Government has proposed a Shs 100 tax increment on fuel in FY 2018/19 with the aim of raising Shs 202 billion for road maintenance.
"In the roads and works sector, government will scale down on new projects and shift focus to road maintenance. Shs 100 tax will be imposed on fuel to raise about Shs 202 billion annually for road maintenance", reads part of the 2018/2019 financial year budget frame work paper.
The Shs 100 tax increment on fuel is one of the proposed reforms by government mentioned in the frame work paper with the aim of addressing the current budget implementation and governance challenges.
Motorists will have to pay for fuel if government goes ahead to impose an additional Shs 100 on fuel
Finance state minister, David Bahati tabled the budget framework before parliament last week. The paper lists new policy and administrative measures, which government intends to undertake in the next financial year. They include among others halting of the creation of new agencies, administrative units and public universities.
"Freezing the creation of new units is necessary for government to create financial space to accommodate implementation of a comprehensive pay reform for all categories of government employees, starting in financial year 2018/2019. Relatedly, the policy of one secondary school per sub-county and a technical school per constituency will be reconsidered," reads the framework paper.
The Finance, Planning and Economics Development ministry, also recommends that government stops extending grants to private schools and hospitals starting FY 2018/19 on onwards. The paper also shows that government plans to freeze all planned recruitment under all sectors such as health and education except under very special circumstances.
Government says the recruitment will strictly be done on replacement basis and also say there will be no selective pay awards to avoid agitation and piece meal management of the pay increment pressures from the individual employee cadres. The Finance ministry says all enhancements will be addressed in the comprehensive pay reform.
"In line with on-going Public Finance Management (PFM) reforms, effective financial year 2018/2019, all non-tax revenues (including appropriation in aid) will be collected by Uganda Revenue Authority, channeled to the Consolidated Fund and released normally to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) for the spending institutions," states the budget framework paper.
Also effective next financial year, there will be no more creation of special funds, which the Finance ministry says normally results in disjointed interventions and fragmentation of resources that in most cases do not create the desired impact.
The sectoral committees of parliament are expected to discuss and adopt policy statements from the ministries, departments and agencies. The policy statements spell out areas of focus in the ministries, unfunded priorities and the total budgets.
The Budget committee of parliament is also expected to scrutinize the proposals in the budget framework paper and write a report to parliament for approval.
Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona spoke to Baker Batte Lule about the controversial age limit bill passage and its fall-out.
Your take on the process through which the bill was handled…
Parliament engaged in a conspiracy against this country. It is criminal to conspire against this country especially where the conspiracy is by leaders who have no regard for the aspirations of the people of Uganda.
The way in which President Museveni deployed foreign mercenaries to take over parliament including the desecration of our chaplaincies; the Catholic and Anglican, is deplorable.
The way we legislate and amend our Constitution to fit into the whims of a particular individual is politically criminal and we may never be forgiven by the people of Uganda, and I’m talking about those well-intentioned Ugandans.
One of the issues you raised while debating was that there were cases in different courts concerning the matter. That debating the bill was offending the principle of sub judice.
There is an English saying that ‘give man a rope to hang himself…’ I think we gave enough rope to parliament to hang itself.
The pressure we mounted drove them into committing bigger mistakes. If we had given up, some of those mistakes wouldn’t have been made, and I know quite a number are fatal.
But others argue that you remaining and debating somehow legitimized the process.
Can you legitimize or sanitize something that is illegal? We actually assisted this country by pushing these people to commit more illegalities, which will render this thing unsustainable in the courts of law.
Wait when we file our court papers. They abused the rules, they abused the constitution, and they abused common sense.
There are allegations that within your ranks some people were given money.
If Museveni can pay someone to write a minority report against him, then that is how Ugandans would rate him. I think it’s too pedestrian to imagine that a person would pay you to do something against his interest.
Museveni wanted this thing so badly; it was a do-or-die for him. Then how would he pay you to write something against a bill that sustains his last vein?
They are just finding a way of equalizing the equation. I don’t know whether there is anyone of my colleagues who signed the report that was given money but if that happened, then the person who paid him is stupid. You pay for what?
Others say after the president established that he had the numbers, he had to make the process appear normal…
Museveni was not sure of the numbers; that’s why up to the last minute he was fishing out all those who were hiding. How could he have been sure of the numbers when he exceeded the threshold by only 17 votes?
What happened to the usual forest? But look at the number of NRM MPs, the unexpected ones, who voted no.
So, he wasn’t sure of the numbers and there was no way of balancing it to the extent that he would risk a minority report. I was at the forefront of writing it and Museveni knows he cannot bribe me. There are some Ugandans who are beyond that and I’m proud to say I’m one of those.
Would it surprise you that there are people within your ranks who would cut a deal?
