Posts tagged as: pandora

Proposed Amendment of Age Limit for President Is Contempt of Court

Photo: Daily Monitor

Police deploy in Kampala ahead of presidential age limit demonstrations.

opinionBy J Oloka-Onyango

To anybody with even a slight sense of history, the developments at Parliament over the last several days must bring back an acute sense of shock and grief. Our ancestors of constitutionalism like James Wapakhabulo (the chairperson of the Constituent Assembly) and the thousands of other martyrs who have passed on in the name of “liberation,” must be turning in their graves.

Not since the enactment of the “Pigeon Hole” Constitution in 1966 have we seen government troops amassed at the Legislative Assembly in a bid to intimidate and force through a constitutional change such as that which is being proposed with respect to the removal of age limit from the Constitution.

While the young MPs behind the move may be forgiven because they were not alive at the time, for an old man like President Museveni, it is a damning indictment of every criticism he has ever made of previous governments and of all the principles he has claimed to stand for.

Milton Obote must be laughing his head off.

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However, the proposed action by the MPs has serious implications for our constitutional jurisprudence and the Rule of Law. As a matter of fact, it amounts to contempt of court and of the 1995 Constitution. The proponents of the constitutional amendment claim that it is a response to the Supreme Court decision in the case of Amama Mbabazi vs YK Museveni and the Electoral Commission – the case, which considered the challenge to the 2016 presidential elections.Among the holdings in that case was a direction to the Attorney General to propose amendments to the Constitution dealing, among others, with the time for filing and determination of a presidential petition; the nature of the evidence that can support such a petition, the time for holding fresh elections, the use of technology in an election and the unequal use of State-owned media.Quite clearly, the issue of changing the age limit in the Constitution was never part of the recommendations.For the MPs to claim that their motion is prompted by the failure on the part of the Attorney General to present these changes to Parliament (and hence the need for a Private Member’s Bill) is a clear and obvious lie because the Notice of Motion presented to the Speaker says nothing about any of these issues.There is another dimension to the proposed amendment, which the learned MPs should be made aware of, especially because they argue that the limitations imposed on the age of a presidential candidate are “discriminatory” against the elderly.In the first instance, the Constitution is full of different limitations that are imposed on public officers relating to qualifications, capacity and age.If the limits on the age of a presidential candidate are removed, it implies there is no other limitation, which can be imposed that will pass constitutional muster; thus, my eight-year-old nephew should be allowed to vote and a person without any academic qualifications whatsoever, should be eligible to run for a parliamentary seat.In sum, the proposed amendment is opening up a veritable Pandora’s Box. Finally, the 1995 Constitution was based on certain fundamental principles, including ensuring that our history of political and constitutional instability is not repeated.What this amendment represents is the final nail in the coffin of not simply the letter of the document, but also of the spirit of democratic constitutionalism as we know it: Cry Beloved Uganda!Prof Oloka-Onyango is a lecturer at Makerere University.UgandaNumber of Poor People is Rising – Report

More Ugandans have become poorer in the last five years despite the improvement in the size of the economy, an update by… Read more »

Court Battle Pitting BoU Against Ex-Crane Bank Owner Begins

The hearing of the case pitting Uganda’s banking regulator against real estate mogul and former owner of Crane Bank, Suphir Ruparelia, begun Wednesday at Kampala High Court.

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) accuses the businessman of siphoning $105 million from the collapsed Crane Bank over a 10-year period.

Further, BoU accuses Mr Ruparelia of fraudulently grabbing 48 properties built with Crane Bank money that he later transferred to Meera Investments, his real estate business, before leasing them back to the bank at exorbitant prices. The Central Bank is suing Mr Ruparelia and Meera Investments jointly.

The Central Bank wants Mr Ruparelia to pay back over Ush650 billion ($178.2 million), for the 48 properties, that includes interest in addition to handing over the titles.

BoU took over the management of Crane Bank in September last year, citing that the bank was “grossly undercapitalised and paused a systemic risk to the financial sector.” The Central Bank later sold the lender to DFCU Bank.

