Legislators join mobilization for signatures against new taxes

By Deo Wasswa

Hon. Mbwatekamwa Ggafa(Bwamba county),Hon. Sabiiti Denis(Rubanda west), Hon. Florence Namayanja(Bukoto east),  Honrable Baseka(Ntenjeru south) Fred,  Hon Ajilo Maria Goreth(Kaberamaido) and Honorable Semuli Anthony (Mubende municipality) are some of members of parliament who have signed the pledged book to oppose the new proposed  taxes  on mobile money.

The campaign which has been launched officially today at Hotel Africana seeks to collect 250 signatures from  members of parliament to reject this tax which is likely to affect a bigger percentage of Ugandans if it’s adopted by the government.

However , during the launch some Members of parliament have advised the proprietorship of the campaign, the civil society budget advocacy group to mobilize them selves and walk to parliament to convince other members of parliament to join the campaign.

Julius Muhinda, the national coordinator, Civil society budget advocacy group says they have started mobilizing Ugandans to out their members of parliament on pressure to reject this form of tax.
He says within two weeks,  they except to collect at least  100 signatures  from members of parliament.

Zuma faces 16 counts of corruption, he calls in political conspiracy

After the 75-year-old’s 15-minute appearance at the High Court in Durban, the case was adjourned until 8 June.

He faces 16 counts of corruption, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, which dogged his presidency and were reinstated in 2016.

Mr Zuma, who was forced out of office in February, denies any wrongdoing.

His supporters descended on the city to rally for him, while his critics think court action is long overdue.

After the hearing, Mr Zuma addressed the crowds who had come to stand alongside him at the court in his home province.

“I have never seen it before where someone is charged with a crime, those charges are dropped and then years later those same charges are re-instated,” he said, speaking in Zulu. “This is a just a political conspiracy,”

He then led the crowd in song and dance.

~BBC

Parliamentary committee advised to leave Kadaga-Namuganza feud to Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

NRM chairman Eastern Region Mike Mukula has told the parliamentary committee on rules and discipline that the scuffle between lands minister Persis Namuganza and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be left to the party.

The Former Soroti Municipality MP was appearing as witness in a scandal that has shocked the country and heightened ethnic tensions in Busoga region.He said the matter is now being solved by the party chairman Yoweri Museveni.

Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah directed the committee chaired by Kalaki MP Clement Ongalo-Obote to investigate the two powerful women from Busoga sub-region after Ngora MP David Abala raised a procedural matter, that the conflict as captured in the media was irritating and required explanation.

Kadaga and Namuganza’s conflicts started early this month at function to launch boreholes in Bukono, where Namuganza reportedly told off Kadaga and Busoga king Gabula Nadiope to concentrate on ‘fighting jiggers in Kamuli’, which to her are a serious threat than ‘poking their noses’ into Namutumba affairs.

The Bukono County MP,  shed tears last week while appearing before the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges over her rivalry with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga,saying that her life is in danger, after the Speaker allegedly ‘declared war’ on her.

How things got sour for Miguna Miguna

Miguna Miguna’s exact location and movement remain the preserve of state security and the subject of much speculation.

From his last social media post, the self-styled NRM general was last located in a hospital at Dubai Airport, where he had been repatriated by Kenya’s Immigration and security agents after being drugged and forced onto an Emirates Airlines flight.

Miguna says he has neither the passport of his acquired Canadian nationality nor his native Kenyan one.

His saga bears the hallmarks of the tribulations of another controversial Kenyan Sheikh Khalid Balala who 20 years ago was rusticated in a foreign land after his passport was revoked by the Kenya government.

Like Miguna, Sheikh Balala was a thorn in the state’s flesh. He led the proscribed Islamic Party of Kenya, which had become a nightmare for Kanu soon after the return to multiparty politics.

Shortly after this Easter, Mombasa High Court judge Eric Ogola will rule in a long-running compensation suit launched by the former radical preacher and political activist 21

years ago.

