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KAMPALA- Former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye re-appears before Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court this morning for the routine mention of his treason case.
The State is expected to update the court and other concerned parties including Dr Besigye on how far police investigations into the treason case have gone.
Should the State inform the court that they are done with investigations; the four-time presidential candidate will be sent to the High Court to stand trial.

On the contrary, prosecution will ask court for an adjournment to a later date to enable them tie the loose ends in investigations.
The court is also expected to extend the bail of the former Luweero bush war fighter for the next one month.
It’s now almost a year ever since the state slapped the grave treason charges against the opposition politician but the police has never finalised with the investigations to have him committed to the High Court to stand trial.
Dr Besigye has always wondered what kind of evidence the state is looking for in order to incriminate him on grounds that he claimed to have won last year’s February 18 general elections.

In an interview with this newspapers about two months ago, Mr Mike Chibita, the Director if Public Prosecutions attributed the delay in concluding the investigations to the defiant witnesses who allegedly witnessed the swearing-in of Dr Besigye but doesn’t want to record statements with the police.
The treason charges against Dr Besigye arise from the alleged swearing-in of himself as president of Uganda following last year’s disputed February 18 presidential elections in which he claims to have won by 52 per cent.
The alleged swearing-in of Dr Besigye clip went viral on May 11 last year which happened to be the eve of President Museveni’s swearing-in for the 5th elective term at Kololo ceremonial grounds.

3 months 3 weeks ago

A family in Mbarara District is still searching for their breadwinner who disappeared following his arrest by Police.
Gilvazio Rugunda was picked up by Police from his home in Kibwijo Cell in Rubindi Sub County on February 6, 2009 for allegedly cutting and injuring a pig belonging to his neighbour, Lawrence Abaine for trespassing on his land.
Rugunda’s arrest came after Mr Abaine lodged a complaint at Mbarara Central Police Station, which was registered under reference number CRB 465/2009. Following his arrest, Rugunda was held at Rubindi Sub County headquarters for two days before he was transferred to Mbarara Central Police Station.

That was the last time his family heard from him as his whereabouts have remained unknown to date. His wife, Dinavence Mbabazi and children have searched for Rugunda since then to no avail. Mbabazi says that she traveled to Mbarara hoping to see her husband, only to be told he had developed mental problems and was taken to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital for treatment.
According to Mbabazi, she rushed to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital but still couldn't trace her husband.
The Mbarara Hospital Director, Dr George Upenytho wrote to the family through their lawyer, Ngaruye Ruhindi Spencer on March 17, 2014, saying basing on records from the mental ward, there was no proof that Ruganda was admitted there.

Ms Mbabazi explains that after failing to trace the whereabouts of her husband, they tasked the Criminal Investigations Department at Mbarara Central Police Station to account for him in vain.
She says they demanded for a formal report from the Police detailing the disappearance of Rugunda. However, the then Officer In charge of the Criminal Investigations Department, Allan Twishime wrote to the family on December 13, 2010 indicating that Rugunda developed mental illness while in custody and was taken to hospital.
This reporter has learnt that Mr Celestine Onyeme, the detective who handled Rugunda's case was transferred to Mbale District at the time of the suspect's disappearance.
Dissatisfied with the explanation from the Police in Mbarara, the family approached the Professional Standards Unit in Kampala for help.

In an April 17, 2011 report under reference number PSU/GEF/1592/2009 compiled by Freddie Awacnedi on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, he recommended the prosecution of Onyeme for neglect of duty. He accused Onyeme of abandoning the suspect at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.
Mr Denis Ngabirano says the disappearance of his brother in law has brought untold suffering to the family. According to Mr Ngabirano, Rugunda was a farmer, seasonal businessman and the sole breadwinner for his family. He says the family is uncertain whether Rugunda is still alive or dead.

Mr Isaac Mugisha, the Rwizi Regional Professional Standards officer told our reporter at his office that he only learnt of the case on April 26, 2017 and is waiting for the family of the missing person to show up.
He added that he is already liaising with the Police headquarters to ensure that the matter is resolved

3 months 3 weeks ago

The Democratic Party's (DP) president, Norbert Mao wants Police Chief, Gen. Kale Kayihura to name and shame politicians allegedly working with criminals.

