Cyber war is now real in Uganda going by the excitement the Tom Okwalinga VS Muwema case !

Cyber war is now real in Uganda going by the excitement the Tom Okwalinga VS Muwema case in Ireland has generated.The truth is i don’t think that even Facebook is capable of revealing Tom’s true identify. All they can reveal is an IP address, but with modern technology, there are now several ways of concealing one’s IP address. That’s why even some terrorist groups have got websites and Facebook pages.

For instance, one can conceal it with a VPN. Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a connectivity to another network, and when connected your computer receives a new IP address from a VPN provider. Every traffic from your computer routes through the VPN network, so your true IP address assigned by your ISP is hidden. It is called IP spoofing.

IP address spoofing or IP spoofing is the creation of Internet Protocol (IP) packets with a forged source IP address, with the purpose of concealing the identity of the sender or impersonating another computing system. When the victim replies to the address, it goes back to the spoofed address and not to the attacker’s real address.

Tom Voltaire Okwalinga is probably chilling right now and watching govt officials getting excited for nothing!

P.S: This very post has been reposted by Facebook in my profile three times without my permission, and I wonder why.

Abbey

JOKE: THE FOLLOWING HAPPENED AT A COURT HOUSE IN 2006 AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

Around March 2006 after the presidential elections, a defendant in a lawsuit involving large sums of money was talking to his lawyer. “If I lose this case, I’ll be ruined. We cannot organize another election just because that ugly bastard doesn’t want to admit defeat”

“It’s in the judge Kavumarish’s hands now,” said the lawyer.

“Would it help if I sent the judge a box of cigars?”

“Oh no! Judge Kavumarish is a stickler on ethical behavior. A stunt like that would prejudice him against you. He might even hold you in contempt of court. In fact, you shouldn’t even smile at the judge.” said the lawyer.

”Oh, how I wish the rape charges against that bastard had worked”, said the defendant.

Within the course of time, the judge rendered a decision in favor of the defendant. As the defendant left the courthouse, he said to his lawyer, “Thanks for the tip about the cigars. It worked! Now that Bestard can go to hell”

“I’m sure we would have lost the case if you’d sent them.” said the lawyer

“But, I did send them.”

“What? You did?” said the lawyer, incredulously.

“Yes. That’s how we won the case.”

“I don’t understand,” said the lawyer.

“It’s easy. I sent the cigars to the judge, but enclosed the plaintiff’s business card. Now, I can blame everything on the opposition”

”What?, Lawyer is surprised.

”By the way,what did the judge say when our NRM historian at Makerere University entered the courtroom?”, asked the defendant

Lawyer: ”Odor, Odor in the court!!!……Now you have to make him the chairman of NRM Electoral Comission”

Sejusa puzzle not solved yet!

meet
The president mentioned the names of the two young people he sent to London to negotiate Sejusa’s return as Michael Katungi and Janet Anyine, but who are they? Why were they chosen? What’s their official or unofficial position in government?

The president’s account contradicts what senior journalist, Chris Obore, said on national Tv on 14th December 2014 that the return was engineered by Gen. Salim Saleh because he sympathized with the life Tinyefunza was going through in the UK. Chris mentioned that he knew of Sejusa’s return in advance but they couldn’t publish anything in the Daily Monitor incase both sides changed their minds, but they camped at the airport the night of his return.

Some people may look at this and conclude that Museveni is at his weakest point as far as handling deserters is concerned, but I’m looking at it differently. It’s obvious that Sejusa knows a lot about the inside working of the president. Having him back home gives the president a lot of control on how to handle the guy. He may even bang him in prison tomorrow on concocted charges if he wishes, and there’s nothing anybody could do about it. Overall, I think this is a triumph for both men but the president has that edge over Sejusa.

Museveni hasn’t completely subverted the army justice system but I think time will tell. Till the Tinyefunza resignation certificate is signed, and we don’t know when that will be, Tinyefunza is to zip his lips and that is not good for him. Speculation will continue mounting against him that he is fooling the opposition till when he is able to talk again.

Basically, Museveni’s stall tactics aren’t any different than any other person under pressure, and is in fact doing what he is expected of him under the circumstances. I keep telling people not to underestimate Museveni like Obote did in 1980s, but you don’t listen. His strongest weapon has been his smile on the face and the fact that a lot of his opponents have been underestimating him probably since his childhood. Women are victims of his smile and his looks while men fall for “underestimation”. Would you believe it? He even managed to smile while shaking Sejusa’s hands. He he he.

The losers in all this have been Ofwono Opondo and other spin masters. Have you figured out that Ofwono doesn’t have a clue yet of what we are talking about here?
We can’t have any meaningful discussion on anything because of political spins, and I’m starting to hate it. Andrew Mwenda told us that Sejusa initiated the talks with state house while Ofwono Opondo said that Sejusa’s ticket was bought by the govt. And there is the other spin master who only does his job with “funny stories” and abusing the president’s opponents.

But some Ugandans are also to blame in all this because some of these lies are provoked. Ask a dumb question, get a dumb answer. Honestly, how do you expect Tamare Mirundi to know what goes on between Sejusa and Museveni? But If the same question is asked Tamare in a pub, over a good beer,you’ll often get a different answer. Whose business is it anyway?

Well, Life is like a game with no mission, you have to follow the rules but you don’t know the reason you’re doing it.

The message is clear: you backbite Mbabazi at your own risk. He has got ears and eyes everywhere.

What a recording! A wonderful story whose intoxicating contents lures you in, exceeding any expectations and leaving you craving more. So, Jack-chan Mbabazi lives by her word and releases the promised tape to the public.

I bet one of the informants or “RATS” as some people so coyly put it, who doped in Kayihura to the Mbabazis, is not in Uganda right now. He must have been bought a one way ticket out of the country to God knows where. But overall Kayihura displayed some form of incompetence especially the way he was answering leading questions from the boys.

I reckon the theory that the tape was stolen from the police is being fronted to hide the incompetence of the IGP. This very theory at least saves his face or should i say the face of the Uganda police, but I don’t think is true and they know it. The Mbabazis have got them where they wanted them: surrounded by fear, panic and paranoia.

It seems Mbabazi has bugged almost every important office in the country, and this recording was meant to send out that message to those concerned. I’m sure even the president is now a bit shaken. They won’t utter another word till when they have swept their offices of bugs.The message is clear: you backbite Mbabazi at your own risk. He has got ears and eyes everywhere.

Political spying is not a new phenomenon in politics if anybody remembers the Watergate scandal in USA where President Nixon won an election in 1972 after spying on democrats. It was reported that John Mitchell, while working as attorney general, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats.

Before that the White house had burglarized a psychiatrist’s doctor’s office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

Recently, the CIA was in shock when a certain Edward Snowden started leaking state secrets to the world. Snowden is still holed up in Russia because he is wanted back home over treason charges.

Back in Uganda, we have been reading intelligence briefings from Andrew Mwenda, Tom Okwalinga and others such that we are now very familiar with ‘who is who’ in government probably more than the people working there themselves.

The thing is apart from my ‘jajas’ and friends in rural areas who have no access to internet, everyone in the world is being watched by the CIA. They probably even know what president Museveni has for breakfast everyday if Mbabazi didn’t beat them to it already. In 2012 it was revealed that people who have their TVs, phones, and other web-connected gadgets connected to internet, are all being spied on, as this allows ‘spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.’
Just logging on Facebook or Google is enough for any top spy to know where you are and do anything they want to you.

So, my advice to Gen.Kayihura is to discard the internet in his life if he does not want to be monitored by Mbabazi, Besigye and Tinyenfunza. Let me leave with the famous words of Thomas Jefferson: “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

Abbey

Lukwago:’Sometimes it’s necessary to cooperate more with a monkey than a dog if you want to travel peacefully”

I’ve been trying to think of something original to say about the absurdity now transpiring in Kampala, DS (District of Statehouse), with this cold and flu running me down. And i think Ms.Musisi Jeniffer is clearly holding the city hostage. How about exposing the ultimate hypocrisy: Hon.Nyanzi’s decision has put everyone in the govt with a good brain(Obviously apart from our Attorney General) in a fix. Either way they turn, the law is favoring Erias Lukwago. Yes, they can disregard the law if they wish as they did with black mambas surrounding the court in 2006 elections, but the fact is that Lukwago should be smiling to the bank and Lord Mayor’s offices soon. No wonder president Museveni has reportedly extended an olive branch to the opposition and he is ready to talk to them.

But there is something more here. How can one woman who was merely appointed by the president and who has just cost tax payers money while being a party to the illegal impeachment of an elected official – think she has the right to shut down the entire KCCA operations and destroy the full faith people have in the govt’s security forces? Yes, she cited ‘security’ or rather ‘insecurity’ as one of the reasons why she was closing down KCCA operations.I see no quid pro quo even. Just pure blackmail,……….her actions for the last 5 days have been an attack on the governance and the little constitutional order of Uganda. You know the government is dysfunctional when the Constitutional safety valve stops working.Govt shouldn’t be prejudicial and do things for Ugandans regardless of their political affiliations.

For the record, there is no such thing as a government of any kind (verily, even a human being) that cannot be corrupted. Everyone has got a ‘price’. All we can do is vote out the ones we don’t like and hope the next bunch are better. We must also remember that the ones we do not like, if they have made it into office, are obviously ones that the majority of voters DO or DID like. The people of Kampala voted Lukwago as the mayor of Kampala and they like him. For anyone to advocate the ‘tribunal’ and ‘Tumwebaze’ like overthrow of a duly elected official at any level is guilty of at the very least sedition and possibly even treason.

It’s unfortunate that again this time, the elephant isn’t going down as it wants a ‘meeting’. Very clever,…. But I’m hoping that it’s so wounded that it will not get up for a long time to come. Well, Lukwago should agree to meet the president with a few of his trusted people. Sometimes it’s necessary to cooperate more with a monkey than a dog if you want to travel peacefully. As they say: ‘Dogs kill more people than monkeys and they are assumed to be our “best friend.”. But we appeal to people like Frank Tumwebaze and Nyombi Tembo to drop that nonsense of justifying the legality of the impeachment as reported in the Newvision today!

Byebyo ebyange!

The Moses Ali’s ‘speech’ should have been protected too with some guns instead of only protecting the ‘speaker’?

MOSES ALI SPEECH AT NEBANDA’S BURIAL

Oh My God!

I had not seen this video yet of Nebanda’s mum rhetorically shredding Moses Ali/president Museveni’s speech at her daughter’s burial, and the audience loved it. What was she really thinking? That was very ‘unpatriotic’ of her? I’m sure the media had a field day with this one!

One thing for sure : she has got the guts, but I think Ugandans should stop speculating on what caused the death of Hon.Nebanda as the president said in this video especially if they don’t wanna get arrested( like those MPs). But if anybody knows the truth as opposed to what we have been already officially told , then I think one is allowed to tell us. Even in libel law (one of the oldest exceptions to the rule of free speech is that you can be punished for defaming people) truth is rightfully an absolute defense.

Recommendations:

In future, the ‘speech’ should be protected too with some guns instead of only protecting the speech reader? So, the gun-body guards should have protected both Gen.Moses Ali and the speech itself. People always make the arguments to protect freedom of speech but what about the speech itself. This was a typical harassment of the ‘speech’ by Nebanda’s mum. Our constitution is adamant about preserving free speech but it’s not really protecting the ‘speech’ itself, is it?poison

We don’t protect “defamation”, nor do we protect “fighting words”. The right to speak was originally protected to make sure that all Ugandans could discuss political and philosophical thought freely without some big brother in Statehouse telling us what we can and cannot say, and i think the ‘order’ by the president to arrest whoever speculates about Nebanda’s death’ is arguably a bit unconstitutional. And if this is the case, what we have got in Uganda is the equivalent of the Germany Basic Law (Grundgesetz) not a constitution (Verfassung). If we are talking about The Basic Law (Grundgesetz) which was enacted in May of 1949, then to my knowledge, it is does not guarantee the right to free speech or protect against unreasonable searches the way our constitution assumingly protects them. But then again, I’m not a lawyer(i’m like Julia Roberts in that film- ‘Eric something), but I’m sure those that have already been arrested and charged should be thinking about these constitutional provisions as a form of their defense.

BUT THAT NEBADA’S MUM……………..SHE SHOULD BE HIRED AS A BODY GUARD BY ERIAS LUKWAGO STRAIGHTWAY! The way she bounced while tearing up that speech and throwing it away at the front of Mose’s car, phewwwwwwwwwwwwww! Even Kayihura would have done a runner on that one, man!

FORGET ABOUT NEBADA’S AUTOPSY AND MOVE ON!

m72Let’s face it, if the state wants you to die and you are in Uganda, it doesn’t matter if they will be found out or not, you will die and they will get away with it. I’m not saying that the Uganda government murdered Hon.Celina Nebada but it is possible, and I can’t see anybody getting to the bottom of this to implicate the state (if at all they did it). That is because we don’t have independent systems in the country to verify such stuff. As a result, Ugandans simply don’t trust their government, and that is why the so called pathologist was possibly sneaking the remains of Nebada’s body to South Africa naively via EBB airport.

The typical answer to any suspected murders by the government is to identify the guy to blame immediately before the investigations are concluded. This is usually done if there is a perceived public anger about such a murder. I don’t know whether this is a weakness or not but we need to change this in future. Nebada’s boyfriend may be innocent but he may easily go down for this murder if things carry on the way there are now.

Maybe some people don’t like the truth when we present it to them, and they would like to translate that as opposition to the government, but a lot of Ugandans now understandably hate the Museveni government in equal proportions, here abroad and in Uganda itself. And this is something that is actually measurable or quantifiable through holding free and fair elections but we dont have that in Uganda.

As Reverend Keffa Ssempagi said on Bukedde TV program: ‘OMUNTU WABANTU’, a lot of people stay in the government when they clearly know that it is a bad government, but they do so because they want bread and butter or as a way of protecting their lives. He revealed that a lot of Baganda joined UPC because they didn’t want the Langis to plan something for them when they didn’t know in advance. So, he was asked by late Muwonge( Kyabazala), to join the UPC government. But surprisingly, when Obote 2 was about to fall, vice president Muwanga , was reportedly hiding in his garage at Kololo and he didn’t know what was going on, only to be picked by Nyerere to take over as VP.

If Nebada died of undetectable poison, then that is something we shall never know because we don’t have the technology to identify such things in Uganda. There are a lot of poisons out there that can kill people in seconds or days. For instance, ricin usually kills in three days if inhaled, ingested or injected. Bulgarian agents used it against an opposition figure, Markov, in London in 1978. He died in three days but it was identified because he died in London not Bulgaria.

I read somewhere where some one was talking about Nebada’s size and heart attack. Yes, Nebada looked a bit overweight and I was surprised that she was only 24 years old. However, we should also not rule out poisoning because someone has died of heart attack. For instance, the CIA have come up with a deadly poison that is undetectable and makes people look like they died of heart attacks. It can be administered like a mosquito bite on your skin, and the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The venomous whiz completely disintegrates upon entering the object. The lethal poison then speedily enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the harm is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is not likely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes.

Like I said on Ngoma radio, all we can do now is to accept that Nebada is dead and then pray for her if possible.”
If the president threatened the MPs earlier on before Hon.Nebada died, then that is likely to affect him and his party more than the ‘OPM’ Saga. There is a big possibility that majority of Ugandans aren’t even aware of the current corruption scandals in the office of the PM, but I believe this is not the case with the death of Nebada. Radio stations have been reporting it as a top headline ever since it happened. It will be in people’s minds for a long time, I believe.

The way I know village life in Uganda, I would not be surprised that this murder is now the talk of the town in their town gatherings, village meetings and even in the morning before they go into their sambas. I’m sure you would hear stuff like: ‘ ekyana nakyo bakiise’, ‘mp yatadeyo mwana’, ‘nebina fiiiiiiiiiii……….bano tebasagga…..’

I don’t know how good Tamare Mirundi is in these situations but his boss needs him urgently now to spin on things more than before. Actually, Ofwono Opondo is better in spinning such situations but I guess most of the brilliant minds in the president’s party aren’t as happy as they should. But he is gonna need all these people to go out there on radio talk shows to do more spinning.

