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    Fight For Judiciary Top Juicy Jobs Deepens as JSC Boss Justice Kabiito Threatens Dr. Zeija’s Chances For Justice Butera’s DCJ Office, Ssekaana And Langa eyeing Principal Judge Slot…



    Below: Chief Justice Dollo with his deputy Richard Butera. Above L-R: PJ Dr. Zeija, Justice Kabiito, Justice Sekaana and Sarah Langa

    The mighty Grapevine is closely following clandestine fights within the judiciary through lobbying and mobilization of support from all corridors of power including members of the First Family, national opinion leaders especially religious leaders and cultural leaders to catch the appointing authority’s eye for consideration as the third arm of government bids to fill some vital offices starting from 2025.

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the appointing authority is expected to appoint the new Deputy Chief Justice replacing Justice Richard Butera who is expected to retire in 2025.

    In early 2026, Museveni has to announce to the public the new Chief Justice who will replace the charismatic Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo who is retiring in January 2026 after clocking 70.

    Highly placed sources in the corridors of power told theGrapevine that judicial officers prayers to amend the Constitution and lift the age limit for judicial officers who sit at the Court of Appeal which also doubles as the Constitutional Court and the highest Court of the land the Supreme Court are not going to be considered in the coming Constitution amendments as stated by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao recently.

    Chief Justice Dollo has been advocating for the lifting of age limit for judicial officers at the upper courts explaining that the country is losing energetic and experienced judicial officers who would have helped to guide the country in promoting constitutionalism, democracy and rule of law.

    theGrapevine established that internally within the judiciary, there are people who have been fighting the move. These people even pleaded with the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka and other stakeholders in the legal fraternity not to support the move because of its potential to hinder talent of young lawyers.

    Opun learning that there are no Constitutional amendments, theGrapevine has exclusively been told that Justice Benjamin Kabiito the head of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is now seriously lobbying to be considered as the next Deputy Chief Justice.

    Justice Kabiito is in his last term as the head of JSC after President Museveni extended his term in 2021. He has to serve only two terms with each having a period of four years.

    Sources however revealed that Justice Kabiito is also panicking because by 2024, he will be reaching the retirement age of 65 as a judge of the High Court.

    Many were of the view that he could return to the High Court where President Museveni picked him from but age is not on his side.

    “The only option remaining for him to stay on government payroll is to be appointed the Deputy Chief Justice; otherwise by 2024, he will be no more,” a judiciary insider told theGrapevine.

    Sources added that a number of Batoro in positions of power are lobbying for their son to take the office explaining that they don’t have any influential person in the judiciary since the retirement of Justice Seth Manyindo who was the Deputy Chief Justice and also the head of the JSC.

    However, Justice Kabiito has to be prepared to face a strong challenger from Western Uganda and also first family boy Dr. Flavian Zeija, the current Principal Judge who is also interested in the Office.

    Museveni surprised the legal fraternity when he appointed Zeija as Principal Judge replacing Yorokam Bamwine who clocked the retirement age.

    Dr. Zeija has been heading the judges of the High Court since 2019.

    Apart from the support Dr. Zeija has from his home area in Western Uganda, he also commands a lot of support in the Anglican Church and most leaders there are ready to support him because he hasn’t let them down as the Principle Judge.

    The silent fights for top judiciary top jobs doesn’t stop at the Office of the Deputy Chief Justice but also for the Office of the Principal Judge on who will replace Zeija once he is promoted.

    The most probable candidates are Justice Musa Ssekaana the head of the Civil Division of the High Court and Sarah Langa Sui the Chief Registrar.

    Sources said that Langa is very close to Dollo and chances are high that he can support her for the promotion once the appointing authority decides to consult him.

    For years, Langa has been positioning herself as one of the influential persons who influences decision making in the judiciary and a number of judicial officers run to her office for help.

    Ssekaana is also a big name in the legal fraternity and sources claim that he always boast to friends that when he goes to the Chief Justice’s Office he does not knock because the door is always open for him.

    Muslim lawyers through their association the Uganda Muslim lawyers Association through their whatsApp group have been strategising on how to help their patron Justice Ssekaana take over the office so that they also  have a share on the national cake.

