Mwesigwa Rukutana, a junior labor minister, will spend a third night in police detention after Nazifa Namayanja, a Ntungamo Grade One Magistrate, remanded him until September 08.
The Rushenyi County MP had hoped to secure bail after spending two days in detention at Mbarara Central Police Station following his arrest on September 05.
But Namayanja told court that her senior, Chief Magistrate Sarah Kolya, who should have heard Rukutana’s bail application was absent.
She only read out the minister’s charges, including attempted murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening violence, and malicious damage to property.
Also arrested alongside Rukutana were his bodyguards: Police Constable (PC) No. 46613 Paul Agec, No. 62477 PC Faizo Kazoora, and RA 215020L/CPL John Bosco Okello.
His driver Napoleon Nuwamanya was also detained.
At the centre of the shooting was Dan Rweiburingi, a key supporter of Naomi Kabasharira, Rukutana’s opponent.
In 2016, Rweiburingi carried the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag to challenge Rukutana in Rushenyi County.
But he had now resolved to back Kabasharira, a joint candidate for the anti-Rukutana camp.
Through his lawyers of LSA Advocates, Rukutana denied shooting at anyone.
WHAT RUKUTANA LAWYERS SAY
The Hon Minister who was a candidate in the recently held NRM parliamentary primary elections for Rushenyi County was on the September 5 at his home preparing for prayers after the loss of his mother-in-law.
That he sent his son to pick a Reverend who was to conduct prayers at his home and thereafter go for burial and later proceed for polling.
That while his son was returning from picking the Reverend, the Ministers son together with the Reverend found the road leading to the home of the Minister blocked and on inquiry from the people who had blocked the road, they hurled lots of insults on the Ministers son and the Reverend accusing them of going to bribe voters.
The Hon Minister then together with his bodyguard and other few people who were at his home moved fast to safeguard his son and Reverend.
That on reaching the scene, the people who were in the car that blocked the road refused to remove the blockade and exchanged lots of insults with the minister for which one of the persons in the car that had blocked the road was seen by the Minister darking down in the co-drivers seat to pick a weapon for which the Minister then returned back to his car to also secure a weapon to scare away the armed people in the car that had blocked the road and also to protect himself and his son”.
RUKUTANA SUPPORTERS THREATEN TO JOIN BOBI WINE
On September 07, supporters of Rukutana protested at the Ntungamo District headquarters.
They said Rukutana was a victim of political witch-hunt.
They claimed first lady and education minister Janet Museveni was one of the powerful forces behind Rukutana’s woes.
The protesters said Ms Museveni, also the Ntungamo District NRM party chairperson, had compelled district registrar Maria Mirembe to announce Kabasharira as winner, leaving out results from 10 polling stations.
The Pearl Times couldn’t independently verify these claims.
But the Rukatana diehards, who police later used tear gas to disperse, vowed to join Bobi Wine, the People Power pressure group and National Unity Platform (NUP) leader if Museveni doesn’t quickly ensure the minister is released.
Earlier in the day, Museveni insisted Rukutana would be prosecuted.