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    Full Report:  Human Rights Watch Report Pins Security Forces

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    A report by Human Rights Watch has pinned security forces especially police for being in the lead on violation of human rights of Ugandans.

    The report notes, “The police unjustifiably block, restrict, and disperse peaceful assemblies and demonstrations by opposition groups. Police killed at least two people in Rukungiri and one in Amolatar while using excessive force to disperse what they deemed “illegal rallies.”

    The report also pins government for consistently using a variety of laws to curtail media freedom and free expression.

     

    FULL REPORT HERE:

    The government of President Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, continues to violate free association, expression, and assembly rights.

    Protests over constitutional amendments that would entrench the power of the ruling elites—one to remove the presidential age limit, allowing Museveni to run for office in 2021, and another to dramatically ease government’s ability to acquire land without meaningful advance consultation and adequate compensation—met with heavy-handed partisan response from police.

    Security officials’ continue to use excessive use of force with impunity, for example there was no investigation into the November 2016 military and police assault in Kasese that left over 100 people, including children, dead.

    Freedom of Assembly

    The police unjustifiably block, restrict, and disperse peaceful assemblies and demonstrations by opposition groups, relying on the vague and overbroad 2013 Public Order Management Act (POMA) which grants police wide discretionary powers over public and private gatherings.

    In July, police arrested and detained 56 members of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) for three days on charges of holding an “unlawful assembly” at a private home on the outskirts of Kampala. Police also arrested and detained members of the opposition Democratic Party in July and August as they prepared to address the public to oppose the draft constitutional amendment lifting the age limit of presidential candidates. In contrast, in August and September police in Arua, West Nile and Kabale escorted demonstrators advocating in favor of the constitutional amendment.

    In September and October, police arrested several prominent opposition leaders and protestors in several towns during protests againt the lifting of presidential age limits. Police killed at least two people in Rukungiri and one in Amolatar while using excessive force to disperse what they deemed “illegal rallies.” And yet, in October, police charged opposition leader Kizza Besigye and two colleagues with murder, assault, inciting violence, and unlawful assembly for the deaths of protestors in Rukungiri.

    Freedom of Expression and Media

    The government consistently uses a variety of laws to curtail media freedom and free expression. Government regulatory bodies, particularly the Uganda Communications Commission, applies laws and broadcasting guidelines selectively to arbitrarily shut down radio stations and curtail speech critical of the president or the government.

    After parliamentarians clashed during age limit debates in September, the commission issued a directive banning any live broadcasts of the controversial issue. Police arrested four journalists in Lira for providing coverage of public protests and two Kampala-based editors were charged with offensive communication in October for their newspapers’ ongoing reporting.

    Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a research fellow at Makerere University, faced charges of “cyber harassment” and “offensive communication” in April for Facebook posts challenging the president and his wife, the education minister, for failure to fulfil a campaign pledge to provide sanitary pads to school girls. Nyanzi spent more than a month in prison before being released on bail; charges remain pending.

    Television journalist Getrude Tumusiime Owitware received threats online and was later abducted and beaten by unknown assailants, after posting on social media in support of Nyanzi’s campaign. Owitware was later found at a police station in Kampala. No one had been arrested at time of writing for her abduction and beating.

    Journalists, at times, were interrogated and faced charges of criminal defamation, which remains law, despite a 2014 ruling from the African Court on Human and People’s Rights that such laws are an unnecessary restriction on free expression.

    Extrajudicial Killings and Absence of Accountability

    The government refused to investigate the conduct of its forces during military and police operations at the palace compound of the region’s cultural institution and other locations in Kasese, western Uganda from November 26 to 27, 2016. Over 100 civilians were killed including at least 15 children, in operations the government argued were required to curtail activities of the institution’s royal guards.

    In March, the police increased previous figures they claimed were inaccurate, stating the death toll was 103. Without credible independent investigations, the true death toll remains unknown. Witnesses report government-orchestrated efforts to silence them from speaking about the events on November 27.

    At least 180 people, including six children, face murder, treason, and terrorism charges, among other crimes, for the November violence, including deaths of 14 police. Charges remain pending.

