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Opinion| Museveni Inauguration | Amateur theatrics; An insult to Africa By Rosa Whitaker

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 05/20/2016 - 15:39

Last week, I watched with dismay as two American diplomats walked out on the inaugural address of a respected African leader who continues to make a major contribution to our shared objectives in the region and who has been a steadfast ally in the battle against global jihadism. Other African leaders attending the ceremony were visibly angered. To see two decades of goodwill built up under Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush so carelessly forfeited was deeply saddening. Having worked for years in both administrations and the Congress to build a strong American partnership with Africa this unprecedented walk-out was personal.

The behavior of our officials reeked of arrogance. It served no US interest and advanced no conceivable strategic goal. America pays for such gratuitous grandstanding with loss of influence in Africa and in multilateral institutions where we need African support.

The target of our diplomats’ abuse was Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. He was being sworn in following his reelection. Although his defeated rivals have challenged the result, his share of the vote as officially tallied — 61 per cent — was entirely in line with what independent polls indicated. This was not a stolen election.
The chairman of the African Union and 14 other African heads of state were present at the swearing-in. Representing the US were deputy assistant secretary of state, Bruce Wharton, and our recently installed ambassador to Kampala, Deborah Malac. Their theatrics, leaders told me, were an insult not just to President Museveni but to all of Africa. The Russian and Chinese delegations were gleeful.

Wharton and Malac gave two reasons for their walk-out: the presence of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and President Museveni’s reference to the International Criminal Court as “a bunch of useless people”. Why did the US follow the EU in this embarrassing walk-out? We followed the EU into Libya, the result — an expanded ISIL.

America’s attitude to the Court is hypocritical. We refused to sign the treaty that established it out of a legitimate concern it would be used against our own people. When I was in government, I had explicit instructions to lobby African countries not to sign. Since when did homage to this Court, whose jurisdiction we reject, become American policy?

In the case of Bashir, we should remember lessons learned in Iraq, Syria and Libya, ousting incumbent leaders, however unlovely, doesn’t inevitably mean change for the better. The unintended consequences have been dire.

Ugandans largely voted for peace and stability, which their government under Museveni has delivered. Predictably, the State Department was peeved by the home arrest of the opposition’s flagbearer. However, his verbal threats to overthrow an elected government through violence would also not be tolerated in the US or any country. A joke about arms at US airports warrants arrest as does a false claim of fire in a movie theater.

What makes the churlishness of our diplomats especially disgraceful is the contempt it shows for the support President Museveni is giving us — and the rest of the international community — to see that Somalia does not become another province of ISIL. Ugandan troops are fighting and dying to stop our enemies from achieving yet another haven from which to attack us.

As saddened as I am by the poor judgement exhibited by the two diplomats, I take comfort knowing that wisdom still prevails elsewhere in Washington, not least on Capitol Hill where the leadership on African issues is particularly strong at the moment on a bipartisan basis. There is not space to mention everyone, but on the House side, I would single out International Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce and Congressmembers Charlie Rangel and Karen Bass; in the other chamber, Senators Chris Koons, Johnny Isakson and Jeff Flake.

America needs internationalists like these who know how to disagree respectfully and secure change through engagement and persuasive argument, as opposed to amateur theatrics.

Rosa Whitaker served as Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa in the Administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was also a career diplomat with the State Department.

Source — The Hill, Congress Blog

Deputy Speaker’s Race  | Nsereko warns Museveni on interfering with parliament

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 06:11

The Observer Report — Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko has advised President Museveni not to interfere in the management of issues in parliament.

Speaking to NBS television on Monday, Nsereko urged Museveni to respect the principle of separation of powers, and leave issues of parliament to MPs.

“Do as you say, don’t interfere into the management of issues in the Parliament of Uganda. Believe yourself first in the principle of separation of powers. You cannot dictate a deputy speaker to the Parliament of Uganda,” Nsereko said.

Nsereko says he is determined to replace Omoro MP Jacob Oulanyah as deputy speaker.  This has reportedly angered Museveni who had earlier persuaded both the NRM Central Executive Committee and party MPs to retain Oulanyah as deputy to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.

But MP Nsereko wondered why a president who detests foreigners interfering in Ugandan affairs would wants to dictate what should be done in parliament.

“You want independence but the same independence you cannot give to the legislative arm. You don’t want others to interfere in your rights; so, why do you interfere in the rights of others?” Nsereko said on NBS.

Last week, after swearing-in for his fifth term, Museveni railed against Western donor nations for what he sees as meddling in Uganda’s affairs. The president also attacked the International Criminal Court (ICC) which he described as “a bunch of useless people.”

In protest, Western diplomats walked out on the president.

“The most important thing is tolerance; whereas you can share your views and even say them in the most disrespectful way, other people can tolerate you, but for those who even respectfully disagree with you, you may not be able to tolerate,” the MP said of Museveni.

Reports indicate that Muhammad Nsereko was kicked out of a State House meeting on Museveni’s orders, after he refused to step aside for Omoro MP Jacob Oulanyah for the post of deputy speaker. Nsereko maintains that no one has influence over him and he will contest against Oulanyah.

“I’m perfectly independent from anyone. Whereas I’m dependant on their support, my views are independent of anyone’s opinions,” he said.

He denied reports that he was endorsed by Speaker Kadaga.

“She [Kadaga] has never called me to say that, but if she supports me, that is a plus; she’s a voter.”

Source — The Weekly Observer Report and NBS news video.

New Movie | Queen of Katwe in theaters September 23rd – Based on a True Story

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 05:35

Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax) based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (The Darjeeling Limited) and John Carls (Where the Wild Things Are) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

Lupita Nyong’o looks on as Phiona Mutesi the star of the new movie – The Queen of Katwe makes her point.

For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated.

Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she’s inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed.

As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family. Disney’s Queen of Katwe will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.

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BBC World News | Uganda’s President Museveni Speaks Out after Election Results – Interview aired Feb 22nd 2016

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 06:03
BBC’s Zuhura Yunus speaks to Mr Museveni soon after winning the 2016 General Elections on matters regarding the House arrest of Dr. Kizza Besigye, European Union Observer’s reaction to the polls and much more.

This interview was published on Feb 22, 2016.

Source — BBC World News archives.

The Sunday Monitor | Besigye Charged In Moroto | When does one commit treason?

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 04:59

Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye was charged last friday with treason and remanded to Moroto Government prison. Dr. Besigye was charged at about 6.30pm in Moroto Chief Magistrates Court. He was remanded until 25th May when he will re-appear in court for further mention of the case.

 But what is this charge all about?

What law says about treason
Section 23 of the Penal Code Act (PCA) states that a person commits treason when he/she levies war against Uganda; unlawfully causes or attempts to cause the death of the President or maim or disfigure him/her or aims at the person of the President any gun or offensive weapon whether it contains any explosive or destructive substance or not; (c) contrives any plot or act and expresses or declares such plot, act by any utterance or by any overt act in order, by force of arms, to overturn the government….The same Act provides that once convicted of treason, one is liable to suffer death by hanging.

Particulars of Besigye’s treason charge
The charge could have stemmed from a mysterious video clip on Wednesday which went viral on social media showing Dr Besigye being sworn in as the president of Uganda at an unknown location.  In 2005, ahead of 2006 elections, the former FDC leader and 22 others were also arrested for treason and tried in the court martial. Dr Besigye petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging his trial in the court martial saying he was not subject to military law having retired from the army. The Constitutional Court quashed his trial before the military court and later acquitted him.

What State needs to prove treason against Besigye
Human rights lawyer Laudislaus Rwakafuuzi says proving a charge of treason, the prosecution must present evidence that Dr Besigye was waging war against government or that he aimed a gun or any deadly weapon against the President or staged a coup. Mr Rwakafuuzi believes that Dr Besigye was just demonstrating against the government which demonstration is provided for in the constitution.
He also said the defiance campaign message that Dr Besigye was promoting does not amount to treason.

