Wrong Move, don’t attack media, Deborah Malac tells govt of Uganda

BY Our Reporter

The U.S ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac has said the government’s attack on the media is a step in the wrong direction.

Malac, who was on Friday delivering a keynote address at a World Press Freedom Day national conference at Golf Course Hotel, said Uganda Communication Commission (UCC)’s recent directives to radios and TVs is indicative that media is under assault for doing its job.

On Wednesday, UCC ordered six televisions and seven radio stations to suspend its staff over alleged breach of minimum broadcasting standards. The affected media houses are; NTV, NBS Tv, BBS Tv, Bukedde Tv, Salt Tv, Akaboozi Fm, Beat Fm, Bukedde Tv, Capital Fm, CBS Fm, Kingdom Tv, Pearl Fm, Sapientia Fm, and Simba Fm.

Malac wondered why UCC hastily issued directives without defining sections of broadcasting standards that were allegedly breached by the media houses.

She pointed out other “quite concerning” trends curtailing media freedom in Uganda such as the closure of radio stations, hiking levies paid by radios and TVs, and proposal of new regulations. This repression of media, Malac said has a long-lasting effect on the media environment in Uganda.

Photo Credit: Faisal Kasirye
Photo Credit: Faisal Kasirye

Malac also referred to 2019 World Press Freedom Index where Uganda dropped 8 places–from 117 placings of 2018 to 125–out of 180 states ranked. Such performance and repression, she says send a wrong message to Ugandans.

Malac reaffirmed US mission support to the promotion of press freedom in Uganda and strengthening the organization of journalists.

“We, of course, must use our collective influence to urge the government to improve its record.

Today, as we have done in the past, the United State strongly urges the Uganda government to take action to protect and defend press freedom and to hold individuals who violate this freedom accountable,” Malac said.

Meanwhile, the European Union has expressed concern over the restriction of freedom of expression of the media and assembly in Uganda.

In their joint release issued on Friday, the European Union noted that they are deeply concerned by a series of recent incidents restricting the freedom of expression and assembly in Uganda, in particular, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)’s decision to suspend staff of 13 media houses over allegations of breaching minimum broadcasting standards.

“We are also concerned about the excessive use of force by the Uganda police and security forces against peaceful protestors and opposition.” The statement reads.

“We urge the Government to ensure the implementation of all the relevant laws and regulations in a way that allows all Ugandans irrespective of their political affiliations, to exercise fully and without fear, their basic democratic rights enshrined in the constitution,” the statement says.

EU also underlines the importance of upholding judicial processes and stressed the importance of full respect for the rule of law and the right to a fair trial as set down in the constitution.

Police fire teargas to disperse angry supporters of Bobi wine.

Robert Segawa

Police and military was heavily deployed at Busaabala One Love Beach a head of the Kyarenga Concert which was scheduled for today Monday 22 April.

By dawn police had mounted road blocks along Busabala road in Wakiso district, police patrols every were and teargas trucks parked at the main entrance of One love beach to block Bobi wine to access the venue.

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Police has arrested the Kyarenga extra concert organizer for defying orders.

Those arrested include the Kyadondo East member of Parliament body guard Edward Ssebufu aka Eddie Mutwe, Abbey Musinguzi Abbitex and Bajo were detained at Katwe police station.

The organizers insisted the concert will go on since they haven’t received a letter from the police stopping the concert.

Police says the organizers failed to stand by security guidelines, officers are currently battling Bobi wine supporters at ONE LOVE beach Busabala who want to access the Venue.

Supporters are now throwing stones at police, forced the forced the force to answer with teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

Yesterday police impounded two trucks full of speakers which were hired by the organizers of Kyarenga extra concert, and one truck was driven and parked at Natete police station while the Where about of the other are not known.

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According to the letter signed by Director of police operations Asuman Mugenyi who says the previous concert of Kyarenga was characterized with multiple incidents of theft, public nuisance, violation of traffic rules and misconduct.

Mugenyi in his letter further says police intelligence shows the concerts are a risk to public safety.

He has therefore ordered the Territorial commanders to block the concert which is scheduled for today Easter Monday.

The operation is headed by deputy police Commander Kampala metropolitan area Geoffrey Namuwoza who says police presence in area is aimed to keep law and order.

According to Kyadondo East member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi wine yesterday said so far 124 concert have been blocked by police since October 2017.

Today, singer Bobi wine locked him self in his car at a road block in Busabala.

UPDATE: Bobi Wine was later arrested.

Arch Diocese Dr. Cyprian kizito urges Christians to continue fasting.

By Robert Segawa

Christians have been asked to use today’s way of the cross as a sign of unity despite the main differences they have amongst each other.

