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Updated: 7 min 13 sec ago

High-tech screens light up Muslim clerics murder case

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 11:39

Criminal court trials usually follow a familiar pattern. There's a trial judge, two court assessors, lawyers, the accused, relatives, friends and others - all crammed in one courtroom.

But at the International Crimes division of the High court, which is trying the 14 people accused of killing Muslim clerics in 2014 and 2015, things are different.

Using two screens mounted in an adjacent courtroom, relatives and friends follow the proceedings separately. And this time round, there are three presiding judges; Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu who sit in the main courtroom with lawyers and the accused. DERRICK KIYONGA AND  SIRAJE LUBWAMA sat with the rest of the crowd and watched the proceedings on screen. Here is what they found:

Here, in courtroom three, some court-goers have taken it upon it themselves to restrict the sitting order. As we were about to take seats near some women dressed in hijabs covering their entire faces, a man wearing a Muslim cap said “Islamic law” had to be followed.

“Don’t seat near women…,” he shouted, “These seats are only for women. Come and sit among men. If you don’t want, get out,” he added.

Due to the huge turn-up of people for the trial of Muslim clerics, the High court introduced large screens for people to follow proceedings in an adjacent courtroom

We found these orders strange because we have reported in court for years and no such order has ever been issued. More so, we had wanted to sit at the front to have a vantage view of the proceedings. However, to avoid any fracas, we heeded the man’s order and sat among the men.

The screens in front of us, which are fairly big and the picture thereon crystal-clear, have two loudspeakers. We can see lawyers getting ready for the trial. The feeling is as though we were in a real trial court.

“Gone are the days when we used to stand under the sun. At least now we can sit here and follow everything,” said one man.

Another added: “Actually being in this room is better than sitting in the real court. We are better off here [because] you can see everyone in the other court.”

These men are talking about the days when, during preliminary hearings of this case, some people would be locked out of the court premises for lack of space. In their hundreds, the relatives and friends of the accused would crowd all the roads leading to the High court and at times pray in the middle of the road.  

“I don’t know why it took them all this long to get us technology,” another man volunteered, as we waited for the proceedings to start. “We used to be treated like animals.”

It’s the first time in Uganda’s court history that proceedings are simultaneously broadcast in another courtroom. Not even the much-followed Supreme court presidential election petitions have had such technology.

The innovation, the judiciary says, has been driven by the determination of the ICD to follow International Criminal Court standards. Senior communications officer Solomon Muyita told The Observer that the move demonstrates the judiciary’s resolve to copy international “best practices”.
“The judiciary is trying to improve technologically,” Muyita said. “You’re going to see many of these innovations relating to information technology.”

This innovation is a welcome relief to people who go to court. In courtroom three, they have unfettered freedom to move out and answer their phone calls.

They can also heckle a witness who says things they don’t like. Doing such things in the main courtroom could result in contempt of court charges. Indeed, during the testimony of one of the children of the slain Sheikh Mustafah Bahiga on Thursday, the witness claimed that after he was shot, his father said, “Kamoga onzise,” meaning “Kamoga you’ve killed me.”

This obviously partisan crowd was particularly angered when, during cross-examination led by defence lawyer Fred Muwema, the boy admitted that in his three police statements he never included the above words.  

“That boy was just coached to tell lies,” they chorused.


The trial at the ICD is the first of its kind in Uganda. It involves Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, the leader of the Tabliq sect, and 13 others who are accused of murdering Sheikh Bahiga at Bwebajja (gunned down along Entebbe road) and Sheikh Hassan Kirya (shot dead in Bweyogerere, Wakiso district).

During the preliminary hearings, the court came under fire from defence lawyers. They argued that it never made sense for three judges to hear a simple murder case yet even a single High court judge can do the same. The lawyers also challenged the rules that govern the court. 

“Some rules contradict articles 26 to 31 of the Uganda constitution. For instance, whereas the ICC does not try terrorism, murder and attempted murder charges, the director of public prosecutions (DPP) indicted some of the accused persons on these charges,” Kabega argued then.

But Justice Duncan Gaswaga, who was in charge of the pre-trial sessions, defended the composition of the court, saying, “If I was an accused in this case, I would go for three judges against one because three heads are better than one.”

Under ICD rules, a pre-trial judge is supposed to consider the facts of the case; the markings of the evidence of both parties; any objections to admissibility of evidence; the settlement of some or all of the issues, and the status of the victims and witnesses.

This single judge is also tasked to establish any special needs of the witnesses, of the accused person and the defence witnesses, if any. Section 3 of these rules states that a judge who presides over the pre-trial proceedings shall not be part of the trial panel in the same case. That means Justice Gaswaga had to make a report to the three presiding judges.


Even as court-goers enjoy the screened proceedings, defence lawyers are not contented. Twaha Mayanja, one of them, told The Observer that the single extra room is simply not enough, considering the number of the accused’s relatives who still remain outside.

“We appreciate the judges’ courtesy for the one room so far,” Mayanja said. “Our other prayer is that more funds are got such that tents are put in the court’s parking yard so that more people follow proceedings from there.” 

Defiance campaign will go on, say FDC officials

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 11:28
Ssemujju Nganda

FDC leaders have maintained that the party will continue with its defiance campaign, no matter the level of intimidation and threats by the police.

Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the party spokesman, told The Observer they will continue organising demonstrations in addition to taking legal action against government decisions or policies that infringe on political and other freedoms.

“Activism doesn’t mean that it has to be confrontation with the state,” he said. “Ours is peaceful resistance. Some of our activities you will see, some you will not see.”

But an FDC MP, who declined to be named, said the defiance campaign has run its course.

“This defiance campaign, I am telling you, is not going to take us anywhere,” he said, adding that instead, supporters need to concentrate on building structures and other party activities.

“It’s like a cycle. People organise a rally or demonstration, they get blocked and arrested by police, call a press conference and then rebuke the police and Museveni. The next day the same thing happens,” the legislator said.

However, Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary general, said the campaign will eventually achieve its objectives. He said the people opposed to it, including some of their supporters, are simply worried about the consequences of its success.

“There are people who don’t want this [defiance campaign] to succeed, especially the politically-vulnerable,” Kaija said.  “They think that when we go back to square one, and this regime is gone, more competent persons will come up and stand against them.”

Kaija said the campaign is aimed at eradicating anything that is not pro-people, even when it happens to be within FDC. He wondered why some party members are against the campaign before giving their contribution to the cause.

“Before they even contribute and see if it has really failed, they just go against it. When you see the way the regime is fighting to contain this campaign, you know it is a success,” Kaija said.

Kaija claimed that state operatives are recruiting youths in Kampala to join the peaceful FDC demonstrations and create havoc so as to justify a state clampdown.

“The first group is supposed to join in our demonstrations and start throwing stones and looting merchandise, and then a second group will come out and say if the police have failed to contain FDC demonstrators, they should be allowed to handle the issue themselves,” Kaija said.

UPDF appeals against Gen Sejusa discharge verdict

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 11:24
Gen David Sejusa at the army General Court Martial 

Three months after the UPDF lost a case in which they sought to retain Gen David Sejusa as a serving army officer against his expressed wishes, the army has filed an appeal against the verdict.

The petition filed by the attorney general, who represents the UPDF, claims High court judge Margaret Oguli Ouma ‘erred in law and in fact.’

“The learned lady justice erred in law and in fact when she found that the respondent [Sejusa] was entitled to being ‘constructively discharged’ from UPDF and entitled to discharge certificate regardless of the fact that this remedy is alien to the UPDF Act,” says the memorandum of appeal.

On May 28, Justice Oguli ruled that Sejusa, the former coordinator of intelligence services, can no longer be subjected to military rules, having been constructively discharged by UPDF conduct when the institution withdrew his salary, allowances and other benefits of a serving army officer at his rank.

In his appeal, the attorney general also contends that Justice Oguli erred in concluding that Sejusa’s April 8, 2015 application to retire was amenable to the judicial review process regardless of the fact that there is no decision in existence.

Oguli declared that UPDF also discriminated against Sejusa when it went on to discharge other army officers at his rank and those from the force but refused to discharge him.

In her verdict, Oguli ruled that Sejusa is entitled to his salary arrears, allowances and other terminal benefits which must be paid with a 20 per cent interest from the date of judgment until payment is done in full.

Oguli also ordered government to compensate Sejusa Shs 750 million in damages for having humiliated him and violated his rights when he was arrested, detained and charged before the army General Court Martial (GCM). She said Sejusa was wrongly denied bail by the GCM.

When asked for a comment, David Mushabe, one of Sejusa’s lawyers, welcomed the appeal and said he was optimistic it will come with more costs.

“This appeal will even be easier to argue because the attorney general is mingling with the same issues he raised in the trial court,” Mushabe said. “We are more than ready to argue this one even better and expect more costs on addition to those of the lower court.”

Chief justice demands integrity from education commissioners

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 11:10
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe

The chief justice, Bart Katureebe, has called on the leaders of the Education Service Commission (ESC) to exercise high moral character in their work to deliver quality education for the nation.

