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As Uganda pushes to have its first drop of oil out by 2020, the Ugandan National Roads Authority (Unra) is under pressure to deliver 10 critical roads within the oil region measuring 600km within two years.

Cabinet in December last year directed Unra to have the roads in place to facilitate transportation of construction materials by the oil companies and to Kabaale International Airport.

The said roads have been divided into five packages of Masindi-Paraa-Buliisa; Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko; Buhimba-Nalweyo-Bulamagi; Lusalira-Nkonge-Lumegere-Ssembabule; and Masindi-Biiso(Kabaale-Kiziramfumbi, Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyaruseha.)

Two oil companies, CNOOC and Total, said only one per cent of the machinery they need to construct oil wells has been transported while the heavy reminder cannot be transported on the existing roads.

During a tour to the area in question by journalists earlier this week, Michael Ochola, Unra’s project manager, estimated that it takes one year to construct one kilometre of a road. Now that they have 600km to construct in two years, the authority agreed with stake holders to start with only the critical areas to make them motorable.

Roads such as this are expected to be completed in two years

Practically, Ochola said, there might not be need for tarmac immediately for the companies to start transporting their materials.

“It is true that 600km is a lot to do in two years but within this distance, we have identified priority areas that we should begin with and these are escarpments, sharp corners, swamps and bridges. Once these are done, it will be possible for the companies to transport equipment to the sites,” Allen Kagina, the Unra executive director said.

NO RUSH
Even with the need to deliver in time, Kagina cautioned that they had to go slow, especially in areas with delicate ecosystem.

The identified roads pass through Budongo forest, Murchison falls National Park and numerous swamps and need too much environmental attention during construction.

“The oil will be here for about 25 to 30 years but what happens when it gets done? We cannot destroy the ecosystem which will remain here longer even when the oil is done,” Kagina said.

If work that is to be done in six years is pushed to two years, it leaves questions on whether Unra will not compromise the quality of the roads. Kagina said that even with the quick construction, quality the roads will be paramount.

RAY OF HOPE
On many of Unra’s projects, delays have been caused by glitches in land acquisition where certain individuals have rejected government compensation of their land, valuing it higher.

Unra said that for these particular roads, 60 per cent of the land to be acquired either belongs to National Forestry Authority (NFA) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), which are easier to work with on compensation issues than the remaining 40 per cent of the project-affected persons.

According to guidelines, a contractor can only take on the road after Unra has secured passage of at least 30 per cent of the corridor.

Unra’s head land acquisition, William Matovu, said that they are yet to find the perennial glitches with land acquisition since it is moving on steadily. He added that they are trying to fix acquisition work of three months in 14 days and that by the end of this financial year, there will have been total compensation.

“We have commenced payments to people within about 45km, which have been assessed and approved by the government valuer. We are now engaging UWA and NFA and by the end of December, we shall have 30%,” Matovu said.

The authority has secured a Shs 3.27 trillion funding from Exim Bank and UK Export Finance for this project and according to Kagina, a taskforce to fast-track the completion of the roads in time has been put in place.

“We have always had challenges of procurement because of inadequate in-house capacity which we have worked on. We have also faced challenges of lobbyists, people calling in from different places lobbying for contracts and intimidating staff. I want to ask all those people who call that they should let our stuff work,” Kagina said.

“A new team has also been recruited in Unra to particularly work on these roads so as not to compromise any other on-going projects “because they are equally important.”

kamogajonathan50@gmail.com

1 month 2 weeks ago

President Yoweri Museveni has applauded Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and urban division councillors who defied a council resolution to attend a one-week leadership training at National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi.
 
The leadership training started on November 21 to November 28. When Kampala minister Beti Kamya announced the training schedule, city Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago convened a council meeting on November 8 which vetoed it. Lukwago argued that the training could not be described as a KCCA event since it had not been authorised by his office.
 
As the political head of the institution, Lukwago asserted that Kamya's motive of organising the training without the mayor's authority was inconsistent with the provisions of the KCCA Act, 2010. However, a section of councillors led by NRM's Bruhani Byaruhanga who represents Kyambogo University attended the training.