Now living a less-eventful life in a Mombasa flat, Balala turned 60 years on March 22.

In an interview with the Star, he said he has prosecuted a strong case and believes he will prevail against what he calls the “colonial state that still rules Kenya”, after half a century of independence.

Although the two cases bear some similarities, Miguna’s woes pale in comparison to what Balala faced in the 1990s.

Both are victims of ulterior political machinations; both are citizens whose conduct the state frowned upon; both tried to return to the country and were forced back out four times in Balala’s case.

Frustrated by his persistent activism through the now-defunct Islamic Party of Kenya, IPK, which he co-founded, the Moi state suddenly snatched Balala’s passport, cancelled  it and declared he was not Kenyan.

Angered by his confrontational politics, the Uhuru administration confiscated Miguna’s passport, defaced it, declared him an alien and deported him.

Twenty years after he was allowed back into the country, Balala is still waiting for justice. He believes the conclusion of his suit which has been heard by five different judges

has been delayed by political pressure on the Judiciary after he allegedly rejected two bids during the Moi and

Kibaki administrations to settle out of court, or part with a 10 per cent of the anticipated compensation.

STATELESS

Balala had left Kenya to visit Germany, but his situation changed dramatically while abroad.

Balala had launched the IPK, a feisty youthful political outfit that was denied registration.

He became the go-to person for anyone organising political activity in Mombasa. He angered the Moi regime when he entered into cooperation with the opposition Ford Kenya.

Between November 1991 and February 25, 1993, he was tried for treason and acquitted for lack of evidence.

He resumed public politics unbowed following what he described as a sham trial.

“The clear plan was to detain me until after the 1992 general elections. There was no evidence of treason and it was a malicious prosecution,” he tells the Star.

After the acquittal, he was warned not to attend a by-election in South Nyanza occasioned by the defection of an opposition MP to the ruling Kanu party. But he attended several

opposition rallies in Western Kenya where he stepped up attacks on the Moi regime.

Kanu’s chance to exact revenge came in early 1994 when Balala travelled to Germany to attend a conference and raise money for his human rights causes Before his departure, he was alarmed when he went to renew his passport.

His new passport was marked for expiry after only three months.

“When I asked why my new passport would expire after three months I was told that it was the policy for politicians of my nature,” he says.

During his tour in Germany, he travelled to London where, out of the blue, he encountered a man who identified himself as Mudavadi from the Kenyan High Commission in Bonn.

“After three weeks in London someone accosted me at Heathrow Airport, claiming to be from the Kenyan Embassy in Bonn.

He identified himself only as Mudavadi and he told me straight away my passport was to expire in two weeks.” Balala immediately suspected the

stranger was a Kenyan spy trailing him.

Mudavadi invited Balala to Bonn to renew his passport. He acceded and travelled to the embassy but soon realised he had walked into a trap.

Balala believes British intelligence alerted Kenyan authorities about his presence in London out of mutual interest.

“When I gave him (Mudavadi) the passport he was extremely happy. He actually kissed it and vanished into the embassy. I waited for three days and he reappeared to tell me

he had information from Nairobi that my passport would not be renewed.”

Balala was now stateless, without any documents to travel or seek asylum in Germany. For five days he was stranded in the transit zone at Frankfurt International Airport

because “no airline was willing to take me and the British government did not want me back in London,” Balala recalls.

He was taken in by friends and a church. He also received monetary assistance from sympathetic Kenyan opposition leaders, especially Raila Odinga, who paid for his upkeep and

legal fees in Germany.

On December 12, 1994, Moi publicly declared that Sheikh Balala was not Kenyan and should return to Yemen, where he allegedly belonged.

“At least Miguna has admitted he acquired Canadian citizenship but for my case, I do not understand where the claim I was Yemeni was plucked from,” he says.

That marked the beginning of a titanic legal battle by Kenyan and German activists to restore Balala’s citizenship.

