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Retired judge, human rights activists sue President Museveni over bail

Prof George Kanyeihamba

Prof George Kanyeihamba

Retired Supreme court judge George Kanyeihamba together with five human rights activists has sued the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni for suggesting alteration of the law regarding bail applications and release of suspects on police bond.

The other petitioners are; John Solomon Nabuyanda, a human rights activist and student of Law at Makerere University, Edrine Prince Bbosa a students leader and Guild Representative Councilor of School of Law at Makerere University, Alex Wavamunno an activist and student of Law at Makerere, 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 ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party 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 remarks made by Museveni on September 27, 2021, at the Judiciary headquarters in regard to the issuance of bail to suspects on criminal matters.

Museveni told the judges who were attending the 4th Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture that it is a provocation to grant bail to capital offenders and giving suspects bail is not a right. Subsequently, Museveni added that he was to use political and legal means to see that bail for capital offenders is scrapped off. 

Now, the petitioners say they filed the petition in public interest, saying Museveni's remarks are unconstitutional and contravene several articles of the constitution and international treaties to which Uganda is a signatory.

The group took issues with Museveni's post on Twitter that stated 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 MPs 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, Kanyeihamba the lead petitioner who came to court physically while being pushed in a wheelchair, 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 Benedicto Kiwanuka.

The retired judge maintains that the right to bail application is a fundamental human right that should not be tampered with although the attorney general and government have the right to limit the fundamental rights and freedoms.

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.

"My lawyers chickened out, even last night I was calling them, their phones are off or they don’t answer - all the lawyers have gone in hiding. When my fellow petitioners and I went to the chambers in Kampala to have sworn affidavits, eight of them refused to do so. They said the case for defending the right to apply for bail is political. I don’t see anything political about it. This is a right guaranteed in the constitution, and as it has always been said; if people are given rights if they are frightened from defending them, those rights are useless," said Kanyeihamba. 

The petitioners 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 police bond. 

This is not the first petition to challenge the proposed reforms on bail. On October 20, lawyer Male Mabirizi petitioned the High court seeking to quash a memo reportedly written by AG 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 courts.

Mabirizi has since also filed another constitutional petition also related to the same.

Comments

+1 #1 Dannick 2021-10-26 13:22
The petitioners should have waited for the amendment to at least formally begin.

Now they have a task of proving that the government actually is in the process of making that amendment.

Petition may be dismissed for relying on speculation.
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+1 #2 Lakwena 2021-10-26 14:05
In other words, in a wheelchair, it has to be a senior citizen, and Retired Supreme Court Judge; to boldly step forward to secure the future of Ugandans liberty from a rampaging Dictator, who on 26th Jan 2017 told off the country that: although he is in our State House, he is nobody's servant nor employee.

Wachireba?
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+3 #3 Mubiru 2021-10-26 14:23
Apart from the principle petitioner Justice Kanyeihamba the rest of his team is of no legal substance who cannot even be permitted to address courts.

According to Kanyeihamba none of the prominrnt lawyers he phoned to represent him could ever "touch" his case while others never even bothered to pick phones when he called.

If the so called learned people are too timid to represent some people where is justice they claim to defend?. In their training who told them to be so timid and shake like frightened rabbits by refusing to handle cases they claim to be political?!

If a renowned legal expert can be treated like rubbish how about us the bantu babulijjo ( perengenye _ordinary Ugandans) Likewise the judges will play the same dangerous game of avoiding to hear this case as they did in Allan Sewanyana and Segirinya case at the cost of Kanyeihamba. Under the circumstances the results are obvious
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+1 #4 Jama 2021-10-26 18:52
Kitalo nyo! In Uganda its those with guns who decide what should be done.
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+1 #5 kasede 2021-10-26 21:01
Quoting Dannick:
The petitioners should have waited for the amendment to at least formally begin.

Now they have a task of proving that the government actually is in the process of making that amendment.

Petition may be dismissed for relying on speculation.


The timing is absolutely SMART.

The siut is aiming at cooking the egg (the ammendment idea) absolutely DEAD priot to allowing the hen (the rubber-stamping parliament) to sit on it, isn't it?
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0 #6 Akot 2021-10-27 18:02
Quoting Lakwena:


in a wheelchair, it has to be a senior citizen, and Retired Supreme Court Judge; to boldly step forward to secure the future of Ugandans liberty from a rampaging Dictator, who told off the country that:

although he is in our State House, he is nobody's servant nor employee.


Thanks, yet,

Tribal leaders are with him, Ugandans will yet legalise & bolster him with fake presidential/parliamentary elections, to ensure he rules for life & leave the post to his son!
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0 #7 Akot 2021-10-27 18:15
Dannick,

Your argument is logic, but can only apply in a democracit country & not in a Uganda militarily, tribally divided ruled by Museveni, the owner of the zone who owns & controls every institution, including that of Justice!

Ugandans alone can save themselves, but they will get outside help the moment they say NO to the tribalistic system & UNITE against Museveni!

When all the other tribes UNITED against T. Okello/Acholi to bring in Museveni in 1986, the International Community joined/supported them, right?

Today, if all the same tribes that UNITED to bring in Museveni REUNITE NOW, which tribe/s will fight them to ensure Museveni rule?

The only justice in Uganda is what Museveni wants, but Ugandans can stop him, but only in UNITY & not tribally divided ruled by the demon!
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0 #8 Akot 2021-10-27 18:21
Quoting Mubiru:


Apart from the principle petitioner Justice Kanyeihamba the rest of his team is of no legal substance who cannot even be permitted to address courts.

According to Kanyeihamba none of the prominrnt lawyers he phoned to represent him could ever "touch" his case while others never even bothered to pick phones when he called.

If the so called learned people are too timid to represent some people where is justice they claim to defend?. who told them to be so timid and shake like frightened rabbits by refusing to handle cases they claim to be political?!

If a renowned legal expert can be treated like rubbish how about ordinary Ugandans?

the judges will play the same dangerous game of avoiding to hear this case as they did in Allan Sewanyana and Segirinya case at the cost of Kanyeihamba. Under the circumstances the results are obvious.


Thanks.
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0 #9 Akot 2021-10-27 18:30
Quoting Jama:


In Uganda its those with guns who decide what should be done.


Understood, yet,

Were those who UNITED to Block armed T. Okello/Acholi to bring in Museveni armed?

Once Ugandans say NO to the tribalistic system & UNITE, police/army will have to either remain with Ugandans or go with Museveni to his tribal land, wherever that is!

Will UNITY of Ugandans rob them of their tribal lands because Museveni will go with the lands, land riches, tax money, State House, Parliament, the source of the Nile ...?

What will Ugandans do when Musevenis dies of old age finally, take to arms against one another openly or just go along with the demon's son?
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