Posts tagged as: mayor

Age Limit – Police Arrests Scatter Opposition Plans

By Baker Batte Lule & Jonathan Kamoga

Random arrests of opposition politicians and a show of military strength in Kampala dominated much of yesterday as a tension-packed parliament waited but did not to receive a motion for the deletion of article 102 (b) of the Constitution, which caps the lower and upper age for presidential candidates at 35 to 75 years.

Outside parliament, police scoured all corners of Kampala and Wakiso districts for possible troublemakers. Interviewed yesterday for official statistics, Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said in all, 48 people were arrested yesterday in Kampala as they tried to march to parliament to stop the tabling of the controversial private member’s bill.

Among those arrested was Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago. The mayor was violently grabbed from his gate in Wakaliga, Lubaga division, as he addressed journalists and bundled into a waiting police truck.

Protesting loudly, Lukwago was whisked off to Kira police division in Kira municipality and later moved to Naggalama police station in Mukono district. Also arrested were KCCA councillors Doreen Nyanjura, Faridah Nakabugo and Ismail Ddamba.

Democratic Party president general Norbert Mao was arrested early in the morning at parliament and by 5pm he was still held at the Central police station, Kampala.

Mao told us he had spent some hours of his morning trying to appeal to donors to interest themselves in what was going on. He said it smacks of double standards for embassies in Kampala to go up in arms against the anti-homosexuality bill and then keep quiet when the constitution is about to be abused.

Mao said he was picked from the parliamentary gate and bundled into a waiting car, accused by police of carrying materials that incited violence.

“I chose to express myself by wearing a T-shirt and also hold placards, which I wanted MPs to read. I’m at CPS where I’m not under arrest but also not free,” Mao said.

At the Forum for Democratic Change strongman Kizza Besigye’s home, police deployed heavily to prevent him from leaving. But speaking to The Observer, Ronald Muhinda, Besigye’s personal assistant, said the colonel wasn’t at his home when police stormed.

“I can’t say where he is now but just know he is around and you will hear from him,” Muhinda said.

At Makerere University, police cordoned off all entry and exit routes. At the different halls of residence, police and military police beat up and arrested students.

At Mitchell Hall, soldiers were seen kicking doors to students’ rooms and dragging them out. Those arrested include student leaders, Paul Kato, the guild president, and Simon Wanyera and Ronald Ainebyona.

In Kikoni, along Sir Apollo Kaggwa road, students lit bonfires and threw stones into the road, closing it off momentarily. Police fired teargas and live bullets to disperse them.

“President Museveni has stayed more than his welcome and he wants to extend this unwelcome stay. As students, we shall not allow him to kugikwatako [touch article 102 (b),” one student shouted.

“Great people may be killed but never intimidated. Don’t touch article 102(b),” read one placard.

At the DP headquarters, police equally cordoned off the premises, restricting access to party members who were expected to converge there before marching to parliament. Speaking to The Observer yesterday, Mukasa Mbidde, the party vice president, said it was unfortunate that police and the army had taken over the offices of a lawful political party.

Mbidde further said their planned procession to parliament had been thwarted because many of the party leaders had been caged in their homes.

“We have several other plans, which we will execute in order to continue to apply pressure on parliament to drop this bill,” Mbidde told The Observer yesterday.

He said Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah had done the right thing not to include the anti-age limit bill on the order paper.

“The population is angry, the MPs are angry; you can’t expect a plausible debate in that kind of circumstance. The coming days are going to be action-packed and we shall continue to appeal to our people to resist this move,” Mbidde said.

At the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi where another procession to parliament had been planned, police deployed heavily, taking over the offices. Right from the Kibuye roundabout, military police, army officers and field police were seen on foot patrol. Acting Party President Alice Alaso decried the police action.

“It’s unfortunate that police would take over the offices of a registered political party. If we had had access to our offices, members would have converged there and we would have marched to parliament but these activities have been put off for another day,” Alaso told The Observer yesterday.

In downtown Owino and Kisekka markets, Old taxi park, business went on normally. Most shops remained open but still one could sense the day’s tension. Soldiers and police patrolled on foot.

Meanwhile, patrol vehicles loaded with uniformed police and men in plain clothes sped through the busy roads occasionally prompting a few vendors to run off into nearby shops as some shouted, “Togikwatako,” a slang that has come to be associated with those against the removal of the age limit.

