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    Let Me Speak As A Lawyer, The Only Difference Between M7 And Bandits Is His NRM Gov’t Hides Behind The Law To Oppress, Suppress And Rob – MP Katuntu Warns M7 That Efforts To Cover Up His Mistakes Are Exposing Him…

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    MP Abdu Katuntu (R) Left is Minister Chris Baryomunsi

    Bugweri County Member of Parliament, Abdu Katuntu, has expressed fear that the government is not in a clear position to account for the mysterious disappearance of Ugandans from several parts of the country.

    The reported cases of kidnaps are over 40, but the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, said that government could only account for 7 of them.

    Hon. Katuntu said that such efforts to cover up for the state’s weaknesses instead exposes more fragile the situation in the country is.

    “People are disappearing and even the Internal Affairs Minister can’t give us a clear picture. That’s very suspicious. It’s not a plus to say as government ‘We don’t know where they are’. It’s a weakness for Uganda if the state can’t account for insecurity,” Katuntu said.

    Katuntu added that criminal gangs are going to take advantage of the insecurity to easily carry out their mafia missions for social and economic reasons.

    “Criminals will now be easily given a benefit of doubt; A gang may target Hon. Katuntu and observers will be easily tricked into thinking that maybe the state has him. Even for social reasons, when someone wants a woman and they can’t get them, they’ll just kidnap them and society will still blame security agencies,” the MP said.

    Hon. Katuntu, who was speaking on Capital FM’s ‘Capital Gang,’ likened the regime  to a mafia organisation.

    “Let me speak as a lawyer, the only difference between Museveni and bandits is his NRM government hides behind the law to oppress, suppress and rob. You can’t kidnap an opposition supporter because you suspect he’ll cause chaos, arrest him and if he’s found guilty, charge him! But a numberless drone comes and starts picking up people taking them to unknown places is unacceptable. It should be something to worry about,” Hon. Katuntu said, noting that it’s high time the president comprehensively addressed the nation about the matter.

    “We have reached a level where the Europeans are debating the dark side of our situation,” Katuntu added.

    The MP also noted that the multiplicity of security agencies is intended to cause confusion on who to hold accountable for the various atrocities.

    However, the State Minister for Housing, Chris Baryomunsi, who was also part of the Capital Gang, recalled that the election period was marked with a record of criminality especially during the arrest of then Presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, where his car was smashed in Luweero with three stones when he was coming from Gulu with Jim Muhwezi.

    The minister admitted that the government knows so little about the abductions as of now, but called for skepticism.

    “Not everything that you see on social media is true or a fact. Does everyone who disappears have to have been abducted by the state? Are they picking up NUP members? Or NUP criminals? Or even criminals if they’re not even NUP members or supporters?” The Minister said, adding that the opposition is exaggerating the situation at hand.

    “Mischievous people are now taking advantage of the sad situation. You find that a married man hides with another woman in the lodge, and comes back home after days claiming that he was abducted by security agencies. I know of a boy in my Constituency who diverted his school fees and out of fear to return home he hid away from his family, and claimed he was kidnapped,” the Minister added.

    He however, noted that; “We don’t support abduction. Why would you abduct someone if you’re doing the right thing? Kidnap is not supported by the Government. If security has information that someone is about to commit a crime, they can arrest and charge him.”

    Hon. Baryomunsi added that if there are any people doing so in numberless drones, then they’re individuals acting on their own.

    “Kidnap is not part of the law. Even the president is concerned. Even if they’re security officials, they’re still doing it on their own,” the Minister said, warning that all the errant officers will be dealt with.

    “Ugandans should be worried, the NRM Government  stands for peace and unity. Only criminals will have to be worried,” the Minister noted.

    The President is set to address the nation today at 8:00pm to address all these issues and more.

     

    By Baron Kironde

     

     

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    NATIONAL

    OPINION: Security Of Tenure Is Crucial For Uganda’s Economic Development – Minister…

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    Absence of title is at the root of tenure insecurity and was responsible for the near grinding to a halt of the colonial economy when the bibanja holders refused to grow cash crops until the security of tenure on the land they occupied was guaranteed.

    The colonial administration in a report to the secretary of state for colonies stated that the boycott by the bibanja holders had engineered rural unrest and discontent which undermined the production of export crops and diminished the colonial state’s revenue.

    Succumbing to the boycott pressure, the colonial administration put in place the Busulu and Envujo Law enacted in 1928. The law assured bibanja holders security in the occupation of their plots and freed them from the fear of arbitrary eviction.

