African States campaign for protection of African civilians against the civil wars on their territories:

Displaced South Sudanese women walk towards the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Malakal on January 13, 2014. PHOTO | FILE | AFP
Displaced South Sudanese women walk towards the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Malakal on January 13, 2014

. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

By ROBERT MBARAGA


Posted  Sunday, November 20   2016

Rwanda, the Netherlands and the United States have combined forces to push for a robust mandate for UN peacekeepers to protect civilians in conflict zones.

This emerged at the training of 36 officers from the military, police and the civil service of 14 troop-contributing countries in Rwanda.

The course is expected to equip them with skills to protect civilians during peacekeeping missions.

The UN peacekeeping guidelines binds contingents in the field to wait for the green light from their respective governments before they can act, which has been blamed for slow response during crises.

Frédérique de Man, Netherlands ambassador to Rwanda, said commanding officers on the ground come under undue pressure when they have to take decisions to protect civilians in a war zone without clear guidance or with contradicting orders from the mission and the national headquarters.

This contradiction often results from caveats issued by troop-contributing states, directing their soldiers not to engage in combats.

“What we have seen through the years is that often, there are discrepancies between the mandate and what the troops can do,” Ms de Man said.

To address the discrepancies, signatories of the agreement dubbed “the Kigali Principles” will continue to push for enforcement by the United Nations.

“The US is urging the United Nations to attach considerable weight to a country’s commitment to implement the Kigali Principle when contributing units for peacekeeping operations, particularly those missions that are operating in environments with a civilians’ protection mandate,” said Matthew Roth, deputy chief of mission, US embassy in Rwanda said at the opening of the course.

Thirty-seven countries have signed the Kigali Principles, which Mr Roth was a milestone only one year after the principles were adopted.

“I think the fact that, in less than five months, another seven nations will have signed the, principles, which shows that we are moving in the right direction for the protection of civilians around the world” Mr Roth said.

Countries that have signed include Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Rwanda the US and France.

“The aim of this course is to develop understanding of the inadequacy of theories, policies and other legal instruments for the protection of civilians when they are confronted with the realities in peacekeeping missions and how to bridge the gap using the Kigali Principles as supplements to the current UN guidelines,” said Brig Gen Chris Murari, officer in charge of operations and training in the Rwanda Defence Forces.

Rwandan Minister for Justice Johnston Busingye urged participants to adapt to the “contemporary environment of peacekeeping” and “emerging threats,” and act in the best interests of civilians.

The primary responsibility is put on commanders of the peacekeeping troops on site, whom the Kigali Principles want given power to make decisions. Participants of the course are drawn from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, The Netherlands and USA.

What is a war crime? How are suspects tried?

By AFP

Added 28th September 2016


Article 8 of the Rome Statute sets out more than 50 examples which could be considered a war crime.


Syrian rescuers hold the body of a girl after pulling it from rubble of a building following government forces air strikes in Aleppo. AFP Photo


As Aleppo reels from air strikes, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned the use of bunker bombs and other advanced munitions against Syria civilians may constitute a war crime.

Here are five facts about war crimes, and the long, arduous legal process to bring perpetrators to justice.

Definition of a war crime

Violations of the Geneva Conventions adopted in 1949 following World War II are commonly called "war crimes".

In broad terms, the conventions cover protection of civilians, treatment of prisoners and care for the wounded.

They form the basis of the 1998 Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the world's only permanent court for prosecuting war crimes -- the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Article 8 of the Rome Statute sets out more than 50 examples which could be considered a war crime.

They include wilful killing, torture, taking of hostages, unlawful deportations, intentionally directing attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities, and deliberately attacking aid and peacekeeping missions.

Using poisonous gases, internationally-banned weapons which cause "superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate" -- such as cluster bombs or incendiary weapons -- or bullets "which expand and flatten easily in the human body" are also considered a war crime.

Legal history

International treaties on the laws of war first began being formulated in the mid-1800s. But most such as The Hague Conventions, adopted in 1899 and in 1907, dealt mainly with the treatment of combatants not civilians.

The first high-profile war crimes trials of the modern era were held in Nuremberg and Tokyo in tribunals set up by the Allies to try German and Japanese leaders.

In May 1993, at the height of the Balkans wars, the United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague.

Since its inception, the ICTY has indicted 161 people, of whom 83 have been sentenced, including former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Following the genocide in Rwanda, the UN then set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994 in Arusha to prosecute those behind the killings of at least 800,000 people.

Both courts highlighted the need for a permanent war crimes tribunal, which gave rise to the ICC.

Prosecutions at the ICC

The ICC began work in The Hague in 2003, a year after its statute came into force. To date, 124 countries have signed up to the statute, including 34 from Africa -- the biggest regional group -- and 28 from Latin America and the Caribbean.

A country that has signed up to the treaty or whose citizens have been the victims of crimes may refer cases to the ICC's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, for investigation.

Cases may also be referred by the United Nations Security Council or the prosecutor can initiate her own investigations with permission from the judges providing member states are involved, or a non-member state can agree to accept the court's jurisdiction.

Any group or individual can report alleged crimes, but it is up to prosecutor to first see whether they fall under her jurisdiction.

So far 23 cases have been brought before the court, and four verdicts -- three guilty, one acquittal -- have been issued.

They include former Congolese militia leader Jean-Pierre Bemba sentenced to 18 years in jail on three counts of war crimes and two charges of crimes against humanity.

Preliminary inquiries or full investigations are also ongoing into situations in 19 countries or territories, with charges yet to be brought.

The situation with Syria

Syria is not a signatory to the ICC. Nor are the other major players in the complex conflict -- Russia, the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

As a result, the prosecutor would need a UN mandate to investigate any alleged crimes committed by the government or the rebels in the five-year war in the country -- including the use of chemical weapons.

Attempts to refer Syria to the ICC were vetoed at the UN Security Council in 2014 by Russia and China, to the dismay of human rights groups.

Will alleged war crimes in Syria ever be tried?

While the war continues, it is unlikely any prosecutions can be brought before the ICC.

Experts believe accountability will have to be tackled in any eventual peace process. Many argue the best scenario would be some kind of hybrid court based in Syria, but perhaps staffed by a mixture of local and international judges.

The North Sudan issues flood warning as the famous African River Nile rises its African ancient banks






The Blue Nile, in Ethiopia.


FILE PHOTO BY CLIFFORD GIKUNDA

Posted: 12th August 2016


Sudanese authorities on

Wednesday warned people living near the banks of the Nile to be wary of flooding, after two weeks of heavy rainfall killed dozens across the country.

Authorities said water levels were rising on the Blue Nile along the border with Ethiopia after continuous rainfall in that country.

The Blue Nile flows to Khartoum where it meets the White Nile and they become the Nile, which flows into Egypt.

"The Blue Nile is rising because of continuous heavy rainfall in Ethiopia," Mohameddin Abu al-Qasim of the interior ministry told AFP.

"We warn residents living on both sides of the Nile to be cautious."

The water levels were rising particularly rapidly in the state of Blue Nile bordering Ethiopia, the official news agency SUNA reported.

