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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

The minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde has dismissed reports that cabinet plans a tax waiver for imported sugar to drive down sugar prices in the domestic market.

Her reaction was triggered by a story in the Daily Monitor titled, “Cabinet agrees to cut sugar prices” which was published on yesterday, November 28.

“As the sector minister, I wish to categorically state that the story is inaccurate,” Kyambadde told journalist at the Uganda Media Center today.

“Government has not taken any decision to reduce taxes on imported sugar. In this regard therefore, government cannot import duty free sugar since. We have enough stocks and prices are stabilizing steadily. We therefore, demand that Daily Monitor withdraw this inaccurate story henceforth.”

Scrapping taxes on imported sugar means imported sugar from neighboring countries such as Kenya will sell cheaply in the market, something that may trigger further market price distortions.

Kyambadde said sugar prices have steadily reduced from an average Shs 8,500 in May this year to between Shs 4,500 and 5,000 in retail shops.

In April this year, a kilogram was priced at about Shs 2,500. As demand increases in countries such as South Sudan, where Uganda exports some of her sugar, prices in the domestic market tend to increase.

However, some sugar millers say they are currently operating below capacity, a situation they say has forced them to lay off workers. For instance, Kakira Sugar told Uganda Radio Network recently that the company is “failing to break-even financially in our operations [will lead us] inevitability to lay off 4,000 employees.”

Current sugar deficit in the market is estimated to be at more than 200,000 tonnes according to reports

alitwaha@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

President Museveni has said the establishment of religion created peace in the Country.
He disclosed this while officiating at the Golden Jubilee celebration of Jinja Diocese held at St. Joseph Cathedral in Jinja.
Mr Museveni said during the establishment of these dioceses, there was instability in the country unlike today.

“I know very well the history of these dioceses especially that of Kampala and Jinja because I was there. I was in senior six at Ntare SS. Most of you are studying them as history but I thank God, I was there and I still remember the situation because our country was in trouble during that time in our before the coming of these dioceses.’’

“The situation was very bad between 1966 and 1971 when [Milton] Obote overthrew [Edward] Mutesa. By the time these dioceses begun, the country was not stable at all. I was already in politics. I was in Democratic Party when Obote abolish kingdoms,’’ Museveni said.
President Museveni said Ugandans should thank God for the peace we have in the Country to avoid repeat of what happened in the past governments.
He further noted that his NRM government fought sectarianism at both religious and national levels.

“I thank all religious bodies for the establishment of Inter- Religious Council which has created unity among all religions. I can see now Muslims attending functions for Catholics and Protestants. Unlike before, I’m seeing now Jinja mayor Mr Majidu Batambuze is a Muslim but he is here; an indication of freedom of worship in the country,’’ Mr Museveni added.
However, the Archbishop of Kampala Dioceses, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga who spoke on behalf of all the bishops said the dioceses were built to promote unity and communion and urged Christians to continue building them.
He also urged Christians to promote truthfulness in honour of the teachings of the Bible.

“Promote peace and truthfulness right from the families, nothing else but the truth because the Bible says it will set you free. There are so many lies going on; in the newspapers, homes where the father lies to the wife and children do the same because people have forgotten the need for truth,’’Mr Lwanga said.
The mass which was led by Pope Nuncio [representative] in Uganda Archbishop Micheal August Blume was also attended by several bishops including, Rt Rev Charles Martin Wamika of Jinja Dioceses, Archbishop of Tororo Emmanuel Obbo and several politicians.

1 month 3 weeks ago

President Museveni has said the establishment of religion created peace in the Country.
He disclosed this while officiating at the Golden Jubilee celebration of Jinja Diocese held at St. Joseph Cathedral in Jinja.
Mr Museveni said during the establishment of these dioceses, there was instability in the country unlike today.

“I know very well the history of these dioceses especially that of Kampala and Jinja because I was there. I was in senior six at Ntare SS. Most of you are studying them as history but I thank God, I was there and I still remember the situation because our country was in trouble during that time in our before the coming of these dioceses.’’

“The situation was very bad between 1966 and 1971 when [Milton] Obote overthrew [Edward] Mutesa. By the time these dioceses begun, the country was not stable at all. I was already in politics. I was in Democratic Party when Obote abolish kingdoms,’’ Museveni said.
President Museveni said Ugandans should thank God for the peace we have in the Country to avoid repeat of what happened in the past governments.
He further noted that his NRM government fought sectarianism at both religious and national levels.

“I thank all religious bodies for the establishment of Inter- Religious Council which has created unity among all religions. I can see now Muslims attending functions for Catholics and Protestants. Unlike before, I’m seeing now Jinja mayor Mr Majidu Batambuze is a Muslim but he is here; an indication of freedom of worship in the country,’’ Mr Museveni added.
However, the Archbishop of Kampala Dioceses, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga who spoke on behalf of all the bishops said the dioceses were built to promote unity and communion and urged Christians to continue building them.
He also urged Christians to promote truthfulness in honour of the teachings of the Bible.

