Boda boda riders drag government to court

By Sania Babirye

Bodaboda riders under their umbrella organization the National federation of professional cyclists Network(NFPC) and four others have dragged government to the high court over their continued ban from carrying passengers during the ongoing partial lock down.

Through their lawyers of Anthony Wameeli and company advocates, the cyclist say the decision by government to not allow them from carrying passengers is not demonstrably, justifiably in a Democratic society and in fringes and threatens their economic right to carry out their lawful occupation trade or business.

These also accuse government of stopping them to carry passengers without giving them another alternative for their well fair

These have now asked court to compel government to immediately allow people engaged in the bodaboda business to carry passengers and cargo again.

River Nyamwamba bursts again, government sends team to assess situation

By Robert Segawa

A team of experts from the office of the prime minister and other humanitarian agencies led by Kasese municipality member of Parliament Robert Centenary have been airlifted to Kasese district to assess the damage caused by the flush flood before possible interventions are made.

This comes after three Rivers Nyamwamba, Nyamugasani, and Mubuku burst it’s bank last night affecting several house holds, infrastructure,and businesses affected.

According to police, some houses have been washed a way by water, Kilembe mines hospital mortuary and pharmacy have also been washed away and now joint force police and UPDF embarked in evacuating patients,and people to safer places like schools where they will provide them essential items like food and shelter.

Activist Kirabo asks government to check food mobilization and distribution structures

By Deo Wasswa

The slow pace of distributing food to the vulnerable and hungry Ugandans in the on going lock down has been attributed to government’s unpreparedness to address food insecurity across the country.

Agnes Kirabo the Executive Director Food Rights Alliance a civil society organization, says the Covid19 situation is an eye-opener that Uganda government has never had proper food mobilization and distribution structures.

Kirabo notes that government has in the past only focused on food distribution to refugees and never envisaged what happens to its own citizens in a wake of a crisis.

Kirabo, a food rights activist reechoed the unfortunate move of privatization of national food reserves,saying such a move threatens the country’s food security and the entire economy.

She also continues to urge government to learn to reserve food for its population in preparation for unforeseen circumstances like drought.

Kirabo’s comments come after several Ugandans both in rural and urban areas have vehemently expressed urgent demand for food to survive during the Covid19 lock down.

Janet Museveni encourages more girls to offer sciences

By Deo Wasswa

The minister of Education and Sports, Janet Kataaha Museveni has urged teachers to encourage female students to offer science subjects. 2019 UACE results indicated a drop in the transition UCE to UACE especially for females in sciences. The first lady says this is regrettable because government through ministry of Education and Sports is investing heavily in provision of teaching and learning materials and laboratories.

A total of 104,476 candidates registered for the examination from 2298 centers of which 43625 were female
An analysis of the overall candidates’ performance in examination shows that a very high percentage of candidates 98.6% qualified for the award of UACE.

At the minimum two principals level required for University admission, 65723 candidates 63.6% qualify. More candidates have qualified for tertiary level admission, compared to 2018
Female candidates although fewer, performed better than their male counterparts at all levels.
The failure rate among female candidates is also lower (0.9%) than for the male (1.7%).

In terms of percentages, Female candidates have performed better than their male counterparts at all principal level pass (A-E) in Arts(Humanities) Mathematics, physics and Agriculture . Male candidates were better in Chemistry , biology, Art and General paper.
Whereas Mathematics, Physics, chemistry and Biology are compulsory subjects at UCE, the number of students, both male and female , who opt for combinations at UACE with above subjects is very low.

Good performances were exhibited by candidates from mainly the traditional government schools and some private schools.
These candidate demonstrated adequate knowledge of subject matter and were able to handle tasks that required high order skills.
Their work in the practical examination papers also showed ability to manipulate apparatus , take accurate recordings of data and interpret the data

UNEB has withheld results of 126 candidates . The most common forms of examination breaches have been external assistance, substitution of scripts, smuggling of unauthorized material into the examination room and impersonation . Principal mathematics, biology and chemistry were the subjects mainly affected

Mayiga asks Museveni to check government officials in regards to corruption

The Katikiro of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to focus his new anti-corruption fight on top government officials whom he says have entrenched the vice that is partly responsible for the raging poverty in the country.

Mayiga was addressing the Lukiiko sitting at Bulange Mengo. His statement was in response to President Museveni’s speech during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party National Delegates’ Conference held over the weekend at Namboole international stadium.

In his speech, Museveni acknowledged that corruption was a big problem for Ugandans but hastened to add that it is easy to stop. He noted that his government had in the past tried to net the corrupt officers citing some in the Prime Minister’s office and others. The President named corruption, theft of government drugs, free education, house-hold incomes, illegal evictions and working on feeder roads as the priority areas on his government.

