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
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.
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.
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.
Death has robbed us yet again. George Alibaruho (Prof) passed away today. He has been a member of the Global Institute for Development Evidence – GIDE Advisory Council. He was a Professor of Economics/Dean, Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, Kabale University, Uganda. The late Prof. Alibaruho was a policy analyst with vast experience in Program and Institutional Development, Project Design and Analysis. He passed away to after living a full and fruitful life. He was also the father of Mr. Kwatsi Alibaruho the first African American flight Director at NASA.
About the Economist.
As Senior Independent Consultant, following retirement from the UN, worked with the former UN Undersecretary of the UN and Executive Secretary of UN ECA and other senior researchers and philanthropic foundations to conceptualize, design, and launch into operation the African Center for Economic Transformation, currently headquartered in Accra, Ghana.
As Senior and, subsequently, Principal Advisor, UN, working with the Executive Secretary and Senior Staff of the UN Economic Commission for Africa: helped conceptualize, develop and advise management on the substantive programmes of the Commission since early 1997. Helped conceptualize, design and support implementation of the partnership programmes that attracted extra- budgetary (non UN core) funding from bilateral and multilateral sources, including conceptualizing, developing and management (substantive and financial aspects) of the UN. Development Account- supported sub-programme of UN ECA, the establishment of the Africa Trade Policy Center financed by CIDA, the Young African Professionals Programme, the Knowledge Networking and Partnership Programme with Africa’s research and policy institutions and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Commission on HIV/AIDS, Governance Indicators Programme and its linkage with NEPAD and Statistical Capacity Building in ECA and Africa—through FASDEV. Was principal author of the capacity components of the Blair-sponsored Commission for Africa.
As Country and, subsequently, Senior Economist, World Bank: Designed and advised on implementation of economy-wide and sector adjustment programs in Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone; technical assistance projects for macroeconomic management in Sierra Leone, Fisheries Management Capacity Building Projects in Ghana, responsible for the economic analysis components; and supervision of World- Bank- supported multi-state integrated rural development projects in Nigeria. Was missions leader and principal author of country and sector economic reports in the respective countries.
As Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): Helped develop the global food production and consumption and balance profiles programme of IFPRI and co-authored some of the Institute’s publications in this area (Research Report No 10, 1978). As Research Fellow, University of Nairobi, Institute for Development Studies: Designed and supervised research in agriculture/rural development, including evaluation of multi-sector rural development programs and projects (SRDPs) in Kenya. Was author of several IDS published papers and Working papers.
As Principal Research Officer, East African Community Management Institute: Led team to help design and supervise performance improvement programs for the East African Community and its institutions as well as member states’ governments’ institutions. Designed and coordinated studies for background papers whose discussion at the 1976 “Symposium on the East African Community” formed the technical basis for review of the 1967 Treaty for East African Cooperation and its reformulation. Overall, George has extensive work and representational experience in West, Central and East Africa, Latin America, Asia and the USA, providing technical and advisory services as well as teaching, and training and mentoring up-coming professionals in a variety of environments and professionally interacting with people from diverse country and gender backgrounds, including those from knowledge organizations, NGOs, local and central governments and international institutions.
Rest in Peace – Prof. George Alibaruho it was a pleasure getting to know you.
Our condolences to Kwatsi and the entire Alibaruho family.
Charity | Lady Margaret Kenyatta, First Lady of Kenya and Mrs. Cindy McCain raise awareness of global healthcare Needs
SCNM sponsored the VIP reception where Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta and Event Chair Mrs. Cindy McCain joined the VIP guests of both Project C.U.R.E. and SCNM to kick off the First Ladies Initiative. This initiative helps raise awareness of global healthcare needs—particularly those in Kenya. Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta will work with Project C.U.R.E. to select healthcare facilities where the supplies and equipment are most needed in her country.
