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    OPINION: Journalists Are Now Crying Because They’ve Been Victimised But It’s Not New – Andrew Mwenda Speaks Out On Police, Military Brutality…

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    Andrew Mwenda (L) inset are some of the journalists who were brutalised by security forces

    Veteran political reporter, Andrew Mwenda, has reacted to yesterday’s ugly proceedings where the police and military unleashed brutality on journalists who were covering National Unity Platform (NUP) principal, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine as he took his petition to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights office in Kampala.

    Here is the investigative journalist’s opinion about the police and army brutality against journalists reproduced verbatim;

    Museveni’s violence and what it should teach us;

    Yesterday the NRM government, in characteristic style, used military police to unleash violence against a group of activists escorting Bobi Wine to the UN Human Rights office to deliver a petition. It was the same old style with an added level of brutality this time mercilessly employed against journalists. The evening news and some comments from some of our “development partners” made the beating of journalists a big deal.

    I am a journalist and I run a newspaper but I find it self indulgent for us to make this about us.  Ugandan journalists are angry at being terrorized by security forces alongside other citizens as if they are a special category entitled to an exemption. This is a story of the state use of arbitrary violence against citizens, journalists only being a part!

    When journalists position themselves as a special category that should be exempted from the indignities and violence other citizens suffer at the hands of the state, they lose sight of the actual story. The story becomes about them as a profession instead of all the citizens.

    I am even more shocked some Ugandan elites think this is new. The use of violence has been a characteristic feature of NRM from its inception. The issue has always been which group in which region is targeted based on its attitude towards NRM. The direction of this violence seems to be changing from the North and North East to Buganda based on recent voting patterns.

    The NRM claimed its struggle was against arbitrary use of violence by the state. But it used violence to come to power. I wonder why anyone would think it would restrain itself from employing the same violence to retain that power. Its admirers, like the admirers of Uganda’s mainstream opposition today, failed to see this.

    This is why it’s critical for us to critique the groups that seek to wrestle power from NRM. What are their values? How do they treat those who criticize them? Without raising these issues we risk rotating on roundabout forever. And opposition activists hate me for this insight.

    There is nothing new about NRM’s behavior. Just ask the people in those parts of Uganda like West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Teso and Kasese who at one time of another opposed NRM. What we saw yesterday was chicken feed. In fact this is why we don’t need a mere change from NRM as a group but as a system of rule. We need a group with a different politics – politics of tolerance of divergent views, of accommodation of diversity (ethnic, religious or ideological) etc.

    If we do not insist that the forces of change must demonstrate to us a different mode of conduct, then we are giving them license to remove Museveni but not Musevenism, NRM but not NRMism. That has been the persistent tragedy of Uganda and Africa – change of guard not of values which shapes conduct.

    A large cross section of Ugandan elites hate me for exposing this, their myths and shallowness; their tendency to be driven by momentary anger (perhaps understandable) and thus embracing one violent group to wrestle power from another violent group and mistaking that for the change they want or hoping that once in power such an intolerant and violent group will change its ways.

    I am not willing to trade Museveni’s violence with anyone else’s violence. If I disagree with you and instead of responding to my arguments you hurl insults and abuses at me, you subject me to psychological terror, then you are telling me how you will use state power when criticized. Then I know you are not the change we need!

    It is harder to shape the behavior of any group once it captures power – for then it has money to rent political support and armies and weapons to coerce loyalty and suppress dissent. But it is easier to shape the behavior of a group seeking power because all it has is the power of persuasion. So before we join any group to denounce Museveni and his violence, can we ask for the values of this group?

    Many Ugandan elites get terrified by this insight because it unmasks their naivety and opportunism. I understand that people feel sympathy for a group being terrorized by the state and that this blinds them to the nature of such a group. They are always focused on the form not the substance, driven by the immediate and ignoring the long term and let their feelings cloud their reasoning. And that is what allows demagogues and opportunists to grab power.

     

    The writer, is a veteran investigative journalist, Political analyst and founder/owner of The Independent News Magazine.

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    NATIONAL

    OPINION: Let’s Push To Rescue Ugandans From Land Mafia…

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    Article 237(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda states that land belongs to the citizens of Uganda and Article 26(1) protects the right to own property either individually or in association with others for instance groups of people who hold land communally. This privilege of the right to own land privately is peculiar to only a few countries, with Uganda being among those whose democratic dispensation allows its citizens to enjoy extensive land rights.

