Minister for the Presidency Frank Tumwebaze has denied that he was ever served with a court order prohibiting him from going ahead with the November 25, 2013 KCCA consultative meeting that saw Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago controversially impeached.
The minister, in a reply filed before the High Court in Kampala yesterday, also said he was advised by Attorney General Peter Nyombi that the removal of Mr Lukwago from the office of Lord Mayor was lawful.
The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, whose officers continue to bar Mr Lukwago from accessing his office at City Hall; Attorney General Nyombi and KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi have also filed responses denying they were ever served with such a court order.
The officials’ replies became public when hearing of yet another petition by Mr Lukwago began yesterday.
Mr Lukwago, in his application, observes that the Kampala minister and the group disobeyed the November 25, 2013 court order for which he wants them arrested and detained in civil prison for contempt of court.
When the matter came up yesterday, Judge Yasin Nyanzi adjourned the hearing of this application to Tuesday next week to enable Mr Lukwago’s lawyers reply to the denial.
On November 25 last year, High Court registrar Fred Waninda issued an injunctive order stopping Mr Tumwebaze from convening the meeting to discuss the report of a tribunal constituted to investigate allegations against Mr Lukwago. It was this meeting which later claimed to have voted to impeach him.
But Judge Nyanzi, shortly after, issued a ruling confirming what Mr Waninda directed at 8:45am on November 25 and said the earlier court order still stands until Mr Lukwago’s main application, in which he is challenging the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Tribunal report, is heard and determined.
The judge’s ruling meant that Mr Lukwago is still the Lord Mayor. However, elements within the government insist that Mr Lukwago was removed from office. The group also wrote a KCCA letter to the Electoral Commission asking that it organises a mayoral by-election which has been scheduled for April 17.
The government’s version of the events remains under the spotlight though. Mr Waninda, for instance, wrote to the Solicitor General on December 12, last year, reacting to allegations that he had committed serious errors in handling the petition.
“The record of proceedings indicate counsel Martin Mwambutsya’s attendance of court proceedings between 8:45am to 8:58am. The interim order was granted in his presence as attorney representing the Attorney General,”
He added: “In the proceedings, Mr Mwambutsya cited authorities and applied for leave to appeal against the grant of the order at 8:58am of 25/11/2013…”
The Attorney General has contradicted the registrar’s position, claiming the court order was served upon his chambers at 10:05am well after the 29 KCCA councillors had already voted out Mr Lukwago at 9:30am.
Television news footage on the day the impeachment took place shows Makindye Division councillor Allan Ssewanyana and city lawyer Abdallah Kiwanuka being roughed up by individuals believed to be security personnel as they tried to serve the minister with the court order.
Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze. “I have never been served with a court order stopping the meeting which took place on November 25, 2013, at which the applicant (Mr Lukwago) was removed from the office of the Lord Mayor.”
KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi. “As accounting officer of KCCA, I cannot validly authorise payment to any political leader who has ceased to hold office in authority.”