By the way, have we heard any statement from the new FDC president about the death of Nebada? I have also not read anything from Mafabi to this effect. Are the two still fighting?

As Mr.kefa ssempangi advised on:’omuntu wabantu’, may be its time we forget about politics for a while and we start thinking business. I’m really getting fed up with Uganda politics. The more things change the more they look worse. People no longer trust the police, the president or any state organ. Opposition looks weaker than before such that guys like otunu only appear in the media if they are being punched by an ‘Akena’. Corruption is as high as it can get, e.t.c.

Ssempangi has been into the poultry business since 1986, and I believe he has made a fortune out of it such that he is even better off than those that targeted donor funds. There are a lot of people I know who are rich this way but few Ugandans even know about them. They are silently making money as the rest talk about politics all the time.

Mukula was reportedly the first Ugandan to open up a Chinese restaurant and he apparently made 0.5 million dollars as net profit in the first 6 months. It is something that is even difficult to contemplate in a developed nation such as the UK, but Mukula did it in Uganda. He joined politics in 1996 when he already owns 6 airplanes and a lot of other businesses. He can afford to pay tuition / fees for his sons in the UK without begging for statehouse scholarships. He can drive any expensive car he wishes without tapping into donor funds. May be we could utilise him more on this forum if he agrees to discuss business ideas more than politics.

There are a lot of people in Uganda silently making their money that way- without involving themselves in politics. Maybe, we should do that for a while as things get uglier on the political front. Our government is not listening whatever ideas we discuss on this forum. They only look at us as potential enemies or ‘FDC’ supporters that are eligible for ‘nebadalisation’.

If you see people strongly suspecting their government of killing those who oppose them, then just know that things are worse. Do you hear any noise from Muhammad nsereko anymore? He is probably now trying to remember if he shared any coffees with Nevada on that fateful day. He is as quiet as a foetus.

Mubilabye banange!

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Gen. Kayihura:Investigate harassment of Muslims in Uganda further

General Kayihura,

The use of torture as a tool of interrogation has featured prominently in escalating human rights violation reports by Ugandan security and military forces since 2001. It has been reported that Official and ad hoc military, security and intelligence agencies of the Ugandan government have illegally detained and tortured suspects, seeking to force confessions of some sort. What I would like some sort of clarification on is: why is the ADF attributed to Muslims only yet it is a coalition formed from a variety of anti-museveni organizations. I’m so much disturbed that as a Muslim, I can easily be targeted by a government basically because of my religion yet, like many, I’m absolutely innocent. We really need some sort of clarification from the government.

There is undeniably a feeling among the Muslim community that this government can easily plant evidence against, or eliminate those viewed to be criticizing it, by linking them to ADF. ADF has become a good excuse to get them out of the way but what is this ADF? Till now, i had never really thought about doing research on this rebel outfit.

Unfortunately, some Muslim individuals in Uganda have also allowed themselves to be used by the government by pointing fingers at fellow ’innocent’ Muslims because of the factionalism in the Muslim community at the moment. For instance, some reports in the media indicated that the government wanted Dr.Ssengendo out of the IUIU basically because some reports had linked him to ADF and JEEMA. How many Muslims are likely to fall victim of such conspiracies, I guess we will never know, will we? The president’s statement that Sheikh Sentamu deserved to die because he had one leg in the ADF was also disturbing.

What is ADF?

It is alleged that the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) was created in 1996 in Zaire by fusing elements of ADM (Allied democratic Movement) , NALU (National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) and UMLA (Uganda Muslim Liberation Army) to fight the Museveni regime. ADM was a Baganda ant-Museveni guerrilla movement created in 1996. ADM, NALU and UMLA reportedly met in London in January 1995 which led to the creation of an umbrella organization called ADF.

What is NALU?

NALU was an inheritor of the long standing Rwenzururu guerrilla movement formed by the Bakonjo tribe of western Uganda which had been fighting the government of Uganda, not necessarily Museveni’s, since 1950s to demand its regional independence from Bunyoro kingdom. They launched a guerrilla war against the British in 1950s because they did not want to be part of the Tooro Kingdom which had also earlier broken away from the great Bunyoro Kitara. I guess Mr.Mirima Henry Ford; will have to find a way of ‘’fighting’’ them before he puts all his energies against the Buganda kingdom which also broke away from Bunyoro-Kitara.

When Obote rigged the 1980 elections and became the president of Uganda again, he signed an armistice with the Rwenzururu in 1982, and Amon Bazira , a UPC guy and Obote man, was very instrumental in these talks. NALU started fighting the Museveni government in 1988 before it made alliances to become part of ADF. Bazira approached Kenya’s Moi and Zaire’s Mobutu in 1988 seeking for their support which they gave him because both did not trust Museveni at the time. Bazira was unfortunately shot dead in 1992 by reportedly Uganda agents on a street in Nairobi. That was the end of Bazira and his rebel activities. But then again, the Uganda government has always publicly maintained that they don’t do political assassinations. Who is me to argue, after all, I’m still breathing, aren’t i?

Well, I hate long stories, so let’ cut this one short. Mobutu and Museveni never saw eye to eye from the start. So, he found a way of pushing him out (Mobutu) before he ( Museveni) is pushed. He got into contact with some tribes on the other side of the Virunga Mountains, across from Kasese, who never justifiably liked Mobutu at all. These tribes had already formed a rebel movement under the leadership of Joseph Marandura’s son, which they called PLC. They used to steal goats and chickens along Uganda border villages but that was as far as they went. By 1994, Museveni had made up his mind to overthrow Mobutu’s government and the Uganda ESO was already helping PLC. Mr.Kahinda Otafiire( who is now a justice minister, I think) , named Andre Kisase Ngandu as Uganda’s contact in PLC, with the sole aim of transforming this rebel tagged organisation into a serious armed group. Dr.Crispus Kiyonga tried to do a failed Public relations job as he denied that the Uganda government was supporting PLA, but of course it was not true, like they did the same when Fred Rwigyema and others invaded Habyarimana’s government in 1994.

What is UMLA?

UMLA, on the other hand, was an anti-Museveni guerrilla group reportedly created in 1996 to fight the NRM government at the height of Sheikh Jamilu Mukulu’s popularity. Jamiru used to call president Museveni a ‘Kufir’ in public which I kind of disagree with (because I believe that it is not the best way to lure people into Islam), but he had reportedly not joined ADF then. This group accused Museveni of having killed Muslims in 1979 at Nyamitaga, near Mbarara and later in 1983 at Butambara. The group was dominated by Baganda Muslims but let us remember that prince Badru Kakungulu and a few other Baganda Muslim personalities were very instrumental in providing Museveni the financial support he needed while fighting Obote’s dictatorship in 1979-86.

What about the ADM guys?

Yes, both ADM and UMLA were led by Baganda but it is wrong to generalise them to the Muslim population in Uganda. ADM was reportedly led by Sentamu Kayiira and their objective of fighting was to introduce multi part politics in Uganda( I guess UPC and DP were also in it as for them used the courts to fight for the same. So let’s go and arrest them all); stop Museveni’s nepotism of giving all the juicy jobs to westerners; and restabilising better relations with Uganda’s neighbouring states.

ADM used to reportedly recruit mostly Christians in Buganda while UMLA used to allegedly recruit both Muslims and non-Muslims. According to some interviews seen in newspapers, it seems most recruits had been promised money to fight- something that shows that this was more of a foreign sponsored venture that had nothing to do with religion or Islam. No Muslim is required to be paid to fight for an Islamic cause.

Secondly, apart from the reported UMLA attacks in Buseruka, we never read any more reports in newspapers that showed that these organisations were capable of defeating the mighty UPDF. Yes, it is reported that Sudan tried to help them too as he did with the LRA but they were ill trained and disorganized to make any impact in the long term.

Jamiru Mukulu

What Jamiru Mukulu reportedly joined was a sect called the ‘’Tablighi Jamaat ‘’ that was originally from India. This group was started in 1950s to spread Islam worldwide which is OK by all standards. They started cooperating with UMYA, around 1980s, in Uganda for the same purpose,i.e. to spread Islam in Uganda. Their occupation of the Old Kampala mosque in 1991 which led to the death of some police officers- raised some eyebrows in the government. Government started investigating them and I hear they found that the sect had international connections. It was alleged that the Tabliqs attempted to assassinate Sheikh Sulaiman Kaketo in 1996 because he has publicly denounced them. It was around the same time that Jamiru Mukulu left the country because he did not want to be arrested and up to now, nobody knows where he is. Up to now, I don’t know how Jamiru Mukulu looks like; how he came to be the supposed leader of ADF; how he escaped from the country; where he lives; and most importantly how this has got anything to do with our fellow Muslims in and outside Uganda.

Please, we request the government to give the Muslim community in Uganda a breather; and help them unite instead of further dividing them. Yes, every time a rebel group is linked to a certain community; it germinates seeds of more divisions and mistrust in that community. It especially becomes more disturbing when one reads newspapers and see only fellow Muslims being arrested and linked to ADF. We hope that this kind of silent ‘injustice’ will stop. We also hope that the murder of Sheikh Sentamu and the recently murdered Hajji Abubakar will be properly investigated and the Muslim community will be given assurances that the government is not targeting them in any way. Those Muslims that have been arrested and linked to rebel activities should be presented in courts of law (not military courts), and let justice prevail. We all wish to live in peace and in harmony with everybody in the country.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Kabaka’s Private life- Media -Headlines Are Meant to bury the bad headlines in the country

The only official picture released by Mengo since the birth of Prince Semakokilo

Folks,

The apology to the Kabaka by the Newvision boss, Robert Kabushenga, was a good step but they should not have followed it with publication of another picture of a woman who they claim to be the mother of prince Richard Semakokilo. It sends out a bad message to the one you are apologising to. Newvision was once again giving the ‘two fingers’ to the Mengo administration. They should have learned from that ‘Kutesa-Kabaka- land tittle’ story some years ago.

Yes, Newvision might have made millions out of this story, probably more than shs.500 Mrs Barbara Patience Kirabo is demanding from them, but they should not have rubbed salt in the wounds again by publishing another picture they aren’t sure of. Now, what if Mengo embarasses them and produces a different picture of the mother of prince Ssemakokilo? Will they apologise again or what?

Barbara Patience Kirabo, the lady whose photograph appeared in the state-owned Newspaper - The New Vision and its sister publication vernacular daily Bukedde on Wednesday as the mother of the Kabaka’s new son, Prince Richard Ssemakookiro

Newspaper columnists have the right to express whatever opinion they want, but they do not have the right to disseminate inaccuracies, distortions or fabrications and present them as facts. The way Newvision wrote their apology was like as if they have got some beef to settle with Kabaka, and i think this is what is hurting some Baganda.

I had avoided commenting on Prince Richard Semakokilo’s story ever since it was broken on the Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum because of the mistakes that have so far been committed by both Mengo and the state. The story reminds of the day my daughter asked me if I was ‘uncle dad’ not ‘dad.

The world is laughing at us not because we have a king who cheated on his wife and never lied about it but it’s because we have made a great deal about it yet we have a lot of problems in our country. Please let’s cut the Kabaka some slack.

Yes!  Kabaka has fathered a kid out of the wedlock. So are many other rich, poor and famous Ugandans.  What I’m trying to figure out is don’t we have other issues to handle in Kampala other than Kabaka’s private life??  There are ‘snake-filled’ hospitals and corrupt government officers running rampant within the State House and all we are talking about is whether what Kabaka did was Christian or not. We should not really give a damn about where a traditional leader sticks his pecker because it’s so likely that the majority of kings in Uganda have boinked someone other than their wife while in office. This has only become media-worthy since the people in power figured out that it could take their bad headlines out of the media for a while. The Kabaka’s mistress story or whatever one wants to call it, is meant to bury the bad headlines for a while but I don’t think it’s gonna work.

Speaking of the bible and polygamy, I think, in the Old Testament, God had no problem with polygamy; the Bible does not prohibit it, and some of God’s favourite and most-beloved kings had wives by the dozens or even hundreds!  For instance, King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).  Also, King David is said to have had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13). In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.

Another picture produced by Newvision as the mother of the prince

With King Solomon, he loved many foreign women. For example, he married the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, E’domite,  Sido’nian, and Hittite women. So, Kabaka Mutebi can marry in any tribe outside Buganda if he fancy doing it. It’s indeed not very pragmatic to weaken the Kabakaship over something so trivial.

Marriages in Western culture are based on monogamy and high-pair-bonding and this is something some Africans have come to appreciate. As a result, compatibility, age difference and long-term attractiveness is a matter of consideration before people get married. But I think this is not something Kabaka Mutebi had in mind when he went for the mother of Prince Richard Semakokilo.

In other words,  he went with the universal view that other things are more important than wealth, age and status, because he(Kabaka) has got all the means to marry a woman whom he does not need to hide away from the media especially after having a son with her. There are a lot of families with ‘status’ that would have been willing to offer their daughters( young or old) to the Kabaka for anything, but may be he is silently trying to redefine ‘statuses. Today’s warped view of “status” is entirely dependent on wealth but let’s face it, majority of the highest “status” men and women in Uganda are arguably criminals, and most of them are hypocrites. You bring them near you, they can destroy you. So, why would a leader who is arguably ‘enemies’ with the state wish to marry from such influential families in Uganda at the moment?

Historically, marriage was a business arrangement. The bride was a commodity, her dowry a deal sweetener.  And the groom was likely to be an unwitting pawn in an economic alliance between two families. For example, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) married his daughter to his cousin, Ali, to cement the friendship between families. Then two of his caliphs, Othman and Omar offered their daughters to him to also cement their friendship with the prophet. There was no paperwork, no possibility of divorce, and more often than not- no romance.  But there was work to be done:  procreation, the rearing of children and the enforcement of a contract that allowed for the orderly transfer of wealth and the cycle of arranged matrimony to continue.

Similarly, the birth of Prince Semakokilo should be looked at in that spectrum and we put this issue to bed. Marriage as some Ugandans know it today didn’t exist 90 years ago. I think the Kabaka is trying to balance the seesaw here (as we used to call it in my little physics at Kibuli.S.S). He could have ”married” another woman but he did not do so presumably because he did not wish to upset the church; he could have got another lady from an influential family but he decided to tap into the working class (‘commoners’) to balance things up. Buganda needed another prince and he found a way to offer it. End of story!

Now, he needs to man up and take that extra step as a social and cultural revolutionary, and tell the world the mother of his newlyborn son. He has not done anything wrong in the eyes of the law. The moment he introduced the prince to the media, more questions were definitely going to be asked, and the most important of all questions is:’’ who is the mother to the prince?’ Let Mengo come out with it and shut up the people that are making a great deal out of it. It does not matter whether the mother is of higher status or not as long as the Kabaka did whatever he did for the right reasons.The truth is that Mengo made some mistakes in the way they handled this issue, but I don’t intend to discuss their mistakes in a public forum out of respect and love for my Kabaka.

Nze bwendaba

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
COMMONER

Saif Al-Islam cannot get a fair trial in Libya yet he deserves one

saif-al-islam-gaddafi

Dear folks,
Saif Al-Islam is in the hands of the Libyan authorities but I don’t think he is enjoying his food right now. A lot of people may not understand why I still support NTC after the way they handled Gaddafi on capturing him but let’s give them more time. To be fair, they are doing better than some people expected. Yes, militias are still independently controlling some regions but I’m still optimistic that the situation will change for the better. I’m not like the owner of the Independent Magazine, Andrew Mwenda, who has been exaggerating on capitalfm from the start that Libyans will slaughter themselves as it is in Somalia, as soon as Kaddafi goes. These guys seem to be a bit more organized and nationalistic compared to the Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein or Afghanistan’s after the fall of the Taliban.

I’m, however, a bit worried that Saif Al-Islam may not get a fair trial in Libya because there are a lot of emotions running deep in the country as far as the Gaddafi family are concerned. The ICC still has an upper hand over this if they sense that Saif may not get a fair trial in Libya but the international laws allow the host country to try their guy first if they assure the ICC that he or she will be given a fair trial.