It would surprise me because by somebody sitting in parliament, listening attentively and then vote no; that is character.
Let everybody use the weapon within his means. If somebody’s weapon is to debate. I debated as much as I could. As a member of the committee, I’m not allowed but if you noted the procedural issues I was raising, you would see that is my ability.
There are those who managed to jump over tables whenever provoked by the illegalities; those ones also did their part. We need to respect each other’s contribution. Use every weapon available to you, that is the only way you can ensure success.
I don’t judge your loyalty by the height you have been able to jump over the table. I don’t think coming up with a minority report is a small contribution. We were able to at least put the views of the people of Uganda on the table because they were ignored by the other side.
Sitting in that House to debate for the length of time we were able to debate, to even listen or to pass chits to colleagues to raise different issues; that is the best we could do for Uganda. We are not going to shoot and kill the whole parliament because the majority is saying this.
Nothing good came out of the Magyezi bill?
You see, if you prepare a delicious meal and pour poison in it, it can’t be described as a good meal. I know you are tempted to ask me whether with the restoration of term limits Ugandans should breathe a sigh of relief. I would say no because they mixed it.
If you are talking about one enemy of the state that has caused us all this trouble and say at least we have limited him by the two-term stipulation... You think Museveni is bothered about that? How much time is he left with in which he would be able to stand? Not more than two terms.
If Museveni has been able to bribe his way; to remove term limits in the first place and now the age limit, even in 2030 he can remove those term limits you are talking about.
The most important thing is not even to defeat Museveni but to plant a culture of constitutionalism because that culture has one effect of compelling us all to respect the constitution and not to amend it out of convenience. Today we are working at the convenience of Museveni, tomorrow it will be at the convenience of Lubega.
I have heard some compare what happened to an abrogation and overthrow of the constitution, would you describe it in those terms?
What is the purpose of a constitution that cannot be implemented? You would rather abolish it and have people do things they want to do.
As a lawyer, what do you say about the extension of the tenure of the current parliament?
It’s absolutely illegal and it shouldn’t stand. I think those who brought that proposal were self seekers. We have a fixed contract under Article 77 of five years and it can only be extended by the person who gave you that mandate.
Because these people went for a bargain, they started bargaining locally with Museveni. He duped them that he would support their extension. Some said well, I would rather have this extension because they know they will not come back.
They need to collect some pension. It was not about the country but, really, about the stomachs of those individuals. They know they have offended the voters.
Does the amendment apply to all elective positions?
Those people don’t know the law. We have never received any bill to amend Chapter 11 of the Constitution, which deals with local governments. Once not amended, it cannot apply across the board.
In the 8th Parliament there was this element of resignation when you cross the floor. The speaker then was Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi.
When it came to Beti Kamya who had left FDC to contest for the presidency, even Erias Lukwago, a DP member of parliament who wanted to contest for mayorship as an independent, the speaker I believe interpreted the provision rightly when he said it doesn’t apply to people vying for other places because it was talking about remaining in parliament.
There is no corresponding provision in the presidential or local government elections acts. These are three different chapters in the constitution; one on the president, one of parliament and the local government.
So, it is too early for them to celebrate. But you know Museveni can do it notwithstanding the law because there is a law on LCs but have you seen them being elected?
Doesn’t the law allow for amending by infection; where you amend one article and it affects other articles?
Yes, there could be a consequential amendment. It is there in constitutional jurisprudence but it’s illegal. You must then go ahead and also amend the affected article in the constitution.
In the event that you go to court and it withholds what parliament did, what happens when 2021 comes?
We follow the law because court will have pronounced itself.
The court is mandated by the constitution to interpret the law. We are opposing it, we think it’s illegal but we are not challenging that alone, we are challenging the entire package.
Communities in Bundibugyo district have declined to accommodate Congolese refugees fleeing from a Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) assault on Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in Congo.
On Friday night, more than 800 Congolese refugees entered Uganda through Busunga border post following a raid by the UPDF on the ADF base of in Eastern DRC.
The attack was in retaliation to the killing of 15 United Nations peace keepers. On Monday, 500 more refugees entered Kasiri, Bundibugoma and Butungo villages in Nyahuka sub-county hoping to get shelter and support from the community.
However, residents turned away the refugees and told them to return to their homes. Edward Baluku, the LCIII chairperson Bubandi town council says that some of the refugees are still stranded because they have nowhere to go.
Baluku explains that refugees have been told to return to their homes after the UPDF stopped its operations in Eastern DRC. He adds that they were planning to transfer some of the refugees to Bubandi sub-county, but they halted the plans due to lack of funds and poor sanitation at the headquarters.
