Sakwa: Embattled Jinja RDC removed from office - National | NTV

Sakwa: Embattled Jinja RDC removed from office

By Jacobs Odongo Seaman

Friday May 8, 2020

 


Embattled Jinja Resident District Commission Eric Sakwa’s woes are far from over; he has been asked to stand down and hand over office.

 

Mr Sakwa on Monday controversially returned to office to resume his duties as RDC despite a huge charge of manslaughter hanging on his head.

 

But on the same day, Hajj Yenus Kirunda, secretary to the Office of the President, wrote asking the embattled RDC to hand over office to the District Internal Security Officer (Diso), Lt Obadiah Musimenta.

 

“You’re required to hand over any government property in your possession in accordance with the laid down procedure and regulations,” Hajj Kirunda wrote in the May 4 letter copied to the Minister for the Presidency, Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet, and the Diso.

 

“Please hand over to the District Internal Security Officer for Jinja who will in addition to his schedule or duties perform the responsibilities of the Jinja RDC until otherwise advised or decided accordingly.”

 

It is the second time in four years Mr Sakwa is having to hand over office to the Diso. In 2016, he was acrimoniously transferred to Kumi after clashing with his counterparts in Luuka and Butaleja districts over funds for organising the 54th Independence Day national celebration.

However, a reshuffle in 2018 saw Sakwa bounce back to Jinja as RDC.

 

Half salary

In interdiction, Mr Sakwa is barred from leaving the country without clearance from the Secretary, Office of the President, and will receive half pay – subject to a refund in case the interdiction is lifted and the charges are dropped later.

 

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

 

Prosecution alleges that between March 22 and April 17 this year, Mr Sakwa, along with Bumali Bazimbyewa, 19, a mechanic and Simba Mohammed, 31, a businessman, unlawfully caused the death of Isanga, a resident of Lwanda Village in Jinja.

 

The interdicted RDC and his two co-accused had been remanded to Kirinya prison until May 13 but was out on bail two weeks earlier and just after five days on remand.

 

Mr Sakwa on Friday refused to comment on his interdiction, referring this newspaper to his appointing authority. However, in an interview last week, he accused Jinja West Member of Parliament Moses Balyeku of having engineered his troubles with the law.

 

“Balyeku is the one who engineered everything; of course, he denies but he is the one who does all that,” he told Daily Monitor last weekend.

 

MP Balyeku denied the allegations, saying: “I have no problem with Sakwa that necessitates me to go to that level of arresting him. I am not a police officer, minister in government or army officer but an ordinary backbencher in Parliament. I don’t have those powers to make court sit at 4pm,” he added.

 

While Sakwa had a relatively calm moment in Kumi during his brief stint as deputy RDC, his two times in Jinja have been riddled with controversy, climaxing in accusations of abuse of power and torture of citizens.

 

In February, Mr Sakwa led security forces in arrest of Opposition politicians, including FDC stalwart DR Kizza Besigye. He later blocked the Opposition leader from access Jinja, labelling him a “desert locust” who needed a permit to visit the eastern district because “he is over-visiting Jinja.”

 

 

Several complaints from a section of the public that Sakwa followed his every movement to enforce the health guidelines and curfew. Residents said he was crossing his mandate, some accused him of threatening persons at gunpoint and beating up others.

 

Mr Balyeku said the interdicted RDC is battling skeletons in his closet. He took a swipe at the supporters who protested the arrest.

 

“The same people who are praising Sakwa are the ones who chased him away from Jinja, humiliated him and took him to Kumi District,” he said.