I nominate Mr.Stanley Ndawula of the Investigator as the journalist of the month!


Friends:

I nominate Mr.Stanley Ndawula of the Investigator as the journalist of the month. I’m not here to fast-track him to some kind of Sainthood status but his article on the Mayor of Kamwenge, Byamukama, may turn out to be a turning point in the history of police torture in Uganda. I applaud his investigative skills. I don’t think the enormity of this devastating story was fully understood immediately till when other major newspapers, and of course social media, picked it up. And unfortunately, it is far from over, as we continue to read several stories of people that have been tortured while in police custody, especially Nalufenya and Naggalama detention centres.
This Byamukama tragedy has cut very deep – right through any de-sensitised barrier. Many people seem to be taking this very personally even if they are in fact in opposition, and this was done to a super NRM official. Among the MPs who have spoken out is the brother who took over the reigns from us as the Chairman of political Education club while at Kibuli S.S, Hon. Agaaba Abaasi. I never even knew he was in parliament till this horrible incident. I thought he was still working as a Resist Democracy Completely (RDC).

My only advice to the people running the Investigator would be to think a bit more like journalists and make their points early in the articles, then support it. As it is, a person must read quite a lot to get to the point and most people, alas, are lazy when it comes to reading. It’s better to make your point in a pithy first paragraph, and then eliminate everything but the information that supports your point. The shorter the better.That way, it gets read and the information gets across. I was almost gonna give up on that article on Byamukama if I had not seen the gruesome pictures. May God help that man recover and be able to fully use his legs again!

Abbey.K.S
UAH FOUNDER

Mwenda’s views on social media were disappointing!

I read Andrew Mwenda’s negative views on social media, and I couldn’t believe that this was the same Andrew who once upon a time was fighting for ‘all’ views to be heard. Now, he’s preaching censorship of the social media as probably what his editors do at his magazine. Yes, it is censorship every time a newspaper decides not to print a letter to the editor.Simple factual reporting has disappeared from most of our media, and most statements of “fact” are corrupted by adjectives that “slant” the article to mirror the publisher’s viewpoint. Andrew himself has got a page in his paper:the Last Word’ purposely to portray himself as the ‘king of opinions’. Most Ugandans are so accustomed to this sort of “reporting” they aren’t even aware their opinions are being manipulated.

Most newspapers no longer operate on the basis of a Fairness Doctrine yet It should be possible to present whatever views one wants to present regardless of whether the views are ‘stupid and incoherent, uninformed and ridiculous,(to quote Mr.Mwenda). When you own the media, you can MANIPULATE the “customer base” in any way it suits you. Most of the editors now place inflated profits ahead of the principles that built fair journalism, and that’s the gap that has been filled in by the social media. I honestly don’t know when I last read an article from the Newvision as everything I need is on Facebook and UAH.

“Free speech” is most certainly at issue if the speaker is denied a forum in which to express unpopular views. (I’m sure Germans in the 1930’s could speak against Hitler among like-minded friends, if they were cautious about it – that isn’t quite the same thing as “free speech”!). Freedom of speech is just that: freedom to speak. Let people write whatever they want on social media, no one is required to listen.

By the way,censorship is not inherently bad; it’s necessary to a certain extent. If you’re a parent,you censor what your young children watch, hear, and do. But when the kids have become adults, the approach changes, and I believe most of the people using social media are adults. As a moderator, I only censor ‘adults’ who are behaving as little children, but I have no right to call anybody’s opinion ‘stupid’ because it may not be to some people.
By Abbey Semuwemba.

Abbey Semuwemba is a Ugandan based in the UK ; A Human Rights Activist and blogger -the founder and chief administrator of Ugandans at Heart (UAH)
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Social media has killed the brains of many young people. In the olden days, to publish an opinion you needed to convince editors with the intellectual rigor of your argument. So you had to back your argument with facts, tone your language and improve your writing style.

With social media, anyone with an idea, however, stupid and incoherent, however, uninformed and ridiculous, however, uncouth and insulting, can post it on social media and get their voice heard – if anyone hears them at all.

While this may have “democratized” public discourse, it has also adulterated it. Just imagine if all you needed to get a Ph.D. was to write 300 pages of whatever came to your mind. What would happen to academia? That is what has happened to public debate.

Andrew M. Mwenda

Running a big forum is not that different from running a country!

Friends,
I just wish to inform you that the original Ugandans At Heart(UAH) Google forum is still closed despite our efforts to get it reopened ASAP. It’s frustrating as I have been requesting this review almost everyday and no action.A lot of people are asking me why they aren’t getting UAH emails anymore, and I would appreciate it if our media friends on UAH find a way to inform everyone that the forum is still closed.We have over 15000 viewers for this group and we have not been able to distribute our positions to them in the last five days.I have been asking for review almost on a daily basis. The UAH website is still functioning OK without any problems, and so are the two Facebook groups and pages.

Please don’t worry so much about the numbers of the UAH2(temporary group) membership. I can still access the UAH membership from our old forum or, let me put it this way, the UAH membership is safely in storage and can be put together any time we wish, but this is not something we wanna do right now till when we have explored all our options with Google.

My preferences are certainly towards restoring the original UAH but its good to keep our regular members still in touch with each other, and I guess that explains why we started UAH2. Actually, UAH2 has been around for a while but we only made it more active a few days ago.

You see Its difficult to destroy something you never started in the first place. Have you ever studied warfare and its intent or conduct? Do you honestly think you could have a revolution in Uganda right now if it became necessary with no prior thought or planning? Do you think that once the UPDF and the Special presidential Brigade are wiped out, then Museveni will be finished militarily? Do you think that once you take out Museveni’s key offices, then you have finished him? No, I don’t think so.

Any forum online will always be under the potential threat of attack or a ‘rebellion’ of some sort by some members. Actually, running a big forum is not that different from running a country. As a moderator, you gonna get people abusing you all the time; calling you ineffective; incompetent, soft, e.t.c, and obviously how you handle individual cases is gonna somehow define your leadership skills too. I just hope that I don’t lose myself in the process of responding to different kinds of people on UAH or elsewhere. If UAH was a country and I was the president,I must be able to think like a criminal, rebel, or terrorist to define a defense against any form of threat to us.

I also question the wisdom that says that UAH is useless and has run its course, because that is top garbage dance, pure and simple! And you can only find it from people whose minds are twisted and don’t know what roles to online forums play in politics of countries. Changing the political system in Uganda will require a lot of hard work, determination, coordination, creativity, and,character. It wont be done by just mudomo here on UAH or any other forum, but giving out free information to the few that can access the internet shouldn’t be undermined by anybody. Well, the internet is the one media that is uncontrolled. Please consider how much of what we are told by the mass media is quite outrageous.

Abbey Semuwemba

Wacky new Uganda laws on social media reportedly coming up soon.

The concept of “social media crimes” is rediculous! To prosecute any individual for such a crime is to prosecute an idea. Why do we need these laws? Why not just punish the crime the people committed to begin with, instead of getting involved in orwellian thought-spur -of -the moment crimes? Why is the govt accumulating a dangerous number of ways to prosecute a normal person,like me, for the same act? Its not officially double jeopardy, but it is in reality. Yes, I’m a normal person because I have never committed any crime that warrants being arrested.

Honestly, if I call Museveni the “worst” dictator in Africa, would they consider the mitigating factors before a sentence is passed? The intent here is to help him become a better leader, but I can see the prosecution using this as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Well, before the “Law of Unintended Consequences” come into effect, I wanna say that I’m disappointed in most of our MPs today. We are going to try to use the social media to show them the exit door or else we will be like them.Our constitution was based on the premise that future legislators will know what they are doing but clearly this isn’t the case anymore. Most of our MPs are suffering from brain aneurism and Mr.Museveni is clearly taking advantage of this.

Nobody is scapegoating anyone but legislating against social media now would be a mistake, especially at a time ugandans are starting to open up against certain practices in our society. It would be a mistake because such laws,however well intentioned, are feel-good laws for those in power whose primary result is thought control, violating our constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of conscience. It would be a mistake because it suggests that crimes against some people are worse than crimes against others. And it would be a mistake because it is stopping Abbey Semuwemba from ventilating against the leadership in Kampala. There are somethings we just have to ignore however disturbing they are—-ignoring the social media legislation would not be different from ignoring a simple fart during sex! Bagundi mubemu namwe!

Thank you Capital Gang for you-tubing the chief Gang-star!

I would like to thank the Capital Gang for listening to our cries and you-tubed the show when they hosted president Museveni. I must admit that I have been impressed with the way the 70+ year old was answering questions and still memorizing figures of his statistical achievements. When he doesn’t know how to answer something, he cleverly says:’that’s a good question. I’m going to study it’ OR ‘well, this is not for here’. You have got to give it to the guy, man!

‘You will never deliver services when the president is the project. You cannot discuss service delivery without discussing president M7”— Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju(INS)

”All these people hoovering around, you don’t think they love the president more than Amanya Mushega. But they know there are personal benefits involved.”—INS

”You will never get an answer from Museveni that he will stand in the 2016 elections. He is always urged by some group”–INS

‘I was attempted before to join NRM when they have just come to power in 1986”—- Abdu Katuntu.

”Please don’t confuse biology with ideology. I’m a 70 year old with a body of a 20 year old’–Museveni Yoweri

”You cannot manage a country like you manage a business because there is also politics”–Yoweri Museveni

I wont bother to quote Ofwono Opondo because he looked a bit tense(presumably because he wanted to impress his boss) and was talking rubbish

If you missed like I did, please watch it on the link below

UAH CLOSURE: 30 SECONDS OF THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!

1. QUESTION: Why are some people determined to get UAH face book group closed indefinitely?
Ans:Weaken internet activism among Ugandans

2. MOTIVATION:

1- most of the group’s views are anti-Museveni ;
2- The group has a membership of over 70,000 people. So,some other group/ page owner is jealous;
3- Money-Someone is being paid to keep reporting the group to face book

4. Is face book aware of people’s ill motives? Most probably not.

image

The Ugandans At Heart Community (UAH) group was closed on 2nd Dec 2014. Facebook reopened it after a meeting with some of our members before Christmas. Then, it closed it again on 6th January 2015. When it was reopened, we decided to start moderating all posts to the group such that we aren’t closed again for any reason, but they still did it. It made the group less active but it was done for the sake of making sure no facebook rules are broken. The reference to “Ugandan” in the description of the group signals a keen interest in getting membership that is in love with Uganda as a country. We want our members to feel pride in their heritage. Political Facebook groups provide users with the space for expressive political performance that helps users present political identity to others.

