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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

When the Rich Sodomise the Poor in Uganda and Go away with it : Court sets Chris Mubiru free

Court sets Chris Mubiru free




Former Sports Club Villa manager Chris Mubiru walks out of court smiling after he was set free. Photo by Juliet Kigongo 
By Juliet Kigongo

Posted  Tuesday, April 19   2016 at  13:02
KAMPALA. Court in Kampala on Tuesday over turned a decision by the magistrate’s court in which former Sports Club Villa manager Chris Mubiru was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 year jail sentence.
Mubiru had been also ordered to pay Shs50m as compensation to the victim Emmanuel Nyanzi.
However, High Court judge Wilson Musene Masalu set Mubiru free after faulting the magistrate’s court of wrongly convicting him. Mubiru had been in Luzira Prision since September 2015.
“It was wrong for the victim not to report to police for having been sodomised in 2009 and only waited in 2013 after many years had already passed. He should have reported when it was still hot and not in 2013 to pastor Solomon Male,” the judge ruled.
The judge further noted that there should have been a medical report to help corroborate the evidence of the victim as required but without it, this meant that the case weak.
On the video evidence pinning Mubiru, the judge said it was just a waste of court’s time because none of the victims filmed in the video recordings had complained in court.
“I find that the trial magistrate failed to evaluate evidence and wrongfully convicted the appellant (Mubiru). I therefore set aside the sentence by the trial court and set him free,” Justice Musene said.
Mubiru through his lawyer Mr Ronald Serunjogi had told court in his appeal that the said victim only wanted to extort money from him.
But Senior State Attorney Ms Ann Kabajungu contended that it was common for a victim of sexual offence not to report the matter immediately because of the cultural norms.
Buganda Road Chief magistrate Flavia Nabakooza in September last year found Mubiru guilty of having carnal knowledge of his victim, Emmanuel Nyanzi, adding that prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Court heard that in December 2009, while at Mengo Kisingiri LCI, a Kampala suburb, Mubiru had sexual relations with Nyanzi and others against the order of nature, an offence contrary to section 145(a) of penal code act.


FIRST READ:

Brother of Pastor Grace Kitaka , Ugandan Football star ChrisMubiru’s Sodomy saga as a precursor for the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2009: Untold story of Chris Mubiru’s sexual troubles


Chris Mubiru’s inadvertent gay allies : Is it true that The more the Red Pepper publishes his pornographic pictures, the more it brings gay sex out of the closet


When Satan’s Gay devils infiltrated Uganda’s Pentecostal prosperity Churches: Remembering the Sad story of Mr Julius Lukyamuzi who was sodomised by Pastor Grace Kitaka( Chris Mubiri’s brother): Up to now the Poor victim has not got an legal redress.

ORDER FROM ABOVE TO YELLOWNISE UGANDA: “The President said we restructure our programmes…’’ says Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu . Makerere University Finally Succumbs to President Museveni‘s Order to Scrap the Bachelor’s Degree in Ethics and Human Rights.


Comment

One of the worst night mares of neo-liberal dictatorships  such as the one currently in Uganda is empowering  young people with knowledge and skills in Ethics, Integrity  and Human Rights . These dictatorships  are at total variance with ethics , integrity and human rights and are therefore very afraid about Universities empowering young people with knowledge and practical skills in these three disciplines. The scrapping of the Bachelor’s degree in Ethics and Human Rights  is politically driven . It is not surprising that even universities dons with PhDs can bow down to Museveni’s orders. Museveni has infiltrated all institutions that matter in any democracy such as the legislature, Executive and even judiciary . The yellowness of the judiciary  came out prominently in the recent court ruling on the 2016 presidential elections. Museveni wants  to yellowrise  Uganda. He wants Ugandans to   have yellow University courses, yellow dons, yellow minds, yellow reason, yellow knowledge, yellow ideas, yellow emotions, yellow institutions, yellow structures , yellow oppositions yellow police, yellow judges, yellow soldiers , yellow donors, yellow business persons. He believes that the yellownisation of Uganda will help him to stay in power in perpetuity.

Makerere University drops 32 courses

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/Education/Makerere-University--drops-32-courses/-/688336/3165160/-/item/1/-/22vhpqz/-/index.html  


Makerere University students of Ethics and Human Rights protest the institution’s decision to merge or scrap more than 32 programmes at the university yesterday. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 
By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE

Posted  Tuesday, April 19   2016 at  01:00
In Summary
Report findings. The affected courses are duplications whereas others can be taught as a single unit

Kampala.
Makerere University students yesterday protested the institution’s decision to scrap 32 courses.
According to Prof John Ddumba Ssentamu, the vice chancellor, some of the courses have either been merged, dropped or restructured to give a holistic training to graduates.
“About 32 courses were scrapped and others merged. The decision was reached on Thursday. Students protesting need to understand that curriculum reviews are done after every five years,” he said, assuring affected students that the continuing ones and those joining the university this year will not be affected.
However, some of the affected students like those pursuing Bachelor of Ethics and Human Rights yesterday maintained that scrapping their courses will affect their bargaining power in the job market when they complete school.
“We don’t see why they should remove our course. Our status in the public is at stake because when we go looking for jobs, they will be branding us as people with duplicated courses,” a third year student, who declined to be named said.
Prof Ddumba explained the decision follows a report by a committee set up the Makerere University Council years ago.
Recommendations
The report recommends that 30 degree programmes be merged, 18 be restructured while 21 undergraduate diplomas, 11 undergraduate certificates and three degree programmes be phased out.
Chaired by Prof Richard Odoi Adome, the committee reviewed all undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes, identified duplications, possible mergers and economic viability and relevance.
They are also expected to look at the unit cost for each programme, staff teaching loads and submit findings in three months.
The findings will then be presented to President Museveni who had directed the institution’s management to review its academic programmes and establish a unit cost for training a student on their various courses.
The report comes in the wake of students’ strikes opposed to demands that they complete tuition payment before sitting examinations.
Last week, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda blocked the decision to have students clear their fees and instead demanded that the university writes a document detailing the needs of the university and submit it to government before making any decision.
Prof Adome declined to comment on the report insisting they had not completed their work as they had embarked on the last stage of costing the courses.
The research was conducted in three phases with the first carrying out consultations with different colleges for possible mergers or programme phasing. The second phase looked at content while the last will establish the unit cost.
Like before, there is resistance from some staff who fear to lose jobs while others don’t want to lose the commercial attachment.
The findings are not different from that of Prof Fredrick Jjuuko whose report was submitted in 2010 but has not since been implemented.

