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The former inspector general of police, Gen Kale Kayihura is being handled in line with military procedures, prime minister Ruhakana Rugunda has said. 

Rugunda was responding to a question raised by Kawempe North member of parliament, Latif Ssebaggala during the prime minister's question time on when government plans to present Kayihura before court. 
 
In his response, Rugunda said there was no need for worry, saying Kayihura is a senior army officer who is being handled under military procedures.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda

"Is a very senior officer of the UPDF and is being handled in accordance with laid down procedures of handling such an officer," said Rugunda. 

The former police chief hasn't appeared in court since his arrest of June 13 and subsequent detention at Makindye Military barracks. Kayihura was picked up together with several police officers who worked with him during his tenure as IGP. 
 
During a closed door meeting with members of parliament on security matters recently, President Yoweri Museveni is reported to have told legislators that the jailed former police boss side-stepped formal police structures and chose to work with civilians effectively crippling professionalism of the force.

Museveni allegedly blamed Kayihura for leaping to the defense of his juniors even when they had broken the law.

 

5 days 5 hours ago

On the face of it, this was a traditional marriage (kuhingira) between former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s niece Bridget Birungi Rwakairu and Andile Ramaphosa, son of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

But away from public view, this union offered another political opportunity to advance efforts to restore a political marriage through which Uganda’s leadership once enjoyed unquestioned say over government.

 

It is said that Bridget and Andile, quite unwittingly, offered President Museveni a way to reach out to Mbabazi, his former ally, long-time comrade in arms and enforcer-in-chief. 

Amama Mbabazi (C) talks to President Museveni (L) as his wife Janet looks on

Museveni was among the guests at the highly billed ceremony last Saturday, August 4 at Mbabazi’s Kampala residence in leafy and upscale Kololo. He arrived with his wife, Janet at about 1:30pm and sat through the function till 10pm when it ended. Uganda’s president sat at the same table with the Mbabazis, facing the in-laws. Little interaction was seen between Museveni and Mbabazi although the former premier frequently exchanged pleasantries with Janet.

Museveni and Mbabazi fell out in 2014 after the former premier developed presidential ambitions. To head him off, ruling party MPs were whipped into passing a resolution declaring Museveni as NRM’s sole presidential candidate for the 2016 elections. This was during a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi.

 

Later in the year, Mbabazi was sacked as prime minister and one year after, he was ultimately kicked out of government, ousted from the powerful position of NRM secretary general. The party constitution was quickly amended, placing the powers to appoint the secretariat leadership in the chairman’s (Museveni) hands.

Andile and Bridget with their daughter

DISTANT THIRD

Previously, the secretary general was elected at an NRM delegates’ conference. Mbabazi still went on to run for president as an independent but finished a distant third. He lodged an unsuccessful petition in the Supreme court contesting the 2016 election results before retreating from public life.

But now, knowledgeable sources say Mbabazi’s skills as an able administrator, accomplished workaholic bureaucrat and effective political operator are sorely missed by Museveni.

5 days 5 hours ago

Last Friday, Forum for Democratic Change party president, Patrick Oboi Amuriat shuffled leadership of committees held by the opposition in parliament, knocking out those who never supported him during the November 2017 presidency race. But the decision to purge was made before he became party president, as SULAIMAN KAKAIRE writes.

During the 2017 race, the pro-defiance FDC faction led by Dr Kizza Besigye was concerned that Amuriat and Mubarak Munyagwa running separate campaigns could divide their support and favour the then incumbent party leader, Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu.

 

“We banked on the group that voted Dr Besigye during the FDC presidential flag bearer race in 2015…We thought that if this number was to be divided among the two; it would automatically favour Gen Muntu who already had a consolidated figure that was between 400 and 500 votes.”

“It was to this end that Munyagwa pulled out in Amuriat’s favour.”

Former FDC party presidents Kizza Besigye (L), Mugisha Muntu (2nd left) and current president Patrick Amuriat Oboi (R)

Party sources say that the deal had a caveat: Amuriat promised to make Munyagwa opposition chief whip in parliament, replacing Muntu loyalist and Kira municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, among a string of changes.

