President Museveni’s letter to the minister of Finance, rejecting 11 out of 27 loans that Uganda has applied for was precipitated by the government’s decision to streamline the loan application process, The Observer has learnt.
In his June 19 letter to Minister Matia Kasaija and copied to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, Museveni questioned the usefulness of some of the listed loans and advised his ministers to always seek his endorsement before getting new loans.
A minister has told us that a decision was taken in cabinet about four months ago, to scale back on acquiring loans, following concerns that some of the older loans had not been used for the intended projects.
According to this minister, during one of the cabinet meetings chaired by the president, it emerged that some ministries knew little about the loans ministry of Finance had procured on their behalf.
“Previously, ministry of Finance would process loans without consulting the relevant ministries and because the user ministries had not been consulted, money would come when they are not ready to use it on projects for which it has been borrowed,” the minister explained.
President Museveni with Finance minister Matia Kasaija
Consequently, many loans remained unutilized, yet government had already committed itself and thus had to pay interest on the money. This, the minister told us, was partly responsible for the World Bank decision to suspend funding to Uganda a few years ago.
One such loan, we have been told, was $100m (Shs 340bn) meant for construction of classrooms in selected schools. That money was reportedly borrowed at a time ministry of Education and Sports was not ready to use it.
Another loan of $25m (Shs 75bn), which was borrowed under the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) of the ministry of Tourism reportedly suffered a similar fate. About $13m (Shs 39bn) of the World Bank-funded CEDP project was to upgrade the Jinja-based Crested Crane Hotel and Tourism Training Institute to a five-star facility.
Since the user ministry had not been consulted, coupled with the unstable exchange rates, by the time the ministry got ready to use the money, “it was only enough for a three-star facility.”
The minister further revealed that government borrowed $183.7m (Shs 551.3bn) for the second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project (KIIDP II) without the knowledge of the minister for Kampala.
With such cases becoming commonplace, cabinet resolved that the ministry of Finance should only play its supervisory role in the management of the loans and leave requests for loans to originate from the user ministries.
Nevertheless, cabinet went ahead and endorsed the 27 loan requests that were subsequently tabled for parliamentary approval in May. The president’s objection to 11 of the 27 loan requests has taken some ministers by surprise as they believed he was well aware of the details, having been part of the cabinet meetings that approved them.
Museveni’s four-page letter to Kasaija argued that some of the requested loans would not add value to Uganda’s economy.
“Cabinet approved those loans; there is no way a loan request can come to parliament without first being approved by cabinet,” a minister said.
While the letter was copied to all ministers, some reportedly learnt of it in parliament after Kadaga read it out on July 11, directing the National Economy committee to drop the 11 discredited loan applications.
Museveni’s letter was a response to minister of State for Planning David Bahati who had written to the president on May 24, consulting him about the said loans.
In his letter, Museveni said Bahati had done the right thing to update him, saying other ministers should be following the same procedure with respect to loans.
On his part, Bahati said his intention was to appraise the president on the progress of the loan application process.
“I wrote to update him about the loans we were procuring at different levels and different ministries so that he can guide us,” Bahati said on Wednesday, July 12.
Asked to comment on claims by some of his colleagues that they weren’t informed of Museveni’s objection, Bahati declined to address those concerns, simply saying, “the most important thing is he has now offered guidance. There’s nothing more I can say.”
Opposition Chief Whip Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda said Museveni’s loan stance is an attempt to save face in light of Uganda’s heavy debt burden.
The Kira municipality MP, who was outspoken during the parliamentary debate on government borrowing at the end of the 2016/17 financial year, said the president likes to create an impression that he doesn’t sit in his own cabinet and doesn’t know what goes on there.
“Museveni speaks as if he is in opposition of his own cabinet, because loans are debated by cabinet,” Ssemujju pointed out.
Among the loans President Museveni objected to is $13.79m (Shs 49.6bn) from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the establishment of a faculty of Technology at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU).
