The Military Police in Uganda is still busy blocking Dr Besigye 9 months after  the Uganda General elections:

Dr Besigye using a Boda Boda  motorcycle as a get away from the determined Military Police of Uganda.  He has been stopped from using his car.


By Serestino Tusingwire,

21 November, 2016


The former Forum for Democratic Change presidential Candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye has been seen in another rare moment this afternoon when he too walked for some distance before getting a boda boda which he used to travel to town for a meeting.

It is alleged that Police blocked his car as he was trying to leave his home in Kasangati for a certain meeting in Kampala, and this prompted him to abandon the car and use his feet leaving the empty car in the hands of police.


Government printer lies neglected. The old colonial building  is in ruins at Entebbe as street publishers flourish:Joseph Kaggwa, the production manager at the Uganda Printing

Here is Joseph Kaggwa, the production manager at the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation.

The printing press is covered in dust, a clear sign that the machine has not been used in a long time. Kaggwa blames the flourishing street publishers for knocking UPPC out of business.

By Paul Tajuba


Posted  Monday, March 9  2015

Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation (UPPC) is stationed at Entebbe.

The Entebbe based government publishing house has no business running and the dust baked machines have become a place of abode for cockroaches and ants.

The wooden doors have seen better days as they have now become food for termites.

These are features that stand out when you go to UPPC. When the publishing house gets some business, the staff there works tirelessly to ensure that the out of use machines do not disappoint.

Back in the day

The Government Printer, as it was called before it became UPPC in 1993, had its glorious days though mainly during the colonial days, Obote and Amin regimes.

At the time, the agency was authorised to disseminate information to different government departments and ministries. Through this avenue, duplications and forgeries were minimised.

The printer also dealt in the printing and publishing of newspapers both in English and local languages, the Uganda Gazette, land titles, scholastic materials and envelopes.

Those who worked at the corporation during the golden days have a message of dire straits - asking government to intervene.

How things got out of hand

Joseph Kaggwa-Mubuya, the UPPC production manager has worked at the corporation for nearly 30 years. He says the troubles of the printer started in 1993 when the agency was turned into a corporation but was never given funding.

According to the 1992 UPPC Act, government is mandated to give UPPC money for its operations but the Act is silent on how much government should submit.

Subsequently, UPPC, though under the office for Presidency, has never received money that could have been used to purchase modern printing machines.

Actually, the “newest” machine at the agency was imported in 1991.

In the 1990s when liberalisation of the economy was at its peak, the printing school at the agency collapsed.

“You cannot trace the history of printing in Uganda from UPPC. It used to be the skills centre where even staff would go abroad to enhance their skills but that is gone,” Kaggwa –Mubuya sadly states.

Gud Mbareba, the printing finishing superviser at the agency says the final blow that UPPC got was in 1996 when there was massive staff retrenchment.

He says, “some of the most experienced people were laid off thus the school had to collapse.”

Rebirth

Some of the axed staff found solace at Nasser Road and it was not long before the groupo had established a printing and publishing empire at the strategically located area.

“All those who first owned printers on Nasser Road are former employees of UPPC because they had the expertise and money to buy modern machines. Now UPPC can’t compete with them” Mbareba says.

While Nasser Road is booming with publishing work, at UPPC silence reigns supreme with the machines lying idle.


MUSEVENI’S PERCEIVED REIGN OF NO END IS GETTING EXPENSIVE BY THE DAY:

By

Kakwenza Rukirabasaija


23September 2016:


Barely half a year into service, the Public has already witnessed unprecedented appetite for dough from the 10thparliament, the ravenousness of which appears to bear blessings of the top leaderships of the institution. The move which started with demand of an amount as much as 300M for self-procurement of none refunded/returnable cars for personal use (or constituencies use to be yellotically correct) has now culminated to expensive mass overseas travels, daily lunch allowances, burial fund and soon dowry fund in that sequence.

The unfortunate development is not being helped by the President keeping his opinions to himself on such matters. The ‘wise’ legislators are interpreting the Presidents silence as careful relation management ahead of the age limit debate. And even if it was so, the gesture is now being censoriously molested.

By all prospects, the legislators are not about to tone down their demands for what they feel is their rightful deserve as long as they continued to view the president as vulnerable opulent man whose political continuity is at their clemencies. When news splurge through the corridors of parliament that Ssekitooleko’s security both while on motion and home has been honked up by special force command; an elite privileged section of our armed forces, they confirmed their long held suspicion of the invisible hands behind “age limit bill”.

It’s at this point that lawmakers seem to have carefully fashioned a move to exploit the opportunity to it apex. Demand for privileges, one after another. And by the time parliament will be done with this constitutional amendment bills, each MP will have pocketed atleast 700M outside their official wage. It’s full blown business of “what do I take….”.

Unfortunately for Ugandans, not even God is about to rescue them and their paid tax. The President is already in a vulnerable position. Legislators have him in their political cage. The speakers, by the reading of their body language seems hesitant to interrupt the lawmakers of whatever they emerges with each day, no matter the financial implications of such hassles on the tax payers and the treasury.

At this pace, it will not be shocking to wakeup to “Presidential Amnesty Bill” in which the lawmakers will be proposing that the president be constitutionally forgiven for all the wrongs he has done while in office as Head of State, and the offenses he is yet to commit while he leads on. And this will not in any way be out of love for President Museveni, but rather to excite him to open the treasury for them. Who wouldn’t want such as law in personal favor any-way.

The gist of the point is that President’s increased susceptibility to parliament owing to his perceived reign of no near end will be the most expensive project the country will have paid for in her 50 years history. May God bless Uganda.

The writer is a Ugandan journalist

Govern-

ment asks for an extra Shs800 billion 

 

Mr Matia Kasaija

Mr Matia Kasaija

By Yasiin Mugerwa


Posted  Monday,

March 9  2015 


IN SUMMARY

In the supplementary request, government would, for instance, spend Shs3 billion on workshops and seminars alone and another Shs4.1 billion on travel expenses.


Uganda Parliament-Wasteful budget requests such as special meals, welfare, workshops, foreign trips and allowances as highlighted in the new government supplementary request have kicked off a fuss in a new budget dispute over the request for an extra Shs800 billion the government urgently needs to cater for “unforeseen emergencies”.

The new request, if approved by Parliament, will increase the 2014/2015 budget from Shs15 trillion to about Shs16 trillion amid complaints that the money is going into consumptive areas.

In the supplementary request, government would, for instance, spend Shs3 billion on workshops and seminars alone and another Shs4.1 billion on travel expenses.

Opposition members have, however, criticised the latest cash request as “a political supplementary request” intended to help the ruling party raise cash to finance its campaigns.

“This supplementary request is suspect. What has been paraded as money for travel abroad, workshops and seminars could be money for campaigns,” said Mr Gerald Karuhanga (Youth Western).

The Budget Committee is expected to convene later this week to start scrutinising Mr Matia Kasaija’s maiden cash request as Finance minister designate.

The rising figures

Even before his swearing-in, Mr Kasaija last week requested for Shs847.2b up from the Shs237 billion requested in 2013/14 financial year.

As a rule, supplementary budgets should be a result of unforeseen actions such as natural disasters. However, in some instances, ministries have asked for more funds in the course of a financial year to deal with recurrent costs such as salaries.

Explaining what looks like a policy-reversal on wastage, ministry of Finance spokesperson Jim Mugunga said: “As a policy, there was an across-the-board hold on non-core international travels and workshops. This was meant to manage available resources then. It does not necessarily make workshops and travel unnecessary in functions of government.”

Deputy NRM spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said the NRM party does not get campaign cash from the Treasury and described Opposition accusations as “cheap political games”.

ymugerwa@ug.

nationmedia.

com

Mugisha Muntu andiddemu olukwe  Besigye

By Musasi wa Bukedde

Added 30th May 2016

DR Besigye asinzidde e Luzira n’aweereza obubaka eri Pulezidenti wa FDC. Maj. Gen Muntu nti yamuliddemu olukwe bwe yasazzeewo okulonda akulira oludda oluvuganya mu Palamenti so nga baali bakkaanya nti FDC si yaakumulonda kubanga ekyo kitegeeza nti bakkirizza nga NRM bwe yawangula akalulu ka 2016.

20159largeimg201sep2015121917937703422 703x422

Dr. Besigye ne Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu

DR Besigye asinzidde e Luzira n’aweereza obubaka eri Pulezidenti wa FDC. Maj. Gen Muntu nti yamuliddemu olukwe bwe yasazzeewo okulonda akulira oludda oluvuganya mu Palamenti so nga baali bakkaanya nti FDC si yaakumulonda kubanga ekyo kitegeeza nti bakkirizza nga NRM bwe yawangula akalulu ka 2016.

Ate nga kimanyiddwa nti FDC ye yawangula ku bitundu 52 ku 100. Besigye yali asabye abakugu okuva mu nsi yonna baddemu okutaganjula ebyava mu kulonda bakakase oba ebyalangirirwa bye byali ebituufu.

Muntu ku Lwokuna yalonze omubaka Winnie Kiiza okukulira oludda oluvuganya mu Palamenti.

Kino kyanyizizza Besigye n’abamu ku bakulembeze mu FDC nga bagamba nti okwo kubeera kukkiriza nti Museveni yabawangula so nga Besigye.

Obubaka Besigye yabutisse akulira okukunga abantu mu FDC, Ingrid Turinawe bwe yamukyalidde mu kkomero ku Lwokutaano n’amugamba nti okwo kwabadde kulyamu lukwe kampeyini gye baliko mu FDC ey’okuwakanya gavumenti n’enkola yaayo.

Ingrid Turinawe y’omu ku beetabye mu lukiiko lwa FDC olw’oku ntikko Muntu mwe yasaliddewo okulonda Winnie Kiiza kyokka n’atakkiriziganya na Muntu ng’agamba nti okwo kwabadde kukkiriza nti Museveni yawangula Besigye so nga bo mu FDC bakimanyi nti Besigye ye yawangula okulonda kwa Pulezidenti.

