Sunday, October 23, 2011

GADAFFI KILLING ILLEGAL WE SHOULD ALL CONDEMN IT

As a human rights lawyer and journalist, I call upon the world to join me in condemning the illegal killing of Col. Muammar Gadaffi. The former Libyan leader was captured alive by the National Transitional Council (NTC) forces in Sirte and he was moments later executed and his body dragged on the streets. A postmortem carried out om his body has confirmed that he ded of a bullet wound o the head. The international law governing prisoners of war (POW) is very clear-it bars torture and illegal executions. If the NTC chaps as Ssabalwanyi would call them, have started their reign by resorting to the law of the jungle , it will be a matter of time when they too, will be faced with the same fate. The only positive I can take out of this is the fact that the UN has launched a full scale investigation in this grisly murder which was captured on camera and broadcasted the world over. I must also state that Nato, the USA , and all your allies , the world is watching. The culprits in Gadaffi’s murder must be brought to book- they must face the full force of law. There is no place for selective justice in the 21 century.

msserwanga@gmail.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS

This is interesting
http://myfellowamerican.us/
My Fellow American
myfellowamerican.us
They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
8 minutes ago · LikeUnlike · ·

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Free at last': South Sudan is world's newest nation

THE 6th East African Nation BORN

Thousands of South Sudanese danced through the night to mark the first hours of their independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty.

The Republic of South Sudan, an under-developed oil producer, became the world's newest nation on the stroke of midnight.

It won its independence in a January referendum — the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the north.

Security forces at first tried to control the dusty streets of the southern capital Juba, but retreated as jubilant crowds moved in waving flags, dancing and chanting "South Sudan o-yei, freedom o-yei."
Image: Map of Sudan
snbc.com

After the sun came up, thousands poured onto the site of the day's independence ceremony — a possible headache for officials keen to guard dignitaries including the President of Sudan, the south's old civil war foe, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said he was "proud" to formally recognize the Republic of South Sudan "as a sovereign and independent state," NBC News reported.

A 'dream realized'
He recalled Martin Luther King reflecting on the first moment of independence on the African continent in Ghana.


"I knew about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment," the president quoted King as saying.

Obama said that now, decades later, "we are moved by the story of struggle that led to this time of hope in South Sudan, and we think of those who didn't live to see their dream realized."

"Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people," he said.

Obama said many Americans had been "deeply moved by the aspirations of the Sudanese people, and support for South Sudan extends across different races, regions, and political persuasions in the United States."


Years of war have flooded South Sudan with weapons.
Story: Birthday wish: 'Lost boys' pin hopes on independent South Sudan

In a possible sign of the South's new allegiances, the crowd included about 200 supporters of Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahed al-Nur, whose forces are fighting Khartoum in an eight-year insurgency just over South Sudan's border in the north.

The supporters of Nur's rebel Sudan Liberation Army faction stood in a line chanting "Welcome, welcome new state," wearing T-shirts bearing their leader's image. One carried a banner reading "El Bashir is wanted dead or alive."
PhotoBlog: Last few licks of paint for world's newest country

Traditional dance groups drummed and waved shields and staffs in a carnival atmosphere.

"I am very pleased," said Joma Cirilow, 47, his hand on his son's shoulder. "Do you want to be a second-class citizen? No, I want to be a first-class citizen in my own country."

'Join the nations of the world'
Christian priests in full robes blessed the ceremony site in central Juba where a large statue stood draped in a flag near the mausoleum of the south's civil war hero John Garang.

"Today we raise the flag of South Sudan to join the nations of the world. A day of victory and celebration," Pagan Amum, the secretary general of the South's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) told Reuters.

"Free at last," said Simon Agany, 34, as he walked around shaking hands. "Coming away from the north is total freedom."


North Sudan's Khartoum government was the first to recognize the new state on Friday, hours before the formal split took place, a move that smoothed the way to the division of what was, until Saturday, Africa's largest country.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

THE COMMONWEALTH LAW MINISTERS MEETING TAKES PLACE IN SYDNEY WITH ISSUES OF DEMOCRACY AND COUNTER-TERRORISM TAKING CENTER STAGE

BY MOSES SSERWANGA

The Commonwealth law ministers meeting takes place on Monday next to look at ways of strengethening laws that will promote democracy among the commonwealth countries including Uganda. Uganda has just held it's national general elections where president Yoweri Museveni was elected for a forth term in office.

The meeting, which will be hosted by Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland, provides the opportunity for the First Law Officers of the Commonwealth of Nations to discuss law and justice issues of common concern, including counter-terrorism, crime prevention, human rights, access to justice and intellectual property as well as ‘Women as agents of change’.

A Ugandan, Ms. Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga, Vice President of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC), will lead the CALC’s delegation to the 2011 Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting to be held in Sydney at the InterContinental Hotel from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 July 2011.