This new shadow cabinet was supposed to be communicated around March or April. Besigye and group were reportedly careful not to totally alienate party members; so, it was important to have other posts open to ‘fringe supporters’

 

After Amuriat won, the sharing was expected as promised but this had to wait until last week. Their rival, Muntu, who had been defeated by 200 votes, despite being backed by 27 FDC MPs, had embarked on countrywide consultations.

Muntu was asking how his group would work within the FDC party where they have been slandered as moles and non-Ugandans? How is the party going to reconcile the defiance strategy with the strategy of exhibiting democratic credentials before taking power? And, what is the position of FDC founding president, Besigye in the party?

Besigye’s continued domineering presence bothers some of the Muntu group, who argue that if left uncontrolled it can be counterproductive to FDC’s internal democracy and potentially grooms dictatorship in the opposition.

After Muntu concluded the first round of consultations and some senior members were pushing for a split, Besigye initiated a meeting with Muntu and some senior members of his group, including Ronald Reagan Okumu (Aswa MP), who is FDC deputy president for Northern Uganda.

 

Muntu confirmed the said meeting that happened around March.

“Just know that the meeting took place and there were concerns raised that some members, who agree with me, were raising issues that should be resolved internally,” the retired general said this week

For fear of what the Muntu group was planning, Besigye advised Amuriat against shaking things up in parliament.

JUGGLING PICKS

As they watched for Muntu’s next move, they also continued to assess possible choices. William Nzoghu was considered for the LoP position but he turned it down for fear of being castigated back home in Kasese by FDC supporters amongst whom Kiiza enjoys considerable support.

Buhweju county MP Francis Mwijukye was tapped next but he was dropped in favour of Gulu Municipality MP, Betty Aol Achan. Munyagwa turned down the chief whip post for fear of antagonising Muslims in Buganda amongst whom Ssemujju enjoys favourable reviews. He was considered for COSASE.

 

Habib Buwembo, who is the FDC secretary for labour, said Tuesday “the delay could be attributed to the president himself because members have always asked him why he was delaying to change the leadership. These people don’t agree with the defiance strategy and they are not only enriching themselves with these positions but they are funding activities that are against the party.”

Each of the MPs was reportedly contributing between Shs 1 to Shs 2 million every month towards Muntu’s activities. Around May, this information leaked to the Besigye faction.

It was also revealed that the Muntu group was closely working with the individuals leading the Democratic Party’s reunion and providing solidarity to Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi’s countrywide tours. The DP’s reunion has considerably undermined Besigye’s wow factor in the wider opposition.

Buwembo, who is an insider within the Besigye group, said these concerns were considered last week.

“On Thursday, there was a demonstration after a team from nowhere came and refused members from leaving the party offices. They locked us from outside. Even, the party chairman who was supposed to meet a doctor was refused from leaving before they could sort out their demands,” he said.

According to Buwembo, this group stormed the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi after Amuriat again delayed announcing the changes in parliament.

“The changes were supposed to be made on Monday but they delayed to make them due to some issues that were pending before NEC. Among the issues was the Bugiri municipality issue. It is the reason why a significant number of MPs were at the party headquarters.”

 

However, when the matter was not considered in the Wednesday and Thursday NEC meetings, the youths stormed the party offices on Thursday.

Buwembo says that the youths alleged; “there was some money channelled to Asuman Basalirwa. In fact, it was alleged that on the voting day, Shs 27 million was collected by that leadership and given to [Jeema party president] Asuman Basalirwa which he used to defeat our candidate [in Bugiri municipality]. The other allegation was that all the people who supported Muntu, except Kira municipality MP have never stepped at the party headquarters and yet they don’t even want to table reports to the party about what takes place in parliament.”

Consequently, on Thursday night Amuriat called up some of the individuals that were to take the positions. Among them was Ssemujju. Ssemujju was reportedly reconsidered for two reasons.

“One, he is the party spokesperson who had to communicate this decision or explain it to the public and if he is fired, it would be difficult to explain some of these things. In fact, some people said he would put everything about our move in the media. Secondly, having him in would be a counter balance of criticism from the Ssuubi group [a loose coalition of Buganda politicians including Medard Sseggona Lubega (Busiiro East), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala)and Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka municipality)],” FDC defiance faction sources said.

At first Ssemujju, turned down the offer to retain his chief whip post on grounds that he will not be comfortable working with people he does not agree with. Secondly, he does not believe in working with colleagues who will feel they are being undermined by him.

