UGANDA: $100 MILLION SPENT ON “MEDICAL TOURISM” CAN PAY STRIKING MEDICAL DOCTORS-JOACHIM BUWEMBO

MUSEVENI-70

Dictator Museveni, who is reported to have siphoned off $230 million to an off-shore account in the Cayman Islands, displays his cows to Ugandans.

“Without reducing the number of actually sick beneficiaries of its medical tourism expenditure (we don’t want to completely annoy the powerful managers of our natural resources), government can just cut out their shopping allowances and the non-vital joyriders who accompany them, and pay well doctors in hospitals who treat the vast majority of unconnected Ugandans”, says Mr. Buwembo.

 

“Minus 52 Sundays and a dozen public holidays, Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad. Half of that (50 million dollars) could raise each of the striking 1,500 doctors’ monthly salary by $30,000 dollars per doctor”.

 

GULU-UGANDA:  Industrial strikes by medical doctors who work in government hospitals has entered its third week, thereby paralyzing works in government health facilities across the country.

As if that is not bad enough for Uganda, industrial strikes by public prosecutors have entered its second month bringing congestions in our detention facilities like prisons and police stations since suspects of criminal nature cannot be produced before court without these striking prosecutors.

Industrial strikes are not new to government who has always dealt with them in ad hoc manner. Those who held industrial strikes before include teachers of primary schools, lecturers in institutions of higher learning, non-teaching staffs at public universities; nurses and midwives; among others.

Each time strike occurs; government negotiates with the umbrella body of those striking and has always partly fulfilled their demands.

Ugandans have been discussing the strikes by medical doctors on social media a lot lately and many blame government for encouraging such strikes instead of dealing with the problem of salary disparities in public sector comprehensively and head-on.

According to one commentator on social media, Mr. Joachim Buwembo, Uganda government spends between $100million-$300 million dollars annually on “medical tourism” for VIP’s families to travel abroad to seek medical services, yet the total amount government budgeted for health services in the current financial year is a paltry $0.5million dollars.

 

“Without reducing the number of actually sick beneficiaries of its medical tourism expenditure (we don’t want to completely annoy the powerful managers of our natural resources), government can just cut out their shopping allowances and the non-vital joyriders who accompany them, and pay well doctors in hospitals who treat the vast majority of unconnected Ugandans”, says Mr. Buwembo.

 

He says the 1,500 striking doctors who work in government health facilities need a maximum of $50 million dollars to satisfy their needs but Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad.

“Minus 52 Sundays and a dozen public holidays, Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad. Half of that (50 million dollars) could raise each of the striking 1,500 doctors’ monthly salary by $30,000 dollars per doctor”, asserts Mr. Buwembo.

There has been mixed reactions from government. In fact, Mr Museveni has ordered military and police medical officers to immediately replace the striking health workers in hospitals across the country. The two institutions have however responded by inviting members of the public to seek treatment in their health facilities instead. While dictator Museveni issued threats of dismissal from government payroll, the minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng is using a softer language of appeal.

 

“Government appeals to all medical doctors to return to work immediately as their concerns are being addressed”, appeals Dr. Aceng.

 

The highest workers in public institutions includes the Governor of Bank of Uganda, Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile who earns colossal shs.50 million (about $14,000 dollars); Ms. Jennifer Musisi of Kampala Capital City Authority who earns shs.43 million (about $12,000 dollars); Ms. Doris Akol of Uganda Revenue Authority who earns shs.40 million (about $11,000 dollars); Mr. Richard Byarugaba of National Social Security Fund, who earns shs.39 million (about $10,800 dollars); and Mr. Robert Kabusenga of the Vision Group who earns shs.37.3 million (about $10,277 dollars a month.

 

While those managers of government corporate bodies earn in tens of millions of shillings, their counterparts, who have the same qualifications, but are in government ministries earn far less.

An intern doctor, for instance earns just shs. 960,000 (about $270 dollars). The striking doctors want him moved to shs.8.5 million (about $2360 dollars per month). The lowest public prosecutor who earns shs.645, 000 is now demanding shs.9 million ($2,500 dollars).

