MP Muhammad Ssegirinya finally granted bail in inciting violence case

Muhammad Segirinya belongs to prison, not parliament – Kidandala
Kawempe North MP-elect Muhammad Segirinya in police custody. COURTESY PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court has granted bail to Kawempe North Member of Parliament (MP), Muhammad Ssegirinya who is battling charges of inciting violence.

The Grade One Magistrate, Doreen Olga Karungi granted the legislators bail of sh1 million in cash. She ordered each of his two sureties to execute a bond of sh10 million not cash.

The Wandegeya Ward councilor in Kampala, Thomas Bagonza, and his Wampewo Ward counterpart in Ruteete Parish in Wakiso district, Apollo Ariho stood surety for Ssegirinya. In his application through his lawyers led by Kampala Woman Member of Parliament, Shamim Malende, Ssegirinya told the court that he is innocent until proven guilty and that the charges against him (inciting violence) are bailable by the Magistrate’s Court.

He also told the court during his admission at Mulago National Referral Hospital, doctors reportedly told him that one of his rotting feet had developed cancer-like cells, but they couldn’t tell the specific type of cancer. Malende also argued that his client has High Blood Pressure and kidney complications, which require specialized attention.

She asked the court to release Ssegirinya on bail, arguing that he is a responsible member of society and a Member of Parliament (MP). Ssegirinya who appeared in court via zoom from Murchison Bay prison in Luzira complained of stomach complications, saying he need to conduct a scan to ascertain its cause, which he can’t get in the prisons.

He also accused Prison officials of denying him a chance to attend Friday prayers like other inmates and subjecting him to medical interns at Mulago Hospital who handled him in a degrading manner.

The State Attorney, Peter Mugisha strongly objected to the bail application, arguing that although Ssegirinya has not yet been convicted, the charges against him (inciting violence) show that he is not a responsible member of society. He argued that Ssegirinya is a threat to national security for having incited violence to the extent of calling for genocide, adding that there was no medical report to support his claims of illness.

Mugisha also noted that given that Ssegirinya is facing capital offenses in Masaka High Court related to murder and terrorism, he is not a respectable member of society as his lawyers had stated. He asked the court to dismiss the application and instead fix Ssegirinya’s matter for hearing in the shortest time possible.

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But in her ruling, Karungi allowed the application, saying that although there is no medical report confirming the legislator’s illness, he sometimes back displayed a rotting foot to the court and looked physically ill. She also noted that the Uganda Prisons Services have failed to present him in court on several occasions on the account of his ill health. She argued that this was sufficient evidence that Ssegirinya is sick and needs medical attention.

She granted him bail and adjourned the case to December 22nd, 2021. She accordingly issued summons to prosecution witnesses to appear on the same day for the trial to commence. Also known as Mr. Update, the legislator is accused of posting a statement on “Ssegirinya Muhammad Fans Page” on Facebook calculated to incite the public to raise up in violence against a section or group of people.

“I am warning those who are trying to assassinate Hon Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu that what will happen will be forty times worse than the 1994 Rwandan Genocide,” the prosecution quotes the legislator to have posted.

It is estimated that one million people were slaughtered in ethnic cleansing in 100 days during the Rwandan genocide.