Posts tagged as: criminal

Neglected Northern Uganda Mustn’t Be Ignored Any Longer

London — Uganda received its one millionth refugee from South Sudan on 17 August. This influx of people, many of whom have fled terrible violence to seek sanctuary in northern Uganda, has put a significant financial strain on the country and in particular its northern region.

The Ugandan government has looked to external actors for assistance. It hosted a conference in August where international donors pledged support to the tune of $352 million: a significant sum, but still a long way short of the $2 billion that Kampala and the United Nations had hoped to raise.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres lauded the open-door approach of the Ugandan government towards refugees, while the Economist chose to describe it as “a model”. Others remain more sceptical.

Stephen Oola, founder of the Amani Institute Uganda, a Gulu-based think tank, is adamant that “historically refugees have been used by the current regime for dirty political manoeuvres” and that the current situation is “no different”.

In this instance, hosting refugees gives the government leverage to resist international pressure on domestic issues such as the disputed 2016 elections and the campaign to amend constitutional age limits.

But with so much of the focus on the plight of refugees – who are undoubtedly in need of food, shelter, and basic support services – citizens of northern Uganda are once again being sidelined and ignored by their government: an approach that has characterised three decades of political dominance by the ruling National Resistance Movement.

President Yoweri Museveni’s time in power has been marked by a widening disparity between residents of northern and, to a lesser extent, eastern Uganda and those that live in central and western parts of the country; areas from which Museveni draws the bulk of his political support.

While significant strides have been made in reducing those living in poverty – between 1993 and 2013 the percentage of Ugandans living below the poverty lined dropped from almost 60 percent to 19 percent – in that same period the distribution has changed significantly.

From a fairly equal spread across the four main regions in the early 1990s, in 2013 almost half of those in poverty lived in the north, with west and central areas comprising less than 20 percent of the total. Rising levels of individual inequality are being replicated between regions.

Unquestionably the development of the northern region was stymied by conflict. Fighting between Ugandan forces and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army spanned almost two decades (1987-2006). At its peak more than one million Ugandans were displaced in what was described as the “most neglected crisis in the world”.

But the conflict itself, and its aftermath, produced tensions and divisions between citizens in the north and the government, whose forces were accused of carrying out abuses against civilians when they were supposed to be protecting them. These accusations have not been investigated by the International Criminal Court (which has focused instead on the LRA) or national courts.

In the decade since the end of the conflict, efforts to rebuild infrastructure, improve basic services, and to encourage reconciliation have been outlined in a series of Peace, Recovery and Development Plans.

Now into its third iteration, progress made on improving physical infrastructure is visible but question marks remain over the government’s ability to deliver the “soft” components: schools and hospitals often lack the staff and equipment to function effectively and the “peacebuilding” element has been underfunded and gradually pushed aside.

Critics point to the lack of citizen engagement in the design of the plans as a problem. “We saw what was done but not our will was done” was a sentiment captured by a Refugee Law Project report in 2013.

Corruption has also hampered the success of rehabilitation efforts. In 2012, Uganda’s auditor general discovered $12.7 million had been misappropriated by staff in the office of the prime minister; money that was earmarked to develop areas affected by the conflict.

When money did flow to the districts and projects, complaints from local government officials were that the disbursements were delayed, and that the money eventually received was less than promised.

Finally, and linked to the lack of consultation, the absence of compensation for victims who had property, land, or cattle stolen during conflict continues to be a bone of contention.

That’s especially the case when they saw the way the government acted quickly to offer financial support to those affected by the 2010 al-Shabab bombing in Kampala, and the continued support received by people in the Luwero triangle – the NRM’s base of operations when it fought the northern-supported government of Milton Obote in the 1980s.

A lack of strong political voice in government has also hampered development in the northern region. In the current list of 81 cabinet members and ministers of state only 17 percent of positions are held by representatives from northern constituencies and districts.

Coupled with this is the fact that Museveni has increasingly come to rely heavily on a network of more than 150 special advisers, many of whom are more interested in serving their own patronage networks in southern and western parts of the country than seriously addressing national development challenges.

In a speech to attendees of the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees in June, Museveni spoke of how “the hosting districts should be rewarded” but asked international donors to provide that support in expediting the building of roads, saying that the Ugandan government will “eventually do these”. But the last three decades point to the need for more action and less promises in the region.

