Uganda: Today’s News Round Up

Compiled by Samuel Ouga.

Museveni summons Mbarara NRM Leaders for a secret Meeting;

President Museveni this afternoon summoned a section of NRM leaders and staunch party supporters to his home in Rwakitura for a secret meeting. The Municipality MP, Dr Bityekerezo and Mbarara RDC were not among those called for the special secret meeting.
Each was personally called to a location where they were all huddled into a state House van that whisked them to Rwakitura.

Non had prior knowledge of the meeting and subject to be discussed was not disclosed. None was allowed to go driving self.

This comes at a time when the NRM party has developed a lot of rift among members over the death of youthful and vocal MP Nebanda.

Mbarara NRM chairman this week launched a bid to collect signatures from voters to recall MP Bitekyerezo over his standoff with the President over Nebanda’s death and also accusing the latter of working with opposition MPs to tarnish Government image.

 Kalungi makes U-turn, pleads not guilty

The key suspect in the death of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda has Tuesday made a U-turn and pleaded not guilty of manslaughter, a day after telling court that he was guilty.

On Monday, Mr Adam Suleiman Kalungi pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter during his maiden court appearance at Mkaindye Chief Magistrates Court that was presided over by Ms Ester Nambayo .

“Yes it’s true,” Mr Kalungi said after charges of manslaughter were preferred against him.

But Ms Nambayo did not record his guilty plea since he did not have a lawyer to advise him on the consequences of his pronouncement.

Manslaughter is causing death of another person unintentionally and it attracts a maximum penalty of life sentence once found guilty.

On Tuesday, Mr Kalungi hired three lawyers; Mr Geoffrey Kandebee, Mr Duncan Ondimu and Mr Kania Renato to represent him as opposed to Monday’s proposal by the court to get him a lawyer on state brief.

Mr Kalungi, also pleaded not guilty to the two other charges of being in possession of narcotic drugs and dispensing them between September and December last year contrary to the National Drug Policy and Authority Act.

MP Ssekikubo arrested as three legislators are summoned

Police have arrested Lwemiyaga Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo over allegations of incitement to violence.

Mr Ssekikubo was arrested on Bombo Road at around 9pm on Monday.

Police on Monday summoned four Members of Parliament who allegedly made inciting statements about the death of Butaleja MP, Cerinah Nebanda.

The summonses sent through the Speaker of Parliament want MPs Dr Samuel Lyomoki (Workers), Mr Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Ms Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) and Mr Hatwib Katoto to appear at the Special Investigations Unit before the Commandant for questioning.

According to the summonses signed by Mr Geoffrey Musana, the Deputy Director in charge of Criminal Investigations the, the MPs “uttered words intended to incite the public to violence”.

Dr Lyomoki allegedly uttered the inciting statements in Butaleja District on December, 23, 2012 and he is supposed to appear on January, 14 at SIU while MP Katoto is said to have incited violence at SIU and he is to appear on January, 11.

MP Ssekikubo is alleged to have incited violence at Christ the King, during the requiem mass for Nebanda and he is to appear on January, 10 while MP Nambooze allegedly made inciting statements on a political show on Central Broadcasting Service on December, 19th 2012.

Recently, two MPs; Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkizi East) were detained for several days before being charged in court. Their troubles stem from statements they made in relation to Nebanda’s death.

Ugandan government returns misappropriated funds to Ireland

Uganda has returned 4m euro ($5.25m; £3.26m) of misappropriated aid funds to the Irish government.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore confirmed the restitution.

He said it followed “intensive high level discussions with the government of Uganda over the last two months”.

“I am satisfied that this and other steps taken by the government of Uganda send a clear signal of their commitment to bring those involved to account and to improve financial control systems.”

“I believe that these measures will contribute to the government’s efforts to tackle corruption.”

A draft report last October by the auditor general of Uganda found that 4m euro of Irish aid funding had been transferred to unauthorised accounts in the office of Ugandan Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

The Irish Republic had suspended aid to the country until the money was returned.

Mr Mbabazi has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledges there has been “massive theft” from his office.

The UK, Norway and Denmark have also suspended aid to Uganda following the allegations.

Mr Gilmore has signalled Ireland’s intention to continue supplying aid to the sub-Saharan country.

“I have now instructed my officials to examine options for a possible programme of support for the people of Uganda during 2013,” he said.

“Looking to the future, we stand ready to continue to work with the auditor general of Uganda in his efforts to root out corruption, strengthen financial controls, and build robust and transparent systems of accountability.”

Kazinda too sick to stand trial, Prison doctor tells court

The interdicted principal accountant in the Prime Minister’s office, Geoffrey Kazinda, is sick to stand trial, Luzira Maximum Prison doctor has told court.

Dr. Alex Kakoraki accompanied by the Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Mbaine, on Tuesday told the Anti- Corruption Court judge David Wangutusi that Kazinda is still indisposed.

According to Kakoraki , Kazinda was today (Tuesday) taken to Mulago hospital where a team of doctors including psychiatrics from Butabika hospital will examine him.

