Uganda’s oldest political party, the Democratic Party (DP) has announced plans to rally Ugandans for a national referendum in a bid to “protect the constitution from being reformed.”
These plans were revealed by the Party’s Deputy Legal Advisor, Richard Lumu, who said that this was resolved at their extraordinary meeting of the party’s National Executive Council (NEC), in order to protect article 23 (6)a, b, and c of the constitution.
Lumu was addressing the DP weekly press conference at City House in Kampala, on Tuesday.
“We have delivered a letter to the Electoral Commission (EC) seeking to move a motion for the right of citizens to ask for a referendum. We note that removing the right to bail or to apply for bail contravenes the laws of natural justice,” Lumu said.
Lumu said that DP believes that if the right to ask for bail is removed, one is condemned guilty before trial, which should not be accepted.
“We strongly believe that the people of Uganda should determine whether or not the right to bail is scrapped, let the people of Uganda choose,” He added.
He added that in a few weeks, DP officials will traverse the whole country gathering at least two million signatures of registered voters, petitioning the EC to organize a referendum regarding the bail question.
He added that after the signatures, they expect the court to bar Parliament from discussing the matter since it will be scheduled for a referendum.
Cabinet last week tabled a proposal to have Article 23 (6) (b) of the Constitution amended to state that a person accused of committing an offence that is triable by both the High Court and subordinate courts, shall not be granted bail until after 180 days or trail commitment, or when the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) discontinues proceedings, whichever is earlier.
President Museveni, who chaired the meeting asked Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka to guide the cabinet on how to proceed on the proposed amendments.
DP however said that as the chief crusaders of the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms, they are going to fight hard to protect this article.