So far northern Uganda has adapted remarkably to the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees, and the accompanying pressures. Perhaps communities recalling their own very recent experiences of displacement have been sympathetic to the plight of South Sudanese refugees.

But if the Ugandan government is serious about providing more permanent refuge to those fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries it cannot ignore the underlying development needs in the north.

Better schools, hospitals, and roads are needed, but so too, and perhaps more importantly, is meaningful dialogue with citizens to find solutions that are not imposed but developed in partnership with them. Northern Uganda has, for too long, been pushed to the periphery of government thinking: It’s time for that to change.

South Africa: Health Forensic Analyst Put On Suspension

The Department of Health has put one of its forensic analysts on precautionary suspension from employment with full pay.

The department on Friday said the suspended analyst is based at the Pretoria Forensic Laboratory Services.

This following allegations that the official failed to follow strict and proper operational procedures when analysing blood samples, as detected during a routine quality inspection by senior officials.

The matter has been handed over to the Hawks, as the department believes the allegations levelled against the official are criminal and fraudulent.

The forensic laboratory provides blood alcohol analysis, toxicology (poison detection services) and food analysis. There are four forensic laboratories that provide these functions and they are in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The department said the functions of the Forensic Laboratory Services are extremely important for the criminal justice system, the insurance system and the health of the nation as a whole.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said: “We hold the work of the Forensic Laboratory Services in high regard and therefore expect nothing less than professionalism, high standards of ethics and absolute honesty. Any breach of strict protocols and procedures by officials in such a sensitive sector is regarded in a very serious light and will not be tolerated. It is unacceptable.”

Due to the serious nature of this transgression, the department has urged the police to move swiftly to investigate the matter for justice to be done.

South Africa

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Opposition Offices Sealed Off

By Damali Mukhaye

Police have sealed off the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) offices in Kampala a head of their planned demonstration against lifting of the presidential age limit.

Police officers have camped outside the Najjanankumbi based party headquarters and no one is allowed to enter.

Party officials were planning to march to Parliament today to present a motion to the Speaker not to allow the age limit discussions to take place.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kale Kayihura warned Ugandans against holding processions in favour or against the proposed removal of the presidential age limit

He said police had received notifications by different groups of people intending to hold processions in the city, municipalities, and other parts of the country relating to the anticipated debate in parliament on the proposed scrapping of the president age limit from the constitution.

He said they have also received information indicating that some people are planning to use the demonstrations to cause violence and mayhem in the city including targeting parliament.

“Police recognizes and has always facilitated the exercise, of the right to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed as provided in the constitution. However at the same time police has the obligation under the constitution to keep law and order, prevent crime, as well as protecting life and property” IGP Kayihura’s statement reads.

He advises the masterminds of the processions to use other means such as television networks, radio station, print media and indoor meetings to express their positions on the matter. Gen Kayihura also warned the planners of the processions to be careful not to be used as a cover for violent criminal attacks and other criminal activities.

Recently, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) caucus endorsed a proposal to repeal article 102 (b) of the constitution, which restricts the presidential age limit to between 35 and 75 years of age. The move is allegedly aimed at paving way for President Museveni who will be above 75 years by the 2021 polls to offer himself for election.

Uganda

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Burundians to Fight UN Police Officers, Says CNDD-FDD Boss

By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

“I advise the UN not to validate this biased report presented by its experts, otherwise it will be the end of this great organization because we will firmly resist,” said Evariste

Ndayishimiye, Secretary General of the ruling party CNDD -FDD, on 16 September during a demonstration staged by members and supporters of the party. The aim was to challenge the report recently released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

According to Ndayishimiye, the report of the UN experts aims at facilitating great powers which are enemies of Burundi or the UN to deploy troops in order to invade Burundi.

The CNDD-FDD boss accuses the UN of using double standards. “Despicable crimes have been committed in Burundi since its independence, but the UN has never reacted. Why do they want to conduct investigations in Burundi today? “he said.

“They have tried to send the African Mission of Prevention and Protection to Burundi (MAPROBU) without success. If they dare, we are ready to fight them and we will win,” he also said.

“They are trying to deploy 228 police officers to arrest us and bring us to the International Criminal Court (ICC), we will fight and annihilate them in two hours,” said the Secretary General of the ruling party.

On 4 September, the UN Commission of Inquiry issued a report in which investigators accuse Burundi government of committing crimes against humanity. It called on ICC to initiate investigations in Burundi as soon as possible.

