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    Former Vision Group Boss Reveals How He Was Dismissed As Myopic And Parasitic In Controversial Coffee Deal…

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    Former Vision Group boss, Robert Kabushenga has revealed how he was kicked out of the controversial coffee deal.

    Kabushenga revealed that the current coffee debate started in December 2019 with the controversial Bill that later became law.

    “Since then, some of us who are active in different parts of the value chain have been exchanging ideas on what can be done. I am going to share them here,” he noted.

    Kabushenga added that they had hoped that there would be a forum where they can share their thinking.

    He disclosed, “Apart from the parliamentary committee on the Vinci Deal, we have simply been dismissed as foreign agents, parasitic & myopic. They see no use in engaging those who actually generate the coffee wealth.

    “Those of us invested in the coffee sector take a 20 or more years perspective. You can’t do that with myopia. We are involved in production of wealth so you can’t say that is parasitic. Ours is for export so we are working for ourselves not foreigners.”

    He divulged that it is only those whose income and livelihood is derived from taxes and levies that can be correctly described as parasites because they need to work for foreigners from whom they can extract ‘rents’.

    “Which is why they focus on the deals and are shortsighted in their outlook.”

    Kabushenga furthermore broke down what they, as coffee sector players would want to see.

    He contended, “We are in full agreement with the need to set up a soluble coffee plant. In fact, I have been lobbying for this in some corridors. It will increase the value of low-grade coffees that are fetching low prices in the market.

    “The best option is a freeze-dried coffee plant which gives the best instant coffee product. The model should be a PPP (Public Private Partnership) that invests in the plant but allows coffee final product entrepreneurs to rent time on the plant and produce their own coffee brands and market to the final consumer.

    “This will spur local innovation in the local coffee values chain and generate diverse and more meaningful employment opportunities. It will also grow local consumption since soluble coffee is more convenient to make. This is especially true for those who make coffee in their homes.”

    The coffee farmer also asserted that for the start, they can position markets across Africa but below the multinational processors as they build capacity.

    “It means that we can position in urban markets across Africa but below the multinational processors. This would allow development of new markets as we build capacity to compete.”

    He maintained, “We must look at our current market. Uganda is a net coffee exporter. We sell our coffee mainly to processors. This requires us to know how they want their product. Imposing a product on a consumer could backfire. To go directly to end-user market means to know how coffee is consumed.

    “It may be that by processing for export in the manner we claim will earn us more money, we may have the opposite effect. Processing may come at a high cost and will make our coffee expensive. Market entry barriers are higher in this segment which denies us access to this lucrative market.”

    Kabushenga also revealed that there has been no marketing of their coffee to give it a unique standing.

    “The processed coffee market is very unforgiving for those seeking to play here. Where is our coherent strategy in this regard? Over what sustained period will we invest in this to effect uptake of our coffee?”

    He added that the policy of confusion is derailing the sector and will undermine the processing agenda.

    He divulged that Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) argued that the Vinci processing approach was very good but now they want to do a consultancy on the viability of such a plant which is already portraying them as confused.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    MY MONEY

    Kabaka Mutebi’s Siblings Hire M7’s Lawyers To Battle City Businessman At Supreme Court Over Juicy Mutungo Land….

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    The Administrators of the Estate of Sir Edward Walugembe Muteesa II, the former King of Buganda have hired President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni lawyers to battle city businessman Dr. Muhammad Buwule Kasasa at the Supreme Court over the juicy Mutungo land.

    theGrapevine has exclusively learnt that Kabaka Mutebi’s siblings led by Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Princess Dorothy Nassolo, Princess Sarah Kagere, on behalf of their family have instructed K&K Advocates, a law firm owned by President Museveni’s son-in-law Edwin Karugire and the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka to proceed with the appeal after losing at the Court of Appeal.

    Last month, three justices of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Christopher Gashirabaki, Justice Elizabeth Musoke, who has since been promoted to the Supreme Court and Justice Eva Luswata dismissed the appeal from the royals and declared Kasasa as the owner of the said land.

    The contested land is measuring 640 acres situated at Mutungo, Luzira hill in Nakawa Division Kampala district on Kyadondo Block 237 plot 39, 29, 48, 56, 67, 59, 69, 81, 82, 88, 111, 112, 114, 115, 142, 148, 150, 335, 97, 70, 138, 131, 154, 155, 178, 179, 388 and 410.

    Buganda royals claim that Kasasa grabbed their father’s land when he was exiled by former president Milton Obote in 1966 Buganda crisis.

