What you need to know:
Justice Lawrence Tweyanze said the chances of the two MPs absconding from court are high and that they failed to prove that they’re sick and need better medical attention outside prison. The judged also feared that they would interfere with investigations into the charges against them
Masaka High Court judge has rejected a bail application filed by MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) who are facing several charges, including murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.
Justice Lawrence Tweyanze while giving his lengthy ruling on Monday morning, told a fully-packed courtroom that granting the two MPs bail will jeopardize investigations since they’re currently under trial.
This was after the state prosecutor, Mr Richard Birivumbuka submitted the same against the two MPs who have been on remand for several days.
According to the judge, the accused persons are public figures, given that they are Members of Parliament and can easily influence the state’s witnesses thus jeopardizing investigations into their charges.
“They have the capacity to interfere with the investigations, including absconding from bail,” he said.
Justice Tweyanze also said that the applicants’ lawyers failed to prove their claim that the legislators were seriously ill, as they did not present medical certificates to prove their case.
According to the judge, the first charges where the applicants had been granted bail were different from the case before him.
“The fact that they were released on bail before can’t be a condition now given that they are facing a multiplicity of capital offenses and the risks of absconding is high, based on the fact that they had no other charges against them before but now they do,” he added.
However, the applicants’ legal team led by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said it was unfortunate that Justice Tweyaze overturned Justice Nakintu’s ruling who had granted them bail stating that they are going to appeal against his decision.
“We are surprised that the decision made by Justice Nakintu has been overturned. We are going to appeal this decision so that it can be set aside and go unchallenged. We are optimistic that we shall get justice for our clients,” Mr Lukwago said.
The two legislators and several other people are said to have masterminded the recent machete attacks in Masaka sub region leaving close to 30 people dead.
They were granted bail by the Masaka High Court but later re-arrested, charged afresh and remanded.
Their lawyers led by Mr Lukwago and Kampala Woman MP Shamim Malende, however, argue that the allegations against the two MPs are politically motivated.
They join the 10 men who were charged with the same offences on September 1, and remanded to Masaka Ssaza Prison.
They included; Christopher Sserwadda, 23, a resident of Nyendo-Mukungwe, Mike Sserwadda and Jude Muwonge, both residents of Ssetaala, and Batesta Mutabaazi, Joseph Kayabula, Ashraf Kayinza, Issa Ssebunnya, Moses Kaganda, and Kaboyo Henry, all residents of Byanjiri Village in Lwengo District.
The other was Paul Ssekajugo, alias, Mawanda, 43, a resident of Nakateete, Kisekka Sub-county in Lwengo District.
Murder is a capital offence only tried by the High Court and, according to the Penal Code Act, the maximum punishment for a murder convict is death by hanging.