"We have a problem of sanitation, even food; they are still suffering. They have no tents and we want the government to support us. We’re requesting the Red Cross and UN to come and intervene in this problem. It is a big number and we divided them into two groups", he said.
Moses Mbambu, a resident of Nyahuka town council says that on Christmas day, he turned away three Congolese families that had sought refuge at his home. He says that since he is unemployed, he can't afford looking after the refugees, saying they will be an extra burden to his family.
Sam Mbahimba, a refugee from Kamango village, says that he will return to his home once he's guaranteed security by the UPDF and Congolese army. He explains that for the past four days, he has struggled to feed his family of five children.
"We don’t want to be taken there [Bubandi sub-county] because we have many projects and our families there in our country Congo. We have buildings, we have some sambas of cocoa, cassava. So such projects, we can’t leave and go far away from there. We have to keep here as the government of Uganda and that of Congo work together to solve the war. We’re ready to go home", Mbahimba said.
Ronald Mutegeki, the Bundibugyo district LCV chairperson says that the refugees have been told to either return to their homes or go to the transit center at Bubukwanga, which has adequate sanitary facilities and can access food from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Mutegeki also says that the district is yet to receive relief assistance from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Kiruhura. President Yoweri Museveni has called on the elite youth to sensitise the public on issues affecting their lives and share with them important information that can help wananchi solve challenges they face.
“I would like to remind the educated youth that they should help the public to know what they don’t know because they are the ones who are informed. They should share information with the public,” he counselled.
The President, accompanied by the First Lady, Ms Janet Museveni and family members, was among Christians of Nshwerenkye who attended Christmas service at St Luke Nshwerenkye Church of Uganda in Kenshuga Sub-County Kiruhuura District on Monday.
The service was presided over by Rev Emmanuel Kwesiga Katamunanwire.
The President reminded the congregation that their area had been infested by tse-tse flies but after his Advanced Level studies in the 1960s, his group sensitised wananchi on the dangers of pastoralism and encouraged them to adopt the habit of permanent settlement. He, therefore, asked the youth to emulate the same example and share whatever important information they have with wananchi that could help the people to overcome some of the challenges they face.
Mr Museveni assured cattle farmers that government is to procure drugs that will eliminate ticks that disturb their animals during the dry season.
He also urged farmers to plant pastures, harvest and store them for their animals to feed during dry spells.
The President asked the leadership of Nshwerenkye Church of Uganda to organise their jubilee celebrations to enable elders also attend while they are still alive.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Janet Museveni, urged the people of Rwakitura in particular and Uganda in general to thank God for the gift of life as they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
She pointed out the significance of the Christmas tree saying it is a sign of light that shines on the people of the world that had been filled with darkness before the nativity of Jesus Christ.
“The importance of Christmas is a sign of light that shines on the people of the world which was filled with darkness,” she said.
Ms Museveni urged the congregation and all Ugandans to unite as the world commemorates the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
She further encouraged all Christians to constantly pray to the Lord and urged them to take care of the less privileged like the poor, the sick and the elderly.
“If you do that, God will reward you,” she said.
Countrywide. The passing of the controversial Bill to amend the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit dominated church messages during Christmas prayers across the country.
Various religious leaders called for reconciliation and asked the President to rescind his position on the amendment.
At Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala, Vice President Edward Sekandi and Butembe MP Nelson Lufafa faced the wrath of Christians over the passing the Constitution amendment to remove the age limit.
Christians booed Mr Sekandi and refused to listen to him as he tried to justify the Constitution amendment.
He escalated the rage when he used figurative language to say they “used gloves to touch the Constitution”.
Last week, Parliament voted by majority of 317 MPs against 97 to change the Constitution and remove the 75-age limit on the presidency and to extend the term of a president and Parliament from five years to seven.
The Bill now awaits the President Museveni’s assent to become law. The President has publicly declared he supports the Bill, which allows him to stand for another and more terms.
Christians walk out
At Bugembe Cathedral in Jinja District, worshippers walked out of church when Butembe MP, Mr Lufafa was given a microphone to deliver his Christmas message.
When he stood up to speak, many worshipers walked out of church accusing him of misrepresenting their views in Parliament during the voting on the age limit Bill.
In Kanungu, Kinkizi West MP James Kaberuka (NRM) told believers at St Peter’s Cathedral Nyakatare that government should not abuse its numerical strength in Parliament to frustrate views of the majority Ugandans.
“This arrogance that we have the numbers will not help. If we have numbers, why don’t we use them to fight poverty? I am happy that I represented my people. My voters are the winners,” he said.
Bishop Dan Zoreka of Kinkizi Diocese in Kanungu District during his Christmas sermon, appealed to MPs who voted for the removal of presidential age limit to reconsider their decision.
