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    What You Missed During Age Limit Case: Gov’t Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo Reported For Leaking State Secrets, East African Court Directs MP Nambooze And Others To Pay Billions To Gov’t…

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    Government spokesperson who also doubles as the Executive Director of the media center is in trouble after being accused of giving vital government secrets to non-government officials.

    During the proceedings of the Age limit in the East African courts of Justice, Attorney General William Byaruhanga was shocked to learn that much of the evidence the applicant, city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi based on was given to him by Ofwono Opondo.

    “My Lords Mr. Mabirizi based on baseless evidences which he claims was given to him by a one Ofwono Opondo,  it’s not true, he is  just targeting our officials who are holding sensitive offices on behalf of the Ugandans,” Byaruhanga submitted.

    In his submission, Mabirizi told Honorable Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi, Honorable Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello and Honorable Justice Charles Nyachae of the East African Court of Justice that when he was hosted on NBS TV to discuss the Supreme Court judgment on the Age limit Appeal, he met Ofwono who boasted that there was no way he was going to defeat the ruling NRM party when most of the justices on the panel were their cadres.

    The flamboyant lawyer revealed that Ofwono also told him that Justice Jotham Tumwesigye, one of the justices who ruled in the favor of the Attorney General was his boss at the NRM secretariat when he was the Director legal.

    Mabirizi further told court that Tumwesigye’s judgment was biased given his closeness to the beneficiary of the lifting of the age limit from the Constitution since they went in the same school and he worked in his government.

    He added that it was unethical for retired Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to preside over the age limit case well knowing that he is a close friend to president Museveni having worked in his government as the Attorney General and a Minister who at one time traveled in the same vehicle with Museveni to Tanzania.

    He also told court that Justice Arach Amoko was also compromised since her husband was appointed by Museveni as an ambassador.

    Lawyers Ssemakadde (L) and Mabirizi

    “In the instant case, none of the Justices made an affidavit to rebut the evidence and I have not seen any averment by any other person to controvert my evidence,” Mabirizi insisted.

    He further accused the Constitutional court of treating him like an alien before them, he gave an example of statements from the acting Chief Justice who bragged during the hearing of the age limit case that his court was not going to be the first to breach the rules of procedure.

    Mabirizi said that in the same court, he was prevented from asking Gen. David Muhoozi, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Chief of Defence Forces questions especially on who commanded the historical attack on Parliament during the age limit debate.

    He also pined the Constitutional court for allowing defective affidavits on the court record.

    He said that the Supreme Court also extended time for filling submissions without his application and input.

    Mabirizi also told court that he was humiliated when he was told to sit in the dock as if he was attending a criminal trial and when the matter went to the Supreme Court, they assigned him an isolation desk contrary to article 21(1) of the constitution which guarantees equality before and under the law.

    He added that the Supreme Court even denied him Shs.20m awarded to each petitioner yet article 126(2) of the constitution requires compensation to be done irrespective of whether a party is represented or not.

    He told court that during the delivering of the judgement, the then Chief Justice was suffering from infirmity of the body after losing his sight and was on his way to surgery.

    He insisted that there was judicial fraud where after obtaining a majority of 4-3 stating that the constitutional court erred in law in applying the substantiality test, thereby winning the appeal, the Chief Justice announced the opposite declaring him the loser.

    “My lords, this is the gravest injustice I have ever seen and heard of. Although a party can agonize over an unfair decision, it is beyond agony for the same court to refuse to declare a party’s win. I have demonstrated how the entire appeal rested on substantiality test and winning it meant winning the appeal but the Chief Justice chose to swindle my win,” Mabirizi stated.

    Mabirizi asked the regional court to declare that the decision made by the Ugandan courts violated the East African treaty and declare it false.

    However, the Attorney General who represented Ugandan Government insisted that Mabirizi only lacks experience on how court proceedings are handled that’s why he accuses judicial officers of being biased.

    He said that the reason why he was evicted from siting in places where Advocates sit is because he didn’t go to Law Development Center for a certificate of legal practice.

    He asked court to punish Mabirizi for insulting Uganda’s judicial officers and also dismiss his case with costs.

    Earlier, the court dismissed with costs a case where Ugandan lawyers led by Mukono Municipality legislator Betty Nambooze the spokesperson of the people’s government, Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Semujju Nganda and others were also challenging the lifting of the age limit in the East African court of Justice.

    Donald Omondi Deya, a celebrated Tanzanian lawyer who was representing the petitioners, told court that he was withdrawing his petition because his clients lost interests in it. He prayed to court to withdraw his case without costs but Attorney General Byaruhanga insisted that the government lost a lot of money because of the case and wanted to be compensated.