Waliwo ne Bannabyabyufuzi ababala abaakyalidde Besigye e Luzira okwabadde omubaka Allan Sewannyana owa Makindye West ne Kansala ku KCCA Muhammad Ssegirinya nabo n’abagamba nti si musanyufu n’akatono olw’ekyakoleddwa Muntu.

“Dr. Besigye yatugambye nti Muntu bwe yamukyalira e Luzira bakkaanya nti FDC si yaakulonda akulira oludda oluvuganya kubanga okwo kuba kukkiriza nti Museveni yawangula”, Ssegirinya bwe yategeezezza.

Yagasseeko nti ekyasinze okuluma Besigye, ye Muntu okulonda akulira oludda oluvuganya nga tataddeewo bukwakkulizo okuli n’okusooka okuyimbula Besigye. Abamu ku ba FDC baagambye nti ensonga enkulu gye balina okukolako ya kuggya Besigye Luzira gye yaggaliddwa ku misango gy’okulya mu nsi olukwe.

Muky. Winnie Kiiza eyalondeddwa yategeezezza Bukedde eggulo nti guno si gwe mulundi ogusoose abakulembeze mu FDC okubaako n’ensonga ze batakkaanyako kyokka n’agamba nti kino nakyo bajja kukimaliriza nga bwe bazze bakola ebirala.

N’agamba nti abakulembeze abamu mu FDC okuli ne Mugisha Muntu balowooza nti Palamenti tulina okugyeyambisa mu lutalo lwe baliko okununula Uganda nga bayita mu kuwakanya gavumenti ya NRM n’enkola yaayo.

N’agattako nti okumulonda tekitegeeza nti FDC yakkirizza okulondebwa kwa Museveni wabula ekifo kino kigenda kuwa FDC omwagaanya okutwala mu maaso kampeyini ey’okuwakanya Gavumenti.

Okulonda Winnie Kiiza kyaddiridde Sipiika Rebecca Kadaga okuwandiikira FDC ng’abasaba okuweereza erinnya ly’akulira oludda oluvuganya obutasukka May 25. Muntu mu buyinza bwe nga Pulezidenti wa FDC yalonze Winnie Kiiza ate ekifo kya Nnampala w’ababaka abooludda oluvuganya n’akiwa Ibrahim Semujju.

Wabula Muntu yannyonnyodde nti kye kiseera FDC okukkiriza nti NRM ne Museveni be bali mu buyinza, era ekibiina kirina okugenda mu maaso.

“ Tulina okukkiriza nti NRM yawamba obuyinza era tulina okukigumira, tutwale ekibiina mu maaso, kino tekitegeeza nti NRM ye yawangula okulonda. Ffe twabbibwa naye tulina okutwala ekibiina mu maaso”, Muntu bwe yagambye.

FDC ezze essaawo obukwakkulizo okugeza baalangirira obutaddayo kwetaba mu kulonda kutegekeddwa kakiiko ka Badru Kiggundu okuggyako nga wassiddwawo enkyukakyuka ne kalema okulondebwa Museveni kubanga assaako bantu be. Enkyukakyuka tezaakolebwa kyokka buli kulonda bakwetabamu.

Political Parties in Uganda reject the  EC use of national ID register as NRM government prepares another rigged national election for 2016:

Gen David Sejusa (R) with the vice chairperson of People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Dick Odur (2nd R) address the press at PPP offices in Ntinda yesterday.

PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By Winnie Tabitha & Albert Tumwine


Posted  Wednesday, April 29   2015

 

Kampala,Uganda, The Opposition has rejected a move by the Electoral Commission (EC) to use data collected during the compilation of the national identification registration exercise to update the national voters’ register ahead of the 2016 general elections.

Speaking at separate events, various political party leaders said the national ID registration exercise was full of errors and as a result, most Ugandans were not registered.

Addressing a news conference at the DP party headquarters in Kampala yesterday, the party spokesperson, Mr Kenneth Kakande, said: “Many people on the national register did not register for the national IDs and that means if the EC uses the ID project register, many Ugandans are going to be disenfranchised,” Mr Kakande said.

Addressing journalists during the party’s weekly press conference on Monday, Forum for Democratic Change spokesperson John Kikonyogo expressed dismay at the way EC is handling the entire exercise.

“We have failed to get an explanation from the EC on why the old register was discarded and we want them to tell us how those people they are adding to the list applied,” Mr Kikonyogo said.

Democratic Party (DP) secretary general Mathias Nsubuga said the EC should use the previous register. He claimed the Opposition has evidence to the effect that more than 3,000 people appearing on national ID register are not Ugandans.

Uganda Media Centre executive director Ofwono Opondo, however, defended the EC, stressing that whatever is being done is within the law.

EC spokesperson Jotham Taremwa, said the government made the decision that all government departments should use the collected national voters’ data banks for future purposes.

Meanwhile, former coordinator of intelligence services, Gen David Sejusa has said there is no point in going for an election that will be “stolen”.

Mr Sejusa said the criteria of registering voters did not put into consideration verification of citizens.

“You were all registered, but what system was used to establish that you are a citizen of this country? How many of you were asked for a birth certificate, none!” Mr Sejusa said.

Article 61 (e) of the 1995 Constitution mandates the Electoral Commission to compile, maintain, revise and update the national voters register (the same is repeated under the EC Act Section 18).

But Parliament this year passed the Registration of Persons Bill that establishes a national identification register of all persons in Uganda and provides for access and use of the information contained in the national identification register.

editorial@ug.

nationmedia.

com

 

 

ETTAMBIRO

LY'AMUKABYA AWO E KYEBANDO OKULIRAANA E KKANISA YA BAHAI E KANYANYA.

 

KABAKA ATYA OKUMUJJA KU BWAKABAKA

BAMUTEGEE

ZA NTI ABAZUNGU OBWAKABAKA BABUWA N'ABAKAZI.

ABAYIMBI KYEBAVA BAYIMBA NTI:

EKIMAZE EMBUZI E KYEBANDO, SSALAMBWA LY'EWAMALA.

BULI EVAAYO LIBOJJA MU BBWA.

EKIMAZE EMBUZI EZ'EKISIBO,

SSALAMBWA LY'EWAMALA,

BULI EVAAYO LIBOJJA MU BBWA.

EBYA

FAAYO

1927

Abasoga nabo baaweereza entungo ensekule eri Kattikiro Apollo Kaggwa agende e Bungereza okuloopa Gavana Sir Frederick Crowford olwokumuwu

mmuza.

Ekyakabi olwatuuka e Nairobi entungo ne bagibba. Era nalwala nanyo. Eyo gye yafiira nga 14/02/1927. Yaleetebwa n'aziikibwa e Mannyangwa nga 21/02/1927. Omuyimbi kwekuyimba bwati:

 

Okumanya ng'Abakyuku

yu babbi, Kawalya baamubbako akatwalo k'entungo, Ab'eBusoga baamuweereza nsekule, Ate Kawalya yali musiru bambi, Anti entungo yagikubamu ejjiiko,

Yalaama nti we balinziika balimangawo entungo, Abaana gye banaalyanga, Nga bazze okulima NNUMETE

KAMWA!

 

Government

of Uganda warned to accept to reform electoral NR

Movement laws  or this activist group will occupy Parliament House:

 
By Stephen Kafeero

 

Posted  Wednesday, February 18  2015 
 
KAMPALA, UGANDA.
The Electoral and constitutional reform activists have warned they will occupy Parliament if by the end of March 2015, MPs and government continue to ignore the Citizen’s Compact. 

The compact contains a set of reforms aimed at ensuring a credible election in 2016.

Mr Godber Tumushabe, the head of the consultation secretariat of the Citizens Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, said the failure by MPs to take the reforms process seriously will compel them to move on the House. 

“We have looked at the potential triggers because we are not anarchists. MPs have to invite us by their actions. We must also create a credible threat for these MPs and the President to know that if we are ignored, something big will happen,” Mr Tumushabe said on Monday.

According to their plan, the activists’ campaign will be triggered by MPs if they ignore the issues contained in the compact; if Parliament and the Executive delay in tabling and discussing the reforms and if Parliament reduces the debate on reforms to token issues.

However, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Monday told Daily Monitor that there should be no cause for worry because government is at the forefront of pushing for reforms.

“Government is spearheading the reforms process. We shall come out with a comprehensive position and that is why government has not commented on specific reforms because we are consulting the various stakeholders.”

Key reforms proposed

• President’s tenure should be restored to two five-year terms.

• Size of Parliament should be reduced in line with modest resources of the State.

• New independent and impartial electoral commission must be established. 

• New verifiable register of all voters, which should include eligible Ugandans in the diaspora, must be compiled.

• Voting for LC3, LC5, Parliament and President should be conducted on one day.

• Military should have no involvement whatsoever in the electoral process.

• President should relinquish command of the armed forces to the Joint Chiefs, and must not serve as chairman of UDPF High Command during elections.

• Workers should be removed from special interest group representation since issues of workers can be represented by all MPs.

• Army representatives should be removed from Parliament.

• The National Institute for Political Education at Kyankwanzi should be abolished and replaced by a National Institute for Administration under an independent Board of Directors. 

• Cabinet ministers should not be MPs.

• The office of the Resident District Commissioner should be abolished.

sdkafeero@

ug.nationmedia.com

A Democratic of a Political Party Mr Mbidde has ordered the closure of DP offices:

Masaka District Democratic Party (DP) Chairperson Fred Mukasa Mbidde.

File photo

By Issa Aliga

Posted  Tuesday, May 5  2015  

Masaka District Democratic Party (DP) Chairperson Fred Mukasa Mbidde has ordered for the indefinite closure of party offices following growing disagreements in the party.

This follows Monday commotion at the office after nullification of Kimaanya/Kyabakuza Division grassroots election results over irregularities.

A section of party members led by Brenda Nambirige, Nalubyayi Zahara and Sarah Namyalo among others filed a petition challenging the election results for Kimaanya/Kyabakuza division citing irregularities in the polls.

However, one of the petitioners Nalubyayi after sensing that the petition could lead to quashing of the results, decided to pull out causing commotion between the members supporting her move and those against it.

Mr Mbidde asked police to close down the offices until members are calm adding that they will be opened up under new rules and regulations.

The development comes barely a day after a brawl ensued between DP leaders in Masaka District on how to resolve pending petitions in the just concluded party grassroots election.

