Augustine Ruzindana

Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous new year

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By Augustine Ruzindana

Posted  Friday, December 20  2013 at  00:00
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This year death has robbed us of many elders and every time I want to write about them I am interrupted by the death of another one. The latest buried this week are Sam Njuba and Higiro Semajege. I do not have the space to adequately write about them as this is my last article this year.

I knew Njuba when I was IGG and he was Minister for Constitutional Affairs and in the Constituent Assembly. But I worked with him more closely during the formation of the FDC. I was then chair Parliamentary Advocacy Forum and he was my partner representing Dr Kizza Besigye, leading the Reform Agenda team. I could never have a finer man to work with. He was a person whose word you could rely on as he never said what he did not mean. He was a man of principle, steadfast and unlike many politicians who speak and think afterwards, Sam thought before he spoke.

In the FDC, he was a calming influence and the last resort for resolution of differences. He was approachable and available to everyone irrespective of seniority. The FDC will miss him particularly now when there are still a number of issues to resolve and processes to complete.

Higiro too had a long distinguished public service in Uganda, East Africa, Buganda and many international institutions. He touched many lives and his wit, humour and wisdom will be missed by many. They both were people not known to be sickly but cancer, the most recent marauding killer, robbed us of the services they were still able to render to the country.

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Usually the unintended consequences of certain decisions and actions cannot be foreseen until they occur. For example, the proceedings before the Catherine Bamugemereire tribunal and its findings could be seen at some future opportune time as having been a rehearsal for the impeachment of a president.

I will not go into the correctness of what should have been an investigation having been conducted as if it was a trial before a court of law, pitting the Lord Mayor as respondent against the councillors as complainants. But it suffices to point out that one of the flaws in this process is that the findings of the tribunal were couched in terms of a decision, as the KCCA councillors political process had no option but to confirm to the tribunal decision since there could not be any more opportunity for a defense before the KCCA council.

The unintended consequences arise from the fact that the drafters of the KCCA law were lazy and they just lifted constitutional provisions relating to the impeachment of the president (Article 107) and reproduced them for the impeachment of the Lord Mayor.

What this means is that if the process of the impeachment of the Lord Mayor is maintained then it may become a precedent for a future tribunal, appointed by the Chief Justice, to make a decision (instead of findings) and then Parliament’s role, like the KCCA council, will be reduced to only confirming the tribunal’s decisions.

Probably the current president might not suffer these consequences, but a successor without the same clout over Parliament could. Therefore, a little more reflection and circumspection that may lead to a sane resolution of the impasse may be more prudent and beneficial to the stability of the country.

There have been too many rush statements and actions that seem to benefit no one. There must be a more deep thought put into important matters that may have long term consequences and in this particular case this does not seem to have been done. Wisdom advises a change of approach by all concerned.

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP.
a_ruzindana@yahoo.com