In his defence and in a counter suit against BoU, the businessman accuses the Central Bank of failing to properly execute its supervisory functions, which he says led to the collapse of his bank.

He also alleges that BoU wrote him a letter blackmailing him to settle the case out-of-court or face criminal proceedings after they had filed their plaint in June.

The real estate magnate also accuses BoU lawyers –MMAKS and AF Mpaga– of conflict of interest and faults the Central Bank for breach of Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement. He says the two law firms have represented his Meera Investments firm.

The court battles, president over by Justice David Wangutusti, is likely to open a Pandora’s box for the Central Bank.

At least two other suits against BoU have been filed by private citizens over the collapse of Crane Bank.


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How Verdict On Bageni Jump-Started the Katiba Debate

columnBy Deus Kibamba

At a time when debate on the constitution is restarting ahead of the envisaged second phase of Tanzania’s constitution review process, the Court of Appeal has delivered its verdict in the appeal filed against the acquittal of former Dar es Salaam Regional Crime Officer Abdallah Zombe and three others.

While the court upheld the acquittal of Zombe and two other people, it sentenced Christopher Bageni, former head of criminal investigation in Kinondoni District, to death for ordering the murder of four people in Dar es Salaam in January 2006. Three traders from Ifakara District and a taxi driver were killed in cold blood in a forest in Mbezi Luis in the city.

Last week’s court verdict came at a time various sections of the citizenry were calling on the Fifth Phase government under President John Pombe Magufuli to restart the constitution review process and pave the way for inclusion of issues that did not find their way into the Proposed Constitution passed by the now-disbanded Constituent Assembly in 2014. One of the proposals that were rejected at the time, despite intense lobbying for its inclusion, was the outlawing of the death penalty.

At the moment, there is a very ambiguous constitutional regime on capital punishment. The Constitution of Tanzania of 1977 provides for the right to life in Article 14 but only in a weak and limited manner. On the other hand, the law provides for the death sentence, which is the punishment for two capital offences, namely murder and treason.

According to Section 197 of the Penal Code (Chapter 16), “Any person convicted of murder shall be sentenced to death.” This is a mandatory requirement that leaves the court with no option but to pass the death sentence upon the conviction of a person.

Only two categories of people are exempted – women who are pregnant and persons under the age of majority, who face life imprisonment upon being convicted of murder or treason in line with Section 26 of the Penal Code.

Unfortunately, none of the above grounds suit Bageni as he is neither an expectant mother nor a minor.

While treason carries the death penalty in line with sections 39 and 40 of the Penal Code, there is a relief for “misprision of treason” under Section 41.

The ruling has deeply divided the nation. There are those who argue that the slain men had the right to life and that Bageni deserves to die by hanging since evidence of his involvement in the murder was overwhelming and irrefutable. They are of the view that the Court of Appeal has accurately construed the capital punishment statutes. On the other hand, there are advocates of the law as a corrective tool, arguing that death should not be punished with death.

These human rights activists argue that meting out capital punishment to Bageni amounts to committing another murder, albeit legally. As far as they are concerned, murder is a wrong that cannot be righted with murder. Furthermore, they contend that a person who commits murder should be helped to regret the act and commit not repeat it by being given another chance. This line of advocacy concludes that death should not be a statutory punishment. According to this line of thinking, Bageni deserves nothing more than life behind bars.

Unlike murder, there is no record of a person in Tanzania who has been sentenced to death for treason. All along, the courts have always interpreted the phrase used for treason as merely setting the maximum punishment for the offence, and that the death penalty is not mandatory. Unfortunately, the wording used to describe punishment for murder is expressly mandatory and authoritative. The Court of Appeal may have found itself limited to one option only, which is the death sentence.

I wish to join those who have put the death penalty under intense scrutiny. In the early 1990s, the Nyalali Commission recommended that capital punishment be abolished for being a “barbaric form of punishment and therefore unsupportable”. Several years later, Justice James Mwalusanya famously held that the death penalty was “inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading”.