Now, Mayiga says there is need for the President to bring to book top corrupt government officials who seem to be untouchable. He observed that the NRM government has for the past 34 years devised ways to apprehend the corrupt but Ugandans are yet to be convinced by the results.

He says that for the government to succeed in its corruption fight there is need to net top officials like Ministers. Mayiga said that billions, which would help the country fight poverty among its citizens, are embezzled by the officials.

Ssenoga Kiligwajjo, the Representative of Gomba County in the Lukiiko noted that corruption and theft start from families hence the need for parents to ensure that they dedicate more time to teaching children about corruption tendencies.

A recent Corruption Perception Index, a global report by Transparency International, indicated that Uganda was progressing in the fight against corruption dropping 12 places from 149th position to 137 on a scale of 180 countries.

According to the report, Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in the East African region in position 51 followed by Tanzania in the 96th position with a score of 37 while Kenya and Uganda are tied together.

Burundi at 165 and South Sudan 179 remain the most corrupt countries in the region. To end corruption and restore trust in politics, Transparency International said that there is need to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems.

The global body also recommended governments to reduce the risk of conflict of interest, enforce campaign finance regulations in order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, and strengthen election integrity by preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns.

~From Uganda Radio Network

Civil society organizations aim at tackling income inequality

By Deo Wasswa

Non-governmental organizations which includes, OXFARM and Uganda women’s Network demand that government works on Tangible and deliberate actions to build a people centered economy that works for all.

According to the two organizations, this will address the increased income inequality where the country is dominated by few rich and the rest of bigger percentage is extremely poor.

According to Ritah Aciro, the Executive Director Uganda women’s Network,the government will need to put in place policies where rich people pay their fair share of taxes, investing in appropriate infrastructure that will lead to reduction and redistribution of unpaid and domestic work between men and woman, girls and boys, the state and private sector.

The two organizations’ voices come in line with the ongoing World Economy Forum meeting In Davos –Switzerland where the world leaders are meeting to engage on political, business, cultural aspects to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Stella Nyanzi earns big behind bars

Makerere researcher Stella Nyanzi is UGX50Million richer after High Court Civil Division awarded her the hearty sum for the violation of her rights by the government.

The award stems from an application challenging the infringement of her fundamental human right when the government secretly placed her name on a “no-fly list” and confiscated her passport.

Nyanzi was blocked from leaving the country on March 19, 2017, to attend a scholarly conference in Amsterdam. By the time of the action, Nyanzi had already checked in at Entebbe International Airport, but she could not get clearance from the immigration desk.

During the time police said it was investigating a possible case of offensive communication and cyber harassment against Nyanzi and she was required to assist police investigations, according to a letter from the Makerere University Vice-Chancellor.

In a subsequent complaint to Joseph Obwona, the Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Stella Nyanzi indicated that her passport and boarding passes had been confiscated making her unable to travel. She demanded in vain to be removed from the no-fly list prompting her to run to court for redress.

In her application, Dr Nyanzi sought special damages for the infringement on her rights, lost transport, visa fees, air ticket and hotel booking.

In a judgment delivered on Monday, Lady Justice Henrietta Wolayo found the state in breach of article 24 of the constitution, which provides for respect to human dignity and protection from inhumane treatment. She added that the act of preventing Dr Nyanzi from travelling was an unnecessary interference with her right to enter and leave the country at will.

She added that the decision to block Dr Nyanzi was meant to embarrass her because she was eventually cleared to travel, although it was late for her to catch the flight.

She issued orders restraining the government from preventing Dr Nyanzi from leaving the country or embarrassing her at a port of entry or departure. Justice Wolayo however, declined to grant the applicant special damages on transport, visa fees, air ticket and hotel booking since her lawyers from the Centre for Legal Aid dropped the prayers during the hearing.

Source:URN

Kadaga warns government against inadequate research

BY Alice Lubwama

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga warns government ministries to carry out adequate research on bills before they present them to parliament for consideration.

While opening the 4th session of 10th parliament at serena hotel this afternoon Kadaga said that government withdrawn four bills from parliament because of lack of research and consultations from the various stake holders.” I want to express my disappointment that in the number of areas there was obvious manifestation of lack of adequate preparedness and consultation to stake holders at formulation stage of these bills and this wasted parliament’s time.

The speaker said that she was particularly disturbed by Government’s failure to process the Kampala capital city authority bill since 2015.

The speaker has also asked the executive to bring all business it considers important in the first two weeks of this session especially those on electoral reforms, saying that parliament will transact business for limited time because MPs will focus more in their constituents because the road map for the next election is already out.