    Ssekaana is struggling to secure favour from Buganda Kingdom and the Muslim titular leader Prince Kassim Nakibinge who has a strong say when it comes to advising the appointing authority on decisions pertaining the Muslims in the country.

    However, Ssekaana’s first interest is to be promoted to the Court of Appeal so that he can use the position to fight for the office of the Deputy Chief Justice suffered a big blow recently when Kampala Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago and Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, who are both darlings in Buganda Kingdom leadership and at Prince Nakibinge’s Kibuli based Muslim faction declared him incompetent over his controversial ruling in the internal political fight in FDC.

    Both Lukwago and Ssemujju threatened to even petition the Principle Judge and the Chief Justice over Ssekaana’s alleged biased behaviours.

    Meanwhile, there are some insiders who allege that Buganda Kingdom is no longer a factor which can influence the appointing authority because in the recent fight for Chief Justice job, they fronted the most experienced Justice at the Supreme Court Justice Dr. Esther Kisakye Kitimbo but she was defeated by the then Court of Appeal Justice Dollo.

    Senior Presidential Advisor on Media Joseph Tamale Mirundi and maverick city lawyer Kassim Male Mabirizi are among those who have exposed Justice Ssakaana.

    Mabirizi alleges that that Ssekaana imprisoned him over his letter to the Inspector General Of Government (IGG) requesting that he be investigated on how he accumulated a lot of wealth.

    But Court records read that Mabirizi was imprisoned on charges of contempt of court.



    By Sengooba Alirabaki



    Lawyers Alaka, Mukasa Mbidde, Ochieng Listed Among Top Lawyers Likely To Face Arrest Over Balondemu’s Forged Medical Letter…



    Embattled Kampala District Land Board chairperson David Balondemu (L) and lawyers Alaka (Top R) and Mbidde (bottom R)

    The mighty Grapevine has exclusively learnt that very soon, some top city lawyers are likely to face arrest over Kampala District Land Board chairperson David Balondemu’s alleged forged medical letters.

    Highly placed sources at police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation(CID) have revealed that last week, Jackson Tweheyo on behalf of Maj. Dr. Tom Magambo the CID Director summoned lawyers Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Hassan Kamba, Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Robert Bautu to appear before the State House Anti-Corruption Unity to record statements on allegation of forging a medical letter.

    The lawyers were supposed to appear before the Department of Economic Fraud and Anti-Corruption on 28th of November 2023 but they all snubbed the summons.

    However, when contacted, lawyer Alaka rubbished the allegation of face arrest explaining that he personally hasn’t yet been summoned but his friend Bautu told him that he was summoned to appear before State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

    Counsel Alaka, a Criminal law giant explained that the State House Anti-Corruption Unit under the command of Brig. Gen. Henry Isoke doesn’t have powers to summon a lawyer on grounds of offences committed by his client.

    “They are not serious, Advocates are Officers of Court. We are just helping court to deliver justice. For us we just represent clients. They are the ones who give us documents including local council letters. So, we are not the ones authorising those documents,” Alaka noted.

    theGrapevine has learnt that lawyer Bautu wrote to State House Anti-Corruption Department explaining why they will not appear to record the said statements.

    He noted that they have the privilege to present the documents given to them by their client to a judicial officer and thus are not answerable for those documents.

    Buganda Road State Attorney Ivan Kyazze brought to the attention of the presiding magistrate in Balondemu’s bail application Winnie Nankya that the accused person with the help of his lawyers forged medical letters from Kampala Hospital.

    He presented the affidavit of Dr. Peter Kibuka the Kampala Hospital Chief Executive Officer denying the said letter noting that it was not authored from his hospital.

    The letter presented by lawyers indicated that Balondemu, who is battling multibillion fraud cases was supposed to have a surgical operations in the very week the application came before the magistrate.

    Highly placed sources at State House Anti-Corruption Unit told theGrapevine that the detectives were set to arrest the said lawyers last week but all of them run into hiding.

    The said lawyers were added on the list of over 50 city lawyers who are under investigation on allegations of abetting fraud and corruption.