President Museveni addresssing KCCA councillors at State House

Byaruhanga says a total of 12 councillors went to Kyankwanzi. With the addition of urban division councillors from Kampala Central, Rubaga, Nakawa, Kawempe and Makindye urban councils, the number went up to 218 councillors according to a letter issued by Kamya.
 
The councillors met Museveni on Friday at State House, Entebbe. Museveni told the councillors that it's good they defied the resolution and broke away from people who never wanted them to attend.
 
"Those who think leadership is like flu that is caught will make you fall into trouble…it is good that you defied the resolution and broke yourselves away from those people who did not want to help you," said Museveni.
 
He urged them to encourage the youth to find ways of fitting into the four sectors of agriculture, industries, services and Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) in order to create wealth and employment for themselves.
 
"Leaders are like doctors. If you find a sick person, you advise them. Encourage youth to find employment in these sectors because minus that, you will have betrayed your people. If a youth is wearing a red band [symbol against lifting presidential age limit], which sector is that?" he asked.
 
He also asked councillors to be alert and use political pressure to advocate for more fund allocation into the youth and women funds. Museveni says a lot of money was being wasted into irrelevant expensive trips abroad by their leaders.
 
KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi last month introduced a number of austerity measures including reducing foreign travels as the institution battles low revenue collection.
 
Byaruhanga says they were equipped with political, economic and military training. He says the training helped them to appreciate the roles they should play in transforming Kampala.

1 month 2 weeks ago

The Uganda Police Force says they have finally made a breakthrough in identifying the people behind the recent serial murders of young women in Entebbe and Nansana areas.
 
Police detectives have been hunting for the killers of more than 19 women in Entebbe, Katabi and Nansana in Wakiso district between June and September.
 
The killings which were done in almost similar fashion included; attacking young women in the middle of the night, sexually assaulting them, strangling them to death before inserting sticks in their private parts.
 
Police, now says, they have finally come to a conclusion of who exactly was behind the killings after forensic evidence pinned two of the 13 suspects arrested two months ago.

Residents of Katabi at the scene where one of the body of the murdered women was found

Police was last week given results of the analysis taken by the government analytical laboratory to compare semen samples picked from the victims to the DNA of two of the suspects.
 
According to a document which URN has seen, eight of the samples picked from different crime scenes in Nansasa municipality matched the DNA of Ibrahim Kaweesa a boda boda cyclist, while five of the samples picked in Katabi town council matched the DNA of William Ssenoga.
 
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura also confirmed the 'breakthrough' and thanked the team of detectives and other security agencies that have been investigating the killings.
 
"We now have both the confessions and the scientific evidence to back our findings. Unfortunately our criminal justice system says even these guys are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law so we are waiting for our final victory in court, " Kayihura said.
 
While the samples were collected two months ago from the scenes of crime and from the victims and stored in Wandegeya, nothing had been done to analyse them until last week. The government analytical laboratory did not have reagents to use in analysis of the samples.

Kayihura says police had to find some reagents for the analysts to use and bring the investigation to a conclusion.
 
"DGAL [Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory] doesn't have a budget for some reagents and that sometimes interferes with the smooth running of our investigations," Kayihura says.
 
Most of the arrested suspects, including Ssenoga and Kaweesi, were picked after witnesses testified to police that they had been seen with the victims on the nights they disappeared and were found killed.
 
Kaweesa was also implicated by a group of boda boda cyclists who claimed to have seen him taking one of the victims into the bush where her body was found three days later.

1 month 2 weeks ago

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) headquarters in Najjanankumbi is all decorated blue ahead of the swearing in ceremony of their new president Patrick Amuriat.
Invited guests have started arriving at the venue alongside some party supporters and officials to witness the swearing in ceremony of Mr Amuriat who was elected president last week.
Mr Amuriat last Friday beat Gen Mugisha
Muntu at a delegates’ conference at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole.
According to the deputy secretary general, Mr Harold Kaija, the function begins at 10am with the arrival of invited guests, Gen Muntu and Mr Amuriat, among others.

