The group which says that they filed the petition public interest, contends that Museveni's remarks are unconstitutional and contravenes several articles of the Constitution and International treaties to which Uganda is a signatory.
Retired Supreme Court Judge George Kanyeihamba together with
five human rights activists have sued the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta
Museveni for suggesting alteration of the law regarding bail applications and
release of suspects on police bond.
The other petitioners are;
John Solomon Nabuyanda, Human Rights Activist and student of
Law at Makerere University, Edrine Prince Bbosa the students leader and Guild
Representative Councilor of School of Law at Makerere University Students
Guild, Alex Wavamunno an Activist and student of Law Makerere University,
Williams Ronald Asiimwe, student of Law at Bishop Stuart University Mbarara and President of Uganda Law Society Students Association and lawyer Simon Ssenyonga.
Museveni is sued jointly with his party National Resistance
Movement and the Attorney General of Uganda who is accused of endorsing amendments on bail and recommending for alteration of section 25 of the Police Act
which they say threatens the right to police bond.
The Constitutional Petition stems from the remarks made by President
Museveni on September 27th 2021 at the Judiciary Headquarters in
regard to the issuance of bail to suspects on criminal matters.
According to his statement, Museveni told the judges who
were attending the 4th Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture that it is
a provocation to grant bail to a capital offender and giving suspects bail is
not a right. Subsequently, Museveni added
that he was to use political means to see that bail for capital offenders is
Now, Justice Kanyeihamba and his group, which says that they
filed the petition public interest, contends that Museveni's remarks are
unconstitutional and contravenes several articles of the Constitution and
International treaties to which Uganda is a signatory.
The group also attacks Museveni's post on twitter stating
that the law providing for bail application be altered, which to them is unconstitutional.
They further state that Museveni's action of summoning the
NRM party Parliamentary Caucus to discuss the alteration of the right to bail
application is a threat to the said right and contravenes the constitution.
According to them, inflexible actions and attitude of the
cabinet to endorse the memorandum of the proposed recommendation to alter the
laws regarding bail application and police bond is unconstitutional and a threat
to right for applying for bail. To support his case, the lead Petitioner who came to court
physically being pushed in a wheel chair has attached a number of articles
written by various media houses in relation to Museveni’s statements on bail and
his speech at the recently concluded lecture to remember the former Chief Justice
The retired Judge maintains that right to bail application
is a fundamental human right which should not be tampered with although the
Attorney General and government have the right to limit the fundamental Rights
Kanyeihamba through his lawyers of Centre for Constitutional
Governance states that the alteration of the Right to apply for bail can only
be done in line with the constitution and international laws.
//Cue in: “My lawyers chickened….
Cue out: ….rights are useless”.//
Now they want Constitutional Court to issue an order
prohibiting Museveni, the Attorney General, NRM party and any other person from
furthering any of such actions that threaten the right to bail application and
This is not the first petition to challenge the proposed
reforms on bail. On October 20th 2021, lawyer Male Mabirizi
petitioned the High Court seeking to quash a memo reportedly written by the
Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka to change the law saying that a person should
be charged in courts within 48 hours to only count 48 hours of working days of
Mabirizi has since also filed another Constitutional
Petition also related to the same.