Past treason suspects under NRM government

2009: Mr Patrick Otim, a journalist with Mega FM in Gulu, was charged with treason. He was jointly charged with Alex Okot Langwen, Patrick Komakech, Patrick Okello, Jimmy Oceng Opoka alias Billy, and Alfred Lubel Olanya.  Others were; Lt. Phillip Okello, Michael Obol, Sgt.Deovelente Menya, Francis Akena, John Otim, and Frank Abonga Menya, Francis Akena and Frank Abonga. They were acquitted by court.

2007: Ismail Kajubi, Muzamiru Bogere, aka Philip, Fred Baguma, aka Mudathir, and Abdulsalam Sekayanja were accused of belonging to ADF rebel group. They were later released.

2013: Former Bubulo West MP, Tony Nsubuga Kipoi and Sgt Albino Okeng, Lance Cpl Rogers Mwelu, Clp Yusuf Kiisa, Sgt Yunus Lameringa, Pte Saidi Ijosingo Dodola, Lance Cpl Cassim Adam Mawa and Cpl James Samali were charged. Trial is still pending.

2011: FDC officials Ingrid Turinawe (then head of women’s league), Sam Mugumya, (political aide to Besigye and Francis Mwijukye, head of FDC youth wing. They were arrested for participating in the Walk to Work protests. Status of the trial not known.

See below Besigye’s mock swearing in video —

Source — The Sunday Monitor and NTV news video

NTV video | Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni Took His Sixth Oath As President In Ceremony Attended By 14 Heads of State

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 06:23

President Yoweri Museveni has embarked on a five-year journey at the end of which he would have been Uganda’s leader for 35 years. The President Museveni who took his sixth oath of office at the Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala, vowed that Uganda will remain peaceful since his government will ensure that no one destabilizes the country .

Museveni, 71, won February’s election though the result has been challenged by opposition leaders, one of whom has been held under house arrest for most of the weeks since.

“I, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni swear in the name of the Almighty God that I shall faithfully exercise the functions of the President of the Republic of Uganda,” Museveni said to cheers from the large bussed-in crowd gathered at a parade ground-cum-airstrip on a Kampala hillside.

He added he would, “uphold, preserve, protect and defend the constitution, and observe the laws of Uganda, and I shall promote the welfare of the people of Uganda, so help me God.”

Wearing his trademark khaki bush hat with chin strap and a dark business suit, Museveni spoke into a clutch of microphones with canary yellow muffs the colour of his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

More than a dozen heads of state, including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, attended the swearing-in ceremony, the fifth since Museveni took power in 1986 at the head of a rebel army.

NTV News video and Daily Nation News Report.

BBC News Report | Western envoys in Uganda walk out of Museveni swearing-in

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 05:34

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, center, arrives for the inauguration ceremony of President Museveni May 12th 2016

US, European and Canadian diplomats left abruptly when Mr Museveni made disparaging comments about the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The US state department said they had also objected to the presence of Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir at the ceremony.  Mr Bashir is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide.

Thursday’s inauguration – the fifth since Mr Museveni took power in 1986 – was attended by leaders from Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

In his address, Mr Museveni described the ICC as “a bunch of useless people” and said he no longer supported it.

State department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said: “In response to President Bashir’s presence and President Museveni’s remarks, the US delegation, along with representatives of the EU countries and Canada, departed the inauguration ceremonies to demonstrate our objections.”

“We believe that walking out in protest is an appropriate reaction to a head of state mocking efforts to ensure accountability for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Ms Trudeau said that was especially the case as Uganda was committed to accountability as a party to the Rome statute, which established the ICC.

The Hague-based court has issued international warrants in 2009 and 2010 for Mr Bashir’s arrest on charges of genocide for atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

Correspondents say that states in theory have a legal duty to arrest ICC suspects on their territory, but African leaders are increasingly doubtful of its authority.

Source — BBC News

Columbia Journalism Review | Is social media the newest front in Uganda’s war with the press?

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 06:38

KAMPALA, UGANDA—The night before Uganda’s February 18 presidential vote, David Tumusiime went to bed with a firm plan in place for the next day’s coverage. The website editor for Uganda Radio Network (URN), a syndicate of more than 20 correspondents spread across the East African country, Tumusiime had set up a WhatsApp group to collect video clips and audio reports from his team. Then he would use URN’s Facebook page and Twitter feed to share that information with the news organization’s thousands of followers.

But there was a hitch. When he woke up on Election Day, someone had turned off the country’s social media.

At first Tumusiime didn’t realize anything was wrong. “We have unreliable networks in Uganda,” he says. “So I thought it was an individual problem. I didn’t think it was an organized clampdown until I called a few colleagues and they told me they couldn’t communicate with our WhatsApp group.”

The government acknowledged in the days after the election it had ordered the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to shut down all access to social media sites for three days, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, over alleged security threats. Officials worried that the opposition planned to use social media to disrupt the balloting process and possibly spur violence when results were announced within 48 hours of the vote.

The move threw the media into disarray, at least initially. In a country where social networks are becoming increasingly intrinsic—not just to disseminating news, but also to gathering it—the blackout substantively reduced early coverage as Ugandans went to the polls.

At URN, Tumusiime said the morning quickly devolved into “trial and error” as members of the team tried to figure out how to stay in touch with each other. By the end of the day, most URN reporters, like much of the rest of Uganda’s media fraternity and tens of thousands of ordinary citizens across the country, had managed to download virtual private networks (VPNs) for their phones and computers, allowing them to set up secure internet connections and access social media sites.

Still, the disruption left people across the country confused and wary about what they might have missed in the hours they’d spent offline.

“We couldn’t see what was happening,” says Kelly Daniel Mukwano, the executive director of iFreedom Uganda Network, a digital rights watchdog. “We couldn’t interact with people from other areas. We couldn’t read news.”

More worryingly, journalists are interpreting the move as a signal that social media has become a new front in the longstanding battle between Uganda’s government and its newsrooms. The state under President Yoweri Museveni, now 30 years in office, has long been quick to shutter media houses and revoke radio licenses when reporting threatens the perceived stability of his regime. There are regular allegations of police officers and even ministers attacking reporters. And the government routinely co-opts its chief media critics with plum positions inside the administration. Disrupting social media, journalists say, is the government’s latest tactic to control the national narrative, and potentially one of its most effective.

Social media sites are having an outsized impact on the country’s news agenda, according to Robert Sempala, the national coordinator for the Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ Uganda). WhatsApp and Facebook messaging are much cheaper than standard text messages or pay-per-use internet packages for computers, especially for roving reporters trying to stay in touch with editors and transmit photos and short audio and video files. The sites have also become hotlines for sharing news tips and leaking documents, Sempala says. Twitter and Facebook are critical for news organizations looking to quickly share breaking news.

“Social media, of late, has been playing a very pivotal role in shaping the news agenda in Uganda,” he says. “Shutting it down has a very big drawback to the flow of information.”

ELECTION DAY IN UGANDA was already set to be tense. The incumbent, Museveni, attempting to add another five-year term to his rule, was running against his former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and a longtime opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, among others.

Besigye had actually been arrested and then released the day before the poll, and rumors were swirling on private WhatsApp groups of possible Election Day violence. A day before the vote, Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police, showed up at an Electoral Commission press conference to warn journalists about repeating these rumors.

“Social media has become so pervasive,” he said at the press conference. “A lot of negativity, lies, are being beamed down. It creates unnecessary tension. Controlling social media is not easy.” His comments assumed greater significance after the UCC executive director issued a sworn affidavit saying that it was Kayihura who directed him to turn off the country’s social media.

Shutting down social media is nothing new. Governments from China to Turkey have attempted to black out such sites, with varying degrees of success. But given Uganda’s still-limited internet access and other Election Day concerns, the government’s worries about social media were unexpected. The UCC estimates about 13 million people used the internet during the last fiscal year, primarily in Kampala and other major towns—a 37 percent penetration rate.

Those users’ online behavior, though, may justify the government’s worries. Research on internet usage in East Africa is limited, but a 2015 study among 60 Ugandan policymakers and media professionals found 78 percent use WhatsApp daily. Sixty-nine percent used Facebook every day, and 49 percent Twitter.

