The conviction of former State Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki last week on corruption charges has drawn mixed reactions in his home district of Rukiga.
On October 8, Anti-Corruption Court Judge Margaret Tibulya, found the former minister guilty of soliciting a bribe back in 2017.
The prosecution had told court that on April 6 and 8, 2017, Kabafunzaki directly solicited and accepted a bribe of Shillings 5million from Hamid Muhammed, the Chairperson of Aya Group of Companies as an inducement to clear him of sexual abuse allegations by his former employee, Jamila Opondo.
In her judgment, Justice Tibulya ordered Kabafunzaki to pay a fine of Shs 10 million or serve a three-year jail term.
The court also barred Kabafunzaki from holding any public office for ten years and ordered him to forfeit the 5 million Shillings he paid for his bail for absconding from the court proceedings.
The verdict has since been received with mixed reactions among voters in Rukiga county.
While some supported the punishment, others found it too harsh.
Sabitti Gonza Patirisi, a resident of Mukibaati in Kashambya sub county says Kabafunzaki’s involvement in corruption left them disappointed.
“We missed a lot as locals because he was our MP and a government minister. He lost his cabinet position because of his crimes and that meant that he couldn’t fight for us.”
According to Gonza, the conviction should act as an eye-opener to other government leaders and politicians planning to solicit bribes from investors.
However, Agnes Success, a voter from Muhanga town council says that fining Kabafunzaki and at the same time barring him from holding office for 10 years was not fair.
“We have so many leaders who have committed even more serious crimes of corruption but are still holding ministerial positions,” she said.
“The judge should have given him one punishment but not two at ago,” he said.
Gibbs Barigayomwe, the Rukiga District Youth Chairperson says that the judge should have been lenient and barred Kabafunzaki from holding office for five years but not 10.
Kafafunzaki, today Wednesday paid the Shs 10million at the Anti-Corruption court.