 

Makerere to change 80 courses

http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Makerere-change-80-courses/-/688334/3113210/-/view/printVersion/-/qwmx39z/-/index.htm


Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, on Monday said the committee tasked to review their academic programmes in 2014, was expected to submit a final report to the Senate on March 30. 
In Summary
The changes. The draft proposes that 30 degree courses be merged, 18 be restructured, while 21 undergraduate diploma courses, 11 undergraduate certificates and three degree programmes be scrapped.

Kampala. Makerere University intends to scrap or merge 83 academic courses in the proposed programme restructuring to achieve effective training for the students.
The draft report by a committee set up by the university two years ago, which Daily Monitor has seen, proposes that 30 degree courses be merged, 18 be restructured, while 21 undergraduate diploma courses, 11 undergraduate certificates and three degree programmes be scrapped.
The report suggests that Bachelor of Information Systems and Bachelor of Information Technology from the College of Computing and Information Science be merged into one substantive course because more than 90 per cent of their content is similar.
The Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, on Monday said the committee tasked to review their academic programmes in 2014, was expected to submit a final report to the Senate (the university’s highest academic-decision making organ) on March 30.
“The President said we restructure our programmes and we see what we can do. It has been a long process but we expect the final report on March 30,” Prof Ddumba said.
The committee, chaired by Prof Richard Odoi Adome, was expected to review all undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes and identify duplications, possible mergers, their economic viability and relevance.
They were also supposed to look at the unit cost for each programme, staff teaching loads and submit their findings in three months. These would then be presented to President Museveni, who had directed the institution’s management to review its academic programmes and establish a unit cost for training a student on their various courses.
The students had been engaged in persistent strikes opposing the university decision to increase first year tuition fees by 10 per cent. To restore sanity at the university, Mr Museveni said the government would pay Shs2.4 billion, which the university had expected to recover from the increment. However, this has never happened, according to sources who preferred anonymity. Prof Ddumba was non-committal on the matter.
Why restructure
According to Dr Vincent Ssembatya, the head of the directorate of Quality Insurance that provided secretarial services to the committe, the review would make the academic programmes broader with core courses and provide options for specialisation, while undergraduate programmes based on single cross-cutting disciplines like development studies, entrepreneurship and communication skills shall be phased out as district courses and be studied as cross-cutting courses. “Programmes targeting the same group and address similar job opportunities shall be merged, each university student should be helped to learn how to make and manage a business out of the course they study,” he said.

When Neo-liberal African dictators forget that the USA has no fiends but interests : When Neo-liberal African dictators turn to bite the Mighty hand of their creator the USA: “I don’t like foreigners giving me orders on Uganda. Uganda is ours, says Museveni. US lacks competence to criticize Uganda’s democracy – Uganda Govt: Government, US disagree on 2016 poll verdict

MUST READ:


When a Military General dropped tears: Muntu breaks down at FDC protest prayer: The main celebrant, Pastor Daniel Ngabo of Rock Deliverance Church, who delivered the day’s sermon, invited the participants to their knees to tell God their grievances. He alluded to the Bible in Acts 12, where God sent an Angel to set free Peter, who had been captured and waiting for trial. He said religious leaders will not keep quiet but continue to pray for the country until it is set free from injustices.



 Uganda's President Extends 30-Year Rule, Detains Rivals After Election





When the US could not risk being dirtied by its Neo-liberal dictator : US critcises Uganda’s 2016 election says Ugandans deserve better : Ugandan election commission lacks 'independence': EU observers



When grey hair does not mean wisdom! Museveni’s minister and Sociology Professor Tarsis Kabwegyere says stealing votes is part of life…although it is painful to be cheated in an election, the aggrieved persons should learn to “live with it.”


Museveni tells off donors on 2016 poll


 

“I don’t like foreigners giving me orders on Uganda. Uganda is ours. If we were to accept orders, Uganda would not be where it is today. In 1971, they told us to support Amin..... These people should leave us and concentrate on solving their problems,” President Museveni 
By RISDEL KASASIRA

Posted  Monday, April 11   2016 at  01:00
In Summary
Not bossed. The President said he does not take orders from foreigners 