Justice Wangutusi adjourned the case to January 29.

Court on Monday summoned Dr. Kakoraki to explain Kazinda sickness, following his failure to appear before court.

Kazinda was interdicted over charges of alleged diversion and embezzlement of billions of shillings.

Kazinda whose trial was scheduled to start Monday was not in court   because he was reportedly stressed, suffering from high blood pressure, sluggishness and withdrawal symptoms.

At the start of his probe in November, Kazinda was taken to CIID in an ambulance with drips, and subsequently appeared in court with drip injections infused in his blood vessels.

A prison warder Okello Bonny on Monday presented a medical report to court indicating that Kazinda was too sick to stand trial.

However, the judge was unconvinced with the explanation and ordered that that Kakoraki appear in court in person to explain   what exactly Kazinda is suffering from.

The Permanent secretary Pius Bigirimana and the Principal accountant in the Prime Minister’s office Kenneth Mugumya had been lined up as key prosecution witnesses.

The medical report dated January 7, 2013 and signed by Dr. Kakoraki from   Luzira Murchison Bay hospital indicates that Kazinda is stressed, sluggish and has high blood pressure.

“People are always stressed throughout. Let the doctor come and explain to us what the problem is and when he is likely to get better,” Wangutusi said.

On December10, 2012 when Kazinda was brought to court to be charged   he appeared ill with drip and was supported by prison warders because he could not support himself.

Kazinda, who is in detention in Luzira prison, is charged with abuse office, forgery and making document without authority.
Prosecution led by Principal state attorney  Jane Frances Abodo and state attorney Paul Lakidi   alleged  Kazinda, while employed  as the principal account  in the Prime Munister’s office , abused his office when  he kept, in a private residence, computer generated  letters and cash withdrawal  authorization  forms  bearing   forged signature of Pius Bigirimana, the permanent  secretary  in the Prime Minister’s office.

It is also alleged that Kazinda, between January 2012 and July2012 with intent to deceive forged the signature of Bigirimana, claiming it was signed by him.

Prosecution further alleged that Kazinda with intent to deceive made computer- generated   letters, serial number 243607 on account of Bigirimana, dated February10, 2011 addressed to the director of banking, Bank of Uganda, purporting that it was signed by Bigirimana.

In a separate charge which is yet  to start on January28, Kazinda and his   co- accused Martin Owor commissioner for relief disaster preparedness in prime minister’s office, Beatrice Kezabu assistant resettlement officer and Hussein Katumwa station manager of Total Ntinda I Service Station were charged with embezzlement, false accounting and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Prosecution said Kazinda, Owor, and Kezabu being employed in the Prime Minister’s office abused their offices when they allegedly misappropriated sh316, 893,456 meant for procurement of fuel and lubricant for motor vehicles. The vehicles were meant to deliver relief food from central relief stores to disaster victims in various part of the country.

The suspects allegedly conspired to steal money for fuel. Prosecution said the three accused persons conspired with Katumwa, a fuel manager of total Ntinda1 Service Station to steal.  They denied the charges.

Recall will not cost Parliament, says House commissioner

While some MPs opposed to the looming recall of Parliament argue that recalling parliament from recess is costly, it has been revealed that the House does not incur extra costs on special sittings.

Parliamentary Commissioner, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, says no costs would be incurred on special sittings since legislators’ earnings are not pegged on attendance.

He says a special sitting is not different from any other session of parliament and it is the MPs’ obligation to attend without any payment other than their monthly remuneration.

He said unlike committee sessions where MPs are paid per sitting, no costs would be incurred if parliament is recalled from recess to discuss what some MPs call an attack on the independence of the House by the Executive.

Legislators pushing for the recall of Parliament on Monday submitted their petition to Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga’s office, and now wait for her decision on the matter within 21 days.

Law makers who are loyal to the president and the NRM have laboured to explain why the party is against recalling parliament saying it is costly and would further over-burden on the tax payer.

The latest development, is the second time that the 9th Parliament would recall MPs from recess after the October 2011 special oil debate. The looming recall stems from the confusion that followed the sudden death of Butaleja Woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda, three weeks ago.

President Yoweri Museveni has openly opposed recalling Parliament arguing that there is no reason for it since Police is investigating Nebanda’s mysterious death.

He reportedly told Ms Kadaga and his deputy Jacob Oulanyah in a meeting at his country home in Rwakitura that parliament would only be recalled over his dead body.

MPs leading the petition were wondering why the President is worried about the special sitting.

One of the lead petitions, Ajuri county MP Denis Hamson Obua, said he does not know what the president is afraid of because they are just petitioning to discuss an urgent issue which cannot  wait for February when parliament is scheduled to reconvene.

He says the petition is not about impeaching President Museveni.

According to Article 95 (5) of the Constitution and rule 23 of the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, parliament can only be recalled if a petition signed by at least one third of the members is presented to the Speaker.

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2 thoughts on “Uganda: Today’s News Round Up

  1. Pingback: Uganda: Today’s News Round Up | Theoilrepublic

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