Gen. Muntu

 

 

The National Coordinator for Alliance for National Transformation Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu has warned the judiciary should feel ashamed that it has been dragged into such political schemes from which it is expected to be immune.

Gen. Muntu in a missive posted on his social media, he says the judiciary set a wrong precedent when Justice Wilson Kwesiga ruled that for former Security Minister, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde to get bail, he should present army sureties of his rank or above his rank with permission from the Chief of Defence Forces.

“I hope and pray that the judiciary corrects this absurd precedent before it becomes a permanent stain on the institution whose very legitimacy is dependent on the idea that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done. Even in the army, this is not a legal requirement, but an established practice based on logic that an officer of a lower rank (standing surety) would not be able to compel an officer senior to him/her to adhere to court summons. It is therefore, only useful as a practice within military setting. It has no standing in the civilian courts more so in regard to retired military officers” Gen. Muntu wrote.

 

Below is the statement

 

The requirement that one gets officers of his/her rank or high to stand as surety for him or her is only applicable when: (a) One is a serving officer and (b) In the army courts.

Even in the army, this is not a legal requirement, but an established practice based on logic that an officer of a lower rank (standing surety) would not be able to compel an officer senior to him/her to adhere to court summons. It is therefore, only useful as a practice within military setting. It has no standing in the civilian courts more so in regard to retired military officers.

Even more absurd, was the court’s ruling that on top his rank or higher the said sureties should attach letters of introduction from the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF). This is not even applicable within UPDF. It is neither in the army Act nor a practice that an officer to stand surety for another needs the permission of the CDF.

That the High Court set this requirement for Lt. Gen. (Rtd Henry Tumukunde is a matter that goes well beyond this particular case. Left unchallenged, this legal precedent will potentially affect all those who have served in uniform whether retired or not. Their service to the nation will keep hanging over them like a threat leaving them with the sense that the powers that be can choose to oppress you even in retirement on account of your time in uniform.

Serving your country is one of the highest honours one can hope for. For many men and women in uniform, it comes with putting one’s life on the line for the good of the national literally and severally. And while this should never be used as a basis for living above the law by those who have served, neither should it be used to hold them ransom. No one should make those of us who have served feel as if it was hold them ransom. No one should make those of us who served feel it was a crime to do so by making it impossible for us to enjoy our civil rights in retirement. While it may be targeted towards one, it affects all of us. It not only reflects an incredulously pettiness with which a serious legal right to bail is being handled but it is also mean-spirited.

The judiciary should feel ashamed that it has been dragged into such political schemes from which it is expected to be immune.

For the officer whose name was not mentioned who refused to respond to bail summons, the court should issue orders for his/her arrest so that it ceases to be used as an excuse to victimize others who are law abiding.

I hope and pray that the judiciary corrects this absurd precedent before it becomes a permanent stain on the institution whose very legitimacy is dependent on the idea that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done.

 

Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu

National Coordinator

Alliance for National Transformation