Leading a joint good Friday prayers under Uganda joint Christian council ( UJCC) at Old Kampala SS pray ground after the Ecumenical public way of the cross , the Archbishop of Church of Uganda his Grace Stanley Ntagali expressed fears that if we fail to get United by the death of Christ on the cross, then we cannot be United.

He meanwhile says the nailing of Jesus on the cross is a sign of light for the people who are staying in the dark, this should be celebrated as a great Friday.

Ntagali urged the public to embrace Christ in their lives as to stop all things against his teachings such as ,injustices, domestic violence ,corruption which he says is rampant in our country just because of greedy and selfish people .

He adds that on this Easter people should do things which glorify God, desist from domestic violence, corruption hence peace in our families, communities and country at large.

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He has advised parents to keep a keen eye on their children because now days they face many challenges such as sugar Mummies, and daddies which disrupt them adding all this come because of parent neglect to their families.

Different people at Old Kampala playground have prayed for peace in the country, families, those in hospitals and communities as well.

On his part as new Chairman of Uganda joint Christian council the Arch Bishop of Kampala archdioceses Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga called upon all Christians as well as Ugandans to have a good life.

He pointed out the challenges such as corruption, nepotism, tribalism, violence against women and children, rampant killings of innocent men, women and children , manipulation of people, witch craft in our society and yet Uganda is a country that believes in God.

Archbishop Lwanga also wondered of many children begging on streets of Kampala who are learning bad behaviors, defilement, early marriages, child labor and exploitation of many children lives with single parents and some end up spending hour’s alone with maids which is dangerous to our future generations.

He further pointed out poverty caused by land grabbing and eviction in some parts of the country, change in rainfall patterns caused by the environmental degradation which has left number of families faced with dry spells leading to the death of cattle which has led to hunger and over dependence.

Archbishop Lwanga Consoled the business community who have been affected by closure of the Uganda Rwanda boarder, and prays that the two leaders meet and resolve the issues amongst their two countries.

Bishop Lwanga while leading the Christians on the ecumenical public way of the cross from Rubaga cathedral,Rubaga road, Kabaka Njagala, St Balikudembe parish Mengo Kisenyi, St James Church of Uganda, today , said that Christians should not stop doing what they have been doing during lent because the needy ,poor still exist and need prayers for protection from doing Wrong .

Bishop adds that our love to God must be extended to our families and communities and this in turn will help peace to prevail in our country

UPDATE: Justice Stellah Amoko & Mwangusya’s ruling on Age Limit Bill

By: Babirye Sania

Justice Stellah Amoko of the supreme court has dismissed the consolidated appeal and confirmed the decision of the constitutional court sitting in Mbale that ruled that the age limit bill was constitutionally passed. While delivering her judgment,she has explained that the Bill did not make a charge on the Consolidation fund because the said 29 million shillings that were paid to each Member of Parliament for consultation was already put aside by the parliamentary commission to run its activities, ruled that the speaker of parliament had a right to Amend the order paper and include the Bill hence she did not smuggle it in as it had been alleged by appellants and further also ruled that there was no proof from the appellants that members of the public were denied access to parliamentary gallery during the reading and tabling of the Bill in Parliament.

Still in the supreme Justice Eldard Mwangusya has ruled that the process of debating and passing the bill was null and void, but added that although some of the issues raised by the appellants were valued, however, they would not warrant an annulment of the age limit law. According to him the absence of a valid certificate of compliance from the speaker to accompany the bill means there was no Valid assent to the Bill into Law by President Museveni because there was nothing to ascend to. He says that issues like the constitutional failure to summon key witnesses like speaker Kadaga are valid but were not fatal enough to all the amendment of the Act.

Mwangushya ruled that lack of public participation and consultation also defeated the faith in which the Bill was brought since consultations were curtailed by security. He also declared that the rights of Mps and other members of the public who would have wanted to follow and participate in the debate was infringed upon when the doors of the gallery were closed.

President Museveni sued over “another rap” song

By Sania Babirye

President Yoweri Museveni has been dragged before the commercial court by a local Musician Richard Kaweesa for allegedly stealing his song “Another Rap” which he used in his 2010 presidential campaigns and later acquired copyrights to the song.

Kaweesa is also suing President Museveni together with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau for failing to carry out due diligence before illegally registering and granting President Museveni copyright adding that he produced the said song using a few Kinyakore words that were contained in the president’s speech of the 9th of October 2010 at Statehouse.

Ugandans dissatisfied with COSASE

By Edwin Muhumuza

Debate on the COSASE report starts this Tuesday (26 February) on the floor of parliament amid high expectations that maybe officials implicated by the probe will be brought to book. What the public is demanding for already are the heads of the culprits.