In recognition of social media’s growing significance, telecommunications companies like India-based Airtel are now offering users in Uganda unlimited access to WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook for the equivalent of 15 cents per day.

“The majority of our population are youth and they’re using social media,” says iFreedom’s Mukwano. “I think social media is the No. 1 arm people are using to access information.” So it was no surprise to him, at least, when the networks went down in the hours before voting started. But he still worries about the implications: “This could mean worse for the future of the free media in this country.”

THOUGH UGANDA’S JOURNALISTS enjoy relative freedom compared to colleagues in neighboring countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia, Museveni’s government has been quick to crack down on the media during times of political tension. In late 2009, for instance, following two days of riots in a Kampala neighborhood, the government suspended the licenses of three radio stations and withdrew that of a fourth.

The government’s efforts to restrict the press up to and even after the February vote, Sempala says, were unprecedented. His organization has recorded more than 100 media violations since October of last year, including the near-daily arrests of journalists attempting to cover Besigye, who was under house arrest for more than a month after Museveni was officially declared the winner of the ballot. (He was finally released in early April, only to be re-arrested several times since.) The incidents in the five months running up to the vote, Sempala says, outnumbered those that occurred during the first nine months of 2015 combined. And while not as blunt as arresting a reporter or seizing equipment, he says the social media blackout was in keeping with this recent string of events.

In media circles, there is still some debate over how effective it was. Frank Kisakye is the Web editor for The Observer, one of the country’s leading independent papers. He describes himself as a “one-man team online,” posting breaking news to the paper’s Twitter account, more conversational posts on its Facebook page, and stories to the website.

In the hours after the social media blackout began, he noticed something unusual: a spike in traffic to The Observer’s Twitter account. Not only were people figuring out how to circumvent the blackout, they were eager to talk about it.

“Hide information from people and they will start looking for it more,” he says. In the three days that social media platforms remained down, “there was a lot of interactivity” from people looking for updates on any problems at the polls or in the vote counting.

The blackout also offered both journalists and their audiences an unexpected lesson in cybersecurity, which Kisakye says would make it difficult for the government to attempt a similar shutdown in the future. “Now people know, ‘Okay, if I need to mask my identity, my location, this is how I do it,’” he says. “I think they blundered.”

Abby Mukiibi, the programs manager for CBS FM radio in Kampala, is not so sure.

“It did cripple a lot of what we were supposed to do,” he says. “Not every correspondent, not every journalist you could talk to had access to VPN.” It also heightened fears of rigging and possible riots—fears the media was unable to confirm or tamp down.

The shutdown didn’t just make it difficult for journalists to transmit information, it also left some reporters vulnerable. Scribes who could not access VPNs and innocuously send information over Facebook or WhatsApp were wary of using their cellphones to call in any problems they saw at polling stations out of fear that Museveni supporters might attack them, Sempala says. As a result, he suspects many voting-day irregularities went unreported.

Meanwhile, the 40 observers HRNJ Uganda had deployed throughout the country to monitor reporter safety and access were unable to do their jobs. Their monitoring activities—ensuring reporters were allowed into polling stations and that they weren’t harassed by electoral officials—were supposed to be reported over WhatsApp.

Whatever their perception of the impact on the election, which Museveni officially won with 60 percent of the vote, the media fraternity is convinced the shutdown was only the government’s opening effort to control social media.

In mid-March the regime tried to amend the 2013 Communications Act. The suggested changes would remove parliamentary oversight of the administration’s attempts to regulate social media and the people who use it. The government is defending the move on the same security grounds as the Election Day blackout. iFreedom’s Mukwano sees something more insidious.

“They are trying to build a fence around the entire internet and social media.”

Source — The Columbia Journalism Review – The article was first published on April 22nd 2016

CCEDU Statement | Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda Makes urgent Call for national dialogue

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 06:11

Whereas Uganda is currently undergoing a serious political crisis triggered by the continued consternation of the February 18th 2016 presidential election results by a section of the political actors who participated in that election;

Noting that the results of the last presidential election as announced by the Electoral Commission and the decision of the Supreme Court have not brought an end to these contestations nor conferred legitimacy on the outcome of the election in the mind of a significant section of the Ugandan society;

Cognisant of the fact that historically, Ugandans have consistently faced the same political and electoral challenges after each election;

Regretting that over the years, similar political and electoral crisis has been glossed over only for the same crises to re-occur on higher scales;

Concerned that events taking place in the country in recent times including the reported arrest of key opposition figures, incidents of police brutality on ordinary citizens, the ban on the media live coverage of opposition activities and the restrictions imposed on social media, are a precursor to further deterioration of the political and security situation of the country;

Considering that the current crisis, though, electoral in nature, is deeply rooted in broader political and governance challenges;

Aware that this political and electoral crisis if not comprehensively addressed, could further lead to a severe fracture in the social fabric of the Ugandan state, and thus exacerbate the polarization and possible paralysis of the political and socio-economic system in Uganda;

Recognising that the current crisis presents Uganda with an opportunity not only to address the historical and political causes of this crisis, but also with a historical chance to discuss and; through a national dialogue and consensus pave a new political and electoral path for Uganda;

Acknowledging that a number of stakeholders have recognized the need for, and are calling for a people-to-people national conversation as a platform to tackle the escalating tension in the country;

We therefore call on:

 All the political actors to ensure that every effort to address these challenges should be only through peaceful means;

 All the stakeholders in the electoral process and the citizenry to urgently activate the national peace architecture including the Elders Forum (TEFU), Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), the Women Situation Room (WSR) and the National Consultative Forum (NCF) to lead a process of national dialogue to address the root causes of the current political and electoral crisis;

 The international community and regional structures to provide support for this national dialogue process.

Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU)
Democracy House
Plot 1111 Lulume Road Nsambya
P.O. Box 11027 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 794 444 410
Fax: +256-414-510498
E-mail:; or
Web site:

The East African | Besigye sworn-in as President in a mock ceremony in Kampala

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 05:13

In a day of dramatic events in Kampala, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni’s inauguration, opposition leader Kizza Besigye was ‘sworn in’ as the president of Uganda.

Dr Besigye running on the Forum for Democratic Change party ticket received 35.61 per cent to Museveni’s 60.62 per cent of the vote, which he rejected, claiming to have won with about 52 per cent during the February 18 General Election.

As presidents and other dignitaries landed at the Entebbe International Airport to pomp and ceremony and were escorted to Kampala sirens blaring, Besigye, who has been under surveillance by police over threat to public order, made a surprise appearance in the capital attracting crowds.

The security forces fired teargas to disperse the throngs and in the ensuing chaos, Besigye was arrested.

In a video posted on YouTube later, Dr Besigye is seen on a podium accompanied by FDC officials taking oath of office with a banner proclaiming him as the elected president of the people’s government of Uganda in the background.

Looking dapper in a fitting black suit and a blue tie, Besigye, 60, then gave a brief speech saying the extraordinary ‘swearing-in’ “was occasioned by Mr Museveni and his regime trying to use force, once again, to overthrow the will of the people of Uganda.”

He said calls for an independent audit of the election to establish conclusively who won the election had been regrettably neglected or ignored by Museveni who he claimed had not won the election and therefore his inauguration Thursday was unlawful.

President Museveni is being sworn in for a sixth time since he took power in 1986. Among heads of state to witness the inauguration at the Kololo grounds are Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Edgar Lungu of Zambia, John Magufuli of Tanzania and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

Source — The East African — Video courtesy of Moses Atocon and image by Newsweek.

Daily Monitor | Constitutional Court | Ugandan Dual citizenship passport holders petition court over fees

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 07:08

Kampala– Ugandans living abroad have petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of immigration control fees regulations of 2009 that levies visa entry fees and dual citizenship fees.

Through Frank Tumusiime & Company Advocates, the group of four Ugandans living abroad is challenging the current Immigration regulations, claiming they are inconsistent with the Constitution.