At least 76 people have been killed due to flooding elsewhere in Sudan, Interior Minister Ismat Abdul-Rahman said last week.

The United Nations aid agencies had warned of flooding in Sudan between July and November this year.

The most affected states are Kassala, Sennar, South Kordofan, West Kordofan and North Darfur, said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA.

"Heavy rain and flooding since early June have affected over 122,000 people and destroyed over 13,000 houses in many parts of Sudan," it said in a statement released on Wednesday.

A downpour in August 2013 was the worst to hit Khartoum in 25 years, affecting tens of thousands of people, the UN said.

Those floods had killed about 50 people nationwide, most of them in the capital.

The bitter truth of history of the African tribe of the Bakiga in trying to fight British colonialism:




The Former Life President,

Idi Amin of Uganda

By Faustin Mugabe

Posted:Saturday, February 1st   2016

When the Bakiga lobbied for Gen Idi Amin to be crowned life president and also be given the highest military title of Field Marshal, not many Ugandans had heard of the Akaryeija kararuga Kabale adage.

Ancient Bahororo had coined the saying Akaryeija kararuga Kabale (the surprise/trouble would emerge from Kabale).

The Bahororo lived in former Mpororo kingdom, north of present-day Kabale District. The kingdom was dissolved in 1902 by British colonialists in order to let the Bashambo upper class of the kingdom live with the Bairu-Bahororo in harmony.

But even after that, a rift between the Bashambo-Bahororo (the rulers) and Bairu-Bahororo (the subjects) continued to exist. The rift had existed since the establishment of the kingdom around 1840’s. Nonetheless, the two lived together.

Bakiga crown Amin life president

When the “Kigezi proposal” to crown Amin life president of Uganda and also be promoted Field Marshal became a reality, the Bahororo’s proverb Akaryeija kararuga Kabale had manifested once more.

On January 24, 1973, residents of Kamwezi Sub-county in Kabale District, Kigezi sub-region, made history.

Although it is not recorded who among the 3,000 who gathered at Kamwezi Sub-county headquarters proposed that Amin be made life president and promoted from four-star General to Field Marshal, what is well documented is that the gathering was chaired by Mr Karegyesa, the Kamwezi Sub-county chief.

The Kigezi proposal was later sold to the Eishengyero Rya Ankole (Ankole District Council).

After the September 1972 invasion by rebels from Tanzania through Mutukula and Isingiro in southern Uganda, no local leader wanted to be labelled a rebel associate.

Besides, at the time many believed in Amin’s leadership and wanted to be so close to the establishment.

Perhaps, the reason to crown Amin life president was to appease him after he visited Kigezi District and warned of severe consequences if anyone was caught supporting the guerrillas who were, according to the intelligence, operating in the area because of its proximity to Tanzania, the country sheltering them.

And to prove that they supported the government, it is believed, they wanted Amin to be crowned life president.

In late January 1973, a second meeting of chiefs and elders from the two districts was held at Kamukuzi, Mbarara District headquarters in the presence of Lt Col Ali, the commanding officer of Simba Battalion in Mbarara District.

The meeting had been hosted to review the security situation in both districts following the recruitment of guerrillas, particularly in Kigezi sub-region at the time.

On January 31, 1973, the Voice of Uganda newspaper carried a lead story: “Make him life president call.”

It had a sub title: “Ankole, Kigezi people make historic proposal on Gen Amin’s leadership and urge all Ugandans to support.”

The story in part read: “The Defence Council has been urged by the people of Kigezi and Ankole to consider very seriously the proposal of making General Idi Amin Uganda’s life president and they have also appealed to all Ugandans to support the proposal.”

At the Kamukuzi meeting, nine reasons were forwarded for why Amin should be made life president. They included:

1. Abolishing of political parties which had divided Ugandans

2. Abolishing of the General Service Unit and Kondoism (thuggery)

3. Expulsion of Indians

4. Expulsion of Israelis

5. Expulsion of the British

6. Abolishing of mini-skirts and dresses

7. Uniting religions in Uganda

8. Bringing back the body of former Kabaka Sir Edward Muteesa II

9. Handing over of the economy to Ugandans.

It would seem the Defence Council took the Kamwezi proposal to Amin and he liked it.

In late 1974, Amin accepted the life president title to be bestowed on him by the Defence Council. And on July 15, 1975, at a function hosted at State House Entebbe, Amin was promoted to Field Marshal. The Defence Council gave eight reasons for promoting him to that rank.

Bahororo saying

The Bahororo could have invented the Akaryeija kararuga Kabale saying because they had witnessed unusual happenings in and around Kabale area, or State as ancient tribes often referred to each other.

For instance, in September 1909, there had emerged the notorious Nyabingyi Movement, a religious/ militant cult led by a priestess, Nyiragahumuza, who claimed to be fighting colonialists.

The movement went on, though in different phases, until September 1945 when Nyiragahumuza died.

She died in a prison at Kakeka, Mengo, near Kampala, according to available records. Since never before had the Bakiga and Bahororo heard of a woman commanding a war, the saying akaryeija kararuga Kabale was thus brought to life.

Kabale public executions

February 27, 1918: The public execution of two former Nyabingyi fighters, Baguma and Bagorogoza, at what is now Kabale stadium proved the Bahororo’s prediction.

The duo was executed by the guillotine after British colonialist and Kigezi District Commissioner J. H. G. McDougall found the two guilty of participating in the infamous Nyakishenyi battle of August 27, 1917 in which a British camp was destroyed and several people killed.

February 10, 1973: On that day, Kabale residents witnessed the second public execution. Joseph Bitwari, James Karambuzi and David K. Tusingwire, part of the Yoweri Museveni-led Fronasa group, were executed at Kabale stadium by firing squad conducted by the Uganda Army .


Really Uganda was not a colony of Europe. It was a Protecto

rate of Europe. One reckon freedom fighters in the Protecto

rate of Uganda after Indepen

dence are called liberators from African tyranny.

RAT

 (Resist African Tyranny)

 


President Museveni at the unveilling of the Rugando monument in Mbarara district in 2012. The monument was erected in memory of the victims of the 1979 anti-Amin struggle


President Yoweri Museveni will unveil a monument in memory of the victims of the National Resistance Army (NRA) struggle at Dwaniro subcounty headquarters in the central district of Kiboga on Heroes' Day next week.


According to government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, the unveiling of the monument will precede the day’s main celebrations at Katwe PS grounds in the same district. Opondo said Dwaniro had been selected because it was the epicenter of the liberation war that steered the ruling NRM government into power.


Heroes’ Day(NRM) is celebrated every June 9 in memory of citizens who have contributed to the nation building. However, the public holiday’s national celebration ceremonies have been criticized by the opposition, with the choice of heroes raising eyebrows and the event’s pomp often described as wastage of tax payers’ money.

skamugisha@

observer.ug


An old war bomb has killed two in Nakaseke, in the historical Luwero war zone:

Mr Abdul Kasakya, a survivor of the blast, at Nakaseke Hospital.

 

PHOTO by Dan

Wandera. 

Article by:
By Dan Wandera


Posted  Tuesday, March 10  2015

 

Nakaseke, Buganda State, Uganda.