Museveni argued that government cannot guarantee borrowing by a private university.
“This is a private university; if we guarantee their loans, how about others like [the Uganda Christian University] Mukono, [Uganda Martyrs University] Nkozi, Ndejje, etc?” Museveni wrote.
The president might have forgotten that unlike other private universities, IUIU was set up by a statute following an agreement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); and that is what Second Deputy Prime Minister Ali Kirunda Kivejinja sought to remind him of.
Kivejinja said government loan guarantees are part of the agreements Uganda entered into with the OIC when Uganda agreed to host the university.
“Unless we are to repudiate on our agreements with OIC, we can’t refuse to guarantee that loan. The relationship between government and the OIC is very clear, and the status of OIC is also very clear.
“IUIU is run under a different statute which was passed by parliament,” Kivejinja told The Observer on July 12.
Kivejinja, who is also vice chairman of the IUIU Council, said he would follow up the matter.
“IUIU is not like the other private universities because according to the [IUIU Act], government has a say in its affairs, government appoints two people to its council,” Kivejinja added.
Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura has distanced himself from reports that he banned the age limit amendment debates in universities.
In a statement issued by Uganda Police on Saturday, the force said: “We strongly reject these assertions by The Observer as false.”
“The IGP did not use those words as alleged by the journalist at any one time and neither did he communicate to anyone on phone,” the statement said.
IGP Kale Kayihura
The Observer of July 14, 2017 published a story which indicated that the IGP had banned any debate on the age limit debate in universities, saying that it should be confined to parliament.
The controversial bill is believed to be in the offing and when considered, it will pave way for the removal of the 75-year age limit for presidential candidates and will allow President Museveni to run again in 2021 when he is past that age.
“The police are well aware that universities and tertiary institutions are learning environments where open and robust expressive activities are highly promoted,” police said in a statement.
The Civil division of the High court has given Sarah Kulata Basangwa, the interdicted commissioner for land registration, 15 days to file her defence.
The summons follow a suit by businessman Wilberforce Ssekubwa, who sued Kulata for taking over his land and seizing a number of his vehicles.
“You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within 15 days from the date of service of summons on you in the manner prescribed under 0.9 of the civil procedure rules,” reads the summons issued by Sarah Langa, the court’s registrar.
“Should you fail to file a defence on or before the said date, the plaintiff may proceed with the suit and judgment may be given in your absence.”
In the suit filed on July 14, 2017, Ssekubwa says he bought land on block 28 plot 540 Makerere on Sir Apollo Kaggwa road and set up his business there from 2011.
Ssekubwa, however, said things changed on May 31, 2014, when Kulata, in the company of Sudanese nationals, entered his business premises and drove away his Toyota Land Cruiser registration number UAE 199R.
Ssekubwa further alleges that Kulata also ordered one Yusufu Kakerewe and Joseph Buguma to take away his vehicles: a Mercedes Benz , registration number UAF 079F and Mitsubishi Fuso Crane, registration number UAK 150J, respectively.
Ssekubwa, through Matovu and Lukwago company advocates, says Kulata also asked police officers to take the remaining properties from the same land.
According to Ssekubwa, Kulata grabbed his property, largely to easily take his land and sub-divide it into new plots.
“It is averred that the defendant [Kulata] took the plaintiff’s [Ssekubwa] aforesaid properties in bad faith and for purposes of unjustly enriching herself, an action against which this court ought to order her to make necessary reparations/pay damages to the plaintiff,” the suit further reads.
According to Ssekubwa, Kulata eventually subdivided the land into plots; numbers 1244, 1245, 1246 and 1247, in what he calls a move meant to defeat his claim and destroy evidence relating to her [Kulata] illegal dealings on the said land.
“The defendant undertook subdivisions of the suit land, despite there being a High court order and interim orders of the Supreme court and the underlying subdivided titles were sold to Nina Interiors Limited,” Ssekubwa says.