On Monday, Kayihura told the media that Police received intelligence indicating that some of the panga-wielding thugs who have been terrorizing the central region are linked to some politicians.

Kayihura, without mentioning names, said after failing to win politically, they had resorted to destabilizing the security in the country through instilling fear and creating outrage among the populace by facilitating the attacks.

On Monday, 30 suspects in the attacks were paraded at Katwe Police Station in Kampala.

While addressing journalists at the party's headquarters in Kampala, Mao asked Kayihura to stop “making sweeping statements” but instead take action against those involved.

"I think Police and the intelligence organs are not serious. Let Kayihura arrest those involved. They know these people but are just playing these games of Tom and Jerry," he noted.

He wondered why the responsible authorities are not arresting the culprits if they know them, yet more people continue to lose lives and property.

Mao said as the opposition, they have heard discussions and ruled out violence in all their struggles.

"But who said iron bar hitmen belong to opposition? That is why we do not want such accusations if they cannot arrest those involved. They have all the machinery but have failed to protect people," he added.
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3 months 3 weeks ago

MPs on the commissions of state authorities and state enterprises are scheduled to meet President Yoweri Museveni today (Wednesday) as they conclude investigations into the payment of the sh6b oil bonus.

The meeting is scheduled to take at State House in Entebbe.

According to the officials who appeared before the committee chaired by Abdul Katuntu and a number of documents tabled, the reward was reportedly initiated by Museveni a $404m case against against Heritage Oil was won in London.

During her appearance before the commission, URA commissioner general Doris Akol told the members that before the team won the case in London, President Museveni promised that he would "thank them” if they won the case.

"When we won, the Attorney General wrote reminding the President of his promise," Akol said.

Akol’s predecessor, Allen Kagina, told MPs that when the team won the case, Museveni invited them to Rwakitura and appreciated them for the job well done.

After the meeting, the officials reportedly reminded the President of his promise. Information to the committee indicates that the President however directed Akol to recommend an appropriate reward for the team.

Museveni further reportedly recommended that the list be expanded to support staff and all those that were involved. The list came to 42 officials.

In June, 2015, Akol wrote to President Museveni suggesting a number of rewards including cash amounting to sh6b. She said of the total amount, sh2.3bn would be deducted as tax and the net sum of sh3.6bn would be given to the team as a take home package.

She justified the cash reward saying it would enable the beneficiaries use the funds for something tangible for example leave a legacy to remind them and their offspring of their contribution to the nation.

“Your excellency, for instance, the recommended amount could enable one to either acquire a decent plot of land, pay a deposit on mortgage or perhaps facilitate finishes on home construction" she wrote.

Five months later in a letter dated November 16, the Museveni wrote to Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, informing him that government had won the case and that there was need to release the money.

"I met with a team of officials that handled the case and they requested to be considered for a reward in appreciation for the work done. Given the amount of money that was recovered for the government, I agreed that government pays them some money as a token of appreciation," wrote Museveni.

Although Kasaija later directed Akol to get the money from the available resources, the MPs have since raised a number of issues regarding the legality of the payment.

They have also vowed not to approve the supplementary budget that was requested by the Finance Ministry to replenish the sh6b that was paid out.

The MPs have also questioned the criteria used in selecting the 42 officials and other issues regarding the utilization of the oil funds.

There are also questions concerning whether the team deserved the reward after investigating their role in the case.
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3 months 3 weeks ago

KAMPALA- The Criminal Division of the High Court has directed  Luzira Prison authorities to produce remanded Makerere University Research Fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi on Wednesday to have her grievances heard.

Dr Nyanzi is among others challenging the earlier decisions of Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda for allegedly siding with the state to have her first subjected to a mental examination before her bail application could be considered.

“You are hereby directed to produce the above named Stella Nyanzi for her case on the 26th day of April at 9am before Justice EK Kabanda without fail,” a directive to Luzira Prisons leadership by Assistant Registrar of the court, Mr Emmanuel Baguma reads in part.