Let us also remember that ICC lost some kind of credibility as far as project ‘Saif-Al-Islam’ is concerned. The court was viciously ridiculed by critics after it “confirmed” Saif’s capture by rebels in August, saying it was in the process of bringing him to The Hague for trial. He embarrassed them when he appeared in a Tripoli hotel — supposedly under rebel control —later that day to lead a crowd of cheering supporters and foreign journalists on a tour of the city.

I don’t know which kind of evidence the ICC or the Libyans have got against Saif but by the look of things so far, it looks like the evidence is not as strong as the one Ugandans have reportedly got against our first son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Gaddafi tried to keep him away from military affairs as he was mainly responsible for the financial management of the country’s affairs rather than military or intelligence. It was the other brothers that were reportedly more involved in military and intelligence affairs.

That’s why I still think that president Museveni made a mistake to involve Muhoozi in the military because it is very easy for anyone to build a case against you if you are involved in matters of life and death. Already people are saying he is responsible for the death of people at Kasubi tombs and somewhere in Karamoja, and it’s kind of difficult for any judge to rule against that if your father is no longer in power. Judges are human beings like anybody else, you know.

So, I think Saif should be handed over to ICC but that is a real dream because there are people who want to see his neck on a platter. Even the two tribes: Gadhafi and Waffala tribes, that highly protected him, cannot protect him anymore while in Libya.

There is an argument that people like: Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and their sons will never have a fair trial anywhere in the world. The end result is always the same: death. So, instead of wasting people’s time and money, they are usually eliminated on the spot. They are usually assassinated as soon as troops find them hiding in some cave, drainage or house somewhere. For instance, Saddam’s sons were shot down on the spot but their father got a ‘fair trial’ that ended with his death. The Saddam supporters could not argue that he did not get a fair trial; after all, he continually received 100 percent of the votes during Iraqi elections. They loved him there! On the other hand, Gaddafi and two of his sons were killed on the spot but Saif Al-Islam may also end up with another ‘fair trial’ with the same predicament as Saddam’s if he is tried in Libya.

What do you think would be the reaction in the U.S. if Osama bin Laden got a smart lawyer like USA’s Johnnie Cochran (RIP) or Uganda’s David Mpanga, and got himself acquitted like O.J Simpson. It is possible for anybody ‘guilty’ to walk out of the court ‘not guilty’ with a good lawyer. There is something in legal terms called “exclusionary rule” where even perfectly good evidence can be thrown out on the basis that it was illegally obtained. I don’t know whether we have got this too in Uganda but it is common in developed nations. A murderer who confesses his crime can still be acquitted simply because the cop forgot to read him his rights first.

Nonetheless, I personally still think people deserve a fair trial whatever the circumstances and I can’t see Saif Al-Islam getting one in Libya. Let us examine one historical trial in USA where Alger Hiss, an American lawyer who was one of the founders of the UN, was accused of being a Soviet spy in 1948 and convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950. There was massive government misconduct against Hiss, including: 1. An FBI agent who knowingly lied on the witness stand, 2. the withholding of evidence by the FBI which would have acquitted Hiss, and 3. the infiltration of the Hiss defence team by the FBI. The Hiss defence team contained an FBI informant.

If any of these three major areas of government misconduct had come to light at the time, the Judge would have declared a mistrial and he probably would have prohibited any further prosecution of Hiss by the government. The single witness against Hiss, Whittaker Chambers, had changed his story many times, including his grand jury testimony, in effect making him guilty of perjury, had the government prosecuted him.

Hiss spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name, and struck pay dirt with the Freedom of Information Act, when, in the mid-1970s, the knowledge of government misconduct at his trial became public. Courts reversed his disbarment and he was allowed to practice law again.

Unfortunately for Hiss, when his case finally reached the Supreme Court, it was loaded with Nixon appointees. Rather than confirm Nixon’s deceit in convicting an innocent man, the Supreme Court let the Hiss conviction stand. Hiss died shortly thereafter (in 1996).

So, we all need a fair trial whatever our backgrounds. Hopefully, Ugandans treat the Museveni family fairly in case the Libyan experiment becomes a reality in Uganda some day.


Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

It seems Andrew Mwenda Isn’t ready to become Uganda’s ‘Veronica Guerin’

Andrew Mwenda

Dear folks,

What a week! What a month! What a year! Four powerful dictators in Africa have lost their power this year, the ‘Mahogany’(former Vice president) of Uganda selectively tested jail this month, and three powerful cabinet ministers have temporarily resigned their offices to allow the investigation of their hands in National tills over CHOGM and oil scandals. The surprise in all this has been journalist Andrew Mwenda’s public defense of the cabinet ministers involved in the oil corruption scams as he insists that the documents presented in parliament by Gerald Karuhanga, the Youth MP for Western Uganda, were forged. Mwenda and president Museveni hold the same view and have confessed that they have been investigating the matter for a while before the MP broke the camel’s bark.

Given how famous Andrew Mwenda is these days – or infamous, perhaps –it always amazes me how he leaves himself so open to revealing the kind of people he regularly conducts his investigative journalism with. In most of his radio talk shows, the statements such as ‘ when i met Museveni’ or ‘when i met Kagame’…. have become like a paracetamol on a headache. Mwenda expects Ugandans to just believe his words that the documents were forged just because he involved president Museveni and Uganda police in the investigation process. Phew! The documents were revealing information implicating Museveni’s ministers in oil corruption scandals, and the first place Mwenda went to for investigation was Museveni himself. In other words, Mwenda was kind enough to give Museveni a chance to investigate himself before he reports anything to Ugandans. Oh, what a kind man!

It is the job of any good journalist to challenge, question, investigate, and report their findings, but Menda had not reported his findings to us before Honorable Karuhanga blew his whistle in parliament, but he is on record attacking the later for presenting forged documents. Oh, I almost forgot that Mwenda did not want us to know about the ‘forged’ documents.

In this case, the leak has so far caused no harm to the legal or judicial system of Uganda, but imprisonment of any of the three cabinet ministers (Nassasira, Kuteesa, and Mbabazi) could have a chilling effect on journalism’s ability to expose corruption in the country. Honestly, how much information are journalists hiding from us in the name of ‘forgery’ or because they want to protect someone.

The trouble with journalism in Uganda is that it’s too damn polite. It looks like Journalists there fear deadly retributions if they ever dare to report the truth. In all honesty, why would Mwenda sit on such information as a journalist for a long time when he got it, and even dare present it to the head of the ‘executive’ organ of the state that is supposed to be investigated? The whole events symptomise a visualization of the greed and corruption that have taken old of both the executive branch of the government and journalism itself. How we get out of this situation now, i really dont know.

Up to now, we don’t have any journalist in Uganda that has dedicated his life to at least exposing crime and corruption in the country. In Ireland, for instance, they had a lady called Veronica Guerin who was a crime reporter and ended up being murdered by drug lords in 1996. The film ‘Veronica Guerin’ told the story of her brave soul. It broke my heart when I watched it especially in the end when the two bikers working for the ‘mafias’ put 6 bullets in her body when she stopped at a red traffic light. It’s always hurting when you watch a kind and beautiful person die because of what they believe in.

Veronica Guerin, who was shot dead shot dead by the pillion passenger on a motorbike as she stopped at traffic lights in Naas, just outside Dublin, in June 1996 -

In Mexico, they also had columnist Francisco Arratia Saldierna, a prominent and well-known journalist who wrote a column called Portavoz (or “Spokesman”). The column featured topics such as corruption, organized crime, and drug trafficking. Arratia’s murder was also as brutal as Veronica’s but both murders resulted into change in policy in those areas.

I’m also tempted to mention two lady giants in journalism that were impressive winners of the Courage in Journalism Awards in 2005: there are Shahla Sherkat, who runs a women’s magazine in Iran and Sumi Khan, a Bangladesh journalist who covers crime. When Mwenda started up the ”Independent”, I really thought that his magazine was going to be like Shahla’s. She has been fined for articles she has published, and has been threatened with imprisonment in Iran’s harsh jails, but she never runs to state to investigate itself before she publishes anything as Mwenda has admittedly done.

Sumi is another crime and corruption reporter based in Bangladesh (Chittagong city). In 2004, she was attacked by three men — beaten and stabbed. It was three months before she returned to work, but she never gave in to the system.

To be fair, Mwenda went into that kind of episode initially and he became a hero to many Ugandans, but it now looks like he gave up on people long time ago and decided to do his own ‘’refined’’ investigative form of journalism. He was among the guys that inspired me to start blogging because of the way he analyzed issues yet I don’t have any qualification in journalism. Up to now, i don’t miss any of his radio talk-shows but he has really disappointed me on this one.

Mwenda should never have defended the ministers publicly whatever reservations he had with the documents because the way Ugandans feel about corruption in Museveni’s government is like in the same way Americans felt during Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. After Vietnam and Watergate, almost every student in USA went to Journalism School convinced that the U.S. Government was corrupt and that s/he would earn a Pulitzer Prize by exposing it. That cynicism about America has never really ended.

Yes, Mwenda is partly right that eagerly publishing forged documents is not “investigative journalism” if the memos content is not verified by second and third sources. But I also believe that verification of the documents becomes difficult if you allow the people being investigated to investigate themselves. Mwenda’s methods are like that of Stalin and Mao who believed that “CRIMES MUST BE HIDDEN,” or else labeled as “heroic deeds.”

Let’s also not forget that “journalism’’ itself is opinion. Most of what Mwenda says or writes in his column is mere speculation clothed in the majesty of journalism, but rife with his personal opinions. Yes, Mbabazi and Kutesa may be innocent but how do we explain the fact that nearly every time a case comes to light involving large-scale fraud or vice or corruption, the duo are playing the lead roles. They seem to be attracted irresistibly to our vices so that they can exploit them and at the same time exacerbate them. They are not worth defending publicly by anybody worth his name.

Because mwenda came out to say that he was the first to land on these documents, some people are unfairly dragging Paul Kagame into this. In any case, Mwenda only revealed the location where he got the documents but he never revealed his source. The location was Nairobi not Kigali. The Oil corruption scandal has put the Museveni government in the spot light. Oil companies are capable of bringing down any government in Africa. Therefore, the government should handle this issue very carefully. It looks like both the cabinet ministers and the oil companies are now blackmailing each other with endless revealations, but oil companies will always be the winners in the end if this situation continues.


Byebyo ebyange banange


Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Bukenya was an Iceberg waiting for Titanic but he doesn’t deserve Jail

Dear Ugandans,

I don’t think Mr. Gilbert Bukenya had prepared himself psychologically for prison life or loss of his parliamentary seat. He looked an emotional guy the day he was taken to prison, and that is good for women in his life but bad for his image as an African politician. A politician in Africa is supposed to appear tough (made of steel of some sort) in public as we have been seeing with Dr. Kiza Besigye despite losing his brother in the most hurtful way possible. But crying in public was also not as bad for Bukenya as it gave out the human side of him. It can sometimes help if it is played out in a normal way. For instance, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi shed tears in public over the burning of the Kasubi tombs and it is not something anybody in our generation can easily forget.

Nevertheless, both the ‘Gilbert Bukenya’ and ‘late Sulaiman Kiggundu’ experiments are very good for all of us. There is a great deal of lessons to learn from them for those who want to learn. They both provide a gradual learning experience to Ugandans who are a threat to people in power. Bukenya has never stolen tax payers’ money to do anything private, at least as far as I know. He became a rich man by selling mostly his rice nationally and internationally, I believe, but CHOGM has been used to bring him down. Nobody can pinpoint fingers at him that he stole a specific amount of money to do this and that. At least, his hands are officially clean as far as tax payers’ money is concerned.

Similarly, Dr. Kiggundu was first made Governor Bank of Uganda by president Museveni before he was sacked. He then started up his Greenland Bank which became so successful in such a short period that some people in power approached him to buy shares in it. The bank later collapsed, Kiggundu ended up in prison, and the rest as they say ‘is history now’.

The Bukenya case before courts of law is a bit complicated but I think president Museveni should have intervened at the earliest to save the former VP’s face from all this( if he wished to do so). The scripts of this case were posted on the Ugandans At heart(UAH) forum as shown on the link below:

https://semuwemba.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/indictment-of-gilbert-bukenya-1.pdf

Bukenya’s major blunder was trying to appease his former boss by celebrating the closure of CBSfm and thus under minding his Kabaka in the process. It is the sole reason why some Baganda are still bitter with him. He should have kept quiet over it. I was also understandably so pissed off with him then but he still does not deserve what he is going through. Nonetheless, I’m no longer upset with him because I now understand why he did or said what he did then.

But he also made a mistake of opening up his mouth on certain controversial issues as some people have pointed out. He should have done a ‘’Ssebagala’’,i.e. to keep quiet after being dumped from the cabinet. He should never have declared his intentions to stand for presidency in 2016. Actually, he should have avoided the media as soon as he was unfairly defeated in the NRM primaries for the post of Secretary General. It was a miscalculation on his part to start a media campaign for himself then. But hey, now that he is in prison, this is not time to keep quite anymore. Let the ‘war of the words’ begin such that we let public opinion decide his fate.

But let’s see how things pan out for him in the near future but he should never have been sent to Luzira over this case. I don’t think it was fair compared to the corrupt cases that have been paraded in courts of law before. I really feel for him. For all his weaknesses, Bukenya does not deserve to be sent to be prison. More so, I don’t think he made any penny out of CHOGM deals compared to some people that have been reported by the media over the same issue.

What is so special about Mbabazi?

There is a myth that the main person fighting Bukenya is the current prime minister, Mbabazi, and most elites believe that he is the man behind Bukenya’s imprisonment. Nonetheless, I have stopped making predictions about Mr. Amama Mbabazi because I still don’t know why Museveni has allowed him to retain the post of NRM secretary General up to now. There are only two explanations I can think of: either this post is irrelevant to the determination of the successor to president Museveni or keeping Mbabazi as NRM Secretary General is meant to help his eventual downfall.

May be, Museveni has realized that Mbabazi seriously harbors ambitions to become the president of Uganda, so he has kept him as NRM secretary General to make sure that he is hated more by party members. Because in all honesty, why would the president keep such a very unpopular man as the party’s secretary General and discard a popular man in Gilbert Bukenya? Bukenya calls himself a ‘community man’ in his interview with Andrew Mwenda’s the Independent , and I think I know where he picked this from: he is a student and teacher of Public Health, and the terms ‘community’ and ’empowerment’ are so much used in a lot of case studies.

Another possible explanation may be found in the myth that Mbabazi is blackmailing the president. A spider on the wall reliably told me that Mbabazi’s office has always been busier than any of the other cabinet ministers. This spider told me it was surprised to find the so called ‘big people’ in government all lining up to find an appointment with Mr. Mbabazi when he was just security minister. Actually, his office arguably runs a lot of activities more than any other person in government, and he is a very organized, ambitious and serious man. He is one of the few guys in government who can allegedly ‘shout’ at president Museveni when he is not happy with something. I think he might have picked this kind of independence from UAH forums because we have got many like him.

You will never find a ‘Tamare Mirundi’ attacking Mbabazi in public because they know will be shown the exit door the next day the moment they do so.  Tamare cannot attack Mbabazi in the same way he has been belittling Bukenya, Nagenda, Kabaka and others in the press. The day you see the ‘Tamares’ start doing this, then you will know that things are not fine between the ”man with the hat” and Mbabazi. Mr.Tamare Mirundi never opens up his mouth unless if he has been told to do so, I believe. That’s how it works. He works under instructions from his bosses.

To be honest, I don’t know what is so special about Mbabazi up to now and why president Museveni continues to hold him in high regard than anybody else. I find him so arrogant in his public utterances. I don’t think he is an easy person to be liked by anybody. He could make a good unelected public official but then again, he was surprisingly elected as MP for Kanungu. So how do we explain that fact if we put vote rigging and intimidation of voters aside? There is something about Mbabazi I cannot put my fingers on. May be, he will be the last man left standing after the fall of Museveni and NRM.

Ebya Mbabazi bizibu nyo!

