At two public rallies in Masaka on July 21, opposition MPs launched their countrywide campaign against two proposed amendments; one aims to change Article 26 to allow government compulsorily take possession of private land and another yet-to-be tabled, aims to remove age limits for presidential candidates.
Several truckloads of policemen and soldiers surrounded the two rally venues in Mpugwe in Bukoto East and Lorry park in Masaka municipality. By about 11am on Friday, the municipal authorities had rejected the rallies. But an agreement was later reached between Masaka municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga and security chiefs after lengthy consultations.
According to the Public Order Management Act, the organisers were required to get a nod of approval from the Municipal Council, the owners of the Lorry park.
“I must be honest and say that I received their [organisers’] letter in time and as far we [police] were concerned, we had no problem, but when we contacted Masaka Municipal Council, they were reluctant to grant them permission to use the venue,” Masaka District Police Commander (DPC) Henry Kintu told The Observer.
Some of the MPs in Masaka
Going to Masaka, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winfred Kiiza, led at least 16 MPs including Santa Alum Ogwang Charles Angiro Abacanon Gutmoi, William, Emmanuel Ssempala Kigozi, Francis Zzaake, Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and Allan Ssewanyana.
Others were Moses Kasibante, Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, Florence Namayanja, Mary Babirye Kabanda, Betty Nambooze Bakireke and Veronica Nanyondo.
FDC deputy secretary general Harold Kaija, Jude Mbabaali and Muhammad Kateregga, the LC-V chairmen of Masaka and Bukomansimbi respectively, also addressed the rallies.
The main focus of the rallies was the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2017, which seeks to amend Article 26 to give government powers to compulsorily acquire private land to execute infrastructural and investment projects.
But the politicians did not ignore the ongoing agitation by NRM groups for the amendment of Article 102(b) to scrap age limits for presidential contestants.
“The most important thing in the country is the Constitution; it is the mother of all laws and we should not allow anyone to tamper with it,” Alum, the UPC whip in Parliament, said.
Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja addresses the first rally at Mpugwe
The MPs are looking to the public to amplify their resistance to the amendments and probably force government to withdraw the proposals.
“If Museveni was a person who respects the law, he should have respected the constitution because he put his signature [on October 8] 1995 when it was promulgated. The Constitution that he assented to, limits the presidential age to 75; he should know that and respect it,” Nzoghu said.
Mukono Municipality MP Nambooze said, “This is a defining moment for our generation; it is upon us to fight for our rights. It is now or never.”
Speaking at the Masaka rally, the chief opposition whip, Ssemujju Nganda, said, “For now let us first forget our respective parties and fight for a common cause.”
Before they travelled to Masaka, Muwanga Kivumbi, the head of the Parliamentary Forum on Constitutional and Human Rights, an advocacy group spearheading the campaign, first held a meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that have agreed to work with the MPs.
At least 25 CSOs attended the Thursday, July 20, meeting at Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) offices Nsambya. Kivumbi said they will have another campaign launch sometime this week that will incorporate the CSOs, NRM and Independent MPs.
Kivumbi is understood to be working with NRM MPs John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya), Pentagon Innocent Kansiime (Butemba), Louis Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya) and Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) to mobilise other parliamentarians.
“I wouldn’t want to speak for them, it will be good if you talk to them but we have had meetings with the Acholi Parliamentary Group, West Nile Parliamentary Group and Teso Parliamentary Group, and we are still talking to more MPs,” Kivumbi told The Observer on the sidelines of the Masaka Municipality rally.
The First Lady, Janet Museveni, last week mediated efforts between those for and against the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012, which has divided MPs, scientists and civil society actors.
The bill seeks to provide for development and general release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Uganda through a regulatory framework to facilitate safe development and application of biotechnology.
The bill, which was first tabled in Parliament in 2013 by then minister of state in charge of Planning Matia Kasaija, has drawn both praise and sharp criticism from sections of the public. Impeccable sources told The Observer that Janet hosted the meeting on July 17 at State House, Nakasero.
At least 20 MPs, including Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleeko (Nakifuma), who chairs the Science and Technology committee, which handled the bill in the 9th Parliament as well as Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the minister in charge of Science, Technology and Innovation attended.
