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The Bank of Uganda has today announced a raise in the central bank rate (CBR) from 9% to 10%, a move responding to pressure of increasing prices of goods and services.

The CBR is key in determining the interest rates but also shows whether the economy is doing well or not. A raise means BOU is sensing the economy could hit some turbulence going forward. The central bank uses this rate to control inflation as well.

 

Over the past one year, BOU has reduced it from the highs of 17% early last year to 9% in June this year to boost growth by allowing businesses to borrow at lower interest rates and invest. The lower the CBR, the lower interest rates are likely to be.

BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile told reporters today afternoon that inflation is projected to rise above the 5% target within the next 12 months – necessitating policy stance change. Core inflation, targeted by BOU and which measures change in prices of goods and services less water, electricity and food, increased to 3.9% last month.

“In the recent months, rapidly rising oil prices coupled with weaker shilling exchange rate and indirect tax increases have pushed up inflation,” Mutebile said while reading October monetary policy statement at BOU offices in Kampala.

 

Oil prices have edge up to a four-year high of $80 per barrel in the global market. At the pump level in Uganda, a litre of petrol is at Shs 4,300 from Shs 3,800 in January. Diesel is selling at Shs 4,000. Fuel has an impact on almost everything sold on the market.

Raising the key rate may see a reversal in the commercial bank interest rates that had started dropping and this may slow down borrowing and consequently investment. The raise also means those servicing bank loans may also end up paying back more. 

BOU said higher prices in the market have been pushed up by weaker shilling. It means importers need a lot money to buy dollars to import the same amount of goods they imported cheaply - say in January this year – consequently, selling them expensively.

“A key risk to the inflation outlook is the shilling exchange rate which remains vulnerable to the possibility of tighter global financial conditions as well as strong domestic demand,” Mutebile said.

The shillings weakness can also be attributed to the fact that Uganda exports less than it gets from the outside. This means the country spends more dollars than it is able to earn affecting its currency.

A 2017/18 financial report by BOU shows that the shilling was generally stable for most of the financial year but later lost ground.

“During the last quarter [April–June], the shilling weakened, largely on account of global strengthening of the dollar and elevated US dollar from oil, manufacturing and telecommunications sector as well as offshore investors amidst low inflows from exports,” BOU report says.

The governor said, however, the economic growth prospects in the next two to three years remain unchanged. This, he indicated, means that the central bank thinks the economy will still be on the upward trend – at least above six per cent.

“Economic growth has been sold since the second half of 2017 supported by the global economy recovery and the easing of domestic financial services,” Mutebile said.

amwesigwa@observer.ug

2 months 1 week ago

The Inspectorate of Government has launched an investigation into Godfrey Bangirana, the police director of Engineering and Logistics, accused of superintending several fraudulent procurements.

The assistant inspector general of police was last week questioned by officers from the IGG’s office, acting on a whistleblower’s petition. The whistleblower accuses the police chief of inflating costs for the repair of a police chopper that had been grounded for 15 years.

 

The seven-seater Bell 206B helicopter, which was grounded in 2002 flew again on May 31 after two years of refurbishment by Yamasec Ltd, an Israeli security systems company operating in East Africa.

According to the whistleblower, Bangirana quoted an exorbitant price of Shs 10bn for the chopper’s repair. On the day of its launch before cameras by the deputy Inspector General of Police (D/IGP) Brig Muzeyi Sabiiti at Kajjansi airstrip, the chopper initially failed to take off until engineers fixed a few things.

The amount spent on refurbishing this 33-year-old chopper could have been used to buy a new chopper.

 

According a website www.aircraftcompare.com, choppers from the same American manufacturer cost between US$900,000 (Shs 3.3bn) and $1.2m (Shs 4.4bn) depending on specifications - which implies that the Uganda Police Force could have procured at least two more choppers with the same amount spent on repairing the Kajjansi chopper.