“I know the Bill that was passed (by Parliament) is not yet assented to by His Excellence. My appeal to all the legislators is that they have already done it but let them listen to all Ugandans and see the wishes of the majority. Sometimes the majority may not be considered but they have a point in this amendment of the Constitution,” he said.
Bishop Zoreka said it is not too late for the 317 MPs who voted for the removal of the presidential age limit to rethink and consider the voices of the electorate.
He also asked President Museveni to listen to views of the majority Ugandans and desist from signing the Bill into law.
Archbishop of Gulu John Baptist Odama said the passing of the Bill has divided the nation and bred friction among the population.
Archbishop Odama, who also heads the Catholic Episcopal Conference, warned that the removal of the presidential age limit will breed hostility at a time when the country is consolidating peace and reconciliation.
He was leading Christmas prayers at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Gulu Municipality.
“Africa needs unity, peace and working together to develop the continent. We cannot be agents of destroying our continent because we shall be betraying humanity,” he said.
In Luweero, two clerics scolded some MPs for misrepresenting the views and opinions of their electorates on the age limit Bill and extending the term of Parliament.
The clerics said the MPs exposed their greed and deceitful tendencies from which Jesus Christ was born to redeem mankind.
“Some of our legislators chose to lie in broad day light that you told them to extend their term of office and lifting of the presidential age limit,” Bishop Eridard Nsubuga told Christians during the Christmas sermon at St Mark Cathedral, Luwero Diocese.
Kasana-Luweero Catholic Bishop Paul Ssemogerere said: “The MPs do not want to listen to religious leaders because we do not have money to give them. They forget that they derive their mandate from the people.”
Bishop of Namirembe Diocese Wilberforce Kityo-Luwalira said the country has undergone a big test due to troubles, disappointment and fear caused by the age limit Bill.
“You can see the effort invested in this struggle as if it is the only issue for the country to resolve and others have resolved to demonstrate. It has now gone to another level but while the situation is at that, others were in the chapel pretending to pray and were found eating,” Bishop Luwalira said in reference to intrusion of security personnel in the Parliament chapels hours before the passing of the Bill last Wednesday.
At St James Cathedral Ruharo, Ankole Diocesan Bishop Sheldon Mwesigwa asked those who do not agree with the removal of presidential age limit to petition court.
“We have to pray that court handles the matter fairly. Do not go to the bush, do not get into riots; do not disrupt peace in Uganda,” he urged.
Masaka Diocese Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa urged government and Opposition to reconcile.
“Let the birth of Jesus, who is the prince of peace, bring forth reconciliation amongst us and with God. Although majority who opposed the amendment of the Constitution are furious, they should leave this to God who cannot forget his own people,” Bishop Kaggwa said during prayers at Our Lady of Sorrows Church Kitovu.
At Rubaga Cathedral, Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga accused MPs of rushing to endorse the removal of age limit against the voters’ will.
He also castigated security personnel for abusing people’s rights.
“The way police and other security officers have been handling suspects is quite alarming. We pray that such use of force should stop. Also, let the issue of age limit be tabled through a referendum so that people decide,” Archbishop Kizito said. He urged Christians to always be honest.
At Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church Mbuya, the Parish Priest Rev Fr. John Mungereza condemned political wrangles instigated by MPs.
“We need leaders who must serve the interest of the people they represent. Corruption is rampant among Ugandan politicians yet it is not what God expects of them. They are milking the nation for their personal interest at the cost of ordinary people who are suffering,” he said.
In Mubende, Rev Fr Emmanuel Mwerikande of Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church appealed to leaders in the district to act fast about the increasing land wrangles.
“During my interaction with the prisoners at Kaweeri Prison, I discovered that about 80 per cent of the inmates have been implicated by land grabbers into land- related cases and jailed after which they take over their land,” Fr. Mwerikande said.
At St Paul’s Cathedral in Kako, Bishop Henry Katumba-Tamale of West Buganda Diocese condemned Christians who have transgressed against the Church, saying they betray their baptism and Christian faith.
Prophet Samuel Kakande of the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Mulago asked believers to utilise Christmas to forgive their tormentors.
At Mamre Prayer Centre in Namugongo, the recently consecrated Bishop of Evangelical Orthodox Church Jacinto Kibuuka said: “Whether you were for togikwatako or gikwateko (for or against Constitution amendment), it is time to work for peace. Let us pray for the stability of our country for development.”
At the Anglican Church Shrine Namugongo, Rev Can Henry Ssegawa urged Christians to promote good behaviour during the festive season.
At St Mathew Cathedral Kyamate of South Ankole Diocesan Bishop Nathan Ahimbisibwe castigated domestic violence in the country.
He also called for tolerance of diverse views, saying the country belongs to everyone. He did not specify any matter which has raised divergent views.