Police in Nakaseke District have confirmed two people killed and one injured when an object suspected to be abandoned war material exploded at Kamusenene village in Ngoma Subcounty at the weekend.

Police have identified the deceased as Dan Ssemakadde, a resident of Kiwoko village Wakyato Sub-county and Simeo Mukwaya Kabaya, a resident of Kiwoko Town in Nakaseke. The injured currently admitted to Nakaseke Hospital, has been identified as Abdul Kasakya, a resident of Kayunga District. 

“We suspect that the explosive could be an abandoned war material which exploded after the victims tampered with it as they went on with their charcoal burning process. Simeo Mukwaya died on spot while Dan Ssemakadde died at Nakaseke Hospital shortly after admission,” Mr Lameck Kigozi, the Police Spokesperson Savanah Region, told Daily Monitor.

According to Kasakya, they did not notice they had any metal as they carried logs in preparation for charcoal burning at Kamusenene village.

“Saturday morning was very normal as we carried logs in preparation for charcoal burning. I did not see any suspicious material in form of a metal around us but there was something which looked like a stone. I heard a loud burst and a cloud of dust. I did not know that i had been injured but tried to look for my two friends whom I could not locate at that particular time. I only came to my senses when we were being lifted up by residents and police,” Kasakya said.

Mr Kigozi said police are waiting for ballistic experts from UPDF to help police identify the type of explosive.

editorial@ug.

nationmedia.com



A British Navy rescues African and Arabic refugees in the Med Sea.

 
 
A Royal Marine from HMS Bulwark watches over refugees on a Royal Navy Landing Craft in the Mediterranean (Ministry of Defence)

The Royal Navy's flagship has rescued a more than 100 refugees adrift in the Mediterranean - its first mission since being deployed in the region.

HMS Bulwark was despatched to the Mediterranean on Monday as part of David Cameron's promise to help tackle the migrant crisis, which has cost the lives of nearly 1,800 people this year.

The 19,000-tonne assault ship picked up 110 migrants today after inspecting a suspicious rubber boat. With the help of the Italian coastguard, the migrants were taken to land.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said last night: "HMS Bulwark, working with the Italian coastguard, today investigated a large rubber boat with approximately 110 individuals on board.

"The individuals were rescued using Bulwark's landing craft before being transferred on to the Italian coastguard's vessel and taken to land. Everyone was transferred safely and HMS Bulwark remains on task."

The Prime Minister pledged the ship on April 23 ahead of an emergency EU summit to discuss how European countries could cooperate to prevent the deaths of thousands this summer.

Speaking outside the Brussels meeting, Mr Cameron said: "Saving lives means rescuing these poor people, but it also means smashing the gangs and stabilising the region.

"Now Britain, as ever, will help. We'll use our aid budget to help stabilise neighbouring countries. And as the country in Europe with the biggest defence budget, we can make a real contribution."

Mr Cameron also pledged three Merlin helicopters to the rescue effort.

HMS Bulwark, a landing platform dock, is designed to put ashore Royal Marine commandos in assaults by sea, by boats launched from the dock compartment, and from two helicopters from the deck.

It has a nautical range of 8,000 miles and can carry up to 700 troops on top of a crew of 325.

The MoD said earlier that the Prime Minister had made clear to the European Council that Britain would play a role in tackling the current crisis in the Mediterranean, but would not offer refugees asylum in the UK.

Nb

Great Britain used to rule the global waves. Many of these refugees are from the political confusion Great Britain caused in their countries as it consolidated its abruptly ended recent British Empire. These refugees therefore should be given a UN mandate to be resettled back to their lands with all the protection against political and military neo-colonialism that is causing so much disorder and social  chaos in this world order.


The United Kingdom Government is attempting to keep details of a  secret security agreement  with Saudi Arabia, hidden from the British people:

© Reuters/PA Wire Theresa May and Prince Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz

The British Government signed a secret security pact with Saudi Arabia and is now attempting to prevent details of the deal from being made public.

The Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to the so-called ‘memorandum of understanding’ with her Saudi counter-part Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef during a visit to the Kingdom last year.

The Home Office released no details of her trip at the time or announced that the deal had been signed. The only public acknowledgement was a year later in a Foreign Office report which obliquely referenced an agreement to “modernise the Ministry of the Interior”.

But now following a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats, who were in Government at the time, it has emerged that the agreement is far wider than has been acknowledged.

In its grounds for refusing to publish details of the memorandum the Home Office has admitted it “contains information relating to the UK’s security co-operation with Saudi Arabia”.

Releasing the document it says “would damage the UK’s bilateral relationship” with the Kingdom and potentially damage Britain’s national security.

The Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to the so-called ‘memorandum of understanding’ with her Saudi counter-part Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef

Human rights groups have expressed alarm at the secretive nature of the deal with a regime which has been condemned for its human rights record.

In February the Kingdom adopted a new anti-terrorism law that defines terrorism as words or actions deemed by the authorities to be directly or indirectly “disturbing” to public order or “destabilizing the security of society.

In March, a series of decrees promulgated by the Interior Ministry extended Saudi Arabia’s extended the definition of further to include “calling for atheist thought” and “contacting any groups or individuals opposed to the Kingdom”, as well as “seeking to disrupt national unity” by calling for protests.

The Ministry of the Interior is also responsible for carrying out executions such as the threatened beheading of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr for taking part in anti-government protests and allegedly attacking security forces when he was 17. Mr Ali al-Nimr supporters claim he was tortured while in detention.


© Provided by The Independent Prince Khalid bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) as he arrives in Jeddah on November 6, 2012 (Picture: [copyright])


Both Liberal Democrats and Labour have called for Mrs May to provide details of the deal to Parliament and expressed concern that such an agreement should be done behind closed doors without any public scrutiny.

“Deals with nations like Saudi Arabia should not be done in secret,” said the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

“Parliament should be able to hold ministers to account. It is time to shine a light onto the shady corners of our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

“It is time we stood up for civil liberties, human rights and not turn a blind eye because the House of Saud are our ‘allies’”.

The emergence of the agreement comes after the Justice Secretary Michael Gove announced he was cancelling a £5.9 million contract to provide a training programme for prisons in the Saudi Arabia.

The contract had attracted widespread criticism but when the cancellation was announced it led to a diplomatic row with the Saudi leadership who threatened to withdraw Saudi ambassador in London pending a review of relations with the UK.

In an attempt to placate the Saudis, David Cameron sent a personal message to King Salman bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud, while the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was dispatched to Riyadh to rebuild bridges.

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said that while Saudi Arabia had undoubtedly provided assistance to Britain in dealing with threats in recent years it had also clamped down on fundamental freedoms, such as free speech.

“Any assistance to their interior ministry needs to be in line with our commitment to human rights worldwide,” he said.

“Given the UK Government's recent decision to pull out of a deal with the Saudi Ministry of Justice on prisons, it is imperative that the FCO and the Home Office provide details on what this MOU with the Saudis involves so Parliament and the public can be assured that it is compliant with our treaty obligations and British values. Ministers should not hide behind the cloak of national security and should instead be open about the nature of this arrangement.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen described the memorandum as a “murky deal”.