There was heavy deployment uptown around Central police station, Kampala and the Constitution Square. Riot police cordoned off the areas while about four armoured police vehicles were positioned nearby.

Some Kampala leaders who were themselves stopped from marching vowed to carry on with their Togibikkula campaign.

“Our campaign is just starting, we shall have a series of activities to try and defeat this evil proposal,” Kennedy Okello, the FDC chief whip, told this newspaper yesterday. He said they planned to visit MPs’ homes.

“Most of these MPs reside within Kampala or its suburbs; we shall individually visit them as good neighbours and appeal to them in the presence of their wives not to rape our constitution,” Okello said.

Justice Forum President Asuman Basaalirwa said the heavy military presence won’t cow the opposition.

“The country is on tension, we have seen police violently arresting our people who are trying to resist amending our constitution. The country should prepare to resist this entire exercise because it will cause us problems,” Basaalirwa said.

Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the opposition chief whip, urged Ugandans to pile pressure on government to drop the proposal.

“Museveni went to the bush when they were only 27 but now he prides himself in having numbers. Sometimes it’s not about having numbers to be able to stop them,” Ssemujju said.

“From today onwards we shall never walk out of parliament, and if we are to die let us die in parliament. More than before, we are prepared to stop them. Today they knew it was going to be bloody,”

Parliament Needs More Time for Age Limit Debate – Deputy Speaker

By Online Team

The Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who is presiding over the on-going sitting, says he and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga conferred but decided that they needed more time to understand the two notices of motion and other notices.

Ms Kadaga returned from an overseas trip on Wednesday, ahead of what was expected to be a crucial debate on Thursday on a plan to scrap the presidential age limit.

The Caucus of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and later the Cabinet resolved on and endorsed back-to-back a proposal for Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi to seek leave of Parliament to table a Private Member’s Bill to, among other things, amend Article 102(b) of the Constitution. The provision caps the upper age for a prospective President at 75 years.

In his communication to a House fully packed in anticipation of the age limit debate, Deputy Speaker Oulanyah says one of the notices they received was accompanied with a motion while the other was not.

There are also other notices submitted to the Speaker’s office which are being studied.

Mr Oulanyah says they cannot allow a matter for debate in Parliament to be “sneaked” outside the specified procedures because the Rules of Procedure require members to be informed in time to allow them to fully prepare and debate.

He says the MPs will, at an “appropriate time”, likely next week, be informed of the determination by the Speaker’s office on the notices of motion.

The deputy Speaker also criticises the siege by police and the army, which resulted in the Speaker and his deputy accessing Parliament through improvised back entrances. The “blockade”, he says, is unnecessary but he urges lawmakers to conduct themselves and speak responsibly to deny outsiders a reason to interfere with parliamentary business.

Ms Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, says security forces went overboard, besieging homes of political leaders, arresting others including the Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and brutalisation of Makerere University students one of whom was injured by a rubber bullet.

The MPs are currently debating a proposal by LoP Kiiza to have the House adjourned to allow members to take care of security concerns.

Uganda

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Student Shot Over Anti-Age Limit Protests

Photo: Dominic Bukenya/Monitor

Deputy Speaker,Jacob Oulanyah chairs the plenary session of parliament recently . PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

By Michael Kakumirizi, Damali Mukhaye, Derrick Wandera & Andrew Bagala

A Makerere University student has been shot and several other people arrested over protests against lifting of the age limit.

Denis Emojong, a second year student was on Thursday hit by a rubber bullet near University Hall as students protested a planned move by members of the ruling NRM to table a bill to lift presidential age limits. Also, several people including the Kampala Lord Mayor, FDC secretary for mobilisation Ingrid Turinawe, among others have been arrested over the protests that have spread to other parts of the country.

Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi is today expected to table a motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce an omnibus Private Member’s Constitution Amendment Bill to, among others, amend Article 102 (b) and delete presidential age limits.

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.

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Uganda Police Warn On Planned Age Limit Processions

By The Independent

Kampala — Uganda Police has halted any processions across the country related to the Age Limit debate that is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

“Police has credible information that there are groups using the cover of processions, who intend to cause violence and mayhem particularly in the city including targeting Parliament where the age limit debate is expected to begin,” Kayihura said in a statement.

Kahiyura said that whereas Police recognizes the right to demonstrate, it also has an obligation under the constitution to keep law and order and prevent crime.

