Six Months On Remand Is Tantamount To Punishment Before Conviction

A concerned Ugandan, in line with a common English maxim that a pen is mightier than a gun, has put his fingers to the key board to write to the Ugandan president informing him about the very fundamental mistake he is planning to commit in his quest to remove right to apply for bail for  capital offenders until after they have served six months on remand.

Muhimbise George

Muhimbise George a political analyst, just like majority citizens is fully convinced that president Museveni’s proposal to remove right to apply for bail is not only misguided but it is an outright infringement to the doctrine of presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a competent court

Dear Gen Museveni, when I watched you on TV, claiming that granting bail to capital offenders is the reason  why murderers are not apprehended, you reminded me of the famous tale of a certain “Muhima” man.

This man, one morning traveled from Kabale to Mbarara and when he reached a place called Nyeihanga, he went for a long call in the nearby bush and in the process of cleaning himself, he touched the faeces.

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When he entered the bus, because of too much coldness, he had some flu, he tried to clean his nose, only to smear the faeces on his nose. So, as the faeces kept smelling yet he couldn’t know the source of the smell, he turned to the person seated next, and said that “eshi embeho ya nyeihanga nenuunka amazi” literally translated that the coldness of Nyeihanga smells faeces.

Your excellence, you have found yourself in a similar situation, where you can’t explain the mess in your own government but you want to use the law as a scapegoat.

President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni vowed not to relent until his wish of amendment of the Constitution to remove right of application for bail for capital offenders is fulfilled.

The proposal to remove bail explains your delusion, dishonesty or utter abuse of the judiciary for political expedience.

Before I go far, allow me to remind you that the murderers of Joan Kagezi, AIGP Felix Kaweesi, Maj Abiriga and Afande Kirumira have never been convicted. If the judicial system can’t find justice for a senior prosecutor, a senior police officer, or an NRM fanatic like Abiriga, then it is rotten beyond redress!

Would you like to tell the country that the murderers of those people were granted bail and have since then disappeared?
Even if suspects were to spend the unpalatable mandatory proposed six-month on remand without evidence, they would  still apply for bail and the real pigs would be moving scot-free, would you have given justice to the victims families?

Or are you proposing removal of bail as a punishment to suspects since you can’t convict them due to lack of evidence?

Your excellence, you have tied yourself on the issue of mob justice to justify removal of bail, in 2020 a total of 540 people were killed by mob and out of these only 43 were murder suspects.

In 2019, a total of 746 people were killed by mob, of these only 23 cases were murder suspects. Even in these cases, these suspects were not on bail. The majority of the mob cases result from theft, robbery and witchcraft which are not capital offences!

In 2020, a total of 14,134 cases of defilement were reported, of these only 5,745 equivalent to 40% were taken to court of which only 984 were concluded with 794 convictions and others dismissed or acquitted.

This means that court handled 17% of the defilement cases brought before it, while police secured convictions for only 5% of the cases reported.

So, Gen Museveni, will you blame the law on the incompetence of police, prosecutors or inefficiencies in court or you will instead clean your house and withdraw the bad law you are proposing?

Your excellence, in 2019 police recorded 4718 cases of murder, by end of year, only 920 cases equivalent to 19% had been taken to court, while 1735 were under investigations and the remaining 2000 cases were not accounted for. Is this weakness a result of bail?

Your excellence, allow me to inform you that of the 60,000 inmates in our prisons over 30,000 are on remand, some having spent there to five years. How does this happen if all suspects easily get bail?

Your excellence, allow me to inform you that by end of 2020, according to Annual crime report, we had police canine (dogs) in 70 policing districts instead of 166. What a shame that with a budget of over 6900 billion for security, government can’t afford to buy one dog per district!

There are 73 courts without full time prosecutors meaning that police investigate cases but have no prosecutors to take them to courts. We have money to pay 80 ministers but have 70 courts without prosecutors! What a shame!

We have 45 districts without the office of DPP but we have useless RDCs allover, What an embarrassment!

We have a shortfall of 833 prosecutors, who are paid a salary less than a million but we have 529 MPs whom we pay over 30 million for almost nothing, but toe your line of interest by passing obnoxious laws that more often than not benefit the minority in general and yourself in particular.

Lastly your excellence, the whole of Ankole with 13 districts and 4 municipalities has only two high court judges of which only one is resident to handle all cases of capital offences but the same area we have around 45 members of parliament! What a fallacy!

Your excellence, as the Muhima man I wrote about in the introduction, the bad smell is in your hands and on your nose; clean them and the bad smell will disappear!

Muhimbise George, muhimbiseg@gmail.com, 0787836515

The author is a member of Alliance for National Transformation.

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