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.

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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

 


  The EC in Uganda is promising to declare a military coup in Uganda as the National General Elections get near:

Dr Badru Kiggundu

the EC.

 

By PAUL TAJUBA


Posted  Thursday, December 17   2015 


The Electoral Commission (EC) Chairman, Dr Badru Kiggundu has said he will, on request by the government, authorise the deployment of the military to counter presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye’s defiance campaign.

“If the military is called to come in, I will approve. Yes, the military is part of Uganda; they are your brothers…” Dr Kiggundu said on Thursday.

Shortly after nomination for his fourth presidential bid, Dr Besigye declared “a campaign of defiance and not compliance” that will enable citizens “take back their power” from a dictatorship.

On Monday, FDC Wasswa Birigwa at the party headquarters in Najjanakubi, a Kampala suburb said: “Our campaign is standing on four legs; defiance, liberation, restructuring of state institutions and social-economic transformation... In particular what we mean by defiance is we shall not accept to adhere to any directive that is unlawful or any law that deviates from the universal human rights,”

But Dr Kiggundu said yesterday at the Uganda Human Rights Commission public dialogue held in Kampala aimed at facilitating a peaceful and violence-free electoral process, that such messages are inciting violence and only preparing the masses for violence if Dr Besigye loses.

Dr Kiggundu further attacked Dr Besigye describing “him as bad example to his youthful followers” and urged his supporters to first ask him [Besigye] why they should be on the frontline yet his family is “enjoying burgers” in foreign countries.

“If I were a young person, I would ask [Dr Besigye] where your son is in this campaign. In most times, they are in New York, London and elsewhere enjoying cheese burgers…” Dr Kiggundu said.

Dr Besigye could not be reached for a comment as his known telephone was unavailable but Forum for Democratic Change spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said in reaction to the comments: “Should [Dr] Kiggundu participate in rigging or allow the NRM to rig or announce a loser [as winner] our response is there with or without the military,” Mr Nganda, told the Daily Monitor by telephone yesterday.

Adding, “Did Museveni go with his family to the bush? For him to think that a revolution must happen when Anselm Besigye [Besigye’s son] is here… I do not understand why he [Dr Kiggundu] went to school,”

In an interview at the sidelines of the dialogue, Chief Political Commissar of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) Col Felix Kulaigye, said the military will “support the Uganda Police Force when it is required” during the electoral process.

“Failure to protect and sustain peace in this country will be our [UPDF] failure and if people are announcing defiance, can we seat in our comfort barracks and watch?” Col Kulayigye asked.

Human rights lawyer, Nicolas Opiyo said by the EC boss calling in the intervention of the military, it is an indication that either the elections will not be free and fair or there will be violence thereafter.

“Mr Kiggundu seems to have no confidence in police and expects violence. He should instead make the election free and fair to avoid violence,” Mr Opiyo said, adding that attacks on candidates’ families are despicable.

Deputy attorney general, Mwesigwa Rukutana at the same event warned the media from inciting the public and urged all stakeholders to make the elections free, fair and peaceful.

ptajuba@

ug.nationmedia.

com


Ekibiina kyobufuzi ekya Kabaka Yekka, UPC y’ Obote Ekiwera:

Obote yekyusiza abaamutuusa!

 

 

Mu mwaka 1965, Omubaka we kibiina kya KY Daudi Ocheng, yayisa ekiteeso kunsonga yokukusa zaabu we Congo namasanga g’enjovu, okubitunda munsi zebweru.


Dr Obote, nga Prime Minister, ne Minister Nekyon muganda wa Obote ne Onama Minister wa Defence bebatekebwa ko olunnwe nga bwebenyigira mulukwe luno.

Era Ocheng yaleeta ekiteeso ekirala, Colonel Amin okugira ng’awummuzibwako weeks bbiri nga Gavumenti bw’ebuuliriza.


Gwo omukago gwebyobufuzi wakati we kibiina kyo bufuzi ekya KY ne kibiina kyo bufuzi ekya UPC gwafiira ddala mu September 1964. Era 1965 gugenda okutuuka nga bangi ababaka ba UPC mu National Assembly (Parliament) bateesa kulaba nga bawera ekibiina kya Kabaka Yekka. Baakiyita kya bakyewaggula abatagoberera mateeka era abaagala okutabulatabula eddembe mu Uganda.

Abantu bangi baali bakwatiddwa era nga bali mu nkomyo na ddala e Luzira.

Obote yatekawo akakiiko kabulirize ku bya zaabu n’amasanga era abantu bangi ko baawa obujulirwa mu kakiiko ako, ebyama bingi ku kufuna n’okutunda zaabu n’amasanga ne bibikkulwa.

Naye report y’akakiiko bwe yaggwa Obote teyagifulumya! Parliement ye, Cabinet ye nabawagizi bangi aba UPC nebamuggyamu obwesige.


Yali asigazza kwesiga b’amagye bokka. Okuyimiriza Col. Amin yakigaana nakuza Amin mukifo kya Brigadier Opoloto. Mukuteesa kwa Cabinet okwaddako Obote yagenda kukwatta ba Minister be batano nabasibira e Luzira Criminal Prison.


FRIDAY, 16 JANUARY 2015

Attorney General Peter Nyombi has scoffed at the Uganda Law Society, after the body threatened to boycott today's ceremonies to open the law year.


In a letter on Wednesday, ULS President Ruth Sebatindira urged lawyers to boycott the function in protest at President Museveni's failure to appoint a chief justice and deputy chief justice. But a defiant Nyombi told us on Wednesday that the function would go ahead with or without lawyers.


