Go hang or report me to God, Rukutana tells Judge Bamugemereire
"They can even take it to God if she wants. I don’t give a damn."
SPOTLIGHT | A man who uses an automatic assault rifle to graze cows is certainly not the average kind who has to answer mere accountability queries from a commission of inquiry.
Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire would probably have used this hindsight and expected impunity from Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana; and then the public would have been saved what transpired Wednesday.
“So what? They can go hang,” Rukatana said unabashed shortly after Bamugemereire had showed him the door for contemptuous insolence during questioning.
And, to make matters worse, he had no foresight to see that his words to journalist that he directed at the commission directly undermined his own appointing authority, the President of the Republic.
The Commission into Land Matters was instituted by President Museveni to investigate land-related issues across the country.
By extension, it is answerable to the president and is doing the head of state’s bidding, meaning an attack on the commission, not least by a public official appointed by the president, would be an attack on Museveni himself.
But Rukutana cared less.
“They can even take it to God if she wants. I don’t give a damn,” he said as he jumped into the assassination corner of a maroon V8.
The deputy AG’s controversial remarks came after Justice Bamugemereire kicked him out of the commission hearing over his petulant and disrespectful behaviour when answering questions.
He was appearing before the Bamugemereire-chaired land probe to clarify on how government cleared Shs7 billion payment in land compensation to one Muhammed Kasasa.
“Omnipotence”, contempt &impunity are unbelievably quick products of the enjoyment of Junta (unchecked) power- even by those fairly remote from its centre!
“Hon” Mwesigwa Rukutana is a typical example. Recently pictured grazing cows with a machine gun!#M7mustGO#2019YearOfAction pic.twitter.com/8yzYmz0Tiy
— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) February 20, 2019
Pouting and mocking the commission team, Rukutana put up a face and show of a man who had been dragged from something sweeter than sleep that he was due to enjoy and brought into an inquiry room.
“Can you please answer decorum as expected?” Bamugemereire, who has gained past infamy at the commission for going “overboard” in her queries to subjects, said.
But instead Rukutana fired back, accusing the commission of not respecting him, explaining that he only gives respect in return for one.
“If you find my presentation lacking, I am trying to answer the questions as posed and I will maintain that stance. As long as I am respected I will be respectful. If I am not respected I will not respect anybody,” he said.
Bamugemereire is renowned for her makeup and prim and proper outlook. To expect her to tolerate anymore than a few words of plea she can give would be asking for too much. It was like Rukutana had smudged her lipstick or drawn eyebrow.
“We might actually have to rethink our methods as a commission, but as of now this interview is over; you are dismissed and discharged. Get out of here,” she barked.
Like they had come for exactly this, Rukutana’s guard was on his feet even for his boss, smiling at being shown the door, had decided to honour the dismissal or submit in with pleas for forgiveness.
Rukutana was up as well, his face betraying no emotions, his thick moustache taking control of the mouth for some semblance of decorum — at least until he was out with cameras shoved in his face by scavenging journalists seeking bytes.
He didn’t betray their recorders. Not least, when Bamugemereire had threatened to address his conduct with President Museveni.
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye tweeted about the conduct of Rukutana, saying the deputy AG behaved like he was “omnipotent.”
Late last year, Rukutana was pictured grazing cattle from his farm in Rushenyi, Ntungamo District, while toting an AK47 assault rifle — where conventionally a stick was all that one needed.
He defended the stunt, claiming insecurity since a couple of high profile public officials had been gunned down in the city in the recent past.