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PS Bigirimana Scraps Judges Allowances, Causes War In The Judiciary Between Judges And Junior Judicial Officers…

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PS Pius Bigirimana

There is a serious war in the judiciary between court registrars, High Court judges, justices of the court of appeal and justices of the Supreme Court and junior judicial officers over allowances.

In a friendly conversation with the Grapevine, junior judicial officers especially court Clerks, they welcomed the new move of scraping allowances for senior judicial officers introduced by Pius Bigirimana the Permanent Secretary to the judiciary.

“They have been enjoying a lot of allowances, now the new PS told us that the money removed from them is going to be added on our salaries,” a court of appeal Clerk reveals.

This  week, Bigirimana issued an internal memo dated 27\08\2019 which he copied to the Chief Registrar, Principal Judge, Deputy Chief Justice and the Chief Justice informing them that allowances to the judges and justices were removed and they will only remain with their monthly salaries.

Bigirimana’s action forced city lawyer Male Mabirizi to drag him to High Court civil division claiming that it’s illegal and unreasonable. Mabirizi indicates that Bigirimana does not have powers to remove allowances of judicial officers.

He further noted that even cabinet cannot remove these allowances. He asked court to order Bigirimana to pay judicial officers their respective allowances without deducting even a single penny.

Attorney general on behalf of Bigirimana was given 14 days to file his defense.

By Alirabaki Sengooba

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NATIONAL

2021 ELECTIONS MAY BREAK RECORD, 20 PEOPLE SO FAR WANT TO OUST M7: We Are Not Going To Block Anyone Because Of Tax Clearance Certificate – EC Boss Byabakama: EC To Display All Registered Voters Across The Country Starting Wednesday…

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The Electoral commission (EC) chairperson Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama has said that all aspirants on different elective political positions will be welcomed by EC regardless of whether their tax payment status is poor.

It should be remembered that on 7th February 2020, the URA Commissioner General Doris Akol, while addressing journalists said that all 2021 aspirants will have to first clear with URA if they are to contest for any political position.

Akol added that whoever clears with them will be given a tax clearance certificate which will confirm that he/she is compliant with their tax obligations and hence eligible to stand.

However, according to the EC boss Byabakama, the Electoral Commission is not an agent of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) but an independent commission specifically for elections.

“We welcome all aspirants who are eyeing to become the next leaders in Uganda at different positions. I would like to make it clear that the EC is not connected to URA. We deal with the elections but not taxes, we cannot block an aspirant from aspiring because he or she did not pay tax, that is not our role our role is to organize a free and fair elections,” Byabakama said.

“If the law is amended then we shall introduce it but as per now we don’t have that element,” he said.

Byabakama made these remarks while launching the commencement of Display of the National Voters’ Register and Registers for Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at the Electoral commission head offices along Jinja road in Kampala.

He revealed that the Electoral Communication in preparation for the 2021 General Elections has appointed a period of 21 days (from 19th February to 10th March) as a period for the display of the National Voters’ register. The exercise is set to be conducted from Monday to Monday (8:00am – 6:00pm) at all polling stations throughout Uganda.

The commission further appointed 19th – 28th February 2020 as a period for display of the voters’ Registers for Special Interest People (SIGs) including the youth, People With Disabilities and the old persons saying that this will enable persons comprising the special Interest Groups to check for the correctness of their particulars on their respective Voters’ Register.

Byabakama added that the Display exercise will cost a total sum of 24.5 billion shillings to be carried out throughout the country at 34,344 polling stations in 135 districts. He further said that the Ministry of Finance has agreed to work together and facilitate the exercise.

He said that over twenty presidential aspirants have approached the commission with interests of becoming the next president.

“2020 presidential nominations may break the records with over twenty presidential aspirants. We have over twenty now and more are coming in day and night,” Byabakama said.

He further urged all political aspirants to submit in their academic Qualification to the electoral commission at least two Months before the nomination day. He noted that the nomination period for various elective positions is indicated in a roadmap at the commission site www.ec.or.ug.

He concluded by calling upon all stakeholders in the electoral process to participate in the exercise.