North-West Ankole Diocesan Bishop Amos Magezi, leading Christmas prayers at St Paul Cathedral Ibanda, condemned greed, gossiping and envy among Christians.
He challenged rich Christians to share with the poor, especially during Christmas. His call was reiterated by his counterpart at Bukedi Diocese in Tororo Bishop Samuel George Bogere Egesa who urged the rich to share with the poor to earn blessings from God.
At All Saints Church Nakasero in Kampala, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali observed: “There is no peace between husband and wife; children and parents, there are increasing conflicts with neighbours because people who claim to be Christians are working contrary to what Jesus wants.”
Tororo Pentecostal Outreach Ministries Bishop Girado Olukol asked the people to desist from tribal hatred and live harmoniously.
He condemned the conflict between the Jopadhola and Iteso.
“I do not think shedding blood will be the lasting solution but bringing them together would play a big role because each one of us is related,” the bishop said, appealing to President Museveni to intervene between the two warring tribes.
At St Peter’s Cathedral Bweranyangi in Bushenyi, the Minister for General Duties, Ms Mary Karooro Okurut urged Christians to use Christmas to make peace with their neighbours.
At Sacred Heart’s Church, Tororo, State minister for Health Sarah Achieng Opendi lauded the church for advocating peace and unity.
At Burare Catholic Parish, the Buhweju District Woman MP, Ms Oliver Katwesigye Koyekyenga, warned parents against overspending in the festive season.
Reported by E. Kasozi, C. Kisekka, M. Muwulya, D. Wandera, J. Ocungi, Z. Amanyisa, L. Afedraru, J. Omollo, J. Namyalo, F Wambede & L. Mukooli, F. Ainebyoona, A. Tumushabe, P. Rumanzi, S. Otage & Elly Karenzi
Tension is running high in the House after opposition members allegedly sighted strangers in the Chambers.
The matter has been raised by the Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, however, insists that there is no stranger, but only her bodyguards.
"These are my people. Yes, they are my bodyguards, .... Don’t you want me to have security?" she asked.
Business came to a standstill for about 10 minutes as the matter was being probed further.
Ms Kiiza questioned why the Speaker is worried of her security right in the chambers.
"We are not here to harm you, Madam Speaker," said Ms Kiiza.
"But the security of everyone here is what is causing this concern, so we need to legislate in a free environment," she added.
The Rules Procedure of Parliament put all security in the hands of the sergeant at arms, and not private body guards.
Earlier, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa raised fears that there are guns in the Chambers of Parliament.
He claimed that one of his colleagues, Kasanda South MP, Simeo Nsubuga had asked him to stay calm lest he faces the power of the gun.
"Hon Nsubuga has assured me that we are going to see more guns. I would like to get your guidance Madam Speaker," Said Munyagwa.
Similar allegations were raised on September 26, this year before the Age Bill was tabled.
Although the speaker dismissed the allegations then, just like today, she later confirmed that Mukono North MP Ronald Kibuule had smuggled a short riffle to the Chambers of Parliament with unclear intentions.
The Opposition lawmakers also raised concern over the composition of Parliament, characterised with the absence of the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The House is this morning sitting to consider a report on the Constitutional amendment Bill, 2017 on the Age Limit.
However, none of the line ministers is available.
Dokolo District Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal, also a commissioner of Parliament says that the situation is worrying, especially as it deals with a constitutional matter.
Meanwhile, the Speaker has instructed the Minister and Attorney General to avail themselves. Lawmakers who disrupt today's business in the House will miss seven sittings as punishment, the Speaker said.
Parliament is convening to consider a report on the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017 famously known as the age limit.
The Bill by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi seeks to repeal article 102 (b) of the Constitution to lift the presidential term limits
While some stand tall, pick themselves up to a better future and get justice, many victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) have had their dreams shattered, lives ruined and taken ages without getting justice.
One such victim is Jane Ariokot (not real names). Two years into their marriage, Jane’s sweet, loving husband turned into “a drunkard wife-beater” immediately after he lost his job.
The 25-year-old from Soroti district is now impaired with a fractured hand in a fight that finally broke their marriage, leaving their two children in the hands of their poor grandmother in nearby Kumi district.
Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) meant for national trainers
“He came back drunk one day and asked for food yet he had spent three days without buying any. I had given all the remaining food to children that night and when I told him that, he rushed outside, brought a big stick and beat me so much. As I tried to protect myself from the stick, he hit me and broke my arm, it hurts me until now and I can’t do any heavy work to look after my children,” Ariokot says.
Whereas her husband was arrested and is currently on remand, Ariokot says she has never gotten justice since court keeps postponing the rulings.