The fight started when Masaka DP chairman Fred Mukasa Mbidde stormed a tribunal meeting arguing it was illegally constituted.

Mr Mbidde, who is also the DP legal adviser, claimed he had powers of attorney of Mr Layrus Mayanja, who had been appointed to chair the panel hearing the petitions. Mr Mayanja was reported to be sick.

This did not go well with some members led by Mr Dick Lukyamuzi, the DP chairman for Bukoto East Constituency, who turned a deaf ear to Mr Mbidde’s claims.

Mr Mbidde, who is also the East African Legislative Assembly legislator, is reported to have been kicked out of the meeting venue prompting him to dash to his vehicle from where he returned with an object which some members claimed was a knife and chased his pursuers.

Mr Lukyamuzi filed a case against Mr Mbidde at Masaka Central Police Station. The southern region police spokesperson, Mr Noah Sserunjoji, confirmed the report.

“Police have received a complaint from Mr Dick Lukyamuzi accusing Mr Mukasa Mbidde of threatening violence and we are investing the matter,” Mr Sserunjoji said. Mr Mbidde declined to comment on the incident.

Factions developed within the DP leadership in Masaka following the April 30 grassroots polls after it emerged that a group that broke ranks with the party in 2010 to form the Suubi pressure group had won a landslide.

 

In the Democratic Parliament of Uganda Ministers’ absence cripples House business as Nankabirwa angers MPs

The Democratic Parliament of Uganda in session

 

 

By Solomon Arinaitwe

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa has a fondness for “begging for the indulgence” of the House over matters.
Often, when an MP raises a matter requiring a response from either the line minister or Prime Minister and they are absent, Ms Nankabirwa will leap to the floor and hazard a response, rarely convincing the inquisitor.

The matter of minister’s absence has been fodder for these pages since the opening of the 10th Parliament, but it seems pleas by the Speaker and MPs continuously fall on deaf ears as the front-bench continues to be a pale shadow of one or two ministers.

When questions are posed and there is no minister to respond, the Government Chief Whip, who cleverly sits just near the Speaker’s seat, will quickly dash to the microphone, and “beg the indulgence of the House”. The reasons she gives for ministers not being on duty in Parliament are varied.

On Wednesday, Ms Nankabirwa was at it again. Adjumani Woman MP Jesca Ababiku raised the issue of unreliable power supply to her district which required a response from the Energy ministry. But there was no minister from Energy which hosts three ministers.

Ms Nankabirwa shot up and made her customary comment of having “taken note” of the concerns of the House and how she would “work very closely with the minister of Energy to ensure that the people of Adjumani are served.”

Next up was the Tororo Municipality MP Yeri Ofwono who complained of a businessman in Tororo who has defrauded locals in Tororo and fled.

“My prayer is that the minister of Internal Affairs and the minister of Foreign Affairs bring this man to answer for the charges,” Mr Ofwono said, hoping against all hope that at least two ministers from departments that host five ministers would be at hand to offer relief to troubled, defrauded locals. Again, the ministers were nowhere to be seen.

This time Ms Nankabirwa did not even allow the distraught MP to complete his narration as she shot up and told Mr Ofwono to have his distressed constituents record statements with the police and “we will swing in action”.

“In the modern world, there is no place for criminals to hide. There are systems and so let us engage those systems to help the people who have lost their things,” Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said, just to assure the disbelieving MP that the government could somehow do something about the plight of his constituents.

Mbale Municipality also raised the matter of the rampaging robberies and kidnappings in the town, but again Internal Affairs minister Gen Jeje Odongo was not available to respond.

Ms Nankabirwa this time “congratulated Wamai” for the way he handled his run-in with suspected criminals and put him on notice to always call police when he bumps into suspicious characters and then went into a speech about “how police has tried”. She promised to communicate to the Internal Affairs minister.

Then the controversial issue of St Balikuddembe Market (Owino), where vendors are living on the edge following the expiry of a deadline to clear an outstanding loan of Shs4.8 billion to dfcu Bank.

The agitated vendors face the risk of losing the three-acre land, which dfcu bank is threatening to auction if an outstanding loan is not cleared.

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze wanted either the minister for Kampala Capital City Authority Beti Kamya or the State minister Benny Namugwanya to give an update on the status of the transaction between the vendors and dfcu bank. The two ministers were nowhere to be seen.

Ms Nankabirwa was again quick to jump to the fray. She said the obvious, that the “government is aware of this case” that “touches a lot of people” and that she would contact the President to get a response about the petition to bail out the vendors.

As it was getting too far, acting Leader of Opposition Roland Kaginda (Rukungiri Municipality) raised a point of order and warned that ministers had absconded from duty and abandoned their work to Ms Nankabirwa.

“We have 80 ministers. Is it in order for the Chief Whip to answer all the questions raised by members? It is continuous for the Chief Whip to answer questions [meant for ministers] and we are not getting answers,” Mr Kaginda asked. The Deputy Speaker ruled that the Government Chief Whip could be on Cabinet assignment.

Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal proposed that the matter of the role of the Government Chief Whip (GCW) and how she takes on work meant for ministers be discussed by the Parliament Commission, arguing that she had jumbled roles that are confusing the House and her colleagues.

“The GCW should concentrate and focus on whipping the backbenchers and she should leave the whipping of the front-bench to the Executive. I think it is important that we go back to the true role of the Chief Whip.

She is being over-loaded. She is whipping the Executive and the backbench. We do not where she belongs. She is messing us up, “Ms Ogwal said.

“The role of the Chief Whip is to whip the party [members] and not the ministers. If you are doing the work properly, then you should be appointed the prime minister. Last time, I told you that Nankabirwa should be appointed prime minister and then she can use her expertise properly,” Mr Hassan Kaps Fungaroo (Obongi County) said.

At some point, Ms Nankabirwa took up the role of laying ministerial policy statements, a preserve of line ministers, much to the disappointment of Nwoya County MP Simon Oyet who warned the House was evolving into a “village meeting” because rules were being openly violated.

But the Leader of Government Business must devise means of ensuring that ministers attend Parliament as demanded by the rules or critical time that would otherwise be devoted to handling House business will be wasted in eternal bickering.

On Wednesday, plenary time was wasted for close to half an hour as MPs bickered over whether to proceed in the absence of ministers. It is about time Prime Minister Rugunda tackled the scourge of absentee ministers.

The rules

The matter of ministers attending Parliament business is well spelt out in the rules.

Rule 103(1) indicates that for any ministry, the minister or at least the minister of State shall attend sittings of the House; and where none of them is able to attend, a minister shall request another minister to represent that ministry’s interests in the House and notify the Speaker accordingly.

Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business Ruhakana Rugunda is charged with ensuring that Rule 103(1) is adhered to.

Rule 35(1a) requires ministers to attend the House to answer questions.

Rule 14 prescribes the roles of the Government Chef Whip which are largely restricted under sub-rule(2) which indicates that the CGW is to ensure due attendance, participation in proceedings and voting in Parliament of members of the ruling party.

AN INTERESTING LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUSEVENI ON INTRIGUE AT THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE IN UGANDA

  • Written by DR MAXWELL ADEA

Dear President Museveni, I greet you.

As I write this letter, I reflect on the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Your Excellency, my first close interaction with you was in 2006 at the Russell Square at a public debate in London. When I stood up then and made a contribution in support of your counsel and developmental ideas of having a transformed Uganda and East African Community, I caught your eye. You applauded my contribution and urged Ugandans in the diaspora to emulate my good example.

This led to my subsequent employment in Uganda, first as a senior consultant and advisor to the minister for microfinance. Your Excellency, I gave selfless and honest service to my beloved country for the most needed economic transformation which culminated in rapid growth of microfinance institutions and savings and credit cooperative societies (Saccos) in Uganda.

I worked in this position for four years and seven months but I was paid for one year, leaving a balance of 43 unpaid months’ salary to date. I brought this to your attention, and in a May 23, 2013 letter, you directed the ministry of finance to pay all my outstanding arrears. Mr President, this has never happened.

A vacancy arose in the ministry of finance for position of commissioner, finance and planning in 2012. I applied, sat an interview, passed, and got an appointment letter from the public service permanent secretary on December 2, 2012.

I took office on March 1, 2013. In this position, my salary started coming without any consideration being made on the unpaid salary arrears. As a commissioner, I worked with a dedicated team and within a short period, we were able to achieve many things such as the Tier 4 Microfinance Bill, which gained approval from cabinet and later parliament and the president.

I also authored, with the support of the line minister, Caroline Okao, the concept of financial inclusion for rural areas. I presented this concept and later proposal to various forums. This gained approval from the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome with huge financial support to the financial sector in Uganda.

I served as commissioner microfinance department from March 1, 2013 until February 25, 2014 when I was arrested from my office in the ministry of finance, Kampala.

My arrest came soon after I had come back from Rome, Italy, where I went to defend the Project for Financial Inclusion for Rural Areas in Uganda (Profira) before the president of IFAD. This meeting was successful and IFAD approved funding for a seven-year project for financial inclusion for rural areas in Uganda.

I never stayed in office to implement and see the progress of the project I initiated. Mr President, my heart bleeds for unfairness, malicious actions and intrigue against me that led to the dubious charges of human trafficking followed by arbitrary arrest and unwarranted incarceration.

Mr President, I have written several letters to you seeking audience but I have not heard from you. I suspect you did not get my letters. On February 25, 2014, I was arrested from office without being summoned to police and I was given the summons as I was being driven to Kireka Special Investigations Division (SID).

The summons mentioned that I should report to Kireka SID on February 26, 2014 at 2pm without fail. When I asked the arresting officer why they arrested me at 2pm of February 25, 2014, and yet I am supposed to report on February 26, 2014 at 2pm, he told me that I worked where there is a lot of money; so, I should give him money to save me.

I got confused and I told him that I was a civil servant and I did not have such money to give him. The officer told me that a sheep only realizes danger when it is about to die. To cut the story short, I was granted bail from the War Crimes court at Kololo on December 8, 2015 (almost two years under unlawful incarceration on remand) and I consistently report to the same court.

