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Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago ousted by councillors

By BBC | November 26th 2013

The opposition mayor of the Ugandan capital Kampala has been voted out of office by councillors after a tribunal found him guilty of incompetence and abuse of office.

Erias Lukwago lost the ballot by 29 votes to three.

Police fired tear gas to break up a protest against Mr Lukwago's dismissal, state-owned media reports.

His supporters believe the government plotted against him to wrest control of the mayor's post from the opposition.

However, councillors from his own Democratic Party (DP) voted to oust him, reports the BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga from Kampala.

Mr Lukwago was not present during the vote, as he is in hospital being treated for hypertension and malaria, our correspondent says.

Security guards blocked his lawyers from entering the council chambers minutes before the vote to present what they said was a court order halting proceedings, our reporter adds.

One of the lawyers was allegedly assaulted, she says.

Police and plain-clothed security operatives threw councillor Allan Ssewanyana out of the chambers after he tried to present the court order, Uganda's privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper reported.

Business came to a standstill and public transport was paralysed in parts of Kampala after Mr Lukwago's supporters protested against his dismissal, the state-owned New Vision newspaper reports.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters and warned the public not to engage in criminal activity, it added.

Two weeks ago, a government-appointed tribunal ruled that Mr Lukwago had failed to convene meetings, had disobeyed administrative directives and had incited the public to withhold taxes.

Mr Lukwago told the BBC's Focus on Africa radio programme that he condemned his removal from office.

"There's no respect for the constitution, for the rule of law, for democratic governance," he said.

Earlier, he described the tribunal, headed by a judge, as a kangaroo court and said President Yoweri Museveni was behind the move to oust him in order to open the way for his allies to take control of the city following their defeat in the 2011 election.

A government minister in the presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, chaired the council meeting where Mr Lukwago was voted out.

The mayor had 21 days to appeal against his dismissal, failing which his seat will be declared vacant and a by-election will be held, Mr Tumwebaze said.


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