Justice Michael Elubu has revised the Shillings 30million cash bail fees slapped against the former Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party, President, Dr. Kizza Besigye.

He delivered the verdict on Monday following an application by Besigye challenging the Shillings 30million bail slapped on him by Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Siena Owomugisha.

Besigye ran to the High court after Owomugisha ordered him to pay Shillings 30million in cash for his bail on the charge of inciting violence.

His sureties including the former leader of Opposition in Parliament Wafula Ogutu and Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party Deputy Secretary-General Harlod Kaija executed a noncash bond of Shillings 70million each.

This came after the four-time presidential candidate was arraigned in court in connection to his planned protest to mobilize Ugandans to raise up against the high commodity prices.

Besigye declined to pay the bail money, which he described as excessive, and opted to go to Luzira Prisons. He instructed his lawyers Erias Lukwago and Chrysostom Katumba to challenge the decision in the High Court.

In the application, the lawyers noted that by asking Besigye to pay bail of Shillings 30million in cash, Owomugisha had exercised her jurisdiction with material irregularity.

They also argued that the stringent bail terms had derogated Besigye’s right to a fair hearing and civil liberties.

They told the High court that Besigye was dragged before the magistrate’s court alongside Samuel Lubega Mukaaku, Yoweri Kintu, and Fred Kato, who were charged before different Magistrates and given a non-cash bond of Shillings 1million each yet the charges against them arose from a similar act.

They asked the High court to set aside the magistrate’s decision and release their client on reasonable terms and conditions.

This morning, Justice Elubu concurred with Besigye’s legal team, saying that the monies were harsh and excessive adding that such conditions make bail look like a punishment yet its purpose is to compel the accused to attend court for trial.

He also explained that the offense of inciting violence which Besigye was charged with attracts a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment, arguing that if the Court was to ask him to pay a fine upon conviction, it would be around Shillings 1.2 million.

Justice Elubu reasoned that the bail conditions shouldn’t be such high but instead reasonable to compel someone not to abscond from the trial.

He, therefore, quashed the decision and ordered Besigye to pay Shillings 3million. The Deputy High Court Registrar, Festo Nsenga read justice Elubu’s verdict in open Court in the presence of Besigye and dozens of top FDC officials. Besigye looked excited about the decision.

Details of the Case

The prosecution alleges that on May 24th, 2022 at Arua Park in Shauriyako Parish in Kampala City, Besigye without lawful excuse made statements indicating that he desired to demonstrate, which could cause damage to property.

The protests by Besigye claim almost two weeks after Police barred him from leaving his home in Kasangati to mobilize Uganda to protest against the runaway commodity prices.

The increase in prices, which started almost in late November 2021 has seen fuel prices increase by almost Shillings 2000. URN

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