Kampala.
President Museveni told off donor countries that are in the habit of criticising his government and the conduct of the February 18 presidential elections to mind their own business.
“I don’t like foreigners giving me orders on Uganda. Uganda is ours,” President Museveni said at a victory party held at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in central Kampala at the weekend. “If we were to accept orders, Uganda would not be where it is today. In 1971, they told us to support Amin,” Mr Museveni said without naming any country. “These people should leave us and concentrate on solving their problems.”
The European Union election observer team and the US have criticised the government, saying the elections did not meet international standards.
The United States’ Permanent Representative to the UN, Ms Samantha Power last month described President Museveni as a risk to Uganda’s future stability due to his government’s repressive behaviour.
Speaking to the 15-member UN Security Council discussing Great Lakes region, Ms Power stated: “President Museveni’s actions contravene the rule of law and jeopardise Uganda’s democratic progress, threatening Uganda’s future stability and prosperity.”
Elections critisised
Last week, the US Ambassador to Uganda also criticised the manner in which the presidential elections were conducted. “The social media shutdown, the detention of Opposition figures, harassment of media - all of these things combined with poor organisation of the election have weakened Uganda’s democracy and tarnished Uganda’s image as a strong democracy in a turbulent region.”
During the victory celebrations at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, Kampala last Saturday, President Museveni, however, mocked the Opposition for claiming that he benefited from a rigged presidential election, saying his opponents are just weak and sleepy. “If you are saying you were rigged at the presidential level, how come you lost parliamentary, district and sub-county elections? How can they cheat you three million votes? Did you have agents? Did you have a political party? That means you are in a slumber,” Mr Museveni said as his supporters, cheered.
He also claimed that most of the votes that were counted invalid by the election officials were mainly NRM votes.
“When I hear those saying they won, may be they want to perform a miracle like Jesus turned water into wine. It is funny. And you know about 500,000 votes, mainly ours, were classified as invalid yet they were not.”
The President warned public servants against laxity, promising that the next five-years of his presidential term, that will make him president for 35-years, he will purge public service and weed out non-performers.
Mr Museveni also told Ugandans not to worry about the current insecurity in Rwenzori region, which has claimed lives of civilians, policemen and soldiers.
At least 40 people have been killed in the attacks in the two districts but have escalated to a security crisis.
rkasasira@ug.nationmedia.com


US lacks competence to criticise Uganda’s democracy – Govt



Ofwono Opondo. 
By Othman Semakula

Posted  Thursday, April 7   2016 at  14:51Uganda has told the US it lacks the competence to criticise its democracy with government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo reminding one of the country’s largest development partners that they [government] are fully satisfied with both the pace and achievements so far registered.
“The US, which uses raw power to project its influence and interests around the world, is the least competent to ask other nations for democratic accountability,” Mr Opondo, who is the government media centre executive director said in a statement released Thursday.
Mr Opondo was reacting to comments made by Ms Deborah Malac on Wednesday in which the US ambassador criticised government for poorly handling the February 18 elections, which as she said had cast Uganda’s standing on democracy in bad sharp as well as tarnishing the country’s image.
Ms Malac, who was speaking at a symposium in Kampala also said the US could not ignore actions that shrink the country’s [Uganda] political space and restrict freedoms of expression and assembly, echoing comments made by Ms Samantha Power, the US permanent representative to the UN, who last month told the UN Security Council that President Museveni was a risk to Uganda’s future stability due to his government’s worsening repressive behaviour.
However, Mr Opondo cautioned Ms Malac and other like her against relying on partisan report, singling out the EU Election Observers report, which slammed the February 18 elections as having lacked internationally accepted standards.
Mr Opondo advised those who continue to criticise the poll to “either adduce evidence or keep their peace for good”, revealing that government was aware of some groups in the US and EU, including diplomats, that fund Opposition elements in Uganda to cause government change outside the constitutional framework.
In her speech Ms Malac also said it was wrong for government to curtail the rights and freedoms of people, particularly those who oppose it.
Her comments came a day after police re-arrested Dr Kizza Besigye as he tried, after 42 days under house arrest, to make his way to Najjanankumbi, his party’s [FDC] headquarters, to attend the weekly prayers that are organsied as part of the “Free my vote” campaign.
The US has on several occasions asked government to free Dr Besigye, who claims he won the February 18 elections, accusing President Museveni of having grabbed his victory.
In a unanimous ruling at the close of last month the Supreme Court upheld President Museveni’s victory in a presidential election petition in which former prime minister Amama Mbabazi sought to annul the election of the NRM presidential candidate.
According to the Electoral Commission, President Museveni polled 60.7 per cent of the total votes cast compared to Dr Besigye’s 35 per cent.

Government, US disagree on 2016 poll verdict

http://www.monitor.co.ug/Elections/Government-US-disagree-2016-poll-verdict/-/2787154/3149140/-/43tdkd/-/index.html



Henry Okello Oryem, State Minister for International Relations and Deborah R. Malac, US ambassador  
By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE & RISDEL KASASIRA