This fundraising initiative is projected to deliver more than $2 million in desperately needed medical relief to vulnerable communities in Kenya, and 100 percent of all funds raised will be committed to improving maternal and child health, as well as decreasing maternal mortality (the second leading cause of death in the country).
History of The Project.
Established in 2006, Project C.U.R.E.’s First Ladies Luncheon is a major fundraising event that helps showcase the humanitarian efforts of First Ladies from around the world. This annual event has resulted in the delivery of more than $17 million in medical relief to developing countries.
Source — The C.U.R.E Project, Beyond The Zero Campaign and Agencies.
On law and the state
Luke 20:46/47 ” Be on your guard against the teachers of the Law, who like to walk about in long robes and love to be greeted with respect in the market place…Their punishment will be all the worse!”
If you are one of those who have marked the day of the Supreme Court of Uganda ruling in the Matter of Amama Mbabazi vs Yoweri K. Museveni & 2 others, you have probably picked a side in the matter. You would not be alone.
Between the yellow shirts, blue shirts and now black shirts there is not much variety of opinion on any verdict that the court will pronounce. The most middle of the line contributions that I have read are contained in the brief of the Makerere law school dons, which are worth a separate comment later. Here are some of my observations about how you might approach the ruling – and commit to more than supporting your side in this matter.
Don’t be quick to judge the Court
There are more sides in a ruling than the parties before the court. Keep this in mind when asking what impact the ruling will have. It is important to remember that courts are severely limited. They often do not speak for the public but respond in the narrow legal sense to what the parties before them have demanded. A court such as the SCOU (Supreme Court of Uganda) like any other tribunal limited by the facts before it, the parties to the dispute, how the issues have been framed, the quality of the arguments as represented by the lawyers involved, as well as the composition and inclination of the bench itself. The courts are not free of these shortcomings. To the extent that the facts are never complete a decision that follows no matter how meticulously considered shall itself be incomplete. It is like going to a doctor’s appointment and they have to rely on your stool to figure out what is causing the near fatal fevers you are periodically suffering. A better sense of the mess you are in may be better arrived at by blood work and other tissue examination coupled with an appraisal of your lifestyle and previous medical records. Since they are unavailable to the doctor, his or her conclusions will only be indicative. However much you want the court’s final decision to sum up what is wrong with the political process and the election, you must do so with these reservations. So when we talk about judicial impartiality it is moot, as lawyers say. Instead what we are insinuating is that while the courts cannot be impartial – they must try to be independent.
Be conscious of the real majority in an election- those who didn’t vote
It is tempting to think the world of the ruling revolves around you and your political choice. It does not. In the same way the court is limited so often is the very idea of your partisanship. People wake up and think the world is yellow or blue and nothing else. Free yourself from this color blindness by setting the ruling on a bigger stage. As with the first point remember that your knowledge of what transpired in the election is greater than what was argued before the court. So judge the ruling not so much for what was included but also mostly for what was excluded from the case. These include the simple fact that while approximately 10 million people voted, the recently released National Census says Uganda has over 35 million citizens. How are the interests of the silent majority who are also protected by the constitution, the courts and the law represented in your view of the courts final ruling?
Uganda is de jure a parliamentary system – not presidential one.
In October or thereabouts the Electoral Commission projected that the 2016 election cycle would conclude with the election of over 1700 officials. The figure itself is embarrassing. Uganda’s political class is close to 2 million people in total. Despite this over representation most commentators are likely to focus on the winner take all presidential system, a contest of mostly 3 main candidates. Since the election of 2006 when about 48% of incumbent MPs lost their seats, these races have shown that the promise of Uganda’s political system is in its legislative races. In 2011, 68% of sitting MPs fell and it may be worse in the 2016 race. A total of over 1600 people stood for these positions. When asking the judges to pronounce themselves on the quality of the elections over all – keep in mind these races and the primary elections before them. It is not especially intelligent to ask the court to return a ruling on the quality of the election that over turns the election for president if the same court is comfortable in sum with the multiple races. Personally I think the court lost an opportunity to order a recount of the presidential votes specifically – to be fair to the candidates in that race and not project its ruling on the entire electoral process itself.