Consequently, Ssekubwa wants court to order Kulata to return his vehicles she seized if not pay a refund of over Shs 270 million. Ssekubwa also wants the court to declare as ‘illegal’ the subdivisions of his land by Kulata.
Currently, Kulata is in court battling the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra).
The report written by a team led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire named Kulata among individuals culpable for abuse of office and causing financial loss to Unra and thus recommended her sacking.
However, Kulata wants the findings which implicate her to be quashed because they were based on ‘ignorance.’
DENIS LEE OGUZU is the MP for Maracha county in Maracha district. A member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), he talked to Josephine Namuloki about his political life and the challenges his constituency faces.
Who is Denis Lee Oguzu?
I am MP from Maracha. I was elected as voters’ alternative to my colleague [Alex Onzima] who had served for 20 years and I think every generation has a call.
He made his contribution and time came for me to make my contribution and I think in the wisdom of the voters, they thought I represented the rising sun and therefore most voters decided that from 2016 to 2021 I should be their representative in parliament.
I was born in Maracha; I grew up there, and even studied there for my primary and O-level. At A-level, I went to Mvara secondary school in Arua, then I went to Makerere University. I joined Makerere University in 2004 and we were the pioneers of IT [Information Technology]. IT was introduced in Makerere in our tenure and I thought the world is now technologically driven so I needed to be part of the ICT innovation.
Denis Lee Oguzu
After you got elected, what were your expectations?
I expected that I would be able to bring the issues that affect us to the forefront and I think for the one year I have been here I have made sure either through writing and through legislating I have been able to bring some of the issues to the forefront.
I also expected I would meet the people who have the country at heart and, therefore, all decisions made would be based on the national interest but now I am getting to realize people have divided opinion on some of the issues.
I also expected that in parliament we would be able to make decisions very fast and deal with the backlog that has existed in legislating but I also realized many times parliamentary proceedings may not be fixed quickly.
What are some of the pertinent issues in Maracha?
We have had the issue of diseases. Hepatitis B has been a big problem that we have made sure it was brought to the forefront. People have started getting vaccinations and they are undergoing testing, but the [other] challenge again is in our health facilities.
Fridges have broken down and it means the vaccines kept there can get spoilt and the number of our people may not be able to advance to the next stage of the dose largely because they encounter problems when the fridges break down. It means the vaccine will also go back.
We had made a proposal to government to upgrade some of our health facilities to health centre IV so that there can be doctors and better services that the community is able to access for free.
In Maracha, a number of youth are jobless because they do not have the necessary connections to be able to find jobs in the Uganda of today.
Recently, we had issues with some items, which were taken to Maracha by the [state] minister for northern Uganda. While we see in other places where the president gives tractors and sets up factories to provide jobs for the people, in Maracha the minister delivered bicycle repair spanners and then I said, ‘oops how will this help our people?’
This was never the president’s pledge. Why are they bringing bicycle repair spanners? We have issues in the way national resources are allocated and I think that needs to change, the president is the one who proposes how the things must be done.
But Museveni has always said that it is in the NRM caucus where resources are allocated and opposition members like you have little say.
The question we would be asking is, ‘if we also have NRM people in our area, why would they get nothing?’ If it was that all the NRM people are benefiting, then we would say maybe someone doesn’t sit in the NRM caucus but we have people in the caucus who also are not benefiting; so, what is the priority based on?
In that case you would probably imagine it is just an issue to do with how resources are allocated; it has nothing to do with whether someone belongs to NRM or the opposition.
In Maracha, also we have issues with how government implements projects and I think there is some sort of waste. There were water projects that were initiated as far back as 2010 and up to now the projects have not taken off. This is something we are now querying.
I have written to the minister and I have tried to follow this up but there is no satisfactory answer and I think at an appropriate time we will request that parliament takes up this matter for investigation.
Most of the West Nile districts are host to refugees; what challenges do you face?
We are grossly affected by the presence of refugees in West Nile and it is unfortunate that in most of the interventions, Maracha has been excluded.
