19 April 2018

Uganda: Parliament Clerk Grilled Over Shs29m for Non-MPs

(Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Court resumes)

Male Mabirizi: Ms Kibirige, will I be right to state that you used your office to stampede the decision that was a reserve of the people?

Jane Kibirige: No my lords, it's not right

Mabirizi: Did you have the power to amend Article 260 for the six years you have been in Parliament?

Kibirige: No.

Mabirizi: You stated that when members are suspended from the House, they have to exit the chambers, where did you get that?

Kibirige: It's provided for in the Parliamentary rules.

Justice Dollo: You cannot be suspended and then you stay... Suspension means you don't participate.

Kibirige: My lords, the counting of the days begins at the next sitting but the member has to exit immediately and we don't count that day's sitting.

Mabirizi: Ms Kibirige, I put it to you that the purpose of the Shs29m given to the MPs to carry out consultations was to influence people's minds when it came to voting.

Kibirige: My lords, that is the opinion of counsel that it was a bribe but it wasn't.

Justice Kakuru: In view of what the Speaker stated that this matter can't end without consulting the people and the MPs should go back to their constituencies and consult, why did you pay them?

Justice Dollo: The Prime minister of Uganda as far as we know, has no constituency, why did you give him the Shs29m?

Justice Kasule: Can we go back to the criteria for paying this money, did it depend on the constituency or some other consideration?

Justice Kibirige: No my lords, all were paid and were supposed to consult.

Mabirizi: Can you read the names of those 14 MPs who returned the money?

Justice Dollo: You have a list of 14 members and the list does not include the name of Hon Betty Nambooze and we wonder. So who are those 14?

Kibirige: Moses Kasibante, Medard Lubega Ssegona, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Mathias Mpuuga, William Nzoghu, Muwanga Kivumbi, Angelline Osegge, Cecilia Atim Ogwal, Roland Kaginda Mugume, Gerald Karuhanga, Winfred Kizza, Harold Muhindo Tony, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, and Jonathan Odur.

Mabirizi: Thank you, can you also confirm that these very members voted

Kibirige: They did.

Mabirizi: So can I conclude that with or without that money (Shs29m) members participated in the voting?

Kibirige: My lords, it was their choice.

Mabirizi: Thank you my lords, that's all.

Mwesigwa Rukutana: Thank you my lords, a few questions to the witness. Madam Kibirige, you have told court that Parliament did not amend Article 260 of the Constitution

Kibirige: Yes my lords.

Rukutana: I want to bring to your attention the Hansard page 5262... Rukutana: Nandala Mafabi says I want to add a new clause, can you read it?

Kibirige: (reads) "Mr Nandala Mafabi, I want to move an addition of a new clause madam chairperson since you allowed Hon. Michael Tusiime to raise an amendment, I want to bring an amendment to Article 105 of our Constitution to introduce term limits.

Thank you. I want to say that a person shall not hold office as President for more than 2 terms in addition to that it will take effect from the next Parliament.

Rukutana: I want to take you down to that column...

Kibirige: (reads) Honorable members, I put the question that Article 105 be amended as proposed

Rukutana: Then the response

Kibirige: Question put and agreed to.

Rukutana: So is it your evidence that what was amended was Article 105 ?

Justice Kakuru: No, what about the next paragraph?

Justice Kasule: Madam Chairperson, we have moved both amendments that this Article be re-entrenched under Article 260.., we entrenched it to be under a) we add and the justification is to avoid being ... Honorable members I put the question that the clause be further amended as proposed to and agreed to.

Rukutana: I was leading the witness... . Madam Kibirige, you said whether it's a private Member's Bill, it's a clerk to Parliament to apply for a certificate of financial implication

Kibirige: Yes my lords

Rukutana: Does that include any other person to apply for a certificate of financial implication?

Kibirige: No my lords. It's the Clerk to Parliament to apply for that certificate of financial implication because a private Member's Bill doesn't have a sponsor so it's Parliament to sponsor it

Rukutana: You said Shs29m was given to every MP to carry out consultations, tell court why there was necessity to be given additional Shs29m?

