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    You Switched Off Internet, Now Face It: Why Minister Nabakooba Lost To Journalist Joyce Bagala…

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    The Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Judith Nabakooba, was trounced by journalist Joyce Bagala in the race for the Mityana Municipality Woman Member of Parliament.

    Bagala quit her job at NBS television to contest for the parliamentary position on the National Unity Platform (NUP) ticket and she is not regretting her move, although there are several opportunities that played into her favour, chief amongst which being the government’s decision to switch off internet and social media before and throughout the electoral process.

    Nabakooba could hardly survive the wrath of the same hands that sent her to parliament, because many of them are beneficiaries of the internet in one way or another and since it’s directly under the control of her ministry, many Ugandans, let alone the voters in Mityana District, couldn’t forgive her. It is now factual and evident, around Kampala and the Metropolitan area (Buganda region) that voters turned up to religiously tick the umbrella section on the ballot paper, such that they could purposely throw people like Nabakooba out of parliament.

    Some of the tweets that flooded twitter after Minister Nabakooba lost to Joyce Bagala

    And secondly, the voters must have gotten tired of Nabakooba, like they did when it came to other ministers  who are known for supporting the government’s unpopular opinions and have since been thrown out of parliament.

    On Wednesday last week, just hours to the polls, Nabakooba warned Ugandans who were accessing social media through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) after government under unclear circumstances had blocked usage of social media. It was not long before telecom companies MTN, airtel and others were all directed by government to switch off internet for their clients.

    Nabakooba’s directive to telecom companies to switch off internet came just a day after the President Yoweri Museveni had ordered that Facebook be blocked in Uganda.

    However, this is not the first time for the internet to be switched off in Uganda. It should be recalled that president Museveni also blocked the internet in 2016 and his argument at the time was that he wanted to control the rate at which people were throwing reckless comments.

    He thereafter imposed an Over The Top tax (OTT) which is supposed to be paid by everyone in order to access social media in Uganda, although Bobi Wine and other human rights activists strongly protested against the tax, which they termed as exploitative.

     

    By Baron Kironde

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    WHY I WON’T QUIT BOBI WINE CASE: Supreme Court Justices Challenge Lawyer Mabirizi, CJ Dollo Cautions Him To Stop Partying With Ignorant People Who Don’t Reason….

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    Lawyer Mabirizi (L) drinking water during the hearing after CJ Dollo (R) put him to task to give reasons why he should stepdown

    The Chief Justice (CJ) Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo has cautioned maverick city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka to stop partying with people who do not reason and are ignorant.

    Dollo warned Mabirizi that such people think that they are leaders but in actual sense they cannot exhibit their leadership skills to the people they claim to lead.

    Before delivering his decision on whether he should stepdown from the panel of justices hearing the presidential petition or not, filed by Mabirizi, the soft spoken CJ put the applicant on the spot to explain the reasons why some people want him to quit the panel hearing the president petition filed by National Unity Platform (NUP) former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine.

    “Mr. Mabirizi, who are those reasoning people, are you among them and how do you measure their reasoning?” Justice Dollo asked.

    In response, Mabirizi told the Court that he is above the reasoning of the common Ugandan because he is a lawyer, that is why he decided to file the recusal application to save the national Constitution.

    Justice Dollo was not convinced with Mabirizi’s explanation and further asked him to tell Court whether he jumped on the bandwagon of other ignorant people who cannot reason and exhibit leadership when filing a recusal application.

    On Monday, Bobi Wine instructed his lawyers led by Busiro East legislator Medard Lubega Sseggona to  withdraw his presidential petition from the Supreme Court citing unfairness among Justices especially Justice Dollo, Justice Mike Chibita and Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi.

    Bobi Wine insisted that his political grievances against Museveni will be determined by a public Court.

    By Tuesday afternoon, Bobi Wine had not yet filed his application to withdraw his case and the respondents who include president Museveni, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General were summing up their court costs against the petitioner.

    Mabirizi told the Court that he doesn’t have any personal grudge against Justice Dollo as a judge but he wants the principle of fairness to be exhibited in the judiciary.

    He added that many Ugandans are wondering why Justice Dollo, a former personal lawyer to president Museveni (one of the respondents), should be on the panel of justices hearing Kyagulanyi’s case against.

    “My lord, this is a sensitive matter, we cannot just sit and look on. It is like a wife, who is a party in a matter involving her and husband sitting on the panel of justices to determine it. We have to intervene even though parties don’t complain, here the petitioner is silent but this is a presidential petition and many Ugandans are concerned about its outcome,” Mabirizi said.

