It has been reported in Uganda Press that the Police needs a whole shs600bn the coming financial year. This money is needed because Uganda has turned to a Police State. A lot of Tear gas is needed actually on daily basis as people are dis contented and the frustration calls for the riots. The case of the Muslim community who were moving from Kibuli is also one where the President has shown interest in a faction which faction has dined at State House more than once. The top leadership in Uganda ought to know that a Police state does not help.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
IS UGANDA ON A STEADY ROAD TO A POLICE STATE?
Posted by Crispy Kaheru
on Wednesday, April 13 2011 at 00:00
There’s been a lot of talk on the key laws that Parliament passed or considered to pass prior to the 2011 general elections. Taking stock of the laws passed or brought before Parliament during the aforesaid period, you will discover that most of them reflect a deep distrust in the inherent fundamental freedoms and liberties of the people.
Laws including: The NGO Registration (Amendment) Act 2006; The Access to Information Regulations 2007; The Proposed Public Order Management Bill 2009; The Press and Journalist Amendment Bill 2010; Regulation of Interception of Communications Act 2010; and The Institution of the Traditional and Cultural Leaders’ Bill 2010, are seemingly an attempt to purge critical voices. Not all the new laws are bad but their lack of efficacy seems to be very apparent.
Demonstrated by the clamp-down on Ugandans who were walking to their places of work in Kampala, one would be right to conclude that those with dissenting views or those who lie on the opposing side of the political divide are subject to extraordinarily high rates of surveillance and arrests than never before. This means our country is living under a level of surveillance that can only be characterised as a police state. Unfortunately, in this burgeoning police state, who does and doesn’t receive justice, is determined by the ‘big man’ and his underlings.
Whereas what is happening is a good learning experience to inform how we gradually define our democracy, the government ought to steer clear of elements of actions or inactions that prepone extreme domestic surveillance of its own citizens. We don’t want to be trapped in a situation similar to that of the Nazi Germany or worse still, regress to the subjugation that came along with some of the post-independence regimes in Uganda. In Nazi Germany, the police were allowed to arrest people on suspicion that they were about to do wrong. All local police units had to draw up a list of people in their locality who might be suspected of being “Enemies of the State”. This Police had the power to do as it liked.
Clearly put, anybody who was deemed to be a political threat was a candidate for the list of those to be arrested. There are specks of evidence to conclude that Uganda seems to be treading on the path where the police is the master card to subdue any sort of citizen discontent. Citizens’ common sense has been stolen. In its place there are the new laws that have overthrown the long tradition of pragmatism and replaced it with a “legalistic” approach to everything.
The citizens detest a situation where cruelty substitutes for justice. Recent and ongoing rhetoric of indifference advanced by some government officials on the current unpleasant cost of living situation and the retching of the citizens’ debate on the same simply demonstrates that government doesn’t want to help its people but rather suppress them against speaking out.
Time immemorial through now, young people are generally taught a celebratory history of the civil rights movement and the politics of nonviolent resistance centred on the icons of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. This is a call to government: When the good citizens start to practice the good things they have been taught by their good teachers in the good schools, they should not be ruthlessly gagged but rather listened to.
Police employ teargas to stop marching Muslims
Police arrest some of the youth who were participating in the march on Namirembe Road in Kampala yesterday. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye
By Abdu Kiyaga & Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa (email the author)
Posted Friday, April 27 2012 at 00:00
Parts of Kampala were yesterday turned into battle fields as police confronted hundreds of Muslims marching to occupy Old Kampala Mosque, the seat of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
The Muslims, loyal to the Kibuli-based faction led by Sheikh Zubair Kayongo, were protesting elections to the supreme council slated for today. The over 1,000 Muslims, led by the head of Imams, Sheikh Nuhu Muzaata, said they wanted to dislodge Mufti Shaban Mubajje, whose leadership they have opposed since court faulted him over the sale of Muslim Muslim property in 2009.
The protestors, who first gathered at Kibuli Mosque, were addressed by Sheikh Muzaata before they resolved to descend on UMSC headquarters. In his address, Sheikh Muzaata asked the faithful to boycott government programmes, accusing it of being responsible for the problems the Muslim community is facing.
“Stop engaging in all government activities because it is intended to rob you of all the remaining household materials,” Sheikh Muzaata said, without elaborating.
When the floor was handed to the spokesperson of the Kibuli faction, Sheikh Hassan Kirya, he asked the congregation if they were not tired of the developments, in which he received a resounding “Yes!” response. His proposal that the assembly sets a date to express their anger fell on deaf ears as the group insisted that they march to the UMSC headquarters immediately.
