The week in Uganda’s parliament ended dramatically on Thursday, with a bill seeking an increase in the retirement age of judges being given the green light and the security minister (Rtd) Lt.General Henry Tumukunde promising to support a former aide of Dr. Kiiza Besigye Sam Mugumya who is detained in DRC.
A private member’s bill on constitutional amendments seeking an increase in the retirement age for judges from seventy to seventy five years in the case of justices of the Supreme court and the court of appeal from sixty to seventy five years in the case of judges of the high court took a step forward Thursday, after parliament granted leave to the mover of the motion to introduce the bill, Tuesday next week.
The bill drafted by the Member of Parliament for Nakifuma County in Mukono district Eng.Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko was given a green light amid an acrimonious debate from the members of the 10th parliament presided over by the deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya.
Presenting the motion on the floor of parliament, Ssekitoleko argued that the requirement for justices and judges to retire at the ages of seventy and sixty five respectively poses a challenge to the independence of the judiciary. He said the judiciary’s security of tenure is fettered by the retirement age requirements yet acquiring and mastering judicial qualities and skills is the result of a long and continuing service on the bench, not necessarily picked from lecture rooms.
Meanwhile, the leader of opposition Winnie Kiiza has said the acrimony between the members of parliament over a motion to introduce the private members bill was regrettable. Kiiza daid the stalemate mainly between the members of the opposition and the ruling party was a result of suspicion and the failure by the speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanya to guide members during the debate.
Fate of Sam Mugumya
The security minister (Rtd) Lt.General Henry Tumukunde assures parliament that the country will provide all the necessary support to the former aide of Dr. Kiiza Besigye Sam Mugumya as he faces trial over treason in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This after Mugumya was listed among the 215 people ADF rebels to be tried by a military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 215 are accused of killing hundreds of civilians in and around Beni town.
Presenting a ministerial statement on the security situation in the country Tumukunde said Mugumya’s trial is matter of concern to the country and hence he will liaise with the attorney general to ensure that Mugumya gets Justice.
Mugumya has been in detention in Ndolo military prison in Kinshasa and according to available information he will be transferred to Beni to answer charges related to the massacre of civilians, participating in an insurrection movement, Crimes against humanity and terrorism.
Mugumya was arrested with four others by DRC authorities in 2014 near the DRC boarder
The others arrested include Aggrey Kamukama, a businessman in Rukungiri Town, Steven Mugisha, a trader, Nathan Bright and Joseph Kamugisha, a boda boda rider.
Mugumya has since explained that he was escaping to the DRC to seek political asylum but the DRC authorities said that he was part of a rebel outfit that was causing an insurgency.