    He added that as a Civic Ugandan, he cannot look on as external factors influence justice in a public interest case like a presidential petition.

    Mabirizi tasked Justice Dollo to tell the public that he represented president Yoweri Museveni in the 2016 presidential petition filed by FDC strongman Dr. Kizza Besigye where he gave Museveni legal services for free.

    Mabirizi insisted that the appointment of Justice Dollo was a reward from Museveni for being his personal lawyer and being a very loyal cadre.

    He wondered why in the recent meetings with president Museveni, who is a party in the matter, Dollo decided to attend in person instead of sending a representative or his Deputy Justice Richard Butera.

    He told the CJ that such actions made Ugandans lose trust in him.

    However, Justice Dr. Esther Kisakye tasked Mabirizi to table before Court evidence of a survey he conducted showing that Ugandans don’t have trust in the Chief Justice.

    Mabirizi answered that he never carried out the survey.

    Justice Robby Opio Aweri interjected and asked Mabirizi whether he knows the difference between a private meeting and an official meeting.

    He told Mabirizi that the Chief Justice was on an official visit when he met the president.

    Justice Stellah Arach Amoko wondered and put Mabirizi on spot to explain why he always wants judicial officers to recuse themselves from cases even those where he is not a party.

    Justice Dollo denied allegations that Museveni gave him the CJ office as a reward.

    He explained that he sat for an interview conducted by the Judicial Service Commission and emerged the best candidate.

    He admitted that he was Museveni’s lawyer but also a lawyer to other politicians who even tried to overthrow President Museveni like professor Isaac Ojok.

    He insisted that when doing his work, he is not after money.

    He cited the agreement he drafted during the process of ending the civil war in Northern Uganda under the umbrella of Forcing Obote back.

    Justice Dollo promised to give elaborate reasons why he declined to stepdown in his ruling.

    However, Mabirizi insists that he is going to challenge Justice Dollo’s decision in the East African Court of Justice.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    OPINION: Journalism Is Not A Crime – Haji Nsereko Mutumba…

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    Haji Nsereko Mutumba (R) and some of the journalists who have faced the wrath of security organs

    On Wednesday, I watched with sadness as Military Police personnel beat up journalists at the UN Human Rights Commission Office in Kololo.

    It reminded me of the dark days before NRA/M took over power. What happened was totally uncalled for and goes against all the values that NRA/M stood for. Even criminals do not deserve that kind of brutality, and I am encouraged by the fact that the culprits were quickly identified and brought to justice.

    Any institution that undermines the Fourth Estate does so at its own peril because journalists play a pivotal role of gathering and disseminating key information to the public.

    When Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi went to the Electoral Commission last year to present his complaints, journalists were not allowed in his meeting with the E.C Chairperson Justice Byabakama, but this was done in a very orderly manner and  after the meeting, an arrangement was made for him to interface with the journalists. The whole process ended peacefully, to the safety and satisfaction of every party involved.

    A similar arrangement should have been put in place in Kololo without having to subject journalists to such brutality.

    Such irresponsible acts taint our country and our government negatively, and the situation is made worse by some of those who speak for and on behalf of the government.

    I have seen and listened to some presidential advisers using vulgar and inciting language even in situations that call for calm and diplomacy.

    Some of those who speak for the government and for the NRM party are too arrogant and hostile to the media.

    Governance is largely about managing information flow; unfortunately, the NRM government is not doing well on this front because of the above factors.

    Journalists are being beaten, turned away and denied access to information that they need to report authoritatively, factually and extensively.

    This means that a lot of news being aired or published is either critical of the government or lacking comments or remarks from the government side.

    It is therefore time for the security personnel to act professionally, government and party officials to act responsibly and government spokespersons to reach out to the media and treat journalists as allies, not enemies, because journalism is not a crime.

     

    Haji Nsereko Mutumba

    Former PRO Uganda Muslim Supreme Council

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    Why Supreme Court Justice Mugamba Again Dissented M7 As Majority Rejected Bobi Wine’s Application For Additional Evidence,  Wine’s Lawyer Wameli In Trouble… 

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    Justice Paul Mugamba (L) and President Museveni (R)

    Once again Supreme Court soft spoken Justice Paul Kahaibale Mugamba has ruled against president Yoweri Museveni.

    Justice Mugamba ruled in favor of the National Unity Platform(NUP) former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine’s application for extension of time to allow him to file additional evidences in form of affidavits against president Museveni in the 2021 presidential petition.