"Those who want to come will come; those who want to stay away, let them stay away but we shall go ahead with the function," Nyombi said.


Justice Steven Kavuma, who is acting both as chief justice and deputy chief justice, will preside at the ceremony at the High court in Kampala. The new law year is an annual meeting at which the judiciary states what it achieved the previous year and its targets in the new year. In the letter, Sebatindira decried the lack of substantive leadership in the judiciary.


"[It is my belief that we have to adopt a different approach as to how we support the judiciary on this matter."


At meeting in April 2014, Museveni told ULS that the positions would be filled once the constitutional petition challenging the reappointment of Benjamin Odoki as chief justice upon retirement was determined. Four months after that petition was disposed of, the president is yet to act.


Asked about the lack of a substantive chief justice, Nyombi said: "There is already an acting chief justice [Kavuma] who can perform all the functions."


However, Sebatindira says that the judiciary is being run ìunder scandalousî circumstances.


"We can no longer walk with our heads high to assure the citizenry that all is well in the judiciary because, all is not well," she said.


Nicholas Opiyo, a former ULS secretary general, told The Observer that like last year, he would not attend the function to be presided over by Kavuma.


"I respect Justice Kavuma as a judge but I cannot call him the deputy chief justice or the chief justice because it is illegal as the Constitutional court ruled," he said.


Kavuma told The Observer he was too busy to comment on Sebatindira's letter.


dkiyonga@

gmail.com


 The British Judge Allen


P J Allen and his judiciary at the time demonstrate the high quality of the judiciary at the time.
Judge Allen and Judge Manyindo presided over  the trials of most of the Amin era criminals. A majority of these criminals hired the best lawyers available in Uganda at the time, which invariably was Ayigihugu. Some like Abdallah Nasur were convicted but a good number were acquitted because of lack of direct evidence. Others like Edward Mulindwa even managed to lie low for a while before escaping to foreign lands.



 I hope your mate WBK does not judge those of us who participated in prosecuting these Amin era criminals as failures, in the same manner that he has judged the ICC prosecutors. Prosecutors are supposed to present the facts before the courts that can convince a court that an accused is quilty. In this, it has to work very closely with the Investigatory authorities, namely the police and law enforcement. In the case of the Amin criminals, the police did not give us enough information from their investigations that would allow a conviction to be  upheld.
It was particulalrly disappointing in the case of Bob Astles in whose case, the judge found he was always around the major killings we charged him with, especially the murders of Archbishop Luwum and Minister's Erinayo Oryema and Oboth-Ofumbi, but we could not connect him directly to the killings. With advance in DNA science these days and coupled with Edward Mulindwa's recent confessions about complicity in the murders, I think a good prosecutor would today nail Edward Mulindwa without doubt. What WBK does not understand, from your debates which I have followed,  is that the ICC prosecutors can only be good as the investigations put before it. The Satatute of the ICC puts a duty on Satte Authorities to cooperate with the ICC in investigating cases referred to it. if a state refuses, objects or even thwarts the invesigations, the direct result is that the Presecutors will not have serficient evidence to obtain a conviction. So Mensouda and her team have so far failed in their prosecution of Jomo Kenyatta, but this is because of the failure of GoK to cooperate in investigations. It is not because Mensouda and her team are bad lawyers as WBK keeps asserting. In fact the evidnce that they had gathered against Jomo Kenyatta was so compelling that any prosecutor would make a decision to prosecute. But faced with alkmost all key or material witnesses withdrawing or disappeared or intimidated, Mensouda had no choice but to withdraw the case.


The first important hurdle, that is the establishment of the International Criminal Court, has now been successfully overcome. States party to the Rome Treaty now have to decide ways and means by which they can strengthen the ICC's Investigatory capacity and authority, especially in cases where a suspect or accused  holds or is close to power. The UN Security Council has to give the Prosecutor extra-ordinary powers to investigatewith or without the cooperation of the State concerned. Th UN must also strengthen its Witness protection programme. Lastly, the Security Council must reserve to itself power to punish leaders, like Jomo Kenyatta and Omar Bashir who refuse to cooperate with the ICC investigations. This may mean imposing travel bans, arrest warrants and other other economic sanctions against them so that they the continue to swagger around like Jomo Kenyatta whn in fact they should be locked up in prison as dangerous criminals. 
Written by 
George Okello
 
Reviews by experts and politicians of the country’s eight-year experiment with multiparty politics have found cracks. Loud voices advocating a return to the no-party Movement system, are beginning to emerge.

Some political players claim the wrangling within the ruling NRM in the aftermath of the sacking of former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is not good for the growth of multiparty democracy.

“NRM belongs to people who are faceless; until you step on their toes,  that’s when you will get to know who are the real owners of that party,” opposition Chief Whip Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo Woman) said in a recent interview.

NRM has been accused of using its Parliamentary caucus to gag its members and subsequently killing free debate and parliamentary independence.

Kyankwazi retreat

During its 2013 retreat at Kyankwanzi, NRM MPs adopted a set of rules of procedure, criticized by political commentators as intended to gag the NRM MPs. The development followed a sharp disagreement between Parliament and Museveni over the mysterious death of former Butaleja MP Cerinah Nebanda in 2012.

“There have been initiatives by the opposition to keep the government in check but they could not go far because the NRM caucus sees them [initiatives] as adversarial manoeuvres,” said Hippo Twebaze, a political and policy analyst.