“We’d like to know what efforts are being made by UK officials to challenge and prevent abuses in Saudi Arabia’s highly abusive justice system?” she said.

“This murky MoU deal was set up shortly after the Saudi Interior Ministry was granted draconian new powers to hold and interrogate terrorism suspects without a lawyer for 90 days. Have Theresa May’s officials ever asked their counterparts to scale back on these excessive powers?

“The UK already has a track record of selling vast quantities of arms to Saudi Arabia while remaining markedly reluctant to publicly criticise Riyadh for its atrocious human rights record.

“With people like the blogger Raif Badawi still languishing in jail and the teenage protester Ali al-Nimr still facing a possible execution, secret deals between the UK and Saudi leave a very bad taste.”

A Home Office spokesman said they could not comment on the memorandum.


An African School in Tanzania built by the President of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni 

The village of Muhutwe in Kagera region has a special relationship with Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni. During his years in exile from Uganda he spent some time at Muhutwe, in the western Tanzania region of Kagera.

The house where President Museveni lived in the village of Muhutwe.

He reportedly lived in the house, pictured above, where he rented a small room. My guide during the trip to Muhutwe told me the room was packed with books. The landlord did not know who Museveni was until Museveni returned to the village of Muhutwe as president of Uganda and visited his former residence.

Nyarigamba Secondary School.


President Museveni not only decided to build a house for his former landlord, but even decided that two secondary schools should be built in Muleba district: one at Muhutwe, and another one at Kamachumu.

Nyarigamba Secondary School.
Nyarigamba Secondary School.
Nyarigamba Secondary School.

The decision was not received with approval by some Ugandans who complained that President Museveni should have spent that money in Uganda.


According the the Ugandan High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ibrahim Mukiibi, the schools were built as a gesture of friendship from Ugandans to Tanzania for the good job that the Tanzanian army had done in the war that toppled the former ruler, Idi Amin in 1979.

Mr Crispy Kaheru

Uganda is currently undergoing a serious political crisis triggered by the continued contestation of the February 18, 2016 presidential election results by a section of the political actors that participated in that election.

The government, Electoral Commission and the NRM party are contented with the way the election was conducted. On the other hand, the opposition, civil society organisations as well as local and international observers remain dissatisfied with the way the election was managed.

Election observation outfits (with the exception of the African Union and the East African Community [maybe]) have described the conduct of the election as having been inconsistent with the country’s obligation under Article 25 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to hold genuine elections that guarantee the free expression of the will of the voters.

The results of the last presidential election as announced by the Electoral Commission and the decision of the Supreme court have not brought an end to the country’s political contestations; neither have they conferred legitimacy on the outcome of the election in the minds of a significant section of the Ugandan society.

However, this was not entirely new. Ugandans have consistently faced the same political and electoral challenges after each election – especially since 2001.

It is actually regrettable that over the years, similar political and electoral crises have been glossed over, only for the same crises to reoccur on higher scales.

As of today, the events taking place in the country, including the arrests of key opposition figures, incidents of police brutality on ordinary citizens, the ban on the media live coverage of opposition activities and the restrictions imposed on social media, are only representative of a deteriorating political and security situation in the country.

We must appreciate that the current crisis, though electoral in nature, it is deeply rooted in broader political and governance challenges. If not comprehensively addressed, the current political crisis could further lead to a severe fracture in the social fabric of the Ugandan state and thus exacerbate the polarization and possible paralysis of the political and socio-economic system in Uganda.

The existing political stalemate presents Uganda with an opportunity not only to address the historical and political causes of this very prevailing situation, but also with a remarkable chance to discuss and, through a national dialogue and consensus, pave a new political and electoral path for Uganda.

Up until now, a number of stakeholders have recognized the need, and are calling for a people-to-people national conversation as a platform to tackle the escalating tension in the country. This national conversation is, indeed, critical if the country is to move forward.

It is incumbent upon all political actors to ensure that every effort to address the prevailing political challenges in Uganda is through peaceful means. At this moment in time, stakeholders in the electoral process and the citizenry ought to urgently activate a national peace architecture.

This peace infrastructure should rely on existing capacity within our society. Institutions such as the elders’ forum, Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), the Women Situation Room (WSR), the National Consultative Forum (NCF) and the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) should lead processes around an inclusive dialogue – with the aim of addressing the root causes of the current political and electoral crisis.

In countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, etc, the role of the international community in internal dialogue processes has been substantive.

Most of the dialogue processes have taken place under the auspices of the international community and regional structures/institutions. Their support in capacity building and expert assistance cannot be underestimated – and, therefore, must be sought.

What the current situation has exposed is the necessity to develop a long-term perspective on sustainable political dialogue for Uganda – either under the auspices of state institutions, or as extraordinary measures.


The author is the coordinator, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).

Nb

Indeed back to square one of the Ugandan historic times of the 1960s when about 15 tribal states created what now is an Anglophile Uganda state. M7 does not want to hear all that. He calls it  all political chaos that he alone came to mend.

"Don’t use my name to grab traditional lands" - says the long serving President of Uganda as he campaigns for democratic re-election for a 6th term in office.

By STEVEN ARIONG

Posted  Tuesday, December 1   2015

NAPAK.KARAMOJA PROVINCE: UGANDA:

President Museveni has ordered for the arrest of any person found using his name or that of State House to grab land in Karamoja region.

President Museveni said this last Thursday at a press conference held at Morulinga State Lodge in Napak District.

The President’s orders came after he was asked by a journalist whether he was aware his name was being used by land grabbers claiming to be working in State House.

The Presidents replied: “I have never sent any one to get land in Karamoja. Whoever wants the land should follow the right procedures,” he said.

According to the survey carried out by the Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO), 97 per cent of the land in Karamoja has been licensed to 147 investors who are holding exploration and mining licenses ranging from 10 to 30 years but the community does not know yet the land in the region is owned communally. The President said he would write to the ministry of land to cancel some of the licenses acquired illegally.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.

com


Over 100 mineral companies in Karamoja


Publish Date:

May 01, 2014


The First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mrs. Janet Museveni


By David Lumu

 

The frantic jostle for minerals in Karamoja by companies has caused a problem of large scale land acquisition, a preliminary report by the Center for Basic Report has revealed.

 

Prof. Josephine Ahikire, the executive director of the Center for Basic Research (CBR) said that the concentration of mining companies in Karamoja has a direct implication on women rights and how communities interface with companies that have acquired land to establish mineral industries.

 

“It is not really about pin-pointing, but identifying communities that have experienced the large scale land acquisition problem and looking at how women are interfacing with the process,” she said.

 

Land policy experts also argue that the quest for land acquisition in Karamoja is raising a puzzle of land development versus the protection of individuals and communities.

 

Dr. Rose Nakayi of Makerere University Law School told New Vision that although large scale land acquisitions are not an accident of contemporary time, government must come up with a clear delimitation between government and public land.

 

Nakayi said that what is spanning out in Karamoja is “a challenge of international capitalist players and the desire to have Uganda develop.”