Patrick Amuriat swearing new FDC president

All is set for Patrick Amuriat's swearing in as the new FDC president at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi. PHOTO BY DAMALI MUKHAYE

The ceremony is to be conducted by one of the party lawyers Ladislaus Rwakafuzi.
Mr Kaija also notes that Gen Muntu will be handing over his office today after the speeches and the two leaders will go to office and have a closed door chat before the new party president will be walked around the offices.

Among the invited guests is Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and former DP president, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere and former FDC president Dr Kizza Besigye.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Journalists employed by The Pepper Publications Limited, a private media company that publishes the Red Pepper have appealed to government over the recent closure of the media house.

Their appeal comes more than a week since the arrest and detention of eight members of staff, among them directors and journalists over a story they published indicating that President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

The eight have since appeared in court where they were charged with publication of a news story prejudicial to national security and publication of a story that defamed President Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh and Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.

They were also charged with the use of the electronic system to publish information that portrayed Museveni, Saleh and Tumukunde as if they are planning to overthrow President of Rwanda Paul Kagame. Prosecutors argue that the report subjected the trio to ridicule, contempt and hatred.

However, the rest of the organization’s staffs say that the publication should be left to continue normal operations, even with the on-going trial of their editors and directors. They say that the closure of the media house threatens the welfare of hundreds of staff members who have been rendered redundant by the action.

Mr Andrew Irumba, one of the journalists attached to the media house says that the shutdown is a violation of the rights of workers at the entire organization. He says many of them are stranded.

"They took all our gadgets, even people who are not concerned about the story. Why don't they enable us who are not being charged to continue with our work," Mr Irumba said.

Ms Ritah Namuwulya Lukyamuzi, another journalist says the action has put them in a state of uncertainty since it remains unclear if the paper will be opened in the near future. She fears that many of them could lose their sole source of income.

Their colleague, Ms Prisca Wanyenya, asks that government considers other options of holding the media house accountable than closing it entirely.

But Colonel Shaban Bantariza, the deputy director of Uganda Media Centre says that although government sympathizes with workers of Red Pepper, It cannot stop the law from taking its course.

On Monday, Buganda Road court denied bail to the editors and directors and sent them back to Luzira prison.

It is not the first time Red Pepper is closed. In May 2013, security closed Red Pepper and Daily Monitor offices for nearly a month over a document written by General David Sejusa.

1 month 3 weeks ago
On November 9, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza, accompanied by colleagues Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality), William Nzoghu (Busongora North), Atkins Katusabe (Bukonzo West) and Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West), appeared before the committee on legal and parliamentary affairs where they made a presentation on the 'age limit bill'.

The Observer's  JOSEPHINE NAMULOKI brings you an abridged account of the written submission by Kiiza:-

The Constitution of a nation is not simply a statute, which can be amended any time, anyhow, to fit the interests of few individuals.

It is considered to be a blind document that knows no face and voice nor height or size, rather it’s a mirror reflecting the national soul; the identification of the ideals and aspirations of a nation, the articulation of the values bonding its people and disciplining its government.

The spirit and the tenor of the constitution recognizes Uganda’s struggle against tyranny, oppression and exploitation. It is a codex which demands respect, and against which those with political power have to be measured and judged.

In any democracy, a constitution is treated as a document codifying essential values and norms; it should be respected as a guiding formula, which should survive opportunist temptations. It is sacred and inviolable. That’s why legal frameworks normally protect a constitution from being changed merely because the government of the day would like to enact new rules of the game according to its preferences.

Constitutions are for the long term benefit of society and not short-term goals of a ruler. The trends since 2005 seem to imply that some members would have loved to write the name “Yoweri Kaguta Museveni” in the Constitution as they did in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act. This is very unfortunate. Constitutions are never personalised.

Repealing Article 102(b) at the moment is very dangerous as it is being done for only one possible beneficiary, the current president, and possibly his political party, although both seem to be identical. Constitutional amendments are never made for an individual or for political parties. Article 102(b) has not yet been tested and we find ourselves in no stalemate with it.                                                                                                                                            The

1995 Con­sti­tu­tion was pro­mul­gated against a his­tory of con­flict and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions from colo­nial times where ex­ten­sive mea­sures of op­pres­sion were used to sup­press dis­con­tent and deny Ugan­dans their fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights.

