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By Joel Mugabi

Democratic Party (DP) President General Norbert Mao says government should conduct a referendum on Ssabalwanyi Museveni’s proposal to ban bail for suspected capital offenders.

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A few months ago, President Museveni renewed his push for the banning of bail and police bond for suspected murderers, defilers and other capital offenders. The general from Rwakitura argues, among other reasons, that releasing suspects on bond and bail was responsible for the rise in cases of mob justice among members of the general public.

In the ongoing debate on the president’s bail ban proposal, the political opposition has argued that the state will use a new amendment banning bail and police bond to persecute government critics since it will be easy to use the law to detain suspects for months.

Mao has proposed that all Ugandans of voting age should be allowed to decide on the matter through a referendum instead of government passing through Parliament to push through an amendment erasing the right to bail and the presumption of innocence from the laws of the land.

President Museveni’s ruling NRM has the majority in the 11th Parliament and, as has been the case in previous parliaments, there is a possibility of whipping the party’s MPs to toe Ssabalwanyi Museveni’s line.

Now, after DP’s retreat that discussed several issues, Mao told reporters in Kampala on Monday that the party wants Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama’s Electoral Commission (EC) to prepare for a referendum on the matter. Mao noted that “the constitution has been progressively disemboweled and the internal organs have been removed and we basically have a shell.”

In a bid to save the constitution, Mao further noted that DP wants to meet the EC so that the two parties (DP and EC) can “agree on a way forward because we are going to be moving around the country asking for signatures for citizens so that the referendum can be called.”

“We are demanding a National referendum stating that the power of the judiciary to decide who gets bail and who shouldn’t, not to be tampered with,” Mao emphasized. “The government wants to tie the hands of the judiciary so that even if you’re limping to court you must still spend at least six months in prison which is not fair.” (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us






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