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EXCLUSIVE: How Rukutana bought his way in Ntungamo Magistrate’s Court

CONFIRMED: Minister Rukutana arrested, on charges of attempted murder over Ntungamo shooting incident

Minister Rukutana was pictured seizing a rifle in the shooting incident (PHOTO/File)

It is no shock to many that Junior Labor Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana may walk away without serving any jail time partly due to his powerful connections in high circles that always step in to rescue him. A credible source who has revised notes of Ntungamo Chief Magistrate Mr. Gordon Muhimbise observed that Rukutana is likely to be acquitted on Friday April 30, 2021, to pave way for lobbying for a Ministry in President Museveni’s next government.

The story seems not to have changed.

Based on the twist of events, we bring you an independent analysis of how the Police Chief Investigating Officer (IO) from Ntungamo Central Police Station, a one ASP Turinayo Bruno Kabeera, Chief Magistrate of Ntungamo District Mr. Gordon Muhimbise “His Worship” and other detectives joined a cartel to block justice for Ugandans who tested the wrath of Rushenyi County’s longest serving legislator in Ntungamo District. Others in the deal are Samuel Ayen, a scene of crime officer (SOCO), Corporal Ben Asiimwe, a police officer who kept the exhibits in the police store and Reverend Canon Peter Rubambura.

From money exchanging hands between Rukutana proxies led by businessman and politician Michael Maranga Mawanda, a serving member of parliament for Igara East Bushenyi District and the Chief Magistrate to directly buying off witnesses and intimidating them to lose interest in the case, it is clear that Rukutana is walking away a free man from Court.

𝐇𝐎𝐖 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐍 𝐖𝐀𝐒 𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐂𝐇𝐄𝐃

Soon after the January 14, 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections, a plan was hatched to have Rukutana get a speedy hearing, that would present him as an innocent man in the eyes of President Museveni.

Rukutana felt he would not survive with his empire minus government job. This was after he had lost miserably in an election to Naome Kabasharira with over 2000 votes. Jubilations and celebrations have since been reportedly held in Kampala and Rushenyi in general.

But uncomfortable Rukutana and his team of strategists felt the only way to convince Mzee Museveni to be re-appointed Minister was if his court cases were dropped and perhaps acquitted.

The State Minister for Labour Mwesigwa Rukutana is charged with attempted murder, assault, malicious damage and threatening violence.

𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐂𝐇𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐎𝐋𝐎𝐆𝐘 𝐎𝐅 𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒

On September 4, 2020, the ruling National Resistance Movement Party held primaries for parliamentary flag bearers for positions of district woman representatives and constituency MPs.

Rushenyi, like many other parts of the country, tensions were high. The contest was between Naome Kabasharira, a former Ntungamo District Woman MP who joined the race with a back of a coalition of former contestants in Rushenyi.

Sources privy to the group say Kabasharira had refused to stand for this post. She reportedly gave two main reasons why she was not going to stand. One was that she had retired from elective politics and had officially informed her family. The second reason was that she had been ambushed and was not ready financially to join the race. Sources say however that with assurances from members of the coalition, Kabasharira agreed to come but on condition that the coalition funds all the campaign activities, which they agreed. The coalition included among others Alex Kwesiga Nkabarenga, Dan Rweiburinga, Justus Karuhanga, Jude Muhereza Kacooboye, Joshua Atukunda Kariire, Herbert Nyongozi among others.

Dan Rweiburigye receiving medication at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital before the Hospital Management referred him to Kampala for further Management.

During the campaigns, several smear campaign and hate speech, lies, threats and intimidation were not couldn’t be separated from Rushenyi polls. Mr. Rukutana who according to one investigative officer at Ntungamo district had on several occasions used his private Radio Station (99.3 FM Radio Ankole) to threaten and intimidate voters in Rushenyi. He according to reports would name several members of the coalition as enemies of development in Rushenyi, sowing seeds of hatred and divisionism among voters.

All these were not working to his favour. Despite government declaring that the elections were to be scientific and therefore the mode of campaigns would be virtual, unverified reports say Kabasharira was even blocked from using Radio Ankole to reach the voters. In fact, one of the sources discloses that Kabasharira instead opted of an emerging radio Rukiga FM for her entire campaigns.

