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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
Society.

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.

OPPOSITION PARTIES

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

Africa 54 | VOA’s Vincent Makori Interviews Ronnie Mayanja on the Upcoming East Africa Chamber Conference In Dallas – Sept 29th – Oct 1st 2016

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:37

The East Africa Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit platform that promotes trade and investments between United States and the East Africa region. VOA’s Vincent Makori recently talked with Ronnie Mayanja, a board member of the EACC on the upcoming Conference that will be held in Dallas.

This year, the EACC will hold their annual conference from September 29th to October 1st 2016. The event will take place at the Sheraton Hotel located on 4801 LBJ FWY in Dallas, Texas under the theme “ACCELERATING GROWTH”. There will be focus on Tourism, Agro-Business and Infrastructure Investment Opportunities. http://eacc16.eachamber.com/

Source — VOA’s Africa 54 Interview.

NTV Video Interview | Prof. Mahmood Mamdani tells his side of the story on Stella Nyanzi controversy

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 06:18

NTV Report — Renowned academic Professor Mahmood Mamdani has set terms for any investigation into a brewing controversy within his PhD programme at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR).

On Monday Makerere University Vice Chancellor, John Ddumba Ssentamu called for an investigation into the events that led to a nude protest by Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a research fellow at MISR.

Mamdani, the director of the programme, told NTV’s Raymond Mujuni that his conditions are that Ddumba Ssentamu should be excluded from any investigations into the controversy at MISR due to his family ties with Dr Stella Nyanzi.

Prof. Mamdani also wants Nyanzi transferred from his programme before he can subject himself and the faculty to the investigation.

Source — NTV video

Daily Monitor | The story of three young women and why it’s Uganda, not Mulago, that needs saving By Daniel Kalinaki

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 06:36

A radiotherapy machine at Mulago hospital. Photo by Rachel Mabala

Rosemary Nankabirwa would have been 38 this year. A beautiful, driven young woman, she died a year ago this week of adrenocortical carcinoma, or cancer of the adrenal cortex. Caroline Atuhirwe, 29, is fighting throat and lung cancer. She can’t speak and feeds through a tube but she has a radiant smile and can still write and text.

Rosemary was in the news a year ago as relatives and friends passed around a hat to raise money to take her to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. The valiant effort to help her came too late. Caroline and her family are looking for $80,000 to take her to a hospital in the United States where they hope surgery and specialised treatment might save her life. Idah Nantaba, 36, is the junior state minister for Lands. I do not know what’s the matter with her but I know that Parliament has approved Shs100 million for her medical treatment, possibly abroad.

Rosemary, Caroline and Idah are three young Ugandan women bound together by the inevitability of disease but separated by the peculiarities of poor politics.  They are, at once, a collective face of a young nation, and at the same time, the semblance of its vulgar disparities. As a Member of Parliament, Ms Nantaba does not pay tax on her income (a matter we shall return to soon). Caroline does and Rosemary did. So, why does Caroline’s tax money go to pay for Ms Nantaba’s treatment while she and her family have to beg strangers for money?

I don’t wish to pick on Ms Nantaba; Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga is said to be convalescing in a South African hospital and many ministers and other privileged folk routinely have their medical bills picked up by the State. A few years ago the Uganda government admitted, at a retreat of ministers, no less, that it was spending $150 million per year on treating this privileged class, mostly abroad. Yet in 2012 Mulago National Referral Hospital had a total budget of less than $20 million.

If, therefore, it is not just a question of money, what could explain this anomaly (assuming, of course, that we agree it is an anomaly)? In October 2003 former MP Aggrey Awori revealed in Parliament that one of the President’s daughter had been flown to Germany in the presidential jet to deliver her baby. In a strong rejoinder, the President said he did not trust local doctors and could not therefore risk his daughter’s life in their hands.

The President was right, of course. Sixteen women die every day while giving birth in Uganda (it was higher a decade ago). And he was entitled to do the best for his daughter, as any parent would do – but he did not offer to pay back to the taxpayer what this private journey cost, and has not done so to-date. He saw it as his entitlement, as do many government officials. The list of government officials who don’t trust local doctors has only grown longer. Some local doctors, having since set up their own private hospitals, have since become a tad more acceptable to treat the odd bruise and cold, but you have not lived in power in Uganda if you don’t die in Morningside Hospital in Johannesburg or the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

Ironically, there is a high likelihood that if you will be seen by a Ugandan doctor in Kenya or South Africa, one of the many who fled the country under the Amin dictatorship and have found no reason to return home. The current debate on the Uganda Cancer Institute is a symptom of many bigger problems. It is the symptom of our failure to invest in facilities, yes, but it speaks a lot about the ‘arrivalism’ of the political class. Wasn’t the President at the forefront of the openness campaign against HIV/Aids? Isn’t Uganda still credited with dealing with successive Ebola epidemics with minimum casualties?

So why do we export our doctors, pay those who remain poorly, and invest more in equipment that kills than in that which heals?
The short answer is that over time, Caroline and others like you and me have become tenants in Uganda. State capture means that the country now has its owners, the landlords. If you are lucky and catch their eye, they might throw some money your way, for treatment or to have your remains returned, the way bank robbers will throw some notes in the air as they get away. Those who dare defiance are resisted and run over.

Desperate and stripped of pride, many Ugandans have become victims of their nationality, reduced to begging for alms rather than demanding for their rights. Last year it was Rosemary. Today it’s Caroline. Tomorrow it’ll be someone you know. Forget #SaveMulago; it is Uganda that needs saving.

Mr Kalinaki is a Ugandan journalist based in Nairobi. dkalinaki@ke.nationmedia.com. Twitter: @Kalinaki

Opinion | Response to Andrew Mwenda’s Uganda Election Diagnosis – Blame the Victim and the Messenger.

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 05:28

The ability of the Uganda government and journalists to define political narrative is gradually slipping out of their grasp which is evident in Andrew Mwenda’s desperate attempt to re-diagnose the tragedy of Uganda’s recently held elections. Mwenda sets out on a fishing expedition to justify the events that unfolded during the elections by systematically finding defects on the victim (opposition) while ambushing the messenger (social media).

Ugandans have in large numbers declared their independence from traditional media outlets and increasingly rely on social media. They are now able to receive raw data in real time and process it for themselves rather than depend on compromised enzymes to digest events on their behalf. It is ironic that Mwenda wages a war on social media which was the primary vessel for identifying election malpractice and incompetence of the Electoral Commission.

