Posts tagged as: state

Two Judges Resign Under Unclear Circumstances

Two Tanzanian High Court judges, who have been under public scrutiny concerning high-profile cases they were linked to, have resigned.

Judge Aloysius Mujulizi and Lady Justice Upendo Msuya quit on Monday. Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadiki also resigned.

President John Magufuli accepted their resignation, according to a statement from State House released on Tuesday.

Justice Mujulizi was in 2015 accused of receiving Tsh40 million (about $18,000) from James Rugemalira, then owner of VIP Engineering, in unclear circumstances.

VIP had sold its 30 per cent stake in independent power producer IPTL (Independent Power Tanzania Limited) -which was engaged in a legal battle with the state electricity supplier Tanesco – and is reported to have been paid money withdrawn from an escrow account. The account was held jointly by IPTL and Tanesco.

It is alleged that Justice Mujulizi and another, judge Eudes Ruhangisa, were paid from the Tegeta Escrow account, sparking a public outcry in what became a major corruption scandal involving many government officials.

Then president Jakaya Kikwete declined to form a tribunal to investigate the judges even after Parliament passed a resolution for him to do so. President Kikwete said the chief justice would handle the matter.

Bail hearing

In 2011, Judge Msuya granted bail to two Pakistanis accused of trafficking 180 kilogrammes of heroin worth $2.7 million, a ruling that turned out to be controversial.

The two -Abdul Ghan Peer Bux and Shahbaz Malik- jumped bail and fled the country. The incident sparked debate as to provisions of the law. It was argued that the judge had erred in her ruling but the matter was not disputed in court. According to Tanzania’s anti-drug trafficking law, bail is forbidden for suspects detained with narcotics exceeding Tsh10 million (about $4,500) in value.

A member of the National Taskforce Against Drug Trafficking, Rogers Siyanga, told MPs at a seminar in 2011 that Justice Msuya’s ruling was a setback to the fight against the illegal trade.

Mr Siyanga was in February this year appointed the Commissioner for Drug Control and Enforcement Authority, by President Magufuli. After his appointment, Mr Siyanga said he would be review all drug-related cases in order to ascertain whether there were judges or magistrates who may have been biased or influenced in their rulings.

Mr Sadiki was the regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam before being transferred to Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. Paul Makonda, who took over from him last year, has been conducting a relentless campaign against drug trafficking in Tanzania’s commercial capital which is backed by the president.

By the time of going to press, it was still unclear what the three officials gave as their reasons for resigning.


States Split On Funding Mechanisms to Bail Out EAC

East African Community (EAC) partner states are divided on the proposed financing mechanisms to bail out the… Read more »

A Full in Tray Awaits Presidents At EAC Summit

A tight agenda awaits the East Africa Community Heads of State Summit when it meets in Dar es Salaam this week, for a meeting that has been postponed three times.

This is amid speculation of a falling out between some of the leaders on the direction the bloc should take.

That the Summit will not be postponed this time is assured. The EAC Secretariat has sent out an invitation to all the delegates to attend the meeting on May 20. It will be preceded by meetings of technocrats responsible for various sectors over three days before the Council of Ministers meets a day before the Summit to prepare resolutions for the heads of state to consider.

Top on the agenda is giving direction to the Community after what has been a year of sluggish implementation of projects. The presidents are expected to track the progress of integrating South Sudan and decide whether it will be fully integrated into the EAC as from July. Already South Sudan has nominated its members for the East African Legislative Assembly and the East Africa Court of Justice as required under the process.

The presidents should give direction on whether South Sudan should appoint various commissioners to the various commissions of the EAC and on nomination of a representative for an executive position at the EAC Secretariat.

Another key issue is agreeing on a new funding model for the bloc’s budget. EAC ministers except Burundi have agreed to maintain the existing equal contributions with sanctions for default. The alternative is a hybrid financing mechanism, with a certain percentage of equal contributions and a separate proportion based on equity, solidarity and equality.

Also on the table is the phasing out of importation of used textiles and footwear, which was to be undertaken over three years starting in 2016.

The presidents are also expected to pass into law Bills passed by EALA, which include the EAC Customs Management (Amendment) Bill 2016, the EAC Appropriation Bill 2016 and the EAC Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2016.

The heads of state are also expected to discuss the report on the Status of Implementation of the EAC Common Market where one of the pending matters is mutual recognition of business certificates from each other and elimination of double taxation for companies operating across borders.