Posted  Thursday, April 7   2016 at  01:00
In Summary
Contention. Whereas the US says the poorly organised February elections have weakened Uganda’s image, government says the results reflected the will of the people.Kampala. The United States ambassador to Uganda yesterday kept the pressure on government, observing that the poorly organised February elections have weakened Uganda’s standing on democracy and tarnished the country’s image.
Government has, however, rejected the criticism saying while there were some shortcomings, the process was largely free and fair and the final result reflected the will of the Uganda people.
Ms Deborah R. Malac said the US, which is one of Uganda’s largest development partners with key cooperation ties on military affairs, cannot ignore actions that shrink the country’s political space and restrict freedoms of expression and assembly.
Her comments at a public symposium on governance and peace follow last month’s warnings by another US diplomat that President Museveni posed a risk to Uganda’s future stability due to his government’s worsening repressive behaviour.
“Many of you have seen or read statements either by the embassy or US government made concerning the elections. In them, we expressed serious concerns about the elections and their aftermath,” she said.
“The social media shutdown, the detention of Opposition figures, harassment of media -- all of these things combined with poor organisation of the election have weakened Uganda’s democracy and tarnished Uganda’s image as a strong democracy in a turbulent region.”
The symposium was organised by the Public Administration and Governance Society at Hotel Africana under the theme: “Post-Election Peace for Prosperity.” In attendance were students from Makerere University, Uganda Christian University and Kyambogo University.
Ms Malac observed that her country’s relationship with the Ugandan government should be based on shared democratic values.
“We respect the sovereignty of the government of Uganda, and we do not support any one individual or political party. We have spoken out because we believe that the Ugandan people deserve to live in a country where every voice is heard and matters,” she said.
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who remains under house arrest 48 days since polling weekend along with other regime opponents continue to face serious difficulties, including police brutalisation, in enjoying their inherent rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Elements in the security forces also continue to harass the free media, making it difficult for journalists to do their work which is critical to holding government accountable.
The ambassador said: “Some of you might consider comments like these as interference. [The] US cannot ignore actions that shrink Uganda’s political space and restrict freedoms of expression and assembly. We have noted significant problems with the government’s management of funds like in the health sector.”
“Shocking Global Fund audit - not for the first time - millions of dollars wasted, missing or unspent. This money should have gone to provide life-saving medicines for HIV/Aids prevention and treatment, malaria and tuberculosis…. I readily admit that my country is not perfect. Democracy is often messy. But despite the flaws, the US constantly tries to improve itself and live up to its democratic principles,” she added.
But State minister for International Relations Henry Oryem Okello yesterday said in a telephone interview that despite a few challenges, President Museveni was validly elected.
Mr Oryem’s views will seat uncomfortably with the Forum for Democratic Change party that insists that its candidate, Dr Besigye, was the true winner of the February elections.
Yesterday, Makerere University lecturer Susan Nansozi Muwanga, a former presidential debate panelist, said with the prevailing political impasse, government’s accountability to the people is meaningless.
“The issue of insecurity has to be addressed. It is very hard to expect a fair election where the environment by and large is corrupt, no substitutes for Electoral Commission considered partial or where there is no neutral police that can guarantee independent security,” Ms Muwanga said.
The criticism was echoed by Uganda Christian University lecturer Christopher Twesigye.
“The elections in my view were not free and fair. They were characterised by monetisation, intimidation and ballot stuffing. The role of the police, army, resident district commissioners was not to ensure there was peaceful elections but to intimidate and campaign for a particular candidate,” he said.
“EC let down Ugandans. It was incompetent but we knew it. [EC] chairman [Badru] Kiggundu doesn’t deserve to be in that chair. As an engineer, he should be fixing our sewers somewhere in Bwaise and Kawempe. I am one of those who wouldn’t want to see violence in our country but the events we see in Kasese and holding politicians and keeping them in their homes illegally doesn’t augur well. I have been in exile several times. I don’t want to go back,” said Mr Twesigye.
The controversy
President Museveni was announced winner of the disputed elections with a 60 per cent poll victory, extending his 30-year rule for yet another five-year term. His main challenger, Dr Besigye, is said to have polled 35 per cent, according to the Electoral Commission. The Supreme Court last month maintained the status quo dismissing a petition filed by former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi challenging the results.
The President has described his critics as “jokers”, saying that he does not “need lectures from anybody on elections.” He ruled out claims of rigging, and said anyone with intentions of contesting the results “is not serious.”
Last month, United States Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Power told the Security Council: “President Museveni’s actions contravene the rule of law and jeopardise Uganda’s democratic progress, threatening Uganda’s future stability and prosperity.”
Ms Power cited the arbitrary detention of Opposition leaders and supporters, harassment of journalists and gagging of civil society.

When Christian Church leaders in Uganda Protest Interest free Islamic Banking but keep silent about Neo-liberal capitalistic oriented banks in Uganda and Micro-finance institutions that charge interest of over 35 percent





Archbishop Stanley Ntagali and President Museveni

Any attempt of modesty was thrown out of the window the minute some religious leaders learnt that government had pushed through the amendments to the Financial Institutions Bill 2015, part of which paved the way for Islamic banking, saying the country was bound to face its most serious security threat if the Muslims had their way, writes ALON MWESIGWA.

A group of religious leaders has petitioned President Museveni, protesting the incorporation of Islamic banking into Uganda’s financial system.
In letter dated January 14, 2016, the authors, who describe themselves as “church leaders in Uganda” urge the president not to sign the amendments, arguing that Sharia law, the base on which Islamic banking operates, “will have far-reaching implications beyond the suggested purpose of finance.”
The statement, which The Observer has obtained, is signed by arch bishop of Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali as chair of the Uganda Joint Christian Council.
Other signatories are Bishop Simon Peter Emau, the chairman of the Evangelical Churches of Uganda, Pastor Daniel Matte, the president of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed on January 6, 2016, paving way for inclusion of Islamic banking, agency banking, and bancassurance in Uganda’s financial sector.
The bill now awaits the president’s assent but the protest of some sections of the church leaders could prove a setback and an indication that not enough sensitization was done before the passing of the law. 
The church leaders noted that “we view the passing of this bill as one of the most serious threats to national security and stability with potential threats to future generations as well.”
One key feature in Islamic banking is that it enables a financial institution to lend without charging interest. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is a form of financial intermediation based on profit and loss sharing (PLS) and the avoidance of interest rate-based commitments and contracts that entail excessive risks and finance activities prohibited under Islamic principles such as alcohol.
“We regret to note that the introduction of Sharia law in the country opens door to the ultimate operationalisation of fully-fledged Sharia not only in the finance sector as contained in the bill but in all aspects of our national life,” reads the church leaders’ letter.
It adds that it would create a “legal stalemate with the Constitution of Uganda” and that all under this arrangement, all Muslims might be compelled to use only Islamic banking which may deny them the right to freedom of choice.”
The church leaders explained that the bill “creates two parallel financial and economic systems for the population of Uganda; for the Muslims, in conformance to the Sharia law, and the non-Muslims. This will promote economic discrimination, and will widen the already-existing income inequalities in the population.”
“Since in this bill the central Bank seeks to establish a separate regulatory body to oversee Islamic banking, there will be a serious challenge to harmonize this kind of banking with the traditional banking system. This is because Islamic banking will be run on Sharia law which is hinged on unique legal principles which are in many ways contrary to Uganda’s constitution,” they added.
Officials at the Bank of Uganda said they hadn’t seen the petition. Last month, the central bank informed journalists that they were working on regulations that would operationalise the new amendments. 
Meanwhile, some commercial banks had expressed their gratitude to the introduction of agency and Islamic banking.
In a statement in January, Standard Chartered bank said: “That’s great news, not just for Uganda’s Muslim population, but anyone keen to see a thriving Ugandan banking market based on choice for consumers.”
Uganda joins countries such as Kenya and Nigeria in accommodating Islamic banking.
“With the first licenses granted in Kenya just six or seven years ago, that would make Uganda’s leap into Islamic banking a competitive advantage,” Stanchart says. It is also present in Tanzania.
The market for Islamic financial assets has grown at an annual average rate of about 16 per cent since 2006, according to the IMF.
Starting with a handful of institutions and negligible amounts in the late 1970s, Islamic finance grew to about 350 institutions and global total assets of about $1.7 trillion in 2013, according to a 2014 IMF working paper.  
Islamic finance has expanded throughout the Middle East, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, North Africa, and, more recently, in some sub-Saharan African countries, said the IMF, adding  that this is despite the fact that Islamic financial assets make up less than one per cent of the world’s financial assets.