    In a study published in 1953 Mukwaya showed that in over 400 land cases he examined, there was no case of illegal evictions. All the cases involved, inter alia, minor boundary disputes and succession related issues. He posited that: “it is rare for courts to grant orders of eviction against tenants who fail to pay busulu or envujo. Any dues in arrears are legally considered civil debts, which are recoverable in the usual manner”.

    This security of tenure which continued into the 1960s and early 1970s created an enabling atmosphere leading to a production boom and eventually an economic boom which secured Uganda a placing among the World’s top 10 producers of quality coffee, cotton and other produce.  The Coffee Marketing Board, Lint Marketing Board and Produce Marketing Board were put in place to handle the marketing of the boom production.

    Unfortunately the 1975 Land Reform Decree abolished the security of tenure of bibanja holders rendering them mere tenants at sufferance back to the pre-1928 tenure insecurity status.

    This was the position of law when the 1995 constitution was enacted. Unfortunately the constitution only provided for security of occupancy in Article 237 (8) for bibanja holders and left the issue of titling to the Parliament which under Article 237 (9) was to do this within 2years of its first sitting.

    Unfortunately the legislation to be enacted by Parliament within 2years after its first sitting as envisaged under Article 237 (9) was never actualized. The 1998 Land Act was not the legislation that the constitution envisaged.

    The background to the envisaged law is Article 237 (1) which provides that land belongs to the citizens of Uganda and vests in them in accordance with the land tenure systems provided for in the constitution.

    Article 237 (3) provides four tenure systems namely; customary, freehold, mailo, and leasehold. When Article 237 (4) and (5) is analyzed, they all end up as freehold.

    Tenures freehold and mailo are already freehold. These tenures are the registrable interest in land. Under section 237 (9) (b) Parliament was to make law providing for the acquisition of registrable interest as title by bibanja holders. This registrable interest would be freehold title since all the four tenures in Article 237 (3) end up as freehold.

    Failure to enact this law leaves bibanja holders without any land vesting into them as per Article 237 (1) of the constitution thus constitutionally discriminated against other Ugandans who are titled.

    There was no reason for Parliament not to have enacted a law providing bibanja holders with titles. There was already a precedent for this when the 1967 constitution transferred public land from federal and District Boards as previously prescribed in the 1962 constitution to the Uganda Land Commission. In that case the 1969 Public Lands Act operationalizing the 1967 Constitutional granted customary occupants (bibanja) a right to a leasehold title over the land they occupied.

    Consequently Parliament would have found guidance in the 1969 Public Lands Act and provided for the kibanja occupants to be granted a legal title to their plots. The kibanja holder would have his kibanja converted to a freehold title.

    It cannot be over emphasized that the 1969 Public Land Act provided a good starting point where an occupancy holding was converted directly from customary tenure to leasehold title. Therefore the mandate of Parliament under Article 237 (9) to enact a law providing for the acquisition of registrable interest to the bibanja they occupied was clearly practical and not without precedent. Moreover Article 237 (5) and section 28 of the Land Act 1998 allows for the customary leases converted and granted to a citizen of Uganda out of public land to be turned into freehold.

    Delay to enact a law giving bibanja holders titles is at the root of the systematic risk associated with tenure insecurity in the Uganda land market. Ugandans who are owners of untitled bibanja in the same location cannot sell for the same amount like their fellow Ugandans who are in the same location but titled. This creates a state of disequilibrium among Ugandans.

    Failure to get rid of the untitled bibanja insecurity is a trap on the road to Uganda’s development. The answer is a single freehold titled tenure security for all Ugandans in perpetuity.

     

    Dr. Sam Mayanja

    Smayanja@kaa.co.ug

    www.kaa.co.ug

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    NATIONAL

    OPINION: Busoga’s Rare Earth Elements (REEs) To Kick Poverty Out Of The Sub-region…

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    A map of Busoga sub-region. Iset is the writer Mr. Faruk Kirunda

    Busoga sub-region is at the verge of achieving rapid socioeconomic transformation following the discovery of Rare Earth Elements (REE) on an unprecedented scale. The discovery has caused excitement and raised the spirits of everyone here. This could be the time for Busoga to shake off the tag of poverty and backwardness.

    With the discovery, a private company, Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited was subsequently granted a licence to extract the REEs. The local population is eager to know how Busoga is to benefit from the mining operations just as the Bunyoro Sub-Region region is benefiting from the oil project, even before the first oil is out of the ground.

    On another hand, optimistic opinion leaders are also wondering as to whether there could be other minerals in the sub-region other than the REEs to look to, for sustainable development of the region which is currently entrapped in sugarcane growing, thereby leaving many people in poverty, and hunger stricken.