Burundians should not be confused with CNDD-FDD members

Tatien Siboma, a political opponent, finds that the Government of Burundi and the ruling party are finding scapegoats.

For him, since Burundi has plunged into the crisis in 2015, the UN institutions have adopted resolutions and produced reports on human rights situation which the government and the ruling party have always rejected. They accuse authorities and organizations responsible for these resolutions and reports of being biased.

“The best way to protest the reports is to allow international observers to come on the ground to dissect their content,” he said.

As long as the government and the ruling party do not accept that the UN investigators come on the ground in order to corroborate those reports, they will have no argument, he said. “Otherwise, anyone will conclude that they are accusing themselves of something,” said Sibomana.

For him, by saying that the Burundian people will protest against the UN if it implements the 2303 resolution, the CNDD-FDD Secretary General alluded to the youth affiliated to the ruling party ‘Imbonerakure’. “CNDD-FDD members cannot be confused with the Burundian people. We are not ready to fight against the experts sent by the UN, “he said.

Sibomana calls on the UN to investigate crimes committed since 2015.

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Police Summon MPs Over Age Limit Remarks

By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya & Olive Eyotaru

Police has summoned four members of parliament opposed to the lifting of the presidential age limit from the Constitution to explain their recent remarks.

Police through D/SSP Mark Paul Odong the director Criminal Investigations has summoned NRM MPs; Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) as well as Independent Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) over their recent remarks in regards to the proposed age limit bill.

According to the summons issued, police is investigating against the MPs a possible case of offensive communication and inciting violence.

Last week, the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) members of parliament passed a resolution to support a private member’s bill to have the presidential age limit lifted from between 35 and 75 years. Cabinet, in the same week also passed a resolution to support tabling in parliament of the same bill.

After the NRM MPs’ resolution, some MPs reacted angrily accusing their colleagues of attempting to amend the Constitution for a sole individual, President Yoweri Museveni.

If the age limit is not lifted, Museveni who has been in power for over 31 years would be ineligible to contest in the next presidential elections in 2021 as he would be 77 years old, two years above the age cap.

At the press conference last week, the pro-age limit MPs accused the NRM party of using bribery to buy off MPs to have the Constitution amended for President Museveni. They vowed to use any possible means including ‘tearing down’ the bill block it’s debate on the floor of parliament.

They also called on citizens to demand answers from their respective MPs and ask them why they were removing the age limit to make Museveni ‘life president’.

They argued that making Museveni ‘life president’ removes any possibility of peaceful transfer of power to another president. Since gaining independence in 1962 all Uganda’s president’s have literally been ‘bombed’ out office.

‘NOT INTIMIDATED’

Addressing the press today at parliament’s lounge, the pro-age limit MPs said they are not intimidated by the summons, vowing to report to the police headquarters with their supporters.

They also wondered why the minister of state for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite, who they claim made treasonous statements has not also been summoned.

Anite last week said those in favour of lifting the age limit had the army on their side. She was to later claim she was quoted out of context.

“These police letters are a confirmation of Evelyn Anite’s claim that they [movers of the age limit removal bill] have the support of the magye [army]” Nsereko said.

Ssekikubo said he has requested police to postpone the summons so he can attend the NRM caucus slated for tomorrow.

AGE LIMIT ‘COPS’ ARRESTED

Meanwhile, at least up to seven youths from ‘The Alternative’ were arrested by both the police and the army from Downtown Kampala as they handed out flyers to people calling on them to “protect the Constitution before it’s weak to defend you”.

Also, our reporters at parliament have seen an unusual security deployment and presence in and around parliament, possibly to prevent protestors from storming the august House ahead of tabling of the proposed bill this week.

Military Police personnel locally known as ‘Red Top’ were sported ‘hiding’ in private vehicles with tinted windows.

A group of protesters campaign against lifting the constitutional #AgeLimit in #Kampala #Uganda this morning. Later arrested pic.twitter.com/K7Vd1SAYnH

— Michael O’Hagan (@micoh) September 18, 2017

Hefty Bail Terms for MP, Former Senator After Incitement Charges

Photo: Capital FM

Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama were released on a Sh500,000 bond each.

By Jeremiah Wakaya

Nairobi — Gatundu South legislator Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama were Tuesday released on a Sh500,000 bond each with sureties of similar amount, after denying charges of incitement to violence.