Andrew Mwenda’s article “How Museveni got 60% of the votes and Besigye won the election” was frankly an opening salvo for the case being made by the government to regulate, control and even shut down social media in Uganda. It was irresponsible journalism at work or to borrow a leaf from Mwenda’s philosophy, intellectual terrorism.

Andrew Mwenda lists a litany of symptoms that emanated from the social media disease. In fact he credits Besigye’s popularity on FDC‘s social media worker bees that fly and sting anyone with yellow petals. Mwenda appears to prefer a Uganda in which we trust the government and journalists to tell us the truth and provide a refined narrative on the state of our nation.

Social media while still in its infancy in Uganda has already had an impact by offering a platform for voiceless Ugandans and broken Mulago machines to be discovered and redeem the soul of our nation. Uganda is a country where a protest poster or gathering could land anyone behind bars depending on the mood of the police. News outlets and mainstream journalists have likewise often been harassed, intimidated and muzzled. Social media has eliminated the middle man and given the power back to the people.

Mwenda’s attack on social media offers a false choice by making the assumption that traditional media outlets would be more credible on a premise that the journey from collecting data towards publishing seeks the truth. However, he fails to acknowledge that media outlets including the Independent often have a spin zone with an agenda which could be as misleading as a case of Photoshop in social media. The New Vision is owned by the government and the editorial sieve often holds the facts to yield publications sympathetic to the Uganda Government.

Mwenda likewise overstates the ability of the opposition to master the social media landscape not only to mislead the public but to also create their own reality. I agree that in the era of open communication there cases of false information. However, it’s misleading to state that such occurrences were unique to the opposition in Uganda. There numerous documented cases of NRM propaganda and misinformation on social media during the campaign including a detailed design of the Kampala-Jinja express highway which did not only show traffic lanes counter to the driving patterns in Uganda but also displayed a photo of a highway from Poland. Uganda’s opposition doesn’t have a monopoly on social media misrepresentations as Mwenda suggests. It’s the abundance of rot in the Uganda government which goes viral whenever it comes out of the closet.

The most disturbing argument put forth by Mwenda feeds the narrative of dictatorship regimes that have embraced the tradition of shutting down social media during election cycles. The Orwellian state crack down on social media was coincidentally put to use in nations where Museveni and Nguesso of Congo wanted to extend their 30 and 32 years in power respectively. Mwenda argues that “Fake results can be announced even before closure of polling. Videos, photographs and documents showing rigging in progress can easily be manufactured to create a virtual reality of massive rigging. This would make it difficult to protect the integrity of the polling process.” Since social media is prevalent across the globe, why does it only threaten our elections in Uganda and not others?

The answer to this quagmire is the transformative effect social media has had in toppling dictatorships in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya among others. Social media has empowered people, provided leverage for citizens to hold leaders accountable and render governments more responsive. Social media has flashed a bright light in the dark crevices of rot that had been patched up with a Band-Aid. With social media, Ugandans no longer have to buy the truth. Besigye did not use social media to shape the public narrative. Social media for the first time was able to transfer Ugandans at the scene of injustice to be eye witnesses. The agitated bees are not only tired of collecting nectar from flowers with yellow petals, they are also demanding a new queen in the hive.

By Dr. Daniel Kawuma
Maryland (US)
busuu001@gmail.com

Opinion | The Last Word – How Museveni got 60% of the votes and Besigye won the election By Andrew Mwenda

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:27

The subject of who won the February 18 election seems to be settled among supporters of Dr. Kizza Besigye. They believe their candidate won.

I have also met supporters of President Yoweri Museveni who suspect Besigye’s claims to hold some water. When your opponent sows seeds of doubt among your supporters, then you know he is either right or has won the war of public perception.

There is a lot of evidence of electoral malpractice: the delay to deliver ballot papers in many parts of Kampala where Besigye had strong support, the way the EC announced results, the deployment of police and army around Kampala, alleged ballot stuffing, 100% voter turnout at some polling stations in Museveni’s home district, etc. Nowhere are claims of electoral theft more convincing than when they make use of (and abuse) obvious facts. However, proof of electoral malpractices alone does not mean the beneficiary would have lost without them.

Electoral fraud tends to favour the strong. It only increases their margins rather than creating their victory. That is why in spite of malpractices, Museveni lost in Gulu, Amuru, Lira, Kampala, Wakiso, Kasese, Tororo, Rukungiri, etc. However, electoral malpractices undermine public faith in the electoral process.

In a charged and distrustful political climate, they provide considerable grist to the opposition mill. Even without any malpractices on polling day, Besigye and his supporters would NEVER have accepted a Museveni victory.

The malpractices only added ammunition to justify their bias. To them Besigye won long before polling day, balloting was not about selecting a winner but recognising his victory. If balloting did not confirm Besigye’s victory, then it would have proved Museveni’s theft. And how did Besigye and his supporters arrive at the conclusion that they had won before polling? By “reading the national mood.”

This despite all opinion polls (including one by Besigye’s openly declared supporter and ally, Patrick Wakida of ResearchWorld International) showing Museveni winning in the first round by anything between 51% and 70% and Besigye trailing at 28% to 32%.

Besigye’s supporters claimed that there was a “fear factor.” But how could Besigye’s supporters have the courage to brave police harassment and walk long distances to attend his rallies, openly hand him money, goats and chicken at these rallies and even throw stones at the police but fear to tell pollsters what they were doing in public? The lesson is that people create their own reality. This is a result of the power of one’s communication.

Even before the election, Besigye’s much touted strength was questionable. His party fielded parliamentary candidates in only 201 of the 290 geographical constituencies, in only 61 out of 112 positions of womenMP, 43 out of 112 district chairpersons, 536 out of 1,403 sub county chairperson positions, 1,123 candidates against NRM’s 6,663 in sub county women councilors, 2,049 candidates against NRM’s 7,303 in sub county councilor positions – the list goes on and on.

That FDC was confident of victory in presidential elections without grassroots infrastructure defies imagination. Besigye’s claims of electoral fraud have been greatly helped by the actions of the EC, the police, UCC and the inactions (or inadequate actions) of NRM and Museveni. I will return to how Besigye tricked the state and induced its institutions like the EC, UCC and the police to aid his narrative. But for now let me focus on the inactions (or inadequate actions) of Museveni and his NRM.

