All Uganda news

The Observer

Subscribe to The Observer feed
News, Politics, Business, Sports and Lifestyle Features from The Observer in Uganda
Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

Police nabs Museveni guards over theft of Shs 700 million

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 14:36
SFC boss Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba

Two soldiers attached to the Special Forces Command (SFC) have been arrested in connection with the robbery of Shs 700 million in two separate incidents in Kampala.

SFC is the elite army unit that guards the president and other important dignitaries. The arrested soldiers, a one Capt Nyakaringwa and a one Chemonges, are being held at the Central police station (CPS) in Kampala.

Sources in police told us that in early January, the duo was part of a group of armed men that attacked four Chinese business people in Kireka and robbed them of Shs 300m.

Later the same day, the same group allegedly robbed a city tycoon (name withheld) of Shs 400 million in Muyenga, after putting him on gunpoint.

We have been told that the pair was recently picked up by operatives from the police’s Flying Squad from the SFC base in Entebbe, after phone printouts linked them to the robberies.

But sources told us that the first breakthrough in the case was made when the Chinese complained to the inspector general of police, Gen Kale Kayihura, about the way the matter was being handled. They reportedly told him they had some clues which could lead to the arrests of the suspects but the police investigators had ignored them.

Kayihura reportedly instructed Herbert Muhangi, the commandant, police Flying Squad, to take up the matter. We have been told that Muhangi took statements from the Chinese, who gave him names of suspects behind the robbery.

From this information, sources told us, police arrested a one Byaruhanga, a former soldier attached to Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

“After Byaruhanga was put under [intense] interrogation, he accepted having participated in the robbery with the help of soldiers from SFC,” an insider source said.

Byaruhanga is said to have revealed that he “brought” the deal and SFC soldiers provided the guns used in the robbery. After the SFC soldiers were implicated, Muhangi wrote to the leadership of the SFC, which cleared him to arrest and prosecute the soldiers.

Police sources told us that when the SFC soldiers were interrogated, they confessed having participated in the said robberies. They claimed that they were tipped off by a one Santario, whom they knew as a UPDF soldier. Santario Awori was also later arrested and is currently detained with the duo at CPS.

Sources told us upon interrogation, Awori revealed how he has commanded a number of armed robberies in the city. The source, however, told us that Awori has been using different security officers for different missions.

Contacted for a comment on Monday, Muhangi, the commandant of the Flying Squad, confirmed the arrests of the soldiers.

“In total, we have so far arrested three suspects and they are giving us good information which will lead to the arrest of more suspects,” he said, adding that the suspects could be prosecuted for aggravated robbery once investigations were complete.

johnsonkagame@gmail.com

How Mbabazi won preliminary round

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 14:26

On March 7, at 10:30 am the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe led eight fellow Supreme court justices into a parked court to entertain a pre-hearing conference which instead ended in entertaining an amended petition filed by the petitioner.

This kind of an ambush amended petition resulted into a legal battle with respondents objecting to its admissibility. Mbabazi’s legal team successfully convinced court that it was worthy to admit.

The other justices in their seniority were Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach-Amoko, Augustine Nshimye, Eldad Mwangusya, Ruby Opio-Aweri, Faith Mwondha and Lillian Tibatemwa.

SIRAJE LUBWAMA and DERRICK KIYONGA were in court and recorded the pro- ceedings. Bellow is an abridged version.

Mbabazi’s lawyers Mohamed Mbabazi, Asuman Basalirwa and Michael Akampurira arrive at court

Court Clerk: Presidential election petition No 01 of 2016: Rt Hon Amama Mbabazi petitioner – versus Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General – respondents. The matter is for pre-hearing conference.

Rukutana: My lords, I am Mwesigwa Rukutana the deputy Attorney General for the third respondent [Attorney General]. I am being assisted by Francis Atoke, Philip Mwaka, Martin Mwambutsya, George Karemera, Elisha Bafirawala, Gerald Batanda and Jacky Amusuguti. For the petitioner [Amama], the lead counsel is Mohamed Mbabazi, assisted by Micheal Akampurira, Asuman Basalirwa, Severino Twinobusingye and Jude Byamukama.
For the first respondent [Museveni], we have Didas Nkurunziza, Barnabas Tumusingize, Ebert Byenkya, Joseph Matsiko, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, and a team of 30 other lawyers [all stand up].

Katureebe: I think we shall go with counsels who are addressed in court. The first respondent is also represented by Edwin Karugire.
Rukutana: The second respondent [Electoral Commission] is represented by Enos Tumusiime, MacDosman Kabega, Enock Barata, Tom Magezi, Ivan Kyateka, Okello Oryem and Erick Sabiiti. I don’t see the petitioner in court. The first respondent is also represented by Edwin Karugire. We are here for conferencing, but about three minutes ago, we were served with an amended petition which substantially alters the petition before your lordships, we have not even had time to peruse it.

Katureebe: The court has not seen it, who filed it?
Mbabazi: We filed it this morning under Order six Rule 20.
Katureebe: What does it say?
Mbabazi: It says plaintiff or party can amend his pleadings anytime before the close of business.
Katureebe: The pleadings were closed by law yesterday. This is a presidential election petition. From the time the respondent filed his petition which was yesterday, the pleadings were closed. Then court is required to start hearing this matter five days from yesterday. Now you bring in a petition which we haven’t seen, nobody has seen it. What do you want us to do with it? We amend the rules?

Mbabazi: There is rule 15 of the Presidential Elections Petition rules 2011. It incorporates Civil Procedure rules which allow for an amendment.
Katureebe: You see rule 15 subjects the Civil Procedure rules to the Presidential Election rules.
Mbabazi: Yes my Lord.
Katureebe: So now why don’t we first confine our- selves to the Presidential Elections rules? You are talking of a petition that the court doesn’t have.
Mbabazi: We have already filed it and definitely, they are going to get into your files. Be as it may, we applied for leave.
Katureebe: Before who?