 

The committee tasked to review salaries for public servants has proposed big increases for different categories, which if effected will more than double the wage bill from the current shs.3.5 trillion (about $97.2 million dollars) to shs.6.4 trillion (about $177 million dollars).

The committee, which is supposed to submit its report at the end of November 2017, is intended to eliminate pay disparities and ensure pay enhancement across the public sector.

“It is not necessary to go on industrial action. I am on your side. I want scientists, pilots, doctors and other professionals to get what they would earn in the market if they were working outside the country”, says Museveni, in a softer voice.

According to a leaked report by a German publication, The Suddeutsche Zeitung, Dictator Museveni has siphoned away $230 million dollars from Uganda and banked it in an off-shore account at the Cayman Islands.

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UGANDA: YOUTHS EXPLORE LIFE CHANGING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH SOCIALIZING AND SPORTS

YOUTHS TRAINING

Uganda youths use social events like sports to get employment opportunities.

“I had to quit that job after only one and half months because of poor pay and yet I was supposed to work extra hours”

“When a pig is hungry, it will eat its own piglets. Our government has become greedy like a pig and so we are telling our brothers and sisters that our problem can only be solved by us”

“Sometimes I would spend the whole week without money. I am now trying to get exposure through attending social events like this football tournament, where corporate bodies also attend, with the sole aim of getting rewarding employment”

GULU-UGANDA: What if, after several years of studying in an intense degree program at the university, you graduate, only to find out that there are no jobs within your field? This is very frustrating. Most graduates end up doing odd jobs outside their qualifications for meager pay just to survive.

According to Mr. Wilber Watmon Jaramogi, his first job after graduating with a higher certificate in Software Engineering in December 2016, was that of a cashier and as an assistant manager at a pork roasting joint in Gulu city. He was being paid only shs.100, 000/= (less than $30 dollars) per month.

“I had to quit that job after only one and half months because of poor pay and yet I was supposed to work extra hours”, says Mr. Watmon.

Although Mr. Watmon applied for different job opportunities, or even starting his own business, he was lucky in getting his foot in the job market. He was being told to wait for jobs while his business venture had not picked up.

“Sometimes I would spend the whole week without money. I am now trying to get exposure through attending social events like this football tournament, where corporate bodies also attend, with the sole aim of getting rewarding employment”, says Mr. Watmon.

The football tournament was organized by the Operation Manager of Queen’s Apartment, 24-year old law graduate, Mr. Anderiya Ono Langoya, on Saturday, November 11, 2017 as part of the activities to unveil the new family business located in the heart of Gulu to corporate bodies; and also to bring youths together to network with such bodies.

“Many youths in Uganda who leave college find it difficult to get employment. As a business, we thought it prudent to bring together with corporate bodies so that they interact.  Who knows, some of the youths can get employment opportunities”, says Anderiya.

He says much as they would like to hold such tournament ever year; funding, getting the corporate bodies to sponsor and the political will to support the youths are lacking in our leaders.

23-year old Ms. Linda Alouise Mary, a graduate from Makerere University who specialized in Ethics and Human Rights, says getting a job in Uganda depends on the kind of connection you have in workplaces and money to facilitate your job hunt  ‘bribe’ employers.

“You have to know someone in the working environment in order to get employed and also to bribe them. You are not taken in if you don’t have money”, says Linda.

According to statistics available in the public domain, unemployment rate in Uganda increased to 2.28% (percent) in 2016 from 2.15% (percent) in 2015.  The average unemployment rate per annum, from 1991 to 2016, stands at 2.41% (percent), yet universities and other institutions of higher learning send out not less than 700,000 every year up from 400,000 in 2012, according to the Daily Monitor of January 17, 2012.

A study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBS) indicates that between 5% (percent) to 13% (percent) of Uganda youths are unemployed more so, most of  the idle youths are also not actively seeking work.

On June 17, 2014, a group of unemployed youths in Uganda, calling themselves: ‘Jobless Brotherhood’, took three piglets that were painted with yellow color to Uganda parliamentary building in order to tell the world that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government is composed of ‘greedy’ leaders. The color “yellow” is NRM party color.

