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When top leaders of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) met for two days at the party’s headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala last week, the aim was to rejuvenate its leaders after the exertions of the 2016 general elections, as well as plan for the party’s forthcoming polls.

Key on the agenda at the general national committee conference was to adopt the party’s roadmap for the general elections slated for November, which will start with a delegates’ conference in July.

Party district leaders from all over the country, unanimously adopted the draft roadmap, even as they admitted that they face financial hurdles in their effort to see the activity through. The party said despite the financial handicap, they will have to work within the limited resources available.

While presenting the party’s books of accounts for the previous year, FDC general secretary Nathan Nandala-Mafabi said the reduction of the amount of money that government remits to political parties is stalling party activities, including preparations for the coming elections.

“[The money] is given to a political party depending on a number of MPs it has in parliament. Last year, we were given Shs 1.6 billion but this year we are receiving Shs 1 billion because our number is low,” Mafabi told a gathering of about 100 district leaders.

FDC president Gen Mugisha Muntu (L) with party secretary general Nandala Mafabi

CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT

The conference was also convened to amend the party’s constitution to provide for the appointment of leaders on the elders’ committee by the party president, instead of going to the ballot. Delegates agreed that electing these elders was both costly and unnecessary.

Party deputy spokesperson Paul Mwiru told The Observer that the conference agreed to the amendment and will now await approval of the decision by the national and delegate’s conference before it can be implemented.

NEW STRATEGY

Throughout the two days of the conference, top party leaders aimed at rejuvenating the spirits of their regional leaders after a disastrous 2016 election that saw their flag bearer Kizza Besigye lose the presidential contest to NRM’s Yoweri Museveni, a result the party still contests.

“Much as we won, impediments were in our way. We won but we were not able to take our victory,” Mugisha Muntu, the party president.

Muntu called upon all regional leaders to keep the fire burning and continue with their ultimate fight of taking over leadership of the country in streamlined party ways.

“We are going to embark on a nationwide marketing campaign to show what we stand for to a point where there will be no questions from the public,” he added.

On day two, Besigye, whose speech received a standing ovation and interruptions from ululating party members, also emphasized Muntu’s nationwide marketing strategy. Besigye said it was about awakening Ugandans and making them stronger, while at the same time weakening the regime’s strong holds, through various civic campaigns countrywide.

“In recovery of our victory and the strength of the people, we are launching some campaigns where we shall be coming to your places to conduct them,” Besigye told the delegates. “It is the strong people that get good leaders. Today, Uganda deserves Museveni because we are weak. But it won’t take long, and he knows it. The ultimate objective of this is to awaken our people and to make them strong as we weaken the dictatorship.”

The party plans, among other issues, sensitize people about Land rights, good education and good health services and leaders agreed to do grassroots mobilization in their respective regions.

On top of these, the party also wants to mobilize people in villages to organize elections for Local Council  (LC) one chairpersons.  The LC1 elections that were set for March last year have been postponed thrice to an unknown date with government saying there is no money to conduct them.

Parliament, following lobbying from government, later passed a bill that allowed voting LC1 and LC2 chairpersons by lining up behind the candidates instead of secret ballot.

The opposition, however, maintains that this is a tactical delay since the current LC1 establishment serves the interests of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party as mobilization, and tools to destabilize the opposition right from the grassroots.

“We want to organize our LC1 elections,” Besigye insisted. “Nothing stops us according to the law. Show me where in the law it refuses people from gathering and choosing their leaders.”

This idea that was clearly not on the agenda was not agreed upon and it caused mixed reactions from the delegates, with many saying the party doesn’t have the mobilization machinery to ensure that every village in the country elects its local council leaders through FDC-organised polls.

“We still have our financial problems to solve,” one delegate said. “I don’t see why we should put the little we have in areas where government should be working. Besides, let’s say the LC1 chairpersons are elected, would government recognize them?”