“Promote peace and truthfulness right from the families, nothing else but the truth because the Bible says it will set you free. There are so many lies going on; in the newspapers, homes where the father lies to the wife and children do the same because people have forgotten the need for truth,’’Mr Lwanga said.
The mass which was led by Pope Nuncio [representative] in Uganda Archbishop Micheal August Blume was also attended by several bishops including, Rt Rev Charles Martin Wamika of Jinja Dioceses, Archbishop of Tororo Emmanuel Obbo and several politicians.

1 month 3 weeks ago

When Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) delegates on Friday night dropped Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu as party president in favour of Patrick Oboi Amuriat a.k.a POA, the former Kumi Member of Parliament; the shadow of the party’s founding father, Dr Kizza Besigye, again loomed large over proceedings.

To observers, it was a reaffirmation that Besigye retains an overarching influence on FDC members, just like President Museveni does in the ruling NRM. So, POA won with 641 votes while Muntu managed 463. Moses Byamugisha came third with three votes while Malcom Matsiko got two votes.

What kicked off as a mild competition between Muntu and POA as frontrunners picked pace and rapidly evolved into a referendum on Besigye. The POA group gradually projected itself as the pro-defiance choice, a reference to the post- 2016 election political message Besigye has customised.

Patrick Amuriat carried by supporters at Namboole

Not long after POA declared that Besigye cannot be wished away, the founding father was his man.

“He is the brand of the party that must be utilised to get victory for the party...I will bring him back to the party,” Amuriat said.

Muntu, throughout the campaigns, warned against elevating any individual.

“What has bedevilled this country is not the lack of strongmen but strong institutions. This is what I am interested in,” Muntu said.

It looks like a combination of two main factors sealed the former army commander’s fate. One; some members became impatient with his more sedate style and, two; influence of the affectionately called ‘people's president’.

Marina Okoi, a delegate from Jinja, would later tell The Observer that Muntu had goofed by attacking Besigye in his campaign speech.

“How do you attack the people’s president from here and think we can forgive you? We have shown him that this is our party and we the delegates have spoken; we have made the statement that Besigye can’t be attacked in FDC,” he said.

Okoi’s view is shared by Mubarak Munyagwa, the Kawempe South MP, who said: “People have also shown that you simply can’t attack the people’s president and founder member of FDC and they forgive you. It was wrong for Muntu to turn his heat on Besigye.”

Speaking to the media after casting his vote, Besigye said that he cannot be blamed for moving alongside POA.

“POA was the only person who invited me to his rallies...And he had no problem with my message. Perhaps other people did not invite me because they were uncomfortable with my message,” Besigye said.

In the immediate aftermath of the happenings at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole, some feared that Besigye’s dominance could eventually stand in the way of prospects for internal democracy inside FDC.

“As a member of the party, he enjoys the right to choose any candidate but because of his influence, he can cause polarisation and for the good of the party, he should have kept his choice secret, if in any case he believes in building institutions,” said one senior leader who belongs to the Muntu group.

SENTIMENTAL VOTE OR RATIONALITY

Other delegates disagree that POA’s win was about Besigye’s control. Sulaiman Magumba, the FDC chairman for Iganga district, suggested that Muntu may have been undone by something more insular and notoriously disruptive: tribe.

“I have interacted with some of my colleagues, especially those from Eastern Uganda [where POA hails from], and most of them think that voting Hon Amuriat in any away symbolises power balance within the party.

“Well, that could be a valid argument but it is wrong in the sense that it lowers the qualification of being a party president to which region does one come from, which is wrong,” Magumba said.

In 2012, Magumba supported Nathan Nandala-Mafabi, the FDC secretary general, against Muntu, but this time switched sides.

“There is no doubt that since the formation of FDC, it has been under the leadership of people hailing from the same region. But the most important thing is the quality it of leadership those individuals offer.”

Amuriat with his supporters at Namboole

Godfrey Yeheyo, another delegate from Wakiso district, proposes that it’s unfair to hold Besigye wholly responsible for Muntu’s exit.

“Voters are rational. Why did they vote him the other time? I come from Western Uganda but I voted POA. The reason is very simple. For the last five years, [Muntu] has been in charge of the party but he does not show us the structures he keeps talking about. Where are they? We have repeatedly asked him the total membership of FDC but he cannot say it,” Yeheyo says.

To delegates like Yeheyo, Muntu came across as too academic and unsuited for the harsh reality of opposition politics under Museveni.

“Those statements make sense to people in the urban areas or at the top but the people in the village want your presence. That is the only way they will feel the party,” he said.

Karl-Marx W’amugeni, a member from the diaspora, agrees.

“By the time I was at the secretariat, we used to have a data bank and registers for members, which were always renewed annually. This is all non-existent [today]. What happened? Do you want to blame all this on Besigye? We used to fundraise and recruit through selling party cards. Is this still the case?” W’amugeni said.

Muntu told The Observer last week that membership of FDC has exponentially grown over the years, but still his attention has been focused on party structures.