The damages caused to me as a result of this detention and unlawful incarceration were enormous:

Twenty of my relatives were arrested and arbitrarily detained. Psychological torture to my family, in-laws and friends globally. My shop in Kampala was devastated.

My cows, sheep, goats, ducks, chicken, fish and beehives were looted from my farm due to my incarceration at Luzira. My children and dependants are not in school.

Mr President, I know that you are a man of peace and faith who attempts to put his Christian principles and values into practice in public life. I, therefore, appeal for the following, Mr President: intervene and these criminal charges are removed from me. My salary arrears from the ministry of finance should be paid so that I may restock my farm.

As a Christian, I have forgiven all those who planned and implemented my arrest and subsequent psychological, material, financial and social losses I incurred in all these.

And I do not need any compensation whatsoever from the government of Uganda and the persons who did this to me, if only my people and my mind can be freed of this case.

drmaxwelladea@yahoo.com

The author is a former commissioner for microfinance at the ministry of finance, planning and economic development.

 

There is chaos in Kampala as Political opposition leaders are erratically arrested over fundraising to privately open the famous Educational University of Makerere:

FRIDAY DECEMBER 2, 2016

 

 

Kawempe North Councillor Muhammad Ssegirinya was arrested at Makerere university and detained at Wandegeya Police Station over FDC planned fundraising to open the university.

PHOTO BY DAMALI MUKHAYE 

By Damali Mukhaye

Several Opposition leaders have been arrested moments after former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye was blocked from leaving his home ahead of a planned fundraising ceremony for Makerere university lecturers Shs28 billion allowance.

Those arrested include, FDC secretary for mobilization Ingrid Tutinawe, Makerere University councillor Doreen Nyanjura, Kawempe South Member of Parliament and opposition firebrand Mubarak Munyagwa and Kawempe North Councillor Muhammad Ssegirinya, among others.

They were arrested and taken to Wandegeya Police station.
By the time of filing this story, at least seven Makerere university students including GRC School of education Simon Wanyera and a one Harris Justus Amampulira had also been arrested.
According to the O/C Makerere University Police, Mr Denis Kasibante, only people working in the university banks, construction sites, church and Infectious Diseases Institute were allowed in the premises after presenting work IDs.

“National IDs are not allowed. Only work IDs are allowed,” said Mr Kasibante amid tight security at the university main gate.
The head of security at Makerere University, Mr Jackson Muchuguzi, said the university was closed and therefore no one is allowed to enter or conduct any business from the premises.
“If Besigye and other leaders want to fundraise, let them do it like the Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga,” said Mr Muchuguzi.

Their arrest comes barely a day after police warned the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party against their planned fundraising campaign to open Makerere University scheduled for today at the university.

 

There is more real Chaos in the city of Kampala as taxi drivers go on strike:

THURSDAY DECEMBER 1 2016

Passengers were left stranded, loitering around looking for other means of transport.

PHOTO BY LEILAH NALUBEGA

UGANDA, Kampala: 

A strike by taxi drivers and vendors in Usafi Taxi Park yesterday disrupted public transport and brought business to a standstill.
The drivers were protesting against their colleagues who they say have illegally continued to operate on streets even after Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) banned 50 taxi stages in a move that was aimed at curbing congestion in the city.
The alleged illegal stages include, Clock Tower, Mini-Price, City Square, Mutasa Kafeero, Mega standard and Bank of Uganda, among others.

At about 7am, all main gates to Usafi park were closed, blocking any taxi trying to move in or out with passengers.
Those taxi drivers who had refused to engage in the strike were forcibly removed from their vehicles.
Traders at the park joined in the strike, closing their shops. Business in the adjacent Usafu Market was also paralysed.
The traders also complained that the shortage of passengers at the taxi park is hindering their business.
Taxi operators from Usafi park then proceeded to Ben Kiwanuka Street and Shoprite Supermarket on Entebbe Road, and forced out passengers who had boarded taxis in stages in the two locations.

 

City streets are blocked up against moving traffic in the city. Any one who goes to the city does so at his or her own risk.

 

 

Passengers were left stranded, loitering around looking for other means of transport.
“All we have are false promises from the minister of Kampala that our issues will be solved but there is nothing they have done,” shouted Mr Othman Kasasa, a taxi driver.
Kampala minister Beti Kamya yesterday told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview that the Usafi taxi operators have a valid point since they complied with the KCCA directive. She, however, called for calm saying the issue would be resolved.
The taxi drivers and traders asserted that they had hopes of making good money this festive season but their hopes have been shattered by the unclear responses from the authority.

The business shops in the international city are closed up.

 

The striking drivers and taxi conductors tried to block Entebbe road stones and sticks to stop movement of taxis but police blocked their attempts, arresting some

 

Mr Deogratias Mbabazi, the personal assistant to the Lord Mayor, said: “We have had several consultative meetings over Usafi issues and a select committee was established to do more investigations on the increasing concerns, because there is a lot of politicking here. Whatever was said is not implemented.”
The striking drivers and taxi conductors tried to block Entebbe road stones and sticks to stop movement of taxis but police blocked their attempts, arresting some.
Early this month, Ms Kamya held a meeting with the Usafi vendors who complained of shortage of customers, attributing it partly to street vendors. She assured them their complaints would be resolved within two weeks.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

 

 

 

The Exiled King of Rwanda will be buried temporary in the United States of America:

 

His Majesty's body can then be returned to Rwanda at a future date," reads part of the statement.

 

This is the last King of Rwanda 1959-1970s, before his Ancient African Kingdom of Rwanda became a modern African Republic of Rwanda. This King has been living in Exile for the last 37 years of his life.

The last king of Rwanda Jean-Baptiste Ndahindurwa, popularly known as King Kigeli V is to be buried in United States of America. The body of the king, who died about a month ago, has been in California as the family members had failed to agree on the burial arrangements.

In a statement released by his official website, an alternative burial site has been found that is both appropriate and a holy resting place for an anointed king who was deeply devout to the Roman Catholic faith.  "His Majesty's body can then be returned to Rwanda at a future date," reads part of the statement.

His website reference is:  http://king-kigeli.org

"His Majesty's senior advisers are concerned that His Majesty's body would not be treated with respect and dignity once returned to Rwanda at this time.  Given that His Majesty's historic personal residence in Rwanda was allowed to be sold, demolished, and then made into a parking lot in 2013, little confidence exists that His Majesty's body would be treated as the former reigning head of state that he was".

His family members and relatives living in Rwanda held a meeting in Kigali on October 19 and agreed that funeral be held in Rwanda. However, those living in United States argued that the last monarch be laid to rest in America.

Kigeli's spokesperson recently Bonniface Benzige, while speaking to Voice of America, said he will not let the king be buried in Rwanda.

Nb

Indeed the African leadership in Rwanda cannot give up their hard earned political power in a Republic for a return to a traditional Kingdom.

The USA Presidential candidate, Mrs Clinton has changed colour and now promising to tackle 'systematic racism' that is entrenched well in that country.

John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. He wrote a memoir of the five years he spent in Hollywood, where he worked in the movie industry prior to becoming a full time activist and organizer with the US antiwar movement post-9/11. The book is titled Dreams That Die and is published by Zero Books. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1

Published time: 15 Apr, 2016 15:45Edited time: 15 Apr, 2016 16:22

As the campaign for the Democratic nomination for the White House heats up, former US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, is engaged in a shameless attempt to reinvent herself as a champion of racial justice and the country’s poor.

TrendsUS Elections 2016

Her latest demarche came with the speech she delivered at the annual convention of the National Action Network in New York recently, in advance of the latest primary election for the Democratic Party nomination. Clinton is up against Vermont senator and Democratic socialist, Bernie Sanders, who with his focus on the role of Wall Street and the power of the corporations in the nation’s crippling inequality has been pushing the former US secretary of state all the way.

In her address to the convention of black activists and justice campaigners of the National Action Network, led by Reverend Al Sharpton, Clinton railed against the “systemic racism” that exists within the United States, pledging to introduce legislation to reform the police and the country’s criminal justice system, two areas she identified as a problem in this respect.

Amnesty International has put the issue into context: “1 in 3 black men in the United States will go to prison or jail if current trends continue. An average of five million people is under state or federal supervision in the form of probation or parole.”

Amnesty also reveals: “The UN Human Rights Committee, which monitors states’ compliance with their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has expressed ongoing concern about racial disparities at different stages in the US criminal justice system, including sentencing disparities and the overrepresentation of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in prisons and jails. These issues point to the failure of the United States’ to respect, protect and fulfill its obligations in regard to the rights to be free from discrimination, to liberty and security of the person, to be equal before the law and to equal protection of the law.”

And lest anyone be in any doubt as to Hillary Clinton’s support for her husband’s 1994 crime bill, she campaigned for it as First Lady, saying back then: “We will finally be able to say, loudly and clearly, that three strikes and you're out. We are tired of putting you back in through the revolving door."

Now, in 2016, here she is, reaching out for the all-important black vote in this her second bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Given the enormity of this issue, however, the role of the mass incarceration of young black men in destroying so many lives, families, and communities, there is no apology that could possibly come close to compensating those affected.

One of Hillary Clinton’s most vociferous critics is the black academic and human rights activist, Cornel West. “People know the symbolic language of Hillary Clinton,” he said in an interview in February. “But on the ground she is calling black youth super predators in the 1990’s. That is the most meaning degrading language to our precious young folk who sometimes do the wrong thing. We know they have gangsters on Wall Street. How many Wall Street executives go to jail? She is their hero. She is too tied to Wall Street with all that big Wall Street money flowing her way brother.”

Cornel West has also had a few choice words to say about the Reverend Al Sharpton in recent times, referring to the black community leader as, “Obama’s bonafide House Negro,” back in 2013.

In claiming the mantle of champion of racial justice while being a leading force in the introduction of mass incarceration, in presenting herself as a champion of the poor and marginalized while being a major recipient of corporate campaign funds and a champion of Wall Street, Hillary Clinton is engaged in one of the most cynical political campaigns ever waged. And this is without addressing her record on foreign policy.

One group of black voters the former secretary of state has definitely failed to win over are those involved in grassroots campaign group Black Lives Matter, which emerged in response to the increasing regularity of police killings and violence towards black people. During a recent Clinton campaign event, activists from the group staged an intervention. One of them shouted, “She’s killing us!”