From the beginning of the campaign, the Museveni team failed to appreciate the communication revolution that has taken place in Uganda since the last elections. In 2011 when the last presidential election was held, there were 940,000 Internet subscribers in Uganda. By end of 2015, this number is estimated to have reached 7.1m driven largely by mobile Internet subscriptions that have grown by 700% from 850,000 in 2011 to 6.8 million by end of 2015.

As a result, Internet users have grown by 155% from 4.7 million about 12 million. Loosely translated, it means the addressable population for any communicator, marketer or election strategist, has grown. With a voter register of 15.3 million, Uganda is rapidly moving towards universal access to social media.

Now just think about this: an online population of 12 million people is greater than the population of Uganda’s 12 most populous districts (Wakiso, Kampala, Kibaale, Arua, Kasese, Mubende, Mukono, Hoima, Kabale, Tororo, Rakai and Iganga) who combined have a population of 10 million.

Secondly, the Uganda All Media Products Survey research released by Ipsos in 2013, on Internet usage shows that 66%Ugandans reported using the Internet (33% several times a day and additional 33% two to three times a week). In addition, 39% reported spending 1-3 hours on every visit, while 52% reported spending between 15 minutes to one hour on every visit. That was three years ago, a lot has since changed.

Ugandans are spending more time online. In the same study, 53% reported using the Internet mainly for emails, 50% on social media. Those aged 18-29 reported more social media activity than any other age group. In the study 85% reported Facebook being the most dominant social media platform used, 32%Google+ and 29% twitter. Whoever seeks to win the attention of this voter segment needs to learn online marketing. Hence management of online audiences has become a game changer for anyone seeking to sell a product, a candidate or an idea.

The 18-29 voters’ segment in urban and peri urban areas is one where Besigye has the strongest appeal.

This is why his supporters were able to take control of social media, a platform that allows multiplication and amplification of messages on unprecedented scale. Museveni supporters are largely the rural poor who participate less on social media and therefore contribute less to public discourse.

Social media allows people to built networks with virtual friends, form chat groups and attract audiences through which they can manufacture their own truth. To the prepared and/or passionate, social media allows one’s opponents to takeover his platforms and use them to their advantage.

For example, Museveni has the largest following on social media – both Twitter and Facebook. But this worked in favour of Besigye. How? Whenever Museveni posted something on his Facebook page, Besigye supporters would flood it like a swarm of bees posting criticism and grotesque insults of the president.

Museveni would have done himself better by closing down his social media. But solution. If you cannot brand yourself, your enemies will. If you close your Facebook page, your enemies will create a proxy one. As I write this article, Museveni’s pages are still dominated by content from his enemies.

Research shows that when you mix people with opposing ideas together in a forum, they tend to moderate each other. Hence most people move from their extreme views towards the center.

The reverse works when you put people with similar views into one forum. They tend to reinforce their biases and thereby moving many people to the extreme of their view. Social media has this effect. Most human beings visiting social media sites look for ideas that agree with their own.

Because social media creates virtual communities of like-minded people, it tends to reinforce shared views leading to radicalisation. We are seeing this process across Western Europe and NorthAmerica where the extremists on the right and left are the ones gaining ascendency – call it the “Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Effect”.

This is forcing previously moderate politicians to dash to the extremes of their parties in order to remain relevant.

Today when someone posts on Twitter or Facebook a message critical of Besigye, his army of fanatics flood it with hundreds of accusations, labels and insults. This creates a feeling of mass support – but the comments will be by 100 angry people. Yet many Museveni supporters have withdrawn from social media feeling the world is against their man. Many others I meet have created proxy accounts in order to protect their real identity from being flooded with hundreds of impassioned insults and accusations.

Having chased Museveni supporters off social media, the Besigye machine created a virtual community of like-minded people who convinced themselves that they represented the whole of Uganda.

Every big Besigye rally would be posted on Facebook andWhatsapp and reproduced thousands of times, a factor that made it look like they were tens of thousands of rallies. This highly effective, self-organised campaign created an electoral psychology that Besigye had won the election even before balloting began.

NRM’s inability to stem the growth of this insurgency on social media was not due to poor appreciation of the danger but a paralysis in decision-making. Hardly anyone inside NRM understood how to respond to this challenge.

The President was advised in advance about the dangers of the opposition taking control of social media. But he found it difficult to make a quick and decisive decision because he was being bombarded with many solutions demanding money and he was unsure which was genuine.

Ultimately the Museveni campaign response was weak, the strategy adopted inadequate to meet the challenge, and the efforts scattered. Thus, Besigye’s supporters retained overwhelming control of social media.

This created a danger. Social media is susceptible to misrepresentations, forgeries and lies especially in the hands of highly impassioned and creative groups. Fake results can be announced even before closure of polling. Videos, photographs and documents showing rigging in progress can easily be manufactured to create a virtual reality of massive rigging. This would make it difficult to protect the integrity of the polling process.

The inability of the NRM and the state to effectively participate in social media conversations and debates led to an inevitable fatal error – its shutdown during polling. Many people may never know (or agree) that the primary aim of shutting down social media was to protect the integrity of the polling process.

Opposition activists had begun producing stage-managed videos and photo-shopped pictures showing massive rigging underway. There was even a hashtag on Twitter called “rigging in progress” where evidence of ballot stuffing was being manufactured using modern software to create an alternative reality.

Besigye had very little organisational infrastructure to give him victory. But social media amplified his voice and allowed easy mobilisation of his supporters.

For the first time, Museveni’s monopoly of traditional media (which he has attained through state control, intimidation, and bribery) was outcompeted by Besigye’s control of social media, which his army of fanatics attained through verbal terrorism.

On the face of it, this was democracy at work: people’s multiple voices could be heard beyond the reach of state control. But there was also a risk: such lies and forgeries undermine democracy. The actions taken to protect the integrity of the polling process achieved the exact opposite. In the eyes of many, they were seen as aimed at rigging the vote in favor of Museveni.

And this was not an entirely wrong interpretation; many in Museveni’s camp were afraid of the pro Besigye mass hysteria online, mistaking if for mass support across the country. So they sought shelter in the state in order to rig. But rigging cannot work for the weak. They lost in Kampala and Wakiso in spite of delayed delivery of ballot papers.

In many ways it was a replay of December 10, 1980. Democratic Party officials saw their candidates across Buganda and Busoga trouncing UPC candidates by margins of nine to one.