    Government spokespeople argued Uganda “does not lack independent investigative capability”, but deflected calls for such investigations into the role of government forces in the killings of civilians in Kasese, arguing that there could not be interference as the matter was before a court and therefore sub-judice, or pending litigation. However, none of the ongoing prosecutions involve soldiers or police.

    Illegal Detention and Torture

    Police and prosecutors consistently failed to investigate cases of illegal detention and torture of suspects and did not charge a single security personnel under Uganda’s Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act.

    Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented numerous instances of mistreatment and torture, particularly in Nalufenya police post in Jinja, eastern Uganda over several years. Suspects are often held at the post for periods well beyond the 48 hours, permitted by law. Defendents arrested after the Kasese violence and detained in Nalufenya showed clear signs of mistreatment and torture during court hearings. The magistrate ordered an investigation, which remained pending at time of writing.

    In May, defendants charged in the March murders of police commander Andrew Kaweesi, his driver and bodyguard also had visible injuries and complained in open court of severe beatings by police in Nalufenya. In July, the high court ordered medical examinations of 19 suspects. Photos later emerged of the mayor of Kamwenge, in western Uganda, bearing horrific injuries which he said resulted from beatings by police investigating the same murders.

    Freedom of Association

    In September, police raided three nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) offices, alleging “illicit financial transactions” and “subversive activities” and froze bank accounts. The organizations publicly opposed amending constitutional limits on presidential age. The raids were widely seen as part of a crackdown on civic activism opposed to the change.

    The 2016 Non-Governmental Organisations Act includes troubling and vague “special obligations” of NGOs, such as a requirement that groups should “not engage in any act which is prejudicial to the interests of Uganda or the dignity of the people of Uganda.” Another provision criminalizes activities by organizations that have not been issued with a permit by the government regulator, fundamentally undermining free association rights. A separate provision allows imprisonment for up to three years for violating the act.

    Police failed to make progress on accountability for over two dozen break-ins at NGO offices, all known for work on sensitive subjects—including human rights and corruption. In two instances, guards were killed, but no one was arrested.

    Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

    Same-sex conduct remained criminalized under Uganda’s colonial-era law, which prohibits “carnal knowledge” among people of the same sex. Concerns remain that the 2016 NGO law effectively criminalizes legitimate advocacy on rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.

    In August, activists canceled Pride celebrations in Kampala and Jinja after the minister of ethnics and integrity threatened organizers with arrest and violence.

    Police failed to end the practice of forced anal examinations of men and transgender women accused of consensual same-sex conduct. These examinations lack evidentiary value and are a form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment that may constitute torture.

    Lord’s Resistance Army

    The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remains active in central Africa, but allegations of killings and abductions have reduced. In May, the Ugandan military withdrew its forces mandated to fight the LRA in Central African Republic. (See Chapter on Central African Republic.)

    The trial of former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen—charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of attacks on internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, including murder, enslavement, sexual and gender-based crimes, and conscription of child soldiers—continued before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Warrants for four other LRA commanders have been outstanding since 2005; three are believed dead. Joseph Kony is the only LRA ICC suspect at large.

    In February, prosecutors in the case against former LRA fighter Thomas Kwoyelo, charged before Uganda’s International Crimes Division (ICD), brought 93 counts including wilful killing, taking hostages, and extensive destruction of property under article 3 of the Geneva conventions and Uganda’s penal code. Kwoyelo has been imprisoned since March 2009 and the start of his trial has been postponed numerous times.

    Key International Actors

    The United States and European Union publicly raised serious concerns over the disproportionate use of force by security forces in Kasese and repeatedly called for independent investigations. European Union member states also offered to support witness protection and evidence protection for investigations into the Kasese violence but the government declined. The US also criticized the government’s curtailing of dissent on the constitutional amendment as “heavy-handed.”

    The US ended providing military advisors and support to Uganda’s army for the counter-LRA operations but continues to provide significant funding for logistics and training to the African Union Mission in Somalia, where Uganda contributes troops.

    The US provides over US$440 million annually to support Uganda’s health sector. US President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which stops organizations from supporting safe abortion care, negatively affecting Ugandan organizations working to clarify the legal status of abortion services.