“All planners of such processions, should use other forms of demonstration and expression other than procession e.g TV, radios and other electronic and print media or indoor meetings,” Kayihura said in a statement.

Parliament, where police has deployed, has been tense for the past one week.

The Member of Parliament for Igara West Raphael Magyezi told reporters at parliament on Tuesday that he is receiving death threats because of his private members’ bill on proposed amendment of article 102 (b) of the constitution to lift the age limit of the presidency.

Earlier, Kampala Central MP Mohammed Nsereko warned that oppossition will halt any attempts to table the Age Limit bill on Thursday.

Uganda

Age Limit Controversy – Kampala Mayor Arrested

Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has been arrested. Read more »

Mozambique Jails Six Tanzanian Poachers

By Arnaldo Vieira

Six Tanzanian nationals have been sentenced to between eight and 11 years in Mozambique jails for poaching, the media confirmed.

The Mozambican O País newspaper quoted a statement from the National Administration Conservation Areas as saying the criminals were seized after a three-year investigation.

The Tanzanians, the O Pais reported, were sentenced alongside their two Mozambican accomplices.

The convicts’ main target were elephants at the Niassa Nacional Reverse (NNR) since 2017, the paper said.

Mineral resources

NNR is located in northern Mozambique, with one of its boundaries, the Ruvuma River, bordering Tanzania.

Located some 1,516km north of Maputo, NNR is also rich in mineral resources.

The reserve covers more than 42,000-kmSq, and is considered of profound importance to the global conservation of African wildlife.

Last month, a Mozambican court at Mecula District in Niassa Province sentenced 10 Tanzanian nationals for illegal exploitation of natural resources at NNR.

Mozambique

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Age Limit Controversy – Kampala Mayor Arrested

Photo: Daily Monitor

Police arrest Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago at his home in Wakaliga.

By Amos Ngwomoya

Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has been arrested.

Mr Lukwago was this morning arrested at his home in Wakaliga, Rubaga Division in Kampala as he planned to leave for work.

Mr Lukwago and a group of other elected city leaders had today planned to hold a procession from city hall to City Square where they were to launch their ‘Togibikula’ campaign against lifting of the presidential age limit.

He has been been taken to Kira Police.

Earlier on, Mr Lukwago told this reporter in a telephone interview that police surrounded his home at about 5am.

“I woke up at 5am only to learn I was surrounded by police. They have refused to allow me leave my home,” Mr Lukwago said.

Meanwhile, Buhweju county MP, Francis Mwijukye’s house has also been surrounded by police.

“My house is surrounded by police. A police pickup has been placed at my gate. I have refused to talk to the police commander. I don’t know whether their plan is to stop me, arrest me, or to drive me to parliament. Last evening, they followed me up to my house . Nothing will stop me from going to parliament to defend the Ugandan constitution. This nonsense must stop,” Mr Mwijukye said.

Uganda

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Zimbabwe: City Council to Sell Part of Harare Gardens

By Ishemunyoro Chingwere

The City of Harare is pressing ahead with the proposed sale of a portion of the Harare Gardens for the expansion of Monomotapa Hotel to encompass a Conference Centre, Car Park and related ancillary facilities. The proposed sale which has been on the cards for over a year had been affected by bickering in council chambers but in July the matter was put to vote with a majority of the councillors voting in favour of the deal which will see the City pocketing $1,76 million.

The deal will see the hospitality group, African Sun Ltd, getting about 2, 205 hectares of the Harare Gardens for the construction of a $25 million facility while the City will be left with about 17 hectares.

In a notice published yesterday, the City – in terms of Section 49 (4) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12) invited individuals objecting to the sale to lodge their reservations within 30 days.

“Notice is hereby given, in terms of section 49 (4) of the Act, of an application to change the reservation of portion of the remainder of the Harare Gardens, Harare from Public Open space and Recreation to licensed residential (Hotel and Conference Centre) and Car park.

“The property in question which is owned by City of Harare, is zoned Public Open Space and Recreation in terms of the operative City of Harare City Centre local development plan number 22. The proposal seeks to carve-off a portion of the property measuring approximately 2 205 hectares for the expansion of Monomotapa Hotel.

“Any person wishing to lodge objections or make representations must lodge them, in writing with the undersigned within 30 days from the date of the first insertion of this notice,” reads the public notice.

The proposed sale is a follow up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2010 between African Sun as a founder for the joint venture agreement for development of a shopping mall and expansion of the Crowne Plaza Monomotapa Hotel.