First Lady Janet Museveni
Among the presenters was Dr Joseph Okia, a prominent scientist who is opposed to the bill. Okia reportedly outlined the health and environmental effects that GMOs have caused in developed countries.
“Dr Okia was very clear on the health effects of GMOs such as cancers, allergies, as well as gastrointestinal complications. He was critical on the future of agricultural land if GMO crops are introduced here. He wondered why Uganda is rushing into flooding its market with GMOs yet other countries are running away from them,” one of the sources told The Observer.
While proponents of the bill believe that once passed, the already developed varieties of food crops that are drought-resistant will be given to farmers to plant and end hunger in Uganda, those against the bill have severally complained that the introduction of GMOs will wipe out Uganda’s largely organic farming industry.
Some of the countries which have since banned GMO crops include Sri Lanka, Sweden, Germany, Algeria, Norway, Bolivia, Brazil, Italy and Poland.
“He [Okia] emphasized that GMO foods are more expensive than organic foods and given that a number of Uganda’s trade partners have banned the products, who would Uganda sell the GMO crops to?” another source revealed.
During the meeting, the sources said some NARO scientists and MPs who openly support the bill, were tight-lipped. Some of the legislators after the meeting reportedly started pondering on whether they should continue supporting the bill.
When contacted, Ssekitooleko revealed that he presented the contents of his committee report. He explained that the First Lady also invited him to give an update on the bill, since she had been unable to make it to the committee sittings. Ssekitoleko told The Observer that Janet may have been misled on the objective of the bill, seen by many to promote GMOs.
“At first, the meeting began as a move to intimidate me but I made my presentation, which was appreciated by the meeting. I know the first lady is being misled by some people because many argue on the matter but don’t grasp the matter,” Ssekitoleko explained.
According to other sources who attended the meeting, Janet was neutral and she did not express support for any side to the GMO bill debate.
“She did not take any sides during our meeting and listened attentively. Her issue and focus was for the MPs to listen to the presenters and make an informed decision on what is good for the country in regard to the bill,” one of the sources disclosed.
BILL ON HOLD
Last month, Jacob Oulanyah, the deputy speaker of parliament, announced during a plenary sitting that the bill had been struck off the order paper, pending consultation in cabinet. This followed a stormy NRM caucus meeting, where majority of MPs opposed the bill and asked government to throw it out.
Earlier, the committee, in its report, had endorsed the bill, saying several GMO crops are already being researched on in Uganda and are in advanced stages, only awaiting the enactment of an enabling law to enhance the safe development of modern biotechnology.
President Yoweri Museveni, while opening the annual Jinja agricultural show on July 18, reiterated his support towards the proposed law, turning his guns to legislators for failing to pass the bill.
We have now been told that the matter is scheduled to be returned to the NRM caucus for further discussion.
“From the ghetto to Parliament”, hundreds of posters and placards announced as Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine drove to parliament and took oath as one of Uganda’s most decisively elected MP.
Over 70 per cent of Kyadondo East voters rejected both NRM and FDC candidates in favour of Bobi Wine.
Many NRM stalwarts voted Robert Kyagulanyi but this did not prevent them from attending Sitenda Ssebalu’s rallies, especially the last ones over which NRM chairman President Museveni presided. Their message was that whereas they were for NRM and Mzee Museveni, they did not like Ssebalu.
The fate of those NRM members who voted against Ssebalu is, either way, sealed. Does their new MP consider their support crucial? Will their party have any say in what their Bobi Wine does?
Will they follow him to endorse anti-NRM positions when he chooses to do so, especially at the behest of FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye? Will they accuse him of having let them down by supporting defiance despite their support?
Even if they level all these accusations against him, he will not be guilty because he did not promise them anything along those lines. His candidature was independent and it was up to them to interpret or misinterpret his message.
I believe that when the NRM historical, Capt Gertrude Njuba, revealed why she would not back Ssebalu, she was either ignored or it was too late. But those in charge of NRM cannot feign ignorance about the build-up to this fallout.
DP, FDC NO BETTER
FDC, and its life-flag-bearer in Dr Kizza Besigye, did not fare any better. Life-flag-bearer? Yes! FDC accuses Museveni of trying to become life president and to make sure this does not happen, FDC has decided to deploy Dr Besigye against Museveni until the latter dies.
