Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has warned judges to stop provoking him by granting bail to suspected hardcore criminals.
The President said the country’s judges are repeatedly granting bail to suspects facing treason charges, murder, rape, and defilement. He says this move may push the army to shoot treason suspects once arrested.
Museveni said the constitution does not in any way state that bail must be granted. He reiterates that he intends to lobby the legislative arm of government to change the same so that the judges’ have their hands tied with no means of abusing the powers given to them.
“Bail has been given repeatedly to people charged with treason like Kabaziguruka and Kipoi, that MP, an idiot…..” you are really provoking the people and also provoking me since I am always with the people; so scrutinize yourselves during this conference,” Museveni stated.
President Museveni made the remarks at the 16th annual judge’s conference held at Imperial Resort Beach hotel in Entebbe. The four-day annual judges conference is a forum that the judges use to discuss issues affecting their performance and their work in the past judicial year and plan for the new judicial year.
The President has previously made similar statements while addressing political platforms. This however is the first time he is fronting it in a judges meeting.
The President in what he termed as a ‘joke’ also hit at judges for always granting bail to former FDC leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, for the same charges brought against him.
“With Besigye, it’s like a joke, why somebody should commit the same offense repeatedly and is given bail all the time. I will work with you for strengthening the legislation on this matter…” Museveni said
Dr Besigye has on several occasions been arrested by the police over charges ranging from incitement to violence to being a member of unlawful society.But he has always been released on bail sometimes immediately and sometimes after spending days in police custody, a move which has angered the President.
The four-day annual judges conference is a forum that the judges use to discuss issues affecting their performance and their work in the past judicial year and plan for the new judicial year.
Topics to be discussed during this conference include; public rating of the judiciary, current issues in the high court circuits and lower Bench, reflecting on the mandate and structure of the judiciary, commercial justice, judicial accountability, ICT and the judiciary among others.
The Conference will be followed by the opening of the Law Year on Friday at High Court in Kampala.