My understanding is that Face book automatically closes a group or a page after getting lots of complaints. They never review the complaints to see if there are genuine or not but just automatically close the group. With over one billion worldwide subscribers, Facebook don’t have time to review individual cases, and obviously some people are taking advantage of this loophole. My suspicion is that some people have got their tails up as far as UAH is concerned and want to see it closed. In repressive regimes like the Museveni government, Facebook use by dissidents causes dilemma actions for repressive regimes. After what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, such regimes have devised means of making sure that such situations never reach their shores. The Iranian Green Revolution, the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and the worldwide Occupy movements in 2012 all used social media to some degree in their movement building efforts. In Tunisia, Facebook helped spread the story of Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor who set himself on fire himself after being harassed by police.

If let’s say, UAH is closed forever, are the NRMs forgetting that some people may retaliate and get anything NRM closed on face book starting with individual accounts of people that support the regime. Some people may see this as a chance to start cyber warfare if this is how much civilisation has degenerated in our country.

Internet activism is basically divided into:Awareness/advocacy, organization/mobilization, and action/reaction. UAH is mainly an advocacy forum since few members have taken action out of what is being advocated for. The main UAH-Google has done a lot of Lobbying in some areas via the Internet, thanks to its mass e-mail base and its ability to broadcast a message widely without any cost. Facebook groups grew exponentially in the late 2000s. While much analysis is done on UAH-Google group, less is done on face book groups and pages as users there prefer mainly chit chat or one liners about issues. As a result, many facebook groups don’t have a discernable instrumental purpose. But we make an effort to share analysis from Google to Facebook to benefit especially the young stars there. We also added some government officials in both groups to at least communicate specific policy decisions to people but unfortunately, few of them do. As a performance, UAH has done well to influence policy positions in the Museveni government ever since it was created in 2007.

Facebook differs from other online forums in that it is predicated on the user revealing themselves to a network of others. People again take advantage of this loophole by opening up accounts in pseudo names. It’s difficult for facebook to verify this, and I would think it wouldn’t be necessary, but it would help if the person reporting the group has got a genuine account. In the case of UAH, I’m sure that the people that keep reporting the group are the same. And It would help if facebook reveals them to us such that we remove them from the group and save them of their bad experience on UAH other than unfairly closing the whole group. Overall, we pray that facebook addresses the loopholes in their automatic system such that UAH is not closed again(i.e. if its opened again), due to some bastard who wants to feel like he owns everybody’s opinions on the internet!

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
UAH founder

ANDREW MWENDA IS DOING A BETTER PR FOR M7 THAN MEDIA CENTRE

Whew! The heat has gone up in the kitchen, as President is acting funny these days but won’t say it. President Museveni has suffered a well-deserved media thrashing this week after he unnecessarily tried to help Alintuma Nsambu to win in Bukoto South byelections but his PR people have been a disaster so far apart from obviously Andrew Mwenda.

Mwenda’s so called ‘reconciliatory’ articles in his Independent magazine should have been better authored by someone like Pamela Anakunda or Tamare Mirundi or any of those guys at the media center. What he’s basically doing is some form of PR for president Museveni, and he is making a lot of money out of it through sales. For instance, his introduction in the article entitled: ‘Meeting Mama Miria ‘ gives it all away particularly where he says:’’ What has not been said is how and why, over the last two years, President Museveni has been on a quiet journey to reconcile with former friends turned foes.’’. Mr. Mwenda is doing damage control because a lot of scandals have ruptured the Museveni administration and running such series is supposed to give a different side to the Museveni people have come to know. A visionary!

Andrew Mwenda is trying to justify and rationalize his hero’s sorry record by not smearing any of Musevenis’ arch-rivals in the process, apart from obviously Dr.Besigye whom he keeps portraying more as a mob leader. Anyway, he can stick that mirror someplace where his gerbils can see themselves but some of us are not buying into all this. He is trying to justify and rationalize Museveni’s sorry record of having the most corrupt administration since independence, something we’ll be consumed by it for a lot longer than expected.

You see PR is a very important thing for any administration anywhere in the world, and I think Andrew is tactically doing it very well. For instance, George Bush Junior spent at least $88 million in fiscal 2004 on contracts with major public relations firms. The Clinton administration spent $37 million in 2001.Here in Britain, Tony Blair used to have a lot of PR people and they went into gear when he the British masses were protesting against the bombing of a madman in Iraq.

However, Mwenda’s articles raise a lot of the issues that Ugandans are talking about, that president Museveni knows when to use, surprise, torture, and reconcile with anyone when they least expect it. His article about how Museveni came to reconcile with UPC’s notorious Rwakasisi Chris speaks volumes of how influential Andrew Mwenda is in Museveni’s administration. I think the main issue these articles raise is just how gullible Mwenda and Museveni obviously think Ugandans are to be fooled by this naked propaganda produced, directed and marketed by a loyal journalist who is capable of influencing the president in any direction he wants. It also raises more questions about the ‘old Mwenda’ who used to write stuff that antagonized the government but he is now a bedfellow of president Museveni. The question is: how many people are going through the same cycle as Andrew Mwenda went through- pretending to oppose the government when in actual sense they are working for president Museveni?

Of course some UPC guys love Andrew Mwenda’s ‘re-conciliatory’ articles as much as anyone else in the NRM. It makes them feel like there were/ are the real opposition against president Museveni but the fact is UPC is so weak at the moment. All Museveni needs right now to finish them off is to turn the north into NRM’s favorite spot, something he is probably working on. It won’t matter who will be the leader at Uganda House as long as a wedge is created between them and their main base(the north).

Anyway, as they say: ‘when you have lemons, you make lemonade’. May be with the gullible in the Uganda media center, it’s time for president Museveni to make ‘gulliblenade’ out of them. Ms.Lydia Nabusayi is a member of the Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum but it is only Pamera Atukunda and Ms.Phionah Kesasi that grease the engine when its needs greasing. Shame!!!!!!!!!!

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey

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

Besigye-M7 Pending talks is a ”Bone-head” idea but a bit exciting

The Observer front page headline on 02/01/2012

Friends,

The story in the Observer about Besigye and Museveni planned talks is more like a replay of what happened between Zanu-PF and the MDC in Zimbabwe a few years ago. You remember those talks that were mediated by then South African president,Thabo Mbeki. The difference here is that Mwenda and Conrad Nkutu seem to be the big players in this whole thing which is a bit strange. I know Andrew Mwenda is a bit influential in the Museveni government but he is also someone who is not in good books with Besigye at the moment. So, anything where he is involved may raise suspicions.

It is also obvious that the story was intentionally leaked to the press to see the reaction from both camps: Besigye and Museveni’s, and the elites who read such stories published in English. So far, both sides have remained silent about it which confirms that something is in the pipeline. Even the big ‘mouthed’ Tamare Mirundi has not come out yet with his ‘bullets’ to shoot those ‘Nagendaising’ the situation, which shows that this is a big thing in the corridors of power in Uganda. The story has appeared both in the Newvision and Observer newspapers.

However, the whole exercise of these talks is a misdirected effort because the majority of Ugandans would be happy if president Museveni offers a quick time frame to step down from the presidency, but this is not something we expect from these talks. Museveni is not ready to give up power to anybody soon despite the recent Daily Monitor headline of ‘I will not stay in power forever’. The man has no intention at all to give up an inch of power, and I’m sure Besigye is aware of it, and we assume he (Besigye) is bothered by it .So what will be the basis of these talks, I wonder.

On the other hand, senior FDC officials are increasingly aware that there is a need to start planning for a political future after Dr.Besiggye, but do not quite know how to achieve that end. Besigye has already announced his intention to stand down from the FDC presidency despite his undoubted popularity among Ugandans. So, why involve himself in political deals he may not be there to supervise and see to it that they are fully implemented? Let’s say, for instance, Museveni agrees to a power sharing interim government, what will be Besigye’s and the new FDC president positions in the new government? Who will be the superior decision maker in the new government? This whole thing may ultimately weaken FDC if not handled properly.

Seriously, I don’t have a problem with the idea of talks between the opposition and Museveni government, and it is indeed encouraging to see that some people want it to happen, but there is a lot of water under the bridge at the moment- which makes it a bonehead idea at the moment.

A lot of people are in prison or exile because of the fights that have been going between these two guys, and I’m wondering if they have got any stake in these talks. Will there be an unconditional amnesty granted to all those perceived to be enemies of the state? Will all political prisoners be pardoned and let back on the street to do whatever they want before or after these talks? What about other stakeholders, such as the Mengo administration and Ssubi, which formed an alliance with Besigye in 2011 elections to see that Buganda achieves its demands from the central government? Will the Kabaka be involved in these talks? What about the religious leaders who are tired of corruption in government offices and would like the government to also get tough on homosexuality? What about those who just want to see the back of president Museveni for good as soon as possible and Besigye was seen as a representation of such feelings?

That’s why I think that the idea of talks between ‘Ajja Genda’ and ‘Mpekoni’ or ‘do u want another rap’ guy makes very little sense. Yes, looking for the “good”, or looking for the “truth” both proceed by talking and also by investigation and neither, in and of themselves, result in the creation of a sustainable political climate. However, looking for good as opposed to truth is precisely what has led Sub-Saharan Africa to its present downward spiral. Instead of recognizing truths which require little study and even less talk, western governments, media and academe have consistently tried to see good at the expense of recognizing such clear and obvious truths. The damage that this has done is just as evident and all in the service of a corrupt concept of natural equality.

If, therefore, we are to have meaningful talks between the government and opposition, president Museveni must publicly state that he is going to resign from the presidency at a specific date. Short of that, we may as well say that Besigye has betrayed the people who put too much trust in him. All the truth about everything evil this government has done must be put on the table as enough reason for the president to hang his boots as soon as possible. Truth is truth and looking the other way helps no one.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Semuwemba

Would Mwenda would have published the information about the oil documents if Karuhanga had not presented them in parliament?

Walter Duranty

I guess the real question here is that: would Andrew Mwenda would have published the information about the alleged ‘forged’ oil documents if honourable Karuhanga had not presented them in parliament? Did Andrew really think that not publishing his findings earlier on would have eventually led to the end of the documents in the public spectrum? He should have broken the story to Ugandans as, at least, ‘forged documents’ in the oil scandal rather than sitting on them (with the help of president Museveni and Uganda police).

