Following the video clip that had circulated on social media on 24th February 2019, in which a traffic officer identified as Esther Namaganda was assaulted by Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi Maj Gen Matayo Kaligonza, two bodyguards were arrested by the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) as investigations are underway.

The action taken by the UPDF has been commended by many, however, the Executive Director Foundation for Human Rights Initiative Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana questions the application of the law onto some while others are left to go scot-free.

“It is not only the bodyguards that were involved even Maj Gen Kyaligoza was involved. Therefore, the law must apply equally. There shouldn’t be selective application of the law,” Dr. Sewanyana said.

“He should be held accountable and disciplinary action by the highest appointing authority should be taken against him because he does not serve as a good example of a disciplined officer who is ready to respect the law and others,” He added.

The two officers currently detained at Makindye Military barracks are Lance Corporal Peter Bushindiki and Private John Robert Okurut who appeared in the video holding traffic officer Namaganda by the neckline of her uniform.

The army spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemeire regretted the incident and extended apologizes in a tweet.

Dr. Fred Sekindi, a human rights defender and also the Director of Research and advocacy at FHRI does not differ with Dr. Sewanyana’s view.

“It is important that we respect the rule of law. It is important that every person regardless of their position is made answerable to the purported crime or incident. It is not right for junior officers to be arrested and charged and for their commanding officer whose instructions they were acting on to walk away scot free,” Dr. Senkindi said.

The human rights activists argue that for the security agencies to promote the rule of law, the courts of law ought to alert the public about what sort of punishment is given to the law offenders.

Ugly scenes from a video that was circulating on social media where UPDF soldiers were assaulting a female traffice officer on Sunday 24th Feb 2019 in Seeta.

The alleged assault has been condemned by various people including the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga who said such “conduct is unacceptable for a leader”, and asked the Inspector General of police Okoth Ochola to promote Officer Namaganda.

Foundation for Human rights Initative in its statement released on 25th February 2019, condemns Major General Kyaligonza’s conduct.

“This brutal and egregious assault is one of the many recent acts of impunity by state security agents highlighting a trend for the disregard of rule of law and the role of state institutions. Impunity by state security agents has reached acute levels and requires urgent remedial actions from the Government.

FHRI condemns in the highest terms acts of impunity by state security agents and calls for the perpetrators, regardless of rank or standing in society, to be brought to account. FHRI calls for an expeditious inquiry into the incident, by the mandated state institutions to ensure that justice is served to the policewoman and journalist who were both assaulted in the course of their duties,”… Read a section of the statement.

The Police has created two task teams to pursue the matter, which include; the Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) Traffic Commander who will investigate the conduct of the driver, for inconsiderate use of the road; and another team under the CID Commander KMP to investigate the charges of assault and wilful obstruction of an officer on official duty. The team is also investigating an additional complaint of assault from a UBC Journalist, Peter Otai, who was allegedly assaulted while capturing the incident on video.

The Uganda Electoral Commission has today 21st February 2019 lifted the ban it had imposed on CCEDU on 4th July 2018 never to engage in voter education or any electoral related activity.

The lifting of the suspension followed a number of meetings between CCEDU and the Electoral Commision where a joint team was formed to review and harmonize EC/CCEDU working relationship. The team came up with mutually binding recommendations which both the Commission and CCEDU have committed to.

Follow the link below for a full statement from the Electoral Commission.

ELECTORAL COMMISSION STATEMENT

CCEDU and EC staff take a photo at the EC Headquarters in Kampala following the lifting of the CCEDU suspension on 21st February 2019.

The Citizen Coalition For Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) has developed a partnership with Record TV to popularize the Electoral Reform Agenda through social media and the various engagement platforms that Record TV has. Record TV has platforms such as lunch time request, Ekitobeero, Current Affairs Show, Day breaker, Wano na Wali (news segment) all segments that are highly engaging. These platforms allow for intermittent information sharing and have vast audiences that CCEDU hopes to utilize.  CCEDU and Record TV have agreed to start engagements with some of the materials CCEDU has developed to advance electoral democracy, but particularly focus on CCEDU’s 2019 Open Letter to the President.  Record TV is on star-times, Go-TV and free to air channels and will soon sign up to DSTV. CCEDU was particularly excited about the 12 million social media feeds that RECORD TV garners in a day. The two organisations are developing social media based activities to support CCEDU’s upcoming media campaigns.

Record TV broadcasts in 156 countries and on 5 continents and has quality image. CCEDU envisages a boost on social media especially twitter and facebook by partnering with Record TV.  In a pictorial we capture the communication team as they discussed the partnership with Ezekiel Motsoeneng, Managing Director, Record TV.

The newly created district of Kapelebyong risks returning sh1.2billion to the Government treasury due to a rift between the Chief Administrative Officer Nasser Mukiibi and the interim district council. The interim district council argues their term in office expired on January 20, 2019 and their hands are tied because the Government has not conducted the much needed elections.

“Most of the substantive district positions are not filled because we do not have elected leaders in office,” said the Chief Administration Officer, Nasser Mukiibi

Kaplebyong became a district when parliament approved it in July 2017 anticipating that by July 2018 elections would have been held and the district would be fully operational which has not been the case.