Mbabazi: Your lordships.
Katureebe: Where is the application?
Mbabazi: We can make an oral application still under Order six Rule 29. Maybe we can make submissions on that.
Katureebe: Yes, Mr Tumusiime?
Tumusiime: My lord, they may have served the Attorney General and we don’t know that they did but the second respondent has not been served.
Nkurunziza: This is the first time we are hearing about an amended petition. We have not been served.

Katureebe: Mr Mbabazi, how are you going to make an application to admit something that the court and the other parties don’t have?
for a pre-conference and in pre-conferencing we sort out those issues. We have brought it to the notice of the court that we have filed an amended petition. I think it would be appropriate for court to ask how we are going to deal with it. But in pre-conferencing we have not come for a trial, and [we] thought we can address that.

Katureebe: We are dealing with a presidential election petition which has peculiar rules and regulations and a special Act of parliament and it has definite timelines over which this court has no control. If you have filed something that fundamentally departs from what you had served and had replied to, it would require the other parties being that time to respond to your petition. And the court does not have that time; we can’t rigor out of the Constitution.
Mbabazi: Well, to my understanding, we still had time to file an affidavit in reply at least that one is there. We still even have time to file affidavits as evidence and we thought within that time the court will accommodate us.
Katureebe: You are trying to proceed from here to allow time for filing of affidavits and replies and so on. But if you put in a new petition, what does anybody respond to?
Mbabazi: We have not filed a petition.

Katureebe: That is a rumour I heard because what you have filed departs fundamentally.
Mbabazi: It is within the issues before court.
Katureebe: You see the court would have to read that petition to make a decision. And at the moment we can’t; we just can’t because we don’t have it.
Mbabazi: When we have rigorous rules of Presidential Election petition, we cannot do away with the rights to be heard and fairness. And in fairness, to determine the issues arising out of this petition, we need to look at the amendment.
Katureebe: Mr Mbabazi, I don’t want to go into your arguments. The right to be heard must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution. If the Constitution says the petition must be heard within 30 days, you don’t come on the 31st day and say ‘I have a right to be heard’. Right now, it is a moot point because really you are talking about something that I don’t know. I don’t know the nature of your amendment whether it fundamentally departs or doesn’t. I think we will take a short recess and allow counsels them- selves to consult and we don’t want to be unduly difficult in petitioning. So, court will recess for 30 minutes.

(Court re-convenes)

Tumusiime: My lord, we put to them and they did not tell us what their decision is; so, that is why we believe it is important to know from the beginning if they are withdrawing or they are proceeding.
Mbabazi: We did not agree on the question of withdrawing the amendments. We have also consulted with my [colleagues], and it is our contention that if you want to make any objection, they should make the objection formally and we respond to it, so that the matter may be ruled by this honourable court.
Katureebe: Mr Akampurira, you may go ahead and make an application.
Akampurira: We did file an amended petition under Art 126(e) of the Constitution and Section 100 of the CPA rule 15 of the Presidential Election petition rules 2011 and Order six Rule 20 which give the petitioner a right to amend without seeking leave.
Katureebe: Is there any time mentioned in that rule?
Akampurira: Fourteen days.
Katureebe: How does this apply to this situation?

Akampurira: I am coming to that. In this case where there are special rules and special procedure, we did file this amendment within 12 hours. Why? We were served with a response of the first respondent yesterday at 6:00 and immediately we converged and amended. And why did we have to amend?

One, the rules provide for all, they are petition of the Civil procedure rules that is the Presidential Election rules, metatis metandis. Two, there is provision for further and better particulars where the petition is in general terms and this had already been seen even in their pleadings. And for that purpose, we need to look at rule 8(5) and 10(2) of the Presidential Election rules (reads them).

There was no application for that but we thought it wise. I think we became wiser and we thought that since they are pleading general pleadings we are complaining of, these are general pleadings.

Katureebe: Let me understand you. Are you now saying that these amendments are as a result of someone’s answer?
Akampurira: Some of them and others are re- ally clarifications because if we go through them, I think you have heard the opportunity of looking at them, you will find that we are just saying under section..., this didn’t hap- pen. And the issue before court is whether there was non-compliance with the provisions or Act. We have shown all provisions, now we are missing some like 56(2) instead of the general specific where we had said under the Presidential Elections Act. So, we are being specific.
Aweri: Counsel, in your view that provision which provides for further and better particulars, in your view or your understanding it means just filing an amended petition?
Mbabazi: The straight answer would be no, but if I am given an opportunity to explain, I am showing that if there is a provision for doing other things which we do in Civil Procedure which [we] can amend without leave, do interrogatories, discovery. We are holding a scheduling conference now, it is not provided for in the Presidential Election rules. Why, because we thought it fit for us to come here and get a scheduling. And what is supposed to be done at scheduling, a scheduling means [to] see what is missing, prepare the case for trial and a trial... have to be...We are here to be guided by you, because this is really an inquiry.

Katureebe: Go ahead and make your application. I am sure they will respond.
Mbabazi: The principles of allowing amendment are very well known but most importantly rule 17 of the Presidential Election petition rules provided for enlargement of time. In this case if court is inclined to find that there was a time limit, the rule we are citing is talking about 14 days. For us we have done it in 12 hours. So, if there is any time bar, we pray to court that you invoke regulation 17 to enlarge or exercise your discretion.
Katureebe: But what are the special circumstances that you are invoking or would ask for the enlargement of time?
Mbabazi: The justice of the case requires that you have a petition which has all the particulars and that all controversies are deter- mined. Even rule 20, the key words are for purposes of determining the real questions and controversy between the parties. And in that regard, we would argue your lordships to invoke Article 126(2) (e) and section 100 of the CPA and we pray that you allow the amendment already on record so that we can proceed.

Tumusiime: The copy of the amended petition that we have is not lodged in this court, is not signed by the Registrar, it is not dated by the Registrar and we also believe the necessary fees have not been paid.

That aside, we are dealing with a very serious Constitutional matter and for that reason I beg to refer this court to Article 104 of the Constitution which states that a petition under Clause 1 of this Article shall be lodged in the Supreme court registry within 10 days after the declaration of election results. That time is gone.