This led them to believe stories that similar trouncing was happening across the country. Rumours began circulating of DP winning constituencies where polling was still under way and where UPC has winning by large margins. This state of affairs led Adoko Nekyon to call a press conference at DP headquarters and announce DP President Paul Ssemogerere’s victory.

DP supporters flooded Kampala streets and began jubilations. To protect the integrity of the polling process, Paulo Muwanga, who was the head of the interim government, issued a proclamation stopping anyone announcing results except him.

It also legalised the extension of voting to the next day. But Muwanga’s proclamation achieved the exact opposite i.e. it convinced everyone that Muwanga was rigging the election for UPC. Besigye knows the psychology of the state in Uganda under Museveni; its penchant for use of military and police hardware to enforce its will, especially in times of crisis; its reliance on financial as opposed to ideological incentives to secure compliance with its desires, a factor that floods it with many opportunists looking for a quick financial payoff thereby crowding out the more politically grounded supporters. But these actions undermine the legitimacy even of well-intentioned state actions.

Besigye’s supporters are inspired by their candidate and genuinely see him as a redeemer seeking to bring them deliverance from the grip of a corrupt, greedy and selfish “regime”. There is nothing more valuable in politics than faith in a higher goal that seems to stand above self-interest.

Therefore in the competition for public perception, Museveni’s paid handlers could not out talk and out post Besigye’s passionate believers on social media. We may never know the truths even if there was to be a vote recount. But we can infer from FDC’s lack of organisational presence in most of the country (NRM contested 10,656 positions unopposed) that it was unlikely for Besigye to beat Museveni. However, Besigye proved that you do not need actual votes to “win.” You can use social media to create a particular mindset; especially among your passionate supporters – that you won.

amwenda@independent.co.ug

This article was first published on April 4th in The Independent Magazine.

Editorial | Ugandan Diaspora News | April 2016 | The Petition That Was and The Future of Defiance Politics!

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 06:51

Fellow Ugandans,

Greetings from Boston. The news of a tumultuous election petition hearing in which the former Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi’s petition filed to annul the results of Feb 18th got dismissed and is now part of the public records that have entered our history books.

This particular petition, unlike the previous ones, enjoyed live media coverage and ended with a unanimous decision from all nine justices of the Supreme Court, upholding the election outcome in favor of the incumbent and therefore handing him a new five-year term. This decision, in my view, was a travesty of justice for an election that many found dogged by intimidation, voter bribery, biased State media and many other irregularities.

My learned friends celebrated a big win but I was also quick to remember the affidavit given on camera the day I interviewed retired Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro, a former Presidential candidate, who two days after the elections, when I asked if he accepted his defeat and the election outcome answered that, true, he lost, but in a system that saw ballot stuffing and state agents involved in paying voters contrary to the electoral laws of Uganda. See link for his take on the elections. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IquXkiYiU4

I was among those who thought the petition would be a foregone conclusion and that the Supreme Court would uphold the Feb 18th election result though the lack of dissenting judges equally surprised me.  I support Justice Kanyeihamba’s view that the justices could have looked at the other pieces of evidence and not just those adduced before the court. Public opinion was also quick to criticize the unanimity of the justices in their ruling in as much as the petitioner seemed ill prepared given the timelines presented. Of course the lawyers for all the respondents did well to defend their clients and had sworn affidavits from senior members government. But what we seemed to forget was how about the runner-up in this election that was placed under house arrest from the day the vote counting started and some of his agents that were arrested as they brought documented evidence of election malpractices at witnessed at various tally centers

It’s obvious in a republic like ours, he who enjoys the instruments of power determines justice. The lack of an environment that separates powers from the different arms of government and the appointing authority has greatly diminished the rule of law and compromised democracy in the country. From a monetized electoral process that saw one party outspend the others by about 27 billion shillings the issue of campaign finances will need to be addressed before the next election.

More recently a request for a supplementary budget of over 70 billion shilling to Statehouse by the comptroller was perhaps the proof we needed to see that the State and the NRM party are one and the same. The accounting officer while appearing before MPs told the Parliamentary committee that they had used up all the budgetary allocations during the elections to cover the four rallies held daily including not forgetting the Presidential cash donations.

What has bothered me about this modus operandi is the cash handouts that stretched beyond our borders when the President donated about $200,000 dollars to a school in Rwanda even as children had to study under trees in his own backyard. How does the regime begin to even convince the masses that they have our interests at heart when all we have seen are images of the President giving out large cash donations to his party faithfuls. How does Statehouse even account for this type of transactions or ensure that it reaches the intended beneficiaries.  http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/2645540/-/7j30bc/-/index.html

President Museveni’s legacy as an elder statesman will suffer greatly unless of course he uses this period to addresses some major concerns, such as reforming the electoral commission and takes steps to ensure the fair election of the leader that will hold office after him. After what electoral observers described as a marred electoral process , something I also witnessed first hand as my immediate family members were among those disenfranchised–denied the right to vote, an overhaul of the electoral commission is long overdue. After the clashes that followed the Kenyan violence of 2007 they set up a new independent electoral and boundary commission and that reduced the influence of the President in single handed appointing commissioners to supervise an election in which he was also a candidate.

With a still defiant opposition, the only way to end this impasse is to have a unity government–one that allows the opposition a seat at the table, since there is a general belief that the NRM party and its State functionaries denied other political parties a chance to compete in a free and fair environment.

To sum up the petition — ‘This cartoon couldn’t have said it better’

The other story dominating the election cycle has been the re-surfacing of Christopher Aine four months after he went missing. Speculation among some pundits has been rife as to whether he was a state mole on a spying mission or a genuine individual whose freedoms were indeed violated by the state.  I have spoken to one seasoned journalists who claim that Mbabazi was behind this disappearance, something I personally find difficult to believe, especially given Aine’s body language beside the President’s brother and comments following the interview with NTV (see link below). For a man who had a 20 million shilling bounty on his head, the police is yet to arrest or bring him in for questioning, unless, of course, I am missing something, but I think that somewhere, somehow, Ugandans have been taken for a ride, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/No-charges-for-Aine—police-/-/688334/3155092/-/15cqlao/-/index.htmlride.