With due respect, Andrew prides himself for digging up news not published anywhere else: shocking security secrets, but I suspect that what he digs up is the sort of humdrum stuff a journalist with ‘’influential’’ friends in the state should have, and this does not make this information more important to Ugandans than what they read in the Daily Monitor or Observer. I don’t know whether it’s me but I never read any of these ‘secret intelligence’ files published in the Independent magazine. May be, it’s just me but I never waste my time with them.

Anyone with connections to the people in power (in which case Andrew looks every bit of it now) can assemble stuff like that and make anyone look foolish, but is it something worth anybody’s time. For instance, if you juxtapose Martin Luther king’s public image with his personal shenanigans, you can make him look very foolish. Also true for John Kennedy with his womanizing. So what’s the point: that king and Kennedy were attracted to power to gain access to high class women?

As a long time admirer of Andrew Mwenda, I feel so disappointed in what he has become today. What has really happened to him? I had him down as one of the Uganda journalists that he will one day win the Annual Bastiat Prize for Journalism. The prize was established and run by the International Policy Network (IPN – a UK based NGO) to “encourage and reward writers whose published works promote the institutions of a free society” according to how its patron saint, 19th century French-born Frederic Bastiat, saw things. He had a deep distrust of government in any form and thought regulation and control were inefficient, economically destructive and morally wrong, or as IPN puts it: It supports “limited government, rule of law brokered by an independent judiciary, protection of private property, free markets, free speech, and sound science.”

Like I said, Andrew is right that good journalism is about news based on real sources and objective data but his reaction on Capital fm on ‘’Alan Kasujja’’ show as soon as Honourable Karuhanga published the documents, points to the fact that he is no longer doing journalism but spin. There was no need to publicly defend the ministers implicated in the said documents as there are people, like Tamare Mirundi(President’s office) and Pamela Anakunda(Media centre), already employed to do that kind of work.

At the moment, I guess most elites in Kampala are now looking at him in the same way Americans looked at Walter Duranty who worked for New York Times in 1930s. Walter visited Russia when Stalin was the leader and reported that nothing was happening there, yet people in Ukraine were dying of famine for up to 10 years. But because of his connections with influential people in both the Russian and USA government, he ended up with a Pulitzer Prize which still stands up to now. Surprisingly, Walter was British and born in Liverpool. I had never put down ‘Liverpoolians’ as dodgy till that moment.No wonder, Liverpool F.C have broken my heart in the Champions League more than any other team, especially that ghost goal from Luis Javier García some years ago. Chelsea’s Gallas cleared the line but the linesman saw it differently. I will never forget that painful moment.

Abbey

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

POLICE SHOULD INVESTIGATE MIRUNDI’S COMMENTS ASAP

Tamare Mirundi, Presidential Press Secretary

Guys,

I may be wrong here but I really doubt if Mirundi gave the interview in the Newvision under the sub-headline:’Mirundi on Mukula, Bukenya’s troubles’. The Mirundi I know never untactically punches above his weight but the following paragraph makes him sound less intelligent. You don’t say things like that even if you are the president of the country with 24/7 security:

‘’ There are people in Mengo who think we were born to work for them, which I don’t agree with. Lastly, I would like to tell you that I don’t fear anyone. If you slap me, I will draw a gun at you, shoot and kill you.’’

I’m pretty sure that president Museveni himself wouldn’t say something like that in public. Maybe Mirundi meant to say something different, and the media misunderstood him. It happens to so many Africans because English is not our first language. For instance, I remember the Chelsea Striker, Didier Drogba, also making funny comments on one of his press conferences when he had just joined Chelsea. We had just won a game and my eyes were glued at Sky sports news channel. The journalist asked him if he’s a diver as he was being accused by other teams and Drogba answered:

“Sometimes I dive, sometimes I stand.”

In reality, Drogba did not mean to say that exactly but the media made a meal out of it. It created our sport’s back pages for a while. I still laugh my head off whenever i remember those comments. Drogba tried to retract the statement but the damage had already been done.

Similarly, there are a lot of mistakes in this interview and it is hard to believe that Tamare Mirundi really said what was published. If the interview was conducted in English then maybe he was misquoted. Tamare is very good at expressing himself in Luganda. I actually think he should conduct his press conferences in Luganda with an interpreter and some sort of a script to follow, if possible. Speaking English fluently does not measure anybody’s intelligence or capabilities.

It is very important that Mr. Tamare comes out and tells Ugandans that he was misquoted in this interview. There is no need to attack Mengo anymore than necessary. He should borrow a leaf from the respected former PM, Appolo Nsibambi, who remains a member of UAH up to now. He never attempted to attack the Kabaka or Mengo throughout the time he was in government. I know we all sometimes get excited with the fortunes of this world, and this may be Tamare’s case, but we should keep it under the wraps. Life is just a very complicated thing.

I sometimes wonder about Mirundi and Nambooze Beti especially on who made the right decision after their ‘trials’ on several media programs. Both used to be regulars on Buganda’s CBS fm; both are still friends; both are Baganda and both are very articulate in Luganda. As Nambooze remained Mengo leaning, Mirundi opted for a career in central government. Namboozi is now a member of parliament for Mukono North, and the sky is the limit for her, as far as opportunities are concerned. Mirundi, on the other hand, reportedly hopes to open up a political school in future but I wonder how he will recruit students when some people are openly for vying for his blood.

Nonetheless; I’m really so disappointed in some of the stuff in this interview. People should learn to value human life. How do you vow to kill somebody who has only slapped you? It doesn’t make sense to me and I can’t believe Tamare Mirundi said that. Something is not right here and it needs to be investigated. May be Tamare is not mentally well at the moment. Something is definitely not right. I have copied this message to him because all this does not make sense to me at all.

The police should investigate these comments made by Mirundi immediately. If it is true that he said this, then he should not be allowed to carry a gun anymore. He is not fit to carry a gun in public. He is not in the right state of mind to carry a gun. How do you kill somebody who has only slapped you? Good Lord! He should go for anger management lessons before he is given a gun again.

In the meantime, if you see anyone slap Mr.Mirundi, just run for the hills before he draws his gun out because bullets tend not to discrimate when they are being fired.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey

Notes:

Mirundi on Mukula, Bukenya�s troubles

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/286/765914

Bidandi:Ke​ep Those Cards and Letters Coming but prepare for a Muhoozi presidency​!

Guys,
Bidandi ssali’s letter to Major Muhoozi is a land mine for the former but it just confirms what I have always told people that there is no serious opposition in Uganda. I don’t know what Bidandi and former DP president, Kawanga Ssemogerere, see in letter writing as far as changing Uganda politics is concerned, because these two guys have been writing letters to whoever is in power since 1980s. I’m not surprised that both of them are going to die without ‘tasting’ the presidency. You don’t become a president in Uganda by annually writing letters in the media. Bidandi is not a serious opposition leader. He once called Paul Semogerere ‘docile’ on one of the FM stations (when he was still in NRM) but I see no difference between them now.

Yes, Bidandi urges Muhoozi to prove to himself, to his family, and to the world, that he makes his own decisions, and that his being the son of president Museveni has got nothing to do with anything, but I cannot see Muhoozi doing so because he has become what he is because of his father. Bidandi is inviting him to walk through a land mine here because Muhoozi cannot afford to start rebelling against his father. Such advice is ok for sons of leaders in developed nations but not Africa. A label like ‘being son or daughter of a big man in government’ can help one gate crash anything. If, for instance, Muhoozi opens up a facebook account right now, several Ugandans would rush to become his friends because he is simply the son of Museveni. People create ‘ghost’ friends and enemies when they are in that kind of position.

To be honest, I just hate all of Bidandi’s letters because they seem to do a PR for Muhoozi and Museveni than anything else. He wrote one during the previous presidential campaigns which I again thought was more of a PR for Museveni than anything else, especially where he sneaked in the issue of Museveni visiting his son in the hospital. The leader of a supposedly a national party (PPP) writing to the president of a nation about national issues and then concludes the message with a personal note….. I thought this was either an intended political miscalculation from Mr.Bidandi or he was just overwhelmed with parental emotions when writing this letter. In all fairness, President Museveni visited Bebe Cool to tap votes of the musician’s supporters.

The way Bidandi sounded in the letter to Muhoozi one would think that he was talking to a son of Martin Luther King, sr. You see Martin Luther King, Jr. was a son of a preacher but despite his unprivileged Negro background, everybody could see that he was a man on a mission to save a certain group of people. So who is Muhoozi really going to save? He is basically looking at the presidency as the highest he can get after being put on a speed boat in army promotions.

Like I said, there is nothing in Uganda at the moment that can stop Muhoozi from becoming the next president of Uganda. Letter writing, wiki-leaks cables, restoration of term limits, media interviews by NRM old guards,……. are all not going to stop the Muhoozi project. It is only the UPDF and foreign nations that can stop it if they decide to do so.

In any case, what Museveni is doing with Muhoozi is not that much different from what George Bush, Sr. did to help his son to become president. Actually, somebody wrote a damaging and well researched book: ‘Fortunate Son’ by J.H. Hatfield, to open the eyes of the Americans on what they were electing into the White House, but it did not stop Bush, Jr. from becoming the president. The book showed Bush’s weak academic performances, his three known arrests, his alcoholism, the failure of all of his oil companies, you name it, but he still made it to the presidency.

This same Bush did not even give a damn on how the public perceived him before he became the president. At one time during a conversation with Hartford Courant associate editor David Fink, he was asked at the 1988 Republican Convention: “When you’re not talking politics,” Fink asked the vice president’s son, “what do you and [your father] talk about?” “Pussy,” George W. replied. I’m sure he made a lot of people to long for one then.

So, those who think that because Muhoozi was allegedly involved in some shoot outs at Kasubi tombs where two people lost their lives, the ‘’massacres’’ in Karamojja or whatever, then it is capable of twisting the minds of Ugandans in rural areas when he is presented as NRM presidential candidate, they should plan for something else. Such propaganda does not stop sons of former presidents from winning the presidency. In any case, Muhoozi has already done a PR of his own by writing a book, whose title I even don’t know up to now, because I know why he wrote it. He will also be helped by the fact that NRM and the government now control the radio space in the country which can reach out to the biggest masses. If probably Ugandans At Heart was a radio station that covers at least 60% of Uganda, he should have been worried.

Byebyo ebyange
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Not Excited by John Nagenda’s Interview to Sunday Monitor

Dr. John Nagenda

Friends,

I’m not so excited by Nagenda’s interview because I believe he is now a ”nobody” in Museveni’s political ambitions.In any case, there is nothing he said that is not already known to Ugandans. Some people in the media and opposition will try to hype it a little bit but I’m sure Nagenda has already received a phone call telling him to ‘calm down’. If the interview had been made by one of the big guys in the army, Museveni would have lost his sleep but not a presidential advisor. The army is the main thing that terrifies Museveni now but nothing else.

