On the morning of Tuesday, May 18, 2004, the people of Uganda woke up to the sad news of a grisly accident that claimed the country's Attorney General - Francis Ayume. Prior to the accident, the Attorney General had got a 'headache' in explaining to the President the correct constitutional process through which Article 105 (2)on term limits could be lifted. Ayume told Andrew Mwenda of the Monitor news paper as reported in the issue of the Monitor, Tuesday, May 18, 2004 that, "It would set a dangerous precedent to amend the Constitution using unconstitutional means. I told him, it was possible for the Movement to mobilize two thirds majority within Parliament to Amend Article 105 (2)."
It is sad that the survivors in Ayume accident have never told Ugandans what actually happened. The vehicle which crushed Ayume was not found!
"May Ayume's soul rest in eternal peace"
PARLIAMENT MOURNS AYUME
By Felix Osike, Joyce Namutebi and John Odyek
MPS yesterday wept as they paid glowing tribute to the late Attorney General, Francis Ayume, who died in a road accident on Sunday. Justice and constitutional affairs minister Janat Mukwaya shed tears after Alex Onzima (Maracha) made remarks about Ayumeâ€™s death.
Onzima, who was applauded, demanded that the Government explains the circumstances surrounding Ayumeâ€™s death.
Onzima said, â€œWe need a convincing explanation from the Government,â€ he said. The gallery was filled to capacity. Ayumeâ€™s wife Elizabeth and children sat in the chambers. The Police Band played solemn music.
Onzima said Ayumeâ€™s official car and his driver were withdrawn and he was given a five-year-old vehicle. He said the vehicle was initially used by former AG Mayanja Nkangi and Mukwaya, who discarded it.
He said the vehicle was picked from the pool and given to a man who was a taxi driver. â€œYou know how they behave in Uganda.â€
Onzima said he expected the Government to take the accident vehicle to Naguru inspectorate of vehicles until investigations were completed.
Mukwaya interrupted Onzima, saying it was unfortunate for somebody respectable to misinform the House. â€œYou are hurting my feelings. You are very unkind and very unreasonable. I never rejected the vehicle. I used it for a whole year,â€ she said.
She denied that John Odwee, the driver of the fateful vehicle, was a taxi driver. She said Odwee drove her for one week and she never found his driving wanting. â€œOur vehicles are always serviced. Iâ€™m disappointed and I hate people who rejoice in others death,â€ she said.
She said she and the deceased had surrendered their vehicles for the ongoing ADB meeting and that the organisers had refused to take their vehicles without their drivers. She said she was now using a pick-up truck.
Mukwaya said she and Ayume started working on the roadmap for the transition to multipartyism from November 2003 up to Saturday and Ayume did not depart from the Government position.
She quoted Ayume as saying all articles of the Constitution could be amended.
Prime minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi moved the motion to pay tribute to Ayume whom he described as â€œstructured and disciplined.â€
Grief engulfed Parliament as the vehicle carrying Ayumeâ€™s remains entered the Parliament precincts at 10:30am amid a downpour.
Policemen braved the downpour and carried the casket to the lobby.
Speaker Edward Ssekandi, his deputy Rebecca Kadaga, First Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Moses Ali and MPs Ben Wacha and Miria Matembe wept after viewing the body. The casket was draped in the Ugandan flag colours.
Nsibambi said Ayume was extremely loyal to the Movement and to the legal profession.
â€œAs Speaker he brought order to Parliament. He captured the changing moods and shepherded Parliament with tact. He balanced different political shades in Parliament and was never vindictive,â€ Nsibambi said.
Nsibambi said Ayume moved from being Speaker to Attorney General without any â€œacidic sense of grievance.â€
He said as Attorney General, Ayume dedicated himself to the job despite being understaffed. â€œHe shepherded several Bills through Cabinet and Parliament,â€ Nsibambi said.
Nsibambi said in the past five months, the AGâ€™s chambers won 29 cases, saving government sh13b.
Nsibambi said Ayume published a book entitled, â€œCriminal procedure and Law in Uganda,â€ which is used by Makerere University.
The Minister of Works, John Nasasira, said the fateful vehicle did not knock a trailer as earlier said. He said the stretch where the accident took place is smooth contrary to press reports that it was full of potholes. He said a final report about the incident would be given.
MPs attacked the Monitor for saying Ayume was against the referendum.
State minister for housing Francis Babu read a prayer saying he hoped it would put the House together.
Moses Ali said the West Nile Parliamentary Group was shocked.
He described reports that there could be foul play in Ayumeâ€™s death as repugnant.
Kabakumba Masiko (Bujenje) described Ayume as humourous, patient and balanced.
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