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Wednesday,September 30,2020 16:42 PM

Lukwago bid to block tribunal fails

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th July 2013 12:08 PM

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has failed in his bid to block a tribunal reviewing a petition by 17 city councillors, who are seeking his removal from office.

Lukwago bid to block tribunal fails

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has failed in his bid to block a tribunal reviewing a petition by 17 city councillors, who are seeking his removal from office.

By Andante Okanya  
 

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has failed in his bid to block a tribunal reviewing a petition by 17 city councillors, who are seeking his removal from office.

On Friday, court dismissed Lukwago's petition, and absolved Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze of any wrongdoing, saying he constituted the tribunal according to powers vested in him as prescribed in Section 12 of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Act.

The registrar Tadeo Asiimwe delivered the ruling of Justice Vincent Zehurilize of the High Court in Kampala in the presence of Lukwago, his lawyers Caleb Alaka, Medard Ssegona, Chrisestom Katumba, Julius Galisonga, and Samuel Muyizzi.

 The Attorney General’s (AG) legal team comprised the commissioner civil litigation Robinah Rwakoojo, and Wanyama  Kodoli.

The judge said he could not find any reason to prohibit the tribunal from proceeding. The tribunal has so far heard testimonies from 21 witnesses, including KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi. Lukwago was summoned and is expected to defend himself on July 22.

Court dismissed Lukwago's argument that the minister ignored the binding opinion of the AG who.  The judge noted that the minister was convinced that a tribunal had to be instituted, and only consulted the AG, which was under the circumstances not binding, as he (minister) evaluated the councillors petition.

"The decision to institute a tribunal lies with the minister alone in consultation with the Attorney General. The minister was satisfied that there were  grounds for instituting the tribunal. The Attorney General was only entitled to make a critique," Zehurikize ruled.

Court also agreed with AG on the contention that the minister did not evaluate the concillors petition before instituting the tribunal. The judge noted that at the stage of instituting  the tribunal, it would have been premature to accord Lukwago a hearing, as it would amount to usurping the   powers of a tribunal, where Lukwago is entitled to a fair hearing.
The tribunal, headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, is expected to determine whether the contents of the petition hold sufficient grounds for the removal of the Lord Mayor from office. Other members are lawyer Alfred Okello-Oryem, and Ochaya Lakidi.

The councillors accuse Lukwago of abuse of office, incompetence and misconduct. Lukwago has also purportedly failed to convene Authority meetings to discuss matters affecting the city.On May 17, they petitioned Tumwebaze for Lukwago's removal.

On the query that the tribunal did not have proper statutory instruments to carry out its task, the judge noted that the minister was carrying out his statutory duty of instituting the tribunal within the 21 days after receiving the petition.

Court also dismissed Lukwago's query on the trio of Daniel Rutiba(lead counsel), Titus Kamya(co-counsel), and Robert Kirunda(secretary), whom he had  branded strangers and aliens. The judge said they were part of the team helping the tribunal members perfom their task.

"The appointment of the lead counsel, co-lead counsel, and secretary do not affect the work of the tribunal. They are support staff and not members of the tribunal," Zehurikize noted.

However, the judge made an observation that KCCA is not fully constituted, as it currently has only 30 councillors, yet it is expected to have 34 members are prescribed in  Section 13 of the KCCA Act.

Four of the councillors are supposed to be representatives of professional bodies; Uganda Institution of Professional Engineers, Uganda Society of Architects, Uganda Medical Association, and Uganda Law Society.

Zehurikize noted that in the event that the tribunal finds grounds for a prima facie case against Lukwago, the two-thirds majority of the 30 councillors cannot remove Lukwago, since the KCCA Act prescribes that such an impeachment can only be done when the Authority is fully constituted.

The judge said Lukwago is entitled to a fair hearing at the tribunal. He however observed that the ground by the councillors, accusing Lukwago of failing to convene two consecutive ordinary meetings, was not in the original petition. The judge ordered that it be struck out.
Speaking outside court shortly after the ruling Lukwago flanked by a host of opposition politicians, expressed dissatisfaction, and vowed to appeal to the Court of Appeal.


 

Lukwago bid to block tribunal fails

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