As previously reported by this publication, in terms of the envisaged joint venture, three floors of parking, commercial shopping facilities, commercial offices, executive residential apartments and the expansion of the hotel were going to be undertaken.

Addressing shareholders in June this year, ASL’s major shareholder, Brainworks Capital chief executive Mr George Manyere said the group was committed to the project which will give the hotel a competitive advantage against regional and international peers.

“It is a $25 million investment and it is a development we are committed to,” Mr Manyere told shareholders in June.

“We are still in discussion with the City of Harare to get that land near Monomotapa for the expansion project,” he said.

Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe: Group Services 700 Park Stands

Shelter Zimbabwe has so far serviced 700 stands out of the 1 500 Adelaide Park project, general manager Francis Mugandani has said. Mr Mugandani said the total cost of the project will amount to $31 million while revenue is expected to be approximately $40 million. “In total, the Adelaide Park project will have 2 800 stands ranging between 300 and 600 square metres,” said Mr Mugandani, adding that they expect to have completed the project in the next two to three years.

He also said selling of the stands also involve the mortgage type while corporates have also been keen on taking up some of the housing units.

“We have since delivered 85 housing units to Lafarge under the mortgage facility and we will be delivering another 300 to other companies under similar arrangements,” he said.

Mr Mugandani, however, said Shelter Zimbabwe and the property sector in general had been affected by the depressed economic environment that is seeing most customers defaulting on their instalments.

“We have since seen a high degree of default upwards of 15 percent on the back of job losses and non-payment of salaries,” said Mr Mugandani, adding that the formal sector which makes up the bulk of the clientele base has been the most affected.

Mr Mugandani also bemoaned the growing cost of providing fully serviced residential stands as there is now a lot of price undercutting within the sector.

“Quality is now being compromised and not prioritized and that affects demand for quality,” said Mr Mungandani, adding that the availability of poorly serviced stands has had a negative impact on the demand for quality.

“The other challenge we have is that financial institutions, our traditional providers of funding are also competing in the same space as us, making it difficult because they are more liquid and can get funding cheaper than us.

“This will affect the delivery process as well as the cost as we will then be forced to look for expensive money to finance the projects,” said Mugandani.

He added that this was at a time the industry is facing pricing challenges as reflected in the inflation figures.

Mr Mugandani also said players in the industry might end up resorting to cash pricing as they were losing out on payment terms.

“Our customers have been paying on installment basis, but the value of money has been falling and at the end of the term, what we charge today might not be enough to cover our costs.

“For instance, some of our suppliers are now charging a transfer premium upwards of 20 percent when we want to purchase materials and equipment to service the stands and this erodes our margins,” he said.

Zimbabwe

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South Africa: Deputy President Opens Empilisweni HIV-Aids and Orphans Centre in Eastern Cape

press release

Remarks by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the official opening of Empilisweni HIV/AIDS and Orphans Centre, Ndevana, Eastern Cape

Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present,

Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Phumulo Masualle,

MEC for Health, Dr Pumza Dyantyi and other MECs

US Charge’ d’Affaires, Ms Jessye Lepenn,

Executive Mayor of Buffalo City, Cllr Xola Pakati,

Chairperson of the National Lotteries Commission, Prof. Nevhutanda,

Chairperson of Empilisweni Board, Ms Zakhele Kaleni,

Development partners and sponsors,

Religious and traditional leaders,

Our special guests, the Vuyo Mbuli family,

Our distinguished caregivers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Molweni! Dumelang! Good Afternoon!

This afternoon is simply Sharp! Sharp!

In his deep quiet, never to utter a word again, we can still hear in our hearts the warm echoes of “Sharp Sharp” from our late beloved and distinguished son of this community, VuyoMbuli.

Today is “sharp sharp” because it is simply well with our souls.

It is “sharp sharp” because the community monument of Empilisweni efforts tells us that indeed we stand tall on the shoulders of giants.

Sithi Enkosibantu base Ndevana ngokumelana nokufa. Enkosi ngokusipha ithemba.

Empilisweni is us. It embodies the death-defying spirit and enduring resilience of our people. It is the life-giving gift we shall bequeath to the beautiful ones yet to be born.

It is the unbroken continuation of the gift of Biko and Black Community Projects at Zanempilo Community Health Centre near ‘King’. From Empilisweni, life everlasting shall spring and join the tributaries of the ancient Buffalo River. It will rise and stand steady like the Amathole Mountain; and from its top, it will carry our hopes and dreams to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Zanempilo is here to heal the sick and console the heart-broken.

