Orukurato should force Byakutaaga withdraw case against Okwir, parties publicly apologise – Probe Committee

Mr Andrew Byakutaaga, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister (Omuhikirwa).

The Ad hoc Committee of Inquiry into allegations of financial mismanagement and abuse of office by some Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom cabinet members has recommended that the Orukurato (Royal Parliament) forces the Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister) and his co-accused to withdraw the case they filed against the Okwir (Chief Prince).  

The committee was instituted to investigate Omuhikirwa Mr Andrew Byakutaaga, the Attorney General, Mr Edgar Agaba and Finance Minister, Mr Robert Owagonza following claims by the Okwir, Eng Fred Mugenyi Rucunya and other royal clan members that the trio grossly misused the kingdom funds, abused their office and were corrupt.

Chaired by Mr Edward Muhimbo, the Kingdom Parliament Member for Bugangaizi, the committee recommended that the three should retract the case for good working relations geared towards better service delivery to the Omukama’s subjects.

“In specific reference to the trigger of this committee’s formation, we recommend that the parliament compels the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General to immediately withdraw the case against the Okwir to pave way for a new dispensation of all working together for the good of the kingdom,” reads part of the recommendations.

The committee says it agrees with many stakeholders who believe the Okwir made allegations and demand for accountability in good faith though using a wrong forum.

It also states that the best action for cabinet members should have been to explain the questioned withdrawals in proper fora like Orukurato and the Royal Commission, who would then provide clarifications to the public on matters raised.

In the same vein, the committee further recommends that the Orukurato should urge the Okwir and others to withdraw their complaint for a better kingdom.

“In the same way, Rukurato should urge the Okwir and others who complained about BKK [Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom] officials to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to withdraw the complaints and leave the matter to be resolved by the Rukurato through the Public Accounts Committee. Note should be taken that cabinet members led by the PM are managing public money and anyone demanding accountability from you doesn’t commit an offence,” the report findings recommend.

The five-member committee recommends that Mr Byakutaaga, Mr Agaba and Mr Owagonza should publicly apologise for dragging Okwir Rucunya to court.

The committee says the argument that they took Okwir to court in his personal capacity as Mr Rucunya and not Okwir is a lame and contemptuous technical excuse as the Okwir raised and wrote the matters of concern in his capacity as the Okwir and after several meetings with the Ababiito Council despite using a wrong forum.

“The PM and minister who took the Okwir to court should publicly apologise for that action as taking Okwir to court for raising public interest issues on behalf of the King is tantamount to taking the Omukama to court.”

Adding: “While Okwir used a wrong forum and probably overstepped his mandate….in the current circumstance where the PM continuously told the Babiito who approached him on these matters that he provides accountability to the King, the committee finds the Okwir’s actions are more tolerable than the failure to provide accountability when requested and suing the Omukama’s assistant. The PM, Finance Minister and Attorney General should act on this matter immediately.”

On the other hand the committee faults the Okwir for using the media in the kingdom matter, thus, recommending that he, too, should apologise.

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Chief Prince (Okwir) Eng Fred Mugenyi Rucunya.

“The committee further recommends that the Okwir also publicly apologises for having taken BKK matters to the media instead of to the Rukurato which is mandated to handle all petitions relating to BKK affairs.”

The 27 page document is signed by the probe committee chairperson, Mr Richard Muhimbo; Secretary, Mr Davidson Madira and members Mr John Bukya, Ms Justine Asiimwe and Mr Gerald Busiinge.

The committee was established on March 26, 2022.

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