 

“Acquisition of land by foreigners must be explained to the local communities. Foreigners cannot acquire customary land, they can only acquire leases,” she said.

 

Eng. Simon D’ujanga, the state minister for energy said that ever since the country’s remotest area was pacified by disarming cattle rustlers, over 100 mineral companies have been set up by investors.

 

“In the recent past, we have tried to market the region and the country at large. We now have over 100 mineral companies in Karamoja and we are encouraging more investors,” he said.

 

First lady, Janet Museveni, the minister for Karamoja affairs is credited for championing the transformation of Karamoja by courting donors to invest in the region.

 

A 2011 survey by the Uganda department of geological survey and mines at the ministry of energy found that Karamoja has gold, limestone, uranium, marble, graphite, gypsum, iron, wolfram, nickel, copper, cobalt, lithium and tin.


The survey indicated that land in Karamoja is owned communally, which makes it difficult for the mining companies to identify the rightful owners for compensation or consultation.

 

Prof. Ahikire said that as companies begin to explore the minerals in Karamoja, voices of land grabbing, environment damage, limited information of land laws and marginalization of women are starting to come out.

 

D’ujanga said that land in Karamoja is acquired by investors according to the law. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) puts the population of Karamoja at 1.2 million people.




Agambire oba agambye: "Nga mu mpalampye! Where do you want me to go. I have lived in the State House now 30 years. What does the Land Act say about bona-fied occupancy

Sijja kugenda.


Ono omusajja anyumirwa entalo. Mujjukire: ENSI EGULA MIRAMBO NGA NO TEMULI WUWO.


Kyankwanzi now place for wicked decisions - Fr Gaetano

By ROBERT MUHEREZA 


Posted  Sunday, February 15  2015

 

KABALE, KIGEZI, UGANDA:

The parish priest for Kitanga in Kabale Diocese, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, has said whereas the NRM/NRA high command used Luweero to liberate Uganda, they are currently using Kyankwanzi to bring down all they promised Ugandans.

Fr Batanyenda was on Thursday addressing the press in Kabale Town where he said all the undemocratic decisions that do not have popular support such as the lifting of presidential term limits, endorsing President Museveni as sole candidate and the proposed lifting of the presidential age limit are always first taken to Kyankwanzi for endorsement during NRM party retreats.

“It’s as if Kyankwanzi has been turned into a place to turn down all the democratic ideals that were hatched during the NRA/NRM liberation struggle in Luweero. All religious leaders in Uganda should join us in preaching against the negative trends our country is taking to avoid disastrous situations,” Fr Batanyenda said.

“Kyankwanzi has become a place of condemnation where negative seeds about hatred, nepotism, sectarianism and other forms of injustices are being sown, contrary to the spirit of the Luweero Bush War struggle...,” Fr Batanyenda added.

He said if the information that MPs are demanding Shs300m to allow President Museveni rule for life are true, it would prove how greedy our leaders are, instead of demanding better salaries for health workers and teachers and ensuring enough drugs in government hospitals.

UPC calls for Reconci-liation Commission 

By MARVIN KIRUNDA

Posted  Thursday, February 19  2015

 
Kampala- Uganda:
Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), another old dictatorial political party has demanded the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, describing as opportunistic, the way NRM government is forgiving past political leaders it demonised yesterday.

“One minute a leader is labelled a swine and before you know it, he is turned into an eminent hero.

The NRM government should stop the ad-hoc forgiving of political figures, it is an opportunistic way of handling a very traumatic period of our past,” Mr Joseph Bbosa, the UPC vice president, said yesterday.

Mr Bbosa’s comments come in the wake of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) taking over the reburial of the remains of the late commander of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), Lt Gen Bazilio Olara Okello.

Lt Gen Okello was exiled to Sudan in 1986 when the National resistance Army (NRA) under the command of President Museveni toppled the Gen Tito Okello Lutwa government. Lt Gen Okello was then commander of the UNLA.

He is said to have succumbed to diabetes in 1990 and was buried in Sudan.

Mr Bbosa said the commission will be charged with investigating and forgiving every political crimes offender and would be comprised of eminent persons in and outside Uganda.

He pointed out the war in northern Uganda from 1986-2008, the September 2009 riots in Buganda and the Luweero triangle war of 1981-1986 that brought President Museveni to power as some of the incidents that need to be investigated by the proposed commission.

However, the government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said government does not see any need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“The UPC has all the platforms to express their issues including the media, courts of law and Parliament which has a Human Rights committee. Let UPC first tell Ugandans why it abolished kingdoms and made Uganda a one-party State,” he told the Daily Monitor on phone yesterday.

editorial@

ug.nationmedia.com


The International

Criminal Court says that it is on a visit to the Continent of Africa on invitation by its member states:

 

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (R) with State minister for

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (R) with State minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru (C) and other Soroti leaders yesterday. Photo by Simon Peter Emwamu


Posted  Tuesday, March 3  2015

 

Soroti, UGANDA- The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has said the ICC is in Africa on invitation by African countries that are state parties to the Rome Statute and not by choice.

Ms Fatou Bensouda, who finalised her visit of northern and eastern Uganda to acquaint herself with the effects of the LRA war yesterday, said the attack on the court by African heads of state is unfair.

“Leaders should not expect to commit atrocities and expect to be above the law. Those days are over; ICC was created to help the victims,” Ms Bensouda told a gathering comprising civil society, security and political leaders in Soroti Town.

She said African Union and ICC share the same values on human rights and are both against impunity. She said Uganda ratified the Rome Statute in 2003, and requested for help on LRA war crimes. She said investigations are also on going in DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic and Mali.

“It’s very clear we work in transparent manner,” she explained.

Ms Bensouda said the ICC believes in fact-finding, the reason she came to listen to the victims of the LRA. One of the LRA commanders, Dominic Ongwen, is at the Hague awaiting trial in January 2016.

Ms Bensouda promised that more ICC officials will be coming to take statements from LRA war victims to help her office table a solid case before the judges. This, she said, is the reason why she asked judges to adjourn the Ongwen case to January 2016 as opposed to August 2015 as earlier indicated.

Mr Musa Ecweru, the state minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, thanked the prosecutor for coming to listen to the war victims.

The background

President Museveni has often bashed the ICC. During the Independence Day celebrations last year, Mr Museveni described the ICC as “a biased instrument of post-colonial hegemony.” The President was unhappy with the ICC for indicting two sitting African presidents; Omar Bashir of Sudan and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. Mr Bashir was indicted for war crimes in Darfur while Kenyatta was accused of fanning election violence in 2007. Mr Kenyatta’s charges have since been dropped.

editorial@

ug.nationmedia.com


Museveni turns coat and apologises to ICC: "We are on same side".

 

President Museveni shakes hands with ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the President’s country home in Rwakitura.


PHOTO.

By FREDERIC MUSISI


Posted  Wednesday, March 4  2015  

 

Kampala, UGANDA,

President Museveni has said he is still on the same side with The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) notwithstanding his .misgivings.

“Despite our differences, we are on the same side,” Mr Museveni told ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday night, according to a statement issued by State House. The ICC Chief Prosecutor has just concluded a five-day tour of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war-affected areas in northern and eastern Uganda.

