Speaker of the Mbarara District Council Bonny Tashobya in a stormy session yesterday suspended one of his council members, accusing him of defamation.
During the 2nd Council meeting on Tuesday, Tashobya suspended Councilor Imam Kajiko, representing Katete Ward for two consecutive sittings and vowed to drag him to police for spreading dangerous propaganda about the Speaker and the council on WhatsApp forums and other media platforms.
The council sits once every two months and makes resolutions to be implemented by the district executive.
Yesterday’s session ended prematurely following the unprecedented Speaker’s decision.
The session started normally at around 9; 00, and as it proceeded, the speaker called the house attention to Councilor Kajiko, whom he accused of going vile on WhatsApp groups and radio stations making claims that he (speaker) stole council land, misused his office and awarded himself council tenders, which are all against the Local Government Act.
“He claimed that I awarded myself the street lights tender, that I stole the council land opposite Stanbic Bank and sold it to Centenary Bank and that I am out of order. His intention was clearly to tarnish my name,” charged the speaker.
Invoking his powers, Speaker Tashobya proceeded to suspend Councilor Kajiko amidst protests from some of the councilors, which turned the meeting rowdy.
“I am suspending him for two consecutive council and committee meetings. He tarnished my name publicly and he is not a council spokesperson,” Tashobya stood his ground.
All the while, Councilor Kajiko stood up, removed his coat and neck tie and vowed not to leave.
The speaker at this point asked the Sergeant at Arms to drag the councilor out, but Kajiiko, feeding off support from his fellow councilors declined to move.
The council turned chaotic and the Speaker suspended it indefinitely.
Speaker Tashobya had last month suspended another councilor Muhammad Byansi representing Nyamityobora ward for inciting violence among drivers in the Tax Park to attack the council over tender matters.
He told Chimpreports later, “I am very strict with my council; I cannot tolerate indiscipline.”
The speaker said Kajiko would be expected to present his defense before the council at the end of his suspension.
He also vowed to open up a defamation case with police and follow the matter to courts of law.