Katureebe, who presided over the swearing-in of newly-appointed ESC deputy chairperson Elizabeth Gabona at the High court premises, cautioned that the country’s education sector requires people of proven integrity to prosper.

“Many people are well-educated and have the qualifications (to be on this commission) but sometimes come short on integrity and moral character. And mistakes made by such people are usually difficult to correct,” he said in his brief remarks after Gabona took the oath.

As a body charged with appointing personnel in the education service, Katureebe emphasized that ESC must have members with both the academic qualification and moral integrity because they also advise the president on developing the sector.

President Museveni recently appointed Gabona as one of the body’s seven stipulated commissioners. A former teacher and serving official in the ministry of education and sports, she becomes the sixth commissioner on the ESC team chaired by Hajji Badru Lubega-Waggwa.

The other commissioners are Dr Violet Kajubiri, Johnson Malinga, Al Hajj Abdullatif Wangubo and Dr John Geoffrey Mbabazi, who is also the commission’s secretary.

The president is yet to appoint the seventh commissioner, who will fill the vacant position of second deputy chairperson. Previously, ESC has grappled with workload because of understaffing and delayed appointment of commissioners. 

Lubega-Waggwa noted that Gabona’s appointment is a timely boost to the commission’s next assignment of recruiting 540 teachers for government-aided secondary schools. The recruitment exercise is slated to begin this week.

He also disclosed that the commission will soon after recruit staff for technical institutions in the country.

Museveni launches Kamuli road amid quality concerns

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 11:05

The commissioning of the newly-modified Jinja-Kamuli road on October 14 by President Museveni united people in celebration but a row over the quality of the work still separates the contractor, Dott Services, and Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra).

Speaking at the function in Kamuli town, President Museveni said he commissioned the road even as complaints over its quality loomed large because he was obliged to show people that their money is well spent since most roads are being built using “our money, and not loans or begging.”

He said he should not be dragged into contract conflicts.

“If the government puts money in road construction, that’s our job,” Museveni said. “For the quality of the roads, that’s for the experts. Supervision is not my job,” he added.

The government has spent about Shs 80 billion on this road. Unra accuses Dott Services, who built the 50.4 kilometre road, of doing shoddy work.

President Museveni with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga commissioning the Kamuli road

According to Unra, the contractor didn’t put enough safety features such as humps and rumble strips to reduce road accidents. Unra further contends that the contractor has not convincingly worked on minor drainage works along the road.

An undisclosed sum of money meant for the contractor has reportedly not been paid pending the resolution of these issues. Because sticky issues remain, Works minister Eng Monica Azuba said Unra couldn’t officially receive the road from the contractor even after the presidential commissioning.

After construction of any road, Unra officials assess its quality and take it over when they are satisfied, paving way for its commissioning. Commenting further on the disagreement between Unra and Dott Services, the president said: “Our work is to serve, not to cook. If there are workers with mistakes, let the relevant authorities work on them according to the law.”

Museveni also presided at the ground-breaking of several Kamuli municipal roads that will cost about Shs 40.2 billion. The roads stretch about 15.7km and will be directly supervised by Unra. They are expected to be complete by December 2017.

Edward Kirunda, a businessman in Kamuli town, welcomed the re-sealing of municipal roads. He said trade within the region would increase.

“We have been suffering a lot especially with transporting agricultural commodities from remote areas,” Kirunda said. “Now that these roads are going to be constructed, it is a plus for us doing business here.”

Busoga farmers share information to fight hunger

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 10:55

In the Busoga sub-region, farmers are sharing information about good farming practices, an initiative that has impacted positively on their harvests and profit margins.

Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative (BROSDI), a non-governmental organisation, is behind the endeavour that has enabled farmers to share information on superior agricultural practices, leading to increased yields and sales.

Rather than provide money or instructions to farmers, BROSDI collects information from farmers, which is then shared by the community.

BROSDI does this under the guidance of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (Godan), whose aim is to enable farmers share information freely to end hunger.

According to the BROSDI executive director, Ednah Karamagi, this initiative helps farmers to identify opportunities in their environment and use them to improve their livelihoods while taking good care of the same environment.

“We don’t spoil the community by giving them money. Instead, what we do is that we tell them we can help design a platform and give advice. We can teach you how to look for information and we can teach you how to use this information productively, and in a progressive manner,” said Karamagi.

Farmers in Busoga taking their produce to the market recently

Farmer groups hold regular meetings where they discuss the challenges they face and also try to come up with solutions. Some even hire experts who guide them on growing a particular crop.

The information gathered is forwarded to BROSDI, which makes adjustments before passing it on to the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) for its scientific input, Karamagi explained.

BROSDI also offers guidance to farmers on how to use technology to expand their businesses.

“Once Naro has validated the information, it is returned to BROSDI and is disseminated throughout the communities in various ways,” she said. “So, farming best practice is disseminated and people are able to lift themselves out of poverty.”

Currently, BROSDI operates in 14 districts with a network of over 300 farmers who work in groups. Members monitor each other’s finances to minimise excessive spending.

BROSDI is an initiative under the Godan framework, which has more than 530 partner organisations, and whose aim is to encourage world leaders to make agriculture and nutrition data easily available and accessible so as to promote better policies and decision-making.

Its goal is zero hunger by 2030, which would also mean the attainment of United Nations’ second goal on food security. The global initiative is supported by the United States of America and United Kingdom.

Kalangala residents ask for new vessel on Lake Victoria

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 10:49
MV Kalangala

Residents of Bujumba sub-county in Kalangala district have called on the government to rescue them by providing another vessel on Lake Victoria to ply from Nakiwogo near Entebbe to Lutoboka, Kalangala.

Led by the Bujumba MP, Julius Mukasa Opondo, the residents say they need a new vessel because passenger numbers have tripled since 2005 when MV Kalangala, the only ferry that currently operates on the water to-date, became operational.

“MV Kalangala is licensed to transport 108 passengers but now it transports between 150-200 people per route, which is too risky. So, we call upon the state to come in and find possibilities of getting us a new marine vessel,” he said.

At the time when MV Kalangala started work, Kalangala had only 25,000 people, Mukasa explained. But, according to the recent population census, the number of people on the islands has risen to more than 60,000.

Kalangala district has in the past few years experienced an increase in population due to improved standards of living resulting from the establishment of the palm oil business and infrastructure development. This has attracted people to live in the islands.

However, most people prefer travelling on the Nakiwogo-Lutoboka route, even though there are two more ferries from Masaka side. Elon Ssemugema, the Kalangala town council women councilor, added that a new vessel would reduce transportation pressures that are affecting operations in the district.

“The ministry of transport has to remove barriers that block private people from getting involved in water transport,” she said. “Some people have tried to bring vessels but the ministry has refused to give them licenses, which is absurd.”

Aogon: I will not let down youth, women and elderly

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 10:41
Silas Aogon

SILAS AOGON is the MP for Kumi municipality. Before he joined parliament this year, he worked with local governments of Kumi and Bukedea as an accountant. He told Josephine Namuloki why as MP he is determined to uplift the status of his people.

Why did you join politics?

I love politics and politics is some sort of employment. I love it.

What were you doing before you joined politics?

Before I joined politics, I did a lot of things. One of them was that I worked at various levels. I worked with Kumi district local government and then afterwards I worked with Bukedea district local government as a senior accounts assistant, and now I have joined politics.

How did you suddenly change from accounts to politics?

My joining politics is something that came naturally. You know each of us has a destiny which is set by God. We have a road map which is naturally set from above.

With me, I have a dream which has propelled me into this position. I never knew I would be here, it was not in my thinking before but I have found myself here and I love the job.

As a first-time politician, how were you able to mobilize support that led to your victory?

Before I joined politics, I used to be a master of ceremonies (MC) at various functions. This part-time job made me famous amongst people within and outside Kumi district.

I used to be MC at functions like fundraisings, weddings, traditional marriages, family meetings and conflict resolution events. Some people started asking me to contest for parliament and when Kumi municipality was created I decided to contest.

You defeated the candidates of NRM and FDC that seemed stronger. What was the trick?

The trick was about being wise. You know it is written in the Bible that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and when you are a wise man, you will always do wise things so that you can get victory. That is how I came here.

What are you doing to help the women, youth, and the elderly out of poverty?

I had a manifesto catering for each of those classes of people. I have specific interest in making sure that women are okay in terms of maternal affairs. So, it is my responsibility as a Member of Parliament to try what I can to make sure that I push for the woman, I talk for the woman, and I do something for the woman so that their lives can turn out to be better.

I love the youth. Like the women, I will help to mobilize the youth and help them lobby for the youth livelihood funds so that they are able to do their projects and get some money.

I know the youth have been taken up with the issues of betting now simply because they don’t have jobs and that is the area that we are really doing badly as a country. My role is simply to make sure that I inspire them to do business, and not to ‘eat’ up the money.