For instance, the group contends it discriminate against children by requiring that they only apply for dual citizenship when they are 18 years or above.

Mr Stephen Asiimwe, who lives in Luxembourg, Mr Joseph Kamara (Australia), Mr Stephen Twinoburyo (South Africa) and Ronnie Mayanja (US) say the practice of levying fees for student entry visas, dependant passes and children born to Ugandan citizens abroad contravenes Articles 10, Article 21(1) (2) (3) of the Constitution.

“…it discriminates Ugandan citizens living abroad by levying fees of Shs150,000 for acquisition of an ordinary Uganda passport while Uganda citizens in the diaspora are charged dual citizenship fees of $400 and an ordinary passport fee of Shs150,000,” the complaint filed on May 5, says.

The complainants now want court to order government to stop levying dependant fees, student entry visas and student visa fees on children born to Ugandan citizens abroad.

They also want court to declare that children born abroad maintain their Ugandan citizenship unless they choose to renounce it when they are 18 years or above.

The petitioners contend that the actions of government defy the principles of equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress.

Source — Daily Monitor

See related links —

Politico | How to solve Africa’s ‘president-for-life’ problem

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 06:35

What’s happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo is scary. It’s also a chance to do the right thing.

The Democratic Republic of Congo erupted in protest in recent weeks after its president, Joseph Kabila, refused to rule out seeking an unconstitutional third term in office. Security forces cracked down on the protesters, as they did in 2015 when 40 people died in the ensuing violence.

Kabila, the DRC’s leader for the past 15 years, is the latest in a long line of African leaders to decide he has to stay in office because he’s indispensable. Just last month, in a disputed vote, Yoweri Museveni extended his 30-year rule in Uganda under similar pretenses, and Burundi is on the brink of chaos with the decision of President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek an unconstitutional third term. Indeed, nine African countries have a leader who has been in power for more than 20 years.

There are plenty of reasons for the U.S. to be deeply concerned about maintaining stability in the center of Africa. A country as big as Western Europe, with a youthful population and vast natural resource wealth, the DRC holds a strategic position in Africa and the world. An unstable Congo threatens other African countries. But beyond that, if the U.S. could help secure a smooth transfer of power from Kabila to a democratically elected successor, Congo could become not just a crisis averted but a shining example. A peaceful transition there could help Africa break the pattern of “leaders for life” who constrain not only civil and political liberties but also economic growth, preferring to reward friends and family with business franchises. The benefits of that would reverberate across the globe.

Kabila’s behavior — including the sentences of six activists to two years in prison for calling for a general strike — has caused not just national but global protest. On April 25 at the United Nations, Secretary of State John Kerry told Kabila that “timely and credible elections” in the DRC were essential to the country’s future. Just a few days before that, on April 15, Sen. John McCain wrote to the DRC’s ambassador to the United States to express his “deep concern at the increasingly repressive political climate and erosion in the human rights situation.”

But rather than taking the latest criticism to heart, Kabila lashed out. His Cabinet ministers bought a full-page ad in the New York Times on April 23 to tell the world to back off, claiming that Kabila had “placed the DRC on the orbit of stability.” There is no one among the opposition better suited for the job, said the ad, claiming Kabila’s opponents are “divided, without landmark, without a leader, without a program.” So there’s no need to respect the constitutional limit on presidential terms.

The ad used language reminiscent of the era of Joseph Mobutu, who ruled DRC for over 30 years when it was called Zaire. He dubbed himself Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku wa za Banga, which is translated as “the all-conquering warrior, who goes from triumph to triumph.” Kabila’s ministers, in turn, predicted that on his economic accomplishments alone, “History will keep of Kabila the image as a great reformer.” He has a ways to go. The World Bank ranked the DRC 176th out of 187 countries on its Human Development Index in 2015.
Kabila’s response to McCain’s letter was also disturbing. Lambert Mende Omalanga, the president’s spokesman, said McCain should stop using his “celebrity and leadership for the sake of some extremists’ projects, probably on the basis of biased information.” Omalanga concluded that the U.S. “come specifically to the bedside of our electoral process with the expected funding instead of confining itself to anathemas and threats of a bygone era.”

U.S. policymakers are right to worry that Kabila is about to crack down hard on opponents and extend his presidency through force for as long as he sees fit, no matter the effect on stability in the center of Africa. And that stability is critical to U.S. efforts to fight terrorism. Al Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates are forcefully moving to establish a foothold in sub-Saharan Africa, planning to use its mineral wealth to fund terrorism. If Kabila’s refusal to relinquish power destabilizes the DRC, it could create a vacuum for terrorist groups to fill, just as happened in Syria and Libya. The danger is increasing. Two months ago, when people throughout the country staged a national sick-day of sorts in support of democracy, Kabila seemed to look the other way. But on April 24, a large rally billed as “the day of commemoration of the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Congo” was dispersed forcefully. Now, as thousands flock to support democracy, the president’s security forces are dispatching citizens with tear gas, blockades, arrests and threats.

There were no reports of provocation from the crowd on April 24. It was simply a march that included prominent opposition leaders, including Moise Katumbi, the governor of Katanga province, who has emerged as a popular possible contender to succeed Kabila. Last week, security forces defaced and removed posters bearing Katumbi’s image and then used force against protesting crowds. The response showed that Kabila knows he is not indispensable and wants to prevent an alternative leader from emerging. Kabila’s actions are putting in jeopardy the minimal progress the DRC has made in reform of his nation’s governance since he succeeded his father, who was assassinated in 2001. After being reelected in 2006, Kabila supported the adoption of a new constitution, but over the past five years he’s used force and intimidation to squash political opponents, and now he’s making it all but impossible to hold elections as the constitution requires.
Two months ago, top State Department officials warned Congress that a grave humanitarian crisis could erupt if Kabila succeeds in preventing a free election. Since then Kabila has made his intransigence clear. What can the U.S. do? Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, wrote to Kerry in February, outlining the right approach for the U.S. government: First, demand that Kabila state affirmatively that he will not seek a third term and will insure the political space for candidates to campaign for the presidency; second, provide the necessary guidance and funding for a free and fair election this year. Third, if Kabila fails to make the commitment to step down, move ahead with denials of visas and asset freezes, coordinated with other governments and targeted at the president, his family and political associates. The U.S. should also reduce security and economic aid flowing through the DRC government and discourage foreign investment.

If President Barack Obama takes these steps now and Kabila bows out, the signal to other aspiring presidents-for-life will be clear. The U.S. will act on its belief that democracy is essential on the continent, not just for the human rights and economic well-being of Africans but also for the national security of Americans.

James K. Glassman, former undersecretary for state for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is a member of the advisory board of United for Africa’s Democratic Future.

Source — Politico

Editorial | Ugandan Diaspora News | May 2016 | Uganda Needs a Government of National Unity and a Deputy President Mr. Museveni

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 07:50

Dear Readers,

What started as a joke for those who worship at the altar of celebrities is now a reality — Donald Trump has finally clinched the nomination of the Republican party. The party that is home to some of America’s greatest leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan will now unite behind the most unlikely candidate who caught the party establishment off-guard when they they underestimated the power Trump Movement. But to many this bully and celebrity reality television star whose gaffes have rubbed many the wrong way is off to what many have described as an unrelenting ugly contest in waiting if Trump faces Hillary Clinton in November.

With  Sen.Ted Cruz the voice of the conservatives and evangelicals within the Republican party now crashed after being described by the former house speaker of congress John Boehner as ‘Lucifer in the Flesh’,  its about time the party reunited. The GOP establishment overlooked the fact that the public was tired of politics as usual in Washington and opted to go with an outsider against the wishes of the party establishment a mistake they will live to remember!

Sen. Ted Cruz the man behind the government shut down that cost the Federal Government millions met a firewall in Indiana that effectively ended his campaign. Gov. John Kasich whose delegates math was way behind that of Sen. Marco Rubio has now conceded and formally ended his campaign. But after witnessing a race that involved 17 fine Republicans vying for the the GOP nomination pundits now predict a Trump vs Hillary election slug-fest!

