At least 49 loyalists of Rwenzururu Kingdom have asked the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala to grant them bail after close to six years in custody.
The applicants are part of the group of Rwenzururu loyalists who were arrested together with their King Charles Wesley Mumbere at the height of a UPDF-led offensive at the headquarters of the Kingdom palace in Kasese district in November 2016. They were subsequently charged with murder, terrorism, treason, malicious damage to property, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery.
Although Mumbere and some of the accused Royal Guards were granted bail in previous applications, 84 members of the initial group of 203 suspects have remained on remand, while 10 of the accused persons have died in prison, according to Rwenzururu Kingdom lawyers led by Alfred Makasi.
Yesterday, Makasi informed court presided over by Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khauka that he had filed an application for bail for some of Mumbere’s co-accused persons who are still on remand at a prison in Jinja and wanted to be given a date for which it will be heard.
In the application, the lawyers argue that the charges against their clients are false, fabricated and intended to embarrass them and the institution of their Kingdom which they symbolize. They add that the suspects have been detained for so long a time, since their arrest, and that the direction of the trial is not very clear to them at the moment.
They add that while on remand, the suspects whose bail is being sought have been attacked by various ailments for which they seek bail so that they get treatment from their respective homes. Makasi adds that the rest of the suspects will have their applications submitted at a later date.
According to the affidavits accompanying the applications, the accused persons all have permanent places of abode in Kasese district, where according to the lawyer and the suspects, the security situation has since normalized.
“I am aware that the security dynamics obtaining at the time of my arrest, especially concerning security have changed and the situation in Kasese and surrounding districts is calm and under the control of security forces,” reads an affidavit by Alex Bakulha, one of the applicants.
The applicants also indicated that they have substantial witnesses and they cannot interfere with investigations.