The new constitution ex­pressed com­mit­ment of the peo­ple of Uganda to build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture based on the prin­ci­ples of unity, peace, equal­ity, democ­racy, free­dom, so­cial jus­tice and progress. We oppose the removal of the age cap. We believe that Uganda has capable citizens who can succeed President Museveni.

African states are fond of having constitutions for regimes and presidents. All countries that have amended their constitutions in reference to age and term limits favour the sitting presidents. Kenya in 2004 amended the presidential age limit both the upper age at 70 and lower at 35 for purposes of letting Hon. Mwai Kibaki contest in 2007.

Cameroon amended its constitution in 2008 to allow Mr. Paul Biya extend his 25-year rule past 2011. Gambia on July 25, 2017 removed age limits by amending section 62 of its 1997 Constitution purposely to benefit Mr Ousarmon Darbue,  leader of the United Democratic Party to become the vice president. Rwanda, in 2016 changed its constitution to enable Mr Paul Kagame to contest again.

We need to emulate countries like Burkina Faso with a lower cap at 35 and upper cap at 75 in its 2010 Constitution. Ivory Coast’s Constitution of 2000 (as amended on October 11, 2016) has two term limits and the lower age capped at 40 while the upper capped at 75 years. Djibouti’s Constitution of 2010 puts the age limit at 40 and 65 years.

We have a leader who came in 1986 and asked for only four years to return leadership to civilians. In 1989, the president extended his appetite for power on the pretext of writing the constitution. In 2005, we removed the term limits and Ugandans waited patiently, hoping that the age limit will apply.

Raphael Magyezi tables his age limit bill

Ugandans have been deceived enough. It is not that they hate Museveni, rather, they love Uganda more. We register our displeasure and discomfort in the way government and parliament mistreated those with divergent opinion in multiparty politics.

The entire week within which the bill was introduced into parliament saw this August House surrounded by gunships, all sorts of military hardware and personnel.

Members of parliament were assaulted in the parking yard before the session and the speaker allowed parliament to proceed unbothered by the absence of the other side of the House. Two of our colleagues are still hospitalised and have undergone surgery. These are the outcomes of this brutal attack on parliament.  

This reminds us of the 1966 Constitution scenario. The difference is that in the 1966 scenario, there was no brutal attack on members of Parliament in the chamber.

It is sad that soldiers from the Special Forces Command beat members of parliament and forcefully evicted even those who had not been named by the speaker, that the speaker denied the Leader of Opposition a right to be heard and rudely ordered her to sit down or be forced out of the chamber.

Now commonly known as the ‘Magyezi Bill’, this proposal is premised on the Supreme Court decisions in Amama Mbabazi V Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General in Presidential Election Petition No. 01 of 2016. Unfortunately, it is misconstrued.

The court ruling gave instructions to only one party, the Attorney General, to take action. The ruling was not in rem (against the whole world); it was in persona (directed to a specific person).

Magyezi has no locus to bring his amendment basing on the instructions of the Supreme Court as they were never issued to him. The person to bring these amendments is the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, assisted by the Attorney General. The judgement is dated August 26, 2016 which means the Attorney General has more than nine months to go.  

The court in the Amama Mbabazi’s presidential petition ruled that: “Before we take leave of this matter, we would like to point out a number of areas of concern.

We must note that in the past two presidential election petitions, this court made some important observations and recommendations with regard to the need for reform in the area of elections generally and presidential elections in particular. Many of these calls have remained unanswered by the Executive and the Legislature.”

Both the government and the sponsor of this bill are instead touching on matters that were never before court.

The court further ruled that: “Arising from the above, we recommend as follows:

1. The time for filing and determination of the petition: In the course of hearing this petition, the issue of the inadequacy of the time provided in Article 104(2) and (3) of the Constitution for filing and determining of presidential election petitions came up.

