MP Luttamaguzi pleads with opposition youth to demand electoral reforms

By Alice Lubwama
Nakaseke south Member of Parliament Lutamaguzi semakula has asked the opposition not to allow to be diverted by the NRM proposals of lining up in party elections instead of demanding for electoral reforms.

While reacting to the resolution by the NRM Central executive committee which decided that the NRM party primaries will be conducted through lining up behind backs, Lutamaguzi also shadow minister for lands noted that by the opposition discussing such a small group will mean that everything is okay.

The legislator alleges that the proposal made by CEC is just intended to benefit the NRM party chairman.

Opposition leader in parliament Betty Aol Ocan recently announced how the opposition was planning to move a private members bill in parliament seeking for constitution amendment to have some of electoral reforms.

Some of the reforms will include presidential aspirants who get 10 per cent of the vote to become ex-officio members in Parliament.

The Bill also seeks for the reinstatement of presidential term limits, the introduction of federal governments and the constitution of an independent electoral commission

Kipoi denied bail

By Sania Babirye
High court Judge Jane Francis Abodo has dismissed the application filed by the trouble Former Bubulo West MP Tonny Kipoi Nsubuga.

While denying Kipoi bail justice Abodo ruled that she can not grant him bail because he is currently being tried by the General court Martial that has jurisdiction to try him.
Justice Abodo has further stated that Kipoi is being charged with capital offenses related to National security.

Kipoi is currently on remand at Makindye Military barracks since the 21st of March 2018 after he was charged with offenses related to National security by the General court Martial.

On the 14th of February, Justice Abodo concluded hearing his bail application in his absentia.

This is after his lawyer Richard Iduli informed court that the UPDF had deliberately refused to produce Kipoi in court two consecutive times despite having served them to do so.

Iduli had asked justice Abodo to have the matter adjourned so that the army can be issued with a production warrant to have Kipoi produced in court, the judge ruled that it would be better to proceed with hearing of the bail application since the army has not responded twice despite being served with the production warrants twice.

Then Iduli asked court to grant his client bail on grounds that it is his constitutional right and the fact that he is being detained in an illegal detention of the army at Makindye military barracks yet he is not a soldier but a civilian.

Iduli further stated that his client’s arrest in Botswana on the 18th of March 2018 was illegal because their was no warrant of arrest issued nor any extradition proceedings conducted while being brought back in the country.

Iduli further stated that that the charge of offenses related to security is similar to the the offense offense of treason that he was already discharged of by the DPP and that the same DPP acted centrally to the constitution when he directed the army to have Kipoi tried in the military court.

He also said that his client should be given bail since he is already challenging the jurisdiction of the General court Martial to try him in the constitutional court .

Kipoi also presented two sureties including his uncle Moses Mpasa a retired civil servant and his brother Bosco Weiko to stand as his sureties to ensure that he returned court once granted bail and that he had a fixed place of aboard at Bukaso village 1 in Manafa district.

However prosecutions asked court to not grant bail to kipoi on grounds that he is likely to abscond bail since he is charged with a capital offense related to national security, his sureties are not substantial and that prosecutions is ready to try the case.

Kipoi was charged on the 19th of March 2018 jointly with 5 UPDF soldiers including Sgt. Yunus Lemeriga, CPL Rogers Mwiru, Sgt. Adams Mawa, Sgt. Albino Okenge and private Ddodola Ijosiga.

These however pleaded not guilty to the offense before the 7 member court chaired by Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti.

Kipoi is said to have committed the offenses between November 2012 and December 2013, while on diverse districts in Uganda, were he convened meetings to recruit soldiers with an intention of prejudicing the security of defense forces .

Kipoi was later remanded back to Luzira prison where he had been on charges of attempting to traffick 20 people from Bukedea district to the DR. Congo while his co-accused have been remanded to Makindye Millitary barracks.

But he was later transferred to Makindye military barracks.

In 2012 Kipoi was arrested and charged with treason and human trafficking after he was accused of recruiting youths from both Uganda and DRC as rebels to oust President Museveni, however he fled the country into Congo immediately after being granted bail.

His case was later referred before the General court martial and the army court in 2014 issued warrant of arrest for Kipoi’s head despite being on the run.