    In August 2016, the World Bank suspended new lending to Uganda due in part to weaknesses in social safeguards monitoring after allegations emerged that workers on a bank-funded road project sexually abused children. In May, the bank resumed funding, arguing improved compliance.

     

    Source: HRW

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    NEWS

    Justice Kayobera In Trouble After Ugandan Lawyers Gang Up On Him Over Incompetence, Ask President Kiir To Dismiss Him From Heading Regional Court…

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    Justice Nestor Kayobera (R) and Lawyer Male Mabirizi (L)

    Former Burundi State Attorney in the Office of the Attorney General of Burundi who was appointed the judge of the East African Court Nestor Kayobera is in trouble after some Ugandan lawyers ganged up against him over incompetence and want him to be dismissed from heading the East African Court of Justice.

    In a letter dated 14th December, 2023, lawyer Kassim Male Mabirizi asked President Salva Kiir, the chairperson of the East African Community asking him to initiate the process of removing Justice Kayobera from heading the regional court.

    Mabirizi cited a number of articles in the East African Treaty which gives President Kiir powers to institute an independent tribunal to investigate the allegation of misconduct he placed on Justice Kayobera and if found guilty, be dismissed from the court.

    “A Judge shall not be removed from office except by the summit-(a) for misconduct….provided that a judge shall only be removed from office under this sub paragraph if the question of his or her removal from office has been referred to an ad hoc independent tribunal appointed for this purpose by the summit and the tribunal has recommended that the judge be removed from office for misconduct,” Mabirizi’s letter stated.

    He cited Article 26(1) (a) of the East African Treaty which gives powers to a citizen of the country that is a member of the treaty to move to the summit and set up an ad hoc independent tribunal to investigate Justice Kayobera with the view of having him removed upon providing all the necessary evidences which is supported by other lawyers from the regional countries once they discover Justice Kayobera’s incompetence.

    Mabirizi claims that on 21st November, 2022, Justice Kayobera single handedly as a presiding officer ordered him not to make a recusal application in chambers against one of the panel judges who had been part of the panel of justices when his case was proceeding in Ugandan Courts.

    Mabirizi insisted that the said justice who justice Kayobera shielded was among the Justices of the Constitutional Court that dismissed his case because he already was biased against him and could not determine his appeal.

    He noted to president Kiir through Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga the first prime minister of Uganda and also the minister for East African Affairs, Justice Kayobera expunged the letter for his recusal from his case from the court record without giving him the opportunity to defend his letter on why he was asking him to recuse himself from his case.

    He accused Justice Kayobera of being a biased judge and putting the integrity of the regional court in disrepute.

    He pleaded with Kiir to put his house to order as the head of the region currently.

    Before being appointed the judge of the regional court, Kayobera is remembered to have sworn an affidavit in the case where he is also a lawyer representing the government of Burundi against the government of Rwanda and he lost the case and his affidavit was striked out.

    President Kiir has not yet responded to Mabirizi who is supported by a number of lawyers from some member countries.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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    NATIONAL

    You Will Not Survive This Old Man’s Curse: Minister Reveals How Greedy Buganda Royals Are Sending 95-Year-Old Doctor To His Grave After Fighting For His Money…

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    L-R: Minister Sam Mayanja, Dr. Muhamad Kasasa and Mutesa's son Kabaka Mutebi

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s State Minister for Lands who is also the founding partner of Kampala’s famous law firm the Kampala Associated Advocates(KAA) Dr. Sam Mayanja has exposed King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s family wealth secrets.

    Mayanja who boasts as one of the best researchers in the country revealed that when Sir Edward Walugembe Muteesa, King Ronnie’s father ran into exile in United Kingdom after the attack on his Mengo palace by the military commanded by former president Idi Amin on the orders of former Prime Minister Dr. Milton Opeto Obote, his friends found ways of looking for his wealth back home which could be sold to get money to facilitate his stay in exile.

    He claims that one of Muteesa’s friends Lord Boyd led the investigations to establish his friend’s properties back home and found out that he was owned a number of private properties which included; Mutungo Hill land measuring over 1 square miles, land at Masaka where he built his Nkoni palace which was badly damaged by Obote’s troops during the 1966 Buganda crisis and was worth ten thousand pounds by 1987, Mutesa also owned land in Bamunanika where he built his Bamunanika palace measuring 2 square miles and by then was worth fifty thousand pounds.

