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    What You Need To Know About 2021 Scientific Election As EC Launches Revised Elections Roadmap….

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    EC boss Simon Byabakama

    The Electoral Commission boss justice Simon Byabakama has revealed that the 2021 nominations, campaigns and elections will be held scientifically.

    While issuing the revised road-map for the 2020/21 general elections after losing almost three months of electoral activity due to the Covid19 pandemic, Byabakama emphasized that for the first time in history, the 2021 elections will be ‘scientific’ in order to control the spread of Coronavirus.

    “We want to keep Ugandans safe, healthy and alive, remember dead bodies don’t vote,” Byabakama told journalists today at the commission Headquarters in Kampala.

    He added that usual rallies where crowds gather as it has been the case in previous elections will not be allowed but all contestants at various levels are free to use media platforms such as Television, Radios, Print Media and Online platforms.

    “Mass rallies will not be allowed but campaigns will be conducted mainly through media. The Commission will issue specific guidelines for each electoral activity under this revised Roadmap in due course and will engage with various stakeholders on the same. This includes detailed information on specific requirements for nomination as a Candidate, access to nomination forms, nomination fees and venues and conduct of campaigns and polling process. Furthermore, the Commission in consultation with the Ministry of Health considered and adopted Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate safe participation by all stakeholders in the electoral process,” he said.

    During voting, each voter will be required to wear a face mask, carry out social distancing and sanitize.

    He stressed that the commission is in talks with the ministry of ICT, Media owners and the Media council in order to avail each candidate free and balanced airtime on media platforms.

    Byabakama asserted that the 2021 elections can’t be postponed because it is not within their mandate to hold elections within a specific period of time.

    “The issue of postponing the elections has not occurred to us because it is not in our mandate.  Article 61, Clause 2 of the Constitution commands us to have elections, to uphold the sanctity of the article. It asks us to hold elections in the first 30 days, of the last 122 days of the last term of the government, Covid-19 or not.”

    Byabakama said that the Commission will avail nomination forms on its website that can be printed by those with access to the internet. He however told those with no access to internet that hard copies will be availed.

    Byabakama told aspiring candidates that they will only allow two (2) people; the nominator and a seconder during nominations.

    Below is the revised electoral road map;

    By Ronald Kisekka

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    CRIME

    Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana Lawyers To Challenge DPP Abodo’s Plan To Hide Witnesses, Mabirizi Wants Trial To Be Halted Over Constitutional Court Petition…

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    Lawyers representing embattled Kawempe North Member of Parliament (MP) Muhammad Ssegirinya, Makindye West’s Allan Ssewanyana and other accused persons are set to put up a spirited legal fight against the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) Justice Jane Abodo’s plans to hide the State witnesses in the main criminal trial before the Crimes War Division of the High Court.

    On Thursday, Justice Abodo, through her Assistant Lino Anguzo, the lead prosecutor in the trial told the pre-trial presiding judge Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza that they have filed an ex-parte application to allow the state to protect the witnesses from the media and the public when they are testifying.

    Lino told Court that the witnesses they want to protect are very instrumental in their case and they will play a strong part to help Court to deliver justice to the accused persons and the deceased.

    However, speaking to theGrapevine, Geoffrey Turyamusima, one of the lawyers representing the accused persons insisted that they have agreed with their clients to challenge the witness protection application.

    “No, we are going to challenge that application, they have disclosed to us the witnesses who are set to testify against our clients and we have been seeing some of these witnesses in the media.

    “They are the family members of the deceased, friends and security personnel. Now, what do they want to protect?” Turyamusima wondered.

    Court has not yet set the hearing date for the application and other applications including the human rights enforcement application and the bail applications of all the accused persons.

    Other accused persons on the file are; Jackson Kanyike, Jude Mugerwa, Bull Wamala, Mike Sserwadda and Jude Muwongo.

    They are all together with the legislators battling murder, attempted murder and terrorism charges.

    State alleges that the accused persons were behind the Greater Masaka panga wielding goons who killed over 28 elderly people.

    LAWYER MABIRIZI WANTED TO HELD THE TRIAL

    In a new development, controversial incarcerated city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has applied to the Crimes War Division of the High Court to halt the pre-trial of the accused persons until the determination of his Constitutional petition against the Attorney General.

    In his Constitutional petition, Mabirizi insisted that Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana are being politically persecuted by the state and the additional criminal charges brought against them are unjustifiable.

    However, Turyamusima told theGrapevine that they will oppose Mabirizi’s application to stay proceedings of their clients because he doesn’t want them to rot in prison given that the Constitution Court is going to take a lot of time to determine his Constitutional petition.

    Turyamusima added that what they want as per now is a speedy trial for their clients because they have established that the state doesn’t have evidence against them.

    He emphasised that the only application filed by Mabirizi, which they will support is the one where he calls for merging of the two files, one at the Crimes War Division of the High Court and the other at Masaka High Court.