    Aware of these issues, I recently mobilized different stakeholders for a baraza (community or public discussion forum) involving Busoga Sub-Region local leaders, officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) of the region and the Commissioner/Urban Authorities at 87.7 BABA FM radio premises in Bugembe, Jinja City North Division. The interaction was relayed live on BaBa Radio and TV for the concerned local communities to follow and participate in the discussions.

    From the side of transparency in light of this God-sent natural resource windfall, this is a good starting point to lay bare all the facts regarding the discovery and admit ideas on how best to prevent a mineral curse from manifesting.

    These are two categories of minerals that have been identified; minerals that are currently known and are being (or are soon to be) exploited, and minerals whose potential has been documented for further investigations.

    REE resources have been confirmed in Bugweri, Mayuge and Bugiri and consequently, a Large-Scale Mining Licence (LML00334) granted to Rwenzori Metals to extract REE. Additional exploration in the surrounding areas is still ongoing by the company. The discovery has attracted many other mining and exploration companies to lodge License applications to explore for more undiscovered REE resources.

    Gold associated with the Archaean greenstone belt environment occurs around Lake Victoria in Uganda Kenya and Tanzania. In the Ugandan belt, gold occurs in Bugiri and Namayingo districts. Evidence is gold rushes at Nakudi in Namayingo as well as Simase and Sigulu Islands. This is the same gold type in Busia areas.

    Another “mineral” is clay. The clay deposits occur at Kagulu – Nsomba and the large swampy rivers draining into Lake Kyoga area may yield abundant deposits to support a large clay industry to produce clay products like those of the Uganda Clays Ltd at Kajjansi.

    Granites; these are many within the sub-region. Granite and gneiss rock resources occur at many isolated hills in Busoga e.g. at Baitambogwe (Mayuge), Iganga (Iganga) Mawembe (Luuka), Namaira (Kamuli), Kasolwe (Kamuli), Ikanda and Kasato (Buyende) districts and Nsavu – Irimbi granite hills in Bugiri District. It should, however, be noted that some, for example, at Kagulu – Nsomba hill have cultural and historical significance and preference is to conserve them for those purposes.

    Between 2005 and 2012, MEMD undertook mineral resource assessment in selected areas of Uganda and identified a number of new potential mineral targets. These include Quartz-vein-hosted gold in Ivukula. There is high potential for discovery of economic deposits of base metals (Copper, Nickel and Cobalt) within the gabbro rock bodies which were discovered during a recent geological mapping and mineral resources assessment exercise. The prospects include: Kasokwe (Kaliro), Namunyumya (Bugweri), Butamakita (Iganga) , Bukanga & Naigobya (Luuka), Nabukalu & Bugiri (Bugiri).

    Kimberlites, the source rocks for Diamond, have been pinpointed in the entire Busoga, the most prominent one being documented at Kidera in Buyende District.

    Iron ore potential was estimated on Namugongo and Nambogwe peninsulas in Mayuge District along the shores of Lake Victoria. Peat, a heterogeneous mixture of more or less decomposed plant (humus) material, has also been discovered.

    Peat deposits exist along the river valley swamps in central, east and southwestern parts of Uganda. In Busoga, peat deposits occur mainly along the lower shoreline of Lake Kyoga. Peat is mainly used as a source of energy and in urban agriculture as soil for horticulture in the backyards. If this resource is harnessed in substantial amounts, it has the potential to turn around our energy and small space farming needs.

    Therefore, apart from direct benefits to land owners, the sub counties and districts where mining is taking place, Busoga sub-region is set to benefit from the ongoing prospective and mining projects in a number of ways. These include: employment for locals, market for locally produced goods and services, revenue from accommodation (rental houses) for workers in the projects, revenue from royalty share on government revenue from the project’s mineral production (Central Government receives 70%, District 15%, Sub County 10% and Land owner 5% of the total royalties from the productions) and improvement on infrastructure and social service overheads (electricity supply, water, roads, health care) in the region.

    As leaders of and from the sub-region, this is an opportunity to embrace with both hands. The plan of the Government to socioeconomically transform Ugandans has received a big boost of nature which we must optimise and leave a legacy. The Basoga should be sensitised more on the meaning of this grand discovery which has come when we needed it most and can overturn Busoga’s current poor economic landscape. When God blesses us, who can say “no”!

    Everywhere, Project Affected Persons (PAPs) should calm down as nobody will be sent off their land without consultation, amicable agreements and fair compensation. And in line with H.E the President’s directives, no minerals mined should be exported in raw form as that will be equivalent to throwing away jobs for Basoga.

    However, the discovery of these minerals shouldn’t in any way distract the people from engaging in agricultural production because not everyone will fit in the mining sector. Moreso, lots of food products will be needed to feed miners and to keep away inflation arising from short supply of food amidst a flourishing mineral industry.