In Kyadondo, FDC fielded a buffoon. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines ‘buffoon’ as “a clown or jester who says or does foolish things to amuse others…” It is amazing that Kantinti was MP for a constituency in which he was not even a voter. Why Kantinti qualified to contest in Kyadondo East, not once but twice, is another mystery for the Electoral Commission to unravel.
The 63-year-old Democratic Party also suffered its usual ailment of being found redundant by its own. DP members proudly describe Bobi Wine as their party member.
One suspects that they would have wanted him to be their flag-bearer but that he turned them down. Late in the campaign, they announced the withdrawal of their candidate whose name many DPs cannot easily remember. Indeed, most DPs only learnt of their Kyadondo East candidate when she pulled out of the race!
By pulling their candidate out, DP was granting its unsolicited endorsement to Kyagulanyi but there is no doubt that not many voters thought ‘Egumire’ as they cast their ballots.
TV footage showed excited youths telling viewers that they had voted Kyagulanyi because “this is our time and the time of the wazee (oldies) is over”. Some even said their celebrations were evidence that Dr Besigye had actually won the 2016 election, something NRM-Kyagulanyi supporters will have to contend with.
It is easy to say that the youths are an NRM problem. When I lectured to some young patriots at Shimoni Teachers’ College recently, I admitted that NRM, was guilty of creating the youth problem, if it is a problem.
I explained to them that before Museveni, Besigye and others came with NRM the youth population was small because of the five killer diseases. A combination of measles, whooping cough, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis always ensured that not many children reached teen age. Many of those who did would be crippled by polio, rendering them redundant at the very best.
Immunization by NRM/Museveni and education have ensured that many children become young adults with qualifications, but not with enough jobs. But youth is not a permanent docket and the ones I saw on TV are now older by a couple of weeks as I write. The youth in Kyadondo East must remember that Dr Besigye was 30 years old when he became state minister for Internal Affairs in 1986 yet, to some of them, he is still going strong…
SMS TO MENGO
Was Mengo-Buganda a factor in the way Kyadondo East voted? Perhaps not, but Bobi Wine has been causing tremors in Mengo over the land he was thrown out of by a Buganda entity called Nkuluze.
The young musician repeatedly demonstrates his loyalty to his cultural leader through the title ‘Omubanda wa Kabaka’, but this did not stop his beloved Kabaka’s entity from edging him out of a prized plot.
As he struggled with royal agents for what he considers his turf, Bobi Wine was repeatedly warned to back off. The voters were, however, watching and it is not far-fetched to think that the Kyagulanyi vote was, to an extent, a warning message to Mengo on land rights of otherwise loyal Baganda in the kingdom.
WINE vs KYAGULANYI
And what is in store for the victorious candidate?
I may be wrong but I am convinced that Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi has sounded the death knell for Bobi Wine. The two will not co-exist, especially in our snobbish world.
I hereby advise Kyagulanyi to ensure that Bobi Wine does not supply the MP with ‘Ganja’ and that if he does, it must be in absolute secrecy. Kyagulanyi’s opponents will be looking out for offences that police can tolerate with artistes but not with elected leaders. There is no need to overstate this potential trouble spot.
Bobi’s music must obviously suffer but that is something I am told he foresaw and prepared for. His millions of fans are a different matter and he must find a way of appeasing them for what they will see as desertion.
Kyagulanyi must plead with his multitudes not to turn his otherwise spacious home into their lounge. His wife Barbie and the children may tolerate this for some weeks, but not forever. The dangerous option will be a second home where their privacy is guaranteed. But voters will read this as desertion and accuse him of having used them as ladders.
THE LAST LAUGH
In parliament, Kyagulanyi will discover that he can hardly talk about Kyadondo East. UBC chief radio news editor, Innocent Musinguzi, was spot-on when analyzing the results on ‘Good Morning Uganda’ programme.
He said voters did not mind whether Kyagulanyi performed in parliament but that he is the one they sent there. They are ready to forgive him for this. But this will be of no comfort for Kyagulanyi whose awesome skills as a mobiliser make it imperative that he shows results in Kyadondo East, and not along Parliamentary avenue.
Then, his numerous NRM supporters will want him to see less of Besigye but to meet President Museveni as their messenger. When he goes to Entebbe, his numerous anti-NRM supporters will curse him as a sell-out and prepare vengeance in 2021.