When it was finally completed and read to the house a section of the public said it had promised too much but only to deliver too little.

While appearing on the Capital Gang Radio Show, Chairperson Abdu Katuntu expressed disgust that members of the public did not appreciate the role of other state institutions. This was in response to claims that his report was toothless and that culprits would walk away free as had been noted in other previous parliamentary reports especially the oil handshake report.

…‘a parliamentary committee report goes to the house where it may be adopted, dismissed or amended. When you have government institutions, they work in accordance with the law. Why we talk about the rule of law is to have different institutions perform different roles. Do not expect a parliament of a republic or a parliament of any country to start having the powers to prosecute or arrest. What will the Judiciary do, Katuntu argued!’

In 2017, Ugandans were angry that 36 government officials shared Shs.6 billion oil bonus code-named the “golden presidential handshake” by officials from the Justice ministry, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ministry of Finance among others. It was this same committee that probed the saga and in public view nothing has been done about the officials. This was one of the issues that Katuntu had to explain in recent weeks amid intense criticism from sections within his FDC party including his successor MP Mubarak Munyagwa for what they said was incompetence during his two and a half tenure as COSASE Chairman.

Now another major report is due for debate by public representatives and the question being asked is what will the discussion help if nothing may be done to those the report seems to indict?

Katuntu says, ‘our focus was in the actions more than individuals because at the end of the day there are state agencies that should be able to take up the individuals. What we did was to say, look here, actually, we used two words deliberately, the officers and officials who participated in this process should take full and personal responsibility. That covers their actions but we imagine that other state agencies now go and look at exactly who handled this process’.

For over two months, Bank Of Uganda (BOU), officials led by the governor Tumusiime Mutebile appeared before the committee chaired by the Bugweri County MP to answer to queries raised by the auditor general’s confidential special audit report which revealed weaknesses in the management of Central Bank and questioned the Governor and his team for the hitches in the closure of at least seven commercial banks.

The sale of Crane Bank, however seemed to have opened a can of worms after the proprietor businessman Sudhir Ruparelia accused Bank of Uganda of being unfair. Crane Bank was a commercial bank licensed and supervised by the Bank of Uganda, the national banking regulator with total assets‎ amounting to approximately ‎UGX 1.81 trillion employing over 600 staff.

This was a much bigger financial entity compared to the other defunct banks and certainly had to attract immense public attention including the media. In his new report to Parliament, the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, queried BoU officials on the flaws in the closure of Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and the sale of Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) to dfcu (2016)

Most Ugandans are aware that the closure of Crane Bank by Bank of Uganda was illegal, what remains to be seen is what happens to the culprits that were engaged in this illegality and whether other agencies such as the Inspectorate of Government, the ministry of Finance, Criminal Investigations Department of Police will bite.

President directs finance to pay 23.5 billion in arrears to Buganda Kingdom

By Gloria Nakiyimba

President Museveni has directed the ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, to return all land titles belonging to Buganda to the Kingdom. The president issued the directive during his visit to the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at his palace in Banda an outskirt of Kampala.

“We discussed a number of pending issues particularly those concerned with land and arrears that the central government owes the Kingdom of Buganda And today the President directed the ministry of lands to ensure that all verified land titles that were returned to the Kingdom of Buganda be transferred into the names of the Kabaka of Buganda as by law established” said the Katikiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga who attended the Banda meeting.
President Museveni arrived at the palace at 11.00 a.m. and was received by the Kabaka, Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja. and other Buganda Kingdom officials.

Before the two Principals went into a private meeting, they held a discussion with Kingdom and government officials where, President Museveni also directed that outstanding monetary arrears to the Kingdom be paid in the next three financial years.

“The money is in three categories; there are rental arrears amounting to six billion shillings, in respect of Kigo, and Makindye barrack, and other places. So the president directed the ministry of finance to immediately pay three billion out of that” Mayiga explains.

According to Buganda Premier Mayiga, most of the titles of land that was confiscated from the monarchy by the central government during the 1966/7 were not transferred in the names of the Kabaka. “Following the 2013 agreement between the government of Uganda and the Kingdom of Buganda, the government undertook to return to the Kingdom all that land that was confiscated in 1966/7. The challenge we have experienced is that the titles have not been transferred to the names of the Kabaka of Buganda” said the Katikiro.

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Buganda Kingdom has been pushing for recovery of its land that was confiscated by the central government during the 1966 crisis which led to the exile of Sir Edward Muteesa the Kabaka of Buganda to Britain where he later died of poisoning. This happened after Kabaka Mutesa clashed with President Milton Obote.

Some of the financial compensation accrued from properties, like Mutesa House in London which was sold by the government of Uganda valued at 30 billion shillings and Plot 52 along Kampala Road which houses King Fahad Plaza valued at .14.1 billion?

