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MINISTER MWESIGWA RUKUTANA OUT ON BAIL

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By Mulengera Reporter

State Minister for Labour Mwesigwa Rukutana has been granted a Shs4m (cash) bail after he spent 10 days in detention for engaging in violence in the recently concluded National Resistance Movement (NRM) primary election in Ntungamo District’s Rushenyi County.

Rukutana was arrested on September 05 after a video in which he was seen grabbing a gun from his guard to shoot at a supporter of his opponent Naomi Kabasharira went viral. He was first detained at the Mbarara Central Police Station, and later remanded to Kitalya Prison in Mityana District by Magistrate Sarah Kolya of the Ntungamo Magistrate’s Court. Prosecution had argued that Rukutana, who faces charges of attempted murder, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, threatening violence, and malicious damage to property, would interfere in investigations into his case, if he was released then.

After Rukutana was denied bail last week, President Yoweri Museveni (who has made it clear that his minister must carry his cross), praised the move, saying police had assured him they had enough evidence to pin the former Deputy Attorney General for his engagement in electoral violence. The President also urged the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) led by Jane Frances Abodo to keep up the push to deny Rukutana, who once told Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of the Land Probe Commission to report him to God or go hang, bail.

But today, court granted the long-serving Rushenyi MP bail after he presented substantial sureties, including businessman Bob Kabonero, Igara East MP Michael Mawanda and former Minister Jim Muhwezi. The sureties were bonded at Shs50m non cash. Court ordered the MP to deposit his passport.

Meanwhile, Rukutana came out of detention on the day the NRM Electoral Commission (EC) led by Tanga Odoi was expected to release the results of the Rushenyi primary election that pitted him (Rukutana) against former Ntungamo District Woman MP Kabasharira, who had the backing of many local politicians, including Dan Rweiburingi, the 2016 Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate for the same constituency. In the results announced 10 days ago, Kabasharira had beaten Rukutana by a small margin but Tanga Odoi resolved to do a recount and also include eight polling stations which had not been considered in the initial tally that had been announced as official. In fact, Kabasharira recently invited Rukutana to rally behind her for the good and development of Rushenyi.

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