Abbey

Current Justice Minister,Otafiire, Should release the contents of the CIVHR report

Dear Ugandans,
A lot of atrocities have been committed against Ugandans since independence and this subject is dominating almost all debates among Ugandans on a daily basis. The real problem is that we have never had a real truth and reconciliation commission to help put certain questions to bed. More so, it would have helped if the current Uganda government had released the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Violations of Human Rights perpetrated from 1961 until 1986. The Commission’s role was to inquire into “the causes and circumstances” surrounding mass murders, arbitrary arrests, the role of law enforcement agents and the state security agencies, and discrimination which occurred during that time.

Justice Arthur Haggai Okelo Oder.

The commission was chaired by Justice Oder and it was also supposed to suggest various ways in which we were to make sure that such human rights violations did not happen again in our country. Nevertheless, going by what has happened so far since 1986, it looks we shall need another commission for the period NRM have been in power. Apart from Oder, the other five commissioners were: John Nagenda(NRM),Dr. Edward Khiddu-Makubuya (now NRM),Dr. Jack Luyombya(NRM and he was in the bush with M7),John Kawanga( Neutral but I guess he is now NRM),Joan Kakwenzire( Women advocate and historian). I think the current Vice president, Edward Ssekandi, was also part of the commission.

Dr. Makubuya was not affiliated with any political party in 1986. He valued his Yale academic credentials so much then that he did not feel the need to join anything that might taint his good name. Remember, he had got a 1st class degree in Law at MUK before he went to Yale on a scholarship. He was just lecturing at MUK at that time, but he later joined the NRM after the findings of the commission. Mukubuya also later became the Minister of Education and Sport in Museveni government. I don’t know what he is up to now since the cabinet reshuffles this year.

Others like Naggenda John and Luyombya were later given heroes medals by the Museveni government. John Nagenda and Joan Kakwenzire later also became one of the many of Museveni’s special advisors (‘’NKUSIBIDE AWO KASITA NKUSASULA’’ meaning ‘’I have tied you there, after all, I pay you’’). Naggenda has also been keeping himself busy with his regular Newvision columns but I wonder what he exactly does in terms of being productive to the nation at the moment.Oder died of cancer in 2006 and he was among those judges that agreed with Besigye that the 2006 elections had been rigged.

So, I doubt whether any of these people can help us access the contents of that report. They have all been given positions that don’t allow them to say anything bad against the govt. But the guys in the media should help us please to dig the contents of this report.

The then Minister of Justice, Mulenga, who appointed the Commission in 1986, promised that the government would not bury the findings of the Commission. So, we can still push the current minister of justice, Kahinda Otafire, to release the report to the media. Ugandans deserve to know what is in that report. I believe that the Uganda Human Rights Commission have got a copy at their offices but I wonder how the rest of Uganda can access it. I’m sure it has got a lot of revealing information that could be interesting to read, and also help us find a way forward. The Danish embassy has also got a copy because they sponsored some of the commission’s work. But it’s up to us to demand that the government releases the official copy of this commission. However, I sometimes wonder why the current Opposition MPs do not pick on these issues and raise them in parliament. Ugandans deserve to read what was put in this report.

The report was tabled in October 1994 but I’m sure it’s one of those time and resource wasting projects governments in Africa don’t take seriously. As a result, we are all in darkness about some things that happened in our country’s history. I understand that Museveni’s heart is/was not in this commission. He introduced the Amnesty Commission before the 1986 ‘’Truth and Reconciliation’’ commission had finished their job. The commission lacked both political support and adequate funding.

Some people have been asking me why Muslim leaders are not bothered with finding out the atrocities that happened to fellow Muslims in the past but this is not true. Muslims are also searching for answers just like any other Ugandan. Muslims have been kind of disorganized and divided since independence such that it has been difficult to bring them together to discuss matters of importance to their community, but they have started sorting this out slowly.

Muslims have been killed under different regimes but it is very difficult to gather all this information together to bring it into the public domain. All Uganda’s leaders, apart from Iddil Amin, have been dividing and using Muslims to achieve their own political aims, but with more organization and unity, Muslims will eventually put a stop to this nonsense.

For instance, there were some Muslims killed in Bushenyi district and president Museveni mentions this in his book (Sowing the Mustard Seed) on page 113. Museveni said that there were killed by fellow villagers who had been incited by someone whose identity was known. Museveni does not mention the name of the villager in his book though he gives this as one of the examples why Godfrey Binaisa had to be dislodged from power.

Imaam Iddi Kasozi also presented a paper at the Uganda Muslim Youth Assembly (UMYA) in 2008 and he talked about human rights and the murder of Muslims in Ankole and Arua. We saved the contents of this paper on the link below if anybody wishes to read it:

http://ugandamuslims.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/human-right-in-uganda-the-fate-of-the-1979-muslim-massacres-in-arua-and-ankole-paper-presented-at-umya-ramadhan-seminar-2008/

I wish more Muslims present this data to us such that we keep it on records instead of dying with all this knowledge. The Torch Newspaper has also been conducting weekly interviews among the Muslim elders in Uganda to help us gather information here and there. I don’t know if they have stopped doing this as I have not seen any more interviews posted to us for a while, but I reckon they were doing a good job, and they should be supported.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey.K.Semuwemba

Maslow’s Advice to Lukwago in the Tinyenfunza Saga and Why some Ugandans are Still Obsessed with Late Obote

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Dear Ugandans,

UPC’s Obote some good things for Uganda just like president Museveni has also done some good things. Actually, all leaders should be fulfilling our needs while in office, after all, they are not using their own money but our money. We should not feel like they are doing us a special favour. If they don’t do what we expect them to do, then it is within our rights to get them out one way or the other. So I have a problem with people over praising certain leaders because they either implemented certain programs while in office or fought in the bushes of Luwero in the 1980s to kick UPC out.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or not. I’ll take a moment to explain it.  Maslow felt that there was an ordered set of needs that informed human behaviour.  If one’s lower needs were not met then appeals to higher needs would be ineffectual.  The hierarchy from lower to higher is: physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. The first level of Maslow’s needs is food and shelter.

Here’s how it works.  A hungry person will do what is needed to be fed.  A sated person will look towards security in one’s person.  A secure person will look towards belonging.  A member of a group will look towards stature.  A person of stature will act for his or her own reasons.  A person may be stuck at one of the levels for who knows what reason but once one has passed it one does not look back.

For instance, a man who hoards food is dealing with safety issues.  He isn’t eating because he’s sated but neither is he looking for esteem (unless that is the source of his compulsion.)

We all want very much to be recognized as individuals that have rights and a degree of worth. It is the reason why I find it difficult to understand why some people in Uganda feel that they have more rights than others. For instance, why would NRM’s General Tinyenfunza occupy the Kampala mayor’s residence and nobody in our parliament feel the need to raise it? At least, to go on the computer records that it is illegal and wrong.

The answer lies in the fact that the people the MPs represent are poor and are more worried about food, shelter and protection of their family (the 1st level of Maslow’s needs) than what Tinyenfunza is illegally up to. That’s why he can get away with it for a long time till when society changes itself for the better. So, possibly most old and mature people in Uganda are already telling Mayor, Erias Lukwago, to leave the whole Tinyenfunza issue alone because it is not worth it. They are probably telling him to find ways of attracting investors that can build better houses, better markets and buildings in Kampala and forget about Tinyenfunza and company for now. Personally, I’m probably allowed to pump Lukwago with some more adrenaline to go after him because I’m not so old. I’m still allowed to make mistakes.

But seriously, if you’ve got a government with a secret police, like the Shah’s Iran, or you’ve got a government like Uganda where they torture and sometimes kill their political opponents, then property rights are a step lower on the “liberty” scale than just having a government that protects your physical security. Property rights are extremely important but there aren’t absolute; society has to survive and function first. One of the reasons why, for instance, some Ugandans abroad support Museveni is because they can abuse him today on forums such as Ugandans at Heart, facebook or phone; but get on a plane to Uganda and come back safely abroad. This may change soon but I have not heard a lot of cases. However, I have been made to believe that this was not the case during Obote and UPC regardless of the hospitals that were built during Obote 1.

Mazlow has a hierarchy of needs, and once a human’s basic needs have been met, people can then begin to self-actualize. That means that they can, to coin a phrase, “Be all that they can be”. Most of our leaders since independence have not allowed the population to move from the bottom of the hierarchy to begin to self actualizes because such a population is difficult to be bought with 1 kg of sugar during elections or pull a tribal or religious card, and think you can get away with all the crap a leader has done in the past.

Europeans have slightly different priorities when defining “freedoms”. They believe in a right to shelter, food, and medical care and are willing to pay for it through taxes. Ugandans, on the other hand, can praise a leader who built a hospital 40 years ago just because they think he did them a favour or because the current one is making more mess. Even if one tries to tell them that the colonialists drew the development plans in advance which Obote later partly implemented, they somehow feel bad about you.

So, its better we try and understand what exactly matters to the guys on the ground especially in rural areas before we spend more time on issues that may not benefit us so much in the immediate future. UPC’s Obote still generates more debates online than any other Uganda president but how relevant is this dead guy to the current poltics of Uganda? I believe Uganda has now got bigger problems than UPC and Obote, and that is what we should be debating more. I also believe that Lord Mayor of Kampala, Erias Lukwago, should get his priorities right instead of concentrating on battles that he may neither win nor directly benefit the people who elected him.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

President Museveni should Come Out on Kazibwe and Ssebagala

Dear Friends,

The current reports that former vice president, Dr.Specioza Kazibwe, has been suspended over another financial mismanagement of micro-finance resources is so sickening. Several Ugandans warned the president against reappointing the lady in any financial position of authority after the Valley Dam saga, but he went ahead and did so for reasons only know to him.

It is even more sickening that Ms.Kazibwe reportedly said that it’s only president Museveni who could fire her, an indication that she is one of those who no longer respect the institutions in the country. She looks at president Museveni as everything in Uganda, and she is probably right, but as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) explained that the ‘perfect nature of man’ could be defiled by a corrupt society. He believed that individuals willingly enter a ‘form of association’ with already known criminals because there is a mutual benefit of protecting all participants in this association. If president Museveni, therefore, does not come out to distance himself from Dr. Kazibwe’s actions, we will fairly believe that whatever Dr.Kazibwe did was sanctioned by him one way or the other.

The corruption in Uganda has spread to several institutions including the Kampala City Council such that it was again very embarrassing on the side of the president not to publicly come out to distance himself from another known crook in the names of Hajji Nasser Ssebagala over the Town Clerk’s residence issue. Just like Kazibwe, Ssebagala also claims that it is only president Museveni who can evict him from this house.Oh, i almost forgot another former Vice president,Dr.Bukenya, who rightly said that whatever he did during CHOGM was on behalf of the president. It seems Musevenism is everywhere now and state insitutions are dead.

Anyway, Property is such a very important issue such that it is always painful for anybody who lawfully acquired a piece of land or built a house to be unfairly evicted, but in Ssebagala’s case, I don’t know because the whole thing has got Museveni’s ‘good’ hands on it. We should only feel sorry for those small property or land owners that are continually evicted by the rich as Rousseau also said in his book: ‘the social Contract’:” the right of property is the most sacred of all rights of citizenship, and even more important in some respects than liberty itself; either because it more nearly affects the preservation of life, or because, property being more easily usurped and more difficult to defend than life, the law ought to pay a greater attention to what is more easily taken away; or finally, because property  is the true foundation of civil society, and the real guarantee of the undertakings of citizens.’’(p.138)

I have heard old men saying: ‘these guys have stolen more than anybody before but they still want more’. This avarice among some of the current crop of NRM leadership is so scaring. It is, therefore, very important that we support those that use the law to bring these irregularities into the public domain or to be questioned. On this note, I would like Ugandans to support the mayor of Kampala and Executive Director in their efforts to follow the book as they sort out the mess in the city.

Otherwise, the high state of corruption reported daily in the media is likely to make us a bit more isolated on the global stage if we are not careful. Most of the great nations we have got today are building special relationships with one or two countries as a survival mechanism for the unpredictable future. For instance, Britain and USA have got a ”special relationship” which every leader of these two countries tries to defend regardless of some policy differences, something Sydney Blumenthal, one of President Clinton’s advisors, emphasized in 1998 to a meeting of the World Policy Institute.

However, Uganda, on the otherhand, looks to be a bit isolated in both East Africa and world stage. Both the Kenyans and Tanzanians speak ill of our president. We used to have a special relationship with Paul Kagame’s Rwanda but it sickens to read daily in newspapers  that we have sunk so low to the extent of accusing each other of certain rebel activities , as we have seen since the death of Colonel Muzora.And it seems nobody seem to be doing anything to revive this good relationship we once had with Rwanda. It is all now accusatiosn after accusations!

By the way, it is good that the government is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of colonel Muzora, and I believe their intentions are good. But I have read messages in different forums indicating that Ugandans don’t trust the government anymore when it comes to high profile murder investigations. Actually, General Tinyenfunza’s interview with the Daily Monitor recently in regard to Muzora’s murder has even made it worse because some people now believe that the whole investigation is meant to directly pin Dr.Kiiza Besigye . Some Ugandans seem to agree with what the American Professor, Thomas Stephen Szasz, once said in 1993 that the law makers do not uncover but ‘’invent crimes’. He also held the view that killing only becomes a crime if it is not sanctioned by the state, and I think he was right to some extent especially in developing countries such as Uganda.

But overall, those who think that Uganda is a special case whereby leaders will continue to unfairly imprison and kill political opponents without any international actions, are living in a dream cave. The world has changed and our leaders should find a way to change with it as soon as possible or they are gonna be run down by their own citizens and the international community at some point.We should all feel safe while in our country.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

http://ugandansatheart.org/
http://twitter.com/#!/semuwemba
http://jjanguonkwekule.blogspot.com/
https://semuwemba.wordpress.com/

Preventive ”BESIGYEISM” Continues to expose Museveni on the International Stage

Policemen stop Dr Besigye’s car near his Kasangati home yesterday.(Photo by Daily Monitor)

Friends

I beg to disagree with those who still think that president Museveni ‘wants Dr Besigye around’ to help him keep power after today’s announcement by the police of ‘preventive law’ or ‘preventive arrest’ as put by police spokesperson, Judith Nabakoba. Yes, this kind of measure by the police exists in the books of law and it basically means to prevent or to keep a big crime from happening again, the kind of event that could take another thousand of lives. It requires the police to stop crime from happening before it happens, and that’s a good thing. The bad thing, it seems to me, is Besigye is all treated as a potential guilty criminal rather than an innocent citizen. He has not committed any crime by ‘driving’ or ‘walking’ to work as an individual protest against the Museveni government, but police keep stopping him by citing ‘preventive law’ . This is one of the individual peaceful ways of demonstrating and legally speaking, the state can do little about them.

President Museveni ‘s proposal to change the constitution such that rioters or protestors are denied bail is also a violation of people’s rights, and I hope the NRM MPs, though I know that they won’t, resist the temptations to change the constitution for the sake of short term gains by the president.

What police actions,however, reflect right now is that president Museveni is so shaken at the moment by the events around him. Uganda is the first country in the history of sub Sahara Africa to demonstrate for more than a month against a sitting government.Black Africans are known to be cowards when it comes to repressive regimes, not anymore. If the issues fronted by the Activists for Change (A4C) movement are addressed by the Museveni government then this pressure group will just remain in name, as like most groups, but it seems the president is not ready to back down. All these actions show that president Museveni is uncomfortable with the FDC leader, Dr.Besigye, despite winning the 2011 elections.

I also think it was unwise for president Museveni to meet foreign diplomats and ask them ‘not to support opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye’’( according to the Newvision). This shows that the president has started seeing the real threat of being taken out of power by western nations as real and he cannot trust foreign diplomats anymore. But what does he achieve by meeting them? Not a great deal because big nations hate being ordered around by leaders of small nations. I can see the US and UK ambassadors angrily talking to themselves behind the scenes, after this meeting with phases like:’ what the hell does Yoweri think he is?’’. So, the whole thing is likely to back fire on him.

Yes, Museveni must have been advised to do this as part of a series of a public relations campaign against Besigye in the eyes of the international community, just like Isreal’s Benyamin Netanyahu did in December 2006 when he summoned 70 diplomats in Israel to a meeting to pressure them to join his country’s efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program. It worked temporarily for the Israel on the international stage but it did not stop Iran from continuing with its nuclear program. I don’t know whether the Uganda ambassador was part of this meeting but at least we know now that president Museveni supports Iran’s right to nuclear technology.

