Posts tagged as: criminal

Jinja Stuck With Shs 1.3bn Street Lights Bill

Jinja municipality is stuck with an accumulated power bill worth Shs 1.3 billion.

Rajab Kitto, the spokesman, Jinja municipality, says the bill has been accumulating over the last five years.

Local authorities are mandated to clear power bills using collections from local revenue. He says the failure to clear the power bill, prompted Umeme to disconnect street lights plunging the municipality into total darkness.

According to Kitto, they are unable to raise sufficient local revenue to clear the bill.

“Of course you are aware that Umeme cut off its power and demands us a lot of money, which is about 1.3 billion. Unless people pay, there is no way we are going to pay that money. We are not in position to pay”, he said.

Majid Batambuze, the mayor Jinja municipality and chairperson Urban Authorities Association, says municipalities unable to sustain street lighting because of the heavy power bills. He wants government to direct power suppliers to incur the cost of streetlights across the country.

“These urban councils collect less revenue and yet they have a lot of other costs to meet. Street lighting is a very expensive venture. If the government can direct the power suppliers to incur the cost of the street lighting before being contracted, then the problem would be solved,” he said.

He however, says most urban council leaders are opting from solar powered streetlights, which don’t have monthly bills.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Museveni Directive On Torture Good Opportunity to Rein in Police

columnBy Karoli Ssemogerere

President Museveni has hit the nail on the head summarising the futility of torture as a method of investigation. When with each passing murder, police publicly announces it will leave no stone unturned in bringing the culprits to justice; it essentially renews its free rein to do all and the unthinkable to cover up the episode and move on.

With the murder of AIGP Felix Kaweesi in March, a raw nerve finally seems to have hit the nation’s conscience. It goes without saying that key aspects of this murder were not different from prior murders of Joan Kagezi, Maj Kiggundu and others. These were signature crimes.

The group that has executed a number of Muslim clerics operates in a slightly different manner but with the same result. President Museveni seems to recognise this. He is also brutally honest by admitting the negative effect these events are having on the prospects of the country.

The elite group the President wrote to is perhaps the most educated group ever at the helm of the armed offices and police. Both police and the army are in the hands of highly qualified lawyers. Gen Muhoozi graduated at the top of his class and Gen Kale Kayihura graduated from Makerere as well. Below them may be some enforcers, Brig Peter Elwelu the Deputy CDF, was active in the Kasese operations; itself a joint army-police investigation that are still under a range of investigations.

By the time the President spoke out, a number of key events had taken place showing that things are getting out of control.

First was a bungled up investigation into the murder of the late Kawesi. If the case were to come up before a jury, none of the persons arrested would ever be found guilty given the mystery of where these people in the scores were found with little or no connection to the crime. This is a case where police in its wisdom did not find it fit to deploy sniffer dogs. This is also a case where police simply overwhelmed the national identification databases with fingerprints without giving a lawful justification why they kept on bringing fingerprints without pause.

Second was the failure of Parliament through the relevant committee, to get any information out of police why it was abusing its powers. Scenes from this committee show that save for three MPs, no one was willing to extract accountability from the leadership of police.

Third, the outcome of police’s foray into politics has destroyed the necessary barrier between the armed forces and police and the political process removing a key check and balance. This level of familiarity is a major risk factor in coups and instability.

The President must also have spoken from disappointment. The much hyped PR events by police on the progress they were making fell flat on their face when stories of firing cops were soon replaced with permanent images of a local politician in Kamwenge in the press complete with rotting knees and raw human flesh.

When the suspects were brought to court, they had impaired mobility. Uganda is a party to the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”) of the United Nations that bars the use of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment. In 2012, Uganda domesticated this Convention through the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act enacted in 2012. It is shocking that a whole Deputy Attorney General of Uganda is not aware of this fact.

