Museveni orders Sakwa to step aside for two months - National | NTV

Museveni orders Sakwa to step aside for two months

By Jacobs Odongo Seaman (Daily Monitor)

Thursday May 21, 2020

The Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Mr Eric Sakwa (blue shirt), at Jinja Magistrate’s Court recently. 

President Museveni has ordered Jinja Resident District Commissioner Eric Sakwa to step aside for two months, to allow proper investigations into manslaughter charge against him.

In a May 11 letter to Ms Esther Mbayo, the minister for the presidency, the President said he had information that Mr Sakwa is a victim of a “frame up by corrupt people in Jinja” that are fighting him “because of his good work.”

Mr Sakwa, 38, was on April 24, arrested and charged with manslaughter over the death of Charles Isanga, a businessman.

Prosecution alleges that between March 22 and April 17, Sakwa, along with Bumali Bazimbyewa, a mechanic and Mohammed Simba, a businessman, unlawfully caused the death of Isanga, a resident of Lwanda Village in Jinja.

“Mr Sakwa is accused of being present when a mwanainchi was being beaten by LDUs and that the mwanainchi later died, etc,” Museveni wrote in response to Ms Mbayo’s May 6 letter seeking guidance on how to handle the Sakwa affair.

“My information shows that Sakwa was not at the scene and that the man fell down and later died from the injuries caused by the fall.”

Sakwa returned to office a week after his arrest after securing bail.

Later, Hajj Yenus Kirunda, secretary to the Office of the President, asked him to hand over to District Internal Security Officer.

But the interdiction soon grew into confusion with Sakwa insisting in various media interviews that he was still in office.

The criminal case turned political as he accused his opponents of instigating his arrest because “he has stood in their way of grabbing public land and corruption.”

Sakwa also petitioned the High Court seeking a stay of execution of Hajj Kirunda’a orders.

He got his wish.

“An interim order is hereby issued restraining the respondents (Attorney General and Hajj Kirunda) and their agents from removing Sakwa from office or interfering with his work as RDC in any way until his application his disposed of,” Jinja High Court Deputy Registrar, Mr Fred Waninda orderd on Wednesday.

Earlier on the day, Sakwa appeared before Jinja Grade I Magistrate, Ms Agnes Nabafu, but the hearing of the case failed to take off because his co-accused Bizimeya and Simba were not in court.

Sakwas lawyer, Mr Evans Ochieng said his client was still the RDC of Jinja.

“It’s only the appointing authority (President) who can remove him from office not any other person,” Mr Ochieng said.

Museveni steps in

“A Ugandan dying is very serious. It is in the interests of, first and foremost Sakwa, for facts to come out establishing the truth,” the President wrote.

He instructed investigators to establish if Sakwa was on the scene “when the LDUs were bearing a mwanainchi?”

“That would be bad enough even if the mwanainchi didn’t die,” he said. “Violence by security forces should only be used in self-defence, if a suspect is violent. Even then, it should be violence to subdue the suspect and arrest him, not anything else.

“With addition of death, it becomes very serious.”

He ordered that Sakwa steps aside for two months and cooperate with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the court systems to “get the facts and conclude the case.”

Mr Museveni said that the allegations were not mere political issues that could be resolved with dialogue but criminal in nature.

“If the accusers of Sakwa are lying, it will boomerang on them,” he said.