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What initially seemed like a smooth general election when Kenyans went to polls yesterday, is today increasingly getting tensed up with allegations of a hacked electoral system, fraudulent results being pitched at the electoral body.

Kenya opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga has rejected provisional results so far which indicate that he’s trailing behind the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta for the country’s presidential seat.

According to official provisional results, Kenyatta is leading with 7.8 million votes while Raila has 6.4 million votes as of 2pm (EAT). But Raila claims as per their own tallied results, he is leading with 8.1 million ahead of the incumbent Kenyatta at 7.2 million votes.

A motorcycle rider passes burning tires blocking a road in the Kondele area of Kisumu blocked by protestors today. Photo: VOA

HACKED ELECTORAL AGENCY SYSTEM

Addressing the press conference today morning, National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila read out a statement titled: “We go them”, in which he claimed that the opposition had evidence showing that the electoral agency system had been hacked into. He refused to reveal his ‘sources’ to the inquisitive media.

Raila claims that “at about 12:37pm on the 8th August 2017, hackers gained entry into our election database through the identity of Chris Msando who was executed barely a week a go into the account of the Mr. [Wafula] Chebukati Chairperson [of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)]."

Msando, who was then the ICT manager at IEBC, went missing about a fortnight ago. His body was discovered last week with Raila claiming the state was behind his disappearance and eventual murder.

NASA further claims that after gaining access to the IEBC system servers, “the hackers introduced several programmes (xpstar.dll version 2009) to execute stored procedure in the library and the memory of the IEBC database to manipulate [election] data.”

NASA says the election result data was manipulated in favour of the incumbent candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta.

Responding to claims that their system was hacked into, IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati neither denied nor confirmed if indeed the system had been hacked.

Chebukati said, as the commission, they believe in the system that has carried them this long and that as of yesterday, the system was still working fine as expected.

However, he said there has been concerns raised against the system that can’t be ignored. He said the commission will interrogate further the allegations raised by the opposition.

TALLIED VOTES OUTNUMBER VOTERS

As if to prove the earlier allegations that electoral body was transmitting fraudulent results, the IEBC cancelled results from Enenkeshui polling centre in Kilgoris constituency after tallied votes outnumbered registered voters.

Kilgoris returning officer, Elijah Ombogo cancelled the results for Enenkeshui polling centre.

"The total number of registered voters is 285 while the total number of votes cast on Tuesday is 325," Ombogo is quoted by the Daily Nation as saying.

Addressing an earlier early morning press conference at 2am today, Raila described the results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as “fraudulent and fake”.

He said they didn’t tally with the opposition’s and that the commission had no authority to transmit results without having forms 34A and 34B.

"We have our results and they don't match what IEBC is streaming on their portal...These results are fake; it is a sham. They cannot be credible. Our projections from our agents show we are ahead by far," Odinga.

Adding: “We fear this was exactly the reason Chris Msando was assassinated. There is no way people can accept illegal results. They've not provided us with Form 34A for verification."

However, IEBC said the 34A forms are available and public and while 34B forms shall be provided later. 

PROTESTS

Kenya Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi had asked Kenyans to refrain “from activities that might endanger the spirit of the country”.

He claimed that old election violence videos and pictures from the 2007 chaos were being shared on social media to incite the population.

He said the Kenyan government will "do what we're legally required to do" should it establish social media is 'disturbing' the peace of the country.

Kenyan media is under self-imposed gagging, deliberating refusing to report electoral violence but protests have been reported in Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in Kisumu as well as Kissi among others.

1 week 1 day ago
The National Drug Authority (NDA) has impounded packages of unregistered and counterfeit cancer medicines that are being sold on the Ugandan market.

The drugs include Avastin (bevacizumab), a first line drug in the treatment of ovarian cancer and Sutent (Sunitinib malate), a medicine often used to treat progressive tumors of the digestive system, the pancreas, and the kidneys. The drug interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.


Although the genuine Sutent drug is supplied only as hard gelatin capsules, the fake product is presented as bluish - grey tablets, according to the NDA warning. The genuine Sutent drug is manufactured by Pfizer, a U.S based drugs company.
 
However, the counterfeit is labeled as made in Sweden.

Similarly, the Avastin drug which is supplied as an injection for intravenous,  has been counterfeited and presented as bluish-grey tablets.  The genuine drug is manufactured by Roche, a pharmaceutical firm based in Germany and Switzerland while the counterfeit Avastin, is labelled as made in Sweden.

"The containers for both drugs claimed to be "Made in Sweden AstraZeneca 2014," The statement by NDA  shows.  AstraZeneca is a UK based firm which recently sold its antibiotics business to Pfizer.

However, containers of the counterfeit products have wrong spellings of the name AstraZeneca in some places spelt as "AstraZenaca" and group as "grroup". Astrazeneca and Turbuhaler are trademarks of Astrazeneca group of companies.
 

