By Keefa Kaweesa
H.E the Presidents’ speech at the 27th anniversary at Kaseese had a host of achievements but it touched one major point of concern in the society.
The president stated that he was perplexed by their lordships act of indiscrinately allowing bail application for those who had committed murder, rape, defilement, corruption and embezzlement of huge sums of money. He cited article23 (6) (a) (b) and (c) of the constitutionary provisions, which provide discretionary powers to the judges to grant bail.
He said their lordships should help people and exercise those powers judiciously and has proposed an amendment to the relevant laws in this respect. I concur on this point.
Of late, there are many happenings that the citizenry are almost loosing confidence in the judiciary. To cite an example, at Bulika village in Mukono, one Musoke, a local defense, was waylaid on the way home and slaughtered nearby a witchdoctor’s palace.
The police discovered body parts and blood at this place and made arrests of two owners. Two weeks later, these two were released on bail. The community mobilised, and lynched one. When the Police tried to retrieve the body, people collected firewood and burnt it.
The relatives of the deceased witchdoctor later appeared and pleaded for the remains to be buried as per custom. The community refused and demonstrated their anger and frustration by colleting more firewood and burnt the remaining few bones to ashes.
Such is the anger and frustration which the President is talking about whereby their lordships should help society. A person embezzles sh260b and is given bail and in most cases the file gets lost or the state loses interest in the case, what signal does it send to the society?
What is more angering and frustrating in the society is that even after the president had talked about it, the next day the anti corruption court granted bail to officials who have whisked off pensioners money. Is it because the recipients are old people that they cannot show their anger?
A guy is found fragranto dilcto on a three year old girl and the law talks about absence of penetration. Why can’t we have a statutory provision to protect young girls and facilitation to the victim’s parents to avoid being compromised?
The President lamented that he had tried to push for amendments to these laws but Parliament was not responsive.
Article 126 (1) of the Constitution provides that judicial power is derived from the people, in the name of the people and in conformity with law and values and aspirations of the people. In the case of the State v Kato Kajubi, where he was accused of murder, the first verdict had gone in favour of the accused and the money magnets celebrated but the society’s uproar demanded a retrial.
Former DPC of Mukono, James Aurien, was first acquitted of murder of his wife but the anger and frustration by the women activist provided results. It is my submission that the president is pushing for amendments to address the anger and frustration of the society and should be supported by every member of the legal fraternity.
Parliament is empowered to make laws but how many a law has it made in this regard? If a diligent audit on the passed laws, time and money spent were conducted, what would the Parliament score on the above five stated issues? It is a high time the Penal Code Act is also reviewed because some of the penal provisions are not only obnoxious and obsolete but inapplicable for instance section 154 on adultery was declared unconstitutional.
Then there are cases where the very legislators and politicians rush to the Police and judiciary to plead for their voters. Why do you want to influence judicial decisions? Why don’t you allow them to exercise their work judiciously? At the outmost, it is the very politicians who have committed the crimes.
We have within the society MPs and senior Police officers, who have been tried and convicted of murder. It is on record that the chairman LCV, Mayuge was convicted of murder while on bail and vanished. We have ministers, MPs and government officials who have been tried for corruption and embezzlement of public funds.
Then you hear them trekking and soliciting every influential office, holy places and shrines for redress, what is the hullabaloo about? Which member of society has condemned the team which went to State House to plead pardon for their son of the soil?
Writer is a lawyer