Ssaabanyala Kimeze, Kabaka we Bugerere M7 gweyatondawo mu Republic ya Uganda, agobye nnyina mu nju:

Bya  Musasi wa Bukedde

Added 16th April 2016

SSAABANYALA Maj. Baker Kimeze agobye maama we Nnamwandu Aidah Nabanjala mu makaage n’asenga mu kifulukwa ku kyalo Mafumbe.

                                Ssabanyala Capt. Baker kimeze.

                 Mu katono ye nnyina Nnamwandu Aidah Nabanjala

SSAABANYALA Maj. Baker Kimeze agobye maama we Nnamwandu Aidah Nabanjala mu makaage n’asenga mu kifulukwa ku kyalo Mafumbe.

Aidah Nabanjala eyagobeddwa ye Nnamwandu wa Nathan Mpagi Ssaabanyala omuberyeberye era kitaawe wa Maj. Kimeze.

Nabanjala agamba nti, “Kimeze yassa abajaasi abaamuweebwa Gavumenti ku kifuba mu maka gange mu kifo ky’okubatwala gy’asula.

Abajaasi bandiisa akakanja ate abamu yabalagira basule mu kisenge kyange mwe nasulanga ne baze.

Kimeze yahhaana okulima era ennimiro zonna yazingobamu n’alagira abaserikale okunkwata singa nninnya mu nnimiro omuli emmere gye nneerimira.

Kimeze azze anneewerera okunkuba singa siva mu maka gange era ku mulundi ogusembayo bwe yansonzeemu emmundu ne ngaddukamu.

                          Amaka maama wa Kimeze mw’abudamye.

Nsaba Pulezidenti Museveni annyambe kubanga Kimeze embeera ey’okutulugunya gy’aleese mu famire enkeese”, Nnamwandu bw’agamba.

Kigambibwa nti ne bato ba Kimeze okuli Daphin Mpagi ne Mukisa Rachael bwe baabadde bagenze mu maka gano abaserikale baabakubye emiggo ne baloopa ku poliisi e Kitimbwa omusango oguli ku fayiro SD:11/09/04/16.

Muganda wa Kimeze omulala Joshua Mpagi yagambye nti, “Twagala Gavumenti etutangaaze ku buyinza bwa Kizeme oba yabumuwa kujooga famire.”

Katikkiro wa Ssaabanyala Martin Ssenkaatuuka bino byonna yabisambazze nti bya bulimba famire ebyogera kunafuya kitiibwa kya Ssaabanyala olw’enjawukana mu famire.

Agamba nti Nnamwandu tagobwanga mu maka gano ate ennyumba Ssaabanyala teyagirekera bajaasi bokka wabula ekozesebwa nga ofiisi.

 

 

It seems in Uganda there is a change in the NRM government system. The NRM Judiciary has ruled that Police officers must now answer for abuses as individuals:

A Political activist in Uganda being chased off

by a policeman.

By  EPHRAIM KASOZI


Posted  Tuesday, October 13  2015   

Kampala, UGANDA:

Police officers and other state agents implicated in violation of human rights of suspects will be held liable as individuals and not as institutions, the Constitutional Court ordered yesterday.

A panel of five Judges led by Justice Augustine Nshimye also directed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate a case in which a couple based in Mbarara is accusing two officers of the disbanded Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of alleged torture, seizure of property and money worth millions of shillings.

The other justices are Eldad Mwangusya, Richard Buteera, Prof Lillian Tibatemwa and Fredrick Egonda – Ntende.

“…the time has come for legal practitioners to consider in cases of this nature adding as parties the perpetrators, and their supervisors of challenged actions in their personal capacity so that they can face civil consequences for their willful disregard of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of this country,” court held in a unanimous decision.

The court decision resulted from a 2010 petition in which Mr Domaro Behangana and his wife Ms Mangadalen Behangana Birungi sued the Attorney General (AG), arguing that police officers led by Mr Jimmy Okiror who headed the defunct RRU in Mbarara and a one Milton Gumisiriza.

The duo is accused of beating the couple using batoons that caused them bodily harm and trauma as well as seizing their property and money.

Misconduct cited
Court held yesterday that the case reveals significant misconduct of law enforcement officers who ought to be prosecuted in accordance with the Police Act.

“In order to address impunity, we direct the Registrar of this court to serve copies of this judgment upon the DPP and IGP with a directive that they investigate this matter and report to this court not later than six months from the date of this judgment, the results of their investigations and the actions that they have taken against the errant officers,” court held.
The court dismissed a preliminary

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

In Uganda, there has been another raid on The Courts of Law in the city of Kampala 

FRIDAY AUGUST 12 2016

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe addresses journalists at his office in Kampala yesterday.

PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

The Inspector General of the Uganda Military Police Force,  Kale Kayihura has paid up his supporters and they are threatening to lynch prosecution lawyers outside the Courts of Law. Photo: @micoh

BY ANTHONY WESAKA

UGANDA, KAMPALA:

The new NRM appointed Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has condemned the raid on Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court by a rowdy mob supporting Gen Kale Kayihura, which frustrated the scheduled hearing of the police chief’s criminal case. 
“What happened yesterday (Wednesday) is unacceptable and it must not happen again,” Justice Katureebe said. 
“It strikes at the core of what the Constitution is all about; re-establishing the rule of law in this country,” he told journalists at his chambers in Kampala yesterday.

The Chief Justice said the Judiciary is the third arm of government and adjudicates cases between citizens and government, and other agencies.

“Let the institutions work. It’s really wrong for people to go and mobilise mobs to come and prevent us from doing our work; to come and frighten us from doing our work, and whoever is promoting them is really doing a disservice to the country.”

Gen Kayihura was expected to appear in Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to plead to torture charges that arose from the police’s brutal beating of supporters of Opposition leader Kizza Besigye last month.
The Chief Justice likened the Wednesday ugly events to the infamous 2005 attack on the High Court by heavily armed security operatives who besieged the temple of justice.

The armed Black Mamba operatives, as they are commonly known, raided court to re-arrest Dr Besigye, then FDC president, after he had been granted bail in a case where he was accused of treason as a purported leader of the shadowy People’s Redemption Army.

However, the Chief Justice was quick to draw lines between the two incidents; describing the one in 2005 as an “organised security raid” and the Wednesday one as a “mob raid.” He said the raid on Makindye court points to a possible derailment.

“If one side is going to organise mobs to prevent the courts from doing their job, to prevent lawyers from presenting the cases of their clients, then there is something fundamentally wrong and we must address it as a country and as citizens,” Justice Katureebe noted.
“And this applies to all leaders, political leaders regardless of which political party you subscribe to.” 
The Chief Justice wondered whether citizens would rather choose to be governed through mob justice or the rule of law. 
“If we want to be governed by the rule of law, then we must allow the institutions to operate and that is why the Constitution provides for the courts. The Constitution says they (courts) must be independent and are not subject to the control of any authority.” 
Justice Katureebe’s remarks come on the backdrop of Gen Kayihura’s failure to appear before the Makindye Court where he had been summoned and other top police commanders to answer charges of torture contrary to the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.

The police chief snubbed court and no explanation was given. Instead, police explained that it had cleared the protesters who raided the court premises in early morning with placards reading; Gen Kayihura Talina Musango (Gen Kayihura is innocent).

The lawyers led by Mr Nicholas Opiyo, Mr Abdullah Kiwanuka and Mr Daniel Walyemera attempted to convince court to issue fresh criminal summons against Gen Kayihura but presiding Chief Magistrate Richard Mafabi declined, saying he will pronounce himself on the issue on August 29. The demonstrators, who freely carried out their acts with police officers just looking on, later attempted to lynch some of the lawyers for having instituted the charges against Gen Kayihura.

It took the intervention of the police to evacuate the lawyers who had taken refuge in the chambers of the Chief Magistrate.
When the case resumes on August 29, the DPP is expected to formally apply to take over the prosecution of the matter as mandated by Article 120 of the Constitution.

The case against Kayihura

The lawyers allege that Gen Kayihura and his fellow officers, being superior officers of the Uganda Police Force, in various places in and around Kampala, between 2011 and 2016 but most notably on July 13, and on July 14, are liable for the acts of torture committed against Joseph Kaddu, Andrew Ssebitosi, Rogers Ddiba, and other members of the general public, including boda boda riders and supporters of Dr Besigye. The brutality took place under the command of Mr Andrew Kaggwa, former Kampala Metropoliation South Regional Police commander. They encircled Dr Besigye’s supporters at Busaabala Road junction off Entebbe Road and clobbered them.

Police have no right to beat citizens - Judge

Court of Appeal judge Kenneth Kakuru has criticised the police for brutalising protesters and said the Force’s actions have no legal locus.
Since the February 18 general election, the police have been harshly dispersing Opposition supporters who attempt to organise certain activities which the Force say are illegal. The brutality has since been condemned by human rights groups, the clergy and government officials.

Speaking at the launch of African Media Barometer report in Kampala on Wednesday, Justice Kakuru said it is the duty of the State to observe human rights and that citizens should not be begging for rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
“The police have no right to beat Ugandan citizens. The Constitutional Court struck down a section in the Penal Code that previously empowered courts to order corporal punishment, which was flogging of prisoners convicted of serious crimes such as armed robbery,” Justice Kakuru said.

Mushega’s political outlook against Besigye in their opposition to the current rule: 

Mr Mushega of the FDC opposition political party in Uganda

"When you stepped down, I told some leaders at that time that you had stepped down tacticfully in order for you to come back with a bang as an FDC political party flag bearer for the year 2016. So your coming back was not a surprise to me. What surprised me was the spurious reasons you advanced." Amanya Mushega says

By Amanya Mushega

Posted  Monday, August 31  2015  

 
Dear Col. (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye,

In your interview with one of the local English papers, you insinuated that in my earlier interview with the same paper, l was trying to speak on behalf of president Mugisha Muntu, yet I am not his spokesperson, and that Muntu is competent to speak for himself.

I’m writing this letter to you directly to let you know that l gave my views in my personal capacity. I hold no position in FDC but l have views based on experience in leadership on a fairly long period of reading, observing and in some cases practices.