Former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura wanted to sell it off as scrap but was convinced to instead repair it. The whistleblower also questions the Shs 100bn bill for the construction of Nateete police station.

The four-storey structure stands commandingly in the swampy Nateete suburb of Kampala; a few metres from the razed old police station torched by rioters in 2009 at the peak of protests against government’s refusal to let the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II to travel to Bugerere (Kayunga district).

According to the whistleblower, the face value of the new Nateete police structure does not exceed Shs 20bn. Bangirana is also accused of flouting procurement processes - awarding contracts to companies in which he has personal interest.

As head of Engineering and Logistics, Bangirana is charged with handling all procurements in the police.

“He has superintended over gross procurement flaws that have not only affected the police force but also the various suppliers who have various contracts with the force,” the whistleblower’s letter dated August 25 to the IGG partly reads.

As a consequence, the whistleblower wrote, the money police owes to various suppliers has accumulated to over Shs 125bn since 2015.

 

“He endorses payments for only friendly companies or individuals. He is the man behind the fuel scam where he paid billions of shillings to petrol companies and had his proxies fetch police fuel but also sometimes going through back doors to pick physical cash from the fuel stations,” the whistleblower wrote.

POLICE FUEL

The whistleblower also asked the IGG to interest herself in knowing how Bangirana gave out police fuel to non-police officers, causing the force to lose billions of shillings in facilitating activities of private individuals.

Among the recipients of the fuel that the whistleblower named is President Museveni’s younger brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh). The whistleblower further alleges that Gen Saleh’s associates get preferential treatment compared to other suppliers that do business with police.

Bangirana is among the officers that were recommended for dismissal by the 1999 Justice Julia Sebutinde commission of inquiry into corruption in police.

The whistleblower now wants the IGG to investigate why the recommendations of the report were never respected but instead Bangirana got rapidly promoted to become an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP).

“You may also need to take a keen interest in the wealth accumulated by Mr Bangirana. Has he declared it? Can he account for such wealth?” the whistleblower wrote.

Munira Ali, the spokesperson of the Inspectoracte of Government told The Observer on Monday that the charges had been consolidated into one case of mismanagement.

“All the allegations point to one thing, mismanagement. That is why we have decided to crown it as that,” Munira said.

Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said police heard about Bangirana’s investigation through the media.

“It is only the office [IGG] responsible for that investigation that knows the details,” Kayima said.

sadabkk@observer.ug

2 months 2 weeks ago

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has frozen the bank accounts of the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) over unpaid taxes.

The accounts were frozen in July and has affected regional activities such as meetings due to lack of funds. According to URA spokesperson Vincent Seruma, the accounts were frozen due to unpaid Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) amounting to Shs 2 billion.

 

"We closed the accounts because they had not paid their taxes for more than a year." Seruma said. 

Filbert Bates Baguma, the general secretary UNATU says that a number of their programs have been affected since the accounts were frozen. Baguma says that they are yet to pay the accrued taxes since they do not agree with URA's calculation.

"The figure that URA gave us is too large. We do not agree with it and are not going to pay until we can sit down with them and go over our books."

Some regional UNATU representatives say that they are not sure if the World Teachers' Day celebrations on October 5 will take place. UNATU often contributes up to Shs 5 million for each of the regions to celebrate the day.

 
2 months 2 weeks ago

The Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) has conducted a static road test on the new Nile bridge in Jinja.

During the test conducted on Friday, 26 trucks loaded with murram and each weighing 25 tonnes crossed the bridge concurrently for more than 30 minutes to determine the bearing capacity. However, no cracks were detected an indication that the bridge is ready for use.
The site engineer, Lawrence Pario said that the bridge will be commissioned on October 17. 

"We are done with all the permanent works which include installing the cables that join the bridge from Njeru to Jinja and the 2.6km road leading the public to the bridge making it ready for use," Pario says.

 
2 months 2 weeks ago

Makerere University vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe has written to Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago over the conduct of Makerere LCV councillor, Doreen Nyanjura.