The same issue was also pointed out by this court in the two previous petitions. The 10-day period within which to file a presidential election petition and to gather evidence, and the 30 days within which the court must make a decision as provided under Article 104(2) and (3) of the Constitution and section 59 (2) and (3) of the Presidential Elections Act (PEA) is inadequate. We recommend that the period be reviewed to increase it to at least 60 days.

2. The nature of evidence: Whilst the use of affidavit evidence is necessary due to the limited time, it nevertheless has serious drawbacks mainly because the veracity of affidavit evidence cannot be tested through examination by court or cross-examination by the other party.

Affidavit evidence on its own may be unreliable as many witnesses tend to be partisan. We recommend that oral evidence be used in addition.

3. The time for holding fresh elections: Article 104(7) provides that where a presidential election is annulled, a fresh election must be held within 20 days. We believe this is unrealistic, given the problems that have come to light in the course of hearing all the three petitions that this court has dealt with.

The Electoral Commission has been found wanting. Importation of election materials has sometimes been a problem. Securing funds has also often provided challenges. Therefore, to require the Commission to hold a free and fair election within 20 days after another has been nullified is being overly optimistic. A longer and more realistic time frame should be put in place.

4. The use of technology: While the introduction of technology in the election process should be encouraged, we nevertheless recommend that a law to regulate the use of technology in the conduct and management of elections should be enacted. It should be introduced well within time to train the officials and sensitise voters and other stakeholders.

5. Unequal use of state owned media: Both the Constitution in Article 67(3) and the PEA in section 24(1), provide that all presidential candidates shall be given equal space on state-owned media. We recommend that the electoral law should be amended to provide for sanctions against any state organ or officer who violates this constitutional duty.

6. The late enactment of relevant legislation: We observed that the ECA and the PEA were amended as late as November 2015. We recommend that any election-related law reform be undertaken within two years of a new Parliament.

7. Donations during election period: Section 64 of the PEA deals with bribery. We note that Section 64(7) forbids candidates or their agents from carrying out fundraising or giving donations during campaigns.

However, we note that under Section 64(9) a candidate may solicit for funds to organise for elections during the campaign period. Furthermore, a president may in the ordinary course of his/her duties give donations even during the campaign period. This should be amended to prohibit the giving of donations by all candidates including a president who is also a candidate.

8. Involvement of public officers in political campaigns: The law should prohibit public servants from involvement in political campaigns.

9. The role of the Attorney General in election petitions: The Attorney General is the principal legal advisor of government as per Article 119 of the constitution.

Rule 5 of the PEAs also requires the Attorney General to be served with the petition. We found that several complaints were raised against some public officers and security personnel during the election process. However, the definition of “respondent” in Rule 3 of the PEA Rules as it currently is does not include the Attorney General as a possible respondent.

Further, Rule 20(6) of the PEA Rules provides that even when a petitioner wants to withdraw a petition, the Attorney General can object to the withdrawal.  The law should be amended to make it permissible for the Attorney General to be made respondent where necessary.

10. Implementation of recommendations by the Supreme Court: We note that most of the recommendations for reform made by this court in the previous presidential election petitions have remained largely unimplemented.

It may well be that no authority was identified to follow up their implementation. We have nevertheless observed in this petition that the rules require that the Attorney General be served with all the documents in the petition. Therefore, the Attorney General is the authority that must be served with the recommendations of this court for necessary follow up.

We accordingly order as follows:

1) The Attorney General must follow up the recommendations made by this court with the other organs of State, namely Parliament and the Executive.

2) The Attorney General shall report to the court within two years from the date of this judgement the measures that have been taken to implement these recommendations.

3) The court may thereafter make further orders and recommendations as it sees fit.

The government has remained silent yet claiming to support Magyezi’s bill. The government is acting in bad faith.
We further contend that the 9th Parliament adopted the minority report presented by Hon Mwiru Paul and saved it for the next Parliament. It is the duty of this Parliament to rejuvenate the saved report and conclude it.

