The Lord councillors appear in court. File Photo
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Buganda Road Magistrates Court has granted bail to four female Lord councilors who were jointly sent on remand with ten of their male colleagues for inciting violence.
Court presided over by the Grade One Magistrate Sanula Nambozo granted bail to Zahara Luyirika, the KCCA Speaker, Winnie Nansubuga, Rose Kigozi and Fausta Bitaano who have been on remand at Kigo prison on grounds that they are mothers with children to look after, and some of them are breastfeeding.
The group was last week remanded together with councilors Morshin Kakande, Charles Mpindi, Paul Kato, Richard Ssembatya, Moses Katabu, Aksam Ssemakula, Mosh Africkan Ssendi, Faisal Kibirige Ssebayiga and Gadafi Jafari Kamya.
However, all the ladies have been granted bail together with Gadafi Jafari Kamya, the only male accused person, on grounds that he appeared in court via zoom looking sickly and visibly in pain following alleged torture.
Gadafi was limping and complained of having his private parts smashed with a gun butt in the process of arresting him.
As a result, the five have each been directed to pay 500,000 Shillings cash and each of their sureties directed to execute a court bond of 2 million shillings not cash.
The Magistrate however noted in the event that the accused persons abscond from trial, their sureties will each pay 3 million shillings cash to court.
The grant of bail has followed a partly successful application by their lawyers led by Kenneth Paul Kakande and Erias Lukwago, who argued that they are leaders with KCCA and that they are still innocent until proven guilty.
The lawyers further noted that their clients were beaten by police officers in the process of arresting them and that they needed to get medication.
However, prior to the ruling, the State Attorney objected to the bail on grounds that the accused persons are leaders at the KCCA where most of their witnesses are supposed to come from and as such, they are most likely to interfere with the investigations which are still ongoing.
The prosecutor also noted that the accused persons are most likely to abscond from trial because the offense they are charged with attracts a jail term of 14 years, adding that it is a severe punishment that may make them runaway after securing bail.
According to the state, some of the sureties had documents addressed to a wrong court (KCCA City Hall Court) yet they are being tried by Buganda Road Court and therefore, they were not good records to be relied upon to grant the councilors bail.
In her decision, the Magistrate chose to give a summarized ruling and released all the female councilors saying they are mothers with children to look after and that she needed more time to look through the particulars of each one of the male councilors to ascertain whether they have any issue or not.
According to Nambozo, the parties had made lengthy submissions and the documents were many from more than 30 sureties which she needed to scrutinize further, but in the event that she had limited time, she decided to first look at the documents presented in respect to the women accused persons.
Shortly after Nambozo had made the decision, Lukwago stood up and pleaded with her to reconsider her decision saying that in the previous session, she promised to release all of them today.
Lukwago emphasized that the councilors were all beaten and sickly and needed to be released.
However, after listening to Lukwago’s submissions, Nambozo decided to add Gadafi on the list of those she had granted bail after he complained of torture and having sounded sickly.
Gadafi thus benefited from the decision that has left nine of their colleagues in jail at Kitalya Min Max Prison until February 14th 2022, when court will be sitting to deliver a ruling on their application.
The prosecution alleges that on February 3, the 14 councilors and others still at large, incited members of the public to demonstrate violently against the officials of KCCA by reason of their office to remove street vendors from the streets of Kampala city.
According to the director of public prosecutions-DPP, the crime was committed along Allen Road in Kampala Central, Kampala district. However, the suspects who appeared in court wearing white t-shirts with a picture of a hawker being removed from the street and with the inscription “Omutembeyi Si Muyekeera” (a hawker is not a rebel) denied the charges hence their application for bail.
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