Kadaga demands Government assurance on the safety on Murchison falls

By Alice Lubwama

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has demanded for an early assurance from Government that it will not tamper with Murchison falls.

While opening the plenary sitting this afternoon, speaker Kadaga said that she was seeking the assurance on behalf of the citizens who are concerned about the tourism sector.

This comes after the power regulator; Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) published a note inviting public views on the planned feasibility study of the area by a South African firm that would eventually construct the power dam.

Tourism operators and conservationists have all come out to oppose the move saying that by constructing a dam near the falls, it will disappear.

Murchison Falls is situated in the Murchison Falls national park in the northern part of the Albertine Rift Valley.

It is well known to be one of Uganda’s ancient conservation areas. The park covers an area of about 3,893km2 and it is known to be one of Uganda’s well-protected areas.

The speaker has also set a deadline for government to table before parliament all the business considered important by mid August for early consideration, saying that the business committee of parliament which convened this morning discussed the parliamentary calendar and the business to be handled and agreed that mps break off for recess by 3rd October.

“We have in mind the electoral reform bills, I don’t know how many times I should emphasize this but we need answers on this.” Kadaga said

She noted that the mps need to complete their work before October, in order to have time for their constituency since this is the year when lawmakers spend more time with their constituents.

The speaker has also asked the leader of government business also prime minister to ensure that ministers attend the sittings of the house since in absence of a relevant minister; she will be forced to order any minister to handle any business.

Kadaga asks people who are sexually abused to report to her office

By Alice Lubwama

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has asked all people who are sexually harassed at their work place to report to her office so that she can take action.

Kadaga made the call during a news conference at parliament just after a meeting with the attorney general William Byaruhanga , gender Minister Janet Mukwaya and the prime minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda where she was briefed on the case of a senior state Attorney Samantha Mwesigye who recently broke silence over sexual harassment by a male supervisor

On 22nd of May a delegation from women movement led by national youth female MP Anna Adeke petitioned the speaker kadaga seeking for her intervention into the alleged sexual harassment within the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs.

The women activists sought parliament intervention after Samantha Mwesigye had complained that she had reported the matter to several government offices including the one of the prime minister but was not helped.

Now Kadaga says that an internal committee was set up within the ministry of justice to investigate the allegations and action will be taken after the report has been released.

Although Mwesigye recently complained that apart from the committee taking long to produce the report, she does not trust it.

However Kadaga said that if the complainant is not satisfied with the committee report she can proceed to the industrial court.

Mwesigye alleges that the sexual harassment by his supervisor has taken a decade. A Uganda Human Rights Defenders Association (UHRDA) survey carried in 2013 in 2,910 organizations indicated that 90 percent of women are sexually harassed at places of work by their male seniors.

The study was carried out in companies, financial institutions, churches, health centers, universities, and other settings. The Human resource managers have also called for the enactment of the Human Resource Bill 2016 to curb sexual harassment at places of work.

The call to have a law comes after an outcry by the secretaries and Administrative Professionals in Uganda complained over sexual harassment and advances at work by their bosses.

Speaker Kadaga returns

By Alice Lubwama
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has returned to office after staying away for more than a month.

Kadaga appeared in parliament at about 11 am in the morning to launch a conference website.

Kadaga made her first public appearance during a launch of a common wealth website at her boardroom at parliament.

Speaking at launch, she thanked God for enabling her to return on time to launch the website that will facilitate interaction among the 1000 delegates who are expected to attend the common wealth conference.

Clad in a blue Kitengi dress the speaker carried a healthy look and smiled all way through as parliament staff led by the clerk Jane Kibirige and MPs on the steering committee of the 64th Common wealth parliamentary conference led her through preparations for the meeting.

The launch of the website is one of the activities that has been done ahead of the upcoming 64th Commonwealth parliamentarians’ conference taking place in Kampala from 23-29th September 2019 under the theme: “Adaptation, Engagement and Evolution of Parliaments in a Rapidly Changing Commonwealth.