    Among the lawyers who is set to be arrested before Christmas is one working with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) who issued a bribe of Shs70m to a top politician at City Hall to be given a juicy job.

    State alleges that Balondemu, Erick Geoffrey Mkwe, Joseph Ibona  together with others still at large fraudulently obtain Shs2.2bn from the American company KG Unlimited under the guise of awarding them a contract of supplying agricultural drone sprayers and fertilizers in the Ministry of Agriculture.

    Sources at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit said that Balodemu has two already sanctioned criminal files by Justice Jane Frances Abodo the Director Public Prosecution and 15 other files have not yet been sanctioned even though investigations are done.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    High Level Lobbying Kicks Off For UNRA’s Kagina To Replace Gen. Katumba In Ministry of Works As M7 Finalises New Cabinet That Will Sail Him Through 2026 Elections…



    UNRA's Allen Kagina and President Museveni

    For fear of losing workaholic Allen Kagina the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) in the ongoing process of merging government agencies as a mechanism to cut government expenditure, a number of lobbyists including politicians from both the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the opposition are persuading the appointing authority to appoint her a minister.

    According to a recent cabinet brief, UNRA is set to be taken back to the Ministry of Works and Transport which means that Kagina has to compete with other candidates to head a department in the ministry and her powers will be reduced because she will no longer be the final decision maker on road construction matters.

    Maverick Kira Municipality legislator, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that if such a move to merge government agencies is executed, it will be a disservice to the public because UNRA, being an independent body has been making constructive decisions which have benefited the public.

    Ssemujju noted that if UNRA is taken back to the Ministry of Works and Transport, he will be among those who will lobby and pray that Kagina is appointed a minister so that she remains the final decision maker.

    “For me I like that woman, not because she has helped construct and rehabilitate roads in my constituency but because she is not corrupt. Many people in Museveni’s government are very corrupt, their names are on the corruption wall of fame but for Kagina, No. I speak this with authority because as a Member of Parliament I’ve sat on several accountability committees including chairing COSASE but Kagina’s name was never cited in any corruption scandal, which is not easy when you are working in Museveni’s government,” Ssemujju said.

    He added, “And when you enter her office asking for construction of your road, she doesn’t make phone calls to receive orders from above, she makes her decision there and then. We need such people because she is close to Museveni’s family.”

    Highly placed sources in the corridors of power confirmed to theGrapevine that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is likely to reshuffle his cabinet during Christmas holidays.

    Sources disclosed that a number of people have been recommending Kagina for the position of Works and Transport minister.

    We have been told that Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala the current Minister for Works and Transport is set to be transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office to help the president clean that docket which has been named one of the most corrupt.

    Sources said that when Gen. Katumba went to the works ministry, he started a cleaning process and a number of untouchables were put to order.

    Sources revealed that in the Prime Minister’s Office, there are many untouchables especially in the office of the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees.

    When the current Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja tried to expose them, she was character assassinated and humiliated to the extent that the appointing authority started asking questions.

    Senior presidential advisor on media and also a seasoned social, political and economic commentator Joseph Tamale Mirundi recently disclosed that in the coming reshuffle, the president is going to appoint a team of ministers who will help him sail through the 2026 general elections.

    Mirundi explained that the President’s immediate opponent Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) of the National Unity Platform (NUP) is trying to portray his government as one full of human rights violators and they plan to use these accusations as a weapon during the 2026 campaigns.

    He noted that a number of ministers are living in fear of being fired in the next reshuffle.

    “Now all of them are running to get photos with Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Many of them have been fighting the MK Movement but they now want him to appoint them to organizing committees of barazas which are going to take place in their constituencies,” Mirundi said.

    He added that Gen. Muhoozi is going to be a strong factor in deciding who to appear on the list of incoming ministers.

    He was supported by shadow finance minister Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi who said that in the coming reshuffle, Museveni is going to appoint more youths in his cabinet as a way of countering Bobi Wine.

    The Butambala county legislator gave the example of Ruth Katushabe the former Bukomansimbi legislator and also the Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs who was assigned by Museveni to make sure that most of the students in Secondary and University vote for him come 2026.