Thirdly, Article 3(104), the Supreme Court shall inquire into and determine the petition expeditiously and shall prepare its findings not later than 30 days from the date of the petition. I wish to add that where strict timelines are set by the Constitution, we are not even looking at the Presidential Elections Act; we are not looking at the Civil Procedure Act. In 104(2) and (3) or anywhere in the Constitution there is no provision for this amendment.

Secondly, there is no provision for extension of time. The Constitution has set time limits as well as Presidential Act for filing the petition, filing answers and filing affidavits. So any attempt to go out of these timelines, we submit, it’s unconstitutional and should not be allowed. Counsel for the petitioner has referred to rule 17, the time to be enlarged or agreed must be that set by the rules not by the constitution.

For doing any act if in the opinion of court there exist such special circumstances and we are grateful for pointing it out to our learned friend to tell court what special circumstances have prompted the petitioner to apply for enlargement of time and for amendment. Like my learned friend has admitted that they deemed it necessary to expound or amend because we notice, if I may quickly refer to the first petitioner’s affidavit.

The first respondent has challenged the petitioner on providing particulars of proof of those wild allegations, if I may call them that in the petition. So this application comes as an afterthought and I submit that there are no special circumstances that have been brought to the attention of this court to warrant this court exercising its jurisdiction to enlarge, should I add any? Before leaving that rule, there is a provision at the end; it says: “Except that when considering enlarging the time, the court shall take into account the provision of section 59 (3) of the Act. There is a specific provision about timelines.

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe (L) talks to Justice Esther Kisaakye during court proceedings

Katureebe: I think that provision...
Tumusiime: The provision means that the Supreme Court shall inquire into and determine the petition expeditiously and shall declare its findings not later than 30 days from the date of the petition. There is a [serious] time-table both in the Constitution and the Presidential Elections Act, in the Electoral Commission Act as well as the rules here that gives strict timelines for doing or filing pleadings and also arguing the case and consequently judgment.
Katureebe: I think without laboring the point that rule 17 says “even if the court enlarge time according to the rules, the decision must still be made within 30 days”.

Tumusiime: Most obliged. Further, rule 10 of the Presidential Elections petition rules states that: “Where the petition and the answer has been duly served, and any application for further better particulars has been admitted, the court shall set the date for trial with the petition which shall be within five days after the date in which further and better particulars were ordered or agreed to be given”.

We have just been served with a notice for further and better particulars we will comment on, but if you consider the new application for the notice to produce documents and you consider our timelines in view of this new petition which has been brought. We find it very difficult to squeeze ourselves within the 30 days that your lordships have pointed out.

Further, the amendment that they are seeking to bring is not simply an amendment. It is a new petition with new causes of action, and I wish to make a quick reference to paragraphs 39 and 41 where they have made a prayer for a recount. Now this will definitely lead us to do further preparation for this; we are going to consult with our clients and particularly the first respondent may not be easily found in a space of a day or two.

So, we are looking at this amendment of this application to amend as something which is going to delay the whole process and consequently it will amount to an abuse of court process. Looking at this proposed amendment, there is nothing in there that the petitioner did not know of [at the time] the petition was filed.

We have also been served with what is called an additional affidavit. As it stands, there is no affidavit in support of the amended petition. They have filed what they call an additional in support of the amended.

I don’t want to speculate why they did not add; if you look at the last para- graph of the petition, they are saying that the petition relies on the affidavit. They don’t talk of affidavits of the petitioner; they talk of an affidavit of the petition. And if it is that additional, then there is no original affidavit which was attached to the [petition].

They have also simultaneously as they were serving the amended petition served us with the notice produced documents. And these documents are not born of the pleadings of the petition. They are not even born of the answer of the first, second and third respondent. They are looking for some electronic videos and what none of the parties not even the petitioner referred to and we believe that all that is deliberately meant to prolong this trial to the prejudice of the respondents. I will ask my colleagues to supplement.

Nkurunziza: I would like to submit on two points. The Presidential Elections rules in particular rule 8, 5 which authorize the respondent who requires further and better particulars of the petition to apply those particulars together with the answer. It is incumbent upon the petitioner to supply the particulars requested on or before the date set for trial of the petition. That is not a license to the petitioner to amend his petition.
Katureebe: I know there is always that rule but rule 5 is about the respondent asking for further better particulars, not the other way round.

Nkurunziza: It is the respondent to whom the rules give the right to apply for further and better particulars of the petitioner. Now the petitioner must then, subject to the directions of the court, supply the particulars requested. So, that does not give the petitioner the right to amend his petition or to file a fresh petition. These rules are very strict; they do not provide for the petitioner to file a rejoinder and that is because of the strict timelines that the law has set.

Under rule 15, this court has the power to invoke those Civil Procedure rules but with such modification as this court may consider necessary in the interest of justice and here I will stress, and expedition of the proceedings not for the delay of the proceedings. I therefore, submit that it is not open to the petitioner to make the application he has made and it should be dismissed.

Rukutana: I want to submit that it is not necessary to amend the petition merely to bring new evidence. They are free to do so in their affidavits which they are at liberty to file. That cannot justify a new petition. Article 126(2) cited is not a magic wand on the part of a defaulting litigant. It was not meant to do away with the already-established rules of procedure.

That Article would only apply where there is no express provision on a particular issue, but in this matter they are express provisions. This application is time-bound; it is governed inter alia by the Presidential Elections Act and rules and above all the Constitution. So, we pray that you disallow the amendment and dismiss the application with costs to the respondents (laughter).

Matsiko: The rules that govern the hearing of this case require the hearing to start within five days after close of proceedings. If in this application the amendments were to be allowed, the practicalities of the situation would mean that the respondents would require at the very least three days; but with particular reference to the first respondent, I need to over- emphasize the fact that the likelihood of grave prejudice is really high given the nature of his office.
Katureebe: A point has been made. Yes, Mr Mbabazi, do you want to say something?
Mbabazi: We did file this amended petition this morning and we have the receipt for fees.
Katureebe: Actually according to the document I have, it was received in the registry at four minutes past 10 when this court was already supposed to be seated here.
Mbabazi: Yes, so, we would seek for your indulgence in some of these matters because we have also not gone to ask them where they paid fees on Sunday and Saturday but these are issues we can still run and do for our scheduling.

