President Yoweri Museveni has intensified his campaign to scrap the right to bail by to suspected capital offenders by rallying cabinet which unanimously endorsed the move last week.
But the President’s assault on such an important right has triggered overwhelming criticism from the legal fraternity as well as members of the public and political players against what many consider to be a clear overstep of his mandate as the President of Uganda.
One of the most vocal persons against Museveni’s perceived excesses is retired Supreme Court, Professor George Kanyeihamba.
Prof. Kanyeihamba has come out to lend support to a move by lawyers including Kampala Lord Mayor EriasLukwago, to bring an injunction against the government and stop its proposed scrap of bail.
Lukwago had visited Kanyeihamba as his home in Buziga where the former Minister and Justice of the Supreme Court said the right to bail is one of those that are inalienable and implored Parliament to disregard the President’s renewed push to limit it.
“Article 3 of the constitution provides that all citizens of Uganda shall have the right and duty at all times to defend this Constitution and in particular to resist any person or group of persons seeking to overthrow the established constitutional order. I’m a Uganda citizen, therefore, constitutionally, I’m empowered to petition court and prevent the violation of the Uganda constitution…” said Kanyeihamba.
He also urged the President and Parliament to bear in mind that Uganda is also part of the international community and therefore bound by the agreements and protocols it has signed.
“Museveni’s monographic and despotic crusade is in conflict with international law and norms. It violates the United Nations Chatter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the African Union charter and African Union Commission protocols on human and people’s rights,” he said.
He added that Museveni’s fulfillment of his desires will definitely necessitate the withdraw of the Ugandan state and nation from abrogation of all international treaties and agreements which are founded on the respect and observation of human rights.
He however, vowed to drag the government to court if they move ahead and amend the constitution.
Lukwago said every well-meaning Ugandan should stand up and resist the move to outlaw bail for capital offenders saying anyone is a potential victim of the law.
The outrage on bail started about a month ago when President Museveni met with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) parliamentary caucus in Kololo to try and persuade them to accept the proposal.
However, sources that attended the meeting intimated that majority of the MPs who got the opportunity to speak rejected the proposal calling it a poisonous chalice that might return to haunt them.
However, last week Daily Monitor reported that cabinet had endorsed proposals presented by the Attorney General KiryowaKiwanuka on reforming laws relating to bail and police bond. It’s expected that these proposals will be taken to Parliament in form of a bill to among others outlaw bail and police bond for capital offenders up to a period of six months.