Besigye's cash bail reviewed from Shs30m to Shs3m

Former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye reacts as he stands in the dock at High Court in Kampala on June 6, 2022 during hearing of his application to review the Shs30 million cash bail condition set by Buganda Road Magistrate's Court. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

High Court judge Micheal Elubu has reviewed former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye's bail from Shs30 million to Shs3 million cash in a case in which he's accused of incitement to violence

According to the judge, the Shs30 million set by Buganda Road Court grade one magistrate, Siena Owomugisha, as one of the bail conditions for the political activist was harsh and excessive given the case at hand.

He said that since the offence of incitement to violence attracts a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of Shs1.440 million, the cash bail condition cannot be set at Shs30  million which is considered too high.

"The trial magistrate correctly stated that bail terms imposed should be a safeguard that once released on bail, the accused will return for his trial. That is as it should be. However, taking all circumstances of the case into consideration, it is my considered opinion that the learned trial magistrate exercised her discretion with a material irregularity when she set the bail condition at Shs30 million. This condition was manifestly harsh and excessive. It therefore, occasioned a miscarriage of justice," the judge said.

After court proceedings, Dr Besigye’s lawyer Erias Lukwago said they still had reservations about the Shs3 million reviewed by the High Court judge.

"We have our reservations in regards to Shs3m cash bail condition reviewed by the judge. If Dr Kizza Besigye was to be convicted of incitement to violence, he would be sentenced to three years in prison or a fine of Shs1.4m. Why should the bail be higher than the fine upon conviction?" Mr Lukwago said.

Dr Besigye was arrested in downtown Kampala on May 24, 2022 while calling for protests against government’s decision to do nothing about inflation.
The following day, he was produced before Ms Owomugisha and charged with incitement to violence before he was granted a cash bail of Shs30m.
He, however, declined to pay the money which got him remanded to Luzira Prison but later filed an appeal against the bail condition.