HARD TO PROVE
During a recent three-day regional conference on strategies for implementation of instruments on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) by the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), it was revealed that about 65 per cent of inmates in Uganda’s prisons have cases related to SGBV.
ICGLR acting director Nathan Byamukama said many of such cases are, instead, referred to things like assault, manslaughter murder or attempted murder, as is the case with Ariokot’s husband.
This, Byabakama said, together with the fact that it is difficult to prove sexual violence in courts, is reason enough to make the vice thrive.
“Most cases are done in private and even if you arrest suspects, it’s very difficult to prove in court because court is looking for evidence and some suspects run away and others settle issues out of court because they want money and fear embarrassment,” he said at the conference held at the Commonwealth Resort in Munyoyo.
The ICGLR is an intergovernmental organization of African countries in the Great Lakes region that aims at ensuring security, stability and development between member states. Some of the member states include Uganda, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.
The conference brought together regional stakeholders on sexual and gender-based violence to share experiences and possible solutions to the vice. The forms of violence that have thrived despite several intervations by both government and civil society include rape, forced (arranged) marriages, defilement, sex slavery (human trafficking), and genital mutilation.
The violations, according to specialists, take place in schools, homes, town centers, prisons and conflict zones like refugee camps.
Uganda’s director of public prosecutions, Mike Chibita acknowledged that investigation cases of sexual violence have always given then a knock on the head.
“In cases of sexual assault, DNA should link the perpetrator to the survivor. In Uganda, the facilities are inadequate and expensive,” Chibita said.
While Uganda has domesticated several regional protocols against SGBV into laws, the lack of implementation by government leaves a lot to be desired.
For example, Annet Bada, the legal head at The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (Fida-Uganda) said many victims of human trafficking have gone through depressed circumstances and need protection by the anti-human trafficking law but it is not being implemented.
“The law on trafficking came in 2009 but, to date, there are no regulations to operationalize it. There is need for these laws to resonate with the common person because they are the most vulnerable and they are the victims of human trafficking,” she said.
While many activists believe that Uganda’s weak legislation on SGBV renders both the police and the judiciary helpless in administering justice, deputy chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo disagrees.
“We agree that there is room for improvement. The judiciary can reduce this without legislation. We can use the instruments that the constitution gives to the chief justice to come up with other procedures and practice dimension,” Justice Owiny-Dollo said.
He added that the judiciary has established special courts and sessions to expedite trials of such cases on top of a strategy to reduce case backlog.
EASE OUR WORK
Civil society players who attended the conference said that government should put in place strong legal and policy frameworks to ease their work. It is mainly CSOs that are usually involved in handling SGBV cases and its victims.
Eunice Musiime, the executive director of Akina Mama Africa, said there should also be eradication of armed groups within and without the country, especially those with no political agenda.
“We should also have meaningful dialogue to address democratic deficiencies like impunity which make such vices flourish. We also call for services in terms of policy, medical and judiciary,” she said.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said the current NRM government has no will to help the young people out of poverty.
Launching the 2016/17 State of the Youth report over the weekend at Parliament, Kadaga said even when MPs deliberately pass laws to get the youth out of poverty and improve their livelihoods, the executive seems to have a different agenda.
Kadaga cited a recent example, when she was recently called by President Museveni for passing 'bad laws' against oil investors.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga launching the State of the Youth report at Parliament
Kadaga said the ninth Parliament enacted laws on petroleum in consideration of local content, to enable residents in areas where those companies are located sell their products to the companies and their employees but apparently some foreign investors are dismayed by such laws.
“This is the most painful. We were mindful of what was happening. Can you imagine an oil company based in Bunyoro importing tomatoes from Argentina? Banyoro grow tomatoes, importing beef from South Africa? There are cows in Bunyoro,” Kadaga said.
“What did they do? They went to the president. Parliament made very difficult laws. They said we are failing to do business. The president called me [asking] ‘what did you put in this law?’ I said; your excellency don’t even listen to those people. If you bring the bill back, it will comeback [to you] we are not going to change anything. I said we [MPs] are conscious that our people need market,” she added.
According to the report, although the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government committed massively to fulfill the demands of young people in the national youth manifesto of 2016-2021, a lot remains unattended to. The youth demands under five thematic areas included jobs, education, youth participation and sports, health, and creative arts.
According to the report however, youth venture capital fund has been redundant since the introduction of the Youth Livelihood Programme yet the funds are allocated by the same government because the process of establishing incubation centers meant to contribute to job creation and training is taking too long.
Government agricultural interventions like National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) among others have not benefited the youth.
Western Youth MP, Mwine Mpaka said the youth have been left in dilemma despite constituting about 8.2 million of the country’s population which the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) projected at 37.6 million this year.