1 week 1 day ago

KIRYANDONGO- President Museveni on Tuesday told voters of Kibanda North, Kiryandongo District, that he has forgiven Mr Sam Amooti Otada, the former MP for the pain caused to him.
Addressing a rally at Bunyoro Catholic School, the President said Mr Otada wasted a lot of his valuable time abusing him instead of delivering services to his constituents.

The President said, although Mr Otada continued to fight him all this time round, he [Mr Otada] cannot manage him, giving example of a squirrel fighting with an elephant.
“When this man was talking ill against me, calling me a fool, I never responded yet I am the one who owns the bread, the money [for this country]….” the President said.
He added: “Like a father, I normally forgive people who serve me, including Otada.”
The President was in the area to campaign for National Resistance Movement (NRM) party flag-bearer, Mr Taban Idi Amin.
Mr Taban Idi Amin is battling with Mr Otada for Kibanda North constituency seat.

The seat felt vacant after Mr Idi Amin was thrown out of Parliament by the Court of Appeal.

The Electoral Commission has set Thursday August 10, as the day for the constituency by-election, with Mr Otada running as an Independent candidate after losing the flag again to Mr Idi Amin in the NRM primaries.
President Museveni advised the people of Kibanda to vote for Mr Amin saying: “because when you vote for an NRM flag-bearer, work becomes easy.”

“I want you to vote for someone who will work with me on government projects. When you elect NRM candidates, it will also be possible for him to continue lobbying whatever services people need in the whole country,” the President told hundreds of supporters that gathered at the school playground.
“But you cannot work with government when you are anti-government. People should be pro-government to work for the people who have elected them,” he added.
The district NRM chairman, Mr Fred Balikwa Basome, said the President’s message will make them win the seat.

“There is no miracle! It is actually the obvious because here we are only NRM [supporters],” he told this newspaper in a separate interview.
Mr Taban Amin, the candidate’s father created a scene near the checkpoint after a group of youth knelt down on their knees to welcome him at the venue.

“I used to see these things in Nigerian movies. I never believed it can also happen here in Uganda,” a female soldier at the checkpoint told her colleagues.

1 week 2 days ago

Last week, the chairman at Uganda Land Commission (ULC), Baguma Isoke, appeared before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission of inquiry into land matters to explain how government lost its land in Jinja to a private developer.

Isoke denied knowledge of a cabinet resolution ordering his commission to repossess this property that was fraudulently obtained by Simpson Birungi of Birus Property Services and Movit Cosmetics.

Isoke promised to immediately handle the cabinet directive, which he said he was seeing for the first time. Earlier, Birungi, the principal in this controversy, told the commission that he did not know of any government directives barring him from constructing a building at the contested piece of land.

Baguma Isoke before the land probe 

Isoke maintained that ULC considered the no-objection letter by the permanent secretary of ministry of Trade to offer a lease to Birungi. ALI TWAHA and ZAHRAH ABIGABA captured the proceedings during a cross-examination led by Counsel Ebert Byenkya.

Byenkya: You appeared here last time; you are just reminded that you are still under oath. You provided us with a letter dated July 31, 2017 addressed to the chairperson of inquiry providing us with some information. I want us to just go through that document.

I see that, in paragraph three, you have searched the records of the registry of ULC and have come across some information. Maybe just explain the part regarding ownership of land and what your findings are.

Isoke: My lord, government owns the land known as plot 60 to 62 Alidina road in Jinja under freehold tenure. I have presented a copy of certificate of title which is in the custody of ULC.

I note that on the owner’s copy of the certificate, there is no indication of the user department as is the practice to indicate a user department on any registered or even unregistered government land. The title is clean as of today.

Byenkya: You indicate that there is a practice of recording the user department but, in this case, it is not recorded. Do you have any idea why this anomaly would occur?
Isoke: No idea, but the omission may be [because of] unseriousness on the side of those who are supposed to do it.
Byenkya: I also note that the title which is an X1 is said to be addressed under the Public Land Ordinance 1962. Is that correct?
Isoke: Yes, my lord.

Byenkya: …It seems initially this property had been given out under a lease from Jinja Municipal Council. Are you aware of how this transformation could have happened?
Isoke: My lord, I am not aware.
Byenkya: At least we have established that the land is owned by the ULC. Please go on to the second paragraph regarding ownership…
Isoke: My lord, ULC sitting on June 2, 2011 under minute no.2/2011(a) (24) approved the application for the grant of leasehold to Birus Property Services and I have presented a copy of the minute as annex two.
Byenkya: And the minute you are referring to would be the minute on page nine which talks about Jinja district?
Isoke: Yes, if I may read it, the commission considered and took note of the no-objection letter provided by the applicant, thereafter granted a five-year lease term extendable to 49 years on terms to be determined by the chief government valuer.