    He also owned Muzizi tea estates measuring about 12 square miles, Busengwe land on the shores of Lake Victoria where he built his Busengwe palace facing Tanzania, land in Ggomba county measuring 5 square miles, land in Singo county measuring 4 square mailos, land in Kyagwe county measuring 10 square mailos, land in Bugerere county measuring 5 square miles, land in Buwekula county measuring 2 square miles, land in Kyadondo county measuring half a square mailo.

    Mayanja, a university law don insists that president Obote’s government never confiscated Mutesa’s private properties as some members of the Buganda Royal family claim.

    He added that in 1968, the defunct Taifu Empya newspaper published an exclusive story revealing that Muteesa had sold his Mutungo Hill land through his sister Princess Mpologoma.

    He further alleges that the next day, another defunct newspaper The People which was owned by Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) political party also published a detailed story on 21st December 1968 detailing how Muteesa sealed a deal to sell his Mutungo land near Port Bell port while he was in exile.

    The story revealed that Muteesa sold the said land to Lake View properties Limited but he didn’t temper with Official mailo land. He only sold his private properties to make ends meet in exile.

    He alleges that the remaining properties were supposed to be shared among Mutesa’s 29 children according to his will which he made in exile.

    Mayanja claims that Lake View Properties Directors mortgaged the said Mutungo Hill land to the bank and controversial city businessman who is also a celebrated retired medical doctor Muhammad Buwule Kasasa bought it and secured all the necessary documents.

    He adds that recently, government picked interest in the land and wanted to buy it from Kasasa at Shs23bn but the administrators of Sir Edward Muteesa’s Estate protested the deal and challenged it in the court claiming that Kasasa fraudulently obtained their father’s land.

    Mayanja says that he is very annoyed at Muteesa’s family members, especially King Ronnie, for making Dr. Kasasa suffer when they know that their father sold the land legally.

    He reveals that currently, 95-years-old Dr. Kasasa is very sick at his Mengo home and cannot speak properly but the properties he thought he would sell to get money to treat him in his old age is being held by greedy members of the royal family.

    who want some and very soon is likely going to die because doctors establish that he is suffering from a deadly cancer disease.

    “Dr. Kasasa’s Personal Assistant told me on phone that they were advised by local doctors to fly him to India for further management of his sickness and they have already secured all the necessary documents to travel but they don’t have money,” the minister says.

    Mayanja says that Dr. Kasasa’s Assistant pleaded with him to help the old man to at least secure the Shs6bn which Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) deposited to the judiciary bank accounts to help him.

    UNRA deposited the money on the judiciary bank account after both Kasasa and Muteesa’s family claimed ownership of the land which is partly going to be used to construct the famous Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

    Upon depositing the money on the judiciary bank, Court allowed UNRA to proceed with the road works as Muteesa and Dr. Kasasa settle their fight in courts of law.

    “Very soon, Dr. Kasasa is going to die because at his age, when one is told that they have cancer, it is very difficult to survive. But I am warning Ronald Muwenda Mutebi and his family members that if that man dies in that situation, surely you will not survive his curse, I am telling you as a Muganda. Muteesa family members will suffer,” a tearful Mayanja told theGrapevine.

    He further revealed that King Ronnie in 2015 appointed Owekitiibwa Martin Kasekende, Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Omukungu Kabanda, Omukungu Swaib Musoke, Omulangira Joel Katerega, Omutaka Pasco Kibwondwe, Dr. Eve Kasirye, Owekitiibwa Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, Owekitiibwa Mohamood Toban, Owekitiibwa John Katende, Omukungu Levi Zimbe, Owekitiibwa David Kiwalabye Male to manage the kingdom land which is Official mailo through Buganda Land Board Limited.

    However, theGrapevine established that there were changes made on the list of people appointed by Kabaka to lead the management of the Kingdom land.

    We also learnt that the Lands Division of the High Court judge Flavia Nassuna has allowed Dr. Kasasa to appeal against her ruling over the release of the Shs6bn compensation from UNRA to the Court of Appeal.