I am a member of a forum [Parliamentary Forum on Social Protection] which specifically deals with issues of the elderly.  That forum will help me push for the welfare of the elderly people.

In some of the districts, some elderly persons are receiving some money to the tune of Shs 25,000 per month but as we talk right now, less than 40 districts are benefiting from this project. Even in my district, there are so many old people but they haven’t got any funding. I intend to push for a declaration in parliament that all elderly persons in Uganda should be paid without discrimination.

What are some of the issues you want the 10th Parliament to urgently address?

The first thing I want the 10th Parliament to address is the issue of disaster. Recently our country experienced a big problem due to delayed rains which resulted into shortage of food. I would love to see parliament moving quickly to amend the laws.

Those articles that deal with issues of disasters should be revised such that whenever there is a catastrophe, it is taken as priority. For instance when an earthquake has hit, you cannot delay debating on that.

When there is disaster like famine or mudslides, you cannot hold a debate on that. I think matters of disaster need to be given attention and what is very important is that funds should always be allocated for that. Nobody should say the funds were not allocated to handle that. If that happens, I will be the happiest person.

Is there anything that has impressed you about the 10th Parliament?

What has impressed me is the humbleness, unity, and the hard work of the MPs. When we were coming people were saying this 10th Parliament is going to be boring. But from the start we have seen that the parliament so far is good.

Secondly, I am impressed when people are called for a session and they turn up. When there is a committee meeting, they turn up. When we are supposed to go out to the field, we go. Generally there is a sense of unity in parliament and I am happy about that.

And what has annoyed you so far?

I think what has annoyed me in this parliament is that from the time I joined, I thought I could be able to change so many things for the betterment of the people but what I see is that it is not possible for you to do it the way you think.

You come with a lot of guts thinking that you can change a lot but what I have learnt is that change is a gradual process, and parliament needs patience. And maybe what I would add is that some people delay to bring government business on the floor especially ministers who always claim to be busy. When this happens, it annoys me.

Which MP (s) inspires you?

Hon Ruth Nankabirwa, the government chief whip. She is a hardworking person, she loves her job, she is always there, and she is passionate about the people.

Wolokoso: Munyagwa’s kanyamas excite parliament

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 10:28

Wherever Mubarak Munyagwa, the Kawempe South MP, saunters into parliament, the sight of his well-built, mean-looking bodyguards that watch over him triggers whispers.

“The man has well-built muscled men who are the size of the biblical Goliath,” one MP commented when he saw the bouncers.

At a press briefing last week, Munyagwa took with him the bouncers, leading to another round of murmurs from NRM and opposition MPs.

One of the MPs wondered how much Munyagwa spends on the bodyguards each day. Another said the parliament would be more secure if it employed guards in the caliber of Munyagwa’s kanyamas.

“They look stronger than police officers deployed to block the opposition leaders from leaving their homes,” the MP said.

Where is Amama Mbabazi?

Well, we all know that Amama Mbabazi, the former prime minister, is a very calculative and private person. But for someone who contested for the presidency and won some votes, his supporters are wondering where he is.

The last time he made a public appearance was at press conference in April after he lost a Supreme court petition challenging the election of President Museveni.

Then, Mbabazi told his supporters he will tell them what he will do next. Six months later, we are still waiting! Wolokoso has heard rumours that he is currently in London, United Kingdom, where his wife Jacqueline is undergoing a medical review after she recovered from cancer. But those are just rumours whose authenticity we cannot vouch for. Where exactly is Mbabazi?

Byanyima honoured

Winnie Byanyima requires little introduction in these pages. She made her mark as a no-holds-barred politician while serving as Mbarara municipality MP. Later, she joined the international job market working at the African Union and afterwards at the United Nations.

Today, she is the executive director of Oxfam International. Last week, she added another milestone on her burgeoning CV when the University of Manchester awarded her an honorary doctorate.

Her husband, Dr Kizza Besigye, the leading opposition politician in Uganda, was at hand to witness the ceremony and to listen to her deliver a lecture titled: Advancing women’s rights in an unequal world: a personal perspective.  At Wolokoso, we congratulate Byanyima upon the feat and wish her the best.

Nambooze: there is nothing like good or bad publicity

While some MPs are not happy about the way some journalists cover them, Betty Nambooze, the Mukono municipality MP, has a different opinion.

During a dialogue involving MPs, CSOs and the media on her alcohol bill, Nambooze assured those present that there is nothing like bad publicity.

“I pity those who get annoyed that the media has written negative stories about them. There is no bad publicity as far as I am concerned. Whoever does not agree with this should go and ask Desire Luzinda [a female musician whose nudes were leaked on social media].

Everywhere including taxis, you hear her music. And now the public knows that everything opposed by MPs is good,” Nambooze said to the amusement of those in attendance.

Lokeris roots for Karamoja sand

As MPs on the natural resources committee debated the controversy surrounding the mining of sand in Lwera, Kalungu district, Samson Lokeris, the MP Dodoth East, put a dramatic spin to the debate.

Lokeris wondered why none of the firms mining sand in Lwera had expressed interest in Karamoja sand, which he said was of better quality.

“Even in Karamoja we have sand, but why are you concentrating on Lwera? What is special with Lwera sand?” he asked.

This triggered laughter from some officials of sand mining firms who had appeared before the committee. The MPs asked the firms why they had resorted to sand mining instead of establishing fish ponds for which they got permits.

Luwandagga’s son cleared of murdering his father

Sun, 10/23/2016 - 17:21

The son of veteran sports journalist Andrew Patrick Luwandagga who was arrested yesterday in connection to the death of his father on Saturday has been released and cleared of the murder by police.

William Andrew Luwandagga, 30, was arrested and held at Katwe police station as police made further inquiries into Luwandagga's abrupt death.

The arrest of William followed statements by the neighbours indicating that he and his younger brother had been fighting the night before and that the intervention of their father could have resulted to his death. However emerging reports indicate that Luwandagga died of natural causes (heart failure).

Yesterday Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said the postmortem report will be the determining factor on whether there was foul play in the death of the veteran Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) journalist.

"Right now we cannot tell whether it was a heart attack or there was foul play. The postmortem report will determine that. We however cannot ignore the statements of the neighbours and that is why we have William in custody," Kayima said yesterday.

Luwandagga's body at UBC for public viewing

According to emerging reports, the postmortem from Mulago hospital rules out foul play in the death of the celebrated journalist. There were no strangle marks on the neck of the deceased despite circulating rumours that Luwandaga was strangled to death by one of his sons.

“It is now clear that Luwandagga died of natural death and we have therefore set his son free without any charges. That goes along to clear the air and remove any suspicion and foul play,” Kayima is today quoted by Daily Monitor as saying.

Sports commentator Andrew Patrick Luwandagga dead

Sat, 10/22/2016 - 17:20
RIP: Andrew Patrick Luwandagga

Renowned veteran sports commentator and journalist Andrew Patrick Luwandagga is dead. 

Luwandagga died this morning at his home in Namasuba, Entebbe road. Initial reports indicate that he succumbed to heart failure at about 4am. Luwandagga was 61.

Luwandagga was the head of sports and current affairs at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) the state broadcaster.

News of his death is received with shock to many on social media where sports analysts, fans and colleagues are describing him as a man of humility and a true professional.

His brother, Moses Matovu of the Afrigo Band said Luwandagga will be buried on Monday at 4pm in Wamala off Hoima road near the Buganda royal tombs. According to Matovu, Luwandagga's body will be taken to UBC offices tomorrow Sunday, for public viewing at 11am.  

Below are some of the reactions on the passing of Luwandagga;

Mark Ssali ‏(@MarkSsali) tweeted; "Not been a good week for the sports fraternity, with the Ligyalingis, Chris Azuba and Luwandagga all departed. RIP our own."

Greggy Busolo ‏(@GreggyBusolo); "Sports Analyst Patrick Luwandagga has passed away. He passed away at about 4 am today at his home in Namasuba. RIP."

Mark Namanya ‏(@mnamanya) added; "One of the last people I spoke to before I boarded the plane was Mr Andrew Patrick Luwandagga. May his soul rest in eternal peace. #gutted."

Patrick Mugumya ‏(@mugumya): "Goodbye #Luwandagga. Will never forget your voice when at Namboole you'd scream out 'Bayidde' as Uganda Cranes dominates the opponent."

Below we reproduce the interview Luwandagga had with The Observer in November 2011

What inspired you into the media?

I developed interest while in P.7 at Nakivubo Primary School in 1970. I was an ardent listener to the BBC radio and I used to read news at the school parade. At that time the school was predominantly an Asian school. There were only two blacks – me and a boy called Moses!

What was your turning point?

It was during my S.4 vacation at Old Kampala SS. I used to work on radio Uganda, presenting music and sports. Then from 1974-1980 I wrote features for Voice of Uganda. I also had an opportunity to train with BBC radio and Channel France International.

Do you play any sport, or you only talk about these things?