The crowd then embarked on the four-kilometre journey to Old Kampala, waving flags and shouting Allah Akbar (God is great). The number kept swelling as the procession progressed. In down town Kampala, some wary traders rushed to close their shops as they anticipated chaos.
And it did not take long because as the group approached former Pride Theatre on Namirembe Road, they were confronted by police, commanded by the Old Kampala Police Station boss Kituuma Rusoke, who asked them to halt their march.
The group, which was 200 metres away from their destination (UMSC offices), however, ignored the directive, prompting the DPC to order his men to disperse them. It was at this point that hell broke loose as police lobbed tear gas canisters into the crowd and fired bullets in the air. Sheikh Muzaata was seen jumping off a boda boda as he scampered towards Kisenyi, a city suburb.
As the marchers turned athletic, the police gave chase, arresting about 36, who by last night were still detained at the Old Kampala Police Station.
Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Andrew Kaweesi said those arrested will be charged with holding unlawful procession.
“This has showed that the leaders who are behind this do not like peaceful means of resolving misunderstandings and we will use all legal means to end this. And all those that are behind the violence will be charged,” Mr Kaweesi said.
The protests come a day before the grassroots elections of UMSC, which the Kibuli based faction has vowed not to participate in unless the UMSC constitution is amended.
“We think that this constitution has to be reviewed if we are to move forward as a community. It has ambiguous clauses and it doesn’t separate roles of officials. Holding elections now will keep us in that vicious circle of wrangles,” said Sheikh Kirya.
This is the second time Muslims are storming UMSC offices over leadership wrangles. In 1991, they stormed UMSC to dislodge the then chief Khadi (Mufti) Hussein Rajab Kakooza, an attempt that left nine police officers and two canine dogs dead.
Why the fight?
Mubajje woes. A section of Muslims has since 2006 been pushing for Mubajje’s exit, accusing him of illegally disposing of community property but his strong ties with big shots in government has kept him at the helm to date. The conflict ended up in court, with Mubajje, Hassan Basajjabalaba and Dr Edrisa Kasenene facing criminal charges.
PRESIDENT MUSEVENI TO UNITE MUSLIMS
By Milton Olupot
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni is to mediate between the Muslim factions headed by Mufti Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje and Sheikh Zubair Kayongo.
Speaking at futur (breaking of the fast) he hosted for Muslims at State House Entebbe on Wednesday to mark the end of Ramadhan, Museveni called for unity among the Muslim community.
“There has been in-fighting among Muslims. I would like you to sit down and sort out this problem amicably,” he said. About 300 guests across the country attended the function that started about 7:00pm and went on past 10:00pm. Sources said most notable figures who attended the function were loyal to Mubajje except a few who support Kayongo. National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice-chairman Hajji Moses Kigongo, Libyan ambassador Abdallah Bujeldain and Dr. Ahmed Kisuule, Uganda’s ambassador to Iran, were present.
In his address, Museveni also said he would call the unity meeting because “in-fighting is not good. Those differences must be settled”.
Mubajje heads the Old Kampala faction while the Kibuli faction is headed by Kayongo. Muslims opposed to Mubajje in January 2009 named Kayongo as mufti following a disagreement with Mubajje over the sale of Muslim property in Kampala.
The conflict ended up in the court, with Mubajje, city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba and former secretary general Edris Kasenene facing criminal charges. The trio was acquitted by court. But the anti-Mubajje faction rejected the court verdict and named their own mufti.
Mid this year, the Old Kampala faction split with Mubajje and the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council chairman, Hassan Basajjabalaba, with each of them purporting to sack the other. Their differences have not been resolved. The President assured his guests that the Government had brought peace which people should take advantage of to wipe out poverty. “The Government is doing its part by providing electricity power and roads but it will not come to your house and remove poverty. That is your responsibility as an individual,” he said.
Museveni advised the school-going children to target science courses that, he said, have a ready job market. He said the Government had finalised the plan for a loan scheme for university graduates who fail to find employment.
Museveni urged Ugandans to start commercial farming so that they can have products to sell as well as maintain food security.
Earlier, Mubajje had said the Muslim top organ would organise elections for leaders before December this year. “Whoever is interested in leadership should go down and get the mandate of the people,” he said.
Mubajje cautioned Muslims against engaging in terrorism, referring to the July 11 incident in which 79 people were killed in bomb attacks in Kampala.
“You have been humble and law abiding during Ramadhan, I appeal to you to continue the same way even after fasting. The end of fasting does not mean the end of good behavior,” he advised.
