By Akandonda Cleophasi
The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni has said that he will soon mobilize the public to Kampala streets protest over the issue of granting bail to capital offenders.
“We must agree on the bailable offences. The judiciary also has some problems. There are some wrong elements in the judiciary. The Constitution says bail may be given. Someone kills another and you give them bail, really! Don’t provoke people into mob justice,” Museveni said on Friday.
“I am mobilising. You may get a very big demonstration here in Kampala by the wealth creators quarrelling about village thieves. They are tired of thieves. Some are arrested and given bail.”
The president was officiating at the opening of the new law year at the High Court headquarters in Kampala.
Museveni said those involved in raping, defilement and murder ought to be handed strict punishments but urged police, Director of Public Prosecutions and judges to always expedite the cases.
“If the police, DPP and judiciary could highlight this. You kill a person, within a reasonable time you are convicted. My conviction doesn’t agree with life sentence. You killed, you must die. What you(judiciary) are doing now doesn’t please our people. Then after some time the person changed in prison and is forgiven. Let the person be condemned to death and forgiven but knows he was going. If it was not for president to forgive me, I was dead,” he said.
According to the president, if things go as they now, there will be a friction between the judiciary and the people he represents including the public, the army and freedom fighters.
He however asked the judiciary to take his point as important as possible, noting there will not be compromise.
“Don’t allow rioters destroy people’s property and you treat them like that(lightly).No raping. Protect our women. Any body who rapes or defiles a girl must die. Those are the views of my constituency.”
President has of recent resurrected the debate on bail and police bond to capital offenders.
“The remaining problem is some of the judicial officers and police. Some judicial officers do things that have no connection with reality. In the case of Masaka, so many people have died and suspects are given bail. And we are told bail is a right. Bail of criminals is a right. How about right of the victims? They have no right,” Museveni said recently.
The right to bail is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 23 (6) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The constitution says that where a person is arrested in respect of a criminal offence, they are entitled to apply to the court to be released on bail and the court may grant that person bail on such conditions as the court considers reasonable.
It also says that in the case of an offence which is triable by the High Court as well as by a subordinate court, the person shall be released on bail on such conditions as the court considers reasonable, if that person has been remanded in custody in respect of the offence before trial for 120 days .
The Constitution adds that in the case of an offence triable only by the High Court the person shall be released on bail on such conditions as the Court considers reasonable, if the person has been remanded in custody
for three hundred and sixty days before the case is committed to the High Court.
The basis of this provision is found in Article 28 of the same Constitution which states that an accused person is to be presumed innocent until he/she is proved or he/she pleads guilty.
President Museveni has also in the past expressed similar sentiments towards giving bond to suspects in capital offences.
Section 17(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code Act says that where, on a person’s being taken into custody it appears to the police officer in charge of the police station to which the person is brought that the inquiry into the case cannot be completed forthwith, he or she may release that person on his or her executing a bond.
This(release on bond) can be done with or without sureties, for a reasonable amount to appear at such a police station and at such a time as is named in the bond.