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Museveni Is A More Democratic Leader Than Besigye And Bobi Wine – Andrew Mwenda

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Journalist Andrew Mwenda has said that he finds Museveni a more liberal and democratic leader than his critics.

Through his Facebook page, Mwenda said, “Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye have consistently refused to stand for liberal constitutional values that make democracy work best. Instead they have consistently stood for grabbing power at any cost and in disregard to liberal values.”

Below is Mwenda’s submission:

Last week, police using heavy-handed methods stopped the MP for Kyadondo East, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, from holding a concert. Even President Yoweri Museveni agreed that the brutality police employed was uncalled for. To make a bad situation worse, the Uganda Communications Commission then ordered television stations to fire reporters, programmers and producers who were involved in the live coverage of this event.

There was public uproar from Uganda’s chattering elites on how Museveni has continued to “suppress democracy” and entrench a “dictatorship.” It is cool to denounce Museveni these days, the very reason many Ugandan elites are addicted to it. Naïve-minded diplomats from Western embassies (who have taken over Bobi Wine’s cause) plus media and human rights groups abroad will applaud your “courage”. All these groups look at people like Bobi Wine and project them to be fighting for democracy.”

He added “This structure of incentives has created an uncritical embrace of intolerant extremist individuals and groups seeking to grab power and establish their own fascist dictatorship. Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye have consistently refused to stand for liberal constitutional values that make democracy work best. Instead they have consistently stood for grabbing power at any cost and in disregard to liberal values. In spite of these actions by his government, I find Museveni a more liberal-democratic leader than his critics.

Thus in their pursuit of power, Bobi Wine and Besigye have mobilized groups that are intolerant of dissent, violent and uncouth. They do not recognize honest difference of opinion. Anyone who disagrees with them has been bought by Museveni and therefore has lost his/her conscience and sold his/her soul. In pursuit of ideological purity, they have suppressed every dissenting voice in their ranks.”

He continued “Armed with a suffocating self-righteousness, they descend on their opponents on social media with fanatical zeal. They indulge in unrestrained cyber bullying: hurl insults and abuses at real and presumed enemies, preach hate, promise revenge and destruction and spread false accusations to inflict psychological terror. They intimidate and physically assault everyone who disagrees with them. If they can act like this out of power, what would they do when they gain command of the repressive instruments of the state – the army with its tanks, the police with its teargas and water canons?

I appear on television often and criticize the government and the opposition. I give government credit where it is due, and credit opposition leaders like Nobert Mao and Mugisha Muntu whom I feel hold liberal values. In response, the supporters of Bobi Wine and Besigye launch petitions to the owners of these stations to block me from appearing there. It is of course their democratic right to make such petitions. But it also suggests that when in power and in control of the state, they will not allow their opponents any rights.

One could argue, perhaps innocently and/or ignorantly, that Bobi Wine and Besigye cannot be responsible for the violence and intolerance of their supporters because they have little or no control over them. Such a person can also argue that Museveni, on the other hand, has direct command and control of the behavior of the police. But Bobi Wine and Besigye have one great power they can exercise: they can consistently and loudly condemn these acts in their supporters, insisting that such behavior violets their values. And I know both encourage and organize these tyrannical strategies. 

There are many Ugandan intellectuals whom I hold in high esteem. However, I have consistently been frustrated and disappointed that while they exhibit extraordinary courage in denouncing Museveni’s dictatorial tactics, they have exhibited saddening cowardice when it comes to the opposition. They dare not speak out against obvious evidence of intolerance among these opposition activists for fear of being “misunderstood” by opposition activists as closet Museveni sympathizers and then be denounced. May be Museveni’s dictatorial ways create so much sympathy for his victims that this blinds such people from condemning the obvious?

I cannot understand how anyone who believes in liberal values that are critical for a functioning democracy can stand silent when those claiming to be fighting for freedom deny it to their opponents. Muntu has repeated this many times: you cannot give what you do not have. Bobi Wine and Besigye cannot give Uganda tolerance of divergent views when they get into power when they do not have it now. The conclusion I draw from this experience is that there is a struggle for power in Uganda, and no struggle of liberal democracy.