    But, King Ronnie’s family lawyers of K&K Advocates led by Usaama Sebuufu are already protesting the application.

     

    By Hadija Namagembe

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    NATIONAL

    Mayiga’s Administration In Financial Crisis As King Ronnie’s Workers Threaten To Riot Over Delayed Pay…

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    Buganda Kingdom Premier Charles Peter Mayiga

    Owekitiibwa Israel Kazibwe Kitooke the Information Minister in King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s Buganda Kingdom establishment has confirmed that some of their staff have not yet been paid their monthly salaries.

    He however emphasised that the Kingdom is ready and willing to fulfil its obligations of paying its worker’s salaries and pleaded with those affected to be patient because within two weeks, they will receive their money.

    The affected staff are mainly those working in Kingdom ministries and those in agencies and organisations.

    A senior disgruntled staff at Bulange the headquarters of Buganda Kingdom explained to theGrapevine that the Kingdom Premier Charles Peter Mayiga is responsible for their salary delays.

    Another source disclosed that Mayiga is taking decisions which are becoming burdensome to the Kingdom without thinking about the people who fight to make sure the Kingdom sis financially independent.

    He gave an example of the several travels Mayiga has made with a huge delegation well knowing that the Kingdom is struggling financially.

    He further disclosed that Mayiga spent a lot of money when he traveled with a delegation of more than 30 people to United States of America early this year which he claims was not necessary.

    However, Mayiga’s henchmen told theGrapevine that Buganda benefited a lot from Mayiga’s travels to United States of America. He even cited a number of deals he sealed.

    Sources divulged that Mayiga traveled to the US to cover the gaps that individual members of the Kingdom used to get millions of shillings using the Kingdom’s name for their own personal gains.

    Some staff are also accusing Mayiga of travelling to Gulu with a huge delegation using Kingdom money which would have been used to run other sectors including paying staff salaries.

    “He is marketing himself to be seen as a nationalist so that in the future he can maybe stand for a political office,” one source said.

    Recently, Mayiga said that he has all the necessary requirements to stand for president since it is the only political office above the position of Buganda Kingdom premier.

    The aggrieved staff are also very furious over the recently concluded retreat for members of Buganda Kingdom parliament which took place at Masaka city where a lot of money was spent on orders of Mayiga who feared that his enemies could covertly use them to fight his administration.

    They further accused Mayiga of using the Kingdom’s money to invest in Airtel’s Initial Public Offer where Buganda Kingdom bought a number of shares.

    However, owekitiibwa Kitooke explained that Mayiga’s travels didn’t have any effect on staff’s salaries because they were prepared years back.

    Kitooke added that Buganda Kingdom administration is fighting to restore Buganda’s glory that is why it is investing in income generating sectors which they are very sure will increase the Kingdom’s income to stand as financially independent.

    He added that Mayiga has always wanted to work with people who are paid. That’s why his leadership stopped volunteering as it was before. He admitted that just like every organisation and institution in the country, Buganda Kingdom was also hit hard by the financial crisis that was brought about by Covid-19 lockdown.

    Insiders at Bulange told theGrapevine that the financial crisis is very deep that’s why they delayed the reading of the Kingdom annual budget for months from the period it usually read.

    Kingdom economists and top Kingdom leaders had to first strategise where to get the funds to feed the budget.

    Recently, Mayiga has been meeting heads of the Kingdom agencies to draw plans on how to help their organisations survive the ongoing economic crisis by remaining profitable.

    He even pleaded with them to take care of their staff’s wellbeing and gave them lessons on how to survive the hard economic situation.

    Economically, Buganda has been surviving on funds from Buganda Land Board (BLB), Kabaka Mutebi’s agency which is responsible for managing the Kingdom land but BLB is also no longer performing well financially because some tenants on Kabaka’s land no longer want to pay rent.

    State Minister for Lands Dr. Sam Mayanja and controversial city lawyer Kassim Male Mabirizi were accused of inciting tenants on Kabaka’s land not to pay to Buganda Land Board claiming that the said land is public land which Kabaka Mutebi keeps as a trustee on behalf of the people of Buganda.

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government has also delayed to pay rent arrears that the Kingdom is demanding for using Kingdom buildings which house a number of Courts and local administration units.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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