With assistance from the German Social Democrat Party, Balala petitioned Germany, the US and the United Kingdom to pile pressure on the Moi regime to restore his citizenship. He also filed suits in a German court and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, seeking a declaration that the revocation of his citizenship was a gross violation of international law.

Kenyan High Commissioner to Germany Ogutu Obare, Raila Odinga, human rights activist Maina Kiai and officials from the Kenyan High Commission testified. The Yemeni

government presented information to courts and tribunals denying Balala was its national.

In a letter to German authorities on September 17, 1996, Obare restated the official line from Nairobi that Balala was not and had never been a Kenyan citizen.

“Suffice it to say that the Kenya government has not deprived Mr Balala of his travel documents as he is not a bona fide citizen of Kenya.

Mr Balala is in fact Yemenis (sic) by descent and failed to renounce this stature on his 23rd birthday in conformity with our constitution which does not recognise dual citizenship.”

And to demolish Balala’s case, the commissioner claimed, “Balala plays no significant role in the Kenyan political sphere…,” for he was “…neither a member of Parliament nor known leader of any institution of political significance in Kenya…”

This is notwithstanding the fact that Balala who matriculated at Allidina Visram in 1975 and later took Islamic law studies in Saudi Arabia was IPK’s spiritual guide and an articulate leader whose oratory had made him a the darling of many at the Coast and a prime target for all political factions.

IPK had entered into a union with Ford Kenya, Kenya’s strongest opposition party at the time, to erase Kanu’s dominance in Mombasa, besides awakening the Muslim masses across Kenya.

Kenyan envoy Obare would later visit the activist at his house in Frankfurt to warn him not to return to Kenya. Balala quotes him saying, “You will not return to Kenya until

we tell you because you are a threat to national security.”

In mid-1997, a Bonn court issued a judgement urging Kenyan authorities to restore Balala’s citizenship and pay him the equivalent of US$2 million in compensation.

Balala was not paid the money but Kenya succumbed to international pressure and agreed to allow the activist back home. The Kenya government neither bought him an

air ticket nor gave him money for support. He was promised citizenship papers upon return but this was not fulfilled.

An international campaign, including a petition to the Queen of England, US President Bill Clinton and other world leaders forced the Moi regime to allow Balala back on May 13, 1997.

Besides the British refusing to allow him to transit through London, Balala tried unsuccessfully to enter Kenya four times, on temporary Kenyan papers issued by the mission

in Bonn, and was forced out.

“I was returned four times, once in Mombasa, twice at JKIA and once in Dar es Salaam. On all occasions I was forced back onto the plane that had flown me in and I returned to Frankfurt,” he says.

The German government finally paid for his air ticket on his fifth attempt to enter Kenya and he travelled on temporary papers issued by Germany this time.

CONFISCATED AGAIN

The Kenya government had promised to reissue him Kenyan documents upon return to the motherland but that was never to be. His house in Mombasa had been vandalised and

all his identification documents stolen by state agents.

After two months, Balala was called by Immigration officials to Nyayo House in Nairobi to pick his new passport. But it was confiscated again before he left the precincts.

“I was issued a new passport on July 22, 1997, at Nyayo House. I felt relieved and descended in the lift from the tenth floor feeling good.

On the ground I was accosted by state agents who asked me to surrender the passport and up to now it has never been returned,” he says.

Balala launched a new legal battle to reclaim his passport.

“I sued and the state acknowledged in court that it had taken my passport,” he says, adding that his suit was sabotaged when Kenyan authorities threw him in jail in late 1997 until 2001.

Although detention without trial had been abolished in the statutes, Balala was held without charge during these years to ensure he did not participate in the 1997 elections,

from which the opposition emerged stronger than in the 1992 polls.

BETRAYED

Balala identifies with Miguna and others like Raila aide Salim Lone, former MP Koigi Wamwere and the late Professor Katama Mkangi, who suffered similar withdrawal of citizenship.

But he feels betrayed by the Kibaki regime, which he believes did nothing to reverse these policies, substantially, or at all.