“When a pig is hungry, it will eat its own piglets. Our government has become greedy like a pig and so we are telling our brothers and sisters that our problem can only be solved by us”, says Mr. Robert Mayanja, one of the leaders of Jobless Brotherhood.

In January 2005, another group of youths which calls itself “Unemployed Youths”, were arrested and detained when they tried to register unemployed youths in Uganda to present to parliament.

Corruption, nepotism, tribalism, bribery, low pay, delayed pay, lack of skilled personnel and limited experience are some of the factors affecting employment opportunities in Uganda. This has left an entire generation of youth beret of a right to live with dignity.

According to a survey conducted by the State-Owned New Vision newspaper in 2014, 73% (percent) out of the 771 youths surveyed were unemployed.

 

UGANDA: MUSEVENI TO FACE HIS AFRICAN PEERS ON DEMOCRACY, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL GOVERNANCE

African Peer

Consultations on African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report in Gulu.

“I want to thank you the leaders of northern Uganda for the hospitality. This is the second review mission for Uganda by a committee of 18 experts who are in different parts of the country to find out if there is improvement in the situation in Uganda since the fist review was held so as to sustain dialogue”

“If all the laws were enforced, then Uganda would be a different country. It seems that all the good laws made in Uganda are implemented in neighboring Rwanda”,

GULU- UGANDA:  Uganda Dictator of 31 years, President Yoweri Museveni, will face his African Peers in January 2018 together with the presidents of Liberia and Sudan to assess and review their performances in democracy, economic and good political governance in their respective countries.

This was revealed by the leader of a ‘6-member committee of experts’, Mr. Dalmar Jama- a Somali national, on Monday, November 6, 2017 from Churchill Courts Hotel in Gulu during consultations to see if what is contained in the self assessment report prepared by the National Governing Council for member states of African Union on the situation on Uganda represent the views of Ugandans.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union in 2003 as a self-monitoring instrument to assess, present progress, and provide lessons on how to enhance good governance.

There are only 36 out of the 56 countries in Africa who have agreed to be assessed under this protocol to establish and validate governance performance and highlight good practices and challenges in their respective countries.

This is the second country review mission for Uganda since 2007 on four thematic areas of the Mechanism namely: Democracy and Political governance, Economic governance and management, Corporate Governance; and Broad-based socio-economic development. The first assessment report was presented on June 29, 2008 at the APRM participating heads of states Forum which was held in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt.

The process leading to the production of the report was guided by a comprehensive questionnaire provided by the Continental APRM Secretariat that all countries which have volunteered to participate in this process adhere to.

“I want to thank you the leaders of northern Uganda for the hospitality. This is the second review mission for Uganda by a committee of 18 experts who are in different parts of the country to find out if there is improvement in the situation in Uganda since the fist review was held so as to sustain dialogue”, says Mr. Dalmar Jama.

Opening the consultation meeting, Gulu district chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, observed that authorities in Uganda lack ‘goodwill to implement and enforce the good laws’ in the country.

“This is good initiative because it will make government to know what others in Africa expect of us. This is ‘positive criticism’. Uganda has beautiful laws and policies but the question is whether we are making good use of these laws?” Adding: “if all the laws were enforced, then Uganda would be a different country. It seems that all the good laws made in Uganda are implemented in neighboring Rwanda”, says the district boss.

What is contained in the report?

On entrenching constitutional democracy and rule of law, one of the recommendation states that ‘the constitutional review under the 10th Parliament considers reinstating the Presidential Term limits to the previous two terms of Five years. The consultation in Gulu also added that Article 102 (b) of the Constitution on presidential age limit should not be amended.

In order to sustain Uganda on the path of sound Public Financial Management (PFM), the assessment recommends that government ‘meets its commitment under the PFM Act 2015 as well as with Development Partners under the Partnership Policy to ensure prudent use of public resources, a zero tolerance to corruption and efficiency in use of public funds.

