By Sania Babirye
The widow to the former minister of Internal affairs Gen. Aronda Nyakayirima has today honored the summons by the commission of inquiry into land matters and appeared at its headquarters .
Hearing of the Constitutional Court petition challenging the amendment of Article 102(b) to remove presidential age limits gets underway in Mbale today.
A panel of five judges led by the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo is set to hear the petitions at Mbale High Court. The other justices on the bench include; Remmy Kasule, Elizabeth Musoke, Cheborion Barishaki and Kenneth Kakuru.
The hearing will commence with submissions of the petitioners including Uganda Law Society and Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, who represents a section of Members of Parliament challenging the amendment.
On December 20, 2017, Parliament passed the Constitutional Amendment Act, 2017 effectively removing presidential age limits provided for under Article 102(b) of the constitution. In the same amendment, parliament removed age limits for local government leaders, restored presidential term limits which had been removed in September 2005 and extended the term of office of the president and parliament from five to seven years.
The amendment was a climax to an acrimonious three-month debate that saw chaos inside parliament including security forces invading the chambers to remove some of the MPs who had been suspended for what Speaker Rebecca Kadaga called indiscipline. It’s on this basis that the amendment is being challenged in court.
The petitioners are challenging the legality of amending the Constitution in regard to age limit for a presidential candidate, the presence of security personnel in Parliament as well as the extension of the terms for both the President and MPs from five to seven years.
In Mbale, Stephen Ahweera, the district Police Commander, has assured the people of maximum security during the hearing of the consolidated constitutional petitions that are challenging the amendment.
Mbale is an opposition area with the Municipality Member of Parliament and the Mayor hailing from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.
The district woman MP, Connie Galiwango, a member of the ruling NRM party, was forced to vote against the constitutional amendment in December, after she was chased away by voters from the consultative meetings.
A survey that was conducted before the age limit voting titled; Citizen’s Perceptions on the Proposed Amendment of Article 102(b) of the Constitution, revealed that 85 percent of Ugandans opposed the presidential age limits removal.
Ahweera added that they expect people from within the region and far to follow the hearing.
By Sania Babirye
The Judicial Officers strike has entered its second day with many suspects who are on bail stranded at court as they reported for their bail extensions and case mention .
This morning many suspects who are out on bail returned for their bail extensions only to be informed by clerks in the registry that they did not have any instructions to extend their bail.
This means that suspects who are out on bail are not subjected to report back to court until judges return to work and set new bail dates and case mention .
However some suspects have improvised with their lawyers by agreeing with prosecutions on which date they should return back to court for mention of their different cases as the indefinite strike continues.
But suspects who are on remand in Luzira prisons have not been brought to court by prison Authorities.
Some of the key cases that flopped today include the Corruption case against State Minister for Labour Hebert Kabafunzaki and two others where prosecution led by Barbara Kawuma and his lawyers agreed that they return back to court on tge 11th of September hoping that by then the judges and magistrates strike would have ended.
It still remains to be seen what will happen to other suspects who are out on bail and have not been given another date to report back .
This is likely to make many suspects untraceable by fleeing or changing their places of abode.
By Sania Babirye
Six businessmen From Wakiso district have been charged with conspiring to prevent a witness from testifying in the on going land’s commission of inquiry presided over by justice Catharine Bamugemeire.
Magala Joseph, George Ssegwanyi, Ahmed Kizito Musa, Seruyange Derrick, Lutaya Steven and Mutebi Brian Luninze appeared before Wakiso grade one magistrate Martin Kirya.
They were charged with three counts including conspiracy to defeat justice, interfering with justice and threatening violence which charges they pleaded not guilty to too.
Prosecution has informed court that investigations into the case are still ongoing forcing the magistrate to remand them to prison until the 28th of June 2017.
According to prosecution the six men between the 31st of may and 2nd of june at Wakiso magistrate court with intent to defeat justice, they conspired to defeat justice by threatening to injure a one Milton Bukanzi if he appeared before the land commission of inquiry to testify.
