Ugandan minister remanded over attempted murder

Wednesday September 09 2020

State minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana (centre/inset) being escorted by prison warders at Ntungamo Chief Magistrate's court where he appeared before he was further remanded on September 8, 2020. PHOTO | PEREZ RUMANZI | NMG


A court in Uganda’s western district of Ntungamo remanded the country’s state minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana, to prison until September 15, 2020, when it will hear his bail application.

 The 61-year-old former deputy attorney general is charged with seven offenses including attempted murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening violence, and malicious damage.

Mr Rukutana and his escorts were arrested last Saturday on allegations of shooting and injuring Dan Rweiburingi Kiriyo in a brawl connected to party primaries. The victim was admitted in critical condition and his vehicle damaged during the incident.

A video of the incident, circulated on social media, shows the minister appearing to grab a gun from his security guard, a policeman, and aiming it at a vehicle whose occupants were wailing. This happened just after Mr Rukutana had lost the race for the ruling party’s nominee for Rushenyi County.

The ruling party, National Resistance Movement, to which Rukutana subscribes, last week held countrywide primaries for February 2021 general election.

Following the change in the party constitution, voters were required to queue behind aspirants or their portraits.


The process has been condemned by party leaders, aspirants and citizens as being marred with violence, intimidation and voter bribery.

About three people have been killed countrywide in violence related to the primaries and several others injured.

In a statement on Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni, the ruling party’s chairman who retained this seat unopposed, said that all those responsible for any kind of violence during the primaries will be prosecuted.

Mr Rukutana becomes the first high profile official to be charged over party primaries violence.

Police on Monday confirmed that they had also arrested Agule County member of Parliament Francis Mukula over allegations of shooting two people because he disagreed with polling results.