Parliament finally approves UGX 15.9 Billion for LC polls

Parliament has approved 15.9 billion Shillings to fund elections for Local Council (LC) I and II leaders across the country. The funding was approved as parliament considered a report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for the financial year 2017-2018.

Legislators warned that the budget for the Electoral Commission, one of the sectors dissected by the legal committee, could not be approved without a provision for local council elections.

The local councils are the first reference points for the community and other organs of the state. However, Uganda has not held LCI elections since 2001 owing to a 2007 ruling based on a petition filed by Maj Rubaramira Ruranga, the former chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party Electoral Commission.

Major Ruranga argued that Local councils which were previously elected under the movement system became unconstitutional when the country adopted a multiparty political system.

Court ruled that the new LCs could not be elected unless the respective electoral laws had been amended to reflect the multiparty setting. Subsequently parliament of Uganda passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill which provides for election of village, ward and parish councils under the multiparty system. However, no fresh LC elections have been held to date.

Jacob Oboth-Oboth the chairperson of the Legal Committee of parliament earlier told the committee that there was no provision for funding local council elections in the EC budget for next financial year. However, his submission was contested by State Minister for Planning David Bahati who insisted that money had been provided for the polls.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah directed the two leaders to vacate the chambers and reconcile their figures.

On return, both MP Oboth and state minister Bahati confirmed to parliament that funds have been availed in the next financial year 2017/2018 to conduct local council elections. Bahati said that the money had been classified as general elections.

Uganda has 57,842 villages.




Security in Namugongo tightened as pilgrims continue to flock in

By Robert Segawa

Security at Namugongo martyr’s shrine has been tightened ahead of Uganda Martyrs  celebrations  that will be held on the 3rd June.

According to Kampala Metropolitan police commander Frank Mwesigwa, police and crime preventers patrol the area at night to ensure that people and properties are safe.He adds that police has also identified black spot areas where people are usually robbed and have deployed effectively.

Residents are vacanting their homes and renting them out to business people who are anticipating a boom in sales of their various products as people continue to flock into Namugongo.A single room in Namugongo now costs UGX50000- UGX100,000  while double room ranges from UGX150000-UGX300000 .

Lodges, hotels and guest houses in the area have also shot up their prices to UGX 400000- UGX700000 for a period of four days.

KCCA hands tied over Naguru-Shimoni development delays

Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi says her Authority is concerned over delays in completion of the much anticipated Nakawa-Naguru and Shimoni projects.

The Nakawa-Naguru Project involves the planned redevelopment of the Naguru-Nakawa Housing Estate into an ultra-modern satellite town within the Capital City of Kampala. The houses covering 66 hectares of land were to be constructed under a Public-Private Partnership between government and a private developer- Opec Prime Properties.

The other project was the planned construction of a modern complex at the former Shimoni Primary School land in Kampala. Although, the school was hurriedly demolished ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2007, the project remains incomplete.

Musisi and her team acknowledged before the Lands Inquiry Commission that the two projects are behind the schedule. She however said KCCA has no powers to order investors to return the land which was allocated to them close to ten years ago.

Musisi says the Authority is powerless over the deals because Uganda Land Commission then offered the project developer a 99-year lease for the property.

Musisi says there are a lot of aspects which the developer is yet to fulfill with KCCA but the Authority is not able to reenter the land because it was leased by Uganda Land Commission. She says OPEC prime Properties submitted aspects of the project which KCCA approved but it has not yet submitted its master plan almost ten years since it entered the project.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the probe commission asked whether KCCA would not take action based on factors like when the desolate buildings therein have become a hazard or a security hazard because of the over grown bush like it is now.

KCCA Director Legal Affairs, Mike Okua said choices on whether government should take over the project have to be made by government.

KCCA Director for Physical Planning, Moses Atwine told the Commission of Inquiry that the Shimoni Developer was also granted a 99-year lease. Atwine says if they had been granted the five initial years, then KCCA in circumstances that it were the controlling Authority would review the lease agreement. He says that in this case, the mandate falls back to Uganda land Commission.