Byenkya: However, there is a remark you make there…
Isoke: However, my lord, the no-objection letter from the permanent secretary [PS] ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry is missing on file.
Byenkya: Can you comment on that. Is it coincidental that this no-objection letter is now missing?

Isoke: When I searched the file, my lord, the provisional file, there is a small folder which was created at the time of application for extension. I found a report to the head of public service.

This report was made by secretary, ULC. It’s headed; ‘Controversy surrounding the eviction of tenants and demolition of a government building on plot 60 to 62 Alidina road in Jinja.’ Now, what is pertinent to the letter of the PS is the following: The PS said the original file was not available, instead, a back-up file was availed to me [that is to PS] by the registrar ULC.

This was on July 15, 2015. The head of public service required the secretary ULC to report on this controversy and in particular on the involvement of the principal land officer, Mr Paul Idude, in the controversy. The secretary, in answer, attached a report by Mr Idude, a report which was addressed to the secretary and, in this matter, it touches the no-objection letter.

Mr Idude wrote on June 22, 2015: “In the instant case, the applicant actually presented the no-objection letter from the ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry at the time of application. This no-objection letter was not at the instance of the ULC as is the case normally. But still, ULC considered the request and granted allocation.”

Property files at Lands ministry

Byenkya: We don’t have both those letters as part of your report. But from what I understand in that second response, the normal practice would be that the ULC to seek the no-objection, and not the other way round.
Isoke: Indeed.
Byenkya: So, that would suggest that was anomalous in this application process?
Isoke: It’s not our practice to seek the applicant to get the no-objection. It should be government-to-government.
Byenkya: If we may go on the paragraph of ownership, there is a paragraph which is headed “my lord…”
Isoke: My lord, I wish to report that the original file for Birus Property Services is missing from the registry of ULC.

This file is supposed to contain, among other documents, the application for the land, an inspection report before the grant, a survey report, valuation report, payment receipts for various taxes and fees; the lease agreement is missing, and pertinent correspondences for the transaction. The information I have written from this letter is from a temporary folder of that reference containing a few copies of what should be in a substantive land transaction file.

Byenkya: Do you have any comment on that now as chairman, where your files are missing?
Isoke: The comment is that the registry of ULC has been strengthened and is in the process of being further strengthened. The code of practice for the public service records is also being implemented. My lord, in May, I presented to you a copy of the procedure for the movement of files in ULC.
Byenkya: Alright, let’s proceed to the next item which concerns items for application of lease…
Isoke: My lord, last year on January 2, Birus applied through their lawyers, KMT Advocates, to have the lease extended to full term of 49 years. I have attached as annex four a copy of their application. In the ULC meeting of June 29-30, 2016, the commission deferred consideration of this application because the same matter, the commission was informed, was being handled by cabinet.

Byenkya: Have you since seen the cabinet decision on this matter?
Isoke: I have just seen it three minutes ago.
Byenkya: This cabinet minute was provided to this commission during the course of this investigation; are you suggesting that the ULC has not had communication regarding the cabinet minute?
Isoke: No, my lord.
Byenkya: Let’s look at the cabinet minute now that we have it. I will take you to the third page which has approved the way forward. And I want to take you to immediate actions…
Isoke: “That government should take immediate repossession of the property comprising plot 60 to 62 Alidina road from Mr Simpson Birungi who continues trespassing on the government property.”

Byenkya: If you look at that minute, it seems there has been a decision of the executive of this country that this property should be repossessed. Is it still tenable that ULC would still consider this application or extension of the lease? Because you said it was deferred pending a cabinet decision?

Isoke: My lord, this is a direct directive to ULC to withdraw the offer that it had given to Mr Birungi in the first instance, but also not to allow the extension. In this case, it would be a renewal of lease, the initial lease having expired.
Byenkya: But at the moment you have a directive not to do that. Would this directive apply to you to take back possession?
Isoke: Government has possession…

Bamugemereire: Government does not have possession. The building was demolished and somebody else has possession.        
Isoke: My lord, the freehold title held by government is still on.
Byenkya: Despite the absence of title, certificate of occupation, Birus Property Services has the possession…We have this incredible situation where the highest organs in the land have made a decision but, somehow, it seems this company is able to defer everything and retain possession.
Isoke: My lord, I wish to clarify that this directive of cabinet [agreed in 2015] has not yet been communicated to ULC.
Byenkya: Where would the problem be and how are these directives communicated?
Isoke: My lord, that same letter says that it is not the practice of cabinet to communicate its deliberations to non-cabinet members. I think that’s the reason why we are not privy.

Byenkya: We want to find out where the problem is…Who would be responsible for communicating if you know; you are a department of government?
Isoke: The minister who supervises ULC communicates matters of this nature to the commission.
Byenkya: So, your position is that this hasn’t been done and the ULC has been ignorant of this directive until now?
Isoke: In this instance, yes my lord.
Byenkya: Maybe you could also read IV; it might be relevant to your body.
Isoke: “Immediate actions; Investigate and punish some government officials whose omissions and commissions directly or indirectly aided the fraudulent acquisition of a lease by Mr Birungi, eviction of bona fide tenants on plot 60 to 62 Alidina road and the demolition of a building thereon.”

