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Rebel Fr Kibuuka ordains priests for breakaway rite

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 12:18

Before the charismatic Rev Fr Jacinto Kibuuka was suspended by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga in July, little was known about the Antiochian rite of the Catholic Church.

Now, this branch of Catholicism is gaining a foothold in Uganda, riding on the influence of priests that have fallen out with their bishops in the mainstream Roman Catholic Church.

On Saturday, this group of ‘rebel priests’, notably Kibuuka, Fr Deogratius Ssonko, Fr Vincent Byansi and Fr Bruno Muhindo joined Dr Tom Sibayirwa Kiiza, the presiding bishop of the Antiochian rite in Uganda, to ordain two new priests. The newly-ordained priests; Sylvester Rwakaikara Adyeeri and Joseph Nkumbya Birungi had remained at the rank of Deacon for several years, with their bishops reluctant to elevate them to priesthood.

The ordination ceremony took place at Mubende High School, located a few kilometres outside Mubende town. Until the Saturday event, the school fell under the jurisdiction of Kiyinda - Mityana Catholic diocese where Rwakaikara, its proprietor, held church responsibilities.

Father Kibuuka (L) with some of the newly-ordained priests and the Antioch leadership

On the eve of the ordination, the bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana, Anthony Zziwa, visited a nearby church, St Kizito sub-parish Namagongo, and cautioned Catholics against associating with the breakaway group. The school is now the seat of the Evangelical Orthodox Church (branch of Catholicism that follows the Antiochian rite).


Bishop Zziwa’s threat to deny sacraments to Christians seen at the event appears to have impacted on the turnout. By 10am, the scheduled time for the service, a handful of people had gathered at the venue. Others stood outside the school gate, looking on with curiosity. But people started gathering in numbers after identifying some of the nuns.

Confused locals could be heard debating whether the name Evangelical Orthodox Church suggested this “new religion” was associated with the Namungoona-based Uganda Orthodox Church. However, after the mass began, it became clear that the vestments, order of mass and other liturgical practices are not different from the practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

According to Fr Kibuuka, one of the key differences lies in the fact that the Antiochs don’t block anyone from taking holy communion so long as they are baptized Christians.

“We don’t discriminate; we don’t have it that the body and blood of Jesus is for only Catholics who meet certain conditions,” Kibuuka said.
“So long as one is a baptized Christian, whether a Catholic, Anglican or Pentecostal, they can receive holy communion, and the confession of sins we make at the beginning of mass is enough,” Kibuuka told the congregation at Mubende.

In this rite, priests are also allowed to marry.

“It is biblical to be married more than it is not to be married. Celibacy is a discipline that is only in the Roman rite...not marrying is not what makes a priest, but it is the calling from God,” Bishop Kiiza said.

Kiiza has been married to Reena Daurave since 2009. The rite also preaches against consumption of alcohol.


In his homily, Fr Kibuuka took time castigating his former bosses in the Roman Catholic Church whom he accused of persecuting some priests under their care.

“Many, including myself, have been innocently accused to the extent of concocting cases against us but we are grateful that Bishop Kiiza welcomed us, and counseled us,” Kibuuka said.

He ruled out the possibility of the break-away priests going back to the mainstream Catholic Church, telling the church leaders to repent instead of praying for their (rebel priests) return.

“They should repent for their evil acts, it is easy to dress as a priest but act differently. Holding a high priestly office is not enough when you have a bad heart and engaging in evil acts,” Kibuuka said.

“A priest should not be vindictive, a priest should encourage and give comfort to his flock other than harassing them and stealing from them,” he added.
Kibuuka accused Archbishop Lwanga of turning himself into a judge who determines the true believers.

“One of the 14 charges that were brought against me was that I was praying for non-Catholics. But who am I to judge anyone? Am I the one who created the Muslims, Anglicans and all the others? If Jesus prayed for the Pharisees and Gentiles, who are you to tell me not to pray for the non-Catholics?” Kibuuka said.

“We are one holy Catholic and apostolic church, we have the same sacraments, the only difference we have is that there is no discrimination here. If they deny you any sacraments, here we will administer them. If they refuse to pray for your dead, we will because it is not our duty to judge anyone,” Kibuuka said.

The two priests who were ordained went through Katigondo and Kinyamasika major seminaries but their journey to priesthood had stalled at the level of deacons, which is the last step. Rwakaikara had given up hope and eventually got married but remained committed to the church, while Birungi remained hopeful.

Fr Ssonko, formerly a lecturer at Ggaba National Major Seminary, presented the two deacons for ordination.

“After nine years of suffering and pain for no reason, I am happy to declare Rev Fr Joseph Birungi a duly-ordained priest of the Evangelical Orthodox Church,” Bishop Kiiza announced amid ululations.

Fr Ssonko was in turn declared bishop-elect during the event. Fr Kibuuka, a former confidant of Archbishop Lwanga, broke ranks in July after the two parties failed to agree on how to conduct his popular exorcism activities.

Gen Oketcho in jail over Shs 500m debts

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 12:10

Lt Gen Frederick Alexander Oketcho, a former director of External Security Organisation (ESO), is in Luzira prison for failing to pay debts amounting to more than Shs 500m.

Last Wednesday, Oketcho was sentenced to six months in jail by High court deputy registrar Muse Musimbi over failure to pay a Shs 30.7m debt in one case and Shs 285m in another.

Yesterday, he was picked from the prison and brought before another deputy registrar in charge of execution and bailiffs, Flavia Nassuna Matovu, who further imprisoned him for another six months for failing to pay another moneylender, Patel R Arvind, Shs 185m.

“You are hereby commanded, and take and receive the Said, into civil prison and keep Oketcho imprisoned therein for a period not exceeding six months or until the said Shs 185m has been fully settled under terms and provisions of section 43 of the Civil Procedure Act,” Matovu said.

Lt Gen Frederick Alexander Oketcho being decorated last year

The registrar, however, added that should the creditor Arvind fail to pay Oketcho Shs 3,000 daily for his feeding in prison, then the latter should be released. When The Observer briefly talked to Oketcho yesterday from the court cells, he said his debts stem from the failure by government to pay his pension and allowances he worked for during the February election.

He said he was only paid Shs 90m, leaving an unpaid balance of Shs 30m. According to friends, the general has since fallen sick in prison and is unhappy with President Museveni.

Ahmed Sserunjogi, a bailiff with Alain Auctioneers, told The Observer on October 31 that he and others arrested Oketcho last week. Oketcho, according to Sserunjogi, failed to pay their client Hadijah Kyakuwa’s debt. “He declared that he did not have any money with him at that time. Unfortunately, he has now fallen sick and he is admitted in the prison hospital,” Sserunjogi said.

According to Oketcho’s friend who declined to be named, his woes stem from the army’s delay to pay his retirement package and the money he worked for during the February 2016 presidential elections. Oketcho was promoted to lieutenant general and retired in August 2015 by President Museveni.

Oketcho is said to have worked closely with Tanga Odoi [chairman of NRM Electoral Commission] during the election period. For his work, Oketcho was supposed to be paid Shs 120m.

Another friend who identified himself as Francis Matovu said Oketcho’s residential house on Lubowa Crescent will soon be attached by a moneylender he only called Makesh over a debt of Shs 250m.

This is not the first time Oketcho is arrested over debts. He was arrested in 2012 and 2014 before the arrest of last week. A letter seen by The Observer yesterday was talking of a complaint Arvind early 2015. 

In reply, Maj Ronald Chemonges, a senior presidential advisor for political affairs, wrote to the former Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga asking him to settle Oketcho’s Arvind debt.

In this letter also copied to the then minister for presidency and KCCA Frank Tumwebaze, among others, Chemonges adds that government was preparing to pay Oketcho’s pension money.

Kayihura: cybercrime still a problem in Africa

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 12:02

The inspector general of police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has revealed that cybercrime and terrorism are still a very big challenge to African countries due to poor technology.

The police chief said this yesterday while opening a three-day East African Police Chiefs Cooperation (EAPCO) meeting at Serena hotel in Kampala. EAPECO sits annually and is attended by all police chiefs in East and Central Africa to discuss issues related to transnational crimes, such as cybercrime, terrorism, human trafficking among others.

The meeting was also attended by Gen Del Sette, the commander of the Italian Carabinieri (police force).

“Due to our poor technology methods, no single African country can fight cybercrime and terrorism because they are transnational crimes in nature,” he said, adding that Africa still faces problems of fighting crimes like human trafficking, and illegal drugs because they originate from Europe and the Middle East.