Foreign policy is often very messy. Again, if you recall, Iran was holding Americans hostage when Reagan won elections. US was selling arms to Iran before it started selling the same weapons to Saddam Hussein. Militarily speaking, Uganda is not a threat to US or British interests in the region but it will be strategically important for any big nation in future. So the threat that Uganda poses is due more to their relationship with China than anything else

President Museveni’s twelve page statement on the 17th May 2011 was also another sign that things are not at all well behind the curtains. He specifically attacked BBC, Aljazera, Daily Monitor and NTV for cheering on ‘irresponsible people’ – meaning the protestors. The press is supposed to be a watchdog as far as government business is concerned but they are being muzzled out everyday by the president, and we don’t know how this is gonna end.

With the exception of the Daily Monitor, Sunrise Magazine and Observer, there is practically no source or analysis of news on Uganda national media that is worth reading. The rest of the media, if we are being honest, is a nauseating rude low-minded cesspool. Not only does it have no value, it is positively injurious to the wisdom and understanding of those who read it. For instance, Andrew Mwenda’s Independent has been recently boxed into a corner such that it was very painful to read his article on Besigye- saying that the later had a hammer in his hands to harm the police. I even no longer have the desire to read his articles like I used to. There is something unattractive about his newspaper page these days though I sometimes listen to the audio.

President Museveni was not clearly happy that Besigye got more attention than him on his swearing-in day, but anyway who wouldn’t? President Museveni expressed his feelings very clearly in his statement when he said:’’ The excuse of “big crowds” that held up Besigye for hours is a myth and a lie because I was the first to drive through that road after Kololo. Somebody had advised me to take shelter at Nakasero State Lodge until they had removed Besigye from the road. I rejected that view and went straight to Entebbe. I was able to see a few hundred people at Kibuye roundabout, at Najjanakumbi and Kajjansi, making FDC signs.’’ So who says that big crowds don’t matter in a politician’s life? With this, it is possible that people working with the president do organize buses to transport people to follow him whenever he goes as a way of appeasing the president. They know that big crowds mean a lot to him.

I wrote an article before the riots started- suggesting that Uganda tries to solve the current food crisis by adopting the Cuban experiment but it seems not to have caught the attention of those in power, and I assume that is why we are still having problems. So, like they say, let’s us leave the wise ones to come up with better solutions.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Semuwemba


Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

http://ugandansatheart.org/
http://twitter.com/#!/semuwemba
https://semuwemba.wordpress.com/

‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’ AND IMMORAL UGANDA POLICE LAWS MUST BE REVIEWED IMMEDIATELY


Friends,

I’m still disturbed by the events that have unfolded in Uganda this month especially with the way the security officials handled the main opposition leader, Dr. Kiiza Besigye. I’m definitely proud of the people that have been marching in these so called ‘walk to work’ individual demonstrations, very disappointed by the people who turned violent, sad about the damage and death involved, and appalled at the police and army who have been attacking people with tear gas and bullets.

Ever since this happened, we have been washed with a lot of YouTube videos and this is the point where one appreciates technology because Ugandans abroad and those at home are somehow now connected to each other because of this. In some of the videos posted online, I watched the police, totally unprovoked; lob tear gas into groups of men, women and children which was totally unnecessary. Dr.Besigye was also sprayed with teargas by one Gilbert Arinaitwe as if he was spraying cockroaches in a car. It saddens me greatly that our civil right to peaceable assemble and demonstrate against the high food and fuel prices- continue to be violated by the security officials in Uganda.

What we have been seeing since last month is the end result of what happens when a government put profits before people and the planet, a point Mr.Robert Kabushenga,the Newvision boss, vehemently stressed in his recorded interview with the BBC World Service as a justification for tear gassing Besigye’s ears and eyes while in his car. Under the circumstances, one can only hope that the truth about the police record of human rights violations, and environmental devastation gets out to the rest of the world and the ICC does something about it. On this note, we must thank the international media especially the BBC and Aljazeera who have done a wonderful job in exposing all this to the world.

Guns and tear gas are supposed to be for self defence such that they should not be misused by either the police or individuals carrying them. In some states in USA such as California, one can register and get a license to carry tear gas. It basically involves an afternoon class where one learns useful facts about the capabilities and limitations of tear gas in self-defence. One’s right to protect oneself with this type of weapon is in no way infringed by the requirement to be licensed. It also make one feel safer to understand how to best use this type of weapon, what the legal implications are of using it, etc. But I’m wondering whether our security officials are subjected to this kind of training before they go out with tear gas on streets of Kampala and other cities, because from what I saw last month with the Uganda police throwing canisters of tear gas carelessly,it left my head pondering with a lot of questions. Protesters ran as the gas burned their eyes, noses and skin just because they are walking alongside their leaders.

Teargas is virulent and noisome and I’m wondering whether the gas used on Besigye was CS or CN teargas. CN teargas is used when the safety of children is at stake but I hear that some nursery school in Wobulenzi was also not spared with CS gas. CS teargas is not supposed to be used indoors but I hear it was the one used on Besigye inside the car. It is also not supposed to be used to force surrender because it is well known to induce panic in a confined area. Usually, it is CN teargas that is used to bring people out of buildings and cars. The good news for Besigye and his eyes is that I’m sure that they will recover back to normal because CS is less toxic but I were him, I would keep glasses on for future protection against police aggression. I also advice him to keep that ”white thing” around his arm for a long time as a sign of fight for freedom.It’s unfortnate that the government went ahead and repaired his car windows which were smashed because it would have been good for him to keep it that way for a long time for some political capital.All the same, his team should sue the Police for using CS tear gas on him inside the car and for causing bodily damage to him and his car.

What the police in Uganda should know is that everything an officer does is supposed to have merit in the investigation. The police officer is the very first stop in an offender’s long trip through the judicial system. The job of a police officer is to prevent crimes where possible, investigate crimes that have occurred but the job of bringing a suspect to justice lies with the prosecutor and the courts. But I was gobsmacked when I watched some of the videos showing police officers on streets acting as politicians especially one video that showed a cop accusing Besigye of owning a petrol station yet he is demonstrating against high fuel prices.

Some NRM supporters have unsurprisingly come out to defend Arinaitwe’s actions to the extent of saying that he would have been within the law if he had killed Dr.Besiye, but my understanding is that it is not the job of a police officer to kill an unarmed person unless that where they take it. Yes, When the shit hits the fan and a deadly force situation has presented itself, it needs to be ended quickly to protect not only the lives of innocent people, but also the life of the officer, but i have rarely seen these kind of demonstrations in Uganda that warrants any officer to shoot in the head of a two year old baby, as was the case in Masaka last month. It was just sheer luck that nobody was killed during the Arinaitwe-Besigye saga and it wasn’t for the lack of gunmen in uniforms trying. Honestly, Laws should not be in place to make it easier for a police officer to shoot people who not armed with anything such that if we have got such a law in our Police Act, as i have been made to believe, then it should be reviewed immediately.

In the UK where I live, most police men don’t carry rifles for many reasons and not the least of which is the incurred liability that a high powered weapon would cause if it is accidentally used. If one walks around with a gun 24/7, it is so likely to go off just out of panic, and such incidents kill the trust between the civilians and security officials.Civilians are under no obligation to make the job of a police officer easier, nor is the public at large. The solution here is to make sure that police officers don’t enforce unconstitutional and immoral laws, thus giving the public cause to lose all respect and esteem for them. Civilians are not obliged to lay down their rights, including their lives, for the sake of aiding people conduct a job that is largely reprehensible and clearly wrong(especially if the Police Act ,Section 32 and 36, chapter 303, still stands). We want ‘peace officers’ not just ‘law enforcers’.

Police should not expect automatic cooperation from civilians, no matter how objectionable the intrusion into our lives. Gilbert Arinaitwe’s sort appears to feel they are above the rest of us in authority, and by extension, value. As a result, they have made the police to look like a symbol of interference and literal evil yet police officers are supposed to be public servants and people as their bosses. I understand being a cop is a hard and thankless job but you don’t expect people to be so vacuously inane that they would thank you for punching their faces, kicking their ribs in, whether literally or figuratively. How can you possibly think that people would cotton to wholly unreasonable restrictions on their lives, like a simple individual ‘walk to work’ protest to Kampala or Jinja or wherever? Even some of the painfully docile opposition leaders don’t like it and i have seen then making some noise.

Good people don’t’ despise cops or security officials for no reason. Good people don’t want to waste the energy to despise the police. Surely, General Kayihura must understand this. The root cause must be identified immediately, which I have done in general terms above, and corrected. However, when given no choice, they do what they must and that is what Dr.Besigye and others are doing.I’m still hoping of organising a football game between Besigye and Museveni side,if they give me a go ahead, as a way of ending this stampede.

Byebyo ebyange banange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

http://ugandansatheart.org/

https://semuwemba.wordpress.com/

UPDF/Police Should Not Shoot at Protesters In case of Demos in Uganda!!

I know some Muslims felt for Brother Gaddafi as much as I did, for reasons which are known to everybody(i.e.we are Muslims), but we must accept that a brother who kills others should have no sympathy from anyone. The same reason I expect Muslim NRM supporters to denounce their support for president Museveni after 33 people were killed in riots in September 2009. No leader deserves anybody’s mercy if he is unjustifiably killing his own people, for whatever reasons. British PM,David Cameron, came out to warn all Libyan leaders that were committing atrocities against humanity that the international law would catch up with them. Basically, Gadaffi  made himself a ‘prisoner’ of the international community before he had even lost power. So let’s hope that UPDF or Uganda police will not be tempted to shoot at our people in case demonstrations or protets start in Uganda.

''I will eat Besigye like Cake or Samosa''-Gen.Museveni. Picture provided by John Nsubuga of UAH

I know most Ugandans have probably given up on the future of our country after the 2011 elections were cleverly and massively rigged, and they have understandably developed fears that the opposition is gonna lead to more deaths if anybody comes out on streets to demonstrate, but we should all emulate the Brazilian born political activist, Paulo Freire, who explained the principle of ‘conscientisation’( the process of becoming critically aware of structural forces of power which shape people’s lives as a precondition for critical action for change). Please read one of his books and you will understand why some people are so passionate about the affairs of their country.

Paulo Freire, who coincidentally has the same names as Chelsea FC’s defender, explained that when a leader has broken all avenues of change, the population usually develops what he termed as ‘culture of silence’. In other words, the marginalized population develops passive acceptance of the bad situation in the country. This passive acceptance can be displayed in different ways:

1. There are those that decide to join the regime in power because they need daily bread, as they say:’ if you can’t beat them, join them’;

2. There are those who decide to do their own things and distance themselves from anything that involves politics. This is the option most people normally take, and this explains why there was a low voter turnout in the elections. Most People are not bothered with Museveni and politics anymore as long as there can peacefully sleep, eat, drink and look after their families.Who can blame them?

Basing on the above theories, there is a big possibility that majority of the population in Uganda may decide not to join the opposition leaders on the streets of Kampala for any protests, simply because of the fear factor. The truth is that if anybody is to take Museveni out of power right now, the biggest celebrations may surprisingly come from those who claim to be core supporters of NRM/Museveni. We have seen this happening in Egypt and Libya where a lot of government people were denouncing their leaders and later celebrating when they are out of power.

President Museveni destroyed the true friends he had in NRM when he removed term limits from the 1995 constitution. One of the reasons why most Ghanaians still love J.K.Rawlings is because he respected term limits and handed over power when he lost the presidency. He also never attempted to rig the elections in 2000 just to stay in power, yet he and his men killed a lot of Ghanaians during the coup detat in 1978. What Rawlings did in 2000 has transformed Ghana’s political landscape to the levels not seen in 99% of Africa.

So we should be careful with who we publicly support when it comes to politics because things may change when we least expect it. Museveni is not immortal. He breathes the same oxygen which we all breathe. So many of us supported him between 1986 and 1990s till when he went AWOL. Yes, he has done some good things for the country but this itself is not a ticket to stay in power indefinitely, and i think this is  bringing about endless demonstrations or protests  in Uganda. Our country is a time bomb waiting to explode.

Anyway, we urge UPDF, police and other security organs not to shoot Ugandans in case they are just peacefully demonstrating. There is no need for that, honestly. We should learn to value human life whatever the situation we find ourselves in.Why kill someone just because he or she is on a street making noise and walking about? Police Chief’s statement today- warning the opposition, was not encouraging, but all the same, lets hope that the police will not be tempted to shoot at peaceful Ugandans as the international law has got no boundaries. Similarly, protestors should also respect the police men/women because they are there to ensure peace in our country.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey.K.S

Political Murders And Commissions of Inquiry

Political murders happen all over the world, including Uganda, and in most cases such decisions are made by a few high profile people in the government. Obviously, those of the NRM cadre will keep telling you otherwise. Compared to Uganda, Kenya has got more stable military institutions such that even the murders of Tom Mboya in 1969 and J. M. Kariuki in 1975 did not lead to political instability.

Kenya’s political stability rests on several things: a balance within the military system, on the centralization of power within the state structure and on the neutralization of potential organized opposition. The way Kenyatta set up Kenya after independence has contributed to its long-term stability. Moi weakened the government institutions but Kibaki strengthened the principle of respect for institutions–despite his problems with corruption. If he had not done this, probably the Kikuyu and Luo would have fought each other indefinitely after the recently disputed presidential elections.

On the other hand, in Uganda, just losing a UPDF General has got a lot of tongues wagging. If a person like Salim Saleh or the president himself is murdered or assassinated it could destabilise the whole country, because of the way the UPDF is set up. Most of the institutions in Uganda are personalised around the person of president Museveni. Without him, we are in trouble!

Nevertheless, we can categorize all murders that happen between now and the 2011 elections as political murders because the NRM and Museveni have lost popularity among the wanaichi but wish to stay in power at all costs. Many Ugandans agree with Timothy Kalyegira’s version of Kazini’s death on the Uganda Record website because they have lost trust in the regime in power. That’s why we need an independent commission of inquiry to investigate into both Byran (Dr.Bukenya’s son) and Kazini’s death regardless of those who cheer brutality and murder of these NRM Generals.

Again I would like to say that all murders are about hate at some level. Even the guy who kills the cop trying to escape from a crime scene or riots- has hate in his heart. There must be a good reason why Mukyala Atim Draru decided to bat Kazini’s head to death. At what point did she decide to kill him?

As part of the murder probe, police must investigate the friends of lady Atim to see if she had premeditated thoughts to murder the General. Her mobile phone must be in police safe custody by now to establish the people she has been in contact with for the last 6 months. MTN and other communication companies can help on this one. The only problem is that the government does not set commissions of inquiry for purposes of getting to the bottom of the matter. That’s why Kazini’s family and friends should do their own investigations. Most African governments are corrupt. Anybody can murder anybody and get away with it. When governments agree to set up official investigations, they usually hope to divert public criticism of human rights abuses. They hope either that public interest will have waned by the time the inquiry is complete or, better still, that the investigation will find in the government’s favour.

For instance, in 1986, the Museveni Government set up a Commission of Inquiry headed by Joseph Mulenga, to investigate human rights violations from the country’s independence in 1962 until it seized power. Up to now, we don’t know the conclusions and recommendations of the report. Yet if they had made everything public, probably some Ugandans, like some UPC supporters, would not have continued to accuse the NRA rebels of murdering people in Luwero and blame it on the Obote two government. Mulenga later became our Attorney General in the same year. I wonder why he was given this post after heading such a sensitive inquiry.

Another example is when in June 1974, President Idi Amin Dada established a Commission of Inquiry chaired by an expatriate Pakistani judge, Justice Mohammed Saied, to look into the ‘disappearance’ of large numbers of Ugandans since his government came to power on 25 January 1971. But the report never came into public domain though the Commission concluded that the Public Safety Unit and the State Research Bureau, special security bodies set up by Amin, bore the main responsibility for the ‘disappearances’. It also criticized army officers for abuse of powers, as well as the activities of the military police and intelligence.