Our mothers and our fathers, our sons and our daughters will till its soil to produce the food we need. They will create thriving industries for our people to work and trade.

It will be a shining monument to Madiba and our Constitution for we shall work to keep it a sanctuary of our children. We salute our mothers and women of the cloth to whom it dawned earlier that it takes a village to raise a child. We bow in reverence to you descendants of Hintsa, Faku,Sandile, Nongqawuse ,Mqhayi, and Sontonga for gifting us with Empilisweni as a fort for our humanity and dignity.

Enkosi!You have shown us that we are not children of a lesser god.

In your humility, dignity, and justness, you have confirmed that the seed of development can only take root, grow, and blossom if it is driven by people themselves. You have said to the naysayers that our people are not idling around waiting for manna from heaven.

You are the testimony that power is with the people. You are the revelation that people are the real agents of change. You are a living testament revealing that death, disease, and hunger cannot stand in the way of a courageous and determined people whose hearts and aspirations are with children and the downtrodden.

Your deeds and love have made us believe again in the Promised Land and the New Jerusalem.

You have said that as long as you are here, the name intandane or orphan, must be banished from the vocabulary and experiences of the people of Ndevana.

Ndevana, our rock of ages, you are light showing that our future will be better than our past.

You have said Ndevana is a home of all care givers and nation builders. You have said the doors of Ndevana are wide open for friends from the four corners of our land and across the seas.

Because you are invested in the future of our vulnerable children, because you have plans to create enterprise, because you are keen to teach and develop the capabilities of our children, we shall always return to you to take the lessons on how a community can defeat death and create abounding prosperity.

We will bring the world to you to learn what it means to be made in the image of God. We will be with you to build a new civilisation where there is no discrimination for the sick, no exclusion for the disabled, and no marginalisation for the hungry.

We shall tell our friends, here at home and abroad, that Ndevana simply inspires. We will tell Vuyo Mbulis’s friend, Leanne, to keep telling the story of hope and not to stop the tune of joy because Ndevana where Empilisweni stands, is simply Sharp Sharp.

We will tell Leanne to announce to the nation that at the “Vuyo Mbuli House,” the welcoming laughter of the children of Ndevana awaits to meet all friends of their local hero.

She must tell the nation that a community is undergoing a renaissance in this part of the Eastern Cape.

Programme Director,

Please allow me to extend my profound sense of gratitude to both the Board of Directors and the Management of Empilisweni. We are both humbled and proud of the work you are doing to transform the lives of the people of Ndevana and surrounding communities.

We have been touched and moved by the vision you have crafted of achieving a community that is not haunted by poverty and shackled by injustice. You have done much to demonstrate that it is possible that when we work together, we can expand the frontiers of freedom and human fulfilment.

That only by working together can we achieve peace and social cohesion where all citizens enjoy their right to a life with dignity.

Thank you for caring for the welfare and wellbeing of the vulnerable children of our land. Thank you for loving them and for allowing them to dream even when they face hunger, discrimination, and alienation for circumstances they did not choose.

I also wish to pay tribute to the unsung heroes and heroines of this story. These are the good women and men of this community who make sure that children with HIV feel they belong and have a place under the warm African sun.

They are the care-givers who visit children in homes where there are no mothers and fathers. They are there to close the eyes of the deceased and comfort the living. They refuse to let the soul of our nation to be corrupted by the cardinal sin of neglecting hungry and homeless children.

They feed, bathe, and clothe the sick and the weak. It is them who show our vulnerable children the door of the classroom. It is them who sing lullabies for children who had the misfortune of being parentless.

We salute them for caring about the dignity and dreams of the most innocent among us. Heaven is theirs to claim. They do all this work in an environment where there is lack of funding for non-profit organisations. They do it simply because they care a great deal about our country.

We remain inspired by the visionary leadership of Empilisweni which has already crafted grand plans to stimulate economic activity and create jobs. They have internalised our National Development Plan and they have identified the areas that can yield positive results.

They have done their part. They deserve our unreserved commitment. They are worthy of our full support. What they have achieved so far was made possible by the collaboration of social partners.

These are social partners who say – this government is our government.

They are social partners who embrace the basis of African philosophy, that you are because I am – umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. They are the true champions of our people. They are the true friends of the founding father of our nation, Nelson Mandela. Despite irritations and the noise, they can never betray the ideal of social justice and the promise of a better life for our people.