On the health front the breakdown of the only cancer machine in the country, meant to serve nearly 40 million Ugandans, at Mulago Hospital and the debate that ensued has further exposed the poor state of affairs in the health sector especially and the dire state of our national referral hospital. Today just like it was with HIV-AIDS almost every Ugandan family has lost a loved one to cancer. However even attempts to address this mismanaged healthcare system have seen some of those working for the government openly clash on procedure to end the crisis.  http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/State-House–Mulago-boss-clash-over-hospital-decay/-/688334/3155062/-/a9u8i0z/-/index.html

There have been calls on social media to embark on a campaign to fund-raise for this equipment. How a nation of almost 40 million people can have just a single radiotherapy machine is a story for another day. Unless we embark on building institutions that encourage accountability at all levels we might not see much change after the rehabilitation of this main national referral hospital. It all starts with Uganda building strong institutions that will end the endemic corruption and nepotism that now permeates all facets of our government.

Equally disturbing is the type and quality of opposition we see today. It is incumbent that we as Ugandans demand leadership that has the will to fight for every Uganda.  Some of today’s biggest noisemakers have been the creation of police due to the many running battles with the law.  It would be interesting to know what if any were some of the achievements or pieces of legislation some of the opposition candidates passed in the last parliament.  It is said that change is good, but going from what to what? We need to revisit this question and evaluate the so-called opposition legislators we have today in order to avoid those who see this as a new opportunity to collect hefty allowances. Whatever happened to the elites that formed part of the seasoned political debates of the late 1960s.

In my analysis we had three types of voters– those who said that they would vote the old man with the hat because they did not see a formidable opposition. And then there were those who voted the opposition because they were simply tired of more of the same. And of course don’t forget those who never voted because to them there lacked a credible candidate or simply because they were rigged out by the new registration requirements that prevented them from participating in the process. As we head for 2021 the opposition needs to go back to the drawing board, especially since their failure to unite during the elections did not help their chances.

Let the Washington Post editorial be the latest reminder to the regime that the international community is now watching Uganda quite closely. Arresting politicians under the guise of preventive arrests or public management order laws is also getting supporters of those who feel let down by this political process agitated.  It is incumbent that reforms are instituted sooner rather than later to allow for a free and fair political dispensation. Otherwise it will be sad to see us go the Qaddafi way where his collapse meant that Libya was buried with him. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2016/04/11/washington-post-editorial-view-its-time-for-the-u-s-to-rethink-its-approach-to-uganda/

Finally the American Presidential race has now witnessed some of the longest primaries in decades. On the Republican side we have Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich still at it for the presumptive nominee. It is now clear that the Republican establishment is pushing for a contested convention in Ohio. On the Democratic side Sen.Hillary Clinton is facing the ghosts of 2008 all over again, this time in form of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will not go away without a fight. Hillary has been suffering from trust issues that have dogged her political career, whereas others point to the politics of entitlement, since the Clintons were in the White House for 8 years. The democrat socialist has has not slowed down since the super Tuesday fever ended. Clinton still has enough super delegates to cross the finishing line however the two big races will be New York and California, two of the most populous states, thus having a large number of delegates.

Hillary sacrificed Wisconsin to concentrate on New York where she and her support base have been “feeling the Bern” lately. But to some of us in support Bernie Sanders his message of repealing student loans and increasing the minimum wage are key issues that some feel we need to address. Obama promised to tax the wealthy, and although this did not happen, he brought us the Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare”. So we wait as we draw closer to what will be a very interesting election in November.

Here is our monthly quote — “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people,” — William Adama

— Ronnie Mayanja Ugandan Diaspora News | www.ugandandiasporanews.com | Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | www.ugandandiaspora.com | US | +1-978-235-2459 | UG +256-773-212-007 | +256- 794-999-898 | Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja | http://www.linkedin.com/in/ronniemayanja

Opinion |“I am America” – And so what? By Tumusiime K. Deo

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 16:30

Kampala, Uganda 13/4/2016:  When we were little children, we were often warned not to play with fire. If we did not listen, two things were bound to happen; either we would get burnt, or the fire went out of hand and got wild, burning everything around us. If we got burnt, we learnt our lesson the hard way, but it the fire got wild, it appeared fun to watch and sometimes we’d try again in future! I personally watched a fire go wild, burning away a vast bush in my village some day. That little flame, once it spreads, can have devastating effect that is too laborious to halt or stop altogether.

I recently listened to the American Ambassador Madam Deborah Malac as she passionately rubbished the just-concluded Uganda Presidential elections. She spoke with such fervor that one would think she’s the mother of this landlocked African nation. She spoke with total disregard of even the ruling of the Supreme Court of the land as if the world should only take her word as gospel truth. She spoke as if she cares about Uganda more than Ugandans themselves. Yet even if she’s only been in Uganda for a few months, Ambassador Malac’s comments about the country’s electoral process were utterly inexcusable.

If I were in America making Ambassador Malac’s statements anywhere say in the small state of Illinois, I am sure I would have been welcomed with a chorus sounding like, “Who the hell do you think you are?” For one thing I know about Americans, they don’t give a damn. But being that Ugandans are known for their meekness, and considering that deep inside the Ambassador’s heart she could have silently been buoyed by the bullish feeling of “I am America”, allow me politely ask…And so what? This is Uganda, not America.

Yes, the Ambassador acted to me like our childhood story about fire which I carefully used to open this article. On one hand you have a people that went to the polls, cast their vote and a winning candidate is declared. You have the same people recovering from the hectic election campaigns, currently going about their businesses. And on the other hand you have an American Ambassador, lighting a deadly fire discrediting the election as a sham. Once this fire gets onto people’s minds, with the backing of the ever bloody U.S Dollar, the outcome will be bloodshed and poor Uganda will come down crumbling. Sadly this is the kind of grim picture that America has created everywhere it has intervened, an opportunity to showcase her military might and to prove to the world that they are the super powers… And so what?

Uganda is a sovereign country, and this sovereignty MUST be observed by whosoever wants to deal with Uganda in any way. We may not have taken enough strides to reach anywhere close to America, but the principle of non-interference in our domestic affairs is paramount, if we are to grow organically as a nation. America can bring in their Dollars if they have so much to spare, but the aid given for HIV/AIDS and support to NGO activities all over the place, should never be an excuse for putting the country at ransom. Who is America to insist on discrediting Uganda’s election when the entire bench of 9 Justices of the Supreme Court ruled that the outcome of the election was convincingly acceptable? Which candidate did America support anyway?