“Numbers are not enough. You need the structures and that was my concern. Since I took over, I made sure that structures are put in place. For instance, at the national, district and constituency level, we are a hundred percent. We are lacking at the sub-county, parish and village level, where our performance is below 60 per cent. We have to be everywhere so that all the support can be galvanised by the structures,” he said.

Muntu argued that when the structures are in place and there are values that would attract people, it would be very easy to recruit and fundraise.

His supporters point out that it is through these structures that Besigye won the 2016 election which his defiance group talks about.
But POA supporters insist that the former party and his mainly elite supporters failed to understand the constituency they were talking to.

Delegates conferences of most political parties in Uganda are largely rural, unlike the National Executive Committee which convenes leaders at the national level. In this respect, POA presented himself as a ‘villagers’ president’ on the advice of Besigye, a man whom a portion of Uganda’s masses acknowledge as the people’s president.

HEALING OR MORE TROUBLE

Now that POA is in the chair, his biggest challenge is reconciling the ideologically opposed factions within the party. In 2012, when Nandala lost to Muntu, the party went through a similar soul-searching, sometimes teetering on the edge of an outright split, when Nandala’s group refused to concede defeat.

Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kira municipality MP, also FDC spokesperson and opposition chief whip in Parliament, says he has seen the same fault lines emerging but prays that they do not widen.

“I hope we don’t experience the same thing. Our collective responsibility will be the thread that will tie us together.”
Amuriat said: “that is a challenge that is why in my campaign I focused on cohesion and unity.”

In his concession speech, Muntu said that he hopes POA does not go through the same kind of environment he operated under.

“I don’t want you to go through that environment I went through... Continue building democracy within our party but if you lose those values that we believe in, you will lose the party. If at any time you find that your words are different from your actions you will become history,” Muntu said.

Throughout his term, the outgoing president has been severely hobbled by internal strife, suspected Besigye apologists undermining his work and an overwhelming mistrust of his opposition bona fides.

And so, he urged POA to find out the forces behind the turbulence within the party. Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, a prominent supporter of Muntu, said the main challenge for the new man will be in how he tolerates the differences in opinion.

“As individuals, we can’t agree all the time and in cases where there are differences, we should embrace them in good faith. I think that our biggest challenge has always been the failure on our part to agree that we are different and can’t be the same,” he said.

Katuntu says it is time for the opposed groups to face the stark reality.

“We have always argued about defiance on one side, and the other approach of organisation and institutional building. The latter view that I belong to has lost. So, it is time to let the winners work and not like it was the case before,” he said.

Another challenge is framing the FDC’s ideological identity since it remains shrouded in fall-out from the internal dispute. There is also a lack of coherence on policy matters.

Then the issue of fundraising. Tellingly, Francis Mwijukye, the Buhweju MP and Besigye loyalist, was voted the new deputy treasurer in charge of general fundraising.

skakaire@observer.ug
bakerbatte@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

When Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) delegates on Friday night dropped Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu as party president in favour of Patrick Oboi Amuriat a.k.a POA, the former Kumi Member of Parliament; the shadow of the party’s founding father, Dr Kizza Besigye, again loomed large over proceedings.

To observers, it was a reaffirmation that Besigye retains an overarching influence on FDC members, just like President Museveni does in the ruling NRM. So, POA won with 641 votes while Muntu managed 463. Moses Byamugisha came third with three votes while Malcom Matsiko got two votes.

What kicked off as a mild competition between Muntu and POA as frontrunners picked pace and rapidly evolved into a referendum on Besigye. The POA group gradually projected itself as the pro-defiance choice, a reference to the post- 2016 election political message Besigye has customised.

Patrick Amuriat carried by supporters at Namboole

Not long after POA declared that Besigye cannot be wished away, the founding father was his man.

“He is the brand of the party that must be utilised to get victory for the party...I will bring him back to the party,” Amuriat said.

Muntu, throughout the campaigns, warned against elevating any individual.

“What has bedevilled this country is not the lack of strongmen but strong institutions. This is what I am interested in,” Muntu said.

It looks like a combination of two main factors sealed the former army commander’s fate. One; some members became impatient with his more sedate style and, two; influence of the affectionately called ‘people's president’.

Marina Okoi, a delegate from Jinja, would later tell The Observer that Muntu had goofed by attacking Besigye in his campaign speech.

“How do you attack the people’s president from here and think we can forgive you? We have shown him that this is our party and we the delegates have spoken; we have made the statement that Besigye can’t be attacked in FDC,” he said.

Okoi’s view is shared by Mubarak Munyagwa, the Kawempe South MP, who said: “People have also shown that you simply can’t attack the people’s president and founder member of FDC and they forgive you. It was wrong for Muntu to turn his heat on Besigye.”

Speaking to the media after casting his vote, Besigye said that he cannot be blamed for moving alongside POA.

“POA was the only person who invited me to his rallies...And he had no problem with my message. Perhaps other people did not invite me because they were uncomfortable with my message,” Besigye said.

In the immediate aftermath of the happenings at Mandela National Stadium in Namboole, some feared that Besigye’s dominance could eventually stand in the way of prospects for internal democracy inside FDC.