She launched the website by sending an email to the chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Emila Lifaka.

The speaker has used the opportunity to rally the international community to come to Uganda adding that the recent reports of kidnaps are not a threat to the security in the country.
“Our job will be to continuously reassure them that they will be safe and if we drum the message they will come.” Kadaga said

She also called upon all stake holders to support the conference as it will market Uganda as a better tourist destination in the region.

Kadaga was rushed to Nakasero Hospital after she fell ill on her return from international duty in the United States of America.

She was later transferred to the Agha Khan Hospital in Nairobi where she has been receiving treatment of work related fatigue that resulted into her hospitalization and eventual absence from duty for this long.

Kadaga solicits funds for refugee mothers

By Edwin Muhumuza

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called for a special fund to cater for women raising families in refugee camps .This while Speaking during the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Conference (PUOIC) in Rabat, Morocco,

The speaker said the funds will come in handy to save women battling difficulties in refugee camps.

“Motherhood in refugee camps is a devastating experience; single mothers in conflict areas are faced with the difficult task of raising families because the fathers are either dead or active combatants,” said Kadaga.

“Let us create a special fund and ensure that we eliminate their suffering and make life better for them,” she added.

The conference, has attracted speakers from OIC Parliaments, who are discussing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, and centering on how to bring an end to wars, death and suffering in those troubled areas.

Kadaga said the best solution lies in ensuring opportunities are created at home for youths dying in the conflicts, as well as those taking dangerous journeys to flee the wars.

Describing the Mediterranean as the “graveyard of troubled young people from our countries who have been denied opportunities”, Kadaga said there is need for introspection to address the causes of those conflicts, which create refugees.

Uganda has been hailed for being receptive to refugees, amidst growing populist, far right movements in Europe and some parts of South America, which triumph on the anti-immigrant card.

In 2017, a Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees was held on the sidelines of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa. It raised funds to support Uganda’s refugee hosting activities.

Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the PUOIC is the second largest international organization after the United Nations with 57 member states and was founded in 1969 to, among others safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.

Speaker meets Qatar counterpart

On the sidelines of the PUOIC, Kadaga held talks with the Speaker of the Shura Council of Qatar, Ahmed Abdullah bin Zaid, where the two agreed to closer engagements in future.

Kadaga welcomed Qatar’s support to African countries, saying with more opportunities, the continent stands to register progress and accelerate its journey to self-dependence.

“Africans never want to leave their countries; it is only pressures like unemployment, conflict…opportunities are what the African people are looking for,” she said.

Uganda’s Ambassador to Morocco, Mr John Alintuma Nsambu was part of the meeting. Kadaga is leading a delegation comprising MPs Latif Sebaggala (IND, Kawempe North), Sarah Nakawunde(NRM, Mpigi), and Zaitun Driwaru (IND, Yumbe).Others are Ogama Alli Ismail (NRM, Lower Madi County), Abbas Agaba (NRM, Kitagwenda) and the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige.

Kadaga directs Otafiire to present electoral reforms

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament has directed the minister of Justice and constitutional affairs Gen. Kahinda Otafire to present a statement next week on how far government has gone in making the electoral reforms as directed by the Supreme Court.

The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga noted that for the last two years, Government had remained adamant on presenting the reforms even when she makes efforts to remind them to bring the necessary legislation.

Kadaga says that the delays in presenting the reforms might cause panic and stamped in parliament as the reforms will not be accorded appropriate time for discussion before they are passed.

The speakers directive comes after the electoral commission has already issued out the road map for 2021 elections an indication that the preparations for the elections have already started though some of the required laws are not yet in place.

The Supreme Court, in its ruling in the election petition that was filed by former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi highlighted 10 points that needed reforms including the time for filing and determining of the petition; the nature of evidence in an election petition; the time for holding fresh elections in case an election is nullified; and regulating the use of technology.