“If we don’t join our hands together, we can’t fight such transnational crimes,” Kayihura said.

East African Police Chiefs Cooperation (EAPCO) meeting at Serena

Kayihura asked Gen Sette to help link Africa to the rest of Europe and help in fighting these transnational crimes.

“We know Italy has got a huge experience in fighting these crimes and we want you to link Africa to the rest of Europe such that we can also have that experience in fighting the crimes,” he said.

Kayihura said Africa needs to share information, intelligence and training with Europe if they are to fight these transnational crimes. In his remarks, Gen Del Sette said Italy will strengthen relations with Africa on issues of common interest.

“We shall work together in all ways to fight crimes globally,” he said, adding that it is their role to fight crimes like terrorism globally.

Sette said Italy will help African countries in training police and military officers to fight transnational crimes. To strengthen security ties between Africa and Europe, Sette said the two continents will sign a memorandum of understanding next year during the Interpol meeting that will be held in Uganda. 

PLE exams start today

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 11:57
Uneb executive secretary Daniel Nokrach Odongo

Some 640,860 primary seven candidates are today expected to sit their primary leaving examinations (PLE) at 12,391 centres across the country.

While announcing the start of the exams, Dan Odongo, the Uneb executive secretary, said more girls have registered for the examinations than boys.
Uneb statistics indicate that out the 640,860 candidates, 329,346 are female.

“This is a very good development as we try to achieve gender parity at all levels of education,” he said at the Uneb offices in Ntinda yesterday.

Last year, 620,825 pupils registered for PLE, compared to 605,971 in 2014 and 582,085 in 2013. According to the timetable, candidates will sit for Mathematics and Social Studies and Religious Education today, while Integrated Science and English will be done on Thursday.

Odongo said this year’s exams will involve 114 district monitors and 9,216 scouts as well as unspecified number of security personnel. Meanwhile, the board will also closely monitor 16 schools whose results of 730 candidates were cancelled in the 2015 PLE examinations. St Kizito primary school in Mityana district has the highest number of cancelled results at 98.

It is followed by Nkoome PS in Buyende with 88, Igongwe PS in Kyenjojo (77) and Mirembe Public PS in Sembabule district with 73. Odongo told The Observer that the board has instituted measures with support from the police Field Force Unit to escort question papers from storage stations to sitting centres to curb cases of malpractice.

“All district officials handling the examinations must ensure this is done,” he said.

He added that where lunch is provided to candidates, it must be done within the compound of the sitting centres.

With Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) exams in their third week, Odongo said they are moving on smoothly and the board has not recorded shortages in question papers and answer booklets including cases of examination malpractices.

O-level candidates are expected to complete their exams on November 23 while A-level exams start on November 14 and end on December 6.

K’jong girl rejects forced marriage, lives her dream

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 09:51
Scholastica Arutiang narrates her ordeal

In 2014, the father of teenager Scholastica Arutiang refused to pay for her secondary school education and instead encouraged her to get married.

She was just 15 years. To his surprise, however, she flatly rejected the marriage proposals from Karimojong warriors. Two years down the road, Arutiang is yet to recover from the trauma she suffered for rebelling against her father’s orders but luckily, she is now a senior two student at Nadunget SS on the outskirts of Moroto town.

Arutiang’s ordeal started in 2013 after sitting her Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). The father insisted on her getting married because her elder sister set a bad precedent when she got pregnant while in senior two.

“He did not want to waste his money on me; so, the only option was to marry me off but I refused,” the 17-year-old said during an emotional interview with The Observer recently.

She recalls how the warriors made her life unbearable during her vacation. They visited her parents’ manyatta (as the Karimojong homestead is known) in Lokonrot village every day to coerce her into marriage.

To evade their persistent approaches, Arutiang used to run away from home in the guise of collecting firewood and hide in the wilderness. She would leave home as early as 6am and return in the evening.

“I was being pushed into an early marriage that I did not want because I have other future ambitions,” Arutiang, holding back tears, explained.

Her dream is to become a teacher and help many girls in Karamoja to get formal education. There are hundreds of adolescent girls who face similar challenges and drop out of school and end up in forced early marriages. Arutiang is lucky after a local non-government organization, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), offered to take her back to school last year.

Sarah Ajwang, who is the project manager in-charge of helping such vulnerable girls, says they have a limited budget because they rely on their donors to pay the girls’ school fees and provide other logistics.

For Arutiang, IRR pays Shs 250,000 for her tuition per term in the boarding section. Officials are worried that early marriages in Uganda are on the rise despite several government and civil society campaigns to eliminate the practice.

For instance, statistics on adolescent girls startlingly show that three million women in the country today were married before they were 18 years old, which is the age of consent.

Furthermore, one out of four teenage girls (approximately 700,000) are either child- mothers or pregnant. The other most prevalent form of abuse curtailing girl development is violence. According to a recent Unicef and ministry of Gender survey, violence against girls in schools is very high in Karamoja region.

Eight out 10 girls drop out of school because of violence, the survey showed. In Uganda, the picture becomes grimier with recent figures showing that only 32 percent (or 2.3 million out 7.3 million school-going girls) complete primary school.

In her remarks during the International Day of Girl Child celebrations held on October 11 at Moroto Boma grounds, Unicef representative in Uganda Aida Girma urged government and private stakeholders to make sure water and sanitation facilities are available for people.

Water scarcity or lack of water is one of the other major reasons holding back girls from pursuing formal education. In Karamoja, it is a norm that girls (and women) must fetch water and firewood while boys (and men) concentrate on grazing animals.

Girma said while Uganda has made significant progress in enacting laws and policy frameworks to address gender inequalities, there is need to increase investment in quality education and in the health of adolescent girls.

She noted that girls miss an average of 48 days in an academic year due to menstruation and this negatively impacts on their performance in the final examinations.

“Girls lag behind boys because they miss four days of school each month, which is 10 to 20 percent of the school days,” she said, appealing to authorities to start availing sanitary pads in schools.

At the end of the Girl Child day festivities in Moroto, officials from government, civil society and UN agencies endorsed six strategic priorities to help adolescent girls prosper and achieve their rights.

The priorities include providing access to quality education and healthcare and preventing violence, among others. The minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, who represented the First Lady as chief guest, assured stakeholders that government will not only strive to enforce laws to protect adolescent girls but will also increase investment in empowering them.

Museveni orders closure of Makerere University

Wed, 11/02/2016 - 04:48
President Museveni

President Museveni has today ordered for the immediate closure of of Uganda’s oldest and largest education institution, Makerere University.

In a directive, Museveni said the university will be closed “until further notice, in order to guarantee safety of persons and property”.

The president's decision comes after failed negotiations between Makerere University Council, management and the lecturers failed to yield fruits. The lecturers have been on strike since October 26 demanding payment of their eight-month salary incentive arrears amounting to Shs 28bn.

Yesterday Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) general assembly unanimously voted to maintain the on-going strike until the university clears their incentives. Makerere says they only have about Shs 4bn which belongs to their development partners and for research.

Students earlier today went on strike demanding that their lecturers should go back to class and teach. There were running battles between police and the military which had been heavily deployed at Makerere University since Monday.

At least 50 students were arrested amidst protests that saw cars vandalised, property damaged and looted in the Makerere University neighborhood.

The striking lecturers are demanding dissolving of the university council and management to pave way for investigations into the university's financial position.

Makerere lecturers vote to maintain strike

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 13:46

The Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) general assembly unanimously voted to maintain the on-going strike.

Lillian Mbabazi, a member of MUASA yesterday moved the motion to maintain the strike during the general assembly until the university clears their incentives for the last eight months.
Earlier, the chairman of the University Council, Eng Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, told the MUASA members that it had been agreed by the administration that the incentive would be paid whenever money was available in the university. Eng Wana-Etyem explained that currently, the university has only Shs 4 billion, which belongs to development partners and is also meant for research.

He appealed to staff that the university was in its 11th week and that students were going to clear all tuition by the 12th week.

"I appeal to you directly, that in spite of whatever you have seen, and heard please pick up your tools and go back to work. We will not solve your problem if the situation remains like this," Eng Wana-Etyem said.
He also appealed to the staff to accept that university clears the arrears for one month by November.

"I am going to ask management that by the end of November, they pay you at least a one month incentive. Please I understand your predicament that you're in," said the chairman attracting booing from the assembly. The lecturers demand arrears for the past eight months.  