“As a member of the party, he enjoys the right to choose any candidate but because of his influence, he can cause polarisation and for the good of the party, he should have kept his choice secret, if in any case he believes in building institutions,” said one senior leader who belongs to the Muntu group.

SENTIMENTAL VOTE OR RATIONALITY

Other delegates disagree that POA’s win was about Besigye’s control. Sulaiman Magumba, the FDC chairman for Iganga district, suggested that Muntu may have been undone by something more insular and notoriously disruptive: tribe.

“I have interacted with some of my colleagues, especially those from Eastern Uganda [where POA hails from], and most of them think that voting Hon Amuriat in any away symbolises power balance within the party.

“Well, that could be a valid argument but it is wrong in the sense that it lowers the qualification of being a party president to which region does one come from, which is wrong,” Magumba said.

In 2012, Magumba supported Nathan Nandala-Mafabi, the FDC secretary general, against Muntu, but this time switched sides.

“There is no doubt that since the formation of FDC, it has been under the leadership of people hailing from the same region. But the most important thing is the quality it of leadership those individuals offer.”

Amuriat with his supporters at Namboole

Godfrey Yeheyo, another delegate from Wakiso district, proposes that it’s unfair to hold Besigye wholly responsible for Muntu’s exit.

“Voters are rational. Why did they vote him the other time? I come from Western Uganda but I voted POA. The reason is very simple. For the last five years, [Muntu] has been in charge of the party but he does not show us the structures he keeps talking about. Where are they? We have repeatedly asked him the total membership of FDC but he cannot say it,” Yeheyo says.

To delegates like Yeheyo, Muntu came across as too academic and unsuited for the harsh reality of opposition politics under Museveni.

“Those statements make sense to people in the urban areas or at the top but the people in the village want your presence. That is the only way they will feel the party,” he said.

Karl-Marx W’amugeni, a member from the diaspora, agrees.

“By the time I was at the secretariat, we used to have a data bank and registers for members, which were always renewed annually. This is all non-existent [today]. What happened? Do you want to blame all this on Besigye? We used to fundraise and recruit through selling party cards. Is this still the case?” W’amugeni said.

Muntu told The Observer last week that membership of FDC has exponentially grown over the years, but still his attention has been focused on party structures.

“Numbers are not enough. You need the structures and that was my concern. Since I took over, I made sure that structures are put in place. For instance, at the national, district and constituency level, we are a hundred percent. We are lacking at the sub-county, parish and village level, where our performance is below 60 per cent. We have to be everywhere so that all the support can be galvanised by the structures,” he said.

Muntu argued that when the structures are in place and there are values that would attract people, it would be very easy to recruit and fundraise.

His supporters point out that it is through these structures that Besigye won the 2016 election which his defiance group talks about.
But POA supporters insist that the former party and his mainly elite supporters failed to understand the constituency they were talking to.

Delegates conferences of most political parties in Uganda are largely rural, unlike the National Executive Committee which convenes leaders at the national level. In this respect, POA presented himself as a ‘villagers’ president’ on the advice of Besigye, a man whom a portion of Uganda’s masses acknowledge as the people’s president.

HEALING OR MORE TROUBLE

Now that POA is in the chair, his biggest challenge is reconciling the ideologically opposed factions within the party. In 2012, when Nandala lost to Muntu, the party went through a similar soul-searching, sometimes teetering on the edge of an outright split, when Nandala’s group refused to concede defeat.

Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kira municipality MP, also FDC spokesperson and opposition chief whip in Parliament, says he has seen the same fault lines emerging but prays that they do not widen.

“I hope we don’t experience the same thing. Our collective responsibility will be the thread that will tie us together.”
Amuriat said: “that is a challenge that is why in my campaign I focused on cohesion and unity.”

In his concession speech, Muntu said that he hopes POA does not go through the same kind of environment he operated under.

“I don’t want you to go through that environment I went through... Continue building democracy within our party but if you lose those values that we believe in, you will lose the party. If at any time you find that your words are different from your actions you will become history,” Muntu said.

Throughout his term, the outgoing president has been severely hobbled by internal strife, suspected Besigye apologists undermining his work and an overwhelming mistrust of his opposition bona fides.

And so, he urged POA to find out the forces behind the turbulence within the party. Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, a prominent supporter of Muntu, said the main challenge for the new man will be in how he tolerates the differences in opinion.

“As individuals, we can’t agree all the time and in cases where there are differences, we should embrace them in good faith. I think that our biggest challenge has always been the failure on our part to agree that we are different and can’t be the same,” he said.

Katuntu says it is time for the opposed groups to face the stark reality.

“We have always argued about defiance on one side, and the other approach of organisation and institutional building. The latter view that I belong to has lost. So, it is time to let the winners work and not like it was the case before,” he said.

Another challenge is framing the FDC’s ideological identity since it remains shrouded in fall-out from the internal dispute. There is also a lack of coherence on policy matters.