On Friday, Muntu told The Observer that the resources to facilitate the party’s several campaigns had been mobilized and that they will be done through conferences and rallies. He added that even when they are faced by blocks from the state, they intend to give their new agenda their all.

“This is a struggle. We have to keep at it until we are strong everywhere since we are operating in a hostile environment. We know that the regime wants to weaken us but we must keep fighting until the forces of good vanquish the evil forces,” Muntu said.

SECRET CAMPAIGNS

Meanwhile, throughout the two-day event, signs of a heating up election campaign were evident with many supporters of mainly Muntu and Nandala clandestinely campaigning for their candidates openly.

Some were even brave enough to wear T-shirts with the face or name of either of the two. In November 2012, Muntu edged Nandala to the presidency of Uganda’s biggest opposition party and the two are believed to be gearing up to tussle it out again.

Two other party members, Moses Byamugisha and Patrick Amuriat Oboi, have also expressed interest in the FDC top seat.

1 week 2 days ago

The opposition in parliament last week tasked voters to warn their MPs against supporting the proposal to retain President Museveni in power after he clocks 75 years of age.

The warning came amidst reports that some NRM MPs intend to table a proposal for the amendment of the presidential age limit at a retreat in Kyankwanzi due next month.

Addressing a news conference at parliament, the opposition members argued that the age limit is the only safety measure left in the Constitution after the 7th parliament lifted the cap on presidential term limits.

Winfred Kiiza, the leader of opposition in parliament, said it is the duty of all Ugandans to preach the danger in doing away with the clause on agelimit from the Constitution.

“Ugandans look at the age limit as the only safety valve that we are remaining with. For us in the opposition, we are saying that as we go for the Constitution review we should even look at the aspects of bringing back the term limits,” Kiiza said.

Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza (C) with President Museveni (R) recently

She said for anybody to imagine that they will lift the age limit, they are playing with fire.

“I tell Ugandans to stop your legislators. It is a matter which is touching not only the opposition but all Ugandans,” she said.

Some NRM and opposition MPs have already expressed determination to oppose this move, if it comes on the floor. In September last year, parliament indefinitely deferred a motion by Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuma MP, seeking to amend the Constitution to increase the retirement age for judges, and also remove term limits for commissioners of the Electoral Commission (EC).

Government said it will bring an omnibus bill to handle all constitutional amendments all at once. Kiiza, flanked by other opposition MPs Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala) and Mary Babirye Kabanda (Masaka woman), said they would pressurize government to have the Constitution amendments tabled for debate as soon as the session of parliament commences this week.

“As we begin the new session that is one [constitution amendments] of the issues we are going to be preoccupied with.  The issue of ensuring electoral reforms should be made early enough before we go into campaigns. We want it to be made together with the one of the presidential age limit,” Kiiza said.

She said they still have belief that President Museveni shall abide by the Constitution.

1 week 2 days ago

Democratic Party stalwart and senior counsel, Edward Damulira Muguluma, who succumbed to diabetes on Monday has been laid to rest at his ancestral home at Niinzi, Kalisizo Town Council in Rakai District with a call to democratic Party members to reconcile, unite and learn from the fallen heroes.

Since January this year, DP has lost a number of its icons at different levels including Mzee Bonifance Byanyima, a former party chairperson and Robert Kitariko, who severed as secretary general and now Muguluma.

While addressing mourners, Mr Paul Semogerere, a veteran politician and former DP president general urged party members to emulate the personality of the deceased for the betterment of the party and the country at large.

VP Edward Ssekandi chats with former DP

VP Edward Ssekandi chats with former DP President General Paul Ssemwogerere. Photo by Christopher Kisekka.

“All the fallen democrats are praised for their great deeds and service in different capacities not only to their party, but also for the country at large, this is something the current leaders in our party should emulate,” Mr Semogerere said.

He said the deceased used to welcome people of different ideologies and even offered help to them, but still remained a strong DP member.