At the recent EAC Council of ministers meeting, the EAC ministers requested Tanzania to expedite the process of reviewing its legal framework and finalise internal consultations on harmonisation of work permit fees by September.

The request followed a recent move by the Tanzanian government to reduce residence permit fees to $500 from $2,000 for EAC citizens seeking to stay and work in Tanzania. Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have waived work permit fees but Tanzania and Burundi are yet to ratify the deal.

The other key issue to be discussed is the report of the Joint Security Assessment Mission to the Republic of Burundi.

The Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe, which has split EAC members down the middle, is not expected to feature prominently on the agenda, with Tanzania insisting the impact of the agreement be fully assessed.

East Africa

Govt Expects Over 12000 Returnees By July 2018

At least12,000 Rwandans who still live in foreign countries as refugees could return home between July and June next… Read more »

Nyeri Jubilee Nominees Say Independent Candidates Rebels

By Joseph Wangui

Jubilee Party nominees in Nyeri County have launched a scathing attack on independent candidates terming them as rebels.

The 39 candidates said the “rebel” politicians who ditched the party will be treated as part of the opposition.

Senatorial aspirant Ephraim Maina, who is the group’s spokesman, disclosed that there was an agreement amongst the party aspirants before nominations that losers in primaries will support those who win.

“I am surprised that those who we were competing with have defaulted on this agreement and we are therefore urging voters to completely reject them. In Nyeri they are part of the opposition for defying President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said.


Governorship candidate Wahome Gakuru claimed that independent candidates are working with Nasa and should therefore be denied a chance to hold elective positions in the county and also in the entire Mount Kenya region.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said electing independent candidates would be harmful to the Head of State in the National Assembly.

He said that elected independent lawmakers will find it hard to operate in parliamentary committees and even sit in the Business Committee that sets the House agenda.

The MP observed that it is likely the current independent candidates will side with either majority or minority sides in parliament, which is contrary to the behaviour of independent candidates as stipulated in the Constitution.


The politicians further resolved to campaign together for President Kenyatta’s re-election and ensure he gets more than 460,000 votes in Nyeri County.

Mr Maina also said they decided to forget their past political differences to strengthen their newly-agreed political resolve.

He said that the infighting amongst them will only affect the re-election of President Kenyatta, adding that they must now have a working synergy to ensure that the worst does not happen.

“Before nominations, most of us were pulling in different directions but this Jubilee ticket has literally forged a common front for us. Going forward, we shall work together for the sake of our President,” he said.

Among those vying as independent candidates in Nyeri include current Governor Samuel Wamathai, Women Representative Priscilla Nyokabi and Nyeri businessman Dan Wamahiu who is vying for the senate seat.

The independent candidates are, however, insisting they are supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid adding that they lost the party’s ticket unfairly.


Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated… Read more »

Former President Kibaki’s Bodyguard Sues For 2002 Accident

Photo: Nicholas Komu/The Nation

David Wambugu, 45, a former bodyguard of retired President Mwai Kibaki, at his Witima home in Othaya, Nyeri County, on May 15, 2017.

By Joseph Wangui

A bodyguard involved in a road accident with former President Mwai Kibaki has alleged in a court case he was mistreated and forced out of the Kenya Police Service despite suffering life-threatening injuries.

Corporal David Wambugu was then-Opposition presidential candidate Kibaki’s bodyguard at the time of the December 3, 2002 accident at the Machakos turn-off on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

They and two other people were on their way back to Nairobi in a Range Rover KAH 016G from campaign rallies in the lower eastern region.

The frail-looking Mr Wambugu, 45, has since been in and out of hospitals for injuries in the head, legs and back.


Then a General Service Unit (GSU) officer stationed at Kilimani Police Station, Nairobi, he had been a guard of Mr Kibaki since 1997.

According to documents filed at Milimani Industrial Court through RA Onchuru Advocates, Mr Wambugu claims that the retired President had volunteered to settle his medical bills due to the close relationship and trust they had.

They are from neighbouring villages in Othaya Sub-County.

Mr Wambugu says then-Nairobi Provincial Police Officer (PPO) Zachary King’ori Mwangi forced him to retire for “nagging” the then-Head of State with hospital bills.


He was also accused of extorting money from State House.

Mr Mwangi is a senior assistant inspector-general of police.

“On January 20, 2005 around 16:00 Hours, the then-OCS Kilimani Police Station and Chief Inspector Samuel Otongo and two other police officers came to my residence at Highridge and ordered me to go to the station to see Mr Mwangi,” states Mr Wambugu in his petition of 37 grounds.

