Wednesday March 1 2017

Government defends Gen Tumukunde's ministerial appointment

Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde

Gen Henry Tumukunde  

By Anthony Wesaka

KAMPALA.

The government through the Attorney General (AG) has defended the appointment of Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde as security minister in last year’s ministerial appointment by President Museveni.

The defence was contained in the joint conferencing notes agreed upon by the petitioner of this case Mr Rogers Kanti and the Attorney General that was filed before the Constitutional Court yesterday.

The government through the AG states that Lt Gen. Tumukunde has never been convicted of an offense of moral turpitude by the Makindye based General Court Martial.

“The respondent (AG) states that Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde is qualified to be appointed in the central government of Uganda and has never been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude,” reads in part AG’s scheduling notes before court.

“The respondent (AG) shall indicate to the Honorable court that the charges and subsequent conviction of Lt Gen Tumukunde in the General Court Martial under section 178 of the UPDF Act does not amount to an offense (s) involving moral turpitude.”

To that effect, the AG has told court that he will at the main hearing; pray that the declarations sought by Mr Kanti be dismissed.

On the contrary, Mr Kanti through his lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, argued that Lt Gen. Tumukunde is not qualified to be appointed minister as his appointment violates Articles 80 (2) f and 113 (1) of the constitution because he was once charged with an offense of conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline.

The petitioner adds in his joint scheduling memo notes that Lt Gen Tumukunde was later on in 2012, convicted of the same offenses and sentenced to a caution.

Explaining his cause, Mr Kanti states that Article 113 (1) stipulates that a minister must be a person qualified to be a Member of Parliament.

He goes on to explain that article 80 (2) f stipulates that a person who has within seven years immediately preceding the election, been convicted by a competent court of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude is disqualified from being elected an MP.

Further in their joint scheduling memo, the two parties also formulated four issues that the panel of five justices will resolve during the main hearing at a later date that was not yet known at press time yesterday.

The issues; whether section 178 of the UPDF Act creates an offense involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, secondly whether Lt Gen.

Tumukunde was convicted of the offense involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, thirdly, whether the appointment of Lt Gen. Tumukunde as the minister is a violation of Articles 80 (2) f of the constitution and lastly whether the petitioner (Mr Kanti) is entitled to the declarations sought.

With the filing of these joint scheduling notes by both parties, the next step is for the Registrar of the court to fix the matter for hearing before a full panel of five justices to resolve the formulated issues aforementioned.

In his main petition, Mr Kanti states that in April 2013, the Makindye military court sentenced Lt Gen. Tumukunde to severe reprimand in connection with spreading harmful propaganda.

He said the charges stemmed from a 2005 radio talk show he participated in where he allegedly criticized President Museveni’s leadership and lifting of presidential term limits.

Mr Kanti further in his petition, alleges that Tumukunde’s ministerial appointment is contrary to the dictates of the rule of law and democracy of appointing a person to a position of minister contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

Through his lawyers Mr Kanti now wants court to declare that the former Luweero war fighter’s appointment as security minister was in violation of the constitution as he was not qualified to be appointed minister in 2016.

He is also asking court to quash the appointment of Lt Gen Tumukunde as minister.

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