The Communications Director at Parliament Chris Obore has added weight to appeals to Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to stop drama and judging witnesses during the land inquiry commission proceedings.
Obore emphasised that Bamugemereire’s determination to capture media attention was endangering the Commission’s reputation.
“The trend public officials are taking of struggling to capture media and public attention unnecessarily is dangerous for our governance. Instead of letting their work speak for them, they instead want to force public discussion about them,” warned Obore.
Bamugemereire stunned the nation when she judged Lands Minister Betty Amongi as the latter appeared before the Commission.
The judge said the Minister should concentrate on her work instead of being involved in land deals.
Bamugemereire also appeared to judge Amongi as guilty even before hearing the Minister’s entire side of the story.
The Land probe commission wants Minister Amongi to explain more on her alleged involvement in the running of the Land Fund and explain how her company AMOBET investments Ltd acquired Asian nationals’ land located on plot 29 Acacia Avenue.
On her part, Amongi said her company rented the premises and had no intentions of acquiring them.
“My company does not own this property. We applied to Custodian Board and were given the offer to pay rent to government. Currently, the custodian board has over 500 tenants like my company.”
After paying rent for six months, a third party took the Custodian Board to court contesting the tenancy offer to her company claiming he is the owner.
“The petitioner obtained an injunction after which my company wrote to the Custodian Board seeking to rescind from the tenancy and demanded refund for the money paid in rent. The custodian board wrote back withdrawing the offer and accepted to refund our rent,” she observed.
Amongi said it was “unfortunate that the atmosphere in the Commission of Inquiry did not permit me to present the facts as they are,” adding, “It is not true that I sought to use my position as Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to acquire the property in question.”
Several witnesses have since blamed Bamugemereire of being emotional and highhanded instead of listening carefully to their submissions.
Obore warned that it was getting worse that the judiciary which was known for being sober and measured , is now clamoring for media attention.
“The judges feel they are left out in the competition for public attention,” said Obore.
“Now Bamugemereire has taken it to another level. She actually shouts and speaks English like an A level student eager to impress. What happens when the public gets fed up with both the politicians and the judges?” wondered Obore.
“What happens when politicians use politics to respond to the ridicule from the judiciary? We seem to have lost responsible senior leaders in all sectors. You are already a judge who will decide anyway, so why dramatize?”
On her part, Bamugemereire said nothing would stop her from doing her work. She further emphasised that the commission remained interest “in how government does its business” and that “land issues are a serious matter.”