By Charles Etukuri and Stephen Candia
The fate of renegade general David Sejusa in Parliament appears sealed. The parliamentary rules, privileges and discipline committee has, in a draft report, recommended disciplinary action against Sejusa and dismissal from Parliament, accusing him of absconding from duty.
Meanwhile, the army on Friday declared Sejusa a deserter and said it was waiting for Parliament to make a pronouncement on his status as a legislator.
Sunday Vision has learnt that in its draft report the committee, chaired by West Budama MP, Fox Odoi, says Sejusa absconded from duty when he decided to absent himself from the house for more than 15 seatings.
The draft report has already been circulated to the 20 members who are set to meet over the weekend before releasing a final report.
On Thursday evening, the committee officially closed business and started writing a report which will be submitted to Parliament next week when it returns from the recess.
Odoi said they had given the renegade general appropriate time to appear in person and defend himself but he had failed. “We served notices on all his known addresses, but we received no response. We were left with no option but to conclude this matter,” he said.
When pressed to comment on the draft report, Odoi declined. “But one thing that I can tell you is that we appear to have a consensus for now and there will be no minority report,” he said.
In September, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, refused to renew the General‘s request to change to his official leave, basing her decision on the fact he was neither on Parliament duty nor on any official assignment from the army, his constituency.
The Speaker warned Sejusa that if he continued to stay away from the House, she may invoke the law and throw him out. At the time, Sejusa had absented himself from the House for 15 consecutive seatings without permission from the speaker, contrary to rule 101(6) of the rules of procedure.
According to Parliamentary rules, once the committee presents its report, the Speaker will declare the seat vacant.
Under the Constitution (Article 81 (2), if the seat is declared vacant, the clerk to Parliament is supposed to notify the Electoral Commission in writing within 10 days after the vacancy.
Subsequently, the commander in chief will summon the 360-member defence council for an urgent meeting to elect a replacement. Members of the council include the heads of directorates, chieftaincy heads, division commanders, brigade commanders and battalion commanders.
Answering questions from the press on Friday, army spokesperson, Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda, said Sejusa’s actions perfectly fit the definition of a deserter because he has been away for longer than 21 days without permission. “He left the country without permission and did not notify anyone,” Ankunda said.
Desertion as an offence carries a maximum punishment of death by firing squad upon conviction.
Sejusa, who was the coordinator of intelligence services and a senior presidential adviser on security matters, fled the country in April after writing a letter alleging that there was a scheme to assassinate senior government and military officials perceived to be against a sinister presidential succession scheme.