The Minister of Security, Gen Henry Tumukunde, at a lower level has started speaking out against police excesses and police brutality. He knows a thing or two having been in the system before being ejected in 2005. He also perhaps has fresh memories of how he was shot at in the 2016 elections.

The country must quickly unite against the vision of barbarism and lawlessness. We must restore value to human life!

Mr Ssemogerere is an Attorney-at-Law and an Advocate.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Waiswa Completes Transition From 16 to Number ‘One’

By Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo

Kampala — When Charles Waiswa hits the deck first for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three opener next Tuesday against Canada at Lugogo, it will feel new.

The left-arm medium fast bowler has undergone major transformation since his first class debut for Uganda in 2005 against Kenya.

Waiswa, then 17, must have have had a longer run-up like most young bowlers and hair that was hardly longer than one inch as many schools have always demanded.

Today, it’s impossible not to notice the short spiky hairstyle.

Now, his shirt number, something that most sportsmen feel an attachment to, has changed significantly over the past 12 years.

“I admired Makhaya Ntini so I chose to wear shirt No. 16 at the time,” Waiswa said in reference the South Africa bowler.

When Ntini retired in 2009, Waiswa wasn’t static. “After Ntini left, I chose Scott Styris’ 56,” Waiswa added at the Cricket Cranes’ kit unveiling on Tuesday.

Perhaps, Waiswa had designs on emulating the New Zealander’s all-round skills. Styris retired into television punditry in 2011.

Soon after, Wasiwa took a break until two years. Upon his return, his admiration had now shifted to Australian left-armer Mitchell Johnson.

“I dropped my previous shirt number for Johnson’s 25,” Waiswa explained. You could immediately draw symmetry.

Both Waiswa and Johnson are left-armers, swing the ball either side of the wicket and opened the bowling for their countries.

This has enticed Waiswa into changing his shirt number to 1, thereby finding his own voice. “Since I open the bowling, I picked ‘One’,” he concluded.

At the time of the debut, Kenneth Kamyuka opened the bowling for Uganda. Barring a tweak Waiswa will take that role against Canada next Tuesday.

This should probably spur him into his first five wicket haul.

In 28 matches, he has taken 35 wickets at an average of 27.22 runs with a strike rate of a wicket every 35.2 balls. His economy stands at an impressive 4.66 runs per over.

The former Jinja SSS and Makerere College student will effectively lead Uganda’s hunt for promotion into Division Two by ensuring Uganda reaches the final of the six-team tournament.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Police Should Rethink Their Work Methods

editorial

On Monday, the President wrote to the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura and other security agencies, to stop the barbaric method of torturing suspects in order to extract evidence from them. It is a good move by the President although it would not have been necessary if the police and other security forces had been doing their work professionally. It’s unsustainable. How often shall the President have to issue warnings before our law enforcement authorities fulfill their constitutional mandate?

Just as the President was warning police to stop torturing suspects in custody, a woman was camping at Kira Police Station in Kampala seeking justice for her teenage sister who was defiled and impregnated by her husband, a person who ought to have protected her. Her future is bleak or totally shattered.

Police released the suspect despite the presence of the victim’s statement on the case file admitting defilement by the accused and the corroborative medical examination results confirming the victim’s revelations.

The police argued that the file was taken to the DPP but had not received sanction to take the suspect to court. They therefore they released him on bond purportedly to comply with the constitutional limit of 48 hours required to have taken a suspect to court.

Police cannot hide under pretence of upholding the Constitution, given its recent record. A police that torture suspects with all brutality to the extent of causing injuries cannot be bothered by the interruption of a suspect’s liberty beyond 48 hours.

The most plausible motivation to release the suspect could have been money. Officially, police bond is free of charge but as we all know, many police officers will not release a suspect without pay.

The released suspect returned home and chased away the victim and the wife. The woman was by yesterday still camping at the police station and vowed not to leave until she got justice. Should the President have to write to the IGP about this?