BELOW IS THE FULL COMMUNICATION FROM EC:

Commencement of Display of the National Voters’ Register and Registers for Special Interest Groups (SIGs), 19th February – 10th March 2020

In preparation for the 2020-2021 General Elections, and in accordance with Section 25 of the Electoral Commission Act (Cap 140), the Electoral Commission has appointed 19th February – 10th March 2020 as the period for the Display of the National Voters’ Register.

The display of the Voters’ Register shall begin at 8:00 am and end at 6:00 pm on each of the appointed dates including weekends, at all polling stations throughout Uganda.

The Commission has further appointed 19th – 28th February 2020 as the period for display of the Voters’ Registers for the following Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at the village level: the Youths, Persons with Disability (PWD) and Older Persons.

The purpose of this display exercise is to enable voters to:

1. Check for the correctness of their particulars on the Voters’ Register;

2. Confirm that their photographs appear against correct particulars on the Register;

3. Raise objections to the inclusion and/or removal of a voter’s particulars from the Register;

4. Report to the Display Officer, the following categories of persons (if they appear on the Register) for removal:

a) Those who have died;

b) Those who are under 18 years of age;

c) Those who reside or originate from a parish other than the one they are registered in; and,

d) Those who appear more than once on the Voters’ Register.

5. In the case of Special Interest Groups, the Display at the village level is scheduled to take place from 19th to 28th February 2020. This will enable persons comprising the Special Interest Groups to check for the correctness of their particulars on their respective Voters’ Register: 

a) In the case of Registers for Youths, the voters will be able to verify that the date of birth is correct. Eligible persons on the Registers for Youths must be aged 18 years and above but less than 30 years as defined by law;

b) In the case of Registers for Persons with Disability (PWDs), the voters will be able to confirm that their particulars (nature of disability) were correctly captured on the Voters’ Register;

c) In the case of Older Persons, voters will be able to verify that the date of birth is correct. Eligible persons on the Registers for Older Persons must be aged 60 years and above at the time of cut-off of registration of voters, that is, 23rd December 2019.

During this exercise, the Electoral Commission will display lists of persons who were recommended for deletion from the National Voters’ Register during the Verification Exercise which was conducted at village level in October 2019.

Please note that any eligible voter who applied for registration but whose particulars are missing on the Voters’ Register, will be able to present his/her case and seek to be included on the Register.

After the display exercise, the lists of all persons recommended for deletion from the National Voters’ Register, shall also be displayed for a period of ten (10) days, that is, from 11th to 20th March 2020 at the respective Parish/Ward Headquarters.

The purpose of this supplementary display exercise is to enable any person who may have been wrongly recommended for deletion to raise an objection to the Parish/Ward Tribunal.

The Parish/Ward Tribunal shall consider and make the final decision concerning recommendations for inclusion, deletion, or correction made by the public.

For avoidance of doubt, the Parish/Ward Tribunal is appointed by the Magistrate of the area, and is comprised of two elders (of 60 years and above) one male and one female, and three other members appointed in consultation with political parties and organisations participating in the elections in the area.

At the end of the entire exercise, all returns will be retrieved from the field and recommendations effected by the Electoral Commission. A final National Voters’ Register for the 2020/2021 General Elections will then be produced.

The general public should carefully note the following:

1. This is a very important exercise, which could determine whether you vote on polling day or not;

2. Fresh application for registration as a voter or application for transfer to another voting location shall not be accepted during this Display exercise;

3. Persons who have applied and changed their particulars on the National Identification Register, for example, the names and/or date of birth, are required to notify the Electoral Commission in writing about the changes. Such persons will be required to provide relevant supporting documents to our Display Officers so that the changes are effected on the Voters’ Register.

4. The display officers shall be physically stationed at the respective polling station, throughout the entire display period. This is to enable voters conveniently locate their polling station, especially those which might have been affected by the exercise of re-organisation of polling stations.

5. In the case of display of SIGs Registers, Display Officers shall be physically stationed at a display centre in each Village, throughout the entire display period, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on each of the appointed dates, including weekends.

6. The Registers for Special Interest Groups will be displayed for a shorter period because the elections for Older Persons, Youth and PWDs Committees will be conducted earlier than the others.