Both parties are now facing the uphill task of uniting their party faithfuls behind the official nominees even as dissenters continue to grow. However the contests have now exposed the weaknesses of the party and the super delegates system in deciding the party nominee. When asked about the two front runners pundits now describe it as the worst of both worlds in having a Trump vs. Hillary contest while others are pointing to a Third Party Challenge given the divisions of this Primary cycle and the failure of some to accept both Trump as the official nominee.

On the democratic side Bernie Sanders whose message has resonated with the Democrats and people on main street is still holding his ground. The win in Indiana were he bagged more delegates is another sign yet, that this let in the game Hillary is yet to effectively lock in her party support. Some will still blame the DNC party politics for imposing Hillary on the people. The Sanders campaigns and the small margin wins in Massachusetts and New York are perhaps a sign that the race on the democratic side might go all the way to the contested convention in July. Key to Bernie’s message has been free tuition at universities, universal healthcare for all and raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour among other things. Hillary will need to do more to re-brand herself this time round even as the ghosts of 2008 begin to haunt her.  Her scandals at the State Department will be fodder for all the campaign ADs coming her way in the fall  – as she continues to battle Bernie who refuses to go away. She has definitely felt the ‘Bern’ this election cycle!

Back home in Uganda the politics of entitlement has not spared us given the wheeling and dealing we have witnessed for the position of house Speaker.  Though the President and the CEC have now endorsed the Hon. Rebecca Kadaga this has further exposed the divisions and intrigue within the NRM party. It appears that with NRM’s longevity in power we are now seeing the politics of entitlement and ring fencing positions based on seniority rather than ability to lead. Some have also argued that given the level of debate in our Parliament today we might need an entirely new body of MPs now that the office of a Member of Parliament has been reduced to the loudest noise makers, comedians and those politicians with the deepest pockets. Their vote to avoid taxation while the rest of the nation carries their tax burden has also further alienated these honorable members from the public they are meant to serve.

My take on the Presidency as we head for another term —  If our President learnt any lessons from the past election cycle championing legislation that calls for a constitution amendment restoring terms limits and creating the office of a Deputy President who will take over in 2021 is the right thing to do. This business of having ceremonial Vice Presidents is not helping us make progress and help prepare the nation for transition. He would do himself a service if he invited the opposition to his cabinet as a dissenting voice that will appease the over 3 million voters that shunned him in the last election. We also need the Electoral Commission disbanded given their gross incompetence and poor performance in the last election. Otherwise for the President to continue surrounding himself with cadres that sing his praises has greatly diminished and undermined his image and legacy. Many of these cadres are fighting for their political and economic survival whilst cheering him on.

Regarding the defiance campaign although I have always had issue with the way our current opposition presents its agenda, I am now of the view that owing to the conduct of the government and some of its operatives the opposition should never have gone to court after losing the last election. In spite of all the excesses of the 2016 election the opposition continues to be treated as ‘subjects’ whose fate was sealed before the election ever took place. Their civil liberties have now been officially denied by a regime in fear of an insurrection and which has also abused the independence of our Supreme Court. The politics of fear and intimidation has essentially taken over much of the political landscape in Uganda. While I do not condone violence I strongly believe we need a generation shift in our politics that attracts both the elite and the down trodden if we are to see better service delivery. ‘Uganda Yaffe Fena’ no one party must dominate the playing field for this long while denying others their basic human rights and freedom expression.

A new set of eyes will help revive our national airline start in order for us to start cashing in on our tourism — here I am tempted to ask how Rwanda Air continues to expand and stay afloat while our national carrier killed off and liquidated. We need a more vibrant Uganda Tourism Board and a perhaps a national body tasked with promoting Uganda abroad through the use of tourism centers established across the globe and manned by qualified Ugandans to help sell our battered image, promote our coffee, tourism and other things that make Uganda gifted by nature. There must be a zero tolerance toward corruption and those found guilty asked to account or their assets confiscated. The new HIV is now Cancer that is decimating many lives probably due to poor healthcare system that lacks the ability to detect and prevent such epidemics.

And so as we head for yet another Presidential inauguration let those advising the President remind him that principles for which he fought a protracted guerrilla war have long disappeared and people want to see a fundamental change in both politics and  governance of our country. We don’t need rulers but leaders that will govern us with a clear mandate to protect and serve us and not the other way round. Lets therefore unite as a people for as Ugandans we are capable of so much more for a country that was compared to Singapore in the late 1960’s in terms of the rate of growth we can definitely triple our GDP from 27 Billion dollars year and get our young people working again.

For God and My Country!

God bless. — Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | | Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | | US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 | Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |

News Flash | Former African Development Bank Group President Dr. Donald Kaberuka To Present Keynote Address at the EA Chamber Meet In Dallas!

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 04:35

News Flash — The former African Development Bank Group President whose leadership over the past 10 years grew the bank’s portfolio has accepted to be our Keynote Speaker at this year’s East African Chamber of Commerce USA meet in Dallas, Texas. Sept 29th and October 1st 2016. (

Biography — Donald Kaberuka (b. October 5, 1951), is a Rwandan economist and the 7th elected President of the African Development Bank Group. As President of the Bank Group, Mr. Kaberuka chairs the Boards of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund, the soft loan arm of the Group.

Mr. Kaberuka was educated in Tanzania and the United Kingdom where he obtained his M Phil (Econ) and a PhD in Economics from Glasgow University in Scotland. Since he became President of the African Development Bank in September 2005, Mr. Kaberuka has embarked on a series of reforms aimed at making the Bank more selective and efficient in its development program and its mission to alleviate poverty in Africa.

Among notable changes at the African Development Bank since his tenure is greater emphasis on infrastructure and regional integration, a more vibrant private sector, and institutional production as well as dissemination of knowledge about Africa.

Donald Kaberuka served as Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning since 1997, and has been widely acknowledged as the country’s principal architect of the successful post-war reconstruction and economic reform program. He initiated and implemented major economic and governance reforms in the fiscal, monetary, budgetary and structural domains including independence of the Central Bank.

These reforms resulted in the acclaimed recovery of the Rwandan economy, sustained growth; and enabled the country to benefit from debt cancellations under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in April 2005.

Before joining the Rwandan cabinet, Mr. Kaberuka had vast experience in the banking industry, trade finance, international commodity business and development issues. He is fluent in English, French and Swahili.

Current positions — The Rockefeller Foundation appointed the former African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Donald Kaberuka to its board of trustees.  He is also a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government – Center for Public Leadership Community.

Opinion | Civil Liberties | Peace and prosperity For All? The curse of noise pollution in Kampala By Jaffar Tonda

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 06:26

According to an online dictionary, peace can be defined as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Uganda is generally a peaceful nation, populated by friendly people. Her beauty is beyond dispute: indeed, She is the Pearl of Africa. I am born and raised in the capital, Kampala. I am a Mulago hospital baby. I have mostly enjoyed peace, thanks to the mostly stable government. Never in my life have I lived in any sense of insecurity, save for the past four years or so – because of noise pollution.

I am a law abiding citizen and tax payer – to the best of my ability. About four years ago, after years of saving and toiling, I was able to purchase a piece of land and construct a residence in Kyambogo. Before construction, as the law requires, I obtained building approvals from Kampala City Council. Within the first year of living there, a sad reality dawned on me: my health was hampered by inadequate sleep because of noise pollution.

During the night, I suffered loud music that blared all the way from a bar in Kireka. Forget day time naps: my neighbour – a wood workshop (Quality Wood) – operated machines in a make shift structure. I visited the Kireka bar and asked the management to keep their sound at a minimum at night because the Kabaka/Queen of Buganda lived up the hill. However, that request fell on deaf ears. I suspect the owner is not a Muganda because I would personally cringe at the thought of my beautiful Queen suffering noise pollution. My appeal to the proprietor, Eddie, of Quality Wood to set up his wood workshop to standard so it would emit less noise fell on stubborn ears as well. His reason: you found us here.