As a boy I used to play football, tennis and boxing. After the expulsion of the Asians in 1972, I became a cricket captain at school.

What makes a good sports commentator?

One should be knowledgeable about the rules of the game. You should know how to describe to the listener or viewer what is happening at a game.

How do you prepare before going on air?

I do a lot of research and write notes.

Do you remember what happened on your first day on air?

I took a deep breath and talked for about three minutes and hurried through the last sentence and that was it!

Your best moment as a sports commentator?

The best moment was when Paul Hasule (RIP) scored the Cranes’ equaliser against Iraq in Kuwait [in 1989].

Worst moment?

The worst moment was when I was struck off-air during a live Sports Desk show because I was wearing a Tae-kwondo top with a South Korean flag which angered the North Korean army instructors in Kampala, who were training the UNLA in 1983. I later changed and the show went on.

What do you think of black magic in football?

Black magic is unacceptable not only in soccer but all sport.

How would you rate sports commentary in Uganda?

It’s improving greatly thanks to the internet, because people want to know more about sports.

Any challenges in your career?

No, I am adaptable! I keep on reading everyday. I know the contrast in the market.

Are you married?

Yes, I am married to Sarah Luwandagga, since 1985. My marriage was the happiest moment in my life because it showed that I had matured. I even celebrated a silver jubilee. We have children.

How do you spend your free time?

I like listening to Afrigo band and watching sports; football in particular.

What was your first job?

In the early 1970s I used to pack clothes for my mother which she took to the Family Planning Association of Uganda. I was paid Shs 42 each time I did the work. 

DPP appeals against Kasiwukira widow acquittal

Sat, 10/22/2016 - 13:47
Acquitted: Sarah Nabikolo

The director of public prosecutions (DPP) has appealed against the acquittal of Sarah Nabikolo, the widow to slain businessman Eriya Ssebunya Bugembe who was popularly known as Kasiwukira.

The law demands that any dissatisfied party has 14 days within which to appeal to a higher court from the date of judgment.

High court judge Wilson Masalu Musene acquitted Nabikolo of murder charges on October 12, saying prosecution had failed to prove that she was part of a ploy to eliminate her husband.

The same court however, convicted her cousin sister Sandra Nakungu and a police officer Jaden Ashraf. Justice Musene ruled that Nakungu and Jaden had a common intention to kill Kasiwukira.

The former member of Kwagalana group died on October 17, 2014. He was knocked by a speeding car while he was jogging near his home in Muyenga, a suburb of Kampala.

Prosecution rides on a strained marital relationship between Nabikolo and 'Kasiwukira' saying that it presents evidence of a motive to eliminate him. Prosecution further alleged that Nabikolo was the one who financed the assailants.

But John Ggayi Bugembe, a brother to Kasiwukira told court in earlier hearings that marital issues between his late brother and his wife Nabikolo had been resolved and that the couple were living happily again.

The other piece of evidence that made the judge acquit Nabikolo was the fact that her name was never mentioned anywhere in the video that was presented to court about the alleged plan to kill Kasiwukira and that the third person was just being referred to as ‘madam’, without mention her name.

Justice Musene observed that there are thousands of "madams" in the country and without a mention of Nabikolo's name, the claim of "madam" as a reference to her remained an allegation.

But the DPP says the acquittal was erroneous and wants the matter revisited.

His appeal comes barely a week after Nakungu and  Jaden, formerly attached to Muyenga Community Police Post appealed against the 20 year-jail term handed to each of them.

The judge in his verdict, zeroed down on the police officer as being the one who ran over Kasiwukira while he was jogging near his Muyenga home on the fateful day.

Prosecution had alleged that the three unlawfully caused the death of Kasiwukira by running over him with a car while he was jogging in the morning on October 17, 2014 along the road near his home in Muyenga suburb.

Hundreds turned away from army recruitment in Mbarara

Sat, 10/22/2016 - 01:30

Hundreds of applicants aspiring to join the national army, the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) were today turned away at the recruitment centre in Mbarara.

Today morning, hundreds of youth from the districts of Isingiro, Ibanda, Kiruhura and Mbarara which form the greater Mbarara area had arrived at Kakyeka stadium which is the area's recruitment centre.

The recruitment team was however unable to absorb the hundreds that turned up who were far beyond the targeted recruits. The exercise has been going on; targeting senior four leavers who completed O’level  in 2014 and 2015.

Out of the hundreds of the youth that turned up, the recruitment team only needed a total of 105 from all the four districts. They included 17 from Ibanda, 34 from Isingiro, 22 from Kiruhura and 32 from Mbarara.

According to the recruitment team leader, Colonel Jeff Mukasa, the slots were determined basing on the population of the districts. Mukasa adds that the bigger turn up is a blessing since it gives them a chance to choose the best. He says that most of those turned away had finished before 2014 while others were not physically fit to handle training.

Col Mukasa says that the exercise left out female recruits because they were only needed as professionals at the national level. The recruitment for professionals took place on October 17 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.

Some of the successful recruits

Scovia Nyangoma had turned up in Mbarara for the exercise only to find that the recruitment team was not taking any female recruits. She says females too have the capacity of performing well just like the males do.

Joshua Tukashaba, from Ibanda district, is one of those that were turned away. He says that he finished senior four in 2013 and thought that he would be taken. He says that he had high hopes that joining the army would be a great achievement since he has always longed to serve in the forces.

Martin Biryomunsi, from Kikagate in Isingiro district, claims that the recruitment team was biased. He completed senior four in 2010 which technically knocks him out but he alleges that some of the recruits that were considered completed in the same year and others did before him.

He says that the exercise is not fair claiming that some people were considered after receiving phone calls directing that they should be considered.

“We’re confused, we don’t know why because they have taken that one of 2009…The afandes [received] phone calls from outside and then come and choose some neglecting some of us behind. They should have done this. They should have said those who completed S.4 in 2014 and 2015. Over. But they have picked some who completed even in 2009. It is unfair completely”, Biryomunsi said.

We could not independently verify these allegations. The recruitment team has however rubbished the claims by Biryomunsi saying that once you do not qualify, it would be better to understand the situation and go on with other activities.

How Crane bank got into trouble

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 12:14
Crane bank branch in Kabale

Commercial bank's tale of survival ends in BOU takeover

Crane bank, once the largest local bank in terms of assets, whose spectacular growth saw it spread wings to neighbouring Rwanda, a first for a Ugandan bank, has been taken over by Bank of Uganda.  

Consequently, the board of the bank, which includes property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, its vice chairman, as well as the acting managing director, have been removed. A statutory manager, Edward Katimbo Mugwanya, has been appointed to run the bank on BoU’s behalf.

There was enhanced security around Crane bank’s head offices along Kampala road yesterday as Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile made the announcement at his nearby office.

The decision to take Crane bank under receivership was a culmination of a social media fire-storm that started last week with anonymous text messages advising clients to withdraw their deposits as the bank was in trouble. Bank of Uganda was forced to issue a half-hearted rebuttal in which the central bank simply stated it wasn’t the source of the rumour but otherwise did little to assure concerned customers.

It was all left to Crane bank to defend itself with a second statement in as many weeks, reiterating that the bank was solid but only looking to be joined by an unnamed investor with whom discussions were on-going.

In the end, Bank of Uganda said in its take-over statement yesterday that the commercial bank, which only two years ago was the biggest local bank, had become “significantly-undercapitalised.”

This claim appeared to contradict what Crane bank announced just over five months ago. Releasing its financial statement, which was audited by KPMG in May, Crane bank announced that its paid-up capital stood at Shs 210bn, which was almost ten times the BoU requirement of Shs 25bn.

Our sources within the central bank, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us that Crane bank’s paid-up capital “is a subject of a forensic audit that shall be done by the statutory manager.”

BoU says Crane bank’s financial health had become so frail it held less than Shs 12 billion of the required amount – leaving the public with the troubling question of just who to believe.

Operations of the bank, which has an estimated 500,000 customers, are to proceed normally as the Central bank looks for an investor. Mutebile said BoU taking over management of the lender should give customers confidence that their money is safe. There are no limits on how much customers can deposit or withdraw.

As at the end of December 2015, Crane bank held Shs 1.3tn in customer deposits. On the impact it would have on the banking sector, BoU said it did not expect any. 

“The buyer [of the bank] can come as early as tomorrow [today],” Mutebile said. 

While much of the debate is likely to centre on the causes of Crane bank’s downfall – a topic potent with all manner of conspiracy theories – a much broader discussion about the health of other banks is likely to ensue. An even broader discussion is about the general health of the Ugandan economy which has shown signs of ailing for many months now.

Crane bank’s downward spiral appears to have become visible last year after the financial statement for the calendar year 2015 indicated a loss of Shs 3.1bn. This was a drastic departure from the Shs 50.6bn profit made in 2014.

The bank gave very little away in the brief notes to the 2015 accounts, although the numbers showed that the non-performing loans – money that the bank might not be able to recover – had shot to Shs 142.3bn in 2015, up from Shs 19.3bn a year earlier.

