Unapologetic- Gen. Tumwine running to Court to Block Decision to Reprimand Him

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Gen. Elly Tumwine File photo

Gen. Elly Tumwine has said he will seek for judicial review on a decision of parliament to reprimanded him for attacking and disrespecting a fellow legislator.

Before the house and the committee on Rules Privileges and discipline, Hon. Cecilia Atim Ogwal and Hon. Atkins Katusabe had accused Gen. Tumwine of assault and making statements that put the institution of parliament in contempt.

Parliament on Wednesday adopted a committee’s report which concluded that whereas it is true that Gen. Tumwine made the utterances, they did not necessarily amount to contempt of Parliament, but he should be reprimanded for disrespecting a fellow legislator.

The committee also observed that given his experience and seniority both in Parliament and in the army, the minister’s conduct to a fellow senior colleague, was an embarrassment.

“Gen Tumwine’s attack on Ms Ogwal was a breach of privilege as a Member of Parliament has a right to debate on any matter on the floor of Parliament without fear of retaliation. The attack potentially has the effect of intimidating members from freely expressing themselves in debates on certain subjects” Mr Ongalo said.

On this count, the committee implored parliament to have Gen Tumwine “reprimanded for breach of privilege of a Member of Parliament and for being disrespectful to Parliament.”

The House adopted the majority decision at the cost of a one man minority report presented by Mr Gaster Mugoya (Bukooli County North) which prayed for total exoneration of Gen Tumwine. Arua Municipality MP Kasiano Wadri asked Gen Tumwine to respect his position and rank and apologise for attacking fellow MPs including the Speaker.

Responding to the decision during a press breifing on Thursday, Gen. Tumwine contends that the whole process was unfair, he was not allowed fair hearing, and even when he tried to defend himself before parliament he was interrupted on order and procedure.

He says the accusations against him were lacking in terms of evidence, and therefore he is not ready to be reprimanded for an offense he did not commit.

He insists that Hon. Cecilia Ogwal’s accusations against him are not just lies but outrageous and uncalled for. He said they also have criminal aspects. He advised Ogwal to repent those ‘serious lies.”

“Some of you don’t know what it means to carry a gun in parliament or putting a gun on anyone; it is a grave matter..I am one of the people responsible to ensure that nobody brings a gun here. I couldn’t do that!” said Gen. Tumwine.

Hon. Cecilia Ogwal claims that Gen. Tumwine pulled a gun at her during a heated debate over use of DDT way back in the 7th Parliament.

He said the committee has failed to prove that he exhibited contempt to parliament since there was no proof that he uttered such statements, the evidence by his accusers lacked substance and it was a conspiracy that was probably conceived in bed since both Hon. Katusabe and Hon. Opendi are husband and wife.

He further accused the committee of parliament for denying her a fair hearing and minimizing grave allegations that implicate him on pulling a gun at a civilian which he says fetches grave penalties according to the UPDF Act and the Firearms Act.

He says he is aware of a plan by people who want to malign his well and hard-won reputation which will take a long time for people to archive.

“The process was not correct, the evidence was not balanced. I am showing the truth in order to set a good precedent that lies can be challenged” He said.

He also says his submissions to the committee which were in writing were ignored by the report, and the importance of the issue was not considered under the guise of time.

The house on Wednesday recommended that Gen. Tumwine and his accusers met the Speaker of Parliament and forge a common position on settling the matter including seeking his apology for alleged misbehaiviour which the four-star general vowed not to do.

Gen. Tumwine says that he has been in the house longer than all of them, he understands what is required of him and what to do. Therefore, he cannot not stomach exaggerated allegations by members of parliament whose intent is peddling lies.

He says what he is doing helps the institution of parliament and the “lies by his accusers” go unchallenged, the precedent set will affect the integrity of parliament.

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