The directive of the court has been specifically sent to the Superintendent of Prisons, Luzira Women Wing.

Dr Nyanzi’s application for review is expected to be heard by Justice Elizabeth Kabanda at  9 am.

She is facing cyber related crimes slapped against her about two weeks ago by the State for allegedly referring to the person of President Museveni as a “pair of buttocks” on her social media posts.

The State says that Dr Nyanzi’s reference to the person of the President is offensive.

Core to Nyanzi’s application for revision today is that on April 10 this year, Magistrate Ereemye, erroneously and injudiciously, sided with the State and refused to hear her bail application

Dr Nyanzi also faults the magistrate of having remanded her to Luzira Prison awaiting the determination of her mental status instead of hearing her bail application.

“In effect, the learned chief magistrate has thrown into indefinite limbo a bundle of our client’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to liberty, presumption of innocence, presumption of sanity and a fair and speedy hearing before determination of her civil rights and/or criminal charges contrary to the very important duties cast on him as a judicial officer,” Dr Nyanzi’s lawyer stated in her application for revision.

In a related development, the same court is today also expected to hear Dr Nyanzi’s bail application in which she seeks to regain freedom.

3 months 3 weeks ago

KAMPALA- The Court of Appeal  is expected to deliver its judgment Wednesday in an election appeal that will determine whether opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s Apollo Kantinti remains in Parliament or is kicked out.

Mr Kantinti is the MP for Kyadondo East constituency in Wakiso District.

“Take notice that the above matter has been fixed for judgement/ruling on the 26 day of April 2017 at 9:30am. If no appearance is made on your behalf by yourself or someone authorised to act for you, the judgment/ ruling be held in your absence,” reads in part the judgment notice of the court to concerned parties.

Mid last year, High Court judge Isabirye Kaweesa, nullified Kantinti’s election and ordered the Electoral Commission to organise fresh elections in his constituency.

Justice Kaweesa while kicking out Kantinti out of Parliament, observed that there was non-compliance with election rules during the February 18 parliamentary elections that saw MP Kantinti declared winner.

The judge went on to fault the Wakiso District returning officer, Ms Sarah Bukirwa for disfranchising voters and also failing to secure custody of election materials.

The High Court ruling followed a successful petition by NRM's William Sitenda Sebalu who was the runner up in the February 18 election and lost to Kantinti by a small margin of 326 votes.

Mr Sebalu had in his petition sued Kantinti, the Electoral Commission and Bukirwa for conniving to commit several election irregularities which he said affected the quality of the election in Kyadondo East in a substantial manner, hence the nullification of the same by the court.

But being dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, Mr Kantinti appealed against the same before the Court of Appeal that will determine his appeal today.

The returning officer declared Mr Kantinti the winner of the Kyadondo East constituency with 9005 votes and Mr Sebalu as runner up with 8679 votes.

3 months 3 weeks ago

Legislators sitting on the Education Committee of Parliament have expressed concern over the growing amount of presidential pledges in the sector that go unfulfilled.
According to the education committee vice chairperson, also Pallisa county MP Jacob Opolot, the presidential pledges in the education sector alone currently total  up Shs 100 billion with no plan to ensure their fulfilment.
The Shs 100 billion is an increment from Shs 74 billion reported in 2014 under the education sector alone. Opolot, whose committee is currently considering budget proposals from the education sector for financial year 2017/2018, noted that all the 18 votes under the education ministry are affected by unfulfilled presidential pledges.
This was during the committee meeting with officials from Kabale University led by vice chancellor, professor Joy Kwesiga, who noted that presidential pledges towards the university had accumulated to Shs 47 billion as of November 4, 2016.
She noted that the pledges included Shs 10 billion for the construction of the faculty of engineering, Shs 15 billion for the construction of the faculty of health sciences, another Shs 15 billion for the construction of a university library and Shs 7 billion for equipping the science, medicine and engineering laboratories.

