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KAMPALA. Detectives have arrested and detained the former managing director of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), Mr Paul Kihika, on a range of criminal cases that are under investigations.
Mr Kihika was arrested after failing to honour police summons a fortnight ago.
He is being investigated in connection to a Shs3.6b Uganda Broadcasting Corporation-Airtel sponsorship deal to air the 2014 Fifa World Cup matches.
However, the detectives released him on police bond only to be re-arrested at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters at Kibuli on another sanctioned file of giving false information to a police officer early this year.
Mr Vincent Ssekate, the spokesman of CID, said Mr Kihika has been detained and will appear in court today on the sanctioned file.
It is alleged that Mr Kihika reported a case of theft of his mobile phone by the head of Media Crime unit, Emmanuel Mbonimpa at Jinja Road Police Station whereas the officer had just confiscated it in an investigation of a defamation case against him.
“When the Resident State Attorney read the file, he preferred charges against Mr Kihika,” Mr Ssekate said yesterday.
Mr Kihika’s friends told Daily Monitor that the cases area witch-hunt by senior government officials, including ministers after he exposed a multi-billion deal in which they wanted to parcel UBC frequencies and property to a Chinese digital media company.
In the case of UBC sponsorship deal, police are also investigating the role of Mr Walter Osinde, the UBC internal auditor, and Stephen Rupiha, the former UBC marketing manager in the deal.
Detectives have recorded statements from Mr Osinde, and Patrick Kateba, UBC former finance manager, Eng Angello Nkeza, the former acting UBC managing director, Emmanuel Tumusiime, former UBC sales executive, Mr Cleophus Kizza, a former UBC freelancer, and Mr Edison Asiimwe, a former UBC worker. They were all released on police bond.
Police are investigating allegations of embezzlement, abuse of office, false accounting, causing financial loss and conspiracy to commit a felony against the official while executing a UBC-Airtel deal between 2013 and 2014.
The case stems from alleged embezzlement of partial payments sent by Airtel, a telecom company, to UBC accounts to sponsor the Fifa World Cup matches in Brazil.
Mr Tumusiime is said to have secured the deal and sought a commission from the payments yet he was a permanent worker at UBC.
It is also alleged that Mr Kihika and Mr Nkeza allowed the transfer of money that was meant for the World Cup sponsorship to different accounts which was irregular.

6 days 19 hours ago

KAMPALA. As Uganda hosts the Solidarity Summit on Refugees tomorrow, DR Congo and South Sudan youth refugees have asked the United Nations (UN) to focus more on ending conflicts in their countries than raising money for refugees.
While speaking at the youth refugee pre-summit workshop organised by Reach A hand Uganda (RAHU) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the youth refugees challenged UN to move its focus from humanitarian aid to finding solutions to the conflicts that have left thousands killed and displaced.
Mr Malual Bol Kur, a South Sudanese refugee, said he was interested in going back to his home country than depending on UN aid in a settlement camp.
“UN agencies should help in finding lasting solutions to the fighting in my country. I would be happy if the UN ends the conflict so that I could go back home,” Mr Kul said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres (L)

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres (L) arrives at Entebbe International Airport. He arrived in the country at 7:30pm last evening and today visits South Sudan refugees in Arua and Adjumani districts Photo by Abubaker Lubowa

Mr Espa Ndahimana, a DRC refugee at Nakivale settlement camp, wondered why UN has failed to find solutions for the conflict that has ravaged his country for more than three decades.
“The conflict in my country is more than 30 years old. I came to Uganda 17 years ago, but the conflict is still ongoing. Should we believe that UN has failed to establish the cause of the conflict,” Mr Ndahimana said. In their response, Ms Almaz Gebru, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director, Morgens Pederson, Danish envoy, and Mr Mondo Kyateka, commissioner for youth at Gender ministry, challenged the youth to respect peace by denouncing those that lure them into fighting.

See pictorial
“If you need peace, then you should intensify the efforts to protect and promote peace. You need to understand that there are diplomatic ways of solving misunderstandings,” Ms Gebru said.
Mr Pederson called upon countries facing the refugee influx, especially Uganda to promote peace by tackling issues that are causing battles in neighbouring countries such as DR Congo and South Sudan.
“Without tackling the cause of the conflict, the challenge of refugees will remain enormous. Uganda needs to intensify efforts to promote peace in the region,” Mr Pederson said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres chats

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres chats with Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa

Mr Kyateka reminded the youth that they are always the first target for every war commander, thus urging them to decline joining rebellious groups if peace is to prevail. “Who would start the war singled handedly? A general to start a war needs soldiers and these are the youth. You say no to such influences and there will be no war,” Mr Kyateka said.
Refugees also decried sexual abuses in settlement camps and asked the government and UN agencies to find solution to the problem. Mr Kyateka advised the victims to always report to nearby police officers.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, who arrived in the country last evening, is today visiting South Sudan refugees in Arua and Adjumani districts while Phillipo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be in Nakivali Refugee camp in Isingiro District.