    However, amidst this right to freely own land, and with ever shrinking land resources on account of population increase and other pressures, land fraud and mismanagement threaten to destroy the terrestrial tranquility that we have traditionally enjoyed and which is the baseline of our harmonious existence on mother earth.

    Land is inelastic, costly and highly sought after in the Ugandan context where rapid ground development is taking place every single day. Those who are lucky to have inherited ample spaces of land from their parents or those that foresaw the spike in land value when it was still obtainable and affordable are lords in every sense of the word. Someone with land is rich and able to navigate the highs and lows of the economy, either by selling off some of it or developing it in agriculture or real estate. Others mortgage their land and use proceeds to do business.

    Rapid population growth, combined with either limited opportunities for non-agricultural employment opportunities or increasing demand for land for other kinds of use is a key factor that causes land values to appreciate, resulting in greater squeeze and competition for a decreasing amount of land available. This is a major catalyst of conflicts across generations.

    Due to its “gold” status, unscrupulous players (bafere) have squeezed into the land market with rigorous fraudulent schemes that are catching land owners, managers, administrators, law enforcers- and even Government- by surprise. They claim to be connected but I think their connections are in the line of links with a mafia network taking advantage of the goodwill of Government and the ignorance of land owners, and the vulnerability of certain categories of Ugandans such as the elderly, the young, those living abroad but with estates on ground and with no next of kin to advise them or manage property for them.
    The most alarming of the land mafia schemes is that involving forgery of land documentation, making it possible to execute illegal transactions on lands they have no legal claim on. How this works is that these criminals, who most probably have connections in the offices responsible for land management, identify “suitable” land in the system or which they have physically seen or whose history they are privy to.

    They then seek out original documentation and change the folio or volume, which in effect makes the title a different one but over the same land in question. Or where no title exists, they create counterfeits without a basis in how they acquired it (the land)-neither bequeathed to them nor purchased. This affects the land register at large and creates uncertainty in the market. The land mafia simply grabs people’s land from right under their feet, and we must push to save our vulnerable citizens!

    The disorganisation and confusion in the existing registration system and procedures make prevention of fraudulent transactions all the more complicated, despite Government’s efforts and best intentions.

    The leadership may intervene to resolve issues like illegal evictions and compensating and resettling squatters but the compromised registry environment and damaged and outdated land records leave little room for the genuine owners and clients to protect themselves or get reliable information about their property. This affects their settlement and exploitation (development) of the land.

    In the case of the Government, development of public infrastructure projects such as roads is hampered where the Government has to contend with illegal occupants purporting to have authentic documentation on its land.

    This is where digitization of records will curb part of the problem. The mafia could still log in and compromise the network. Actually, it may be easier to manipulate that system more than the analogue, paper based one. What is required is having well trained lands managers with integrity to resist the fraudsters and save mother Uganda from being parceled out by the cabal which has no consideration for propriety or the interest of bonafide occupants or owners. It is due to incidents of multiple ownership of land that conflict and bloody evictions are happening.

    Furthermore, when challenged legally or otherwise, they forge sale agreements, wills and court orders to bolster their bogus dealings. Such practices are more common in urban areas but catching on in rural areas, and it’s time that assertive measures are undertaken to prevent the land system from being captured and literally mortgaged to the detriment of communal and national development.

    Stronger interventions should be made to streamline land ownership, management and transactions to prevent social breakdown, disharmony and “ground capture”.

    It is also a fact that knowledge on law and rights is limited amongst communities. I bet that the majority of Ugandans have little knowledge or land rights and the correct procedure to follow to acquire or safeguard their land. It’s everyone’s duty to know the law and the accompanying procedures on land ownership and management to get ahead of the “competition” and protect one’s Constitutionally conferred rights in that regard.

    I have been notified of the activities of unqualified land surveyors who disregard professional standards, leading to mistakes being done during boundary openings, where you find boundaries crosscutting. What are such characters doing in this vital sector?

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Contact: kirundaf2@gmail.com
    0776980486/0702980486

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    NEWS

    Minister Mayanja: Here Is Why Judiciary’s Independence Is Not Absolute…

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    Minister Dr. Sam Mayanja

    The Judiciary power is derived from the people and exercises its mandate under the constitution as per Article 126 in the name of the people and in conformity with law and with the values, norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda.