Since the  pro­mul­ga­tion of the 1995 Constitution, it has been amended four times and now with two more proposed amendments lying before Parliament, aware that the first amend­ment of 1st Sep­tem­ber 2000 was suc­cess­fully chal­lenged in the Supreme Court; Sse­mogerere and Oth­ers – vs – At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Con­sti­tu­tional Ap­peal No.1 of 2002, and court ob­served that the amend­ment was in­con­sis­tent with Ar­ti­cle 88 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which pro­vides for the quo­rum of Par­lia­ment when vot­ing on any question.

The sec­ond amend­ment was the Con­sti­tu­tional (Amend­ment) Act, 2005, Act No.11 of 2005, which led to the re­moval of term lim­its on the tenure of the Pres­i­dent.  

The third was the Con­sti­tu­tional (Amend­ment) (No.2) Act, 2005, No.21 of 2005, to create Kam­pala Cap­i­tal City Authority; re­gional gov­ern­ments, and to pro­vide for new dis­tricts.           

The fourth amendment was the Con­sti­tu­tional (Amend­ment) No.11, 2015 was to change the name of the Electoral Commission and give room for MPs to cross the floor one year to the end of terms.

The 1995 con­sti­tu­tion has suffered six amendments within 23 years. This trend deeply erodes the struggle for constitutionalism in Uganda. This bill should be referred to government for eventual presentation to a Constitution Review Commission.

Conclusion

The bill was not brought in good faith and is intended to undermine Uganda’s democratic path.

Government should establish a Constitution Review Commission to spearhead the development of comprehensive constitutional amendments desired by the entire country. The proposals in Magyezi’s bill should form part of information that will help the commission to gather people’s views.

Government undertook on the floor of parliament to put in place such a commission to extensively study many proposals that were brought to the attention of the House and many others that were still out there.

Since the court also noted that the Attorney General should effect electoral reforms within two years -- a matter that will entail amending the constitution -- then it’s incumbent upon this parliament to compel the Attorney General to respect the court orders.

1 month 3 weeks ago

Several senior members of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) allied to ousted party leader, Gen Mugisha Muntu, have stepped up discussions around plans to establish a new platform described as a “third force” in Uganda’s politics.

The Observer has been told that if these talks bear fruit, the new platform would bring together disaffected FDC members and individuals from outside the party. On Sunday, they convened at the home of Alice Alaso, the party vice president for eastern Uganda, in Kira town, and held exploratory talks.

Alaso yesterday confirmed that this “was an informal meeting without any minutes recorded.”

“We are going to have the formal meetings after Friday [when Muntu will hand over office to Patrick Oboi Amuriat] and everything will be known,” she said.

Gen Mugisha Muntu

Alaso said that “what is very clear is that you cannot run a party without structures. It defeats the principle of accountability. We are also discussing a party that seeks to groom young people and mentor leaders at the grassroots. This is about the long term strategy of how we will conduct ourselves after taking power.”

Alaso added that the problem with the single approach of defiance, championed by party founding President Dr Kizza Besigye and his protégé, Amuriat, “is a preoccupation with taking power that makes it easy for the emergence of a potential dictator since there would be no institutions to hold him or her accountable.”

Besigye has come under fire from Muntu allies who draw parallels between his style and the ruling National Resistance Movement party under President Museveni’s absolute control. Efforts to reach Besigye for a comment were futile by press time as he is said to have travelled abroad.

But the spotlight is now focused on how even when he cut short his party presidential term and handed over to Muntu in 2012, he maintained considerable control over FDC where he enjoys a fanatical following amongst some members.

It is said that he deliberately undermined Muntu by running parallel party activities because he saw himself as the party’s ultimate leader, not unlike Museveni and his penchant for sole candidacy during presidential elections. The Observer was told that consequently, “this is not about only FDC”.

“We are reaching out to everyone. We have been informally engaging and our conversations have been about how they read and interpret the situation. In our view, all parties now seem to present two extreme views and at the end of the day it is Uganda that loses. We are proposing a third force that is about other stakeholders like Dr Miria Matembe,” a source said.