Islamic, agency banking to change face of industry 

Written by Alon Mwesigwa


The main Standard Chartered bank offices

The long-awaited Islamic banking is now accepted in Uganda. Also, the new law allows for agency banking. However, in a highly-competitive market such as Uganda, the new forms of banking could face a stern test, writes ALON MWESIGWA.

Amendments to Uganda’s Financial Institutions Act 2004 will change the way banks carry out business in the country and certainly set stage for major growth, Standard Chartered Bank Uganda has said.
Herman Kasekende, the CEO of the bank, told the press on Friday that Parliament’s passing of the amended Financial Institutions Bill, which opened the way for Islamic banking, among other things, would change the face of banking in the country.
“This is going to revolutionalise the way we do business here,” Kasekende said. “It’s been a journey of about four years pushing for these changes.”
The new law allows banks to engage in agency banking, a sector Standard Chartered bank remains keen on, Islamic banking and bank assurance. In particular, Islamic banking is based on Sharia law and does not allow interest rates to be charged on the loans or other products from the commercial bank.
Instead, the bank enters into an agreement with the other party to share profits or losses equally from the venture they are in.
“That’s great news, not just for Uganda’s Muslim population, but anyone keen to see a thriving Ugandan banking market based on choice for consumers,” said a statement from Stanchart.
Uganda joins countries such as Kenya and Nigeria in accommodating Islamic banking.
“With the first licenses granted in Kenya just six or seven years ago, that would make Uganda’s leap into Islamic banking a competitive advantage,” Stanchart says.
Meanwhile, agency banking allows a financial institution to contract, say a retail shop, supermarket chain, postal outlet or mobile network operator to process transactions on behalf of the bank.
The agent can receive deposits, offer cash withdrawals and sell other bank products. This allows the bank to reach more places without having brick and mortar presence. This massively cuts on the costs of operation for the bank.
“In a short time, we can have presence everywhere,” said Kasekende.
In Kenya, this sort of banking is already popular with large financial institutions such as Equity bank. In the first quarter of 2014, for instance, 14 Kenyan banks had appointed 24,645 agents. They had executed about 93 million transactions worth Ksh 500bn ($4.9 billion) since 2010, according to the Business Daily, a Nairobi-based newspaper.
Equity bank reported that its agents were carrying out more transactions in a day than its tellers and ATMs. Rwanda, too, has okayed agency banking. In Uganda, banks remain thin in some remote areas of the country, which they deem not commercially viable to have a fully-fledged branch.
This is where telecoms have taken advantage by recruiting more people on their mobile money platforms to support some financial transactions.
Agency banking could not have come in more handy. Less than five million Ugandans have bank accounts, out of a possible 14 million adults in the country.
However, the current law does not address the issue of one agent serving two banks at the same time. Already, there are clear-cut examples within the telecom sector where some companies do not prefer its agents to sign up to a second company.
Cecilia Muhwezi, the head of compliance at Stanchart, said she did not think one agent would serve more than one bank.
“That will be provided for in the regulations.”
In regards to bancassurance, banks will be able to offer insurance products in partnership with insurance firms. The banks would then earn a commission on policies or products sold.
The products can range from coverage for illness, funeral expenses, to education expenses. Insurance coverage in the country remains low, at less than one per cent of the population. The banks’ entry into the industry could re-energise the sector.
Banks made more money in the financial year to June 2015 compared to the year before, with the biggest amount of profit generated through earnings on lending out money to the private sector.
In the 2015 financial stability report, Bank of Uganda says the level of after-tax profits for the banking sector increased by 55.1 per cent, an improvement from the decline of 27.8 per cent experienced in the year ended June 2014.
The rise in profitability was driven by the increase on profits on loans, and falling operating expenses as a share of income, the central bank said. Money earned on loans increased by 9.8 per cent in the period under review, owing to the stock of outstanding credit and high interest rates.
Yet while interest earned on loans and advances continued to contribute the largest share of interest income, it was income from banks’ holdings of government securities that registered the highest rate of growth, at 22.7 per cent, boosted by a rise in interest rates during the year.
Government borrowed Shs 1.4tn from the domestic market between June 2014 and June 2015 and commercial banks remained among the biggest lenders to it.
“Between June 2014 and June 2015, interest rates on 91-day treasury bills increased by 3.8 per cent, compared to average lending rates on shilling loans which rose by 1.2 per cent,” BOU said.
On the other hand, over the same period, the banking system’s return on assets reached 2.5 per cent, while the return on equity increased from 14.2 per cent to 15.6 per cent.
The shilling depreciated by more than 24 per cent during the same period, which favoured banks. As the central bank raised its key rate to arrest inflation, interest rates and yields on securities – money earned on government debt – increased. Banks cashed in.
The economy is estimated to have grown at five per cent, more than the year before at 4.6 per cent. This was as a result of the growth in economic activity. In the 2015/16 financial year, the economy’s growth is expected to be slightly high owing to government’s huge investment in infrastructure.
On the stock market, there was a decline in activity, with the turnover of Shs 310bn in 2014/2015 compared to Shs 333bn the year before.
“The drop in equity turnover was driven by rising interest rates that have seen investors shift to the government bond market and a weak shilling that has seen off-shore investors’ scale down activity,” BOU says.
Going forward, BOU says the increase in interest rates in the US will enhance the appeal of US assets and this could create negative implications for Uganda’s economy due to capital outflows.
Also, the fall in commodity prices will lead to a decline in incomes of households and commercial farmers which in turn, affects government revenues. In addition, the slowdown in China may lead to the reduction in Chinese investment in the country.
This may translate to reduced economic activity with a negative impact on growth, BOU says.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Clergy have allowed Museveni to manipulate them – Bishop Zac