    However, Kasasa has evidence that he bought the land legally from the bank after it was mortgaged by the registered owners then Lake View properties limited who bought the land from Muteesa himself during his broke days in exile in UK.

    theGrapevine has also established that Kasasa, through his lawyers of SK Kiiza & Company Advocates has protested the royal’s move to hire Museveni’s lawyers to present them at the Supreme Court citing conflict of interest.

    The lawyers claim that K&K Advocates cannot represent the petitioners when Attorney General Kiwanuka, a senior patner in the law firm, is a party in the appeal.

    The Attorney General was sued jointly with Kasasa and lawyers insist that his law firm cannot represent the other party.

    “We are of the strong view that as much as a party is at liberty to choose a lawyer, K&K Advocates is not a suitable law firm to represent parties who are at the same time suing the government through the Attorney General. Definitely, Kiryowa Kiwanuka the Attorney General would be conflicted in this matter,” Kasasa’s lawyers protested.

    Kiwanuka was not reached for a comment because he was not picking our calls by press time.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    MY MONEY

    Why Do You Want To Push Locals Out Of Business In Favour Of Foreigners! Artisanal Miners Appeal To M7 Over Unfair Policies…

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    Artisan miners

    Artisanal and Small Scale miners in the districts of Busia and Namayingo have appealed to president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over unfair policies put in place  to regulate mining operations in the country.

    The miners through their umbrella body the Uganda Artisanal and Small Scale Miners of Eastern Uganda led by their chairperson Stephen Engidoh Paade claim that the unfair policies and laws are aimed at pushing them out of business to favour the wealthy and big investors in the sector who are basically foreigners.

    He  cited policies that ban them from using mercury and the fine of Shs120m as penalty against those found using it.

    They are also against the requirement of depositing Shs380m before they start the said business. Paade said that the mining industry employs more than 30,000 people in Busia alone amid challenges of environmental destruction.

    He said that while it is true that mercury affects people, there is a need for the authorities to move gradually because the blanket ban on mercury use will be counterproductive.

    “Let us sensitise the people on the dangers before doing anything to eliminate it or bring an alternative and also show them what the government intends to do to protect their livelihoods and the environment,” he said.

    Paade warned that the blanket ban on mercury use would lead to smuggling it into the country which is against the country’s development. He pleaded to government to provide a solution as an alternative to the use of mercury.

    Josephine Aguttu, a leader at Tiira Small Scale Mining Association in Busia District lamented over the gaps in the online system used to apply for license saying it gives speculators a chance to acquire mining licenses on their land leading to disputes.

    “It is unfortunate that we had a prospecting exploration that was expiring but upon checking on the cadastral map, it showed that someone else had been given a license on my land where I was earning a living. So the person with a mining license expects me to vacate my land because I am not allowed to mine without permission,” she said.

    Aguttu questioned how the person with the mineral right can harmoniously extract without destabilizing the original occupant of the land.

    She explained that gold is a commodity that has a ready market but the challenge the miners are facing is how it is valued, since the miners are not in a position to determine the purity of their gold.

    “At the Ministry of Energy, there are people working in the laboratories where we take our small gold for testing the purity as we pay taxes to government, but why can’t the government bring such people at regional level so that we can take samples and determine out gold to avoid being cheated at the market” she said.

    Stephen Baraza, a miner in Namayingo complained that the Shs120m  fine is an abuse and was made out of a misconception that gold mining is a profitable venture whereas it is not.

    “When you look around, people are poor and setting a fine of Shs120m for use of mercury yet there is no alternative means you are going to imprison very many people from the community” said Baraza said.

    The miners made the complaints at a meeting held in Busia at the weekend to lay strategies on how to voice out their discontent against the regulations.

    Joshua Rukundo, a senior Project officer at Solidaridad, a regional advocacy body said in a separate interview that mining as a source of livelihood is very essential to the society where it is happening and also to the modern civilization.

    To ensure sustainable mining, Mr Rukundo said there is need to consider how to carry out the activity without causing the adverse effects to the environment as well as protecting the rights of women and children but with the community in the lead.

    He appealed for stakeholder engagements to ensure that the award of mining licenses is done with the rights of land owners and occupants protected to avoid disputes.

    “We have to get stakeholders on table to understand that you have a right to mine as per the license but the community has a right to live as per their right to own the land. There has to be a clear way by which a licensed entity agrees legally with land owners to relinquish land and hand it over to the mining activities without being cheated.

    Rukundo appealed to authorities to gradually reduce the use of mercury in the gold mines rather than imposing a blanket ban which may not be effective.

    “This ban on mercury affects the miners directly and their livelihoods. If the case is that we cannot abolish mercury in one night, efforts should be taken to help the miners to gradually reduce the use of mercury as we explore viable alternatives,” he said.