You stated that in 1999, you approached some of us to leave the Movement and when we failed; you decided to start the work of ‘heavy lifting’ to remove the dictatorship and that you left the Movement for that purpose.

For how long will this ‘heavy lifting be a personal obligation and mission? The fact is that you did not leave the Movement; you just run for the office of the President under the Movement system. There were some members who moved a motion that Mr President be declared a sole candidate in 2000. Some of those movers are now victims of that thinking, some of us openly opposed this move and argued that you were free to stand. We even advised against the efforts to have you arrested and victimised. Your ‘entasiima’.

By the way, to refresh your memory, just 10 years earlier in 1989, you led a team to draft a resolution for a constitutional amendment to extend NRM rule and hence the leadership of President Museveni for an extra five years which was passed.

Then you were the most trusted confidant of the NRM leadership. Only a sole voice, Omulongo Waswa Ziritwawula opposed this move and resigned his seat in Parliament in protest. If you had joined him to fight the nascent ‘dictatorship’, perhaps the course of history of this country would have been different.

We may recall that when the Constitution was being amended to remove term limits, there were many clear voices in and outside Parliament who opposed it and some paid and are still paying a price. Not everyone succumbed to money offers. This was before FDC was formed. And FDC was not founded by a single individual or group. It was a culmination of efforts by several groups and tendencies, to forge a common home for a common effort and purpose.

You may recall my long discussion with you in South Africa in 2004. Many others did visit you. Learn to appreciate that there were other strugglers before you then and there are many others now.

The issues that concern you that I raised in that interview and which l still hold were;
1. You had turned on your word as recorded live on NTV and many other forms of media.

2. That you had not supported your successor Gen. Mugisha Muntu

3. That you had set up parallel structures and centres of power.
I can now add that you don’t easily tolerate different points of view and you don’t genuinely welcome and accommodate those who hold a different point of view. Case in a point, during the Namboole delegates conference in 2010 that elected you for the second term as president, Hon. Wandera Martin was publically announced that he had been appointed unopposed as secretary for labour.

Later on at the first NEC meeting at party headquarters, a meeting you chaired, it was raised that actually there were other people who had been nominated but papers not presented. To cut the long story short, Wandera was dropped and replaced by another person. The real reason, he had supported Muntu. Wandera is alive.

My brother Besigye, you are free to change your mind and you are entitled to run again, but if you do so, say so and why, rather than attacking people who raise that issue as you did in the interview referred to above. You actually state in the same interview that you stood because of the trust voters have in you that is not transferable to another candidate of the same party.

You also pointed that there was a deficit in that trust in your absence and that there was insufficient resolve by leaders in your absence to fight for reforms. Did you really think through this? If you did and it’s true, then your style and content of leadership raises concern. Please learn to respect and appreciate the contribution of others however small or insufficient from your point of view.

If it’s personal to you as if new voters have not come on board and some in the old voters register passed on, then this is in itself failed leadership. When you stepped down, I told some leaders at that time that you had stepped down tacticfully in order to come back with a bang as flag bearer. So your coming back was not a surprise to me, what surprised was the spurious reasons you advanced.

You started a parallel sect dubbed ‘activists’ from the top to the districts level. I will not delve into its activities. My view is that a leader’s role is to reconcile and harmonise different points of view in order to advance a common goal and purpose. Styles of struggle will always be there in any organised society. We should also learn to tolerate different points of view and respond to them without insinuations.

Finally, let me make it clear to all concerned that whoever gets elected and in spite of the attacks and labels put against me by some of your ardent supporters and campaign handlers, we shall support the party and its leadership at all levels.

— Amanya Mushega

The European Union is changing its colours. It is joining the Opposition about the credibility of a 30-years period of Uganda's National Elections:

European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda Kristian Schmidt addresses journalists

after the State-of-the-Nation address last week.

PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE

By NELSON WESONGA

Posted  Monday, June 8  2015 

IN THE UGANDA DEMOCRATIC PARLIAMENT:

The delegation of the European Union (EU) to Uganda has cast doubt on the credibility of the 2016 general election.

Government, the group said during a closed–door meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has ignored demands for meaningful reform of electoral laws.
Mr Emmanuel Gyezaho, the press and information officer of the delegation, confirmed the meeting took place on Friday at Parliament to discuss the Constitutional (Amendment) and the Non–Governmental Organisation Bills, 2015.
The group said the proposals on elections that the government tabled in Parliament in May “do not address substantive issues”. 
Civil society, Opposition political parties, some religious leaders and opinion leaders have called for the independence of the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure a credible poll.
In response, the government drafted the omnibus Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2015, which proposes the establishment of a City Land Board, a Salary and Remunerations Board and the renaming of the EC to the Independent Electoral Commission.
“The Constitution (Amendment) Bill did not meet our expectations. The proposals presented are cosmetic and do not address substantial issues. Civil society, clergy and public made a number of very good suggestions, which were ignored…” Mr Kristian Schmidt, head of the delegation, said in a press statement circulated on Friday. “What we believe is the objective criteria in selection of Commissioners. They should be screened by the Judicial Service Commission or another independent body.”
Attorney General Fred Ruhindi yesterday declined to comment on the EU envoys’ stance. “I will have to first get the presentation, study it so that I respond,” Mr Ruhindi said.
However, the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda coordinator, Mr Crispy Kaheru saluted the EU for taking a stand on the issue of electoral reforms. 
The EU delegation that met Ms Kadaga included Ms Alison Blackburne, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Mr Donal Crónin, (Ireland), Mr Domenico Fornara (Italy) and Mr Peter Blomeyer (Germany). 
The diplomats had sought audience with Ms Kadaga to talk about electoral reforms and the NGO Bill.
The meeting comes on the heels of the State-of-the-Nation address last Thursday during which President Museveni ignored mention of anything to do with the demand for electoral reforms. “On politics, there is no problem because everything is provided for in the Constitution. So I am not going to talk politics,” President Museveni said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the National Coalition on Free and Fair elections comprising political, civic leaders and eminent citizens yesterday announced that it will on June 10 state their next move in face of government’s refusal to accept electoral reforms.
The leaders have been at a retreat since June 4 to chart what they termed as “a new political path for the country”.
“Ugandans are aware that the character of deceit and ignoring citizens is consistent with the character of the current regime. The government has dishonoured the citizens compact on free and fair elections and other proposed reforms advanced by other interest groups,” a statement signed by Mr Godber Tumushabe on behalf of the group says.

Nb

Indeed this emphasises the point of not forcing this poor country of Uganda to pay up all its international debts since 1986 when this dodgy regime captured power by force of arms. The EU donates money  to this self-styled NRM regime at its own peril.

Ms. Maimuna:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swiss bank links secret Shs 250 billion to Ugandans:

By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi

 

Posted  Tuesday, February 10  2015

IN SUMMARY

Suspicion. The bank is accused of providing banking services to corrupt businessmen.

Kampala- Fifty Seven people with links in Uganda are among 100,000 clients of a giant Swiss bank whose account details were recently leaked to French authorities and subsequently released to selected media houses in what has been dubbed the biggest leakage of bank files in history.

Out of the 57 HSBC clients “associated” with Uganda, seven “have a Ugandan passport or nationality.” These 57 clients held a total of $89.3 (about Shs255.6b), with the client associated with Uganda who held the highest amount standing at $8.8m (about Shs25.1b).

To put it in perspective, the $8.8m held in one HSBC account by a client associated with Uganda, who we could not readily establish, is about the amount the Uganda government advanced Eutaw in the botched Katosi road scandal.

Uganda ranked third in the East African Community and 105th in the world among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files, behind Kenya and Tanzania.

Kenya, ranked 58 in the world among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files, had the 742 who were its nationals or connected to it holding some $559.8m (about Shs1.6t) in the bank.

South Africa, the African country with the highest amount stashed away in Swiss HSBC, had its citizens or entities connected to it holding $2b (about Shs5.7t).

HSBC, the second biggest bank in the world headquartered in London, had its Swiss subsidiary helping its wealthy clients escape taxation and hide billions in assets.

The bank also advised clients on how to dodge tax collectors in their countries and to give out substantial amounts of untraceable cash.

Appalled by the wrongdoing in the bank, an employee, Hervé Falciani, who is an IT expert, “hacked into its customer files. He fled to France with police on his trail for breaching Switzerland’s rigid bank secrecy laws,” according to The Guardian, a London-based newspaper.

When Mr Falciani fled Switzerland, he was detained by French authorities. Efforts by the Swiss government to have him extradited to face trial failed after the French authorities realised that the information in his possession could help them identify “thousands of French tax evaders.”

ICIJ has developed an interactive map of the world indicating how much nationals or individuals connected to each country held in the Swiss affiliate of HSBC by 2007.

The interactive is followed by a disclaimer, however: “There are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts. We do not intend suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Swiss Leaks interactive application have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.”

Apart from being of use to French authorities, the files have been relied on for prosecutions in different countries, including the US and Belgium.

The files have now been released to an array of news outlets, including the Guardian, Le Monde of France, BBC Panorama and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) based in the US. They run a series of stories based on the files on Sunday.

Widespread wrongdoing

One of the charges against the bank is that it provided banking services “to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals” around the world, according to the US-based ICIJ.

The Bank, the ICIJ said, also “aggressively marketed schemes likely to enable wealthy clients to avoid European taxes.”

The Swiss Leaks project was “based on a trove of almost 60,000 leaked files that provide details on more than 100,000 HSBC clients and their bank accounts,” a statement on the website of ICIJ said.

The website displays the data relating to the HSBC bank clients on an interactive map of the world.

According to the Guardian, the HSBC “admitted wrongdoing by its Swiss subsidiary.”

“We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures,” the bank wrote in a statement to the Guardian, adding that Swiss arm, which it purchased in 1999, had by that time not been fully integrated into HSBC, hence operating at “significantly lower” standards.

emukiibi@ug.nationmedia.com

 

The Museveni Presidency of Uganda will not be spared the ghosts of African dictators(African tyranny). 

 What most African Museveni lovers do not want to see happen. Most African diehard would rather die than see such a miserable end of a lifetime.