7. The Display of Voters’ Registers shall be conducted with utmost impartiality and officials should allow any interested member of the public, including agents of political parties, to witness the exercise.

8. As part of our awareness and mobilisation campaign, the Electoral Commission conducted stakeholder workshops in each of the twelve electoral regions of Uganda and met with respective district leaders to underscore the importance of participating in this exercise.

The Commission is further conducting an extensive public awareness and mobilization campaign through print, electronic and digital media, as well as other public engagement initiatives to achieve high stakeholder participation in the cleaning of the National Voters’ Register and Registers for Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

9. All complaints arising from the Display Exercise of the National Voters Register shall be addressed to the Returning Officers of the respective Electoral Districts and shall be handled in accordance with Article 61(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and Section 15 of the Electoral Commission Act, Cap 140.

As at the commencement of the Display exercise, the electoral statistics stand as follows:

1. Number of Districts in Uganda: 135

2. Number of Counties: 257

3. Number of Constituencies: 296

4. No. of Sub Counties/Towns/Municipal Divisions: 2,062

5. Number of Parishes: 10,029

6. Number of Villages: 68,733

7. Number of Polling Stations: 34,344

8. Number of Registered Voters: 17,782,594

A clean Voters’ Register is a cornerstone for conducting peaceful, free, fair and credible elections. The Display exercise gives the electorate an opportunity to particiapte in the cleaning of the National Voters’ Register.

The Commission, therefore, calls on all stakeholders in the electoral process to participate in this exercise. Voters are particularly urged to go to their respective polling stations during this period and check for the correctness of voter particulars on the Register.

Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon

Chairperson, Electoral Commission

18th February 2020

By Josephine Kauma

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MY MONEY

M7 PS Forces MTN To Vomit Her Money: Telecom Giant Had Asked Her To Produce Death Certificate, LC1 Letter And Police Letter If She Wanted To Get Back Her Money She Erroneously Sent To A Dead Brother’s Phone…

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Telecom giants MTN was today forced to vomit cash that was erroneously sent a dead person’s phone by one of M7’s Press Secretary.

Yesterday, Linda Wamboka Nabusaayi, President Museveni’s Press Secretary sent money using MTN’s mobile money platform to a wrong number of her dead brother.

However, when she tried to retrieve her money, MTN shamelessly told her to get letters of administration, death certificate, LC1 letter and police letter if she is to get her money back.

“I erroneously sent money meant for my niece to her late father’s number which she could not access. MTN says I should get letters of administration of my brothers estate, his death certificate, LC1 letter, police letter or I can’t get money back. Where does this money go,” Nabusaayi said.

This aroused the pain that most Uganda’s go through to get their money back that they send to wrong numbers and inactive numbers and they answered with a lot of bitterness with many saying that if the telecom company can attempt to swindle a president’s press secretary, what about a poor person trading down town or deep in the village who has no access to the powers that be.

“As connected as you are to the centre of power it’s amusing to see you helpless. Too many questions from all of us and no answers forthcoming!! UCC is proving kinda useless,” Arinaitwe David, a concerned Ugandans wondered.

Richard Tindamanyire said, “My sister, that’s daylight, glaring thuggery and robbery by MTN. The reason the President should go ahead and force them to close shop. They have robbed Ugandans enough, URA Tax arrears notwithstanding.”

Masha Abrah Abbie said, “MTN ON SPOT FOR STEALING FROM THE DEAD: This is how MTN Uganda has been robbing from the dead since mobile money inception. Imagine they are tossing President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ‘s press secretary, what about an ordinary Ugandan.

Actually, many people just give up and all the money is swindled by these foreign thieves.”

Later, because of the weight behind the name, MTN contacted Nabusaayi and she later got a cash back.

“Good morning tweeps. Thank you all for your concern. And thank you @mtnug I got the money back. I appreciate you all,” Nabusaayi said.

MTN replied, “Folks, clarification on the related issue of how to access MM Funds of a deceased person. Similar basic principle like it is in many other financial circles. At any of our service centers, present; i) Death Certificate of the deceased. i)Proof that you’re the right claimant, i.e., letters of administration. We can’t release funds without solid proof of the circumstances surrounding the release. It may sound Callous but its in the best interest of both sides.”