Ugandan High Court decision has won the People’s Choice Gavel at the 2017 Gender Justice Uncovered Awards for advancing the rights of women and girls.
The annual Gender Justice Uncovered Awards are hosted by Women’s Link Worldwide, an international organization to shed light on the positive and negative impacts court decisions have on the lives of women and girls around the world.
In January, Justice Lydia Mugambe rules on the case of a missing baby from the national referral hospital Mulago. She ruled that a public hospital’s negligence resulting in the disappearance of a couple’s baby resulted in psychological torture for the parents and violated their rights to health and access to information. The couple was also granted compensation of 85 million shillings.
In an online process, Justice Mugambe’s decision garnered 3,829 votes to beat 17 other rulings that were nominated for the best judicial decision from all around the world.
“The court decision stood out because it recognized the need to not only address the human rights of the couple who were parties to the case, but also the failure on the part of the state of Uganda to fulfill its obligation of the right to health”, said Lydia Muthiani, Women’s Link attorney.
According to Women’s Link, Justice Mugambe’s decision specifies that a woman’s inability to access sufficient antenatal care demonstrates a failure on the part of the State to fulfill its obligations under the right to health. It also points out that States also have an obligation to devote special attention and resources to women whose circumstances make them vulnerable and those who suffer from multiple forms of inequality.
The Court also pointed to overburdened hospital staff which led to errors as another example of the failure to comply with obligations under the right to health.
A social justice advocacy organisation, the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) and the parents of the child sued the attorney general and executive director of Mulago hospital for unlawful disappearance of their baby.
“We applaud the Judiciary for upholding health and human rights of Jennifer Musimenta and her husband Michael Mubangizi, at a time when they had no recourse for justice”, said Moses Mulumba Executive Director, CEHURD.
“This award comes at a crucial time (because) the ruling required the Uganda Police to make a report on the where about of this couple’s child within six months but we are yet to hear from them,” he added.
Other rulings from African Courts that have won an Award:
The High Court of Tanzania takes the Bronze Gavel (court ruling with a positive effect on women and girls’ lives) for its ruling instructing the government to ban child marriage and set the legal age for marriage at 18 for both sexes.
The Golden Bludgeon (court ruling with a negative effect on women and girls’ lives) went to the High Court of Kenya for its decision to acquit a man for carrying on a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, on basis that girls often make false reports of non-consensual sex.
By Babirye Sania
The Attorney General has been dragged to the High court by five suspects who claim to have been tortured by police while in detention at the now famous Nalufenya police station based in Jinja district
The five who are part of the many suspects charged with the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi have been led by a one Godfrey Musisi Galabuzi.
According to documents before court the lead petitioner Galabuzi claims that police from the anti terrorism unit commanded by D/SSP Johnson Olal on the morning of the 23rd of March 2017 invaded his home and arrested him, his wife Grace Nankya and 3 of his workers and drove them to Nalufenya police cells.
He further explains that while at Nalufenya they were told that they did participate in the murder of Kaweesi and that his wife was responsible for cooking food and feeding the killers.
Galabuzi claims that they were promised large sums of money if they confessed to the crime before being subjected to assault and torture which included being placed in tinny congested and poorly ventilated rooms, fed on one meal a day and sprayed with toxic gas which suffocated them and affected their sight.
The suspects represented by Ladislous Rwakafuuzi a human rights lawyer claim that they were later charged with terrorism and murder but released on bond at Kira road police station.
That one of the suspect identified as private Musisi was later arraigned before Nakawa court and charged with conspiracy to murder while the remaining 4 suspects have never been taken to court.
The 5 suspects are now seeking court to hold the Attorney General of Uganda liable for the acts of the police at Nalufenya which they claim are degrading and inhumane .
The Attorney General has been given 15 days to file his defense.