Many years ago when Yoweri Museveni, Kizza Besigye and others introduced ‘No-Party Democracy’ and ‘Individual Merit’ politics under NRM, they may not have realised the resilience of the seed they planted. That seed has sprouted in Kyadondo East and I am wondering who will have the last laugh!
A high ranking UPDF officer is behind bars at Lwebitakuli Police station, Lwebitakuli Sub-county in Sembabule District over allegations of defiling a primary six pupil.
Captain Godfrey Kalema was arrested on allegations that he defiled a 16-year-old pupil of Mpumude Primary school in Lwebitakuli Sub-county.
Mr David Wahebwa, the school’s head teacher told this reporter that the victim was examined at St Agatha Health Canter III, a catholic health facility in Lwebitakuli, where it was confirmed that the girl had been defiled.
“The offended girl revealed that she was defiled by her brother-in-law, after her sister left home” Mr Wahebwa said.
He said the victim has been living with her elder sister at Mpumude Village in Lwebitakuli Sub-county.
Mr Clement Kikonyogo, the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Lwebitakuli Police station confirmed the arrest.
“It true he is in our custody over alleged defilement but I’m yet to interrogate him and get his side of the story,” he said.
Mr Kikonyogo further noted that Kalema will be sent to Sembabule Police station as investigations continue.
Defilement remains one of the major cases recorded at Sembabule Police Station and just recently, police report revealed that a total of 67 cases of defilement had been recorded in five months (December and April).
Bank of Uganda yesterday served Sudhir Ruparelia with court summons almost 20 days after the bank sued the businessman on June 30 for allegedly spiriting away Shs 300bn from Crane Bank.
The Observer understands that Sudhir lawyers were served yesterday by Bank of Uganda’s legal team at around 11am though the summons were issued by the Commercial court registrar on July 3.
The BOU team served Peter Kabatsi, a senior partner with KAA, the lawyers of Sudhir. If Sudhir had formally received the summons and the plaint earlier, he would have been required to file his defence at the Commercial court by latest July 19, 2017. Now Sudhir has 14 days from today to file his defence.
Serving is an essential step in commencing a civil lawsuit.
Uganda’s civil procedure rules provide that service of summons has to be effected within 21 days from the date of issue; though the time may be extended on application to court, made within 15 days after the expiration of the twenty-one days, showing sufficient reasons for the extension.
Asked why they delayed serving Sudhir, one lawyer contracted by Bank of Uganda to handle the case said, “We are discussing the matter.” He declined to be named.
The Observer understands that despite the delay in serving Sudhir, he had already assembled a legal team to work on the case. Sudhir’s lawyers, The Observer learnt, had used their own channels to get Bank of Uganda’s plaint plus the mediation summary, but couldn’t get the annexures where the details of the allegations are.
“The real case can only be found in the annexures,” a source told The Observer.
“It’s very hard to come up with a credible defence without them [annexures].”
The delay by Bank of Uganda to serve Sudhir had been interpreted by his lawyers as a tactic to corner him into capitulation before the case starts.
“It’s very clear now that for them they have put out their side of the story in which our client is being maligned but we cannot put up a defence since we have not been served. We don’t understand their intentions,” one of Sudhir’s lawyer said.
In its case before Justice David Wangutusi, the head of the Commercial court, BOU is seeking to recover $93.8 million (Shs 337.6bn) and Shs 60.3bn from former Crane bank proprietor Sudhir Ruparelia and his real estate company Meera Investments.
“The Bank of Uganda as a receiver of Crane Bank Limited and regulator of the banking sector sanctioned the filing of a suit against Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited to re coup funds that were fraudulently extracted from, as well as losses that were caused to Crane bank,” said BOU in its statement last Friday.
The central bank argues in court documents that Ruparelia used several companies to transfer money from the bank. The bank also found that Sudhir owned almost 100 per cent of the bank, contrary to local regulations that require no single individual to wholly own a financial institution.
President Museveni’s claim that there is no proposal for amendment of the Constitution to do away with the upper presidential age limit has been exposed after several NRM groups came up in support of the proposal.
Asked to comment on manoeuvres to change article 102(b) of the constitution, Museveni told journalists at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Wednesday, that this was diversionary talk as there was no such proposal, adding that he was too busy to discuss it.