    The   independence of the judiciary is not achieved in an instant act, but rather over a period of time by a continuous struggle which takes place within the framework of an ongoing and dynamic process.

    At Independence in 1962, Uganda inherited a judicial system which was an integral branch of the executive rather than an institution for the administration of justice. The colonial administration was mainly interested in the maintenance of law and order.

    It had no respect for the independence of the judiciary or for the fundamental rights of the ruled. The judiciary was that part of the structure which enforced law and order.

    The colonial judiciary was therefore an instrument of control of the executive power, lacked credibility and therefore enjoyed little respect.

    The 1995 constitution marked a departure from this colonial narrative when under Article 126 (1) a definitive description of the role of an independent judiciary responsive not only to the law but also to the values, norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda is given.

    This sanctity of the people is guaranteed by the vesting in an elected President, all Executive Authority under Article 99 (1) of the Constitution, and under Article 99 (2) vesting in his mandate to execute and maintain the constitution. Accordingly when the values, norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda are ignored by the Judiciary itself, the constitution has mandated the President to intervene in his capacity as the last bastion of the constitutional enforcement under Article 99 (2).

    Accordingly when the Judiciary orders properties like Mosques or Churches to be put on sell by public auction or private treaty in disregard of the citizen’s values, norms and aspirations towards places of worship, orders bibanja holders to be evicted ignoring their right to security of occupancy, orders bibanja holders to forfeit their holding without compensation, alienates public land to traditional rulers, or sacrifices substantive justice at the altar of legal technicalities, then a situation arises for His Excellency to exercise Presidential mandate under Article 99 (1) (2) to safeguard people’s aspirations under Article 126 (1) and 126 (2) (e) and intervene guiding the Judiciary back to the constitutional path.

    The independence of the judiciary does not mean just the creation of an autonomous institution free from the control and influence of the executive and the legislature. Rather it must be seen within a structure where judges are appointed according to their merits, academic credentials, seniority, and other conditions established by the laws of Uganda bolstered by a system where persons selected for judicial office are individuals of integrity and ability.

    This method of judicial selection safeguards against judicial appointments for improper motives and is cardinal to independence of the Judiciary in Uganda. It is further bolstered by adequate remuneration, conditions of service, pensions and the age of retirement being adequately secured by law. The Judges have guaranteed tenure until a mandatory retirement age.

    The provision in article 99 (1) (2) and (3) ensures that the independence of the judiciary is not used for one department of government to be in a position to dominate the others. It should rather be seen within the constitution which provides for the composition and powers of the executive, the legislature, and for the judiciary. A constitution is one living organ, no one article destroys the other, rather they all support each other.

    It must be recognized that in the Third World Countries where Uganda is one, there are times where there is complete constitutional breakdown or revolution, which occurs because of the constitutional inadequacy or of a successful coup d’etat generally followed    by imposition of martial law or army rule.

    This constitutional breakdown creates an environment in which constitutional and conventional restraints become inoperative. The legislative and judicial branches become subordinated to the executive which may itself become subordinated to the military. In the landmark case of ex-parte Matovu, the Court took judicial recognition of a successful revolution.

    Sometimes in the life of the nation, circumstances which are not legal but basically political arise where the solution can only be political. An example is where an extraordinary situation arises and the government must declare a state of emergency and judicial independence gives way to executive and security management of a situation which has arisen. It is a situation beyond which the judiciary-courts do not decide political questions.

    It must always be borne in mind that judges are, after all, human and although they are professionally trained to be fair, and fearless in discharging their functions, they are as wearable as anyone else to human frailties. It therefore becomes clear that achieving judicial independence is not only legal, but a social, cultural and political problem as well, rendering Article 99 (2) politically and judicially imperative.

     

    Dr. Sam Mayanja

    Minister of State for Lands

    smayanja@kaa.co.ug

    www.kaa.co.ug

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    NEWS

    Bobi Wine & UFC Alliance Already Weeping; His Dwindled Support Exposed In Another Failed Gig…

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    NUP boss Bobi Wine (R) and his long time friend Nubian Lee (L) at the grave of fallen singer Paul Kafeero. Inset R is the writer Mubiru George

    There is some stubbornness about President Museveni of never being frightened and kotowing to the will of others.

    His courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate him and the ‘wananchi’.