The parliament of Uganda also threw him out of parliament after he missed 15 sittings with out giving any justified reason for missing.

Kipoi who was extradited from Botswana in in 2018 where he is said to have fraudulently obtained money amounting to 111.6 million from two women in Botswanas ) while disguising as a native doctor whereas not.

UTB partners with golfers to promote golf tourism

By Edwin Muhumuza
The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has launched a partnership with the Uganda Gold Union(UGU) in a bid to position Uganda as Africa’s premier golf tourism destination.

This partnership begins with the sponsorship of the Uganda Gold Open Tour set for the 30th March until the 14th of September 2019.

Outgoing UTB, CEO, Steven Asiimwe says the signing of the agreement is to highlight the impact that the sport has on tourism directly and indirectly.

‘Today was the culmination of the discussions that started four years ago. We want the golfers to go beyond the golf course and go have an experience in every tour that they go. Golfers do not travel alone, they are people of influence ,who travel with their families, and if they(UGU) went beyond the 18 holes they could influence other holes.’ he said.

The Uganda Golf Union has always wanted UTB to sponsor some of their tournaments but UTB demanded for the benefits beyond mere sponsorship to include marketing Uganda as a top golf tourism destination.

According to Asiimwe, Uganda is uniquely placed for both the domestic and international golfer and in every town, golf courses are within the vicinity of an experience. In Mbale , one is in eye distance shot of Wanale and Mt. Elgon, rich in many waterfalls. In Kihihi, there is even an airfield next to it, among others.

‘We want to attract many golfers from neighboring countries, we are fortunate to be in some of the shortest travel distance for golfers’, Asiimwe added

The Uganda Golf Union President ,Innocent Kihika noted that golf and tourism do move together because when one goes out for a round of golf, they have to travel, find accommodation, buy meals, locate where to get refreshments, and where to lounge again and all these have economic impact on the communities.

The agreement is expected to last three years and for the first year the Golf Union will receive fifty million shillings.

According to statistics an estimated 5 to 10% travel worldwide with the sole purpose of playing golf and this number is steadily increasing and on a global scale, golf contributes about $20billion annually and by itself is able to attract millions of holiday makers across the world and Uganda is properly located, with friendly weather all year round to accommodate such visitors.

The Uganda golf championship will see golfers visit Mbale, Namulonge, Jinja, Entebbe, Mbarara, Fort Portal among other locations.

Occupancy rates in prime residential suburbs declines

By Wasswa Deo
Knight Frank Uganda has registered a 5% year on year decline from 86% to 81% in occupancy rates for the prime residential suburbs of Kololo, Nakasero and Naguru.

The main reason for this decline, is the fact that tenants opted for accommodation in other suburbs where rents are slightly lower, and yet the quality of stock available is newer and of similar if not better quality than is available in the prime suburbs.

This was among the key highlights in 2018 Real Estate Market Report titled “Kampala market Update” released today by Knight Frank Uganda.

The report covers real estate sector performance in the month of July to December 2018.

Other highlights in the report including, 4% annual increase in the take up of new warehouses built in the last 1-3 years.

CO-Working and shared offices are becoming more attractive options for occupiers.

Speaking during the report launch, Judy Rugasira Kyanda, the managing director Knight Frank has however noted that the Landlords-Tenants Bill 2018 which is in Parliament is likely to destroy the relationship between the landlords and their tenants if is passed in its current form.

She says it’s good to have such act in place, but it should be drafted in away where both landlords and tenants are favoured.

Among the clauses in the bill she cited to affect the real estate sector including, Land lords cannot annoy tenants, landlord cannot increase rent to a tune of 10% per year, land Lords cannot request for three months advance from tenants among others

Bamugemereire moves to smoothen relations with judiciary

By Sania Babirye
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has denied allegations that their is bad blood between her and the judiciary.

Justice Bamugemereire is currently heading the seven member land probe commission which is investigating land wrangles among other land issues in the country.

Today, Justice Bamugemereire held a meeting with the judiciary officials including chief Justice Bart Katureebe, deputy chief justice Alifonse Owiny Dolo, chief court registrar Ester Nambayo and Principle Judge Yorakamu Bamwine at the high court headquarters in Kampala over the matter .