In a letter to Lukwago dated Friday, September 28, Nawangwe said Nyanjura should be counseled to desist from promoting hooliganism among Makerere University students.

 

"Your lordship, I wish to humbly request you to counsel Ms Nyanjura to desist from promoting hooliganism among our students," Nawangwe wrote.

Nawangwe says Nyanjura has been promoting strikes at the university, by openly encouraging disruptive behaviour and even funding students to strike.

"Ms Nyanjura has openly encouraged behaviour among our students, which is not compatible with a university of international repute such as Makerere. There are also allegations that she has funded students to engage in disruptive activities. I am sure that you agree with me that this is not acceptable behaviour in a university of our stature," he said.

 

Nyanjura, a firebrand Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leaning councillor who honed her political activism while still studying at Makerere. She won the 2016 elections to represent Makerere University at KCCA because of her popularity among students.

Prof Nawangwe has in the past two months suspended over 10 students and sent warning letters to several students for engaging in strikes or mobilising other students to strike.

The students have been demanding university management to drop 15 per cent tuition increment introduced at the start last month. Nyanjura sits on the University Council, the highest decision making organ at Makerere.

Nyanjura says that Nawangwe has changed into an autocratic leader who is attempting to gag and silence all dissenting voices within the university. Nyanjura vowed that she will never be silenced by Nawangwe.

"I think Nawagwe's intention is to indirectly gag me after I denounced his autocratic administration that is characterized by the continuous suspension of students critical of the 15% tuition increment! I know he will fight me with all the tools at his disposal but I won't be silenced," she said.

2 months 2 weeks ago

The two UPDF soldiers ( left) who were detained at the Busia Police Station on Sunday,while in pursuit of a fish trader. NATION MEDIA GROUP PHOTO  

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By GAITANO PESSA

Kenya has freed two Ugandan soldiers who were detained at Busia Police Station for breaching security protocol at the border by crossing into the country illegally.

The release of the two soldiers attached to Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) follows hours of closed-door bilateral meeting between security officers from the two countries at the police station.

The officers in full jungle green uniforms and their driver were apprehended and disarmed on Kenyan soil Sunday morning while in pursuit of a vehicle that was transporting fish from Jinja, Uganda.

Busia County Commissioner Jacob Narengo and Uganda Resident District Commissioner Hussein Matanda who received the officers on behalf of Ugandan government led the talks that hastened their release.

“The two, alongside a driver, entered the country armed against the law. The action we took was to disarm and put them in custody. We have since established that the fish they were pursuing had already met tax obligations,” said Mr Narengo

The commissioner added that for the interest of the relationship between the two countries and the spirit of East Africa Community they decided to hand them over to Uganda authorities unconditionally for further investigations.

Mr Matanda lauded Kenyan authorities for handling the situation professionally and accepting to release the suspects.

“This is a crime committed by individual officers and not aggression from Ugandan government. Our subject of investigation will focus on why they crossed to Kenya armed while there are options they could have employed, including seeking help to intercept those they were pursuing,” he said.

He said the working relationship between the two countries is good having been firmed by cross-border commissioners’ forum.

“By the time they were intercepted they had left Uganda territory and crossed into Kenya having bypassed two gates armed with two riffles with four magazines which had 185 rounds of ammunition.”

The [Toyota] Camry car they were pursuing also had Uganda registration with all seats removed except the driver’s.

Mr Matanda did not rule out an extortion mission gone wrong and admitted the existence of fish cartels.

“Kenyans fear fish trading citing harassment and have decided to recruit Ugandans to buy fish on their behalf who conceal them for easy transportation."

2 months 3 weeks ago

Mulago Specialised Maternal and Neonatal Healthcare hospital opened its doors to the public on Monday.

This followed a cabinet tour of the state-of-the-art facility led by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda last Thursday. The ministerial tour assessed the facility’s readiness and later okayed public access to the hospital.

