KAMPALA – Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice George Kanyeihamba has thrown boots at President Museveni over plot to scrap bail for murder suspects and said his former boss is no different from Uganda’s former rulers including Gen Idi Amin.
Justice Kanyeihamba also a former Cabinet Minister in President Museveni admiration says scrapping the right to bail for any suspect will be “a direct return to [president] Idi Amin’s ruthless rule.”
“As you know I was one of the delegates in the constituent assembly and during the making of that constitution, we spent four days debating on the issue of freedom and bail-in particular. The background of this was that many Ugandans had been incarcerated and killed by the security forces of Idi Amin in the past. Many people disappeared others were imprisoned beyond the stipulated time because the idea of the bail was not known,” Kanyeihamba who was the chairman of the Legal Committee of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 National Constitution said.
He added: “We supported President Museveni and NRM. Fortunately, he defeated Idi Amin and we thought we would never see leaders like Amin in this country again, I’m horrified at my old age that we are going back to those old days of Animism, of authoritarianism of belittling the court to reduce their IQs to despise them.”
Justice Kanyeihamba who holds a Ph.D. in law from the University of Warwick said that every Ugandan is entitled to freedom.
“This is a country whose history President Museveni knows very well, a history that made him go in the bush to reverse it. Unfortunately, he has got a short memory and he is doing the same issues that made them go in the bush,” he said, noting that the right to apply for bail is sacred, unalterable, and a human right for which Uganda has signed many conventions and treaties to protect.
“Before president Museveni and his caucus alter the provision of bail, he should, first of all, withdraw Uganda from all the treaties it has signed that guarantee bail globally. He however must know that Uganda is bigger than him. The 40 million people are much wiser than his NRM caucus,” he said.
Prof. Kanyeihamba was one of the three Supreme Court justices who ruled that the re-election of President Museveni in 2006 was fraudulent enough to be nullified
He has also been critical of the government of Uganda when armed men invaded the premises of The High Court of Uganda to rearrests treason suspects that had been released on bail by the court.
The Constitutional Court has since ruled that the invasion of the court premises was unconstitutional.
The judge has always had a love/hate relationship with the government as he is always unpredictable in his judgment.
At his retirement, he was the only Judge with a Ph.D. in the country and is admired by many for his intellectual strength.