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    M7 Orders To Retire Gen. Sejusa, Gen. Tumwine, Gen. Kayihura As Court Martial Writes To CDF Gen. Muhoozi Over Gen Kayihura’s Pardon…

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    L-R: Gen. Kale Kayihura, Gen. Elly Tumwine and Gen. David Sejusa

    General Yoweri Museveni the Commander-In-Chief has directed the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) authorities to work on a plan to retire over ten top Generals from active service.

    Credible sources in UPDF have told the Grapevine that among the Generals who the president wants retired include controversial Security Minister Gen. Elly Tumwine, controversial former coordinator of military intelligence Gen. David Sejusa, former Inspector General of Police Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura, soft spoken Gen. Ivan Koreta, maverick Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso, charismatic Maj. Gen. Pecos Kutesa, Brig Gen. Felix Kulayigye, Maj. Gen. Vicent Ola, Maj. Gen. Wasswa Mutesasira, Maj. Gen. John Mugume with immediate effect.

    According to these army sources, Gen. Museveni wants his war comrades to retire immediately after he is sworn in as the newly elected president of Uganda in May 2021.

    “The president has already directed the UPDF authorities through the Ministry of Defense to work with the Ministry of Finance to make sure that by the time his comrades retire, their retirement packages are available,” a source said.

    He added that the President is also set to promote soldiers who are expected to retire to higher ranks so as to receive a bigger package when they retire.

    According to the source, the president is set to deploy some of the retired officers in different government institutions like Operations Wealth Creation, media center while others will be left to do their private work.

    The source gave an example of Brig. Gen. Kulayigye who is likely to be given a job at a Media Center or a ministerial job in president Museveni’s new cabinet to head the government’s information machinery especially propaganda.

    Brig. Gen. Kulayigye was a former UPDF spokesperson and is currently UPDF representative in the parliament.

    The source added that other Generals like Gen. Elly Tumwine and Gen. Kutesa want to retire to do their private work because they are weak health wise.

    The source said that Museveni is likely to accommodate Gen. Kayihura in his new cabinet because he still views him as useful.

    He added that Gen. Sejusa is likely to be set free to do his private work because he is no longer a threat to Museveni’s power due to his age and weakened financial muscle.

    Since 1996, Gen. Sejusa has been fighting to be retired from the force. Retired High Court Judge Magrate Ouma Oguli retired him in 2016 and directed government to compensate him with Shs.1bn as costs in his case against the government.

    However, the government Appealed against Oguli’s judgement in the Court of Appeal.

    Another source disclosed that the main reason why Museveni wants his comrades to retire is to pave way for new blood to run the force.

    “You know those old soldiers who fought with Mzee have always been criticizing him and don’t respect these young commanders in the force because they see themselves as the owners of UPDF. The president now wants young brains to take full control of the force,” the source said.

    GEN GUTTI WRITES TO GEN. MUHOOZI OVER GEN KAYIHURA’S PARDON

    On Tuesday, Gen. David Muhoozi received a letter from Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, the chairperson of Makindye based Court martial seeking guidance on whether to pardon Gen. Kale Kayihura.

    Lt. Gen. Gutti told his boss that he was approached by a group of youths from Kisoro asking him how far he had reached concerning President Museveni’s proposal to pardon Gen Kayihura.

    During his campaigns in Kisoro, Museveni promised to talk to the concerned authorities to see how they could pardon Gen. Kayihura.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NEMA Was Right: Judge Finds No Fault In Hoima Sugar Being Allowed To Grow Sugarcane On Bugoma Forest Land…

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    Justice Musa Ssekana (L) and Sheila Nduhukire

    The Certificate of approval granted to Hoima Sugar Limited for the proposed Kyangwali mixed land use in the disputed part of Bugoma Central forest reserve in Kikuube District was legally issued, the court has confirmed.

    Kampala High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana dismissed cases in which Civil Society Organisations were challenging the legality of the Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) approved by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for sugarcane growing.

    “The complainants in order to attract the attention of the public and also to justify their existence as bodies concerned with environment protection and awareness are trying to make all sorts of unsubstantiated allegations to win public sympathy. Courts of law are strictly guided by the law and sensationalism should never be used to sway court in any matter. The key stakeholders were consulted and they made written representations but the applicants seem to argue as if no consultation was ever made before the certificate of approval was made,” the judge ruled.

    The court observed that NEMA sent a copy of the ESIA to National Forestry Authority (NFA) and other stakeholders who made comments to the entire project and which comments were addressed before the approval of the project.