The former policeman adds that he was taken to Mr Mwangi’s office and forced to sign an early retirement letter, failure to which “I would not be safe as far as my life is concerned”.


The last hospital bill to be paid was Sh62,000, due to the Nairobi Hospital, in 2004.

The last bill that he submitted to State House was for Sh116,720.

Mr Wambugu recounted: “Mr Mwangi summoned me to office and I moved there fast, on crutches and in dire pain, thinking good news awaited. He was very harsh to me, saying I was disturbing the President. He also said I was not involved in the said accident.”

He has named the National Police Service, Mr Mwangi, National Police Service Commission and the Attorney-General as respondents in the case.


The father of four also claims that after his retirement, reports emerged that his services had been terminated for losing a gun in suspicious circumstances, which he denies.

He resorted to being a night guard at a residence in Nairobi, earning a salary of Sh7,000, but quit after his health deteriorated.

He was forced to sell his properties, including land and livestock, to foot his medical bills.

The case was to come up for hearing on March 26 but did not, since the respondents had not filed their responses and it was not in the Milimani Law Court cause list.

The case was adjourned to July 27.

When he suspected interference with the case, Mr Mwangi wrote to Chief Justice David Maraga, seeking his intervention.

President Sirleaf Receives Letters of Credence of New Ambassadors From Kuwait and Rwanda to Liberia – Extols the Strong Friendship and Partnership.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Letters of Credence of the new Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kuwait, H.E. Mathias Harebamungu and H.E. Mr. Mohammed Fadel Khalaf of Rwanda.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the two Ambassadors presented their Letters of Credence on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the Foreign Ministry Office of the Liberian leader in Monrovia.

Receiving the Letters of Credence of the new Ambassador of Kuwait, President Sirleaf recalled the strong friendship between the two countries, indicating how pleased she was to have made a State Visit of Kuwait in the past. She noted that Liberia has had strong support from Kuwait in the areas of road construction, port development, amongst others and expressed the gratitude of the Government and people of Liberia to the Kuwaiti.

“I was pleased to have received the former Prime Minister of Kuwait under whose leadership most of the interventions in Liberia were finalized. And with your assignment here, we look forward to strengthening the relationship and also anticipate residency of the Kuwaiti mission here in the future”, President Sirleaf indicated. She requested that consideration be given to other segments of the Gbarnga to Lofa road project because the corridor represents an important economic belt of the country.

For his part, Ambassador Harebamungu noted that his assignment to Liberia will remain forever a memory. He acknowledged the strong leadership exhibited by President Sirleaf particularly during the ebola crisis and during reconstruction of Liberia. He highlighted some of the interventions made in Liberia by Kuwait and assured that he will work harder for more support from Kuwait to Liberia’s development process.

Receiving the Letters of Credence of the new Ambassador of Rwanda to Liberia, President Sirleaf reflected on her work as Head of the Africa Bureau of the UNDP which took her to Rwanda on many occasion and expressed satisfaction on the level of progress made after the genocide.

She noted that President Kigame has been very positive about woman issues in his country and also taken up major roles at the Africa Union as a member of the Authority of Heads of State and Government. President Sirleaf also pointed out that Liberia can learn some lessons from Rwanda in several sectors including the information technology arena and concluded that the relationship between the two nations is very strong.

Also speaking, Rwanda’s Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Mohammed Fadel Khalaf noted that Rwanda is committed to its friendship with Liberia and appreciated President Sirleaf for her experience and quality of leadership.

“Let’s bring together our effort and energy to promote Africa and the relationship between our two countries and peoples”, he concluded.

In an unrelated development, President Sirleaf on Tuesday held a consultative meeting with the leadership of PATEL to acquaint herself with some of the concerns of the group. The consultative meeting was fruitful and sought to encourage dialogue as a means of resolving some of the outstanding issues of interest to the local business group.


Govt, World Bank Sign U.S.$15 Million Health Financing Agreement

The Government of Liberia and the World Bank have signed a US$15 million Health Financing Agreement for collaborative… Read more »

A Scratching of Heads As EAC Heads of State Meet

Photo: The Citizen

East African Community headquarters in Arusha.

Dar es Salaam — Tanzania will this Saturday host East African Community (EAC) leaders for the much-awaited regional bloc’s Heads of State Summit. So much is at stake ahead of the high-profile meeting that was thrice postponed over the past few months at the request of the hosts, Burundi and Kenya.