Property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia (R) at his bank

As at June 2016, Crane bank’s non-performing loans stood at 14.5 per cent, nearly twice the market average of 8.3 per cent. But Crane bank was not alone. Standard Chartered bank had a terrible financial year too, recording a huge drop in profitability largely on account of bad loans.

However, while Standard Chartered bank could call on its international shareholders for support, Crane bank heavily depended on one man – Sudhir Ruparelia, its key shareholder.


This was not the first time Crane bank’s financial health had come under public scrutiny. In May 2005, there were rumours that the bank was closing, which led to many clients withdrawing their deposits.

At the time, Bank of Uganda came out strongly to defend the bank, saying it was well-capitalised. The rumour gradually died down and the bank appeared to grow from strength to strength.

As the bank embarked on an ambitious expansion drive, Bank of Uganda gave it a vote of confidence by offering it the assets of the National Bank of Commerce after it collapsed in late September 2012.

In 2014, Crane bank faced another tough job explaining the sudden disappearance of its long-serving managing director A.R. Kalan. The bank said that Kalan had asked for leave to attend to a sick wife. He never returned.

For a man who had been at the bank for more than 10 years, Kalan’s departure appeared to set the bank a few steps back.

As rumours about Crane bank started doing rounds on social media, there were reports that Atlas Mara, which has bought a couple of banks in Rwanda, and is owned by Ugandan businessman Ashish Thakkar, and former Barclays Plc managing director, Bob Diamond, was looking to buy the bank.

Yesterday’s move suggests the parties were unable to get a deal over the line, and Bank of Uganda decided to pull the plug on yet another local bank.

Pathologist: Bahiga died from 3 bullet wounds

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:48

On day three of the trial of the 14 people accused of terrorism, murder and attempted murder of Muslim clerics in 2014 and 2015, police forensic pathologist Dr Moses Byaruhanga had trouble rebutting the conflict of interest charge leveled by a defense lawyer.

The trial is ongoing at the international criminal division (ICD) of the High court. The court was jammed as it convened Wednesday for the third day for the hearing of the case against the accused persons led by the Tabliq Amir Yunus Muhammad Kamoga and 13 others.

The trial is presided over by justices: Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Percy Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu. Prosecution is led by Principal State Attorney Lino Anguzu assisted by Thomas Jatiko and Manon Ben Bella. The defence team has MacDosman Kabega, Fred Muwema, Twaha Mayanja, Allen Kagoye and Susan Sylvia Wakabala.

Some of the murder suspects in court on Wednesday 

Byaruhanga, the fourth witness, told court that him and Dr Sam Kalungi [consultant at Mulago hospital] did the post-mortem examination on late Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga at Mulago hospital on December 29, 2014.

He said the sheikh was shot three times and his internal organs, including the lungs, liver and chest bone were smashed, leading to his instant death. After taking oath, Dr Byaruhanga explained that Bahiga’s internal organs were extensively damaged.

He said the skull was found intact, the brain was normal and the stomach had rice particles in it. He said his findings showed that the shooting was at close range. Photos were taken by sergeant Birungo, the scene of crime officer at Kajansi police station.

Anguzu: Did you sign the [postmortem] report?
Byaruhanga: Yes, on the same day after it was typed and I put a stamp of that date.
Anguzu: Look at the second document you possess.
Byaruhanga: It is in respect of the late Ibrahim Hassan Kirya of Bweyogerere. It was registered under Ref: SD/49/30/06/2015. The body was identified by Hussein Sematiko, a son to the deceased. This body was also examined by I and Kalungi [consultant at Mulago] on July 1, 2015 at 7:40am at the City mortuary as requested by ASP Andrew Mubiru. [Byaruhanga said the findings revealed that the body of an adult was covered with a blood-stained blue sheet marked with words Kibuli Muslim hospital, Mbogo ward.]

Muwema: I am Fred Muwema for the defence. Byaruhanga, are these your full names?
Byaruhanga: My other name is Elly.
Muwema: Dr Elly, I would like to know from you whether you are honest, neutral and independent.
Byaruhanga: Yes I am.
Muwema: Do you have a practicing license issued by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Council?
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Muwema: Do you have a copy of the license?
Byaruhanga: I didn’t come with it, it is at home.
Muwema: We have just printed a copy of the website of licensed pathologists in Uganda. Can you look at it and show court your name?
Anguzu: We have an objection. The witness [cannot] be shown a non-certified photocopy.
Muwema: Let the witness look at the document and tell court whether his name is there. 
Byaruhanga: If the people who posted the list on the website made a mistake, it should not be blamed on me.
Muhanguzi: Doctor, don’t be confrontational, just look at the document.
Muwema: The admissibility aspect may come later. Just scan through and show us your name as at October 7, 2016 and your registration number and sex.
Byaruhanga: I can’t see my name here, can I elaborate? I am fully registered and qualified. I can produce evidence because this website document is not authenticated.
Muwema: Okay, just click on the live website from this laptop and check your name.

Defence Lawyer Fred Muwema cross-examining a witness

Byaruhanga: I can produce the hard copy if given 20 to 30 minutes because this website has mistakes.
Justice Muhanguzi: Go on and cross examine him on other matters, he will produce the licence, as he says, later.
Muwema: Did you have a license on December 29, 2015 when you issued Bahiga’s post-mortem report?
Byaruhanga: I need to be given chance to produce my papers. I even had my license on July 1, 2015 when I issued another report.
Muwema: Are you a policeman? As a police officer, who is your boss?
Byaruhanga: The Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura.
Muwema: Do you take an oath of office?
Byaruhanga: Yes, when we complete a course, we also take one when we complete medical school.
Muwema: Do you take oath to bear allegiance to the police institution?
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Muwema: And to follow lawful orders from your superior?
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Muwema: So, when you carried out the postmortem, you were under which oath?
Byaruhanga: The medical oath.
Muwema: Can you tell court whether police is an interested party in this case?
Byaruhanga: Yes, as an investigating institution.
Muwema: Can you explain why police chose you to carry out the postmortem?
Byaruhanga: Because I am an expert.

Muwema: Have you ever heard of the words ‘conflict of interest’ and know what they mean?
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Muwema: How does conflict of interest come in?
Byaruhanga: It arises for example, when I am an expert, I am either on the side of the victim or the suspect.
Muwema: In this case, police is on the side of the victim…
Byaruhanga: Police is in the middle and its main interest is to see justice prevailing (He is booed by some sections of the audience).
Muwema: Have you heard of the phrase which says whoever pays the piper calls the tune?
Byaruhanga: Simplify the phrase for me.
Muwema: Would you be free to embarrass the hand that feeds you?
Byaruhanga: I write facts and read them to court; my duty is to call a spade a spade, not a big spoon.
Muwema: Are there other pathologists outside police?
Byaruhanga: Yes, there are pathologists in the ministry of Health, UPDF and other areas.
Muwema: Is there anything that would have prevented an outside pathologist from doing the examination?
Byaruhanga: Nothing. We carry out about 3,000 tests as police and others are requested to do other cases.
Muwema: Let’s turn to the quality of work you did. If this postmortem report does not say exactly the cause of death, is it a good or bad report?
Byaruhanga: Bad.
Muwema: And should court rely on a bad report?
Byaruhanga: It should not.

Muwema: Look at Bahiga’s report, what is the cause of death?
Byaruhanga: Gunshot injuries.
Muwema: Does every gunshot injury cause death?
Byaruhanga: No.
Muwema: But that is what you stated.
Byaruhanga: It depends on what part of the body is injured, how many injuries, how fast and accessibility to a health facility, how fast they attend to him/her, the gravity of the injury suffered and which part of the body is affected. In this particular case, I clearly elaborated the gravity of the injuries. The stated report cause is just a summary.

Muwema: Are you required to state an immediate cause of death?
Byaruhanga: Yes, in various formats.
Muwema: The question is about timing.
Byaruhanga: The one of Bahiga was an immediate cause of death.
Muwema: I am not happy, my lords; he is talking in a general manner.
Byaruhanga: Excessive bleeding from excessive gun shot injuries, which damaged tissues and other organs leading to immediate death.
Muwema: Can you show me the words ‘excessive bleeding’ in your report?
Byaruhanga: I wish to be protected; I am trying to explain detailed issues though the words excessive bleeding is not indicated.
Muwema: So, you are trying to write another report from court?
Justice Muhanguzi: The witness has admitted he did not indicate the words excessive bleeding.
Muwema: So, Byaruhanga, your report on its own is incomplete without explaining.
Byaruhanga: It is very complete.
Muwema: Then show us the cause of death in your report.
Muhanguzi: This is good material for your submissions.
Muwema: Yes it is, but I am putting it to him that he made a shoddy report. There is something you need to clarify. When the body comes for examination, is it cleaned first?
Byaruhanga: It is not supposed to be cleaned before the examining doctor gives authority to undress and clean it.

