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    OPINION: Deployment Of UPDF In DRC Is Within President’s Powers…

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    Commander of operation shujaa in the Eastern DRC against the ADF terrorists, Maj Gen Muhanga Kayanja (holding stick) with some DRC army commanders

    The surprising but not unexpected deployment of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) against ADF in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu province is a welcome development that is already giving Ugandans breathing space.

    The action had been long in coming and was not done out of lack of what to do but out of the greatest necessity given how much trouble has been brewing in that part of the region.

    From the onset, it should be understood that the deployment was done transparently, the operations are acknowledged in broad daylight and there is no element of hostile aggression on Uganda’s part.

    Most importantly, though, is the place of President Yoweri Museveni in this development; the president, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the armed forces, authorized the operations. The authority with which he acted was within his Constitutional powers, obligations and responsibilities as per the Oath he took while assuming office in swearing to protect Ugandans and their property.

    Since assuming power in 1986, President Museveni has emphasized security of person and property as the bedrock of democracy and transformation. He has made security his key constituency in the defense of which he has battled numerous threats and neutralized them. ADF has been among the few latent groups attempting a resurgence but without engaging in full scale armed rebellion as it attempted to do in 1996 when it first made incursions into Uganda through the Kasese area.

    Using isolated but coordinated surprise attacks on individuals and, lately, selected locations for bombing, ADF was working to frighten Ugandans and sow uncertain which they hoped, I believe, would tie in with political sentiments to precipitate regime change.

    In his recent addresses to the nation, the president has recounted how ADF was given a bloody nose in 2007 in the Semliki valley from where they retreated to the vast Congo jungles. From there, they started launching targeted assassinations of Muslim clerics and security personnel, investigators of the attacker and eminent pro-NRM politicians like former Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga. A spate of urban warfare was on, significantly compromising the peace of mind of Ugandans who kept wondering “if big people are being killed, how about us?” Museveni kept on assuring the nation all would be well.

    However, for some time, there was uncertainty as to who was responsible for those attacks. ADF always came up but there was a lot of speculation, with some pundits supposing the advent of a new group or some kind of insider work.

    But through painstaking and focused action of the security agencies and connecting one end to another, the real culprits were identified. And with the most recent attacks in Kampala in perspective, essential clues were gathered which confirmed that ADF was behind the bloodletting and was indeed bent on causing more damage. It was time to take decisive action!

    Before that had been established accurately, security had been treating the symptoms while the root cause of the problem remained. The deployment into DRC is meant to uproot the problem from the base and reestablish Uganda’s reputed reign of peace and tranquility. It has taken patience and sacrifice to reach this point but the action being undertaken will leave no doubts as to President Museveni’s commitment to fulfilling his obligations to Ugandans as Constitutionally enjoined.

    The president took time studying the phenomenon of the attacks that have been happening and made appropriate consultations with key allies internationally and regionally, before signing off the operations. He made it publically clear what he sought to do through his national addresses. Anybody who can claim not to have seen #OperationShujaa- as the onslaught is codenamed-coming is not serious.

    If ADF thought that the president was bluffing or that there would not be consensus among affected states then they have been rudely knocked out of their fantasies. It is time to pay, and pay heavily. This is a war that UPDF cannot lose, and the enemy knows this very well. The enemy cannot put up with the full force that Ugandans have collectively responded with.

    The overall game plan of the groups that have been working to destabilize Uganda, including the machete killer groups, was to divert the fulfillment of the NRM programmes for the country by disrupting the core constituency of security. It is safe to say that such criminal actors have no future in Uganda and had better abandon rebellion and sabotage and use Constitutional channels to advance their agenda.

    UPDF was invited to fight in Congo with the consent of the DRC government. The Congolese have suffered the deadly reality of ADF perhaps more than Ugandans. People have been butchered systematically in purges that some pundits have termed as genocide.

    Congo was tired, Uganda was tired. Why wait anymore when there is a common enemy and the means to finish him off? It was a mistake not to make this decision earlier even though there had to be full information and evidence to work with. Now there is no turning back. In any case, ADF itself invited the UPDF by attacking and killing Ugandans! It was the most viable response.

    Ugandans should fully support these operations and encourage their sons and daughters on the ground to make their country proud. Insecurity has been costing us a lot of money; once the operation succeeds, the money will be reallocated to development programmes for the benefit of Ugandans.

    At an appropriate time, the president will brief the nation on progress of the operations and other matters incidental to. Arguments about the deployment not going through Parliamentary approval are diversionary and somehow lack imagination.

    The president has addressed the nation on security matters variously in recent times. In Parliament, he sought opportunity and secured it to addressed legislators on a raft of security measures to curb the attacks marked by assassinations of prominent Ugandans over years.

    That was in 2018. Surprisingly, some of the legislators demanding for parliamentary pre-approval of the operations shunned the president’s addresses at the time for reasons best known to them but not detached from always looking at things through politically partisan lenses. Parliament is not composed of robots or aliens whose security needs are the same as those of the rest of the populace.

    Do these “bigwigs” want to suggest that because they are well-off and able to afford extra personal security the security of Ugandans does not matter? What kind of leadership is that?

    I have previously placed the blame for insecurity in the Great Lakes region-and Africa at large, at the feet of leaders-the inability to work together, inability to think straight, inability to care about the people’s plight, inability to diagnose and prescribe solutions, inability to provide leadership during time of crises and inability to read into the future of this part of the world. Museveni is not about to be part of such a disappointing lot! Any insecurity you direct at his people comes back to you!