Most of our trees have been cut down to provide shelter for the refugees without any reciprocal intervention on the side of the government or the development agencies.
The UN has the policy of giving money to the refugees; they go and buy food and many of these people come to our small-small markets and this has hiked the prices of food items in the market, making it very expensive for ordinary people to afford a living and you can imagine when you have climate change problems, problems arising maybe from cutting down trees and it doesn’t rain, you do not have adequate clean water sources so you get into big problems and our people are going through this.
And also because of our border location, many times we share resources with our neighbours in the DRC and that tends to constrain the availability of resources to the indigenous people. We really need Maracha and other neighbouring districts to be supported as we host the refugees.
A move by the executive to table a piecemeal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 on land acquisition triggered protests from parliament yesterday, with many MPs questioning why the omnibus amendment bill is not ready.
Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana was forced to read out the contents of the bill, after MPs demanded to know whether it contained an amendment to remove the 75-year upper age limit for presidential candidates.
Rukutana later told The Observer, that the omnibus bill that includes amending Article 102(b) on the age limit, a move he confessed supporting, will come to parliament this year.
But the issue at hand on Thursday was land acquisition and Rukutana’s presentation, which was seconded by the minister of state for Northern Uganda, Freedom Kwiyucwiny, was cut short by Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba who raised a procedural objection.
Niwagaba reminded the House that the government had two weeks earlier promised to table an omnibus bill containing all amendments, after a Constitution Review Commission has collected views from Ugandans.
“Is it procedurally right for the attorney general to defy the directive of the speaker and orders of this House by coming up with a bill that is intended to amend the Constitution in piecemeal and in particular to steal our land?” Niwagaba submitted amid cheers from legislators across the political divide.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, however, allowed Rukutana to continue reading the bill for the first time. Amid heckling from some MPs, Rukutana explained that the bill aims to amend Article 26 of the Constitution so as to resolve the urgent problem of delayed implementation of government infrastructure and other investment projects due to disputes arising out of the land acquisition process.
He said the amendments will enable the central or local governments to deposit in court, compensation awarded by the state for any private property acquired in public interest.
“It will also empower the government or local government to take possession of the declared propriety upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by the court of the disputed compensation amount…,” the minister explained, amidst a chorus of no, no, no from MPs.
As Speaker Kadaga referred the bill to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, some legislators vowed to fight it.
“This bill is dangerous especially for my people in Amuru, which has huge chunks of land. We shall make sure we follow it up and kill it in the committee. It must not come up in the House for the second reading. My only fear is that my NRM colleagues may change their minds if they see money,” Gilbert Olanya (Kilak county) told The Observer.
Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) said the bill is evidence that President Museveni is bent on grabbing land from helpless Ugandans.
Before the land amendment bill was tabled, MPs thought Rukutana had brought the highly contentious bill that seeks to amend Article 102(b). A poll conducted by this newspaper found sharp divisions among legislators on the matter, with most ruling party MPs yet to decide whether they will support it.
Ssemujju said the land amendments were brought to calm tensions and remove the spark from the raging age limit debate.
“I can understand, because of too much pressure from almost all corners, they may have deliberately wanted to bring this one [land amendment] earlier than planned. Without saying we are not brining the age limit [bill], they wash their hands clean and say see, we have brought one on land,” the MP opined.
During an interview yesterday, Rukutana said the land amendment law is urgent because of several infrastructural projects that have stalled in its absence.
“You try to acquire land for development but the owners of the land front dissatisfaction over compensation. In any event, the Constitution allows compulsory acquisition [and] compensation. Since the government is already empowered, after all, to compulsorily take the property, the spirit of not agreeing on the quantum should not let the project stall,” Rukutana said.
Regarding the other constitutional amendments, including the age limit, Rukutana revealed that a list of 18 names had been sent to the president to pick the Constitution Review Commission, which will seek views from Ugandans on the amendments. A report generated from that will form the basis for the omnibus Constitution (Amendment) Bill, Rukutana explained.