Byenkya: So, that would have been relevant to some of your officers. What is puzzling me is that the heading of this cabinet extract is: “Immediate actions.” So, what would be your comment on this?
Isoke: My lord, when I scanned through the extract, I saw somewhere where the head of public service was being given a time frame to report on this matter within six weeks.
Bamugemereire: Could you just go back to number five?
Isoke: “Immediate action number five; Government should verify and recognize the bona fide tenants on its property plot 60 to 62 Alidina road and should also provide legal aid to those bona fide tenants to pursue compensation from Mr Birungi for the losses they suffered during their eviction and demolition of the property…

Cabinet agreed that the following officers should be investigated further to establish their role in the eviction of tenants and demolition of government building: Mr Paul Idude (principal land officer, ULC), Mr Emmanuel Olauna (undersecretary, ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development), [the late] Andrew Felix Kaweesi (assistant inspector general of police), ACP Julius Twinomujuni (commander Land Protection Unit), SP Edgar Nyabongo (RPC Kiira region), SP Apollo Kateeba (DPC Jinja), ASP Felix Mugizi (OC Jinja police station).”    

Byenkya: But what would come to our attention now is that these officers just appeared before this commission yet cabinet had considered immediate actions against them. But it took this commission for them to be questioned regarding their activities.

So, we seem to have a situation where cabinet decisions are either subverted or ignored. I don’t know whether you have any comment on that.

Isoke: Cabinet, besides naming the head of public service, has not indicated any other investigating body [that] should probe the matter and these individuals.

But my lord, I wish to report that this morning when I gave a last glance to the provisional file, I saw a letter from the head of CIID [Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Directorate] of police requiring ULC to supply the information I have referred to you in this report.    

Byenkya: I’m not satisfied with your very limited definition of repossession in this matter. The cabinet directive is saying take back the property. And that means also physical possession of the property. I’m concerned about your limited interpretation of the directive.
Isoke: When it is communicated to ULC, we shall implement what is communicated.

Bamugemereire: You are the owner of the land. Because of the manner in which communication is handled in your department, you would probably say you have never seen cancellation of title. And under so many circumstances, the commissioner registration cancelled the title of Birus twice…
Isoke: My lord, all that information is missing at ULC.

Bamugemereire: Who is keeping that information from being available?
Byenkya: We have a situation where nothing can touch this property; the owner himself says “I am waiting for lawful directives”. There is a cabinet directive which has been brought to your attention now, which you can follow up and verify. Why this reluctance?
Isoke: My lord, I am not aware of the cancellation. That’s why I was talking about repossession and cancellation as a matter that has come now.

I promise this commission that upon receipt of the cabinet directive, I will convene the commission within two weeks to effect the directives of cabinet on this matter.

And as I make that pledge, I request to be made privy to other decisions from other bodies that have taken decisions on this matter so that ULC implements our part. I make this statement under oath.

alitwaha@observer.ug

1 week 2 days ago

Parliament’s committee on Foreign Affairs has expressed disappointment with the Office of the President over its failure to meet with the president.

According to committee chairperson, Rose Mutonyi (Bubulo West), the legislators have written several letters to President Museveni, requesting for a meeting to discuss a number of issues constraining the foreign affairs sector.

During a meeting with State Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem to discuss the ministry activities and the committee recommendations on the 2017/2018 budget yesterday, Mutonyi said some of the issues raised during the budget process included the recruitment of few career diplomats, underfunding and indebtedness to international organisations.

She said Sam Kutesa, the minister of Foreign Affairs, had made a commitment during the budget process to set up an appointment with the president, but this has not been fulfilled.

Legislators pleaded with Oryem to address the issue with Kutesa to push for the meeting, stating that it was for the good of the image of Uganda in having a well-funded ministry that is able to front the country’s tourism and investment interests.

“The ministry is grossly underfunded and yet it is the face of our nation. We need to see how best the ministry can be used as a great marketing platform for this country…we need a bigger budget for the ministry because they lack marketing materials,” Latif Ssebaggala (Kawempe North) said.

Out of the 35 ambassadors representing Uganda in different countries across the globe, only six are career diplomats.

The ministry is also choking on Shs 60 billion arrears as contributions to international organisations accrued over the years.

In response, Oryem said the ministry appreciates the concerns of the committee in regard to appointment of career diplomats, but said the ministry’s hands are tied since President Museveni has the authority to choose the ambassadors.

1 week 2 days ago

Kenya opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga has rejected provisional results which indicate that he’s trailing behind the incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta for the country’s top seat.

Addressing an early morning press conference at 2am today, the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate described the results by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as “fraudulent and fake”.

