We cannot work without substantive IGG, says Leadership Code TribunalAtuhaire
The Leadership Code Tribunal is in a dilemma after waiting in vain for the appointment of a substantive Inspector General of Government (IGG) to enable them start operations.
The tribunal said they are ready to start hearing cases that will be forwarded by the Inspectorate of Government (IG), including abuse of office and breach of the leadership code of conduct, but they cannot start work without an IGG and deputy IGG. However, despite the dilemma, the tribunal, chaired by Dr Roselyn Karugonjo Ssegawa, said they will go ahead to prepare for the task ahead. Karugonjo said they were ready to start hearing cases, although they will have to wait until the IGG position is filled.
She was appointed to the position in April 2012. After leaving the IGG’s office, Mulyagonja took on a new job as a judge of the Court of Appeal, where she has served since October last year.
George Bamugemereire, the former deputy IGG, also left the office after his term expired in March this year, leaving one deputy, Mariam Wangadya, in the office.
“We are all aware that the position of IGG is not yet filled, but that does not stop us from preparing. We cannot wait until we have an inspectorate to put our act together, but we know that sooner or later, the IGG will be appointed and they will find us ready to take on the breaches,” Karugonjo said.
She was speaking to journalists at the stakeholder validation workshop intended to discuss the rules of procedure of the Leadership Code of Tribunal, held at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Wednesday. “The tribunal is concluding on its rules of procedure, which will guide the mode of operation of its adjudicative function. The tribunal is now ready to execute its mandate efficiently and effectively and committed to ensuring that our leaders and all public officers are accountable to Ugandans so as to promote a good government for all,” she said. The workshop, organised under a theme, Transparent and Accountable Leadership, was attended by participants from various ministries, departments and agencies, including judicial officers.
The response came after remarks by former minister for ethics and integrity Fr Simon Lokodo, who told the tribunal that the Government would want to see cases being handled at a faster rate than before. “Otherwise, if you do not apply speed, we shall not finish anything,” Lokodo said. “I have just heard from the IGG that from the just concluded declarations, there are over 4,000 leaders who have breached the law. Now, if you take long, when will you finish them, given the other big backlog?” he asked, adding that the tribunal was poised to get the worst backlog than the Judiciary. “So we want speed. If you are handling anyone who has not declared his or her wealth or has violated the code of conduct, just hear the case and give the verdict and go home,” he stressed.
Lokodo also wants the decisions of the tribunal to be final and asked appointing authorities to avoid interfering with their work. “If it means dismissal, let it be there and then,” he told the members, who included Asuman Kiyingi, the vice chairperson, Jane Okelowange, Didas Bakunzi Mufasha and Joyce Nalunga Birimumaaso. Lokodo said should the tribunal determine that a case committed by an officer will tantamount to his or her dismissal, let no body obstruct their decision.
“I advised the President that when the tribunal has decided that you dismiss a resident district commissioner or whoever he appointed, he should not hesitate, and he agreed with me, saying he cannot reject their verdict,” Lokodo said. He advised the tribunal members to avoid overburdening those brought before them by demanding that they produce lawyers, as is always the case in courts of law, which he said makes cases drag on forever. The tribunal’s mandate includes hearing and determining all breaches of the leadership code of conduct and making decisions and recommendations to the authorised person on the disciplinary action to be taken against a leader.
The function was attended by Justice Musa Ssekaana, the new deputy head of the High Court Civil Division and Pheona Nabasa Gladys Wall, the Uganda Law Society president