“Members are usually uncomfortable around this time and they focus on what is happening in their constituents, it is therefore necessary that the executive brings all business it deems important with in the first two months so that it can be processed by committees and later considered by the house.Kadaga said

Kadaga also commended MPs for their dedication to parliament work during the last session compared to the previous one.

She noted that parliament of Uganda passed the highest number of 26 bills in the 3rd session ended compared to other countries in the region.

“During this session we have supersede all other parliaments in that we enacted 26 bills as compared to 11 in the first session and 17 in the second session ,we had the highest number in the region.’’ She noted.

The speaker has also warned accounting officers of government ministries and agencies to stop funding committee work yet these are supposed to monitor their performance. Kadaga has threatened to report such accounting officers to the head of public service to take action against them.

NITA-U launches the E-government Excellence Awards

By Patricia Osman
In a bid to enhance service delivery through use of E government ,the National Technology Authority has launched the NITA E-govt Excellence Awards under the theme Bold Digital Governemnt;Unlocking Service Delivery.

The month long celebration during the month of June will see an Expo for government services held from the 20-21st at Garden City roof top followed by a glamorous awards ceremony on the 27th of June 2019.

NITA-U executive director James Saka said the main objective of the awards is to share experiences with various govt entities across the country with a vision of innovative administration, access of information and enhanced service delivery through the application of e-govt.

The environment is ripe for the govt to have an expanded online presence. Citizens can now access information easier with more that 70% of Ugandans having mobile phones, 98%of government offices having fully functional websites; 319 government applications are up and running. 81% e government services are accessible through the e-citizens portal www.ecitizen.go.ug. The national backbone infrastructure stretches over 3000 kilometers across 60 towns, connecting 415 government offices, Ssaka added.

Speaking at same event Peter Kahiigi director E govt services says according to the United Nations e-government survey of 2018, Uganda’s online service index improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018 which puts the country in the high online service index bracket. The survey also indicated that Uganda’s e-government development index(EGDI) improved from 36% in 2016 to 41% in 2018 which is above the African average of34% adding that Uganda is currently ranked number one in Africa in cyber security by the global national cyber security index.

Mr. Ssaka further says their aim is to continue enabling the lives of Ugandan citizens by demystifying the concept of the use of ICT through the provision of reliable and consistent online government services. These awards will recognize the strides made in that journey, he adds.

The awards will be preceded by a four week campaign which will focus on sensitizing the government and private sectors on the critical role ICTs play in transforming service delivery, job creation and accelerating socio-economic development. The campaign will include an exhibition dubbed the e-government expo that will provide an opportunity for government ministries departments, and agencies to show case government online services. The Expo will also attract innovators, academia, Fintech to show case their prospects for digital governance.

Global firm Ernest and young will ensure that there is a high caliber adjudication and quality assurance,there by delivering a credible reputable vetting process.

New income tax amendment rejects government proposal to tax losses

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament has passed the income tax amendment bill rejecting government proposal to begin taxing companies that have been making losses for the past seven years.

The Uganda revenue authority had proposed an amendment in the Income Tax Act to introduce a tax penalty for a companies which report losses for a consecutive period of seven years of income on gross turnover for every year.

The state minister for finance in charge of planning David Bahati argued that the amendment would be critical at limiting revenue losses that occurs when a business that is making profit takes advantage of an assessed loss to avoid paying revenue for years.

Although majority of MPs on the Finance Committee Okayed the move to tax loss making companies, but budadiri west MP Nandala Mafabi rejected the move authoring a minority report and warned the Executive against creating an Act called Loss Tax Act.

The MP has also urged the Uganda revenue authority to intensify audits and investigations to discover those tax payers evading taxes but not charge a tax of 0.5%.

The chairperson of the Finance Committee of parliament Henry Musasizi said that they needed to amend the act since some companies were using an existing lacuna in the law to evade taxes.

“We have a list of the companies which belong to that category [of reporting losses]…they are suspected to be producing two sets of accounts, one for the management and another for the tax body,” he said.

But Butambala county mp Muhammad Kivumbi who successfully proposed the deletion of the proposed tax challenged the proposition that Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) lacks the basic competence to detect or avert such alleged false accounting.

“Last year, we enhanced the capacity of Uganda Revenue Authority by 90 billion shillings so that they can have the capacity to expand the tax base. Therefore, the argument that the Chair fronts does not stand,” Kivumbi said.

Even though the minister of state for planning Bahati tried to make MPs support his proposal saying that government will lose 40 billion they planned to raise from the measure and it is something that is done in other countries the MPs did not heed to his explanations and the bill was passed without the amendment.

Some of the companies that were meant to pay the tax loss include Barclays bank, NSSF, the micro finance support center, Munyonyo common wealth resort limited, hotel Africana among others