KAMPALA: The Buganda Road Magistrates’ Court has today rejected the bail applications of Dr. Kizza Besigye and Samuel Lubega Mukaku.
The two, who are all members of a political pressure group dubbed People’s Front for Transition, are facing charges of inciting violence.
Besigye and Mukaku’s bail has been rejected by Grade One Magistrate Asuman Muhumuza on the grounds that he has no guarantee that they will not commit the same offences once released on bail since they had just been bailed by the same court less than two weeks ago.
The rejected bail follows an application by the accused person’s lawyers led by Erias Lukwago. Their lawyer told the Magistrate Muhumuza that his court has the jurisdiction to entertain the bail application given the charges levied against them.
It is alleged that on June 14th, 2022 in Kikuubo, Shauriyako parish, Kampala city, Besigye and Mukaku without lawful excuse made statements indicating that it would be desirable to demonstrate, which could cause violence and damage to property. They were protesting the skyrocketing prices of commodities in the country.
Since late November 2021, there has been a general increase in the prices of several items, including fuel, cooking oil, and soap, among others.
But Lukwago has further told the court that Besigye and Mukaku are responsible people in society and that they are law-abiding citizens.
The Court has heard that the two accused persons do not have any criminal background since they have never been convicted by any court for any offense.
Besigye had presented Kampala Capital City Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura and Kitgum Municipality Member of Parliament Denis Onekalit as his sureties.
On his part, Mukaku presented former Mbale District Woman Member of Parliament Aspirant Margaret Wokuri Madanda and former Kampala Capital City Deputy Lord Mayor Sulaiman Sserwada Kidandala as his sureties.
Their lawyer asked the court to grant them bail on fair terms, which is non-cash bail on the grounds that they have not been working because they were previously arrested and Besigye was confined in his house for a month and could hardly go out to work.
The prosecution, however, led by State Attorney Ivan Kyazze, asked the court to deny the accused bail on grounds that their sureties have not proved their capacity to pay bail money in case Mukaku and Besigye abscond from trial.
He said that apart from indicating that the sureties are members of the Forum for Democratic Change Party, the rest of their details are not clear, especially their places of residence and relationship with the accused persons.
The court has also heard that the accused have impunity because they were all charged in Buganda Road Court a few weeks ago on similar charges of inciting violence, but they are back for the same crime within a few days.
Kyazze said this conduct is a sign that they don’t respect the legal process and that they act with impunity. Therefore, should the court be pleased to grant them bail, they should be restrained from committing the same offences and asked to be bailed at five million shillings in cash.
In his ruling, Magistrate Muhumuza has rejected the application, agreeing with the State Attorney Kyazze, saying it is surprising that Besigye and Mukaku were charged with similar offenses of inciting violence about two weeks ago and they are back in a few days on the same charges.
According to Muhumuza, he has no guarantee that if they are released on bail they will not again commit the crimes in question. Muhumuza warned that the sanctity and integrity of the court has to be protected and should never be involved in politics and accordingly rejected their bail application, saying that Besigye and Mukaku have a right to appeal if they are not satisfied with his decision.
He has accordingly further remanded Besigye and Mukaku to Luzira Prison until July 1st, 2022. Their lawyer, Erias Lukwago, has told Uganda Radio Network that they are definitely going to challenge Muhumuza’s decision in the High Court.
On May 24th, 2022, Besigye and Mukaku were arrested from Arua Park in Kampala City in relation to a protest against skyrocketing prices of commodities in the country. A day later, they were arraigned before Buganda Road Magistrates’ Court and charged separately.
Mukaku was released on a non-cash bail. But Besigye was ordered by Grade One Magistrate Siena Owomugisha to pay a cash bail of 30 million shillings before he could gain his temporary freedom.
But Besigye was aggrieved with this decision, saying the funds were excessive given the charges against him. He petitioned the High Court and Criminal Division Judge Michael Elubu quashed Owomugisha’s sentence and accordingly ordered that Besigye should instead pay 3 million shillings in cash bail.
Besigye paid the money and was set free, only to be arrested again on Tuesday this week, less than two weeks after the release.