KAMPALA- Parliament on Wednesday, August 21, adopted the majority report authored by lawmakers on the Committee of Rules, Discipline and Privileges with legislators concluding that indeed, Security Minister, Elly Tumwine is a bully who should be conscious of his language
The report however, exonerated Gen Tumwine on accusations of contempt of Parliament after pointing out loopholes in statements made by in July 2019, by Atkins Katusabe, (Bukonjo West) after he accused the Minister of giving UPDF orders to shoot-to-kill deployment of police and military personnel resulting into the shutdown of Babughirana Abattoir in Bukonjo County West.
Katusabe argued that in a meeting with Gen Tumwine, he informed him of intentions to raise the matter on the Floor of Parliament on July 23, 2019, which angered Gen Tumwine.
“Who is the Speaker? Who is she? What is Parliament? The Speaker rules over Parliament. She does not rule over Uganda. This Country was liberated by the military but not her Parliament. Do not tell me about your Speaker and about your Parliament. The army cannot be directed by civilians,” said Gen Tumwine in his reply to Katusabe.
In its recommendation to Parliament, the Committee exonerated Tumwine from the charge of contempt of Parliament basing on Articles 27(2) and 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as follows; Article 27(2) On Right to privacy of person, home and other property, that no person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of that person’s home, correspondence, communication or other property.
Article 29 On protection of freedom of conscience, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.
The report read, “Therefore, the Committee concludes that extending the application of contempt of Parliament to a private discussion between three parties in an informal meeting would have a far-reaching implication on the right to freedom of expression and even Members’ privileges and immunities.”
The Committee noted that the interaction was among three people, contrary to Katusabe’s testimony and was arranged by Sarah Opendi on behalf of Katusabe and she was present throughout the meeting and that the meeting was long, many statements were made and topics discussed and there were both high and low moments.
“The Committee concurred with Opendi’s observation that Gen Tumwine is indeed a bully. Gen. Tumwine should be conscious of the fact that given his seniority in terms of military rank, long service in Parliament and age, his statements are taken seriously. Therefore, his language and conduct should be exemplary,” read an excerpt from the report.