The other recommendations are on unequal use of State-owned media;late enactment of relevant legislation; donations during election period; involvement of public officers in political campaigns; the role of the Attorney General in election petitions; and implementation of recommendations by the Supreme Court.

Kadaga vows to continue exposing corrupt government officials

By Alice Lubwama
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has vowed to continue exposing corrupt officials in government including government ministers, in an effort to end the worsening corruption problem in the country.

Speaking at the ecumenical prayers held at parliament as part of the 3rd Annual parliament week, Kadaga said that she will not protect anyone who is corrupt just because they belong to the ruling National Resistance Movement party.

“Unfortunately they are people in this country who think that if you belong to a political party you should not speak about corruption , Mbu you’re spoiling the name of the party, spoiling the name of the country , I will continue speaking about corruption and atrocities as a leader.” kadaga said.

Kadaga said that neither she nor the parliaments will tolerant corrupt officials, since they engage in corrupt activities as individuals and not the party.

She further noted that public outcry over corruption in the country needs to grow for there to be any real action.

In his sermon, the retired Anglican Bishop of North Kigezi Diocese, Dr. Edward Muhima attributed the increased corruption in the country to lack of faithfulness and transparency.

Muhima said that if the leaders are to be more accountable, they need to be faithful and truthful in whatever they do.

He also challenges members of parliament to be more transparent if they are to regain public confidence and ensure timely service delivery.

This year’s 3rd Annual parliament week is running under the theme “Championing accountability to improve service delivery.”

Parliament expected to discuss the COSASE committee leadership

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament is expected today 15th to discuss the issue of the leadership of the committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise as the FDC party insist that Bugweri county MP Abdul katuntu should hand over office to Kawempe south MP Mubarak Munyagwa after his term expired on Sunday.

The opposition leader in parliament Betty Aol Ochan was supposed to meet the speaker Kadaga last evening over the same matter but the speaker was out of office.

FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda told journalists at the party headquarters last week that he had written to Kadaga, reminding her over Katuntu’s hand over this week.

Munyagwa and Moses Kasibante who was appointed vice chairperson say that they are ready to take over the leadership and complete the probe into the investigations of the closure of the 7 commercial banks.

Before parliament went for Christmas recess, speaker Kadaga told mps that she had requested the leadership of the opposition in parliament to allow Katuntu work up to 20th of this month since the matter had reached a critical stage of investigations and changing the leadership will jeopardize conclusion of the inquiry.

Kadaga demands for interim report on Kutesa’s bribe scandal

By Alice Lubwama

The Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga directs Government through the attorney general William Byaruhanga to provide parliament with an interim report into the allegations that foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa received a bribe from Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping in order to help him secure business deals in Uganda before parliament closes business on 20th of this month.

This was after Lwemiyaga county MP Theodore Sekikubo raised the matter before parliament and asked the house to take a decision in order to redeem the image of the country since Kutesa received the bribe as the foreign affairs minister of Uganda.

The MP also demanded that Government explains how money moved from Hong kong bank through united states and ended up in Uganda without the financial intelligence agency detecting this financial laundering.

In response the attorney general William Byaruhanga informed parliament how the president had asked him to investigate the matter and will share the findings with parliament in January next year. How ever the mp disagreed with the attorney general on the time frame, saying they needed the report very first.

Kadaga then ordered Byaruhanga to present an interim report before parliament breaks off for a Christmas recess.

On 6th of this month the Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping was found guilty by the federal court in USA of offering millions of bribes to several African leaders including Ugandan and Chadian presidents.

According to media reports, its alleged that the total of $500,000 bribe given to Kutesa was in a bid to secure business dealings in railway services, infrastructure construction, fishing, hydro-energy, banking and finance as well as tourism for the Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co. Other potential deals for CEFC included;
construction of a Chinatown to boost tourism on land near Victoria and possibly an island.

Speaker Kadaga has no kind words for corrupt Chinese firm

Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has implored the Inspectorate of Government to investigate cases of Chinese contractors involving in defrauding Uganda.