Thomas Tayebwa, the Ruhinda North county member of parliament who heads the finance committee pleaded with the staff to end the strike in vain, saying government was willing to work with them.

"When we met the president, he told us that the incentive was not a statutory allowance and so government could not ask parliament to pass a supplementary budget."
Dr Chris Tuhairirwe, a lecturer from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) said both students and staff have been pushed to the wall because of the incompetent members of council and management.
"Everyone should not mistake the incentive to any other thing. This was an amalgamation of the 36 allowances put into one allowance called incentive. We cannot continue pleading with managers who cannot listen to us. Council has no will to solve our issues from what I have seen, "said Dr Tuhairirwe.
The meeting was also attended by the vice chancellor, Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu, university secretary Charles Barugahare, the deputy vice chancellor finance and administration Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
Shortly after the meeting, Jackson Mucunguzi, the Makerere police boss said police would take over the university, as there is anticipated chaos by students.

Heavy security deployment at the university to avert a possible student's strike

Meanwhile, students resolved last evening to stage massive demonstrations today morning to protest the failure by the administration to compel lecturers to teach them. During the MUASA general assembly, Roy Ssemboga, the Makerere University guild president, pleaded with the lecturers to resume teaching in vain. 

As a result, the Student Guild led by Ssemboga convened the Guild Council to chat a way forward. During the meeting, student leaders resolved to storm the main university building this morning to express their dissatisfaction since they have run out of options.

"We are in a tricky position now, we must do all we can to make sure the university doesn't close tomorrow. For everyone's information here, council will be sitting at 8:00am and I am informed that they might close the university. My appeal to you is that let us go mobilize our fellow students so that by 7:00 am, we are at the main building," Jothan Yamureebire Burobuto, the guild prime minister said.

The guild council moved a resolution supporting the motion to stage a demonstration. Shortly after, Ssemboga said he had received a phone call from the University Council chairman, Eng Wana-Etyem, saying President Museveni had issued a blank cheque to the university to clear their bills.

UCC bans ABS TV programmes over breach of guidelines

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 03:45

The Uganda Communications Commission has suspended three programmes aired by ABS Television. The programmes include; Kalondoozi, Nabawalanyi and Oluwombo Lw'abafumbo.

Kalondoozi, one of the flagship programmes on the TV station owned by embattled Pastor Augustine Yiga, is a mimic of Cheaters, a reality TV series produced in the United States.

The ABS TV version of the show involves lovers aided by the TV production crew to secretly spy on their partners through video surveillance.

The intention is to uncover their hidden lifestyles. However, most of the stories aired on the TV have uncovered infidelity and episodes that end in fists. There are also allegations that the show was acted and not reality as portrayed by the station.

A screenshot of Kalondozi

The other shows are covered with adult content which according to the commission is not suitable for broadcast.

The commission said in a statement issued this afternoon that the programmes are in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards set out in Section 31 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

The section bans the broadcast of programmes that contradict public morality, promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, have distorted facts and those that are likely to create public insecurity or violence.

The Uganda Communications Act 2013 also mandates the Uganda Communications Commission to set standards, monitor and enforce compliance relating to content.

IGG drops Makerere ‘fake’ degree investigations

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 03:34
IGG Irene Mulyagonja

The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja has dropped investigations into a case in which Makerere University is accused of irregularly promoting one of its staff.

Dr Robert Wamala has been under spotlight after one of the lecturers alleged that Wamala was irregularly awarded a doctoral degree and was unfairly appointed to head the School of Statistics.

In 2012, Wamala attained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Statistics after submitting his thesis on "A plausible cause of delayed completion of graduate studies at Makerere University Uganda." 

He was later elevated to dean. But both his doctoral degree award and appointment were challenged by Brian Musana, a lecturer at the School of Statistics.                    

In her letter dated October, and addressed to Makerere University academic registrar, the IGG said her office had lost interest in investigating the matter having found out that it was maliciously filed. Musaga, the complainant, filed a complaint in his September 15 letter to the IGG.

"It was further alleged that Mr Wamala Robert was extorting money from students to assist them in the completion of their studies and those unable to comply were denied the chance to sit their examinations," read part of the IGG's letter to the academic registrar.

The letter was received by the academic registrar on October 20, 2016.

"The Inspectorate of Government has conducted preliminary investigations into this matter and established that it doesn't merit our intervention," wrote Mulyagonja.

Section 19 (2) (b) of the Inspectorate of Government Act, 2002 provides that; "where the inspectorate is satisfied that the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith; the inspectorate may decline to conduct an investigation and accordingly inform the complainant in writing, but the inspectorate shall not be bound to give any reasons for the decision."

On September 21, S. Kasirye from the IGG's office introduced to Alfred Masikye Namoah the Makerere University academic registrar Racheal N. Nshemerirwe, an officer of the Inspectorate of Government mandated to carryout investigations into the matter.

However after a few days into the investigation, the IGG withdrew from the case saying it could not merit the IGG's intervention. Musaga an assistant lecturer at the School of Statistics in the college of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) had filed this complaint against the dean of the school which some university officials say was out of malice.

Musaga is currently on suspension from the university after being caught in office allegedly having sex with a student on May 30. It is from this saga that the university vice chancellor, Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu, commissioned a committee to investigate sex-for-marks related cases. Up to now, the university authorities have refused to speak out on the committee findings.

URN was not able to talk to Dr Robert Wamala, the Dean of the School of Statistics as he is reportedly out of the country.

Museveni gets 'hands-on' for Operation Wealth Creation

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 03:02

President Yoweri Museveni is currently camped at his farm in Kawumu in Luweero district to demonstrate to residents how to avert drought and hunger during dry spells.

Museveni has been in Luweero since Saturday last week. According to the press statement, the president began his day today at 9am with a trip to a pond within his gardens to fetch water on a bicycle for drip irrigation at his farm in Kawumu.

Museveni has in the past berated local leadership for failure to sensitise farmers on how to use plastic bottles to irrigate their crops during drought periods so as to sustain production.

At the 54th independence day celebrations in Luuka district earlier this month, Museveni said, with all the land in their possession, the locals were certainly poor by choice. He requested for land to show them how to get out of poverty using agriculture. He was subsquently given 10 acres of land to kick poverty out of the region.

Today, Museveni reportedly walked for about a 1 kilometer to fetch water to irrigate his garden of one acre of bananas, 400 coffee seedlings. He urged his technical staff to sensitize Ugandans on the process and importance of irrigation and mulching for better yields.

Museveni going to fetch water for irrigation

“You should develop a user-friendly manual that households can use to water, mulch and look after their crops better. This will help mitigate the harsh climate,” he said.

Museveni said his tour in Luweero was aimed at sensitizing the local communities on best practices to fight poverty. He also wanted to assess the impact of beneficiaries of seedlings under Operation Wealth Creation campaigns, the needs to the various communities and their challenges in order to find long-term solutions, the statement adds.

Museveni also made impromptu visits to various homes in Namayamba, Makulubita in Luwero district about 25km away. He visited the homes of Mzee John Ssalongo Nsubuga, Mzee Abbas Kasolo, Miiro Herbert and Samson Muwonge where he toured coffee plantations and some of the valleys that used to have swamps.

Museveni pushing his bicycle uphill to take water to the garden 

“Our aim is to ensure that every household has land and implements like seedlings for food and cash. After that we shall look at issues like access to water for production, including using solar pumps, community dams and fertilizers,” he said.

Museveni however said that he had noticed that most of the swamps in the district that farmers would have used for irrigation had dried up due to encroachment.

He urged local leaders to sensitise local farmers on the dangers of cultivating in swamps. He said government will invest in water dams that can provide water for production during dry spells.