Two, I need to correct the reading of Rule 10(3) of the Presidential Petition Rules. That Rule does not say that the petition will start within five days if I may read it. “The court shall in any case fix the date for trial of the petition to deem within five days after due service of the petition on the respondent where the respondent has neither filed and has an answer to the petition nor filed a notice of intention not to op- pose the petition were first learned...

If they had not responded [within] five days, it would be applicable. In this case the five days are not applicable; so, we are saying that five days is not as represented by my learned friend. I have not heard any of my learned friends quoting a Rule which bars a petitioner from [amending]. Then it goes to the justices of the case: we are looking for [substantive] justice within this court; it is not a show, we need to present our case properly.

Katureebe: When you raised this under Article 126(2)...
Mbabazi: It says: “In adjudicating cases of both Civil and Criminal nature the court shall, subject to the law, apply the following principles”.
Katureebe: And do you notice that it is subject to the law?
Mbabazi: Correct my lord.
Katureebe: Now you are jumping to the rule, the principle of substantive justice but if it is subject to the law and the point has been made here that this time it’s not just the law, it is the Constitution, and I want your response about that.

Mbabazi: One, I began by saying that there is no law which bars an amendment. Two, the Constitution says the petition ought to be heard within 30 days. Today, we are getting to about seven or eight days and we cannot speculate that we are not going to have this matter heard within 30 days. We are still doing the formalities, we are doing a pre-trial. We are going to submit our affidavits; they are going to submit their affidavits and I think that is why we are here to clean the house and get ready for the trial. And then the specific rule which says that we should prepare for the trial. I think even it requires the date of the trial to be gazette such that...

Aweri: But it is an allegation of a lead cause of action in the amended petition, what do you say to that?
Mbabazi: That one of course is not correct. If you want me to repeat my earlier submissions, I said that we are clarifying what would have been an application for further and better particulars. We became wiser and foretold it and corrected what would ...
Katureebe: That one is different.
Mbabazi: Yes, if you look at the amended petition and the old petition, one of the points is quoting section 26(2) which was not quoted last time. Then we go to the tally sheets and how the voting was done: we are quoting now specifically section 56(2) which requires tally sheets and all other things to be done but we had put it in general terms. This is not a new petition.

So, in any case, my lords, we would [urge] you to look at this new petition in the context of substantive justice. We are here to inquire into the allegations and the malpractices and which we have brought forward to you, you are the final arbiter and this is a matter which is big. There is no specific rule which bars the petitioner from amending.

Save for the 30 days which they are talking about, we have not exceeded them. So, we maintain our prayer and pray in the context of 126, you also apply Rule 22 which also talks about these objections and regularities not being bared to the disposal of this petition, so we pray.

Katureebe: (after consulting next fellow justices) The court will deliver a ruling on this application [this afternoon].
(At 3:00pm, court reconvened and court in its ruling upholds the petitioner’s prayer and allows the amended petition).

Katureebe: The hearing of this matter shall be on Monday 14th March. We will need to meet again on Thursday 10th March to follow up on issues on agreed facts which were meant for today. In the meantime, the parties must continue to file their affidavits, if any. The petitioner must file not later than Wednesday and the respondents must file affidavit in reply not later than Saturday. If there are rejoinder affidavits, they must be filed by Sunday.

We have allowed the press in the opening session. Next time we are asking the press to place their cameras at the back of the courtroom to allow the public see the proceedings because this is not theatre, but a courtroom.

Another matter of concern is the sub judice rule. People, including lawyers, should stop discussing the matter [petition] in any forum as if this court does not exist. We don’t want to bias court; it should be allowed to do its work because this is where the parties chose to come. There will be necessary consequences if this continues.

Byenkya: The petitioner had 14 days to prepare his affidavits. Up to today, we have not received any apart from that of the main petition. Respondents ask for an extra two days.
Katureebe: We will give the respondents an extra day up to Sunday to file the affidavits in reply. This is to do with service; we suggest that each party nominates one law firm (this is done). Whichever document is tendered in, it should be served to other parties. Inspection is allowed. The petitioner should be more serious; it ought to have served the original petition with annexure which it has not done to date yet we seem to have experienced lawyers in this petition.

Basalirwa: We want to bring to the attention of this court the difficulties we are facing in regard to gathering evidence. This morning 13 of our would-be witnesses were arrested from the residence of the petitioner.

They include Robert Ngobi, Betty Kabuki, Wilson Higobero, William Wasswa, Umar Kitimbo, Ronald Waiswa and Ben Kani. The information we have is that they are detained at Kireka. There is no witness protection.

Since the Attorney General [Fred Ruhindi] is around, it is our prayer that court tasks him to prevail over security... by making sure that the first respondent’s security agents stop harassing our witnesses. If this is not done, it will affect the timeline and our petition.

Katureebe: There is no way the court can know. But as a concern the Attorney General can advise the agencies. Parties are reminded to file brief arguments indicating respective areas addressed to save time because a decision must be made by 31st March. Case adjourned to Thursday 10:00 am. (Time check 3:23pm).

slubwama@observer.ug

Arrested Mbabazi witnesses in Jinja

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 13:26
AG Fred Ruhindi (R) listens to Mbabazi's lawyer Asuman Basalirwa

Moments before the pre-trial conferencing of Amama Mbabazi’s presidential election petition kicked off at the Supreme court, a few metres away in the upscale Kololo neighbourhood, the police was arresting key witnesses in the suit.

But their arrest remained out of public attention until lawyer Asuman Basalirwa brought the matter to the attention of the Supreme court.

Basalirwa said yesterday that at least 12 witnesses, who had travelled from five Busoga districts, were arrested as they arrived for a meeting at Mbabazi’s Kololo residence.

They were intercepted by security personnel recently deployed to keep watch around the former presidential candidate’s home.

“When they arrived, police officers came and asked them where they were going, and when they mentioned that they were witnesses in Mbabazi’s petition, they were bundled onto a police patrol truck and a Super Custom and driven to Kireka [Special Investigations Department headquarters],” Basalirwa told The Observer yesterday.

