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    OPINION: Keep Politics Out Of Karamoja Security Operations – Faruk Kirunda…

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    Faruk Kirunda, the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    First, I wish to send sympathy to the people of Karamoja who have been affected by the insecurity arising from the raids by marauding groups that have terrorised the sub-region in recent times. The sympathy extends to neighbouring areas like Teso, Acholi, Lango and Sebei that have experienced incursions by the raiders.

    I thank the security forces for being on top of the situation, and commiserating with the forces on personnel lost while carrying out their duties to stabilise the sub-region. The people of Karamoja are peace-loving and development-oriented. It is only a few deviants involved in this, with others crossing over from Kenya among the Turkana.

    But, whatever the formation of the gangs and the pattern their activities take, they cannot defeat our security forces or disorganise the whole country. Their criminality needs to come to an end, immediately, for serenity to return so that people return to normal business.
    While the overriding factor behind the raids is cultural in nature-the traditional nomadic lifestyle and competition for herd strength, the solution lies in getting the people to abandon backward practices and embrace modern farming practices from which they can reap more.

    And while that is in process, it is unfortunate that politicians are capitalising on the situation in Karamoja to build political capital. It’s most unfortunate that some leaders are speaking with mixed intentions-they are against rustling during the day but leading raids in the night. How can we have such (mis) leaders in our midst at a critical time?
    What Karamoja needs is sympathy and solutions to address the criminality, not using the situation to build personal careers or scooping freebies from donors.

    It was most unfortunate, recently, when former presidential candidate, Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu (Bobi Wine), went abroad and used Karamoja as a bargaining chip to advance his political and personal interests. Bobi Wine addressed a forum in Europe where he claimed that the people of Karamoja were being harassed and killed by the Government of President Yoweri Museveni for supporting him-Bobi Wine. This was a surprising claim that I did not expect from someone of my generation. Not only was it an absolute lie, it was also misplaced.

    Bobi Wine’s party, NUP, won only one youth council seat in one district out of nine districts. Out of 26 Parliamentary seats, the ruling NRM won 25, while one went to an Independent who is NRM-leaning. Bobi Wine himself got 5.3% of votes against President Museveni’s 90%. Going by this measure of support and popularity, Bobi Wine has no claim beyond what he scored in the elections.

    Karamoja is pro-Museveni and majority of the people are for stability and transformation. Unless the NUP leader is telling us that his supporters are responsible for the raiding and insecurity, which would imply that there is something he knows about causes of the heightened insecurity. Is it politically-engineered (to punish the Karimojong) for choosing as they did or an attempt to turn them against the Government?

    Disarmament and security operations against roaming armed karacunas is an old and recurrent phenomenon in Karamoja that predates NUP. Operations against rustlers are full time, with peak and off-peak seasons. Attempts to use alternative peace means to disarm the rustlers and change their lifestyle have worked but not always, even when the sub-region is predominantly NRM. The community has failed to get rid of cultural tendencies despite the Government’s modernization programme.

    If any of the acts of cattle raiding are permissible within Karamoja, they cannot be tolerated because they are not limited to Karamoja. Cattle raids and security breaches are extending to Teso, parts of Sebei, Acholi and Lango regions. In the mix are marauding groups from across the border in Kenya where the Turkana have been crossing over and wreaking havoc.

    So, while some local leaders and their Kampala-based and foreign backers may want to drag Karamoja backwards into the era of the 1970s and early 1980s when there was total lawlessness, social disorder, backwardness and bloodshed, they will face an uphill task. The people of Karamoja have already seen the light and the Government will do all that’s possible to accord them a safe environment to utilize their lands and the great infrastructural developments that have been rolled out to ease modernization.

    Those who were not there pre-1986 or those who had not interested themselves in the state of the Sub-Region will be glad to know that Karamoja has a new face. If it was not for Government efforts, the situation would be dire and the place a total no-go- area. Renewed efforts and operations to rid the area of cattle rustling and other forms of criminality should be supported without politicising anything.

    It is very selfish and a mockery to use the difficulties of the people of Karamoja for political convenience. People have lost life and property in the fighting. They can’t wait for normalcy to be restored. Divisive politics is the last thing they want to hear.

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Email: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug
    0776980486/ 0702980486

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    MY MONEY

    Travellers Left In Shock After City Businessman Dies On Ethiopian Airlines Flight From Dubai…

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    Travellers and staff at Entebbe International Airport were on Tuesday afternoon left in panic mode after a businessman identified as Yusuf Kulembera died aboard Ethiopian Airlines plane minutes after it landed at Entebbe International Airport.

    Without revealing the cause of his death, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA) spokesperson, Vianney Luggya, noted that doctors confirmed Kulembera’s death upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport.

    “The passenger arrived aboard Ethiopian airlines that touched down at 1:47 pm. The doctors checked and confirmed his death. The body was then taken to City Mortuary Mulago, Kampala for postmortem,” Luggya confirmed.

    According to reports, Kulembera, a resident of Nkumba, Katabi Town Council in Wakiso District was flying to Dubai for business.

     

    By Kobusiinge Monica

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    CELEBRITY GOSSIP

    Why Money Lender Is Auctioning Bitature’s Multibillion Posh Hotels, Tycoon’s Lawyers Reveals Next Step…

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    Tycoon Bitature (Top R) and some of the properties that the money lender wants to take

    Vantage Mezzanine Fund 11 Partners, a South Africa money lending company through their lawyers of M/S Kirunda & Wasige Advocates have hired the services of Quickway Auctioneers & Court Bailiffs to auction properties worth billions belonging to city tycoon Patrick Bitature, the proprietor of the Simba Properties Investments Companies Limited.