“If you take the Nebanda case and the oil debate in the first one and half years of the [current] Parliament, you would see some sort of legislative independence, but it has since gone down,” Twebaze adds.

In its rules of procedure, the NRM caucus adopted a three-line whipping system, which gives a strict instruction to members to attend parliament and vote in a particular way. Any MP who acts in breach of the rules is liable to punitive action, including expulsion from the party.

Four MPs; Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) were the first offenders.

“Some political party leaders want to control the thinking and the speaking of their members; this is worse with the ruling party,” said Niwagaba in an interview.

Although the quartet still hold their parliamentary seats, their expulsion scared many of their outspoken colleagues on the government side into shutting up.

“It is wrong for one to imagine that under a multi-party system, one shouldn’t hold their independent views,” Ssekikubo said.

“I don’t think that multipartyism is synonymous with gagging; under whatever political system in place, as long as I am an MP and not a member of the executive, I should be at liberty to voice the concerns of my people,” Ssekikubo added.

Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga used the 25th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seminar in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in May 2014, to vent her frustration at the ruling NRM government’s mode of operation. During the meeting, Kadaga claimed that debate in Parliament had been stifled because NRM MPs cannot freely speak without receiving instructions from the caucus.

Kadaga is NRM’s second national vice chairperson, and also a member of the ruling central executive committee, CEC, the second topmost decision- making organ of NRM. The caucus’ vice chairman David Bahati (Ndorwa West) said in an interview that despite the challenge of balancing NRM interests and individual interests of its members, the caucus encourages free speech.

“There is a lot of freedom for MPs to speak as long as what they say is in the interest of the country and in line with the party they represent,” Bahati said.

“They [MPs] can speak their mind constructively during the caucus meetings and rally their colleagues to support their positions which can eventually become the position of the party,” he added.

No-party

In a dissertation, Parliamentary Independence in Uganda and Kenya, 1962 – 2008, written for the State University of New York for his PhD in Political Science, John K. Johnson, notes that the absence of political parties in Uganda facilitated parliamentary independence during the sixth Parliament (1996 – 2001).

The independence was attributed to the absence of a government and opposition side in Parliament, which made it easier for MPs to support a position favourable to Parliament against the executive. According to Twebaze, the high degree of independence exhibited in the sixth Parliament was an eye-opener for President Museveni to start interfering with Parliament’s autonomy.

“The president’s interference shaped the performance of the next parliaments, some MPs were de-campaigned [in the 2001 elections] and in effect, the seventh Parliament did not confront the [executive],” said Twebaze.

“In its first year, the seventh Parliament tried but then conceded to the president on major issues like the removal of term limits from the Constitution,” Twebaze added.

With the restoration of multiparty politics in 2006 that saw the NRM winning more than a two-thirds majority both in the eighth and ninth Parliaments, Museveni’s influence over Parliament grew, resulting in a decline of its independence.

“The current government is president-driven, Parliament cannot act normally because Museveni is using the NRM caucus to entrench his interests, he has a lot of control over every activity of Parliament,” said Cecilia Ogwal.

Movement hangover

Joseph Balikuddembe Mutebi (Busiro South) relishes the days of the Movement system era when all MPs would freely contribute to debate in the House.

“Virtually, Parliament has lost its independence because caucusing has become the norm unlike the core function of Parliament elaborated in Article 79 of the Constitution,” Mutebi argued.

In their book, The Rise and Ebb of Uganda’s Parliament, Twebaze and Nelson Kasfir note that the absence of parties was an important factor in the success of Parliament. But the pace of legislative development “ebbed” once the country formally legalized multiparty politics and the boundaries between government and opposition were more firmly drawn.

An NRM MP who has been a lawmaker from the sixth Parliament, blames the loss of parliamentary independence on the MPs’ choice of patronage over their roles.

“It is forestalling the cardinal principle of Parliament, acting as a check and balance especially on the executive arm of government,” Niwagaba said.

“There is a tendency of those in leadership to fuse the executive with parliament and in a way whittle down the cardinal roles of MPs,” Niwagaba added.

But Stephen Tashobya, the chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, said much as the country embraced multiparty democracy, some MPs are still nursing a Movement hangover.

“Some want to talk on their individual merit, what you think is what you say, things have changed and this was a choice of Ugandans [that we adopt multi-party democracy], you can’t eat your cake and have it,” Tashobya said.

One-party system

Tashobya relates the workings of the NRM to Britain’s Conservative party that he says whips its members in more or less the same way as NRM does.

“You can’t run away from the party, because we are elected on the basis of party positions and platform; so, when we come to Parliament, we are supposed to actualize, to implement what the government promised the people,” Tashobya argued.


To enforce discipline among their members, other political parties also have an option of expulsion. UPC took the lead at the opening of the political space in 2005 when it expelled seven MPs: Ogwal, Omara Atubo (Otuke), Dr Okullo Epak (Oyam South), Dr Alex Okot (Moroto), Charles Angiro Gutomoi (Erute North), Tom Odur Anang (Kwania) and B’Leo Ojok (Kioga) who were opposed to the leadership of new president, Miria Kalule Obote.

FDC in 2010 expelled two of its MPs; Beti Kamya (Lubaga North) and Alex Onzima (Maracha). Kamya was punished for forming a rival political party (Uganda Federal Alliance) while Onzima’s charge was hobnobbing with NRM. Ogwal, now an FDC MP, argues that despite the expulsions, her party MPs are free to speak their mind.

