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

Parliamentary committee advised to leave Kadaga-Namuganza feud to Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

NRM chairman Eastern Region Mike Mukula has told the parliamentary committee on rules and discipline that the scuffle between lands minister Persis Namuganza and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be left to the party.

The Former Soroti Municipality MP was appearing as witness in a scandal that has shocked the country and heightened ethnic tensions in Busoga region.He said the matter is now being solved by the party chairman Yoweri Museveni.

Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah directed the committee chaired by Kalaki MP Clement Ongalo-Obote to investigate the two powerful women from Busoga sub-region after Ngora MP David Abala raised a procedural matter, that the conflict as captured in the media was irritating and required explanation.

Kadaga and Namuganza’s conflicts started early this month at function to launch boreholes in Bukono, where Namuganza reportedly told off Kadaga and Busoga king Gabula Nadiope to concentrate on ‘fighting jiggers in Kamuli’, which to her are a serious threat than ‘poking their noses’ into Namutumba affairs.

The Bukono County MP,  shed tears last week while appearing before the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges over her rivalry with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga,saying that her life is in danger, after the Speaker allegedly ‘declared war’ on her.

Museveni says only 8 soldiers were killed in Somalia attack on AMISOM base

President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that eight Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers died following an Alshabab attack in Somalia on Easter Sunday.

The revelation contradicts what the UPDF Spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire had said that four soldiers had died in a statement issued on Sunday evening.

The president explained that two vehicles of the enemy force entered one of the three sites attacked. “One vehicle was detonated and killed eight of our soldiers. May their souls rest in eternal peace. I extend condolences to their families.”

The President, using his official Twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni, also said the UPDF had killed 36 al-shabaab militants contrary to the 22 stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Kampala and 30 as stated by the UPDF spokesperson in Somalia, Ceaser Olweny.

The Alshabab raided the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) base at Quoryole, Bulomareer and Golwein in Lower Shabelle region in Somalia.

Buulo Mareer is located some 130 kilometres southwest of the capital Mogadishu.

Eight vehicles including two vehicle born improvised explosives were destroyed by AMISOM forces.

President Museveni praised the army for foiling what he called “the bold but adventurous strategy of Al-Shabaab.”  He said the AMISOM force was alert, the reason they managed to repulse the enemy.

“With constant vigilance, victory is assured. I congratulate our soldiers for the good work they did yesterday, the death of eight of our soldiers notwithstanding,” he said.

Called to comment on the statement by the President, Brigadier Richard Karemire said the additional deaths were from those who sustained injuries. He says by the time the army said four were dead they were four, but some who were injured have since died.

Karemire could not specify the day of the other deaths.

According to Karemire some soldiers had sustained injuries, but currently six UPDF soldiers remain injured, the same number he had given in the initial statement on Sunday evening, signed by his deputy, Lt Col Deo Akiiki.

Just like it happened with previous attacks, there has been conflicting figures on the number of dead and injured on both sides, with different media sources quoting different numbers.

The UK’s Guardian online reports that at least 46 UPDF soldiers were killed in double car bomb suicide attacks, quoting local officials in Mogadishu. The report quotes Abdi Nur Hashi, a Somali military colonel who also said one Somali soldier had died and several others were injured.

The New York Times and Reuters give a much high number of causality figures, with both saying 59 Amisom soldiers were killed in the attack.

The special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Madeira in a press statement issued on April 2 says at least 30 al-shabaab militants were killed, while four soldiers of Amisom were killed and six sustained injuries.

Karemire had insisted that the number of soldiers he gave out was the correct one.

The situation is similar to the one after the July 30, 2017 attack when UPDF said it had lost 12 soldiers while the militants said it had killed 39 Ugandan soldiers.

In September 2015, al-shabaab militants carried out an attack at the Amisom base in Janaale district in Somalia with reports indicating that 50 AMISOM soldiers had died, while the Somali military said 37 soldiers died.

The UPDF disputed this through the then spokesperson Paddy Ankunda who tweeted that the estimates of more than 50 deaths were a fabrication, insisting later that only 10 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in Somalia.

Days later, however, President Museveni who was on a visit to Japan told the media that 19 Ugandan soldiers had been killed in the Janaale attack, adding that six others were in action.

Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia in 2007 and contributes the biggest contingent of the 22,000-strong Amisom force.

The African Union plans to scale down its force and gradually hand over security operations to the Somali national army by 2020.

 

~URN