Thursday, May 13, 2010
Many MPs will not be alive 30 years now; therefore, NRM MUST ensure that the Presidential term limits are re-instated
Deputy Speaker Kadaga addressing journalists after the heated debate on Tuesday 11th May 2010
Given the life span of many Ugandans rich or poor, it is most probable that many of the Members of Parliament will be dead 30 years now. If that is so, what is the logic of putting the future of the coming generation in danger by endorsing Constitution provisions which clearly promote selfish interests? It does not make sense for the NRM actors to keep singing about the bad leadership of the past when they are equally practicing bad governance. The use of the Parliament in 2005 to remove Presidential term limits must be seen in the contest of getting Uganda back to bad leadership where a leader is at liberty to use Parliament for own benefit least concerned about the consequences in future where the country can easily be turned to the dark past which the NRM alleges corrected and is now messing up.
If Executives in serious establishments take a compulsory leave on a yearly basis, how come we want to have super leaders who can stay for a quarter a century without leave or living office of President? It is for this reason among others that the good initially brought by the NRM Government is clearly being watered down to the extent that the country is at the mercy of the security personnel! Anytime there is 'trouble' according to NRM, the way to go is to call in the security personnel. This is a characteristic of backwardness. Security cannot be at hand to deprive the people of their freedoms. It simply cannot work and is not sustainable, yet this will go to history of our leaders being dictatorial at a time when Internationally people are enjoying democracy in real terms. So, those Brothers of ours in NRM who think that they are at liberty to use and misuse the power they have at hand, time and circumstances will catch up with them. The best they can do is to clean the record which is getting tarnished and the results of which are there for all to see.
Five MPs suspended from House
Wednesday, 12th May, 2010
By Henry Mukasa
and Mary Karugaba
DEPUTY Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has suspended five opposition MPs from Parliament for three sittings, citing “gross misconduct”. The legislators are Geoffrey Ekanya (Tororo county), Odonga Otto (Aruu), Beatrice Anywar (Kitgum Woman), Michael Ocula (Kilak), Christine Bako (Arua), all of FDC.
“These members stand suspended from the service of this Parliament,” Kadaga announced yesterday.
Shortly afterward, she suspended proceedings for 15 minutes to allow the MPs to leave. But they did not. When Kadaga returned one hour after meeting security chiefs, the MPs were still in the chambers.
She directed the Sergeant-at-Arms, Ahmed Kagoye, to eject them, but in vain. As Kagoye and assistants J. Macho and Sheila Atim charged towards the MPs, Kadaga adjourned the House to this morning. Parliament goes into recess tomorrow.
As she spoke, Odonga Otto shouted: “Can you be judge and prosecutor?”
Some female MPs also warned Kagoye not to “touch a woman”. The Police officers backed off.
The Police officers tried to persuade Aywar to leave in vain. Instead, opposition MPs camped in the House and vowed to sleep there if hundreds of officers deployed in the foyer were not withdrawn.
Although the rules make the Speaker’s decision final, Kadaga asked the MPs to apologise, but they refused and vowed to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.
The Government chief whip, Daudi Migereko, also said he was talking to his opposition counterpart to persuade them to apologise.
The suspension means the MPs cannot enter the chambers, the lobby, the foyer, committee rooms, the canteen, the car-park, or the surroundings of Parliament.
Kadaga’s action follows the confusion which erupted on Tuesday after she refused the opposition to present their concerns about the ongoing voter registration update, the proposal to amend the Constitution to allow for the restoration of term limits, the removal of the army from the electoral processes and the restructuring of the Electoral Commission.
Kadaga said the matter had been discussed and concluded in the morning session, which the opposition chief whip Kassiano Wadri (FDC) skipped. The MPs rejected her explanation.
The MPs walked out of the chambers and the doors were shut behind them. The MPs, however, responded by kicking the door open, prompting Kadaga to adjourn the House to yesterday. She warned the MPs of disciplinary action.
Opening yesterday’s session, Kadaga described the MPs’ conduct as “excessively unruly”. She said they had breached the rules of procedure which require the MPs to listen to the speaker “in silence”.
“The breaking of the doors, repeated insults and disruption of the proceedings is a matter of grave concern,” Kadaga noted.
She also accused the MPs of deliberately planning to disrupt the House, which was attended by many leaders of the Inter-Party Cooperation, a loose alliance of political groups planning to field a single candidate in next year’s general elections.
Kadaga said a woman was arrested as she attempted to enter the gallery with two stones in a bag. “She was brown, old and limped a bit. She will be investigated and charged.”
“The stones were intended to hit the Speaker and MPs in the chambers,” Kadaga stated as the MPs booed her.
“Even people in the public gallery had carried unusually many coins which security believe were to be used to attack the Speaker.”
The MPs later broke into small groups to discuss the suspension, the first since the National Resistance Council in the late 1980s suspended Cuthbert Obwangor for for abusing the chairman, Moses Kigongo.