However, Enock Kusasira, the publicist for Mulago national referral hospital, told The Observer on Monday that the facility would be officially commissioned by President Museveni on October 6, when it is already fully functioning.

The 450-bed and fully furnished hospital was secured at the cost of Shs 91.5 billion availed by Uganda government and the Islamic Development Bank. Construction was contracted to Arab Contractors.

 

The hospital, also referred to as centre and as unit, is a comprehensive and specialized component of Mulago national referral hospital. The hospital project document and regular status reports also say it will be “popularly known as the Women’s hospital”.

Kusasira clarified to The Observer on Monday that as to whether the new hospital will be autonomous or under Mulago national referral complex management was to be determined late yesterday or later.

“I will answer that question tomorrow, because my minister and cabinet are today expected to decide its status,” Kusasira said.

As a project, its broad objective is to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in Uganda; this to be achieved through improvement of maternal and child healthcare services delivery at the national referral hospital level.

 

The project includes supply of medical and non-medical equipment and furniture, training of personnel in specialized fields, establishment of hospital management protocols and hiring of consultancies to support key project implementation activities.

The hospital will offer in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive health technologies to help couples with difficulties to produce children. Other key services include high-risk antenatal care, delivery and postnatal services, gynecology, laproscopic surgery, and uro-gynaecology especially obstetric fistula.

It also has a pharmacy, emergency department, blood bank, labour suites, a morgue, intensive care unit (40 beds), laboratories, operation theatres (11), and departments of radiology and physiotherapy.

jmusinguzi@observer.ug

2 months 3 weeks ago

Health officials in Bunyoro sub-region have been put on high alert following reports of an Ebola case at Tchomia landing site in Ituri province on the shores of Lake Albert. 

Tchomia landing site is the closest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) landing site to Ugandan districts in the Bunyoro sub-region On Friday, Ituri province vice governor Keta Upar said in a statement that the latest Ebola case had been reported in Tchomia. 
 
Tchomia is one of the busiest fish markets in eastern DRC and attracts several Ugandan businessmen from the landing sites of Butiaba, Walukoba, Kijangi, Kaiso,Sebigoro, Nkondo, Ndaiga, Ntoroko, Kyehoro and Fofo from the districts of Hoima, Buliisa, Kikuube, Ntoroko and Kagadi.

 

Usually, Ugandan businessmen cross to Tchomia market on a weekly basis - posing a big threat that the Ebola outbreak can easily be brought into the country. Tchoima fish market operates every Thursday.
 
Dr Fredrick Byenume, Hoima district health inspector warns the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious cases to the nearby trained health personnel deployed along the shores of Lake Albert.

Byenume told URN on Saturday that the district is currently training 70 surveillance officers who are to be deployed along all the landing sites in the district to carry out surveillance services. 

He says next week, the district health department will embark on training of case management personnel who will be equipped with all the necessary techniques of handling Ebola cases.

 

Dr James Olowo, Kagadi district health officer (DHO) told URN that the district has deployed a team of health officers at all the landing sites that are currently doing surveillance and screening of Congolese nationals entering the district. He says the district health department has also embarked on mass sensitisation of the public on how they could detect and report all Ebola cases.

Simon Agaba Kinene, the Buliisa LCV chairperson says since Buliisa is one of the districts that is at the border point with the DRC, the district leaders have teamed up with health officials to conduct massive sensitisation and screening of those entering the district from DRC through the Lake Albert waters.

He too warns the people of Buliisa and Bunyoro at large to be conscious and immediately report any strange cases to trained health officials.
 
The current Ebola outbreak in  North Kivu and Ituri province was officially declared on 1 August and has since killed 97 people. Another 46 are believed to be infected, while more than 1,750 are under active surveillance, according to the World Health Organization.

The situation has been tense at the Uganda-Congo border with increased surveillance and sensitisation drives since three deaths were reported in the city of Butembo, 51 kilometres from the Mpondwe border post. The post is a hub for Congolese mineral exports and imports from East African ports through Uganda.
 