Mpaka said many youth are engaged in agriculture but struggle to find market for their produce especially those dealing in small quantities with no value addition.
"Youth venture capital fund remains redundant given the requirements from commercial banks which youth fail to produce. The agricultural credit facility, which was intended to facilitate the provision of medium and long term loans to projects engaged in agriculture and agro-processing on more favorable terms than are usually available from the financial institutions has remained elusive to youth agricultural enterprises," Mpaka said.
"Children below 18 years constitute 55 per cent of the population meaning youth numbers continue to bulge. Therefore, there must be concerted efforts to develop this group of the population given their numbers and potential to boost growth and development."
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga
According to Kadaga, other countries have strong economies because they train, support and monitor youth programmes.
“The Turkish government provides money for youth but they train you for three month before you touch that money, then they monitor you. You don’t just disappear into Katanga, no they monitor you,” Kadaga said.
“In Egypt if you are a foreign company in order for you to get a license you must employee nine Egyptians. If you are a Ugandan and you are there, for every Ugandan nine Egyptians if not you go away. In Malaysia for every foreigner 11 Malaysians must be employed in that company,” Kadaga added.
She expressed anger that despite the existence of the innovation fund, it was still difficult to know how one can access it.
“Yes we have the innovation fund but one is not sure where it is. I went to Iganga to do some work. Some people brought me two radios [that] they [had] manufactured. I said; but this is import substitution, we don’t need to go to China. So, I got excited, I told them come to my office in Kampala,” Kadaga said.
“I called the minister of Science and Technology [Elioda Tumwesigye], I gave the young men to him, I told him work with them, give them the money. When I met them [and] I asked how far they had gone they said ‘aahh nothing is happening’. I asked what do you mean nothing is happening? So, even the will to support the young people is not there,” she added.
At the end of their four-day retreat at Serena Lake Victoria Resort Kigo in Wakiso district, 18 members of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee endorsed the Raphael Magyezi amendment, which if given the much-needed parliamentary nod of approval would scrap presidential age limits.
The 29-member committee was booked into the luxurious resort after meeting President Museveni.
Committee members opposed to the amendment had threatened to boycott the retreat, however, Medard Lubega Sseggona (Busiro East), Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) and NRM’s Monicah Amoding (Kumi Woman) eventually turned up at Kigo after their contacts in the committee turned against them.
The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee in ameeting with President Museveni
The Observer understands that as the committee left for State House, those opposed asked Bwamba MP Gafabusa Muhumuza and his Busiki counterpart Paul Akamba to serve as listening posts. But to their surprise, the contacts did not relay any messages but ended up voting in support.
Some of Museveni’s proposals during the December 5 meeting at State House Entebbe were to form part of the committee’s recommendations ahead of the second reading of Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi’s age limit bill.
The recommendations include the extension of the tenure of office of the president and MPs to seven years from the current five provided for under Article 105(1).
The particular clause is one of the entrenched provisions of the constitution under Article 260, which means it cannot be amended through a mere vote in Parliament.
It must go through a national referendum. Museveni first spoke about the extension of office terms during his address to the NRM National Executive committee members at Entebbe. (See: Museveni: 5-year term is too short, The Observer, October 30).
Nakifuma MP Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko first unsuccessfully hawked the idea during the 9th Parliament. Museveni’s resurrection of the matter saw it controversially slipped into the committee report, but with a recommendation that it be decided through a referendum.
“It is a matter that generated a lot of debate and we decided that we cannot legislate for ourselves, because it is a matter that directly touches us. That’s why we resolved that we leave it to the people to decide,” an MP said.
The second issue recommended for decision through a referendum is restoration of term limits. All MPs at the retreat, except Nansana Municipality’s Robert Ssebunya Kibirige, voted for restoration.
It was the very first time Ssebunya was attending the committee. The two five-year term limits were provided for under Article 105(2) but were scrapped during the 2005 amendment of the constitution.
Though it is not entrenched under Article 260, the committee still recommended that it too be subjected to a referendum.
“Once passed, the amendments shall not benefit us, instead, they will benefit those who will be elected in 2021,” a member of the committee said.
At a press conference on Monday, Sseggona and Wilfred Niwagaba announced that they had compiled a minority report.
The other signatories of the minority report are, Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), Anna Adeke Ebaju (National Female Youth), Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (Kira Municipality), Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Katuntu and Amoding.
The Observer has established that their dissension is on the removal of the age limit and the seven-year extension.
The main report was endorsed by Veronica Bichetero (Kaberamaido), Robinah Rwakoojo (Gomba West), Brenda Asinde Suubi (Iganga Woman), Caroline Muhwezi (Rukiga Woman), Sam Bitangaro (Bufumbira South), Kenneth Obote Ongalo (Kalaki) and Aston Kajara (Mwenge South) among others.