Bishop Zac Niringiye
The former assistant bishop of Kampala, DR ZAC NIRINGIYE, has engaged in political activism since taking early retirement four years ago.
Bishop Niringiye played a central role in the ill-fated The Democratic Alliance (TDA) process to select a joint candidate to challenge President Museveni. In this interview with Benon Herbert Oluka, Bishop Niringiye discusses that process and other events that have happened in the last six months.

When you were taking early retirement from your pastoral duties, you said you were going to “help President Museveni finish well.” Given that the status quo remains as it was, do you feel that you have failed in your mission?
First of all, I think it is a misunderstanding – either deliberate or not – to suggest that that was the primary reason I took early retirement. If you check both my public interviews as well as my written communication, I was very clear that the overall reason for my early retirement was to be able to devote time, attention and energies to be an activist for social justice, accountable governance and accountable leadership.
Really, [it was] to focus on the fact that the dignity of every Ugandan and, indeed, of every human everywhere, matters to God – and that is why Jesus was sent. So I need to re-state that my early retirement was not a departure from my call to follow Jesus, to serve the Lord and his Church because it is very clear that the gospel is about justice; it is about salvation, which is about human flourishing and, indeed, the flourishing of all of creation. So, anything that goes against all that, God abhors.
Now, serving as assistant Bishop of Kampala, I did that and, as you know, I was chair of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism for about four years. So, I was engaged in efforts and initiatives for advocating for and ensuring good governance, accountable leadership and fighting corruption. But it wasn’t something that I gave my full-time attention to because, in addition to all that, I was engaged with civil society.
You will recall that I was the chair for the national taskforce for peace and conflict transformation during the 2011 general elections. I could give you a number of other engagements. The difference was that now I was going to commit all my energies to the work of justice and dignity of every Ugandan and beyond. So, that is the wider call.
Have I failed? Absolutely not. The day I stop following Jesus is the day I will have failed. I am following Jesus and I am seeking to do God’s will every day. It is a journey. I am not finished until I leave this earth. It is at that moment that [anyone] can look back to, and history will be able to judge.
Indeed, there is not a question, that one of my conclusions at the time – and it still is – is that the Museveni-NRM regime had become an obstacle to the human flourishing and the quest for justice and human dignity for Ugandans. Why?
Because the Museveni-NRM regime has come to be characterised by militirisation; the denial of freedoms of speech, of assembly, of association; [and] the denial of the basic rights of Ugandan citizens. It is really sad that the Museveni-NRM regime is synonymous with impunity, unbelievable levels of theft – not just misappropriation or embezzling but money is taken from the public coffers and used for purposes not of public interest, not for that for which it was designated.
So, for President Museveni, having served for 26 years at that time, it was very clear – and it hasn’t changed – he has done his bit. So, it is true that for a person who has served the country for that length of time, it is important that he finishes well.
But also as the head of state of this country, which has never known peaceful transfer of power from one president to another, I believe that it is important that we see, at least in our time, a president hand over power peacefully, and not by bullets and violence. Is that still a cause that I want to see through? Absolutely. Why? Because that is actually a very necessary step towards the achievement of accountable leadership, accountable governance, and a Ugandan society where there is shared opportunity for all.

