The Democratic Party has urged the public to rise and condemn the proposal to amend Article 23 (6) that guarantees right to bail.
President Museveni, in a tense address at the Benedicto Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture at High Court Building last week, protested granting bail to murder suspects emphasising that “this is not a constitutional right but instead is used to sometimes provoke the public.”
DP Spokesperson Okoler Opio Lo Amanu, while addressing the party’s weekly press brief on Tuesday said that the president is seeking to do something unconstitutional and Ugandans should not let him get away this time.
“We cannot keep silent when the discretionary power of judicial officers to make decisions independent of external interference is being quashed, let us all condemn it,” Opio said.
Opio invited what he called all the ‘right-thinking Ugandans, including religious leaders, politicians, cultural leaders, the media and all opinion leaders to condemn and thwart the president’s move.
President Museveni has severally said that granting bail at the discretion of judges is “provocation” to the offended communities that he said are certain to retaliate against suspects freed pending trial.
“Really! Somebody has killed a person and you see him walking around. That is a provocation I am telling you. It’s a provocation, we can’t accept it,” Museveni said at the 4th Benedicto Kiwanuka memorial lecture.
Opio said that the president’s words amount to interfering with the existing pillar of justice provided for under Article 128 of the Constitution, which provides for the independence of the Judiciary.
Opio, while quoting the German Pastor, Martin Niemoller’s popular statement said that Ugandans should not wait until no one is left to speak for them.
Niemoller famously said: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out cecause I was not a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”