The World Health organization said earlier that it was aiding Uganda to set up the "ring vaccination" strategy being used in Congo in order to ensure that the deadly disease does not cross the borders.

2 months 3 weeks ago

Detained former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels commander Dominic Ongwen is a proud father of a bouncing new child. 

The child whose gender has been concealed, was conceived during the second leg of a private family visit, his wife and children made last year to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) detention centre.
 
Ongwen broke the news of the new born child to a group of four leading Acholi leaders who visited him at the detention center in the Hague on Friday this week.  

 

Paramount chief of Acholi, David Onen Achana II, the head of the delegation, the Archbishop of Gulu Catholic diocese John Baptist Odama and the retired Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng, the former Bishop of northern Uganda Anglican diocese as well as Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu district chairperson visited Ongwen at the Hague. 
 
Mapenduzi said Ongwen was very excited as he broke the news of the birth of the child during the visit which lasted more than one hour.

"He said the court allows his immediate family - his wife and children to visit him. I think his wife has visited him about twice already. Actually when his wife visited him last year, she went back pregnant and has given birth. She has given birth and the guy was excited to talk about that. The court allows them to have their conjugal rights. His children have visited him, he calls them. His children are in school in Gulu, he talks to them." Mapenduzi said. 
 
In Acholi culture, male children born in diaspora are named Otim while their female counterparts are named Atim. When dictated by a sad circumstance such as incarceration or calamity, the children are often named Lubangakene to mean God is good in praise of his protective powers.
 
Ongwen has been locked at the detention centre since 2015 after surrendering from the Central African Republic (CAR) to stand trial at the International Criminal Court for 70 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual and gender based crimes he is alleged to have committed while serving as commander of the Sinia Brigade.
 
While in captivity of the LRA, Ongwen fathered more than 20 children with different women that he enslaved as wives. While in detention, he invites the ones he loves the most to visit him, it's during these visits that a new child has been born.
 
Peter Lewis, the registrar of the International Criminal Court had earlier told the delegation that Ongwen is accorded a private family visit in which he has conjugal rights. Shortly after breaking the news, Ongwen reportedly also requested the delegation to deliver to him some Catholic articles of worship including a holy rosary, hymn and prayer books.  

Archbishop Odama told Ongwen that he will contact the registry of the court to work out a mechanism through which the articles of worship will be delivered.
 
During the visit, Ojara says Ongwen disclosed a botched plan in which Joseph Kony, the LRA leader and Okot Odhiambo, former ICC indicted commander had crafted to execute the paramount chief of Acholi and other cultural leaders during the failed Juba Peace talks.
 
According to Ongwen, Kony wanted the cultural leaders killed shortly after Juba peace talks ended to demonstrate to the world that the leaders could not make peace with them.

 

The South Sudan mediated peace talks ended without the final peace agreement after Kony refused to show up and sign the final text of the agreement citing failure to withdraw the ICC arrest warrants which were hanging over five of the group's top commanders.
 
According to Ojara, Ongwen revealed that it was him and Ceaser Acellam who rejected the plan on account that murdering cultural leaders constitutes serious taboo and omen under the culture of the Acholi people.  

"One statement that really touched me, he said; paramount chief, ' thank God that I’m seated facing you right now because I can feel you. I remember how Joseph Kony had ordered that you be killed and how it became a very heated debate - almost risky when I resisted. Some commanders had sided with Kony that you be killed together with other leaders including Odhiambo.'" said Ojara.
 
The paramount chief Onen is reported to have told Ongwen that he had been informed about the murder plot to eliminate him by former LRA rebels who reintegrated into communities. According to Mapenduzi, the chief then applauded Ongwen and the other commanders who saved their lives. 
 
"It was good Ongwen opened up to confess without duress as he had been waiting for the confession for a long time" Mapenduzi elaborated.
 
From the detention centre, Ongwen shares the common room with other suspects standing trial at The Hague based court including former President of Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo and his former minister among others with each of them preparing their separate meals. 
 