Since you retired, you have spoken strongly about the role some of the bishops play in our society. Now, given the prevailing situation that you have talked about, do you feel that the Church is speaking out strongly enough about some of the things you feel are going wrong?
There are definitely a number of Christian leaders in all the Christian traditions in Uganda who have been speaking and who are men and women of integrity. Some [have spoken] at parish levels, in the congregations; people who are really faithful to the gospel and who seek to see what the scriptures command; to be salt and light; to be voices for the downtrodden; to speak against injustice. So, there are many across the levels, and that I think we need to acknowledge.
However, what people often want to hear are clear statements by the institutional Church, where the Church leadership speaks either from its synods, diocese or provincial synods (in the case of the Church of Uganda) or the synod of the Episcopal Conference for the Roman Catholic Church – and often the institutional voice, as represented by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda or the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) or the Church of Uganda House of Bishops, or the Church of Uganda Provincial Archbishop in his Christmas or Easter messages.
We really want to say there could be more. If you look at statements of Inter-Religious Council or UJCC in broad terms over the years, they have been true to challenging corruption levels, challenging impunity, and demanding leveled ground for elections. I think that has been consistent. The challenge has been whether the Church will follow through their speech with actions.
What kind of action? That they will go the next step and put in certain drastic actions that would reflect that speech.
Number two; that there would be speech that is not just generalised. I think the faithful long to hear voices that say, we demand A, B, C, D, E, F, G actions; clear actions demanded of those who are entrusted with authority to manage resources.
And that is why for us in the Black Monday Movement we went the next step and demanded specific actions; that if a minister is implicated in a corruption scandal, the president needs to take political actions. Such a minister should be asked to resign as investigations are proceeding. If you read the scriptures, read the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, they were very specific on what kind of action God demanded of those who were entrusted with public responsibility and the authority to govern and manage public resources.

So, why are the religious institutions not playing such a role?
I must say that the UJCC report was very, very clear – and it must be applauded – in terms of the level of theft of that election, the failures of the electoral commission. So, you should have an interview with the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda to say, ‘you had a UJCC report say there was [election] theft and failures of the electoral commission.
How could you then, as the chair of the UJCC, go ahead and congratulate Museveni?’ How could he then do that when he knew that there was even a case before the Supreme court?
 
We will take up your suggestion. I asked the previous question because you have been a senior leader in the church and you are privileged to know its inner workings. We want to get your insight on what could be wrong.
There are at least three things that may explain the silence of these structures or the lack of clarity in terms of giving direction and challenge to the governing authorities. The first, broadly speaking, is lack of an appreciation that to speak and to act demanding that those who hold public office are accountable; that they are just; that they lead based on the rule of law; and that the laws that are passed must be for the well-being of the people; that that is part of the mandate of being a minister of the gospel.
I fear that there are a number of religious leaders who have believed the lie that that is the duty of politicians. And President Museveni plays back that kind of religion, which is complete heresy, by the way.
The duty of a minister of the gospel is the whole, the human flourishing, that the salvation that God brings is total, for the whole being in community, in creation – not just the individual. And, therefore, we must be at the forefront of fighting for the environmental integrity. This abuse of the environment is unacceptable. So, do our religious leaders understand that?
Secondly, every dictatorship, in its quest to entrench itself, targets centres of conscience of society. Dictators work in one of three ways. First, through co-optation, buying out, ensuring that people are part of their patronage network. The second one is coercion; instilling fear and force. The third is seeking legitimacy through laws that are not really for the common good but are to entrench the dictatorship.
If you look at the president’s donations, the State House budget, all that money is for oiling the patronage machinery. Truth be told, religious institutions, churches, mosques, Sheikhs and Bishops have become very much targets of dictatorship.
Now, we have been very clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong in a president putting our taxes to contributing to developments that are initiated by religious institutions. The difference is when he begins to disperse these resources as though they were his own, as though it was an act of benevolence on his part as an individual. That then becomes corruption because it becomes part of developing a patronage system.
It is not just religious leaders who are being compromised, but even cultural leaders. You have seen how cultural leaders are being created and funded.
Number three is the fear factor. You have what I call the Museveni state. There is no doubt that when I was arrested and detained and roughed up in 2013 and 2014, I am very sure that that was intended to be a message to religious leaders that if you should act for justice, demanding in a very clear activist manner, this is how you are going to be treated.
But truth be told, it is failure [on the part of religious leaders] to be true to God and to the calling to be ministers of the gospel, ministers of faith.

Now, towards the 2016 elections, your activism evolved into trying to form an opposition coalition through The Democratic Alliance (TDA)....
Let me first clarify that the TDA effort wasn’t an effort to bring together the “opposition.” It was an effort to bring together all democracy-seeking forces and individuals because the mood and drive for change is clearly for the whole country.
The scriptures enjoin us not only to speak for justice but to organise for justice, to act for justice. So, we must organise to bring down the forces of injustice but also organise to build, to put in place systems, processes, mechanisms that could work for the common good. So, I was deeply involved in organising the campaign for free and fair elections because it was necessary. And that became the launch pad for TDA, an alliance that seeks to remove the dictatorship not by violent means but through elections as a means to do that.

You have spoken about the weaknesses of Museveni and NRM. The government in waiting are the people in opposition. Having worked with them during the TDA process, what are your candid views about those who seek to replace Museveni?
First of all, the level of brokenness is not just in government but our society. We all acknowledge, and it is very easy to show, how the Museveni-NRM regime has brought total collapse to institutions of the state. They have totally co-opted them and they have become Museveni institutions; they are no longer state institutions. There are a few positive signs here and there but the overall story is that all these are on their knees.
What we are faced up with is not simply that you have institutions of the state that have collapsed, but actually we risk the collapse of our society and the evidence of that is failure for society to bring about leaders who will provide leadership. But I need to say this; the work is not over.
What failed has to do with the nature of our society; the way in which the Museveni-NRM has created a culture of selfishness, greed, and stealing. Leadership creates culture. We have a culture of stealing and selfish leadership because you see that from the top level and across the entire body-politic. This is something we must work at so that we have leaders who are committed to the common good; who put aside their own self-ambitions and are able to commit to the common good. That is a massive challenge.
So, while the [TDA] process did not yield common leadership for this cause, it is not all lost because we are still on that journey. Why? Because the dictatorship is still here and we can’t give up. We still must work to find a united leadership that holds this cause together.
Secondly, we were very clear that the future of this country must be negotiated. There are issues that have bedevilled the country. Injustice reigns. There have been killings by the state, various governments. It is necessary to have a process of truth-telling, justice and national reconciliation.
Elsewhere, we have spoken about a predator state, a thieving state. The structure of our state is such that it makes dictators thrive. The re-structuring of the state, therefore, is a matter of priority. All this needs to be in a discussion.
We need joint leadership for this process. We need leadership that is able to put the dictator the other side and say, “By the way, this process is also for you so that you finish well. You need not be afraid.” So it is not over and this work is ongoing.