    The sub-region is also endowed with a latent tourism potential which requires proper packaging and investment to bring about groundbreaking economic returns. This is Busoga’s time, as part of the bigger National Development Plans!

     

    Mr. Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Press Secretary of the President of Uganda

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0783990861

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    NEWS

    OPINION: The Making Of A Cabinet Of Doers…

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    The author Faruk Kirunda (L) with some of the new ministers

    We have a new cabinet lineup! Thanks to President Yoweri Museveni for exercising his powers bestowed upon him by the Constitution consciously for the good functioning of the country.

    I appeal to the new appointees- and those retained- to keep their eyes on the mission and take the President’s trust as a shield to defend and protect Uganda’s future today.

    Some questions have been asked by the public, and some people are wondering; what kind of reshuffle was this?

    Long anticipated, many expected the President to make wide ranging changes in his cabinet. Instead, he made minor changes, adding new faces and removing some, while retaining the majority of the appointees of 2021.

    First, it’s not a must that the President has to reshuffle his cabinet, once he has made the initial appointments soon after assuming a new term of office. The same team may serve a whole term, although that is rare. He makes changes so as to assemble the best team he needs to achieve a given objective and every passing year methods change, necessitating him to reconsider his lineup.

    He does that in consideration of what each member has to bring on board for the attainment of the greater goal. That’s why it’s important that appointees understand very well what it is that the Appointing Authority expects of them. It’s not a matter of taking positions, because anybody can fill a position. What is it that the appointee will do while in that position?

    That question should be answered by every member of the cabinet, more so at the end of their tour of service. This applies to others appointed in the security forces and structures of Government.

    Second, when the President changes his cabinet, he need not shake it up fundamentally. In the case of the 2021 cabinet, this is one named at the height of Covid-19 in the country. Some had been in the 2016 cabinet, during which Covid-19 emerged. These ministers worked with the President to steer the country and keep the economy resilient throughout the pandemic. Given that test, it’s no surprise that the President decided to retain most of them.

    The other thing is that he termed his 2021 cabinet as one of “fishermen and fisherwomen.” Meaning-that he appointed them against the conventional thinking of “elitism and white collar” approaches to work but being field based and chiefly pro-people. The President best knew the import of that and by retaining the majority of ministers, it means that the 2021 crop has been “fishing” well.

    In 2016, the President issued 23 directives and guidelines for national development. These were reissued in 2021, alongside the NRM Manifesto. It’s these documents which every minister should arm themselves with in order to keep track of progress and gauge their contribution. Indeed, much has been achieved in all sectors, although critics are faster in pointing out what hasn’t been attended to or what is slow in coming. When you see critics Even when the mandate of weighing the effectiveness of the team is with the President, in whose stead as Chief Minister they serve, the appointees should do all it takes to prove their relevance to a point that critics will lack what to say.

    Questioning why only minor changes have been made, it’s because to them nothing much has been achieved; that is to say, that the cabinet under review has underperformed. Following Manifesto timelines is one tool to assess performance of individuals as well as the Government structure.

    With the new digital tracking tool introduced by the Presidency through the Manifesto Implementation Unit (MIU), ministers can gauge themselves and compete with each other for best results. There is also a tendency to do things and keep them under wraps instead of publicising them for the public to be aware and give feedback on what has been done and what needs to be done. This is part of accountability which is a vital measure of effectiveness of any Government official.

    I appeal to Permanent Secretaries to always furnish their ministers with information on what has been done in their dockets regularly so that the ministers, in concert with ministry publicists, can disseminate such information for public use.

    At the district level, Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) should provide timely information to Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) who appear regularly in public media. District information officers should also share such information widely and assist RDCs in their public sensitisation roles. Ruling party publicists should supplement this effort in a bid to justify why their party was entrusted with national leadership ahead of others.

    Why should the government function in a media vacuum whereas the same government guarantees the media freedom and open space for everyone? If every official with a mandate utilised public information channels to keep the nation updated the way the President does regularly and without prompting, the effectiveness of government structures would be appreciated more. Let’s do and say!

    Also, is the cabinet bloated? The answer depends on what each individual member of the team does with their deployment. I urge all ministers to avoid being part of the statistics but to add value to the cabinet in a way that fast tracks Socio Economic transformation of the country as entailed in the President’s vision for Uganda, and Africa.

    I am also happy to note that for all the times I have known the President, I have never heard an allegation that he appointed someone after being bribed. He only appoints on merit! Therefore, every minister is competent and capable of standing out as a great contributor to national transformation as opposed to being regarded as a burden to the taxpayer and a let down to the President.

    The author Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug
    0776980486/ 0783990861

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