    Mabirizi tried to plead to court not to slap costs on Members of Parliament because they brought the matter as a public interest litigation but not commercial. However, court agreed with the Attorney General and the matter was dismissed with costs.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    We Shut Down Facebook, If They Can’t Cooperate, They Will Not Operate In Uganda – Museveni Warns…

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    Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, the president of Uganda has banned Facebook in Uganda.

    Museveni argued that it is not appropriate for Facebook to partially interfere with the usage of its services to target some groups.

    “The other day Facebook decided to block the NRM message senders. Why would anybody do that? When I heard about that I told our people to warn them. That social media channel (Facebook), if it’s going to operate in Uganda, it should be used equitably by everybody,” Museveni said.

    “I am sorry for the inconvenience to those who have been using this channel (Facebook), but we cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad,” the president warned.

    “There is no way anybody can come and play around with our country to decide who is good and bad,” he added.

    President Museveni also warned some groups that he said have made it a habit to cheat in elections. “I want to tell you, that cheating is treason. When you use violence to intimidate to be voted for, you are committing treason,” he warned.

    “If you plan to cheat or alter results so that you win even when the majority didn’t vote for you, it means you won’t go back to solve the issues of the people because you will cheat in the next election. This renders democracy null and void. I am warning everyone, don’t try to cheat,” he added.

    President Museveni also appealed to EC to not allow any voting where a thumbprint is not used. “Anybody trying to cheat, we shall go for them. Don’t waste our time by trying to cheat. One of the reasons we are appealing to you to vote peacefully is because your country is doing very well,” the president said.

    President Museveni revealed that sometimes he gets problems with some of Uganda’s foreign partners because they don’t understand the history of Uganda. He said they don’t know that Uganda is strong because of the massive organization, strong strong army, and strong economy.

    “We realized the importance of the private sector, and because of that, we have a very strong economy which will be stronger if we eliminate corruption. Ugandans, be confident, we have everything. Our economy is strong and so is the army, and it is well experienced,” the president said, urging all citizens to go and vote. “If anybody tries to intimidate you, we shall deal with him or her,” the president warned.

     

    By Baron Kironde

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    Museveni Leads Kyagulanyi In New Poll, Most Losers Will Not Accept Results – Afro-Barometer…

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    As the country nears the D-day for presidential elections this Thursday, a new research from Afro-barometer shows that National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is also the incumbent is in the lead.

    In a 54-page document, Afro-barometer says that the research was conducted between 22 December 2020 and 7 January 2021 in 300 enumeration areas across 110 districts.

    “President Museveni holds a clear lead, but many respondents would not say how they intended to vote, so the final outcome may be much closer. The nation could also be headed toward electing a more closely divided Parliament,” Afro-barometer says.

    They add that although a majority of Ugandans are prepared to vote and see the Electoral Commission as well prepared, fewer trust that the 2021 elections will be free, fair, and credible.

    “Large majorities of respondents say they have National ID Cards (85%), are registered to vote (84%), have confirmed the name and location of their polling station (77%), and have verified their voter registration status (74%),” the research says.

    “Among the 84% of survey respondents who said they were registered to vote, more than half (53%) indicated they would vote for President Yoweri Museveni, while 18% said they would cast their ballots for challenger Robert KyagulanyiSentamu (better known as BobiWine).”

    Concerning whether drama that has been witnessed during the campaigns, the research notes, “Fewer than half of respondents feel that the election campaign environment has been free and fair for all candidates.

    The proportion of Ugandans who say the opposition and its supporters are “often” or “always” silenced by government has almost doubled compared to 2015, to 61%. Fear of political intimidation or violence during elections has increased compared to 2011.”

    “Large majorities expect that the losing side will not accept the election results (80%) but believe that security agencies will be able to prevent large-scale violence (73%),” the research says.

    Below are some of the highlights from the research:

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    Bobi Wine Wants To Go Into Hiding In One Of The Embassies After Casting His Vote – Enanga Reveals Why Security Has Been Tightened Countrywide…

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    Uganda police Public Relation Officer (PRO) CP Fred Enanga has revealed that they have credible information that National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine plans to go into hiding in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote.

    In a statement released today, “We also have credible intelligence that the NUP Presidential Candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert wants to go into hiding possibly in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote. And thereafter, allege through his NUP networks and bloggers, that he has been kidnapped by state operatives.”

    He adds, “The intention is to incite the public and cause another wave of protests.  We want to inform the public that this is a tactic that we strongly condemn and issue a strong warning to the perpetrators.”

    Below is Enanga’s full statement on elections:

    We would like to start by congratulating all Ugandans, and in particular candidates, their campaign agents, fans, well-wishers and other stakeholders, for approaching the last day of the political campaigns for Presidential and Parliamentary positions.  Despite the challenges faced along the campaign trail, we must acknowledge the efforts of every sector including the media, security, all political actors, medical experts, electoral officials and other stakeholders.

