Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Erick Sakwa, the Resident District Commissioner of Jinja has secured an interim order to return to the office until an application challenging his interdiction is disposed off.
Sakwa was interdicted on May 4, 2020, but declined to vacate office on account that the interdiction was fake and had loopholes in its delivery. The interdiction came days after Sakwa was charged with malicious damage, manslaughter and theft.
The prosecution alleged that Sakwa, alongside Bazimbyewa Bumali alias Chris Umar Dindodi, a resident of Mafubira Zone C and businessman Mohammed Simba alias Meddie stole three crates of beer, 80,000 Shillings, eight trays of eggs, sachets of empire waragi and soda valued at 429,000 Shillings. The merchandise belonged to one Charles Isanga, a trader who was beaten up for disregarding presidential directives against COVID-19. Isanga succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the attack a few days later.
In the aftermath, Hajji Yunus Kakande, the secretary in the Office of the president asked Sakwa to step aside in line with provisions of the public service standing orders. By virtue of the interdiction, Sakwa is barred from exercising the powers and functions of the RDC and stopped from leaving the country without clearance from the president. During this time he will be earning half of his salary.
But Sakwa says that the treatment he was being subjected to is inhumane and unjust. In his application, filed against Hajji Yunus Kakande and the Attorney General in the Jinja High Court, Sakwa stated that the alleged interdiction does not specify authorization from his appointing authority. The application further states that interdiction on grounds of any form of criminal charges was not listed in the terms and conditions of his appointment letter dated October 17, 2018.
Lawyers led by Caleb Alaka argued that Sakwa was the head of the COVID-19 district taskforce and his absence from the office will jeopardize its’ smooth operations. He added that interdiction is a process and the application against the same will be defeated if he hands over the office.
Alaka also argued that the Kiira Regional Police Commander Paul Nkore has continuously threatened his client with arrest if he fails to handover office and his safety can only be granted through an interim order.
Although State Attorney Brian Musota argued that the interdiction letter was lawfully granted and Sakwa’s stay in office is an act of insubordination, Jinja High Court Judge Jeane Rwakoko granted the team a Certificate of Urgency, the basis of which the Deputy Registrar Fred Waninda stayed the interdiction.
The applicant’s lawyers together with the state attorney were however tasked to file their submissions in the main application on Friday.