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in the media

As President Museveni drove into Kira municipality, Wakiso district on Monday afternoon, he was greeted by wild cheers of people who had waited seven hours for a savior.

But an hour later, many trekked home confused and ponderous, after Museveni insisted they had to leave the villages of Bukasa, Kito and Namataba.

An estimated 20,000 residents encroached on about seven square miles of forestry land six years ago. Government says the land is supposed to accommodate key infrastructural projects like the standard gauge railway, an inland port, and the Jinja express highway. Last December, a government eviction notice on the encroachers was met with rioting and a stay-of-execution court order.

President Museveni addressing residents at Namataba playground 

Speaking at a school playground in Namataba on Monday, Museveni said the encroachers wouldn’t be compensated.

“I am not going to pay and I am not going to compensate you, but we are going to organise and see how we shall rescue you,” Museveni said in Luganda.

He vowed to punish land grabbers who fraudulently sold land to unsuspecting villagers and orchestrated the illegal settlement.

“There are 29 people who acquired land titles for about 600 acres of this government land. These are thieves. They connived with fellow thieves in the land registry and I am going to deal with them including the Nema (National Environment Management Authority) and NFA [National Forestry Authority] officials who were asleep when this encroachment was ongoing. However, for the innocent residents, we are going to talk,” Museveni said sending the about 2,000 people crowd into wild cheers.

Earlier, Bweyogerere division chairperson Isaac Ssenkubuge asked government for a comprehensive resettlement package and an alternative place to resettle only the people directly affected by the projects.

“It is true this is government land but we also agree that NFA was reluctant. Government entities like National Water and Umeme have also provided utilities here which have enhanced the settlement,” Ssenkubuge said.

CONFUSION

After the president’s speech however, many of the residents interviewed seemed either confused or disappointed. Many of them expected compensation but the president talked of “rescue” and no compensation.

“We came here expecting to leave happy people after hearing from the president. We thought he would rescue us but as you can see the people’s mood now, everyone is sad. If he wants us to go, has he planned on where to take us?” Frank Kakembo asked.

Other residents conceded they were wrong to settle on this land.

“Let no one deceive you that we settled here unknowingly. We all bought these plots of land cheaply when we were sure it was government land and that we would be chased away anytime. For people to now act like their land is being taken is really disturbing. The president is even lenient to listen or give us something [place] to move to,” Brenda Nambi, a resident of Bukasa, said.

While many had constructed houses here mainly for settlement, others who bought plots targeted huge compensation to give way for the infrastructure projects. James Mwine, a resident, said the eviction notice they received increased activity in the area.

“When they told us that we had to leave, many people who had not completed their houses hurriedly finished them,” Mwine said.

“Even those that had not built, started. We thought our property would be valued and we get compensation but it seems we are not getting as much as we expected.” 

17 hours 5 min ago

From the time FDC’s Ingrid Turinawe announced that she would contest for a seat in the East African Legislative Assembly, it was evident she was headed for a stiff challenge. The polls, set for February 28, will see parliament elect Uganda’s nine representatives.

The FDC secretary for mobilization is an outspoken political activist and one of President Museveni’s biggest critics. At the same time, she has alienated some of her party members who see her as the leading proponent of the Dr Kizza Besigye-led defiance campaign. Many of these FDC members believe the campaign is intended to undermine Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, the party president.

This could partly explain why she tallied behind Florence Ibi Ekwau, the former Kaberamaido MP, in the Eala party primaries. The Kaberamaido FDC community closely associates with Gen Muntu.

Turinawe’s latest challenge is wooing MPs from the ruling NRM party as well as independents. Yesterday, Hanifa Kawooya (Sembabule Woman) Alex Byarugaba (Isingiro South) and James Kakooza (Kabula) started a campaign to convince fellow legislators not to vote for Turinawe.

Ingrid Turinawe

Kawooya even confronted Turinawe at the parliament canteen, where she had gone to lobby for support from amongst the MPs. Turinawe later retreated to the bar area where she engaged FDC’s Mubarak Munyagwa.

Similarly, Muhammad Nsereko, the Kampala Central MP, has been openly urging fellow MPs not to elect Turinawe. Among other things, Nsereko accuses Turinawe of being behind a group of youths that dropped piglets at parliament bearing names of legislators, including his.

OPTIMISTIC

Despite this grim outlook, Turinawe remains optimistic.

“I have an agenda. I have a programme and I have shared it with all MPs who are going to vote. Whoever is alleging that I abused him or her should adduce evidence. [Muhammad] Nsereko went around the TVs and radios saying that I abused him, he has no evidence. I just ignored it because it is not true. He has his own troubles with me. I will go on focusing on my campaign,” Turinawe said.

She added: “For me, I am a politician. I have been nominated by my party and I am in the race. I don’t care what anyone thinks or wishes to say. I cannot be threatened by anyone. Nobody owns parliament, no body owns the other’s vote. Whether he or she says they cannot vote for me, it does not mean that I am waiting to get 100 per cent votes. I will win but I will not get 100 per cent.”

She says those who do not want to vote for her are entitled to their choice but this will not get her out of the race, neither will it stop her from winning.

Whereas Turinawe is renowned for her mobilization skills, she has not replicated this success in elective politics. She lost in her bid to become Rukungiri Woman MP and Rukungiri municipality MP in 2011 and 2016 respectively.