6 days 19 hours ago

KAMPALA. Parliament has ordered all the 42 government officials to refund the Shs6b they shared as a reward by President Museveni for winning the landmark arbitration tax dispute in London between the Uganda government, Heritage Oil and Gas and Tullow Oil.
Some of the officials could be in more trouble after the Parliament’s committee asked the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate them for suspected violation of the law.
Most of the beneficiaries who received between Shs50m to Shs200m had also profited from a Shs56b kitty which was passed by Parliament across seven financial years to facilitate Uganda’s legal team to prosecute the tax case against the two British oil firms.
However, some senior officials who took a share of Shs200m each yesterday snubbed the Parliament’s directive for a refund. They said they cannot refund the money since President Museveni supported the payment.
Solicitor General Francis Atoke, who pocketed Shs234m, said Mr Museveni okayed the sharing of the Shs 6b.
“Why should I (refund the money)? The money was paid to us, we did not ask for it even when we handled the case. It was the principal (Museveni)who gave us (the money) and we used it, so refund what? There is nothing to refund,” Mr Atoke shot back at the parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) which investigated the oil cash bonus and recommended the refund.
Mr Kabagambe Kaliisa, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, who was rewarded with Shs 133m, said he did not solicit the payment which was blessed by Mr Museveni and would therefore not refund a single penny of it.
“I did not solicit anything, I did not ask for the ex-gratia (payment); the President appreciated us for the good work,” Mr Kaliisa stated in response to Daily Monitor’s question on whether he will pay back the money.
Former Attorney General, Mr Fred Ruhindi, who was rewarded with Shs93.3m, declined to comment.
Though the parliament committee’s report does not explicitly name the officials who flouted the law and face further investigations by the IGG, it accuse Uganda Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General Doris Akol of violating the URA Act and Public Finance Management Act when she authorised withdrawal of the Shs6b from URA account.
The committee termed Ms Akol’s designation as accounting officer of the Shs6b “idle and irregular”.
Ms Akol yesterday declined to comment on the recommendations of the committee. She took home Shs242m from the controversial oil cash bonus.
“The Commissioner General put herself in a position of conflict of interest to pay out monies to herself and her team from URA funds without the knowledge of the board and in contravention of the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] and the URA Act,” the committee states in its report.
The committee stopped short of describing President Museveni’s approval of the Shs6b bonus payment as reckless and called it “an error of judgement”.
During the committee’s investigations, Mr Museveni was twice cross-examined in camera over his role in the payment of the bonus.
He defended the payment as “okurongora” a Runyakore reference for “rewarding good performance/work”. He, however, admitted that the right process was not followed.
Correspondences obtained by the committee indicate that the arrangement to pay the money was hammered out during a meeting on May 17, 2015 between Mr Museveni and a select group of the beneficiaries.
Other meetings to discuss the sharing of Shs6b were held informally and no minutes were recorded. In the foregoing, the committee chaired by Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri County MP) was unable to evaluate the proceedings of those meetings and it only had to rely on oral evidence during cross-examination.
“It is evident from the President’s letter and testimony corroborated by the (URA) Commissioner General’s letter that the team which met the President requested for a reward and the President agreed to reward them,” reads the committee report.
The committee had been required to find out whether public servants solicited the reward money contrary to Public Service Standing Orders and concluded that the payment of the Shs6b was in contravention of the standard operating practices of rewarding public officers.
The committee further noted that whereas Ministry of Justice was obliged to deduct 15 per cent Withholding Tax (WHT) from the money government paid to external lawyers who represented Uganda in the oil case, which would have raised Shs3.6 trillion in revenue, only Shs 2.5 trillion was collected. This lacuna created a shortfall of Shs 1.4 trillion in government revenues.
“Whereas the Commissioner General had attempted to obtain approval on advice of the Secretary to the Treasury, the Minister of Finance never gave the authority as provided for under the PFMA. The purported authority given in July 2016 is not founded under the PFMA and is therefore void,” the report reads.
Mr Muhakanizi, who pocketed Shs108m, did not respond to our calls to explain the authorisation he gave to URA to pay out the Shs6b.By last evening, Parliament was scheduled to discuss the committee’s report findings and recommendations on the Shs6b bonus. The ball will be with the Executive to decide what action to take on the demand by Parliament for the beneficiaries to refund the money.

Background

The decisive arrangement to reward 42 government officials with Shs6b was hatched during a May 17, 2015 meeting between President Museveni and Ms Doris Akol, the commissioner general of Uganda Revenue Authority. The Speaker of Parliament on January 18, assigned the standing committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to investigate the award. The Committee was chaired by Bugweri MP, Abdu Katuntu.