The bottom line here is that the current government should facilitate murder investigations into the country and reports from these inquiries should be made public. This builds public trust in the government. There is no point in the president ordering a probe into Bryan and Kazini’s death if the public never gets to see it.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

The Traditional Leaders Bill(2010) is one of the Bad Laws I have ever seen in my life

Dear readers,

The Cultural leaders Bill (2010) is not just annoying but it is likely to breed more than chaos in our country if passed by the parliament. The bill is a disastrous draconian law that has little direct connection with keeping cultural leaders on the leash other than shutting their mouths indefinitely on national causes or issues, as if they are half citizens of Uganda. Uganda Lawmakers are preparing to vote on a bill that would eventually outlaw nearly all traditional institutions in the country, a measure that could become the most sweeping ban in Uganda history.

The bill’s definitions of “partisan politics” are laughable to say the least. I was mostly concerned with the following definitions: (c)” recommending a particular person to the public with a view to promoting that person politically”; (e)” making statements against Government policies or programmes”; and (f)” making statements or comments on Bills or motions under consideration by Parliament with a view to influencing their outcome”. This is simply called interfering with the “freedom of speech,” of traditional leaders not ‘partisan politics.’ In any democracy, even people with traditional or cultural roles can’t be prevented from having an opinion — a.k.a. “freedom of speech.” They may not, however, campaign for, or endorse, specific candidates because that would be “partisan politics.”

The very term “partisan politics” refers to supporting one party over another, or one particular candidate, which Mengo or any other kingdom never openly does. Yes,Ssubi was formed by former Katikiro of Buganda after he resigned from all his duties at the kingdom.In any case, Ssubi would not have been formed if the demands by the Mengo admnistration had been met by the central government. Buganda kingdom particularly does, however, engage in what it considers to be efforts in favor of moral issues.The president may disagree with the Kabaka( Buganda kingdom), but he has to admit that opposing bad policies or leadership on moral grounds is clearly within the purview of any cultural leader, not just the Kabaka. If the truth is more important than partisan politics, I’m sure president Museveni who is the architect of this bill, will take the time to learn. If partisan politics are more important, then he is just wasting my time and yours.

Kabaka Mutebi

Part 2 of clause 7 of the bill is another annoying one as it says: ”The Government may in accordance with a court order withdraw its recognition of a traditional or cultural leader where the traditional or cultural leader:(a) acts in contravention of the Constitution or this Act; or (b) abdicates the institution of a traditional or cultural leader”. This article just confirms all the fears people have always had that president Museveni is planning to ‘abolish’ kingdoms in the country. This means that if this bill is passed and mengo goes ahead and starts opposing some other ‘funny’ bills, as it did with the land bills, then Kabaka may end up served with a notice to say good bye to his kingdom.

Clause 9(2) says:’’ Where there is more than one traditional or cultural leader in the area of a regional government the position of the titular head of the regional government shall be held by each of the traditional or cultural leaders within the area of the regional government in rotation for one year at a time.’’ This was intended to make the chiefdoms created in Buganda under Museveni very happy. It simply means that Ssabaruli or Ssabanyala can easily take over at Mengo and, by law; Baganda will just have to accept it. I will not be surprised if these chiefdoms embrace this bill with two hands because their survival solely depends on the government in power. It should not be forgotten that Uganda had only four recognised kingdoms at independence in 1962.

Concerning the conduct of cultural leaders with foreign governments, article 15 of the bill says:’’(1) A traditional or cultural leader shall not deal with foreign governments except with the approval of the minister responsible for foreign affairs; and (2) The minister responsible for foreign affairs shall develop guidelines for approval to be granted under subsection (1).’’ This means that the Kabaka has to seek permission before he hosts any foreign leader as he did sometime last year when he received a delegation from Swaziland, the US ambassador at Kireka palace, and the Libyans when Gadaffi visited Uganda.

Clause 17 says:’ The ministry responsible for culture shall once in every calendar year cause to be published in the Gazette a List of all traditional or cultural leaders in Uganda whom Government facilitates.’’ This in effect means that the government intends to create more traditional leaders as it has been doing ever since Kabaka and president Museveni fell out, and any of the cultural leaders who falls out with the government will not be listed in the annual gazette( which I suspect will be the Newvision newspaper). In other words, becoming a traditional leader is going to become more like winning a prize or trophy of some sort, as in like football or other sports. It is also one way of blackmailing traditional leaders to support whatever the government wants.

Clause 18 is meant to cut off the likes of Beti Nambooze, Medard Segona and Mpunga from the Kabaka completely. Nambooze was the chairperson of the Buganda civic Educational Committee, an organization mandated by Mengo to teach people the ills in the 2007 land bill which was later passed by the government. Namboze and the two Mengo ministers ended up being arrested and later charged in courts of law. But with this bill, it means the Kabaka is ‘’ personally liable for criminal offences committed by the traditional or cultural leader or the agents or persons in the employment or acting under the authority of the traditional or cultural leader’’. In otherwords, the government is trying to cut off Kabaka or other cultural leaders from their loyal subjects. The bill is practically dumping them in a social ‘prison’. It also means that we are likely to see the Kabaka arrested or in a dock or jail at some point if he breaks any of the contents in this bill.

The ancient Greeks maintained that “a bad law is no law.”They did not expect people with common sense to take bad laws seriously. Yet, as a nation, we are so regimented that we are willing to use guns, parliament, jails, prisons and all manner of violence to enforce bad laws on otherwise law abiding citizens, as the traditional leaders in our country. I therefore request Uganda law makers to throw this bill in the bin because it is simply a bad law. It does not belong with us at all.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Kinkizi Radio and other FMs are Breaking the Law by banning the Besigye Adverts

Dear readers,

I rarely watch TV or listen to radios unless if there is a football match on but I normally compensate this by watching a lot of Uganda music during my leisure time ,which I find more entertaining than even UK’s X-factor or TV shows. However, I was appalled by the report in newspapers recently that indicated that nine radio stations in Uganda had so far refused to run FDC’s campaign adverts because the stations are owned by NRM ”big boys”.

The banning of Besigye radio adverts on some private Fm Stations has been a typical NRM character since 1990s, and in all fairness, it shouldn’t be part of us anymore as a growing democracy. As some of you may be aware, 1n 1993, the government stopped government offices from giving any advertisement business to the Monitor newspaper, just because they wanted to run it down, which some in the NRM call ‘dying naturally due to mismanagement’. The monitor lost about 70% of its advertisement revenue till when this decision was reversed in 1997. So this business of saying its ‘free will’ for those stations that ban Besigye adverts is a non- starter. We should encourage radio owners to contribute to the fairness of these elections by according the two biggest candidates the same level of exposure to the voters as much as possible. There is no harm in this as long as they are not breaking any laws in the process.

Radio discrimination by private owners has got no place in a proper democracy. There are certain standards expected of private radio owners, and therefore what Amama Mbabazi’s Kinkizi fm and others are doing is proper discrimination. It’s like opening up a private shop and deciding to sell goods only to a certain tribe as the Asians reportedly used to do before Amin expelled them in early 1970s.

All these forms of discriminations by private enterprises should not appear to be promoted by the political elites in our country as is the case with Ofwono Opondo doing exactly this in an NTV YouTube video released a few days ago . To my surprise, the chairman of the Electoral Commission,Dr.Badru Kiggundu, who is always assumed to be on the government side, appears to be also disagreeing with what these private stations are doing. The fact is that we should cherish and guard the right of free speech in Uganda. We know NRM does not love it when they put up with people saying things they absolutely deplore but we must always be willing to defend people’s right to say things we deplore to the ultimate degree. That is the way forward!

In USA, they have got the ”fairness doctrine” introduced I believe in 1940s and it requires broadcasters to cover important controversial issues and to provide an opportunity for contrasting views on those issues. The rules state that radio or TV stations that sell air time to a political advocate must give free air time to an opponent to respond. This was rectified by the ”Cullman Doctrine” in 1960s which holds that a station broadcasting a sponsored advertisement or program on one side of a controversial issue thereafter may not refuse to present the opposing viewpoint merely because the station could not obtain paid sponsorship for the opposition presentation. The Americans have also got the ‘equal time’ rule which requires radios and TVs to give equal time to qualified candidates for public office.

What Ofwono Opondo was talking about in the video of radios or newspapers endorsing candidates in developed nations, is true, but it has got no relevance to the radio discrimination going on in Uganda at the moment. By the way, even newspapers that have endorsed candidates are required by law to give space to the opposing views in these countries. For instance, in the UK here, the Daily Mail is a known Conservative newspaper but it always finds space for the Labour candidates because the law requires them to do so. Please, Let us stop promoting wrong things because Uganda does not end in 2011. President Museveni will one day be history but Uganda will remain.

Finally, the state should start taking their Access to Information Act (2005) seriously to help bridge the gap between the government and Ugandans. Any information from government and non-governmental organisations should be made public to avoid more surprises. This encourages openness and transparency in public institutions. For instance, here in the UK, we have got the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 1998 under the office of the Information Commissioner who reports directly to the parliament, and it is helping everybody. I have got as much right to know how any ministry is being run as anybody else in the country. Of course, they are some exemptions, but most of this information is not concealed to anybody in the UK. This should be the same in Uganda as it will also help in reducing the levels of corruption in the state system.There is no point carrying out all this public enquiries into the deaths of big personalities and now we are doing the same with the burning of the Kasubi tombs issue, but the public never gets to know what is found out. We should have transparency in government dealings everywhere or we gonna have an ‘American Assange’ in Uganda doing a wikileaks for us one day.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

‘The Correct Line’ Is An Eye Opener To All Ugandans

Dr. Olive Kobusingye is Dr. Besigye's Sister

Dear Ugandans,

It took me just six hours to finish reading Olive Kobusingye’s ‘The Correct Line’, and I wonder what the fuss over the book was all about when it was impounded at Entebbe Airport by the state. There is nothing in the book that was not already known to the public apart from the fact that it may be helpful to people who are still bathed in Musevenism and anti-Besigyesm.

Safe Houses
I was mostly touched by three chapters and one them was Chapter 9 which talks about ‘safe houses’  and how people are treated while in such places. It can make one very angry and at the same time so disappointed with the current government. The kind of inhuman treatment people are subjected to; speak volumes of the Nazism embedded in African politics in general. How can any human being subject another human being to such appalling level of torture just because one has been ordered to do so? The case that particularly drove me almost to tears was that of a lady called Kesanyu who ended up with pus coming out of her private parts while in a ‘safe house’, simply because she was a Besigye supporter in elections in Rukungiri and therefore someone arrested her on tramped up charges. Her story is so touching such that one can only find it in one of those nasty films we normally watch on TV.

Elections

Chapter 11 is another one that needs to be read by anybody who thinks that Besigye merely lost the 2001 and 2006 elections and, therefore, does not deserve another shot at the presidency. In this chapter, Olive acknowledges the role played by Beti Kamya in Reform Agenda in 2001-2004. The ordeal the Besigye family has gone through is also mentioned again, particularly on how they were all forced into exile at some point; how Khidu Mukubuya misused his position as Attorney General to try to keep Besigye’s face off the 2006 ballot papers; but most importantly the chapter shows how the 2006 elections were rigged.

Basically, Dr.Kiggundu Commission produced its own results in 2006 according to this book and as of now, I have lost total respect the EC Chairnman. How can any principled man remain in that position after what the world witnessed in 2006? It’s disgusting and hurting at the same time. No wonder some people I know are not going to waste time voting in these elections.

Death of Besigye’s brother
Chapter 15 will make anybody feel for the Besigyes or Kifefes as Dr.Olive Kobusingye describes the ordeal her kid brother, Musasizi, went through in prison before his death. There is a particular statement in this chapter that caught my eye and it goes like:’ anyone who wanted to know what it was like to oppose Museveni need never wonder. And having a young brother die in this manner seemed so much a part of that wretched role’.

The Besigye family don’t know me but let me hope that it’s not too late for me to send my condolences to Dr.Olive, Catherine ( Musasizi’s wife) and her family. Where is the humanity left in our leaders today after this experience? I’m also so disappointed in the professionals at Mulago who kept refusing to write a medical report such that Besigye’s brother could get bail and possibly better treatment. They left him to the dogs and it was so sad.

Media and Elections
The Newvision has always been pro-Museveni and this is not going to change in this year’s presidential elections. But I suspect that they will try to give fair coverage in these elections to ‘state friendly’ candidates such as Mao, Bidandi and Kamya whose message has been anti-Besigye and IPC even before the campaigns kicked off.
According to Kobusingye’s ‘The Correct Line’, The Newvision got their story wrong on Okwir Rabwoni’s defection to the the Museveni camp during the 2001 elections. This story itself simply shows that Newvision are always used by the incumbent as a PR machine. According to Kobusingye, it seems Ameria Kyambadde and General Tinyenfunza were the brains behind the Okwir Rwaboni defection story such that she(America) was disappointed when Rwaboni did not show up at  a youth conference at Ranch on Lake Side Hotel. Newvision had already gone with the front page about Rwabwoni’s defection to the Museveni camp yet he (Rwaboni) spent the night at Kiza Besigye’s house dining with their family.

Tramped up charges
Lastly, I request Ugandans not to believe so much what you read in papers, particularly the Newvision and Bukedde. Some of these papers are used to stitch up the opposition activists or candidates .Some of these stories are meant to make someone look too bad which I find to be the lowest point of journalism in our country.

For instance, according to Kobusingye’s ‘The Correct Line’, two members of parliament from Northern Uganda were arrested and put in prison over tramped up charges. An opposition activist, a certain Peter Olaya Yumbe was arrested and later killed in prison. Basing on these experiences, we should read FDC ‘s Godi story with a pinch of salt because you never know what this government is capable of.

I’m not siding with anybody but I’m merely pointing out that the NRM government is very good at stitching up people from the opposition.  As it is pointed out in the ‘Correct Line’, an NRM chairman, Alfred Bongomin, was murdered in 2002 in Gulu by unknown people, but the government went an extra length to stitch up some people in the opposition for this murder. If you can also remember, MPs : FDC’s Reagan Okumu and  Michael Ochura were also once upon a time arrested over the murder of the same NRM chairman in 2005 before their acquittal some time later.Besigye has been arrested and tried by the same government over tramped up charges before he was finally acquitted of the treason charges this year by the constitutional court.

So maybe there are those who never got as luck as Besigye,Okumu and others to be acquitted by courts, and they are still rotting in prisons. In the same vein, we cannot be sure of the accusations being laid against MP Gudi because the pointing finger cannot be trusted. Yes, there is a possibility that Gudi might have murdered his wife but how can we be sure of this if he is being tried in a system that is capable of stitching up anybody for crimes they never committed.

All in all, those who can afford should buy this book and send it to their friends and family as a Christmas present because it’s worth reading.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Blogs:

http://ugandansatheart.wordpress.com/
https://semuwemba.wordpress.com/
http://ekitibwakyabuganda.wordpress.com/
http://ugandamuslims.wordpress.com/
”We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what  is best for society.” (Hillary Clinton, 1993)

GOVERNMENT SHOULD LEAVE KALYEGIRA ALONE

Dear people,

I agree with the Daily Monitor’s Daniel Kalinaki analysis of Timothy Kalyegira as a conspiracy theorist rather than a terrorist or seditionist (going by the charges laid against him by the government). There is an old saying that one can never convince anyone who doesn’t wish to be convinced and I think whatever Kalyegira writes is up to the readers to make up their own minds on whether it’s true or not. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but I think it’s wrong for a government to arrest a journalist for writing something that they feel very passionate about. As long as the media, TV journalists in particular, continue to leave some important questions lying dormant, people will continue to write their own opinions and there is very little the state can do about it.

It’s now acceptable worldwide that anyone who questions the settled version is ridiculed as another one of those “conspiracy nuts” but I think arresting and charging a journalist or anybody with sedition is a step too far.  This kind of situation discourages further investigations, disparages all independent thinking, and all further efforts to find answers to all the unanswered questions simply peter out.

The July bombings in Kampala were as shocking as the September 11th attack on New York and several conspiracy theories were written after these attacks. Alexander Emerick Jones is on of USA’s ‘conspiracy theorist’ and journalist but the government there has never arrested him for sedition.

