients after their release. Last week, armed security forces immediately re-arrested and whisked away MP Ssewanyana as soon as he stepped out of the gate of Kigo prisons.
But the presiding Judge Suzan Okalany said such an order would be an effort in futility. “Do you think if I give another order it will be respected, the first one was also an order of the court, it must be respected,” Okalany said. Speaking after the ruling, Lukwago said they were thankful that the court accorded them an expeditious hearing. He called upon the government to respect the court order by releasing Ssegirinya.
After the ruling, Lukwago rushed to Kireka Special Investigations Unit of the Police where Ssewanyana is apparently appearing for interrogations.