    After the United Forces of Change (UFC) declared protests and failed to create impact, citizens and the international community have realized the drastic fall of fame of mostly Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine who has been lying to them that Gen. Museveni has weakened and his government will fall soon before 2026.

    I, and other 4 researchers decided not to follow just reports from the press and media.

    We devoted our time and resources to know the real strength of UFC and Bobi Wine in the public.

    We drove through Kampala and the whole metropolitan area up to the south central districts of Mpigi, Kalungu, Masaka, Kyotera, Rakai, Lyantonde and Lwengo before heading back to Busoga to witness what would really happen in Iganga on the 22nd.

    Indeed it was a taste of time for the legendary president and security given that the proclamation came at a critical time when the country was hosting two huge conferences of NAM and G77+China.

    However, the circumspect old political tactician just snagged the opportunity and came out victorious as the new chairman of both organisations out manoeuvring the detraction of his political foes.

    As usual, security forces ensured safety of citizens and the visitors. However, important to note is that there was no scuffle which warranted teargas or engagement with the wananchi and the faded politicians.

    Amidst the deployment of security at Kyagulanyi’s Magere based home, Bobi wine was peacefully let out of his home to join his supporters in Kampala city, something he later wanted to build on to lie to the people that he used mysterious tricks to beat the security out of his home.

     I want to thank Ugandans who minded their businesses and shun the egocentric group. Bobi wine traversed various parts of Kampala hoping to live his reputation of previous crowd pulling.

    To our amusement, he was accompanied by a group of about 20 people. He failed to attract the usual crowds he had in the initial stages of his political career. This justified the assumption that initially, people were interested in seeing Bobi wine the musician.

     We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change.

    Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

    Kyagulanyi’s actions are contrary to this. He planted a few banana suckers, visited some ghetto areas and paid homage to late Paul Kafero’s grave but it didn’t work out for him.

    People completely boycotted him.

    In a dramatic bizarre turn of events, he resorted to seeking attention specifically through provoking police to cause confrontation and chaos such that he could pick the sympathy from the people but security ignored him. This exposed him further. To make matters worse, he was shunned by his fellow party leaders like; Nambeshe, Segona, Abed Bwanika, Namboze, Mufumbiro, Kyebakutika, etc etc… who were not seen anywhere mobilizing or espousing those activities.

    Even his Secretary General, Rubongoya, tried to plant one sucker but no one bothered or cheered him.

    If you neglect to exercise self-control, you are not only likely to injure others, but also sure to injure yourself.

    He feared the Basoga to expose and undress him before the world on 22nd January, the day he was supposed to take his protests to Iganga, the central district of Busoga.

    Instead he cowardly posted on his social media while posing and traveling in a taxi, another jig which totally failed to attract even ten people. This was the last straw in his back which demonstrated that his political light bulb went off.

    Aware of further disappointments, his Secretary General announced the suspension of protests earlier in the day citing weak reasons. They detected total embarrassment in the northern district of Lira the following day after Iganga.

    The embarrassed Bobi Wine had no alternative other than returning to his Magere based residence peacefully. He convened a press conference where he consoled himself with his usual hide and seek lies to a few of his believers. In a hopeless attempt of explanation, the pain of frustration made him to quench his anger by attacking the UN secretary general.

    What does it mean for Bobi Wine’s protests to be shunned by the majority of NUP Members of Parliament?

    This is a question which lingers in the  heads of many Ugandans. I think it’s a sign that the non espousal leaders nolonger believe in him. They feel betrayed by him. They see someone riding on them to make money from the Western donors to enrich himself, his family and a few close associates.    It’s also a signal that they believe in the marverick general of the world.

    Similarly, as it’s said, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone”, this saying came true of the late when Yasin Kawuma’s widow confessed to the world that all politicians (Bobi Wine inclusive) forgot and abandoned them.

    This must have further opened the eyes of many Ugandans who were being hoodwinked by the fickle Bobi Wine.

    I predict, UFC and its actors are already weeping. It’s already a total flop. Brilliant people like Mugisha Muntu, Winnie Kiiza, Besigye etc should be regretting and I predict they will quit very soon.

    Let me end with the saying of Greek philosopher Plato who said, “I am not given to finding fault, for there are innumerable fools.”

     

    The writer, George Mubiru, is a Jinja based researcher

    and NRM mobilizer. Tel: 0754877595

    georgemubiru93@gmail.com

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