Legal and political wins are related but not the same
For the common, especially urban Ugandan can be summed up not by what is happening in the Supreme Court but rather in Kasangati. This will not make legal sense. In fact it poses another limit to what the ruling can possibly achieve since it is obvious that a petitioner other than Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi may have been better suited to an argument for annulment. Instead the candidate most deserving of consideration, Dr. Besigye, is a petitioner in another room of the judiciary asking not to be declared president but allowed to resume his freedom as a citizen. In fact it does not matter how the court rules in the election petition itself since a more fundamental right is at stake here to which the justices are being asked to respond.
Law is the ideology of the state- and power
If you think of yourself as a minority discriminated against in this election- it’s worth also looking closely about marginalization of people, and issues in general. The departure point here is that what is lawful is not always what is right. In fact periodically societies revise their values and pass new laws. The courts can then go ahead and pronounce themselves on the new status. These struggles, outside the courtroom, generally favour the rich and powerful. To that extent law represents the values, ideas and interests of power. In some cases it takes generations to correct the harm that these systems do as in when they protect negative values such as racism, tribalism or sustain corrupt and authoritarian systems. The legal system serves this organised discrimination by sanctifying norms. In turn, unquestioning citizens may not always wake up to the realization that their reference for analysis is entombed in negative norms enforced by the legal system and the state. This is one of the reasons to try and also be free of the court decision. You can agree with it or not but should jealously guard your core values and your right to revisit them regardless of what is fashionable today. I can already see how some of the arguments put forth by academia and public intellectuals on this matter are entrusted to the sterile and sometimes moral vacuum of the courtroom. For example, some have argued, that the SCOU cannot annul an election because it has not done so in the past. In so doing they simultaneously support the position that the court should dismiss this petition.
In conclusion, if you are going to claim that the court decision is predictable and in fact pre-programmed, kindly put a finger on your pulse to find out if you too are not pre-programmed yourself.
Source — Angelo Izama is a former Knight Fellow at Stanford University. Blog – www.angeloizama.com
The family of Mr. Mayanja E. Kasirye of Mukono Uganda announces the death of their son David Sekajja Kasirye who passed away Wednesday March 23rd 2016 at Beth Israel hospital in Boston after suffering kidney failure. The late David Sekajja Kasirye of was resided in Haverhill Massachusetts and worked as a radiologist at Lowell Hospital.
He was a husband to Lydia Mutyaba and a father of 3 children. Other siblings included Barbara Lugya, Stephen Kasirye and Paul Kasirye all long time members of our greater Ugandan community in Boston.
The late David Kasirye’s Vigil or Lumbe will be on Saturday March 26th in Haverhill. Address is 1005 Main St, MA 01830. The Funeral Service will be held on Saturday April 2nd @ St. Peters Church 129 Lexington St, Belmont MA. Viewing from 3p to 5p and the service will be held from 5p to 7p.
A Reception will follow FMI call Please contact — Babra Kasirye – 3512055155, Lydia Mutyaba – 7818599125 and Gerald – 6179662847. Plans are now underway to transport his body back to his ancestral home in Uganda.
Our condolences go out to the entire Kasirye family.
Many NRM officials are beginning to feel the heat from President Museveni’s ferocious demand for accountability for all election campaign funds.
Insider sources said President Museveni has issued an April ultimatum for all party officials to account for billions of shillings in campaign funds. Insider sources say the president handed down the ultimatum at the conclusion of the 10-day retreat for newly-elected NRM MPs at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) Kyankwanzi, over the weekend.
“As of now we don’t know how much was spent until the planned meeting after Easter when they [party leaders] will come with a comprehensive report and accountability,” an MP who declined to be named said.