One of the witnesses, according to Basalirwa, evaded arrest and jumped back into their van to trail the police. His chase ended at the Kireka police facility where they were kept till late in the evening.

They were identified as Robert Ngobi, Wilson Kigombya, Samuel Kiyaga, William Waiswa and Umar Kitimbo. Others are Ken Kabbi, Ronald Waiswa, Henry Dhalawuka, Wilson Kakaire, Wilber Ssemujju and two women only identified as Jessica and Prossy.

According to Solome Nakaweesi, Go Forward’s chief of staff, after the matter was brought to the attention of the Supreme court on Monday evening, they were driven to Jinja.

“Five of them were dumped at the Kamuli roundabout while seven others were jailed at Nalufenya and one was taken to Jinja Central police station,” Nakaweesi said yesterday.

DISAPPEARANCES

Nakaweesi claimed that since Mbabazi filed the petition challenging Museveni’s re-election, at least 20 members of the Mbabazi camp have so far disappeared.

“We reported last week [that] six polling agents were intercepted on February 29; they were polling agents from Nabweru and Kakiri in Wakiso district, and were heading to Kololo [Mbabazi’s residence] in a Toyota Noah registration number UAP 710N and in possession of original declaration of results [DR] forms. They have since gone missing, and the DR forms which were part of the evidence for the election petition are also missing,” Nakaweesi said.

She added that the Go Forward camp strongly believe that these are acts of sabotage by agents of the state, aimed at instilling fear and interfering with the due process of court.

“Such acts are meant to destroy credible evidence that supports the petition and also intimidate witnesses and other conscious citizens who want to submit such evidence,” Nakaweesi said.

Sources in Mbabazi’s camp claimed that some of the witnesses under detention were officials in the electoral process, who had sworn affidavits that gave some insights on how the elections were rigged, including ballot-stuffing and alteration of results on DR forms.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

In the Supreme court on Monday, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe directed Attorney General Freddie Ruhindi to ensure that Mbabazi’s witnesses are not unlawfully detained.

By press time, Ruhindi had called Mbabazi’s lawyers for a meeting on how to handle the continued arrests of the witnesses. The reasons for the arrest of Mbabazi’s guests remained unclear. Yesterday, Kampala Metropolitan police spokesman was quoted in Daily Monitor newspaper as denying knowledge of the arrests.

But police sources yesterday confirmed that some people had been picked up from near Mbabazi’s home and detained in Kireka. One source, a senior police officer, said all the information about these arrests was with police spokesman Fred Enanga, who could not be reached by telephone by press time.

sadabkk@observer.ug

Police boss Andrew Kaweesi back in Kampala

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 13:02
Andrew Felix Kaweesi (R) salutes

Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi is back in police operations in Kampala, a year after being transferred to the newly-created directorate of human resource development.

Kaweesi, who is currently the Kampala Metropolitan zonal commander, fell out with Gen Kale Kayihura, the inspector general of police (IGP), in 2014 for various reasons, including suspicion that he was undermining him.

At a police function in Jinja last year, Kayihura publicly accused Kaweesi of “doing his work in the media” when he served as commander of Kampala metropolitan police between 2011 and 2013.

Kaweesi took up the assignment after AIGP Grace Turyagumanawe reportedly failed to handle the walk-to-work demonstrations that rocked the city shortly after the 2011 general elections.

It was during one of those protests on April 21, 2011 at Mulago roundabout in Kampala, that FDC leader Kizza Besigye was brutally arrested. He spent three weeks in a Nairobi hospital before returning on May 12, the day President Museveni was being sworn in for his fourth elective term.

Police sources told us that after a year of “cooling off ” as director of human resource development in police, Kaweesi made up with Kayihura. Over the last two weeks, Kaweesi has been active at ensuring that opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye does not leave his home.

When a group of journalists covering Besigye were arrested last week at Kasangati, it is Kaweesi who intervened before warning them to stay away. Kaweesi later cautioned some television stations against live transmission of events at Besigye’s home, saying this will incite violence.

Police deputy spokesperson Polly Namaye confirmed Kaweesi’s new assignment. Police sources told us that the country was divided into four zones of operation for the election and post-election period. Namaye said the division of the country into zones was part of the 2016 election
comprehensive security plan for effective policing.

Andrew Felix Kaweesi (R) leads a delegation of EU ambassadors and diplomats to Besigye's home Photo: Nicholas Bamulanzeki

The eastern Uganda zone is under the command of Grace Turyagumanawe, greater Masaka and western Uganda under Asuman Mugyenyi, while northern Uganda is under the zonal command of Edward Ochom.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) is a directorate headed by AIGP Abas Byakagaba but also supervised by the director operations, Haruna Isabirye.

Along with Kaweesi, Kayihura also recently reinstated Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) James Ruhweza as Kampala Metropolitan area operations commander.

Ruhweza served as divisional police commander, Kira Road and central police station (CPS) before being appointed regional police commander (RPC) Kampala metropolitan police (KMP) south. At the end of 2014, he was transferred out of the city centre.

FDC’s stay-home drive draws mixed reactions

Wed, 03/09/2016 - 12:54

The Forum for Democratic Change on Monday launched the ‘Free My Vote’ campaign to protest the continued house arrest of former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye.

At a press conference in Kampala, FDC spokesman Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda urged all democracy-loving Ugandans and other forces to embrace this threefold campaign.

Kizza Besigye (C) being arrested from near his home recently

He said there will be a stay-home protest every Thursday by all working Ugandans while Tuesday will be for prayers at all FDC offices and offices of participating forces. He also called upon Ugandans to shun activities organised by President Museveni and/ or his allies, especially the musicians of the Tubonga Naawe fame.

However, a mini-survey by The Observer on Kampala streets found that while people welcomed the FDC gesture, they may not necessarily afford to stay home on Thursdays.

Steven Bahunde, an Information Technology consultant at Wandegeya, for instance, fears that while he can boycott the musicians, staying at home could cost him his job.