Amuriat, however, persuaded Ssemujju saying he sees him as the loop that will strengthen the new team since most of his choices were newcomers or weak. When contacted , Ssemujju refused to comment.

 

“I can’t comment about that, please. Call the party president. I was called like anyone else,” Ssemujju said.

When the NEC was summoned on Friday evening, only the LoP position was discussed. Abed Nasser Mudiobole, the FDC secretary for legal affairs, said “the discussion was only on the name proposed for leader of opposition. There was concern raised that why would you appoint someone from Acholi yet it has ever had that position and why not some other region,” Mudiobole said.

Amuriat stood his ground.

“I am appointing people who have been loyal to the party and these people have been despising me,” he said.

Some concerns were voiced that if this was the basis for changing the leadership, then Amuriat would be personalising the party or victimising people.

At this point, Salaamu Musumba, the FDC vice chairperson for Eastern Uganda, intervened by advising Amuriat: “Don’t explain yourself. These are your powers and you have used them.”

AMURIAT EXPLAINS

While announcing the changes on Friday, the FDC leader told the media that his changes were made so as to realign the parliament leadership with the defiance strategy. However, Mudiobole says that even if that is the case, everything must be done in accordance with the party constitution and practice.

“There was no minute or resolution made, contrary to the ideal way of doing things. Everything was rushed through NEC. The party constitution and practice has always been that a name or individuals are proposed, then they are debated by NEC because the practice is that the president appoints with the approval of NEC. If NEC is not allowed to debate or discuss the president’s appointments or proposal, then NEC, which is ideally meant to be a check and balance on the president’s  powers, is being reduced to a mere rubberstamp,” Mudiobole said.

“There is also the issue of accusations being raised against some people. It is also fair to have them heard on those accusations before you turn the party organs into a jungle. Ideally, practice should be that you inform them about it and let them be heard about it.

“And this is not that people are meant to serve forever in whichever position, but let’s make sure that we follow the right processes and procedures because that is what distinguishes us from the crowd of other parties,” Mudiobole said. 

 

On Monday, Kiiza told the media that she had learned of her firing from press reports.

PURGE NOT RESHUFFLE

Former COSASE chairman, Abdu Katuntu confirmed Amuriat’s line that this reshuffle was a purge.

“This is about purging those who don’t agree with the way things are being done. You cannot victimise one for holding a view contrary to yours. They formed this view since last year; that they will be sacking those who don’t agree with them,” Katuntu said.

“A political decision like this has political consequences and it can be responded to in a political way. Time is there to vindicate us. We are not fighting for positions but we should understand that this party was formed by those who were victimised for not supporting the removal of term limits. I hope we are not walking towards that path.”

On Monday, Muntu told like-thinking FDC members in Iganga that whatever decision they make must be made in a mature way.

“We have to be patient about this. From the 17 consultations that have been carried out across the country, there are voices that are saying we should leave and form a party of people who believe in the values we espouse. There are others saying that the issues we are raising can be resolved from within. To reach a good decision the results of the findings will be tabled before the party before a final decision, is made,” he said.    

Jinja Municipality East MP Paul Mwiru, Muntu ally, told The Observer  that the continuous victimisation of their group is pushing them to one end point.

“These people are showing us that our differences are irreconcilable. And some of us don’t believe in wasting time in a political formation without playing any role, which our colleagues want us to do. It is better to form another formation after all we have the same ultimate result of changing government, although we also believe in changing governance,” he said.

Whatever the outcome, the Muntu group seems to have gravitated towards Kyagulanyi’s (Bobi Wine) so-called ‘third way’.

When the break comes, those in the know say, it will be triggered a year to the elections to avoid the MPs having to lose their seats on account of the law on changing political alliances midterm. The group has close to 60 MPs, including some in the NRM.

skakaire@observer.ug

5 days 5 hours ago

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” this is one of the memorable quotes on life attributed to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.
Such talk about a life well lived characterised the eulogies of celebrated public relations guru and cricketer, Yona Namawa Wapakhabulo, whose remains were laid to rest at his ancestral home at Mafudu Village in the eastern district of Sironko yesterday.

Namawa, son of former Speaker of Parliament and minister, the late James Wapakhabulo, passed on at Platinum Medical Centre in Kampala on the Monday evening. From the time news of his death hit the streets of Kampala, different people have described his life as a short but well lived one.

