Legislators demand Gen Sejusa appears in person
Posted Thursday, October 3 2013 at 01:00
The chairperson of the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee said the General’s appearance in person for cross-examination is cast in the House Rules of Procedure.
The parliamentary Rules Committee yesterday appeared to backtrack on a promise to “explore” the possibility of cross-examining the renegade UPDF representative, Gen David Sejusa, via Skype.
Mr Fox Odoi, the chairperson of the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee, observed that the General’s appearance in person for cross-examination is cast in the House Rules of Procedure and cannot be “dispensed” with.
On the first day of the hearings on Tuesday, Gen Sejusa’s lawyers asked the committee to consider cross-examining their client online, citing safety concerns. Alternatively, the lawyers also proposed that the committee should consider travelling to London, where the General lives.
Gen Sejusa has been holed up in London since authoring a letter that called for an investigation into a suspected plot to assassinate senior government and military officials opposed to an alleged scheme to install President Museveni’s son Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba as next head of state.
Mr Odoi promised to consider the proposal of cross-examining the General online. However, yesterday, the West Budama North MP told journalists at Parliament, ahead of today’s hearings, that the renegade spymaster will have to physically appear before the committee for cross-examination.
“The Rules of Parliament require a member to appear and to be represented by counsel. He [Gen Sejusa] has to appear in person and he has an additional right to legal representation. His appearance cannot be dispensed,”Mr Odoi said.
He added: “The lawyers cannot be witnesses. We cannot cross-examine his lawyers on his behalf. ” The General’s lawyers had during the Tuesday hearings told the committee that the instructions they have do not allow them to appear as witnesses.
Mr Odoi was, however, quick to explain that this morning’s committee hearings will still hear a written submission from the General explaining his absence from the House.
On concerns raised by defence over the General’s security, Mr Odoi responded: “There is no member who is entitled to any more security than any other MP. The rights that accrue to one citizen accrue to another. You cannot ask for any other privilege outside those provided by the law.”