The international meeting under the theme: ‘Fostering a Just and Secure Society’ involves Commonwealth Law Ministers discussing and providing the strategic vision and direction on law and justice issues of common concern. In doing so, they will identify and drive the capacity building and technical assistance needs required by member states to promote the rule of law across the Commonwealth, in order to further enhance and strengthen democracy, good governance and development.

Representatives from more than 50 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend.

The delegates include Ministers and Senior Officials from Commonwealth member states, including Uganda’s Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi Mrs Robina Rwakoojo, Ag. Director Civil Litigation, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, the UK Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Mr. Kenneth Clarke, the Indian Minister for Law & Justice, Mr. M. Veerappa Moily and New Zealand’s Minister of Justice, Simon Power. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma will also attend CLMM and officially open the meeting. According to Mr. Sharma, “The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”

The Meeting will be followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth in October 2011.

CALC has observer status with the Commonwealth and, at this meeting, the CALC delegation will endeavour to draw the attention of participants to activities and opportunities for interaction that enhance the visibility of legislative counsel and highlight the role of legislative counsel in transforming policy and programmes into enforceable legislation for good governance and development. This should specifically benefit the 250 legislative counsel in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, the Gambia, Uganda and Zambia. The meeting also serves as a pre-cursor to the 2nd CALC Africa regional conference scheduled to be held in 2012.







Official release from the Commonwealth Secretariat, also available at http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/237933/040711clmm.htm

Commonwealth law ministers to hold triennial meeting in Australia

4 July 2011

Meeting provides a periodic opportunity, every three years, for ministers and senior officials to come together to stock take and look ahead

Law ministers and attorneys-general from the 54-member Commonwealth will hold their triennial meeting in Sydney, Australia, 11-14 July 2011, to discuss important legal issues affecting Commonwealth citizens.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba will join host Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland for the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting (CLMM 2011) under the theme 'Fostering a Just and Secure Commonwealth'.

“CLMM 2011 will be an excellent opportunity for law ministers from across the Commonwealth to work together to advance a broad range of initiatives aimed at achieving this year’s theme of fostering a just and secure Commonwealth,” Mr McClelland said.

“There will be a special thematic session on cyber crime and further discussion on the development of a Commonwealth plan of action to combat human trafficking. Concrete solutions in these areas really matter to Commonwealth citizens in order to foster a just and secure Commonwealth for all,” stated Mr Sharma.

“The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”

Akbar Khan, Director of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, offered more details on the conference.

“We are talking about those global threats for which collectively we need to find solutions. Today many of the legal threats don’t have borders. We’re talking about human trafficking, we’re talking about cyber crime, and we’re talking about forced marriages,” Mr Khan said.

“These issues need to be dealt with on a collective basis and ministers have that experience in providing the protection and security and respect for human rights that need to come to bear to decide these issues.”

A special feature of CLMM 2011 will be its focus also on youth, marked with an event for young lawyers from the Pacific region to promote youth mainstreaming within the Commonwealth and to discuss the challenges they face in the legal profession.

Another special event will focus on access to justice for women, under the Commonwealth’s theme for 2011, 'Women as Agents of Change'.

The women’s event will hear about the challenges that women in the Commonwealth face in accessing their rights through judicial mechanisms and legal systems.

The CLMM is the summit meeting of First Law Officers of the Commonwealth and is held every three years. This is the first time Australia has hosted the meeting, which is a precursor to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia, in October 2011.

To access further information regarding CLMM, go to http://www.clmm2011.org/

For video sound bites of Mr Khan, visit the Commonwealth Secretariat website homepage http://www.thecommonwealth.org/

For media enquiries: Manoah Esipisu, Conference Spokesperson, +44 789 446 2021 and m.esipisu@commonwealth.int

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PETITION OF CIVIL DEBTORS AGAINST INJUSTICES IN COURTS

TO: THE CHIEF JUSTICE
FROM: LUZIRA CIVIL PRISON


PETITION OF CIVIL DEBTORS OVER EXCESSIVE INJUSTICES AT MAGISTRATE COURTS OF MENGO, NAKAWA, MWANGA II AND MAKINDYE WHICH WE REQUEST YOU TO INVESTIGATE AND ADDRESS.