URSB asks CIID to investigate missing Crane bank file

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 21:06

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has asked the criminal investigations and intelligence department (CIID) to investigate the disappearance of the Crane bank file from the registry.
The file, that contains the business details of Crane bank, which was taken over nearly two weeks ago, was discovered missing early last week. Reports suggest the file could have gone missing two weeks before Bank of Uganda (BOU) took over management of Crane bank for being under-capitalised.
The disappearance of the file, which contains the details of the shareholders of the troubled bank and its transaction details was discovered when the statutory managers of the bank wanted to access information on the bank's performance.
Sources say the BOU officials approached the chief executive officer of URSB, Bemanya Twebaze, who sent for the file in the registry. Their impatience grew and the full weight of what was afoot became clear when the file couldn't be traced after a two-hour search. URSB has an internal investigations team, which has been handling the highly sensitive matter.
On Friday, the investigators searched the homes of eight employees at the bureau's registry embroiled in the missing file scandal. The eight include the head of the registry, one Odokonyero who is reportedly on the verge of retirement. The searches reportedly bore no success.
The Kampala metropolitan police publicist, Emilian Kayima, says he is not aware of the disappearance of the Crane bank's missing file or any investigations into the matter.
The Directorate of the criminal investigations and intelligence department (CIID) could not confirm whether URSB has asked the department to take over the sensitive case. URN has, however, seen a letter from URSB to CIID asking it to take over the matter.
Sources say the CIID is likely to start investigations into the manner this week. News of the file's disappearance emerged early on Wednesday morning as workers arrived for work.
Hushed voices could be heard in the offices and corridors as the full weight of what was afoot started to be felt. A credible source, who requested anonymity because s/he is not authorized to speak on behalf of URSB, says there is utter shock at URSB.
Sources say some unidentified people approached the bureau to get some information from the Crane bank file, a strange occurrence because usually clients do not have such a privilege. It is reportedly in that process that the entire file vanished in thin air.
Crisis meetings have been taking place to determine who is culpable and how the file disappeared. Twebaze, the CEO of URSB has not commented as he could neither pick nor return our calls.
When contacted on the disappearance of the Crane bank file, the URSB senior public relations officer, Proscovia Nangobi, said URSB is currently carrying out an electronic document management system project which will fully automate all our records to ensure there is an e-registry in the next 9 months.

"This implies the teams working on the electronic document management system are heavily engaged and thus it might take a couple of days to access some files. This therefore means that we have not lost the file and there is no cause for alarm." Nangobi says URSB "will update you when the position changes."

Crane bank could not be reached for a comment. A business lawyer, Robert Kirunda, told URN that if it is true that the Crane bank file at URSB has disappeared then, as he put it, "it is severe with gross consequences".

Kirunda says any company's file at URSB is a public record of the company's dealings including annual reports, financial dealings including borrowings, third party transactions, shareholding status, land transactions, mortgage transactions and so much more.

According to Kirunda, it is at URSB that citizens can get easily and under the law get information on companies' dealings. Kirunda says the reported disappearance of the file at a time when Crane bank has been put under statutory management speaks volumes because the new management has to rely heavily on the bank's information at URSB.

According to Kirunda, the information at URSB could be vital in determining whether Crane bank gets sold, or is put under receivership or gets wound up. BOU took over management of Crane bank last week saying it was under-capitalized, meaning its operating capital was less than Shs 12.5bn. Ever since the takeover reports have emerged of how bad property and bad debt have crippled Uganda's third largest bank.

The Crane bank annual report for 2015 lists the shareholders as Sudhir Ruparelia having a controlling stake of 48.67 percent followed by a company, White Sapphire Limited with 47.33 percent shares. Other minority shareholders are Jitendra Sanghani with four percent and Tom Mugenga with 0.01 percent.

In 2014, Crane bank made a profit of 53 percent but that vanished in 2015 when it made huge losses, posting just over one billion Shillings in profits.

In the same year, the bank's then managing director, A. R. Kalan left the bank amidst reports that up to $18m had gone missing from the bank. Before its troubles came to the fore, Crane bank's total assets were Shs 1.8 trillion with deposits at Shs 1.3 trillion with loans at Shs 971bn. It also said it has over 500,000 clients.

PS Lukwago: Poison, intrigue got me out

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 13:08
Asuman Lukwago

In June, Dr Asuman Lukwago, the outgoing permanent secretary (PS) at the ministry of Health, wrote to the head of Public Service, John Mitala, informing him that he wouldn’t want his contract renewed.

Lukwago’s three-year contract expires in January next year.

“It is a personal decision, you know decisions are informed by a range of issues, some of which are well-known to you people in the media,” Lukwago told The Observer on Friday.

“I didn’t want to retire when I am 60. At 50 now, I’m still young and I am going to concentrate on my other personal businesses and to be with my family.”
Lukwago spoke after it emerged on Friday that President Museveni’s personal physician and head of State House health monitoring unit, Dr Diana Atwine, had been nominated to replace him.

Atwine’s name is among the eight designated permanent secretaries who, once cleared by relevant government organs, will be formally appointed by the president.

Lukwago has held the position since 2010, initially serving in acting capacity until 2013 when he became the substantive PS. However, his tenure at the ministry has not been smooth. He had fights with former minister Dr Christine Ondoa, and later the incumbent, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.

A week before news of Atwine’s nomination  broke, on October 21, Lukwago was interviewed on CBS FM’s Nze Nga Bwendaba (The way I see things) segment, and said his fights with various officials at the ministry was a result of his no-nonsense approach to corruption.

“There is too much corruption, especially in the procurement process and I warn whoever is taking over from me to be cautious, if she is to succeed; otherwise, if she attempts, they will fight to bring her down,” he said.

Lukwago’s reference to “she” suggests that he had an idea who was being lined up to replace him. Asked whether the in-fighting in the ministry had informed his decision to throw in the towel, Lukwago could not hide his frustration.

“If the people on two occasions made an attempt at taking your life, and then concoct cases against you; they are doing all that to create a reason for you to leave,” he said.

Reports of some people wanting to kill Lukwago first surfaced in May 2013 when he accused some police officers of masterminding the plot (See: Police accused of poisoning Health boss, The Observer, June 3, 2013).

At the time, Lukwago was also facing charges before the Anti-Corruption court relating to drug procurements by the National Medical Stores (NMS). The charges collapsed after Lukwago ably defended himself before President Museveni, according to our sources.

The intrigue and in-fighting at the top of the ministry escalated after Museveni elevated Jane Ruth Aceng from the position of director general of health services to full cabinet minister. Suddenly, in a twist of fate, Lukwago who had been Aceng’s supervisor, now had to report to her. However, Lukwago said Aceng’s appointment did not influence his decision not to seek a contract extension.

“I made up my mind in March and she was appointed three months later,” he said.

Some sources have linked him to an international job, but he couldn’t confirm that.

“I will go back to my clinical services, serve at any hospital because before coming to this job, I was in hospital treating people… probably I will also do some health-related projects,” Lukwago said.

In the CBS FM interview, Lukwago said his PS job is not well-paying and he is now considering working in the private sector.

“I am leaving as the poorest permanent secretary. You can’t do much with a salary of Shs 2.7m. With my expertise, I can take up a job elsewhere and plan for my retirement,” he said.


Since 2009, Dr Atwine has been the State House director of health monitoring. Said to be a relative of President Museveni, she previously worked as a senior researcher in HIV/Aids and infectious diseases at the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) for at least 10 years.

Her State House job has seen her clash with officials of the ministry of health across the country as she moved from district to district, health centre to health centre, trying to stop the theft of drugs in government health facilities and the appalling health service delivery.

In April, for instance, she accused Dr Lukwago of not doing enough to fight corruption in the ministry of health. She said this while appearing before parliament’s health committee. However, Lukwago hailed her nomination.

“If she is replacing me, then I think it’s the right decision because she is experienced in that field. She is the right person for the job,” he said.

Recently, Atwine also accused the Mulago hospital executive director, Dr Baterana Byarugaba, of turning the national health facility into a health centre IV that can barely treat malaria.

In August, Dr Atwine led Museveni to Nakawuka health centre III in Wakiso district, where the president summarily sacked all the health workers at the facility for poor performance.

Last week, she visited Mpigi district where she closed some health facilities and warned underperforming health workers. If she does take over as PS, however, her work will be mostly in the office, and not in the field. How she negotiates that change in roles could make the difference between success and failure.

Kato Lubwama: Here is my defence

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 13:02
Kato Lubwama

The preliminary hearing of the case in which the academic qualifications of Kato Lubwama, the Lubaga South MP, are being questioned starts today at the High court.

Ahead of the hearing, Lubwama contends that the case, filed by Habib Buwembo, a political activist, is dead on arrival. According to his defence which we have seen, Lubwama has capitalised on section 60 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, saying that the time it sets for filling electoral petitions cannot be extended by the High court.

The comedian-turned-politician wants the case which he describes as “incompetent” to be summarily dismissed.  

“It [the application] seeks to move court through a procedure which is not only alien but also analogous to the law and incompatible with the established modes of commencement of proceedings,” Lubwama’s defence reads in part.  

In his application, Buwembo blames his delay to file the electoral petition on what he calls the fraudulent concealment of vital information, breach of public trust and abuse or misuse of power, by several government agencies.

