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Foreign Affairs Minister Sued for Endorsing Kavuya Family Travel During Lockdown

The returnees include Barbara Kavuya, Blanche Kabuju and Isaiah Byabashaija, all family members of businessman Ben Kavuya. The trio came into the country in May, aboard Ethiopian airlines. Prior to their return, Sam Kutesa wrote to the General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines on May 13, asking him to transport the said individuals from New York to Entebbe, despite the fact that the airport was closed to passenger traffic.
Minister Sam Kuteesa
Lawyer Leonard Otee has petitioned court seeking the prosecution of Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and three people who were recently authorized to travel into the country from the United States of America.

The returnees include Barbara Kavuya, Blanche Kabuju and Isaiah Byabashaija, all family members of businessman Ben Kavuya. The trio came into the country on May 18, aboard Ethiopian airlines from New York. Prior to their return, Sam Kutesa wrote to the General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines on May 13, asking him to transport the said individuals to Entebbe, despite the fact that the airport was closed to passenger traffic.

In his application before Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court, Otee says that Kutesa cleared the trio to travel from the United States of America in total breach of the Presidential directives. The president had declared on March 24, that Entebbe International Airport and all other borders would remain closed as a measure to control the the spread of coronavirus disease.  

Otee says that as a result of the directive, thousands of Ugandan nationals, including students were denied a chance to return home. Many remain stranded in major cities across the world, some of which were more devastated by the pandemic. 

Otee has now asked the court to prepare a charge sheet against Kutesa and the three named individuals before she issues warrants and summons compelling them to come to court and face prosecution for violating the President's directives. He says the process of their return contravenes the Public Health (Prohibition of Entry into Uganda) order 2020. 

The order gazetted on March 21, prohibits entry into Uganda to all persons with the exception of United Nations humanitarian organizations staff, and cargo trucks and aircraft.

Uganda has more than 2,400 citizens stuck abroad but the government has since cleared them to return, be quarantined all at their own cost. The matter is yet to be fixed for hearing.

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