However, Nagenda’s interview in the Sunday Monitor is full of foundation rattling comments that would seem to deserve a reaction from State House. The smart money suggests that this is only the beginning of the fall out of Museveni with the old guards or so called NRM historicals – that similar comments will be made by others in the next few years. It is only natural if somebody has been in power for such a long time.

Nonetheless, the interview has raised Nagenda’s stakes but that is as far as it goes. He may either be promised something better than presidential advising or he is going to be pulled down by the very system he helped to build. I think as presidential advisor he’s scaled new heights of slime and outrageousness.

Nagenda’s interview is a bit confusing, though, because he is very skilled at dancing around the periphery of issues. Any answers he delivered to the Sunday Monitor can survive a thousand interpretations. He is a very intelligent man who is very good at framing, positioning and spinning ideas. He can, therefore, easily turn the whole interview around depending on how the president reacts to it. He obviously made this interview to get the president’s attention and Tamare Mirundi was very right on this.

But he runs the risk of being punished by the president because I don’t think presidential advisors are supposed to advise the president through the media, and I think they have got certain binding agreements in their contracts that don’t allow them to behave the way Nagenda did. This doesn’t require elaboration. If Nagenda broke certain stuff in his job contract knowingly, it’s a misdemeanor, and it may be punishable in the courts of law or may lead to his dismissal as presidential advisor.

However, any Presidential advisor must have the freedom to be allowed to give the President honest and straight forward advice without the danger of being cited by the president during a witch hunt for political reasons. Nagenda may reason, as he stated, it is no longer easy to meet the president. More so, the president never listens to anyone anymore apart from his wife who is a cabinet minister.


TAMARE MIRUNDI

I was not surprised that Tamare Mirundi butted in as soon as Nagenda gave a negative interview to Sunday Monitor. He’s doing his job. Wouldn’t you agree that Nagenda’s role in this government is relatively insignificant compared to the role of presidential spokesperson who is participating in the presidential affairs on an on-going basis? Yes, it may true that a presidential advisor outranks any presidential spokesperson but in Uganda’s case, presidential advisors are more or less useless. That’s why Tamare referred to them as people with ‘financial difficulties’.

Nevertheless, Tamare’s comments may not go down well with other presidential advisors but he was telling the truth. I wonder what Chris Rwakasisis is thinking right now. He should have found a better way of addressing this issue.

Anyway, Tamare himself is just a guy trying to make a living by pandering to the propaganda needs of the very rich and powerful. Being spokesperson is not the best paying and most secure job in the world but it’s usually a pretty good living, actually. I don’t how much Tamare is paid annually but I’m sure his life has financially changed ever since he got this job.That is why he looks and sounds so excited.

Yes, he still mangles the English language but most of us- Ugandans in central, are like that. It would be better if he is usually given a script tree to follow which will allow him to respond to most topics of concern. I think they do it with spokespersons of developed nations. If a spokesperson lies, then the person he speaks for lies as well, unless the spokesperson is immediately corrected or removed from the organization. When Tamare Mirundi speaks Luganda, he is actually a pleasure to listen to though he is very arrogant and disrespectful. I also hate it when he belittles our Kabaka and other elders in the society. However, he seems like a smart guy when he talks in Luganda but his body language gives him away as a man who is angry, revengeful and always looking for recognition. The way he straightens his neck when talking to the media- points to a man with less confidence.


Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

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

Documentary on WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.

Exclusive rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it.

From summer 2010 until now, Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.

Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version – Openleaks.org!

Where is the secretive organization heading? Stronger than ever, or broken by the US? Who is Assange: champion of freedom, spy or rapist? What are his objectives? What are the consequences for the internet?

Broadcast on SVT (swedish television) Dec. 2010.

 

BUKENYA SHOULD MEET M7 URGENTLY B4 HE THINKS OF LAWYERS

A cartoon by John Nsubuga of UAH

Dear friends,

The news that former Vice president, Gilbert Bukenya is’’ set to be charged before the anti-corruption court in relation to the procurement of the executive cars for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala’’ according to the Daily Monitor, is so interesting to neutrals like me. I read in the newspapers that parliament had decided to pardon Bukenya, Mbabazi and all those involved in CHOGM saga but we are surprised to learn that the IGG has only dragged Bukenya to court, and left out others.

First of all, let me make this clear: Bukenya has got no beans to spill and he is himself to blame for serving in such a government and overestimating himself. People who have got beans to spill aren’t treated this way, i.e. dragged to courts of law as soon as they are sacked. I believe that while Bukenya was VP, he was not privy to sensitive information as you can imagine. His position as a ”ceremonial” VP does not really expose him to a lot of information. So basically, I doubt whether he has got anything substantial to ‘blackmail’ the ‘mafias’ (as he previously called them) with.

Now, this is what Dr.Bukenya should do before he even thinks of hiring lawyers because this is how Uganda of today works. First of all, he should seek an urgent appointment with president Museveni. He should not let pride get in his way because of the way he was shown the door. Museveni is undoubtedly the ”law” in Uganda. If Bukenya meets the president and assures him that he (Bueknya) won’t do anything ‘stupid’ anymore and also apologise for the Interview he had with the Newvision, then everything will be fine.

The problem now for him is that it may not be easy to get an appointment with president Museveni because I can see Tamare Mirundi and others at state house making it difficult for him. Tamare Mirundi has got some bitter history with Bukenya to settle, if you have been following their media exchanges, and this is the right time to rub it in. I’m sure Tamare is nowadays smiling a bit while having breakfast now that Dr.Bukenya is out. Trust me; Mirundi and Company will make a meal out of this Bukenya saga on radio stations if he is given a chance.

Yes, Bukenya should also get a good legal team in case plan A does not work out but he should urgently exhausite plan A first. All I know is that if President Museveni feels that there’s no need to keep Bukenya in the headlines anymore, he will make the whole thing disappear with a finger sound. Museveni has got a lot of power in Uganda. He did it for Mbabazi Amama on Temangalo and CHOGM accusations, and others, why can’t he do for Bukenya, for old time’s sake?

There is the last option Bukenya may go for especially if president Museveni does not want to meet him. He should go public with whatever little negative ‘WOLOKOSO’ he might have heard while still in government. In other words, he should seek the court of public opinion before he is put away in prison or somewhere else. He can fall back to his sympathisers in the media, government institutions, and army and internationally to push this idea through. This is normally the last card people go for when they are on the edge. Old comrades can help if they want to help but it is always very tricky for everybody involved. So it should be the last resort but it sometimes pays off because it may get him an appointment with the president.

For instance, the blacks have always used this option in American history whenever some injustice was done to them. They could cite racism as a factor on why they could not get justice in courts of law, and it used to work for them. Bukenya should also try it if the president refuses to meet him. But if the president accepts to meet him and ‘’help’’ in making sure that he is not really found guilty in the courts of law though I think he is guilty and should face justice along with Mbabazi, then Bukenya should put a seal on his mouth indefinitely as long as NRM is still in power.

I know professor Bukenya is going to read this humble message because he is a member of Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum, and I think he should send me a generous gift for giving him free advice.

Byebyo ebyange banange

Abbey Semuwemba

FDC Should Have Appointed a lady as the Leader of opposition, and Hooting is a Poor Strategy

Dear friends,

Appointing a woman as the leader of the opposition would have helped the case of the Uganda opposition more on the international stage than they realize but they have instead gone for a man. Already Museveni is being praised worldwide for appointing the first woman speaker of parliament in Rebecca Kadaga. Women organizations such as EQUALITY NOW which was founded in 1992 are already using this appointment to further their cause.

Please don’t get me wrong here: Nandalla is a fine appointment and he is one hell of a tough cookie. My point was that the opposition would have made a better statement if a woman had become the leader of the opposition.My personal preferred choice for the leader of opposition in parliament would have been Alice Alaso because she is smart, committed, intelligent, steady and very loyal.

Ogwal is another steady politician with a lot of experience who probably would have become our Vice president in the 1990s had she accepted the deal Museveni put on a table for her. However, I think I’m happy she has not made it to this tiresome post because she is now very old. The bones and legs are gone for her to play 90 minutes of full time ‘football’ on rough pitches in Kampala.

I don’t know why men in Africa still under look women potential because I see a lot of under minding statements from people about this. Let’s think about this position of the leader of opposition for a second. It is not really anything ‘big’ in terms of making an impact on the political scene but it can be useful in making some sort of a statement, and I believe a statement on women empowerment and equality would carry more weight than the characters the opposition have mentioned.

FDC has been promising women empowerment for a while now and I think it’s high time the opposition walk the talk. As Biblical directed man is to be the spiritual leader of a household but that does not mean he is better. Men are automatically picked as spiritual and traditional leaders, but we could change this in politics a little bit. The Iteso lady, Alice Alaso, has served FDC with all her heart and I think she deserves a promotion of some sort. This was an opportunity but I guess the FDC has lost it.

All the same, Congratulations to Nandalla Mafabi who I think he will do a good job and if he does so, he will likely be the one to take over from Besigye in future. Now who can say that Besigye is not grooming a successor unlike some leader in NRM who always appoint a ‘weak’ VP to act as his poodle?

As for Dr.Bukenya, he is gone and the sooner his sympathisers accept it, the better. Let’s assume that president Museveni deploys him somewhere else after this cabinet shake-up, do they ever expect him to become VP again or something that could lead him to state house? Uganda politics is so different from Kenya politics. Ours is more of survival for the fittest – in the sense that those close to Museveni will always be big and get protected as long as Museveni is still the president of Uganda.

Bukenya was a VP for 8 years, the same period AlGore was VP under Clinton. When one has been a VP for that long, the next deployment is supposed to becoming president of the country, not to some silly job. I guess 8 years as VP doesn’t count ANYTHING for professor Bukenya. Al Gore, on the other hand, began his career in public service in 1976 when he was elected to represent Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives (1977-1985). He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and was re-elected in 1990 (1985-1992). He then was elected Vice president and served 8 yrs. He also served in Vietnam and grew up in a home where his father served 32 yrs in the House and Senate.