“We had to hand over Dominic Ongwen because he was arrested from a different country and had committed crimes across several countries. If he was arrested in Uganda, we would have charged him here,” the President said.

The remarks come less than three months after the President; while speaking at Kenya’s 51st Independence Day in Nairobi last year, said he was “done with this type of court justice"

President Museveni, accused the court of being a tool of Western powers to witch-hunt African leaders. The court handles major war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, for which a couple of African leaders have been indicted.

“People of the West should leave their foolishness. I am done with the ICC,” the President told a cheering crowd at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

However, in Monday’s meeting, the President further stressed that Uganda will cooperate with the court and avail it all the necessary information and access to witnesses that it may need.

musisif@ug.nationmedia.

com

 

Ettaka litabudde munnamagye Brigadier Kasirye Ggwanga ne mwannyina
May 18, 2015
Kasirye Ggwanga. 
 

Bya SAMSON SSEMAKADDE NE LUKE KAGIRI

 


MUNNAMAGYE  Brig. Kasirye Ggwanga akutte mukulu we n’amuggalira  ku poliisi ng’amulanga kugezaako kubba ttaka lya kika.

Ettaka lino liri ku kyalo Katakala mu  Mityana Town Council nga liriko yiika ttaano era nga kwe kuli ennyumba y’ekika ey’ekiggya eky’aba Kasirye.

Elizabeth Nabwami, 66, abadde yaakadda okuva mu  Amerika gy’amaze emyaka egisukka mu 10 ye yakwatiddwa.

Kiddiridde okugenda ewaabwe e Katakala ng’ayagala okulongoosa  awaka ng’eno Kasirye Ggwanga gye yamusanze n’amugoba  era  n’aleeta  poliisi n’agiragira emukwate era n’okusiba omuntu yenna anaagendayo okumweyimirira.







Kasirye Gwanga(wakati) nga akyali muvubuka mumagye ga Uganda Acholi, Uganda.


Wabula mukulu waabwe bonna, Edith Najjuuko yagenze ku poliisi e Mityana ne yeeyimirira Nabwami n’ateebwa.

Najjuuko agamba nti, “ettaka lino si lya Kasirye Ggwanga nga lyange nga Najjuuko, ne baganda bange abawala mukaaga kuba kitaffe omugenzi, Yovani Kasirye bwe yali tannaffa yandekera ekibanja  wabula oluvannyuma nneegula ne nkiteeka mu mannya gange. Kitaffe yagaana Kasirye Ggwanga okumusikira kuba we yafiira  Kasirye yali atandise okukola effujjo mu kika olw’okuba ye mwana yekka omulenzi  mu baana  b’omugenzi era ng’amannya ge ye Samuel Wasswa Gitta.”

Brig. Kasirye eyasangiddwa mu makaage e Makindye, yagambye nti,  “mwannyina yakomawo okuva mu Amerika n’ajingirira ekyapa oluvannyuma  lw’okugenda mu minisitule y’ebyettaka  ne kiteekebwa mu mannya ge ng’omuntu. Yatandika okuligabanyaamu bu poloti obwa 100 ku 50 era n’aleeta n’abaalirambula abaatandika n’okulipima n’atuuka n’okutema omuti ogwali ku biggya ng’ayagala kugutemamu mbaawo.  Mwannyinaze ono nnali namuwa yiika y’ettaka e Kyaggwe wabula nga yagaana okukolerako ekintu kyonna. Nange kwe kusalawo okumusibisa nga njagala yeesonyiwe ettaka lya famire akyuse n’ekyapa akizze mu ga famire kuba talina buyinza bukikyusa.”

DPC wa Mityana, Donald Ebunyu yagambye nti bagguddewo omusango ku fayiro SD: 37/16/05/2015 ogukwata ku by’ettaka wadde nga  Kasirye Ggwanga yaloopye gwa kwoonoona bintu bye, ogw’okutema omuti.

 

KIBI NYO OKUSIRISA ABANTU BENSI OKUNYUMYA, OKUTEESA NOKUNENYA GOVERNMENT EZIBAFUGA

Posted on 4th October, 2014

In Uganda, the minister of finance has agreed that the Huge foreign capital flight, continuously makes Ugandans stuck in muds of African poverty:

 

October 5, 2018

Written by URN

The Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija

 

Government is doing a lot of business with foreign firms and individuals, who, once paid, quickly repatriate the money to their home countries and offshore accounts, Finance minister Matia Kasaija has said. 

And this problem of capital flight, is greatly affecting economic activity and growth in the country according to the minister. Kasaija was speaking at a public policy dialogue on revisiting the tax regime at Uganda Management Institute. 

Kasaija, a golfer, told the attentive audience that about a year ago, he visited Uganda Golf Club and was shocked with the poor attendance by its members. Kasaija said even the few members who went to the golf club, spent just a short time, spent less or nothing and hurriedly went home.

Concerned, Kasaija said he instituted a private research to find out what was happening with the once liquid club members. He declined to divulge his findings to the dialogue participants.
 
But when speaking with journalists outside the auditorium, minister Kasaija revealed that the real cause was that the golf club members had little money to spend because government has been doing a lot of business with foreign firms.
 
According to Kasaija, whenever they released funds every quarter, the bulk would go to these foreign firms and individuals who quickly repatriated the money - leaving Ugandans with very little disposable income. 

"Do you know that most of the projects in Uganda are being done by non-Ugandan companies and that means that when I pay them, most of the money is gone…The solution you find it out yourselves...Much of the money is taken by companies outside this country so there’s therefore less money going into the pockets of Ugandans." Kasaija said. 

Capital flight, in economics, occurs when assets or money rapidly flow out of a country, due to an event of economic consequence. This leads to a disappearance of wealth, and is usually accompanied by a sharp drop in the exchange rate of the affected country like depreciation in a variable exchange rate regime.

Most of the foreign companies operating in Uganda are from China, India, other Asian countries and Europe. The true extent or percentage of government cash releases that go to foreigners is not clear but should be huge.

CORRUPTION AND TAXES

Kasaija also admitted that there's a lot of theft and wastage of public resources and urged Ugandans to put to task government to show what their taxes actually do. He said without fear of contradiction, he sees a lot of wastage of public resources. There are sectors, he said, that seek for Shs 5 billion to organise an unnecessary conference. 

"Some sector comes and the accounting officer comes and says; I need Shs 5bn to hold this conference. We have cars around, then he’s talking of hiring cars, we have free halls then he’s talking of Munyonyo to go and spend another Shs 1bn on hiring - not that am envying my brother who owns that facility but cut your cloth according to your size."

Kasaija also said, rather opposing taxes such as the mobile money tax, Ugandans should instead demand for accountability as no country in the world can develop without taxing its citizens.

Nb

This long term ruling goverment must resign so that the next government is able to negotiate for better terms of state economic management with the HIPC programme.

 

 

 

 

 

A modern Kampala City Council hospital is about finished at Kawempe High Street, Kampala, Kiruddu village:

Publish Date: Dec 19, 2015

KCCA Kawempe, Kiruddu hospitals construction near completion
There is the imposing building at Kawempe.