Buwembo says he  was neither aware of  Lubwama’s lack of the requisite qualifications nor in possession of the required proof of such allegations before the lapse of the 30-day period prescribed under section 60(3) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005 (as amended).

“It has taken the applicant nearly six months of protracted and extensive investigations since the gazetting of the 1st respondent’s [Lubwama] name as a duly-elected member of the 10th Parliament,” reads part of the application.

However, Lubwama has asked court to reject Buwembo’s reasons for delaying to file. He contends that there is no existence of such special circumstances warranting grant of extension of time within which to file the petition outside the 30 days.

“The justice of the case doesn’t warrant extension of time to file the petition out of time since the applicant has not come with clean hands nor did he explore or exhaust avenues under the law to resolve his complaint,” Lubwama says.

Buwembo has asked court not to be bogged down by technicalities.

“The impugned conduct of the respondents [Lubwama and Electoral Commission] raises a serious question of law of great importance to our nascent constitutional democracy whose adjudication should not be denied based on the technicality of time limits, to wit whether the first respondent [Lubwama] was validly elected a Member of Parliament,” argues Buwembo.


If Buwembo’s electoral petition is to be allowed, he will argue that the grades that Lubwama obtained at O-level were not sufficient for him to be awarded the certificate.

At O-level, Lubwama obtained F9 in Mathematics, English, Chemistry and Physics. He also got passes in History and Commerce and credits in Political Education, Geography and Christian Religious Education.

According to Uneb, the results enabled Lubwama get grade 7. Only candidates whose results fall within division one to four qualify to be given certificate and, therefore, can proceed to A-level or do other courses. Despite that, Lubwama says that the allegation that he failed O-level is figment of Buwembo’s own imagination.

“That on the basis of my O-level results and mature entry examinations administered by Makerere University,” Lubwama said.

“I applied and was admitted to undertake a diploma in Music, Dance and Drama which award I possess and which Makerere recognizes without any question or suspicion, the same has never been cancelled or been a subject of any investigation or query,” he said.

The burly legislator denies forging any document.

“…I have never forged, concealed or falsified my academic documents and as a person who has lived a public life, my documents have always been available to all and sundry for scrutiny and verification including the applicant….,” he argued. 

But Buwembo insists that through the mechanism of special entrance examinations for diploma programmes in 1992, Makerere University fraudulently or erroneously admitted Lubwama for the diploma in MDD.

According to Buwembo, this was wrong since Lubwama never possessed the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), an essential prerequisite for admission to the programme.

“That the academic registrar of Makerere University fraudulently or negligently failed to conduct due diligence inquiries to verify whether the first respondent [Lubwama] possessed the Uganda Certificate of Education, and thus abused his/her office by misleading the university that the 1st respondent had obtained admission to Makerere University legally and/or regularly through the mechanism of special entrance examinations for diploma programmes in 1992,” Buwembo said.

Buwembo further says that his lawyers received a letter from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) confirming that Lubwama did not submit to NCHE his so-called diploma in Music, Dance and Drama obtained from Makerere University in 1995 in order to have it assessed as to whether it is equivalent to advanced level education as required by law.

Meanwhile, security at the court today is expected to be tight after Buwembo’s lawyer Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde warned of looming violence. In a letter dated October, 27, 2016 to High court civil division registrar Alex Ajiji, Ssemakadde claims Lubwama and his “gang” or militia known as “SOLIDA” are ready to cause trouble to anyone who threatens the MP’s seat and “violently if need be.” 

Ssemakadde cites the August scenario were supporters of the Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura attacked Makindye chief magistrate’s court where he was due to be arraigned on charges of torture.

“We are constrained to register a serious concern that Monday’s hearing and related proceedings may be exploited by certain troublesome elements in the city to cause even greater mayhem and thereby degrade the judiciary,” the letter partly reads.

Ssemakadde says that as Buwembo’s counsel, he has already registered a complaint with Nateete police station vide SD Ref 25/20/10/2016.

“We cannot take the threat of violence at Monday’s hearing or other related proceedings lightly,” Ssemakadde wrote.
“In order to avoid a repeat of the contemptuous behaviour so far exhibited by certain mobs at various courts in the city this year, we call upon the management of the judiciary and Uganda police force to take extra precautions, including change of venue if necessary, to ensure safety and security of all court staff and court users during the pendency of this particular cause,” he added.

Buwembo wants Lubwama to be ejected out of parliament on grounds that he doesn’t have the minimum academic qualifications of a candidate for the post an MP during the recently-concluded general elections.  But Buwembo’s case faces the first handle of asking court to allow him file the petition out of time.

The case shall be heard by Justice Margret Oumo Oguli.

70% on Kabaka’s land have no titles

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:55

At least 70 per cent of people currently occupying land belonging to the Kabaka of Buganda have not yet registered with the Buganda Land Board as bibanja holders (tenants by occupancy), kingdom officials have disclosed.

In an interview with The Observer on October 24, the public relations officer for Buganda Land Board, Dennis Bugaya, said the lack of land titles is delaying development in Buganda and the whole country.

“Out of over one million people on Kabaka’s land, only 300,000 have registered as bibanja holders, and only 10,000 people registered to get leasehold land titles,” he said.

Bugaya added that the people on Kabaka’s land with leases have lease titles whose tenure ranges between five and  99 years.

“For undeveloped land, we lease it for five years. But when it’s developed, we lease it between 49 and 99 years to encourage development on land,” he said.

Bugaya spoke to The Observer  to contextualise comments made by the chief executive officer of Buganda Land Board (BLB), David Kiwalabye Male, during the launch of the ‘Funa Ekyapa loan’ campaign in Kampala early this month.

Buganda Land Board chief executive officer, David Kiwalabye Male (L), and the Bank of Africa managing director, Arthur Isiko, signed a memorandum of understanding on Funa Ekyapa loan

Buganda Land Board was set up by Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II to manage land and properties returned to the kingdom under the  Traditional Rulers (Restitution of Assets and Properties) Act of 1993. The land in question comprises 350 square miles spread all over Buganda kingdom.


Kiwalabye said most Ugandans have access to land but without land titles, which does not guarantee security of tenure.

“Land is not about saying awo wange (that place is mine). Land [ownership] is via documentation,” he said.

The Funa Ekyapa campaign, which Buganda Land Board is carrying out in conjunction with Bank of Africa Uganda, aims to register and issue titles to tenants on the Kabaka’s land who possess sale agreements.

Kiwalabye explained that most people in Buganda, especially bibanja holders, are poor because they have sold untitled land, yet with a land title, the value of the land would have increased by up to 100 times.

“If they had land titles, they would be getting mortgages for more development. People without land titles sell their land very cheaply and end up moving out of town,” he said.

Commenting on reports that the campaign is about getting people evicted, Kiwalabye said:

“People interested in short-term gains are creating a situation that we are evicting people. It’s not true. Those who are interested in the long-term gains of this country must ensure that these people are settled.”

When people are not sure of security of tenancy on land, Kiwalabye said, they can’t invest in long term development projects. He added that through the campaign, those who confirm ownership of their land are to get clearance letters that would enable them to access loans in Bank of Africa.

The head of retail banking at Bank of Africa, Steven Cwinya-Ai, said that in the past, kibanja holders were prone to land disputes due to undefined boundaries and the high cost of surveying services. This often stands in the way of access to credit, Cwinya-Ai said.

“Through the partnership, we shall give affordable financing to our customers holding bibanja to secure ownership of the land by acquiring titles,” he said.

Cwinya-Ai said customers will pay the loan in installments that fit individuals’ cash flows. The loans will be accessible in all Bank of Africa branches within the Buganda Land Board region.

The loan repayment period is two years for both individuals and institutions. According to Bank of Africa managing director Arthur Isiko, with the acquired leasehold titles as collateral, customers will be able to access even larger loan amounts to grow their business and meet personal financial needs.

NCHE vows to defend Sematimba’s appeal

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:46
Peter Sematimba

In the wake of the completion of hearing parliamentary election petitions by High court across the country, focus now turns to the Court of Appeal, which aims to dispose of all cases by January next year.

The High court nullified at least 95 elections of MPs. Prominent among the appeals is that of Peter Sematimba, the Busiro South MP, who was thrown out for lack of requisite academic qualifications. DP’s Stephen Sekigozi successfully challenged his election.

However, the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) has vowed to defend Sematimba, whom High court judge Lydia Mugambe found to be lacking an A-level equivalent and subsequently nullified his election and also slapped costs against NCHE for failing to properly evaluate the MP’s A-level equivalent certificate.