“So the president directed that 23.5 billion be included in the national budget 2019/2020, and then the balance of 23.5 billion be included in the national budget 2020/2021” said the Katikiro of Buganda. The meeting was attended by Attorney General, William Byaruhanga and State Minister for Privatization and Investment, Evelyn Anite from the Central government.

National army to resolve Libyan crisis says President Museveni

By Gloria Nakiyimba

President Yoweri Museveni says building a national army is one the key solutions to the problems in troubled Libya.
While meeting the visiting Afro-Arab Youth Council delegation, at Stat house Nakasero the president who is the Patron of the Council noted that “The problems in Libya can be solved through the building of a National Army where they incorporate both the old and new members of the forces.”

He is also proposing that elections should be held where all the Libyans will participate fairly, as the leaders under the African Union continue to search for a lasting solution to the Libyan conflict.

The delegation led by Mr. Abdulhadi Elhwig was in the country to consult with their patron as they prepare for the 3rd General Assembly of the Afro-Arab Youth Council Summit. This is scheduled to take place in Kampala in August this year more than ten years since the 2nd General Assembly of the organization was held in Kampala in 2008 that was attended by former Libyan President, the late Col. Abu Minyar Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr. Elhwig, saluted President Museveni for his e immense support to the group and for accepting to host the summit again in Kampala this year. Libya plunged into a crisis during the Arab spring protests in 2011 which led to civil war and the subsequent overthrow and assassination of Col. Gaddafi on 20th October the same year in Sirte.
The proliferation of armed groups in the once stable Maghreb country led to violence and instability that continues to plague Libya, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of people as well as casualties. The crisis also saw the crumbling of the Libyan economy mainly driven by oil.

Open letter to Museveni: CCEDU calls for urgent electoral reforms for 2021

Citizen’s Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda-CCEDU CCEDU has written an open later to president Yoweri Museveni calling upon the Government to urgently begin to enact the necessary electoral reforms and to support practices that promote credible and transparent elections. In a letter, CCEDU coordinator Crispin Kaheru notes that implementing the reforms will require the involvement of citizens, Parliament in addition to the Government in order to create a sustainable transparent electoral process.

CCEDU has asked president Museveni to translate his public condemnation of voter bribery into action, by supporting the expeditious enactment of The Election Campaign Financing Bill, 2018 to regulate campaign financing during elections. According to a letter signed by CCEDDU coordinator Crispin Kaheru it is time to regulate campaign financing by setting and implementing limits for campaign spending for elective positions

Attached is the copy of CCEDU letter:

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Religious leaders from Mityana starts advocacy for family planning

By Alice Lubwama

Faith based organizations from mityana district including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kiyinda–Mityana have partnered with civil societ organizations in the area to advocate for the allocation of more funds for family planning services in the next financial year budget 2018/2019.

During a meeting between religious leaders, government officials and civil society organizations from mityana district and mps on the health committee of parliament led by the chairperson DR Michael Bukenya, the Mityana Diocese Anglican Bishop; Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Kazimba said that said that its their duty as religious leaders to
have a vision for the people in order for them not to perish.

Kazimba adds he supports family planning because it was about family life quoting proverbs chapter 29 verse 18‘‘ it says without vision people will perish and this provokes my ministry and this is actually a force behind what we do. ’´’ he said

Bishop kazimba told the meeting that when he was made a bishop 10 years ago, he realised a missing gap in area of education health, work and development he decided participate more because development is very important, quotes John chapter1o verse taking about having life in abundance .

Kazimba however said that although he supports family planning, but he was not in support of abortion, saying he was an abortion survivor ‘‘my father was a polygamist and my mother attempted to abort,iam th only child in that family now but see now where am , it is the reason why we have to support family planning .

The bishop said that he supports family planning 100% and he has only four children. The district health officer DR Lwasampijja Fred said that with the support of religious leaders and faith for family health initiative an
NGO in Mityana, the district has been able to implement a 5 years family planning costed plan.

The district allocates part of its budget to family planning services such as supplies and educating women and girls on how to use them.

DR Lwasa say that although teenage pregnancy in the district has been reduced to 9.7% in 2015 when they launched this family planning costed plan the percentage has now short up to 19.9 % in 2018 due to shortage of supplies.

Lwasa also points out the biggest challenges they face in implementing the use of family planning services as being low involvement of the males and increasing demand for the supplies compared to the supplies among others.

The chairperson of the health committee of parliament Dr Micheal Bukenya assured the religious leaders that the issues of family planning as well as drug stock outs will be considered as they go through the budget process adding that his committee had already agreed with the family planning consortium to ring fence the money for family planning services.