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Judges shying away from hearing MPs bail application – Lukwago

Erias Lukwago

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Erias Lukwago, the lawyer of MPs Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye West and his Kawempe North counterpart Muhammad Ssegirinya, has said they are finding roadblocks in having a judge to hear the duo’s bail application.

Speaking to the media today, Lukwago said that all the judges of the High court are shying away from hearing the application following comments by President Museveni castigating the judiciary for granting bail to people suspected of committing capital offences like murder.

Last month, the two MPs were granted bail by the Masaka High Court judge Victoria Nakintu, but were rearrested shortly after they were released from Kigo prison.

Before getting bail, the two MPs had been arrested and charged with terrorism, treason, and murder associated with the bijambiya killings in the Masaka sub region that left 26 people mostly elderly dead. Fresh charges of murder were read to the two MPs following which they reapplied for bail. Now Lukwago says they are failing to make headways with the application.

However, speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Jameson Karemani, the spokesperson of the judiciary challenged Lukwago to name the judges who have declined to hear the MPs application.

Karemani said there are shortages of judges now, as many are currently hearing election petitions.

“There are currently no judges to hear the application because they are currently hearing election petitions across the country,” he said. “The principle judge definitely will allocate the file to someone to hear that application. So it is wrong to say that judges are shying away from the case.”

Meanwhile, Dr Kizza Besigye has expressed shock to learn from the media today that the government lost interest in the case in which he was charged with treason following his arrest in 2016.

Besigye was in May 2016 arrested and charged with treason after he announced and swore in himself as the duly elected President of Uganda. However, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported today that the Director of Public Prosecution then, Mike Chibita, in December 2019 wrote to the Nakawa court discontinuing the case without stating any reason. Dr Besigye today told the media that neither him nor his lawyers were ever told about the withdrawal.

Responding to this, Karemani said there was no way how they could reach Besigye who had vowed never to return to court.

“You remember that Dr Besigye said he was never going to go back to court on that particular issue,” Karemani said.  “How would we reach him to tell him about the withdrawal? But under normal circumstances, the accused person is normally told about the withdrawal of a case against him, but it can’t be court to begin looking for you when you are no longer interested in the matter.”



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