Mr Walter Lubega Mukaaku, a DP member and former presidential candidate called upon the leadership of Norbert Mao, the DP president to give room for reconciliation.
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<p>Children of the deceased carry his portraits.

Children of the deceased carry his portraits.

“Besides praising the fallen, the current leadership of Mr Mao should learn from these great men who served the party with humility , he should call for reconciliation and give advice to those they think that are going off track like their predecessors whom we celebrate did,” Mr Lubega said.

He further said that even the ‘young and minority’ should be given a chance to air out their views on how the party should be run.
Calls for reconciliation and unity among DP members come at a time when the party is divided into two factions with the mainstream group under stewardship of Mao and another faction dubbed ‘bad DP’ led by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze.

The two groups have on several occasions rocked horns with each accusing the other of being used by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) to bring down Uganda’s oldest party.

While attending the NRA Liberation Day celebrations in Masindi early this year, President Museveni called DP vice President Mukasa Mbidde “a good DP”, a statement which created mixed reactions from different party members, leaving the party at crossroads.

Meanwhile, mourners eulogized Muguluma for his input to nurture young youth during his time as party legal adviser in the 1990s.

The Vice President, Mr Edward Ssekandi also praised the deceased and called upon his fellow leaders to always do and act in the way that will be positively remembered.

Nicholas Wassaja, one of the orphans assured mourners that they will carry on the legacy of their father who loved his country, his kingdom –Buganda and religion.

1 week 6 days ago

KAMPALA - Police have moved to enforce a countrywide ban on detention of suspects over the idle and disorderly charge, a move widely seen as a reaction to President Yoweri Museveni’s recent reprimand of the force.

The ban, which comes in effect immediately, was announced by deputy Inspector General of Police, Okoth Ochola.

“This is to inform you that the offence of idle and disorderly was declared unconstitutional by courts of law. Therefore all officers are instructed to stop arresting suspects under the cover of this offence,” said Ochola in a circular to police commanders across the country.

Police have been arresting many people, especially youths found playing cards (matatu) and board games Ludo and Omweso for being idle and disorderly.

But the president in his State of the Nation Address on June 6 condemned the act, saying police should stop the practice with immediate effect.

The idle and disorderly offence is punishable under the Penal Code Act (which is a law providing for crimes and their punishments).

According to Barefoot Lawyers, a free legal help NGO, being idle and disorderly has often been used to detain prostitutes or street beggars or people who are presumed by police to wander aimlessly in public places.

Others are youth whose pass time is playing games of chance like cards for money in public places.

Under the law, offenders can be imprisoned for up to three months or made to pay a fine of up to three thousand shillings (sh3,000).

However, most suspects were often left to go without charge because the offence is hard to prove. Police, however, have been arresting people anyway as it is seen as a simpler way for police officers to extort bribes.

The charge, enacted during the colonial era, has been protested by prisons officials and human right activists who complain that it doesn’t help the country’s overcrowded prisons.

Most of those on remand are petty offenders, which is imposing unnecessary burden on resource-constrained detention facilities. - See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1455593/police-bans-arrests-i...

1 week 6 days ago

The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has asked Government to set up an independent committee to probe the clashes in Adjumani and Amuru districts.

Addressing journalists at the party’s weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Kampala, the party’s spokesperson Michael Orach Osinde said government needs to first explore the real cause of the clashes for the problem to be easily solved.

Ethnic clashes broke out between the Madi and Acholi people over Apaa land on Wednesday last week, leaving four people dead and 21 injured. The clash also left hundreds of people from Ajuka village displaced.

However, Police and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have since deployed heavily in the area to enforce peace.

“These people have always lived as brothers and we have witnessed intermarriages. Nothing has changed through the years because the population has not much increased to cause land conflicts in the area. Now we are wondering how these conflicts have come up this time,” Osinde said.

He noted that the probe team needs to engage the clan leaders and elders from both sides to understand the real cause.