On promoting and accelerating broad-based sustainable socio-economic development the report recommends that although the country is focusing on large scale infrastructure projects, it is prudent that ‘critical investments are prioritized for social sectors’ for accelerating human development.

It also recommends that Uganda improves the political, legal and institutional environment in order to maintain and improve ability to ‘finance own development plans and programs’.

Uganda recorded total debt burden to the tune of 36.90% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016, thereby making it unsustainable.

 

WILL THE COMPLETION OF KARUMA POWER DAM IN DECEMBER 2018 BRING RELIEF TO UGANDANS?

Below: Work on Karuma Hydro Power dam under construction.

KarumaAnalysis

“If this situation continues, then, local companies which produce goods that are at the same time imported into the country from China, Egypt and South Africa, among others, cheaply; then we are likely to become un-competitive and possibly forced to shut down”

“It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity-someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs”

Uganda’s weekly magazine, The Independent, of January 31 2017, questions: “Can Uganda Survive with the Highest Electricity Prices in East Africa?”

The magazine, which is published by a renowned Uganda political commentator, Mr. Andrew Mwenda, questions the motive of government after it (government) increased consumer prices of electricity. The hike means current tariff structure could end up killing industries.

For domestic consumers, it was increased from shs.518.6 per KWH in 2014 to shs.635.2 per month for every 15 units of electricity. This is 28% (percent) increase.

For commercial consumers, tariff has been increased by 20% (percent) to shs.570.6 while medium and large industrial consumers increased from shs.450.1 to shs.526.7; and from shs.308.5 to shs.355.8 respectively.

The reason for this hike, according to government, is the depreciation of the Uganda shillings against the US dollars.

The shillings depreciated from shs.3375.45 in September 2016 to shs.3630.72 in December 2016. This is 11% while operational costs for most businesses in Uganda increased between 20% (percent) and 35% (percent).

“If this situation continues, then, local companies which produce goods that are at the same time imported into the country from China, Egypt and South Africa, among others, cheaply; then we are likely to become un-competitive and possibly forced to shut down”, says Mr. Martin Kyeyune, the economic Advisor at Roofings Group-Uganda.

According to Mr. Vianney Mutyaba of The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), tariffs approved by ERA are always set to ensure that they are not “very  low” to cause disincentive for the electricity generation and not “too high” to hurt consumers.

President Yoweri Museveni has always said that government technocrats, who negotiate on behalf of government, for the construction of various infrastructures are always corrupt and tend to inflate costs, which are eventually passed onto consumers.

He singles out the $1.1 million Bujagali Power Dam, which was built by Aga Khan Development Network together with most road constructions, which had been badly negotiated by technocrats because of corruption. It will take up to fifteen years for Aga Khan to recoup his investment and make profit.

At US 11 cents for every unit of electricity consumed, the cost of electricity generated from Bujagali Power Dam is probably the most expensive in the whole of Africa and world at large. This makes it unaffordable for many Ugandans. 80% (percent) of Ugandans are not in the National Grid.

President John Magufuli of Tanzania is quoted by the media to have recently sacked the head of Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) who had unilaterally increased electricity consumer price in Tanzania.

“It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity-someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs”, Mr. Magufuli  is quoted to have said.

With Uganda’s GDP growth of around 6% during the past two decades (2010: 6.2%; 2011: 5.0%; 2012: 4.7%; 2013:6.5%)[, electricity demand has been growing at an average of 10% per annum and in  the past years this led to occasional load shedding since the supply did not increase proportionally.

There are three major electricity generation dams in Uganda: Kiira Dam (200MW), Nalubaale Dam (180 MW) and Bujagali Dam (250).

Two more dams, Karuma Hydro Power Project (600 MW) and Isimba Hydro Power Project (183MW) are under construction.

The $2.2 billion dollar Karuma Dam is being constructed with funding from Export and Import (EXIM) bank of China. A Chinese firm, Sinohydro Deng Changai, is expected to complete constructing the dam in December 2018.

According to Mr. Simon Peter Kasyate, the Manager, Corporate Affairs, the power from Karuma will be at US 4 cents; making it affordable to most consumers besides Nalubaale dam which charges only US 2 cents.

