Four time presidential candidate and the leader of the People’s Front for Transition, Dr. Kizza Besigye has in an unprecedented act declined the bail that had been granted to him by court for being so “expensive”.
Besigye was on Wednesday afternoon charged for incitement of violence over his recent protests against the skyrocketing commodity prices in the country.
Court presided over by Grade One magistrate, Siena Owomugisha told Besigye that he is accused of asking the public to join him in protests over the high commodity prices which tantamount to inciting violence contrary to section 51(i) (b) of the Penal Code Act .
“On May 24th, at Arua Park, Muno village, Shauriyako parish in Kampala Central division without lawful excuse at an assembly made statements to members of the public indicating or implying that it would be desirable to demonstrate, an act which was calculated to led to destruction or damage to property,” the magistrate read from the charge sheet.
When asked about the same, Besigye denied the charges and in response, the state prosecutor, Joan Keko asked for more time to enable investigations be completed.
Besigye’s lawyers led by Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago later asked court to release his client on bail and to this, he presented two sureties including former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Wafula Oguttu and FDC deputy Secretary General, Harold Kaija.
Lukwago also told court that it is Besigye’s constitutional right to be released on bail but also being a national leader and four time presidential candidate, he could not jump bail.
“He has been a presidential candidate for four times and his record is undisputed. There is therefore no evidence that he is likely to interfere with investigations of jump bail,”Lukwago said.
The lawyer asked for non-cash bail.
However, the state prosecutor asked court not to grant bail to Besigye arguing that the sureties are not substantial whereas the accused would interfere with investigations into the case.
She said that in case court is inclined to grant bail, Besigye should be ordered to pay a cash bail and other stringent terms.
“In the event he is granted bail, it should be in cash but also an amount substantial enough to ensure that in case he thinks of jumping bail, the amount is big and it is painful to forfeit it,” Keko asked court.
The magistrate, however, reasoned with Besigye’s lawyers saying that without evidence, it a mere allegation to say that the accused would jump bail.
She said that the sureties are also substantial enough.
The grade one magistrate consequently released Besigye on a shs30 million cash bond whereas each of his two sureties were asked to pay shs70 million non-cash for bond.
Court was later adjourned to June 13 for mention of the case.
In a twist of events, Besigye whispered to his lawyer, Erias Lukwago that he would not accept to abide by the bail terms in which he had been asked to pay shs30 million cash.
According to Lukwago, Besigye opted to go to prison but tasked his lawyers to appeal against the shs30 million cash bond in a higher court.
“All the grounds were upheld but we were shocked that all that notwithstanding, she goes ahead to slap a big figure of shs30 million. This is miscarriage of justice and our client is baffled by that decision,”Lukwago said.
“For that matter, he has taken a stance of not soliciting for any help to pay because he doesn’t have the money. Definitely he is not going to pay. He has instructed us to file an appeal in Court of Appeal to challenge this decision. He will be on remand as we argue out the appeal.”
Earlier, Besigye who was arrested on Tuesday as he stormed the city centre in protest of the ever increasing commodity prices before he was detained at Naggalama Police Station in Mukono district arrived at court amid a heavy downpour and tight police security.
Dressed in his trademark checkered and hooded shirt, Besigye donned a blue cap but also carried a bag that seemed to have some of his belongings.
His driver, Fred Kato followed with other items including beddings and a flask among others.
They would later be taken to the court cells.
Inside the cells, the group was separated as Besigye was charged alone before Grade One magistrate whereas his other co-accused were also charged in a separate court and granted bail.