Todate the district awaits the election of its district leaders. According to the Esther Lucy Isipa, the sub-county Election Officer (SEO) Kapelebyong, the roadmap for the new district elections was developed long time ago, but the Commission awaits funds from the ministry of Finance to be able to conduct the Election.

Relatedly, a local citizen of Kapelebyong by the name Michael Omoji Ebwayi has dragged the Chief Administration Officer (CAO) Kapelebyong, Nasser Mukiibi. to court for continuing to operate with an interim district council whose term expired on 20th January 2019, without any communication from the Government.

The citizen contends that Mukiibi continues to facilitate the interim LCV chairman whose term expired on 20th January 2019. “The CAO should answer to the district councillors and the locals for such an anomaly,” reads the letter which this reporter saw. The CAO on the other hand says it is no fault of his own. “The Citizen who is suing me is not informed. He should be suing the Attorney General for lack of Elections and not the CAO,” said Mukiibi.

If the elections had been conducted, Kaplebyong district would have been well set on a journey to resolve some of the contentious issues in the district. Kapelebyong district is largely faced with the problem of land disputes, high school drop outs (70% for the 14-15 year olds), defilement, domestic violence, poor road and internet infrastructure and widespread poverty.

According to the district CAO, while some districts in Uganda are close to attaining a middle income status as per the Government vision 2020, Kapelebyong has not moved an inch to attaining that status because its only seven months old.

Mukiibi said: “We have a high levels of defilement, high school drop-out rates and early marriages as the factors affecting the education sector in the district.”

The over 150 participants in the community baraza demanded that the Government consider to conduct elections immediately to resolve the district leadership crisis.

One of the aspiring Local Council Five (LCV) chairperson, Richard Enyangu said: “The biggest problem the people of Kapelebyong face is the border conflict between Teso and Karamoja. Nobody knows the proper boundaries between the two regions., so if I am elected district chairperson I will work towards establishing the boundaries and ending the fierce conflicts between these two communities.”

William Alloch, another chairman LCV contender said: “the problem in Kapelebyong is the lack of clean water for drinking and home usage.”

Francis Akorikin cited the problem of poor roads and high school drop-out rates, plus early marriages as his priority issues to resolve should he assume office.

Winifred Adio an aspiring woman MP for Kaplebyong district, said if she is elected into leadership she would promote the education of the girl-child.

Kapelebyong district was curved out of Amuria district in Eastern Uganda. It became a district with effect from July 1st 2018 together with Kikuube, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, & Nabilatuk.

A female youth raises her issues on land disputes, teenage pregnancies and high school dropout rates during the community baraza and leadership debate in Kapelebyong on 14th Feb 2019.

The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative organised a community Baraza in the newly created district of Kapelebyong, today Thursday 14th, February 2019, to raise citizen consciousness on how to elect good district leaders and Members of Parliament. The potential LC5 candidates namely: Erwagu Simon, an Independent, Francis Akorikin - NRM, Stephen Eselu- FDC, William Alloch- an Independent, Richard Enyagu-an Independent and Tom Okello – an Independent and the local women Mps aspirants namely: Angela Arego , an independent, Gloria Ojakal- an Independent, Jacinta Atuto- NRM, Joyce Ajupo-   an independent, Florence Adupo – FDC, Regina Asio – independent but NRM leaning, Caro Eric Akello- independent but NRM leaning, Ketty Akol- UPC and Winifred Adio- UPC were given a chance to speak to the electorate and present their manifestos.

Kapelebyong District is found in the Teso Sub-Region of Eastern Uganda. The district has 5 sub counties( Obalanga, Acowa, Kapelebyong, Okungur, 29 Parishes and 220 villages.

The district has over 76 schools currently with 10 Nursery Schools, 59 Primary Schools, 7 Secondary Schools; with 5 government secondary schools, 41 primary, 1 seed school & 1 ECD Centre.

Majority of the people are farmers and mainly grow sweet potatoes, cassava, groundnuts & cotton.

On July 1, 2019, six other new districts namely; Obongi, Kazo, Rwampara, Kitagwenda, Madi- Okollo, Karenga and Lusot will be effected.

By Charity Ahimbisibwe

Senior Communications Officer

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Civil Society Organisation – Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy (CCEDU) has written an open letter to president in which they list what should be in place as the 2021 General Election season sets in.

The letter that highlights three key challenges that have afflicted Uganda’s elections in the recent past including monetization of elections and corruption in electoral processes, integrity of the national voters register and violence during elections proposes to the President remedies that require prompt action to restore the integrity of elections in Uganda.

“as a fountain of honour, champion laws and practices that guarantee a level playing field for electoral contestations in Uganda, support the establishment of a binding code of conduct for political parties as well as rebuilding public confidence in institutions that are charged with dispensing democracy”, reads the letter in part.

At the beginning of 2018, the consortium of civil society organisation had written a similar letter asking the president to establish an independent constitutional review process and launch a national dialogue process. By the end the year, the president had only launched the dialogue which was being driven by the National Elders Forum. Although it faced major criticism among especially members who were questioning what effect it’s likely to have on the current status quo. Many anticipated it may not yield much.