Ikemefuna and the right to bail

I am thinking of Ikemefuna and how he became Okonkwo’s adopted son. A woman from the village of Umofia was killed at a market in Mbaino village. Okonkwo went to Mbaino village and demanded that the village offers a virgin girl and a young man, as a way to pay for the lost life in Umofia, that was administration of Justice in the precolonial time as portrayed by Chinua Achebe in,’Things Fall Apart’. Let’s discuss the administration of justice in the peril of Africa (emphasis mine)

Among the Acholi community, there is a practice known as Mato Oput (drinking the bitter portion of the leaves of the Oput tree), which aims at cleansing the perpetrator of the crime and bringing the two families together.Last year, Matthew Kanyamunyu, accused of shooting Akena a social worker in 2016, underwent the ceremony as a reconcilation mechanism. One cannot tell whether the grieving family forgave him but that’s culture. Matthew was later sentenced to five years imprisonment for manslaughter after entering a plea bargain arrangement with the DPP. One can understand why societies aimed at reconcilation mechanisms even after heinous crimes like murder. The Head of State at the Benedicto Kiwanuka memorial lecture said that bail for murder suspects is not right promising to take it to the NRM caucus, people are rather shocked that the caucus which is more like a rubber stamp for Tibuhaburwa this time failed to agree with him on the amendment to the constitution. History is littered with examples of how bad laws have come back to bite the said movers/sponsors right from Grace Ibingira to Amama Mbabazi.

The primary purpose of bail is to allow the arrested person to remain free until convicted of a crime and at the same time ensure his or her return to court.It is etched in the presumption of innocence of an accused person.We are in a country where Members of Parliament are rearrested after court granted them bail.

Uganda’s Watershed has been abuse of the grund norm(Constitution) from 1966 where a new amended constitution was pigeon holed to the Members of Parliament to suit the interests of the Executive Prime Minister then to the change in the term limit clause to the recent togikwatako in 2019, we have never gone back as a nation and won’t go back soon. One thing that I wonder is if the sitting President were to sleep in Office, would we be certain that the constitutional order would reign over the power vacuum ? I call it vacuum because I don’t see the retired Major giving instructions to the Generals. Brigadier Sande was honest about the army handing over power to civilians. The Head of the judiciary crystalized what many of us have said about the independence of the judiciary, what he fell short of was saying,’the President is supreme and his wishes should be respected’.I thought that I had misheard Honorable Chigamoy. There can never be any sanitization of his statement with any legal gymnastics. The Executive has never been the highest appellate court, even for Prerogative of Mercy, the President uses his executive powers and is functus officio.This implies that he lacks the powers to examine the judicial decision. One thing is certain, the memory of Benedicto was defiled with that affirmation that the executive is more supreme than the Supreme Court.Ours, was once a country.

2 Comments

  1. Its so sad to see a whole Chief justice making that statement presuming that the years of practice would have cemented his knowledge on the sanctity of the law and protection of it.

    Indeed ours was once a country.

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