Bobi Wine granted bail after spending several nights in Luzira Prison

Bobi Wine granted bail after spending several nights in Luzira Prison
Ugandan opposition figurehead Bobi Wine is freed on bail. Ugandan police arrested pop star turned MP Bobi Wine on April 29, barely two days after lifting the house arrest of a potential challenger to incumbent veteran President, and placed him in custody over a protest he organized last year.

Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine on Thursday 2nd, May 2019 was granted bail by Buganda Road Grade Magistrates Court.

Court presided by Grade one Magistrate Esther Nahilya granted Kyagulanyi 1 million shillings cash bail.

His sureties also executed a non-cash bond of 10 million shillings each.

The sureties are; Dr Miria Matembe the former Minister for Ethics and Integrity, National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliament – Mbwatekamwa Gaffa and Oshabe Patrick Nsamba.

Court ruled that the sureties are substantial with local council documents and National Identification cards although they do not live in the jurisdictions of Buganda Road Court.

“The Sureties are substantial and I, therefore, release the accused /applicant on the following grounds,” Nahilya said.

Nahilya cautioned Kyagulanyi against engaging in unlawful demonstrations or else his bail will be cancelled.

By the time of filing the story, Kyagulanyi’s lawyers led by Samuel Muyizi and Asuman Basalirwa were at the bank to deposit the money.

Trouble started on Monday when MP Kyagulanyi was arrested from Mulago roundabout as he headed to CID Kibuli to record a statement.

Kyagulanyi was later whisked away to Nagalama Police Station where he recorded the statement in question.

However, before the day ended, Police was able to arraign Kyagulanyi before Buganda Road Grade one Magistrates Court for charges of disobedience of statutory duty.

The charges date way back in 2018 when the legislator and four others led a protest against the government policy to introduce Over the Top Services (OTT) tax.

However, Kyagulanyi pleaded not guilty and applied for bail which has been granted.

Court has now directed the Prosecution to share the evidence they intend to use in the trial of Kyagulanyi and his co-accused to their lawyers before May 23rd, 2019.

This is because the Prosecution team led by Francis Amerit Timothy told court that investigations into the matter are complete.

Meanwhile, the use of video conferencing on the bail application hearing of Bobi Wine attracted mixed reactions.

The video conferencing system was launched by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe last month for the mention of high profile cases.

The prisons authorities supported the system, on the basis that it would help them cut the costs of bringing suspects to Court for the mention of their cases.

Some Ugandans were taken by surprise when they heard that Kyagulanyi would not be brought to court but rather, the video conferencing system would be used.

Boda Boda riders, hawkers of foodstuffs and clothes as well as passengers in Nakawa who spoke to this publication were bitter that Bobi Wine was not present in Buganda Road Magistrates Court.

Some say it is better to bring a suspect to court so that the magistrate can deliver a ruling upon assessing his or her well-being and condition when in the dock.

Hakim Mukasa who is a welder in Nakawa market concurs with Sullah Kizito who is also a trader within the same market said that Bobi Wine should be allowed to exercise his political and economic rights to freedom of expression and also performing at concerts as a musician.

Kizito, a member of the ruling party-National Resistance Movement (NRM), says that he and other party members were concerned about Kyagulanyi’s detention on what he calls a “minor issue” and that he should have been brought to court to listen his bail application hearing.

However, Kyagulanyi’s lawyers are happy about the new technology of video conferencing.

Asuman Basalirwa says the video conferencing system is so good in this era of science and technology. He, however, says that it was used illegally which amounts to abuse of the court process.

Basalirwa explains that the law requires the prosecution to file in a proper application explaining clearly the reasons why the person should be tried using the system. The defence lawyers are supposed to explain whether they are convenient with it or not.

Basalirwa says that the video conferencing system should be used in exceptional cases such as when a suspect or witness is out of the country or ill.

Kyagulanyi’s other lawyer Samuel Muyizi said that if it was not for securing bail for his client, they were going to object to the video conferencing system.

Anthony Wameli, from the DPP’s office, says that the technology is highly welcome. He, however, adds that the system doesn’t allow them to consult their clients while court is proceeding.