    He added the current alternatives to use are out of the financial ability that the artisanal miners are operating with, like setting up a plant which is expensive for them.

    “By implementing the ban, it is going to increase the number of people in prison because of using mercury. Someone looking at Shs100,000 a day and you want them to pay a fine of Shs120m and or three years in prison is not worth it” he said.

    Early this year, Parliament passed the Mining and Minerals Act which President Museveni signed in October and it recognizes artisanal miners who are required to pay about Shs380m  for a license.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    What Killed Simbamanyo Tycoon Kamya? How Top Lawyer Tried To Use Justice Byabakama’s Electoral Commission Deal To Save His Empire…

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    In one of the meetings where the agenda was to strategise on how to save the business empire of the late Peter Kamya, the proprietor of Simbamanyo Estate limited, one of his friends, who is also a seasoned commercial lawyer proposed a multibillion Electoral Commission deal which he was very sure would save the fallen tycoon’s empire.

    Multiple credible sources have revealed to the mighty Grapevine that this happened in 2018 when Equity bank had started threatening to auction Kamya’s properties which he used as security when securing a loan.

    The buildings were Ssimbamanyo House behind Central Police Station in Kampala city and Afrique Suites situated in Mutungo.

    Kamya, who is a brother-in-law to former deputy Prime Minister Muganwa Kajura allowed one of his senior lawyers to negotiate the deal which involved looking for a new home for the Electoral Commission.

    “The lawyer’s idea was for Kamya to rent the entire building to the Electoral Commission and the money collected as rent be used to service the loan which the bank was very comfortable with but out of the blue, when the deal was almost concluded, the old man changed his mind claiming that his friend was working with the bank to impoverish him and that’s how the deal flopped,” a source said.

    He added that the deal was waiting for the greenlight from president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who was a good friend to Kamya.

    The source added that even the Ministry of Gender was ready to shift to another building.

    Another source said that the Electoral Commission was giving Kamya a big deal compared to what he was receiving from the Ministry of Gender and within 3 to 4 years, the bank’s loan would be fully paid.

    The source said that Kamya changed his mind after getting another opinion from another shrewd young city lawyer who convinced him that the loan he got from Equity bank was not favourable and it can be challenged in Court.

    Sources said that when the bank learnt about Kamya’s plan to challenge them in court, they hastily auctioned both securities to controversial city businessman Sudhir Ruperelia’s Meera Investments Limited and Ronald Luwangula’s Luwaluwa Investments Limited, a move that frustrated Kamya’s entire plan to save his empire.

    He tried to save his empire through courts of law by filing an application seeking a temporary injuction stopping the selling of the said property but he lost the application with costs.

    He further petitioned president Museveni to save his empire arguing that it was illegally sold.

    Unfortunately, after making wide consultations, especially from the Attorney General and Bank of Uganda, the big man advised Kamya to challenge the sale of his properties in courts of law.

    He explained to him that he has no alternative to save him since he was advised that his properties were legally sold.

    Without losing hope, Kamya instructed his new lawyers led by Fred Muwema to institute a suit in the High Court Commercial Division against Crane Bank, Meera Investment Limited, Luwaluwa Investment, and lawyers of Katende Ssempebwa Company Advocates were also joined in the suit.

    The matter was allocated to Justice Stephen Mubiru, the head of the Division.

    Kamya hired Kihika Byenkya and Company Advocates to join his legal team which successfully secured an order for discovery against the respondents.

    Justice Mubiru ordered the respondents to allow the petitioner to inspect their email exchange, bank accounts and phone call logs which were made in the period when his properties were sold, an order which raised dust at the commercial court.

    Lawyers from Katende Ssempebwa Advocates petitioned Justice Rubby Opio Aweri, the Chief Inspector of Courts claiming that justice Mubiru was biased and he has to be investigated over the matter.

    He was ordered to refer the entire Ssimbamanyo file to justice Opio which Mubiru refused to do.

    Mubiru insisted that Justice Opio didn’t have powers to ask for the said file from him and guided that the matter has to proceed but lawyers challenged his action at the Court of Appeal.

    In October 2022, Justice Cheborion Barishaki of the Court of Appeal issued an order stopping Justice Mubiru from proceeding with the matter until three justices of the Court of Appeal determine the respondent’s grievances.

    Sources who have been close to Kamya revealed that Justice Cheborion’s ruling shocked Kamya and from that time, his life changed and it worsened last month and was rushed to Nairobi where he died on Friday morning.

    Sources said that other Simbamanyo Directors are set to continue with the legal fight to rescue their empire.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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