What they say

“Why should I [refund the money]? The money was paid to us, we did not ask for it even when we handled the case. It was the principal [Museveni] who gave us (the money) and we used it, so refund what? There is nothing to refund.”
Francis Atoke, Solicitor General

“I did not solicit anything, I did not ask for the ex-gratia (payment); the President appreciated us for the good work.”
Kabagambe Kaliisa, former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy

List of beneficiaries

Category A [Core Team Shs 200m)
1. Peter Nyombi
2. Francis Atoke
3. Allen Kagina
4. Doris Akol
5. Ernest Rubondo
6. Harriet Lwabi
7. Christopher Gashirabake
8. Moses Kagwa
9. Elizabeth Nakkungu
10. Ali Ssekatawa
11. Moses Mishach Kajubi
12. Honey Malinga
13. Alex Nyombi
14. Mary Nakabirwa
15. Geoge Kallemera
16. Martin Mwambutsya
17. Robinah Nakakawa
18. Peter Muliisa
19. Matthew Mugabi
20. Samuel Kahima
21. Rodney Golooba
22. Syson Ainembabazi

Category B (Non-Core Team Shs100m)
1. Fredrick Ruhindi
2. Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa
3. Rwakoojo Robinah
4. Harriet Tukamushaba
5. Moses Kibumba
6. Martin Muhangi
7. Annet Bazalilaki
8. Lawrence Kiiza
9. Keith Muhakanizi
10. Chris Kasaami
11. Francis Twinamatsiko
12. Jennifer Musisi Semakula

Category C(Support Staff Shs 50m)
1. Ojambo Paul
2. Adakun Rose
3. Joyce Mbabazi
4. Moses Ekunu
5. Angura Joseph
6. Juliet Nambwayo
7. Veronica Namuwenge
8. Sylivia Nakibirango

6 days 19 hours ago

The United States of America has between October last year and September this year availed $840.4 million (Shs2.9 trillion) for health, justice, education, stability and ensuring the prosperity of Ugandans. This is contained in the 55-page “Report to the Ugandan people”, that the US Embassy in Kampala released this week.
Uganda’s health sector is the biggest beneficiary of US aid spend, with approximately $488.3 million or Shs1.7 trillion pumped in between October last year and September this year. This support makes the US the largest single provider of health assistance to Uganda.
By dedicating much of their support to the health sector, the US government says their aim is to reduce the threats of infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, to improve the health of mothers and newborn children.

The report notes that US funded programmes in the sector are providing life-saving medicines, empowering girls, saving mothers, and allowing Ugandans to live longer, more productive lives.
The US classifies Uganda’s stability as very important to its work in the country and this perhaps explains why it is the second largest funded priority. In the last financial year, the US government spent $279.6 million or Shs951.2 billion in assistance to guarantee a stable Uganda.
Some of the resources were, according to the report, spent on efforts to professionalise Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). For example, the US provided training in human rights and peacekeeping methods to more than 5,000 UPDF soldiers.
Other areas “to ensure stability” that the US invested in over the year included programmes that promote peaceful dialogue as a means of avoiding conflict and violence. Through legal aid programmes, the US has, for example, helped families to peacefully resolve land disputes and other conflicts, especially in northern Uganda which was ravaged by more than two decades of civil war.

The number of refugees entering to Uganda increases every year. During the period under review, the US government contributed $126.5 million or 453.8 billion to assist refugees in Uganda and vulnerable populations in Karamoja sub-region. That figure is likely to increase in the next financial year.
In fostering the Global Health Security Agenda, the US says it has supported Uganda to develop world-class capabilities to detect and control infectious disease outbreaks such as ebola, yellow fever, and cholera. This too, is part of US support for a stable Uganda.
Health officials are supported with tools and equipped with skills to respond in the case of a health emergency.
With assistance from CDC, USAID, and other US government partners, the US government says it is helping to improve Uganda’s preparedness and emergency management capacity by establishing Uganda’s Public Health Emergency Operation Center and training workers to detect diseases before they spread.

The US government, according to report, invests in activities aimed at making Ugandans wealthier. The US spent $47.5m (Shs 161.7b) in support of such activities. In the report, the US government says $68.8 million worth of coffee was sold by farmers associated with one of its flagship economic programmes, the Feed the Future programme in the financial year 2015/2016.
The assistance, the report notes, seeks to generate a stronger economic climate, reduce poverty, and expand trade and investment opportunities. The activities include efforts to add value to the production chains of maize, coffee, and beans, as well as training programmes and microfinance projects for entrepreneurs.
“We encourage increased trade between Uganda and the United States through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helps domestic exporters take advantage of trade preferences and provide greater access to US markets,” the report notes.