He said they didn’t tally with the opposition’s and that the commission had no authority to transmit results without having forms 34A and 34B.

"We have our results and they don't match what IEBC is streaming on their portal...These results are fake; it is a sham. They cannot be credible. Our projections from our agents show we are ahead by far," said a disgruntled Odinga.

Adding: “We fear this was exactly the reason Chris Msando was assassinated. There is no way people can accept illegal results. They've not provided us with Form 34A for verification."

Raila Odinga casts his ballot yesterday

So far over 85% of polling stations have been tallied and the provisional results indicate that Kenyatta is leading with 54.8 percent. Raila follows him with 44.3 percent.

Earlier, NASA’s co-principal Musalia Mudavadi revealed that no consensus had been reached with the electoral body pertaining the transmission of votes. He observed that (IEBC) had promised to send the forms via email to NASA’s tallying centre at the time the meeting ended but nothing wasn’t sent.

While Mudavadi said that the results being transmitted on TV were a fraud since there were no Forms 34A to support the transmission, Odinga on the other argued that the transmission was null. The five-time presidential contender argued that the transmission exercise was contrary to section 39 of the Kenyan Constitution.

However, Consolata Maina, IEBC’s vice chairperson confirmed that they had received NASA’s request to halt transmission of the results but that they decided the exercise would continue.

She observed that transmitting the election results was in line with the commission’s duty to the Kenyan people.

"We believe that by displaying the results, we have been doing well to enhance transparency and accountability in the electoral process," she said at a briefing organised by IEBC. Adding: “The declaration of the results will be based on the Form 34B that we will get from the returning officers."

Maina said displaying the results was based on the Court of Appeal’s decision that results announced at polling stations are final.

The final days of campaigning in Kenya's election were marred by the murder and torture of a top election official Msango, which Mr Odinga linked to his claims of vote rigging. Before the polls, Odinga said he would accept loss "in the unlikely event that I lost fairly".

In 2007, violence broke out after Odinga rejected the results released by Kenya’s electoral body. The crisis was further fueled by ethnic divisions and about 1,200 people were killed. Of Kenya's population of 48 million, 19 million are registered voters.

1 week 2 days ago

Kassanda South MP Simeo Nsubuga claims opposition planned last Monday's attack during Kabaka Ronald Muwenda II's 24th coronation anniversary celebrations in Mubende district but several Buganda MPs say he should carry the age limit cross, writes OLIVE EYOTARU.

It took many by surprise last Monday when William Ntege, a former journalist, manhandled Nsubuga in full public glare.

The public scuffle lasted close to 20 seconds. Ntege, commonly known as Kyuma kya Yesu, shoved an unsuspecting Nsubuga out of a line of MPs from Buganda sub-region, who had been called to the front to greet the Kabaka.

Ntege later claimed he was angered by the MP’s outspoken public support for the proposed lifting of the presidential age limit. The MP’s crime was his open support for the proposed deletion of Article 102 (b), which will allow President Museveni seek re-election in 2021 after he clocks the mandatory 75 year upper age limit for presidential candidates.

MP Simeo Nsubuga

Ntege was restrained by Wakayima Musoke (Nansana Municipality) and Kato Lubwama (Rubaga South). Ntege was later arrested and taken to Mubende police station, where he is still detained. Appraising parliament on the incident the following day, Nsubuga said the assault was part of a well-orchestrated plan by some quarters within the opposition to attack anyone who supports the lifting of the presidential age limit.

The legislator insisted that a section of MPs, particularly from the NRM, including Ibrahim Abiriga (Arua Municipality), James Kakooza (Kabula) and Peter Ogwang (Usuk), have become targets of insults and threats and deserve to be given special security by government.

“We are living in a free society where there is rule of law; so, if someone says I am in support of something and the Constitution provides for freedom of speech, but someone attacks them, the state is mandated to protect this
person. So, if they are being threatened, the state should come out because those who have been speaking against this have not been attacked,” Nsubuga said, adding: “In the constituency I represent, where my great, great grandfather migrated in 1897 as Kabaka’s chief, nobody can attack me there. But this man was sponsored to attack me by some diehard opposition people.”

In an interview with The Observer, Nsubuga further said Ntege took him by complete surprise.

“Some elements within the opposition have a well-calculated plan to start attacking people who support the removal of the age limit at different functions they attend,” Nsubuga told The Observer but declined to name names.

NO KIND WORDS

Interviewed, some opposition MPs who attended the anniversary celebrations and witnessed the shoving and pulling, had no kind words for their colleague. They accused Nsubuga of advancing his personal and selfish interests, over and above the voices of his constituents.

“I don’t want Hon Nsubuga to think that there are some machinations by the opposition to cause havoc. It is about you listening to your voters. He brought up this issue which is not on the floor of parliament with his own intentions. We are here to represent the people, not ourselves and that should be a caution to him,” Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) said.