The police must always do what they are trained and paid to do – apprehend criminals and help the victims get justice – without anyone first raising an alarm in the media or crying to the President.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Government Issues Two Free Zone Licences

By Jonathan Adengo

Kampala — Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA) has issued two development licences to M/s Nilus Limited and M/s Uganda Wood Impex Limited to develop free zones in Jinja and Kalungu districts in Uganda.

This brings the number of companies that have so far been licensed by UFZA to three. The first Free Zone Area in Arua was issued to Arua Special Economic Zone Limited (Arua SEZ) to develop a $12.7 million (Shs45.7 billion) free zone in Arua Municipality, Arua District.

A free zone is a special designated area where goods introduced into the area are generally regarded, so far as import duties are concerned, as being outside the customs territory. These include export processing zones or free port zones.

Speaking to journalists during the handover of the licences at UFZA offices yesterday, Ms Margaret Banga, the vice chairperson of the board of directors UFZA, said the Authority is finalising the national mapping exercise to identify sites for the suitable location of free zone areas in Uganda.

Ms Nilus Limited intends to undertake tobacco leaf processing for export to Europe, Asia and Middle East and Egypt. The projected capital investment for the zone is $10,597,606 (about Shs36 billion) and is expected to employ about 220 people. The company will also indirectly create employment to 14,500 farmers.

Mr Rob Kelsall, the managing director Nilus Limited, said in the first year of operation, they will process only Ugandan Tobacco Services Limited 2017 crop. This accounts for 27 per cent of the national crop.

“Nilus will only process the raw or green tobacco in to the processed or unmanufactured product which is then sold to the manufacturer who makes the cigarette. Nilus does not own aby tobacco or tobacco product in Uganda,” Mr Kelsall said.

Ms Uganda Wood Impex, which was granted a licence for six acres in Kalungu District, will process essential oil and timber for export to China, United Arab Emirates and India.

Mr Dinesh Nair, the managing director M/S Uganda Wood Impex, said the timber and sandalwood will be obtained from South Sudan and democratic republic of Congo since there is limited supply of wood here in Uganda.

The company says it will source its raw materials locally and regionally but will source the lemon grass from outgrowers in Kalungu and Masaka districts. They intend to use modern technology in the production process of the essential oils and timber.

Mr Richard Jabo, the executive director UFZA, said the Authority will facilitate the companies to get all the necessary clearances from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

How Torture Got Mixed Up With Police Work in Uganda

columnBy Nicholas Sengoba

Ever since gruesome pictures of the Mayor of Kamwenge, Geoffrey Byamukama, appeared in the media, there has been great uproar. His knee caps have deep wounds and so are his ankles. His legs and arms are all bruises and wounds. (Don’t laugh, but the police say it is unethical to publish such pictures!)

Cases of suspects turning out in court with fresh wounds and bruises claiming to have suffered torture at the hands of the police have been with us for a long time. Some have been maimed for life. There are other cases of those arrested never turning up again.

I will not pretend to be surprised by these acts of assault by the police.

After all, it is now in the public domain that among the good officers in Uganda’s Police Force, there is a considerable number of criminal elements. These hire out guns, protect criminals, and engage in all manner of crime. The Justice Ssebutinde Report of 2001 and President Yoweri Museveni have said so.

Ever since Gen Kale Kayihura became the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in 2005, four significant things happened in the Force.

First, the budget of the Force has increased tremendously, which translated into better facilitation in terms of transport (vehicles and motorcycles,) facilities like armoured vehicles, tear gas, uniforms, anti-riot gear, etc. So there are supposedly better placed to fight crime.

Secondly, there has been an increase in recruitment both in the regular Force and in auxiliary units such as the ‘crime preventers.’ So, presumably, we have more manpower to fight crime.

Thirdly, the orientation of the Force in training, has been more militarised because of the claim that criminals have become more violent and sophisticated. This implies that criminals are faced with a more robust Force bent on keeping law and order.