Various sources at the retreat said while Museveni did not mention any names, he described such officials as “thieves who can no longer be trusted with anything” because at every station they are placed and tested, they steal, including stealing from their own party.
Some party officials interviewed declined to delve into how much the party spent on Museveni’s 5th term re-election campaign, but a report by an NGO; the Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) put Museveni’s expenditure for the months of November and December at Shs 27bn.
A source familiar with the inner workings of Museveni’s re-election campaign teams estimated that he spent at least Shs 1 billion a day on campaign- related activities. For the 90 days of the campaign, this would mean he spent at least Shs 90 billion.
A big chunk of this money, according to Dr Kenneth Omona, NRM’s deputy national treasurer, was not handled by the NRM secretariat but by other parallel groups that were set up to mobilize for Museveni.
“During the campaigns, there were many parallel teams each [with its own] budget. We [NRM secretariat] can only account for money that came through the secretariat,” Omona told The Observer on Tuesday.
Though Omona declined to disclose how much was given to the secretariat, a source said, the secretariat was given about Shs 80bn to cover the entire campaign period but it was spent within a month.
Omona said the secretariat officials who handled campaign funds have been given a time limit within which to account for the money they were given.
“We are collecting reports from all officers who were delegated to handle the money, and all those who misappropriated it will be held accountable,” Omona said.
He also said he was not aware that there were some party officials who diverted the money to private use. Rattled by their spending habits, Museveni is understood to have personally taken charge of the campaign expenditure in December.
He also assigned intelligence officers to investigate the party officials alleged to have touched this money. The unofficial investigation, according our sources, revealed that some officials had siphoned off some of this money and invested it in property.
We have been told that Museveni first got to know of the rampant theft of party funds when he gave one of his assistants Shs 500m and later sent an elderly woman to pick Shs 300m from the assistant.
Not knowing that the elderly woman was being used as bait, the assistant gave her Shs 100m but in the official’s accountability to Museveni, he indicated he had given her Shs 300m.
On the campaign trail, different service providers had threatened to go on a sit-down strike after months of non-payment. For instance, as the Museveni campaign approached Buganda, a firm contracted to entertain people threatened to withdraw its services until it was paid an outstanding bill totaling to hundreds of millions of shillings.
The president intervened and the firm was sorted. Some musicians had also threatened to withdraw from the trail after the party failed to pay their accumulated bills.
We understand that each musician earned Shs 2m per campaign rally which would add up to Shs 4m a day save for the likes of Bebe Cool and Chameleone who were bagging Shs 4m per rally.
In its budget, NRM planned to give each village Shs 500,000. Shs 250,000 was given during the party primaries (in September 2015) and the balance was remitted a few days to the February 18, election day.
Each of its 425 candidates for the direct parliamentary seats was entitled to Shs 25m while candidates for the district woman MP seats were each entitled to Shs 30m, the same amount meant for candidates for district chairpersons.
According to the deputy NRM spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, some of the flag bearers down to the LC-III level have not yet received their money.
“There is a general widespread complaint against some NRM people who received the money to pass it on to the intended recipients but they [officials] became dodgy with [the money] and diverted it to their private use,” Opondo said on Tuesday.
“Some villages have never received their share and that is why the first lady [Janet Museveni] said at Ngoma [government stock farm] that we [NRM] must have a known budget and must account,” Opondo added.
Source — The Uganda Observer
Diplomacy | Remarks By Amb. Samantha Powers U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations On Conflict Prevention in The Great Lakes Region Feature Uganda!
Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts in the Great Lakes Region
Thank you, Foreign Minister Chikoti, for being here today and for hosting this timely debate on an incredibly important set of issues. Let me also thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Commissioner Chergui, Special Envoy Djinnit, and Mr. Pillai of the World Bank, for your remarks and for your determined work across the Great Lakes region.