The US also funds conservation activities which are helping to combat illegal trafficking and environmental destruction, in an effort to protect Uganda’s abundant natural biodiversity.
With one of the youngest populations in the world, the US is supporting efforts in the country to build what it terms as an inclusive, educated, and empowered Uganda through funding of $14.7million (Shs50 billion).
“US-funded programmes in Uganda aim to ensure all voices, especially those of women and youth, are fully represented in all aspects of life and development. The activities we support seek to ensure that every Ugandan benefits from the country’s economic growth, receives a quality education, and has the opportunity to contribute to society,” the report further notes.

Efforts by the US government to promote a more just and democratic Uganda receive the least funding of the five priority areas the US government funds. It is, however, significant given that some of the development partners find this sector unappealing. The US government, according to the report dedicates $10.3 million (Shs 35 billion).
The programmes facilitated aim at building “the capacity of civil society actors to advocate on behalf of their fellow Ugandans, especially those who traditionally face neglect or discrimination – such as women, LGBT individuals, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with disabilities.”
By training judges and others activists to protect human rights, the US government says it aims at supporting efforts to increase government transparency, and combat corruption.

US versus China

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<p>US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac

US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac

In her foreword to the report, Deborah Malac says: “The objective of our (aid) programmes is simple: we want to help Ugandans create a healthy, prosperous and stable country with just and democratic governance, which will in turn produce an inclusive, educated, and empowered population,” she says.
From Ms Malac’s statement, one can quickly decipher the key difference between the approaches of the US and China, the country that is pushing the US hardest in the race to dominate and influence the world, as far as their aid priorities are concerned.
China has on the other hand mostly invested in brick and mortar, with the Asian giant bankrolling giant projects like Isimba and Karuma dams, roads, and the planned construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. China is also funding the expansion of Entebbe airport, and has built the President’s Office building and a hospital in Naguru, among other projects.

The European Union, the other giant donor to Uganda, has on the other hand focused on transport infrastructure, food security and agriculture, value chains and green economy, and good governance.
To understand the differences in approaches to aid between the US, EU and China, one may need to look deeper into those donor countries. The US and the EU countries are democracies for which human rights and governance issues matter more than they do to China, a monolithic state that has been controlled by the Communist party for almost 80 years.
China, therefore, is primarily keen to create and maintain good relations with developing countries like Uganda, with which they may then trade in their quest to access raw materials and eventually markets.

The US and EU, even when they too have over the centuries, since the ages of slavery and colonial rule, sought to control the poorer countries to access raw materials and eventually get markets, now find themselves pressured by pro-democracy lobbies within their backyards to push the dictates of human rights and good governances in other countries.
The absence of such lobbies in China allows the Chinese government the lee-way that its rivals don’t have – to remain unconcerned with the internal politics of its client states like Uganda. The Americans and Europeans, even when their governments have had interests to pursue within poor countries like Uganda that may run counter to pursuing human rights and good governance, will always at least pay lip to the cause.

Ms Malac says her government believes by channelling America’s aid to Ugandans in the five areas identified above, Ugandans will “live up to their full potential” and “this is the future that all Ugandans – regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political beliefs – deserve.”
The mantra of America’s aid, as captured in the report, is to invest in human development as opposed to investing in physical things as China favours.
Uganda, however, gets a lot more aid from China, its biggest bilateral donor which, according to the ministry of Finance, had lent to Uganda $1.099 billion (Shs3.8 trillion) as of June 2017, while the US does not feature in the top 15 countries that Uganda owes money.

1 week 1 day ago

Lwengo chief administrative officer (CAO) Godfrey Kuruhiira is involved in a bitter exchange with the Inspectorate of Government over the fate of three officials accused of embezzling election nomination funds.

The three officials Bernard Atukwase (the Lwengo chief finance officer) Juma Walusimbi (district accounts assistant) and Antonio Luwaga (Lwengo district LCV councilor) have been under investigations by the IGG's office and the Lwengo internal district administration in response allegations of misappropriation of nomination funds.

Luwaga is under investigations over discrepancies in his date of birth and also on allegations that he failed to pay Shs 50,000 nomination fee when contesting for LCV councillor seat last year.

In addition, documents that Luwaga submitted during his nomination in 2011 general election for the same slot indicated that he was born on September 9, 1966 but the nomination papers he used for 2016 general election indicate that he was born on June 13, 1967.

According to a whistleblower, in November 2015, Atukwase and Walusimbi allegedly forged the Lwengo district administration receipts which they issued to aspiring candidates for local council level election. At least Shs 9 million was allegedly misappropriated in this financial scam.

Before nomination, aspiring candidates would pay the nomination fee at Lwengo district accounts section, present a receipt and then get nominated. However, these officials allegedly issued forged receipts to the aspiring candidates which they presented for their nomination.

The CAO, Kuruhiira carried out an audit which revealed that the money was not banked in the district coffers. An audit also revealed that the official used fake receipts as the serial numbers of the issued receipts did not tally with the official Lwengo district administration receipts.