For all his faults, I find Museveni to actually hold deep liberal democratic values at heart, even though his desire to retain the presidency forces him on many occasions to violet them to protect his power. I grew up as a journalist critical of Museveni. I exposed corruption and human rights abuses of his government not to mention his own nepotism. Yet throughout my career, most especially when I was at The Monitor, Museveni would call me to express disagreement on an article I had written – on the facts or the logical consistence of my argument. He even appeared on my radio show.

Of course on occasion he sent me to jail, clearly demonstrating that life is more complicated in reality. But he would invite me to state house for discussions or call and talk to me on phone. Museveni has always been consistent in ensuring debate. In the 1990s he used to call into radio talk shows to argue his case. He visits radio stations and appears on radio and television talks shows like Capital Gang where he debates his opponents. Few presidents in Africa do this.

As I have grown older, I have become more reflective of this reality and developed what I think is a more realistic view of the political terrain in Uganda. Democracy (which is largely about the procedures of acquiring and maintaining power) can be dangerous when not underwritten by liberal values. Liberal values guarantee individual rights such as the right to property (which opposition activists promise to confiscate), administering a fair court system, protecting the rights of minorities and equality before the law.

There are many weaknesses in Uganda’s regime of property rights and the judicial system. However, Museveni largely respects these rights. That is why his opponents’ properties, including Besigye and Bobi Wine, cannot be confiscated. His opponents need to exhibit similar convictions for us who believe in liberal democracy to trust them. For now, the “dictatorship” they claim to fight is more democratic than their own proven behavior.”

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NATIONAL

Stop Debating MP’s OTT, Concentrate On Where The Money To Finance Next Year’s Budget Is Going To Come From – MP Nambooze

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Mukono Municipality legislator Betty Nambooze Bakireke has cautioned Ugandans to stop concentrating on small diversionary matters like MP’s OTT and instead focus on where the money to finance next year’s financial budget is going to come from.

Below is Nambooze’s Facebook post:

When MPs were given iPads, I felt that it wasn’t necessary and hence I don’t use one. The ongoing OTT hullabaloo has nothing to do with Nambooze. I have my own gadgets and I service them…I can’t use Parliamentary iPads that are on one central server and I believe in teaching myself to live- off free things.

But still I am surprised at the way Ugandans behave….as a Country we pick on small matters sentionalise them, become cynical and get diverted from the most important things! And we opposition Politicians are not innocent at all we are guilty of ridding on excitement created by the media and doing so little in guiding public debate.

Now,apart from diverting society what is in 36000/- to a member of Parliament AND what is in 110 million to Uganda? What if every MP pays his/her OTT or what if Parliament picks the bill.I mean what is big about this matter whichever way it goes? Suppose Parliament drops this expenditure as they are likely to do,will that turn the next budget into a prudent and fair economic plan?

The important matter remains leveling a tax on social media use;it’s unfair and a primitive tax. At the moment government would be telling us how much they collected from OTT in it’s first year and how the funds from this new tax we’re utilised.

Two, the 2019/2020 bugdet is being projected at 34,trillions.Ugandans would be interesting themselves in knowing where this money is to come from.

The Health budget is reducing from Shs2.3 trillion to Shs2.2 trillion.

Education is equally in facing a cut from Shs2.7 trillion from shs2.6 trillion.

Ministry of Works has increased its claim from Shs4.7 trillion to Shs5.3 trillion, maintaining their lead in allocations.

Treasury operations, which deals with domestic debt refinancing, still takes a total of Shs9.5 trillion, which must worry everybody.

There is need to drastically restructure government agencies to curb sagging expenditure and relocate funds to sectors that benefit our people. In 2017, government announced merger of its agencies to improve efficiency and end duplication of roles; why isn’t this being inplemented?

On Security, which is classified expenditure, the budget is giving them Shs1.9 trillion while Agriculture is getting only Shs919.8 billion. Uganda is not at war,why put more money in security than Agriculture?

Shouldn’t the debate be about these important matters instead of the diversionary MP’s OTT?

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CRIME

Govt Spent Over 100 Million To Bring Suzan Magara Killer Home, Pato’s Lawyers Cry Foul – Security Has Denied Us Access To See Our Client

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Lawyers representing incarcerated Patrick Kasaija commonly known as Pato, the key suspect in the murder of Suzan Magara have pleaded with security agencies to allow them to access their client.  In an exclusive interview with the Grapevine, counsel Evans Ochenge revealed that they have been denied access to their client.

