Sunday March 30 2014

We will not block Lukwago, says KCCA

Mr Lukwago celebrates after the pronouncement

Mr Lukwago celebrates after the pronouncement of the court in Kampala on Friday. PHOTO by Faiswal Kasirye. 

By FARAHANI MUKISA

Kampala.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) technical wing led by Executive Director Jennifer Musisi has said they will welcome Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago back to his office today.

KCCA acting supervisor communications and media Robert Kalumba told this newspaper they would respect the decision of the court that ruled on Friday Mr Lukwago is the legitimate Lord Mayor.

“We are going to abide by the court’s decision,” Mr Kalumba said, however, he declined to answer any further question citing some “personal protective reasons.”

Court on Friday ruled that Mr Lukwago’s impeachment was “null and void” and ordered the Electoral Commission to immediately stop the process of organising for a by-election until the Lord May’s main application challenging the KCCA tribunal report that led to his controversial impeachment on November 25 is heard and determined.

KCCA ruling party councillors whom the Daily Monitor talked to said they would respect court’s decision but asked Mr Lukwago to “reform” his personal conduct.

Not a one-man show
“KCCA is not a one-man show; it is a public institution where personal greed should not be fronted. We need to serve people and I will work with Mr Lukwago if that is what court has decided,” said Councillor Apollo Mugume of Nakawa Division.

Mr Bernard Luyiga [DP], the Makerere University councillor, said; “Until court decides otherwise, personally I will stand by the court order that Mr Lukwago is still the Lord Mayor and I appeal to government and fellow leaders at KCCA to respect the order.”

Lukwago’s programme
Mr Lukwago said at 8am today he would be already at his office and immediately he will roll out his way forward.
“There’s no change in the programme, on Monday (today) I will be in office to carry on with my duties,” Mr Lukwago said.
He said he is ready to cooperate with the technical wing provided laws and policies are respected.

“The law is very clear on who should do what, that is the principles I still stand by. Let the technical wing do its duties. Public servants should play their part as [we] the politicians do our part as the KCCA Act stipulates,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Mr Lukwago had stopped accessing his office last year after the Minister for Kampala, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, summoned an impromptu council meeting, in which Mr Lukwago was impeached. However, Mr Tumwebaze said in a statement last Friday he would respect the ruling.

The police have been a major player that has consistently barred Mr Lukwago from accessing his office. However, the Daily Monitor could not get police’s position on the matter since our repeated calls to known numbers of officers went unanswered. But Mr Lukwago said he did not need permission to access his office.

How Tumwebaze, Kiggundu, Nyombi, Musis were convincted over contempt of court
Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze, Electoral Commission chairperson Badru Kiggundu, KCCA’s Executive Director Jennifer Musisi and AG Peter Nyombi were on Friday evening convicted of contempt of court.

The ruling was premised on their declaration that the Lord Mayor’s position had fallen vacant and went ahead to organise by-elections to fill the same position.

According to the ruling the accused had ignored a court order that sought to halt the controversial impeachment of Erias Lukwago on November 25, 2013.

Presiding judge Lydia Mugambe in her two hour ruling explained how the four were in contempt of the November 25, 2013 interim orders. She observed that Mr Tumwebaze, was personally served with the court order by Makindye Division councillor Allan Sewanyana before a resolution was passed by the KCCA council meeting that controversially impeached Mr Lukwago.

But the minister in his affidavit before the court had categorically denied ever having been served with a valid court order to stop the impeachment process at City Hall that was marred with violence.

The minister according to the ruling had in the KCCA minutes that followed the impeachment stated that the court order which Mr Sewanyana had presented, was fake as it did not bear a court seal, signature and had no court stamp thus he could not act on it.
But in her ruling, justice Mugambe agreed with submissions of Mr Abdu Katuntu, one of Lukwago’s lawyers that if the court order was fake, why didn’t the minister attach it as evidence to prove his argument.

The judge explained that the minister was further in contempt of court when he went ahead and wrote to Ms Musisi about the removal of Mr Lukwago from office. “In circumstances before me, the targeted person was the minister as earlier found out he was effectively and personally served by Mr Sewanyana.

There was a valid court order, he was served and he was fully aware of it before the resolution to remove the Lord Mayor was passed,” ruled Ms Mugambe.

“He was also in contempt by writing to the Executive Director KCCA about the removal of the Lord Mayor from office. In the same way, the ED’s notification to EC was illegal,”

Court also held Ms Musisi in contempt of court when she wrote to EC notifying them about the vacancy of the Lord Mayor at KCCA and requested the Commission to organise by-elections.
Court said Ms Musisi should have acted better since she is a lawyer who knows the law.
In the same way, court held Dr Kiggundu personally reliable after he went ahead to act on Ms Musisi’s letter, kick-starting the organisation of the by-election.

Dr Kiggundu through the EC’s lawyer, Mr Eric Sabiiti, had unsuccessfully, argued that the Commission was just fulfilling its mandate to organise the by elections and that it was acting on the notification by KCCA.

The judge also wondered why Mr Tumwebaze had rushed to fix the KCCA Council meeting to impeach Mr Lukwago at 9am, yet on the same day, court was set to hear Mr Lukwago’s application for an interim injunction stopping the proceedings of the council meeting.

chronology of events
May: 17 KCCA councillors petition the minister for Kampala, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, seeking to remove Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago from office. They accuse him of misconduct, abuse of office and incompetence..

June: Mr Tumwebaze appoints a tribunal team led by Judge Catherine Tumugemereire to conduct the probe.

June 10: A tribunal sworn in by Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine.

November 14: Tribunal finds Lukwago guilty of all charges, which among them include misconduct, abuse of office and incompetence.

November 25: KCCA Council meeting votes to impeach Lukwago despite the High Court issuing an order against the meeting minutes before it start.

November 28: High Court Judge Yasin Nyanzi rules that the court order stopping the KCCA meeting in which Lukwago was voted out was validly issued and that therefore the meeting did not take place.

February 4: Attorney General Peter Nyombi asks Judge Nyanzi to disqualify himself from hearing the case, a request which the judge turns down. Nyombi says he would appeal the judge’s decision.

March 7: EC ignites the process to oust Lukwago by setting 17 April as the date for the by-election for the position of the Lord Mayor.

March 19: IGP, Tumwebaze deny knowledge of Lukwago’s court order before a High court judge saying they were never served.

March 21: The High Court gives the government three hours to answer Mr Lukwago’s petition seeking to cancel the ongoing campaigns to fill the position of Lord Mayor.

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