By Edwin Muhumuza
Civil society organizations have petitioned parliament through the leader of opposition demanding that she represents their views to scrap off tax on Mobile Money and Social Media in parliament.
They want the 0.5% tax recently reviewed by government rejected by parliament according to vice chairperson of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group,Elliot Ruzarwa,who was flanked by members of the Uganda Debt Network,Mobile Dealers Association of Kampala and the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)
Opposition leader in parliament Hon.Winnie Kizza as she received the petitions was doubtful that colleagues from the NRM Party will side with the wider public to reject taxes on Mobile Money and Social Media. She accused most of the NRM Mps of refusing to use common sense during deliberations on matters of national importance.
Relatedly,Bukoto East MP,Florence Namayanja has accused NRM MPs of being selfish following their unanimous approval of a 0.5% tax on Mobile Money and shs.200 on social media yesterday as they caucused at Entebbe State House.
President Museveni, who had earlier signed into law the one per cent charge on all Mobile Money transactions, has since rescinded the decision and said it should be at 0.5 per cent after a large section of the public, a potential voting pool, argued that it was tantamount to double taxation.
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another controversial Kenyan Sheikh Khalid Balala who 20 years ago was rusticated in a foreign land after his passport was revoked by the Kenya government.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
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.
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.
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.
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
By Sania Babirye
Masaka court grade one Magistrate Byarugaba Adams has dismissed an assault case against NRMs communication officer Rogers Mulindwa.
Mulindwa had been battling offenses of malicious damage to property and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he was dragged to court by Eddie Bindhe a local journalist attached to Uganda Radio Network (URN).
While dismising the case the magistrate noted that there was no evidence enough to prove the alleged charges since even the doctor who examined the victim Dr Ssenyonjo Mbazira Francis failed to remember the exact body parts he was injured.
The journalist had accused Mulindwa of strangling him but he failed to even produce a single witness out of the 6 he claimed to have witnessed the incident in court nor did he provide court with exhibits of broken glasses, or a video footage among others.
Court further wondered how an incident of such a nature involving high profile politicians would not be covered by any of the 12 local journalists who were present on top of the Hotel denying knowledge of the incident.
It was alleged that on May 12, 2015 at Garden Courts Hotel during an NRM leaders’ meeting presided over by the Rt. Hon Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba, Mulindwa strangled Bindhe damaged his glasses and caused bodily harm.
By Robert Segawa
The conflicts in Uganda People’s Congress party have deepened after a section of the Akena’s leadership team today morning attacked him and demanded that he resigns.
The party members accuse their leader of conniving with ruling NRM party .
While addressing the media at melting pot, Moses Higenyi Kemba the UPC administrative secretary expressed disappointment saying he regretted campaigning Jimmy Michael Akena as the party president in 2015. He further claims that Akena lied to Ugandans about being a staunch UPC . Higenyi said that he was shocked to hear that Akena as an individual received over 6BN as bribery by the ruling NRM and Museveni.
Higenyi says that as a party they are pro- structured dialogues involving all shareholders but not individuals. He adds that if Akena begins to openly denounce and challenge NRM, as party they are willing to work with him . The party elders however have requested Higenyi to begin an ousting campaign of Akena he doesn’t change.
Furious Higenyi says that Akena’s actions of secretly working with NRM are evil and unacceptable.
By Sania Babirye
The court of appeal has overturned the decision by the Soroti high court that had nullified the election of NRMs Serere County MP Patrick Okabe over lack of the requisite academic papers and non-compliance with the law.
Three court of appeal justices led by the Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Cheborion Barishaki and Alfonse Owiny-Dollo have ruled that the petitioner Josep Opio Linos from UPC party did not have the capacity within which to challenge Okabe’ s victory since there is no evidence that he was validly elected as a candidate to contest in the concluded elections .
The justices have also ruled that Opio did not have the required 500 signatures from voters to challenge the elections.
The justices have further ruled that there is evidence that Opio’s nomination was rejected by the returning officer after finding out that his 2 nominees were not registered voters.
That even though Opio appealed to the Electoral Commission, there is no minutes on court record showing that the 5 members of the commission sat and either unanimously or by majority vote decided to nominate him.
In conclusion the justices have ruled that the election petition was not valid to be considered in the High court.
In September 2016 Justice Billy Kainamura nullified Okabe’s victory on grounds that he used different names on his academic papers during his senior four at Ayer secondary school where he used Ocen Oliba Patrick while on his nominations he used Patrick Okabe.
UPC’s Opio had also accused EC of omitting his name on the ballot papers denying his supporters a right to vote a candidate of their own choice.
Photo Credit: Chimp reports
By Sania Babirye
Five members of the ruling National Resistance Movement youth wing have been sentence to a fine of 3 million shilling each for assaulting three journalists and maliciously damaging their properties during elections.
The convicts are Robert Tibamanya, Lule Wamala, Arnold Mubiru, Joshua Kuteesa, and Hassan Wasswa
Entebbe court grade one magistrate Masitulah Mulondo also handed the convicts a 30 day community service to clean the court premises for two hours every day for maliciously damaging cameras belonging to journalists.
The magistrate further ruled that if the convicts fail to honor their sentences they should be imprisoned in Luzira for up to six months.
The assaulted journalists are Kigongo Ssebalamu, Ssempijja Godfrey both of Vision Group and Kakooza George William of Central Broad Casting Services.
She noted that the punishment will serve as a deterrent to other would be offenders because it is the role of the judiciary to correct such behavior.
She emphasized that it was unlawful and centrally to section 336 and 236 of the penal code act for the convicts to beat the journalists with the intention of stopping them from covering the elections yet the victims were just doing their work.
The five committed the offense on 4th of March during the elections for National Youth, Elderly and People with Disabilities.
They were arrested in August 2016 in Entebbe but denied the charges.
Photo Credit: Daily Monitor
General Okello Lutwa served as President of Uganda from July 1985-January 26 1986. He died on 3rd June 1996 aged 82 years.
This year’s celebration will be observed under the theme, “Uganda’s success under NRM leadership is shared victory.”
The function will be held at Golf course Masindi and will be presided over by His Excellncy the president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
This year will mark, 31 years of NRM in power. The NRM has been in power since 1986.