Fourthly, the reports of mischief, law breaking, human rights abuses and high-handedness by the police have increased significantly as have reports of crime. Some say it is because the media is more vigilant thus the more cases reported in the press. That is a debate for another day.

For now, we stick to the issue of torture and violence in the Force.

It is a tired argument that the police from the colonial times were established to maintain law and order mainly for the perpetuation of those in power. But there was a delicate mix. For instance, a chicken thief, a murderer, a rapist, etc, would equally receive his comeuppance by facing the law like anyone who threatened the rulers from enjoying their reign.

After the attainment of independence in the 60s, with the failure of the promise of self rule, self-preservation and perpetuation of ‘elected’ dictators and autocrats became the paramount aim of law enforcement agencies like the police.

When economies failed and so did the provision of social services, most governments found it more appropriate and cheaper to allow some degree of law breaking.

This would allow criminals to fend for themselves instead of putting pressure on the government by demanding for their part of the bargain in the social contract.

Forget about the handbag-snatching roadside thief and think about the public servant who earns Shs800,000 but pays more than Shs6,000,000 in school fees for his children per term, has built a house, has apartments for rent, etc, and you will understand this point. ‘Understandably, even the one recruited in the police may act as criminal once in a while. Thus the governments of the day went slow on most aspects that facilitated the prevalence of a strict regime of law and order. So the budget of the police increased to militarise, but not to facilitate the investigative arm with forensic experts, good laboratories, and well trained investigators to extract evidence from suspects for successful prosecution, etc.

We did not equally compliment the work of the police by strengthening the Public Prosecutor’s Office with well paid and facilitated prosecutors nor did we have a significant rise in the financing of the Judiciary to achieve greater efficiency.

Now we have more military-minded men/women in police uniforms, who can violently put out an anti-government riot by the Opposition, arresting suspects involved in a murder but don’t know what do next. Their knowledge of the law is limited and are short on techniques to gather evidence that will stand the test ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ in open court. Also, criminal elements within the force arrest innocent people and try to implicate them while they cover up the real bad guys with whom they are in cahoots.

You have cases where there are trumped up charges to extract money from individuals.

Or innocent people are arrested as proof of work done to account for operational funds. They end up torturing the suspects to extract confessions as a short cut.

It is notable that many suspects get to court and disassociate themselves from these confession citing torture and duress.

In many matters before court, suspects have also turned up and told Judges that they were promised money and freedom if they implicated another suspect.

That is how torture became part of the mix in the work of the police.

Nicholas Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues.

Uganda Deports Rwandan Murder Fugitive

Police, yesterday, received a fugitive at Gatuna border post, who had escaped prison and fled to Uganda.

Jovan Rugamba was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder in 2011, but escaped prison in February this year.

He was arrested by Uganda Police Force late last month in Kawempe division in Uganda’s capital Kampala following an arrest warrant issued by Interpol-Kigali.

Rugamba, who committed the criminal offence in Kamonyi, was handed over to Rwanda National Police at Gatuna border post by Ugandan Police officers.

RNP spokesperson Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege said that after the convict escaped prison, a red notice was issued through Interpol’s international communication system – 1-24/7.

“It was later confirmed that Rugamba had crossed to and was hiding in Uganda. As usual, we worked with Uganda Police Force, who tracked and arrested him last month, and deported him,” said ACP Badege.

He lauded the existing cooperation between Rwanda and Uganda police forces.

“Rugamba is not the first fugitive to be arrested in Uganda. There are many others arrested and deported or extradited before. This kind of fruitful cooperation, even with other countries, continue to play a significant role in ensuring that justice is served and to fight cross-border and transnational crimes in general,” said ACP Badege.