Then the issue of fundraising. Tellingly, Francis Mwijukye, the Buhweju MP and Besigye loyalist, was voted the new deputy treasurer in charge of general fundraising.

skakaire@observer.ug
bakerbatte@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

Ruling party leaders are understood to be studying a report compiled for NRM chairman Yoweri Museveni, which gauges its chances of seeing through the age limit bill in Parliament.

Knowledgeable insiders have told The Observer that the intelligence services were instructed, at the highest level, to poll NRM members of parliament so as to establish level of support amongst their 307 majority.

Under the current provisions of Article 102(b) of the Constitution, the 73-year-old Museveni will be ineligible to stand for re-election in 2021.

Opponents say scrapping it will satisfy Museveni’s desire to be president for life, a situation which would imperil Uganda.

Forum for Democratic Change delegates donning red ribbons and caps over the weekend ahead of elections for party president. Red ribbons are a national symbol against age limit amendment

The age limit bill was tabled privately by Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi on October 4; less than a week after suspected commandos from the Special Forces Command (SFC), Museveni’s elite guard formation, raided Parliament and assaulted and dragged out MPs opposed to the bill.

After its controversial tabling, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga suspended parliamentary sittings to allow MPs go consult their constituents, an exercise that has forced a number of NRM MPs to get a change of heart.

A source familiar with the contents of the intelligence report told The Observer on November 24 that there is a remarkable fall in the bill’s support among NRM MPs, which is largely attributed to pressure from the electorate.

“In Buganda region alone, we have lost the support of about 22 MPs due to pressure from their voters,” the source said.

Among the Buganda MPs that the report mentions as having succumbed to pressure from their constituencies are Sarah Nakawunde Temulanda (Mpigi Woman), Caroline Birungi Nanyondo (Kyamuswa), Jennifer Nantume Egunyu (Buvuma Woman), Idah Nabayiga (Kalangala Woman) and Julius Mukasa Opondo (Bujumba), among others.

Before the consultations, the source said, the named MPs supported the amendment but have since denounced the Magyezi bill.

“There are various reasons being given but the most outstanding is the unfulfilled presidential promises,” the source said.

Temulanda and her Mawokota North counterpart, Trade and Industry minister Amelia Kyambadde had a tough time on October 31 when they were forced to unceremoniously abandon their consultative meeting at Mpigi town council following a vote where locals opposed to the bill outnumbered those in favour.

Interviewed on November 21, Temulanda said that she was still analysing the outcome of her consultative meetings before she can make her position clearly known.

“The whole of Mawokota South rejected it and in Mawokota North, there are areas that rejected it and others that said that we should amend. I need time to analyse the outcome of my consultations, after that, I will go by what the majority are saying,” the Mpigi Woman MP said.

Despite being part of the initial team that worked on the amendment, Mawokota South MP John Bosco Lubyaayi was forced to wear a red headband (the national symbol of those who want age limits retained) at all his consultative meetings, owing to wide opposition to the bill in the constituency.

The Kalangala trio of Nanyondo, Nabayiga and Mukasa had a change of heart after tasting the wrath of their constituents.

MP Idah Nabayiga

Nabayiga was chased from Kyeserwa, Nkose, Butulume and Kyamuswa days after she had successfully convened a closed-door meeting of NRM leaders in Kalangala town Council.

Shaken, she later told journalists that; “I am not ready to suffer alone with the voters, if President Museveni so much wants this amendment, he should put it to a referendum and go around the country campaigning for it.”

Nanyondo’s Kyamuswa county is especially bitter that Museveni has not lived up to his decades’ long promise of improving transport between most of the islands in the district as well as healthcare services.

There are three ferries running between the district’s main island, Buggala, to the mainland, but none serves any of the other 83 islands in the district. Besides Buganda, the other areas pointed out in the report include Kigezi, Lango and Teso sub-regions.

Lango’s growing opposition to the amendment is attributed to the influence of Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong as chair of the Lango Parliamentary Group. Ogong is backed by Sylvia Akello (Otuke Woman) in a campaign against the amendment, which has left the ruling party not sure of the support of some of its Lango MPs such as Hamson Obua (Ajuri).

Monica Amoding (Kumi Woman) and her Ngora counterpart David Abala are on the other hand blamed for the hardening of opposition amongst the Teso MPs.

While the party enjoys overwhelming support among MPs from the western region, the influence of Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East) and Andrew Baryayanga Aja (Kabale Municipality) is something not to be ignored.

Both men are said to be working with a group of MPs that have been branded ‘Mbabazi MPs’ to campaign against the amendment.

According to sources, there are MPs within the NRM caucus who were sponsored by former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. Mbabazi fell out badly with Museveni over differences of opinion on the succession which saw him make an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2016

Among these are Micheal Timuzigu Kamugisha (Kajara), James Kaberuka (Kinkiizi West), Denis Sabiti (Rubanda West) and Innocent Pentagon Kamusiime (Butemba).

Kaberuka succeeded Mbabazi in Kinkiizi West and has been openly working with the ‘rebel MPs’ led by Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo and Buyaga West’s Barnabas Tinkasiimire, the lone dissenting voice from Bunyoro according to the political intelligence report.