Kiruhiira therefore suspended the officials, who, in turn allegedly agreed to refund the misappropriated funds. Kurihiira says in his June 13 2017 letter that the implicated officials, they were cautioned after they agreed to pay the misappropriated money.

However, despite the fact that the Lwengo officials admitted of misappropriating public funds, the latest report from Inspector General of Government says the officials were innocent.

F. Mariam Wangadya, the deputy Inspector General of Government says in her June 8, 2017 letter that the said officials were investigated and found innocent. Nangadya says in her letter that Luwaga paid the Shs 50,000 nomination fee and the receipt issued to him under number 4412 was genuine.

Wangadya however does not mention anything about Atukwase who is accused of masterminding the fraud.

Wangadya says there was no evidence pinning the suspects for corruption and therefore the file was closed. Bruce Tushabe of Volunteer Uganda and Anti Corruption who unearthed this fraud claims that the deputy IGG's report is wanting in her response.

Now, Kiruhiira wonders how the deputy IGG found the officials innocent even after they confessed to misappropriating the money and even agreed to refund it.

1 week 1 day ago

The former mediator between the Uganda government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Betty Bigombe, has run into the first hurdle in her new assignment to reconcile the warring parties in South Sudan.

President Museveni recently appointed Bigombe, 64, as his technical advisor on the South Sudan Peace Initiative. Bigombe’s last public office was that of senior director for fragility, conflict, and violence at the World Bank.

In her new role, Bigombe sent a letter dated June 15 to Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Army in Opposition (SPLM/A) (IO), inviting him or his representative to attend “a consultation meeting” in Entebbe on Saturday, June 16.

“H.E Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, has been asked by his counterpart H.E Salva Kiir Mayardiit of the Republic of South Sudan to mediate between the different factions of the SPLM/A,” she wrote. “This is part of the confidence building initiatives and measures aimed at reviving the SPLM/A reconciliation and also reviving the sustainable implementation of the Addis Ababa peace agreements. This is kindly to invite you to attend this peace building meeting.”

Bigombe added that should Machar “not be in a position to personally attend,” he should send his representative(s).

Machar responded to Bigombe the next day, saying he is unable to attend the meeting due to the short notice of the invitation, but also revealing for the first time that he is under house arrest in South Africa.

“I cannot travel because I am still under house confinement and detention,” he wrote. “It may take President Museveni to intercede with President [Jacob] Zuma [of South Africa] and other IGAD leader to let me free to travel. Such intervention would definitely take time; that makes it impossible for me to attend the meeting of tomorrow 16 June 2017.”

Reik Machar with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni

Machar has been under house arrest at a residence in the South African capital Pretoria since December 2016, with his movement restricted and monitored and controlled, according to reports in South Africa.

In his two-page letter, Machar also expressed surprise that South Sudan President Salva Kiir had asked President Museveni to mediate between the different factions of SPLA-M “rather than making use of the good offices of President Museveni to initiate a political process to end the raging war.”

“We believe that the search for a durable and sustainable peace is now the critical priority rather than reconciliation between the factions of the SPLM-A or implementing a collapsed agreement,” Machar wrote.

Machar’s letter is copied only to President Museveni’s principal private secretary. The Chairman of the SPLM/A (IO) reminded Bigombe that during a meeting in Khartoum [the capital of Sudan] on October 11, 2016 with President Museveni, they agreed on three points of action.

These were: review of security arrangements, power sharing arrangement and a permanent constitution-making process that would culminate in South Sudan holding elections. These, according to Machar, were the roadmap for restoring peace and ending war.

“I wonder why now reconciliation takes priority to ending the war,” he wrote.

However, in his conclusion, Machar offers a window of opportunity for Uganda’s mediation efforts to bear fruit, but through peace talks aimed at ending the war in the world’s youngest nation.

“We are hoping that your government will consider supporting a new political process for peace talks to peacefully resolve the conflict in South Sudan,” he concludes. “We seize this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to peace in South Sudan.”

Efforts to speak to Bigombe or Machar’s representatives were futile. However, a source who is abreast of the latest developments intimated to The Observer that following the Machar snub, the government resolved to resume subsequent talks in July, after further engagements with Machar’s camp.

South Sudan has been in intermittent war since December 2013, when fighting broke out between soldiers loyal to President Kiir and his then deputy Machar.

The fighting has led to one of the biggest influxes of refugees out the country, with many of them fleeing to Uganda. The refugee crisis will be a major topic of discussion at a two-day solidarity summit in Kampala starting June 22.

1 week 1 day ago

Tororo- Residents of Tororo District are looking forward to President Museveni’s visit to the district on June 26 as Electoral Commission prepares to fill the vacant position for the LC5 chairperson.
The seat fell vacant following the death of the district chairperson, Apollo Jaramogi in January.