    “The different stakeholders were consulted before the certificate of approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report was approved. The standard of consultation under the particular statutory context was satisfied since it is a general principle of fairness that the consulted party is able to address the concerns of the decision-maker. The concerns of the stakeholders and especially the National Forestry Authority and Wildlife Authority were considered and this evidence is clearly set out on the court record,” the judge ruled.

    Three conservation organisations; Water & Environment Media network (U) ltd (WEMNET-U), National Association of Professional Environmentalists (Nape) and Africa Institute for Energy Governance (Afiego) had petitioned the court in two separate cases which were later merged into one by court.

    Through their lawyers, the organisations were seeking for a court declaration that the approval of the Environmental and Social Impact (ESIA) Statement and the Nema issuing of the Certificate of Approval of ESIA Certificate to Hoima Sugar Limited for the Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project was marred by flaws, procedural irregularities and without due recourse to the relevant provisions of the laws and regulations.

    They contended that the NEMA’s decision to issue a Certificate of Approval was illegal and procedurally improper for not conducting a public hearing and or allowing public participation in decision making.

    They argued that the process denied the interested parties including themselves a chance to effectively put forth their views aimed at protecting their rights to a clean and healthy environment.

    The judge observed that it appears the complaints were premised on distorted facts and the NGOs attempted to suppress the real facts in order to make ‘flowery’ case in court by exaggerating that the entire forest is being cleared for sugarcane planting or that 5000 hectares (21 square miles) of the forest is being cleared for sugarcane growing.

    “This is not true and it is an alarmism since out of the entire leasehold certificate of title issued to Hoima Sugar Limited, they are supposed to plant sugarcanes on 2,393.8483 hectares against a total area of 5,579 hectares which is less than half. Secondly, the Bugoma Central Forest Reserve is still intact and Hoima Sugar Limited has been directed to undertake enrichment planting covering an area of 3.8919sq miles and must carry out regulated activities,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.

    Justice Ssekaana also ruled that the court is satisfied that the community was duly consulted and heard their views about the project and the court is not persuaded by the complainant’s argument that the people consulted were few in absence of any evidence to the contrary.

    “The law does not require consultation of everybody in the community and this would definitely be an impossibility to achieve. The law does not prescribe or set any standard procedure and number of people to be consulted. The court would be wrong in setting a standard for the decision-maker to satisfy for the hearing of the views of the community about the said project. The court would leave the discretion to be exercised by the decision-maker on whether the community is satisfactorily consulted,” the judge ruled.

    According to the court decision, Nema Executive Director was not bound to hold any public hearing premised on rules since there was no controversy and there are no trans-boundary impacts.

    Justice Ssekaana argued that the NGOs’ argument that there is a controversy in ownership of the land as well as a pending Appeal against the decision of the High Court is extremely weak and the executive director should not be used as a court on legal matters which are pending in the Court of Appeal.

    The court observed that NGOs are increasingly relying on public interest standing or Public concern standing to challenge governmental action and this preferred from individuals who are merely interested in personal fame.

    “The public bodies should not be disrupted unnecessarily, to the disadvantage of other members of the public, by having to contest discreditable proceedings. The courts should reserve their power to interfere with the working of public authorities to those occasions when there is a claim before them by someone who has been adversely affected by the unlawful conduct of which the complaint is made,” the judge ruled.

    Justice Ssekana advised that Public interest litigation should not be used for personal or political gains or for mere publicity or for other oblique reasons. Such public interest matters should be done by persons having expert knowledge in the field after making proper research especially if it is concerned with issues of constitutional law. He said it is true that public interest litigation has been abused and is increasingly used by advocates for publicity and or seeking prominence in the legal profession and it is now ‘Publicity Litigation’.

    Yet, according to the judge, it is supposed to be a special type of litigation which is essentially meant to protect basic human rights of the weak and disadvantaged who on account of poverty, helplessness, or social and economic disabilities could not approach the court for relief or for upholding the rule of law and constitutionalism or where a matter of grave public concern is involved.

    The Court is charged under the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State policy in the Constitution to provide sustainable development and public awareness of the need to manage land, air and water resources in a balanced and sustainable manner for the present and future generations.

    On the issue of conducting consultations, the judge held that a consultative meeting that exceeded the 85 people was conducted and that there is no legal provision that indicates any numerical requirement regarding the minimum number of people to be consulted.

    In the statement issued on Saturday, Hoima Sugar Limited welcomed the decision saying that it is a great milestone which will boost sustainable social economic transformation of Hoima and Uganda as a whole.