My continued inadequate sleep was indeed affecting my productivity. My doctor advised that I move. I could have hired goons to torch the bar and wood workshop. However, to the best of my ability I am a law abiding citizen. My lawyer friends advised that I should appeal to KCCA; they wished me “luck.”

I wrote an email complaint to KCCA about 3 years ago. My email was within a few hours responded to – peace at last!! Unfortunately, nothing could be done about the Kireka bar because it was outside KCCA jurisdiction; however, the wood workshop was to be immediately inspected. I applaud KCCA public health officials who visited the wood workshop the same week and took noise emission measurements. They stated that indeed, the decibels emitted were above permissible figures. A physical planning official visited as well and notified the management that the workshop lacked a building permit and a NEMA clearance certificate to operate. The owner of the workshop was taken to KCCA court for prosecution. Unfortunately, a year passed by, a second – nothing changed. After unfruitful follow up visits with the KCCA legal team, I made a decision to abandon my Kyambogo residence. Luckily I found a tenant, and rented an apartment in a peaceful part of Muyenga – save for Hotel International that pollutes the neighbourhood with noise on Sundays.

My new found rest must have helped to restore my productivity. Within one year of moving to Muyenga, I was able to save and purchase a house in Lower Kiwafu, Kansanga. After a few months of living in my new house, a sad reality dawned on me – I could hear varied disco sounds almost every night from two bars turned disco clubs on Ggaba road: Comrades bar, and Beverly Hills.  Note that the bars are each approximately two kilometres from my home. I am left to wonder how the immediate neighbours acclimate to the noise. If the homes contain school going children, I wonder how the kids (the next leaders of Uganda) stay awake in class the next day. The two aforementioned clubs play loud music six days each week, the worst days being Friday and Saturday when they play till 6am.

Again, being a law abiding citizen [I could hire goons to torch the bars] – I chose to reach out to KCCA; specifically the public health department. I was given a number to a noise pollution hotline: 0794 663 333. I called that number last week. The response was quite impressive. A team came to my house as late as mid night and took noise emission measurements. Within 10 minutes after they left, the neighbourhood was quiet. The following day was alarmingly quiet as well. This may sound dramatic but I actually slept restlessly because there was no noise pollution! It appears that to my poor body, noisy nights have become the standard.

The new found peace has not lasted long. Last night (Friday, April 30th 2016), Comrades bar and Beverly Hills bar played loud music until 6am! I know this for sure because I took a drive at 5am past the two bars, to verify. Am I going to have to make new trips to Elijah and Jackie in the KCCA legal department for years again?

I do understand that when Kampala residents place similar noise pollution complaints to KCCA, the institution does respond immediately. However, seems KCCA appears unable to affect a permanent solution. The noise polluters, in their desire to keep earning, shortly after seem to ignore KCCA instructions. How can City Authorities exert their authority effectively?

I am left with two options: migrate to another city in defeat, or begin a public campaign against noise pollution.

Opinion Piece By Jaffar Tonda.

Health Watch | Spine Team Texas | Dr. Leonard K. Kibuule, MD Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Discusses Back Pain Treatment

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 08:43

Dr. Leonard Kibuule, spine surgeon, discusses the OLIF, an innovative, minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to the more invasive, traditional spine fusion. Check out this video to learn more about the OLIF that is helping get great spine pain relief to patients with spinal instability!

Biography — Dr. Kibuule joined Spine Team Texas as a fellowship-trained, board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal injuries and disorders. With outstanding credentials and medical training at renowned institutions, Dr. Kibuule is a distinguished addition to Spine Team Texas.

He is specially trained on the minimally invasive approach to spine surgery and has a special interest and extensive experience in the treatment of adult scoliosis and spinal deformities. A graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Kibuule returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth area after completing his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Nebraska/Creighton University in Omaha, and a fellowship in orthopedic spine surgery at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Prior to pursuing a career in medicine, Dr. Kibuule received an engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

During his medical training, Dr. Kibuule participated in numerous research projects and has written papers and book chapters pertaining to low back pain in adolescent patients, lumbar spinal stenosis, cervical disc arthroplasty, and surgical approaches to the thoracic spine. In addition, he has shared his surgical expertise at local, regional and national presentations, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Mid-America Orthopedic Association and American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle

Dr. Kibuule is the recipient of many honors and distinctions, including being named UT Southwestern Medical School’s candidate for the National Medical Foundation Award. He was recently named one of D Magazine’s “Best Doctors” in the specialty of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Kibuule is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedics and is a member of the North American Spine Society and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. An avid athlete, Dr. Kibuule enjoys skiing, biking, hiking and traveling the world. He has lived inTexas for over 10 years and currently resides in North Texas.

Source — Spine Team Texas

NTV Video | Steven Kavuma | Deputy Chief Justice issues order prohibiting further defiance activities by FDC

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 08:40

The Deputy Chief Justice has issued an interim order blocking the Forum for Democratic Change and the party’s Presidential candidate in the 2016 polls from any planned demonstration, activities and processions in furtherance of their defiance campaign slated for the 5th of May pending the hearing of the main application.

This after the Attorney General filed an ex-parte application before the Constitutional court. He was represented by three lawyers led by the Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana.

The Attorney General argued that the Electoral Commission had already declared the winner of the Presidential polls and that the Supreme Court had pronounced itself on the same result. Justice Kavuma granted the order, saying the Attorney General had made his case.

He also issued another interim order stopping all proceedings involving Dr. Besigye for four weeks and ordered that the Registrar must ensure that the main application is fixed for hearing.

Source — NTV News Report & Video.

Opinion | Oxford Union Society Debate | Ssuuna Golooba-Mutebi – Britain Does Owe Reparations

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 22:49

THE OXFORD Union – the debating society founded by members of Oxford University nearly 190 years ago – is known to be on good terms with controversy. A debate held last year on Thursday (May 28 2015) made no attempt to break with tradition, posing the question: does Britain owe reparations to her former colonies over the damage caused?

It didn’t take just the debate to begin a polemic.

The Union bar was criticised for promoting a cocktail special called ‘The Colonial Comeback’ alongside an image of two black hands in shackles. An apology was promptly given by the treasurer, revealing the committee had not been aware of the promotion claiming bar staff appeared to be responsible.

It was in this rather tense environment that the speakers took to the floor to debate the official proposition: ‘This House Believes Britain Owes Reparations to her Former Colonies.’

The first speaker, student Henna Dattani, quickly painted the grim portrait of the matter at hand, beginning with a harrowing description of a woman in Kenya being tortured in front of her son in 1954.

She argued reparations “go far beyond cash payments”, and are centred on recognising past injustices and redressing the moral imbalance brought on by colonisation.

Postgraduate student Alpha Lee followed for the opposition.

Without failing to recognise the atrocities of colonialism, he suggested that mandating Britain to pay reparations would prompt countries to blame their shortcomings on colonialism rather than work hard to get themselves back on their feet.

And who would the money go to? What if leaders embezzle the pay-outs?, Lee asked. With this moment came more drama.

Two students got to their feet raising a large poster with the words: ‘Who will speak for ME? #RhodesMustFall’. The hashtag refers to Cecil Rhodes, the notorious imperialist who continues to be held in high esteem by the university.

Earlier this year, protests against a statue on a South African university campus led to its removal. Across the room two others were holding another banner, stating: ‘Brutality should not be DEBATED’. So out of place was this act of silent protest that a bouncer attempted to remove those standing from the room. But after one protester clarified the Union’s rules do not condemn non-auditory and non-violent protest, they were allowed to continue.

First-year student Ssuuna Golooba-Mutebi spoke next.

Of Ugandan origin himself, he pointed out that the claim that Britain colonised Africa to provide it with roads, education and language was fallacious: the continent had flourished with many languages, kingdoms and intellectuals long before colonisation.

He also identified that Britain continues to benefit from the financial capital it amassed from the natural resources of other countries, as well as from the slave trade.

Ssuuna’s contribution was met with a resounding applause.