“No soldiers in the House,” the MPs shouted each time they saw strangers. The Police kept a tight guard, while plain-clothes operatives paced about the building and stopped the public from the strangers’ gallery.
After issuing the suspension, Kadaga met security chiefs Crispus Kiyonga (the defence minister), Amama Mbabazi (security), Kirunda Kivejinja and Matia Kasaija (internal affairs), Freddie Ruhindi (Attorney General), the OC of Parliament, Kasirabo and generals Elly Tumwine and Jim Muhwezi.
In the meantime, a flurry of activity filled the chambers. Alice Alaso told the parliamentary Police boss that the MPs would stay the night in the chambers if he did not withdraw his men. The officer immediately ordered his men out and the MPs begun to leave.
Otto emerged first and told journalists that Kadaga treated them unfairly. “She does not know that you cannot be a complainant, judge and a prosecutor in your own case. This is a violation of the rules,” he said.
Otto said Kadaga should have instead suspended the people who bolted the door.
Ekanya said: “So many people have not been registered in my constituency. I will stand to defend their rights whatever the cost.”
Anywar said Kadaga must prove that the suspended MPs caused the commotion. “This is the highest level of intolerance.”
Erias Lukwago (DP) said the opposition will reclaim the sanctity of Parliament. “You cannot debate in fear. We will stand firm even if it means throwing all of us out.”
Luweero: will Uganda ever open that closet?
April 4, 2010
In the last few weeks, Ugandan papers have carried a story of the Coordinator of the Intelligence Services, Gen. David Tinyefuza warning the Uganda Peoples Party President and former UN undersecretary Olara Otunnu about his claim that the current government killed people on their way to power.
NRM-speaking the bush war is a liberation and that’s what many my age have been taught whether in school or outside. Like any other ‘liberations’ the people who die before the victory are unfortunate and their death is treated as collateral damage and in some cases denied.
In the Luweero bush war that saw President Museveni ascend to power where he has been for the last 24 years, many people were killed and nobody knows the real estimates. When Otunnu, in his acception speech to lead UPC in March, called for an inquiry the government warned him about inciting people.
Betty Kamya, the FDC renegade, wrote an opinion saying Otunnu’s call our backfire and he would be the loser but she raised good points.
Luweero was used, and forgotten soon after power was captured, its story had been tacked away in the closet of Uganda’s controversial history save for the times when a display of skulls of those who lost their life works for the current government. I was born at a time when the NRM war was being fought and I still have no clue what truely went in Luweero, besides heroic stories from NRM. The closer I have come is seeing old men and women, backs long bent camping at Uganda’s parliament to claim their losses in that war. Whether some of these people are looking for shares more than they are entitled, the scene is simply heartbreaking.
These claimants come once in a while and it is very easy as a journalist to get used to their story and newspapers just give it a brief. These war claimants, looking for what they lost for 24 years now is a shame to our country especially those that this so called liberation benefited most.
Iam glad the Ugandan scholars are increasingly looking into this.
A project on conflicts in Uganda being carried out by Makerere University and the Refugee Law Project describes Luweero as an issue that remains haphazardly addressed. Within five months after taking the country, the NRA enacted an amnesty law and instituted a commission of inquiry into human rights violation in Uganda since 1962.
The issues to be investigated were casues of arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, torture, mass killings, massive displacements “and possible ways of preventing these from happening in future” but it seems that future is still far away. Most recommendations were not implemented may be it’s worth a try to seek views of people of that commission like Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya who will most likely offer an interview after months of asking, then John Nagenda who is a presidential advisor now.
What is worrying about the warnings to Otunnu from the military is that this is part of the whole toughened ground for freedom of expression especially in regard to violations during the conflicts. Gen.Tinyefuza and the army have also threatening to arrest people who question about the army’s conduct in the war in northern Uganda. I believe a government in power, if its hands clean, should not be threatened by such inquiries. Besides who is going to do the inquiries? The government and if there’s nothing to hide and all the killing was on Obote’s part then Otunnu and others like him would be answered. Whoever was responsible would be established. But would such an inquiry be fair and not influenced? Going by the recent reactions from the government, I have no hope.
NRM HISTORICALS: We became too greedy too fast
Written by HENRY LUBEGA
Sunday, 07 February 2010 18:41
Dr. Jack Luyombya is enjoying quiet retirement. Although hardly recognised by many people today, he belongs to the exclusive club of NRM historicals. HENRY LUBEGA spoke to him about his political life:
The Movement of 1986 came with a ten-point programme, which was the development guide the new government was to follow in changing the lives of Ugandans for the better. The ten-point programme was looking at the economic, social and political development of the country.
As we did this, we had Legal Notice Number One as the constitution of some sort. This [legal instrument] stipulated what kind of leadership the Movement wanted to implement in the country.
Since constitutionalism was one of the grievances that led some of us into the bush, it was planned that we would have a constitution for the whole country where people’s views were to be considered. In 1995, Ugandans came up with this Constitution. So we handed over power to the new government governed by the new Constitution. That’s where our control as NRC/NRM and Legal Notice Number One ended.