After the meeting Justice Bamugemereire spoke to the press said that it was important to have a mutual structure and creative way of discussing any issues that arise in away that creates understanding between the commission and the judiciary.

She further explained that the structure should ease tension, promote dialogue and ease any discomfort between the judiciary and the commission.

In October 2018, Justice Bamugemereire accused some judges of conniving with land grabbers to evict bibanjja holders by judges giving what she termed as bogus judgements in a move to abuse criminal justice due to massive corruption in the judiciary .

However Justice Bamugemereire’s statement was criticized by the judiciary including the chief justice.

NSSF set to recover over UGX160 billion from employers

By Patricia Osman

The National Social Security Fund is seeking to recover over 160 billion shillings following announcement of a grace period of 3 months for all employers that have not remitted employees ‘social security contributions to agree a payment plan.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba says in exchange, the Fund will waive up to 95% of the penalty amount owed.

10,839 out of more than 33,270 employers registered with the Fund have not paid NSSF contributions in a period ranging from 2 months up to 7 years thereby denying their employees social security protection.

Mr. Byarugaba said that although it is the obligation of every employer to pay social security contributions for their employees on a timely basis and in correct amounts, the Fund recognizes that for various reasons, some employers may be unable to remit funds on a regular basis. Eventually, they get overwhelmed by the arrears and penalties levied on unremitted funds.

“Therefore for the next 90 days, we have declared an Amnesty for all defaulting employers to allow them negotiate payment plans with the Fund. In turn, I will waive up to 95% of the penalty the defaulting employer is supposed to pay. This is on condition that such an employer comes forward, commits to clear all the arrears owed in a period to be agreed by signing a Deed of Settlement,” Byarugaba said.

Section 14 (2) of the NSSF Act empowers the Managing Director to waive “whole or part of any penalty subject to such conditions as he or she may determine.”

He added that using a similar approach, the Fund has already recovered about Ushs 13.7 billion since July 2017 from 380 employers who came forward and signed Deeds of Settlement.

Mr. Byarugaba said that employers that do not take advantage of the Amnesty window risk court action to recover the arrears, the penalty and interest accrued.

“Litigation is our last resort. We prefer to have discussions with employers as per our Relationship Management business model, because we understand that sometimes, businesses face challenges with their cash flows. However, employers that not only categorically default but are also unwilling to agree payment plans with the Fund will be taken to court,” he said.
Information available from the Fund indicates that 174 employers have been arraigned before courts of law and over Ushs 17.8 billion has been recovered in the process.
Byarugaba added that beyond paying for their employees’ social security, employers should know that remitting NSSF is good for their business.

“Companies that do business with the government, many other government agencies and even in the private sector are required to present clearance certificates confirming that they are NSSF compliant. We also know that employers who pay social security contributions easily attract and retain the best employees. It is therefore a good business decision for employers to pay NSSF contributions,” he said.

As at end of December 2018, the Fund was worth Ushs 10.2 trillion up from Ushs 8.7 trillion in December 2017. Monthly average contributions are now at over Ushs 96 billion.

Police officers demoted over participation in Arua saga

By Sania Babirye

The Police Disciplinary Court has recommended the demotion of five Police Officers in connection to last year’s chaotic Arua Municipality parliamentary by-elections.

While announcing the ruling at Arua Municipal Council hall this morning the Police Disciplinary Court Chairperson, Dennis Odongopiny said the officers were found guilty of negligence of duty.

He has now sentenced Superintendents of Police-SP Robert Junena Okia, the former West Nile Zonal Field Force Unit Commander, Jonathan Musinguzi, the former West Nile Region Police Commander and former Arua DPC, Abbas Senyonjo to reduction in rank to Assistant Superintendents of Police.

The same court sentenced Senior Superintendent of Police, Edward Mugweri, the former West Nile Region Crime Intelligence Officer to reduction in rank to Superintendent of Police.
More than 4,000 residents of three sub counties in Bunyangabu district are living in fear of eviction from their homes by Mathias Kintu who says the land belonged to his late grandfather, Yohana Maingira.