Muwema: You said in examination that the body was covered with blood.
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Muwema: So, can you tell us in specific terms, where the blood stains on Bahiga’s body were?
Byaruhanga: It was a well-nourished body stained with blood.
Muwema: Can you tell which part of the body had blood?
Byaruhanga: On both trunks [chests] front and the back.
Muwema: If somebody came here and told court that the body was covered in blood, would he be correct?
Byaruhanga: Yes when there are supporting photographs.
Muwema: At the time of examination, did you see blood?
Byaruhanga: I didn’t see blood in the face.
Muwema: Can you look at the report and tell us the cause of death?
Byaruhanga: I clearly stated that the cause of death was gun shots, there was multiple injuries and…
Muwema: I am not asking for findings, I need reasons.
Byaruhanga: There were multiple injuries in the lungs; this person died from loss of blood.
Muwema: It is from your own mouth, where is it in the report?
Byaruhanga: Nowhere.

Muwema: So, you brought a shoddy report!
Mayanja: Doctor, in simple terms how many gun shots did the late Bahiga sustain?
Byaruhanga: They were three, the first was at the back of the right chest, the second was in the right front chest and the third was also in the right chest.
Mayanja: From your expertise, would the person be conscious after sustaining three bullet wounds?
Byaruhanga: Yes, but it depends on several factors. I can’t say the exact period of time.
Mayanja: Have you ever been threatened before you came to testify?
Byaruhanga: No.
Kabega: I am MacDosman Kabega representing Accused 5 and Accused 6 [Amir Kinene and Hakim Kinene].
Muhanguzi: Your cross-examination should be in line with your clients.
Kabega: My clients are involved in the murder case. Doctor, you mentioned that you received police form 48, which was requesting you to carry out this examination.
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Kabega: You have not showed it [report] to my lord, have you? Yes or no.
Byaruhanga: No.
Kabega: So, without it, we do not know what the police requested you to do.
Byaruhanga: That is true.

Friends and relatives of the accused at the High court

Kabega: You said you are a forensic pathologist?
Byaruhanga: Yes.
Kabega: In the case of Bahiga, you talk about close range gunshots; you did not indicate how many shots they were. Yes or no.
Byaruhanga: No.
Kabega: Did you indicate the distance?
Byaruhanga: No, but…
Kabega: Just answer, don’t volunteer unasked explanations.
Muhanguzi: I can’t allow you to muzzle the witness, after answering, he is free to elaborate.
Byaruhanga: The first is contact [near gunshots], a few centimeters of the skin – within a distance of one meter or 100 centimeters.
Kabega: How many entrance bullet injuries did you mention?
Byaruhanga: Three.
Kabega: And how many exits?
Byaruhanga: Two.
Kabega: So, we take it that there were three gunshot injuries, and only two exited, where did the third go?
Byaruhanga: Very good question. Two wounds went to the left side; the third could have gone through a bone, dismantled it and came back.
Kabega: Did you indicate this in the report?
Byaruhanga: I did not but it comes out of the elaboration we make in court.
Kabega: Is there verbal room provided for you to explain?
Byaruhanga: Yes.

Kabega: From your training as a forensic pathologist, would I be right to suggest that you were also trained in various gun types and how to handle them?
Byaruhanga: I just know of a few like a pistol, revolver, AK47 and ATK.
Kabega: You agree with me that the entry wound of a pistol would be different from that of an AK47?
Byaruhanga: Not necessarily, there are factors. At times they differ.
Kabega: Are you in position in this case to tell the type of gun used?
Byaruhanga: It was a high-ballistic firearm.
Kabega: Is a pistol a high-ballistic firearm?
Byaruhanga: It is not.
Kabega: Is an Uzi gun [Libyan-made submachine gun] a high-velocity weapon?
Byaruhanga: Yes it is.
Kabega: After police training, what rank were you given?
Byaruhanga: Cadet ASP [assistant superintendent of police].
Kabega: Did you indicate the type of gun used?
Byaruhanga: I am not a ballistic expert to say so.
Kabega: In Kirya’s report, you were with Dr Kalungi. Is he a consultant?
Byaruhanga: Yes he is.

Kabega: You are not a consultant, are you?
Byaruhanga: No.
Kabega: I want to believe that Kalungi is senior to you.
Byaruhanga: I am a director in health services.
Muhanguzi: Of the two of you, who is senior?
Byaruhanga: We are equal.
Kabega: You are not a consultant.
Byaruhanga: And Kalungi is not a director.
Kabega: I want to suggest that Kalungi was carrying out the postmortem and you were simply writing.
Byaruhanga: That is not correct.
Kabega: How many entrance gunshots were found by Kalungi in the case of late Kirya?
Byaruhanga: There were three entry wounds and two exits. The third could have fragmented; it could have hit a bone, fractured it, which can cause an exit.

Kabega: Did you indicate that you opened up a body?
Byaruhanga: Clearly, how else could I have seen the internal organs?
Kabega: I want to put it to you that you never indicated that you opened up the body.
Byaruhanga: (No response).
Wakabala: I am Susan Sylivia Wakabala representing Accused 4 [Fahd Kalungi]. Byaruhanga, would I be right to say if the two dead people had received immediate medical attention, they would have survived. Yes or no?
Byaruhanga: In our Ugandan setting no, they could not survive.
Jatiko: No reexamination.
Muhanguzi orders Byaruhanga to come with his certified practicing license as he adjourns the case to October 20.

President’s office steps into KCCA pay dispute

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:35
Minister for KCCA, Beti Kamya

The Office of the President has stepped into a pay dispute between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and about 1,000 sacked workers of the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC).

The Office of the President has asked KCCA to pay the former employees their entitlements and terminal benefits worth about Shs 30bn. The former workers earlier petitioned Beti Kamya, the minister for KCCA, accusing the authority of refusing to sign a consent judgement agreed by the two parties in April.

The former workers sued KCCA for illegally sacking them during the transition from KCC to KCCA. The High court in April advised the two parties to resolve their dispute through mediation and an agreement was reached.Under the agreement, the petitioners’ terminal benefits were supposed to be paid in accordance with section 61 of the Local Government Act (LGA).

Now,the petitioners contend that much as their attorney has endeavoured to prepare a consent judgment, KCCA officials have declined to sign it. This prompted them to petition the minister for Kampala as well as the president’s office.

“This is to request you to advise the honourable minister why the said consent order is not being signed in order to give relief to the petitioners who are rightly aggrieved,” Clare Alaki wrote to Musisi on September 20 on behalf of the secretary, Office of the President.

The letter was copied to Kamya and NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba. In her letter, Alaki reminds Musisi that the civil procedure rules partly provide that since the consent judgment was agreed by the parties, there is no reason why this matter should proceed to trial.

The sacked workers include lawyers, division town clerks, administrative assistants, council agents and enforcement officers. They argue that upon termination of their services, they were paid under the public service regulations, which was unfair.

The more than 1,000 former KCC workers who were terminated in 2012 sued the minister of Public Service, the KCCA executive director, the attorney general and the secretary to the Public Service Commission, seeking more than Shs 30 billion.

Appearing before Justice Lydia Mugambe in April, the workers, through their lawyers Geoffrey Nangumya and Paul Tusuubira, said they had held a meeting in which the attorney general and KCCA agreed to pay their clients.

Tusuubira said filing of the consent order was pending approval from both the attorney general and KCCA. Court was asked to determine whether the complainants are entitled to be paid under the KCCA salary rates and terminal benefits for the 17 months they worked under KCCA.

The former KCC workers allege that KCCA’s executive director Jennifer Musisi invited them to work for the new entity and they did for 17 months until their services were abruptly terminated.

They claim they were entitled to terminal benefits both under the Local Government Act as employees of the defunct KCC, and also as employees of KCCA for the 17 months.

Brian Ssegawa, a former KCC employee, told The Observer on October 13 that the delayed payment has affected some of his colleagues adversely. Twenty former workers have since died, he said, adding that two others committed suicide out of frustration.

When contacted for a comment on October 12, Robert Kalumba, the deputy KCCA spokesman, said KCCA was aware of the consent judgement and will act on it anytime.

“This is not news; KCCA amicably agreed to pay the former workers, what remains is to look at the agreed and non-agreed issues, plus the availability of funds,” Kalumba said.

Kasibante to Nambooze: Stop blackmailing me

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:18
MP Moses Kasibante

One is nicknamed 'Madam Teacher' and the other 'Class Monitor.'

They are longtime friends. But the Alcohol Drinks Control Bill 2016, a private member's draft legislation sponsored by Mukono municipality MP Betty Nambooze, has fractured that friendship. Kasibante argues that the bill, if passed, will encourage binge drinking instead of curbing it.

In an interview with Baker Batte Lule on Wednesday, the Lubaga North MP said he was hurt by Nambooze's reference to him as "a drunkard who sleeps in bars."

Why do you oppose Betty Nambooze’s private member’s bill on alcohol?