“We have a feeling that some people might be orchestrating all this for their own interests. If thorough investigations are not done, we shall not get to the cause and get a lasting solution,” he said.

On Tuesday, while speaking at a briefing attended by clan chief and leaders from the mainly affected areas, the First Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali noted that the clashes were not tribal, but somewhat political, accusing some ‘elements’ of instigating the chaos that broke out last week.

Osinde stressed that there is also the need to spearhead a reconciliation process to promote lasting peace in the area. He said it is the mandate of government to make sure that its people are safe.

UPC also commended the increase of allocations to various sectors in the budget, but stressed that much emphasis needs to be put on creating more jobs; which remains the biggest challenge to the country.

“UPC notes that there was less attention paid in the budgetary allocation to skills enhancement. A large percentage of our working age population lack the necessary skills to take advantage of the jobs that foreign direct investment in infrastructure continue to be filled by the citizens of the source investment,” Osinde noted.

He said more emphasis also needs to be put on the agriculture holistically being the biggest employer, accounting for about 75% of the country’s population.

“Government needs to take charge of establishing silos to end the problems of food shortage in future like what the country has been going through of recent. They should also focus more on promoting environment conservation like wetlands, forests, lakes and river banks because they play a big role in the change of environment,” he added.
- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1455572/upc-calls-independent...

1 week 6 days ago

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has distanced itself from an alleged war with the under-fire leadership of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

President Museveni on May 2, 2017 wrote to Justice Irene Mulyagonja, the Inspector General of Government, asking her to investigate “wrong doing” in UWA.

The president enumerated eight mistakes that he said UWA’s top management had made, including collaborating with two Chinese diplomats to export ivory from Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

However, it turned out that the president had been fed on wrong information with regard to the Chinese diplomats, as the individuals he mentioned had never worked at the Chinese Embassy.

At the same time, a source alleged that some individuals at UWA’s sister organisation Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) were behind the allegations contained in the president’s letter to the IGG.

However, UTB Executive Director Stephen Asiimwe told The Observer yesterday that none of their staff had a hand in the president’s letter.

“No single person at UTB is involved [because] we don’t write to the president. We are neither his research team nor his informers,” Asiimwe said.

He emphasised that there was no bad blood between the two organisations as insinuated in the news story, Ivory scam: shame as Uganda apologises to China, The Observer, June 12).

“We deny any involvement in this. In fact, there is no war between us [UTB] and UWA because even right now, we have taken some Chinese tour and travel company operators to Bwindi Impenetrable Gorilla National Park, and UWA gave us free permits,” Asiimwe said.

UTB boss Stephen Asiimwe

This newspaper reported on Monday that President Museveni’s government had apologised to the Chinese government for falsely implicating  their diplomats in illicit ivory trade, which resulted in a rare diplomatic spat between the two allies.

In a statement issued yesterday, UTB further said that the budget couldn’t have been a source of friction between the two organisations as alleged in the story because each body has  its own mandate and budget.

“Every government entity has an independent budget and nowhere in the rules is one allowed to encroach on the budget of another entity,” Asiimwe said.

Noting that UTB has a representative of UWA on its board, Asiimwe added that as a statutory body mandated to market Uganda’s tourism potential, his would be the last entity to encourage fights within the tourism sector.

“The ivory scam is not good for our tourism industry, it is an indictment on the industry because any negative publicity [about the sector] affects us,” Asiimwe said.

2 weeks 19 hours ago

Ahead of their planned annual retreat this year, ruling NRM MPs are struggling to build broad support for their push for the lifting of the presidential age limit in the Constitution.

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa (Kiboga Woman) said in a Monday interview that the NRM caucus MPs are split on the proposed push to remove the presidential 75 year age cap, ahead of their planned retreat at the National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi. She insisted, however, that the age-limit aspect will not be on the core agenda at the Kyankwanzi retreat.