Ms Stella Imukutet is now the acting district chairperson.
It is during his anticipated visit that Mr Museveni will speak with finality on whether the district will be divided into two, one for the Iteso and the other for the Jopadhola.
The Iteso of Tororo County have for long complained of high levels of marginalisation and suppression by their Jopadhola counterparts from West Budama County.
As soon as the Electoral Commission released a roadmap for the by-election, tension arose in Tororo County where leaders mobilised masses and candidates who had expressed interest not to participate in the June 29 by-election until they are granted an independent district.
When the accusations seemed like they could spark violence, President Museveni invited the leaders from the two communities to his Kisozi country home last month and promised to address the matter.
The President promised to return to the district with answers to the problem which he said has disturbed his mind for the last 10 years.

He then gave a three-week deadline to stop the conflict over demand for and against the creation of Tororo District.

Mr Museveni also declared there would be no more elections in the district until the quarrel between the district leaders are resolved.
But there have been accusations and counter accusations traded by the two communities following the death of Jaramogi, with the Iteso saying the Jopadhola had tried to block Ms Imukutet from serving as the acting chairperson.
This accusation was also brought up during the meeting with President Museveni where Prof Iputo Yehu, who spoke on behalf of the Iteso, said following the death of the district chairperson, the Jopadhola passed a resolution never to allow Ms Imukutet an opportunity to caretake the district as provided for by the law.
“They denied her to step in West Budama County. Also two members of the executive from West Budama County resigned with the view of frustrating operations of the district council,” he says.
The Iteso claim the Jopadhola in leadership positions at the district discriminate against the Iteso, a charge the Jopadhola dismiss.

Mr George Alfred Obore, one of the longest serving political leaders from Tororo County, insists they want self-autonomy to enjoy political power and protect their cultural identity, which is being eroded by their brothers from West Budama.
“Time is now for our brothers from West Budama to surrender the LC5 seat to Tororo County. But even before the next date is set, Mr Tanga Odoi (the NRM electoral commission chairperson) is already campaigning for a particular NRM candidate. This means that he is determined to rig elections for his candidate,’’ Mr Obore says.
He calls on the President to prevail over the situation.

The LC3 chairperson of Magola Sub-county in West Budama, Mr Ojwang Obbo, dismisses claims that the people of Tororo County are being marginalised. He says the people have benefitted from top district positions.
Mr Paul orono Etiang, former deputy premier and also Tororo County cultural leader, wants the President to grant them an independent district as per the 1947 boundaries, placing Tororo Municipality under Tororo County.
The prime minister of the Tieng Adhola cultural institution, Mr Richard Joseph obbo, clarifies that although Tororo Municipality was part of Tororo County, part of West Budama county was merged into the municipality.
“The President should work out permanent solutions to end the long standing conflicts and hate between the two cultural institutions in Tororo,” he said.
Expressing their demand for a new district, an Iteso once put a rat in his mouth just to demonstrate the length his community is ready to go to have a district.
Now some Jopadhola youth have claimed they will eat human flesh, which is an offence since it would be cannibalism, to get a district.

Last month, when the Electoral Commission officials visited different sub-counties in the district ahead of the by-election, another young man in Mukuju Sub-county in West Budama attempted to eat a rat. Other residents waved placards with the words ‘No district, no by-election’.
Later, a mob assaulted an EC official in Mella Sub-county.

Some level-headed leaders from both communities though say there is no need to split the district since many members of the two communities have intermarried.
Just like the Itesot, the Jopadhola want Tororo Municipality for themselves. Each of the sides would want to have Tororo Municipality since there are many activities carried out there from which the local authority could generate revenue to use to provide social services.
President Museveni in September 2011 said those pushing for the creation of new districts were looking for jobs for themselves and their kin or friends.
He then ordered a moratorium on the creation of new districts.

The moratorium has since been lifted and at least four more districts have been created and are now operating. New districts increase the government’s administration costs – since the new district will require buildings, a district head, civil servants to mention but few.
Whereas the proponents of new districts argue that they result in better service delivery, Mr Museveni said in 2013 that districts had not necessarily resulted in better service delivery. To illustrate, he said whereas districts have agricultural officers, in many, these officers had not advised the local farmers on how to aerate the soil in their area. The government would later stay the creation of new districts, saying there is no money to fund them.

Issues at hand

Complaint: The Iteso of Tororo County have for long complained of high levels of marginalisation and suppression by their Jopadhola counterparts from West Budama County.
Visit: It is during President Museveni’s anticipated visit that Mr Museveni will speak with finality on whether the district will be divided into two, one for the Iteso and the other for the Jopadhola.
Tension. As soon as the Electoral Commission released a roadmap for the by-election, tension arose in Tororo County where leaders mobilised masses and candidates not to participate in the June 29 by-election until they are granted an independent district.
Answer: President Museveni invited the leaders from the two communities to his Kisozi country home last month and promised to address the matter.He promised to return to the district with answers to the problem which he said has disturbed his mind for the last 10 years.
Deadline: Mr Museveni gave a three-week deadline to stop the conflict over demand for and against the creation of Tororo District.
Accusations: But there have been accusations and counter accusations traded by the two communities following the death of Jaramogi, with the Iteso saying the Jopadhola had tried to block Ms Imukutet from serving as the acting chairperson.
District demand: Expressing their desperacy for a new district, an Iteso once put a rat in his mouth just to demonstrate the length his community is ready to go to have a district. Now some Jopadhola youth have claimed they will eat human flesh, which is an offence since it would be cannibalism, to get a district.