On Friday September 4, as the rest of the country went to polls for NRM flagbearers. Rushenyi residents went to polls but one sub county out of the seven sub counties did not go to polls. There is no explanation for this. But what is clear is that Rubaare Subcounty, where the incumbent comes from did not vote. Even in areas that voted, several people waited in vain to receive voting materials (declaration forms). In some instances, the declaration forms would arrive at a village as late as 4:00PM with several people having been demotivated. Despite this, Kabasharira emerged leading candidate with 1800votes minus Rubaare Subcounty.

With this in mind, Kabasharira team was determined to protect their victory. Mr. Dan Rweiburingi who was Kabasharira’s chief campaign manager for Rubaare Subcounty ensured no money was distributed by the opponent at night. The stakes were so high that Mr. Rukutana needed to win Rubaare Subcounty and with a high margin to overturn Kabasharira’s early lead.

We also learn that that night, there was a security operation by both Police and UPDF in the entire Rushenyi constituency, since it was the only part in Ntungamo district that had not concluded voting. This security deployment and intense night patrol foiled cash distributions in the homes of Rubaare. It was already confirmed by Tanga Odoi’s blue-eyed boy Dr. Dickson Kamukama who had been sent by the party EC to superintend the elections in the western Uganda districts of Ntungamo, Isingiro, Kiruhura, Mbarara and Rwampara.

On the second day, Saturday September 5, 2020, Rukutana deploys a team to ensure voters receive “facilitation” to vote. Mr. Levi Tagaywe, Rukutana’s biological brother and his chief campaign agent was deployed in Nyanga Parish in Rubaare Subcounty.

Reverend Canon Peter Rubambura and Rukutana’s son were deployed in Kagugu parish. Meanwhile, Halima Harriet Nsiimire, one of Mwesigwa Rukutana’s wives was deployed in Kakungu and Jennifer Rukutana, his other wife alongside Keneth Rwakibende were charged with Omungyenyi Parish and the Rwabaramira area.

But Dan Rweiburingi was on his surveillance in the area as the chief campaign agent for Naome Kabasharira for Rubaare subcounty.

Alongside colleagues Moses Muhumuza, Juma Kahitana, Justus Nuwamanya and Katahweire Rawlance (LC1 Chairperson of Kashojwa Village in Kagugu Parish), were in a Toyota RAV4 (No. UAQ 840X) and Stuart Kamukama, the driver, who immediately after the incident ran to Ntungamo District headquarters where he narrated the ordeal of how Dan had been beaten and left for dead.

This car belongs to Counsel Moses Muhumuza. It is the one in which Dan Rweiburingi and colleagues were travelling in at the time of attack by Rukutana

This car belongs to Counsel Moses Muhumuza. It is the one in which Dan Rweiburingi and colleagues were travelling in at the time of attack by Rukutana

After the trouble, a wave of fear covered the entire constituency. Reports indicate that many voters in Rubaare abstained from voting. In Ruyonza, Tagaywa together with a team that were driving tipper lorries ferried mourners from a nearby homestead to a polling station and inflated the numbers to 600votes for Rukutana and 08 for Kabasharira.

𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐄𝐗𝐀𝐂𝐓𝐋𝐘 𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐏𝐄𝐍𝐄𝐃 𝐀𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐂𝐑𝐈𝐌𝐄

Towards 10:00am on the fateful day of Saturday September 5, 2020, Mr. Dan Rweiburingi together with Juma Kahitana were heading Kashanda Primary School polling station where they were supposed to vote from. The duo was with another set of people who were to drop them at the polling station and proceed. They were from Ntungamo District Tally Centre at the district headquarters.

Along the way, they found Rev. Rubambura and Rukutana’s son, a one Ronald Twongyeirwe. The two were occupants of a Subaru vehicle at Kagugu market. Here, they reportedly were distributing money to locals to go and vote. We gather that Mr. Dan Rweiburingi and his team had an exchange with Rev. Rubambura whom they asked to leave politics of distributing money to voters at his age.

Feeling threatened after the exchange, Mr. Ronald Twongyeirwe Rukutana using his mobile phone 0780428499 called his father Mr. Rukutana on 0783 327270 at around 22:00hrs. This information is corroborated by Rev. Rubambura in his testimony in Court.

Rukutana told court (not on oath) that he was reportedly going a burial of a one Gladys Kakusyo when he received a distress call from his son. Kakusyo is Rukutana’s father in-law. Sensing his son was in danger, he sped off to the meet the alleged attackers.

As this happened, a Toyota Premio car number UAX 673V belonging to a one Priscah sped off past the car that was used by Dan Rweiburingi and others and blocked it in front. In this Premio car, there was Priscah, Agnes Tushabe, a former Western Region Youth MP contestant, also Rukutana’s Political Aide.