Apparently, as the leaders finally meet in Dar es Salaam, the main issue of interest will be what direction to take for the Community that has of late been dogged by fresh cracks, and a financial crisis, which derailed the implementation of key projects.

Granted, it has been a rough year for the EAC.

Member states are still entangled in the confusion that was brought by the tricky trade deal with the European Union – with Kenya and Rwanda on one side pushing for the ratifying of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Tanzania leading a splinter group that is against the pact.

Last September, the EAC presidents met in the wake of Tanzania’s stiff opposition to the deal. It was during the meeting that the leaders decided to give technocrats more room for consultations on EPAs and to review their position in January.

But there is no sign yet that member states will reach common ground. Kenya has, since 2007 been pushing for the deal to be concluded with speed. Being the only developing state in EAC (the rest are classified as Least Developed Countries that enjoy duty-free trade with EU without reciprocating), Kenya has had to lobby its partners to endorse EPA because of the shared customs territory.

Earlier in the year, Tanzania opted to pull out of a joint deal hammered by the bloc’s ministers to have the region sign EPAs collectively.

Parliament, which has the power to ratify such trade deals, voted to block the country from signing the EPA.

And recently, there was disgruntlement from some quarters in Kenya, which somehow felt “betrayed” by her siblings in the Community after losing the African Union Commission chairperson’s post.

Writing for the Daily Nation after the election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Magaga Alot, a former EAC staffer, said the regional bloc was at a major crossroads.

He seemed to be pointing an accusing finger at other member states when he described the loss of Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed as “the latest salvo in a furious wave of discordance in the East African Community”.

“The EAC partners are doggedly putting their differences and national interests first instead of embracing the cause of regional integration… The betrayal in Addis could well be Kenya’s Ides of March; even more, it’s the EAC’s wake-up call to engage in a major conversation and re-strategising to put regional integration back on track.”

But it is the fallout over the EPA deal that sparked speculation that the regional leaders are unwilling to meet at a time there is so much disagreement.

Tanzania requested the summit to be pushed back to allow for time to consult on whether the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement was viable.

However, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for East African Affairs Betty Maina was recently quoted in The East African as saying there was no cause for alarm in the summit delay. “Although decisions on key matters are pending, it can only be a big issue if the presidents go for a year without meeting,” said Ms Maina.

No more postponing

“We are hoping that there will be no more postponing from the current date. Burundi has confirmed availability for that day and we are waiting for the other partner states to do so.”

Another sticking issue is funding.

The East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) recently raised concern over the delays by partner states in remitting their budgetary contributions to the EAC Secretariat.

A meeting of the regional bloc’s legislative body in Kigali, Rwanda, last month, MPs passed a resolution urging the Council of Ministers to find a common stance on partner states funding deficit by having it on the agenda of the Saturday summit.

In a heated debate, the lawmakers partly heaped blame on the Council, including the chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Dr Susan Kolimba (Tanzania) for not doing enough to ensure member states meet their financial obligations – which “has completely disrupted activities of the Community.”

“You cannot even be able to say that you have commitment for integration when you look at these figures. Are we really serious about integration? All partner states have arrears,” said MP Nancy Abisai (Kenya), the mover of the motion.

By the beginning of the year, Burundi (whose man is currently in charge of the Secretariat) had not paid anything for the 2016/2017 budget. Of the $101,374,589 2016/17 budget, each of the five member countries was expected to contribute $47.5 million while the development partners raise $46.7 million compared with $58.5 million they disbursed to EAC for 2015/2016 financial year. The rest of the funds will come from other sources.

No respite in sight

Yet, there is no respite in sight for the funding crisis considering the economic situations in most of the member states. And the 2017/18 EAC budget will be relatively smaller compared to that for the current financial year.

The Secretariat got about $12 million less for its expenditure during the 2016/2017 financial year compared to what it received for the 2015/2016 fiscal year as the Community embarked on cost-cutting due to dwindling support from donors.

Interestingly, a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report revealed that member states of the East African Community are now greatly outperforming the economies of most countries in the sub-Saharan region.

According to the IMF, the economic expansion rate for the region as a whole dropped to 1.4 per cent last year, but that was the slowest rate in more than 20 years and below the level needed to keep pace with a burgeoning population growth.

The IMF regional survey presents a generally bleak appraisal that runs counter to the “Africa Rising” narrative that has taken hold in recent year.