At the vigil at Machame Health Club, Naguru on Thursday evening and at the funeral service at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero on Friday, Namawa was described as a “a mentor, great listener and team player”.
At 46 and still rising in his fields of endeavour, this was certainly the wrong time for Namawa to die. We say this even when we know there is in most cases no good time to die.

Cause of death
Dr Josephine Wapakhabulo, the chief executive officer of the Uganda National Oil Company, said her brother succumbed to Infective Endocarditis, a bacterial infection that affected his heart.

One of those hurt by the early demise of Namawa is President Museveni, who told mourners during the funeral service at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero to stop describing such death of young people as a decision by God.
“This business of saying God has called him or her at 46 like Yona is not good. Is God short of company or what?” the President quipped, forcing the mourners to burst into laughter.

He added: “I feel people should go up to 96 so that we can get maximum value out of them. My father (Amos Kaguta) died at 96 and I had time to exploit him and his words helped me to write the Runyankore dictionary.”
The President, accompanied by First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni, re-echoed his message to Ugandans to always have routine medical check-ups so that they are not killed by preventable diseases.

Mr Museveni said he was told by Wapakhabulo family that the deceased had had a bacterial infection for some time, beginning from his tooth and ended up spreading to the heart through the throat.
“Our people should be conscious about health and I feel that God should call people for a good purpose. So, stop self-medication and go for regular medical check-ups,” Mr Museveni said.
The President, who narrated to the mourners the best school moments he had with the late James Wapakhabulo, promised support to Namawa’s widow, Ms Dorothy Nasozi, and the five orphans.

Great loss
Namawa’s colleagues at WMC Africa Limited where he was a managing partner, said they have lost a person whose special leadership qualities have nurtured them into responsible people, promising to keep the agency strong in his absence.
“Yona was a mentor and a colleague who gave us freedom to dream and fly in our roles. He was quiet and hard in action. He never yelled at anyone even if you left his office door open, he could raise and close it. He had a gift to identify and nurture talent because he was a great leader who allowed us to challenge him,” said Ms Primrose Kiberu the company’s chief operations officer.

Humble
The widow, Ms Nasozi described her departed husband as a God fearing person who was Born Again and humbled himself before the creator despite his education and background.

Ms Nasozi describe their nine years of official marriage as “good times” despite challenges they have passed through in making a family.
“It has not been an easy time for me but I am Born Again, so I praise God for my husband’s life. He’s been an exceptional man, a prayer warrior and loved the Lord with all his education and background. I have the hope to meet him because he is with the Lord now,” a smiling Ms Nasozi said.

The orphans led by Mr Myles Mukisa Wapakhabulo praised their father as one “who you would call when you don’t have something and it is there”. He said as children they have not cried because they have a reason to celebrate the life of their loving father who every Saturday found time to take them out to play and eat foods of their choice.
Rev Can Geoffrey Byarugaba called upon the mourners to always do perfectly to the expectation of God who created man in his image and gave him dominion over nature. He said people should have a choice of whether their next lives will be in the Kingdom of God or hell.

While at the night vigil at Machame Health Club, Naguru on Thursday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda confessed to the mourners that the WMC Africa team that worked with Namawa was “unbelievable” after they said he had tuned them to be good time keepers by being in office by 7am.

“What kind of transformation is this for such young people to be in office at 7am? The earliest I reach office is 9am and for sure, I will go to them for timekeeping lessons,” Dr Rugunda said.
Led by Dr John Kimbe, the alumni of King’s College Buddo who went to school with the deceased handed the famous school neck tie to the widow saying, Buddonians as they are known, never leave their own behind.

ABOUT YONA NAMAWA
Born on January 8, 1972, Yona Namawa Wapakhabulo went to Arusha School, Boroko East Primary School, Port Moresby High School, Kings College Budo, Makerere College School and Viterbo University, Wisconsin in USA.
A specialist in corporate communications, public affairs and crisis communications, Namawa joined WMC Africa Ltd in 2003 as the public affairs manager and rose to managing partner.

He worked on key strategic initiatives in Uganda and across the region in both the public and private sector for clients such as e Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stanbic Bank Uganda, MultiChoice Uganda, MTN Uganda, DFCU Bank, Heritage Oil Ltd, Tullow Uganda, British Airways, Umeme.