However, while Museveni was at pains to distance himself from the manoeuvring, hundreds of NRM activists were busy, in his name, raising their voices in support of the controversial bid.
On Tuesday, the president’s private secretary for political affairs, David Mafabi, addressed a group of NRM youth leaders at Kati Kati restaurant in Kampala and urged them to boldly popularize the age limit removal.
The youths passed a resolution urging President Museveni to allow wide consultations by NRM members on whether age should be used to lock out potential presidential candidates. The resolution was read by Phoebe Namulindwa, a youth leader from Luweero.
NRM youth under the Organisation For Action (OFA) show their support for the lifting of age limit yesterday at Seascallop restaurant
Asked about this meeting, President Museveni said NRM has been provoked by undisciplined groups opposed to the proposal, hence the reaction. The meeting was also attended by 11 MPs including Peter Ogwang (Usuk), Simeo Nsubuga (Kassanda South), Mwine Mpaka (Youth Western), Esther Anyakun (Nakapiripirit Woman), Andrew Kaluya (Kigulu South) and Col Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi).
Others were Nelson Lufafa (Butembe), Moses Angudulu (Terego West), Isaac Mulindwa Ssozi (Lugazi Municipality), Mourine Osoru (Arua Woman), Juliet Kinyamatama (Rakai Woman) plus the NRM flag bearer in the Kibanda North by-election, Taban Idi Amin.
At Seascallop restaurant in Kamwokya, Kampala, yesterday, a group of youths named Organising for Action (OFA) launched a campaign for the removal of the 75-year presidential age limit. They displayed a placard with the words, “Age limit is discrimination: Let people decide leaders of their choice.”
Earlier, at Kampala Central NRM offices on Mukwano mall, Kyaggwe road, the party’s publicity secretaries from Buganda region launched a similar campaign to popularize the removal of the presidential age limit to allow President Museveni to contest again in 2021 when he will have turned 76, and thus ineligible.
The constitution caps the upper presidential age at 75 years, standing in the way of Museveni or his supporters who wish to see him extend his rule beyond 2021 when his current term expires.
As groups within NRM fall over themselves to champion the cause, even as the official structures remain quiet, opposition groups and civil society organisations have begun to actively organise to defeat the move.
However, while NRM meetings go on unabated, Democratic Party president general Norbert Mao was yesterday arrested as he attempted to address people at the Constitution Square in Kampala about the proposed pieces of legislation on land and a presidential candidate’s age.
Mao, whose campaign against land and age limit changes is dubbed “K’ogikwatako” (Should you dare touch it), was arrested yesterday morning together with about 13 party members.
The group was attempting to access the Constitution Square to collect signatures from Ugandans in support of their cause. Mao said on his Facebook page: “Arrested for launching campaign against land and age limit amendments. Our spirits and resolve are strong. The police should not mishandle our people who are constitutionally mandated to exercise their rights. Ugandans, join us in the struggle.”
Meanwhile, MPs opposed to the move, including some ruling party legislators, have formed a forum to campaign against both constitutional changes. The forum, similar to the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO), a grouping of young MPs that were outspoken against the 2005 lifting of presidential term limits, was formed after consultative meetings held at parliament and at a private office along Ssemawatwa road in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb.
Chaired by Butambala MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, the forum is scheduled to launch its countrywide campaign today, Friday, in Masaka. Named the Parliamentary Forum on Constitution and Human Rights, the forum’s members are working closely with some civil society groups (CSOs) as well as religious organizations.
At parliament, it is coordinated by Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs Muwanga Kivumbi and Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East).
“We have agreed to work together as different forces and it is not surprising that NRM MPs have joined [us] because people in NRM have the biggest chunks of land and are likely to be more affected by the amendment,” one of the promoters told The Observer.
Last week, government tabled a bill to amend Article 26 of Constitution, aiming to enable government to take possession of private land for infrastructure projects where the landowner rejects the compensation offered by the government valuer. The bill has since drawn bi-partisan opposition in parliament.
“The amendment on land is going to fail like it did during the CA [Constituent Assembly] and during the 6th and 7th parliaments because no MP can come out and support such a law. It is going to terribly fail,” said Opposition Chief Whip Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (Kira Municipality).