She is also visibly seen in the video as Rukutana attempted to shoot. This was near Kagugu Parish Headquarters (First Scene of Crime). A furious Rukutana jumped out of the car and out of desparecy started assaulting the car occupants. They raised car window glasses and locked themselves inside. Rukutana reportedly picked a stick and started banging the vehicle before he ran for a gun.

Dan Rweiburigye receiving medication at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital before the Hospital Management referred him to Kampala for further Management.

Sources have established that at this point there was no shooting as Rukutana, grabbed an AK-47 SMG riffle from one his bodyguards and attempted to shoot. This information was corroborated by a police forensics report conducted on the guy. A UPDF officer who was part of the Minister ‘s security detail confirms that he did not shoot at this point because the Minister minus opening the safe AK-47.

An SMG riffle cannot fire once the safe is not open. “We were lucky that there was no shooting. Honourable forgot to remove the safety lever. This saved us,” said the officer.
This incident was recorded by Juma Kahitana, one of the occupants of a RAV 4 car. He was with Dan Rweiburingi in the same car. It was recorded using a Tecno Droipad 7D Tablet at 10:00. This was part of evidence tendered in court.

Stuart Kamukama the driver of the car says behind their car, there was Rukutana’s son who had blocked the road with his car. He says they could neither move back nor ahead since they were surrounded.

But shortly after the incident, they were released to go for nearly a quarter a KM until a speeding Toyota Hiace Van (Kigege Minibus) number UBB 098K speed off past them and parked in front of them (Dan Rweiburingi). This car our investigation team later discovered belonged to Mr. Rukutana. We have since learnt that this car was sold off and ownership transferred to a different person. This van had several mean-looking men holding sticks, pangas and iron bars.

A furious Rukutana jumped out of the car and out of desparecy started assaulting the car occupants (PHOTO/Courtesy).

Still in shock, several cars now belonging to Mr. Rukutana including his private vehicle with number plate RR and his Ministry of Gender vehicle and several others sealed off at the second scene. This was deep inside Rukutana’s farms. The road dissects through his farm. Dan Rweiburingi came out of the car to ask why Rukutana was pursuing. It is during this incident that he started receiving beatings from Rukutana as his men watched.

The rest of Dan’s colleagues fled the scene with some receiving some serious beatings from the Minister’s hostile team that was armed with iron bars, guns, stones among others. At this point, sources say Rukutana picked a gun again and fired at a car bonnet. Rukutana, after quenching his anger then left the scene with orders to clear the scene of crime. Dan was left for dead.

Dan Rweiburingyi shortly after he was attached by Rukutana mob on September 5, 2020

But shortly after the scuffle, Rukutana headed to the burial grounds in Kyanyanzira village in his RR private numbered vehicle. His government car with his bodyguards, a platoon and the gun that shot was cleared by the UPDF soldiers who fled the scene. On reaching the burial grounds, he briefly told the mourners he was in a middle of an election and asked to be given chance to speak and go. Meanwhile, the video of the violence was already circulating and had gone viral. Rukutana then went back to his home, where he was finally picked on his arrest.

𝐃𝐑𝐀𝐌𝐀 𝐈𝐍 𝐂𝐎𝐔𝐑𝐓 𝐀𝐒 𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐖𝐈𝐓𝐍𝐄𝐒𝐒𝐄𝐒/𝐏𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐂𝐄 𝐃𝐄𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐒 𝐒𝐏𝐄𝐀𝐊 𝐈𝐍 𝐓𝐎𝐍𝐆𝐔𝐄𝐒

Reports indicate that soon after the general election, lobbyists for Minister Rukutana’s ministerial post advised that President Museveni would not appoint a criminal for such a position. It was agreed that the only way out was through ensuring Court acquits him in time to allow the lobbyists do the convincing to Mr. Museveni.

The trial for Minister Rukutana started on April 13, 2021 but the investigating officer ASP Kabeera deleted the original video recording from the phone and left only the video forwards in WhatsApp folder. The reason for him deleting the original video in the phone, yet, it was one of the key evidences implicating Mr. Rukutana before the Courts of law is not known. But during his testimony in Court ASP Kabeera (also not on oath) said the Video was manipulated. The police officers instead presented a WhatsApp version of the video.

During the court sessions, police officers and Rukutana’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka ensured that Rukutana was moved off the scene of crime in their testimonies. The Défense brought two witnesses including Rev. Rubambura who testified before court. In his submission, Rev. Rubambura told Court that he couldn’t identify the people who blocked them from giving out money at the market because “they were hooded.”