Article 8(d) of the DP constitution also lists expulsion as a punitive measure against its members but like other opposition parties, DP is not keen on doggedly controlling what its members speak. DP Legal Advisor Fred Mukasa Mbidde said DP is keener on shielding its members from the long arm of NRM influence.

“[NRM] has silenced all the other [parties]…,” Mbidde said.

“Multiparty democracy has not been given a chance to operate in Uganda, what exists is a single party; a dictablanda or democradura [dictatorship] but not a democracy,” Mbidde argued.

Beside party controls, Twebaze argued, Parliament’s performance is also undermined by the financial status of the MPs as well as the quality of people elected to Parliament.

“The quality and experience of the MPs needs to be considered. Look at where they jumped from to join Parliament, it makes it hard for them to build coalitions to oppose, modify or give an alternative to government proposals,” Twebaze says.


sadabkk@

observer.ug

This article was produced with support from the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME)


 
UPC founder Milton Obote

The term movement legacy was first coined by professor emeritus, Goran Hyden in 2011, and by it I mean a pattern of political behavior that characterized anti-colonial nationalist movements in their struggles for independence.

Half a century since most countries gained independence, this form of behavior continues to shape ruling- and opposition party politics in Africa and Uganda, while frustrating the prospects for deepening democracy.


CAUSE-EFFECT

Nationalist movements in Uganda were spearheaded by three main sections: World War II veterans, a small not so well-educated elite class of clerical workers, and leaders of a nascent civil society.  These groups were united by a single but multi-faceted cause, namely to vanquish the colonial masters and take charge of the state apparatus.

Other than this mission, these groups remained committed to their particular identities. The issues were varied and subordinate to the cause. The anti-colonial movements adopted a simple but important strategy of popular mobilization for the cause. It was rare and in most cases illegal to campaign.

Most notably the movement against the British took place at the level of society because there were no representative bodies such as parliaments or legislative councils until much later in the struggle.  Membership to these movements was rather diffuse and fluid, but because there was a single movement, this was not detrimental to its dynamic and operation.

Typically anti-colonial movements reified the person of the leader, and were not built on competition. The latter was not necessary because of the consensus that was built around the anti-colonial struggle and the proclivity to lean toward personalities rather than structure and organization.  Finally, social movements seldom value or subject themselves to formal (legal) limits to resource claims.

Political parties (DP, UPC, etc) that emerged out of these movements and are yet to shed their movement skins or disavow movement political behavior.  First, a cursory look at post-independence Ugandan politics demonstrates how parties are driven by “a cause” rather than a systematic articulation of specific issues.

Among Uganda’s opposition parties today the cause is ‘remove Museveni’ or ‘reform the Electoral Commission’ or ‘de-couple the state from the NRM-O’. Rarely does a discourse on issues take precedence over the cause de jour.

This is partly a consequence of the absence of ideological orientation among the parties; and without ideology, it’s hard to project a coherent, well-reasoned set of issues that would drive a campaign and thus enable ascendancy into government.  But lack of ideology also raises another key issue inherited from the pre-colonial movements, namely the lack of specific party identity.

Affiliation to the parties is diffuse just as was the case with pre-colonial social movements. In Uganda’s early history, this characteristic was the underpinning to the frequent crossing of the floor of parliament by MPs.

Today, the phenomenon of so-called Independents in parliament is the closest to crossing the floor, given that the process of abandoning one’s party in midway through the terms is outside the law. Not unlike the opposition parties, the ruling NRM party seldom articulates issues in a systematic manner except in the run-up to elections, when roads or business parks are commissioned, banks rebranded, job centers set up, etc.

The cause for the movement party in this case has changed over time but lately it has become an entrenchment project; and the intensity of party loyalty and identity with the NRM is also subject to debate.


NO COMPETITION

Second, parties, both incumbent and in the opposition, typically mobilize, rather than campaign. It’s, indeed, hard to campaign effectively if issues are not the main elements undergirding the methods of political operation.

Related to this point is that mobilization, by definition, circumscribes competition, which explains why it is a dying breed in Uganda.  In their mobilization schemes, Africa’s political organizations, most notably incumbent parties aim at co-opting and/or marginalizing political contestants while eschewing competition.

President Museveni often disparages opposition parties and chides voters who don’t elect NRM flag bearers as having made mistakes. For him, the weaker the opposition the better; or better still he wishes they didn’t exist at all. Clearly the president places very little value in opposition parties as building blocks of a healthy, vibrant and deepening democracy.

The result is the emergence of a dominant (even hegemonic) movement party system in Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, etc.

Thirdly, Ugandan parties are extremely personalistic. Their organizations and structures are weak not unlike their social movement forebears. As a result, when Col Kizza Besigye stepped aside, the FDC suffered a heart attack with the left ventricle (or Mafabi wing) disconnecting from the right ventricle (or Mugisha Muntu/Alaso faction).

The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has not recovered from the demise of its founders especially Dr Milton Obote. It too is fragmented along several quite visible fault lines.  Can anyone think about/imagine the NRM without Yoweri Museveni? Or ZANU-PF without Mugabe or the Rwandan Patriotic Front without Kagame? What is particularly intriguing in making this observation is that leaders deliberately encourage these personality cult-like tendencies.

Fourthly, in their bid to fulfill the cause, social movements are not restrained by law especially as they lay claim to resources. This piece of the movement legacy is also undoubtedly clear in Uganda. Rule of law is not appreciated in principle but, rather, in instrumentalist terms, i.e. it’s respected only when it is convenient and expedient.