Last week’s verdict by the Court of Appeal opened a Pandora’s box and the constitution review debate is once again sharply in focus. Let’s engage in it.

Deus Kibamba is trained in political Science,International Politics and International Law.

East Africa: Facebook, Google Dominate List of Top 15 Mobile Apps

By Matt Kapko

Facebook and Google have a deepening duopoly of apps adult U.S. smartphone owners use, according to the most recent monthly “Mobile Metrix” report from web metrics company comScore. The two giants own and operate every one of the eight most popular apps, based on the number of adults who used them in May 2016.

Google owns the majority of those apps (five of eight), but none come close to the popularity of Facebook’s flagship app, which reached 78.8 percent of U.S. adults 18 years or older who own iOS and Android devices, according to the report. Facebook Messenger was the No. 2 app, with a reach of 65.5 percent of adult Americans. Facebook’s Instagram app, which recently surpassed 500 million monthly active users and 300 million daily active users, took the eighth spot in comScore’s rankings, with a reach of 41.8 percent.

Google owns the middle of the pack with its popular family of apps for video, search and entertainment. YouTube, a company that Google acquired nearly 10 years ago, has a mobile app that reached 60.7 percent of U.S. adults on iOS and Android devices during May 2016, according to comScore.

Google Maps (53.4 percent of U.S adult smartphone users), Google Play (51.5 percent), Google Search (49.4 percent) and Gmail (44.5 percent) all placed toward the top of the comScore list. Pandora and Amazon rounded out the top 10 with penetration rates of 41 percent and 35.4 percent, respectively. Apple’s two most popular native iOS apps — Apple Music and Apple Maps — each reached less than a third of the smartphone users comScore surveyed. Finally, Snapchat, one of the world’s fastest growing mobile apps, had a U.S. reach of 29.6 percent last month, and it took 13th place on comScore’s list.

East Africa

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Sectarianism in Campaigns

opinionBy Frederic Musisi

Kampala — According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the term “sectarian” refers to ‘of or concerning a sect; bigoted or narrow-minded in following the doctrines of one’s sect; a member of a sect’.

Independent presidential candidate Abed Bwanika last week opened the Pandora’s box of sectarianism talk after he urged Baganda to vote him because he comes from the same social construction as them.

The veterinarian, pastor-cum-politician said he was disturbed by the way Baganda vote, in most cases preferring candidates from other regions as opposed to one of their own:

In the 1996 elections, President Museveni polled 1,221,165 votes in Buganda while Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, a Muganda, polled 331,641 although the latter won in other regions, including West Nile.

Dr Bwanika’s proclamation notwithstanding, the rest of the candidates in the race have so far been very cautious about making such statements especially in face of the country’s history of sectarian-driven political violence. In fact, there is a law prohibiting sectarian tendencies.

President Museveni, the incumbent and who is seeking a fifth elective term in office, is the biggest critic of sectarianism and all elements of its representation and in some instances has been accusing the Opposition of having intentions of returning politics of sectarianism, which he said his ruling NRM fought long time ago.

However, there are laws that guide candidates on this divisive talk.

Section 15 of the Presidential Elections Act states that:

(3) A person shall not be allocated a symbol or colour which has a tribal or religious affiliation or any other sectarian connotation.

Section 25 which describes the tights of candidates says:

(5) A candidate shall not while campaigning, do any of the following

(c) make statements containing sectarian words or innuendoes;

(d) make abusive, insulting or derogatory statements;

(e) make exaggerations or use caricatures of other candidates or using words of ridicule.

Section 25 on non-sectarian campaign states that:

(1) A person shall not use a symbol or colour which has a tribal, religious affiliation or any other sectarian connotation as a basis for that persons candidature for election or in support of that person’s campaign.

(2) Under the Movement political system, a person shall not use as a basis for his or her candidature or campaign, a symbol or colour of a political organisation or party.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) commits an offence and is liable on conviction–

(a) in the case of an offence under subsection (1), to a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both; and

(b) in the case of an offence under subsection (2), to a fine not exceeding twenty four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.


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