For the delegation of Acholi leaders, Ongwen prepared a meal of pork and chicken, a Dutch meal served with rice and salads. He said it was his honour to serve his visitors in accordance with the Acholi culture. 

Under the International Criminal Court's founding treaty conjugal right is provided for. The other rights are right to an effective defense and fair judge, the right to equality and equal treatment by law, the right of presumption of innocence, negative comments from the public authorities and the right to respect of privacy, family, home and correspondence.  

Others are interference in correspondence, the right to be treated with humanity and the right to freedom from torture, the right of the accused person to get notified of the charges in a language he/she understands, the right to legal assistance, the right not to testify against itself or the right to remain silent and the right to be recorded during interrogation.

2 months 3 weeks ago

At the close of nationwide consultations on the future of their party, former president of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change, Gregory Mugisha Muntu has said that FDC could find itself being replaced by the ‘People Power Movement’.

“Nature does not allow a vacuum,” he said, referring to the movement whose most prominent face is new kid on the political block, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine), the MP for Kyadondo East.

“What we have to ask ourselves is whether there is some form of vacuum that requires the emergence of a new force or not…,” he told The Observer.

Muntu said  for that force to emerge, survive and grow, it is dependent on the “prevailing objective conditions, not just leadership”.

 

“Leadership takes opportunity of the prevailing conditions. So, the question I keep asking is; when we were starting, were there no political parties? Of course, they were there.

“So, what explains why FDC came about and grew? Are there any such conditions now? If there are, more so for us in FDC, if there is that space, why are we not expanding that space?

“Perhaps, there is something that we are not doing right. We should be asking ourselves what it is and do we have the will and capacity to deal with it?”

Muntu warned that if FDC does not answer these questions, then it will inevitably be swallowed up by the sweeping Bobi Wine movement.

 

For months, Muntu and allies, mostly members of parliament, have been speaking to FDC members around Uganda about a ‘third way’ after being frozen out by radical forces inside the party.

Prof Sabiti Makara, a lecturer of political science, yesterday said Uganda’s largest opposition party has to pay attention to what Muntu is raising.

“FDC should resolve its contradictions and Muntu should be brought on board; it is only then that both factions can enter into a meaningful coalition with the People Power movement. You see that movement does not have clear leadership or structures and FDC is organised, it can be a lead player in case they choose to enter into a coalition with any political formation today. It has leaders who can provide face and most of these are in Muntu’s faction,” he said.

Currently, more than three quarters of FDC representation in parliament is behind Muntu. Current party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat declined an interview to respond to this assertion. “I don’t want to speculate on Muntu’s things,” he said.

While they (Muntu group) plan to make a clean break in 2020, a year to elections, so as to avoid falling foul of the law, which would otherwise see them lose their seats for changing political allegiances midstream, their local networks are already allied to the People Power movement.

This became clear during a consultative meeting with Muntu in Iganga last month. Bamu Lulenzi, an FDC-leaning independent councillor in Iganga municipality council, said: “Me I have already embraced People Power and I am the coordinator for the group in the greater Iganga district”.

“Whatever decision you make, you should know that me and some of the people in our structures have moved on,” he said.

 

Hassan Muyinda, FDC chair in Iganga municipality, said it is high time the party learnt from Kenyan politics.

“The Kenyans have learnt the politics of alliances. Since we can’t strengthen our organisations to wrestle the ruling party out of power, it is high time we entered into formidable alliances that reflect the political reality,” he said. 

Muntu, the eternal bridge-maker, however, is still holding out hope.

“Listen to us and the voices out there; and resolve internal concerns before it is too late,” he said.

But this week, party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat insisted that there is nothing to resolve.

“As an individual holding the office, I will receive the report, but this should be made clear from the word go. We never commissioned that report and from the inception of the consultation, we did not commission it. We never gave benchmarks and we could not be in a position to evaluate its outcome,” he told The Observer last week.