The two who were arrested on Monday by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations were produced before Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi at the Milimani Law Courts where they denied charges levelled against them.

Muthama, who was first to take plea, denied that on September 10 he uttered words at a rally organised by the National Super Alliance (NASA), “words which indicated that it might be desirable to engage in a physical fight which was calculated to bring death or physical injury to persons.”

According to a charge sheet produced before the court, Muthama is quoted to have suggested that he, together with Senator James Orengo (Siaya) would defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in a physical fight at Uhuru Park.

He denied the charge.

Kuria, on the other hand, is alleged to have on September 5 at Wangige Market in Kiambu County, uttered words to mean that he would circumcise NASA leader Raila Odinga, words construed to mean that he intended to harm Odinga.

Kuria also denied the charge.

The two were given the option of depositing a Sh300,000 cash bail each instead of the Sh500,000 surety bonds.

In addition, the magistrate ordered the duo to deposit Sh1 million each as a commitment that they shall observe good behaviour, an amount which is to be forfeited should they breach the law.

Earlier, Muthama who had a 13-member legal team representing him led by Senator Orengo unsuccessfully challenged the Sh1 million deposit over and above the bond, arguing that it violated his right to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.

Cliff Ombeta who held brief for Kuria also made similar arguments for his client, further persuading the magistrate that his client had complied with the courts in previous matters.

Ombeta further argued that Kuria was yet to be found guilty of any of the offence he has been charged with in the past, all of which relate to hate mongering.

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President Opens Parliament, Opposition Boycott the Session

Photo: Jeff Angote/The Nation

President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, left, and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, leaves Parliament after addressing legislators on September 12, 2017.

By Ibrahim Oruko

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday departed from the traditional role of handing MPs an agenda in his address to the joint sitting, and instead urged them to uphold the supremacy of Constitution and its institutions.

The address, which formally inaugurated the first session of the 12th Parliament, was boycotted by members of the opposition, Nasa, who have questioned the decision by the President to summon the newly elected Parliament after his re-election on August 8 was nullified by the Supreme Court.

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Throughout the 30 minute speech, the President defended his fidelity to the Constitution and reiterated his obligation to sustain and protect the peace and security “of all our people without exception”.

But in an unprecedented move, the head of state failed to outline his government’s legislative agenda, leaving the two Houses in a awkward position.

Traditionally, presidents have used their address to a new Parliament to seek support for their legislative agenda besides enumerating their policy proposals and development agenda.

NO VACUUM

But with an election on the horizon, the President chose the middle path, focusing his speech on sovereignty and constitutionalism.

Nasa has described President Kenyatta as enjoying temporary incumbency after the Supreme Court ruling.

But the President defended the decision to summon Parliament, saying there is no void and assuring the public that every arm of the government is in place and operational.

“No matter the political noises that are loudest during elections, I want to assure every Kenyan, and the world, there is no void and there is no lacuna; Kenya is progressing along the path drawn for it by the Constitution,” he said.

PEACE

He said his government will not tolerate anyone intent on disrupting the hard-won peace and stability, noting that under no circumstances must Kenyans ever allow a free, competitive process to become a threat to the peace and security of the nation.

The President reminded the MPs the first two articles of the Constitution declare that the sovereignty of the people is exercised through their elected representatives, and that Parliament represents the diversity of the nation.

“These words represent the hard sacrifices and hopes of generations of Kenyans who fought to earn the right to govern themselves and to freely choose their representatives,” he said.

INTEGRITY

He reminded the 12th Parliament that it had been sworn into office at an important moment that requires the MPs to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and its institutions, but warned them that they may not always have their way.

“As you well know, we still have to undertake a fresh presidential election following the verdict of the Supreme Court.

“Even though I strongly disagreed with that decision, I accepted it because of my respect for our Constitution,” he said.

He insisted that he had previously demonstrated this fidelity to the best interests of the Kenyan people, as happened when he conceded the loss of the 2002 General Election and when he heeded the summons from the International Criminal Court even though he knew he was answering trumped-up charges.

PROGRESS

Mr Kenyatta said the country had spent more than two decades crafting a new constitutional order that maps our state organs and processes, and thus provides certainty and predictability to its national life.

In our current circumstance, the president said, the August 8 elections; the swearing-in of governors, Members of both Parliament and County Assemblies; the verdict of the Supreme Court; the call for repeat election on October 17; his address to parliament and the set term of a president until a new one is sworn in, are all part of Kenya’s laid-down constitutional processes.

