Friday March 25 2016

Minister Byandala should apologise

Footage of former Works minister barging into a female TV journalist, punching her in the belly was both ugly and scandalous. This was unprovoked brutality towards a harmless camera woman.

Ms Judith Nalugwa, whose only crime was to film Mr Byandala as he was making his way out of the Anti-Corruption Court, is also nursing bruises on her left arm.

It is commendable that Ms Nalugwa showed better judgment to file a case of assault against Mr Byandala. Sadly, even after thinking over the matter overnight, Mr Byandala has showed no sense of propriety to apologise to Ms Nalugwa. Regardless, Mr Byandala’s act of impunity should be punished.

This should stop the growing cases of assaults of journalists by public officers, especially the police, and now a minister.

This is why the police should, without any fear or favour, pursue this case to its logical conclusion.

Previous cases had the accused public officers walk off scot free. Yet, the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2010, is very clear on such breaches.

This is why Mr Byandala should be brought to account for his indecent conduct. He has violated the dignity of a Public office, Public officer, and Public Service as defined by Articles 175(a), 175(b) and 257(1) of the Constitution.

Evidently, Mr Byandala has degraded the dignity of ministerial conduct by punching a citizen. As a public officer, he failed to maintain a high standard of personal conduct and moral integrity as demanded by Section F(a)2 of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, 2010.

Besides, Mr Byandala as public officer, and like any other citizen, is subject to the laws of Uganda as spelt out in Section F(a)(1). This means Mr Byandala must carry his own cross for contraventions of these laws and regulations.
No doubt, Mr Byandala must have a copy of the Standing Orders, and must be aware of its demands on public officers.

In sum, Section F(a) of the Roles, Obligations and Conduct of a Public Officers clearly states that ignorance of any of these regulations cannot shield any public officer from taking both responsibility and blame.
Indeed, Mr Byandala, as are all public officers, should have adhered to the Code of Conduct and Ethics for the Public Service as is in the Standing Orders, Section F(a)(6). In sum, this case of assault casts a senior minister in shameful light. Short of any apology, the appointing authority should consider the censure of Mr Byandala.