I would also like to comment on the opposition strategy of ‘Hooting’ and whistling in place if ‘WALK TO WORK’. In my eyes, I think it is a poor strategy that needs to be reviewed because few people in Uganda have got cars or whistles. Let the opposition stick to the now famous ‘walk to work’ or come up with something better as in like ‘OKUFUWA OLUWA'(whistling using the mouth) which is natural. This does not need anybody to buy so called whistles or cars to hoot.

I know Besigye had this idea (hooting) in his head for a long time. At one time, he mentioned it on one of his radio interviews on one FM station but hooting is a non- starter in Uganda. It will just bury the protests. Actually, some people have started to lose the steam. Just abandon the idea and go back to ‘walk to work’.

To be honest, I think the protests have lost steam now with distractions such as: cabinet appointments, army not arresting KB anymore, opposition ‘fuellers’ being arrested as we saw with the editors of Gwanga newspapers, the journalists being gagged and their cameras destroyed, anti-M7 articles not published in the newspapers anymore, e.t.c.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Semuwemba

‘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/

BESIGYE AND MUSEVENI NEED A FOOTBALL GAME NOW

Gilbert Arinaitwe 'punishing' Dr.Besigye's car for moving to Kampala

Dear friends,

Now that calm has temporarily returned to Kampala after some body from ‘’above’’ changed his mind to allow Dr.Besigye to go for treatment in Nairobi, let me try to comment on the most beautiful game called football. My team, Chelsea FC, is out of the Champions League but I couldn’t stop smiling this week on Wednesday when I watched Lionel Messi ”teargassing” the Real Madrid defense in the last minutes. It was a real thriller especially his last goal.I had never seen anything like that since Diego Maradona days. It was a beauty which even brought a smile on Jose Mourinho’s face!

Now, the real question on my mind is that ‘can football be used as a weapon to settle political and economic differences in Uganda too as it has happened in Ivory coast before Gbagbo made a mess of things after clearly losing the election?’’. Let us remember that Ivorian, Didier Drogba, did a lot to bring the two opposing sides together some couple of years ago, by organizing a football game that was played in the country’s capital, and it was attended by both Gbagbo and Quatara. Peace came back into the country and both sides agreed to have an election which Quatara won but Gbagbo refused to concede defeat. The rest is history as they say and I even don’t know where Gbagbo is after watching him on TV caught like a chicken thief by the French forces from his presidential bunker.

Kampala riots on 29/04/11

Nonetheless,with the current riots looking not to end soon in Uganda especially with Museveni swearing that Besigye will never be allowed to walk on foot in Kampala city, it is imperative that we all find a way of bringing the two sides together to find a way forward. So, I suggest that we organize a football game at Namboole stadium and invite both of them to attend. I will be happy to referee the game or be the goal keeper if both sides have got no problem with it and as long as they can meet my flight costs from England. Yes, I’m still annoyed with the way the police and army have inhumanly treated Besigye but , I promise, I won’t give a red card to the NRM side if I’m allowed to referee the game.

Back to the Real Madrid Vs Barcelona game in the champions League, It might not have been beautiful but it was sweeter than the contents of the sugar bowl for those who appreciate Messi’s talent. For me, I think the current Barcelona team is the greatest team in the history of football, and the son of a factory worker and a cleaner remains the world’s best player up to now. I don’t care what Alex Ferguston says about Real Madrid’s Ronaldo Christian because whoever watched that game now knows that Messi is way up there.

Nevertheless, I always ask myself why Uganda have not been able to turn their football into an a big business after years of listening to teams such as Villa FC, Express, KCC and others on our radios. In the UK here, teams such as Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were floated on stock exchanges in 1990s, and they have been realizing considerable profits for the existing shareholders for a long time.Actually, it is fair to say that football became a business model in England officially in the 1990s when I was still doing my O’levels at Kibuli Secondary school. The media industry played and it still does the biggest part in helping the clubs make money out of football.

Football’s profitability is interlocked with that of the media industry here in Europe and it is greatly associated with football celebrities. So the simple business plan I’m giving to Ugandans back home interested in this kind of business, like my OB Kasule Mujib, is that in order for a club to be successful, one needs: to go into partnership with the media, create a celebrity footballer in the country, allow fans to buy shares into the club if the owner hasn’t got enough money and get good coaches. The stadium should also be located in a populated area to target more customers. The only populated area of any size in England where there are no clubs is Cornwall, which has a strong rugby tradition.

The people running football clubs at community level in Uganda should get serious as well. It is so disappointing to hear that the football club we used to watch as kids at Kangulumira is still in the same ‘ill’ shape. Football is a joint business production that requires a lot of clubs for anybody to make money. Instead of people just concentrating on about 6 big clubs we have got in the country right now, they should also find a way of developing the smaller clubs in the rural areas. For instance, The English Premiership was formed by top clubs in 1992 because they wanted a bigger slice of the available revenue, particularly television revenue (which they were able to increase), and a bigger say in how the game was run. All clubs make money regardless of what position they finish under at the end of the season. For instance, Chelsea may finish 2nd this season but there won’t be a bigger difference with Manchester United in terms of TV money shared at the end of the season.

So may be, we should follow this formula too in Uganda and increase the number of clubs involved in the top national league. This system can, in the long run, also help the clubs to identify talent at community or village level. I’m sure there are a lot of boys in villages who are capable of becoming the next ‘Messi if given a chance to develop their talents.

Our government should do everything in its power to help people who intend to invest in football business. I don’t know what the Ministry of Sport and Culture does about this but I have a few suggestions of my own. They could subsidize the costs of stadium construction and maintenance. They could invest money in community led projects especially sports at village level.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

United Kingdom

Uganda Government Should Stop Fighting Facebook,Twitter and other Social Networks

Engineer Mutabazi,chairman of UBC

Dear friends,

I was reluctant to join Facebook and Twitter because i love my privacy so much till when some friends of mine at work convinced me otherwise, and I think I made the right decision. Facebook is hot and all especially if one likes networking. The first few months saw me connecting with my many cousins in USA whom we had never met physically, considering that my grandfather has got more than 16 children.

Facebook has more than 600 million users and was founded by a Harvard graduate, Mark Zuckerberg, with the help of his fellow computer science students. I’m even older than him as he was born in 1984 but he is richer than even the self confessed rich president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, with an estimated wealth of 13.5 billion dollars. I found one of the facebook co-founders, Sean Parker; to have an interesting history in social networking that stretches way back when he was 19 years old at a time he founded the music-sharing site Napster. Sean later became the first facebook president in 2004 but he has since left the company, though he remains a shareholder there.

Both facebook and Twitter started when I had already moved to Britain. Jack Dorsey who started Twitter is also a fine young man who is just 35 years old.My funny analysis of Twitter is that it obviates the need for discussion, analysis and debate. In short it requires little mental activity for people with short attention spans. It makes one think they’re part of something, without ever having to think about what it is they’re part of.

Unlike African leaders who have started fighting social networks, the guys in the west have found facebook and Twitter to be good political tools. Barack Obama got more than 1.5 million users during the US presidential elections and this played a crucial role to his election as president of US. Sarah Pallin and other Republicans have got accounts on both Twitter and facebook.

Here in the UK, the government is driving an IT dominated policy from the NHS, police to community led projects. More than 100 MPs are facebooking; Parliament and 10 Downing Street have channels on YouTube.com, and the Conservative party host ‘webcameron’.

Businesses have found social networks to be a real revelation which has increased things such as direct marketing, consumer profiling and the targeting of services. The data collected on facebook, for instance, is better than that collected through market research surveys or telephone polls.

Social networks are basically dangerous to the very people using them as there is a lot of disclosure of personal information that can be misused by bad people out there. I wish there is a way social networks would minimise personal information disclosure. This is where I have got a problem with facebook because they can easily pass on personal information to a third party without your authority. Their Privacy policy explicitly states that the company is willing to pass on the data posted by users on to third parties. Through selling information and advertisements, facebook was valued at US$15 billion when Microsoft invested $240 million for a 2 per cent share in October 2007.

Yes,I am for freedom of information but do believe in some control of the internet by the administrators[ not the government] to safeguard children. Parents should also take it upon themselves to safeguard their kids against looking at big hairy pink twats on the web (God forbid!). Because i value freedom and information sharing, we started a Google forum called Ugandans At Heart (UAH) but we do not ask members to disclose their true identities to us if they don’t want to – as we don’t want to be responsible for anybody’s security online. What we clearly do is to encourage better debates and interaction, and ask a lot of Ugandans to join us. We believe in ‘Metcalf’s Law’ that states that the utility of a network is equal to the square of the number of users. What it means is that the more users that a network has, the more useful it is. We are not driven by profit motives as we draw no money from anybody. We only ask for online financial support from our members when we need to buy more space on our blog though this has also been a big mile stone to climb as only about 2-3 people contribute whenever there is any financial necessity.

UAH is still mainly Google based and it is for only a few Ugandans that can access the internet. We have not been as lucky as Mark Zuckerberg to get big funders to enable us expand this network into something bigger. We hoped that since few people can access the internet in Uganda, we could start up a radio station, TV or print newspaper to reach out to the biggest part of the population, but our dreams have remained just dreams because nobody is willing to invest in it. Mark and his buddies formed facebook for the benefit of other Harvard students but it later expanded into a bigger network because some rich Americans were willing to put money into it. Among the first facebook investors was a guy named Peter Thiel who also happens to be the founder of PayPal. He was an early investor in Facebook and LinkedIn, another popular social-networking site, and is a board of directors in both companies. Surprisingly, he majored only in philosophy rather than IT at Stanford University unlike Mark Zuckerberg who studied both psychology and computer science. May be this is something to give psychology students something to smile about.

Nonetheless, i dream of a pro-democracy media outlet for Ugandans or Africans in general- something that can replicate more of what Aljazeera is doing in the Middle East and North Africa. Individuals have come to learn that they can be sources of information and this kind of information is more believed by the population than something reported on some state TV or newspaper.

In Uganda, investors neither support young people with brilliant ideas nor do anything they think may not be in line with government interests. Our government has started looking at social networks as a threat to their politics of oppressing the masses. Freedom is something most Ugandans have never experienced since independence such that having an independent media will open their eyes to what real freedom is, not the phony freedom the politicians talk about. FaceBook and other social networks are proving to be a more effective weapon than guns against repressive regimes. Some people have acted a film out of appreciation for facebook called ‘’The Social Network’’. It went on market in 2010. May be one day, we can get someone to act a film or drama and call it ‘Ugandans At Heart’, who knows?