Other amendments include electoral reforms arising from the Supreme court presidential election petition. Asked whether amendment of the age limit is likely to feature prominently, Rukutana said that amending Article 102(b) is a popular move that many people, including himself, are interested in.
“We want it [age limit] to be amended, including me, because it is out of date. I am on record since the Constituent Assembly days saying that limiting somebody from leadership because of his age is discriminatory,” Rukutana said.
“As long as somebody is voted for, the person should be free to offer himself. If he is frail and senile, during the campaigns the people will see him and say, oh this man, because of his age he cannot manage, and they will not vote him,” the minister added.
After The Observer reported last week that a constitution amendment bill that includes Article 102(b) was set to be gazetted, some top NRM leaders claimed that such a bill doesn’t exist.
According to Rukutana, the omnibus bill will be tabled in parliament before the end of this year.
nspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura has told The Observer that he will not allow leaders to take the age limit debate to tertiary institutions and villages.
Speaking to us on July 9 at Lake View Resort hotel in Mbarara, Kayihura said he had received intelligence reports that some opposition leaders are inciting youths, especially university students, to cause chaos, hiding under the so-called age limit bill.
“Age limit debate is strictly in parliament, but not in schools or villages. It is supposed to be debated in parliament and should be among MPs,” he said.
The police chief had travelled to Mbarara to meet security chiefs there following an incident where two students of Bishop Stuart University held a mock burial for President Museveni. By press time, the students in question, Abert Nangumya and Rodgers Asiimwe were still locked up at Mbarara Central police station.
Sources also told us that police is investigating reports that some opposition members had met some university students from western Uganda at a hotel and urged them to fight against plans to keep President Museveni in power beyond 2021.
According to our sources, the students were drawn from Bishop Stuart University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Kabale University.
On Wednesday, police arrested Robert Rutaro, an NRM youth leader, at Makerere University guesthouse where he had gone to address a press conference denouncing the proposal to amend the presidential age limit clause in the Constitution. He was briefly detained at Wandegeya police station. Rutaro is the leader of a group code-named UB40 whose aim is to oppose the amendment of Article 102 (b).
Meanwhile, during the meeting with security bosses, sources told us that Kayihura asked his commanders to strengthen their spy network in universities such that acts such as mocking the president do not happen again.
Kayihura instructed security personnel to work closely with the leadership of universities and students to keep law and order in and out of the campuses.
“It was an embarrassment to security to see students carrying the coffin with the picture of the president in Mbarara. It showed there is no intelligence network in Mbarara,” Kayihura reportedly said during the meeting.
The police chief also told police commanders to work closely with crime preventers.
“You must work with crime preventers in your areas to make sure that you block local leaders from discussing the age limit bill with residents because the bill has not been tabled in parliament,” another source quoted Kayihura as saying.
According to our sources, the meeting which was chaired by Gen Kayihura himself, was attended by Brig Paul Lokech, the UPDF Second Division commander, district police commanders from greater Mbarara districts, and intelligence chiefs from the sub-region.
BISHOP STUART SPEAKS OUT
In an interview with The Observer on Monday, Prof Mauda Kamatenesi Mugisha, the vice chancellor of Bishop Stuart University, said she will not allow the age limit bill debate at the institution.
“This university is built on religion, not on politics; so anybody who will be found discussing politics will be penalized accordingly,” she said.
She added that the constitution of Bishop Stuart University doesn’t allow politics, and that even when choosing students leaders, political parties are not considered. On students who mocked the president, Kamatenesi said they did it in their individual capacities because they are currently on holiday.
“When students are in their holidays, the university has no control over them,” she said.
But she said when they return from the holiday, the two could face disciplinary action.
When Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu also known as Bobi Wine announced his intention to run for the Kyadondo East constituency, the news was received with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.
His overwhelming victory on June 29 was euphoric and led some political analysts to proclaim the emergence of a third political force, independent of the major political parties.
