The judiciary has refuted reports alleging that an agreement has been reached between President Museveni and the Chief Justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo to remove applications for bail for certain suspects.
This followed reports that has been making rounds of social media that the Chief Justice finally had taken the position of the president to automatically deny bail to persons arrested for serious offences including murder and treason.
Former presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye tweeted that the chief justice had taken over the president’s “pursuit of obnoxious draw back on the right to bail.”
“He has made Regulations to “guide” courts on bail that clearly violate the Constitution & interpretations already made.Frightfully, challenging this in court ends with him,”wrote Besigye.
However, in a statement seen by The Nile Post, the Judiciary said the misleading social media posts are not true.
“We would like to inform and reassure members of the public that no such position has been reached at all. The information circulating on social media should therefore be disregarded because it is false,”said Jameson Karemani, the spokesperson of the judiciary.
Whereas it is true that the Judiciary has been in the process of developing bail guidelines for all courts, Karemani said the process commenced long before the current public debate on bail started.
He said It is important to note that the process is still ongoing with the next phase being consultation with various stakeholders in the justice system.
“Article 133 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, empowers the Chief Justice, as head of the Judiciary, to issue orders and directions to the courts necessary for the proper and efficient administration of justice, “said Karemani.
He said that the bail guidelines are aimed at ensuring that bail decision making complies with the requirements of the Constitution, promote the balancing of rights of accused persons with the public interest and the rights of victims and address the abuse of pre-trial detentions among others.
Karemani said the removal of applications for bail is clearly not one of the objectives of the upcoming guidelines.
In September last year during the annual Memorial Lecture of the former Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, President Museveni and Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo clashed on the issue of granting bail to persons accused of capital offences pending determination of their cases.
Owiny-Dollo said bail is a constitutional right that is supposed to be either granted or denied upon the discretion of the presiding judicial officer who should also exercise that discretion judiciously.
However, Museveni said that the concept of dispensing justice has to be harmonised, challenging the judicial officers to go and read the Constitutional Commission proceedings where he said the majority of the people of Uganda didn’t want bail for capital offences.