FDC reshuffles party leadership, Winnie Kizza dropped

By Patricia Osman
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change has reshuffled its leadership at Parliament, Betty Aol Ochan is now the Leader of Opposition replacing Winnie Kiiza.
Ssemujju Nganda has been maintained as the Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament and will be deputized by Hon Tonny Muhindo.
Buhweju county MP, Francis Mwijukye is now Commissioner of Parliament replacing Cecilia Ogwal of Dokolo.
Fungaroo Kaps Hassan is Committee Chairperson of Government Assurance while Nandala Mafabi chair Public Accounts Committee.
Hon Mubarak Munyagwa replaces Abdu Katuntu as the Chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE  deputized by Hon Moses Kasibante among others.

Justice Barishaki kicks off judgment on the age limit

By Sania Babirye
Justice Barishaki is delivering his judgement on the MPs extension of their term of office from five to seven years and that of local government councils.
He is quoting the a legislative history of Uganda and the Uganda Constitutional commission of 1995 report by  Prof.Sempebwa   for proper guide line.
He says he takes the recommendations into account for proper guidelines.
He states as a result public participation is very important for proper affairs of the country.
Sepebwa report explains that peoples  views on the enlargement of term of MPs and LG officials is an indirect way of holding office without consent and will  from people since the first contract was to hold office for only 5 yrs.
On the historical parliamentary chaos, he observes that these events rolled out because the members of parliament did not listen to the speaker as the head of the house.

Justice Barishaki further rules that the attorney general failed to adduce any evidence to prove that their was public participation   which is key to any constitutional amendment  since no referendum was held there by parliament exceeding its authority to extend  its term of office for more 2 years from five to seven.

He adds that parliament tried to evade the people’s powers and the amendment and its sections are null and void.
The extension was selfish and is against the principles of   good governance.
He adds that if it was dine in good faith it should have been made in the coming 2020 general elections.
Justice Cheborion has ruled that the speaker of parliament acted within the law  when she suspended the opposition MPs from the house and that if they had respected the speaker when she called the house to order the violence inflicted on them by military police would not have happened.
Justice Barishaki further rules that  even though Mps have a right to participate in each and every debate, the speaker had the  powers to throw out an  MP who conducts himself In manner that disrupts debate.
Mps had started throwing chairs and parliament staff had been injured, an MP had entered the chambers with a gun .therefore Cheborion rules that the involvement of army was justified since it was a state of emergency.
He says that the MPs engaged in misconduct and the military police had to be called in to assist the parliament security that had been overpowered by the rioting MPs at the invitation of the speaker.
He however says that the military police used excessive force and the process subjected the MPs to inhumane and degrading treatment.
He also rules that the Mps arrest and detention was uncalled for since the speaker only ordered that they be removed from the chambers of Parliament.
He rules that parliament was not besieged as alleged by the petitioners since the military police was only there at the invitation of the Sergent of arms  to contain the riot.
Judge says no evidence to show that the said directive or violence on the MPs affected country wide consultations which would lead to the nullification of entire bill.
On the private Members bill to be funded by government: Justice Barishaki has ruled that it did not have a financial implication on the consolidated fund  and that the bill was budget neutral.

He explained that it is not unconstitutional for a private members bill to be funded by government and just because it had the name Rapheal Magyezi  bill it did not make it a private bill .
Justice Barishaki has also explained that the 29 million shillings that was each given to MPs for consultation did not have a financial implication since the clerk of parliament testified that it had been budget for by parliament.

Opposition displeased with EC decision to leave civil servants out of LC elections

By Robert Segawa

The opposition Democratic party have expressed dismay over electoral commission’s move to halt all civil servants from participating in the forth coming local council election which they say, doesn’t only violates the laws of the country but also a sign of injustice.

While addressing the media  at the party headquarters  in Kampala, Nobert Mao the party president says that though the councils are important in national peace and security development but no to involve in civil servants who are to campaign on taxes of the nationals.

Mao has called upon all party members to get involved in the elections to over come what he called corrupt and fraudulent NRM cadres who have held these positions for almost 2 decades.
He says local council one letters are important in day to day daily activities , he asked Ugandans not to elect leaders who beat up their wives and those who cannot look after their families.

Vladimir Putin inaugurated for a forth term following 70% win in Russian elections

Vladimir Putin was sworn in for another six years as Russian president on Monday, buoyed by popular support but weighed down too by a costly confrontation with the West, a fragile economy and uncertainty about what happens when his term ends.

Standing in the ornately-decorated Andreyevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, with his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the constitution, Putin swore to serve the Russian people, to safeguard rights and freedoms, and protect Russian sovereignty

Putin’s inauguration for a fourth term as Russian president came two months after more than 70 percent of voters backed him in an election in which he had no serious challengers.

His most dangerous opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running and on Saturday Navalny and hundreds of his supporters were detained by police while protesting over Putin’s new term under the slogan: “Putin is not our tsar.”

 In a speech after the swearing-in ceremony, Putin said that in the next six years Russia would prove a strong, muscular player on the world stage, backed by a powerful military, while pushing hard to improve life for its citizens at home.

“Taking up this post, I feel a colossal sense of responsibility,” Putin told his audience of Russian officials and foreign dignitaries, among them former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

 

 

~Reuters

 

Lutaya released after he agreed to pay 35.5M in court

By Sania Babirye

The Jinja high court judge Eva Luswata has set free journalist  Simon Muyanga Lutaya after signing an agreement that he will pay the remaining 35.5 million shillings  in court costs  within a period of 12 months after court reduced his debt by 100, 000 thousand shillings.