The sumptuous dinner was punctuated by recitations from Sheik Umar Ddumba and performances from Matali entertainment group, which sang praises for Museveni and called for his re-election.
Published on: Thursday, 9th September, 2010
MUSLIMS DINE AT STATE HOUSE
Publish Date: Sep 19, 2009
By Cyprian Musoke
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has told Muslims in the country to get back to work, so as to utilise the peace that has been restored for individual prosperity.
Referring to the recent riots that rocked Kampala last week, Museveni said that those who brought chaos have been sorted out.
What is important to all Ugandans is that there is peace, leave alone those who have been bringing chaos. They are not difficult to sort out, he said.
Speaking at a sumptuous future (breaking of the fast) he hosted for Muslims at State House Entebbe on Thursday to mark the end of Ramathan, Museveni said the LRA rebels and armed cattle rustlers in Northern Uganda were also overpowered by the UPDF and the north was now peaceful.
In over 40 years, Karamoja has just had its peace restored. Now is the time for Uganda to develop, even you individually should use this peace to develop, he said.
He added that one of the major bottlenecks to Uganda's development had been over-dependence on donor aid, which had problems of delayed or non-fulfilment of the promised aid.
This always disorganised our plans with the wananchi blaming us for the stagnation. Roads had stagnated because we were shopping around for external funding. Now our purse has got better. We don't have to depend on them anymore, he said.
Energy deficiency, he added, is going to become a thing of the past and power tariffs will go down when the Government uses its own money to build dams.
Tariffs rose because MPs delayed Bujagali so we resorted to expensive diesel, which costs US$23 per unit, while Hydro power costs US$5 or 6 per unit, he said.
The President castigated radio stations for not relaying this information and instead engaging in abusingâ. He said the Government took over Nyagak hydro-power project from Agha Khan who had failed to construct it.
"Roads that had been delayed by failure of donors are going to be completed with domestic savings. He congratulated muslims on the successful completion of the Holy month of Ramadhan.
RIOTS IN UGANDA AFTER OPPOSITION LEADERS ARRESTED
NAMBOOZE TALKS TO MAO BEFORE HE WAS RELEASED
April 14, 2011 by Paul
Categories - News & Analysis
The New York Times, the Ugandan press and our friends in Uganda are reporting that riots erupted today in Gulu, the largest city in northern Uganda, after opposition leader and former Gulu mayor noneNorbert Mao was arrested. Mao was arrested for participating in a Gulu “walk-to-work” demonstration to protest rising fuel and food costs in Uganda. Residents in Gulu report that Ugandan military forces are firing live ammunition in the town, and that some people are setting up barricades to block the movement of military forces.
Kampala, Uganda’s capital, also erupted in riots today following police efforts to break up similar demonstrations and arrest another opposition candidate, Kizza Besigye. Mao and Besigye were also arrested on Monday during earlier “walk-to-work” demonstrations, which sparked a US State Department response expressing “concern” about the arrests and calling on the Ugandan government “to respect the opposition’s right to express its viewpoints and citizens’ rights to demonstrate peacefully and without fear of intimidation.”
Both Mao and Besigye ran against incumbent Yoweri Museveni in presidential polls in February and denounced the validity of the elections that awarded President Museveni five more years for a job he has held since 1986. Both candidates called for peaceful demonstrations to protest the results immediately following the elections. Those calls for protest prompted the Ugandan government to outlaw protesting. This week’s protests are the biggest protests against the government so far this year.
We’re watching the news from Uganda closely, and hoping that our many friends there remain safe and that the situation calms. But until President Museveni and his ruling party get serious about fostering democractic governance and freedom of expression, Uganda’s stability and the fundamental political rights of her citizens will remain in jeopardy.
To close, the words of Rt. Rev. Bishop Ochola, one of Resolve’s first mentors on Uganda’s history and politics, are appropriate. The following passage is taken from a speech about February’s elections Bishop Ochola gave this week at a conference hosted by the United Religions Initiative, Great Lakes Region.
“It is this oneness of Uganda, as one people and one nation that calls for mutual respect for every human person from every corner of Uganda. This mutual respect for human life, human dignity and human rights of every human person in Uganda calls for free, fair, just, and transparent electoral processes throughout Uganda. Uganda, as our mother country, belongs to all Ugandans regardless of our political, ethnic and religious differences.
Thus, every son and daughter of Uganda with all the necessary qualities and values of life has the fundamental legitimacy to actively participate in voting exercise, as an electorate. He or she also has every right to participate in a healthy competition for either presidency of Uganda or for parliamentary elections, in order to become a President or Member of Parliament of Uganda. All these electoral processes must be free, fair, just, and transparent in every respect.”
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