Rwanda

EU Opts for Dialogue As Region Ignores Signing Trade Deal

European Union (EU) has invited the government to a dialogue over the contentious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Read more »

Some Truth In ICC Unfairness Claim – Former Botswana President Mogae

Photo: Phoebe Okall/The Nation

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae at the Fairmont The Norfolk hotel in Nairobi on February 28, 2013.

interviewBy Charles Omondi

Former Botswana President Festus Mogae and winner of the 2008 Ibrahim Prize Festus Mogae talks with the Nation’s Charles Omondi about the International Criminal Court, this year’s Kenyan General Election, his leadership, his life and the award.

CHARLES OMONDI: African leaders have often complained that the International Criminal Court (ICC) targets the continent’s leaders unfairly. What is your take?

Festus Mogae: There could be some truth in that school of thought because Western leaders often instigate wars away from home that end up claiming many lives yet they get away with it. African leaders on the other hand kill their own and are easily nailed for the crimes. Whatever the case, there can be no justification in killing people and anyone culpable should be punished.

Do you back the threat of mass withdrawal from the Rome Statute by African states?

It would be regrettable if that happened. African leaders have nothing to fear because the ICC only comes after the guilty. If you are innocent, the court will absolve you in the event of a false accusation.

Kenya is headed to an epic election in three months’ time. What is your advice to Kenyans?

They should conduct themselves as peacefully as they did in 2013. That is my hope.

You quit leadership at a time your peers were engaging in machinations to cling to power. What was your motivation?

Before my predecessor (Ketumile) Masire left power, Botswana enacted a law limiting any individual president’s reign to a maximum of 10 years. I had to be faithful to the law of the land. I must say there is nothing sacrosanct about 10 years, but it is most desirable that any leader should not cling to power. Leadership too should be viewed like sports where one generation gives way to another from time to time. It is best that one leaves the scene when still loved. It is a pity and very regrettable that some leaders change the law to extend their stay in power.

So what keeps you busy and active?

I am involved in a lot of charity work, like being a member of the African Wildlife Foundation which has two headquarters in Washington and Nairobi. I am also involved with the Master Card Foundation that administers the Wings to Fly scholarships through the Equity Bank in Kenya. The Master Card Foundation is also active in Uganda and Rwanda and, to a lesser extent, Tanzania and Ghana. I am serving my final three-year term. I am also a member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation leadership prize committee. Of course you are aware of my role in the South Sudan peace negotiations. Back at home, I am actively involved in the anti-HIV/Aids campaign.

Those roles obviously have a huge travel component, meaning you spend a lot of time away from home and family.

I am lucky that all my children are grown and they are leading their lives. The youngest is 28-years-old. Oftentimes, I travel with my wife, like on this occasion (in Marrakech) we are together. She does a lot of charity work especially in the Catholic Church of which she is staunch member. But I am not Catholic (chuckles).

You won a lot of money ($5 million over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter) from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. What have you used it for?

I drank it (with a chuckle). Money is easy to finish. I have been president and know so many people and vice versa, hence a lot of then demand my support. I finance higher education of many needy Botswana students and I am involved in a lot of other charities. Also remember that I am an African and not exempt from the spirit of the extended family. There are many people who have sought my help.

Your plans for the future?

I intend to cut down particularly my international engagements. My earnest prayer is that the South Sudan crisis should have been resolved.

South Africa: Bhekisisa Journalist Scoops Impactafrica Award

Reporter Pontsho Pilane has been recognised for her reporting on menstruation.

Bhekisisa health reporter Pontsho Pilane has won an impactAfrica award for her reporting on access to healthy, safe and dignified menstruation.

Pilane won the fourth round of the impactAfrica competition, which sought to award stories that shed light on the challenges women and girls face in accessing healthcare and health services. The award acknowledges a series of pieces by Pilane on menstruation that covered issues such as inequities in people’s access to sanitary pads or alternatives as well as pushes for the introduction of government-subsidised pads.

For Pilane, who was named Vodacom Young Journalist of the Year in 2016, this is the latest accolade recognising her deep commitment to covering gender issues.

She will also join Chris Roper, deputy director at Code for Africa and International Centre for Journalists Knight Fellow, on a panel at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ World News Media Congress in Durban in June.