    Our focus as the Joint Security Agencies is now on the Election Day, where all Ugandans especially voters, will make their choices.  It is therefore, a very crucial stage of democracy, and we shall ensure all eligible voters, safely perform this sacred civic duty.

    As we head into the polls, we would also like to remind Ugandans, that we are a peaceful community, although there have been attempts by some sections of the pubic to promote hate speech through several audios and videos to cause ethnic divisions in the country.  Surprisingly, most of these recordings are by Ugandans abroad including mobilized bloggers in Asia, Europe, the US and South Africa.  We urge all Ugandans not to infringe on the rights of fellow Ugandans, during this Election and the days to come.  We have a history of togetherness amidst all threats against our country, and we are confident that even this time, we shall remain Ugandans at peace.

    Despite the rights and freedoms to vote, there are a few basic rules that voters need to follow when voting, so that they do not end up breaking the Law.  They should do the following;

    o   Make sure you carry along your National ID or NIN

    o   When you arrive, ONLY Electoral Commission staff will take you through the voting process.

    o    You will receive a ballot paper listing your candidate, party, symbol in your constituency.

    o   Read it carefully and then vote for your chosen candidate by ticking or us of a thumb print.

    o   When you are ready fold the ballot paper for privacy and insert it in the ballot box.

    o   Avoid writing comments on the ballot paper for your candidate, do not sign your ballot paper or imprint names.  It will not count.

    o   You are not allowed to photograph the ballot paper you receive at a polling station.  A selfie risks giving away how someone voted which is against the law.

    o   Stay sober, drunken people can be disruptive and can spoil their ballot paper.

    o   Persons with disabilities, and elderly should seek help from the polling officials.

    o   Voting is secretive.  Avoid discussing candidates inside the polling station.  It can easily unsettle others.  Always alert the polling staff if someone is discussing a candidate inside the polling area.

    o   Do not distribute any election related materials.  It clearly shows your political allegiance and if in large groups its an act of intimidation.

    o   Employers are warned against refusing their employees time off for voting or even penalizing them after voting.

    o   Do not bribe others to vote in a certain way or not to vote at all.

    o   Do not threaten or ask someone else to threaten or impose violence on other voters at the polling station.

    o   Do not campaign at the polls because all political activities on polling day are prohibited like displaying campaign symbols, verbally advocating for a specific candidate, and having campaign literature.  In addition, wearing political attire to the polls, such as T-shirt, caps is considered campaigning.  Therefore, let us leave all the political swag at home.

    o    Regarding health, all voters must know that voting safely during the pandemic requires wearing a mask, hand washing or use of hand sanitizer and on observing social distance.  Precautions are really important because of the high COVID location.

    Once again, we would like to reiterate that there are no specific threats targeting the Elections.  However, we are prepared for any eventualities including demonstrations and riots.

    As the Joint Task Force, we have an operational plan to ensure the protection and safety of all Ugandans and visitors in the country.  We have heightened our levels of visibility and alertness as we go into the polls.  Additional manpower has been deployed tactically in the field, from the Polling station, the Parish level, Sub-county, County level.  All villages, trading centres, Town/Urban Councils, Municipalities, and Cities are effectively covered in our deployment plans.

    Our task teams stationed at specific points will be responsible for responding to any election related calls.  We already have patrols at all levels (foot, motorcycle and motorized) along selected hotspotting poling  centres especially in 39 districts out of the 146 districts in addition to the special checkpoints and traffic enforcements operations among others.

    Additional efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that intend to incite violence and engage in criminal activity, especially Youth Brigades like Agenda Kifuba Ddembe in Nansana, Mityana Municipality; “Ten Ten” in Mukono, Makindye, Nansana, Kiira and Nakawa; Team Banyiivu in Makindye and Lubaga; Hard Body along the Northern bypass, Kawempe Division, Team Jalia in Nakawa; Jua Kali in Najja Sub-County and Kiyindi Town Council in Buikwe District; and other Youth Brigade in Teso Sub-region, Rukungiri, Mbarara, Arua, Gulu and Jinja Cities.

    We also have credible intelligence that the NUP Presidential Candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert wants to go into hiding possibly in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote.  And thereafter, allege through his NUP networks and bloggers, that he has been kidnapped by state operatives.  The intention is to incite the public and cause another wave of protests.  We want to inform the public that this is a tactic that we strongly condemn and issue a strong warning to the perpetrators.

    All Ugandans should rest assured and fell safe as we head into the elections.  The elections will be largely peaceful, since we are more than prepared to address any acts of impunity, lawlessness and political violence that may occur on polling date and thereafter.

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