But it was his swearing-in on July 11 that nearly brought the city to a standstill as curious onlookers craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the musician-turned-politician.
Robert Kyagulanyi in the VIP lounge
All the main roads from Gayaza to the city centre were filled with eager supporters, some donning colorful attire, bark cloth and carrying Uganda flags and Vuvuzelas.
The real excitement, however, was at parliament. As Kyagulanyi’s procession approached Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) from Yusuf Lule road at about 12.30pm, police had deployed riot officers to block the sea of his supporters from heading towards Parliament.
This at some point proved futile as the crowd seemed to overpower the few policemen and found ways of slipping through. All this time, Kyagulanyi and his wife, Barbra Itungo Kyagulanyi, stood atop his vehicle, waving at the people as he pointed at his watch, a symbol he used during his campaign trail.
Kyagulanyi was dressed in a grey suit with a black and grey tie and black shoes, while Barbie donned a red satin dress and matching overcoat, with black lace embroidery at the bottom of the dress and coat. They both wore black shades to complete the look.
The chanting and singing also attracted staff of Uganda Land Commission, prisons and ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs which are located along Parliamentary avenue. Many rushed out of the offices to catch a glimpse of the ‘Ghetto president’. At the main entrance to parliament, police asked Kyagulanyi to step out of his vehicle and go through the normal security checks.
Police had a hard time controlling Bobi Wine's supporters
The supporters atop his vehicle were asked to get off. He complied and together with 80 of his supporters, they were frisked and asked to enter. The police officers had to make a ring to block some of his enthusiastic supporters from entering the precincts of parliament. This caused traffic jam as Parliamentary avenue was blocked for some minutes, with vehicles struggling to maneuver through the crowd.
Kyagulanyi was then driven to the parking area where hundreds of parliament staff had been eagerly waiting to “rub shoulders” with the legislator. Many stood outside, smartphones in hand, waiting for the right moment to take a selfie with him.
For close to 30 minutes, he sat inside his vehicle, as parliament’s protocol officers arranged an area where he would wait before the afternoon plenary session convened.
When Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa was driven in, she stepped out of her car but journalists present seemed unbothered by her presence. Meanwhile, some of her staff members, on seeing her, hid behind a group of interns, fearing reprisal for being seen to be eager about Kyagulanyi.
After a brief live interview with NBS television, Nankabirwa walked in, giving her staff a sigh of relief and chance to cheer the Ghetto president with reckless abandon.
As soon as Kyagulanyi stepped out of his vehicle and walked towards the House with his signature spring in his step (bouncing in slang), he was mobbed by journalists who straight away shot questions at him and his wife.
“I’ve always said that if parliament cannot come to the ghetto, the ghetto will come to parliament. I want you to know that the ghetto has come to parliament of Uganda,” Kyagulanyi, who said he was last in Parliament in 1989 while in P1, told journalists.
For Barbie, the excitement was drawn from the crowds that escorted them to parliament. She, however, reminded her beaming husband that this was his moment to prove his worth to his voters.
“My MP should be seen, should talk for us and since we sent him, we expect to hear what we sent him to say. We also expect him to come back and tell us what he learnt from here. We also expect him to teach us what he learns here. We really expect him to work,” Barbie said.
He was then ushered into the parliament foyer, where staff cheered as they jammed the balconies. He was escorted to the parliamentary canteen, where more staff and MPs jostled to take a selfie with him and Barbie.
As soon as the bell beckoning MPs to the plenary sitting rang, Bobi was taken to the VIP room on ground floor, where he briefly met the speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.
DRAMA IN PARLIAMENT
At 2:25pm, Kyagulanyi, while clasping the Bible in his right hand, took his oath, swearing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, three words he mentioned in a rather strong tone.