    Recently, the accused persons applied for the merging of both files and the presiding judge promised that their matter will be handled in the pre-trial process.

    Early this year, Justice Musa Sekaana, the head of the High Court Civil Division Kampala sentenced Mabirizi to 18 months imprisonment on charges of contempt of Court.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    AFRICA FOCUS

    UPDF Commandos Join Deadly Operation To Hunt Top Ugandan Terrorists Who Escaped From DRC Prison…

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    Commandos of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have joined the deadly operation to hunt for and arrest top Ugandan terrorists who escaped from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) prison early this week.

     Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the development and explained to theGrapevine that the reason why they joined the DRC’s army FARDC was after establishing that among the 822 prisoners who escaped, there were top terrorists who were recently arrested.

     “Since we joined the operation, we have already arrested more than 150 prisoners who escaped from a government prison in Butembo town. We are very sure that all of them will be arrested because them being out there is a threat to the entire region’s security,” he said.

     He added that preliminary investigation established that ADF terrorists were involved in the attack and their top aim was to help their friends to escape and join them to continue terrorising the entire region.

     DRC government also claims that the operation, which took only 15 minutes was masterminded by ADF terrorists. The prison was allegedly raided after ADF learnt that their friends who were arrested by the security were set to be evacuated to other big government prisons.

     Captain Anthony Mualushayi, the spokesperson for the operation hunting for the escaped prisoners revealed that the attackers come from Mwalika valley and were 80 in number.

    They used their weapons and machetes to open the prison doors to help their own including a one Kizito and other 12 deadly ADF terrorists from Uganda to escape.

     Capt. Mualushayi added that over 8 people were killed in the operation including five assailants, two policemen and a prisoner who was killed by the terrorist when was resisting their orders.

     He said that by the time reinforcements came, the terrorists had fled the place.

     However, they managed to trace their tracks and arrested two of them with AK47 guns and several rounds of ammunitions.

     UPDF decided to join DRC to hunt DRC for ADF terrorists after they made several attacks on Ugandans that left some victims dead.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Speaker Among, Top Parliament Staff To Be Quizzed Over MP Kagabo’s Shs40m Bribe Allegations; Legislator Risks Losing His Bukoto South Seat…

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    MP Twaha Kagabo (L) and Speaker Anita Among (R)

    Detectives from the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) are set to record statements from the Speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among and other parliamentary staff on the allegations of giving Shs40m bribe to Members of Parliament.

    Ali Munira, the spokesperson of the office of the IGG revealed that their detectives have widened their investigations and a number of witnesses will been summoned to record statements over Dr. Twaha Kagabo’s bribe allegations.

    She declined to confirm whether speaker Among will record a statement.

    However, multiple credible sources in the IGG’s office confirmed that Speaker Among will record a statement on grounds that she is a subject matter in the allegation.

    Kagabo claims that in July this year, he received a phone call telling him to go to Nakasero at the home of speaker Among and pick his gift. When he reached Among’s house, he was given Shs40m and told that it was a package from parliament administration prepared for legislators.

    Sources at the IGG’s office divulged that Kagabo has recorded two statements and was ordered to report to the IGG’s office every day to establish how far the investigations against the allegations have reached.

    Sources added that among other people the detectives want to pick statements from are officers from Uganda Communication Communication who will help to verify the owners of the phone numbers which were used to call Kagabo to allegedly go to the Speakers home, to pick his gift.

    The Investigators will also rely on the evidence of the CCTV cameras at the speaker’s home around Nakasero to establish whether the legislator was seen at the home of the speaker at that particular time.

    Among denied all the allegations and recommended that the legislator be taken to Rules, Privileges and Disciplinary parliamentary Committee and be investigated.

    Sources in parliament revealed that the speaker will also testify in the Committee to defend herself.

    However, Uganda’s representative in the East African parliament and a renown senior legislator James Kakooza told theGrapevine that Kagabo is in big trouble and he cannot survive losing his Bukoto South parliamentary seat.

    He explained that the Leadership Code is very clear that when a person holding a public office receives a gift worth more than Shs400,000, he or she has to declare it to the IGG within 24 hours which he failed to do.

    He added that it will be hard for Kagabo to place Among on the scene of crime because there is no touchable evidence since he didn’t sign anywhere when he was given the money and the speaker herself was not the one handing him the bribe.

    “I think my young brother was playing politics and he is finished. Now, what we want the investigators to tell us is, who gave him that ‘kanyama’ (bodyguard) who was carrying the bag which contained the money. I established that my young brother was under captive and the Kanyama was the one ordering him to do whatever he did,” Kakooza said.

    NUP’s president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alis Bobi Wine praised Kagabo for following his advice and returning the bribe like he advised his legislators unlike his other colleagues who received the bribe but refused to return it.

    He pleaded to IGG and other investigation agencies to investigate the matter with care instead of victimising the legislator.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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