The two examples are part of the many complaints that Kampala Capital City Authority has against Uganda Land Commission regarding allocation of public land in Kampala. Musisi says the Authority lost Nabagereka Primary School and other prime pieces of land in Kampala because of mistakes emanating from Uganda Land Commission.

The Uganda land Commission according to Jennifer Musisi has been involved in double allocation of plots and has turned public school land into a “bank of plots” for issuance to individuals without consulting Ministry of Education and her Authority.



State fails to commit Mumbere for trial

By Babirye Sania

The Jinja chief  magistrate court has adjourned to the 16th of June 2017 mention of the case against  Rwenzururu cultural leader Charles Wesley  Mumbere.

Chief magistrate Francis Kagwa adjourned the case after prosecution led by  James  Muliro informed court that they are unable to present committal papers today sending Mumbere and his Royal guards  to the International Crimes Division for trial as it had been expected asking for more time .

The magistrate has  also  extended  Mumbere’s bail to  16th June .

The Omusinga is charged alongside his premiere Thembo Kitsumbire and 172 royal guards including children and women.

The offenses range from murder,  terrorism, treason, robbery, attempted murder and malicious damage to property which were  allegedly committed between  March and November 2016 within Kasese region were over 100 people lost their lives.

Man remanded to Luzira for defying UCC directive on public radio speakers

By Sania Babirye

A man who defied  a directive from the Uganda Communication Commission against  operating a public radio speaker commonly  known as Kizindaalo has finally  pleaded guilty to the charge.

Gerald Ssemwanga who has been on remand in Luzira prison since  last week accepted the offense before  Buganda Road court  Chief Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda .

He was charged with  installing and operating a public raido apparatus without a license contrary to section 27 of the UCC Act but first denied the charge.

The magistrate has now set the 6th of June  to hand him his sentence and remanded him to Luzira prison   until then.

A content Regulation manager with UCC  Paul Mukasa testified against Ssemwanga on Monday  this week that they arrested Ssemwanga on the 27th of March 2017 from Kabawo zone in Rubaga division in Kampala district  illegally broadcasting before confiscating his equipments.

On the 8th of February 2017 UCC issued a  directive ordering all people operating the commonly Bizindalo without a license to dismantle  and take them down because they were operating illegally .

Pupils required to carry parents’ NINs for national registration -NIRA

Pupils whose parents have not registered for national identification cards risk being left out in the upcoming registration exercise in schools.

Michael Muganga, the National Identification Registration Authority- NIRA deputy Public Relations Officer says that all students will be required to carry a copy of their parents’ National Identification Number (NIN) for them to be registered.

He was speaking at the launch of mass registration of children aged between 5 and 16 for the national identity card project Eastern Uganda at Sunset hotel in Jinja on Wednesday.

Muganga adds that the unregistered pupils will be affected because the government will not plan for their needs in schools including examinations. He adds that the registration exercise that kicks off on May 29 and ends on August 25 is aimed at getting the exact number of children in schools so that the government plans better.

The State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde said that the government spends over 20 billion shillings on ghost pupils.

Seninde says that the identity number that will be given to each student will be captured on the report cards such that even when a pupil changes the school, the education ministry can follow up by tracing the identity number. She notes that with such a policy, the government will be able to reduce on the school dropouts since there is easy follow up.

The pupils will however not be given National Identity cards. Instead, they will be given a national identification number which will be used for the issuance of a National ID, once they turn 16. During the initial registration in 2014, the authority captured data for citizens aged 16 and above.




Stella Nyanzi’s lawyers challenge demand for mental examination

By Babirye Sania

Makerere Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication all related to computer misuse has taken her Mental examination battle to the constitutional court.

Dr.Stella Nyanzi has filed a constitutional petition against the attorney general challenging various sections of the mental treatment  act  as being unconstitutional.

Dr.Stella Nyanzi’s lawyers led by Peter Walubiri told Buganda road court chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda this morning  that the1938 law is not  in line with the the Uganda constitutional enacted in 1995.

Walubiru says they are Challenging various sections of the mental treatment act that violates her rights to a fair trial, inhumane treatment, and to be accorded  administrative fairness.