Robert Kyagulanyi (Kyadondo East), said leaders, including Nsubuga, should own up to the consequences of their actions.

“It is high time we as leaders own up to the outcomes of our actions. We represent our people; so, we are expected to know what is on the ground. We need to look into ourselves. When there are so many potholes on the road, we don’t buy a new car. The wrath of voters is because we are not representing them right,” Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, said.

Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda urged Nsubuga to prove that the opposition instigated the attack. He wondered whether they (opposition) also had a hand in the pouring of water on Justice minister, Kahinda Otafiire, during a meeting organized by ULGA recently in Namboole.

“Hon Otafiire was not insulted; no opposition poured water on his suit and chased him from the function. The idea of people getting angry and chasing people from functions is not limited to the opposition like Nsubuga is attempting to tell this parliament,” Ssemujju said.

Emmanuel Kigozi Ssajjalyabene (Makindye-Sabagabo) accused Nsubuga of defying a directive by speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga not to discuss the issue of age limit.

“I don’t want to say that Nsubuga deserved it [the attack] but when you hear him talk about article 102, he is so strong about it; so, the people should also react strongly...He should just keep quiet,” Kigozi said.

UNLIKELY SUPPORT

However, Kato Lubwama defended Nsubuga’s request for security for targeted legislators, noting that the matters before the public foyer are sensitive and attacks such as Ntege’s may embolden more people to react the same way towards other MPs.

“Some of the MPs are in trouble. Our region [Buganda] is a sentimental one; so, I think for some of these members, they should give them security. No one wants to be harassed or beaten for their views. This is a free world,” Lubwama said.

About Nsubuga’s request for security for MPs, state minister for Internal Affairs, Mario Obiga Kania, said government provides general security to MPs like any other citizen. He, however, said if a member anticipates a particular threat to his/her security; government can intervene and offer more protection.

1 week 4 days ago

Calls within the ruling NRM for government to drop the hugely divisive constitutional amendment bill on compulsory acquisition of private land by the state are growing louder, galvanized by the piling bipartisan political pressure around the country.

NRM strategists are worried that the strong resentment for the draft legislation could have a knock-on effect on the proposed but yet-to-be tabled constitutional amendment on the presidential age limit removal.

Sources close to NRM promoters of the removal of Article 102 (b), which caps the upper age for presidential candidates at 75 years, have told The Observer that government may soon drop the land amendment legislation.

“That bill has issues, land is a problem that cuts across and if we insist on having it passed, we may end up losing even this other project [age limit]. We have decided to shelve it such that we can push through [the amendment of Article 102 (b)],” an MP who preferred not to be named said on August 3.

Minister Kahinda Otafiire (L) with President Yoweri Museveni

REVIEW

This comes days after Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire told this newspaper last week that government would review the bill.

“We are going to revisit some of the issues in the bill and see how we can improve on them,” Otafiire said on Tuesday, August 2, moments after appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee.

Before the committee, Otafiire and the minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Betty Amongi had a difficult time making a compelling case for the necessity of the bill for a second time in a row.

“If you are following what is going on in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, you must have realised that, that bill is going nowhere,” the MP said.

Another key promoter of the presidential age limit removal said there’s a huge possibility that their group may join forces with opposition MPs to defeat the amendment of Article 26 supposed to allow government take compulsory possession of private land without prior compensation.

“I can assure you that bill is going to fail and the one on age is going to pass,” the MP said.

Though none of our sources sits on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, they claimed that at the expiry of the 45 days, which the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga gave the committee to scrutinise the bill, the committee will write a report suggesting that the existing land laws are sufficient to deal with issues of delays of national projects, which the government-pushed draft legislation seeks to cure.

Compensation disputes between government and landowners are blamed for the delay in the implementation of government infrastructural projects.

MINISTERS, MPs CLASH

Meanwhile, two ministers of state and two MPs at the weekend clashed at an ordination ceremony for Catholic priests in the western district of Rubanda.

Ministers David Bahati (Planning) and Chris Baryomunsi (Housing) clashed with Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo and Ndorwa East MP and Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba at Kakoore Catholic parish church in Rubanda district where Bishop Callistus Rubaramira was ordaining two priests.

Invited to speak, Niwagaba spoke against the land bill. To wild applause from both the clergy and the lay Christians at the event, Niwagaba said the bill must be resisted by all Ugandans.

“I told the congregation about the dangers of the bill on land and pointed out to them the implications of having such an amendment, and also why we should not scrap the age limit,” Niwagaba said on Thursday, August 3.

Niwagaba then invited Ssekikubo who said that much as it is wrong to amend Article 26, it is evil for the president to think of amending Article 102 (b) to remove the age limit.

Baryomunsi accused the harsh critics of land amendment bill of politicizing the issue. Baryomunsi, who before his ministerial appointment, worked closely with Niwagaba and Ssekikubo who later were infamously branded as the “rebel NRM MPs,” said his former colleagues had misunderstood the amendment due to politics.