The Private Sector Investment Conference co-hosted by Special Envoy Djinnit’s office in Kinshasa last month spoke to the economic and security gains made across the region over the last decade. This progress is tenuous, fragile, and there is still a long way to go – but the trajectory over recent years has clearly been positive.
I would like to use my remarks to underscore the inextricable connection between democratic accountability, human rights, and the rule of law on the one hand, and economic progress and lasting stability and peace on the other. On the very same day that the investment conference began, a court in the Democratic Republic of Congo ruled on the case of six young activists – five men and a woman – who had been charged with attempting to incite civil disobedience. They had been arrested eight days earlier at a private home in Goma, at 4:30 in the morning, as they prepared banners for a general strike to protest potential election delays. One of the banners read: “In 2016, we won the Cup” – referring to the African Nations soccer championship – “we can also win democracy.” That was the banner. They were convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, a term reduced on appeal to six months.
The DRC is not the only country in the region where civil society is threatened, or where democratic processes are being deliberately undermined. This, unfortunately, has been the accelerating trend in recent months – evident at the top, where leaders make increasingly blatant power grabs to remain in office; and on the streets, where their governments close media outlets, arrest opposition members, intimidate civil society groups, and otherwise squeeze the political space available for competing views.
This widening disregard for democratic processes threatens to undermine the political, security, and developmental progress achieved over the last two decades, and it imperils the progress still to come. It defies the ability of citizens to freely choose their leaders and hold them accountable. It drives them into the streets or out of the country. It threatens to plunge communities back into the cycle of poverty and violence from which many are only now beginning to emerge.
Let me speak briefly to the situation in four countries where this trend is most pronounced, and where there is still time to change course.
The economic achievements of President Kagame’s Rwanda are well known, and rightly celebrated. Per capita income has doubled since the year 2000. Rwanda’s advances on the Human Development Index are greater than any other country in the world over the last 25 years. It has become a leader in international peacekeeping – in numbers as well as in performance, with its forces admired for their bravery and their commitment to civilian protection.
When one reflects on the horrors of the genocide that killed some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu 22 years ago next month, one sees the epic scale of the achievements by President Kagame and by the Rwandan people. The results on the ground for Rwandans are remarkable. Unfortunately, despite Rwanda’s progress on economic rights, on women’s rights – on so many development axes – its record on protecting and promoting civil and political rights is less impressive. The United States remains deeply committed to our partnership with Rwanda, but the continued absence of political space – the inability of individuals and journalists to discuss political affairs or report on issues of public concern – poses a serious risk to Rwanda’s future stability. Rwanda can achieve lasting peace and prosperity through a government centered on the principle of democratic accountability, not centered on any one single individual.
The same applies in Uganda. Uganda is a critical contributor to peace and security, especially through its longtime contribution to the AU force in Somalia. It is also a generous host to more than 500,000 refugees, providing the right to work and access to social services to refugees just like to Ugandan citizens. However, when it comes to democratic accountability, the run-up and aftermath to last month’s elections shows real issues. The government and its security forces detained opposition figures without legal justification, harassed their supporters, and intimidated the media. It passed legislation restricting the operations of NGOs, banning them from acting against the “interests of Uganda.” President Museveni’s actions contravene the rule of law and jeopardize Uganda’s democratic progress, threatening Uganda’s future stability and prosperity.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Kabila appears to be considering a similar path. His country remains one of the poorest in the world, but it has begun to see gains in democracy, stability, and economic growth; in 2014 its economy grew by 9.5 percent – 9.5 percent. Yet as President Kabila’s term nears its end, this fragile progress hangs in the balance. Continued development depends on further advances against armed groups and the extension of state authority – and, of course, it depends on free and fair presidential elections in November.
There is no credible reason that the DRC election would not occur on schedule. The national election commission said in January that it would need 18 months to update voter rolls; but election experts assure us that this can be done in six months. As the representative of a country that continues to debate its own electoral processes, I recognize that elections are not always perfect, and certainly not always easy, but fidelity to the constitution – not to mention long-term stability – means that they must occur on time.