Other sources told The Observer that hardly 48 hours after the FDC delegates’ conference voted against a second Muntu term in favour of Amuriat on November 24, preparatory talks started.

“These meetings are not about losing to POA but they are being conducted to find a way of how we are to handle the bigger issue that got shrouded in last week’s election,” our source said.

The group contends that the issue which got shrouded was the approach to taking power.

“There are those who believe that you can only take power through defiance and confrontation (a single approach) and there are those of us who believe that before you take over power, you need to first organise and have structures that make everyone accountable,” the source added.

This group claims to have the backing of some senior leaders of the party, including people like Amanya Mushega, the former secretary general of the East African Community; former MPs John Kazoora, Kassiano Wadri, Christine Abia, Augustine Ruzindana and prominent members such as Dr Munini Mulera.

Many of the named senior FDC leaders above were originally associated with the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (Pafo), a pro-constitutionalism, democracy and rule of law pressure group which, in July 2004, merged with the Besigye-led NRM splinter group known as Reform Agenda to give birth to FDC.

When Muntu took to the floor at Alaso’s place, our sources say that he agreed with the proposal, but advised members against rushing decisions without thinking through the implications. On Wednesday, Muntu addressed a highly anticipated media conference where it had been expected that he would announce the parting of ways.

Instead, he stretched the suspense; talking vaguely about how he will stay in FDC but is going to hold talks with Amuriat beginning Friday through December.  He promised countrywide consultations to ensure that by the time “we are going to make any decision, it is not a decision that we are going to make out of emotions because we are dealing with matters of life and death.”

At least 30 MPs (some FDC, others independent) are said to be flirting with this initiative. They include Winnie Kiiza (Kasese woman MP and leader of opposition), Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda (Kira municipality MP and opposition chief whip), Reagan Okumu (Aswa MP and FDC vice president, northern), Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri), Prof Ogenga Latigo (Agago North), Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality), Elijah Okupa (Kasilo), Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East), Emmanuel Ongiertho (Jonam), Simon Oyet (Nwoya), Herbert Ariko (Soroti municipality), Angelina Osegge (Soroti woman MP), Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Ann Adeke Ebaju (National Youth MP Eastern), Anita Among (Bukedea) and Beatrice Anywar (Kitgum municipality).  

MUNTU’S CAUTION

While addressing the media at Hotel Africana, Muntu was guarded when asked about starting a new party.

“I wish I could give you an easy answer. It is tough and that is why we have to make wide consultations. If it was only myself, I never find it difficult to make hard decisions in my life. I make them whether people understand me or not, I keep moving,” Muntu said.

Insiders say Muntu’s stance is deliberate.

“He wants to keep the defiance guys guessing and in the process they will make a mistake of expelling them from the party. Alternatively, it will also help the pro-Muntu MPs to retain their positions in parliament. It is quite complicated for the defiance group,” said one source.

OBSERVERS AGREE

Kalundi Serumaga, a cultural, political and civic activist, said Muntu seems to have made a proper diagnosis of Uganda’s politics.

“What he is talking about is a historical problem with political power struggles… It is the same argument we had with the NRA/M. We kept on asking them, who are we organising? Around whom? What issues and how? Gen Muntu seems to be raising important [issues]…Unfortunately, the more militant, like the way the defiance group is projecting itself, wins and you have a repeat of the same situation,” Serumaga said.

Serumaga argued that you can only be a people’s representative if you know where to find them.

“That has to be in structures and organised forums…My disagreement with the defiance group is that they seem to have mistrust of structures and form, which is understandable for the case of Dr Besigye; he comes from the army whose structures made him accountable to an authority. This is not the same thing Gen Muntu is presenting. He is talking about him being accountable to the structures of the people,” Serumaga said.

He added that Uganda is faced with a political culture where people look at their leaders as heroes.

skakaire@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza has said she is ready to be sacked by the in-coming new leadership of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
Ms Kiiza, the Kasese Woman Member of Parliament backed the outgoing FDC president Mugisha Muntu in the just concluded party elections.
Gen Muntu, however was defeated by former Kumi County Member of Parliament Patrick Amuriat Oboi last week during a party delegates' conference at Namboole.