5 days 5 hours ago

Kampala. A minister on Tuesday questioned the usefulness and work methods of the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, and said the commissioners need to treat witnesses with respect.
Ms Persis Namuganza, the State minister for Lands, also told the commissioners that their gymnastics of scolding witnesses in media glare is not conducive for information sharing and serves to embarrass and smudge the reputation of accused people.
Such individuals suffer lasting damage when the allegations turn out to be false, she said, adding that the Commission is also endangering the country’s credibility.
“We have the issue of Temangalo land...one of the people being mentioned is former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi; a lot of things were being written about Amama not putting in mind that he is hosting a very important in-law, a president of another country,” the minister said.
She was referring to last weekend’s visit to Kampala by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to attend his son Andile’s traditional marriage to Bridget Birungi, a foster daughter of Mr Mbabazi.
Justice Bamugemereire said the ex-premier had not been on their radar and they stood ready to receive “information from you (Namuganza) after this hearing because that is not what we are investigating”.
Mr Mbabazi and his business associate Amos Nzeyi, who was summoned and testified before the Commission yesterday, acquired land on the cheap from sellers in Temangalo in Wakiso District and kicked up a political storm when they in 2008 sold it multiple times more expensively to the National Social Security Fund.
Minister Namuganza appeared before the Commission to explain her role and the circumstances under which she took purported owners of a land in Mubende District, whose ownership is disputed and being investigated, to meet President Museveni who ordered compensation payment to them. Justice Bamugemereire tasked her to explain why she was more concerned about guarding the reputation of accused persons.
“I am actually thinking that we might write a straight letter to the prime minister to ask what is going on with some of the cabinet ministers because the feeling we get is that some ministers think that some cases need to be kept under the carpet,” said the judge.
Some individuals, she added, seem to hold the view that “we should not touch some matters, don’t talk about so and so, don’t investigate me, my husband, my sister, my brother, my cousin. Is that how we are going to run this country?”

Protecting reputation
Minister Namuganza said she was not opposed to the Commission’s investigations, but its members must be even-handed and focus on their terms of references without unjustifiably destroying the reputation and careers of people.
She added: “There are so many malicious and sometimes baseless allegations in land matters. Sometimes when you expose somebody and the press picks it (the accusations) and they have written about it, the person sometimes loses lovers, can lose their job, a family because by the time you clear, already something wrong has happened.”
Minister Namuganza raised the stakes by asking the Commission why its members were behaving as if they wanted to penalise her for brokering a meeting between the Mubende residents and President Museveni.
“I have to clearly state it here because I have been asked this question as if I am going to be put on the cross; why did I take people to the President?” she asked.
Commissioner Robert Ssebunya interjected, saying that her statement was not their position.
In a media briefing shortly after the proceedings, Ms Namuganza noted that the land probe team had veered off course, pre-occupying itself with mundane and trivial issues outside its mandate as the members continue to draw hefty allowances in a waste of tax payers’ money.
“I think they need to respect people and reduce on their powers because they are treating people like dogs under the guise of investigating land matters,” she said, vowing to go to jail than be bullied into silence.

1 week 1 day ago

Businessman Amos Nzeyi has been grilled in connection with acquisition of the 366-acre Temangalo land he sold to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) under unclear circumstances.
A Canadian-based family has since petitioned the land probe accusing Mr Nzeyi of land grabbing.
It is alleged that Mr Nzeyi fraudulently acquired and occupied the disputed land on Block 296 Plot 20 in Busiro in 1993 while it was registered in the names of M/s Temangalo Tea Estate, a company owned by the family of Muhammad Hassanali Moosa before they were expelled by Idi Amin’s regime.
Last week, Mr Nazim Moosa, a retired banker based in Vancouver, Canada presented an original lease title saying his parents acquired the tea estate from deceased Daniel Mugwanya Kato and held it until their expulsion in 1972.
“…my parents have proprietary interests because I have the original lease title for the tea estate since 1944. But our search through our former lawyer, Peter Mulira, in 1993 shows that Mr Nzeyi was occupying our land. We wrote to him but he did not show up,” testified Mr Moosa, one of the three children of the family.