The structures of the NRC/NRM were handed over to the new government with its constitution and its structures. Some of us decided to leave active politics after this hand-over.
Over the years, there has been some progress mainly in infrastructure. However, the biggest problem has been maintenance. The progress made in road construction has disappeared because the roads have not been maintained. There was good control of the army when we came in.
The army was very well disciplined and I would like to think that by the time we came in, we had the best disciplined army in Africa. However, it has been corrupted by the people as time passed.
The other good thing that we did in the first years of the Movement was demystifying the gun. The introduction of mchaka-mchaka helped the people deal with the fear of the gun which had been inculcated by previous regimes. There are three things that made our Movement popular after coming to power.
These were: the creation of the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), the Uganda Human Rights Commission, and the making of a constitution, or constitutionalism and rule of law. When we had just come into government, a commission of inquiry into corruption in ministries was set up, headed by Besweri Mulondo.
I headed the sub-committee that looked into the health sector. It was on the recommendation of this commission that the office of the IGG was created. I was also a member of the human rights sub-committee and it was that sub-committee’s recommendations that led to the creation of the Uganda Human Rights Commission.
However, some of us became too greedy for wealth too early. If [only] we had delayed our greed, and worked for the people, because their expectations in the new regime were very high! I am very sure this country would be very different now had the scramble for wealth by some of our friends not come out that fast. If you condemn something and you remove the one doing it, and you continue doing it with impunity, then you are worse than the one you have removed.
When creating the IGG’s office, the idea of the Leadership Code was introduced so as to hold leaders accountable to the people they are leading by explaining their wealth before they get to power, and even when they are already there by keeping the office updated on what they have earned and how they have done so.
Unfortunately, that has lost meaning; there is no total independence in that office now. Some of the things that made the Movement popular at home and abroad are now dead. Constitutionalism was one of such things. But when the Constitution is manipulated by doing away with presidential term limits, then you are creating greed for power, power corrupts and the moment you monopolise power, then other things follow.
RULE OF LAW
We went to the bush to fight to reinstate the rule of law. The previous regimes had abused it so much. People were being detained in illegal places. Nile Mansions had become ‘Killing Mansions.’ There was the famous Argentina house in Mbuya, Makindye, Nakasero, among others. And now you hear of safe houses and one wonders, what’s happening to this country?
Was it bewitched? What difference have you made? It renders what you went to the bush to fight against (torture) equally okay since you are doing it in a different form, or even worse than the ones you replaced!
Uganda is a signatory to the International Human Rights Charter and that charter has certain minimum acceptable human rights [standards], and I believe among those is respect for human rights by not imprisoning people in illegal places.
The sub-committee which looked into human rights abuse recommended the creation of the Uganda Human Rights Commission. The aim was that the people’s rights are not infringed upon by the executive. We recommended that people should have civic education because one of the reasons why they are tortured is because they don’t know their rights, but this has never been put into practice. We never wanted the government to keep people ignorant of their rights, but that’s what the government has done.
Denial of civic competence and clear flow of information are clear signs of dictatorship. It’s dictators who keep information to themselves. People need to be informed and given the chance to talk freely.
You cannot talk of freedom when you gag the press; that is reserved for dictators. The Movement really got off track in the way they have ended up doing things [different] from the way they were to be done [at the beginning].
FROM MY HEART
Whatever I have said is from the bottom of my heart because I did sacrifice for this country to get out of the bad leadership it was going through. However, it’s very unfortunate that as we fought, we were not all rich at heart and poor in pockets. Some have chosen to be poor at heart and rich in pockets, a thing that is taking our country backwards.
How I joined the NRA
Dr. Jack Luyombya joined the struggle in 1981. He was one of the few people who met at the late Japheth Sabiti’s residence in Rubaga to form the NRM/NRA. Others who attended this meeting included Kirunda Kivejinja, Moses Kigongo, Bakaluba Mpagi and Japheth Sabiti (host).
We were less than ten people at that meeting. This was way after the attack on Kabamba which signified the start of the war. However, even long before that, Museveni had promised to go to the bush should the elections of 1980 be rigged. To some of us who did not belong to the UPM, we were not ready to join the struggle if it was all about UPM.
We came together, despite our different political beliefs, while others were not interested in politics at all but simply because there was a common enemy. Our country was poorly managed and we wanted to see a change. That’s why we went to the bush.
The forces that started the liberation struggle were FRONASA - the people who were under Museveni during the 1979 liberation war that removed Amin from power. The creation of the new group, which embraced all the disaffected parties, was communicated later to Museveni and his men in the bush, and they had no problem with it since PRA (Popular Resistance Army) was also represented at the meeting in Rubaga that came up with the new name.
I started working for the rebel group through clandestine operations around Kampala where I was based. As the struggle developed, I moved to the External Wing of the Movement based in Nairobi, and later South Africa and Zambia. In Nairobi, I was working for the struggle while working at the Aga Khan Hospital. It was very hard for one to come up and say, you are doing this. Each person had their own part to play.