“I Was Denied Time to Defend Myself” – Tumwine Protests Reprimand by Parliament

Minister of Security, Gen Elly Tumwine

The Minister of Security, Gen. Elly Tumwine has vowed to seek judicial review on Parliament’s decision which found him guilty of verbally and emotionally assaulting fellow MP, Cecilia Ogwal.

Parliament on Wednesday adopted the majority report of the committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges in which Tumwine was exonerated on allegations of contempt of Parliament and the Speaker, but found him culpable for breach of privilege of a fellow Member of Parliament when he assaulted her.

The committee’s recommendations followed an inquiry ordered by the Speaker into allegations that Gen Tumwine attacked the Dokolo Woman MP, Hon Cecilia Ogwal on 23 July 2019 after the plenary sitting.

It was alleged that Tumwine attacked Ogwal because of a statement she made in the House to the effect that he had pulled a gun on her during the debate on DDT in the seventh Parliament.

“The attack potentially has the effect of intimidating members from freely expressing themselves in debates on certain subjects,” said Clement Ongalo-Obote, the chairperson of the committee.

The incident followed a debate on alleged utterances by Gen Tumwine questioning the powers of Parliament and the Speaker. This was at a meeting to resolve the conflict resulting from the shutdown of Babughirana Abattoir in Bukonjo West, Kasese district.

Tumwine was however, cleared of allegations of contempt of the Speaker and Parliament when he made utterances during a private meeting with Atkins Katusabe (FDC, Bukonjo West) and State Minister of Health-General duties, Sarah Opendi.

“Matters that arise out of informal or private discussions and engagements should be resolved in informal ways. Where colleagues seek to engage either the Executive arm of Government or Parliament on matters regarding their constituencies or the country, they should explore formal mechanisms that call for accountability and action in case of failure by the responsible officers,” Ongalo-Obote added.

Responding on the Parliament’s decision on Wednesday, Tumwine told the media that he has been unfairly judged and in any case, he was denied ample time to explain himself.

“What we are dealing with is a concoction of lies by Katusabe, by his wife Sarah Opendi and Cecilia Ogwal to out-ridge Parliament; actually they are the ones raising contempt of Parliament according to the description,” Tumwine said.

Tumwine added, “There should be no worry, when the matter was rushed through yesterday and before, I put it to the Speaker that she gives me the right of counter accusation and she said no. I said fine, now in that case, I have no choice but to go for a judicial review of the whole process.”

The Security Minister said that since there was a minority report and a majority report, it is time to put the test of justice for the future of the institution and the country.

He also questioned the committee’s failure to differentiate between bullying and assaulting adding that pointing a finger at someone doesn’t amount to assault.

“I was not given adequate time while i was accused, to defend myself. First, right in Parliament at the beginning when they sentenced me in my absence and moved a motion to send me to the committee before they heard from my side,” the General said.

“When i went to the committee, they denied me chance to reply to Opendi’s allegations which she made after i had exposed the lies of her husband, ” he added.

He said that the probe committee failed to prove that he made the utterances as alleged but rather relied on “liars” and “conspirators”.

“You cannot rely on a liar for deciding. That is what i am objecting to. I really want to put on record that the process was not correct, the evidence was not balanced,” he told reporters.

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