Kibirige: The money that we pay to MPs every month, they don't get a balance [saving]. They are the ones taking care of the sick.

Justice Kakuru: But you have been running adverts on TV that those are not their roles?

Kibirige: That's why we are trying to ask the constituencies that their MPs are their voices in Parliament and that they should not expect everything from them

Justice Kakuru: It cannot be true that the money is given to them to look after the sick because there is a budget for the sick; there is a budget by the ministry [of Health] to treat the sick.

Kibirige: I agree with you... .

Rukutana: You told your lordships that the Shs29m did not constitute an extra charge on the Consolidated Fund, where did it come from?

Kibirige: The Shs29m, the money was appropriated to the Parliamentary Commission in a budget this financial year 2017\18. So we did not ask for any extra money because these are activities that Parliament has to carry out and the bills they have to take care of. We mobilised resources from within our budget.

Rukutana: Were ex officio members of Parliament also given Shs29m for consultation, does an ex officio consult people?

Kibirige: Much as they don't have constituencies per say, they are free to consult.

Rukutana: That is the end of my re-examination.

Justice Dollo: Was there some central guidelines that Parliament issued and the parameters how the consultation should be conducted?

Kibirige: My lords, it was left to the individual members to do as they felt because others would call civic leaders, pastors and others would go to the market so it was upon each individual member.

Justice Dollo: Didn't you possibly come across a situation where some members reported of what they consulted, where a Woman MP who represents a district and in that district, there is either a woman or male representing what used to be called the county constituencies, going to consult the same people but coming up with a different position; with one saying my people have said don't touch [amend] and the other says don't mere 'touch' but lift the whole thing?

Kibirige: My lords, I never analysed that.

Justice Dollo: Thank you the Clerk to Parliament for your time.

Rukatana: My lords, the next witness will be the Director of Operations of Uganda Police, Mr Asuman Mugenyi

Justice Dollo: In the present democratic dispensation under this Constitution, how can police come up with such type of communication to evade Parliament? Would you be proud of such a thing?

Asuman Mugenyi: (Keeps quiet)

Christine Kaahwa: (acting Director of Civil Litigation on government team intervenes). My lord, we request that you allow the witness take you through his evidence.

Justice Kenneth Kakuru: We determine what takes place in this court.

Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi: Mr Mugenyi, I am sure when you prepared a response to this affidavit you must have read the affidavit of Winfred Kiiza, a petitioner, in paragraph 13, where she cites that given her position as the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, she had agreed with opposition MPs including; Ssemujju Nganda, Jack Wamai, among others to conduct group consultations but in the process of consulting people in different constituencies in different occasions, police distracted our consultations and meetings by beating, torturing people using teargas and firing bullets by disrupting people who had gathered to give us their views on the age limit Bill. I am sure you have read about that.

Mugenyi: I am sure nothing like torture happened.

Rwakafuuzi: There was no teargas during the meetings?

Mugenyi: There was no teargas. The meetings were held successfully without interruption and I was part of them.

Rwakafuuzi: So how was your directive implemented?

Mugenyi: My directive was that you stop if your meetings are contrary to public order.

Justice Kakuru: Why is it that other members of the National Resistance Movement party were being allowed to campaign with police band?

Mugenyi: My lord, I am not talking about any party. All people were allowed to consult. (laughter in court)

Justice Dollo: Any additional cross-examination from the petitioners?

Lukwago: Mr Mugenyi, you have just informed court that you gathered evidence information which informed your decision to issue that decision but in paragraph 6 of your affidavit, you categorically state that directive was from the Speaker, who directed that members should consult in their respective constituencies. Do you stand with this or you would wish to change your position?

Mugenyi: This was based on the situation at that time but not now.

Lukwago: Do you still maintain your position that it's the Speaker who directed that members should consult in their own constituencies?

Mugenyi: My lord, this was based on the information we had got.

Justice Dollo: The question is simple. Did you act on the directive of the Speaker?

Mugenyi: No my lord

Lukwago: You said it was not your personal decision to issue that circular, whose decision was it?

Mugenyi: It was a decision of the police management

Justice Dollo: What would you have done if the Vice President went to Arua and they told him not to touch the Constitution? Would you have arrested him?