NCHE, through its legal department and Wagabaza & Co advocates, filed an independent appeal seeking to set aside the order of costs, among other things.

“The learned trial judge misdirected herself in law and fact in her determination of the mandate, duties, standard and rules applied by the appellant [NCHE] in equating Sematimba’s qualification thereby arriving at a wrong conclusion that the certificate of equivalence  issued to the appellant was invalid, illegitimate, and null and void,” the memorandum of appeal partly reads.

In his appeal, Sematimba argues that Justice Mugambe erred in her scrutiny of a certificate of equivalence issued by NCHE.

“The learned trial judge erred when she failed to properly evaluate the applicant’s evidence on record thereby arriving at a conclusion that the applicant [Sematimba]  didn’t bring evidence proving that he attended Pacific Coast Technical Institute and got awarded a diploma in electronic and computer technology,” Sematimba’s lawyers led by Renato Kania say.

Other appeals include that of Nansana municipality MP Wakayima Musoke Nsereko (DP) versus Robert Kasule Sebunya (NRM). Wakayima states that he is dissatisfied with the decision of Justice Vincent Okwanga, who ruled that the name Wakayima Musoke Nsereko, which he used for his nomination, does not appear on the voters’ register of Nansana municipality.

Justice Okwanga not only annulled Wakayima’s election but also ordered that Sebunya is the rightfully-elected MP.


Solomon Muyita, the judiciary’s communication officer, said all appeals will be heard by four panels of three judges on each bench.

“We have 14 justices at the court of appeal and these will distribute themselves among four panels each comprising of three and this will leave two on reserve,” he said.

Constitution review to wait, says Otafiire

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:42
Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire

Despite earlier giving an impression that government is about to constitute a constitution review commission, the minister of justice and constitutional affairs has indicated that the country might have to wait a little longer.

Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire told The Observer on October 24 that much as consultations are ongoing for the constitution review commission to be established, it is currently not on top of the priority list.

“There are other important issues I am still handling… that [CRC] is not for now; it is important but not urgent,” Otafiire said.

In an earlier interview on July 19, Otafiire told this newspaper that the government was in the process of naming a commission similar to the one Prof Fredrick Ssempebwa led from 2001 to 2003 to seek views from Ugandans and write a report that will form the basis for amendments to the constitution.

Indeed, during debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill in parliament last year, government officials revealed that a constitution review commission would be set up to consider the various amendment proposals from multiple stakeholders.

Among the proposals for consideration were those contained in the Citizens’ Compact on free and fair elections, which was a compilation of views from both opposition parties and civil society organizations.

“After last year’s Constitutional Amendment Bill, donors met the president over the proposals that had been left out and he told them those would be handled by the CRC that he said would be constituted [soon] after the [February] elections,” a well- placed source has told us.

“But God knows; it may not come now….”


One of the proposals expected to spring up is the amendment of article 102(b), which prevents President Museveni from seeking another term in 2021, having clocked the upper age limit of 75 years. At the beginning of August, Museveni, who is also NRM chairman, received a resolution by the Kyankwanzi district NRM conference, calling for the amendment of the article in question.

More key leaders have since come out in support of such an amendment. However, it appears there is no consensus on how the amendment should be effected. A private member’s bill promoted by Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko was seen by critics as a cover for this amendment.

The bill, which was eventually thrown out of parliament, sought to raise judges’ retirement age and give electoral commissioners permanent job security. The issue of judges, which also came up in the cabinet-sponsored proposals last year, but was not adopted, is likely to remain key in the coming constitution review exercise.

When Otafiire was asked about it, following reports that majority of judges are not interested in the amendment but, rather, better remuneration, Otafiire said:

“It is not an issue of what someone wants but what Ugandans want.”

A well-placed source told The Observer on October 24 that the judiciary had in its proposals to cabinet last year opposed the idea of amending article 144, which fixes the retirement age of justices of the Supreme court and the Court of Appeal at 70 years, while High court judges retire at 65 years.

“In their proposals to cabinet, it [extension of retirement age] was not there. Their concern was about remuneration and retirement benefits,” the source said.

Stephen Tashobya, who chaired the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee in the ninth parliament, confirmed this in an interview.

“I don’t remember the judiciary submitting that proposal, and when it came up, the committee rejected it and, indeed, parliament supported our [the committee] position,” he said.   

Shelving Ssekitooleko’s bill on September 14, Speaker  of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga urged the MP to wait for the government’s bill incorporating all constitution amendment proposals.

The government has previously been accused of dragging its feet on important legislation and later stampeding parliament.

Africans query relevance of ICC

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:35
Hague-based ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing its biggest challenge, 14 years after its creation as three African countries have already indicated they no longer want to be part of the court.

Last week, South Africa joined Burundi and Gambia in confirming that it will withdraw from the ICC. South Africa said it was pulling out of the court because the Rome statute, that establishes ICC, is in conflict with South African laws that grant diplomatic immunity to visiting heads of state. 

South Africa notified the UN secretary general that it will observe the mandatory one- year period required before a member can withdraw from the court.  On its part, Burundi’s parliament recently voted overwhelmingly to withdraw from the court. Its chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said they will investigate the violence that erupted in the tiny country after the controversial election of President Pierre Nkurunziza for a third term.

At the heart of ICC’s standoff with some African countries is the belief that it is targeting only African heads of state. Indeed, declaring Gambia’s decision to withdraw from the court, Sheriff Bojang, the country’s Information minister, said the ICC has been used for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders while ignoring crimes committed by the West.

“There are many Western countries, at least 30, that have committed heinous war crimes against independent sovereign states and their citizens since the creation of the ICC and not a single Western war criminal has been indicted,” Bojang said.

He added: “The ICC, despite being called International Criminal Court, is in fact an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans.”

Gambia’s intention to leave the court is intriguing given the fact that Bensouda hails from the poor West African country. She served as justice minister under President Yahya Jammeh who has been in power since 1994. Of the 124 ICC member states, 34 are from Africa, representing 42% of the membership. Ironically, some of the non-African countries that vocally support the court have not ratified the Rome statute. 

They include United States, China, Russia who together with Britain and France, constitute the permanent members of the UN Security Council, a body that can refer cases to the ICC.

This raises the question of their own commitment to international justice system especially after their armies have been accused variously of crimes against humanity in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, among others.  Of all the cases that the ICC has handled, only one is not from Africa.

Almost all of them were referred to the court by African member states. Some of the cases ICC is handling or has handled include that of Dominic Ongwen, a former commander in the LRA in Uganda; Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast; Bosco Ntaganda, Jean Pierre Bemba and Thomas Lubanga all of DRC,  among others.


The court’s troubles in Africa started with the indictment of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for crimes against humanity committed after the disputed 2007 elections.

Although they were indicted before they became president and vice president respectively, the two used their predicament as rallying point for support to win the 2013 election that pitted Kenyatta against perennial opposition behemoth Raila Odinga.

After he won, Kenyatta used his position to decampaign the court among African heads of state, saying it is demeaning for a sitting head of state to appear before a foreign court. Even though the case against him and Ruto collapsed for lack of evidence, he (Kenyatta) has remained one of the fiercest critics of the court and has been a leading advocate for the mass withdrawal from the court by the over 30 African states that ratified the Rome statute.

Uganda President Museveni (R) and South Africa President Jacob Zuma

Kenyatta also found an ally in President Yoweri Museveni, who was a vocal supporter of the establishment of the court but has since become one of its staunchest critics. Uganda was one of the first African countries to ratify the Rome statute and to refer a case to the ICC.

At the height of the LRA insurgency in northern Uganda, Uganda referred Joseph Kony and four of his top commanders to the ICC. Subsequently, warrants of arrest were issued for the five. Since then, Museveni has made a U-turn and has reserved some of his harshest criticism for the court.

“We lost interest in the ICC. ... ICC is none of our business. It is a useless body. We had supported the ICC initially thinking they were serious ... but it is a bunch of useless people.” Museveni said during his swearing-in ceremony in May 2016.

This statement was telling given the fact that his audience included Sudanese president Omar Hassan El-Bashir, the first sitting president to be indicted by the ICC. Warrants of arrest for Bashir were issued in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sudanese Darfur region where an estimated 300,000 people have allegedly been killed.

However, despite these warrants, Bashir has visited a number of ICC member states such as Kenya, Chad, Uganda and South Africa, among others, raising uproar from the international rights bodies. Despite Museveni’s views on ICC, senior government officials say Uganda for now is not considering leaving the body.