For her bid to be successful, Turinawe will have to scoop one of the two slots reserved for the opposition parties.

17 hours 7 min ago

A Kampala businessman has declined to withdraw his case against Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma.

Wilfred Bugingo sued Kavuma, the Court of Appeal head, for failure to fix his appeal for hearing. Bugingo won a land case in the High court against Willy Jaggwe but when the latter lodged an appeal, Bugingo claims Kavuma refused to set a hearing date for his application.

Appearing before Justice Lydia Mugambe on Monday, Kavuma’s lawyer Enos Tumusiime asked that the case be withdrawn because it had been overtaken by events.

“I don’t know really why we are wasting court’s time. What the applicant wanted has already been done,” Tumusiime said, referring to the fixing of the hearing of Bugingo’s application before the Court of Appeal.

Tumusiime told court that now that Kavuma had fixed a date for the hearing of the case, it was irrelevant to continue with the case in the High court. However, Bugingo’s lawyer, Peter Allan Musoke, insisted that his client wants the case to go on.

“The applicant wants the motion to be attended to and adjudicated on its own merit as at the date of filing it,” Musoke told court.
“I agree that there was a fixing of the hearing in the appeal, but that doesn’t address the applicant’s concerns. The applicant seeks to review the administration of justice in the judiciary and it’s on that premise that he wants the case to proceed…”

Deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma

Monday’s hearing followed an adjournment on February 9 in which Justice Mugambe ordered that Deo Nizeyimana, the Court of Appeal deputy registrar, appears before her court to be cross-examined. Nizeyimana had sworn an affidavit in defence of Justice Kavuma.

Musoke wondered how Nizeyimana would swear an affidavit yet it was not him who had been sued. Although he lurked around the court premises before the hearing of the case began, Nizeyimana didn’t show up for cross-examination. Tumusiime told him there was no need to appear.

According to Tumusiime, the case had been technically closed. However, Justice Mugambe said it was not up to Tumusiime to say the case had been closed.

“He should have been here whatever the circumstances; it is court that can make that order [closing the case],” Mugambe said.

The judge adjourned the case to April 5 and ordered that Nizeyimana shows up for cross-examination.

“The deponent should be here because that is a direct order from court,” Mugambe said. She, however, advised the parties, “in light of new developments in the Court of Appeal” to have a discussion with a view of settling the matter out of court.

In the last hearing on February 9, Kavuma stunned court when his personal assistant served court with a notice fixing Bugingo’s case for hearing on April 27.

BACKGROUND

Bugingo contends that Justice Kavuma had failed to appoint a coram of judges to hear an application seeking to stay the execution of an earlier order issued by the High court.

Bugingo further contends that Justice Kavuma had continuously, contrary to the law, heard cases and delivered judgments as a single judge of the Court of Appeal. He wants court to review Kavuma’s actions.

In 2014, Bugingo sued businessman Willy Jaggwe and 22 others for trespassing on his land measuring 414,3480 hectares in Lwensololo village, Mubende district.

He claimed the trespass had caused massive destruction to his farm and the commercial tree plantation therein. High court judge Andrew Bashaija ruled in his favor, awarding him Shs 2.8bn and 500 million in special and general damages respectively.

17 hours 8 min ago

KAMPALA - Inspector General of Government, Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja, has taken exception to some rogue elements hiding behind the president’s constitutional title of “a fountain of honor” to commit crimes that sully the president’s office.

Mulyagonja, Uganda’s second female ombudsman, made the remarks Monday while appearing before lawmakers probing the manner and propriety of paying sh6b to 42 government technocrats who allegedly played a key role in winning an oil-related case against Tullow in a London court.

“The president is not above the law," she said in response to a question by committee chairperson, Abdu Katuntu.

"He has broad powers under the constitution but there is a caveat to the effect those powers should be exercised within the laws of the country."

Gingerly, Katuntu had enlisted Mulyagonja’s opinion about a host of technocrats that have appeared before the committee in regard to the oil bonus payment insisting that the payment was proper because the “fountain of honor” had sanctioned it.

Mulyagonja noted that the president has a host of advisers including legal ones who advise him on the steps to be taken before a decision is taken.

“It’s not in the president’s interest that a decision that brings dishonor to his office is taken,” Mulyagonja, who had at the start of her submission vowed not to discuss “the president”, said.

Under Uganda’s constitution, the president, as fountain of honor, is the only person with immunity from prosecution while still in office.

Mulyagonja conceded that when the issue of ‘golden presidential handshakes’, as oil bonuses have since been labeled, came to light, “there was pressure for the inspectorate of government to intervene”.

“But we realized from the onset that with reports that the president had approved the payment, the investigations will have serious political undertones. So, it’s better for parliament to lead these investigations,” said the IGG.

Mulyagonja had two directors from the inspectorate of government - David Makumbi and Simon Ogwal in tow.

She declined to proffer a legal opinion on the propriety of the oil bonuses, saying she has scanty information about the issue since it's parliament conducting the probe.

Besides, it would offend the principles of natural justice by taking a position without giving the beneficiaries a right to be heard.

The committee will meet ministry of finance officials over the oil bonus payments. - See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1446697/president-law-igg#sth...

1 day 5 hours ago

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