The Ambassador seemed to be too obsessed about the delayed voting in Kampala and Wakiso, but says who that that’s all about Uganda? She also cries about the closure of social media. Well, I was personally affected, but I could understand government’s action on this considering the likely negative outcomes of an uncontrolled medium of communication. As a media practitioner, I know so well that freedom of speech must be responsibly enjoyed, which many social media users are not doing. And then the Ambassador is also concerned about the arrests of FDC flag bearer Kizza Besigye. Were the Ambassador in Gen. Kale Kaihura’s shoes, would she simply watch on as a losing candidate gathers crowds in the city? Then she’ll talk of freedom of assembly in total disregard of the responsibility of the persons assembling to respect the set guidelines of the police. I find all this very unfortunate to the very least.

While I appreciate the need for a country to observe so-called human rights, these rights cannot always be seen from the eyes of the opposition and NGOs. It is not always necessarily true that ruling governments are rights violators and therefore should be fought. There’s got to be convincing reason adduced, which must pass the litmus test of national importance. People would want to believe that the elections were rigged and that the Electoral Commission displayed so much incompetence, but this must be of significant impact, which no one has been able to prove.

Of course, this is not to say that everything was perfect. Thankfully the Supreme Court justices pointed out clearly the areas they felt needed to be polished for the future, including the impact of incumbency in creating an unleveled field. But even in football, home teams usually have an unfair advantage over the visitors, though this has never created any guarantees as we’ve seen home teams including the great Manchester United losing on their own home tuff.  Perhaps on the African Continent, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari would know so well how possible it is to dislodge an incumbent without firing a single bullet. His opponent in the last elections, Goodluck Jonathan failed to live by his name and even with state apparatus at his disposal, he caved in and was beaten convincingly.  So it may not be true that Mr. Museveni is merely hanging onto power….what do you do if the man is still the people’s choice?

So my dear America should be at peace and let Ugandans handle their affairs the Ugandan way. This is how we do it.

By: Tumusiime K. Deo

International Communications Consultant

He can be reached at all times on the following coordinates:

Mobile: +256-785 783 554

Main E-mail account: tumusiimedeo@hotmail.com

Alt. deetum7@gmail.com, deo.tumusiime@gmail.com

Skype: deo.tumusiime1

Daily Monitor | URA takes over WBS TV management over Shs7billion tax liabilities

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 03:22

Wavah Broadcasting Service (WBS) television has been put on receivership after the privately-owned media company failed to clear tax liability amounting to Shs7.2billion. According to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the tax arrears have been accumulated over a 10-year period. A company going into receivership is usually the result of unpaid bills (in this case failure to pay taxes as required by law) which have been delinquent for far too long.

URA manager debt collection, Mr Abdul-Salaam Waiswa confirmed to the Daily Monitor that WBS has been put under receivership after failing to clear tax arrears amounting Shs7.2billion. Speaking in an interview Monday, he said: “We have not closed WBS but we have put it under receivership. This means that we have taken over the management of the station. And we have appointed Mr Kabito Karamagi, a lawyer, who will manage the company until such a time that the tax liability is cleared and the station is back on its footing.”

The Shs7.2billion, according to Mr Waiswa includes interest accumulated over a period of ten years. He said there has been attempt to clear the arrears over the years but the effort was not matching the rate at which the tax liability was accruing. And for that, following several engagements between the tax collectors and the proprietor of the television station, a decision to put it (WBS under) receivership rather than shutting it down was reached.

Source — The Daily Monitor

Washington Post Editorial View | It’s time for the U.S. to rethink its approach to Uganda

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 02:33

Washington Post — UGANDA is showing the world what electoral malfeasance can look like, more than a month after voters cast their ballots. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni won the country’s Feb. 18 elections amid widespread reports of voting irregularities, ballot-box stuffing and intimidation of opposition candidates.

Last Thursday, Uganda’s Supreme Court unsurprisingly rejected third-place finisher Amama Mbabazi’s official petition to challenge the election, claiming that there was insufficient evidence of irregularities that would have swayed the polling result. Opposition leader and second-place finisher Kizza Besigye, who has been under effective house arrest since the vote, was unable to file a formal challenge of the results. On Tuesday, he was once again arrested after leaving his house for the first time since he was forcibly detained.

As Mr. Museveni cruises toward his fifth term in office, marking his 30th year in power, it is time for the United States to seriously revisit its relationship with Uganda. Uganda has been touted as a key ally in Africa in the fight against the al-Shabab terrorist group, and contributed troops to peacekeeping efforts in South Sudan. The United States gives an estimated $750 million in aid to Uganda annually — an estimated $170 million of which goes to military assistance and cooperation. In the past 10 years, the United States has trained more troops from Uganda than from any other country in sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of Burundi.

Mr. Museveni, however, is making a mockery of President Obama’s call for good governance and democracy in Africa, or “strong institutions,” not “strongmen,” as he put it in a 2009 speech in Ghana. As aging autocrats such as Mr. Museveni use U.S.-bankrolled security forces to crack down on opposition candidates, journalists and peaceful protests, lavish security assistance from the United States may be helping to enable an environment of increasing repression in Uganda, and sending the message to other African nations that trampling on rights is permissible so long as the country remains a U.S. counterterrorism ally.

The United States has raised concerns. After the flawed vote, the State Department said that the Ugandan people “deserved better.” After last Thursday’s Supreme Court announcement, the United States called for a peaceful response to the decision, and added that “we hope that the government will now address the grievances voiced by its own people in the wake of these elections and take the necessary steps to enact reforms.”

But hopeful statements are not enough. There are fears that the 71-year-old leader might change the constitution’s presidential age limit of 75 to allow him to run again. Others are concerned that Mr. Museveni’s son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who has rapidly risen through the ranks of Uganda’s military, is being groomed to succeed his father. The United States reallocated aid and canceled a military exercise with Uganda in the wake of Uganda’s harsh anti-homosexuality bill in 2014 but has not publicly threatened to do the same in response to Uganda’s repression of nongovernmental organizations, crackdowns on journalists, attempted silencing of opposition leaders or tampering with elections. It’s plain for the world to see that democracy is backsliding in Uganda. It’s high time that the United States condition its support on tangible political reforms.

Source — Washington Post Editorial Board.

Exclusive NTV Video | Christopher Aine returns from the ‘dead’

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 03:33

Former head of Mr Amama Mbabazi’s security detail Christopher Aine has returned from the ‘dead’ months after he disappeared.