Not only must ballots be cast, but individuals must be allowed to campaign for their preferred candidates and express their opinions freely. There is no excuse for the harassment and detention of peaceful activists and opposition leaders in the DRC, like the six activists I mentioned earlier, or the eighteen other members of the pro-democracy youth movement LUCHA who were detained last Tuesday and held for four days. Their offense was peacefully protesting the Supreme Court’s refusal to release two activists, Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, who were arrested a year ago and still have yet to receive a trial. It should go without saying that this is not the path to lasting stability. Fred, Yves, the Goma six, and all the other young people who have done nothing more than seek a better future for their country, should be released.
The government’s attempt to limit its cooperation with the UN peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, in order to force a reduction of troops is also concerning. Let us be clear: this Council should not allow peacekeeping missions to become pawns in political games. When blue helmets are deployed, they must be allowed to fulfill their mandate – in the DRC or anyplace else.
We need look no further than Burundi to see the dangers of pursuing personal power over the people’s interests. Burundi’s economy grew steadily for a decade, but contracted by an estimated 7 percent last year. President Nkurunziza’s decision to stay in office in defiance of the Arusha Accords and his crackdown on political opposition have swiftly undone the country’s progress of recent years. This is evident in the widespread reports of sexual violence, the more than 400 people who have been killed, the 250,000-plus who have fled the country, and the even-more challenging economic times that unfortunately lie ahead.
What remains to be seen is whether President Nkurunziza will take decisive action to correct course. Some of his government’s recent commitments are encouraging – but none have yet been matched by meaningful action. Of the 2,000 prisoners he pledged to free, just 158 have been released to date – and only 47 of those were political prisoners. Two of the five radio stations shuttered have been allowed to reopen – but that’s just two of the five – and one of those allowed to reopen is pro-government. We will welcome and support constructive steps when we see them, but rhetoric is not enough.
Let me conclude. The United States has historically been a strong partner of all four of these countries, as it has been for others in the region. These partnerships are not tied to any particular individual leader, but to the people in these countries. This has been evident in our longstanding aid programs, our efforts to encourage stability, and our commitment to institution building. It is evident too in our strong support for the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Trade in Minerals, which we hope will enable supply chain solutions that encourage the legitimate trade of natural resources.
All four of the leaders I’ve mentioned today have led their countries through extraordinarily difficult times. But the choices they make now will determine whether their countries’ gains are sustained, and how they themselves will be remembered decades from now. President Obama told an audience in Ethiopia last year, “Sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”
These nations are ready: if they are given the opportunities to fully participate in democratic processes, to hold their leaders accountable, to be subjected to and to benefit from the rule of law, they will not merely survive, they will prosper. Thank you.
Source — United States Mission to The United Nations official web page.
The Aftermath | Post Election Television Interview with FDC President Mugisha Muntu – Recorded 20th Feb On NBS Television
On February 20th Ronnie Mayanja and Charles Odongtho hosted FDC President Rtd. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu to discuss the 2016 Uganda Presidential Election Aftermath and the way forward for the Forum for Democratic Change.
With the Mbabazi Election Petition hearing now held and as we await the Supreme Court ruling we bring you the highlights from the hour long television interview with the FDC President on what was wrong with these elections. The interview first aired on 20th February 2016.
Source — NBS Television.
Evan Carmichael — He started his business with $20,000 that his wife and friend helped him raise. He is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes. He is the richest man in China and 18th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $29.7 billion. He’s Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.com, and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.
1. Get used to rejection 2. Keep your dream alive 3. Focus on culture 4. Ignore the #LittleMan 5.Get inspired 6. Stay focused 7. Have a good name 8. Customers are #1 9. Don’t complain, look for opportunities 10. Have passion
Source — Evan Carmichael – Believe!