The Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa has revealed that the ruling NRM Parliamentary Caucus resolved to carry out a two-week consultation on President Yoweri Museveni’s proposed ban of bail for capital offense suspects.
The resolution was made on Tuesday, following a consultation meeting with Museveni at Kololo Independence Grounds.
Tayebwa wrote on Twitter, that they had a candid discussion about the matter and they agreed to carry out further consultations about it.
“This morning the NRM Parliamentary Caucus held consultations with H.E Kaguta Museveni over the issue of bail for capital offenders. He guided us to go & consult on how best we can solve issues surrounding this subject matter. We shall report back to him in 2 weeks” Tayebwa wrote on Tuesday night.
He added that their meeting with President after consultations, will come up with a final decision on the matter.
In the past, President Museveni has criticized provision of bail to suspected capital offenders. On Monday, he clashed with the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo on the issue of granting bail to persons accused of capital offences pending determination of their cases.
During the swearing in ceremony of new judges at State House Entebbe last week, the President also said that life sentence should not be given to people who are found guilty for murder. He made it known, that government would in particular, appeal the judgement that saw the murderers of former Case Hospital accountant Francis Ekalungar awarded life sentence instead of death.
On Monday, during the 4th Annual Memorial Lecture for the slain former Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka held at the Judiciary Headquarters in Kampala, Museveni was the Chief Guest and heard from his host Chief Justice Dollo, that bail is a constitutional right which is supposed to be either granted or denied upon the discretion of the presiding judicial officer who should also exercise that discretion judiciously.
Owiny Dollo added that a judicial officer cannot wake up from the good or wrong side of the bed and decide whether to grant or deny bail to an accused person, because it’s a constitutional right the officer has to grant upon considering a number of circumstances for instance, if one will abscond from trial or not among others.
He further explained however, that he has heard President Museveni on a number of occasions having a different view on the right to bail, saying that the judicial officers should remember the oath they took to dispense justice without fear or favor and independently.
However, Museveni said that the concept of dispensing justice has to be harmonized, challenging the judicial officers to go and read the Constitutional Commission proceedings where he says the majority of the people of Uganda didn’t want bail for capital offenses. But the former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki who headed the Commission left it to the discretion of the judicial officers, which the president is opposed to.