In January, Muntu and like-minded colleagues set out on countrywide consultations about their continued membership of FDC, a party they think has stumbled away from its core democratic ideals.

The ‘consultations’ got underway after Muntu lost the party presidency race in November 2017 to Amuriat, who rode in on the coattails of FDC’s founding president, Col (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye.

Besigye leads the so-called ‘defiance faction’ which his critics say he has imposed on FDC as the single ideological orientation.

 

As such, three questions were posed to FDC audiences upcountry: How would Maj Gen (rtd) Muntu still be part of FDC when his lot were slandered as moles and non-Ugandans? How is the party going to reconcile the defiance strategy with democracy? And, what is the position of the FDC founding president, Besigye, in the party?

Some feel that if not properly addressed, Besigye’s domineering influence can give birth to a dictatorship in the opposition. Former FDC deputy president Prof Morris Ogenga-Latigo said the consultations were not merely soul-searching, but a look at FDC’s internal practices to establish whether they are in accord with the ideals that defined its formation.

“Over the years, our internal practice has been moving away from tolerance of contrary views towards slandering and faction formation against those who disagree with some positions intended to benefit an individual,” Latigo said.

Midway the consultations, The Observer commissioned a three-month-long investigation into the allegations that were being made by Muntu and his colleagues.

A four-part series later published chronicled how FDC, at its very inception, was side-tracked from its aspirations in the manner in which its first leadership assumed office.

It showed how they unwittingly created a cult of personality around Besigye; and how this cult following gave birth to Besigye’s dominance over FDC.

What Muntu found

After eight months, Muntu says there are now three prevalent views.

“One that says ‘guys let’s do everything humanly possible to solve our internal disagreements. If we separate it will weaken the party and the opposition,” he said.

“While there is a second voice saying that we should stay within the party even if the differences are not resolved; we should fight from within.

“The third is saying that the way we are, there is no way we are going to solve these contradictions. We are wasting each other’s time. In fact, we are in a state of paralysis. So, they are saying let’s just find ways of separating in a mature way and then work together in separate vehicles around the common objective of regime change and building firm foundations for better governance.”

Muntu said these views ran throughout the 90 percent of the areas they visited.

Muntu said that given “the nature of these views, you cannot just go by numbers; you have to be rational and scientific. You have to do analysis of the situation and also get to understand why people think the way they think because after the consultation meetings, you would engage the leaders and there are many people who are more worried about the unknown; they don’t know what will happen. And that is part of humanity; majority of the people who walk this planet find themselves in a state of paralysis because of the fear of the unknown.”

The emergence of the “People Power Movement” along the way has forced more people to be reflective. Around March this year, Amuriat’s leadership had planned to purge the Muntu group from leadership positions on oversight committees in parliament.

However, when senior FDC leaders opened up in The Observer series, Besigye convened a meeting with Muntu, urging him to prevail on his colleagues.

The Observer understands that whereas this meeting was inconclusive, Amuriat was still persuaded to hold back the purge. But a few months later, after the FDC lost the Bugiri municipality by-election to Justice Forum president, Asuman Basalirwa, he blamed it all on the Muntu team.

Accordingly, prominent members of the Muntu team were fired from parliament leadership positions. They included; Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kiiza who was dropped as leader of opposition.

This annoyed the Muntu group who rallied behind their colleague Eziati Kassiano Wadri to defeat another FDC candidate, Bruce Musema, who emerged fourth during last month’s Arua municipality by-election.

Party sources say some people wanted to trigger article 13 of the FDC constitution to expel Muntu’s group for engaging in activities that were hostile to the party.

But Muntu remarks that it would be naïve for the party to shy away from the truth. A truth whose reality is that people power was demonstrated in the successes in Bugiri and Arua municipalities – by-elections in which Muntu and allies stood with the Kyadondo East MP against FDC candidates.

skakaire@observer.ug

2 months 3 weeks ago

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