All I know is that we should continue to fight for freedom of information laws in Uganda because they are the key to assuring it that government business is transparent; and they offer citizens a chance to find out what their government is doing. But what the Uganda Communications Commission boss, Godfrey Mutabazi, is doing in regards to ordering the shutdown of facebook and twitter during demonstrations, is so wrong at so many levels. Unfortunately, the same Mutabazi is the boss of Uganda Broadcasting Council (UBC), and he has again shown his muscles this month by warning the media on ‘’ walk-to-work coverage’’. He is the same man who was officially responsible for the closure of four radio stations in 2009 during the Buganda riots.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
UK

NewVision Plagiarized The FDC Manifesto Story to Benefit Museveni

Dear friends,

The issue of FDC ‘copying’ the UK conservative party manifesto was first raised by one Mubatsi Asinja Habati in the Independent Newspaper on Tuesday, 16 November 2010, but I was surprised to see the Newvision putting it at their front page recently as breaking news yet it’s not. For some reason, the Newvision did not acknowledge that they picked the tab from the Independent Newspaper .In other words, they plagiarized the story which they claim to be their own, but unfortunately they are also accusing FDC of plagiarism because the story benefits a certain candidate.Because the story was on Newvision front page, it has been picked up by some papers in the UK and now it has turned into some international headline, but why all the fuss?

FDC and the Conservatives in the UK have got a special relationship together. They are, in other words, ‘friends’ and aim to change things in Uganda for the better. So I would not be surprised that if consultations were made between the two parties before the FDC manifesto was drafted. So let’s enjoy some similarities in the manifestos as long as they benefit the common man in Uganda.

As someone who lives in a democracy, like UK, I know that manifestos don’t really matter that much howevermuch we pretend otherwise. It’s more of a piece of paper than anything else which most politicians throw away after the elections. For instance, as I assume some of you already know, there were several things that were promised by both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats before they got into power, but the coalition government has turned around and thrown them in the bin.Even the government’s White Paper released in Novemeber 2010 is more confusing than anything else, because few people know exactly what it means.

Secondly, I’m surprised that some supporters of UPC are talking about plagiarizing of manifestos and national programs when it’s believed that all Obote 1 policies were ideas got from somewhere else. His National Development policy that included building referral hospitals all over the country was a product of the British Development plan left behind before they handed over to him, but UPC normally gives itself 100% credit. Obote also copied a lot of policies from Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, Nyerere and India, but Ugandans are not complaining,afterall, we benefited from their implementation.

The truth is that everybody copies everybody one way or the other, and there are several examples i can cite here:NRM copied Besigye’s removal of graduated tax policy after the 2006 elections but they have not acknowledged it up to now;Hitler was strongly influenced by Fascism in Italy and copying Mussolini or the Duce, he took the title of Fuhrer; Clinton accused Bush Junior of copying his speeches in 1992;Obama was accused of writing a thesis at university that is similar to the communist’s manifesto. So basically he was accused of copying Marx in some education circles. Karl Marx is known as the father of Communism and he’s the author of The Communist Manifesto too!

All the finest manifestos that the human brain can devise, all the high-flown theories that are flying around in the manifestos of the 8 presidential candidates today have mostly been copied somewhere but they probably won’t tell you.DP, for instance, did not have any original ideas that I am aware of before the elections such that I remember reading on facebook when Mao was in USA and he was telling us that he intended hiring a white/’muzungu’ friend to come and write his manifesto. DP has been involved in internal conflicts for most part of pre-election period.

By the way, I’m starting to think that Mao is not even a bona fide intellectual as he is made out to be (granted this is a very subjective and meaningless term), but stuff like composing a song against Besigye, have made him look like he is not the sharpest tool in the shade.DP had a scaled down version of federalism that was advertised in the 1980s but CP were better at this front, but could we say now that all the 6 candidates that have adopted federalism as a policy in their manifestos are copying CP.

The key here is ‘implementation’ not ‘copying’ manifestos, becase as long as what is copied benefits Ugandans in the end, we should not complain. Otherwise, we risk turning ourselves into full time wingers. If you do your research about manifestos, you will find that almost all the eight candidates have got almost similar manifestos. Six of the presidential candidates have all promised federalism apart from obviously NRM and probably UPC.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

”FDC was denied Licences to Start up its own Newspaper and Radio”,Reveals Salam Musumba while in the UK

Dear Ugandans,

Happy New Year! I have spent my first day in 2011 listening mainly to radio stations in and outside Uganda. The political show that caught my breath was the one at London based online radio, Ngoma, which was hosting FDC deputy president, Salam Musumba. All my life, I have been watching Mrs. Musumba on TV and YouTube, and she has always come across as a noisy lady, but I was astonished with her humbleness while answering questions on this radio. I don’t know whether this was her New Year resolution or it was because her in-laws were beside her while she was on air.

musumba salamu of FDC

Nevertheless, she talked about different important issues that I feel I should summarily share with the rest of Ugandans that missed the program. Musumba revealed that FDC applied for licenses to start their own newspaper and radio station but the government turned them down.

When asked about how she juggles between being a deputy FDC president and wife to an NRM minister, she said that marriage does not mean that husband and wife have to support the same political party, an issue she finds it easy to explain to elites in Kampala and the people of Busoga who voted her as their MP in Bugaluba South -very well knowing that she in the opposition and her husband is in the NRM. She also revealed that her husband has started being frustrated with the NRM leaders as they intentionally rigged him out in the NRM primaries. In effect, this means that Mr. Musumba is standing as an independent in his constituency in Busoga.

Salaam also told listeners that president Museveni is primarily responsible for the controversial Traditional leaders Bill as he is working around the clock to make sure that it is passed by the parliament.

Regarding accusations that FDC is a party for Banyankole and non-Baganda, Salaam told us that it’s not true because the party has got a lot of Baganda in very responsible positions. She said that this rumor was started by Honourables : Beti Kamya and Nabillah Nagayi, and she accused the duo of being ‘spies’ in the party. She said she is reliably informed that Kamya and Nabillah were sent to intentionally disorganize the party and target the party secretary General, Alice Alaso. She complimented Alaso for doing a fantastic job especially when it comes to keeping party secrets.

Regarding the jiggers in Busoga, she acknowledged that she and others let down the people of Busoga in providing leadership to this problem, but she added that jiggers is one of the symptoms of the bigger problems in Busoga. So she reportedly promised that she’s going to use her position to fight the causes of problems in Busoga rather than the symptoms. She said that she is not going to do what Honourable Kadagga did by parading the jigger sufferers in front of the press cameras, washing their infected feet with water. She said that it was very cheap of the deputy speaker of parliament to look for publicity in this way.

She asked Basoga to blame the NRM leaders that killed people organizations such as: Busoga Growers Union, Busoga Diocese and the Kyabazinga, that could have been useful in developing the locals at the grassroots. In the same message, Salaam said that Busoga does not have a traditional leader up to now because president Museveni hijacked the issue instead of helping the Basoga to install the legitimate leader, Gabula Nadiope 1V. Gabulla’s grandfather was the fourth vice president of Uganda in 1962 when Uganda got independence.

It was also revealed that the death of leaders in Busoga such as Namiti, rendered Busoga to a lot of NRM interference. Namiti died as soon as he was released from Luzira prison, a trend that has been seen with some opposition politicians recently. She said that the government has successfully weakened the traditional systems in Busoga such that the same efforts are now being tactically deployed to weaken the Buganda kingdom.

When asked how FDC/IPC are going to protect their votes in this election, Musumba said that they have got a lot of means they have come up with but she was not going to reveal them to anybody, because NRM will know and render them useless. She, however, revealed that IPC is planning to put 19 strong men and women on every gazetted polling station in Uganda to protect their votes.

She concluded the debate by requesting Ugandans abroad to contribute to the FDC/ IPC cause financially. The following were the bank details she left behind for those wishing to deposit money on any Barclays Bank Branch near them: Account Number: 23527603 and sort code:202065. My feeling is that this is the FDC account in the UK which makes it just perfect for those abroad who wish to contribute.

All in all, it was a beautiful debate with a lot of Ugandans calling in. I enjoyed it and now I’m sharing it with others. I tried to call in to contribute but the phones were to busy.

Byebyo banange

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)

The Kabaka Will Never Abdicate His Throne for Direct Elections

Dear readers,

I would like to react to Afande Chama’s article that appeared in the Sunday Monitor on 31/10/2010:”Forget Besigye, we had only feared Kabaka standing” ,available at : http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Commentary/-/689364/1043372/-/13u15ldz/-/index.html. There was no way the Kabaka would have abdicated his throne to stand for presidency or anything like that. The Kabaka does not need to this directly but he can use other groups to champion for what he wants, and indeed the formation of Suubi2011 is exactly for that purpose. Suubi is undoubtedly Kabaka’s invisible hand in the 2011 elections in Uganda. It’s unfortunate that there is some form of mistrust that historically has been in existence between Mengo and DP such that I was not surprised when DP started attacking Suubi even before its official formation.

That said, I think there is a lot of credibility in Afande Chama’s article than what meets the eye. Since the beginning of this year, the Katikiro and Mengo officials have been very careful with their words as far as the central government is concerned. The Katikiro even made an attempt to distance Mengo from any political party or pressure group yet we all know that Suubi is fighting for most of what Mengo wants in these elections. The feeling is that something must have been agreed upon between Mengo and the central government despite the mistrust between the two. For instance, Mr.Otafiire and the Katikilo,J.B.Walusimbi, kicked off an SMS fundraising drive for the Kasubi tombs recently, and it’s so likely that the government will financially contribute more to the reconstruction of the tombs than any other group. I also remember writing after the September 11th Buganda riots that CBS will be opened but I did not know when, but it has been opened before the elections, and I think the timing of this is just perfect for Museveni’s electoral team.

Will CBS ever be the same radio again?

There is no doubt that the popularity of CBS exceeds any other radio station in the country and it will remain so despite being off air for a year. However, it will not generate the same buzz it did before its closure. The management is going to be more cautious as far as anti government views are concerned. They will get rid of workers who are deemed to be anti -Museveni or anti-government. This means that a guy like me does not stand a chance to get employment in CBS even if I apply. In other words, it again looks like president Museveni has marginally won his battle with both Buganda and CBS and the media.

Yes, CBS employees will keep demanding for compensation over being closed for one year and they have got a strong legal case over this if they want to keep pursuing it. Again, my feeling is that the government is willing to cough up some money to compensate all groups concerned but it won’t be in billions as some people think. The government team is working around the clock to make sure that the CBS issue is settled once and for all, I believe. Therefore, more backdoor meetings are still taking place to sort out all the remaining problems, and trust me they will be sorted out by Museveni standards.

