By Muhimbise George
The recent reactionary out bursts by President Museveni against bail and the proposed law stopping bail for all capital offences will regrettably be recorded as one of the worst trials the rule of law has undergone throughout our turbulent history.
Whereas dictator Amin was a hero since he was honest enough to crown himself a life President, an act that gave Ugandans a clear direction on how to deal with him and indeed in nine years he was gone, For Gen Museveni, he is a hypocrite who has played double standards by preaching wine while drinking water, proving that lying and dishonesty is truly part and partial of his DNA.
Watching him on TV, with his eyes wide open, very enraged because murder suspects have been released on bail would make you imagine that he cares for people’s lives or indeed the deceased.
Only if you know that his senior Presidential advisor on security Chris Rwakasisi, is a former convict for murder having shed blood of innocent citizens when he was a minister in UPC government, then you don’t take him serious.
When it’s the same Museveni who acknowledged sending soldiers that killed former boxer Zebra & to date no soldier is on record to have been apprehended, then you know the dishonesty in him has reached its pick.
When you know that it’s Museveni who ordered Gen Peter Elweru, a brutal cruel & inhuman soldier who in no minute had murdered hundreds in Kasese & burnt the palace down, only to be awarded by additional ranks, then you know that Museveni is just lying.
Indeed if Museveni is bothered about the rule of law & if the Bakonjo with their king were criminals, five years down the road they would have been convicted. Indeed if bail was the reason why suspects are released the king of Rwenzururu would have been granted bail to enjoy his freedom, what he is going through is what Gen Museveni wants all his opponents to go through.
Museveni having failed to convict his political opponents, despite the hundreds of trumped up charges levelled against them, now wants to use denial of bail as a way of punishing them.
Museveni just like the famous ostrich is hiding his head in the sand, running away from his own mess and heaping the blame on the law the judges as a scapegoat!
Imagine that one judge at Mbarara High court has to handle all capital offenses from 13 districts (Ntungamo, Rwampara, Mbarara, Kazo, Kiruhura, Mbarara City, Isingiro, Ibanda, Shema, Bushenyi, Mitooma, Rubirizi & Buhweju),
According to Police Crime Report 2020, 14,134 cases of defilement were reported to police and of these only 5,745 cases (40%) were taken to court while 50,58 cases (35%) were still under investigations. So does Museveni want all these suspects to be in jail yet it’s a weakness of the police to investigate them?
Where are the 3331 cases that were neither taken to court & neither under investigations? Money exchanged hands & the rest is history, is the problem about bail?
Of the 5745 cases taken to court, only 794 cases (13%) secured convictions,168 cases dismissed and 4762 cases were still pending in court. Is the problem about bail? Why are many cases still hanging in court? So does Museveni want all these suspects to remain in prison due to the problems in judiciary?
So in summary of 14134 defilement cases reported only 794 (5%) convictions were made! Has Museveni looked into this?
In 2019 a total of 13,613 defilement cases were reported, and only 1006 (7%) were convicted, 4,353 were pending trial while 4897 were under investigations.
So in total 8930 defilement cases were pending in court in 2019 & 2020 and Museveni wants all those suspects to be in jail as they wait for him to sort his mess in the judiciary yet the law says they are innocent until proven guilty?
So in total, 9955 cases were under in 2019 & 2020, and Museveni wants all those to be in jail as his incompetent police investigates?
Take note that in 2020 & 2019 alone, 6315 defilement cases were n never accounted for, neither investigated nor prosecuted, what happened to the victims? Money exchanged hands! Was all this brought about by bail? Certainly no!
Murder cases in 2020 were 4460 as compared to 4718 in 2019, of these less than ten percent was convicted.
In 2020, 1519 cases of rape were reported, only 19 people 0.9% were convicted while 650 were still pending in court, where are over 800 cases? Money exchanged hands!
So from these statistics, it’s obvious that court handles less than 10% of the cases that are brought before it.
For example, if Museveni wants suspects of capital offences to be denied police bond bail, this is what it means mathematically.
In 2018 a total of 15,366 defilement cases were reported, in 2019 it was 13,613 & in 2020 it was 14,134. That means we would have had 43,113 suspects of defilement
in prison in 3 years given the delays in prosecution.
With murder, in 2018 we had 4497 cases, in 2019 it was 4718 cases and in 2020 it was 4460 totaling 13675 cases in three years. With delays in prosecution and on an average of two suspects per murder case, it means we would have had 27,350 suspects in jail in three years.
These do not include mob justice which may have more suspects.
So two capital offences (defilement and murder) in total would account for over 70,000 suspects in three years. Our current prison population stands at 65000 yet the prisons are stretched.
Based on these facts, it’s clear that Gen Museveni is either ignorant, dreaming or running away from responsibility.
The breakdown of the justice system is entirely a weakness of his government and he can not shift the burden to the judges. His failure to empower the police, prosecutors and judicial officers should not be shifted elsewhere. He should better append in his resignation than wasting our time.
[email protected], 0787836515
The author is a member of the Alliance for National Transformation