Testimony
Mr Moosa said upon visiting the land in 1993, part of it was bushy with some structures, a dairy farm and a watershed and that when they contacted the family of Mugwanya that leased the land to their parents, they denied knowledge of Mr Nzeyi’s claim to the property.
The new claim over ownership of the Temangalo land resurrects after a decade following an investigation by Parliament over its controversial sale to NSSF at Shs11 billion.
Appearing before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire–led Commission, Mr Nzeyi was tasked to explain when and how he acquired the disputed land, how he signed a joint mutation form for sub-division of the land and ongoing court case and how he transferred it to NSSF.
Mr Nzeyi said he took interest in the disputed land in 1988 with a view of establishing a dairy farm but acquired it in phases from former managing director of Uganda Development Bank, Mr Abbas Mawanda, who he knew in 1975.

1 week 1 day ago

Government has tabled a Shs 1.2 trillion loan request for the municipal infrastructure development program.

David Bahati, the State Minister for Planning tabled before parliament a loan request that will be financed by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank. 

The loan which is to provide additional financing for municipal infrastructure development was last month approved by cabinet. 

The funds will be used to address different challenges through the provision of grants to municipalities and refugee hosting districts to support rehabilitation and construction of urban roads and associated infrastructure.

David Bahati

According to a cabinet statement issued recently, the loan is to help address infrastructure development in the Local Governments hosting large numbers of refugees by constructing small bridges and box culverts on impassable sections.

The loan will also see the construction of market stalls for vendors at bus, taxi and lorry parks, construction of markets, slaughterhouses including provision for waste management, implementation of the drainage master plans and others.

Also to be addressed by the loan is the urban solid and liquid waste management through addressing bottlenecks in the solid waste management cycle, provide information education communication materials, institutional capacity, and waste reduction strategies.

The cabinet statement further says that the loan will help develop infrastructure for promoting sports and culture playfields, resource centres, community buildings and also be used for urban beautification of public parks, playgrounds,  urban landscaping and urban greening like planting of trees on roads edges.

Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah referred the loan request to the committee of National Economy for expeditious handling.

1 week 1 day ago

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said he is not content with the newly acquired non-intrusive scanners deployed by Uganda Revenue Authority as part of the tax agency’s continuing efforts to combat smuggling and other forms of import tax evasion.

Smuggling, concealing and under-declaration of goods have long occupied minds at URA, leading to the acquisition and installment of non-intrusive inspection (scanners) technology at Malaba and Busia border posts.

 

The minster who spoke at the launch of the scanners at Busia One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) said he wants scanners that have no human interface.

“I’m not satisfied with this system; I want a system that is not human, where people cannot be compromised. That is how we can maximise revenue; we have lost a lot due to wrong declaration,” he said.

Busia One-Stop Border Post

The new X-ray scanners, according to the manufacturers, will be manned by at least two people. Similar equipment will be bought and set up at other entry points, Kasaija said.

It will now take between one and three minutes to inspect a truck, a much shorter timespan compared to the laborious and very slow manual inspection which has been holding up goods at entry points.

 

Dicksons Kateshumbwa, URA’s commissioner for customs, said the Malaba and Busia scanners cost Shs 15 billion and have aided the detection of concealed cargo, leading to the recovery of at least Shs 7 billion last year alone.

“With the introduction of scanners at the Busia border, last financial year total recovery made was Shs 7bn and in FY2016/17 URA recovered Shs 4bn,” he said.

He added that the scanners were necessitated by the increase in trade volumes and traffic flow across Uganda-Kenya borders.

Cross-border trade increases

Official data at URA show Busia OSBP is the second busiest entry point. Import trade volumes through Busia grew at an average of 10 per cent over the last three years (2015-2017), while exports grew at an average of 12 per cent in the same period.

Total traffic through Busia for FY 2017/18 for various categories of vehicles was 99,650, representing a 23 per cent increase. While traffic outflow for 2017/18 period was 74,889 vehicles, representing a 39 per cent increase in comparison to FY 2016/17 traffic outflow of 45,118.

 

“FY 2016/17 had traffic inflow of 77,076 vehicles,” Kateshumbwa said.

URA also said that in addition, there are supply chain security concerns such as terrorism, advances in IT aiding sophisticated commercial fraud and smuggling that need to be detected and deterred within URA’s limited human and financial resources. 

