Masaka High Court has ordered prison authorities to provide specialised treatment to the Makindye West Member of Parliament, Allan Ssewanyana to enable him to recover such that he stands trial. The Masaka High Court Resident Judge, Lawrence Tweyanze issued the orders on Tuesday during the hearing of the second bail application by Ssewanyana and his Kawempe North counterpart, Muhammad Ssegirinya, who are battling terrorism charges.
The legislators applied for bail through their lawyers led by Erias Lukwago on the grounds of ill health, saying they can’t access the required medical attention in prison. Lukwago told the court that their clients, especially Ssewayana is currently bedridden because of ill health and could not attend court in person because he is admitted at Mulago National Referral Hospital. He revealed that they are afraid that Ssewanyana’s medical condition is gradually deteriorating and that he may even not live to stand trial.
Caleb Alaka, another defence counsel told the court it is in the interest of justice that the accused persons receive the required treatment such that they stand trial. In his ruling, Justice Lawrence Tweyanze directed the prison authorities to ensure the accused persons receive specialized medical attention pending the hearing of their bail application.
Richard Birivumbuka, the Masaka Principal Resident State Attorney who is the main prosecutor in the matter, asked the judge to halt the main trial for murder in Masaka, to allow them first to proceed with the terror charges before the International Crimes Division in Kampala. According to the State, it will be exhausting for the State and the defense to be subjected to back-and-forth movements between Kampala and Masaka if the trials are conducted concurrently.
He informed the court that the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala has already fixed the hearing of the matter beginning on February 20, 2023, and prayed that they first conclude the trial before they can handle the murder charges in Masaka court. In his response, Lukwago lashed out at the State for opposing their earlier prayers to merge the case files such that they can be heard jointly.
Notably, following their arrest in September 2021, Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana, and five others were committed to the high court for trial in November 2021 for murder, attempted murder, aiding and abetting terrorism arising from the wave of machete killings that marred Masaka and Lwengo districts between March and June 2021, where more than 20 people lost lives.