    In an Advert placed in Wednesday’s Daily Monitor newspaper, the Court Bailiffs informed the debtor Bitature that he has only 30 days to pay the amount of money with interests borrowed from their client otherwise his properties will be sold off through auctioning.

    Among the properties which the set to be sold include Protea Hotel-Naguru (Skyz Hotel), Elizabeth Royal Apartments and Moyo Close Apartments.

    Bitature’s troubles started in 2014 when he secured a $10m loan from Vantage Mezzanine and he used the said properties as security.

    However, Bitature’s lawyer Fred Muwema rubbished the said auctioning claiming that it is illegal and violates the laws governing the auctioning process.

    The advert in today’s Daily Monitor auctioning Bitature’s properties

    The furious lawyer even threatened to sue the Daily Monitor for advertising illegal and malicious information against his client claiming that the matter was settled in Justice Musa Ssekaana’s ruling.

    He insisted that High Court judge Ssekana refused to allow the auctioning and advised both parties to wait for the pending judgement before the High Court Commercial Division in Kampala.

    Vantage Mezzanine dragged Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB), Simba Properties Investment Company Limited, Simba Telecom Limited, Linda Properties Limited, Elgon Terrace Hotel Limited to court for failing to transfer the mortgaged properties into their names.

    When Bitature failed to pay his loan, Vantage started the process of transferring the shares of the mortgaged properties but URSB refused to implement the process that is why they were also sued.

    In their suit, Vantage wanted a Court declaration that it was illegal for URSB to refuse to register documents lodged to transfer the mortgage.

    However, Bitature through his lawyers wants Court to declare that it was illegal for Vantage to register the transfer until the completion of the Commercial Court matter.

    An affidavit from Moses Muziki, on behalf of the applicant stated that on 18th June, 2021, the applicant lodged documents relating to the transfer of shares in Simba Properties Investments Company Limited, Simba Properties Limited, Linda Properties Limited and Elgon Terrace Hotel Limited.

    He added that the respondents did not comply with the law and did not provide the applicant with a satisfactory reason for not registering the shares and their lawyers learnt that the respondent’s lawyers were requesting to halt the process.

    “This Court would have issued an order of mandamus compelling the applicant’s request to consider the registration of their documents on merit or advance reasons for denial or refusal to register the same in accordance with the law,” the judge ruled.

    Muwema based on the above ground to protest the process of auctioning their client’s properties.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Kabaka Mutebi, Tycoon Ham Kiggundu Kigo Land War Deepens As BLB Boss Faces Prosecution Over Conflict Of Interest …

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    Tycoon Ham Kiggundu (L) and Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi (R). Inset is Bashir Juma

    Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s Kigo Land war with city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu, the proprietor of the Ham Enterprises Limited has deepened after Ham’s lawyers called for the prosecution of Buganda Land Board (BLB) boss Bashir Kizito Juma over conflict of interest.

    Kabaka through his lawyers led by Buganda Attorney Christopher Bwanika, lawyers from K&K Advocates and S&L Advocates petitioned the registrar Land Registration John Karuhanga seeking the cancellation of land titles Comprised on Kyadondo Block 273 plot 23974, 23976, 23975, 23977 and Kyadondo Block 273 plot 87,99, 110 situated at Kigo in Wakiso district.

    Kabaka asserted that he is the rightful owner of the land and accused Ham of fraudulently conniving with officers at Wakiso district land board to grab his land which he inherited from his father and grandfathers.

    He added that Ham admitted that he illegally obtained the land and accepted the cancellation which he strongly objected to in his defense before Karuhanga.

    In his defense, Ham, through his lawyers led by Fred Muwema contended that he is the owner of the land after he legally obtained it from Wakiso district land board.

    He claimed that the survey report which Kabaka Mutebi based on to argue his case is fake since it is not even dated and that’s the reason why he appointed a private surveyor William Matovu to conduct another survey report which contradicted with that of the Kabaka. He promised to present it to the registrar.

    He pleaded to the registrar not to base on the testimony of Bashir Kizito Juma, the legal Attorney to Kabaka because he has a conflict of interest in the matter.

    “Our contention is that there is an actual conflict of interest in the duties of Bashir Kizito Juma acting both as a public officer and a private officer of the complainant,” Ham’s lawyers said.

    They added, “This type of conduct by Bashir Kizito Juma is against the Code of Conduct and Ethics of Public Service issued under the Public Standing Orders 2010.”

    They divulged that conflict of interest is a punishable crime in Uganda especially where a public officer holds a position in a private body whose operations are in conflict with his official duties.

    He added that the irony of the matter is that the freehold titles were granted by the Wakiso District Land, which employs Bashir Kizito Juma which means that he is both a witness and the architect of the complaint.

    “This tribunal can therefore not entertain this conflict of public officers to pursue a conflicted complaint which derogates all best practice in public law. In our considered view, entertaining this complaint as presently filed is to perpetuate illegality and a constitutionally prohibited act,” they stated.

    Ham pleaded with Karuhanga’s tribunal to dismiss the complaint and declare him the rightful owner of the said land.

    Bashir Kizito Juma is the head Corporate affairs, operations and business development at Buganda Land Board (BLB), a corporate body that runs the kingdom’s land.

    Karuhanga is set to declare his team’s decision this week.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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