Film maker, Michael Moore, did a documentary titled ‘fahrenheit 9 11’’ that indicated that 9/11 was really a CIA plot but nobody searched his house or asked passwords for his emails. Another documentary titled ‘Loose Change’ ridiculously came to the same conclusion as that of Michael Moore’s and some people loved it. Moore’s documentary delayed being released in USA due to its controversy but it was allowed in time here in Britain, and I was among the first batch to watch it in the cinema.

Craig Unger also wrote an informative book which he called ‘House of Bush, House of Saud’, and it criticizes the Bush administration for allowing so many Saudis, including the relatives of bin Laden, to leave the country quickly after Sep 11th, while all other flights were grounded, without being questioned about the terrorist attacks. Unger cites FBI and Police agents as witnesses, but he also never faced the same wrath as Uganda’s Timothy Kalyegira after the bombings in Kampala.

What actually the then CIA director and Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, did after conspiracy theorists went into gear was to issue a press statement in June 2005, stating that:”The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale.” They didn’t need to arrest people who differed with the government position on matters.

The truth is that several conspiracy theories have existed in our life time and several others will come up after us. For example: the owner of Fulham FC here in England, Alfayeed, also came up with a theory that Princess Diana and his son, Dodi, were murdered, but the UK government didn’t arrest him. He actually spent a lot of money on this investigation but it yielded nothing and now he has let it go.

There is also a theory that soft drink Fanta was invented by the Nazis but we are still enjoying our Fanta, don’t we?

When president Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, innumerable theories were written about him. Oliver Stone made a film called ‘JFK’ and it sold like hotcakes worldwide. The same Oliver did a film on Ronald Reagan when he was shot, titled “The Day Reagan Was Shot,” and he made a lot of money out of it. Reagan was shot and critically wounded on March 30, 1981.

In Uganda, up to now, people don’t believe that General Kazini was indeed murdered by a mere woman despite several contrary reports by the government.

Therefore, Please I request the government to leave Timothy Kalyegira alone. The police who arrested and charged him should be the one to be charged with sedition: for attempting to turn our Constitutional Republic into a Dictatorship. The sedition Act was introduced in USA in 1918 during World War I basically because it was a very unpopular war and therefore suppression of speech was necessary at the time, but the last sedition case to the U.S. Supreme Court was Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), when it overturned conviction of a KKK leader on similar grounds as in Yates. KKK leader advocated in speech the use of violence to effect political change. He was convicted under Ohio statute banning advocating violence for political change but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it; saying law must distinguish between advocacy of ideas and incitement to unlawful conduct. This is the law today.

The bottom line is that the events of July bombings need a better investigation. Maybe most of the events were close to what the government and mainstream wants to claim, but there are definitely unanswered questions and Ugandans wishes to know them. The issue is all about lack of trust between the government and the people they lead, a loop hole some people will always exploit.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

United Kingdom


Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
Blogs:
http://ugandansatheart.wordpress.com/
https://semuwemba.wordpress.com/
http://ekitibwakyabuganda.wordpress.com/
http://ugandamuslims.wordpress.com/

Uganda Women Activists should go Slow on Cohabitation Laws

I love men and women who fight for women rights all over the world but I think the latest proposals from Uganda women activists that appeared in the Newvision are kind of pulling the women behind. I’m not going to go into issues like ‘divorcing a man with a big penis’ because there is no law that can effect that, but I would like to pick on the issue of cohabitation because I think our society is again promoting concepts that are anti-cultural and anti -religious, something I find disappointing to our generation. We are copying a lot of things from the developed nations but we never asses them properly before we bring sell them to our people back home.

In these developed nations such as the UK where I live, marriage has been steadily weakened as cohabitation and homosexuality have intruded and fought to be accepted in the society. The marriage we have grown up knowing which a sacred union between a man is and a woman before God and man, has been rejected as unworkable, laughable, hopelessly old fashioned and contrary to the basest of human sexual urges. Marriage is now openly being supplanted with cohabitation which I find so contrary to our African beliefs and religion.

Therefore, if we give legal rights to couples cohabiting in Uganda, the laws safeguarding marriage between man and woman will not be promoted so much, yet in no way can cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage. The sense of responsibility for another that distinguishes marriages from alternatives such as cohabitation will be lost in the process if it becomes a respectable alternative to marriage. For instance, in 2007, the Church of Sweden announced its willingness to allow gay couples to marry in church and suggested that marriage laws be renamed “cohabitation laws’’.

In USA, cohabitation is not legally allowed in about seven states though most of these laws are not enforced, among these include: Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi and North Dakota. Four other states — Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina and Utah — have laws against fornication, defined as unmarried sex, according to Dorian Solot of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, a group based in Albany, New York which advocates for equality and fairness for unmarried people. Yes, Supreme Court, in 1967, ruled that Florida’s criminalization of interracial marriage and cohabitation was illegal, but I’m yet to find out how this case progressed. The American Civil Liberties Union has also unsuccessfully been trying to overturn some of these laws in several states but at least the Americans who made these laws should be applauded for fighting for marriage, religion and culture.

Some people claim that living together outside of marriage is the only way two people can learn if they are right for marriage, something some people call ‘testing’ or ‘okulozako’ in Luganda, but the truth is that the increase in cohabitation has been accompanied by an increase in the divorce rate. The ‘testing’ may become too much and leads to someone losing interest after a while, yet sex is one of the main sources of their bargaining power in a relationship. For example,Britain now has the highest divorce rate in the European Union. In 1983 there were over 147,000 divorces granted by the courts. By 1994, this number had increased to 165,000.In USA the divorce rate increased from 708,000 in 1970 to 1,175,000 in 1990. Whereas during the same period the marriage rates have remained virtually static, despite the rise in ‘marriageable age’ populations. One survey carried out in USA indicated that marriages are more likely to fail if preceded by cohabitation.

That said, I agree that if couples have been cohabiting for at least 10 years then they should have some small rights but not at the same level of marriage, for the sake of protecting the institution of marriage. For instance, France in 1999 introduced a civil contract called the Pacs, which gives some rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of sex. These do not include the full rights of marriage, notably over taxes, inheritance and adoption. Uganda being a poor country, most couples take about 10 years to do something meaningful with their lives- so that time frame for cohabiting couples looks fine. But the truth is that every parent who has got a daughter in marriageable age would like to see them settled in a proper, secure, and recognised relationship, and this can only be marriage, not anything else.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Why Can’t MPs Impeach President Museveni?

Dear people,

The expulsion of two MPs from FDC was overdue and it may be interpreted differently by some people but I think it was the beginning of something new in Uganda politics: nobody is above the law in the country, and that is why today I would like to move this debate from those two MPs to the impeachment of the president of Uganda himself.

Apart from when in April 2009, Ken Lukyamuzi and CP suggested that the president get impeached following the re-appointment of Justice Faith Mwondha as the Inspector General of Government without the approval of Parliament, we have never seen parliament attempting to threaten president Museveni yet he has several times used his office wrongly. His removal through impeachment will be imperative to the survival of the nation.

We agree that under clause 4 of article 98 of our constitution that the President cannot be prosecuted for a criminal offence or sued in a civil action in any court. The sole exception being only the case of the Presidential Election Petition but an aggrieved party in any other civil or criminal matter will have to wait until the end of his term of office. The same constitution says the president, vice-president and all civil officers are subject to impeachment though there is significant disagreement on this issue.

Bribery and treason are among the least ambiguous reasons meriting impeachment, but the ocean of wrongdoing encompassed by the Constitution’s stipulation of “high crimes and misdemeanours” is vast. Abuse of power and serious misconduct in office fit this category, but one act that is definitely not grounds for impeachment is partisan discord. Several impeachment cases can confuse political animosity with genuine crimes.

Nevertheless, I happen to think that any president who commits a felony should be fired, ie, impeached. Seeking to impeach a politician is perfectly legal. It is a statement that the President has done wrong. That is why Impeachment is written into the Constitution .Impeachment itself is not a criminal procedure as in most cases the president is acquitted but being found not guilty doesn’t mean that you are innocent. He is just considered innocent in the eyes of the law.  Not that this doctrine has any bearing on impeachment which is a political process.

Ugandans need to be educated that they can remove a president from office by using their parliament instead of thinking of fighting wars in bushes. Impeachment requires a majority vote of the House .This is one of the reasons why the opposition need to put a lot of effort in winning all grass root elections instead of just concentrating on the issue of the joint presidential candidate. If either Mao,Otunnu or Besigye fails to become the joint presidential candidate under the IPC, he should go and stand for parliament somewhere else to help boost the number of opposition MPs in the next parliament.

A vote by the parliament is a form of censure which should be encouraged every now and then to punish the offender, and give relief to the citizens of Uganda. A President should be impeached for high crimes or misdemeanours, regardless of his popularity. If having been elected qualified as a defence against impeachment, almost no president would ever be impeached.

Impeachment is about removing from office an Executive who has abused his executive power, who has used his place, position and authority to subvert the functioning, practice and excise of constitutionally guaranteed rights. For instance, the constitution does not give the president the right to give a directive that the police should investigate a certain politician as we have recently witnessed with Besigye. This is the work of the IGG not the president. For God’s sake, under what Law did the president use to ask a radio station to apologise for hosting Dr.Otunnu.

 In USA, the first official impeached was Senator William Blount of Tennessee for a plot to help the British seize Louisiana and Florida from Spain in 1797. Judge John Pickering of New Hampshire was the first impeached official actually convicted. He was found guilty of drunkenness and unlawful rulings, on March 12, 1804, and was believed to have been insane. Three presidents were seriously threatened with impeachment. The first, Andrew Johnson, escaped conviction in the Senate, and hence removal from office, by a single vote.  The second, Richard Nixon, aborted the process by resigning.  Nevertheless, that resignation was forced by the looming spectre of impeachment. The third one was William J. Clinton, the forty Second who was impeached but also survived the senate vote.

NRM MPs don’t need to save the president in parliament if they feel that he has done wrong. For instance, Clinton was impeached on two counts, grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice, with the votes split along party lines. The perjury charge failed by a vote of 55–45, with 10 Republicans voting against impeachment along with all 45 Democrats. The obstruction of justice vote was 50–50, with 5 Republicans breaking ranks to vote against impeachment.Similalry,NRM MPs just need to do the right thing here evenif president Museveni is the party chairman.

Therefore, the expulsion of Beti Kamya and Onzima from FDC displayed the first kind of ‘impeachment’ process among party politics which should be extended to the national level if we are to strengthen discipline in all organs of the government.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Luwero war was justified despite whatever Museveni has become today

Dear people,
Whatever has become of president Museveni today, I still believe the Luwero Triangle war was justified and I support the initiative taken by Museveni and others to fight the Obote’s government. To broaden this discussion a bit, I’m gonna mention the main principles of the justice of war which are: having just cause, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used. Museveni and Group had a just cause: getting rid of a dictatorial government which had stolen the 1980 elections. The authority that declared war was a mixture of UPM and other registered parties in Uganda (forming something called NRM/NRA) and their intentions were good at the time and most Ugandans supported them particularly the Baganda. NRA/NRM fought a guerrilla war for only 5 years and that justifies the envisaged success. They knew that the population was behind them and that’s why they chose the Buganda spot where Obote was openly hated.

Child soldier

What exactly happened during the course of fighting in Luwero like killing innocent civilians; using child soldiers; and so on, cannot make a war unjustifiable and we have got international bodies that deal with people who break rules of war fare. For instance international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare. The real Luwero war was justified and there is no question about this. If any crimes were commited by the Museveni soldiers while in Luwero, then some body should investigate this and hand it to over to the international bodies but it  does not make a war unjustifiable.
Mr.Otunnu, the UPC president is already asking for investigations in the Luwero war and it was very wrong for General Tinyenfunza to threaten him in response. By the way, these NRM guys don’t make threats as Mr.Otunnu may think. Let him ask Besigye who has since been subjected to anything you can think of, to the extent that he had to shift the remainder of his close family abroad. He has to make tours to USA every now and then to see his wife and son. Ambassador Otuunu should be ready for the fire in the kitchen because it’s gonna be very hot.
However, I must warn Ugandans that there are legal arguments in this area of what is considered moral and immoral when fighting a war. It is not an easy case of pointing fingers as some people are doing now. For example, to defeat Germany in World War II, it was deemed necessary to bomb civilian centres, or in the US Civil War, for General Sherman to burn Atlanta. Secondly, how do you morally justify the discovery and use of nuclear weapons in a war and end up killing more people than those that were killed in Luwero Triangle and bushes? The Soviets acquired nuclear and thermonuclear weapons in 1948 and 1953 respectively but an attack in 1948 was not seriously considered.  An attack on the Soviet Union was quickly rejected by Eisenhower in 1953—although the main obstacle seems to have been the feasibility of removingpermanently the threat in one attack. Similarly, would you consider the Israeli destruction in 1981 by F-15’s and F-16’s of a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor in Iraq a just war or not—although the U.S. and U.N. at the time formally condemned the attack and the Israeli policy? There are several examples including the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
The problem with some UPC supporters is that they just take things at face value without critically analyzing issues.  Now let us analyse the internal dynamics of the war before they start comparing the Joseph Kony war and the NRA war (1980-86) .First of all, there is a difference between the conventional war and an irregular war (guerrilla war). Conventional wars have clear front lines in which attacks take place mostly from barricades and stable positions. Violence against civilians and combatants takes place in clearly distinguished spaces. Civilians are generally isolated from the battlefield: while some may live close to the frontlines, or even go there to visit combatants, their life is somewhat independent from the events taking place in it. The American Civil war (1861-1865) was a typical example of a conventional civil war. We have not had that kind of war in Uganda history since independence.
In Guerrilla wars (like Luwero Triangle), such a clear spatial distinction between battlefield and non-battlefield areas is lacking, as the war takes place unevenly all over the territory. In consequence, there is a greater mingling of civilians and combatants. So despite the fact that it is called the Luwero Triangle war, civilians were killed in other parts of the country as well. The battle lines were not limited in Luwero.
Civilians are killed in a guerrilla war when, for example, civilians hide potential victims, they help them to flee to other places; they give false indications to the groups, remain silent, or even engage in violent confrontation with the group. Going by this explanation, it’s so likely that the Obote men or UNLA would be the one to exert violence on the civilian population during the Luwero Triangle war. Several people were killed between 1980 and 1985 because they were thought to be ‘Bayekela’ (rebels) or helping the ‘bayekela’. Obote had no support from Buganda where most of the killing took place. He had ‘lost’ an election in 1980 but he decided to impose himself on the people of Uganda. So the aggrieved party here was the people of Uganda.
In Kony’s case, civilians in the north were most likely killed by the rebels because of non-cooperation with an enemy or occupier (NRMO government), civilian disobedience, and ideological opposition- “civilian defence”. Actually, the war in northern Uganda was one of the trickiest civil wars in the world because It’s very difficult to know who was doing the more killing between LRA and UPDF.
The difference between the Joseph Kony war or LRA war and Luwero Triangle war was that Joseph Kony failed to mobilize majority of the population in the north to support his cause unlike museveni who convinced majority of the population in the south of Uganda to support his cause to get rid of Obote dictatorship. Where there is a high level of mobilization of the population, armed groups are prone to target civilians in order to sweep the rears of potentially challenging enemies.
Well the point am trying to make here is that wars are justifiable depending on what I have mentioned above. However, what happens during the war does not make a war unjustifiable. Therefore, Museveni’s war against Obote’s forces was justifiable and if he had not done it, probably some body else would have done it.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
United Kingdom

Luwero war was justified despite what Museveni has become today

Dear people,

 I still believe the Luwero Triangle war was justified and I support the initiative taken by Museveni and others to fight Obote’s government. To broaden this discussion a bit, I’m gonna mention the main principles of the justice of war which are: having just cause, being declared by a proper authority, possessing right intention, having a reasonable chance of success, and the end being proportional to the means used. Museveni and Group had a just cause: getting rid of a dictatorial government which had stolen the 1980 elections. The authority that declared war was a mixture of UPM and other registered parties in Uganda (forming something called NRM/NRA) and their intentions were good at the time and most Ugandans supported them particularly the Baganda. NRA/NRM fought a guerrilla war for only 5 years and that justifies the envisaged success. They knew that the population was behind them and that’s why they chose the Baganda spot who openly hated Obote and his regime.