“Artists who praised Museveni emphasised where they fall [NRM sup- porters] so, I have no dealing with such people and cannot attend their concerts,” Bahunde said.

But Robert Lubega, a city boda boda cyclist, argues that boycotting concerts of artistes would be unfair because music is business, and the artistes were doing their job. He also advised Besigye to come up with another plan because the stay-home proposal is unsustainable.

Just like Lubega, Grace Nabukeera can only close her boutique on a Sunday.

“Besigye would have picked a day that is not among the working days of the week, say Saturday, not Thursday... that would really work. Let him get another plan,” Nabukeera advises.

She, however, supports the shunning of Tubonga Naawe artistes’ concerts.

On the other hand, Alfred Ssemanda, a driver at Precious Driving School, says that Besigye’s motive is good and he is willing to support him but the proposals therein are not fair to most Ugandans who survive on daily incomes.

He also says the Tubonga Naawe artistes should not be witch-hunted because they were looking for money.

Lindah Nakato, a mobile money agent, promises Besigye full support, although she is cautious of the sustainability of a stay-home campaign on a Thursday. She also supports boycotting artistes.

Christine Tuheirwe, who sells airtime in Kampala, says that she is ready to support any plan Besigye comes up with because, to her, everyone saw that the Electoral Commission was not transparent enough to have its results trusted.

Man shot after 'attacking' chief justice Katureebe

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 11:55

An unidentified man was shot yesterday morning for attempting to attack the chief justice Bart Katureebe with an iron bar.
 
The man was shot by the Chief Justice's security at around 8:30am when he charged towards his vehicle as he left his residence in Bugoloobi to attend the pre-trial hearing of the presidential election petition at the Supreme court.
 
Polly Namaye, the deputy police spokesperson, says the guard from the Very Important People Police Unit (VIPPU) disabled the suspect on suspicion that he wanted to harm the Chief Justice

 "The suspect has been taken to Mulago hospital but he is still in our custody. We are waiting for him to recover so he can record a statement," said Namaye.

Police claims to have recovered four spears, a knife and iron bar from the suspect's handbag.

Mbabazi amends election petition to include 15 new grounds

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 18:42
Amama Mbabazi

The legal team representing presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi has this morning presented before the Supreme court, an amended petition with fresh grounds to challenge President Yoweri Museveni's victory in the February 18 general election.

The amended petition introduced 15 new grounds to the original submission in Presidential election petition No. 1 of 2016.  It was received by the judiciary at 10am.

The grounds presented in the amended petition include proof of voter bribery, use of public servants in political activities, interference with opposition activities and misuse of government resources. They were presented at the pre-hearing conference at the Supreme court offices in Kampala.

In one of the new grounds, Mbabazi says that Museveni was involved in voter bribery when, while on his campaign tour in Busoga sub region, he donated 500 hectares of Bukaleba forest reserve land in Bukatuube sub county to over 30,000 families.

Mbabazi adds that the act was intended to induce voters into voting for the NRM candidate contrary to section 64 of the presidential elections act.

Mbabazi also faults the inspector general of police Kale Kayihura for authorizing and providing protection for counter-rallies and demonstrations against his candidature in the districts of Mbale and Gulu.

Also in the amended petition is the interference into Go Forward rallies by Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde, the former director general of  the Internal Security Organization (ISO).

Mbabazi says Tumukunde erred in law when he, provocatively flew an helicopter, fully decorated with Yoweri Museveni posters and NRM party colors and landed it at Fort Portal Boma grounds, where Mbabazi was scheduled to address a rally.

In another ground, Mbabazi says that NRM party candidate Museveni illegally made use of government resources which would not ordinarily be utilized by a president  without proper authorization. Mbabazi argues that this, created an unfair advantage for other presidential candidates.

Museveni, the petition adds, erred in involving civil servants in his political activities. It cites the address by Allen Kagina, the executive director of the Uganda National Roads Authority and Jennifer Musisi, the executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority who appeared at rallies in Kanungu and Kampala districts respectively to defend government programmes.

Mbabazi is also demanding a fresh recount of votes in 45 districts across the country to determine the substantial effect of the malpractices and non compliance acts by the Electoral Commission in the conduct of the general election.

The districts which he says need a recount include Kampala, Wakiso, Jinja, Arua, Luweero, Apac, Moroto, Gulu, Kisoro, Ntungamo, Rukungiri, Rakai, Sironko, Kanungu, Butambala, Rubirizi, Soroti and Serere among others. The districts are all opposition strongholds.

Mbabazi lodged the initial petition last week seeking to nullify the election of President Museveni, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate on grounds that the EC did not comply with the electoral laws and that there was outright voter rigging.

Results announced by the Commission indicate that Museveni garnered 5,971,872 and emerged victor with 60.6 percent against 3, 508,687 votes obtained by Dr Kizza Besigye representing 35.61 percent of the total votes cast. Amama Mbabazi polled 136,519 representing 1.39 percent of the total votes cast.

A panel of nine judges led by chief justice Bart Katureebe today morning heard the pre-hearing of the petition. Other members of the team are Jotham Tumwesigye, Esther Kisaakye, Stella Arach-Amoko, Augustine Nshimye Sebuturo, Faith Mwondha, Ruby Aweri Opio, Eldad Mwangusya and Prof Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza.

Katureebe earlier proposed a recess after lawyers from the Electoral Commission, government and the Museveni team said they were seeing the amended petition for the first time. After a 2-hour adjournment, Katureebe ruled and announced that the amended petition had been accepted.

Earlier deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana had asked court to dismiss the amended petition with costs. He said it was not necessary to amend the petition merely to present fresh evidence which could also be presented in other affidavits.

His argument was also supported by Joseph Matsiko, a lawyer representing the first respondent Yoweri Museveni saying the amendment is an entirely new petition which will prolong the process if considered. The Supreme Court has only 30 days to hear the petition and deliver its judgment.

But Michael Akampurira, one of the lawyers representing Mbabazi says the amendments do not require leave and can be dealt with within the stipulated time. He said special circumstances forced the petitioning team to amend the original petition.