Interviewed yesterday, the minister of state for Housing Dr Chris Baryomunsi, admitted that some NRM MPs are opposed to the proposed amendment on land but added that nevertheless the government is doing everything to get it through.
“It [the amendment] is facing three challenges; it has been grossly misunderstood because they are tagging it to the amendment of the age limit, others are stubbornly misunderstanding it because of politics, while some believe that if it fails [to pass], the age limit bill will also fail,” Baryomunsi said.
Indeed lumping up of the two proposed changes is bound to cause problems for their promoters, especially with regard to NRM MPs who might be open to the age amendment idea but can’t dare face their people on the land question.
The forum’s campaign is to be launched during two public rallies in Bukoto East and Masaka municipality today (Friday) before it is rolled out across the country.
“When any bill is tabled on the floor of the House, we are duty-bound as MPs to go and consult the public,” Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, told journalists yesterday.
“Ugandans need to know that Museveni wants to own your land as he prepares to make himself president forever,” Kiiza said.
While Kiiza insisted that the campaign they are launching in Masaka is strictly about land, several other opposition MPs told The Observer that the push to remove the presidential age limit cannot be ignored. Commenting on Museveni’s remarks to the effect that there is no age limit proposal, Kiiza said the president can’t be trusted.
“Museveni is a liar, he has lied on so many occasions and shouldn’t be taken seriously,” she said.
According to our sources, on Saturday at State House Entebbe, President Museveni is expected to meet with some lawmakers promoting the removal of the age limit.
On the same day, local government leaders have a meeting at Namboole stadium during which lifting of the age limit is likely to come up, possibly as a petition to the ruling party organs.
President Museveni’s private secretary on political affairs has said he has never received instructions or permission from his boss to start a campaign rallying Ugandans to support the removal of the age limit.
David K Mafabi says that his involvement in coordinating a Tuesday meeting that resolved to support removal of the age limit from the constitution was strictly personal.
On Tuesday, Mafabi coordinated a ‘symposium of diverse members of the movement’ where they resolved to, among others, to carry consultations on “whether or not any Ugandan who is 18 years and above should be disqualified from being president.”
He says that while most people are concerned about the age limit resolution, the meeting deliberated on many issues of national importance such as creating an upper house for parliament where the wisdom of the likes of Kizza Besigye, former premier Apolo Nsibambi or Bidandi Ssali would be utilised.
“Why do Ugandans waste such people? Imagine Besigye got 3.5 million votes in the presidential elections. That alone should be automatic qualification to parliament. This debate should not be about one person, it about national cohesion,” he said.
On whether he coordinated the meeting on behalf of his boss, Mafabi said formal engagements about age limit have not commenced and would ideally be done through party and government structures. What happened at Kati Kati, he said, was an informal gathering where patriotic Ugandans pooled resources to discuss national matters.
“I am not your usual public servant. What I do is not partisan politics; what I do is the duty of a patriot,” he said.
“Some of us are not in this thing for material benefit. I actually feel insulted when people make such suggestions; I feel very insulted. I left the world of work and joined the struggle in 1985; that is 31 years ago. So, this is not a job for me, it is a deployment in the revolution. And I want to tell you that I agree with President Museveni’s strategic [objectives]. That is why I am doing this.”
Mafabi says that the spontaneous groups spouting to push for the removal of the age limit are testimony to people’s support to President Museveni’s continued stay and strategic objectives.
“You will see more of these come up…and I don’t think anyone is mobilising them,” he said.
Pressed further on whether they have never had a conversation about this topic given his closeness to the president, Mafabi alluded to the fact that he took the oath of allegiance and secrecy before taking office.
“The truth is that the president is not manipulating anyone; he has no hidden hand in this. The point he is making is that he is a busy man and it is not yet time to turn his attention to such matters.”
At a press briefing in State House, Entebbe, yesterday, President Museveni was asked about Mafabi’s activities and he said his man was being provoked.
Below are the resolutions of the Kati Kati meeting.