The same cannot be said of Sir Richard Ottaway, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee who began his speech by claiming: “We have moved on from colonialism”, and made other remarks, including that “some objected” to their colonial oppression, and that “there was sacrifice on both sides”.

The Honourable Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the UK since 2012, quickly set about dismantling Ottaway’s notion of the “legacy we left behind” in referring to the raping of land and the torture of slaves, and then went on to list conceivable measures of non-monetary reparations: atonements for cultural damage; psychological rehabilitation and debt cancellation, alluding to Cariom’s 10-point plan.

Caricom – an organisation of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies established in its current form in 2001 – is currently working on a landmark legal case to sue European countries for reparations.

American historian William Roger Louis, who specialised in the British Empire, spoke against the motion, citing the rise of Nazi Germany after the country had been crippled by post-First World War as evidence that ‘reparations have often led to a desire for more’.

When the floor was opened up to Union members to give their opinions, sparks flew.

One student was heckled for suggesting that black enslavement was no different to the suffering experienced by white Irish Catholics. Another claimed colonisation has only affected those who lived through that period.

The Indian former Under-Secretary General of the UN Dr Shashi Tharoor concluded for the side in favour of the motion; unearthing statistics such as that India’s share in the world’s wealth had downscaled from 23 per cent pre-colonisation to less than four cent by the time Britain left.

He added: “It’s a bit rich to enslave, maim and torture people for 200 years and celebrate that they’re democratic at the end of it.”

Professor John MacKenzie, historian of imperialism, in stating that he had expected a “cool, clean debate, rather than one of emotion” was met with disapproval from the audience.

It was perhaps not surprising then that the results of the debate showed a decided triumph for the proposition speakers, with the motion ‘This House Believes Britain Owes Reparations to its Former Colonies’ winning by 185 to 56 votes.

Source — The Voice UK Blog and Oxford Union Society.

The Observer | ‘Uganda’s opposition has always been part of NRM gov’t’ Written by George W. Kanyeihamba

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 09:35

The Observer — In real democracies, it is opposition political parties and groups that keep governments in check and criticize executive failures or excesses.

To do so, they must be principled, constitutional and vigilant in the affairs of the state. Such opposition offers itself and behaves just like the incumbent government in waiting. It has counterpart structures and credible leaders and is seen as a possible, and not merely a probable, next government.

Like the incumbent government, the alternative shadow government has a presence and supporters throughout the country. The population accepts it as part of its governance and tradition.

This has not been the tradition in Uganda. It can be categorically stated that, perhaps with the exception of the short-lived administrations of self-government of Benedicto  Kiwanuka in 1961, the UNLF under both Professor Yusuf Lule and Godfrey Binaisa, all of which were weak and dominated by opposition parties or groups, Ugandan governments have been all powerful and authoritarian.

This characterization applies equally to the colonial government that ruled the country from 1894 to 1962. Immediately following the attainment of independence, in 1962, there was some semblance of democratic rule for several years when political organisations such as the Uganda People’s Congress, the Democratic Party, the Conservative Party, and the transient Kabaka Yekka operated with some success.

However, after defections and ineffective leadership weakened the Democratic Party, Kabaka Yekka ceased and the Conservative Party made no headway in recruiting converts, the UPC appeared to swallow everyone around it, and converted the country into a de facto one- party state.

The total period of the short-lived administrations of Kiwanuka, Lule, Binaisa and those of the military juntas of Paulo Muwanga and General Lutwa Okello is less than three years.

Incidentally, the latter two were also authoritarian. Be that as it may, it can be discerned from this that for more than 100 years, Uganda has been ruled largely by monolithic, authoritarian and non-democratic governments. This has been the case notwithstanding that for about half of the period, Ugandans have been led to believe or have been told that Uganda was or will be a democracy. Both the belief and the message have turned out to be false every time.

Thus, in a working democracy, opposition parties and organizations are the reverse side of the coin of which the government of the day is the other. In an earlier work, I described a political party as a body of men and women united for promoting by their joint endeavors, the national interest upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed.

I also noted that during the colonial period, such people were considered by the rulers as dangerous agitators since those rulers had arrogated to themselves the prerogative of determining what principles and accompanying policies were in the national interest. In Uganda, the idea that opposition parties are necessary for democratic governance has never taken root.

At best, for any stage of its constitutional and political development, Ugandan political parties have always been perceived by the ruling oligarchies as subversive, anti-government and, therefore, adverse to the interests and needs of the population. At worst, they have been branded treasonable and become proscribed.

Indeed, repressive measures against opposition parties and preventing them from operating normally have been resorted to on many occasions. In order for the National Resistance Movement to perpetuate itself in power with a belief that other political parties will never have a chance to replace it, its leadership put in place protective mechanisms.

The NRM was conceived and structured as a state organism to the extent that from the grassroots with its RCs, then LCs system to the national level with the national convention, caucus and High Command, the NRM party is not distinguishable from the state of Uganda. Over the years, the organism has become exclusive, monolithic, self-perpetuating and hostile to any opposition to it.

L-R: Opposition politicians Asuman Basalirwa, Ken Lulyamuzi and NRM secretary general Kasule Lumumba

Its critics are not perceived as political opponents but as enemies of its leaders and of the state of Uganda. Its leaders identify its continued existence and survival with those of the nation of Uganda. They have gone all the way to operate and manipulate the Constitution, laws and practices of governance of the state of Uganda in order to strengthen and protect the NRM organism.

For the sustenance of the organism and its leadership, government has been ready to harass, torture and imprison its opponents, issue inaccurate information, spend billions of shillings in the defence of the organism and even to annoy and defeat its own supporters whose loyalty it regards as suspect.

It has looted the treasury, intimidated businessmen and women to cough up billions of shillings for its survival. It prefers to spend trillions of shillings on elections and billions on celebrating its disputed electoral victories rather than on schools, hospitals or social and economic development.

Between 1981 and 1986, the ten-point programme and its methods of work during the civil war of that period had made the NRM and its leadership the most popular and desirable political organization Ugandans had ever had before independence. Museveni dwarfs all other political leaders and activists and traverses the Republic of Uganda like a Colossus while denying or dispensing goods, posts and justice to all, in unequal measures.


Much has been said, written and broadcast about the NRM rule since 1986 and perhaps nothing can excel what other Ugandans and the world know already whether with gratitude or regrets. I will, therefore, limit this analysis to modern Opposition leaderships in Uganda.

I am of the view that Uganda should now stop blaming President Museveni and the NRM and seriously re-examine the failures and blunders of opposition party leaders as major contributors to Uganda’s misrule and misery.

The opposition leaders have been part and parcel of the NRM ruling establishment in Uganda for decades. Since 1986, opposition party leaders and supporters have embraced and legitimized the rule of the NRM and given credence to the lie that Uganda is free and a multi-party democracy.

In 1986, UPC, still intact and principled, refused to join the national bandwagon of the NRM but DP, which had hitherto fought the excesses and wrongs of UPC, willingly merged its leadership with that of the NRM.

From then onwards, the NRM has been able to suck the political blood out of DP, UPC, CP and other minions of budding political parties that may surface in the country from time to time. No one has written the obituaries of the UPC and DP but for practical purposes they both have been politically terminally sick for a long time.

Finally, between Olara Otunnu and Jimmy Akena, the UPC has been rendered politically moribund. That is why they each sought sanctuary in the NRM and the FDC, respectively. The two UPC rival party leaders appear to hate each other more than the leaders of the NRM.

They did slightly better than Norbert Mao and his original DP faction who rushed to become Amama Mbabazi’s political slaves hoping to find gold in his Trojan horse only to be slaughtered beyond recovery by the NRM political machine.

Akena humiliated the ghosts of UPC by becoming a beneficiary and supporter of the NRM. The other DP faction led by Erias Lukwago, Lubega Medard Sseggona and Betty Nambooze did better than Mao and his followers when they sought fortunes with FDC. That party and its leader fared better in the elections of 2016 than Amama Mbabazi.