I stated my opinion on the floor of parliament. I had reservations about the bill’s limitation of drinking. I have not got a chance to discuss it with her because when she was drafting it, she never involved me. When she stated the objectives of the bill on the floor of parliament and the title which is about limiting excessive drinking of alcohol; this is where I have a problem.

My reservations which I stated in parliament are still the same. We cannot limit the time in which people drink alcohol. I have always referred to what took place during Idi Amin’s time when they thought it was prudent to limit drinking. He had the same reasons, that people were drinking excessively.

Many people died, more than those who died before waragi was outlawed. My word of caution to MPs was that as we try to limit time in which alcohol is consumed, we must know that we might not be limiting excessive drinking because excessive drinking doesnot mean drinking for long hours; you could drink excessively within a very short time.

I must tell you that I have not sat with Nambooze to discuss the contents of the bill. It is also important to add that the bill has not yet been tabled in parliament for me to get a copy.

You share an office with her and she claims you earlier supported her bill. So, why did you ambush her on the floor of parliament?

That has never happened; that is blackmail. It’s true we share an office but I was not her seconder. When she was drafting her bill, she never involved me. Sharing an office is one thing and sharing a bill or what one is doing is another.

When we enter the office, each one of us minds his/her own business. She has her constituency and I have mine. On this particular bill, Nambooze has not involved me at any level. I read that claim in [your] newspaper. I also listened to her on radio talk-shows speaking about the bill.

That’s all I know about the bill, I have never sat with Nambooze to discuss anything to do with this bill. I want to add that, that is okay with me and I don’t take it that she sidelined me. She should not blackmail me. She has been hiding her bill from me and I take it as a confidential matter.

I’m not her seconder, her seconders are Vincent Bagoole and Arinaitwe Rwakajara; those we don’t share an office. She chose to give them details of what she was doing and that is her right.

Had you shown interest in discussing the bill with her?

When I heard that she had drafted a bill, we had a one-minute interaction and I voiced my same reservation. This was after she confessed to me that she had quit boozing, which is ok.

As for the details of the bill, we have never got time to discuss them and I’m not blaming her for that. I take it as blackmail when Nambooze says she had an understanding with me over the bill. In fact, when she confessed that she no longer drinks, I told her that for me I’m still drinking but I do so responsibly.

You never told her before that particular session that she should table the bill quickly so you can support her before you go to CBS radio?

That particular day we met inside parliament during the plenary. She entered before me. The assertion that I told her she should table the bill before I go to CBS only came when her motion got problems. MPs had issues with it and one of her seconders, Rwakajara, disappeared.

I think that’s when she began looking for me. Even the other seconder Bagoole messed up. He [Bagoole] was attacked when he confessed that his brother was an alcoholic. MPs argued that since he had a personal interest in curing a brother, he could not second a bill. That’s when Nambooze started looking around for me.

We must not support any bill in parliament based on friendship and hatred. A bill is a bill and when it becomes law, it affects the whole country, not only Ugandans but also foreigners. I can’t compromise my opinion in order to appease my colleague. It’s true Nambooze is my friend but I cannot go to parliament to legislate to appease her. The bill is not in the interest of my constituency.

So, it’s true that because your constituency has many drunkards, you are opposing the bill in order not to annoy them?

We must not legislate by saying alcohol is evil and whoever drinks it is a drunkard. Being a drunkard is another stage of life; there are people who are drunkards but have not taken any alcohol.

Also, saying that I have a constituency of drunkards is not true. I have a constituency that has people who drink, yes; but not everyone who drinks is a drunkard. Alcoholism is a sickness that can be treated. It’s just like those who get gout out of eating meat. You cannot accuse them of abusing meat.

You raised a point of order trying to stop Nambooze from tabling her motion. She says that was very unfair of you because  parliament is the only platform for her to air her views.

I’m not the speaker; when I think there are issues to talk about, I ask the speaker and I make my submission. But the ultimate person to make that decision is the speaker.

I was ruled out of order and I respected the ruling. I raised issues that were not attacking the person of Nambooze. So, it is not about Nambooze having an opportunity to speak but the reasons we raise. She must respect debate even when she has interest in what is being said.
Why would you seek to throw out an entire bill when you are against only one clause about the time of drinking?

What else does it have? When I stood up to speak, I referred to the mover and seconder who were all referring to controlling excessive drinking. But I was saying look, Amin wanted to control excessive drinking and killed more Ugandans instead.

So, if the time limit, is sorted, you have no problem with the bill?

I don’t want to be speculative. Today [Wednesday] when I read The Observer newspaper, I saw some other issues in the bill. I don’t have a copy of the bill but to go with what you published, I don’t have any problem with some of the clauses.

But you see, when you say regulation and again begin to limit the time when people can drink, that overrides the other provisions of the bill. Even other bad laws have got good clauses.

What’s wrong with limiting the time in which people drink other than speculating that during Amin’s time it killed more people?

One thing I admit is that some people drink excessively but it is not because they drink for longer hours. I know people who drink excessively but they do so in a very short time. Take the example of students who have become alcoholic; what long hours do they have at school to drink? Somebody gets like 30 minutes and because the time is limited for him or her, you find him/her taking a lot.

So, when you say there is no drinking beyond midnight; are you controlling what happens between 5pm and midnight because people will drink to beat time? To me it’s a healthy debate and I’m not accusing Nambooze and other people who could be having different views from mine. I think no one should accuse the other of intrigue, or calling the other a drunkard. Let’s go for substance.

Are you a drunkard, anyway?

I’m not but I drink. Those two are different. To some of us, drinking is a socializing agent. There are people who leave every type of alcohol at their homes and go to bars. There are also others who stay in bars past midnight when they are not drinking.

I have friends with whom I meet in bars or hotels and we discuss when we are not drinking. There are also people who spend a lot of time in bars but drink very little compared to those who drink from their homes.

I don’t want anyone to condemn me or accuse me of being a drunkard because I have a dissenting opinion. Me, I have total respect for those who drink, including the drunkards and alcoholics, because some just need help, not laws.

Moses Kasibante talking to MPs Betty Nambooze and Nabilah Ssempala recently

Do you mean to say the law Nambooze is pushing is not needed?

…I need to look at other clauses but for me the time limit is overriding. If we dispose of it, we can go to other issues. The issue of time touches many people, including traders, [and] manufacturers, among others.

Where I come from in Butambala, those who produce the local brew tonto, if you limit the time, it becomes a very big challenge because whenever they are brewing, which we call okusengejja in Luganda, it is like a beer party. So, when you say people should start drinking at 5pm, what happens when tonto is ready for okusengejja?

When you talk about beer companies, it begs a question of whether these companies have not fronted you to resist Nambooze’s bill. You wouldn’t be the first MP to be accused of conniving (for lack of a better word) with companies that stand to be affected by certain parliamentary activities.

Never, never; that can never happen. That’s why I want to debate this bill without fear or favour. I’m very independent on this matter and I don’t think I must be approached to know what happened in Uganda.

That a beer company should tell me waragi killed more people when it was outlawed! I grew up in a family that used to brew local beer; so, I know.

So, it’s true you have been drinking throughout your life...

I’m not saying I was drinking but my family used to brew tonto and my school fees was got from that.

You have just told me that we should never legislate for personal interests but now you’re telling me your family is or was in the beer business; so, you don’t think someone should legislate against a business that has been feeding you.

I’m saying what I’m saying not because I have interest in the matter but I have experience. I know Nambooze has her own experiences,which maybe we need to share. But what I hate is blackmailing or abusing me. When you label me omutamiivu [drunkard], then you mean to say your bill cannot be debated.

Laws are made for the bad guys, not the good ones who drink responsibly. Don’t you think Nambooze’s bill is meant for those who abuse alcohol?

Who abuses alcohol? When you see someone suffering from alcoholism and you say this one abused alcohol, you could be missing a point. Those who suffer after drinking must get treated. Why shouldn’t we have rehabilitation clinics at every hospital in the country?

She also proposes those rehabilitation centers.

And we need a law? Maybe it is not very easy to have government commit to that. We can look into the budgets of, say, the ministry of health.

We must see [to it] that government does its work, especially in areas where it has relaxed. I have also heard arguments that students drink alcohol at school; my question is, do we need a bill to stop that? I’m a teacher and I think we just need to enhance counseling and guidance in schools.

Do you acknowledge that there is a problem with the way alcohol is manufactured and consumed?

Yes, I accept there is a problem. For example, some of the waragi in sachets on sale is not good and some is not [even] licensed, but we have Uganda National Bureau of Standards to do that.

They are the people responsible for making sure that quality standards are adhered to. I don’t know whether Nambooze’s bill is going to specify what will be put in the beer or spirits. The law already does not allow alcohol to be sold to children below the age of 18.

Have you tried to get the bill to know its contents?

She is the mover of the motion. We sit in the same office but she still thinks the bill is confidential. I didn’t want to disturb her. I respect the due process, but I think if it is finally admitted, we will get time and discuss it.

I get the impression there is more than what you are telling us between you and Nambooze.