“There are many interested parties in the age limit thing because the gist is the lifting of age limit. This is an exciting provision and amendment. There are interested parties; those for and those against. It is causing excitement and anxiety as well,” Nankabirwa revealed, during a meeting with journalists under the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday.

Already, a group of NRM MPs led by Robert Ssekitoleeko (Nakifuma) are reportedly fine tuning a motion expected to be tabled during the retreat (See: How MPs plan to remove age limit at Kyankwanzi, The Observer, March 17, 2017).

NRM MPs at Kyankwanzi recently

Some MPs working with Ssekitoleeko include Peter Ogwang (Usuk), John Bosco Lubyaayi (Mawokota South), Simeo Nsubuga (Kassanda North), former FDC Treasurer Anita Among (Bukedea Woman), Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers) and Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South).

However, some NRM MPs such as Sam Byibesho (Kisoro Municipality) have openly opposed the MPs led push to remove the age-limit. Byibesho argued that the question should be put to Ugandans through a referendum.

AGE-LIMIT OPPONENTS

A group of other NRM MPs, however, insist that if the matter comes up during the Kyankwanzi retreat, they are ready to go down in the annals of history among those who openly rejected the move.

Among them is John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), who told The Observer in a phone interview yesterday that his opposition to the removal of the age limit is premised on the fact that the change in the law is merely to satisfy the selfish interests of an individual.

“The framers of the Constitution put in place presidential term limits but they were removed. Now the target is the presidential age limit. I am not about to be manipulated and arm-twisted to support the whims of an individual,” Nambeshe angrily retorted, promising to rally his fellow NRM legislators not to support the motion.

Silas Aogon (Kumi Municipality, NRM) said the matter should be put to a referendum instead of a small group of MPs deciding.

“As a representative of my people, I find it very important to get their views and that will be my final position when the matter comes up,” Aogon said.

PRESIDENT'S EXPERIENCE

During the State of the Nation Address last week, President Museveni said his 31-year rule has given him great experience to steer the country. Museveni’s comment was in response to persistent heckles and interruptions from opposition MPs, who loudly questioned his long stay in power.

“Being president for a very long time is not a bad thing. That is why I am experienced...Even if you woke me up at night, I will tell you what is happening,” Museveni said.

A number of MPs interpreted that statement to mean the president could hang around a little longer after the expiry of his term in 2021. Andrew Aja Baryayanja (Kabale Municipality, Independent) told The Observer yesterday in a phone interview that it would be foolhardy for a leader who has served for more than 30 years not to have groomed a successor within the party to take over.

“Museveni has been at the helm for over three decades and that is enough time for him to have groomed leaders to step into his shoes when his term expires,” he said.

The leader of the Independents caucus in Parliament also scoffed at NRM MPs who are pushing for the amendments. He said they are self-seekers.

“I don’t think they have consulted the President and it looks like
they want to catch the President’s eye. Those ones are targeting something else,” Baryayanga mused.

Nambeshe said the ball is in the court of Parliament, which is in the middle of constitutional amendments.

“Parliament should be independent enough to reject any attempts to tweak the Constitution,” he added.

Even as reports fly in the political arena that NRM MPs could benefit financially from “assisting” the president to remove the age limit cap, Nankabirwa said this will not happen.

MONEY MATTERS

A rather agitated government chief whip roundly denied that some NRM MPs have demanded for Shs 300 million to support the move.

“You cannot survive if you approach me to say I give you money so that you do your work for which you were elected. You would be committing suicide...How can you tell me such nonsense? It is illegal, unethical, and criminal,” Nankabirwa said, adding, “It is unwise because if your voters hear that, you are dead meat.”

Without confirming the dates of the Kyankwanzi retreat, Nankabirwa said the only constitutional amendment on the cards is Article 26 on land ownership. The amendments, which were at the centre of discussion during the Kyankwanzi retreat last year, sought to provide for compulsory acquisition of private land for government projects, including construction of roads.

