Parliament’s Committee of Rules, Discipline and Privileges has found General Elly Tumwine, the Security Minister guilty of assaulting Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal.
The Committee report that was tabled before Parliament yesterday also castigated Tumwine for being disrespectful towards the Committee during the hearing.
The report however exonerated Tumwine of disrespecting Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.
In its findings, the Committee noted that from the CCTV footage, some details of the interaction between Tumwine and Ogwal were not visible from certain angles and therefore, the CCTV footage wasn’t conclusive making it hard for the Committee to come to conclusion on what had actually transpired, especially with regard to the allegation that Tumwine was almost poking Ogwal’s eye.
The Committee also relied on testimonies from the witnesses and Tumwine’s confirmation that indeed the person he was talking to in the footage was Ogwal with the Committee stating that whereas it is common practice for MPs to continue discussions of the contents of one another’s debates in the House beyond the Chambers, Tumwine’s gestures and proximity to Ogwal were unconventional, dishonourable and an affront to the Member’s immunity and privilege.
It should be noted that on 23rd July 2019, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed the Rules Committee to investigate allegations that Tumwine had assaulted Ogwal in the lobbies of Parliament and during the probe, Lily Adong (Nwoya Woman) Lucy Akello (Amuru Woman) all testified in Ogwal’s favour.
However, Tumwine denied the allegations and described as ridiculous and dramatic for Ogwal to say that if she died or if any member of her family died, then Tumwine would be responsible and denied having ever accessed the chambers with a gun during a debate in the 7th Parliament, the same gun Ogwal said Tumwine attempted to pull out on her.
The report also pointed out that the testimonies of the two witnesses corroborate the allegation of the dishonourable and unconventional conduct of Tumwine against Ogwal, describing Tumwine’s attack on Ogwal as a breach of privilege as a Member of Parliament has a right to debate on any matter on the floor of Parliament without fear of retaliation.
The Committee noted that the attack potentially has the effect of intimidating members from freely expressing themselves in debates on certain subjects and concluded that from the conduct of Gen. Tumwine, the Committee finds that he actually assaulted Ogwal.
The report highlighted that assault does not have to involve contact, as long as it causes apprehension of immediate harmful or offensive contact.
The Committee further noted that the general character and attitude of Tumwine when he appeared before the Committee was disrespectful and exhibited poor regard for Parliament and for civilian authority.
“His character and attitude was at variance with the fact that at the beginning of the 10th Parliament, he advocated for inclusion in the Rules of Procedure, the position of Father of the House; well knowing he had no competition for the position as the longest serving Member of Parliament with an unbroken record of 33 years. His behaviour contradicted his seniority and status in the country,” the report reads in part.
However, Gaster Mugoya authored a minority report supporting Tumwine and accused the committee of not properly evaluating the evidence in totality, arguing that had the Committee done so, then the committee would not have arrived at such misleading but also erroneous conclusion.
However, his position was rejected by MPs in preference for the majority report.