MASAKA – Members of Parliament – Muhammad Ssegirinya – Kawempe North representative and Allan Ssewanyana of Makindy West were this afternoon released on bail after 14 months on remand at Kigo prisons.
The two legislators have been in jail since September 2021 for allegedly funding machete-wielding gangsters who terrorised the Greater Masaka area.
The accused persons face several counts of murder, terrorism and attempted murder, emanating from a spate of killings in Masaka. The others are Bulo Wamala, John Mugerwa, Jackson Kanyike, Mike Sserwadda and Jude Muwonge.
Earlier in the morning – there was excitement at the Masaka High Court premises after the state – the chief attorney – Richard Birivumbuka revealed that the DPP had ordered the withdrawal of three affidavits – which he had filed against the duo’s bail application.
Thomas Jatiko, Jennifer Amumpaire, and D/SP-Innocent Mubangizi had sworn the said affidavits – tendered before court on January 23.
It remains unclear whether the state would not violate the Masaka High Court Judge -Lawrence Tweyanze’s decision to release Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya who appeared before court via a video link from their detention facility at Kigo.
It should be recalled that the duo has-separately been released in the same matter but re-arrested as soon as they set foot outside the Kigo prison gates.
One of the conditions Birivumbuka requested court the imposition of a ‘substantial amount of cash’ for the two legislators to be released on bail.
In his ruling, Tweyanze granted the accused persons cash bail of Ugx20m each – granting the prayers of the state, except for restricting the legislators from moving out of the country.
The court also bonded each of the legislator’s sureties – including Kalungu West MP, Joseph Ssewungu, Masaka City Mayor Florence Namayanja, Former Lubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante, and Kawempe Division Councillor, Thomas Bagonza, Ugx50m – not in cash.
Justice Tweyanze had adjourned the court to an afternoon session after a number of sureties – including MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Ali Mulyanyama – the mayor of Makindye Division and Namayanja of Masaka lacked the requisite LCI letters.
The bail application stems from a case in which the MPs are accused of murdering Joseph Bwanika, a resident of Kisseka B village in Lwengo district.
Bwanika was among the over 20 people that were killed in the 2021 indiscriminate machete attacks in the greater Masaka region. The two MPs were charged with the murder of Bwanika barely a week after they had been granted bail on other charges.
While Birivumbuka played the role of prosecutor in the case, counsels – Caleb Alaka, Erias Lukwago and Samuel Muyizzi Mulindwa, Medard Sseggona, Evans Ochieng and John Matovu represented the MPs.
The prosecution alleges that between January and August 2021, the accused and others still at large with intent to intimidate the public for political, religious or economic aims, indiscriminately directly involved themselves in the murder and terror acts in the greater Masaka region. Read more here
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