It’s true we sit in the same office but there is a lot that each of us does that remains confidential. A bill is being drafted by someone and I’m a member of a parliament in which it is going to be presented, why the hurry?

There is nothing between Nambooze and myself. I’m debating this because that is what was mentioned by the mover and seconder of the motion. I also have a lot I’m doing which I have not disclosed to my colleague, but this does not mean that I don’t trust her. Where I need to consult, I consult her. What is dividing us is something very small.

In fact, when it comes to campaigns you will see me campaigning for her. What you should ask her is what she will do now that she regrets ever campaigning for me. But I have former enemies who now regret why they didn’t  vote for me.

Since the exchange, you have not reached out to Nambooze to iron out your differences. This is an indicator that you were terribly hurt by the way she referred to you.

Initially, I thought this issue was hyped by the media until I listened to the bytes. I was hurt. Labeling me a drunkard and stating that I sleep in bars has not only hurt me but my wife at home, my children, my mother and my entire family.

Those who are very close to me know that I drink but I do so more responsibly than any other person. I never spend nights in bars and I’m not a drunkard. My colleague does not run a bar to know what time I go home. My old mum who depends on me was very hurt. She kept asking, has my boy changed drastically from the one I knew?

That’s why I had to run to Butambala because many family members were rubbed the wrong way by my closest friend. Now that I have attended to my family, I think I can now call Nambooze. I feel my family was more hurt than her.

In debates, we need to respect even those we feel are of lesser status. I have been moving around gathering views from those who drink. You will be surprised, they have interesting views. You can’t say, Kasibante is a drunkard; so, his views should not be listened to.

Have you received your Shs 100m to buy a car?

Have other people got?

You tell me.

I don’t think I should declare everything I get to the media. My emoluments are not subject to public declaration. But even if they were, I haven’t got it.

You were a journalist for a long time before you joined parliament. Now you (MPs) have summoned editors to explain what you call bad publicity. If you were the editor, would you have honored the summons?

If parliament has issues with the editors, they should go and seek redress in court. Now parliament is complaining and summoning people to try them.

You’re the complainant and at the same time the trial judge. This is not proper. The media and parliament are now a party to a disagreement but one is calling the other for trial. I agree there could be some journalists who have erred but they should not be tried by the same complainant.

Danida's Shs 380bn project to deliver safe tap water

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:06

The Danish government, through its development agency Danida, has given Euro 100 million (approximately Shs 380 billion) to Uganda to avail clean water to one million people in parts of Kampala, Entebbe and Wakiso.

The multi-billion deal was signed on Wednesday in Kampala between the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Morgens Pedersen, and Eng Silver Mugisha, the managing director of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), the  implementer of the project.

Under the project, a new water treatment plant will be built along the shores of Lake Victoria at Kigo, to boost piped water supply to Kampala South, which covers Kaazi, Kajjansi, Entebbe, Buloba, Bulenga and Mpigi areas. Many parts of these areas are classified as “dry zones” because they don’t get regular water supply.

Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Morgens Pedersen (R) and NWSC MD Eng Silver Mugisha signing the deal

A faecal sludge treatment facility will also be constructed to increase sanitation and waste management in those areas. The project feasibility study will be done immediately while construction works are expected to start in 2019 and end by 2020.

Speaking after the signing ceremony at NWSC’s International Resource Centre in Bugolobi, Mugisha said the project will increase the Kampala-Entebbe corridor water supply by 130 million litres per day.

Currently, the corridor gets water from greater Kampala area’s daily supply of 230 million litres, which Mugisha noted is not enough for the growing demand.

NWSC also plans to increase water supply in greater Kampala to 400 million litres per day once works on Katosi treatment plant are complete by 2018.

Mugisha assured Ambassador Pedersen of value for money. He said NWSC has already built a proven record in implementing such multibillion donor-funded projects.

“There is going to be a lot of integrity from us as an implementing agency,” said Mugisha, who has supervised similar projects funded by the European Union in Namasuba, Ggaba and other parts of the country.

Slow business at Crane bank as BOU takes over

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 01:15
Crane bank branch in Kireka earlier 

Just a few Crane bank branches upcountry operated normally today as the central bank, Bank of Uganda (BOU) announced a take-over of the country's third largest bank.

After months of speculation on the status of the bank, BOU today announced that Crane bank was significantly under-capitalized and that this “poses systemic risks to the stability of the financial systems" of the country.

"This is to inform you that the Bank of Uganda has with effect from today, 20th October 2016, pursuant to Sections 87 (3), 88(1) (a) & (b) of the Financial Institutions Act 2004, taken over Crane bank Ltd," Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said in a brief statement.
Mutebile added that the continuation of Crane bank activities in the current form is detrimental to the interests of its depositors.

He adds "accordingly, Bank of Uganda has appointed a statutory manager of the affairs of the bank and suspended its Board of Directors."
In some of the branches, clients walked in and out of the banking hall seemingly oblivious of the takeover, apart from police deployment alongside private security guards outside the bank.
At Mbarara branch, Jonathan Ayebare a bank customer told our reporter that he had planned to withdraw his money but cancelled the plan after being informed by a friend that the takeover would not affect the savings of the clients.
Simuka Phenekansi, another customer said he had just banked some money on his account and was told that the bank will continue to operate normally. Juliet Tumusiime said she withdrew all the Shs 500,000 on her account.
She says that she would like to first study the situation before deciding her next bank transaction. A staff member of Crane bank who talked to URN on condition of anonymity says that most of the clients have in the past one month been withdrawing their money to zero balance.
The Crane bank manager of Mbarara branch, Chris Namutt said that the takeover by the central bank will not affect their work. He however declined to reveal more details concerning the reaction of the clients.
In Masaka, long queues were seen both in the banking hall at the automated teller machines (ATMs) to withdraw their savings from the bank. Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, a resident of Masaka says he has withdrawn all his money for fear that the bank may eventually close down. He says the takeover by central bank means there is a problem.
But only one out of 15 tellers inside the bank was operating at the time this reporter visited. The foreign exchange counter was also closed. The attendant told URN that she could not give out any money.
However, the branch management of the bank said the bank is operating normally. In Gulu, business progressed normally at the bank. By the time of filing this report, a group of bankers from Kampala had arrived at the branch. The bank's clients however seemed ignorant about the changes.
Thomas Ojok, a client was surprised at the news but hastened to add that he is grateful to know that the central bank is working hard to protect customers. Private security has been deployed alongside armed police personnel at the branch.
In Soroti, the branch located along Mbale road, is now guarded by six armed police officers and four private security guards, a rather unusual scene at the facility.
A front desk manager at the branch said that the branch recorded the highest volume of withdrawals today, based on speculation about the status of the bank. He however says that there is no need for panic.
In Hoima, only one teller was available out of the usual eight. By the time of filing the report there were only two staff inside the bank which at the moment is guarded by two police officers and two private security guards.
The construction site of the branch in Masindi has also been deserted. In Luweero, business was normal. By the time URN visited the bank at 4:30pm, only two clients were making withdraws from the tellers. There was no client at the ATM.
One of the client told URN that he was not yet aware of the takeover by BOU. The branch still carries an earlier disclaimer at the entrance dismissing the pending closure of the bank.  However unlike before, the bank is now guarded by two police officers deployed at the entrance. Before the takeover, the bank was only guarded by private guards.
Crane bank opened up Luweero branch in 2015 but was still struggling to attract clients by the time of the takeover.

MP Kabaziguruka released on bail

Fri, 10/21/2016 - 00:57
MP Michael Kabaziguruka

The High court has temporarily released Nakawa Division MP Michael Kabaziguruka after spending over four months in Kigo prison.

Kabaziguruka was released by Justice Yasin Nyanzi who held that court cannot be approached by someone who is seeking justice and it decides to fold its arms yet the very bail application has not been opposed by any state agency.

Justice Nyanzi was forced to make the remarks after the state through the director of public prosecutions (DPP) and attorney general shunned being party to hearing of Kabaziguruka's bail application.

The DPP had about a week ago, cited the constitution saying it bars them from taking part in cases that are handled by the General Court Martial. The attorney general was also equally not available to take part in the bail hearing on grounds that its jurisdiction only limits it to civil matters not criminal.

Justice Nyanzi however observed that he was satisfied with the bail application since Kabaziguruka's sureties were substantial and that he would be able to turn up in court for trial whenever he is wanted.

His sureties included; Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, FDC party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante.

The four sureties were each bonded at Shs 10m (non-cash) while Kabaziguruka was granted cash bail of Shs 5m. Court also ordered the law maker to report to the deputy registrar of the criminal division after every 15 days and that he should consult the registrar in case he wants to make any travels abroad.

The legislator is jointly charged with 20 UPDF officers before the General Court Martial for allegedly plotting to infiltrate defense forces and prejudice its security to overthrow the government of Uganda by use of firearms.

The treachery offenses that he faces were allegedly committed between February and June this year in districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Luweero.