President Museveni with his wife, also Education minister Janet Museveni

Kwesiga noted that no budget has been allocated towards the fulfilment of these presidential pledges despite an agreement at the inter-ministerial meeting to provide funds in a phased manner.
With these and other presidential pledges in the education sector, MPs resolved to meet all stakeholders within the sector together with officials from the Education and Finance ministries in a bid to come up with a plan towards fulfilment of all presidential pledges in the sector.
Opolot noted that the issue of unfulfilled presidential pledges keeps coming up in his committee citing a need for a lasting solution.
Opolot said that a joint meeting being planned before end of May 2017 will see a compilation of all pledges made in a bid to engage the education and finance ministries to map out a way forward in form of a schedule on how to address them.

3 months 3 weeks ago

KAMPALA- The Criminal Division of the High Court in Kampala has ordered the lower court sitting at Buganda Road, to handover the file of the remanded Makerere University suspended Research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi.

The purpose of forwarding Nyanzi’s file to the High Court is for revision of issues that her lawyer thinks were not handled well by presiding Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda about two weeks ago.

“The above has filed an application for revision. You are requested to send the certified charge sheet with typed court proceedings for purposes of revision but keep the original for easy management of the case,” the order of the High Court Deputy Registrar Emmanuel Baguma to Buganda Road Court reads in part.

Core to the application made to the High Court for revision of Dr Nyanzi’s file is that on April 10, Chief Magistrate Ereemye erroneously and injudiciously, sided with the State and refused to hear her bail application.

Through one of her lawyers, Mr  Isaac Semakadde Kimaze, Dr Nyanzi also faults the magistrate of having remanded her to Luzira prison awaiting the determination of her mental status instead of hearing her bail application.

“In effect, the learned chief magistrate has thrown into indefinite limbo a bundle of our client’s constitutionally guaranteed rights to liberty, presumption of innocence, presumption of sanity and a fair and speedy hearing before determination of her civil rights and/or criminal charges contrary to the very important duties cast on him as a judicial officer,” Dr Nyanzi stated in her application for revision

The High Court had not yet fixed a date to hear Dr Nyanzi’s application for revision.

But in a related development, Dr Nyanzi will today be produced before Buganda Road Court for mention of her case.

On April 10, Magistrate Ereemye remanded Dr Nyanzi to Luzira women's prison until today when he said he would hear her bail application and also receive a report of her mental status as requested by the state at her maiden appearance.

Last week, Dr Nyanzi fought off doctors who had gone to her prison cells to examine her mental status as required by the state.

The outspoken researcher is facing charges of cyber harassment and offensive communications arising from the Computer Misuse Act.

Core to these accusations is that she referred to the person of President Museveni in one of her Face book posts earlier this year as ‘a pair of buttocks’, a reference that the state says was offensive.

She denies the charges.

3 months 3 weeks ago

MASAKA- Police are in final stages of opening charges of unlawful assembly, inciting violence, vandalising a public vehicle and injuring a police officer against Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament, Ms Betty Nambooze and six Democratic Party members.

 Others to be charged include; Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona, former Luweero Woman MP Brenda Nabukenya, Mr Steven Ngobya, Mr Vianny Nduuga and Mr Gonzaga Kagumba. All the suspects temporarily arrested and later released on bond on Sunday.

Addressing a conference on Monday, the Southern Region Police Commander, Mr Latif Zaake said the accused will be produced in court soon after police have gathered enough evidence pinning them.

 “In the Sunday violence these people tried to assemble unlawfully yet we had earlier advised them not to go on with it, they vandalised a police patrol truck , went on and incited the public into violence and even injured our police officer,” Mr Zaake said .

 Mr Zaake said during the scuffle, Mr James Yoka, a police officer was severely injured and he is currently nursing a compound fracture.

 The Nambooze and some DP supporters from Buganda tried to convene a meeting at Tropic Inn Hotel  in Masaka Town on  Sunday, but police blocked it ,saying the meeting was unlawful.

DP supporters tried to resist and hold the meeting but a combined force of police and UPDF soldiers    used tear gas and live bullets to disperse them.