The amendments have since sparked outrage because some landowners have accused government of trying to grab land under the guise of development.
Nankabirwa said that Cabinet directed her, as well as the minister of Justice Kahinda Otafiire, to handle the matter and write a comprehensive report.

2 weeks 19 hours ago

President Museveni’s decision to send Maj Edith Nakalema, a personal assistant, for a military course in the UK could be the start of a major clean up at State House, highly placed sources told The Observer this week.

Sources said Nakalema, who had accumulated so much power by controlling access to the president, played a central part in fanning a culture of intrigue and infighting at the most powerful centre in the country. By taking her out of the equation, sources said, the president could be looking for a solution to heal divisions and build more cohesion at State House.

“You were either with her, or against her,” said one of the sources who is familiar with the inner workings of State House.

Nakalema was nominated by the UPDF to do a one-year senior command and staff course at Shrivenham Defence Academy in London, United Kingdom, starting next month.

She will also concurrently pursue a master’s degree at King’s College, London. Sources told us that it speaks volumes that Museveni made the final decision to let Nakalema go for the courses.

While the president had grown fond of Nakalema, given the fact that she worked diligently, aggressively and was unquestionably loyal, he was also aware of her shortcomings, including being highhanded and divisive.

Edith Nakalema (R) with President Museveni in Luweero

Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Nakalema declined to comment about her role in the intrigue at State House. She said she was not rattled by reports that some State House employees and former workers are celebrating her exit.

She said: “Whether there are people celebrating, I don’t care. For me, I am very grateful to the commander in chief [President Museveni] for elevating me to where I am. Who knew me before? Now everyone who matters, including journalists, know me.”

She said she was happy that the president found her useful, adding that if people don’t talk about you; it means “you are useless.”

JOINING STATE HOUSE

“I am Born Again. I have a loving God, a loving president, a loving husband and both my parents are still alive. I don’t dwell on the negatives,” Nakalema said.

In 2010, when Amelia Kyambadde, arguably Museveni’s most influential Principal Private Secretary (PPS), decided to quit her job to join politics, she left a huge devoid.

In an interview with NBS TV in March, Kyambadde said the president had on several occasions tried to talk her out of the political decision. Having worked with Museveni since the late 1970s, Kyambadde was “a historical” in every sense of the word and accumulated a lot of power.

Government officials, including senior ministers, loathed her because she limited their access to the president. Those who worked with her say she was meticulous and very organized. She was also a quick thinker and was very fast at devising solutions.

For years, the president relied on her sense of judgment, rarely questioning her decisions. When she left, things started to fall apart. The people who replaced her, Grace Akello and, later, Mary Amajo, never found their footing.

“There was some cultural shock for Akello and Amajo. Many people around the president are from western Uganda and some looked at these two as outsiders,” said one of our sources.

Amajo particularly committed some blunders. Once, she forgot to schedule Museveni’s visit to a foreign country and when the president found out late, he was furious.As the president became increasingly frustrated and in need of someone who would restore order and a form of predictability into his schedule, he started to look around.

And it was not long before the first son, Maj Gen Kainerugaba Muhoozi, who was then the commander of Special Forces Command (SFC), recommended an officer named Edith Nakalema to work closely with the president.

Nakalema had worked in the finance department of SFC and had been part of a team that instituted sound financial controls in the elite army unit. Matters were also helped by the fact that Museveni personally knew Nakalema’s parents, Eiyasafu Sserwadda and Midrace Sserwadda of Kashaari, Mbarara district. Sserwadda is a prominent parish priest in Kashaari.

Nakalema’s job title was personal assistant to the president (which is not a lofty position) but in effect, her role was to take over and directly manage the public life of the president.

She scheduled Museveni’s appointments, scanned through his daily schedule; cancelled events that she thought were not important and vetted the people who wanted to meet the president. 