He also believes the British and American governments silently supported his tribulations and could be cheering on Miguna’s humiliation, actuated by the belief that opponents

of the successive regimes in Nairobi, ideologically, threaten their imperial interests in East Africa.

“I have been restless since 1990 to date. Had I been someone who is not spiritual and reads a lot, I would have gone crazy by now,” says the grandfather of 12, who says he is about to complete his memoirs.

“I am a responsible man and I rejected all attempts to compromise me or destroy my people and country through violence. Many times we were provoked but we remained wise and committed to our people.”

He adds, “I have been through everything that Miguna is going through now but this is the price we have to pay to change our country which is controlled by a tyrannical colonial state that began with the British and has not changed.”

“The British and Americans have always supported regimes in Nairobi for imperial and ideological reasons. Kibaki betrayed the cause by shifting power back to Kanu’s tactics and

paved way for the Jubilee regime which is a vestige of Kanu.”

Balala claims that under the Kibaki and Uhuru administrations, his case did not move because he refused to kowtow to the new powers.

“I have been told to compromise or make an undertaking that I will part with 10 per cent of my compensation but I refused because we are in this thing not for financial gain because we wish to strike a blow for freedom and posterity.”

 

 

~The Star Kenya

Uganda’s community of the deaf “We have been ignored by government.”

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda’s community of the deaf have raised concern following the lack of access to health information including HIV/AIDS. This after a survey revealed that HIV prevalence among them stood at 1.9% and is rising. They have also lashed at the ministry of health demanding for health awareness information in sign language across all health centers and communication media.

The Persons with hearing impairments accuse the ministry of neglecting them in regard to awareness on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.Their remarks following a survey that indicates that only 58.3% have ever known about the viral infections and majority die without ever knowing they were infected.

According to the Ministry Of Health, Commissioner in charge of Disease Control, Dr. Patrick Tusiime , he agrees that government has concentrated on treatment and focused less on prevention of HIV. There  are over 1million deaf people in Uganda and 1% are living with HIV. The Crane survey 2017 was conducted among groups at increased risk for HIV in Kampala.

NRM’s Ibaale loses defamation case against Katuntu

By Sania Babirye

The Court of Appeal has this morning dismissed with costs an election appeal by NRMs Daniel Ibaale  that was challenging the victory of  FDC’s Abdul Katuntu as the Bugweri  county member of parliament.

Three justices including the now out-going Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma , Remmy  Kasule  and Richard Buteera have unanimously  upheld   the Jinja high court decision  and confirmed that Hon. Katuntu is the validly elected  Member.

In a ruling read by the  deputy registrar Taddeo  Asiimwe,the  3 justices ruled that   Ibaale was seen leaving Ensulo lodge to go for nomination and this being a statement of fact, they is no way it could have  defamed   the candidature of Ibaale.

The justices also ruled that they could not order a recount because Ibaale did not prove enough evidence to warrant a recount.

The Court dismissed all the twelve grounds that Ibaale had  appealed  for, for  lack of merit and ordered him to pay Katuntu costs of the petition  for both in  Jinja High court  and court of Appeal.

In August 2016, Justice Margaret Mutonyi  dismissed Ibaale’s petition on grounds that it lacked merit  after he failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove his allegations including defamation.

However being dissatisfied with the ruling, he appealed in the court of appeal.

He accused the judge of not allowing him a chance to file responses to Katuntu’s evidence, were he accused Katuntu of uttering defamatory statements against him  during  campaigns.

Ibaale had also  alleged that Katuntu made defamatory statements to the effect that he was not fit for election as MP because he did not have a  home in Bugweri county Consistency and emerged out of a lodge to go for  nomination.

Ibaale had claimed that  the said words belittled him before the voters to the benefit of Katuntu who was over overwhelmingly  voted with a  winning margin of over 30,000 votes.