Among them are our American partners who continue to support our efforts in ending human suffering and deaths related to HIV and TB. Thanks to the US Charge’ d’Affaires, Ms Jessye Lepenn, for your government’s contribution to training, prevention, and health awareness initiatives.

We applaud the National Lotteries Commission for being an excellent corporate citizen. Through their generous contribution, today we have the awe-inspiring Empilisweni building.

Empilisweni is also a proud achievement of our national and provincials Departments of Health, Social Development, and Public Works. The mobilisation of resources and support from our various partners will impact positively to this community.

As announced earlier today by the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Ms Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, the commitment to support the Empilisweni Care Centre with ICT services is a significant step in bringing this much needed service to the community. The computer centre at the clinic will be developed in partnership with the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), MTN and the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).

This is indeed an initiative which must be replicated in other areas of our country to close the information technology gap and prepare our children for the knowledge economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We also want to acknowledge and call upon past, present and future potential partners to continue strengthening the work of this remarkable care centre.

In this regard, Aspen Pharmacare has committed to provide the centre with solar water heaters for installation soon after today’s unveiling event.

This is the type of tangible outcomes that will assist the Empilisweni Centre and community to be better equipped to manage its operations. Institutions like Empilisweni Care Centre and the army of care workers play a critical role in strengthening primary health care.

The National Health Insurance (NHI) identify them as the bedrock of an efficient, inclusive, and equitable national health system. We thus applaud Empilisweni for being an artery that supports the ideal of universal health care for all South Africans.

We applaud you for being an effective Constitutional instrument to make our children and their families realise their fundamental rights to life, health, and above all, dignity.

Before I say Sharp Sharp, allow me to leave you with these words uttered by Nelson Mandela in December 1993:

“The children must, at last, play in the open veld, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the diseases or threatened with the scourge of ignorance, molestation, and abuse, and no longer required to engage in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years.”

It is in our hands to attain this ideal for the vulnerable children of our land.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

Kabaziguruka – MP Fighting Off Treason Charges, Poor Health

By Thembo Kahungu

Kampala — “I have a task assigned by the people of Nakawa Division and I will complete it in whatever little time remaining. I will not let them down because at no time will my faith in God be wanting,” says MP Michael Kabaziguruka, who we found in an upbeat mood at his home in Luzira, a suburb of Kampala on the shores of Lake Victoria as he recounts his one year and three months in the 11th Parliament.

Mr Kabaziguruka, a strong opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activist, was elected to Parliament on February 18, 2016, defeating the then Deputy Attorney General Fredrick Ruhindi and six other contenders for the seat.

But he has hardly enjoyed the pomp and pageantry of parliamentary life as his life has been between in and out of prison, battling alleged criminal actions, illnesses and a fatal accident that has confined him to a stretcher.

His celebration of parliamentary poll victory was short-lived as he was soon placed under house arrest by the police.

He was part of the FDC party members that announced a defiance campaign following the rejection of the February 16, presidential results by FDC party flag bearer Dr Kizza Besigye.

“After successful campaigns, it was my time to prepare for swearing in at Parliament but it was not to come as easily as the police quickly put me under house arrest. This was after we declared a defiance campaign, including weekly prayers at our party headquarters,” he recalls.

Lying on his back on a mobile stretcher at the balcony of his house as he recovers from a debilitating accident, the fearless political activist, recalls that on May 15, 2016, one day from his swearing in, police officers who had camped around his home said he would be allowed to go for the ceremony but under restrictions.

“After surrounding my home for a long time, on the afternoon of May 15, a police officer came to me saying I should go and buy a coat for my swearing-in the next day. They afterwards escorted me to and from Parliament for my swearing-in, allowing five of us in one car.”

Arrest

Until June 8, Mr Kabaziguruka would enjoy his freedom of movement before being arrested following a search of his house. He had managed to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and participating in the formation of the Kampala Parliamentary Caucus to which he became general secretary.

It was on June 8, at 9am that he was arrested by a superintendent of Police who he only identified as Bogere and whisked off to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at Kireka on the outskirts of Kampala, for interrogation about links with Gen David Ssejusa, who was facing charges in the Army’s General Court Martial.