Pentagon Kamusiime came as a surprise given that the proposal to scrap age limits was first passed in July 2016 by the Kyankwanzi NRM district conference where he is a member.

“He attended the meeting that passed the resolution and he was with us when we presented it to the president on August 2 at Kyankwanzi [National leadership institute],” Anna Maria Nankabirwa, the Kyankwanzi Woman MP, who also doubles as the NRM chairperson in the district, said in an interview at Parliament last week.

According to Nankabirwa, Pentagon has since gone as far as facilitating youth groups in the district to turn against his colleagues who support the bill. Pentagon accused Nankabirwa of being so cheap and desperate for a ministerial appointment.

“It is so unfortunate that somebody at the position of an MP is not satisfied with what they have that they have to sacrifice their colleagues to gain political favour from the appointing authority,” Pentagon said on Saturday.

He added that his stand on the bill is based on the outcome of consultations he held in his constituency.

“I did open consultations as opposed to closed ones which she conducted, and, I tolerated all sides at my meetings. Maybe she feels a little frustrated because she called a few people to a closed meeting,” the youthful MP said.

According to the report, all MPs from the districts of greater Mbabara around where Museveni hails, and greater Bushenyi, support the amendment.

Besides Tinkasiimire, all MPs from Bunyoro are also said to be behind Magyezi while in Busoga, only seven out of the 37 MPs from the sub-region are opposed.

“We are engaging our colleagues who are still opposed to the bill, we have decided to be as persuasive as possible to get them to our side because this bill is not one you can pass with a simple majority but with a fixed portion of the House,” an NRM MP who preferred anonymity said.

Under Article 262 of the Constitution, the bill requires not less than two-thirds of all members of Parliament at the second and third readings for the bill to pass.

Given the opposition to the bill, cabinet last month set up a ministerial sub-committee headed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to oversee parliamentary activities that were previously coordinated by a team led by Parliamentary Commissioners Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers), Robina Nabbanja (Kakumiro Woman) and Peter Ogwang (Usuk).

The sub-committee has Frank Tumwebaze (ICT and national guidance), Kahinda Otafiire (Justice and Constitutional Affairs), William Byaruhanga (Attorney General), Mwesigwa Rukutana (deputy Attorney General), state ministers David Bahati (Planning) and Evelyn Anite (Investments and Privatisation) and government chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa.

Neither Rugunda nor Nankabirwa answered our  calls on Saturday. It is, however, understood that the sub-committee plans to reach out to the MPs opposed to the bill although some have indicated that they may not honour any invitations.

“There is nothing new they are going to tell us. I think that is a tired strategy because we have previously listened to promises from the president that have never been fulfilled,” said an MP from Buganda.

sadabkk@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

BAKER BATTE LULE assesses the tricky road ahead for outgoing FDC president and how Patrick Amuriat's presidency may impact key positions of the party leadership in parliament.

As the dust raised by the unexpected triumph of Patrick Amuriat Oboi over Gen Mugisha Muntu settles down, rumors are swirling over the political future of not only Muntu but also that of the opposition leadership in parliament.

Amuriat, widely backed by Dr Kizza Besigye, won with 641 votes against Muntu’s 463. In his concession speech, Muntu hinted at a possibility of either pulling back from actively participating in party work or perhaps forming his own party.

Gen Mugisha Muntu campaigning at Namboole on Saturday

After it became clear that Amuriat was destined for victory, heartbroken Muntu supporters cocooned around him urging him to leave FDC now that it had been unambiguous that people don’t like him.

“These are mafias, they have showed that they don’t want you in their party what do you want from them? When we return to Fort Portal we are going to close FDC offices,” an angry Muntu supporter said.

“We should form our own party and leave FDC to Besigye, it seems he bought it,” another said. In response to such statements, Muntu who looked calm and composed, urged his supporters to remain calm. “This has been a battle within a war; calm down, we shall figure out what to do.”

“I take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to those who don’t trust me. It wasn’t my intension to waste your time all this time. It has been a pleasure working with you all for the last five years. Where we are heading, it’s going to be an interesting time to go to. To those who believe in my method, approach, I urge you not to be frustrated, don’t get provoked, don’t give haste statements…” Muntu said.

“There are decisions that I have got to make because while I congratulate Hon Amuriat Oboi, I also recognize that within the party, there might be irreconcilable differences either ideological or methods or approaches. I’m an honest man, I’m always honest to myself I would like to be honest to you as well,” Muntu said.

He added that he joined the struggle for a better Uganda at age 23 and he intends not to backtrack but said he can no longer work in an environment where he feels he is not trusted. “I don’t want to be unfair to you nor would I want to say that you are being unfair to me but the tasks ahead of us are heavy,” Muntu.

Kasiano Wadri, former MP for Terego county told whoever cared to listen that as founding members of FDC, they cannot allow their party to be taken over by a group of selfish individuals.

“I’m a founder member of this party and we must not allow it to be taken over by a few individuals for selfish interests. We must sit and find a way forward to deal with what has happened today. Otherwise, this party we sacrificed so much for risks disintegrating,” Wadri said.

