Chief Justice to Museveni: Bail is a constitutional matter



The Chief Justice, Bart Katureebe, has rejected President Museveni’s directive on bail, and explained that “the issue is governed by the Constitution and the law”.
On Thursday, the President directed the Judiciary and the police to stop releasing murder suspects on bail and bond respectively.
However, in a press statement released on Friday by the Public Relations Unit of the Judiciary, Justice Katureebe said murder suspects can only be denied bail if the Constitution is amended. He also indicated that judges and magistrates at all levels will continue releasing suspects on bail as long as they meet the requirements.
“It’s very simple, the issue of bail is governed by the Constitution and the law. Until the law is amended, bail will granted or denied in accordance with the Constitution and the law.” Justice Katureebe said in the press statement. He explained that courts presume that all the accused persons, including those facing murder charges, are innocent until proved guilty.
President Museveni said bail or police bond to murder suspects is unacceptable.
“There are two things I am not going to accept anymore; police bond and bail. I don’t want to hear about them again. Somebody suspected of killing our people and you give them police bond? No way, this is not acceptable,” the President said during the 2018/19 National Budget presentation on Thursday.
The President’s orders were in reaction to the gruesome murder of Arua Municipality legislator, Ibrahim Abiriga, who was shot dead together with his brother Saidi Buga in Kawanda, Wakiso District.
The President added: “I have been very soft on these institutions (Judiciary and the Police) who are always stepping on us.”
Mr Museveni called the people who killed the MP and his brother ‘pigs’ and vowed to punish them.
The President said he had dealt with ‘pigs’ before and that these ones are even smaller.
This was not the first time that President Museveni scoffed at the Judiciary for releasing on bail murder suspects.
While speaking at the 16th annual judges conference in 2014, Mr Museveni lashed out at the judges for claiming that bail is a “right” and yet the Constitution says bail “may be granted” but it was not a must.
The President’s remarks then where in regard to release on bail of former Arua Municipality Member of Parliament Akbar Hussein Godi who was facing charges of murdering his wife, Rehema Caesar in Mukono District.
The former MP is currently serving his 25-jail term at Kigo prison after he was found guilty of murdering his wife.

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