“After arriving at my home at around 2am, I allowed them in at 9am to search my house although they had no search order from court. They took away my laptops, cameras and documents that included minutes of a meeting we held with the Lord Mayor as Kampala Parliamentary Caucus”.

“When we arrived at the SIU, I was locked in a tinted police van until 8pm when I was detained in the cells. That night, I went through a hell of things, including being forced to record a statement of their own wish. It is at this point that I told them to write what they wanted and I would sign. This is what was done before I was taken back to the cells,” Mr Kabaziguruka relives the ordeal as he rests his head on the left arm.

Despite being allowed to return home after securing police bond with the help of Ms Winred Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Kabaziguruka would later be taken to a high security detention facility at Nalufenya on the banks of River Nile in Jinja District to record another statement.

While there, Mr Kabaziguruka says he was asked to incriminate Gen Ssejusa on treason but refused because he had hardly known him personally.

Life in prison

On June 28, after being charged with offences related to security, and treachery in the General Court Martial at Makindye, the legislator was remanded to Kigo prison in Wakiso District.

He was admitted to the prison’s sick bay because he got asthma on arrival. He was to spend nearly four months there until he secured bail in the Criminal Division of the High Court in Kampala on October 20. “I stayed in the sick bay until my bail was granted and returned home. Some of my voters who were able to transport themselves to Kigo were able to visit me together with my colleagues in Parliament.”

Life in Parliament

While his colleagues undertook a series of activities, including induction, the Nakawa representative only returned from prison when there was a lot of committee work. He sits on the presidential affairs committee, and the parliamentary Rules and Privileges Committee.

When Parliament went into recess during Christmas, Mr Kabaziguruka had only attended a few plenary sessions as he continued with legal battles challenging the jurisdiction of the army court to try him and later on a petitioning in the Constitutional Court concerning the courts constitutionality to try him.

March was another month of trouble as Mr Kabaziguruka developed complications in his left knee, hence keeping him away from Parliament again.

“I attended committee meetings in November and December before we went into recess. In March, after resuming and attending a few plenary sessions, I developed pain in this (touches left knee). My mobility was curtailed. This was a bad time for me because I thought I would concentrate on legislation since the courts had gone quiet on my case.”

Debilitating accident

Sunday July 30, will remain etched in Mr Kabaziguruka’s memory as the time God gave him another chance to live. He was involved in a draining accident at Lugogo when a speeding vehicle rammed into his newly acquired ambulance. Because he had not yet handed over the ambulance to his constituents and possibly hired a driver, he decided to drive it alongside his political assistant Mr Phillip Cula. With sirens and headlamps on, they never fulfilled the mission.

“I decided to drive the ambulance myself to save life since its class suits my valid driving licence. Despite having the sirens and headlamps on, someone rammed into us injuring me severely and damaging the vehicle,” he says.

“I was rushed to Kampala Hospital where doctors operated on my leg to fix metals on the multiple fractures on the right femur bone. I stayed in hospital for 19 nights and returned home. Doctors say it will take two to three months before I can be able to walk without support and three to four years to remove the metals,” Mr Kabaziguruka adds.

A year of misfortune

Speaking through pain, Mr Kabaziguruka described his one year in Parliament as “a catalogue of misfortunes” that have not allowed him to make meaningful contributions to the plenary sessions of Parliament as he had planned.

“While my colleagues were oriented, I was in prison. Upon return, I was diagnosed with diabetes and later on the knee disease. While Parliament is facing a test with plans by government to steal private land forcefully and also the madness of removing presidential age limit, I am condemned to this bed with a broken leg,” he said.

Comparing himself to the biblical man Job, who faced a lot of trials and overcame them, Mr Kabaziguruka says he has unwavering faith that God will make it possible for him to return to the House and contribute to the nation through plenary and committees. Without relating his troubles to any spiritual powers, the legislature says he has managed to accomplish some of the pledges he made during campaigns in regard to the development of his constituency.

Mr Kabaziguruka has procured an ambulance while another is on order from Japan using the MP’s cash meant for his personal car.

He has also procured a public address system to support social functions, supplied sporting materials to teams in Nakawa, and is working on a modern watering well for the residents of Mutungo as well as organising business management training for women and youth groups.

Constitutional amendment

Mr Kabaziguruka says he is not in support of the proposed amendment of Article 26, of the Constitution that would give government powers to use private land for development purposes and then pay later.

He is also opposed to the mooted Private Members Bill seeking leave of Parliament to debate on lifting the presidential age limit clause.

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