State Attorney Mr. Richard Muhereza asked Rev. Rubambura whether his eyes were very okay. But in response, Rubambura said he had sight problems and that his eyes can hardly see for the past five years.

When asked whether he was at the Scene of Crime, Rev. Rubambura denied being at the scene, rendering him a useless witness.
During the Court proceedings, the Police chief Investigating Officer (IO) from Ntungamo Central Police Station, a one ASP Turinayo Bruno Kabeera told court that Dan Rweiburingyi was not injured/sick, and that he was pretending, to be sick.

Rukutana having good times with one of his concubines

While speaking (not on oath) ASP Kabeera also told Court did he not see any vehicle that was damaged. When asked who took the pictures and how they came to his file, he said he didn’t know.

The investigating officer also contradicted himself severally, as a state witness which prompted the state prosecutor to ask for leave of court to put his witness to order but the witness insisted, he was okay.

ASP Kabeera also told Court that the people in the minibus were the ones that beat up the Victims, but as the investigating officer he said he did not find out who they were but insisted Rukutana was not one of them.
Whereas Juma Kahitana handed over his phone for Police to extract a video recording of Rukutana violence incident, Police officers deleted the original video and instead handed over a WhatsApp-forwarded video that Court rejected on grounds that it was manipulated.

Mr. Muhereza, the State Attorney had made plea to Court to allow phone video evidence showing clearly how Rukutana grabbed a gun from one of his bodyguards and cocked it threatening to shoot.

A police officer from Wandegeya Police Station Milson Ngamia had initially testified in Court that he is the one who kept the Phone that captured the clip of Rukutana holding a gun, threatening to shoot at Dan Rweiburigi and his colleagues who were occupants of motor vehicle UAQ 840X.

Enock Kinene, the head of Cybercrimes unit in charge of digital forensics also testified in court but basing on the whatsapp video evidence on Wednesday April 21, 2021 which was rejected by the Chief Magistrate Gordon Muhimbise on grounds that was shared on WhatsApp.

Dan Rweiburingi one of the victims of Rukutana’s violence appeared in Court on April 16 walking with support of a stick and generally looked frail.

He presented medical documents from Nakasero Hospital, where he has had brain surgery but the defence lawyers objected to his testimony alongside that of his medical Doctor on grounds that they were not on the list of those supposed to testify that day.

The state prosecutor Mr. Muhereza asked court for more time to allow him to heal since he was more willing to testify but the Magistrate Gordon Muhimbise rejected this plea.

The witnesses have alluded to this investigation that they have been undergoing serious intimidation during and out of court proceedings.

Several analysts have referred to this as “a sham of a trial and mockery of justice that has been happening in Ntungamo Chief Magistrates Court, stage managed for media spin and to appear to clear one man.”

Despite being represented by three lawyers Evans Ochieng, Caleb Alaka and Owen Murangira, Mr. Rukutana requested to speak for himself since he was a lawyer. He was granted way to submit, though not on oath, in order to skip being cross-examined.

 

Wounded head of Dan Rweiburingi at Hospital after dressing the scars caused by Rukutana violence.

In his submission, he told Court that the video that had circulated on WhatsApp forums was a fabrication by his political nemesis adding that all the charges levied against him were trumped up and politically motivated.

Rukutana told Court that he possesses two official guns an SMG AK47 and a Pistol which he acquired in 1994, when some unknown people tried to kill him shortly after the Constituent Assembly. He reported to court that he legally posses the guns with approval of the president.

Despite a video showing a raging and furiously angry Rukutana in possession of a rifle, he denied having pointed a gun at Rweiburingi and his group and also having damaged their vehicle.

He also told court that he went to his home shortly after the incident but a few hours later police and plain clothed officers came to arrest him. He decried the manner in which he was arrested since he is a Minister and an MP, saying they would have summoned him. He said this was done to humiliate him before his supporters.

Court is expected to give its verdict on Friday April 30, 2021. Sources say this speedy hearing and ruling has been procured at a tune of 500Million to be pocketed by the Magistrate and other officers of Court. Sources say Hon. Mawanda made a down payment of 200M shillings to the Magistrate and awaits 300Million shillings upon delivery of an acquittal for the minister.

Sources close to the Minister say once this is achieved, they will commence plans to lobby for the former Kitalya visitor to retain his Ministry despite his loss of popularity in his constituency.

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