When opposition politicians surrender the dictatorship to God: Besigye urges supporters to believe in God of defiance

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Besigye urges supporters to believe in God of defiance

 


L-R: FDC leaders Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu, party chairperson Wasswa Birigwa, president Mugisha Muntu, former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye and deputy secretary general Harold Kaija pray at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, yesterday. Photo BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By SOLOMON ARINAITWE & EBBER ATURINDE

Posted  Wednesday, April 13   2016 at  01:10
In Summary
Testimony. The Opposition activist notes that it was God who guided them through the Bush war as they fought for justice 

KAMPALA.
At his debut prayer service following a 47-day virtual confinement, Opposition leader Kizza Besigye yesterday said the Bush war that ushered President Museveni’s government into power was largely aided by God and rallied his supporters to believe in a “God of defiance”.
Dr Besigye, who police allowed to leave his Kasangati home yesterday, but trailed him and forced him to use alternative routes, recounted the problems that conspired to frustrate the war ranging from the 1983 UNLA’s Maj Gen Oyite-Ojok led offensive to severe drought and the aborted attack on Kabamba barracks.
“If it was not for God, all of us, including Mr Museveni, would not have come from the bush. It was not because of Ssabalwayanyi [Museveni] that we who won the war, it was because of God. Some people were rather spiteful of this idea of prayer but the first testimony I am going to give is that our God is God of defiance. He defies injustice and he stands with all those who seek justice,” he said.

Mr Geoffrey Tayebwa, the Kampala south deputy regional police commander (2nd R), with other plain-clothed security operatives.
Though the party was holding the prayers for the fourth week, it was the first time Dr Besigye was allowed to access the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi since he was picked up from there as the party prepared to address the media on what they said was a results-manipulating racket on February 20.
On his first attempt to participate in the party’s weekly Tuesday prayers last week, Dr Besigye was arrested at Mulago roundabout and held for the entire night after disagreeing with police on routes to access the city.
Throughout the enforced routes that he used yesterday, Dr Besigye was trailed by tinted unmarked vans while plain-clothed operatives sprayed teargas on unsuspecting road users and warning onlookers not to applaud the Opposition leader.
Yesterday, Dr Besigye told the party supporters that although God may be sympathetic to the anti-Museveni struggle, Ugandans must also take the initiative.

One the plain-clothed security operatives who beat up and pepper sprayed some road users as they trailed Kizza Besigye yesterday.
“Let those who are evil fight the people who are praying. With God, we will not fail. But that is not to say we should sit and do nothing because God helps those who help themselves. Our country is in captivity by those who are wielding the power of the gun,” Dr Besigye said.
Buoyed by the harsh criticism of the election by the US, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago rallied the international community.
“They have a duty of helping in dismantling the dictatorship which they contributed in building,” he said.
The prayers
The ‘Free My vote’ campaign was unveiled to protest the Electoral Commission’s results that indicated that Dr Besigye polled 35 per cent of the valid votes. It envisaged forcing an international audit of the disputed results. “We serve a God of justice. The Bible says those who exalt themselves will be brought down low and will perish. I am sure that with the passing of time, we will see it ourselves,” party boss Mugisha Muntu said.


The Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Abbas Byakagaba, has disowned goons who were draped in black T-shirts with masked faces, wielding recoiling whips that they used to beat up supporters of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye.
Byakagaba says police will investigate and take action against its officers who looked on as strange men unleashed terror on citizens. His statement should embarrass Byakagaba! Does he realize how incompetent he sounds with such a statement?
The constitutional duty of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) is to protect people’s lives and property. In this particular incident, the police officers who were equipped with guns and other tools meant to subdue and control crowds looked on as these men beat up people as if they were approving their actions.
Masked men beating up people on Tuesday
In the past, police officers in similar circumstances have looked as the so-called Kiboko squad bashed demonstrators on Kampala streets. Again, in the beginning, police, including their leader, General Kale Kayihura, disowned this group but could not explain why they were not arrested as they beat up people.
Later, President Museveni owned up, and introduced the squad as peace volunteers. The question is, is police in charge of the security of this country anymore? In the past, they have been arresting members of outlawed groups  such as Kifeesi, Power Ten, and many other groups that had come up to counter the police-backed crime preventers. 
Police is being dishonest in this matter because how on earth can a stranger beat up people in full view of the security agents, and police does not react? If everyone in this country is allowed to take over the security of their life and property, would it be a country governed by rule of law?
Is the police so weak and ill-equipped as to fail to control the crowds – in that they have to rely on the support of illegal outfits such as these masked men?
The action of these men could suggest that actually police is not able to maintain law and order, and such a duty has now been delegated to illegal organisations. 
During the elections, police arrested people who were involved in the beating up of President Museveni’s supporters in Ntungamo district. The police chief even offered the police helicopters to fly them to hospitals.
A Shs 20m bounty was placed on former head of candidate Amama Mbabazi security, Christopher Aine, for whoever would arrest him because of his alleged involvement in the Ntungamo fights.
We only hope that the gusto and spirit with which they hunted down those involved in Ntungamo fights would be the same or even more while hunting down the masked men. We need to end impunity, and police needs to own up.