“This has created a need to innovate and transform systems and procedures to meet international trade requirements; harmonising processes so as to balance the demands for trade facilitation with enforcement of compliance for better service delivery,” Kateshumbwa explained.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said he is not content with the newly acquired non-intrusive scanners deployed by Uganda Revenue Authority as part of the tax agency’s continuing efforts to combat smuggling and other forms of import tax evasion.

Smuggling, concealing and under-declaration of goods have long occupied minds at URA, leading to the acquisition and installment of non-intrusive inspection (scanners) technology at Malaba and Busia border posts.

 

The minster who spoke at the launch of the scanners at Busia One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) said he wants scanners that have no human interface.

“I’m not satisfied with this system; I want a system that is not human, where people cannot be compromised. That is how we can maximise revenue; we have lost a lot due to wrong declaration,” he said.

Busia One-Stop Border Post

The new X-ray scanners, according to the manufacturers, will be manned by at least two people. Similar equipment will be bought and set up at other entry points, Kasaija said.

It will now take between one and three minutes to inspect a truck, a much shorter timespan compared to the laborious and very slow manual inspection which has been holding up goods at entry points.

 

Dicksons Kateshumbwa, URA’s commissioner for customs, said the Malaba and Busia scanners cost Shs 15 billion and have aided the detection of concealed cargo, leading to the recovery of at least Shs 7 billion last year alone.

“With the introduction of scanners at the Busia border, last financial year total recovery made was Shs 7bn and in FY2016/17 URA recovered Shs 4bn,” he said.

He added that the scanners were necessitated by the increase in trade volumes and traffic flow across Uganda-Kenya borders.

Cross-border trade increases

Official data at URA show Busia OSBP is the second busiest entry point. Import trade volumes through Busia grew at an average of 10 per cent over the last three years (2015-2017), while exports grew at an average of 12 per cent in the same period.

Total traffic through Busia for FY 2017/18 for various categories of vehicles was 99,650, representing a 23 per cent increase. While traffic outflow for 2017/18 period was 74,889 vehicles, representing a 39 per cent increase in comparison to FY 2016/17 traffic outflow of 45,118.

 

“FY 2016/17 had traffic inflow of 77,076 vehicles,” Kateshumbwa said.

URA also said that in addition, there are supply chain security concerns such as terrorism, advances in IT aiding sophisticated commercial fraud and smuggling that need to be detected and deterred within URA’s limited human and financial resources. 

“This has created a need to innovate and transform systems and procedures to meet international trade requirements; harmonising processes so as to balance the demands for trade facilitation with enforcement of compliance for better service delivery,” Kateshumbwa explained.

1 week 1 day ago

Newly appointed Leader of Opposition (LoP) Betty Aol Ochan has called for support and unity from all opposition members in parliament so they can push all push for good governance and democracy in the country.  

Amidst applause from majorly the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party MPs, Aol said that everyone had something to offer to the country and pleaded with her colleagues to team up with her to form a formidable opposition that will push for better alternative policies. 

 

Aol was making her first speech as LoP in parliament yesterday Wednesday afternoon. Her statement comes amidst divisions in the country's largest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) arising out of a reshuffle by party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat.

Betty Aol Ochan addressing parliament

Amuriat was elected FDC president in November last year after defeating the incumbent president Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu. In his first appointments after assuming the presidency, Amuriat dropped Winnie Kiiza, the Kasese Woman MP and several other legislators, who campaigned openly for his challenger in the race.

The changes have been described as a reward for loyalty to supporters of Amuriat, who was backed by former party president Dr Kiiza Besigye against pro-Muntu supporters. But Aol says the opposition in parliament is numerically disadvantaged and cannot afford to be divided in order to maintain relevance as a force that has the ability to hold government accountable.

She observes a need for dialogue to heal the wounds and divisions triggered by the reshuffle, adding that opposition members need to work together, respect each other and accept diversity in opinion.

According to Aol, the office of the LoP remains one line of defence for the people and especially a place to put government in check.
 
"On that note; while differences in opinion are healthy and should be encouraged, we cannot afford to be divided. We need every one of us to be together. Against that backdrop I'm cognisant of the mixed reactions that this recent leadership change, there is need for dialogue. We need to sit down as leaders and chart a way forward for the great for the greater good of the opposition," Aol said. 