The implication of this is that rules and norms governing parties may be altered without reference to their significance; and constitutional engineering becomes common practice. Some laws may be passed without quorum while constitutions may be altered to, for example, remove presidential term limits. On the opposition side, we have recently seen DP president Mao appealing to the likes of Erias Lukwago and other factions to respect party structures and rules as they vie for leadership positions.

Finally, movements operate at the level of society as pointed out above. This characteristic is even more pronounced in Uganda and in Africa as a whole because culturally we operate at a very informal (rather than formal) level.

Unlike typical parties whose arena of operation is primarily parliament, movement focus and influence is mostly limited to the (civil) societal level. It is this variable that best explains the use of patronage as a mobilization tool.

Agents in society quickly take on the role of clients while those in power and with access to state resources become patrons. The resulting patron-clientelist networks inevitably breed corruption and erode the mechanisms of accountability and transparency.


CONCLUSION

To the extent that the ‘movement legacy’ is a historically determined, genetic flaw in the make-up of African parties, it stands to reason that for now it matters not which party takes power. Clearly there is a need for a mutation of sorts if party behavior is to change.

And change must begin with efforts towards institutionalization of political parties and of politics in general. In its present form, democracy on the continent precariously revolves around the holding of regular elections and clearly this is not enough. Competition must be encouraged, political spaces expanded and rule of law strengthened.

The emergence of issue-based politics, political transparency and accountability represent other milestones on the road toward a deeper democratic dispensation.


The author is a professor of Political Science at Roanoke College, Virginia, USA.


The new Chief Judge of the NRM Judiciary Mr Katureebe has asked for a list of corrupt judges that grace the Resistance Movement judiciary institution:

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

PHOTO BY Michael Kakumirizi

By  ANTHONY WESAKA


Posted  Saturday, May 2  2015
KAMPALA, UGANDA
 
Following prevalent outcry over rampant corruption among judges and magistrates, the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe has launched an anti-corruption crackdown to restore public confidence in Judiciary.

Justice Katureebe has also written to retired Supreme Court judge George Kanyeihamba and senior lawyer Peter Mulira to forward to him names of corrupt judges and other judicial officers they have been referring to during public functions.

The campaign to crack down on corruption in the Judiciary was launched on Thursday, according to a press statement from the Judiciary public relations office. The statement quotes Justice Katureebe warning that no judicial official or support staff will be spared of investigations once they are implicated.

The Chief Justice wrote to Justice Kanyeihamba, Mr Peter Mulira and Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi, asking them to name the corrupt judicial officers they have been talking about.

“We need to move and tackle issues of alleged corruption in the Judiciary…furnish me with the evidence in your possession so that the necessary course of action is taken in accordance with the law and the constitution,” Justice Katureebe wrote to the three individuals.

“All responsible citizens of our country should not only speak out about the perceived malpractice in the Judiciary, but should come out and help in finding a solution to the problem. Let us work together to improve and strengthen the administration of justice in our country,” Justice Katureebe added.

The press statement signed by senior communications officer Solomon Muyita said the Judiciary has prepared a series of public engagements with civic leaders and the public to partly keep open lines of communication and to explain the functions of the Judiciary and the courts at the different levels.

The statement said a number of reforms will be made to clean up the Judiciary. The reforms include assigning a Supreme Court judge to head the Inspectorate of Courts, a section of Judiciary that inspects courts and deals with corruption issues, which is currently headed by a deputy registrar of the High Court.

The statement further said the Judiciary has started a process of setting up a customer care telephone numbers and feedback hotlines for the public to make general inquiries and also report errant court staff who demand bribes from the litigants.

Justice Katureebe said once a prima facie (credible) case has been established against a judicial officer, his/her name will be forwarded to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for disciplinary action and the evidence and decisions will be shared with the public.

He, however, cautioned the public not to equate wrong court decisions, which can be appealed, to corruption.

During a public function last week, the Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine, urged the Chief Justice to approach Justice Kanyeihamba and Mr Mulira to give him names of the judicial officers they had claiming are corrupt so that they can be dealt with accordingly.

Justice Bamwine explained that by naming the corrupt judicial officers, it will save the judicial staff from the collective sin of the “Adam and Eve” style.

“I hope I speak for a number of my colleagues on this point, Lord Chief Justice when I propose that you get better particulars from lawyers like Mulira and Prof Kanyeihamba and take appropriate action through the JSC and the President so that the sheep are separated from the goats in order to protect the integrity of those doing an excellent job. All judicial staff should not suffer collective sin like the descendants of Adam and Eve,” Justice Bamwine told the Chief Justice.

Addressing lawyers in Entebbe two weeks ago, Justice Kanyeihamba said he knew at least half a dozen of Ugandan judges who receive ‘enkoko’ (a reference for bribes) and castigated the Uganda Law Society for not taking action about them. However, he did not name the corrupt judges.

On Thursday, Prof Kanyeihamba said he was “very ready” to name the corrupt judges he had been referring to if the Chief Justice contacted him.

The Judiciary has been ranked one of the most corrupt government institutions in various corruption surveillance surveys.

awesaka@ug.

nationmedia.

com


EC warns against personal attacks

Electoral Commission chairman Badru Kiggundu (L) speaks at the National Consultative Forum in Arua District.

PHOTO

BY FELIX WAROM OKELLO

 
By
FELIX WAROM OKELLO


Posted  Monday, May 25  2015 

Arua. The chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) has warned all those seeking office in the 2016 general elections to desist from the politics of character assassination.

