Muntu, Tinkasimire, Yawe stand surety for Bobi Wine

By Joseph Kizza

Former Forum Democratic for Change president Gen Mugisha Muntu, Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire and Eddie Yawe stand sureties for the Kyadondo East MP.

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PIC: Inside Gulu High Court on Monday. (Credit: Ronald Buganda)

POLITICS


GULU - Three people have stood surety for Robert Kyagulanyi (alias Bobi Wine) as the Kyadondo East MP and 32 others seek to be released on bail in Gulu.

The bail application hearing is going on at the Gulu High Court in northern Uganda.

Bobi Wine, charged with treason alongside the other suspects, was presented as the first applicant by a team of lawyers led by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu.

In a crowded courtroom Monday morning, former Forum Democratic for Change (FDC) president Gen Mugisha Muntu, Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire and Eddie Yawe were read out as Kyagulanyi's sureties.

Yawe is his elder brother.

Tasked with reading out and presenting the sureties, lawyer Caleb Alaka assured court that they had clearly explained to the sureties the need to adhere to the conditions of bail -- in case Bobi Wine is released under that arrangement.

The bail application hearing kicked off at exactly 9am local time, about an hour after the suspects were driven into the court premises aboard a Prisons bus.

A large team of their lawyers and other politicians had also arrived, set for the hearing. Family members and friends, some of whom would stand surety for their loved ones, came in early too.

There was a conspicuously ubiquitous security presence, comprising personnel of the Police and Prisons forces.

The likes of Katuntu, Medard Sseggona, Caleb Alaka, Asuman Basalirwa, Nicholas Opiyo and Samuel Muyiizi were part of a legal team seeking to secure bail for the suspects, who were charged with treason following the chaotic events surrounding the Arua Municipality by-election earlier in August.

They are implicated in the attack of the President's convoy two days before the hotly-contested polls that sought to replace slain legislator Ibrahim Abiriga.

Bobi Wine was charged with treason Thursday last week by the Gulu Chief Magistrates Court, the same day he had just been cleared of charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition by the court martial.

He was immediately sent on remand at Gulu Central Prison, where the other supects were being detained.

Lawyers make case for bail

On Monday, Sseggona presented to the Gulu resident judge grounds for their clients' release. All the grounds were the same for every applicant, and an additional one for Arua Municipality-elect MP Kassiano Wadri (of being of advanced age at 58).

He told court that the applicants have fixed places of abode, have no pending charges against them in any other court and do not intend to interfere with witnesses once released.

Sseggona assured that the suspects, if granted bail, would abide by any bail conditions, adding that the address of each suspect is known as stated in the affidavit.

Wadri, who beat 11 candidates in the August 15 Arua Municipality by-election, had two sureties: Francis Gonahasa and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winfred Kiiza.

Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja and Nwoya Woman MP Lilly Adong stood surety for Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga.

Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru had two fellow legislators stand surety for him -- Soroti Woman MP Angeline Asio Osegge and Soroti Municipality MP Herbert Ariko.

Former Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke had Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Ochan and KCCA councillor Katabu Moses stand surety for him.

With a long cast of suspects for a confined space, court was forced to split the group into two. As the first 15 were handled, the rest were asked to wait in the cell.

Their individual applications were heard when court returned into session after a 30-minute adjournment at about 10:40am.



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