“There was a strong AU resolution in respect to serving heads of state... The AU leaders resolved that it was counterproductive to harass heads of state. And that reforms should be made in this regard,” said James Mugume, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an interview with The New Vision last week.

Elsewhere on the continent, proponents of the ICC argue that it is in Africa that human rights violations are most prevalent. Nathaniel Umar, a social media activist, argues that those advocating for the withdrawal from the ICC want to perpetuate human rights violations in Africa.

“For those claiming that the ICC targets African leaders, let them have a rethink. Until you convince me with evidence that an African was convicted for crimes against Asians, Americans or Europeans or any other race apart from the black race I won’t join that wagon,” Umar wrote on his wall.

On her part, Pelomoni Venson-Moitoi, Botswana’s foreign affairs minister, said member countries should be working towards reforming the ICC than pulling out.

“I don’t see why we should be pulling out. The good thing is that a few more members now, within the AU, agree that pulling out is not the solution. We should be working towards fixing [any problems with ICC],” she told Reuters news agency in an interview last week.

Anchor Mwine shares school times and work

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:22
Rachael Mwine

RACHAEL MWINE is a news anchor on NTV. She shared her life and times with Simon Kasyate on Capital FM’s Desert Island Discs programme.

Good evening and welcome to the show!

Good evening, Simon; thank you for having me.

How are you?

Great! I am positive, excited about life. I am just thrilled, very happy to be here.

Who is Rachael, where, when and to whom was she born?

Do you want me to reveal my age?! Ahahaha! Anyway, I don’t have a problem. I was born on December 17, 1983. I was born to a Lilian and Clement Tibarikoka.

My dad is a pastor, retired now. He was into politics shortly before I was born and then turned pastor. He got into pastorhood, I think after I was born; so, the life of a father who is a pastor is all I have known. I was sheltered as a child; I was told boys are bad; you know!!

Do you have sons now?
I have a son. You can imagine how all the time I am freaking imagining what kind of person is he going to grow into! So, I grew up in a pastor’s home. I grew in a Christian environment.

As the only child?

No. No. No. I am second of four children. I have two sisters and a brother. The boy is our last born.

Share with us some of your childhood memories.

Like I said, we grew up in a pastor’s home. My dad was busy with ministry, but he is also a people-person. He loves people, but also from being a politician, so you can imagine our home was full of visitors all the time. Often we had to give up our beds, food.

Does it happen these days for kids to give up their beds?!

I don’t think so. It is surprising that church leaders these days don’t have open homes. They are the ones that have security, they are building high wall fences. So, you won’t find too many visitors at a pastor’s home…our home was full of people and my mom did a good job at raising us into accepting people.

There was never time when we were resentful. Yes, we grumbled, like you would imagine, we were teenagers, but at the back of our minds we knew what our dad was into, the kind of family we have been born into and so, if we had to quarrel or grumble, we would have to go to our bedroom and say ohhh my God, it is visitors today! It’s funny because my dad has just retired.

We did a thanksgiving service for him and we were speaking as children talking about some of the things we remember growing up in a pastor’s home. I remember us going to church, we had a very small car. It would carry at most four people – two behind and two in-front. Mummy had her sit, dad driving and the four children had to fit behind.

We would go to church. Because my dad is a people-person, after service, he would be like no no no, come home, there is food for everybody. So, he would invite two or three extra people. Then the two of us children would have to go use a taxi. Dad would be like here is money for transport, the visitor can’t walk. So, we would go and get a taxi back home.

Please note we have cooked food  enough for just the people who are around, because mom would wake us up and say you have to prepare lunch so that when we come from church, we are not struggling to get saucepans and charcoal. So, we would get home and of course my mom would be like what can we add extra? 

We would go buy maybe spaghetti and top up. So, you come back and cook. Now when I look back, I can’t live a life like that.  I can’t imagine my husband telling me you walk, let the visitor sit in the car.  I can’t imagine him telling my son to walk; it is inconceivable now. But I believe that was good training.

Where was this?

Here in Kampala. We lived in Najjanankumbi and then we moved to Kyebando, still renting, and then we were forced to start building…

Who of your parents was a disciplinarian?

Mother! She did not spare the rod.  It is interesting we were a lot closer to her than we are to dad. I guess it’s because dad wasn’t around all the time but he also rarely caned us. I can count the times he beat us. I remember one time he caned my sister and we ran for the bathroom.

We were very little. We ran from the bathroom without towels. It was dark. We could have fallen but we thought it was funny. We reached the bedroom and we were giggling and the maid reported us and my dad came. He said what are you doing, you can fall!

He got a stick and just sort of tapped, tip tip, and that just even amused us more. When he walked out, my sister and I were like, but really! Dad has caned us? That is his idea of discipline? We were so amused! But mom never spared the rod. She beat us for going outside of the house without permission. She beat us for not laying our beds, she beat us for all sorts of things.

Plays Each Tear by Mary J Blige

Rachael, which school did you go to?

I went to Joy primary school. It was started by the church that I go to. I was there from P1 to P7 and then I joined Gayaza High School.

Where was this school?

Nakasero. There is an Indian restaurant there right now, I forget the name. They then moved to Makerere because Indians wanted their property. So, we moved as well as the church. We were pioneers, by the way. When the school started, we also started in P1.

How many were you?

We were 13 [who finished P7].

How was Rachael as a child?

I was naughty; I was naïve. I think that word describes me from about my primary to when I finished secondary school.

Naïve about what?

About life, expectations, about what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be, about how to relate with people; I am not talking about just boy/girl, but more platonic relationships, how people responded to me.

I think I discovered later that I am a peace-loving person and so, I assume that everybody is nice to me…even now in my adulthood, I am still unlearning that…I think I was very naïve about life, about how to approach boys, about what to do when they approached me.

In that naivety, did you even have an idea of who you wanted to be?

If you ever had a chance to chat with my dad or my mom, they will tell you that I used to be a teacher. I taught walls, I taught flowers in the garden, and I liked to beat them and tell them to listen to me! I think I liked the position of authority that the teacher has….

No, you loved attention.

Hahahah, I was trying to beautify it. My dad will tell you an interesting story that we used to watch TV and I would tell him daddy, how do people get into the TV, I want to get in. It is crazy where I ended up.


Plays Nnungamya by Brian Lubega

You go to Gayaza

I think I was just going with the flow. One day you wake up and you want to be a lawyer, then I wanted to be an air hostess and then journalism started to grow I think as I finished my O-level. I said I think this is where I see myself. If I could end up on TV, maybe! My broadcasting and journalism passion was birthed then.

Did you do A-level at Gayaza as well?

No. When I finished my S4, I went to Migadde College, another school that had just started. Strong Christian values. My uncle was the headmaster! I remained in that sheltered, safe, naïve state.

But this is the age where you begin to appreciate the opposite sex!

I know. And it was a mixed school. I think at one point, I was like let me just try out this thing. I dated in A-level…I went out with that guy, but then I mean, what is dating in A-level?

Just a guy that you have close and you sort of call yourselves you are for each other…if he doesn’t come to class, you would drop him a cheat and give it to his friend. It was fun, it was exciting.

But then I snapped out of it because I realized, from my background church that I went to, the one thing they told me about boys, apart from being hyenas, is that it has to lead somewhere. I don’t want to listen to the gospel of doing it for just. After the excitement, there was a crisis of conscience every once in a while. Rachael, what are you doing, you are supposed to be studying. You are dating this boy, what does that even mean?

Rachael Arinaitwe with husband Ben Mwine

Were you in the same class?

Yes. So, what happens after school? Are you going to marry him? You know how we women can be. You start a relationship and start to envisage your wedding gown. So, I snapped out of it and he was not ready to let go.

There was a struggle and I think boys have been conditioned to think that when a woman says no, she still needs a bit of convincing. Actually I had said no. I actually dated twice in A-level, I have remembered. There were two guys.

At the same time?

No, no, no, no. Separately. I dropped the second one because I had heard a silly story, I think, that he was dating somebody else. I think it was a rumour. You know jealousy and lugambo!

Plays Imela by Nathaniel Bassey

Then there comes the part of campus…

I applied for Mass Communication. When you do Mass Com, you would probably major in print or broadcast journalism or public relations. I majored in public relations because it is prestigious, but also I had a fear for broadcast, I don’t know why.

Do I really want to be on radio? So, I chose public relations and said if I end up in broadcast, well and good. Interestingly after school, in 2007, my first job, the first person who called me for a job was a radio station! They said come, we need a news anchor and we think you would be perfect for the job.