Ms Kiiza says she is not the first and won't be the last leader of opposition in parliament. She among opposition Members of Parliament who joined Gen Muntu at Hotel Africana on Wednesday as he announced a new round of consultations he will embark on.
In this new round of new of consultations across political divide, Gen Muntu says he will be mobilizing Ugandans to participate in local council elections, mentoring pro-change Ugandans across party lines and mobilising all Ugandans to pressure government to drop their efforts of changing the provisions of the constitutional provisions on presidential age-limits and land.

Ms Kiiza says she was appointed leader of opposition aware that she would be serving for a maximum of two and a half years. Ms Kiiza replaced Mr Philip Wafula Oguttu after last year's elections amidst dissatisfaction from a section of Forum for Democratic Change supporters who felt that Muntu should not have appointed opposition team.

The opposition chief whip Ssemuju Ibrahim Nganda says the issue of the leadership in parliament was being raised during the campaign for presidency by the Amuriat group. Ssemuju says Muntu has been blackmailed for appointing opposition leaders when a section of FDC leaders thought they won elections and were rigged by the ruling party.

1 month 3 weeks ago
Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu says he's not leaving the party as some had anticipated following his loss to Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA) last weekend.
 
Muntu lost the party presidency seat to POA after garnering 463 votes against his 641 votes. After the loss, Muntu in his concession speech announced that he'd to make personal decisions this week because he was not ready to work in an environment where he's not trusted. Today however he denied as having ever said that. Muntu said he only talked about contradictions within the party.
Some FDC members have accused Muntu of being a 'mole' who works for the ruling party, National Resistance Movement to weaken FDC. 
Gen Mugisha Muntu addressing the media today
But addressing the media today at Hotel Africana, Muntu said he will not quit the party because he accepts and respects the outcome of the party elections.
 
He said in fact starting next week, they are going back to doing what they were doing before the party president campaigns that is; mobilising Ugandans to participate in Local Council elections, encourage, support and mentor pro-change Ugandans and mobilise Ugandans to pressure govt to drop age limit, land bills.

Muntu however, says much as he respects the outcome of the party elections, there exists significant, undeniable issues and differences that exist in the party.

These need frank, open and exhaustive discussions with all stakeholders starting this Friday, December 1 when he officially hands over office to Amuriat, he said.

 
Muntu's campaign was based on the building party structures and mobilisation ideology while Amuriat's was based advancing the defiance campaign to pressure President Museveni's government into making political concessions.
1 month 3 weeks ago

The acting Gulu District Police Commander ASP Joseph Ayiki is fighting for his life after sustaining gunshot wounds in a brawl last night.

Ayiki was shot in the right leg slightly above the knee by an Exposs Security guard. The incident took place at TAKS Centre, a daytime recreation centre in Gulu town.

Details are still scanty on circumstances that led to the 3am shooting incident. This morning, the scene had visible footmarks and a pool of blood outside the main entrance.

David Odwar, the director of TAKS centre says he is unaware of what took place. Odwar says the centre was closed at 10:00pm and he cannot explain what took place beyond that time.

A source within Exposs security group told URN on condition of anonymity that Ayiki was shot during a misunderstanding with the security guard over an office chair he wanted to carry from the centre.

"It is unclear how he entered the centre at 3am with all gates closed, without his official vehicle and escort, the source", said.

Ayiki was rushed to Gulu regional referral hospital for medical attention. Aswa regional police spokesperson Patrick Jimmy Okema says a police doctor and regional police surgeon have also joined them to assess his situation. Medical personnel at Gulu hospital say the DPC has been taken for an X-ray scan.

David Olanya, the security guard who reportedly shot Ayiki has been detained at Gulu Central Police Station. Last year, a security guard attached to the same security firm shot dead a lecturer at Gulu University in a misunderstanding over a parked motorcycle in front of dfcu bank Gulu. 

Ayiki has been the acting District Police Commander in October since Martin Okoyo, the then DPC went on study leave.  

1 month 3 weeks ago

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