The President said the October 17 presidential election will not be a choice between two individuals but the transfer of the people’s sovereign will to an office that is the symbol of national unity and one that protects national security, both key to delivering development and prosperity.

Zimbabwe: Former Mines Boss Gudyanga Testifies On Camera

By Fungai Lupande

Former Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga yesterday gave his evidence in camera after the court insisted that he reveals the information he said was confidential. This comes after Prof Gudyanga refused to answer questions in the trial of two Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) bosses, saying it was classified information.

Although Prof Gudyanga vowed that he would not answer the question in camera, the National Prosecuting Authority intervened and asked him to answer the question.

In May this year, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa wrote to the court confirming that the information being solicited by the defence team, Messrs Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa, was indeed confidential.

Lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya castigated the affidavit by Minister Chidhakwa as a vague document, which was unconstitutional.

The accused are MMCZ acting deputy general manager (finance and administration) Hannan Tongai Chitate (35) and acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41). The pair is accused of swindling MMCZ of $625 226, 88.

Mr Rubaya accused Prof Gudyanga of somersaulting after the defence team hit on the nerve and touched on issues that destroy the State case.

He said they were soliciting the information to prove that Prof Gudyanga was a dishonest man and could not be believed.

“The same minister (Minister Chidhakwa) once threw Prof Gudyanga under the bus, saying he knew nothing about payments to Pedstock,” said Mr Rubaya.

“Prof Gudyanga made representation that money was going to Minerals and Border Control Unit and later said the money was not going there.

“What they are trying to protect is already on the peripheral. The information we are soliciting is important to the defence.”

The prosecutor Mrs Mutamangira-Mavhondo argued that in terms of Section 296 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, the minister can dispose an affidavit if the information being solicited in criminal proceedings is prejudicial to State security.

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Zimbabwe: Former Mines Boss Gudyanga Testifies in Camera

By Fungai Lupande

Former Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga yesterday gave his evidence in camera after the court insisted that he reveals the information he said was confidential. This comes after Prof Gudyanga refused to answer questions in the trial of two Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) bosses, saying it was classified information.

Although Prof Gudyanga vowed that he would not answer the question in camera, the National Prosecuting Authority intervened and asked him to answer the question.

In May this year, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa wrote to the court confirming that the information being solicited by the defence team, Messrs Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa, was indeed confidential.

Lawyer Mr Admire Rubaya castigated the affidavit by Minister Chidhakwa as a vague document, which was unconstitutional.

The accused are MMCZ acting deputy general manager (finance and administration) Hannan Tongai Chitate (35) and acting general manager Richard Chingodza (41). The pair is accused of swindling MMCZ of $625 226, 88.

Mr Rubaya accused Prof Gudyanga of somersaulting after the defence team hit on the nerve and touched on issues that destroy the State case.

He said they were soliciting the information to prove that Prof Gudyanga was a dishonest man and could not be believed.

“The same minister (Minister Chidhakwa) once threw Prof Gudyanga under the bus, saying he knew nothing about payments to Pedstock,” said Mr Rubaya.

“Prof Gudyanga made representation that money was going to Minerals and Border Control Unit and later said the money was not going there.

“What they are trying to protect is already on the peripheral. The information we are soliciting is important to the defence.”

The prosecutor Mrs Mutamangira-Mavhondo argued that in terms of Section 296 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, the minister can dispose an affidavit if the information being solicited in criminal proceedings is prejudicial to State security.

Zimbabwe

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Kuria, Muthama Due in Court After Night in Cells

By Simon Ndonga

Nairobi — Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama are expected in court Tuesday morning to face hate speech charges.

The two spent Monday night at the Pangani Police Station following their arrest.

Kuria will be charged over remarks he made in Kiambu for a crackdown on people who did not vote for Jubilee, while Muthama is accused of making disparaging remarks in Kajiado targeting President Uhuru Kenyatta during a NASA rally.

The Gatundu South legislator was picked up by detectives and whisked to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations where he was briefly questioned before being taken to the Pangani Police Station.

On the other hand, Muthama who is allied to the National Super Alliance was picked up by police from Kangundo and driven to the DCI headquarters and later Pangani Police Station where he was locked up alongside Kuria.

Last year, both Muthama and Kuria were detained at the same police station before being charged for hate speech alongside four other legislators in what was then referred to as the Pangani Six.

Kenya

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