Surprisingly, Nabusaayi did not present the letters of administration of her brothers’ estate, his death certificate, LC1 letter and police letter.

This left many wondering whether poor Ugandans who do not have access to the powers that be ever get their money back.

“You only worked on big people otherwise a small person will have never got back his money,” Louis Tumusiime Kau said.

By Josephine Kauma

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CRIME

It’s Inhuman To Kill Someone’s Daughter At Shs. 30,000: Why High Court Judge Kazibwe Sentenced ISO Boss’ Son To 32 Years In Prison …

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Today soft-spoken High Court Criminal Division Judge Moses Kazibwe sentenced Brian Bagyenda, the son to Internal Security Organization (ISO) boss Kaka Bagyenda, Innocent Bainomugisha, a Cleaner and Vincent Rwahwire, a casual laborer to 32 years in prison.

In his judgement, the judge said that there was malice forethought before the commitment of the murder of 22-year-old Enid Twijukye a girlfriend to Bagyenda. He noted that he was very convinced that the state prosecutor led by Joseph Kyomuhendo and Joan Keko proved all the ingredients in this murder case.

The judge said that these ingredients were proved by 15 prosecution witnesses who included Dr. Sam Kalungi a pathologist who examined the deceased’s body and established that she was strangled to death.

Kazibwe further noted that the deceased was unlawfully murdered by the convict.

In his judgement, the judge put emphasis on the testimony of Evas Turigye, the elder sister to Twijukye who told court that on the 3rd January 2017, Bagyenda picked the deceased from their home in Bweyogerere, Wakiso district and drove her to his home in Luzira Kampala and she never returned. He said that the next day, she called her number and she did not pick. However, another person later picked and told her that Enid had left the phone at home.

The judge rubbished Bagyenda’s defense testimony arguing that by the time he committed the crime, he was mentally disturbed, the judge based on the testimony of Turigye who told court that Bagyenda spent the entire Christmas season of 2016 shopping with the deceased and on in turn she spent her nights at Bagyenda’s home.

The judge further noted that Turigye told court that while they were still looking for her sister, she received a telephone call from Bagyenda apologizing to her that he was feeling guilty of killing Twijukye and that he wanted to make a confession.

The judge said that Turigye told court that by the time Bagyenda called her, she had hired a lawyer to join a team of investigators to look for the murderer of their sister. Bagyenda was later arrested after the burial of Twijukye and taken to Jinja road police station.

The judge however said that Turigye didn’t confirm to court that Bagyenda was a boyfriend to Twijukye because she was always telling them that her boyfriend and future husband was staying in USA.

The judge also cited the evidence of Esther Mirembe, the mother to the deceased who told court that she did not know Bagyenda as his son -in law because her daughter always told her that her future husband was in the US.

Kazibwe also based on the charge and caution statement recorded by Innocent Bainomugisha who told police that on the fateful day when the deceased was murdered, Bagyenda told him and Rwehirwa in the morning that she was going to discipline her girlfriend for cheating on him.

They escorted him to his bedroom and killed Twijukye by suffocating her using two pillows which were on their bed until she breathed her last. He further revealed that while they were executing the mission, Bagyenda increased the volume of the tv so that people outside could not hear what was going on in the house. Bagyenda paid them Shs. 30.000 each for the job well done.

The judge wondered why Bagyenda who claims that he is mentally disturbed gave money to his maid to go out and buy a bottle of soda and after that also go to Kalerwe market to buy food.

He wondered why the maid was sent to Kalerwe yet there are very many markets surrounding Luzira.

In sentencing Bagyenda and his co accussed, the judge refused to consider the prayer of Bainomugisha and Rwehirwe’s lawyer that they killed the deceased on orders of their boss Bagyenda, the judge said that they were in their right mind and did not work on the orders of their boss as robots. The judge also explained that there are misunderstanding in most relationships but they are not solved by killing each other.

He noted that the country and the family of the deceased lost a very important person and that court must punish those who cut short the life of the deceased. The judge however advised the convicts that they have the right to appeal if they are not satisfied with his judgement. Nsubuga Mubiru the defense lawyer in this case said that he is still studying the judgement to decide on whether to Appeal or not.

By Ssengooba Alirabaki

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