1. That it is our duty as members of NRM in our Constitution to fight propaganda detrimental to the interests of NRM (Article 9 (2) (d)), explain the achievements of NRM to the population (Article 9(2)(c)) and exercise the right to submit proposals or statements to the National Conference or National Executive Council (NEC) of the NRM (Article 9(1)(f));
2. That the leadership of the NRM urgently initiates wide consultations of its membership on land right matters, as well as urge and mobilize Ugandans to participate and cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry into land matters set up by the President of the Republic of Uganda in 2016, in order to contribute to a comprehensive national consensus Ugandans on land matters;
3. That the leadership of the NRM urgently initiates wide consultation of its membership to determine:
a). Whether or not any Ugandan who is 18 years and above, should be disqualified from being President of the Republic of Uganda;
b). Whether or not term limits should be simultaneously restored;
c). Whether or not a second Chamber of Parliament should be created;
4. That the NRM widely explains the achievements of the NRM Government and reminds the population of the achievements with a pledge to further improve service delivery;
5. That the NRM reminds its members that the main objective of a political party is to compete for and acquire political power, and urge our members to work for the continued service of Ugandans as well as prepare and front our best candidates to contest for political office, in order to win their electoral mandate and maintain the NRM party in political power in 2021 and the subsequent elections;
6. That these resolution be urgently submitted to the National Chairperson of the NRM, the Secretary General of the NRM - for onward transmission to the National Executive Council (NEC) and Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the NRM, etc - with the aim to generate consensus, correctly advise members of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus and in so doing provide and exercise political leadership in the country, reference Articles 11 (3)(b),(e), and 13 (4)(a) - of the NRM Constitution.
Kampala. Six senior police officers, including police spokesperson Asan Kasingye, have been sued in connection with the 12 children who were rounded up by the police in a massive arrest of suspected killers of former police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, before holding them in incommunicado for 51 days.
The 12 children, the youngest being one-year-old, belong to Mr Abu Rashid Mbaziira, one of the suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Kaweesi.
The other police officers sued alongside Mr Kasingye include Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima, a female police officer attached to Kireka’s Special Investigations Unit only identified as Sarah and three police officers attached to Naggalama Police Station only identified as Sam, Sharifa and Brian Nyehangane.
Also sued before Mukono High Court is the Attorney General, who is the chief legal government adviser.
The petitioners in this case include Rights Trumpet, a human rights body, Aisha Ampiire, the wife of remanded Mbaziira and Saidat Nansubuga, a mother of three out of the 12 children.
Core to the petitioners’ grievance is that the acts of the police in arresting the 12 children, violated their fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.
They cite such human rights as the right to liberty, right to dignity, freedom from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and the right to be cared for by their parents.
“The respondents arrested, detained and held the children incommunicado for 51 days (1,224 hours) from March 21, 2017 to May 11, 2017 and arrested and detained their mothers for six days. The respondents’ conduct was unbecoming of public officers and police officers with heightened duties to be civil,” the court documents read in part.
The children that the police allegedly rounded include: Najubu Ainembabazi, 3, Abdul Zake Jamil, 8, Anisau Nambaziira, 3, Swabula Nambazira, 1, Anne Nabura, 4, Rabiya Nanyonjo, 20, Sumaya Nambaziira, 10, Rashidah Nambaziira, 9, Abubaker Jamilu, 11, Uthman Balinda, 13, Akiram Bazuwe, 5, and Buzu Akilamu.
Through their lawyers of Niwagaba & Mwebesa Advocates, the petitioners want court to order the aforementioned police officers to jointly and, or severally pay general, aggravated and punitive damages to each of the mothers, their father, Mr Mbaziira and their children (victims) aforementioned.
Former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his driver Godfrey Wambewo and bodyguard Kenneth Erau were gunned down in Kampala on March 17. The aftermath of the assassination of the three police officers saw a serious crackdown as police hunted for the killers.
Subsequently, the police arrested and detained Mr Mbaziira and his two wives; Ms Ampiire and Ms Fatumah Bint Salim before returning the following day to also round up their children and drove them away in a van.
Police initially denied being in custody of the 12 children, but the immense pressure from the media and human rights organisations saw them reluctantly released from incarceration.
Prior to the release of the 12 children, the wives of Mr Mbaziira in an exclusive interview with NTV Uganda, a sister station to this newspaper, said when they sought information of the whereabouts of their children at Naggalama Police Station, the officers allegedly asked them to forget about their missing children before advising them to go and marry other men and produce other children.
KAMPALA- The Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine has directed all High Court judges and magistrates to release on bail prisoners who have overstayed on remand without trial.