Africa: #AfrSS2017 – Cybercrooks Fight Over DDoS Attack Resources

Photo: This Day

Describing it as the biggest cyber attack in history, Roi Shaposhnik of Johannesburg-based Gold N’ Links Cyber said syndicates around the world targeted a weak spot in Microsoft security updates which lead to a massive crash (file photo).

By Maria Korolov

As more groups get into the denial-of-service attack business they’re starting to get in each other’s way, according to a report released this morning.

That translates into a smaller average attack size, said Martin McKeay, senior security advocate at Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai Technologies Inc.

There are only so many devices around that have the kind of vulnerabilities that make them potential targets for a botnet.

“And other people can come in and take over the device, and take those resources to feed their own botnet,” he said. “I’m seeing that over and over.”

He said that Akamai is seeing evidence of the contention in the threat intelligence it gathers, as well as in the size of the attacks.

The median attack size has been decreasing over the last year and a half, he said.

More on This

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At the start of 2015, the median DDoS attack size was 4 gigabits per second, and it went down to just over 500 megabits per second during the first quarter of this year.The number of very large attacks has also gone down over the past year, from 19 attacks greater than 100 gigabits per second over the course of the first quarter of 2016, to just two attacks of that size during the first quarter of this year.That could be due to the fact that several large DDoS crews were arrested at the end of last year.”Because of the high publicity of some of these attacks, we have Interpol and U.S. government agencies going after the owners and authors of those botnets,” McKeay said. “Those people are getting jailed, and that portion of the attack traffic goes away.”But that doesn’t mean that companies can get complacent about their defenses, since other groups may step in to take their place.”DDoS in general is a cyclic phenomenon,” he said. “About three years ago, it really took off and we saw a big increase. It’s been trending down for about a year but we suspect that that’s just a temporary change, and it’s going to start back up again.”Meanwhile, even smaller-sized attacks can still do a great deal of damage. According to the Akamai report, many businesses lease Internet uplinks of between 1 and 10 gigabits per second, so any attack bigger than 10 gigabits per second could take an unprotected business offline.And the capabilities of attackers keep expanding, he added.”Within two to three years, we might see a five to ten terabit attack,” he said.With more criminal groups competing for access to vulnerable devices for their botnets, does that mean that we might see less ransomware such as the WannaCry attack?No such luck.”It’s a different group of resources that are being used,” said McKeay. “When we’re talking about the ransomware like that which we’ve been seeing since Friday, that’s a completely different breed than DDoS.”NB: Join us for the Africa Security Summit (#AfrSS2017) on the 14th-15th June 2017 in Nairobi Kenya. To register and learn more about the summit click here

Uganda: Exim Bank, CCCC in Billion Dollar Deal

By Justus Lyatuu

China’s Export-Import bank, a key financier for a number of huge projects in Uganda, such as the Karuma power dam, has signed an agreement that will further deepen its financial war-chest.

The Export-Import Bank of China has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with China Communications Construction Company Ltd worth RMB200 billion – nearly $200 billion – in Beijing, to establish a closer bank-enterprise strategic partnership.

China Communications Construction Company is the company building the Kampala-Entebbe expressway. During the signing ceremony, Liu Qitao, the chairman of CCCC, thanked the Export-Import Bank of China for its support towards CCCC. He said the two institutions have worked closely in a number of projects over the recent years.

According to a statement from the signing ceremony, “CCCC will strive to play a more important role in the implementation of major national strategies and national economic development, and further shoulder the responsibilities of the state – owned enterprises under the support of Export-Import Bank of China.”

Hu Xiaolian, the chairman of China Import-Export Bank, in the statement, said the bank will exercise the functions of policy-lender to ensure that CCCC’s impact in the countries where it operates is positive. The bank, according to the statement, will also give CCCC financial support on some of the projects in China.

“The strategic agreement is a result of Exim Bank of China’s focusing on serving the national strategy and supporting the openly domestic economic construction, which propels CCCC to deepen its foreign economic and trade investment as well as international economic cooperation,” the statement noted.


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 »

Nigeria: Gaidam Wants NAFDAC to Curb Use of Chemicals in Preserving Harvests

Photo: The New Times

Coffee farming in Rwanda.

Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe on Tuesday urged the National Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to curb the use of dangerous chemicals as preservatives for harvests.

Gaidam made the call in Damaturu when Ms Yetunde Oni, Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, paid him a working visit.

The governor said the usage of dangerous chemicals to preserve crops constitutes threat to health hazards of the people of the state.

He expressed the readiness of his administration to partner with NAFDAC to check the proliferation of sub-standard and adulterated drugs in the state.