“We have tried to talk to them through writing and engaged them at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) headquarters but we were denied access to see him. They are violating the human rights of Pato by denying his right to access his lawyers and doctors,” Ochange revealed.  He further told this website that as lawyers, they are going to continue asking the security organs to grant them access to their clients.

Some of the suspects who have already been convicted to the High Court

Ochange also added that even the family members have not been allowed to see him. Sources from the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) have told this website that all the investigations against Pato concerning the murder of Magara are done and very soon he will be paraded at Buganda road court. 

A senior prosecutor explained that Pato will soon be arained in Buganda road court where he will receive his committal papers legally on top of the 8 other suspects who have been already committed to high court.   Pato was extradited from South Africa after he lost the legal battle where he was protesting his extradition back to Uganda to face kidnap and murder related charges. Another Source from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has told this website that the government of Uganda has spent over shs100m on the process of extraditing Pato. He told us that the DPP’s office last spent such huge amounts of money during the Jamil Mukulu extradition from Tazania.

President Museveni himself revealed that he had to talk to his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa about Pato’s criminality. Currently, Pato is detained at SIU security center Kireka and next week, he is expected to appear before Buganda Road Magistrate. Pato is accused with 8 others of Kidnaping and killing Suzan Magara who was the administrator of the family businesses as well as a cashier for Bwendo Dairy Farm in Hoima. The suspects after being paid ransom of shs700m from the family of the diseased, even after the president had at first refused them to pay the ransom went ahead and killed Magara. Magara was murdered and her body was dumped on Entebbe express high way.

By Jamil Lutakome

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NEWS

PICTURES: Stop Blaming Everybody On The Death Of Our Twins – Minister Kibuule’s Nalongo Pleads With Husband

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Kibuule's wife Fortunate addressing mourners as husband looks on

Nnaalongo Fortunate Alindinda Kibuule, the wife to the State Minister for Water Resource, Hon. Ronald Kibuule and mother to his twins, that died in the swimming pool on Monday has pleaded with her husband to stop accusing and blaming everybody over the death of their sons.

“We are passing through a trying moment but I ask my beloved ssalongo to stop blaming and accusing everybody on the death of our twins. Ssalongo, even if it was not the swimming pool, our children might have died from other causes,” Fortunate told mourners during the burial yesterday. The grieved mother was speaking before thousands of mourns at Kapeke, Nama Village Mbalala, Mukono district, who escorted the bodies of Rayden Kato and Raymond Wasswa, who died in the swimming pool on Monday evening, to their final resting place. 

Yesterday, this website reported that Fortunate survived being arrested and detained as a suspect in the death of the twins.  A source revealed that on Monday evening Kibuule, during a secret family meeting ordered. CID Director Grace Akullo to arrest Nalongo and interrogate her because over the death of his children.

Akullo, NRM Chief Whip Ruth Nakabirwa, Pastors Henry Nyanzi and Samuel Lwandasa had to calm the minister down and save Nalongo from being arrested. It should be noted that peace Nakunda a housemaid, Lawrence Kabaya a shamba boy, Scovia Nabubwema also a housemaid and Agripa Kumanya, were later arrested to help in investigating how the twins died in the swimming pool.

SPEAKER KADAGA ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH KIBUULE

During the burial, the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga revealed that her and Kibuule have come a long way that is why she failed to preside over the parliamentary sitting when his good friend is grieved. Kadaga said that she first got in touch with Kibuule before his appointment as the state minister for youth. She said that before the appointment, Kibuule frequented her office begging her to recommend him to become a minister. Kadaga also told mourners that Kibuule can’t take a day without talking to her on phone, and she always picks gifts from him whenever she’s driving past Mbalala to her home district of Kamuli.

M7 MORNS KIBUULE’S KIDS

President Yoweri Museveni also joined other Ugandans to mourn the death of Kibuule’s kids.  In the statement read by Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, Museveni said that the death of Kibuule’s twins was unfortunate. He prayed to God to comfort the parents. The burial was attended by several government dignitaries, foreign and local investors and area locals.

By Joseph Luboyera and Jamil Lutakome

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