Standing meekly and looking apologetic, Mr Aine said in an exclusive interview with Daily Monitor’s sister TV Station NTV that he was hiding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and chose to disappear because he wanted to stay out of danger that lurked over him just after the Ntungamo clashes.

“I chose to step aside because of the situation at that time. I realized that for my life, I had to step aside to avoid more trouble,” he said. He added, “I have decided to return because I wanted to put an end to this. I thought this was the right time.”

Apologising to those he hurt by his disappearance, including Mr Mbabazi, Mr Aine said he wants to start his life afresh and feels he can no longer handle working in security.

“If I happen to meet anyone who wants to help me, I would tell them that I want to be free. I want to live my life as a free man going around with my business because I think I can no longer handle security work,” he said.

He added that he is open to working with Mr Mbabazi in case he has any work for him.

“He is mature person. We are the young ones. If he wants to me to do anything for him, I will do it. He, at least, has never told me that he no longer wants my services,” he said.

He gained a bit of weight and had an uncharacteristic mound of hair on his head in his debut appearance. He spoke in a relaxed manner and hardly looked into the camera.  He said he always wanted to return and tried to reach Police Chief kale Kayihura and failed.

“I thought about two people. My boss (Mbabazi) and Gen Kayihura thinking they would talk to people in government so that I come out but all it was not easy reaching out to them because I had left all my phones in m y house(in Kyanja),” he said.

Gen Saleh said he will keep Aine at his home and will lead negotiations with government to ensure that Aine regains total freedom.

“It’s good he is alive. It is good for his family and our family. He came to me because I am his father. We will do whatever it takes to ensure his life returns to normal,” he said.

However, it is not yet clear how Mr Aine, who had a Shs20m bounty on his whereabouts, could have entered and then live in neighbouring Tanzania without being noticed.

Mr Aine disappeared two days after the now infamous Ntungamo clashes where supporters allied to then candidate Yoweri Museveni clashed with Mr Mbabazi’s security team.

Source — NTV Video and Daily Monitor Report.

The Panama Papers – ICIJ | African Leaders and Their Relatives Named in Panama Papers

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 04/05/2016 - 06:30

Paris (AFP) – A nephew of South African President Jacob Zuma and the son of Ghana’s former president John Agyekum Kufuor were among African figures named in the Panama Papers trove of leaked tax documents.

Zuma’s nephew, Clive Khulubuse Zuma, is a cigar-chomping mining magnate who is thought to own up to 19 collectible cars.

The documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca show that Khulubuse Zuma was authorised to represent Caprikat Limited, one of two offshore companies that controversially acquired oil fields in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2010, as questions were raised about the acquisition, British Virgin Islands authorities ordered Mossack Fonseca to provide additional background information on Zuma. Later that year, Mossack Fonseca ended its relationship with the companies.

Zuma and representatives of the companies have rejected allegations of wrongdoing and claimed the oil deals are “quite attractive” to the DRC government.

Ghana’s former president John Agyekum Kufuor, who led the country from 2001 to 2009 is also implicated in the Panama Papers scandal

Also implicated is John Addo Kufuor, the eldest son of Ghana’s former president John Agyekum Kufuor, who led the country from 2001 to 2009.

A trained accountant, the younger Kufuor is said in the documents to have controlled a $75,000 bank account in Panama for his father and his mother that he ran through an offshore company. He did not respond to the ICIJ’s requests for comment.

The son of Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso also appears in the Mossack Fonseca files, in the 1990s.

Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso is said to have approached Mossack Fonseca about setting up a company based in the British Virgin Islands, called Phoenix Best Finance, according to the French daily Le Monde, which is one of the media partners for the release of the documents.

Sassou Nguesso told Le Monde he did not know the law firm and had no knowledge of Phoenix Best Finance.

The documents were first obtained by German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung a year ago, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and involving more than 100 publications from nearly 80 countries.

Source — The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — https://panamapapers.icij.org/

NTV | Supplementary Budget | Uganda State House Requests Additional Funding Shs. 70Bn

Uganda Diaspora - Sat, 04/02/2016 - 23:22

Parliament has learnt that State House is broke with little or no money to manage the travels of the president, four months to the close of the 2015/2016 financial year. State House is asking for 70 billion shillings as a supplementary budget to fund the the presidency.

State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe who is the accounting officer informed the parliamentary budget committee that the funds budgeted to be used up to June this were spent by the President during the presidential campaigns.

Source — NTV Uganda.

Judgement Day | Uganda Supreme Court Upholds Museveni Election Win, Mbabazi Petition Dismissed – Full Video Below

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 06:57

Unlike the 2001 and 2006 election petition rulings where some justices dissented, all the nine justices of the Supreme court unanimously agreed to have the 2016 election petition seeking to annul the recent presidential election dismissed.

The first respondent (Museveni) had prayed that court dismisses the petition with costs but delivering his ruling today morning, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe dismissed the petition (without costs) on the pretext that court had not been satisfied with the evidence submitted by the petitioner, Amama Mbabazi.

Although court noted incidences of non compliance on the part of the Electoral Commission especially in regards to late delivery of voting materials, court raised concerns that most of the petitioner’s grounds were based on hearsay and no credible evidence had been adduced before court.

Court dismissed calls for vote recount or annulment of the presidential election saying; that while court can’t uphold an illegitimate election, “court should not rush to tamper with results that reflect the free will of the majority”.

Katureebe further said that incidences of “non compliance were noted but court has not been convinced that the non compliance affected the results in a substantial manner”. Katureebe said “non compliance doesn’t make an election void”.

Katureebe said the petitioner, also, at submission of his petition claimed to have evidence of the election observers reports but these were never provided to court. In his petition, Mbabazi said that President Museveni was illegally nominated by the Electoral Commission because he had been nominated by the EC before he had been nominated by his own party, NRM contrary to electoral laws.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe delivers the Supreme court ruling today

Katureebe said basing on the submitted evidence and the rebuttal affidavits of Kasule Lumumba of the NRM secretary general, court found that Museveni had been duly nominated by the EC.

Court said the petitioner failed in his initial petition and even in the amended petition to show discrepancies between the declared and announced results despite claiming that he had evidence to that effect.