    “This will be through job and wealth creation; both directly and indirectly, tax revenue remittances to the national treasury, improvement of social amenities such as schools and health facilities among others,” the company said in a statement.

    On August 14 2020, Nema issued an ESIA certificate to Hoima Sugar Limited for the mixed land use on 21.54sq miles that is valid for the five years but to be revised upon request or when the project area conditions change.

    By Our Reporter

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    Give Them Their Money – Besigye Faults M7 For ‘Conniving With NSSF To Frustrate Workers…

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    Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye

    Four time presidential candidate, Rtd Dr Kizza Besigye has blamed President Yoweri Museveni for refusing to sign off the law amendment Bill to the NSSF Act that Parliament passed last week.

    President Museveni totally talked against the Act which provides among others that, savers who clock 45 years and have saved for at least 10 years, access 20 per cent of their savings.

    According to the President, accessing the savings midway would reduce on the amount to be reinvested to grow it.

    The president says he’s not convinced that it’s in worker’s interests, but according to Besigye, the real reason is that Museveni turned workers money into his slash fund- that he uses as he wants.

    Like for all injustices that we’re fighting, it’s increasingly clear that it’ll take serious acts of defiance for workers to access their money,” Besigye said, demanding that workers saving under the NSSF be given their money if they want to use it.

    BACKGROUND

    The NSSF is a National Saving Scheme mandated by Government through the National Social Security Fund Act, Cap 222 (Laws of Uganda) to provide social security services to employees in Uganda.

    The Fund is a contributory scheme and is funded by contributions from employees and employers of 5% and 10% respectively of the employee’s gross monthly wage.

    Besigye therefore strongly argues that the NSSF money is workers’ money and they’re therefore entitled to the same.

    “Most Ugandan workers were very adversely impacted by the Covid19 pandemic. Since the lockdown, they’ve been demanding to access a part of their money to help them recover,” Besigye stated.

    Besigye noted how it has taken a whole year for parliament to pass the law NSSF insisted on, and now when it has been passed, Museveni is just “hardening” the situation. “This law actually greatly limits the workers who can access the funds,” he adds.

    The Provident Fund that covers employees in the private sector since 2012 is regulated by the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority while Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development is responsible for policy oversight.

    The Fund manages assets worth over UGX 10 trillion invested in Fixed Income, Equities and Real Estate assets within the East Africa region.

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    We Shall Implement The Bamugemereire Land Commission Report After Studying It Well – M7…

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    President Yoweri Museveni

    President Museveni has said that the government will implement the Bamugemereire land commission Report once it is well studied and approved by the next Cabinet.

    Museveni, who was speaking to NRM MPs- Elect in Kyankwanzi yesterday shortly after Justice Bamugemereire ‘s presentation into land matters, said that the new Cabinet will study the report and write a white paper in response to the report.

    Thereafter, the report shall be taken back to the public to feed in their views before implementation.

    According to Museveni, the report, once implemented, shall cure both current and historical land problems which have existed since the colonial era citing the Mailo land that the British gave to chiefs and their collaborators in areas of Buganda and Bunyoro.

    “I think, this report shall help us to dismantle the old and barbaric laws that for long have hard-pressed our people, please help me to stabilize the situation once and for all,” Museveni asked the new MPs.

    The President also decried the increasing land fragmentation that has been a common practice in areas of Kigezi, Rwenzori, Mbale, Busoga among others where people have continuously divided land into tiny pieces.

    He blamed some of the NRM leaders who give a deaf ear to the advice of government against this vice.

    Museveni says that MPs should continuously educate locals against this practice and instead teach them how to share any available land with out dividing it.

    Justice Bamugemereire in her presentation said the commission has prescribed remedial measures to address the problems afflicting the systems of land administration, management, acquisition, and registration and land dispute resolution in Uganda.

    The Commission among other things wants government to addresses the challenge of the perceived subservient position of customary land by ensuring that all land including customary land is registered.

    “All land in the country should be put on a register after an adjudication process,” Bamugemereire said.

    The Commission also recommends the establishment of an institutional framework for administration of customary land within Uganda Land Services Bureau framework.

    The Land dispute situation, according to Bamugemereire was found by the commission to be a pandemic, in which mostly the well-to do persons have obtained land through illegal means, bribing their way through all systems of land administration and registration.

    Former Buganda minister, Owek Robert Kasule Sebunya, who was part of the 7-member committee asked President Museveni and MPs Elect to rebuke judges who simply issue court orders to court bailiffs to evict people in awkward hours.

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