By John Agaba

 

KAMPALA, UGANDA:

After about a year of construction work, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) hospitals at Kiruddu and Kawempe – expected to decongest Mulago Hospital – are near completion.

 

Dr. David Serukka, the director of Public Health at the authority, said the hospitals which will cost $30m, will employ 900 staff, mainly nurses and midwives plus specialist paediatricians, gynaecologists, obstetricians, surgeons, nose, ear and throat doctors etc.

 

He said the facilities will be fitted with 170 beds, each. They will offer both inpatient and outpatient services. They will not be specialised to a level of medical research, but they will offer X-RAY, CT scans and services for pregnant women, under-five children, and traffic accident victims.           

 

Infrastructure works for the two facilities are expected to conclude January 2016, according to the authority’s deputy spokesperson Robert Kalumba.

 

Thereafter, equipping of the hospitals will commence. The actual opening is expected “sometime towards the end of March (next year)”, said David Serukka.

 

 

Some of the fine raised Hospital buildings without modern lifts. 

But what facilities the two hospitals are. They may not be complete yet. But they are grand facilities, expected to improve healthcare delivery in the city. The facility at Kawempe is located just along the busy Kampala-Gulu Highway.

 

Just like is the case with Kiruddu Hospital in Makindye division, the hospital at Kawempe sits in a middle of a heavily populated slummy neighborhood. Richard Ayebare, a resident near the facility, said it will “help many” when it opens.

 

Dr. Asuman Lukwago, the health ministry permanent secretary, said in May 2013, when he announced that government had received money to build the two hospitals, that the addition of the health facilities would improve delivery of health service in the city “by offering options from the present only government referral hospital at Mulago”, which he said was flocked by hundreds of patients every day.

 

Dr. David Serukka said the hospitals were at a level “between a general and referral hospital”. They will receive cases referred to them from lower Health Centre III’s and IV’s.

 

From its rooftop, the hospital at Kawempe is a block overlooking the surrounding Bwaise and Kawempe slums and Kazo hill to its West.

 

 

The Empty hospital rooms.

The 10-floor building has an incredible view from its rear, more like a three-in-one tower. It has some annex at the back; and a typical wide landing at the reception.

 

The inside is rectangles of rooms and staircases and lifts. The hospital is inside perimeter walls. The strip glass curtains at some of its sections make its exterior exceptional.

 

Perhaps, its only undoing is a location very close to a busy highway and the facility will likely suffer noise and dust pollution. And, it doesn’t have ample compound.

 

China National Aero Technology won the tender to construct the hospital. The project is funded by a loan from the African Development Bank and Nigeria Trust Fund.

 

 

The Uganda Communications Commission

has got a new board

Democracy means:

Demo---people

Cracy---rule of people(power)

 

“Although the ICT sector has grown, there are still many challenges that you have to handle so that the consumers get a good deal from the commission,” Nasasira said.

Some of the tasks ahead for the board include regulation of the unfair distribution of internet bundles by service providers, supporting the ICT strategic investment plan 2015-2020, promoting untapped local content and extending internet services to rural areas, according to Nasasira.

He commended UCC staff for successfully running the affairs of the commission even without a fully-constituted board for more than two years. The new board, chaired by Dr Vincent B.A Kasangaki, has members Evelyn Gloria Piloya (social worker and representing persons with disabilities), Jane Francis Kabbale (banker), Wardah Rajab Gyagenda (researcher), William Byaruhanga (lawyer), Norah Muliira (ICT specialist), Eng Charles Lwanga (staff, ministry of ICT) and Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director.

Kasangaki said the board would advise government on the communication sector with utmost diligence and commitment.

“We should be able to talk intelligently and with comfort and confidence about pertinent issues when [we] interface with the general public,” Kasangaki told his members.

 

Empire building in Africa 

 

Limitless Presidential Terms do not solve many of African problems either. Presidential Limitless Terms  in African Republican states escalate these problems. These are Republican States that are creating Emperors on the continent of Africa and thus subsequent civil wars.

 

 

 

Mr Kagame changes the tune: "Term limits cannot solve Africa's problems"

Publish Date: Jun 22, 2015

'Term limits cannot solve Africa's problems'
 
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in an interview with Ugandan journalists. (Credit: Raziah Athman) 

PAUL KAGAME INTERVIEW

 

 

Six Ugandan journalists visiting Rwanda on Thursday and Friday attended President Paul Kagame’s rallies in two remote districts. On their way back to Kigali they had a brief meeting with him at Karongi district headquarters. David Mukholi and Raziah Athman, who represented Vision Group, bring you excerpts of the interview.

 

President Paul Kagame with some of the Ugandan journalists

 

QUESTION: For the last two days when meeting people in Rutsiro and Karongi districts, people raised issues concerning them but prominent among them was the call that you run for president in 2017. How do you feel when such calls are passionately made?

 

ANSWER: What is more important to me (and maybe that is the reading people should have had) is not that people want something for the sake of it. It is because of the benefit. It is not about somebody’s good looks. This person maybe has delivered something. You saw the women and men talk about their journey in their lives. They tell you how it has happened. The question of how do I feel. First, of all I must tell you I did feel good about it from the sense all of us are part of this transformation that is happening.

 

It is not just me, because it can’t be me alone. The others who utilise the opportunities and resources and change their lives have to be there. It is not the good story that I have told them, not my presence and kinds of lectures I give them. In the end if they go back home and don’t do things themselves nothing will happen. We share credit across the board. Those who implement and realise the difference deserve the credit because they could choose to sleep and do nothing. It is a good feeling I think for everyone, including myself and the country. It is a question of how we contextualise it.

 

If you look at where Rwanda is vis-à-vis others, meaning developed and even middle-income countries you start wondering where we have been. We feel challenged and feel we want to do more. There is no doubt at one point I will be very clear myself where I stand and what I intend to do. There is no hurry, 2017 is slightly over two years to finish this mandate. What follows after is something that will come out sooner or later. It has a context; we will see. I have not allowed any pressure on me to say where I stand. Of all problems I have faced in my life this is not a very different one. I have had complicated ones. I have dealt with more complicated challenges than making a decision to pronounce myself on this.

 

Are term limits good for Africa?

 

There are too many things said about it; in my view many times, exaggerated. I don’t think the problems Africa faces have anything to do with one thing: term limits. I don’t think the problem can be solved by term limits, neither, I would I say term limits are a solution to Africa’s problems.

 

As you saw, when we were talking to the masses, the poverty, hunger they have and readiness to bring up solutions is not related to term limits. It may be related to politics but not to term limits or no term limits. It is related to politics, which politics can and do go wrong whether you have term limits or not. If we say no term limits, will you not find problems? What has to be done is completely different.

 

Have we managed to put in place institutions that define us and serve us beyond this single discussion of term limits? Creating rule of law, parliament that functions, civil society and private sector doing what they should do. Do we have government in places that are responsive to people’s needs beyond thinking about these term limits or no term limits? Term limits have nothing to do with democracy. Because the proponents of term limits argue that if you overstay you get drunk with power. Yes, that is part of the problem but not the main problem. Look at Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew was there for 32 years.