Mr Badru Kiggundu asked the politicians to pursue issue-based campaigns that promote democracy.

“I have always said we are still young in democracy because there is still character assassination versus issue- based campaigns. Talk about issues. What has character got to do with campaigns? God created people in different ways. Let us chase issues not personalities,” Mr Kiggundu said.

He was speaking at the National Consultative Forum meeting held in Arua Town on Thursday. Mr Kiggundu said the concept of multiparty politics is not yet well understood and appreciated by citizens as well as leaders. He, however, painted a rosy picture for the future.

“There is no country that has had perfect elections but we aim to get there someday. As human beings, we make some mistakes. Even countries such as the United States of America that have practiced democracy for long still make mistakes during elections,” he said.

West Nile sub-region has in the past elections seen candidates contesting for political office at various levels use strategies such as nick-naming, mudslinging and composing songs with messages that cast their opponents in bad taste.

However, Mr Kiggundu appealed to politicians to be tolerant of one another irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation during campaigns.

The former presidential candidate, Dr Abed Bwanika, said there was a need for national dialogue involving all political parties as a way of championing the growth of democracy.

Mr Titia Kamure, the UPC national vice chairperson, said there is a need for electoral reforms ahead of the next general election in 2016.

Background

Since independence, Uganda has had few elections. These include; the Legislative Council of 1958, the referendum of 1961, and general elections in 1980, 1996, 2006 and 2011.

editorial@ug.

nationmedia.

com

Nb


This gentleman

(Politician) running Political Movement Democratic Elections in the young country of Uganda is indeed God sent! 

The government of Uganda is to put up more tax on modern users of social media communication:

A WhatsApp user in Kampala. President

 

A WhatsApp user in Kampala. President Museveni has proposed taxes on users of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI  

1st April, 2018
By Yasiin Mugerwa & Tom Malaba

Faced with an increasingly critical citizenry, the government has slapped new taxes on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber to stop what the President has called lugambo (gossip).
The President also targets commercial buildings to boost government revenue from the Shs50b the taxman collects from landlords annually.

The President criticised the ‘concealment’ of taxes in housing sector as ‘scandalous’ and asked Mr Kasaija and his team at Finance ministry to get serious.

The new tax proposals castigated by social media users, including human rights defenders and Opposition leaders as “diversionary, deceptive, injurious to individual freedoms and burdensome” have been confirmed by Mr Kasaija, the Secretary to Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, and State House officials.

The proposed tax measures that seek to help Mr Museveni’s government raise between Shs400 billion and Shs1.4 trillion from social media users annually, were ordered by the President in a March 12 letter to Finance minister Matia Kasaija.

“I am not going to propose a tax on internet use for educational, research or reference purposes... these must remain free. However, olugambo on social media (opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly chats) and advertisements by Google and I do not know who else must pay tax because we need resources to cope with the consequences of their lugambo,” Mr Museveni wrote.

Plan
The President, however, did not explain how lugambo has affected resource mobilisation.
And on the issue of the so-called “over-the-top” platforms (OTTs) such as WhatsApp, Skype Viber, Twitter, etc, Mr Museveni wrote: “If we were to introduce a small fee of Uganda Shs100 per day from sim-cards that are used by these OTTs, that would generate about Shs400 billion additional revenue.”

He further explained that this estimate is on the basis of the minutes used by Ugandans over OTT and that this does not include undeclared calls and data by the telephone companies.

“These could be in the magnitude of $400m per year. This is all to do with airtime excise duty and tax on voice over OTT and phones (mobiles and fixed),” he added.

Mr Kasaija, who the President scolded for “lack of seriousness” in identifying tax sources and collecting more taxes for the country, also confirmed the disputed taxes measures.

Mr Kasaija however, explained that the directives in the President’s letter are “a Cabinet directive” and that the details will be contained in the new tax bills to Parliament.
In trying to widen the tax base in the 2018/19 budget, Mr Museveni has proposed new taxes on telephones data transmission and the housing sector which he says generates rented incomes but are not adequately taxed. The details will be contained in the new tax bills.

Delving into the details of the new tax proposals, the President added: “The big losses on telephones are in three areas: not collecting excise duty on airtime and only collecting VAT, missing many calls because you depend on false declarations by telephone companies and not taxing voice conversations and other non-educational communications over the internet (via social media, whatsApp, face book etc). Why not put excise duty on (internet) air time?”

Telecom companies have reacted with consternation, rejected the tax proposals as uncalled for and grumble about “double taxation”, a taxation principle that refers to income taxes paid twice on the same source of earned income.

The MTN general manager of corporate service, Mr Anthony Katamba, denied claims that telecom companies falsify declarations.
He told Sunday Monitor that imposing excise duty on social media is taxing content.

“The data you buy gives you internet. So taxing social media is a taxing content,” Mr Katamba said, adding that if government goes ahead to implement the proposed tax, “it would be unprecedented.”

On taxation, Mr Katamba said: “URA assess us for tax based on the minutes used, you cannot hide that. If you chose to under declare, how do you gain by hiding the minutes? It’s not possible because MTN has to bill another entity for the minutes.”
Citing calls from Britain where MTN has to bill the British Telecom, Mr Katamba asked, “If I under declare, then how will MTN get its money from British Telecom.”

However, a senior official from Uganda Telecom, who requested not to be named because he or she is not authorised to speak to journalists, backed the President ideas and accused URA and Ministry of Finance officials of sleeping on the job when most Uganda are busy making free calls off social media platforms such as Viber, Facebook and WhatsApp etc.