Standing next to him was Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality, DP), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West, DP), Emmanuel Ssajjalyabeene (Makindye-Ssabagabo), Bernard Atiku (Ayivu), Aja Baryayanga (Kabale Municipality), Lilly Adong (Nwoya Woman), Lucy Akello (Aruu North), Latif Sebaggala (Kawempe North)and Stephen Mukitale (Buliisa).
There was a spectacle when Nankabirwa imposed herself at the extreme left, provoking laughter from MPs and visitors in the gallery. The drama extended when Nankabirwa and Adong struggled to escort Kyagulanyi to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to receive his instruments of power.
At one point, Kyagulanyi used the aisle next to the front bench but quickly crossed over to the opposition side. Opposition deputy chief whip, Roland Mugume then led him to Kadaga, alongside other MPs. All this time, Nankabirwa jostled to also hold his hand but Nambooze and Mugume thwarted her attempts.
An opposition MP was overheard telling Nankabirwa: “Tobuzabuza mwana”, meaning, “Nankabirwa please don’t confuse the boy”.
Shortly after, Kadaga directed him to sit at the extreme right side of the House, which is a preserve for Independent MPs. MPs Adong and Ajok, who were his self-styled kanyamas for the afternoon, led him to his seat.
Nankabirwa, on realizing that she had lost the battle to woo Kyagulanyi to the NRM seats, opted to escort him, imitating his “bouncing walking style.”
Her “swagg”, in slang speak, sent the House, including Kadaga, into another bout of laughter.
Kyagulanyi’s presence in the House did not last more than 45 minutes, though. An SOS message had been sent to the administration that the police was struggling to keep his supporters calm.
The police officers pleaded with the protocol officers to request Kyagulanyi to leave and restore sanity along Parliamentary avenue, where the crowd had been waiting for more than three hours, to escort their MP back to Kasangati.
The communication was made and immediately after, Kyagulanyi walked out of the chambers. As he made his way out of parliament, he was swarmed by journalists, some requesting to take selfies with him.
KAMPALA. The Deputy Attorney General (AG), Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana, on Thursday tabled the Constitutional amendment Bill, 2017 in Parliament.
The Bill seeks to amend Article 26 of the 1995 Constitution, in accordance with Articles 259 and 262, to enable the central or local government to deposit with a court of law compensation awarded by the government for the property declared for compulsory acquisition.
It seeks to empower government to take possession of the property upon depositing the compensation awarded for the property with court, pending determination by the court of the disputed compensation amount.
The Bill also seeks to give the owner of the property or person having an interest in the property the right to access the right compensation awarded at any time during the dispute resolution.
Parliament, according to the Bill, would have powers to prescribe the time within which disputes arising from the process of compulsory land acquisition shall be determined.
As soon as the deputy AG completed reading the objects of the Bill, many MPs shouted ‘no’. The shadow attorney general, Mr Wilfred Niwagaba, said instead of piecemeal amendments, the government should come up with a comprehensive Constitutional amendment Bill.
“In particular, you (Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga) directed that a Constitutional Review Commission be put in place with a view to see what aspects of the Constitution are going to be amended,” Mr Niwagaba said.
“Is it procedurally right for the [deputy] Attorney General to defy the directive of the Speaker and the orders of this House to come up with a Bill that is intended to amend the Constitution in piecemeal and in particular to steal our land?” he added.
At this point, Ms Kadaga said Mr Rukutana should be allowed to present the Bill for the first reading. “I do not know what is contained in the Bill. Let him (deputy AG) present it and our committee [on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs] will tell us what to do with it,” Ms Kadaga said.
Just two days ago, Ms Kadaga, told legislators that though she had heard about the Bill, she had not seen it. She asked the government to clear the air about the Bill since what was out in the public was to the effect that the Bill seeks to lift the age limit for presidential candidates.
Mr Rukutana said there is no plan yet to amend the Constitution to that effect.
Objective of the Bill
The Bill also seeks to give the owner of the property or person having an interest in the property the right to access the right compensation awarded at any time during the dispute resolution.
