Attempt to secure bail for jailed MPs Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana flops again

Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana with his co-accused Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya at International War Crimes Division Court in Kololo, Kampala, on September 20, 2022. PHOTO | JULIET KIGONGO

A second attempt to secure the release of two jailed Ugandan legislators flopped again on Tuesday after court told involved parties that “it was not ready to proceed with the hearing of the bail application.”

Masaka High Court judge Lawrence Tweyanze January 23 set February 13, 14 and 15 as the dates when court is expected to hear the bail application by MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West).

During a session at Masaka High Court on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 justice Tweyanze inquired whether the state and defense team were ready for the hearing of the bail application as well as the criminal cases against the duo.

But the Masaka resident senior state attorney Richard Birivumbuka told the court that the state was not ready for the hearing of the criminal matter saying “it would be too exhaustive for both parties to have parallel trials in Kampala and Masaka at the same time.”

Birivumbuka then asked that the Kampala files are handled first before they can concentrate on Masaka files.

The trial judge Tuesday told the two parties that the court was rather ready for mentioning the application but not hearing before adjourning the matter to mid-February 2023.  

One of the defense lawyers, Caleb Alaka, Tuesday reacted to the court decision stating that: “The good news is that we are going to have a hearing which will not be prejudicial. We are going to have a bail application handled and if it all goes well, we are optimistic that the duo will get bail.”

Lead defense counsel Erias Lukwago had earlier asked court to allow specialized treatment for the lawmakers especially Ssewanyana who was Monday admitted to Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala.  

Court ordered in favor of the defense’s request.

Meantime, High Court in Kampala also set February 20 for hearing g of the criminal cases against the MPs who are currently facing seven counts including murder, attempted murder, terrorism and abating terrorism.