RX Radio Presenters James Onen and Olive Najjuma have joined the larger section of Ugandans to comment on the revised law on scrapping bail for suspected capital criminals that has recently sparked debate amongst most Ugandans.
The reforms, as proposed by President Yoweri Museveni in September, were meant to deny bail and police bond for suspected capital criminals facing charges such as murder, rape, robbery and treason charges until after 180 days. To the President, giving police bond and bail to such people is provocation to the victims and communities they have caused harm to, emphasizing that it is unacceptable and an abominable act.
In a meeting chaired by the President last week, cabinet ministers endorsed the criminal justice reforms to deny bail and police bond in which they proposed adjustments of the 1995 Constitutional and Police Act.
Now, human rights defenders and lawmakers have condemned the cabinet ministers for backing ‘draconian policies’ meant to curtail freedom and to take away the discretion of the judiciary to ably perform its independent duties.
Olive, who quoted the former Supreme Court Judge Wilson Kanyehamba, mentioned that for the government to make a decision of scrapping bail, it must be ready to back from international treaties that uphold this law.“If bail is successfully scrapped, it insinuates that Uganda is being ruled by laws under guns. Furthermore, she said that these laws are made not for the initial benefit of Ugandans but rather the leader of the government who uses them for his own interests.”
Fatboy, in agreement, said it would be absurd for a civilized country to change the norms of living by stipulated laws in the constitution to those made by a leader whenever he feels the need to.
“The purpose of having a constitution is for a country to have a structure, but if it's something that the government consistently changes, then what's the point of having it and not be ruled by decree.” Fatboy
Also, the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka proposed that Article 23(4) (b) and 25 of the Police Act be amended by Parliament; these will require a suspect to be released on police bond after 48 business hours if they have not been charged in court.
Fatboy and Olive, like other commenters, warned decision makers against making such laws saying that when governments change, they could as well be judged by the same laws they made.
Olive, referring to Obote’s government ministers who were victimized by the laws they had made after their government had fallen apart, also warned ministers that history repeats itself further pointing to the Public Order Management Act and how this backfired on Amama Mbabazi after he had been one of its perpetrators.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy and Olive Najjuma every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.