    Kivumbi claimed that Katushabe has been moving school to school, university to university campaigning for Museveni and before her appearance at any learning institution, the heads first receive commands from above to allow her to talk to students.

    Kivumbi however boasted that NUP and Bobi Wine are also campaigning clandestinely in schools.

    Sources in the corridors of power told theGrapevine that among the ministers who are likely not to comeback are Amos Lugolobi the state minister for finance in charge of planning, Agnes Nandutu the state minister for Karamoja affairs and her boss Marry Gorreti Kituntu who are currently battling with corruption charges at the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court.

    Others are; Moses Ali the Second Prime minister, Anifa Kawooya the state minister for health,  James Magode Ikuya the state minister for East African affairs who sources claim are going to be fired on health grounds.

    Sources divulged that Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura the former Inspector General of Police is likely to be appointed a senior Minister of Internal Affairs, Lillian Aber the women’s representative for Kitgum District is set to be appointed a state minister in the Ministry of Labour, Otuke Member of Parliament Paul Omara is set to take over Lugolobi’s office, Kagoma North Constituency legislator Brandon Kintu who is also the NRM parliamentary caucus spokesperson will be taken to the Ministry of Information and National Guidance.

    Dr. Chris Baryomunsi is likely to be taken to the ministry of health and chances are high that Nabanja is going to retain her position as the country’s prime minister.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    Why NUP Want Dead Body Of Bobi Wine’s Bodyguard Exhumed; Mpuuga Set To Make More Demands…



    Bobi Wine (R) with the late Ssenteza (L)

    The Opposition in Parliament lead by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba on Tuesday are set to task Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire the Internal Affairs senior minister to give a detailed report concerning the circumstances that caused the death of Francis Kalibbala Ssenteza the former bodyguard to National Unity Platform (NUP) Principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine).

    Shadow Finance minister and also Butambala County legislator Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi told theGrapevine that they were not convinced with Gen. Otafiire’s report and they are going to give the country a response through Mpuuga on the floor of Parliament.

    Kivumbi said that among the issues they want explained is the way Ssenteza was killed in a motor accident because Gen. Otafiire’s report claims that he was knocked by Bobi Wine’s Toyota Hiace which he used during the 2021 presidential campaigns.

    He narrated that Gen. Otafiire who signed the Statement, even though it was read by his State Minister Gen. David Muhoozi confirmed that at the scene of crime, there was a military vehicle.

    He added that government intentionally refused to carry out a postmortem report on Ssenteza’s dead body because they feared that it would reveal the cause of his death.

    “He stated that NUP supporters run away with the dead body and it is the reason they gave why they didn’t make a postmortem report but all of us know very well that the State has the capacity to exhume a body and carry out an autopsy because we cannot allow a person to die in such circumstances not subject his body to a postmortem,” Kivumbi said.

    Ssenteza, who was a carpenter at Mulago ku Biiri along Bombo road was knocked dead at Busega roundabout and buried in December of 2020 at his ancestral home in Masaka district.

    Kivumbi added that another explanation they want from Otafire is the circumstances under which Bobi Wine supporter Ritah Nabukenya died in a motor accident.

    He said that Otafire confirmed that Nabukenya was knocked by a speeding police patrol at Nakawa a Kampala city suburb and the driver of the patrol was arrested but the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) Justice Jane Frances Abodo declined to sanction the file on grounds that it did not have supporting evidence.

    He insisted that the evidence was there but the file was not sanctioned on political grounds.

    However when contacted, Gen. Otafiire boasted that he is ready to face Mpuuga in parliament and he will answer all his questions on the floor of parliament because he will be there himself, not his junior minister.

    Highly placed sources in the LOP’s office told theGrapevine that immediately after Mpuuga makes his response, he will table fresh demands.

    They will include demands for an explanation on the arrest and humiliation of Muslim clerics and the issue of Balalo in northern Uganda particularly in Acholi.

    But Otafiire said that once the new demands are raised, he will ask the presiding speaker to give him more time to investigate the allegation and report back as he did with the first demands.


    By Hadijja Namagembe


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