Walubiri has also told court that they have followed up the constitution petition with  an application in Buganda road court  to stay the Inquiry under the mental treatment act seeking to determine if Dr.Stella Nyanzi  is of sound mind or not.

In this application they want magistrate Mawanda to determine if the proceedings under the mental treatment act should continue or be stayed while the law is being challenged in the constitutional court.

The magistrate has now set the 7th of June to hear the application for stay of proceedings.

Prosecution States that between January and March 2017 at  Kampala district,  Nyanzi while having no legitimate purpose of communication posted on her Facebook page suggestions and proposals referring to his Excellency president Museveni  that he is a pair of buttocks.

If further alleged that Nyanzi  willfully and repeatedly using electronic communication posted offensive messages via Facebook with an intention of disturbing peace and the privacy of president Museveni.

Court grants bail to MAK students who led Stella Nyanzi demostration

By Babirye Sania

Buganda road court has granted bail to four Makerere University students who were  remanded to Luzira prison for allegedly holding a unlawful demonstration on the 10th of May  2017 demanding for Dr Stella Nyanzi’s release.

The four students include  Kahigi Edmund, Roy Rugumayo, Hanington Mugarura and Stephen Ariho.

Buganda road grade one  magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu  has ordered each to  sign a court  bond of ten million  shillings to ensure that  they return to court next week for hearing of  their case.

The four were part of a group of 10 students who were arrested at the  gates of Buganda road court  demanding for the immediate  release of Controversial Makerere university researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi who had  been in Luzira prison over a month on charges of cyber  harassment .

Nyanzi was later granted  bail by  the same court and returns to court tomorrow  for her case mention.

Prosecution states that on the 10th of May 2017 at Buganda Road court Kampala without lawful excuse the  four students  made statements calculated to incite violence against the public .

113 arrested, several weapons recovered in police operation against criminal gangs

By Segawa Robert
Police have recovered weapons and tools used to terrorize Kampala and surrounding  residents during an operation that was carried out in the past two weeks.
According to Kampala Metropolitan police commander Frank Mwesigwa, the police first made a watch list of over 100 hardcore  criminals. They were followed, leading to arrest of over 113 people and recovery of  weapons.
Mwesigwa showed journalists weapons including an AK47 rifle, pistol with 9 rounds, axes, pangas, knives, pick axes and hammers among other tools recovered from criminals.
He said the criminals had been arrested from areas of Bwaise, Kiwatule, Najeera, Makindye,Kira and the city centre.
The KMP commander said most of those arrested are repeat offenders who had been released .
Mwesigwa said 92 of these criminals have been charged in courts of law and remanded to Luzira.

Besigye calls for closure of Nalufenya

Former presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, together with councillors from Kawempe Division, has demanded immediate closure of Nalufenya police station, a facility that is at the center of the recent torture allegations.

Councillors led by Harris Akampurira, who represents Makerere University, launched a campaign code-named ‘Nalufenya Must Fall’ saying that they were not satisfied with the report by Members of Parliament and demanded that if serious investigations are to be done the facility must be closed.

They argue that what takes place at Nalufenya Special Investigations Centre, located in Jinja District, is a violation of articles 24 and 44 of the constitution. Akampurira further says that police actions in Nalufenya run counter to the prevention and prohibition of torture Act, and all the international conventions that Uganda is signatory to.

Micheal Wamala Ziggwa, the city authority councillor for Kawempe South Councillor, wondered whether police will replace scooped people’s body parts when they find out that they were innocent.

He demanded that the facility be closed so that proper investigation is made.

The leaders demanded that human rights bodies together with inter-religious council of Uganda should all address the nation on what is happening on torture.

Since the leaking of photographs of tortured Kamwenge Town Council Mayor, Geoffrey Byamukama, and other suspects detained on allegations of killing former police spokesman, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, there has been wide condemnation of the acts of the security agencies.

Besigye said Nalufenya is just a manifestation of what he called captivity that Ugandans have been put into.

Besigye noted that Ugandans must not only focus on Nalufenya but look at all other forms of injustices.

He highlighted the former Nile Mansions, current Serena Hotel, which was a centre of torture and human rights abuse during Obote II government and the Nakasero State Research Bureau which was used by Idi Amin’s security agents.