    Without giving any explanation, Chief Justice  Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo, Justice Dr. Esther Kisakye Kitimbo, Justice Robby Opio Aweri, Justice Mike Chibita, Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Justice Percy Night Tuhaise, Justice Faith Mwondah and Justice Stella Arach Amoko disagreed with Bobi Wine’s application for extension of time.

    It was only Justice Mugamba who disagreed.

    This is not the first time Justice Mugamba is ruling against Museveni, during the Controversial Age Limit Supreme Court Appeal, Justice Mugamba together with retired Supreme Court Justice Eldad Mwangusya, Justice professor Lilian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza opposed the lifting of the Age limit from the Constitution.

    Justice Mugamba agreed with Bobi Wine’s lawyers led by Busiro East legislator Medard Lubega Sseggona who stated that his application for extension of time was brought without delay because of the prevailing special circumstances.

    “The time granted to the applicant for filing additional evidence in support of the petition be enlarged by one extra day to enable him file and serve all his compiled affidavits,” Sseggona said.

    However, president Museveni’s lawyer Kiryowa Kiwanuka branded Bobi Wine’s application as misconceived and based on falsehoods which Court cannot base on to grant him permission to file additional evidence.

    He added that Bobi Wine lied to the Court that he was disabled by the respondents that is why he delayed to file his evidence.

    Kiwanuka said that by February 14, 2021, Kyagulanyi was a free man after the High Court ordered the military to vacate his home in Magere.

    BOBI WINE’S LAWYER WAMELI IN TROUBLE FOR PUTTING CHIEF JUSTICE DOLLO’S NAME IN BAD LIGHT

    In the same development, Bobi Wine’s lawyer Anthony Wameli is in trouble for putting Chief Justice Dollo’s name and the entire Supreme Court in bad light.

    Justice Dollo blamed Counsel Wameli for alleging that the Supreme Court intentionally blocked them from filing Bobi Wine’s affidavit on Sunday as ordered by Court.

    In his explanation supporting the affidavit of the Supreme Court Registrar, Harriet Ssali Nalukwago said that he was at the Supreme Court on Sunday from morning up to 7pm so no one blocked Wameli from filing his evidence.

    Chief Justice Dollo supplemented that he directed Ssali to expand time from 5pm to 7pm, he wondered why a serious lawyer like Wameli lied to his client Bobi Wine that he was blocked from filling his evidences.

    The furious Justice Dollo proposed to the Attorney General, who is the head of the bar to institute a mechanism where lawyers who lie on the bar are punished because such acts soil the legal fraternity in the country.

    In response, Byaruhanga told the Court that the Law Council is responsible for taking disciplinary action against lawyers.

    He promised to sit down with the Law Council so that they can draft a final mechanism to put lawyers in line, especially the young lawyers.

    Wameli was not reached for a comment because his known phone numbers were not going through and he was not in Court today.

    BOBI WINE, LAWYERS TO BRAINSTORM ON WITHDRAWING THE PETITION FROM COURT

    Immediately after suffering this huge set back, Bobi Wine’s lawyer Sseggona stated that they are going to meet their client to strategize on a way forward since much of their sufficient evidences were rejected by Court.

    However, Ssegona said that the final decision will have to be made by their client.

    He denied advising his client to attack Supreme Court justices and insisted that he was not aware of allegations of biasness against three of the justices of the Supreme Court.

    Bobi Wine threatened to withdraw his petition if the Chief Justice Dollo, Justice Chibita and Justice Muhanguzi don’t recuse themselves from the panel of justices hearing his petition.

    EVENTUALITIES THAT BOBI WINE MAY FACE IF HE WITHDRAWS HIS PETITION

    If a decision is taken by Bobi Wine to withdraw his petition, he may pay huge costs to the respondents.

    Sources in the respondents’ camp intimated to theGrapevine that some of the respondents’ lawyers have already started counting their costs.

    These sources added that they will not allow Bobi Wine to withdraw his petition without paying them costs for the time and money they have spent.

    Sources added that these court costs can put Bobi Wine in a tricky situation.

    It should be noted that Museveni is demanding Shs. 10bn from Bobi Wine’s blue eyed boy Moses Bigirwa.

    Museveni defeated Bigirwa in the High Court Civil Division. Bigirwa had filed an application seeking a Court Order to subject Museveni to a medical examination to determine his age.

    In his affidavit, Bigirwa insisted that former US president Donald Trump had promised to facilitate the medical bills in an independent hospital.

    Justice Stephen Musota, now a Court of Appeal Justice dismissed the application with costs and Museveni’s lawyer Kiryowa Kiwanuka slapped a Shs. 10bn bill on Bigirwa as costs.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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