July 22, 2013

Drama As Lukwago Appears Before Tribunal

There was drama this afternoon at Metropole Hotel when sympathizers of Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor asked the tribunal to throw out councilors opposed to his leadership saying they were occupying seats reserved for him and his supporters.  

It all started after Lukwago showed up at the tribunal hearing with his supporters to present his defense on the allegations brought against him by KCCA councilors but found the tribunal venue filled to capacity.

Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago
Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago

As a result, the mayor’s supporters started trading insults with the councilors. They castigated the petitioners and threatened not to vote back into office come the next election. They also asked security to throw out the councilors saying they were occupying seats reserved for them.

It took the intervention of Justice Catherine Bamugemerire, the chairperson of the tribunal to stop the heated verbal exchange. She threatened to hold Lukwago’s supporters for contempt of court should they continue disrupting the tribunal proceedings. Shortly the court room normalized, Lukwago’s lawyers led by Abdu Katuntu said they needed time to cross-examine all witnesses who had testified before the tribunal before a substantive response can be made by the Lord Mayor. Katuntu also asked the tribunal to pronounce itself on the freedom of Lukwago who was continuously under house arrest every time he is needed to appear.

In her ruling, Justice Catherine Bamugemerire gave Lukwago and his team three days starting Wednesday to cross-examine witnesses and be ready to present the lord Mayor’s defense by Monday. She also ordered that any restrictions on Lukwago’s movements concerning the tribunal should be communicated to the tribunal before the start of business at 7 am in the morning. Some of the witnesses earmarked by Lukwago’s team for cross examination are Hope Tumushabe, Adam Kibuuka, Hawa Namugenyi, Namukasa Hamidah, Sarah Buwaye and Jennifer Musisi. The lawyers also requested to have witness summons sent for Muruli Mukasa, the former minister for Kampala, Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde and Lyantonde District Woman MP Mayor Florence Kintu.

URN has also learnt that the Lord Mayor filed a preliminary written response to the tribunal. In his June 18th response Lukwango contests the tribunal proceedings saying the matters in question are still under parliamentary investigations and that the mandatory consultation with the attorney general and Benjamin Odoki, the chief Justice was wrongly done. He also denies all the allegations brought against him saying Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Kampala and KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi had made it impossible for his office to function properly. The written preliminary response was filed by Lukwago and co. advocates and Alaka and co. advocates.

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