Supporters of jailed Ruhinda County Member of Parliament Rtd Captain Donozio Kahonda have camped at State House in Entebbe demanding his freedom.
The group which attempted entry into State House but was denied by Protocol and Special Force Command (SFC) officers have camped at the gate and vowed not to leave until President Yoweri Museveni explains why Justice minister Kahinda Otafiire is allegedly using his office to harass their MP.
This comes a day after Mr Kahonda’s bail application hearing at High Court in Jinja flopped.
Scores of complainants and suspects were stranded in courts across the country as state prosecutors laid down their tools in protest over low pay and poor working conditions.
Currently the lowest ranking state prosecutor earns a gross salary of Shs 645,000 while those at the rank of senior principal state attorney earn Shs 2.1 million a month. The deputy director of public prosecutions is paid Shs 2.9 million; the assistant DPP earns Shs 2.4 million while the DPP earns Shs 11 million.
But the prosecutors, under the umbrella Uganda Association of Prosecutors (UAP), are demanding that the minimum salary of the lower ranking officials be raised to at least Shs 9 million and Shs 40 million for the DPP.
The prosecutors had given the state a period of 14 days from June 23, within which to announce changes in their remuneration. The days elapsed on Tuesday without any changes, leading to a strike that has paralyzed business in courts across the country.
Prisons bus at the High court in Kampala
In Luweero, plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses turned up at Luweero magistrate court for hearing of their cases but were told that court couldn't proceed in the absence of prosecutors.
There are three state prosecutors handling cases at the Magistrates and High court in Luweero. However, only one reported to the office.
Luweero resident state attorney Beatrice Alok told URN that she had turned up out of courtesy because there was a special High court session presided over by Justice Elizabeth Kabanda whom she had not earlier on informed about her absence over strike.
Alok later met Justice Kabanda and informed her about the ongoing strike at court but they agreed to work as they monitor the situation before 4pm to determine whether to adjourn until the strike is called off or not.
All cases in Luweero Grade II and Chief Magistrate's courts were adjourned.
Charles Sserubuuga, the Luweero chief magistrate had eight cases to handle today. He told URN he has decided to adjourn all cases brought to him and stayed in office for administrative work because of the strike. He adds that their grievances are genuine and equally disappointed over salary disparities in government positions.
Some suspects' bails were extended and other remanded further. Police, suspects, complainants and witness have asked the prosecutors to call off the strike and use dialogue to address their grievances
Savannah regional police spokesperson Paul Kangavve says that the strike may also paralyze police investigations since this is always done with guidance of state prosecutors. He adds that to avoid crowding of police cells over unsanctioned files by the state, they are considering giving police bond to suspects on minor cases.
“As police we don’t work in isolation when investigating cases. Sometimes we don’t even wait for the RSAs (resident state attorneys) to take to them files when they are complete. Sometime, we even work closely in partnership with them when investigating cases. So, in any case when they lay down the tools, it is going to affect us as police because we shall have a backlog of files, of cases that they have not sanctioned, that they have no advised us upon", Kangavve said.
Emmanuel Busulwa, a resident of Janda village in Zirobwe sub-county is among complainants who were found stuck at court after finding the state attorney on strike. Busulwa expressed dismay at the strike saying its meaningless to table demands after the budgeting process.
Senior communications officer for the Judiciary, Solomon Muyita confirms the paralysis across the country adding that it's likely to increase the backlog in courts of law.
"Many of the courts got a bit affected. So many prisoners were produced, people who had turned up for their cases of criminal nature and the cases could not proceed. So what we have done, is, to get all these matters adjourned to the next convenient time when we expect state attorneys to get back to work.
We hope their industrial action will end in not so many days because there is quite a number of suspects coming to court for justice hearing, some people applying for bail. Some people were coming for judgments, rulings. They are all affected but the courts are open. The judicial officers are ready, we’re hoping that the strike doesn’t take a very long time so that people can get justice because that is what brings them to court", he said.