Kadaga was officiating at the dialogue between the Inspectorate of Government and parliament’s accountability committees. The meeting was held at Kabira Country Club this morning.

Kadaga made reference to recent findings by parliament’s committee on Commissions, State Authorities and Statutory Enterprise’s in which over 50 billion Shillings  was lost of Chinese contractors who had been contracted by the Uganda National Roads Authority.

In one of the findings, 47.7 billion advanced to five contractors for the compensation of persons affected by road construction projects was misused.

The firms include China Railway 18th Group, China Railway No.3 Group, Zhongmei Engineering, China Railway No.5 Group and Chongqing International Construction Company. They were contracted by government to undertake the construction of Musita-Lumino-Busia, Kanoni-Sembabule-Villa, Olwiyo Gulu, Gulu-Acholibur and Acholibur-Musingo roads.

But in one of the interfaces with the committee, it was established that the contractors fixed the money in various banks to earn interest while part of it was invested in personal businesses. They were forced to refund the money.

The same committee has queried a fine of 1.8 billion Shillings paid by UNRA to – Chongqing International Construction (CICO) of China after a delay in securing the Environmental Impact Assessment report as part of the contract for upgrading of Vurra-Arua-Koboko-Oraba road.

Speaker Kadaga said persons involved in such scams need to be prosecuted for stealing tax payer’s money. “We need a follow up, prosecute people taking this money. We have so much money in this country and if there were no corruption, we would not even need donor money”, Kadaga said.

Deputy IGG George Bamugemereire applauded parliament for coming out strong on corruption noting that his office would surely follow up on corruption cases recently exposed by parliament accountability committees.

IGG Irene Mulyagonja said that her office is today going to engage with MPs sitting on accountability committees to see how to close gaps in the laws of accountability.

She said that at the close of their engagement, they would come up with resolutions that will be forwarded and considered by the Tenth Parliament in a bid to fight corruption and mal-administration in the country.

-URN

MP Lyamoki calls upon the nation to fast and repent on behalf of Kadaga

Worker’s MP Dr Samuel Lyomoki has asked Ugandans to pray and fast for three days starting today on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga. Lyomoki said that Kadaga’s recent visit to a traditional shrine was demonic and satanic.

His plea follows Kadaga’s weekend visit to a shrine on Nhyenda Hill, Nakigo Sub-county in Iganga District allegedly to thank the gods for helping her retain her position as Speaker of parliament.

Kadaga, a parishioner at All Saints Cathedral, defended her visit to the shrine, saying she was visiting her ancestors and promoting tourism.

“On this matter, the problem is about blindness, Speaker Kadaga is blind spiritually, it a turning point for this country and even for Kadaga especially if she understands that , that ritual is demonic”, Lyomoki said.

Lyomoki said that fasting and praying across the country will help revoke, renounce and command the alter in Busoga to be put out of action.

He added that there is no way a leader who is under the covenant of the devil can come and be in charge of the country under the covenant of God.

Yesterday, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali also came out to condemn the Speaker for visiting a shrine.

In his statement, he said that the Church condemns syncretism and urged Bishops and clergy to use this opportunity to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ crucified to meet all people’s needs.

“We value our ancestors because we are connected to them by the relationship we have. But, we must always trust only in God. We no longer need to go through the spirits of the dead because Jesus is our hope and protector. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, as Jesus says in John 14:6,”  the statement read.

However, Maj Elia Nantamu, the Prime Minister of Kadaga’s clan- the Baise Igaga told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that it is wrong for the Church and others to condemn Kadaga’s actions before engaging her.

He said that Kadaga is the patron of the Baise Igaga clan and that the shrines on Nhyenda Hill, Nakigo-County in Iganga District belong to Kadaga’s ancestors.

Nantamu told URN that the visit to the shrines was not to perform sorcery but a fulfillment of a cultural norm required of each member of the Baise Igaga Clan to visit the hill at least once a year.

He said that at such functions they celebrate the victories of the clan members.