In the ensuing melee that paralysed business and traffic in Masaka Town for almost nine hours,   Ms Nambooze and Mr Sseggona were reportedly hit by rubber bullets that injured them.

Responding to possible charges against them, Mr Mpuuga said they are were ready for the  battle in court.

“I am happy to inform the country that those and more charges prepared were planned by the State and its allies in the Opposition. If they have evidence, let them assemble it and we meet in court,” he said.

The legislator said nothing will stand in their way to revive Uganda’s oldest party, adding that after Masaka, their next destination is  Luweero on Friday this week to meet party members in the area.

DP is currently entangled in internal bickering with the Nambooze led faction accusing party President, Mr  Norbert Mao and vice president Fred Mukasa Mbidde, of bringing down the party and associating with the ruling NRM leaders.

The party leadership accuses Ms Nambooze, the vice president Buganda region of disrespecting party leaders and receiving money from unclear sources to disorganise the party.

Last week, the party suspended Ms Nambooze for three months and a committee was set up to investigate her conduct.

3 months 3 weeks ago

KAMPALA- Judicial officers in a heated debate on Friday incriminated themselves and cited mistrust among judges and registrars, laziness among judges who spend valuable hours reading newspapers instead of hearing cases as the leading causes of case backlog in the Judiciary.

The judges, who traded the sharp accusations during the release of the report on case backlog reduction at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, also singled out the disconnect among colleagues who sit on panels in appellate courts among causes that are piling up the case backlog.

“Judges don’t work…, they report late for duty, read newspapers and go back home; that is the cause of case backlog…,” A tough talking Justice Kenneth Kakuru of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, said.

“The ones who work are punished. Somebody is in Criminal Division finishes all his backlog and somebody in Civil [Division] has done nothing. The one in Criminal Division is transferred to Civil Divisionto deal with the backlog. The one who created the backlog is transferred to the Division where the backlog was cleared and now creates a new backlog.”
Justice Kakuru added amid cheers from fellow judges.

He continued: “The ones who work are punished and those who don’t work are promoted and you wonder what the rationale is. Let’s us keep time and work.”
The current case backlog stands at 28,864 cases.
A case falls under the category of backlog when it has spent in the court system more than two years without being concluded.

Justice Remmy Kasule also from the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court, cited the disconnect among fellow judges as the cause of case backlog mainly in appellate courts since the courts work by way of panels.

“At an appellate court where you have to deal with colleagues, what happens if there is a disconnect between the team that has handled a particular appeal? This matter of disconnect needs to be addressed,” Justice Kasule challenged.

He also cited the procedure or process of allocating of case files to a judge or judges as another big challenge that has led to the creation of case backlog mainly at Court of Appeal where he works.

Justice Kasule explained that a case file may be complete and ready for hearing but the only thing pending is mere allocation that he said sometimes takes years.

During the heated debate, Mr Tadeo Asiimwe from the Inspectorate department of the Judiciary, weighed in and cited mistrust by some judges as the cause of the case backlog.

He said some judges cling onto hearing simple applications for interim orders instead of concentrating on hearing the man cases.
“Mistrust between the judges and the registrars is another cause for case backlog. Every circuit has a registrar but you find 80 per cent of the interim applications are coming from a judge, why?” Mr Asiimwe wondered.

“A judge is expected to hear the main case but a judge sits from morning to evening to pass an order which is similar to what the registrar issued, why? This registrar is capable for heaven’s sake,” he challenged his colleagues.

“So this mistrust is wrong, we have registrars who are competent and are even aspiring to become judges and can handle the applications.” Mr Asiimwe counseled.

The reduction committee on case backlog was launch by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe after the release of the census report that indicated that there were 114,809 cases pending disposal in the Judiciary as at December 9, 2015.

Among the tasks that the justice Buteera-led reduction committee was expected to handle included identifying the extent of the case backlog, identifying and documenting the causes of the backlog, reviewing current efforts to reduce the case backlog and making recommendations to address the existing backlog and stopping the growth of a new backlog.

3 months 3 weeks ago