FDC postpones weekly prayers due to unavailability of religious leaders

By Wasswa Deo
Opposition political party Forum for Democratic Change has postponed the launch of their weekly prayers against the lifting of the age limit.
The party had organised to launch their weekly countrywide prayers at Najjankumbi against the lifting of the age limit today but were postponed to next week.
According to the deputy party spokesperson Paul Mwiru,the launch had been extended to next week after the religious leaders who were supposed to lead in prayers were unavailable

Fundraising for Museveni retirement package put on hold,there are no signs of him leaving

Opposition leaders in Ankole have suspended the fundraising drive for President, Yoweri Museveni’s retirement package.
Mweteise Bintabara, the Kiruhura District FDC Chairperson, announced the suspension of the fundraising drive at Grand Holiday hotel in Mbarara town on Monday.
He explained that they took the decision to suspend the drive, which started on October 4th 2017 and had already Shillings 8 million after learning that Museveni isn’t about to retire.

According to Bintabara, they will return the money to the contributors since they recorded the details of each contributor.

Bintabara says initially, they thought the architects of The Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017, which seeks to scrap article 102 (b), which caps the president’s age at 75 years were pushing their personal interests only to learn Museveni is behind the move.

He says the statements attributed to Museveni following the NRM caucus last week are a clear indication that he isn’t willing to retire.

Wilberforce Ongomu Ahimbisibwe, the former Rwampara County FDC parliamentary candidate, says many people had shown interest in contributing towards the cause. He says they thought it wise to suspend the campaign and look for other options.

Daniel Kafureka, the Mbarara District FDC General Secretary says it is  unfortunate that Members of parliament from the ruling party have failed to explain  to the president the need for him to relinquish power and give Ugandans a gift of a peaceful transition.

Kafureka says the time is now for the president to listen to the cries of Ugandans at the grassroots rather than connive with members of parliament whose only interest to get money from him.

-URN

 

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE DIVIDED ON DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

By Edwin Muhumuza

Former Leader of opposition in Parliament and MP Agago North Ogenga Latigo says the committee on rules, privileges and discipline cannot investigate the actions of legislators because it illegal.

The move by the speaker to direct the committee to investigate the conduct of legislators opposed to lifting the presidential age limit from the constitution has been faulted by former leader of opposition Ogenga Latigo. He says conditions under which it was instituted are wrong since the speaker abandoned the house.

This following the nasty scenes that rocked the house last week in which Special Forces raided parliament to evict members of parliament on the directive of the speaker who had instructed the Sergeant At Arms to take action.

However in their first sitting,the parliamentary committee on rules, privileges and discipline is divided on how to investigate the conduct of legislators who sang the national anthem in protest of plans to lift the presidential age limit from the constitution after the speaker had suspended 25 of them.

Members submissions were laced with  political undertones of witch hunt based on party lines. The chairman, Hon Kenneth Obote Oboth cationed members to put political differences aside to investigate an incident that has cast the speaker Rt.Hon.Rebecca Kadaga in wrong light and even parliament.

He reiterated that it was not time to go deep into the technicalities of the matter at this stage noting that they would go ahead to come up with a list of legislators to face disciplinary action based on CCTV footage of that day with focus on how members behaved .

Katikiro discourages politicians from changing parties

By Segawa Robert
The Katikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga has blasted politicians who are not firm in their parties and beliefs.
Speaking during the memorial service for former Kampala Mayor  and Democratic Party president John Ssebaana Kizito at Namirembe cathedral on Friday,Mayiga said politicians should emulate Ssebaana Kizito who never left Democratic Party .
He said many politicians are fond of crossing from one party to another which he said is wrong asking them to remain firm to their beliefs like Ssebaana did. West Buganda Diocese’s Rev.Henry Katumba Tamale urged believers to always do good while on earth. He said that believers should not only talk about good deeds but put them into practice.
Uganda Young Democrats in their green and white colours plus Buganda Bika football association were represented. Among other dignitaries present at Namirembe cathedral included government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa,Dr.Kizza Besigye,Olara Otunnu,Nobert Mao and Amama Mbabazi .