1 week 1 day ago

Kampala- The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, was due last evening to meet senior police officers hours after returning from a foreign trip shrouded in controversy about his health.
Highly placed sources told this newspaper that Gen Kayihura was scheduled to, among others, interface with and receive briefing from police directors and top detectives at Muyenga Community Policing Post.
He spent much of the day at his heavily-guarded home in Muyenga, an upscale city neighbourhood.

On arrival at Entebbe International Airport in the wee hours yesterday, the IGP was received by the Director of Counter Terrorism, Mr John Ndungutse, and his aide, Mr Cyrus Nkata.
In the first media comments about his reported bad health, Gen Kayihura told this newspaper before departing from the Turkish capital, Ankara, that the public’s unending inquiries about the state of his well-being showed that Ugandans cared about him.
“I am touched that people are really concerned about my life when they don’t see me around, but I am fine,” he said on Saturday.

Speculation about Gen Kayihura’s health began swirling after he, in contrast to his practice, missed attending two key national events; the President’s June 6 State-of-the-Nation Address and the follow up reading of the national budget.
His last public appearance was attending a security meeting chaired by President Museveni at State House Entebbe three weeks ago.

The claims and counter-claims about the general’s health gained traction on social media and some online publications after the Red Pepper reported in a story that he was bedridden in India.
Uganda Police Force in a June 12 statement titled, alleged sickness of IGP, noted that Kayihura was in “very good health” and that the country should not be alarmed.

“These are complete false stories invented by people with fertile imaginations. There is no iota of truth in these stories,” the statement issued by Police Spokesman, Mr Asan Kasingye, read in part.
In the latest visit to Turkey, which police said was an official trip, Gen Kayihura was not accompanied by legal and forensic officers as would be expected since the itinerary reportedly included following up on or signing new memoranda of understanding between Uganda Police Force (UPF) and the Turkish government for cooperation in, among other things, forensic science development.
Security experts, including his former deputy, Mr Julius Odwe, have previously criticised the four-star general of micro-managing police affairs, something that has enabled him morph into a behemoth over the Force over the last 12 years.
As such his absence it was feared would cause a leadership vacuum in the government’s lead agency on internal security matters.

But the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Martin Okoth-Ochola, who took charge while Gen Kayihura was away, said everything worked normally “as it is supposed to be”.
“My brother, I have 30 years’ experience in policing. I have been on top of things. When there is no major incident in the country that is how you can gauge how the institution is being run,” Mr Okoth-Ochola told our reporter yesterday.
His laid-back management style contrasted that of Gen Kayihura who would show up at crime scenes before or at the same time as scene of crime officers or publicly reprimand errant officers during on-the-spot checks when he is supposed to be the last officer to consult on such matters.

In his short absence, police made two key and progressive announcements: notifying officers that they would personally pay for compensation awarded to individuals they torture and ordering them to stop arresting people for the offence of being “idle and disorderly” that the Constitutional Court had nullified.
Mr Okoth-Ochola said as top manager in the police, his work is to wait for reports from his commanders and provide guidance where and when needed.
“There were no challenges. There was no stress. I am waiting to hand over to IGP (Inspector General of Police),” he said.

1 week 1 day ago

KAMPALA- The Cabinet has cleared proposals for the amendment Bill to the Land Act, 1998, to allow forceful acquisition of land and compensate land or property owners later, especially for large infrastructure projects.
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana told Sunday Monitor yesterday that the “principles of the Bill were cleared” and are before the First Parliamentary Counsel to draft adjustments to the land law.
“The draft Bill will be tabled before Parliament any time soon,” Mr Rukutana said.
But both Mr Rukutana and Land minister Betty Amongi, who told Sunday Monitor that the issue is now a matter for the Justice ministry, were noncommittal on details of the adjustments to the law. But government has since mooting the proposal mid-last year consistently rebutted claims that it plans taking over land forcefully, and maintained that the public is misconstruing its proposals.
Ms Amongi, in an earlier briefing at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, said the amendments are intended to shorten the bureaucracy involved in acquisition of land for projects by allowing government to start the projects pending negotiations on compensations with the affected persons.
All land in Uganda, according to Article 273 of the 1995 Constitution, belongs to the people while Article 26 (2) stipulates: “No person shall be compulsorily deprived of property or any interest in right over property of any description except where the taking of possession is necessary for public use and or is made under the law after prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation.