However the occupants of the land have dismissed Kintu’s claims.

Now the Defense and Veterans Affairs Minister who also doubles as the Bunyangabu Member of Parliament promises to talk to Kintu to allow government to buy the land for the

Museveni to blame for appointing sleepy MPs

Nakaseke south member of Parliament Lutamaguzi semakula says the president should take the blame for appointing sleepy ministers.

Speaking during the sixth Presidential Investors Round table on Thursday, president Museveni described his ministers as sleepy and selfish people who only think about themselves.

Lutamaguzi however say that the president should not blame the ministers for none performance since he appoints them depending on his personal interest not on their capacity to serve the country.

“In fact we had advised him to stop appointing ministers depending on tribes and religion, you appoint them depending on their capacity.’’

The members of parliament say that the president should even reduce on the number of ministers for effective service delivery.

“However much blame game nothing much will change, the status quo will remain, poor service delivery, bigger number of ministers, Resident District Commissioners,bigger number of parliament ,until when Ugandans sit down with their president and ask him the reason to why he appoints a big number of people who cannot serve well.

The legislator adds that Uganda was gifted with funny people including ministers, who parades women that he is promoting curvy bums, going to villages searching for women with big bums that they are going to promote tourism and people are looking on including the president.
“We have another one called Lokodo who is after Nyege nyege , I was asking myself what is Nyege nyege, we should not have such ministers in our country. Lutamaguzi said.

Archbishop Ntangali expresses disgust over new Miss curvy contest

By Daudi Zirimala

The Archbishop of Church of Uganda has condemned the proposed Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant and urges the sponsors and partners to cancel it.

According to the statement released by the archbishop, the competition undermines the dignity of women and all that we as a church have worked for to advance girl-child education and opportunities for women to take their part in contributing fully to our national and family development.

Rt Rev Ntagali says it is a disgusting display of exploitation and brings shame upon our families and our country because the government is promoting trafficking to increase tourism.

“To present such a programme is to demonstrate how low we have fallen as a country. We cannot accept it and we insist that It be cancelled.”says ArchBishop Ntagali.

The minister of State for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi earlier this week, launched a Miss Curvy beauty pageant, a product expected to promote Uganda’s tourism.

While endorsing the campaign, Kiwanda said: “We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism?”

Archbishop condemnation comes after Women activists in the country have demanded the resignation of Godfrey Kiwanda as tourism minister.

Kiwanda, who was recently awarded as the most active minister, by born again faith leader Pastor Joseph Serwadda, for his tourism campaign dubbed ‘Tulambule’ (Let’s tour), has been using women as the face of this new innovation. The notable ones include socialites Zari Hassan and Anita Kyarimpa Fabiola.

Five journalists held for alleged illegal possession of classified drugs

By Robert Segawa

Police is looking for NBS journalist Solomon Sserwanja to help them in investigations over buying classified government drugs.

Addressing journalists at Central Police Station, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the three journalists were buying classified government drugs in Makindye division. He said security agencies later swung into action arresting them journalists and their driver.

According to Onyango, on arrest the journalists confessed to having more boxes of drugs stored at fellow journalist Solomon Sserwanja’s home in Mukono. “We went to his home for a search and found 14 boxes of Lumefantine, vaccines for hepatitis b and other drugs,”Onyango said. He added that on summoning Sserwanja last night he refused to turn up on time forcing police detectives to cordon off his home until today morning.

Onyango adds that police used warrant card in presence of local council 1 together with Sserwanja ‘s wife Vivian Nakalika.

He also adds that after carrying out search both local council one and his wife managed to sign on form before drive them to central police station. He further says that,although the journalists were doing an investigative story they never informed police to provide them security.

Onyango identified identified the suspects as Kassim Mohammed of BBC, Shafiq Kasame, Badebya Godfrey, Rashid Kawesa a driver and Vivian Nakalika.
He adds that the five ( 5 ) will appear in courts of law on charges of illegal possession of classified drugs.

Robert Ssempala the Director Human Rights Network for Journalist (HRNJ) condemned Uganda Police Force for searching a home of Solomon Sserwanja who was gathering information pertaining the top government officials in National Medical Store who are involved in selling off government drugs illegally.