He urged them to stop presenting the two issues as one and the same. Speaking as chief guest, Bahati avoided talking directly about the proposed amendments but asked the congregation whether they would support Museveni again.

“I asked how many will support President Museveni again and everyone raised their hands. That was testimony that the people of Rubanda support President Museveni and the NRM wholeheartedly,” Bahati told The Observer on August 3.

1 week 4 days ago

In his $8 million (about Shs 28.8 billion) counter claim suit against Bank of Uganda, Sudhir Ruparelia reveals new details about why his negotiated settlement with the central bank, christened the Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement (CSRA), collapsed.

Sudhir filed the counter claim suit last week together with his defence to contest Bank of Uganda’s Shs 400bn lawsuit against him and Meera Investments. In the counter claim suit, Sudhir wants BOU to pay him US$8m for breaching clause 12 of the Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement (CSRA).

The clause stipulates that, “Without prejudice to the immediate forging should any legal or administrative proceeding of any kind ensue against SR [Sudhir Ruparelia] as defined in the agreement, the agreement stands voided and BOU shall immediately return to SR the value of the settlement.”

Sudhir claims that on January 27, 2017, BOU sold, at an undisclosed sum, assets of Crane bank to Dfcu Limited yet by mid-January 2017, the central bank had approached him and urged him to settle the dispute.

He said between January 29 and March 20, the parties held a series of meetings meant to amicably resolve the dispute. He adds that under clause 3.1 of the CSRA, they agreed that he pays $60m in part cash and property.

In return for the above payments, Sudhir says they agreed that BOU would assign a number of loans totaling to Shs 63.6bn to him, release all securities of those loans, and remove Crane bank from receivership.

On April 4, 2017, Sudhir says that David Mpanga, one of BOU’s lawyers, wrote on behalf of himself and MMAKS, the other BOU lawyers, setting out the implementation timeline of the CSRA, clearly spelling out what each party was required to do in the said agreement.

In the letter, Mpanga said Sudhir was to provide the property list with an aggregate fair market value of US$42 million and that BOU would avail the assigned deed and loan statements to Sudhir with respect to the agreed loan.

That upon receiving the first installments, Mpanga wrote that BOU would release securities of loans worth about $8m on the account of Sunbury Investments (U) Ltd and Main Freight ICD Limited. That upon receipt of the balance of $10m, Mpanga wrote that BOU would release the securities of the remaining portion of the agreed loans.

“A joint valuation team would determine the value of the properties and would compile a list that would constitute the settlement titles,” reads Mpanga’s letter, which is copied to BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, and Justine Bagyenda, the BOU executive director for supervision.

Sudhir claims he went ahead to implement the agreement by giving up his properties to BOU, which included titles for land found in FRV 130 folio 18 plot M418 Nakawa Industrial Area and LRV 1239 folio 2 plot 7 Parliamentary avenue Kampala.

On April 19, 2017, Sudhir says, BOU acknowledged receipt of $1.1m as payment towards the agreed loans and informed him that his deficit on the first installment of $8m was $6.9m, which they demanded he must pay that very day.

On April 20, 2017, Sudhir says he paid BOU $6.9m. That meant he paid a total of $8m on the same day. Despite paying the said money, he said, BOU never released securities of loans representing a total value of approximately $8m on the account of Sunbury Investments, Main Freight and also the central bank did not return his land titles.

That, Sudhir says, was a total breach of the CSRA. In compliance with the agreement, Sudhir says, he had supplied a list of titles, 10 of which were in the names of Mahmoud Bharwani, who had agreed to surrender his titles to settle his indebtedness to Crane bank.

Earlier on April 7, 2017, he said he arranged a meeting between Mpanga and Bharwani after BOU raised a number of issues in regard to Bharwani’s land titles and that it’s Mpanga who wrote the minutes.

“Mr Mpanga’s minutes indicated that the professional valuer conducts the joint valuation to avoid unilateral conclusion by one party. Any defect in title would be established in the joint valuation process,” Sudhir says.

He said he put an additional eight titles to the property list to give BOU comfort. Nevertheless, Sudhir says, BOU in further breach of the CSRA implementation agreement and the Bharwani meeting, rejected the joint valuation.

As if that was not enough, Sudhir says that BOU threatened criminal prosecution if he did not agree with their demands, which were not in accordance with the CSRA.

On June 28, 2017, he says, Mpanga sent him an email with a notice to sue, demanding that by close of business on June 29, he unequivocally undertakes in writing to pay the balance of $52m and that the payment must be made in cash by July 15.

He said that on June 30, BOU filed a suit against him in court, which was in breach of clause seven of the CSRA.

1 week 4 days ago

A section of NRM MPs, including Usuk County MP PETER OGWANG have come out publicly to support the removal of the 75-year age limit that would bar President Yoweri Museveni from seeking another term in office.

