Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Masaka has granted bail to Members of Parliament Allan Ssewanyana for Makindye West and Muhammad Ssegirinya for Kawempe North.
The two MPs were arrested on September 7 after they were summoned to Masaka Central Police station over the killings in the greater Masaka area. These have since been on remand at Kigo prisons facilities in Wakiso district.
However, before they could take a plea in any of the offences, the suspects secured bail before Masaka High Court Judge Victoria Nakintu Katamba.
The suspects who attended court via video link from Kigo, through their lawyers Erias Lukwago and Shamim Malende, told the court that they are suffering grave illnesses which include hypertension and complications of the kidney and liver, which cannot effectively be managed inside prisons.
The lawyers indicated that the two MPs are law-abiding citizens who have no criminal record, are distinguished leaders with fixed places of abode. They also presented substantial sureties who included Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemuju, Francis Zaake – Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Katabaazi – Kalungu East MP, Christine Nandagire for Bukomansimbi North and Bukomansimbi Woman MP Veronica Nanyondo among others.
But Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief Attorney told the court that suspects failed to present substantial evidence to support their claims of suffering grave illnesses and that the sureties were also not properly introduced to the court by their respective village councils.
He also added that granting bail to the two MPs was likely to compromise the ongoing investigations because some of their alleged accomplices are still at large.
However, Justice Katamba downplayed the objections by the state and granted a cash bail of 20 million shillings for each of the two MPs and each of their sureties also bonded on 100 million shillings non-cash.
The court ruled that based on the evidence that the two MPs were earlier released on police bond and reported back when required, they demonstrated their respect for the legal processes, an indication that they can still comply with the conditions of their bail.
However, they were instructed to surrender their passports to the International Crimes Division of the High Court, where they will also be reporting twice every month.
They have also been ordered to exercise a high level of discipline at all times, as well as being barred from participating in any rhetoric that many cause public excitement.
The prosecution alleges that the two MPs physically participated and connived with other people to execute the murders with intents to intimidate the public for political, religious, social, or economic gains.
The state also preferred charges of terrorism against the two MPs, offences they allegedly coordinated between January and August this year at different places of the country.