     

    Faruk Kirundais the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    NATIONAL

    Tension Between Kooki And Buganda Kingdom: Security Arrests Kabaka’s Chiefs Carrying Out An ‘Illegal’ Activity In Kamuswaga’s Territory…

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    There is tension between the Kingdom of Buganda and the Kkooki Chiefdom after security arrested Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s  top chiefs for trespassing on the territory of Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli, the traditional head of Kooki Chiefdom.

    Julius Mpande, the Officer in Charge Rakai police Station confirmed the arrest and detention of Gertrude  Nakalanzi Ssebugwawo, the coordinator of Buganda Kingdom programmes in Kkooki Chiefdom, Joseph Mutyaba, Kabaka’s representative in Kabura county (Lumama), Paul Mwanje and Willy Kiyaga who were recently appointed by Kabaka as Kyarurangira Sub County chief and deputy respectively.

    Mpande insists that the suspects were arrested carrying out an illegal act of installing Kabaka’s new appointees without informing the leadership of Kamuswaga, a legal independent cultural institution.

    “Kkooki is an independent institution according to the documents we have and if those people were doing the right thing, I wonder why they had to hide in the bushes to perform their function” he said.

    He revealed that the arrest of Kabaka’s chiefs was done to help save the region from any bloodshed which would have resulted from the fight between Kamuswaga’s royalists and Kabaka’s representatives.

    Kamuswaga’s people were planning to attack Kabaka’s chiefs.

    Mpande added that it was wrong for Buganda Kingdom chiefs to carry out cultural activities without informing the leadership of an independent chiefdom.

    He was supported by Kkooki’s deputy prime minister Godfrey Kimbugwe who accused Buganda Kingdom officials of undermining their chiefdom well knowing that it is an independent cultural institution.

    “We are a cultural institution recognised under the laws of Uganda, why do Buganda Kingdom officials keep undermining us to the extent of sending delegations to perform activities in our area without our knowledge?” Kimbugwe said.

    However, Buganda Kingdom spokesperson Noor Kiyimba rubbished the allegations against their kingdom chiefs.

    Kiyimba maintained that installing Sub County Chiefs in any of Kabaka’s Counties is normal and nothing illegal was done. He wondered where security got powers to arrest Kabaka’s men.

    Buganda has been in a silent war with Kkooki and in 2018, Kooki Chiefdom attempted to stop Buganda’s premier Charles Peter Mayiga from visiting the area claiming that he was not given permission from the Kamuswaga to visit his cultural institution.

    Kkooki has always accussed Buganda of breaching the 1896 agreement signed between the two cultural institutions. They claim they are bigger than a mere county.

    In the heat of the disagreement, Buganda reminded Kooki that the 1896 agreement states that Kamuswaga has to pledge allegiance to the Buganda king.

    In 2016, Kkooki banned the singing of the Buganda Kingdom anthem at all functions in their territories.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    Gov’t Set To Ban Import Of Bodabodas Over Criminality….

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    The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is set to introduce a ban on the importation of bodabodas into the country.

    Speaking to CBS radio, Harriet Ntabazi the State Minister for Trade revealed that this proposal is soon going to be introduced before cabinet for discussion.

    She said that the movers of the said proposal are concerned about the number of boda bodas entering the country.

    She added that many of these boda bodas were brought in illegally via porous borders so that they can be used in committing criminalities especially robbery.

    Minister Ntabazi said that when the cabinet buys the proposal, it will be subjected to parliament for perusal and Members of Parliament will debate about it.

    She was supported by Kampala Metropolitan minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda who said that the process of regulating bodaboda business in Kampala is in the pipeline and very soon it will be implemented.

    She disclosed that bodabodas without stages will not be allowed to operate in the city since such cannot be easily traced in case of any wrongdoing.

    “They will not be chased out of the city, we just want to regulate their business and movement,” Kabanda said.

    In his last address to the nation, president Yoweri Museveni revealed that bodabodas have many problems.

    Even though he removed curfew, he stayed it for bodabodas.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    Lands Minister Nabakooba Wants Courts To Deny Land Grabbers Bail…

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    The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Hon. Judith Nabakooba has proposed a new land law stopping the granting of bail to land grabbers.

    Hon. Nabakooba also proposed that the sentences for land grabbers should be harsh so that other would be culprits are not tempted to mistreat and grab other people’s land.

    The Minister also noted that such proposals and more are included in a comprehensive report which they are working on which they will soon table before President Museveni.

    Nabakooba recently decided to embark on a field tour of rural communities in Central Uganda handling several cases of land evictions.

    During the tours, she has halted several land evictions and ordered the arrest of some of the culprits.

    “It seems Ugandans have completely lost respect for the law. Because back in the day, land evictions used to be straight forward. One went and obtained a court order. But even after getting one, they would not proceed with the eviction right away, they first consulted local leaders and engaged the law enforcement officers,” she said.

    Hon. Nabakooba added, “These days, someone gets a lawyer’s letter and then gives people two weeks to leave. I found this in Mubende. Others just come with soldiers and claim ownership of land even before the land title has been transferred to their names.”

    She also noted that even the soldiers and police who enforce these evictions are not doing so on behalf of government adding that some of them are just immoral government officials.

    “So, when you approach them and bribe them they will do your bidding without even informing their seniors,” the minister said.

     

    By Hope Kalamira

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