Katureebe said that the amendments are important for the issues under consideration and ordered the plaintiffs to supply amended petition to Yoweri Museveni by close of business today.

He added that by the time of the hearing set for March 14, all affidavits and any issues must have been resolved. Court will however meet again on March 10 to follow up on any agreed issues.

Besigye in threat to take power

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 14:28

‘Audit the election results or we form people’s govt’

On Saturday, FDC candidate Dr Kizza Besigye released a statement stating categorically that he won the February 18 presidential elections. Besigye demanded an international audit of the results that gave President Museveni a 60 per cent win.

Short of that, the FDC will form a people’s government. Below is Besigye’s statement.

Dr Kizza Besigye

After the 2011 elections, all political parties (including NRM) concurred that electoral and political reforms were necessary in order to have free and fair elections in 2016.

Proposed reforms were generated by various political formations; including, the Inter-Party Organisations Dialogue (IPOD-consisting of all parties represented in parliament), National Consultative Forum (NCF consisting of all registered political parties and led by NRM), Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) and the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections (NCFFE).

In spite of the NRM having fully participated in the various formations that presented reform proposals to government (executive) and parliament, Mr Museveni, the final authority in NRM, decided that no electoral reforms would be undertaken ahead of 2016 elections. That’s what happened.

All parties and persons participating in the 2016 elections, therefore, knew that the elections would be inherently not free or fair. That’s why opposition parties and elements from the NRM were engaged in protracted discussions seeking to devise an appropriate strategy for contesting in an inherently manipulated and unfair election.

This is why my candidature adopted the strategy of a Defiance Campaign. Our clear understanding was that this was an election organised on the premise of injustice.

A political defiance campaign entails informing the population about the injustice and enabling the people to organise and confront the injustice.

It’s important to note that a political defiance campaign is thoroughly NON-VIOLENT. It employs well-informed citizens to non-violently challenge the in- justices in the electoral process; protect against various forms of rigging on polling day; and ensure that the people’s will is respected. This was the purpose of the “POWER 10” system that we organised during the campaign.

POLLING DAY

A lot has been talked about events of the polling days, 18th and 19th February. The main problems during voting included widespread disenfranchisement of voters, especially, in Kampala, Wakiso, Jinja, Iganga, and Mbale, with more than 2 million registered voters; arrest of polling agents; pre-ticking and stuffing of ballot boxes; widespread and systematic voter bribery; and denying polling agents their Declaration of Results forms.

TALLYING AND RESULTS

What is now clear is that all the injustices undertaken prior and during voting failed to deliver victory to Mr Museveni. As soon as the Electoral Commission began to announce the results at the Namboole Tally Centre, the alarm-bells started ringing.

It became clear that many of the results they were announcing were different from the ones announced at the polling stations. When the pattern of inconsistency was sustained, on 19th February, we decided to address the media and draw the public’s attention to this.

We’d previously alerted the country about a house in Naguru, Kampala, where, according to reliable information, manipulation of results from districts was planned to take place. Ballot papers were also pre-ticked in this house.

It was at this point that the police stormed our Party Hqs and, under cover of teargas, arrested our Party President Maj Gen (rtd) Mugisha Muntu, FDC Mobiliser Ms Ingrid Turinawe and myself. Our Headquarters was taken over, ransacked and kept under police control up to now.

From 19th February (the day before the announcement of final results by EC) up to now, I’ve been under police detention either in police cells or at my Kasangati home. Access to our party leaders and lawyers was very limited.

Several of our District Party offices have also been attacked and hundreds of our Party officials and polling agents have been detained countrywide.

It is this Police/Military operation that crippled our effort of gathering evidence and evaluating it for purposes of preparing an election petition as provided for in
the Constitution.

The Constitution gives an aggrieved parliamentary candidate [10] days within which to petition. However, a presidential candidate who’s supposed to collect evidence from 281 constituencies, exclusively by affidavit (statement sworn before a lawyer), has only 10 days to do so.

The stealing of the 2016 presidential election was so clumsy and exaggerated that the Police/ Military forces had to intervene directly to stop its exposure. Even biased courts like ours could not be relied upon to protect the fraud.

That’s why the electoral process was overthrown! What happened is, for all intents and purposes, a military coup. Kampala remains under “siege”, with streets reminiscent of February 1971, in the aftermath of Gen Idi Amin coup!

It may be easy to fake results, but it’s not easy to fake people’s response. There was absolutely no celebration on the announcement of the fraudulent declaration of Mr Museveni as a winner of 2016 elections. Even NRM members knew that the EC announcement was not true!

OUR RESULTS:

I can confidently inform Ugandans that we undoubtedly won the elections. Even with the unprecedented effort of the Police, Military and Intelligence Services to deny us our results, we now have enough to go by in claiming our victory.

We also discovered many clearly anomalous results- including over one hundred polling stations, in Kiruhura District, where 100% of registered voters cast their votes and all voted for Mr Museveni, without a single spoilt ballot paper!

We also have horrific accounts of what happened in the Karamoja region. In most of the region, it was a military/police/mafia operation, rather than an election conducted by EC according to the law.

WAY FORWARD

It’s on the basis of the information in our possession that we’ve demanded for an Independent Audit of the 2016 presidential election. This would mean that we would politically agree on a process of election audit that’s not presently provided for in the law, since the one provided was overthrown.

Besigye supporters flee as police fires teargas to disperse them during their running battle near FDC party headquarters Photos: EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

This would, basically, mean agreeing on independent auditors and supervisors that would work with representatives of candidates and the EC to carry out the audit. All candidates would commit themselves to respect the outcome of the audit. This can be conclusively done before the expiry of the current term of Government.

All peace-loving Ugandans, East Africans, Africans and members of the International Community are called upon to play a role in working towards the Independent Audit.

If this is not agreed upon, then we’ll have to proceed and exercise the mandate that was clearly given to us by the people of Uganda. We cannot let down the millions of people who supported our campaign, braved the harassment and intimidation, persevered in long queues without voting materials etc, and eventually delivered the victory.