Being in position 151 out of 176 countries in the world in corruption, will President Yoweri Museveni not dip his hands in the “oil revenue”, which is expected to be used to pay these loans used for constructing the dams, and divert it to finance his life-presidency project?

 

UGANDA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM RIDDILED BY CORRUPTION, ABSENTISM AND EXTORTION

healthcare services

A Public health care provider attends to a patient in one of Uganda’s health centers.

“Health care system in Uganda is very sick but the one who is suppose to heal it is very corrupt”

“Having a high rate of bribery introduces inefficiencies, unfairness, discrimination and unlawfulness in a critical component of the state’s responsibility of providing services and care for its population. Quiet corruption in the health care sector is widespread. Health workers absenteeism is highest at the Health Center III facility level and has since increased from 46.2% (percent) in 2009/10 to 51% (percent) in 2010/11”

GULU-UGANDA: In the year 2005, the Global Fund (GF) for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis suspended all donations to Uganda when over $1.6 million dollars of grants went missing. Two officials in Uganda have been accused and sentenced for embezzlement of the GF monies.

“Healthcare system in Uganda is very sick but the one who is supposed to heal it is very corrupt” says Anti-Corruption Uganda in a report.

World Health Organization (WHO) says doctor to patient ratio in Uganda is 1:25,000. This is too low even by African standards yet the country churns out 200 graduates every year from universities. However, most of these graduate medics migrate to neighboring countries such as Rwanda where pay and working conditions are better than in Uganda.

WHO also says 40% (percent) of doctors and 50% (percent) of nurses in Uganda’s Public Health centers receive salaries but are always absent from duty.

Uganda’s Public Health care is the most corrupt in the East African region, according to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) report released to mark the International Anti-corruption Day 2010. The sector is fraught with bribery and absenteeism, effectively undermining the population’s health and the realization of the Millennium Development Goal.

Uganda’s bribery prevalence rate in public medical services is more than three times that of Kenya and almost twice that of Tanzania.

“Having a high rate of bribery introduces inefficiencies, unfairness, discrimination and unlawfulness in a critical component of the state’s responsibility of providing services and care for its population. Quiet corruption in the health care sector is widespread. Health workers absenteeism is highest at the Health Center III facility level and has since increased from 46.2% (percent) in 2009/10 to 51% (percent) in 2010/11”, writes Anne Mugisha in the State owned New Vision newspaper in 2010.

One man’s experience with corruption in one of Uganda’s health facility.

Mr. William Opio Bongonyinge visited Arua Regional Referral Hospital on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and shares his encounter with corruption by the health workers at the hospital.

“Having been unwell a day before and still felt uneasy that day, I walk to Arua Regional Referral Hospital and at the gate a watchman guides me through to the emergency unit. It was 08.35 am local time (05.35 GMT). There I find a number of people cued waiting to be attended to”

“In the surgical section are men and women standing presumed to have brought in an accident victim, they look terrified as to when something gets done to their patient.

“It was not until 10.00 am local time that two gentlemen come in to attend to us. One of them sits; peruses through a large register book and the other begins to assess a patient supported on a wheelchair and he quickly moves out.

“He comes in again after about 30 minutes and assesses more four patients and he refers them to the laboratory which at that time was not yet open. He continues to assess more patients and seems to reduce on the number. I was among those he referred to the laboratory.

“At the laboratory, I find a young woman who comes in at about 11.00 am. She orders the patients to get in one at a time and her voice sounds rude. I overheard her say to a patient; ‘CBC (complete blood count) reagent has since been out of stock’. She does not explain why.

“When it was my turn, I unassumingly get in and greet her in the local language. She smiles and shows a friendly presentation. She looks through my laboratory request form and says ‘widal test, typhoid? The reagent is since out of stock, however if you can pay, I can do it with my reagent’.

“How much is that”, I asked her.

“Three thousand shillings!” she exclaims.