Mugenyi: It depends on the situation. If the situation is likely to turn violent, I would advise and stop him for his own safety.

Justice Kakuru: How do you determine that a demonstration is illegal before it happens?

Mugenyi: (goes quiet)

Rukatana: Mr Mugenyi, the order contained in your message was meant to prohibit MPs from moving from their constituencies to constituencies that don't belong to them.

Mugenyi: Yes, my lord

Rukatana: Was this order directed to a selected group of MPs?

Mugenyi: No, my lord.

Rukatana: It's was a general order.

Mugenyi: Yes, my lord.

Rukatana: Mr Mugenyi, are you aware that consultations took place across the country?

Mugenyi: Yes my lord, to greater extent, consultations took place.

Justice Cheborion Barishaki: This morning, we were glad to have Gen David Muhoozi who said he gets intelligence report and you are saying the same. Do you think that those intelligence reports sometimes are wrong?

Mugenyi: My lord, it depends. But in many cases prevention is better than cure.

Rukatana: My lord, the next witness will be the Commissioner of Police, Frank Mwesigwa, the former Command of Kampala Metropolitan Police.

Rwakafuuzi: Could you look at your paragraph number 11. It says that Public Order and Management Act manages meetings such as consultation meetings, true or false?

Mwesigwa: True my lords

Rwakafuuzi: When do you apply this Act?

Mwesigwa: My lords, the Public Order and Management Act is clear. It mandates the police to conduct threat assessment prior, before and after public meetings.

Rwakafuuzi: How about the heavy deployment of police officers at Parliament at the time?

Mwesigwa: My lord, I don't have the yardstick to use to determine deployment but our deployment was because of the need and it was within the law.

Rwakafuuzi: So you stopped several rallies in Kampala?

Mwesigwa: No my lord.

Rwakafuuzi: You did not stop any single rally?

Mwesigwa: I did not, my lord.

Rwakafuuzi: You did not stop the rally of Medard Ssegona?

Mwesigwa: No my lords, we agreed on the venue and he moved to the venue because the assessment we made following the Public Order and Management Act, which is a requirement, he continued and consulted his people.

Rwakafuuzi: Your goal as police is to protect people to enjoy their rights as long as it does not inconvenience others, true or false.

Mwesigwa: False my lord because when you read the law, it talks about regulating public meetings.

Rwakafuuzi: This is irrespective of whether this gathering will affect the well-being of other people.

Mwesigwa: My lord, the most important and fundamental is to make sure your right does not infringe on other people's rights. That's why we come in to make sure you are right to assemble does not infringe on the right of other people.

Rwakafuuzi: So the former is above the Constitution?

Mwesigwa: It's not my lord. But it's a law

Erias Lukwago: Can you confirm the rally for Hon. Kasibante was stopped and it's you who commanded?

Mwesigwa: My lord, the rally of Hon. Kasibante was not stopped. It ended at 6:30pm and all MPs, who were in his support, participated.

Lukwago: There was no teargas?

Mwesigwa: If there was teargas, then it was due to the prevailing circumstances. Remember I talked about regulating rallies.

Lukwago: And Hon. Allan Ssewanyana's rally?

Mwesigwa: Nobody stopped it.

Lukwago: So the rally went on?

Mwesigwa: It depends on the place because they consulted in different places and areas

Lukwago: Kulekana stage?

Mwesigwa: My lord as you hear, that is a stage for vehicles and near the road. I stopped it basing on that.

Lukwago: And for Hon. Kato Lubwama?

Mwesigwa: We did not stop any rally of Hon. Lubwama. In fact he complied and consulted along.

Justice Dollo: I was brought in rural areas where 99 per cent of the people are barefooted and were friendly with police officers.

Ask yourself, this police station where you are number 3, if you go to the village will the people scatter? When you have your meetings, try to distinguish how you handle different situations. But thanks for coming to this court.

Uganda

Army Is Concealing Information About Bobi Wine - Basalirwa

Bugiri Municipality Member of Parliament (MP) Asuman Basalirwa who is one of the lawyers representing Kyadondo East MP… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.