Why has Mengo agreed to engage the government again?

Mengo have been disappointed, probably like many of us, by the divisions within the opposition. There was an assumption before the elections that the opposition will unite against the incumbent, and I think a lot of Ugandans wanted this but it has not happened. As I write now, the Inter Party Coalition ( IPC ) is probably more attacked in campaigns than NRM and Museveni. The leading attackers are the opposition presidential candidates, particularly Bidandi Ssali(PPP), Mao Norbet(DP) and Beti Kamya(UFA). For weird reasons, UPC’s Olara Otunu and IPC seem to have some sort of an official agreement not to attack each other in public, and it is working so far. I also think that Otunu must have realized by now that he made a grave mistake to abandon the IPC because he has since been politically isolated.

Mulyanyamuri and Mulwana at Kasubi tombs in 2009

It was also thought that the former Katikilo, Mulyanyamuri Ssemogerere, would be in position to help unite all the political forces in Buganda because of the too much respect he commands in the region, but all signs are that he failed. DP’s Mao, whatever the reasons, they kept playing hide and seek with both the IPC and the Katitkiro. At one time, we saw Mao emerging from talks with Besigye and Mulyanyamuri and we thought that’s it, but it was all meant for the cameras. It was never going to happen, and for me, this is enough reason to detest Mao in this or any future elections in Uganda. He simply put his personal selfish ambitions ahead of anything else, and this hurts like hell.

Because of the above developments, there was no way Mengo was going to put all its eggs in one basket. They realized that there are higher chances of president Museveni ”winning” this election than Besigye despite the memorandum of understanding that had recently been signed between Suubi and IPC. Mengo also realized, again just like many of us, after the NRM primaries which were marred with open day rigging, that even if by some miracle Besigye wins this election, the current Electoral Commission will never announce him as the winner. Actually, to be blunt, they will never announce anybody as the winner as long as Museveni is still the president of Uganda. Yes, Buganda will never trust NRM and Museveni again but their options are limited as long as the status-quo does not change in the political circles.

So why are IPC and Besigye involved in this election?

Dr.Besigye is an intelligent man and I think deep inside, he knows that the elections are going to be rigged again as was the case in 2001 and 2006, but he is hoping that some miracle will happen and Ugandans decide to defend their votes with or without a partisan Electoral Commission. There is also a genuine feeling that boy courting election in Africa does not make any difference to the party in power. Actually, it ends up weakening the opposition than anything else. With the FDC involved in this election, it helps them to keep in touch with their esteemed voters at the grassroots and to also win some parliamentary seats which are  both good achievements in the long run.

It’s unfortunate that some people will keep unfairly attacking Besigye as a loser even after these elections yet there was no genuine and transparent way of determining that he indeed lost the past elections. Anyway, whatever happens after these elections, Bessigye’s work in the politics of Uganda will remain legendary and highly appreciated. He could not have done it any better and some of us salute him for this.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

UK

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)

We all contributed to the Reopening of CBS fm

Dear people,

I think there is no need for Suubi/IPC to revisit the CBS issue in their memorandum of understanding. It should just be ticked as one of the issues already achieved earlier than expected and then fight for others. CBS has been a yearly struggle of all of us, and by us, I mean members of Ugandans at heart (UAH) forum. We have been running a yearly campaign to keep the CBS issue burning in the ears of our leaders and the media. We have been using UAH as a medium of communication for Buganda issues, something which probably would have been done by CBS if it was on air. So the credit goes to everyone who has been helping out in one way or the other.

I read in the Observer of 25/10/10 and it seemed to have given more credit to Mrs.Ameria Kyambadde in this struggle than anybody else. But they were wrong because Suubi, IPC, Besigye, Ugandans at heart forum, media organizations nationally and internationally, online radios and other pressure groups, have all been fighting for CBS fm, and they should be recognized.

Nevertheless, whatever the tales, Museveni’s relationship with Buganda will never be the same. Baganda will never trust him! Reopening CBS is more like a man who organizes a holiday to Spain to salvage his marriage but when all the signs on the wall show that the marriage is finished. So let’s enjoy the ‘’CBS holiday’’ but I think the divorce papers are still on their way, and somebody will have to sign them. The marriage is FINITO

As for DP and their wars with Suubi, I think it’s a bit unfortunate because they (DP) have got bigger problems than just Ssubi. Beti Kamya’s UFA has almost got the same aspirations in Buganda as Ssubi and they are seriously eating into DP support in Buganda and elsewhere in the country. For instance, some of the DP supporters who were previously loyal to Kampala Mayor, Nasser Sebagala, have now crossed to either UFA or Suubi/IPC according to newspapers. Lukyamuzi’s CP should also be in position to finish DP off in Buganda if they expand their horizon other than keeping themselves in cities.

In the north, DP may make some gains because of the little profile of their leader in Gulu but then again we expect UPC and FDC to remain the tigers of this region. NRM is also making inroads slowly with the help of their ‘brown envelopes’ policy.

So basically, the 2011 elections may determine if DP should be admitted in intensive care unit or not. May personal feeling is that unless they get the help of the ‘remote control’, they will come out of this election a bit weaker than even last time in 2006. Mao is not the kind of leader who is ready to roll up his sleeves and put his hands in the dusty part of politics on streets. He prefers to remain in a coat, tie and shirt despite the hot weather in Kampala, and then just preferably appear on rallies and conferences. I have not see him leading any demonstration of anything though I must admit his ‘’magishu’’ dances on YouTube have been outstanding so far.

Finally, I was amazed to see a photo of Besigye’s house in Rukungili in both the Newvision and Bukedde newspapers. So I wondered whether this election is about people’s houses rather than issues. Just for the sake of argument, Besigye has never stolen anybody’s money and if he had anything wrong while in government, the Museveni government would have been the first to expose it and he would probably be in prison. Actually, Besigye has made more of his money after leaving the government. He is simply a hardworking man. He said this himself in his memoirs with the Monitor newspaper ages ago that he intended to be an Accountant/ business man rather than a doctor or politician. And as you know, there is no better way of making money than being self employed.By the way, why do people always want poor people to lead them? How much have we benefitted from getting poor leaders into state house?

We should accept that Besigye is not in politics to ‘eat’ or benefit himself. He can survive without leading FDC or IPC or opposing Museveni. Actually, he probably would have benefited more if he had chosen to remain in NRM instead of being in opposition. He is an average rich man belonging to the middle class of Kampala. In other words, what he has achieved wealthy wise can easily be achieved by any hard working man or woman in Uganda at his age. Those who exaggerate his wealth have got other intentions which we already know. So shame on Newvision and Bukedde for running headlines intended to portray a certain image of the best opposition candidate Uganda has ever had. Let their cameras got to the north and take pictures of Otunu and Mao’s houses too if they want to turn this campaign into ‘who has got the best house’.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Note:The song below is dedicated to president Museveni’s new friends, possibly the Banyoro, after falling out with Buganda:


Michael Ezra and Some wealth people in Kampala have got no Class

People,

Michael Ezra’s $3m dollar story ‘showoff’ in newspapers is a very interesting one. First of all, it confirms that Uganda is still a poor country and some rich people have got no class. Worst of all, it shows that the government is not bothered with finding out how the rich got their wealth!

Most Ugandans tend to be deeply offended by such frivolous showoffs and expenditures by the rich and that’s why I’m not surprised that people are sometimes put off with Michael Ezra’s behavior in the press. But the great United States Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that the real cost of the rich to the rest of society is what they consume.Therefore, how much is it costing the rest of us that some rich NRM politician, or some Kampala millionaire in his late thirties, is splashing around money on anything? The rich cannot want the same things as the poor though it would make more sense if Ezra could use his money; say to construct a hospital or factory somewhere in Uganda, other than blowing £¼ m on an expensive watch at an auction in Dubai. Because such a project could provide goods and services to millions in Uganda and he would probably be more appreciated.

Ironically, what the rich are often praised for is likely to do more harm than what they are condemned for. For instance, Ezra owes money to the URA, but all this is likely to be water under the bridge after that press conference where he splashed his $3m pocket money to the press.His message was very clear:‘i have got more to clear my debts where this has come from”. The journalists who attended the conference all probably went home with smiles on their faces and murmuring words like: ’Omusajja Abalaze Sente’(the man has showed them money), despite the fact that they were not given any part of the money, but then again, he gave them headlines that probably helped them to make some money themselves in the process.

Some people asked:’’ how could URA be going after Ezra and on the other hand he is being protected by other state agencies?’’ All I can say is that most of these regulations and taxation came from the very rich themselves. They do not want competition! So the common person has to jump hoops to make money but at the end of the day, the system always protect the rich. It’s obvious that the government of Uganda knows a thing or two about Ezra’s businesses but it’s not under any obligation to disclose it to the public.Anway,Why should they do it  if Ezra is not hurting anyone?

The fact is that the entire monetary system is based on crime (albeit presumably for a larger good).Most of the money is created as debt, at compound interest.  It is a mathematical fact that there is never enough money in circulation for everyone to pay their bills whether in Uganda or elsewhere in the world, leading to a cannibalize or be cannibalized dynamic.  That the bad guys can be winnowed out through such a process is a very questionable assertion.

The desperation caused by the continual shortage of money has led to situations where the unconnected are often forced to either take jobs which are basically a form of slavery, or turn to a different criminal structure. It’s all about survival for the fittest. People can do anything to land their hands on a dollar or pound, and morals are the last thing they think of in the process.

In the UK and USA, most wealth is inherent and the rich own factories where unions work for them and get decent wages, but wealth worship is also meticulously constructed by the press in these countries. American and British tycoons are some form of gods and Kings. A majority of population fantasize of being them. The corporations are the kingdoms and tea party is their loyal subjects.

When the USA rejected monarchy in the 18 century, a giant void was left in the American psyche. When the monarch was still around, human beings used to worship individuals better than themselves and aspired to be that individual. Kings and Queens were lauded in fairy tales.  Some Americans romanticized the English crown since USA was a British colony? With no monarch now, the people in the USA worship the rich and celebrities. I can see the same trend happening in Uganda especially with increased isolation of traditional leaders by the current government.

Therefore, I request the poor to start minding their business and leave the rich alone. Ezra’s money will only benefit Ezra alone and not you. The current class of rich people only has allegiance to themselves. They do not care about you and never will! The rich generation of 60s and 70s probably would use some of their money to construct a road for everybody but not this lot. Just forget about them and move on!

