Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine has threatened to seek legal redress over a parliament report that found him guilty of assaulting Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal.
Tumwine’s statement followed the adoption of the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee report that recommended his reprimand for breach of privilege of MP Ogwal and for being disrespectful to Parliament.
The committee’s report tabled during the plenary session on Wednesday chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga followed an investigation into allegations of contempt of parliament levelled against Gen. Tumwine and his alleged attack on Cecilia Ogwal in the corridors of parliament.
The alleged confrontation followed a debate in which several MPs led by Bukonzo West MP Atkins Katusabe accused Tumwine of severally questioning the powers of parliament and directives made by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Now the report presented by the Rules Committee Chairperson Kenneth Ongalo-Obote observed that Tumwine’s attack on Ogwal was a breach of privilege as a Member of Parliament who has a right to debate on any matter on the floor of Parliament without fear of retaliation.
Obote told parliament that the attack potentially has the effect of intimidating members from freely expressing themselves in debates on certain subjects. He observed that Gen. Tumwine’s gestures and proximity to MP Ogwal were unconventional, dishonourable and an affront to the Member’s immunity and privilege.
However, in his defence Gen. Tumwine dismissed the committee findings saying that the report had been informed by lies against him that had been sparked off by MP Katusabe.
Gen. Tumwine further said that Katusabe’s actions led to more lies by MP Ogwal that he allegedly pulled a gun at her. He threatened that he would seek legal redress on the matter.
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana also dismissed findings of the committee, saying that the matter had been blown out of proportion.
Rukutana chose to support the minority report presented by Gaster Mugoya, the Bukholi North MP who said that no direct or circumstantial evidence to prove that an act of assault had been produced before the committee.
But Kaberamaido County MP Veronica Eragu Bichetero disagreed with Rukutana saying that there was no breach of the principle of natural justice but rather a deliberate move by the minority report to mix-up issues.
During an earlier debate on the matter, Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri said that there is need for MPs to respect each other.
Paul Mwiru, the Jinja Municipality East MP said that senior MPs involved in such fights is demeaning and embarrassing to Members of Parliament.
Jacob Opolot, the Pallisa County MP also said that the issue before parliament is more of morals than legal. He criticized the minority report saying that the author was not helpful and resourceful to the committee when he chose to keep away.
MPs rejected the minority report and adopted the main committee report. She said that her office would ensure that more meetings concerning the matter as suggested by a section of MPs will take place.