She, in effect, became Museveni’s PPS without officially carrying the coveted title. Museveni did not have qualms with this and constantly told those who wanted to see him to go through Nakalema. Within a short time, Nakalema had become so powerful and influential that even senior government officials worshipped at her feet and sought her approval.

INTRIGUE, INFIGHTING

With this enormous power and support of the president, it did not take long before she began rubbing people the wrong way. Some of these were people who she stopped from meeting the president. Others were businessmen and middlemen trying to extract deals from State House.

The most affected, however, were state house employees, especially those whose work rotated around the president. Tamale Mirundi, a former presidential press secretary, has variously accused Nakalema of having had a hand in his dismissal. So has Sarah Kagingo, the former presidential assistant for social media, whose altercations with Nakalema became fodder for the media in 2015.

Both declined to be interviewed for this article. To survive at State House, employees knew that they had to pay allegiance to Nakalema and a cohort of other senior employees. If you played by their rules, you survived and thrived.

If you challenged them, like Mirundi and Kagingo did, your days were numbered. One of those who initially tried to challenge Nakalema was Maj Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, a bush war veteran and a presidential assistant (whose role at State House is to distribute money to people and organizations that Museveni has sanctioned). 

In military rank, Nalweyiso, then a brigadier, was way above Nakalema, a major. This, she thought, gave her impetus to try and put Nakalema in order. Yet what happened next is a story that is only spoken in hushed tones within the marbled corridors of State House. Nakalema found a way to turn tables on Nalweyiso by exploiting the fact that the brigadier was now working in State House “illegally.”

According to reliable sources, Nakalema pointed out that since Nalweyiso had been appointed the deputy coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in July 2013, she had no business at State House. She gave her a few days to clear her desk and report to her new work station.

“I am going to inform the president,” she reportedly said, according to an account of someone who witnessed the exchange.

Nalweyiso, who knew that the OWC job did not have the kind of financial facilitation she was receiving at State House, changed tone. She pleaded and apologized to Nakalema for interfering in matters that primarily were not in her docket.

Nakalema accepted the apology and the two struck a friendship that continues till today. Yet with Nakalema’s power came some missteps.

CLIPPING THE WINGS

For long, Nakalema’s excesses had been reported to the president by some of the staff. Some were in plain sight, like when she stumped on a former employee at an airport in South Africa in the presence of Museveni.

Somehow, the president appeared to do nothing. A former State House employee told The Observer that usually the president’s reaction would be: “I will handle the matter.”

With time, the president realized that this infighting at State House had gotten out of hand and was affecting the institution’s image. Sources said he started a search for a PPS who would restore order and sanity. A number of names were thrown around, including that of Robert Kabushenga, the chief executive officer of the Vision Group.

Eventually, Museveni appointed Molly Kamukama, who had worked for him in the office of the NRM chairman during the 2016 campaigns. Sources said the first lady, Janet Museveni, played a role in this.

In appointing Kamukama, a well-educated lady who had served as head of voter education at the Electoral Commission, Museveni knew fully well that she would not get along well with Nakalema.

The two had already clashed during the campaigns over influence and sheer ego. They are both aggressive individuals who hate to be dominated. Whatever his calculations, the president either wanted them to find a way of working together, or to clip Nakalema’s wings. Kamukama’s appointment put many State House employees, who knew her differences with Nakalema, in a fix.

Many believed that they had to align themselves with either Kamukama or Nakalema. Sources said Kamukama tried to make her presence felt immediately. She took charge of the president’s schedule and started making some changes.

In an effort to have the president’s ear, sources told us that the two have already clashed and reported each other several times to the president. A serving employee claimed that Kamukama had started purging people that she believes are close to Nakalema. Kamukama did not return our calls yesterday.

Museveni’s decision to send Nakalema abroad could mark the end of her career at State House. When she returns after a year, she will most likely be promoted to a higher rank and posted to a new office.

Some believe Museveni could make further changes at State House and, as he strategizes for 2021, new faces could emerge.

