The Uganda Parliament ought to do a service to the people of Uganda. The 1995 Uganda Constitution had a limit to the terms the President MUST have, which was two making a total of 10 years. Today, we are having a President who is to make 30 years in office. Common sense dictates that you cannot be in office for so long a time and not commit crimes. It is incumbent upon our Parliament to have a muscle and either re-instate the term limits without President Museveni going beyond this current term or lift the immunity such that he like any other person can be charged in a court of law for any crime for which he currently enjoys immunity.
Though many Ugandans would like Bukenya’s case to continue, it is not certain that the Acting Inspector of Government will not pull out more so after the President’s reaction on the case made earlier. It is also possible to take a delay route given that the Supreme Court currently does not have quorum and at the same time, the Judicial Service Commission is not in place. This is after Prof. Bukenya’s lawyers Ben Wacha and MacDusman Kabega could not divulge their next course of action. “We are going to study the judgment but we shall have to wait for further instructions from our client because it is his case,” said Mr Wacha.
However, it should be interesting to know the hidden facts in the CHOGM dealing, this will only be possible if the case goes on in the anti corruption court, and may be it will be time for the other organs of the state to see how job security can be made better for those who execute directives from above which in many instances are unable to challenge.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
Bukenya while Vice President was very active in poverty alleviation programmes as is witnessed on:
PARLIAMENT URGED TO PASS BILL FOR PRESIDENT'S IMMUNITY TO BE CHALLENGED
Monday, 08 September 2008
Members of the Ugandan Parliament have been urged to pass the International Criminal Court Bill into law in order to strengthen the justice system in Uganda. The local war crimes tribunal being set up along the lines of the International Criminal Court will have jurisdiction to try foreign presidents forcing law makers to ask what would happen to President Yoweri Museveni´s own constitutional immunity from prosecution.
This article is a synthesis of the New Vision and the Daily Monitor; the two Ugandan national daily´s, coverage today of a recent seminar hosted by the Uganda Coalition on the ICC, a project under Human Rights Network (HURINET) Uganda. The two original articles were written by Francis Emorut (for the New Vision) and Paul Amoru (for the the Daily Monitor). They have been edited into one and prepared for publication here by HRHF / Niels Jacob Harbitz.
-Presidential immunity is absolute in our national law, but the ICC Statute does not recognise it, Mr Chairman, how do I deal with that?, Kampala MP Erias Lukwago asked at the meeting organised by the Uganda Coalition on the ICC - a body advocating the dispersal of the courts standards. Mr John Francis Onyango, Coordinator of the UCICC, said the coalition will fight on to ensure that the Bill goes through Parliament. On Friday, however, some members of a committee said it wouldn´t be passed if it affects Mr Museveni´s immunity. Whatever the outcome, it is already clear that resolving this legal dilemma is threatening to delay the domestication of the ICC statute through a bill in parliament which would eventually give birth to the court. The bill is already four years late.
At the same seminr, High Court advocate Moses Adriko said the establishment of a local war crimes tribunal would enable Uganda to try war criminals, in line with the ICC Statutes, making clear that the ICC is a court of last resort, i.e. one that should only be activated when national systems prove unable or unwilling to bring war criminals to justice. Adriko further made it clear that: “By passing the Bill, we shall be able to reject the notion of immunity extended to the Head of State in power.”
Recently, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against the President of Sudan, Omar Bashir, for allegedly committing crimes against humanity. He urged the MPs to remove the Juba peace process from the Bill and expedite its approval. Kampala Central MP Erias Lukwago (DP) said: “We can not pass the Bill if the Constitution is not amended.” He argued that the Constitution gives the sitting President immunity from prosecution and yet the Rome Statute says he should be prosecuted if he commits crimes against humanity. Soroti Woman MP Alice Alaso (FDC) argued that when the demand for opening Presidential term limits were made, the Constitution was amended and therefore, it could be amended to accommodate the Bill.
BUKENYA NOT IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES
Bukenya at court. PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESAKA
By Ephraim Kasozi & Anthony Wesaka
Posted Thursday, August 11 2011 at 00:00
Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya has no immunity from civil or criminal liability over personal acts he performed while still serving in the Number Two position, the Constitutional Court has ruled.
Yesterday’s ruling followed a petition by Prof. Bukenya seeking to quash his trial in the Anti-Corruption Court, where he is facing charges of abuse of office in his role in the award of a car deal during the 2007 Commonwealth summit.
The Inspectorate of Government (IGG) in June dragged Prof. Bukenya to the anti-graft court, saying he had personally influenced the award of the Shs9.4b deal to Motor Care (U) Ltd to supply 204 executive vehicles without following the proper tendering process. The car supplier was also sued alongside the former VP.
Prof. Bukenya, however, moved to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the decisions he took at the time were done on behalf of the President who enjoys immunity from prosecution.
But the Constitutional Court dismissed the argument, saying the law provides immunity for only the person of the President who is vested and exercises the executive authority and nobody can assume the role while there is a sitting President.
“Thus no else, not even the President who delegates or assigns duties can grant that immunity to anyone else,” held a panel of five justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alice Mpagi Bahigeine, in a unanimous judgment.
The others on the panel included Justices Steven Kavuma, Augustine Nshimye, Stella Arach Amoko and Remmy Kasule. The court also threw out arguments by Prof. Bukenya that he had been singled out for selective prosecution and that IGG Raphael Baku was holding office illegally.
“Whilst this court would view victimisation or unequal treatment before the law with disfavour, the suggestion that one could resist prosecution on the ground that others he wished to be jointly charged with him are not so jointly charged, would, in our view be contrary to the established principles of our criminal justice system,” the judges ruled.
On Mr Baku’s tenure as acting IGG, the judges ruled: “The current IGG Mr Raphael Baku is substantially a deputy IGG who now happens to be carrying out duties of the IGG since the position of the substantive IGG is not yet filled. This, however, does not nullify his position and powers as deputy IGG who is capable of prosecuting offences. We consider this to be an internal administrative arrangement which does not affect the capacity of the officer to perform his constitutional duties”.
The Constitutional Court ordered that the file to be sent back to the trial court to proceed with the case. The head of the IGG’s legal department, Mr Sydney Asubo said: “We are going to bring the decision to the attention of the trial court to fix a date such that we proceed from where we had stopped.”
Prof. Bukenya’s lawyers Ben Wacha and MacDusman Kabega could not divulge their next course of action. “We are going to study the judgment but we shall have to wait for further instructions from our client because it is his case,” said Mr Wacha.