The acting director-general had earlier said NAFDAC would establish offices in the other two senatorial districts to regulate the sale and usage of chemicals and food across the state.

Oni said NAFDAC was organising a sensitisation campaign to enlighten the populace to contribute to the fight against fake and sub-standard drugs in the state.

“We are launching the sensitisation programme to give the people a sense of belonging and ownership of the fight against fake and sub-standard food and drugs in the state,” she said.



Why Rivers State Is Shutting Down 1,866 Schools – Commissioner

The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Kaniye Ebeku, has said that government’s decision to close down 1,866… Read more »

Why Do Ugandan Regimes Love to Torture? It Is Complicated

Photo: Daily Monitor

Agonised. Kamwenge Town Council mayor Geoffrey Byamukama at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala.

columnBy Charles Onyango-Obbo

Governments and times change in Uganda, but the one thing all of them have had in common is the appalling reliance on primitive torture of suspects. You can trace this in varying forms from British colonial rule to the NRM regime today. Why is this so?

First, to the distressing case of Kamwenge Town Council and area NRM chairman Geoffrey Byamukama that was reported in Daily Monitor.

Byamukama, who was visiting Kampala, was seized on what has turned out to be a cock and bull story about having links to the March assassination of former police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

So many people have been held in connection with the Kaweesi murder, it is likely to turn out to be the biggest conspiracy in Uganda, even bigger than any of the country’s past coups. Already right there, one begins to see the possibility that some chiefs up there just don’t know what they are doing.

Anyway, Byamukama and others were driven to what the Daily Monitor described as the “dreaded Nalufenya detention facility in the eastern Jinja District”, the NRM government security’s latest torture dungeons of choice. When he eventually emerged there, he was in a horrifying state. He was not the first, and won’t be the last. Many people who go to Nalufenya and don’t emerge from there a whole one piece.

The choice of Nalufenya is not accidental.

It is out of Kampala where most of the media, the international community, lawyers, human rights activists, and other prying eyes, are based. Most people who are arrested in Uganda are also more likely to have family and relatives in Kampala, as the capital, than in Jinja or other towns.

This practice of transporting suspects across the country over long distances from the place where they were arrested started in the colonial period, and in the Museveni years, it has become an elaborate exercise.

And so back to that question of why from Obote governments, Idi Amin, and the Okello generals, to Museveni’s rule, torture has continued to deface this fair land.

The first reason is the normalisation of relative morality in our politics.

For example, after Obote and UPC returned to power after the disputed 1980 election, with the rebellion of the NRA/NRM, UFM, Fedemo raging in the south, the gruesome torture of the Amin years just continued.

But because the UPC government had been elected, however controversially, and there was an opposition in Parliament, the Obote government felt it was far better than Amin’s, and its atrocities were, therefore, “better”.

And thus, in a remarkable case, on one of the occasions that Obote came to Parliament, he took on the opposition DP’s accusations that the “UPC government was as murderous as Amin’s.”

It wasn’t, Obote argued.

There is Parliament, he said, that didn’t exist during Amin’s time, and in a bizarre pushback, said that under his government, the relatives of people who are arrested and die in detention are able to get their bodies and give them a dignified funeral. In Amin’s time, he said, people just disappeared! It’s like someone saying you should thank them for killing your loved one quickly with a single bullet to the head, rather than bludgeoning him to death for an hour.

Same today. Savagely tortured people are produced in court, and the security men don’t think their wounds should be shown. They should be somehow grateful that they got their day in court. The Obote II and NRM mindsets are pretty much the same in this regard.

So why does this national disgrace continue? That is where it gets even more troubling. It seems there is a part of this that governments want the public to see, because somehow they believe it has a deterrent value.

The fear of facing so much pain will discourage a government opponent from taking to the street; instill the fear in the hearts of a prospective plotter; or get the population to accept the “lesser” abuses by the State (e.g. arbitrary arrest, or tear gas) as a “fair” settlement. One could ask why the government needs this at all.

Well, because, like the colonialists, Amin, and Obote, the government is facing a legitimacy deficit.

For a plot to kill a senior police officer to succeed, you need an environment where it can be hatched and carried out successfully without a government-loving citizen or co-conspirator having a change of heart and rushing to leak it to security authorities or the LC1 chair.

If you asked me, it was very difficult for such plots to take place in the Kampala of the 1990s. Today, from the rampant insecurity and heavy-handedness of the security forces, they are par for the course.

This will get worse before it gets better – if at all.

Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africadata visualiser and explainer site

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