Theft, diversion and resale of drugs are other sources of corruption which are documented to occur at the distribution point of pharmaceutical supply chain. There can be theft without falsification of inventory records, dispensing of drugs to patients who did not actually attend to pharmacy clinics, recording of drugs as dispensed to legitimate patients but the patients do not receive them, and dispensing of drugs to patients who pay for them but the health care providers keeps the fund for him. This makes Uganda to provide more funds to the health sector than most countries in the sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

UGANDA: ENGINEER FINDS THE “MAGIC BULLET” TO END POVERTY AMONG YOUTHS THROUGH SMALL SCALE FARMING

 

engineer onono
Engineer Moses Onono, measuring the giant lira (melia) tree which is only eight years old but already big enough for timber.ter a caption

“I wanted very much to commit suicide because I saw no value in life after losing both parents and dropping out of school. I was only saved by a Good Samaritan who forcefully took away the poison from my hands before I could take it”

 “I was persuaded by my local leaders to come to Homa Farm for training on how I can utilize our vast land to earn a living instead of contemplating suicide. I have now abandoned the previous idea of committing suicide. I want to go back home and concentrate in water melon farming as an enterprise”

“If an acre to a young person can bring 20 million shillings, then we have found the “magic bullet” in employing youths. If agriculture can make you live your dream life, then youths will look to agriculture instead of looking for employment elsewhere”

GULU-UGANDA: Eighteen-year old Akello Brenda thought of committing suicide after she dropped out of Oguru Primary School in Awach Sub-county, Gulu district because there was no one to pay her school fees. She lost her mother in 2008 and her father in 2014.

“I wanted very much to commit suicide because I saw no value in life after losing both parents and dropping out of school. I was only saved by a Good Samaritan who forcefully took away the poison from my hands before I could take it”, recalls Akello.

However, she has had a change of heart after she joined Homa Farm Limited Training Hub on May 15, 2017 where she is receiving new skills and knowledge on how she can actually earn up to 20 million Uganda shillings ($5530dollars) from an acre of land if one chooses the right enterprise at the right time (season).

“I was persuaded by my local leaders to come to Homa Farm for training on how I can utilize our vast land to earn a living instead of contemplating suicide. I have now abandoned the previous idea of committing suicide. I want to go back home and concentrate in water melon farming as my enterprise” says Akello.

Homa Farm Limited is the brain child of a young engineer, Moses Onono, who had to abandon his government job in favor of farming because he could not make ends meet through government work. Homa Farm Limited is located forty kilometers east of Gulu the Provincial Capital of northern Uganda.

The vision of Homa Farm Limited is to operate and run a family based and sustainable agri-business that provides solid returns for both land owners and its operational costs so that future generations can continue farming.

Its mission is to improve the development of farmers and land owners in northern Uganda by training, improving products and services on sustainable and profitable way.

“We had over thirty relatives in my home during the war in northern Uganda and we could not make ends meet. We wanted to offer opportunities to our relatives whom we knew would be a challenge if we didn’t transform them. Some of them have graduated now and we now have no conflict over our land”, says Engineer Moses Onono.

Currently, there are ninety students at the farm who are being sponsored by Master Card Foundation, a Canadian firm, for a five-month on-job training costing 750,000 Uganda shillings ($207 dollars) per student.

Homa farm divides an acre of land to twenty-two students where each student is taught on the best practice of planting a crop of his or her choice which will earn them a maximum of one million shillings ($276 dollars) over the period of five months.

Akello chose to plant water melon on her piece of land and she expects to earn 500,000 shillings ($138 dollars) during her stay at Homa farm.

Each student who passes through Foma farm take home 70% (percent) of the proceeds from the sale of his or her crop while Homa farm retains 30% (percent) which it uses to help new students.

“If an acre to a young person can bring 20 million shillings, then we have found the “magic bullet” in employing youths. If agriculture can make you live your dream life, then youths will look to agriculture instead of looking for employment elsewhere”, says engineer Onono.