What exactly happened during the course of fighting in Luwero like killing innocent civilians; using child soldiers; and so on, cannot make a war unjustifiable and we have got international bodies that deal with people who break rules of war fare. For instance international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare. The real Luwero war was justified and there is no question about this. If any morals were not considered by the Museveni soldiers while in Luwero, then some body should investigate this and hand it to over to the international bodies.

Mr.Otunnu, the UPC president is already asking for investigations in the Luwero war and it was very wrong for General Tinyenfunza to threaten him in response.  I first heard the statement:’we will crash you’ when Besigye decided to start the Reform Agenda prior to 2001 elections. A certain ‘gentleman’ called General Salim Saleh allegedly aired the same words. By the way, these guys dont make threats as Mr.Otunnu may think. They mean real business. Besigye has since been subjected to anything you can think of , to the extent that he had to shift the remainder of his close family abroad. He has to make tours to USA every now and then to see his wife and son.Ambassador Otuunu should be ready for the fire in the kitchen because it’s gonna be very hot. He should seek comfort in Dr.Kiiza Besigye who has seen it all before- the threats, the prison, the charges, the courts, the handicuffs, exile, loss of relatives,……………..Those who are just joining the field should pay a visit to the good doctor.

However, I must warn Ugandans that there are legal arguments in this area of what is considered moral and immoral when fighting a war. It is not an easy case of pointing fingers as some people are doing now. For example, to defeat Germany in World War II, it was deemed necessary to bomb civilian centres, or in the US Civil War, for General Sherman to burn Atlanta. Secondly, how do you morally justify the discovery and use of nuclear weapons in a war and end up killing more people than those that were killed in Luwero Triangle and bushes? The Soviets acquired nuclear and thermonuclear weapons in 1948 and 1953 respectively but an attack in 1948 was not seriously considered.  An attack on the Soviet Union was quickly rejected by Eisenhower in 1953—although the main obstacle seems to have been the feasibility of removing permanently the threat in one attack. Similarly, would you consider the Israeli destruction in 1981 by F-15’s and F-16’s of a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor in Iraq a just war or not—although the U.S. and U.N. at the time formally condemned the attack and the Israeli policy? There are several examples including the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Well the point am trying to make here is that wars are justifiable depending on what I have mentioned above. However, what happens during the war does not make a war unjustifiable. Therefore, Museveni’s war against Obote’s forces was justifiable and if he had not done it, probably some body else would have done it.

Byebyo Ebyange.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

ICC is a real ‘international’ treaty despite its weaknesses

Dear friends,

The ICC treaty is international by all the definitions of an international treaty. Because some ‘big boys’ are not part of the treay, it does not make it less international though it would have been stronger if they were part of it. USA and China do not solely define internationalism in a written document. The ICC became international and ratified when the UN got 60 ratifications necessary to bring the ICC into being. By 2005, 99 states had ratified the treaty.

There is something else I want Ugandans to note here. Belgium was one of those countries who started a law in 1993 within their borders similar in work to the ICC Treaty. The law permitted human rights prosecutions where by non-Belgians could be tried for violations against other non-Belgians in a Belgian court. I don’t know whether this law is still operational with the existence of the ICC now. If this law is still operational, then those who don’t trust the ICC can file their charges against president Museveni from there.

ICC headquarters

Germany is another country that has a similar law to Belgium. German law provides “universal jurisdiction” allowing for the prosecution of war crimes and related offenses that take place anywhere in the world. In 2006, former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay filled criminal charges in Germany against Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and other officials. So if it is also operational, Ugandans who want to bring cases against certain individuals in the government can go for it.

My only problem with the ICC is in the Articles: 15, 42, 53, 54, 86 and 87 of the treaty which grant the ICC prosecutor global authority to bring charges anywhere, against anyone. The prosecutor can collect secret evidence that’s never revealed to the defendant — only to the jurists hearing his or her case. I don’t know the intention of this but I think it is unfair for the defendant not to know the evidence against him or her in advance. These are the things our legal representatives to the ICC need to iron out in their next global conference.

Yes, I do think that all Israel prime ministers should be punished for the crimes committed against the Palestines and Lebanese. What has been happening in Gaza is against the international law but I think Israel has not yet ratified the ICC treaty and, therefore, it is difficult for anybody to drag them to ICC. Israel and Russia are already regretting putting their signatures on the ICC treaty because the treaty is always in their faces whenever they commit crimes.

Having said this, there are some people who have tried and still trying to bring some Israel prime ministers to face justice for the crimes committed against humanity. For instance, a special war crime court was set up in the 1990s to charge Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for authorizing the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in 1982. The Israelis themselves set up a commission called the Kahan Commission which found Sharon “indirectly” responsible for the slaughter and fingered Hobeika as the chief instigator. At the time of the massacres, Hobeika was intelligence chief of Lebanese Christian forces in Lebanon who were battling Palestinians and other Muslim groups in a bloody civil war. He was also the chief liaison to Israeli Defence Force (IDF) personnel in Lebanon.

I would also like Ugandans to know that Israel cannot be charged in any international court without exposing the evil side of the American administration. So the USA does everything in its powers to make sure that Israel never faces the law. An example is when Hobeika called a press conference in July 2001 and announced that he was prepared to testify against Sharon in Belgium and revealed that he had evidence of what actually occurred in Sabra and Shatilla. 7 months later, Hobeika’s car was blown up by a remote controlled bomb placed in a parked Mercedes along a street in the Hazmieh section of Beirut. It is alleged that this assassination was done by both the USA and Israel agents.

This action alone shows that the Israelis and USA are afraid of international law and if there was no international law, probably Israel would have used a weapon to wipe out the Palestine population by now. USA and Israel do everything they could to destroy evidence because they know that justice never decays. So the ICC or the international laws act as a deterrent to those planning to commit certain crimes. This is enough reason for us to support the activities of the baby ICC till when it will develop into something that can catch even the ‘big boys’ like Israel, China and USA. At the moment, let the ‘small boys’ like Bashir feel the heat that will shape the way they do things.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

ICC is good for Africa but Bad for dictators

International Criminal Court logo

Dear Africans,

We have got to support the existence of the ICC because Africa is the top beneficially compared to other countries due to the number of dictators on the continent. The treaty which created the ICC is not even as old as Museveni’s regime or Kony’s war in the north because it was adopted in 1998 at an international conference in Rome after intense negotiations. So why should we start discarding it before It has been tested enough.

The ICC is an important deterrent to those that are committing crimes on the continent. At least, every sitting African president knows that there is now an arm of law that can touch him before he leaves the presidency, if he commits crimes against humanity. We used to have ad-hoc war crimes tribunals (modelled on the Nuremberg trials of Nazi officials following World War II) ,like the one that tried the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague and the Kagame courts in Rwanda that tried genocide criminals, but they were not as legally and internationally pronouncing as the ICC. The ICC is the first new international judicial body since the International Court of Justice, or World Court, which was created in 1945 to adjudicate disputes between states.

The only reason why some people  fear this court is because they assume that the West can use the court against developing countries and the presidents they support. This is the same fear Asian countries had before putting their signatures on the treaty. That is why most of the Asian and African countries delayed signing it. For instance, during the war in Kosovo, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians were raped and murdered. NATO intervened and conducted an 11- week aerial campaign against Yugoslavia that ended the ethnic cleansing. Surely war crimes were committed but it ended with the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic not USA’s Bill Clinton. The same has happened in Libya when NATO intervened to save the Libyans from being killed by Late Muamar Gaddafi. Gaddafi son, Seif, is among those that are likely to be paraded infront of ICC courts if the Libya’s NTC allows it.

Nevertheless, the ICC is regarded as a major step forward in most of the world though it is derided in mainly western nations.  No one claims it is perfect, but there are many safeguards. The ICC is based in The Hague and those it convicts can be held in prisons in any of the signatory states. Being used by western nations to push their interests in Africa and elsewhere may be wrong but isn’t that an aspiration worth making a tiny risk for? Who does not want to feel free and safe in their country without these dictators making it hard for everyone?

People with such fears have got a point because the west dominates almost all international bodies but given a choice, i would rather see the ICC help us get rid of the dictators, and then we sort out the west lateron. Atleast, we already know that the great nations are using Africa using different international organs but this does not mean that we have to get used to having dictators on our continent.

Let us also note that Prosecutions in the ICC are only valid if national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute serious crimes. And only a nation ratifying the treaty can make a complaint against its own citizens or those of other nations for crimes committed on its soil. For instance, the International Criminal Court had no authority over events in Ethiopia or Eritrea, because neither country had ratified the treaty creating the tribunal. Israel signed it but not ratified. So ICC cannot touch Israel despite committing crimes against humanity in Palestine. Egypt, Iran and Syria signed. India, Pakistan and China neither signed nor ratified. Russia signed but not ratified. I know that Uganda signed but I’m not sure whether it ratified it. Most democratic nations and all European Union countries signed and ratified the treaty. In the USA, Former President Bill Clinton signed the pact in December 2000 but  President George W. Bush renounced it in May 2001. Let us hope that Obama will do the needful and get USA back into ICC before he leaves the presidency.

To be honest, I don’t know why Bush pulled the USA out of the ICC. First, the ICC is strictly prescribed to only atrocities that are spelled out in its treaty.  Second, the ICC can’t actually go and arrest people unless they are given enforcement power to do so, which requires a vote of the United Nations Security Council.  The US has a veto there, so there is no threat to Americans.  Third, even if a third country voluntarily arrests and extradites an American to the ICC, the Security Council can intervene on individual cases. The point is pretty clear: the ICC isn’t something that can harm USA; it only will focus on precisely defined war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It isn’t the monster idiots like what some people claim it is.  The US is going against the world community by not participating in a court to deal with those crimes. If USA was part of the ICC, it would have made it stronger. It is for this reason that I see no point in the ICC dragging Britain, Russia, China or any of the countries that permanently sit on the Security Council in courts of law because they can easily overpower any form of extradition.

I am not an expert in constitutional law, but I do know that the Constitution recognizes that state crimes are the jurisdiction of state courts.  Of course, the rights of the Constitution continue to hold, and if we had federalism in Uganda, certain “due process” would be recognized to be the jurisdiction of Buganda or Bunyoro or Busoga courts.

It seems reasonable that the Constitution be interpreted consistently. Things of a state are the jurisdiction of the state. Things of the world could  be the jurisdiction of the world.  Perhaps more knowledgeable men than myself might work out the details of a treaty recognizing world courts and establishing the review process by treaty. By the way, I don’t know what court you appeal to after being found guilty in the ICC. May be the lawyers reading this can help us on this one.

However, what we must know is that the war crimes tribunal was created as a court of last resort, and its mandate is to only step in when countries are either unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves.  This means that Ugandans or president Museveni cannot be prosecuted over Kony war or any crimes committed in Uganda if the mechanism to prosecute war crimes already exists within the Uganda judicial system.  So I ask  anti-ICC to stop misrepresenting the court’s concept or to continue arguing that it will be used for frivolous and/or politically motivated prosecutions.   Once and for all, the whole concept of an International Criminal Court does not in any way contradict our African/Ugandan ideals. Every Ugandan wants to see justice done fairly but unfortunately we cannot see true justice in our own courts of law.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Will Greenland Bank ever ressurect from the dead?

Late Dr.Sulaiman Kiggundu

Dr. Sulaiman Kiggundu died but there is still hope in some Islamic quarters for the revival of the Greenland bank one day in one way or the other- if what we read in the newspapers is true. I’m among the few Ugandans and muslims who are still confused as to why Greenland was closed abruptly like that.

My understanding is that General.Saleh secretly purchased UCB through Greenland bank. General Saleh himself announced that he took over the bid from the Malaysian investors to keep the bank under local hands and this was in December 1998.Immediately after General Saleh’s announcement, Greeenland bank was placed under state management. Greenland bank had subsidiaries in Tanzania and Kenya (commercial Bank and foreign exchange in Kenya respectively) which were also later closed. Nobody in the government has come out to give us a detailed explanation of why the Greenland Empire was closed. It is the kind of pain we have been carrying for ages and it became so much when the death of Dr.Kiggundu struck us.


Secondly, Greenland was closed when the country’s savings were improving. Before the emergency of Greenland, the savings stood at 3% of the GDP compared to 6% of GDP in 1998. At that time, Kenya had a savings rate of 22% compared to the now ill-managed Zimbabwe which had a savings rate of 32% by then. When the savings rate is higher it means there are more funds that can be borrowed for development. Ugandans can borrow money in great number to their things. All this went into decline after the closure of Greenland Bank because so many people were relying on that bank. Was the closure of Greenland an act of a president who loves rapid development in the country?

 

The only major management error I blame Dr. Kiggundu is the principle of disclosure in the banking sector and he was jailed for 6 months because of some of these errors. Disclosure is about providing information to the outsiders about the organization. This includes corporate social disclosure. This is where the society wants to know what it gets from the business for supporting it. It is when the society and other third parties see such benefits that they see the organization as legitimate. Whereas developed countries have disclosure measures, the developing countries like Uganda don’t have the culture of disclosure. No ends of year accounts are shown! Even banks that should display their financial statements don’t do so! That is why in 1998, Greenland Bank Ltd, and Cooperative Bank Ltd  were closed by Bank of Uganda, without any sign of financial weakness being known by the customers. So this was wrong on the side of Dr. Kiggundu but still the state should not have closed the bank. The Gordon Brown government used all the means at its disposal to save the Northern Rock Bank despite the problems they were having because Gordon loves his country and he loves the common man on the ground in the UK.

 

Other reasons which were given by the economists in the country for the closure are all considered just schools of thought including: failure to meet the minimum capital requirements, insider lending, corruption and mismanagement as the causes. This is all nothing when you are a politician who loves your people.The root cause of commercial banks’ problems lies in their desire to increase profits by rapidly expanding their asset portfolio (by extending loans) for which there are no adequate provisions in the form of a capital buffer. Greenland bank did this by investing in a variety of businesses and lending to people without security, and it would have worked if they had been given a chance with time to rectify their mistakes. Remember, these were long term investments NOT short term investments. Yes, Dr.Kiggundu was running the risk of the inadequacy of minimum capital standards in accounting for the risk in banks’ asset portfolio but so many international banks run this risk. In the UK here, people access credit without any security and there was nothing weid that Greenland was doing in the banking sector. I also heard that a Saudi investor offered to fix the capital problems Greenland was experiencing at the time but still the government declined the offer. All they wanted was to close the damn Greenland Bank.

 

Lastly, Bank of Uganda (BoU) introduced new banking rules after the closure of Greenland to justify their act but why didn’t they give Greenland more time to operate under the new rules. According to the BoU new policy, all banks will be required to maintain sufficient capital, while those under-capitalised will not be bailed out. Under the revised minimum deposit requirements, all commercial banks – both local and foreign-owned – are required to maintain at least a minimum balance of USh1bn (US$750m). All banks are required to comply with all the provisions of the Financial Institutions Statute (FIS) of 1993. According to the BoU, they will only intervene in banks that either fail to meet the capital requirements or comply with the laws and regulations as stipulated in the FIS Act. ´Where a bank is intervened and closed, the BoU´s commitment to the depositors will be limited to USh3m per depositor, covered under the Deposit Insurance Scheme´, the bank stated. My question is how is a Ugandan in USA going to recover her money now if she wakes up one morning when one of the banks in Uganda is closed particularly if her savings exceed USh3m? Can anybody also convince voters in Uganda that Kiggundu’s Greenland had failed to raise the capital of USh1bn to keep itself in business? Can you also tell voters in Uganda of what the judicial inquiry commission found and recommended after the closure of different banks in Uganda that year? This was a commission set up by Finance Minister Gerald Sendaula. Why isn’t all this information made public up to now?

Abbey Semuwemba

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Semuwemba is a Ugandan residing in the UK

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"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. "~ Martin Luther King Jr. ~

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