The political cycle of most African countries has not been different. In the sixties, energy was put to fighting for independence. After attaining it, Africans landed autocratic leaders who ruled as proxies of colonialists. 

In the seventies and early eighties, overthrowing regimes using arms was the order of the day. Subsequently, African nations, especially in the Great Lakes region, produced, as were called by the West, ‘the new breed of African leaders’. And Uganda was one of the ‘blessed’ countries that were liberated by the rebels then, led by Gen Yoweri Museveni.

The cycle has been epitomized by African people, flocking to the streets to get rid of the so-called new breed of African leaders. And as we speak, Burundians are up in arms, fighting their president against raping their constitution to entrench himself in power. Other than Tanzania, none of the African leaders has condemned this act. Can you imagine?

This brings me to the recent proposals on electoral reforms and other authoritarian actions of the NRM regime against its opponents. First, the ‘messiah’, who has consistently justified his option to fight the old regimes as opposed to engaging them politically, has not behaved differently.

Yes, his claims could be true because when he stood for election at both presidential and parliamentary levels, the votes he garnered could barely fill the pocket of his shirt. But as mentioned before, the majority of Ugandans saw a point and joined him in the struggle. What pains, however, are the things that followed.

Most of the cynical political events have been chorused again and again. But for purposes of the young generation, in whose hands rests much of the future, let me re-echo some of them. After capturing power, Museveni promised to rule for only four years.

He then used National Resistance Council (NRC) to extend his stay for another five years. He then duped Ugandans to give him another five years so that he could lay a foundation for the implementation of the new constitution.

Shamelessly, he then came back for another term, claiming that he wanted to professionalize the army. And this came after raping article 105 (2) of the constitution to remove term limits. This particular article was enshrined in our constitution because of our turbulent political history where leaders never wanted to peacefully hand over power.

Just like other African dictators, our president consequently resorted to the enactment of draconian laws such as the Public Order and Management Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Police Act, etc, to persecute his political opponents.

In the past, some of us who never served his regime were only the casualties. But when the ghost of African dictators continued to capture our president, he could not spare even his close colleagues such as Kizza Besigye, Eriya Kategaya, Mugisha Muntu, Bidandi-Ssali and now Amama Mbabazi. As the saying goes, “nobody is tall enough to predict the future”: The next target, who knows, could be his family member.

However, since this could be a ghost that holds all African leaders in captivity, we must urgently come out to rescue not only Museveni but also Uganda from sliding back to the eighties.

This struggle does not require apportioning blame on those who helped this regime to capture power and those who served it. Neither does it need to treat people like Sejusa and Mbabazi with suspicion. No; even if one of the president’s family members realized the dangers that our country is faced with, we must welcome him/her with an open heart.

I have said this before, and I would like to amplify it. Even if Museveni’s regime granted all the proposed amendments as were submitted, the status quo will remain, and the looming political unrest may not be averted. What we need to do is to either persuade our leaders to relinquish power peacefully, or use all constitutional means, peaceful or otherwise, to save the future.

Of course there are simple talks from the regime beneficiaries to the effect that Ugandans are tired of violence. This could be true; but which country has ever voted on whether or not to go to war?  My advice is that we help our president to defeat the ghosts of African dictators that have held him captive, or the ghosts will take him and our country in the direction where they have taken his counterparts.

The author is spokesperson of People’s Progressive Party.

The Ugandan Electoral Commission gives political parties Shs10 billion to agree to participate in the coming National General Election of 2016.

By Herbert Zziwa & Stephen Kafeero

Posted  Tuesday, April 21  2015

IN SUMMARY

She said party structures will sit and decide how the money will be used. The ruling party has 259 MPs in the 386-member House, leaving the Opposition with 64. Independents account for 43, while ex-officios (members without voting rights) and army representatives having 10 each.

Kampala-UGANDA:

Six years after Parliament passed the law on political party financing, the Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday announced that it has released Shs10 billion to facilitate the organisations’ activities ahead of the 2016 polls.

In line with the amended Political Parties and Organisations Act, 2005, EC chairman Badru Kiggundu told journalists that only six political parties are eligible to receive a share of this money.

“The formula of distribution is prescribed in the law; it is on the basis of strength in Parliament. So if you have 20 members, we shall get the members divide by the total number of members in Parliament and then multiplied by Shs10 billion,” he noted.

NRM party treasurer Rose Namayanja Nsereko acknowledged that her party has received its share.

“We have already received Shs7.9 billion and this is depending on our representation in Parliament. It looks like a lion’s share but this is the law that was passed by the entire House,” Ms Namayanja said yesterday.

She said party structures will sit and decide how the money will be used. The ruling party has 259 MPs in the 386-member House, leaving the Opposition with 64. Independents account for 43, while ex-officios (members without voting rights) and army representatives having 10 each.

The Forum for Democratic Change has 37 MPs; Democratic Party 15; Uganda Peoples Congress 10; Justice Forum (Jeema) and Conservative Party with one MP each will share the remaining Shs2.1b.

Section 14A of the amended Political Parties and Organisations Act of 2005 mandates government to fund political parties.

Under this section, registered political parties and organisations shall be funded by government. The architects of the law insisted on numerical strength determining how the money is distributed to guard against briefcase parties with no headquarters or members taking advantage of the facility.

Mr Kiggundu said political parties which have already availed the necessary information, including bank account numbers to the Commission have received the money.

“We wrote to them; those who responded have received the money. Others are still having internal wrangles but we shall wait until the wrangles are settled to release the money, and each party will be required to provide accountability after the electoral exercise,” he said.

Last evening, UPC vice president Joseph Bbosa said he “will need to cross check with the party administration but I am not aware of any funding from government”.

Ms Alice Alaso, the FDC secretary general, said the EC had written to the party informing them that the ministry of Finance was due to release the money.

“I think they will send us the money, though by this evening (yesterday), we had not received it. This time the commission should be strict on accountability since we, as FDC, have been submitting our audited accounts yet the NRM, which received the largest amount, does not.”

Conservative Party president, John Ken Lukyamuzi, who is the only CP legislator, said while they have not received any funding from government, time is now for government to fund political parties.

Masaka Democratic Party delegates threaten to boycott the democratic elections within their political party constituency:

 

PHOTO BY MARTINS. E.SSEKWEYAMA

By  MALIK FAHAD JJINGO

Posted  Thursday, June 25   2015 

MASAKA,BUGANDA STATE, UGANDA: 

Democratic Party delegates in Masaka District have threatened to boycott the party national delegate’s conference slated for July 23, accusing the leadership of failure to handle petitions in the recently concluded grassroots party elections.
The delegates said they have on several occasions petitioned the national party leadership to intervene and organise fresh elections for the district, but the leaders have not addressed their concerns.

“We have on several occasions raised our issues and they(National Executive Committee) have not listened to us. We have now prepared a written petition to them and if they don’t address our concerns, we shall instead boycott the delegates conference,” Ms Florence Namayanja, the MP Bukoto East Constituency, said.

The resolution to petition the party top leadership was reached on Sunday during a meeting convened in Mukungwe Sub-county in Masaka District.

The meeting was chaired by Bukoto East Constituency DP chairperson Dick Lukyamuzi. They also unanimously agreed to organixe fresh elections for the district claiming that Masaka District DP leadership led by Mr Denis Mukasa Mbidde was illegally elected.

Last month, Masaka DP leaders defied a directive by the secretary general, Mr Mathias Nsubuga that elected Mr Mbidde as party chairperson.

Some party members led by Ms Namayanja boycotted the elections, saying they were irregularly conducted. Ms Namayanja said the elections marred by irregularities, adding that only delegates from seven out of the nine sub-counties took part in the polls .

However, Masaka DP organising secretary Innocent Katerega said the new district executive was legally elected and that they were supervised by DP national vice chairperson Evelyn Walimbwa.

He said Ms Namayanja and her faction stubbornly boycotted the elections and this could not stop the polling exercise.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

Nb

It is unfortunate that this is a party of African Democracy that seems not to have any democracy in its organization!

The Uganda Peoples Congress political party names a team to probe its Election standoff within its party:

 

Outgoing UPC president Olara Otunnu

By SHABIBAH NAKIRIGYA

Posted  Friday, June 26   2015 

Kampala.UGANDA:

The Uganda People’s Congress Party (UPC) has set up a commission of inquiry to defuse a crisis simmering in the party.

The feud came to light on May 30 when a faction allied to presumptive new UPC leader Jimmy Akena forcibly entered the party headquarters at Uganda House in Kampala and reportedly forced the party electoral commission to declare Mr Akena the winner of the district conference polls.

The team headed by Prof Patrick Rubaihayo, a senior party member, will hold talks with two rival factions threatening to split the party into two.

One faction is led by outgoing party president Olara Otunnu and the other by Mr Akena after last month’s elections.

Addressing journalists from the ninth floor of Uganda House where the commission of inquiry will operate from, Mr Otunnu said the developments in the party were “alarming.” 
“The task (of the commission) is to conduct independent findings on what happened, who did what and what are the constitutional implications of some of these developments,” he said yesterday.

Mr Otunnu, who was appearing in the building for the first time since the election standoff, added that the committee is charged with looking into allegations of massive vote buying and bribery and extensive substitution of voters in connection with the May 30 nomination exercise.

The committee is expected to deliver its findings by July 10, the date earlier slated for the delegates’ conference.

Committee members are Prof Patrick Rubaihayo, Prof Charles Kagenda Atwooki, Prof W.W Anokbonggo, Dr James Rwanyarare and Mr Peter Walubiri.

snakirigya@ug.nationmedia.com

 

The African Angola regime rules its people worse than the previous Spanish and Portuguese Regimes:
Publish Date: Aug 16, 2015

The Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais has been interviewed by Portuguese author and Oxford University associate professor Ricardo Soares de Oliveira (R).

 

This interview was on August 14, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 


JOHANNESBURG - From beating women to unleashing dogs on protesters, Angola's government runs the oil-rich nation with an apartheid-style iron fist, says maverick activist Rafael Marques de Morais.

"Some of the methods the Angolan regime uses are reminiscent of what the apartheid regime used here in South Africa against the majority of the people," Marques told AFP in an interview in Johannesburg.