On Tuesday, the president met NRM MPs who were anticipating debate on the committee report later in the afternoon.
The meeting discussed the extension of the five-year term. Museveni reportedly told MPs that such an extension will allow Lands minister Betty Amongi who he picked from UPC to settle in well.
A committee of five lawyer MPs headed by deputy attorney general Mwesigwa Rukutana was constituted to study the legal implications of a term extension. Rukutana will work with Bichetero, Obua and Gastur Mugoya.
“The caucus has tasked us to examine it legally, politically and critically to understand the implications of it,” Mugoya said.
The president’s younger brother, Gen Salim Saleh, has been linked to an Internal Security Organisation-funded investigation report released last week which put the spotlight on wasteful expenditure in government ministries and agencies.
In the coming weeks, Bukooli Central MP Solomony Silwany, a member of the investigating team, will table a private member’s bill, urging the merger of various government agencies and authorities to cut down public expenditure.
Last Friday, Silwany, the NRM parliamentary caucus vice chairman, addressed a press conference and gave his government a 30-day ultimatum to table a bill for the scrapping of agencies listed in the November 25 Saleh report to President Museveni as wasteful.
The report titled; Rationalisation of commissions, agencies and authorities in Uganda for better efficiency is based on an investigation by 12 people, referred to as “cadres” in the report.
The 12 cadres were led by Salim Saleh; former deputy chief of defence forces Gen Charles Angina and former state minister for Economic Monitoring Henry Banyenzaki.
Gen Salim Saleh with former deputy chief of defence forces Gen Charles Angina
Their investigation followed a July 12 letter Museveni wrote to leaders in government, demanding information on the cost of the said agencies.
While the report has been widely publicised as the work of ISO, well-placed sources told The Observer that none of the investigating cadres works officially for ISO. But still, their findings were released by Lt Col Joseph Aliganyira, director for political affairs at the security organ, on December 5.
MPs Silwany and Joseph Muyomba Kasozi (Bukoto Mid-West), plus three unnamed Makerere University dons, among them, Ramathan Ngobi, were also involved.
The dons worked alongside a technocrat in investment affairs and an independent researcher. ISO funded the investigation.
“ISO was used because it [the investigation] needed a formal government structure to own it,” a source said.
Banyenzaki said the investigation has been on for nearly two years but gained momentum after Museveni’s July 12 letter.
“It is continuation of the work I was doing as [state] minister for Economic Monitoring…we started on it with Gen Saleh when we were still operating from our command post at Serene [Suites Mutundwe],” Banyenzaki said.
The cadres analysed the 2016/17 national budget, performance and made field trips. It is understood that several agencies were uncooperative, yet unknown to them they were being monitored from within.
“We contacted the listening posts in the agencies who got us all the information that we needed. We then scrutinised the relevant documents, work plans, budgets and their proposed budget requests for next financial year before moving out to all districts for further investigations,” a team member told The Observer.
After receiving the report, Museveni invited some members of the team, notably Banyenzaki and Silwany, to make a presentation to cabinet on December 4 at State House Entebbe. Both Silwany and Kasozi declined to be interviewed for this article.
The report classified the agencies into “money-consuming” and “money-generating parastatals.”
The bulk of waste is on foreign travel, workshops, welfare and entertainment and consultancy services. Most funds (Shs 392.7bn) are spent on consultancy services.
“Public servants are using this channel as a coping strategy to top up [their] incomes, the work they are supposed to do within the ministries is channeled to consultancies, they also use the consultancies as a sanctuary to conceal their poor requisite skills for the work they were employed to perform,” the report noted.
By the end of this financial year, 11 ministries, namely; Lands, Water and Environment, Finance, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Defence, Works, Local Government, Office of the Prime Minister and Health will have spent Shs 290.7bn yet 19 agencies doing similar work will spend Shs 54.9bn on consultants.
Workshops and seminars will consume Shs 104bn, which, according to the report, is enough to run the ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives whose Shs 85bn budget is always not fully funded. Travel accounts for Shs 352.7 billion while Shs 190.6bn was budgeted to cater for welfare and entertainment.
Of Uganda’s Shs 29 trillion budget, more than Shs 3.36 trillion is spent on salaries. Central government takes Shs 1.7 trillion and local governments Shs 1.6 trillion.
The agencies spend 10 percent more on salaries compared to ministries. In ministries, general staff earn much lower than contractual staff.
Ordinary staff at Finance consume Shs 4.3bn while those on contract take Shs 18.7bn. At ministry of Health, ordinary employees share Shs 5.8bn and contract workers take Shs 16.7bn. Jim Mugunga, the Finance ministry spokesman, said the mismatch is due to the level of expertise.