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Age limit case: Government officials warned on pending grilling

MBALE- As the hearing of the high profile consolidated presidential age limit case resumes on (Tuesday) after a weekend break in Mbale, Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has warned of severe reprimand for any summoned government official who will dodge the cross-examination.

About 10 government officials were summoned last week to appear on Tuesday and be grilled over their role leading to the enactment of the age limit law last year.

“The learned Deputy Attorney General (Mwesigwa Rukutana), I hope you have told those summoned about the repercussions of not showing up on that day for cross examination…” Justice Owiny-Dollo said.

Those expected to be grilled include; Gen David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to Treasury, Mr John Mitala, the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Civil Service and Ms Jane Kibirige, the Clerk to Parliament.

Others are; Mr Frank Mwesigwa, the outgoing Commandant of Kampala Metropolitan Police, Mr Asuman Mugenyi, the Director Operations of Uganda Police, Mr Ahmed Kagoye, the Sargent At Arms of Parliament, Mr Moses Balyeku, the Jinja Municipality West MP, Burahya County MP, Ms Margaret Muhanga and Betty Nambooze, the Mukono Municipality MP.

Last week, Mr Rukutana notified court that two of the officials (Balyeku and Muhanga) may not be able to show up in court on Tuesday.

He explained that by the time court issued the summons, they had already flown out of the country.

“My lords, two MPs (Moses Balyeku and Margaret Muhanga), had flown to South Africa on official duties at the time of court summoning them. Therefore, we are not sure of their attendance on Tuesday next week,” Mr Rukutana told court late last week.

However, Justice Owiny-Dollo insisted that they should communicate to the duo using WhatsApp, e-mail or any other means of communication so that their attendance is secured.

The judge also emphasized that the matter being heard is of public interest and that Mr Balyeku and Ms Muhanga should abandon the conferences they went to attend for the court inquiry.

Mr Rukutana promised to use all available means to reach out to the duo MPs to ensure their court attendance.
Justice Owiny-Dollo said the grilling of these officials will only last for a day (Tuesday).

In a nut shell, the petitioners’ lawyers will among others, cross-examine Gen Muhoozi on why soldiers were sent into the precincts of Parliament during the chaotic scenes that played out during the tabling of the Age Limit Bill last year.

Mr Muhakanizi is expected to be grilled on why he endorsed a Certificate of Financial Implication to support a Private Member’s Bill of Mr Raphael Magyezi.

Mr Mitala is expected to be cross-examined on the roadmap of the referendum following the enactment of the age limit law.

MP Muhanga is expected explain why she sampled about 32 people in her constituency out of over 200 people as she thought views on the bill.

On the other hand, Ms Nambooze is expected to be cross-examined on the injuries she sustained during a fracas in Parliament that left her seriously injured.

She recovered after getting specialised treatment abroad.
The court has warned Ms Nambooze to only rely on her medical reports touching the injuries that she sustained in Parliament when security operatives stormed it.

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