Lutaya was this week  sentenced to six months at Kirinya prison after he failed to clear the 57 million shillings in costs after losing an election petition at the high court and court of appeal.
However his lawyers led by Erias Lukwago who secured a production warrant from the Jinja High court on Thrsday to have him produced in court today, have informed court that his political opponent who is NRMs  Kenneth Lubogo produced a video on social media denying to have ordered for his arrest.
It was later revealed that Lubogo’s former Lawyer Hassan Kamba  who is no longer representing him secured the warrant of arrest after Lutaya  failed to clear the total  costs by December 2017 after Lutaya managed to only pay six million shillings.
Meanwhile Lutaya’s team has also added another 4.5 million shillings that was collected from the public and will clear the remaining balance within a period of one year.
The judge  removed the ten million shillings from the initial 57 million  awarded saying it was unnecessarily added.
Lutaya dragged Lubogo to the high court after he lost the seat for member of parliament for Bulamogi constituency.
However he lost the election petition at the high court on the 19th of August 2016 and on the 22nd of November, the court of appeal dismissed his appeal and ordered him to pay costs at both courts to his rival.

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.

FDC organizing parallel labor day celebrations in Njeru

By Robert Segawa

The opposition Forum for Democratic Change party has reminded government on prioritizing the formulation of laws that protect workers.

During a press conference at party headquarters Najjanankumbi the deputy party spokesperson Paul Mwiru said its a disappointment for government to celebrate labor day tomorrow yet it has no goodwill to improve on the conditions in which workers are operating.

Mwiru said its high time the minimum wage bill was passed to protect workers from exploitation. Byte

Forum for democratic change party is also organizing parallel labor celebrations at Njeru municipality in Buikwe district where they shall launch an alternative labor policy.

Mwiru said they can not celebrate with government because they have a different policy on addressing challenges faced by workers.

Electoral commission assures opposition MPs that they can’t do anything about Museveni’s donations

Justice Simon Byabakama, the Electoral Commission chairperson has said that his Commission has no powers to stop President Yoweri Museveni from donating to Ugandans even during campaigns.

Byabakama who was appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee said that the law does not define when the president is conducting his presidential duties and when he is conducting political party activities.

He was responding to queries raised by Opposition MPs including Medard Lubega Sseggona for Busiro East MP and his Ndorwa East counterpart Wilfred Niwagaba, who attacked the Commission for looking on as voter bribery is committed by President Yoweri Museveni in Rukungiri District ahead of the Woman parliamentary by-election.

Sseggona together with Niwagaba questioned whether this was not voter bribery considering that the Electoral Commission has already issued a road map for a by-election in Rukungiri district.

Sseggona reminded Byabakama about the administrative guidelines issued by EC, wondering why the same guidelines have not been issued on the conduct of the president.

Over the weekend, President Museveni gave out 500 motorcycles, 25 Fuso Trucks, seven Tractors, 20 commuter taxis, High powered woodwork machines worth 193 million Shillings to Rukungiri Municipality Carpenters and Traders’ Association which has 5,000 members.

The President even took to his official twitter handle saying that his Government ushered in politics of unity as opposed to tribalism and called on the residents to reject leaders who preach tribalism.

Museveni also said that although funds to fight poverty are available, the local leaders need to monitor and discuss this in district councils.

“Government allocates about 500 billion Shillings for anti-poverty programmes like Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). The leaders here should not just focus on abusing Museveni, they should transform their communities as well,” Museveni wrote, saying that his trip was geared towards showing the leaders what they ought to be doing.

The donations come just over a month before the districts goes back to the polls to elect a Woman Member of Parliament on May 31.

Byabakama denied any wrongdoing by the Commission arguing that although guidelines are rolled out informing people on what to do during campaigns and elections, the law doesn’t seem to define when the President is conducting his presidential duties or when he is campaigning.

Byabakama reminded MPs that the same matter constituted part of the Supreme Court recommendations in the 2016 Presidential election petition and still Government has gone silent on enacting laws as recommended in the ruling.

He also noted that campaigns in Rukungiri have not yet started because nomination has not taken place and therefore, there is no way the Commission can prevail over the President’s controversial donations.

Committee Chairperson, Jacob Oboth Oboth ridiculed the Opposition MPs telling them that although Museveni’s donations look painful, they have to deal with it since that is the power of incumbency.

Early this month, the Electoral Commission (EC) released the road map for Rukungiri Parliamentary by-election setting May 31 as voting day. The programme commences with an update of the National Voters’ Register from 16th to 20th April in each of the 87 parishes and wards in the district.

The Court of Appeal on March 22 declared the seat vacant following a successful petition by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate, Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira.

Muzanira lost to Winnie Matsiko in the February 2016 elections but petitioned court citing voter bribery. High Court Judge Wilson Kwesiga had on August 8, 2016 dismissed Munazira’s petition with costs, but the petitioner took the matter to the Court of Appeal which ruled in her favour.

The justices of the Court of Appeal stated that Muzanira’s evidence proved that Matsiko made donations during the campaign period at Kibale and Nyarushanje Catholic churches.

Court noted that there was disenfranchisement of voters whereby the final results of the election of 5,413 voters were not counted when Matsiko was declared winner, thereby ordering the Electoral Commission to conduct a by-election.

In its road map, EC set nomination of candidates to be conducted for a period of two days, on May 2 and May 3, at Rukungiri District Headquarters. Campaign meetings are to be held for a period of 26 days, from May 4 to May 29. Elections will take place on Thursday May 31, 2018 between 7am and 4:00pm.

So far four candidates have already printed posters eyeing the same seat. They include; Winfred Matsiko of the ruling NRM party, Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira of FDC, Sheila Akatukunda Kirebete and Prisca Sezi Bessy Mbaguta, both independents.

 

~URN

Age limit petition hearing off to a calm start in Mbale

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.

~URN

 

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