Aol praised her predecessor Kiiza for putting up a spirited fight against the removal of presidential age and exhibiting valor and leadership when she stood with those opposed to age limit lifting all the way.

Kiiza on her part thanked fellow MPs for working with her and congratulated Aol for being appointed as the LoP. She pledged to work with Aol and give her the cooperation she desires in order to make the country better for all Ugandans. 

 

"I rise to heartily congratulate my dear friend, sister, colleague and honourable leader Betty Aol Ochan upon her appointment as the current Leader of Opposition in the parliament of Uganda. Honourable Betty, congratulations and I would like to take the same opportunity to thank you the Rt Hon speaker and colleagues for having given me utmost cooperation that I needed in my tenure as as Leader of Opposition. I don’t take it for granted that you treated me as a friend, you treated me as a colleague, you treated me as leader with dignity and respect." Kiiza said. 

It was a change in tone from Kiiza's last press conference earlier this week when she appeared to question Amuriat's appointments. Then she'd insisted that her term of office was supposed to end in December and therefore the reshuffle had come prematurely. She had also threatened to use any legal loophole to hold unto office. But addressing MPs on the floor of parliament yesterday, Kiiza attacked the media for having tainted her character that she did not want to hand over office to Aol. 

"Contrary to the media speculations and actually the article that appeared in the Daily Monitor. It was sad that the Monitor could come up with such a statement about Winnie the person and my character that I said I’m not going anywhere. Actually what I said was that; I’m waiting for the parliamentary process so that I can do the handover process to my colleague Betty. It was so shameful for the Monitor to bring that cover story, tarnishing my image. It was unfortunate and I condemn it in the strongest terms possible. Otherwise thank you colleagues, I want to thank the FDC party under the leadership of Gen Mugisha Muntu for giving me the opportunity to serve my country." she said. 

 

Kiiza said that she will hand over the office at an appropriate time. Government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, congratulated Aol and assured her of government support. She also congratulated Kiiza saying that she did everything to defend the opposition on the floor of parliament.

First deputy prime minister Moses Ali said Kiiza was outstanding and that government supported her in a lot of ways. She singled out Kiiza's ability to visit Zoka forest and Apaa boundary where there is an ongoing dispute between Amuru and Adjumani districts.

Deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah read a letter written by FDC secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi which communicated Aol as the new LoP. The other appointments confirmed include that of Kiira municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda as the opposition chief whip and Harold Tonny Muhindo the Bukonzo East MP as his deputy. 

Also confirmed are Rukungiri municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda appointed as a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Francis Mwijukye as a parliament commissioner, Mukono municipality MP Betty Nambooze as a representative at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). 

The others are Busongora North MP William Nzoghu appointed as a Pan African Parliament (PAP) representative while Mbale municipality MP Jack Wamai Wamanga is sent to represent FDC at the African Caribbean and Pacific Parliament (ACP).

Oulanyah also confirmed the opposition changes at the committee level highlighting the appointment of Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi as new chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Agago Woman MP Franca Judith Akello as chairperson of the Local Government Accounts Committee, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa as chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE). 

However, Oulanyah said that the status quo on two positions of opposition backbench parliamentary commissioner and representative to the Pan African Parliament are to remain until the necessary steps for changes are followed.

The positions are currently occupied by Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal and Agago North MP Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo respectively. Oulanyah said that the speaker's office was to make an official communication on the two positions.

1 week 1 day ago

MITYANA- A UPDF truck transporting weaponry has derailed at Kigalama on the Mityana- Mubende Road after its rear caught fire.

 The vehicle was transporting the arsenal to Karama Armoured Warfare Training School, according to Brig. Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesman.

 “It was UPDF Low loader trailer carrying an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) on the way to Karama Armoured Warfare Training School. No casualties were registered,” Brig. Karemire said.

According to Mr Afirimani Viga, the officer in charge of the Police Fire Department in Mityana District, they received an emergency call at about 7pm on Saturday that the UPDF truck was being consumed by fire.

“We rushed to the scene and managed to save the lives of three people who were travelling in the truck,” he said.

Mr Viga said they are investigating the cause of the fire although he could not rule out tyre friction since the truck was carrying heavy cargo.

 

The armoured tank that was being transported on the ill-fated truck.
2 weeks 5 days ago

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