 

MUSEVENI’S BILL FINALLY TABLED BEFORE UGANDA PARLIAMENT AS BOMBS SCARE OPPOSITION MPS

yoweri museveni

Uganda’s Dictator Yoweri Museveni, for 31 years now wants to rule for life

“Our rules state that once ordered to exit the chambers, you exit and if you refuse, you get evicted”

“Even if Kadaga was under pressure from somewhere, what we went through should not have happened under her watch. She should have exercised her powers and protected us”

“I am and have been, for many years, a great admirer of our leader, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, but how can one individual be the only one able to run a nation of nearly 40 million souls? Permanency is all very well, and has in many ways served us well, but it speaks very ill of Ugandans that we have been totally incapable of fielding any other candidate”

GULU-UGANDA: The controversial Constitutional Amendment Bill which will allow Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni rule for life, and which brought fracas in parliament on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, has officially been tabled before a one sided parliament for its first reading on Tuesday, October 3, 2017.

Igara West Member of Parliament, Mr. Raphael Magyezi, who belongs to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, tabled the bill that seeks to amend Article 102 (b) of the 1995 Constitution to scrap the age limit for presidential candidates from the constitution.

Article 102 (b) states that “A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age”.

Museveni, whose official record show that he was born on September 13, 1944, would not be legible to stand again in 2021 as he would be above seventy-five years of age unless this article is amended.

Opposition legislators boycotted parliament after twenty-five of their own were suspended by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for causing fracas in the Chamber on September 27, 2017, during which security personnel raided parliament and forcefully removed the suspended MPs from the House. This led to a fist-fight among the legislators.

Legislators who belong to the opposition were not in the House on October 3 when the Bill was tabled before parliament which kick started the process of removing Museveni’s last obstacle to his life presidency scheme from the constitution.

The Speaker, Ms. Rebecca Kadaga, while referring the Bill to the House Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for scrutiny, insists that the people, who are the voters, must first be consulted for the Bill to be passed into law.

In 2005, Museveni engineered a similar move and removed the two-term limits provision from the 1995 constitution using his parliamentary majority; which allowed him to stand for the third elective position in 2006.

As if that is not bad enough, there have been three grenade attacks on the residences of three legislators belonging to the opposition parties on Thursday last week after the fracas in parliament; and on Tuesday when the controversial Bill was tabled before Parliament.

On Thursday the home of Mr. Moses Kasibante, the MP for Rubaga North in the outskirts of Kampala Capital City, was attacked by unknown gunmen, using what police sources say was stun grenades. This happened a day after the fracas in parliament.

Then on Tuesday, when the bill was due to be tabled in the afternoon, residences of two other opposition legislators were attacks in a similar manner using the same kind of grenades in the cover of darkness.

The two legislators are Mr. Allan Ssewanyana, the MP of Makindye West and Mr. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the MP of Kyadondo East, all located on the outskirts of the City.

In Uganda, it is only the police who imports stun grenades to control riots. Stun grenades make striking flash and a loud bang upon explosion but is considered non-lethal but can inflict damage on properties and severe injuries on human beings upon impact.

While government spokesman Mr. Ofono-Opondo says the grenades attacks are the works of the opposition for political capital and to attract attention and sympathy, the opposition says they are State engineered to silence the opposition on the Controversial Bill before parliament.

Speaker Kadaga, Ugandans react to fracas

Ms. Kadaga has had a relatively good working relationship with the Opposition lawmakers, but following Wednesday’s ugly scene, the honeymoon between them might be over.

“Our rules state that once ordered to exit the chambers, you exit and if you refuse, you get evicted”, one of the national papers quotes speaker Kadaga who was defending her record.

“Even if Kadaga was under pressure from somewhere, what we went through should not have happened under her watch. She should have exercised her powers and protected us” says Agago woman PM, Ms. Judith Franca Akello from her hospital bed after being admitted following the fracas.

“I am and have been, for many years, a great admirer of our leader, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, but how can one individual be the only one able to run a nation of nearly 40 million souls? Permanency is all very well, and has in many ways served us well, but it speaks very ill of Ugandans that we have been totally incapable of fielding any other candidate”, writes John Nagenda, in his Saturday Column the state owned New Vision newspaper.