KAMPALA — Former Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana says he has apologized to Justice Catherine Bamugemereire after a three year spell of simmering relations.
In a brief statement, making rounds on social media, Rukutana who suffered a poll defeat in 2021 general elections said Justice Bamugemereire accepted his apology and “I felt the heavy burden that had weighed me down”.
“God works in mysterious ways,” Rukutana stated.
“Yesterday, He set up an impromptu, unplanned and unforeseen meeting between me and Her Lordship Catherine Bamugemereire JCA.
“She warmly welcomed me in her Chambers. For the first time since the unfortunate fracas of 2020 (2019), the two of us sat face to face, exchanged pleasantries and reflected on how Satan had driven a wedge between us. Each one of us regretted the incident. I apologized to her and she did likewise,” Rukutana also a lawyer wrote praising Justice Bamugemereire for a reconciliatory heart.
The duo had fallen out during the 2019 land probe in which Justice Bamugemereire, the then chairperson of land inquiry committee investigated fraudulent land deals that involved the then deputy attorney general Rukutana.
Rukutana was at one point sent out of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters for undermining the commission’s chairperson, lead counsel and commissioners during cross examination.
Rukutana, who had also defied several court summonses before, spoke egotistically and refused to adhere to the probe’s terms of reference saying he “will not respect anyone in the commission If am not respected.”
At one point during the probe, Mr Rukutana told Justice Bamugemereire that “If you disrespect me I disrespect you.”
While appearing before the commission on February 5, 2019, Rukutana, refused to testify, saying he wanted more time to prepare himself. He asked for a minimum of 30 days. However, his plea was rejected on the grounds that it was not commensurate with the Land Probe’s terms of reference, which was time bound.
Rukutana, a lawyer and a politician who has held a number of government jobs including ministerial positions, was being investigated among other allegations for wrongly advising and misinforming President Museveni on the ownership of Mutungo hill. His legal advice subsequently led to some letters originating from the President’s Office.
Rukutana was also accused of giving wrong legal opinion in the media, well knowing that the facts as he claimed, didn’t colloborat with what the Commission unearthed through various testimonies from complainants and locus in quo visits to the land under contention.
All along during the hearing that was interrupted with premature adjournments, Rukutana kept on answering questions arrogantly and disrespectfully – prompting Bamugemereire to prematurely adjourn the hearing. But even when the hearing resumed, Rukutana was not remorseful for his earlier behaviour despite pleas from Bamugemereire to be respectful and mindful of his words.
“Can I have your word on this problem because this would determine whether we should continue with you or not ” asked Bamugemereire.
“Which word?” retorted Rukutana.
“Are you going to be respectful to this Commission?” Justice Bamugemereire asked Rukutana again.
But before she could complete her statement, Rukutana again jumped in and interfered with her statement saying; “Look, my position is very clear. As long as I am respected, I will be respectful. If I am not respected, I will not respect anybody” said Rukutana who all along kept on interrupting the lead counsel, Ebert Byenkya.
“Okay, I think let’s stop here. Because this is not pretense. If we come here, for a person not less than a deputy attorney general to show this commission that we are a waste of time. Our first interaction was two weeks ago where we granted you an adjournment to be prepared. Our main object in soliciting your guidance to this commission was to bring clarity to this compensation award that was granted to Dr Kasasa” Bamugemereire said in a somber voice.
“There have been allegations that these figures and this contracts are arrived at through an inflated, irregular and even probably fraudulent process. We were hoping to get answers to these questions. And it turns out we are confronted with a situation, a situation of hostility, combativeness, disrespect and an attitude never, never seen before.” Bamugemereire said.
“I have thought very hard about this. And we have talked about it as a Commission. But now, at this point, as regards the attorney general’s opinion on this issue, I will refer this matter to His Excellency the President of Uganda, who is our appointing authority, so that probably the appointing authority can find another way of verifying, investigating and probing how Shs 24.6 billion is about to leave the treasury. And probably the appointing authority will find a body that the learned attorney general respects enough.”
“As it turns out, this level of disrespect by government officials makes it impossible for us to continue with this type of investigation. If this level of disrespect continues, we might actually. rethink our method as a commission. But as of now, this interview is over. You are dismissed and discharged. Please get out of here ” Bamugemereire said.
Asked to give a comment by the journalists, the non remorseful Rukutana said: “ I don’t give a damn. Let her tell the president, she can even tell Pope or God.”
Mr Rukutana was widely criticised for disrespecting the commission, with language experts saying that “this is the most rude expression in western Uganda commonly used by people of low education levels especially if they want to say you cant do anything to them.”
Because of this condescending and egotistical behavior, arrogance and a sense of entitlement, majority of stakeholders in his home constituency Rushenyi have declared him unfit to lead them.
After the Tuesday apology, Rukutana said that he regretted the incident.
“The 20 plus minutes we spent in her office were the best moments in my life; for, I loathe keeping a grudge with anybody. I discovered that the good judge shared this character. I felt the heavy burden that had weighed me down ever since, melting with our warm and hearty conversation.
I thank the good Lord; I thank the Hon. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire for the good and reconciliatory heart. May the good Lord continue to bless her!!’
This website understands that Mr Rukutana has not only fallen out with Justice Bamugemereire.
He has fallen out with several Ugandans including his voters.
One other prominent fall out was his clash between Evelyn Anite over Uganda Telecom.
It is not immediately clear whether the former deputy attorney general will also apologize to all of them.