We shall form government as mandated by our people - the Peoples’ Government. This is the critical moment for our political defiance campaign. Let’s all remember that Government power comes from cooperation, submission and obedience of the population. If the population withholds its cooperation, submission and obedience, the government loses power.

I ask all our people to remain strong and vigilant, especially, members of Power 10. We shall call for non-violent actions that disempower the regime seeking to impose itself on our country.

We may have to make some sacrifices and should be prepared to do so. I am confident that our people’s resolve to have non-violent change of leadership for the first time will become a reality in 2016.

One Uganda, One people! For God and my country!

Kizza-Besigye.

Police ‘investigating’ FDC over rebellion

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 14:02

The police said last week it was investigating members of the Forum for Democratic Change for allegedly recruiting people into rebel activity.

But Uganda’s largest opposition party has dismissed the claim as another attempt to victimize political opponents of President Museveni.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told The Observer that the force got information that raised suspicion about FDC’s recruitment of mobilizers into the Power 10 groups across the country. The suspicions were heightened after the arrest of 14 people from a lodge on Makhan Singh street in Mbarara.

The lodge is located behind the FDC offices in the town, and according to Enanga, police swung into action after getting information that FDC was recruiting people with a military background from Nakivaale refugee camp in Isingiro district.

FDc headquarters in Najjanankumbi surrounded by police recently

“After arresting these people, we received information that they were FDC supporters which we didn’t know at first since we were arresting people connected with crime. We screened the suspects and remained with [the] ringleaders who were transferred to the Special Investigations Department [SID], Kireka as investigations continue,” Enanga said.

“We want to find out why they were mobilizing people with military background to recruit them. They are still under interrogation at SID and then their file will be sent to the director of public prosecutions [DPP] to prefer charges.”

Enanga said 10 of the suspects were released on bond while four are still under detention at Kireka. They are Jimmy Mutatina of Rwabahinda in Isingiro, Vincent Musiime of Rwamitorora in Mbarara, Eric Turyashaba of Kabirizi in Isingiro and Yasin Abdulkarim of Kyerimba, Isingiro.

But FDC deputy secretary general Harold Kaija told The Observer on March 2 that police are simply witch-hunting members of the FDC Power 10 (P10) groups.

“We formed the P10 for purposes of mobilizing the population to go and vote, protect the vote and guard against any electoral malpractices,” Kaija said.

By arresting their grassroots leaders, Kaija said, the state is trying to provoke FDC into violent activities.

“They will not get us along that line because violence is not part of our agenda,” he said.

“The recruitment of P10 was done in broad daylight; they are ordinary members of the community and the only training we gave them was in guarding the votes. In any case, is there any law that bars army veterans from joining the opposition?” Kaija wondered.

FDC President Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu said in a press statement last Wednesday that since February 18 about 300 party supporters, mostly polling agents, had been arrested by police from different parts of the country.

Muntu pointed an accusing finger at President Museveni who he said is using the army and police to harass FDC leaders and staff and on several occasions break into the FDC party headquarters at Najjanankumbi.

Muntu announced that the party is planning to actively engage the civil society, religious leaders and the diplomatic and international communities and build a broad coalition of political forces to have a full-scale engagement with the population in pursuit of the freedom of its members.

“We condemn the persistent attempts by the regime to criminalize peaceful civic actions. It is the legitimate right of any Ugandan singularly or collectively to express himself or herself through peaceful civic actions as a form of non-violent struggle as provided in Article 29 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” Muntu said.

“Any actions contrary to these provisions are an infringement to our rights and freedoms. It is our constitutional duty to defend these rights and freedoms.”

But Enanga said the opposition party is planning violent action and the police have opened up a general inquiry file GEF/06/2016 to get any information from the public about the illegal recruitment of people from the camps or anywhere else which can easily cause violence.

sadabkk@observer.ug
zurah@observer.ug

Museveni swear-in to cost Shs 2.8bn, 14 presidents expected

Wed, 12/05/2001 - 09:00

The Minister for the Presidency and Kampala Frank Tumwebaze says government has invited and expects fourteen Heads of State to witness in person President Museveni’s fifth term swearing in on May 12 at Kololo Independence Grounds.

According to Tumwebaze, the Heads of state invited include those from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kingdom of Lesotho, South Sudan, Tanzania, Mali, Togo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Swaziland, China, Nigeria, and Russian Federation.

Rwanda, India, Japan and Germany will send representatives while two former presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania and Mwai Kibaki of Kenya are also expected to attend the ceremony.

President Museveni swearing in 2011

“This swearing in ceremony is a statement and a confirmation of the people's will. All Ugandans therefore, are invited to Kololo Ceremonial Grounds to witness this momentous occasion in our democratic process,” Tumwebaze told a press conference in Kampala early today. According to Tumwebaze this year’s ceremony will cost Shs 2.8bn - Shs 800m short of the 2011 swearing in that cost Shs 3.3bn.


“We have enough money but it is for other priorities, you should actually give us credit that we are not extravagant on consumptive issues like swearing in, we have money for roads, for power that is our priority”, he said.

Meanwhile, Tumwebaze warns opposition groups against making attempts to ruin the swearing in ceremony. He says all former presidential candidates, including Dr Kizza Besigye have been invited to grace the occasion.

Besigye and his party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have contested the election result and the Supreme court ruling that upheld President Museveni’s 60 per cent win. They have called for an independent audit but their request has been rejected by government and their defiance campaign activists banned for at least four months.
 
“Their behaviour is not our behaviour, for us we do what is civil and what is constitutional. The fact that somebody participated in a national contest and Ugandan decided a winner, what Besigye needs to know is that two people or three couldn’t have won. One had to win and that has been confirmed. We have to invite him, its up to him. It is not an offense to decline an invitation, if he declines, its his problem but for us we shall invite him”, Tumwebaze said.

The event will begin with a proclamation introducing to the public the President Elect by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission Dr Badru Kiggundu followed by the administration of the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of the President presided over by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe.

The Chief Registrar will then guide the President into taking and signing the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of President before he is presented with the instruments of power which include; the Constitution, the National Flag, the Presidential Standard flag, the National Anthem, the National Court of Arms and the Seal.

Pages