President Museveni has in the past criticized provision of bail to suspected capital offenders and on Monday, he clashed with the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo on the issue of granting bail to persons accused of capital offences pending determination of their cases.
National Resistance Movement -NRM Parliamentary Caucus has resolved to carry
out a two-weeks consultation on President Yoweri Museveni’s proposed ban of
bail for capital offence suspects.
Museveni on Tuesday
addressed the NRM legislators at Kololo Independence Grounds and according to
the Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa, they had a candid discussion about the
matter and they agreed to carry out further consultations about it.
He noted that the
President informed the MPs that their meeting was meant for consultation purposes on
granting of bail.
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Tayebwa said that they are to meet the President
again after two weeks and come up with a final decision on the matter.
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President Museveni has in the past criticized provision
of bail to suspected capital offenders and on Monday, he clashed with the Chief
Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo on the issue
of granting bail to persons accused of capital offences pending determination
of their cases.
This occurred at the
4th Annual Memorial Lecture for the slain former Chief Justice Benedicto
Kiwanuka held at the Judiciary Headquarters in Kampala where Museveni was the
Chief Guest and Owiny-Dollo the host. It was organised under the theme
"Administration of Justice in Uganda through the years".
At the event, the Chief Justice said
bail is a constitutional right which is supposed to be either granted or denied
upon the discretion of the presiding judicial officer who should also exercise
that discretion judiciously.
Owiny-Dollo said a judicial officer cannot wake up
from the good or wrong side of the bed and decide whether to
grant or deny bail to an accused person, because it's a constitutional right
the officer has to grant upon considering a number of circumstances for
instance, if one will abscond from trial or not among others.
The Chief Justice added that however he has
heard President Museveni on a number of occasions having a different view on
the right to bail, saying that the judicial officers should remember the oath
they took to dispense justice without fear or favour and independently.
But Museveni said that the concept of
dispensing justice has to be harmonized, challenging the judicial officers to
go and read the Constitutional Commission proceedings where he says the
majority of the people of Uganda didn't want bail for capital offenses. But the
former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki who headed the Commission left it to the
discretion of the judicial officers, which the president is opposed to.
According to Museveni who spoke in a tough manner on the
matter, he said granting bail is a provocation which will not be accepted. He gave
examples of people who were killed by mob justice in Arua and in Gomba, saying
that when courts give bail on capital offenses, societies become hopeless and
start killing people who are charged with such crimes.
The President has
severally in the past criticized the issue of granting bail. On Wednesday last
week while speaking at the swearing in of new judges at State House Entebbe,
Museveni insisted that bail is not a constitutional right.
Amos Okot, Agago
North MP questioned why a suspect would be denied a constitutional right of
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William Museveni, the
Buwekula South MP said that the Constitution is clear about bail and that there
is no need for any amendment.
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David Kabanda, the Kasambya
County MP said that they subjected the matter to a discussion and that he will
go ahead and oppose the proposal by the President.