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

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/

Journalists should stick together if they want to fight for Media Freedom in Uganda

Dear readers,

It would be wrong for some Newvision journalists to defend the governnment on media freedom howevermuch they love president Museveni. So many things have been done to journalists under Museveni such that history will judge him harshly:

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.

The first journalist to be convicted of sedition charges since independence was haruna Kanabi of the Shariat. This did not happen even under Obote or Iddil Amin. Brother Haruna was jailed for 5 months and its unfortunate that some journalists are not fighting for each other but instead concentrate on praising the regime in power.

In 2002, the Monitor was shut down for a week for publishing a story alleging that a military helicopter had come down while pursuing rebels in northern Uganda. At the moment, all eyes on the Uganda Observer to see if they will survive the onslaught of the government hard arms, after publishing a story claiming that Museveni will chop off Mengo’s head.

On 17th Nov 2005, the Daily Monitor offices were raided by the security operatives because they suspected the newspaper was printing posters appealing to well-wishers for money to defend the then remanded leading presidential challenger, Kizza Besigye, and other political prisoners.

My argument is not based on the latest developments such as: the new media laws banning radio stations from playing  Buganda’s ‘ekitibwa kyabuganda’ or national anthem, the closure of CBS fm and other radio stations; the constant appearance in courts of journalists such Andrew Mwenda; assaulting,torturing, and imprisoning Sserumaga after his appearance on WBS after the Buganda riots, e.t.c. The fact is that there is no press freedom in Uganda and I’m surprised that some  journalists  are defending the government position on this instead of fighting for the rights of the media.

The story published by the weekend Digest in 1986 was false but  it did not warrant closing up the newspaper. How could any foreign power really sabotage Uganda’s peace process by supporting DP millitarily, a party that is always full of ”cowards” as we all know. The paper should never have been closed. May be this action alone should have warned us about president Museveni after closing a paper just 6 months into power.

I don’t know much about what’s happening in other East African countries since some people argue that there is relative media freedom in Uganda compared to our neigbours but i certainly know what happens in the UK and Uganda. All i know is that president Museveni is very good at playing the international image better than any president Uganda has ever had. For instance, Uganda was among the first countries in E.A to sign the Windhoek Declaration on Press Freedom, which was formulated in 1991. This did not mean that president Museveni is for press freedom but he did it to protect his image internationally because 7 years down the line after this, he was trying to get a law that will punish any journalist that publishes ‘false news’. Thank God, the judiciary rejected this in 2004.

‘If a media house is accused of publishing  or airing wrong information/news yet it believes and has evidence that it is right, what should that media house do?

The media house should stick to its story whatever the initimidation from the govt or anybody else. There is no newspaper that publishes something when they have not got some shreds of evidence somewhere,and this is what it bases on to publish a story. Whether the stroy is true or false, that’s another ball game altogether. But then again, who determines what is a wrong story without ”reliable” evidence? For instance, evenif the govt produces a video showing Museveni’s speech in Bunyoro, who determines whether that video is genuine or not? The video can easily be edited by those who want to make the whole thing go away. This is the reason why in 2004 the judge threw out the Section 50 of the Ugandan Penal Code (Cap. 120), which criminalises publication of ‘any false statement, rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace’. It was a fundamental win for the journalists/media in Uganda. The judge declared that section 50 was open to misinterpretation and abuse on political grounds, and therefore was not ‘acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society’. This was after the govt brought a case against two monitor journalists over ‘false news’.

‘If government finds that a certain media house is publishing or airing wrong information/news, what should the government do?

The government should approach the media house for correction and also issue a warning. Remember a warning is a form of punishment in political terms. If this fails, then courts of law should be involved, and it should be the courts Of law to determine the closure of a media outlet not the govt. We should never allow the government, in this case the president through the media Council or Broadcasting Cooperation, to close down any media outlet. It sets a bad Precedent in the country.

Remember, even the courts are not so free but atleast they cannot easily twist the law in favour of the incumbent. That’s why they should be the one to determine the final fate of any media outlet not the office of the president.The office of the president can always abuse this process, like it was done with the CBS fm.For instance, a magistrate who handled Onyango Obbo and Andrew Mwenda’s case in 1997 over DR Congo story, was corrupt ,but somehow the two journalists survived spending even a day in jail because his hands could not twist the law.

Now ,because the order to close Buganda’s CBS fm came from the executive arm of the govt, every judge in Uganda does not wish to handle that CBS vs Govt case. It is as suicidal as the treason cases brought againt Dr.Kiza Besigye.That’s why courts will keep recommending ‘mediation’ between the CBS and state, because everyone is afraid of pointing it out that CBS was illegally closed.

So what im saying, as long as all  journalists come out with one voice, they will set a landmark for press freedom in Uganda, because atleast Museveni allows them to use the courts to fight for themselves, unlike Obote who used to trash most of the court decisions. But they cannot do this when some of them are praising the president most of the time even he gets it wrong.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Kasubi frames was a cruel act towards Buganda and Uganda but let’s not speculate

Museveni angry at those speculating

People,
What happened at Kasubi was a cruel act towards Buganda and Uganda.Let’s hope that the investigators will find the arsonists this time to put a cap on the speculation going on.Obviously, anybody can understand people’s anger towards the government and Museveni because of what has been happening between Buganda and NRM recently, but we should not speculate on this one please. Anybody could have done this!

The TV people were unfair to show Mwami Ssebunya(presidential advisor on Buganda) taking cover after a few shots were fired yet they didn’t  do  the same when president Museveni arrived at the scene. How come the media never produced a video when the PGB were firing shots at people that resulted into 3 deaths.Some of us wanted to see the president’s body language when faced with this kind of animosity from the people he leads.They also didnt show Besigye on the scene which automatically portrays the current imbalance in the media reporting in Uganda. Leaders nolonger feel secure around their people and this is interesting considering the fact that we gonna have an election next year. Overall, what happened at Kasubi was very bad and it should be investigated. Please watch the following videos to make your own analysis of events:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRakxvxp0QQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e2nUGKn438&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrUvJR4ZFGc&feature=channel

I would also like to thank UPC for not voting for Mr.Akena James as their president because i  didn’t know where to place him after watching the following video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXoHbA5v214&NR=1. Akena was almost trying to tell us that NRM is the same as the old UPC, an assessment we appreciate, but he also justified his father’s actions during 1966 crisis. I wonder what Mr.Olara Otunnu has got to say about this considering that he is keeping Mr.Akena as his Vice Chairman. Yes,Dr.Otunnu wants to reconcile the party and that’s why he is keeping Miria Obote’s old team but he should try to get rid of the bad apples when the right time comes. Mr. James Akena and Mr. Joseph Ochieno will predictably give him a hard time if he is not very careful. So i suggest he drops them in future after bonding most of the party members or executive. If UPC needs rebranding, it needs to get rid of some of these characters with time. Dr.Otunnu needs to take UPC to another level and he should try to make peace with Buganda by openly listing the mistakes UPC made while in power, including that of 1966.If he does that, I’m sure such scenes as blocking him from entering the Kasubi tombs, may not happen again.Baganda will slowly give him a chance.

I’m again saying this as a concerned Ugandan citizen.

Byebyo ebyange


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

Why is Mao getting more media coverage than even the Kabaka of Buganda

Dear readers,

I’ve become more and more upset and discouraged by the blatant, biased journalism surrounding pre 2011 elections. Some parts of the media in Uganda seems hell bent in helping president Museveni win the elections by covering him about anything and also promoting some divisive candidates among the opposition. The media has been promoting Mao ever since he was elected as DP president by one of the DP factions in Mbale. We are now left wondering whether Mao’s popularity started with this election or before, because a good candidate should have been hitting the front pages for a long time even before they are elected party president due their established popularity on the ground. This biased reporting is a fine example of how the media carefully gets it wrong.  The press has indirectly decided to declare president Museveni the winner of the 2011 race before the first vote is cast by creating the opposition candidate of their own and this is very unfair to Ugandans.

President Museveni can fool others with this Mao excitement from Mbale but not some of us. I have even got a feeling that the order to promote Mao in the media came from the above, because what he is getting in the media, is just too much out of nothing. How can the media start giving coverage to a person whose election as the president of a party is still in dispute? Note even the second biggest opponent to Museveni right now, which is Buganda and its Kabaka, can be accorded this kind of media coverage. Let us remember that some resolutions were passed last year by the Broad casting bosses in regards to the coverage of the Kabaka and Buganda affairs. Some journalists sympathetic to the Buganda causes lost their jobs and they aren’t working up to now.

The major debate going on in the media, in political parties and with their friends and allies is necessary. But it is also necessary to move beyond debate and create the clarity, that is, the basis for eliminating some candidates that look too divisive to the opposition. Something does not smell right with the Mao situation but hopefully everything will come out in the open in due course. You can’t hide a bad smell forever in the closet. It always comes out at some stage. Mao may be personally innocent in this but president Museveni knows that by promoting him(Mao), he will confuse the voters in the opposition in terms of choice. They will not be sure whether to elect Mao or Besigye or anybody else, and the strategy seems to be working against the opposition at the moment. How they deal with it will define the 2011 electoral process.

Nevertheless, alliance or no alliance, we all know who NRM is most afraid of in the opposition, and that is Dr.Besigye. NRM and Museveni will do anything to make sure that he is not on the ballot paper in 2011, like they miserably tried and failed in 2006.They have still got the treason charges standing against him and I’m sure this will be raised at some point before the General elections, particularly if the Mao project does not work out for them. Besigye has been blocked from addressing people on various FM stations in the country, but Mao has not encountered the same experience so far, which raises more questions than answers.

I think broadcasters should devote reasonable time to fairly presenting all sides of any controversial issue discussed on the air. Uganda should emulate the Americans in this sense. For instance, between 1928 and 1929, when the republicans were in power, one radio station in NewYork owned by the socialist party was warned to show ‘due regard’ for others opinions and all stations were told to serve the ‘general public’ not themselves. Some Americans are also campaigning for the reinstatement of the ‘fairness Doctrine’ to prevent their nation from being swamped by exactly one point of view, that of corporations and the filthy rich, like it has been for the last 20 years, with everybody else rudely elbowed aside.

I also think it’s time that it’s high time the NRM starts minding its own business and leave the opposition alone. It’s time NRM starts looking after its own saucepan (KASEPEKI) and leave the opposition to organise themselves, as Bebe cool says in his latest song(KASEPEKI)  on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KwfrDSeSW8 . We have had enough of politics of Sponsoring fake political parties and presidential candidates. Let the ground be levelled.

Byebyo ebyange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

United Kingdom

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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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