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MPs Ssewanyana, Ssegirinya denied bail

The accused MPs appear in court via zoom.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court in Masaka has rejected a bail application filed by Members of Parliament Muhammad Ssegirinya of Kawempe North and Allan Ssewanyana of Makindye West.

The two were last month charged with murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.

On Monday, Justice Lawrence Tweyanze said that granting the two MPs bail will jeopardize investigations since they are currently on trial.

In their application for bail, the MPs who are on remand at Kigo and Luzira prisons respectively, indicated to the court that they are suffering from grievous illnesses, some resulting from torture by the security personnel, which cannot be effectively managed under incarceration.

They also indicated that they are people’s representatives who would wish to represent the views of their electorates in parliament as they attend court for trial whenever needed.

Their lawyer Erias Lukwago in his submission also told the court that the two are law-abiding citizens who turned themselves to police when they were summoned to record statements concerning the offences.

But Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Resident Chief State Attorney objected to Lukwago’s submissions. He said that the MPs will interfere with the ongoing investigations and that they are likely to abscond from trial.

In his ruling, Justice Tweyanze said that despite the MPs presenting substantial sureties that included fellow Members of Parliament and local council leaders, they are facing a multiplicity of capital offences that all attract the death penalty and maximum sentences. He added that there are chances of the applicants attempting to flee from justice.

“The nature of the offences that the applicants are charged with, is an embossment to use all the means if there is any, to avoid conviction if found guilty. So their instinct would be to frustrate their trial. Their position in society is also another factor that they may have on investigations and witnesses. They can influence and interfere with the processes,” the ruling reads in part.

Justice Tweyanze gave express instructions to the prison authorities to ensure that the MPs get the required medical services for their respective health conditions.

But Lukwago indicated that they were aggrieved with the ruling. He described Justice Tweyanze’s ruling as a bad decision, which he says cannot go unchallenged, arguing that it sets a bad precedent in the administration of justice.



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