Justice Bamwine, who is the administrative head of the High Court and the subordinate courts, issued the directive on July 17.
He lamented that on his countrywide tours to prisons, he met many prisoners who have stayed on remand beyond the statutory period.
He said Article 23 of the Constitution demands that untried persons remanded on non-capital offences, should be released on mandatory bail after three months in jail.
He further explained that those inmates facing capital offences and have stayed on remand for more than six months without being tried, should also be released on mandatory bail.
Protection of liberties
The principal judge said his directive is intended to protect liberties of suspects as provided for in the Constitution.
“On various visits to remand centres in this country by the Hon Chief Justice and myself, have revealed and continue to reveal existence of high numbers of such suspects on remand outside the statutory periods,” Justice Bamwine’s circular reads in part.
“People who should not be in prison, if that constitutional safe- guard was being enforced to the letter, are contributing to the congestion in prisons.
This unnecessary state of affairs ought to be reversed,” he added.
Justice Bamwine reminded judicial officers that it’s their responsibility to give deserved respect to the Constitution and to actively discourage the habit of mere arraigning suspects in court without trying them.
“One way of ensuring compliance is through routine visits to prisons to ascertain the numbers and conditions in prisons and routine meetings with all judicial officers and court staff, among other best practices,” Justice Bamwine noted.
The directive has been forwarded to all heads of High Courts, the court registrars, all chief magistrates and Grade One magistrates to ensure compliance.
Last week, a woman in Lira Town, Ms Dorcus Akotwho, stripped naked at court in protest of long stay of her relatives on remand.
About a month ago, defence lawyers for suspects in the Kasese violence pressured the magistrate’s court in Jinja to commit them to the International Crimes Division of the High Court for trial.
The suspects had spent more than six months on remand without being committed for trial.
The worst affected suspects are those without defence lawyers.
Kampala- A Cabinet meeting chaired by President Museveni yesterday tasked Public Service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa to provide a comprehensive package for civil servants’ remuneration within two months.
Making the revelation to Parliament, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa (NRM, Kiboga) said the move is intended to cure pay disparities among civil servants.
“The President has directed the Minister of Public Service to come up with a comprehensive package which will set the salary scale for all the civil servants in Uganda; the minister has been given two months by Cabinet which sat today,” Ms Nankabirwa said.
Speaking about a petition by medical workers who are seeking Parliament intervention over what they called “poor remuneration,” Ms Nankabirwa said the new package will address the salary increment cries across public service.
“Today before Cabinet, which has been chaired by President Museveni, a similar matter was discussed; the concern of different groups of people, the prosecutors, medical workers and other groups who come up to petition,” she said.
Public prosecutors have had a lengthy wrangle with government in the recent past, laying down tools over low pay.
The Uganda Medical Association has, through a petition to Parliament, called for intervention in their pay woes too.
In their petition presented by Ms Rosette Christine Mutambi (NRM, Mbarara District), the doctors and nurses are aggrieved over their remuneration which they say has not been revised to suit the current situation.
The medical practitioners want government to pay duty-facilitating allowance for all medical practitioners and establish duty-facilitating allowances to all medical interns and senior medical officers.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah was, however, reluctant to refer the petition to Parliament’s Health Committee because Parliament had already considered the matter.
Mr Oulanyah guided the House: “This House has had discussions on the pay of our health workers not once, many times and Parliament has taken a position on this subject matter.”
Mr Oulanyah instead instructed the Minister of Public Service to, while considering general matters of public servants’ remuneration, report back to Parliament on the doctors’ pay “within one week.”
“While we complete the processes of harmonisation of salaries and pay to all workers in Uganda, on this specific petition, we need a brief by the responsible minister next Thursday,” Mr Oulanyah directed.
In a conversation with the Daily Monitor, the President of Uganda Medical Association, Dr Fred Biso, said the backbone of their petition is an increment of lunch allowances and a provision of a perk for coaching medical interns.
“Lunch allowance has stagnated at Shs66,000 since 1996. At that time the cost of lunch was about Shs2,000. Currently you struggle to find decent lunch at Shs10,000,” Dr Biso said.
Ms Mutambi said the failure by government to revise their salaries and allowances of medical practitioners has negatively affected medical services in the country, encouraged brain drain and has caused rampant absenteeism.