He spoke to Olive Eyotaru on why he fervently supports the amendments of Article 102 (b) and why he thinks the current law is unconstitutional.

You are among the few legislators who have publicly called for the removal of Article 102, even though parliament’s leadership has barred legislators from discussing this matter.

As an MP, nobody is going to stop me from doing my work. The law permits me to even move a motion or bill; so, yes, even if the matter has not been brought to the House, it is a matter of national concern. We cannot pretend as far as the law is concerned.

It is public knowledge that President Museveni will not be eligible to stand in line with the provisions of the Constitution. So, the deputy speaker telling us that we should not discuss such a matter; I think it is my right to discuss any matter of national concern.

Aren’t you being defiant?

I don’t think there is anyone who can gag me from speaking on something which is good for the peace and stability of this country. Do I believe that I should come out and support it? Yes.

The history of this country is very clear on where we came from. I was born in 1983, three years before the NRM took over power in 1986. Every time I sit down with my mother and my elders, they remind me about the history of this country.

I have grown up with this government, seen what they have done and I am beginning to believe that the future seems to be bright. For instance, the freedom of expression we have today, it is this government which has ushered it in.

The economy which we are boasting about is under the leadership of this government. Democracy is under this government. Peace and stability, which is very core, is because of the leadership of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. So now, what do we feel that he needs to do?

In the NRM, we have four core principles: nationalism, socio-economic transformation, democracy and pan-Africanism. The problem of Uganda is not age but having good leaders who can help this country.

You can be 65,you can be 35 but you can fail to be a good leader and mismanage a country. What we need are consolidation of the existing programmes and some of the issues I am looking at critically for now and the future is peace and stability and I am 100 per cent convinced that Museveni has done it excellently.

I am happy a law firm from Soroti has gone to court over this. As an MP, I sought to uphold the Constitution; so, I cannot sit here and just look at provisions in the Constitution which are unlawful.

Unlawful in what sense?

Look at Article 32 of the Constitution. It is very clear. You cannot discriminate people on age and sex. I was not there when they were writing the Constitution. I must have been in primary school. Such must be made clear to the people.

So, if court rules that the provision is unconstitutional, as an MP, my role is to realign the law in line with the ruling.

Secondly, we must look at regional integration which we urgently need. As Uganda, we need the East African political federation. With South Sudan joining the EAC, we are now the size of India. We used to do a lot of business with South Sudan and our economy was growing but due to the problems there, we were affected.

So what do we need? We need a pillar and a personality like Museveni to realise the integration. The late Julius Nyerere was one of the core advocates of integration but he is no more.

Now today we are privileged that we have got Yoweri Museveni. We are not saying he will not leave power. Let me tell you that Uganda needs Museveni more. He is not looking for a job. At his age, he fought and liberated us.

You are 34 years and part of the largely youthful population. Shouldn’t you be pushing for one of your own to take up the mantle of leadership?

Let me put this on record. The amendment must also, and I will propose this, lower the age for those young people to be allowed to stand, as long as you are a voter.

Why should the law bar you from standing for presidency? You cannot say scrap the upper age limit above and leave the lower one. The most important thing is the people. Why should you limit choices in terms of age?

For me, the amendment should also cater for 18 years as long as you satisfy the conditions of the Electoral Commission.

Recently, one of your colleagues, Simeo Nsubuga, was attacked by a citizen over his strong views on the age limit...

I want to tell the opposition that the habit of intimidation is uncalled for. By the way, the reason we still want Museveni is that you can abuse him, you can disagree with him but he cannot harm you.

Imagine if opposition was in power and they disagree with us on some of the ideas they feel are not correct. Now they are employing intimidation but I am warning them that they should not try me.

This is not the way of looking for support. If you see someone beginning to intimidate, know they have failed. Why attack Hon Simeo? If you think you are popular, why intimidate? It is very unfortunate and because of these attacks, the undecided will not support them.

So, if Museveni leaves power, should we go to exile because of our views? That is why I say I would rather be ruled by one lion than 100 rats? Some of these elements in the opposition will take us back to where we came from.

If they cannot tolerate me when I am in government, what will they do when they are in power? Let them know that they do not have the monopoly of intimidation. They should stand warned.

As a representative of the people, have you consulted them on this matter?

The county I represent has had its peculiar challenges and the biggest of them has been insecurity for our lives and property.

I can guarantee you that the reason the people of Usuk and Katakwi district have been voting for the NRM is because of security. That is the reason my people tell me they will always support Museveni.

Also, there are existing programmes which were pledged by the NRM in the 1996 manifesto. Before we were crying over the road from Soroti up to Moroto, it is being worked on.

We wanted electricity, clean water, schools and health centers but they are now there. What is left which President Museveni promised is compensation of our cows, which were taken away due to insecurity.

1 week 4 days ago

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