"It's reminiscent of the old tactics the fascist Portuguese colonial regime used against the former colonial subjects," added the outspoken 43-year-old, who was a guest speaker at the South African launch of a new book on Angola.

Marques, Angola's most prominent human rights activist and journalist, was convicted earlier this year of defaming military generals in a book about violence in the country's diamond mining industry.

International rights groups say activists and journalists are increasingly being targeted by the regime of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979.

Fifty groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International wrote to the president in May decrying the charges against Marques, who was handed a six-month suspended jail term.

"This case reflects a broader deterioration in the environment for freedom of expression in Angola, including the increasing use of criminal defamation lawsuits against journalists and routine police abuse" of protesters, they wrote.

Last week, Marques said police violently suppressed a protest demanding the release of 15 opposition activists who were arrested in June and charged with planning to attack and oust Dos Santos.

The protesters, numbering around 50, were "mostly mothers and relatives of these political prisoners," said Marques, who was briefly detained at the event and had his camera confiscated by police.

"As these women were being beaten by the police, some fell, and the police would unleash the dogs on them."

The Oxford-educated activist said Dos Santos' regime had reached "a new low" in trying to suppress freedom of speech.

"Even within the regime, beating up mothers was inconceivable," he said, adding: "The ruling elite hates its own people."

Angola at 'crossroads

After emerging from a brutal 27-year civil war in 2002, Angola's huge oil supplies have fuelled a staggering ten-fold growth in the economy in the past decade.

But the recent slump in global oil prices has spelt disaster for the country, which faces elections in two years.

"In 2017, if the oil prices remain down, this regime will face the greatest challenge of its life in power, because the discontent will only grow," Marques said.

"And as the regime also seeks to repress more to maintain its grip on power, that, in the end, will backfire," he predicted.

Angola's huge oil revenues have failed to trickle down to most of its 24.3 million citizens -- half of whom live on less than $2 a day -- while turning a select few in the political elite into billionaires.

And Marques believes that the government's increasingly repressive approach is a response to Angola's changing economic fortunes.

"We are now at a crossroads whereby there is a serious economic crisis," he said.

"Now the government is trying to mitigate the economic crisis by increasing repression, because for many years what worked in Angola was a policy of carrot-and-stick ... but nowadays what government has been left with is the stick. So we are seeing an increase in political violence."

 


Macon Phillips

MACON PHILLIPS, the coordinator of the US State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs was recently in Uganda meeting the most influential social media users (netizens). Frank Kisakye interviewed Phillips as he concluded his African fact-finding tour.

Which countries have you been to on your African tour?

In the past two weeks, I have been to Senegal, Ghana and Uganda meeting with civil society organisations and in particular young leaders as part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative [YALI].

We have also been working with our embassies in those countries on assessing their needs in terms of how they engage people, and trying to modernise their technology [while] trying to identify areas where our team back in Washington DC can help them.

And also in Uganda, I had the opportunity to speak with members of the government, members of the civil society, and individual citizens who shared with me, but more importantly with each other, their concerns and ideas about Internet freedom.

What are some of your key findings?

The best part of being a diplomat is learning the puzzle piece that is each country in the world and that each one is unique and that each media environment is unique, that its history and culture is unique, each economy is unique. But there are some universally-shared values and interests with the United States.

One of those is a belief that young leaders need to be supported, need to be more entrepreneurial, need to take initiative in connecting with one another and that has been a consistent thread through my trip. Identifying those people in determining what support they need.

Another one is the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and expression - in this case online but really in any case and trying to determine the best way the United States can support that freedom.

What you mention there was your mission; what were the findings?

In Senegal, I was able to meet with organisations that are putting together the regional leadership centre and that is beginning [in] the next few weeks…We also have another regional leadership center that is part of the YALI in Accra; I visited there and that has already 100 young leaders that have gone through it.

And what I found there was that there is a huge appetite for support and training, not just on how to be a more practical leader but on policy issues like climate change, women’s empowerment and trade, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure that these young leaders are informed.

That feedback was very useful. I also met with the Mandela Washington Fellow alumni from last year’s program in Accra who gave me very specific feedback about how US can help fellows when they return to their home countries to get to work on their projects. So, that was very useful too.

Finally, we had a tech camp outside of Accra that focused on elections and civil society engagement where we brought 60 young leaders to a single site with tech trainers to discuss innovations the NGOs can play in promoting peaceful and fair elections because as you probably know, there is a number of elections coming across the region.

It was great to bring them together. One takeaway from all these discussions is that most of the time, the United States’ best contribution is simply connecting these young leaders to one another; so, our convening power is ability to bring people together is something we intend to continue to use. Did that answer your question? What were you hoping I would find?

Well, I expected to hear from you what the young leaders, youths feel about internet freedom, the environment they are operating in and what they expect from development partners. Also talk about the regulation of social media vis a vis the control, putting into perspective what happened to Uganda during the election period.

In my conversations with young leaders and in general, there is great concern about efforts that governments take to regulate and censor and block social media and the internet. And those are efforts that are not found just in Uganda, these efforts are happening around the world.

The United States shares that concern. And one finding from talking to these young people about all this is that they understand the solution is both government’s responsibility but also their own.

And I mean it this way, the government can block or unblock social media but what content is actually on that social media is a responsibility of not just the government but civil society.

So, to make social media viable, young leaders need to take initiative and those are some of the most exciting projects that we had with people who were doing voter education and campaigns, who were doing women’s health campaigns campaigns, those who were doing also some initiatives to educate people and to add content to the information space so that it becomes more valuable, and not just a place of disagreement and contest.

One of the examples of that we have helped is the YALI learners platform where people can go watch courses that are coming, check that: out it is quite interesting, but it’s a place where we are adding small topics about climate change, leadership lessons and people watch and talk about it in their communities.

In terms of regulating the internet, as I said earlier, the United States is deeply concerned about the recent events here in Uganda because we [value] the Ugandans’ right to free speech and assembly just like we value our own and everyone’s around the world.

When you’re thinking about internet content and regulation, I think it is important to understand where the United States approaches this because it is in our constitution. It explicitly says that we shall make no law concerning with freedom of speech.

So, what I mean is we don’t even accept the question of what appropriate way is to regulate content on the Internet. We say that is a category that shouldn’t be regulated. Now the Internet will reflect offline realities. There are laws to protect copyright, to fight terrorism, to do all sorts of things and those can still be applied online but we are talking about the medium itself.

This is something that shouldn’t be feared and shouldn’t be restricted; it should be embraced and grown not just in its size but in its depth and quality. That is something the government has a responsibility to do both in terms of its own participation and genuine engagement with the public as well as protection of independent media and independent civil society actors; because that is what made American democracy, I guess, doable and vibrant although [it] crept into violence sometimes.


Macon Phillips addressing Ugandan citizens

You earlier hinted on the different ways governments can involve citizens in building democracy based on social media, can you elaborate?

When I worked at the White House for President Obama for four years, managing the office of digital strategy, we thought about our responsibility in three main areas.

One was making sure that President Obama’s policies and administration were made available to people where they were getting that information, that weren’t still relying on traditional channels like television, newspapers even though those are still important; but we were also looking for new audiences, particularly younger audiences that sometimes don’t even watch television and are just online.

The second area was really working on content development to shift the burden of understanding public policy from the average citizen back to government. The government should be able to clearly communicate what it’s doing on behalf of the taxpayer or citizens. We spent a lot of time on videos, graphics and content.

The final piece was finding opportunities worthy for citizens to participate in their government and that had a wide range of things from identifying people to interview the president to interview other policymakers and ask questions that they had about certain policies, represent communities that were often not heard inside the White House as well as large-scale petitions platforms with other people where anyone could create a petition and if it gets a certain number of signatures, the White House will respond. That’s had 17 million users.

So, there is a wide span but the underlying theme is that the Obama administration takes public engagements seriously because of the president’s personal history as a community organiser and our recognition that in the 21st century you can’t just ignore conversations, they are opportunities for engagement; so, we seek them out.

Any particular government policies that you can pinpoint to that were effected due to social media conversations?

One that you might find interesting, it is not like a major policy issue…in the United States you don’t get unlocked phones. I see you guys running around popping Sim-cards in and out all the time; Americans don’t understand what it is because the telephone companies lock us in into our phones.

If I have an AT&T phone, I can’t use another Sim-card on it and that is an unfair corporate practice and so someone started a petition, petitioning the president to instruct the National Telecommunications Information Agency to seek a change in that policy. I bring up this example because it wasn’t a matter of war and peace, it wasn’t, you know, a matter of spending trillions of dollars on education, what it was was an issue that wasn’t even on the radar of the administration.

It wasn’t something we were talking about but because we did public engagement, because we offered these powers, citizens were able to organise, bring an issue to us, we reviewed it and it made sense.

Then congress took it up, addressed everybody, passed it and the president signed it into law. Now I can unlock my phone. So, public engagement doesn’t need to simply be on the huge existential issues of the day. It allows governments to be more responsive to requests, big and small, and ultimately do a better job for the people.

You said you were a social media activist before joining government; what would you advise the Uganda government given the deliberations and interactions that you have had on your tour?

That is a great question. I don’t want my advice to be specific to Uganda; frankly I  am still learning and speaking from my experience, this would be the advice I give to any government.

Avoid the dynamic of government and opposition, try to engage people on specific issue questions. Avoid zero-sum conversations of I am doing this, am not doing this. Try to use more words like how and why in terms of your communication.

In addition, be proactive, pro-actively inform the public of certain public policy issues that you are debating and create an opportunity for them to respond before the decision is made rather than just try to explain decisions - which you should do but people always want to be asked before something happens.

I think the final piece is, at a more pragmatic practical level, try to promote as managers in government and as people who are working with new technologies in government try to promote the free-flow of ideas and people between the private sector and government. Host fora to bring people into government buildings, have internships with people who have technical skills that can come in and contribute.

People wanna serve. Ugandans want to help the government just like Americans want to help their government. So, create opportunities for the private sector and non-private sector to contribute to government because [they] will also walk away with a better understanding about how government works. We are really good at building walls between government and the public and no democracy really benefits from that.

fkisakye@observer.ug