The High court in Masaka has rejected the bail application filed by MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana. The Kawempe North and Makindye West legislators were last month charged with murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.
Today 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, Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana 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 while 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 also Kampala mayor, Erias Lukwago in his submission 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 the trial.
In his ruling, justice Tweyanze said that despite the MPs presenting substantial sureties that included fellow MPs 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.
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 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.
"There is no record or evidence whatsoever brought by the state that Hon. Ssegirinya and Hon. Ssewanyana are likely to abscond once granted bail. These are members of parliament who can’t easily run away from their constituency. I’m surprised that didn’t convince the judge. The question of ill illness was also taken aback and I’m really disturbed because himself he noted that from a naked eye he saw Ssegirinya’s foot rotting away, that he also saw him with a canular but he couldn’t even bother to find out why he has not gotten treatment up to now. It’s ironic that he said the same sickness can be treated in Luzira [yet] Hon. Ssegirinya is suffering from cancer. Is it possible to treat it from Luzira? So we’re really shocked. It is a shock to us and our clients are aggrieved by this decision. It is a very very bad precedent, it can’t go unchallenged, we must get it off our jurisprudence because it is a very very bad absurd and bad precedence." said Lukwago.
The MPs were first detained on September 8, they were later granted bail but were separately rearrested moments after release on September 23 and September 27.