According to this official, URA has allowed telecom companies to take home a wider profit margin, denying government the billions of shillings needed to finance the budget.

Taxes on Telecom companies
In asking URA to widen its tax base, UTL sources indicated that URA charges excise duty and VAT on voice calls yet the trend has changed, people are using airtime more for data than voice calls.
Data from URA show that telecoms pay 18 per cent VAT and 12 per cent excise duty on airtime for voice calls but only VAT on data yet mobile phone subscribers use more of data than voice.

The telecoms also pay corporate tax which is determined from the net earnings and 2 per cent on gross earning to the regulator- the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). However, both VAT and excise duty are passed on to the consumers.

In lecturing government economists at Finance ministry on the principles of taxation, the President Museveni, who is a student of economics and political science, invoked the equivalence of a shirt manufacturing plant to justify the need to tax airtime for internet access and widen the tax base, something his critics say has eluded his government for 32 years.

“When you manufacture a shirt you pay excise duty at the factory level. When the shirt is, eventually, sold, it also pays VAT, paid by the consumer. Whether the shirt is bought or not, it will have paid the excise duty. Are your officials aware of these principles of taxation?” he asked Mr Kasaija again.

Mr Muhakanizi told Sunday Monitor that Mr Kasaija will table the new tax measures contained in Parliament on Tuesday even as some lawmakers such as Mr Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) vowed to block what they ridiculed as “WhatsApp tax”.

 

Complaint
Some MPs, economists and independent experts in the ICT sector have accused the President of ‘deepening the tax base’ as opposed to widening it, a move they say would balance the books on the backs of the poor.

Mr Venansius Baryamureeba, the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University and a former dean of Makerere University Faculty of Computing and IT, asked the President to drop the proposed tax measures in public interest, and instead cut taxes on smartphones and make internet affordable to ease access to information.

Mr Julius Mukunda, the executive director of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) explained: “From the point of view of pro-poor and progressive taxation, If you charge Shs100 per day then everybody will pay but when you charge say 1 per cent, it will be proportionally a way of expanding the tax base because it will only be paid by the rich.”

He added: “We can have the tax but how will it be collected, we rely on telecom companies to collect tax. So we need to put in place an infrastructure to help government to collect this tax. Currently nobody knows how much money we collect from telecom companies.”

 

MPs call for focus on fighting corruption

In choosing new taxes against increased borrowing, the Finance minister, according to sources, will tell Parliament next week how Cabinet took the decision to widen the tax base in order to finance government projects because further borrowing from the domestic market will lead to un-sustainability of our debt and may destabilise our macro-economy.

Instead of taxing Facebook and WhatsApp, some of the MPs on the ICT and the Budget Committees of Parliament asked the President and Mr Kasaija to focus on the fight against corruption and other forms of financial indiscipline in government in order to save the funds needed for service delivery.

The MPs have cited a 2016 survey by the procurement authority that revealed the raging plunder of public resources through inflated procurement deals and ranks key spenders such as Education and Defence ministries among the worst thieving government agencies.

The “performance results and corruption perceptions in public procurement” survey carried out by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) blames corruption in procurement on “political meddling in the procurement processes”, impunity and a decadent culture that adores wealth accumulation. In 2005, the World Bank estimated that Uganda loses more than $300 million through corruption and procurement malpractices every year.


Response to proposed tax

Keith Muhakanizi, Secretary to Treasury: “Taxing airtime needed a law and we have put that into a proposal that will go to Parliament on Tuesday. If Parliament allows the taxation of social platforms then the law will come into effect starting July this year.”

Amos Lugolobi, chairperson of Budget Committee of Parliament: “The proposal to tax social media is a wise move if government is to sustain its revenue collection. The world is changing from analogue to digital, including the media, there are people accessing the Daily Monitor on social media. So Government also needs to follow this shift if it’s to realise revenue. Government needs to balance between collecting revenue and access to information and keep the rate low. The best way to widen the tax base would be to increase the manufacturing sector which is very low compared to GDP ratio. With that there would be many manufacturers who consume electricity and water and pay other forms of taxes that would increase the tax base. URA lacks the capacity to reach all taxable areas up-country that a man who sales his 100 cows cannot be reached to collect tax that needs to be addressed by having regional offices.”

Anthony Katamba, MTN general manager of corporate services:
“Imposing excise duty on social media is taxing content. The data you buy gives you internet. Taxing social media is a tax on content. If the government goes ahead to implement the tax, it would be unprecedented. Saying that we under declare our calls is not true. URA assesses us for tax based on the minutes used. You cannot hide that. If you chose to under declare, again, how do you do it? It’s not possible because MTN has to bill another entity for those minutes. For calls from Britain, for instance, MTN has to bill a British telecom. So if we under declare then how will MTN get its money from British Telecom?”

Livingstone Ssewanyana, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) executive director: “Widening the tax base is not bad but government needs to be mindful of access to information. What the President is proposing, taxing people spreading lugambo, is an attempt to undermine individual freedoms. The tax will not only hurt those who criticise government, but even innocent people. That tax aims to exploit local people. It’s diversionary, deceptive and burdensome to the people. People are already paying VAT, PAYE, Property Tax and are complaining. So it’s not reasonable to continue to overburden the tax payer with a tax on social media. Government collects a lot of money already, what it needs to deal with is corruption.”

Dr Ezra Suruma, Makerere University chancellor (former Finance minister): “Taxation is a complex subject. I need to know the intention of the new proposals and how the tax on data would be implemented to be able to comment with authority. But we pay tax when buying phones and airtime and taxing data would be an extension of tax on communication.”