Pilane has also been named as a finalist in this year’s Discovery Health Journalism awards alongside Bhekisisa news editor Laura Lopez Gonzalez and senior multimedia journalist Demelza Bush.

Former Bhekisisa journalist Ina Skosana is also a finalist in the features category and Mail & Guardian business journalist Lynley Donnelly is up for an award for best health economics reporting.

In a statement released this week, Discovery Health judges said the quality of entries this year was exceptional and noted that it was a challenge to identify the finalists. They commended reporters for improving knowledge and encouraging public interest in matters that shape health and healthcare.

Pilane will accompany fellow impactAfrica award-winner and M&G environmental reporter Sipho Kings on a study tour of the United States. Kings was also awarded the prestigious Nieman Fellowship this week and will attend Harvard University in August.

South Africa

Malema Slams ‘Apartheid Criminal’ De Klerk

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema says former African National Congress presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and… Read more »

Why Africa Must Now Reject the Death Penalty Once and for All

Photo: Flickr

Death Row.

opinionBy Oluwatosin Popoola

On April 11, Amnesty International published its report on the global use of the death penalty for last year.

The report indicates that at least some 1,032 people were executed in 23 countries.

Excluding China, which executed more people than the rest of the world combined, some 87 per cent of all the executions took place in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan.

In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has stood out as a beacon of hope and positive progress on the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty.

However, last year saw a mix of some good and bad news. The good news is that there has been a significant reduction in the number of executions carried out in the entire region.

The number of recorded executions went down by 49 per cent, with 22 executions recorded last year compared to 43 the previous year.

In addition, two countries in the region abolished the death penalty. In January last year, the Constitutional Court of the West African nation of Benin ruled that in order to comply with the country’s international human rights obligations, all laws providing for the death penalty were void and death sentences could no longer be imposed.

The landmark decision effectively abolished the death penalty. Later in the year, Guinea introduced a new Criminal Code, which removed the death penalty from the statute books as an applicable punishment for ordinary crimes.

While Guinea’s Military Code still provides for the death penalty for some exceptional crimes, a Bill to remove all the death penalty provisions from the Military Code is pending in that country’s National Assembly.

These positive developments in Benin and Guinea followed the trend from 2015, when Madagascar and the Republic of Congo consigned the death penalty to history.

The pace of abolition of the penalty in sub-Saharan Africa has been steady and promising.

In 1977, when Amnesty International started campaigning and advocating for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty no country in sub-Saharan Africa had abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Today, some 19 have done so.

There was also good news for hundreds of people who had been condemned to death and were reprieved last year when their death sentences were commuted in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritania, and Sudan.

The commutations in Kenya were particularly remarkable. President Uhuru Kenyatta commuted the death sentences of 2,747 prisoners – the entire death row population in Kenya at the time.

Indeed, despite not having removed the death penalty, it is instructive to note that Kenya has not carried out executions in 30 years and this move further steers it away from the death penalty.

On the other hand, two countries that had not carried out executions since 2013 resumed. Botswana executed one person last year; and in December three people were suddenly executed in Edo State of Nigeria.

A very worrying trend in sub-Saharan Africa last year was the sharp increase in the number of death sentences handed down despite the fact that the number of countries where death sentences were imposed by the courts fell from 21 in 2015 to 17 last year.

There was a staggering 145 per cent increase in the number of death sentences imposed across the region.

Some 1,086 death sentences were confirmed last year compared to 443 in 2015. This sharp increase was largely due to a massive surge in Nigeria, where the courts imposed a total of 527 death sentences, the highest in the whole of Africa.

This high number of death sentences in Nigeria raises serious concern about the real possibility of executing some innocent people, as unsafe convictions are common.

In fact, it is worth noting that the courts exonerated 32 wrongly convicted people last year alone.

Mr Popoola is Amnesty International’s advocate/adviser on the death penalty.

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