 

What he managed to do for his people is incredible – transforming his country from a third to first world. If term limits had been the solution, I don’t know. I am not sure. Even those who said all kinds of things about him when he passed away, they have good stories about him. When he was there he was being bashed all the time, I think he ignored it and concentrated on delivering; making sure transformation takes place.

 

In other places I have heard people saying, if I am elected for the second term I want to go for the third. But I will ask why? If limiting yourself is democracy, then why go for the second term why not finish the first and say I am done? If the shorter time you serve the better the legacy is, then why don’t people do that?

 

Let us look at Nelson Mandela, he was a wonderful person for different reasons. The question is, if he left after serving one term and if you want to emulate him, then even those with term limits shouldn’t have two terms they should go for one term and just serve and go. The arguments for term limits are sometimes confusing and convoluted. People put personal emotions than certain realities that are how things break away from the context.

 

We as African leaders should think about the people we lead. I have some kind of anger; we can’t continue to be under the load for all these decades with all the resources the content is endowed with. And just continue with the names of poverty, disease and conflict. Why should that happen; is it because people have not observed term limits? No. In some places in Africa, term limits are observed but has it helped? I don’t think so. So, therefore, what is the obsession with term limits? Even if it is a good thing, it is a good thing in combination with other things, it is not something that stands alone. The context and substance are important. Sometimes people are singing these songs from outside. Professors of democracy are good at being professors but not executing it.

 

Sometimes we want to appear like the West. The same people who shout about democracy don’t have term limits. You have kingdoms then you have prime ministers who can go on as long as their parties get elected. So what is this nonsense about? (laughs)...

 

But there could be and there are some merits in limiting terms of service in a flexible way to act as those things for checks and balance. But if you check and don’t balance you have a mess.

 

 

While addressing opinion leaders in Karongi district on Thursday night, you mentioned a country that is accusing Rwanda of stealing minerals; which is this?

 

It is not a matter of saying, which country.

 

It has been in the newspapers anyway. Some of the countries in question who talk about it are those neighbours who say we have exploited their resources. But then there are others who exploit those resources who also start saying this. You don’t know how much we have gone through to try to prove. For example, coltan is the mineral used against Rwanda for political reasons, saying we get it from Congo and we don’t have the mineral.

 

That is a fact. We have brought representatives of these countries and journalists to visit the mines where the coltan comes from. They found people making money from it but when they go back they accuse us of the same thing. Rwanda’s coltan is better quality than any in the region including the Democratic Republic of Congo. But because they want to write different stories they have framed a narrative about Rwanda. In Congo, it is not about FDR; forget that the international community created a force on that basis. One hand they say they are 20,000 then another that they don’t exist. They say these people are just there to exploit. They have now been exposed and people, if they continue with it, will get to see the truth and they will start losing their credibility.

 

You hinted at the gas in Lake Kivu and plans to generate power and considering starting the project?

 

We are launching it at the end of this month. We have a lot of methane gas but we have opted to convert it to power generation. 

 

The process is complex. Methane gas is mixed with other gasses underwater. So, we shall extract all of them, separate them and retain the methane which we shall fire for electricity generation. Then return all the other gases into the water. Contour Global, the firm we have contracted, is trying to do this so as to keep the lake secure by avoiding any imbalances. We are going to have production starting with 25MW. This means, if we get it, then the technology is working; then it is a question of scaling up.

 

On the East Africa Community, especially the Northern Corridor infrastructure development. It seems Rwanda and Uganda are lagging behind as Kenya moves ahead.

 

I will not characterise it that way yet. Kenya had something existing, while between Uganda and Rwanda there was nothing existing so we have to create something from scratch in terms of railway and so on. The process is also complex involving mobilising resources, carrying out studies and organising significant amounts of money. Yet we are not about to invest in infrastructure and forget other areas. This is the challenge too. But I am happy that this whole thing started. It is a good step that we agreed to work together. It is something important.

 

As chairman of the Africa Union, President Robert Mugabe recently said African leaders put a yoke around their necks by having term limits and later trying to change them by justifying their actions. Its seems you are using the people to ask and not like your counterpart in Uganda?

 

Yes. I am not telling anybody to ask. If they asked me a different thing, I will respect. If many say you need to rest, I would say thank you so much. Let me argue for those others (not my case at least not yet); those others who put term limits in their constitutions and changed them because there is nothing that can’t change. Which part of the world has never tampered with the constitution?

 

We put something in the constitution because it served a purpose at the time. But every tampering is not correct because some can change because they want to serve some causes that are not justified, just for things that suit them. This should not be for every case. We can take case by case and see which some have changed for a bad reason and those for good reasons. It is also possible that for those who put term limits in the constitution maybe it was on a wrong premise, under influence or pressure. We live in a not so black and white world, things many times are grey. May be in the beginning when they put them in the constitution they didn’t think much about what they were doing. They were told what to do, whatever pressure, they just went with the fashion. Maybe they thought it was a good thing they tried and it served them for a time then released they need some adjustments when they found it unnecessary.

 

This President-public interaction: Why did you initiate it and how good is it? Given the history of this country, people are patriotic and they love their country. What have you done?

 

I will start with the second question. I don’t think patriotism is to be pushed down people’s throats. They become patriotic if they want to. We give them a message, we explain it around things they can do and benefit from. With these illustrations and explanations. Of course, things are being done that benefit them. Then out of the interaction the message goes down very well and patriotism becomes a reality. You must not ask people to become patriotic. It is a complex situation – interaction, illustrations sharing of lessons that people who want to make a difference; this amounts to a whole country changing for the better. It takes a time of its own. Only keep messaging to keep the fi re going.

 

The people then get together to fight anything that undermines the progress as a country. On accountability we are conscious, if we use the normal process from point A to F, a great amount of truth will be lost. Or so many things will be added to the truth, giving it a different colour. It is important to have this system running but support that with direct contact, interaction and interventions. Then you get to know what you have been feeding on is not always the truth. That is when you call people in the open to account.

 

The good thing about it is someone caught in it will not repeat it and others who are witnessing will not be involved. They leave not wanting to get involved because they know someone standing before a crowd shown how guilty he is, is a bigger punishment than sending people to prison for 10 months. Public accountability is a way of exposure. It is a good lesson, without hurting everybody. It is corrective as well as educative.

 

Where do you want to see Rwanda in 10 years from now?

 

Let me start from the other end.

 

A prosperous country where poverty is not something that is our main preoccupation to deal with but rather our children have gone to school and acquired skills, advanced in technology, part of our way of life, incomes of families, a middle-class that being the minimum for the majority of our population which is that of the middle class level.

 

Of course there will be nothing if society is not stable. Rule of law and security are paramount. We can’t make these gains without security. Twenty years from now I want to see GDP per capita as high as a couple of thousands. And Rwandans as happy as anyone wants to be. At least it is possible. I think some decent progress has taken place, which is good.

 

Can we do more? Of course, as the population increases, it brings with it more challenges. For every five or 10 years come challenges on top of the previous one, if they have not been addressed.

 

I foresee more challenges come when you have more tools to deal with them. 

 

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