On his part, Amuriat read in Muntu’s speech a resignation tone which he addressed in his own victory speech.  

“I will never stop respecting you as president that I looked up to. I have listened carefully to your remarks and I believe once the dust has settled, you and I need to have a discussion,” Amuriat said amidst a thunderous applause from the delegates.

“We need each other in FDC and for me the day I see people taking decisions to abandon the party, then it is going to be my greatest day of sadness. I pledged to you earlier in the day that I will be your president who will pull the party together. I will extend an olive branch because the party that we founded together, Gen. Muntu, has not yet got power.”

Speaking to The Observer after the delegate’s conference, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, who has been the co-chairman of the Muntu taskforce, said Muntu is capable of taking any decision.

“A person who went to the bush at 23 years when his own father was working in the same government, a person who abandons Museveni at a time when he could be appointed anything, to join the opposition where there is nothing is capable of doing anything including leaving FDC,” he said.

Fate of Opposition leadership

During campaigns, Amuriat repeatedly said it was wrong for FDC to appoint an opposition leadership in parliament since he contends Dr Besigye won the 2016 general election. 

However, speaking after he was declared winner, Amuriat said FDC MPs are a great asset to the party; therefore, they must forge a good working relationship as each of them does their work.

“I know some of you didn’t trust me to run this party but this is something now in the past. You have a president before you and we need to work together.

I understand that the pressures that you experience everyday running your activities because I was part of you but that notwithstanding…the battle for the liberation of this country is not going to happen there [parliament] it will happen here where…people of Uganda will, together with you, determine their destiny,” Amuriat said.

Gen Mugisha Muntu (R) shares a light moment with Patrick Amuriat at Namboole last weekend

Notably, Amuriat had few MPs that openly supported him. They include Francis Mwijukye, who was the deputy chairman of the campaign team, Betty Aol, [Gulu], Gilbert Olanya, [Kilak], Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, William Nzoghu and Mubarak Munyagwa.

Currently, what is unclear is whether Amuriat will not follow his predecessor to sack the party’s top hierarchy in parliament led by Winnie Kiiza, the leader of opposition and Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the chief whip.

When he was elected president in 2012, Muntu sacked the then leader of opposition, Nandala Mafabi, who had been appointed by Besigye, and replaced him with Wafula Oguttu. Speaking on Saturday, Mwijukye said it was too early to talk about the fate of Kiiza and Ssemujju and other committee chairpersons, who are all appointed by the FDC president.

“We don’t expect a shakeup in parliament really soon. From the angle of party cohesion, we can’t say now you go away... We still remain the same party, the same people and we only need to see how to realign our forces,” Mwijukye said. 

“We need to have the leadership in parliament clearly and strategically working with the people’s government and all other efforts geared towards liberating our country. So, the question is: how do we bring the two to work together such that the parliamentary leadership works hand in hand to cause change in this country,” Mwijukye said.

On his part, Ssemujju said it is within Amuriat’s powers to retain or dump them.

“I belong to an institution that takes decisions through party structures; if anyone thinks that the leadership is now going to take decisions unilaterally, I will also have learnt that and I will respect those decisions. I’m a decent person if anybody thinks that he is uncomfortable working with me, he needs not to make any proposals. Let him just tell me so and I will immediately hand over the office,” Ssemujju said.

“If they choose to realign the team in parliament, they will find us very obedient. If they want another leader of opposition, we will clean the office for him and hand over as soon as we are told.”

bakerbatte@observer.ug

1 month 3 weeks ago

KAMPALA. Pedestrians need not to worry about crossing the city roads whenever they approach the newly installed traffic lights because there is a provision for them to press a button, which then sends signals to the controller to emit the green lights, allowing them to cross, Daily Monitor has learnt.

New traffic lights are being installed by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) under the second phase of the Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project (KIIDP-2) with $183m (about Shs664b) funding from the World Bank.

The KCCA director of engineering and technical services, Mr Andrew Kitaka, told this newspaper in an interview at his office that unlike the old traffic lights whose green time is pre-set and hence fixed, the green time on the newly installed traffic lights comes on request by the pedestrian.

“We are upgrading the junctions in the city and for the pedestrians, we have installed a certain push button whereby a pedestrian at the crossing junction presses it and then waits for it to flash and they cross. However, if you don’t press the button, the green light can’t show,” Mr Kitaka said.

The modern light controllers, Mr Kitaka said, are placed in the small houses which have been constructed around the junctions.

Mr Kitaka explained that for vehicles, there are certain sensors on top of the traffic lights that count the traffic volumes, adding that the controller awards green time for the pedestrians depending on how heavy traffic is on different directions.

“When a pedestrian presses the button, it sends the signal to the controller to programme you and it doesn’t matter how many people press the button. Now, when you get green, other phases will be red and you will be able to cross. When the red comes, motorists will stop because you are crossing,” he said.

Daily Monitor has also established that KCCA plans to have a control room at City Hall, their headquarters, to enable them control traffic in the city.