Court ruling
The Supreme Court in a ruling on Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) versus Irumba Asumani and Peter Magelah in 2014 reinforced that whereas Article 26 was not among the non-derogable rights, this does not give powers to government to compulsorily acquire people’s land without prior payment, and that such planned government projects do not fall under the exceptions of disasters and emergencies.
The court was ruling on a constitutional petition filed by Unra contesting an earlier ruling in which the Constitutional Court regarded the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 that gives government power to forcibly acquire property before payment of compensation, as “unconstitutional.” The land acquisition Act was last amended in 1970.
Land remains a very sensitive issue in Uganda and has in the recent past been a subject of conflicts in various parts of the country. The Land Act (1998) provides for four land tenure systems – Customary, Freehold, Mailo; and Leasehold but each system presents unique compensation challenges.
The major land giveaways by government coupled with hundreds of evictions from land by private investors have all been central in generating the prevailing friction over the issue.
Land disputes that ensued early last week between the Acholi and Madi communities in both Amuru and Adjumani districts have claimed at least six lives, left 21 severely injured and scores displaced from their homes.

1 week 2 days ago

Managers at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) have clipped the wings of veteran producer and presenter, Mzee Tonny Owana, and sacked the host of his programme, Richard Semakula Gyagenda, in a purge said to target those showing signs of dissent at the national broadcaster.

The Observer has learnt that last week, management of UBC told Gyagenda that his contract had expired and wouldn’t be renewed. Gyagenda’s relationship with his bosses turned adversarial late in May when he openly sided with Calvin Kalule a.k.a ‘Calvin the Entertainer’ who was fighting with David Kazoora, who has been contracted to manage a UBC television outlet.

According to our sources, Gyagenda argued that Kalule, and not Kazoora, should have got the Buzz Teeniez Award deal, won by Magic One TV, since he was incharge before the latter took over. Gyagenda later hosted Kalule on his ‘Good Morning Uganda’ show, rattling his UBC bosses in the process.

The presenter also hosted the suspended UPDF chief political commissar, Col Felix Kulayigye, during another show which discussed the theme ‘Who Owns UBC?’ This annoyed many managers who decided it was time to clip the wings of both the host (Gyagenda) and his producer (Owana).  

Mzee Tonny Owana

Some insiders said Gyagenda’s firing was a warning shot to Owana, a harsh critic of UBC management. Subsequently, Owana has been stopped from producing the morning show along with all other political shows.

On April 17, Owana wrote a stinging article in The Observer, titled, NRM will close down UBC, unless… in which he claimed there was mismanagement at UBC. Largely, he wrote about private individuals owning government property and pointed out how a one Shem Katende had replaced UBC-24 with his Channel One, under the guise of providing free content.

Owana also lashed out at Kazoora for allegedly taking over Magic 100 FM and Magic One TV under the pretext of providing content and sharing profits with UBC.

OWANA, UBC BOSS SPEAK

In a telephone interview with The Observer, Owana said he had not been fired but was stopped from producing or hosting any show.  He said he wouldn’t be surprised if he were fired because there is a storm raging at UBC.

“I don’t know if my speaking to you will expedite my being fired. Gyagenda was fired because his contract ended and he was told they would not be renewing it and his services were no longer needed. But I believe his firing was in connection with the programme he did about UBC ownership,” Owana said. 

Gyagenda couldn’t be reached for an interview. In a separate interview at the weekend, the UBC managing director, Winston Agaba, said by telephone that Gyagenda’s departure had nothing to do with Mzee Owana because every employee has an individual agreement. 

“Gyagenda does many things and if his contract is not renewed, that doesn’t mean that he cannot work with UBC. He can produce his own content and bring it and if it is good, it will be aired,” said Agaba, adding: “Mzee Owana has a rich history that the country will benefit from and [being stopped from producing the’ Good morning’ show] was part of the restructuring process.  Those are internal issues aimed at restructuring to make UBC competitive.”

On the claim that private companies are taking over UBC entities, Agaba responded that the practice is meant to strengthen the broadcaster’s programming and revenue streams.

Agaba added that private producers provide content only and that the decision taken by management would boost revenues, which will be used to enhance employees’ benefits.

“Change will raffle some feathers but, in the end, I am the one responsible for progress at UBC,” he said. “If you do a test signal for two years but you are not generating revenues yet incurring costs, then what is that? We are not a charity.”

The instability at UBC over the years has been a persistent concern and in 2016, Information minister Frank Tumwebaze moved to end the chaos. He appointed a seven-member UBC review committee to probe and make recommendations.

Chaired by the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) boss Dr Peter Mwesige, the committee found that UBC was struggling with a huge debt, operated in breach of laws and its employees were poorly remunerated. 

It thus called for the overhaul of the corporation and firing of some board members since they lacked the required skills to provide effective oversight.

1 week 2 days ago

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