On the issue of declaring Museveni winner before results from all polling station were in, Katureebe says the law implores the Electoral Commission to declare results within 48 hours and, besides at the time of declaration, “Museveni was already a clear winner with over 50%” of the cast ballots and hence court found that EC flouted no laws in declaring Museveni the duly elected president.

Court however said the EC gave no satisfactory reasons as to why results from over 1,700 polling stations had not been submitted and tallied at the time of declaration. Katureebe said they also found it inexcusable and “gross incompetence” on the part of the EC to fail to deliver voting materials in time in some areas of Wakiso and Kampala districts.

Court said however, the petitioner had not submitted substantial evidence to prove that voters were disenfranchised by the late deliveries. On allegations that there were malfunctions of the bio-metric verification voter kits machines (BVVK) at some polling stations, court said whereas it found incidental evidence that the BVVKs had indeed malfunctioned, on whether this disenfranchised voters, court said the petitioner had failed to adduce any evidence to that effect. Court further said that the primary document used in the electoral process was the voters register and not the BVVKs.

The petitioner had submitted that the Electoral commission illegally retired the old national voters register and compiled a new one using data from National Voters registry – something he said had disenfranchised some voters, however court said the EC broke no law in the use of  National ID cards  to identify voters instead of the voters cards.

Source — NBS Television Video and The Observer Report.

Poll Petition | Where it all started, how it played out – Daily Monitor

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 04:05

Empty seats of the bench at the Supreme Court in Kampala. Photo by Eric Dominic Bukenya.

Kampala. As the clock ticked, the Dr Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi teams struggled with the idea of filing a joint petition. This possibility fell through at Lutete, on the road to Kasangati, when police stopped Mr Mbabazi and a team of Dr Besigye lawyers from proceeding to the FDC leader’s home for a petition-planning meeting. Frustrated, Dr Besigye’s lawyer, David Mpanga, took to twitter and said he would not be representing his client under the circumstances. This tweet was the first indication that the FDC team had decided not to go to court. Mr Mbabazi, however, kept everyone guessing. Up to the deadline, it was not clear he would petition.

At 5pm, the deadline, there was no petition. Then at five minutes past, Mr Severino Twinobusingye burst through the Supreme Court gates on foot. Mr Mbabazi’s lawyer had delivered the petition.  Time was of the essence and all the respondents, Mr Yoweri Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General, had to be served the petition in time. The bench had just 30 days to hear the case but not before a pre-hearing conference—where the parties would agree on the issues to argue.

March 7: 10am:
The gong sounds and the coram of nine justices, with Justice Faith Mwondha leading and Lillian Tibatwemwa-Ekirikubinza at the rear, sweep into the courtroom in single file. The Deputy Attorney General, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana, in his role as head of the Bar, introduced counsel from all sides to the Bench.

On Mr Mbabazi’s team was Mr Mohmed Mbabazi as lead counsel. He was to be helped by Mr Twinobusingye, Mr Asuman Basalirwa, Mr Michael Akampurira and Mr Jude Byamukama. It was a small team, not the 60 lawyers that had earlier been talked about in the media. On Mr Museveni’s team was Mr Didas Nkurunziza as lead counsel assisted by Mr Peter Kabatsi, Mr Joseph Matsiko, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Mr Ebert Byenkya and Mr Edwin Karugire. Most of the other lawyers took the back seats in court and only observed the proceedings.

The Electoral Commission (EC) was led by lawyer Enos Tumusiime. He was, among others, helped by Mr Okello Oryem, Mr Enoch Barata, Mr Elison Karuhanga and Mr McDusman Kabega.  The Rukutana team did all the arguing for the third respondent, the Attorney General.  The application by the Mbabazi team to amend the petition took both the Bench and the respondents’ counsel by surprise. After a detailed justification and apologising to court for the surprise, the petitioners succeeded in the application. It was back to square one. The respondents had to be served afresh and another date had to be set for the pre-hearing.

March 10: 10am:
It was a full court. Same representation on all sides. two new applications had been filed. Makerere University law professors and civil society had applied to be amici curiae or friends of court. Court heard their arguments before setting the ruling for Monday, March 14— the academicians were admitted but civil society were not as lucky. At the end of the prehearing conference, all the sides agreed on six issues to interrogate. The grounds were set and the lawyers were ready to go into the arguments.

March 14 10am:
EC chairman Badru Kiggundu arrived at the court with his entire top management team, and as everyone waited for court to start, he shook hands with whoever moved towards him. He came, just in case, they wanted him up in the witness stand. Indeed, Mr Mohmed Mbabazi did not wait a second; he called him up just as court started.

Throughout the cross-examination, Mr Kiggundu denied any wrong-doing by the Electoral Commission and skirted around any push to avail the biometric voters verification machines that were used during the election, saying they were still out in the field doing election work and therefore information about the presidential election couldn’t be retrieved for audit. The main hearing lasted only four days and Mr Kiggundu was the only witness who was cross-examined.

Mbabazi’s team had two days to make their case. Their attempt to seek for a window to submit more affidavits, reasoning that some of their evidence had been lost in a burglary of their lawyers’ chambers a day earlier was rejected by the Museveni team and the Bench ruled in their favour. =Each time Mr Mbabazi’s team made an accusation at the Bar, the Museveni team would ether rise up and ask for a supporting affidavit or they would ask that the allegation be thrown out or withdrawn for lack of supporting evidence.  Now, all the eyes are fixed on the nine justices of the highest court in the land led by Chief Justice Bart Katureebe. The day of reckoning is today.

The six issues to interrogate in court

(1) Whether there was non-compliance with provisions of the Presidential Elections Act and the Electoral Commission Act in the conduct of the 2016 presidential election.
(2) Whether the said election was not conducted in compliance with the principles laid down in the provisions in the two Acts.
(3) Whether such non-compliance affected the presidential election results in a substantial manner
(4) Whether there were offences committed under the Presidential Elections Act by Museveni personally or with his knowledge and consent or approval.

(5) Whether it was right to include the Attorney General in the case as a party to the petition.
(6) Whether Mbabazi is entitled to any of the reliefs sought.
They also agreed on three facts
(1) That there was a presidential election conducted by the Electoral Commission on February 18.
(2) That on February 20, 2016, Mr Museveni was declared as validly elected president with 5,617,503 votes, representing 60.75 per cent of the valid votes and;
(3) That on the same day, Mr Mbabazi was declared to have polled 132,574 votes, representing 1.43 per cent of the valid votes.

Source — Daily Monitor.

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