Kizza Besgye (2nd R) with FDC officials

Without the Colonel, FDC sought advice as to whether their leader should petition against the declaration that candidate Museveni had won even though the Colonel was under house arrest and unable to sign the petition. Their member, Cecilia Ogwal, received the advice and excitedly revealed that they were on their way to file the petition.

She later called in panic and sought further advice whether FDC should take the petition to the chief justice or elsewhere. They were directed to the registry of the Supreme court. Surely, FDC must have some lawyers of its own. A few hours later, Hon Ogwal triumphantly disclosed that FDC was on its way to the Supreme court registry to file Kizza Besigye’s petition.

Apparently, FDC never reached there. However, the former iron lady of the UPC called the inquirer and made an appointment to come with two lawyers to explain why FDC lost its way while proceeding to file Kizza Besigye’s petition. Cecilia failed to honour her promise. Since then, Cecilia Ogwal and her colleagues have made conflicting statements about the petition but prefer to parade a stillborn political baby called independent audit.

Two weeks after the decision of the Supreme court, a senior leader of FDC, Abdu Katuntu, sought the opinion of an expert on elections and the way forward. During the meeting of the two, the learned FDC member answered every telephone call that interrupted the meeting and spent more time talking to whoever called than with the advisor.

At one time when the would-be advisor suggested that Katuntu reveals to his caller that he was with the advisor, Katuntu declined to do so revealing that his phone, like so many of his colleagues’ in FDC, was bugged by the state and they are very careful not to disclose the persons they interact with. However, Katuntu admitted that most of his callers were newly-elected opposition members and he was to join their meeting shortly.

He hurriedly left the unfinished meeting and promised to return and resume the conversation the following Friday. He never turned up or telephoned to say why. Since then, he refuses to answer his telephone just as Cecilia Ogwal refuses to answer hers. Many opposition MPs hope to be appointed to some post either by Parliament or the NRM. They are therefore afraid to keep company with people they believe their potential patrons do not wish them to associate with.

It would seem that newly-elected or re-elected opposition members of Parliament are in a cutthroat competition to get posts in Parliament or, better still, in the NRM government so as to enjoy the crumbs from the national cake left under the rich tables of the mighty NRM.

In consequence, until those expectations are realised, many opposition MPs and members are frightened to be seen with Ugandans they think the NRM or its leadership does not approve of. Many opposition flag bearers in the 2016 elections have stayed firmly in Kampala with no intention of going back to their home areas to thank or console their constituents until they get what they are waiting for.

Shortly after Parliament assembles in May, the country will receive news of jubilant, submissive, compliant and grateful opposition members who will have been lucky to be appointed to posts in Parliament or the NRM government.

In the new Parliament, the combined opposition membership will be less than 70 members. Therefore, the 10th NRM Parliament which per capita will be the largest in the world will eclipse the opposition. A tiny band of Opposition members cannot hope to make any significant impact on any policy the NRM wishes to adopt or implement. The country knows that opposition parties have failed to make any iota of difference on how the country is governed for the last thirty years.

Since 1986, Uganda has not had any opposition to speak of. Even when Ugandans were persuaded by the international community to choose democracy and multipartyism and the NRM was coerced to accept what it called that bitter political pill, the country remained firmly under authoritarian rule.

An opposition which is afraid of shadows of the ruling party or to establish its own institutions or mechanisms for its own propaganda and is unable to found and sustain local branches or its own newspapers or media is doomed into perpetual incapacity.

Presently, Uganda has only phantom opposition parties led by ambitious and often arrogant politicians who are only interested in their own importance, status and personal interests.

Many of them often run to the ruling party leadership for cover at the smallest sign of trouble or inability to earn a living without the patronage of the president. It is not a principle of democracy that a leader of a political party should regard an electoral loss, whether rigged or not, as personal loss and not a loss to the party or better still, the country. Politicians like Hon Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda are recognized as principled.

It is, therefore, strange that he should bother getting entangled in the NRM internal quarrels about who should be the next speaker of Parliament. FDC claims that their leader won the presidential election race but has shied away to tell the world the margin of that victory especially as FDC and Mbabazi claimed to have their own devices of tallying the results.

The media recently quoted Kizza Besigye saying that he will not rest until he becomes president. It would have been preferable for him to say that his party and Ugandans will not rest until there is change of government. Incidentally, do Ugandans remember Mary Karoro Okurut, Prof Kamuntu, Rebecca Kadaga, Jacob Oulanyah and Ofwono Opondo who were UPC diehards and used to be my tormentors when I was minister in the NRM?

On the other hand, Kizza Besigye, General David Sejusa, General Muntu, Hon Ruzindana, Miria Matembe and millions of other Ugandans were the founders, members and darlings of the NRM. Space does not permit  to narrate what happened to the members of DP and CP, dead or alive.

 The author is a former Supreme court judge.

The Big Story | I haven’t endorsed anybody for Speaker, says Museveni – Daily Monitor

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 08:01

PARLIAMENT.President Museveni on Monday warned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah, currently locked in an acrimonious contest for Speaker of the 10th Parliament, not to drag his name into the race that has been marred by accusations and counter-accusations. Sources that attended the ruling NRM’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting at State House Entebbe said Mr Museveni was not happy that his name was being used by the duo as a jockeying tool in the bid to convince MPs over who is fit to occupy the country’s third most coveted office. Mr Museveni told the meeting that he would not engage in the business of hand-picking leaders for the NRM to front for national positions, using the analogy of the Kenya African National Union (Kanu), which he said collapsed because of ring-fencing positions.

What candidates say
While campaigning at a meeting of female MPs and activists early this month, Ms Kadaga boasted she has the backing of Mr Museveni, declaring that “anybody who thinks the President does not support me is wasting their time.” Mr Oulanyah, this newspaper understands, has privately projected himself before ruling party MPs as Mr Museveni’s preferred candidate for the job. Mr Museveni’s warning takes the wind out of Ms Kadaga’s sails even with a plot by a section of NRM legislators to have her declared as sole candidate yet to gather momentum. NRM electoral commission chairman Tanga Odoi, who presented guidelines the party will follow in choosing the Speaker at the Monday CEC meeting, yesterday told a press briefing that Mr Museveni was also angry with the public bickering between Ms Kadaga and Mr Oulanyah in the media. When the issue of the behaviour of the duo was brought to the attention of CEC, it was resolved that the President sounds out a warning to the contestants, putting them on notice to either desist from the open quarrels or risk disqualification, Mr Odoi said.

What NRM says
“It [Kadaga-Oulanyah outbursts] was discussed and the resolution that was taken is that they have to be warned, with the chairman given the responsibility to do that. The chairman will talk to the candidates and warn them to desist from the media. Honourability has a cost; the word honourable is not synonymous with people using derogatory language,” he added. Monday’s CEC meeting also sought to build consensus on the Speakership, with members undecided between Ms Kadaga and Mr Oulanyah. In vetting those interested for Speaker, CEC will look into factors such as regional balance. To cater for Buganda region, Kiboga Woman MP Ruth Nankabirwa was touted as potential candidate for Deputy Speaker if Mr Oulanyah bags the Speaker’s slot. Mr Odoi declined giving more details over what qualities CEC will look for but said the “history of the candidates, [their] behaviour in the political world and performance as MPs” would be factors. CEC will set a template for qualities it will want in the next Speaker.

Party EC rules
NRM legislators interested in either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker positions will have to submit their letters of expression to Mr Odoi by Friday. After preliminary vetting, the NRM EC will submit the interested candidates to CEC for another round of vetting before the Caucus holds primaries on May 5. By yesterday, only Mitooma Woman MP Jovah Kamateeka and Kumi Woman MP-elect Monica Amoding had submitted requests at the NRM EC.

The background
Angered by the bid by her deputy to unseat her, Ms Kadaga went on the defensive, accusing Mr Oulanyah of being a “greedy man” while also accusing Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa of bribing MPs to support a bid to unseat her. Mr Oulanyah at the weekend used an interview with The Saturday Vision to shoot back-faulting Kadaga for what he called “messing up Parliament”.

Source — Daily Monitor


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