The installation of the new traffic lights comes at a time when the city is grappling with traffic jams, which is partly caused by lack of signalised junctions in the central business district.

Before KCCA came into being, Kampala City had only eight signaled junctions. However, with the KIIDP-2 project, at least 40 junctions will be installed.

Some of the newly installed traffic lights are at Fairway junction on Yusuf Lule Road, Bwaise-Mambule Road junction, Kabira junction, Kira Road junction, Makerere Hill Road junction and Bakuli-Nakulabye road junctions which are still under construction.

However, pedestrians who spoke to this newspaper said although the new traffic lights cater for them, the request takes long to be processed.

“It’s true these new traffic lights have a provision for us the pedestrians, but it takes quite a long time before the green light shows.

Also, some motorists are stubborn because they don’t obey these lights and this holds us for long,” said Mr Samuel Ssemakadde, a pedestrian.

But Mr Kitaka said the green time usually takes seconds and that “pedestrians ought to cross immediately when the green time comes”.

He said they would carry out sensitisation about the newly installed traffic lights so that both motorists and pedestrians can understand their use.

According to KCCA, several roads and junctions will be constructed around the city under the KIIDP-2 project due to start end of this year.

Out of the 2100km of roads in the city, only 500km are tarmacked.

The roads scheduled for constructions are: John Babiha/Acacia Avenue with six signalised junctions, Nakawa-Ntinda road with three signalised junctions and Lukuli Road in Makindye Division with one signalised junction.

All the new roads and junctions will have a clear signage, paved walkways and signaled controlled pedestrian crossings.

The KCCA spokesperson, Mr Peter Kaujju, told Daily Monitor that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), is financing the construction of four additional junctions around Kololo and Naguru.

“The locations are Kati-Kati junction, Game-Jinja Road junction towards Naguru, off Lugogo Bypass and the junction at Kololo Independence Grounds,” he said.

Mr Kaujju warned that motorists found parking on walkways would be prosecuted.
However, the physical planning of the city is still lacking as there are no lanes for particular motorists, causing traffic jam.

For example, heavy trucks, ominibuses, boda bodas, taxis, private cars, and special hires and buses all scramble for the city’s narrow roads. The bus terminals and taxi parks in the city coupled with the potholed roads also block the traffic flow in the city.

Mr Charles Sebambulidde, the spokesperson of the Kampala Metropolitan traffic department, recently told this newspaper that although the new traffic lights have slightly reduced congestion in the city, it has not changed on many roads.

“The traffic flow in other parts is still a menace and this can only be controlled by constructing wider roads and flyovers around the city,” he observed

1 month 4 weeks ago

BUSHENYI- The Igara County East 14th December by-election has attracted six candidates and dropped one according to the Bushenyi district returning officer, Mr Godfrey Mbabazi.
The nomination exercise that started on Wednesday and ended on Thursday saw five men and one woman fulfill the nuts and bolts to compete in a tight race.

They are Andrew Martial (NRM), Michael Mawanda Maranga (Independent), Bedads Kananura (Independent), Christine Ninsiima Bekunika (FDC), Benjamin Katana (Independent) and Armstrong David (Independent).
Mr. Joseph Musinguzi Nyanga of the Democratic Party picked the nomination forms but was not nominated by closing time on Thursday, Mr Godfrey Mbabazi told Daily Monitor.

When contacted towards the closing time, Mr. Musinguzi said that he was still waiting for funds from the party.
“I am still waiting for funds from the party because the whole of yesterday they were promising to send me nomination fee. Everything is ready. What is remaining is to get money from the bank but I don’t know if God will really help me,” Musinguzi said.
However, he had not yet shown up and was therefore not nominated By closing time.

The Igara East by-election comes as a result of the nullification of Mr Martial’s election as Igara East MP by court of Appeal earlier last month citing voter bribery and uttering of defamatory statements in the 2016 general elections.
According to Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi, the exercise was peaceful and the officials had less hustles in verifying the papers of the candidates.
Campaigns will take place between November 26 and December 12 and the polling date will be December 14, 2017.

Mr Martial of the NRM told Daily Monitor that he is ready to stage a final assault on his enemy so as to capture the seat again.
“I am very well prepared to stage a final assault on my enemy so that I can capture the seat again as MP, Igara East and I will not allow any propaganda to disrupt me as I have had before. We shall get into the field and campaign for the best,” said Mr. Martial

Mr. Benjamin Katana, an independent candidate in the race said that he is psychologically ready for the race saying he wants to bridge the gap that has existed between Igara East constituents and their leaders most especially, their Member of Parliament.
“I want to create a forum where the leaders and the led in Igara East can come together to solve their issues instead of having invisible leaders like it has been,” he said
Mr Mawanda had lost to Mr Martial in the 2015 NRM primaries, which saw Mr Mawanda contest as an independent candidate in the general election which he lost and decided to file a petition.
Mr Martial is one of the MPs who have openly opposed the removal of age limit for presidential election candidates from the constitution.

1 month 4 weeks ago

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