Which university were you?

Uganda Christian University.

Did you ever go to Satellite beach?

I heard about it but never went there. Actually I was on Jinja road sometime with my husband, I said ohhh, that is the Satellite beach?! Do they have sand?

So, what would you do in Mukono?

I went to class and on weekends I would go home.

I guess there was this freedom that was thrown out to you: you dated at A-level and here you were at university…

Did I date?! There was a thing. You know there are days relationships are classified into lots of things. There is an in-between, I don’t want to call it a relationship, I call it a situation-ship.

The man has not said what he feels about you but you are going out to have a good time. For him, he is probably testing the waters…so, I had one of those. For me, I am saying oohhh, when is he saying it? I can imagine what I am going to wear on the wedding day…



Tell me about your faith.

I have not always been on the straight and narrow [path]. And I feel that that is what many people, when they are judging Christians, they imagine that Christians are perfect people.

But what wide road have you been on: I can’t imagine you to have tasted beer or cigarettes?

You are right…You know the thing about my faith, it is a relationship with God and I think that is something the world doesn’t understand…I think that a relationship with God is very rewarding. Maybe I can say when growing up, I was not exposed to beer or cigarettes or to condoms or nightclubs.

So, there are many times when we are going home and you see bars, people going out and you are like how do people do it? I keep telling my husband, because we are all not night people. When someone puts plot on a night, we are like ahhhh, we are going out.

But I understand that there might be somebody who is actually struggling with going out to a nightclub, and chilling with friends yet they desire a relationship with God, they desire to be born again and do stuff that pleases Him. But for me, it is not a struggle, or that I am tempted to drink alcohol.

Plays Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Rachael, is news anchoring a daunting job?

Yes, it is daunting in a sense that Ugandans, and people generally, want quality. Who is doing this better? What differentiates Rachael from another news anchors?

So, there is a pressure to constantly reinvent yourself, then there is presence on social media. I don’t think there is a need for me to prove myself to anyone, but society and what Ugandans want and what the market demands puts you in a corner.

What about the part where the same Ugandans are critical?

Somebody sees a mistake on air and they say ohhh Rachael said this word the wrong way, and they put it as a post! If you wanted to help me, you would send me a message. Okay I made a mistake, yes. Can you do it better than I?

What about the attention the job brings to you?

I think, like you have noticed, for me I am a happy-go person. Again it comes from my place of naivety, I want to please everybody. It also comes from the territory, the kind of job that I do.

The moment you show the slightest bit of disinterest, you are judged. For me it is my place to be polite, and to be nice to you. Because you see me on TV, you have a sense to know me and yet you don’t, actually!

Because I am in your living room very often to bring you the news, you sort of say I know this person. I often say I work with NTV and people say, ohhhh, I have seen you. So, we strike a conversation and I think I owe it to the people who watch me to be nice. It doesn’t cost me a thing.

Rachael, how is it going for you in marriage?

Like someone said in a group I am a member of, some days are good, some days are magical. Some days, you know, your husband will create all these butterflies in your tummy and then other days all you see is the size of his nose. That is really what marriage is.

Sometimes he drives you up the wall and you also drive him up the wall…so, it is really about figuring it out. I am passionate about marriage, about children, I am hoping for a set of twins (I hope my husband is listening). 

Life has just begun for you Rachael: where do you see yourself 15 years from today?

I think I want to share my life with young ladies. The whole issue of identity…normally women we peg our identity on men, on which man has accepted us, and which one hasn’t. I feel I want to pour my life out to women, into young girls and be a mother, a wife and have a home that inspires somebody…

What about the part where you go back to reclaim your father’s forgotten turf, politics?

No, Simon. I think I will do the other part of critiquing and analyzing, and on social media.

What if your husband became a politician?

A politician, pastor, we would have to have a long discussion about those two.

If you were marooned on a desert island but were allowed to take one thing or one person, what or who would you take?

My husband.


Online freedom mustn't threaten national security- Tumwebaze

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:08
Frank Tumwebaze

In the wake of a recent United Nations call to respect internet freedoms, the government has indicated its unwillingness to compromise national security in the name of protecting individual rights to the internet.

The minister for information and communications technology (ICT) and national guidance, Frank Tumwebaze, said in an e-mail response to The Observer’s inquiry that while the government is keen on protecting internet freedom, this must happen within the confines of the law.

“Internet freedoms must be exercised responsibly and within the laws of Uganda. It is provided in the constitution of Uganda that the enjoyment of rights and freedoms must not prejudice, among others, public interest,” Tumwebaze said.

During its 32nd session in June, the human rights council of the UN general assembly passed 15 resolutions relating to the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet based on the universal declaration of human rights and other international human rights treaties.

“The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online; in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice in accordance with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the first of the 15 resolutions partly reads.

It further “unequivocally” condemned measures to prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online, which the UN body says is in violation of international human rights law.

This year, Ugandans suffered to two social media shutdowns, the first on election day, February 18, lasting four days, and the second from May 11, the eve of President Museveni’s inauguration for his fifth elective presidential term, lasting three days.

During the shutdown, many Ugandans could hardly access social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, as well as mobile money services.

This measure, Tumwebaze said, was meant to ensure security for all in Uganda. The minister’s position has the backing of the chairperson of parliament’s committee on ICT, Paula Turyahikayo, who said that notwithstanding the concerns of the UN, Uganda has its unique circumstances that it has to deal with using the most appropriate measures.

“We cannot put our country at stake and expose it to vulnerable situations like this Defiance campaign; terrorists can take advantage of it,” Turyahikayo said during a recent interview.

But civil society activists such as Ben Kerry Mawejje, a digital rights and internet freedoms officer at Unwanted Witness, a cyber-rights NGO, say government must follow the due process.

“As a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, justifications need to be done and there are regulations that must be followed in case a shutdown is to happen, and for this we must question the government and Uganda Communication Commission [UCC] if such regulations are in place,” he told The Observer on October 21.

The social media shutdowns formed the basis for discussions during a recent international forum on internet freedoms in Africa held at Golf Course hotel in Kampala.

UCC executive director Godfrey Mutabazi said on October 18 that the government’s interest is to see social  media used responsibly.

“Even democracies like the UK and the US are also concerned about the abuse of social media,” he said. “There is growing concern that there is a lot of hate speech on social media and it is killing the country and promoting terror and other criminal activities.”


In a related development, on October 18, Tumwebaze formally launched #MYUG, a free Wi-Fi project in Kampala and Entebbe. At the function, the minister hit out at activists who are critical of the requirement for users of the service to register their particulars such as name, date of birth, gender, phone and email contacts.

This, according to activists, could be a ruse by the government to spy on its people. But Tumwebaze noted that availability of the #MYUG service is based on terms and conditions which are brought to the attention of the prospective user at the time of signing up.

“The information obtained is required for authentication of the user who is accessing the service,” he explained.

Tumwebaze added that authentication enables  the implementing agency National Information and Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U) to ascertain that the person logging in is the actual registered user of the service.

“The information is also beneficial as it provides trend analysis to enable the development of additional services,” he said.
Currently, #MYUG is made accessible to Ugandans daily from 6pm to 6am.

Police warns motorists on right-of-way abuse

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 12:02

Due to bullish behavior of some drivers and bodyguards of some high-ranking officials on roads, police has vowed to arrest anyone caught abusing the right of way.

“It has become a habit that anybody who wants to avoid traffic jam along Entebbe highway installs a roof light on his car and enjoys the right of way, which is illegal and has to stop,” police chief Gen Kale Kayihura said in a Saturday statement read by Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the police spokesman.

According to police, only six VIPs have the right of way and they are the president, vice president, speaker of parliament, chief justice, deputy speaker of parliament and deputy chief justice.

The law also allows emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police and fire trucks to have right of way if they are responding to emergencies. Right of way in this case would mean the right for VIPs to move onto or across a road before other people or vehicles.

On the other hand, Kaweesi has directed anybody who wants to have right of way to first seek permission from the minister for works and transport. He also warned that anyone who installed roof lights and sirens on their vehicles must remove them immediately. 

He further revealed that police has formed a new traffic squad to arrest culprits abusing the right of way.

“Our team is already on all roads and will be stopping any vehicle with a roof light and siren if it is not in the category of [those] mentioned,” he added.

Interviewed for a comment at the weekend, the UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said the army top brass will follow the law. “Yes if the new guidelines have been issued, we shall use the law and follow the policy,” he said.