2 weeks 19 hours ago

Police has launched an investigation into the mysterious letters that have been delivered to some people from Tororo County.

According to the spokesperson for Bukedi Regional Police, Sowali Kamulya, the force is searching for the author of the letters addressed to Malaba LC 3 chairperson Asa Orimodi, which were delivered by a commuter taxi.

The letter, titled, “final warning to you Itesots,” threatens attacks against the Iteso community in Tororo starting June 23 over land.

“You Itesot came to Tororo as visitors; your great grandfather Oguti was an adopted child. We Japadhola have reached a final decision to open a war against you,” said the letter. “On the 23rd June, 2017, we are attacking you and driving you out of Tororo once and for all.”

Kamulya described the contents of the letter as unfortunate. He called upon the public to remain calm as the Police continue with their investigations.

Meanwhile, the mysterious letters have raised mixed reactions from different politicians, stake holders and the public. West Budama South MP Jacob Oboth Oboth described the authors of the letters as hopeless, saying that people of West Budama, don’t do things that way.

Tororo county South MP Fredrick Angura said, “We should not be distracted by the opportunist who are coming with letters of threats and those threats should not be entertained.”

2 weeks 19 hours ago

Kampala city councilors have summoned Kampala minister Beti Olive Kamya to appear before the council next Monday and explain the KCCA amendment bill.

Kamya was no show at today's meeting convened by the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago to discuss the KCCA amendment bill. She declined to attend the meeting, saying that she hadn't been included on the order paper to make a statement. The councilors have now asked Lukwago to notify the minister that she should come next week to talk specifically about the KCCA amendment act before delving into other issues concerning Kampala.

Kamya had initially agreed to attend today's meeting in a June 8th, letter to the Lord Mayor.

"I wish inform you that the minister will attend the above sitting and make a statement on Kampala Capital City. The statement will cover all issues in regard to development of Kampala. I therefore wish to ask that the order paper be readjusted to provide for the item of the statement of the minister immediately after the authority prayer. Please inform my office in writing and send a copy of the readjusted order paper," reads her letter.
 
Lukwago wrote back to Kamya on the same date, saying he couldn't adjust the order paper.

"The rules of procedure don't confer prerogative powers on the office of the Lord Mayor to amend or adjust the order paper once it is issued and circulated to the members of the authority," read Lukwago's letter.

He however, advised the minister to come to the meeting, saying council members would amend the order paper and give her an opportunity to make a presentation.  Kamya wrote back, arguing that she could not attend unless minister's address is clearly put on the order paper.

"I would therefore suggest that the minister will wait to make a statement to the council until appropriate time is found by the authority for the minister. The minister will then be informed in advance and the matter reflected in the order paper of the council," she said.

She also warned Lukwago that he has been convening special authority meetings without notifying members 14 days prior to the meetings. Today's meeting was called on June 4, which is six days prior instead of the 14 days required by the law.

"While section 1(1) of KCCA Act 2010 provide meeting of the authority, section 1(2) provides for special meetings, which by implication should be held under special circumstances…since taking office in May 2016, you have convened two authority meetings and at least over 15 special meetings. This is irregular and out of order because section 1(3) provides for at least 14 working days' notice in writing before an authority meeting sits," Kamya's letter reads.
 
What KCCA Act says on Authority meeting as prescribed in the fourth schedule?
 
Section 1 (1) of the fourth schedule: The Lord Mayor shall convene every meeting of the Authority at a time and place as the Authority may determine, and the Authority shall meet for the discharge of business at least once in every three months.

Section 1 (2): The Lord Mayor may, at any time, convene a special meeting of the council and shall also call a meeting within fourteen days, if requested to do so in writing by one third of the members of the Authority.
 
Section 1 (3): Notice of a meeting of the Authority shall be given in writing to each member at least fourteen working days before the day of the meeting.

2 weeks 1 day ago

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