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.

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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 .

UGANDA REPRESENTATIVE AT PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT ELECTED UNOPPOSED IN THE CONTINENTAL PARLIAMENT

By Alice Lubwama

Uganda’s representative at the Pan African Parliament also Ssembabule Woman MP Anifa Bangirana Kawooya NRM,  has been elected unopposed as Vice-Chair of the Women Caucus, during the East African Caucus Meeting of the continental legislature in Midrand, South Africa.

The African legislators are currently meeting in Midrand for the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Assembly where they will debate a wide range of issues affecting the continent.

Kawooya becomes the second Ugandan legislator to hold a position of leadership in the Pan African Parliament after Hon. Jacqueline Amongin, who is currently the Chairperson of the Committee on Rural
Economy, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In her position as Vice-Chair of the Women Caucus, the legislator has an uphill task to advocate for issues of women and girls on the continent where Female Genital Mutilation and child marriages are
still prevalent.

Photo Credit: New Vision

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS FORGED ATTENDANCE LIST TO GET ALLOWANCES

By Alice Lubwama

As the parliamentary committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises concluded its investigations into the 6 billion shilling hand shake today, some MPs on this committee want Government officials who were involved in the oil case negotiations to refund the 23 million shillings they got as sitting allowances because there is no evidence that the meetings took place.

One of the members Itungo Nathan from Kashari south say that the attendance list which was used to pay the allowances is not evident enough to show that the meetings took place without the minutes.

Itungo say that the attendance list could have been forged for the sake of getting the allowances.

Photo Credit: ChimpReports

Lord Mayor has threatened to mobilize the residents in protest

By Robert Segawa

The Kampala lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has threatened to mobilize the residents in protest against the amendment the re-tabled Kampala Capital City Authority bill 2015 which he says doesn’t only de-franchise peoples’ power but also restrains and scraps off the mayoral powers.

While addressing the media at city hall, Lukwago says that the cabinet has been given 45 days to finalize everything that regards the bill. Lord Mayor and his team are going to use the same period to join with other Kampala people to meet and sensitize Kampala residents.

Lukwago adds that on addition to defiantly using residents; they are to use legal avenues to file a petition seeking for a redress over violation of article 1 which democratically gives people power.

Lord Mayor however challenges the minister for Kampala Betty Kamya to front referendum if she believes in power of the people over the councilors selecting devise and authority lord mayors like the new amendment proposals instead of hoodwinking Ugandans.

He attacks minister Kamya for failure to table the authority budget increment which has deterred development especially infrastructure and garbage problem leading to poor sanitation in the city and the Kitezi dumping area over flood. Lukwago adds that she is just being used president Museveni.

Ambassador Malac, Snowden finds more freedom in Russia.

By Ofwono Opondo, Government Spokesman

Government of Uganda takes exception over a litany of negative and non-factual or conjured accusations by the US Ambassador Deborah Malac made on the 3rd May 2017. Her condescending and rumbling statement exposed her bias as she sought to make Dr Stella Nyanzi the only subject of the press freedom day although Nyanzi doesn’t qualify as a media person, and this isn’t to suggest that her rights to free expression shouldn’t be respected within realms of Ugandan laws.

By focusing on Nyanzi, Ambassador Malac showed she has not bothered to understand the state of the media in Uganda. While giving her thoughts during the World Press Day, Ambassador Malac made over the board statements to the effect that the Uganda government suffocates freedom of expression and harassing those involved in the profession. Malac cited the case of Makerere University lecturer Dr Stella Nyanzi, who was arrested and charged before competent courts of law under the Computer Misuse Act 2011, calling her the champion of free speech. Misuse of computer and internet is a crime in Uganda, as well as many jurisdictions around the world.

Dr. Nyanzi is not being tried before a hastily established kangaroo court. She is before a gazzetted Court and all the due processes of the law are being followed. She is accessing her lawyers and enjoying the liberties entitled to any suspect in Uganda.

Foremost, Uganda has values and ethics that form and define our country which Ambassador Malac is at liberty to disagree with. These values were further formulated into laws by our Parliament and these need not be similar to those of the United States. As a sovereign country we legislate for our citizens according to our norms and not necessarily USA ideals or whims. I believe the US has its values and code of conduct that govern her citizens as well.

Though Uganda continues to uphold freedom of expression as guaranteed by our constitution, government shall apprehend and prosecute those involved in suspected criminal transgressions in all its forms. The Ambassador should note that her government to this day continues to pursue and hunt Edward Snowden and Julian Asange for alleged criminality inspite of their claims to protection under US freedom of expression laws. The two are currently in exile, Snowden in Russian, and Asange is holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in the UK for close to a decade now. They fear they cannot be afforded justice in USA. Clearly Snowden has found more freedom in Russia, which Ambassador Malac doesn’t find odd as she praises her America.

Uganda has value systems and it is these systems that define us. For example, can Ambassador Malac site at least one case in her America where a university lecturer like Nyanzi has undressed to nudity before her students as a form of civil protest?

For the record Uganda enjoys a great degree of media freedom and freedom of expression, and continues to build on earlier successes across all media and communication platforms.

Uganda hasn’t reached that level and is unlikely to pursue that a good model. We have over 300 radio stations, over 30 TV stations, over 20 print media and a vibrant social media.

All these have no form of censorship and are free to criticize and expose government excesses of all kinds. The courts of Uganda have also ruled that the media is free to tell untruths. Uganda government enjoys a robust and relatively good working relationship with media and we shall continue to nurture this relationship.

However we feel we have a duty to protect our citizens from criminal behavior that endanger our people under the guise of freedom of expression.

Photo Credit: Daily Monitor