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

 

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, the NRM controlled Parliament is again faced with a small financial problem against the Minister of Finance:

The embattled Finance Minister, Mr Matia Kasaija and his NRM financial cadre Mr Keith Muhakanize

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

3rd February, 2018

 

 

President Museveni and Cabinet ministers on Wednesday rejected a request from the Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, to shield him from an impending censure motion in Parliament.
Mr Kasaija and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi were named in the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (Pac) report on abuse of millions of dollars the government received from an African bank to procure medicines and fund foreign exchange expenditure requirements of government, as and when they arise.
Sources told Saturday Monitor that when Kasaija requested the President to come to his recue before it is too late, the ministers, including his colleagues from the Finance docket, except for deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana opposed his request and instead asked him to account for the $200m (about Shs723b at the current dollar rate).
When contacted on Thursday, Mr Kasaija said: “I was not grilled in Cabinet over that matter…. I am the one who raised it to tell my colleagues that my name has come up in the (Pac) report. Was I grilled? Not at all and your sources, if known, need to be punished for leaking Cabinet secrets. But, either way some people are being malicious to me…”

The loan
The loan in question was sourced from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) against the technical advice of the Bank of Uganda Governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile.
Saturday Monitor investigations have also revealed that this same loan was rejected by the 9th Parliament on account that it was unnecessary to borrow millions of dollars to stabilise the economy when there are other “sustainable” ways of fixing the economy.
Mr Kasaija and his team, however, went back and returned with another justification for the loan. This time they talked of a crisis in the country on account of a shortage of medicines. It was on this basis that Parliament approved the disputed loan.
However, the principal beneficiary of the loan, National Medical Stores (NMS), did not receive the money and in trying to account for the $200m, Finance ministry officials reverted to the original justification- the need for stabilisation of the exchange rate.
By the time this newspaper broke the story in May 2017, out of $200m in question, PTA Bank had released $72.1m, of which $42.7m was meant for the purchase of medicines under NMS; $26.4m for settlement of contractors’ invoices under the rural electrification programme, and transport sector and $2.8m for the importation of earth moving equipment from Japan.
Although it was the missing medicines cash that exposed the loan scandal, some of the MPs who investigated the matter, told Saturday Monitor that they found no evidence that other intended beneficiaries (transport and power sectors) received their share. It was Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who asked Pac to probe the missing funds from PTA Bank.
Attempts by Mr Kasaija to divert accountability questions to junior minister David Bahati and the technical team at Treasury, however, fell on deaf ears after Security minister Gen Henry Tumukunde told him that blaming technical people would not be wise. Other ministers kept asking one question: “Where is the money?” and Mr Kasaija kept giving one answer: “The money was put in the Consolidated Fund.”
According to sources, one of the ministers accused Mr Kasaija, in front of the President, of telling lies. The minister told the President that the Bank of Uganda governor opposed the loan request and even wrote to the Finance ministry officials to reconsider, but they ignored him.
Cabinet heard that Mr Kasaija wrote to the Speaker claiming that he had not given NMS money for medicines because they had not provided the accountability, yet part of the documents ministry of Finance officials used to secure the loan in question, were from NMS.
Mr Gerald Karuhanga, the vice Pac chairman, who investigated this matter and drafted the report to Parliament, yesterday accused Mr Kasaija and Muhakanizi of telling lies and hailed the Cabinet decision as a step in the right direction in the fight against corruption.
“We are not after individuals. We just want people to account for public funds and stop the abuse of borrowed funds,” Mr Karuhanga said. “In our report we have recommended censure of Mr Kasaija and removal of Mr Muhakanizi because of their misdeeds in the handling of public funds… the two principals were in cahoots and had a plan to misuse public funds.”
Mr Muhakanizi could not be reached for a comment for this story. He did not take our repeated phone calls and also did not respond to a text message about the subject. But when he appeared before Pac on June 4, 2017 over the matter, Mr Muhakanizi denied wrongdoing and described the inquiry as “misdirected”.
He instead advised the MPs to task the Inspector General of Government or the Auditor General to conduct an investigations.
“What is the whole probe about? Everything was done properly and I will prove that; the documents are available,” Mr Muhakanizi said at the time.He said the money was pooled into the Consolidated Fund and spent on approved expenditures.
Mr Karuhanga and other Pac members, however, rejected Mr Muhakanizi’s explanation and insisted that they were not given satisfactory accountability documents to prove that indeed the money reached the beneficiaries. The MPs insist that the money in question was approved by Parliament for particular purposes.

Kasaija’s request rejected
In what some ministers have called a slap in the face, Mr Museveni rejected Mr Kasaija’s pleadings and directed the Office of the Auditor General to audit the expenditures from the Consolidated Fund. Mr Kasaija, according to sources, begged for the understanding of his colleagues but they insisted that he should carry his own cross.
Responding to the accusations, Mr Kasaija said: “I am ready to defend myself when the report comes up for debate in the plenary because the money was all spent and nothing was lost. Those MPs who are thinking I should be censured are either not informed or have ill intentions. I plead not guilty on that allegation because we accounted for everything.”
Although PTA Bank in November 2016 provided narrations and indicated that the money was for the purchase of medicines, equipment and accessories, Mr Kasaija, on April 27, 2017 asked NMS general manager Moses Kamabare to procure medicines and supplies on credit and promised that the funding gap of more than Shs40b “will take the first call on the 2017/18 budget”.