WE OVER 53 CIVIL DEBTORS, AT LUZIRA CIVIL PRISON HEREBY HUMBLY PRESENT OUR PETITION TO YOUR LORDSHIP THE CHIEF JUSTICE OVER GRAVE MATTERS CONCERNING OUR CIVIL RIGHTS PERTAINING THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO FAIR HEARING AND NATURAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLES AS HERE UNDER HIGHLIGHTED:


1. UNFAIR SUMMARY PROCEEDING AND EXPARTE JUDGEMENTS IN RESPECT OF CIVIL DEBTS
(a). YOUR LORDSHIP WE HEREBY BRING TO YOUR ATTENTION THE ILLEGAL- MAFIA LIKE SYNDICATE AND CONNIVANCE BETWEEN MAGISTRATES, COURT CLERKS, LAWYERS, AND COURT BAILIFFS WHO HAVE TURNED THE ABOVE MENTIONED COURTS INTO MONEY MINTING MACHINES FOR SELFISH INTERESTS AT THE DETRIMENT OF LITIGANTS WHO ARE NO LONGER ACCORDED THE RIGHT TO FAIR HEARING /TRIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN CAP.4 OF OUR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION.

HERE BELOW ARE SOME OF THE SPECIFIC INJUSTICES IN RESPECT OF THE EXCESSIVELY ABUSED SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS.

(i) YOUR LORDSHIP, CIVIL DEBTORS/LITIGANTS ARE NO LONGER SERVED WITH SUMMONS TO APPEAR AND FILE THEIR DEFENCE ESPECIALLY IN MATTERS CONCERNING SOFT LOANS OFFERED BY MONEY LENDERS AND BANKS AGAINST POST DATED CHEQUES AND LOAN AGREEMENTS.

(ii) IN MOST CASES AT LEAST FOR THE 53 PRISONERS NOW RESIDENT AT LUZIRA CIVIL PRISON, THE ARE SURPRISED AND AMBUSHED WITH ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED BY MAGISTRATES TO COURT BAILIFFS WITHOUT THE EXPARTE JUDGEMENT DEBTORS BEING OFFERED ANY OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEND THEMSELVES IN FAIR AND UNBIASED JUDICIAL PROCESSES AS ENSHRINED IN OUR CONSTITUTION.

(iii) YOUR LORDSHIP, WE YOUR HUMBLE PETITIONERS ARE PARTICULARLY CONCERNED AND SEEK YOUR IMMIDIATE INTERVENTION OVER THE ILLEGAL AND ERRANT BEHAVIUOR OF COURT BALIFFS WITH THE HELP OF LAWYERS IN CONNIVANCE WITH MAGUSTRATES TO HIJACK THE CONSTITUTIONAL JUDICAL COURT PROCESSES THAT HAS RESULTED INTO ALL MANNER OF INJUSTICES AGAINST LITIGANTS.

(iv) IT SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION THAT APART FROMM THE UNFAIR METHODS THROUGH WHICH LAWYERS AND COURT BAILIFFS SECURE WARRANTS OF ARREST AGAINST EXPARTE CIVIL JUDGEMENT CIVIL DEBTORS: THE COURT BAILIFFS WITH THE HELP OF SECURITY OPERATIVES NOW RAID PEOPLE’S HOMES, OFFICES, BUSINESS PREMISES, AND HURRIEDLY PRODUCE CIVIL DEBTORS TO THE ABOVE MENTIONED COURTS WHERE THEY ARE COMMITTED TO CIVIL PRISON WITHOUT BEING ACCORDED THEIR FAIR RIGHT TO A FAIR HEARING.

(v) THE SAID COURT BAILIFFS WITH THE HELP OF COURT OFFICIALS DO NOT ONLY DENY LITIGANTS TO BE HEARD IN A FAIR TRIAL BUT THEY ARE NOW CHARGING EXORBITANT FEES WHICH IN MOST CASES EXCEED THOSE OF ADVOCATES AND EVEN LOAN AMOUNTS OBTAINED. FOR EXAMPLE AN EXPARTE JUDGEMENT DEBTOR WITH A LOAN OF 500,000/= WILL BE PRODUCED BEFORE A MAGISTRATE ON A WARRANT OF ARREST AND COERCED TO ACCEPT AND PAY A PRINCIPLE SUM OF 500,000/= PLUS LAWYER FEES OF SAY 1,000,000 AND THAT OF BAILIFFS TO A TUNE OF 2.5M. AT THE END OF THE DAY YOUR LORDSHIP, A DEBTOR WHO OBTAINED A LOAN OF SHS. 500,000/= ENDS UP BEING FORCED TO PAY SHS. 4,000,000/= EXCLUDING HIGH INTEREST WHICH IS ALWAYS IN EXCESS OF 15-30% PER MONTH AND AT TIMES PER WEEK.


(vi)
YOUR LORDSHIP, IT IS VITAL TO NOTE THAT AFTER SERVING SIX MONTH AT CIVIL PRISON FOR FAILURE TO PAY THE DEBT, THESE COURT BAILIFFS CAMP OUTSIDE THE PRISON MAIN GATE AND RE-ARREST DEBTORS WHO ARE RE-COMMITTED TO CIVIL PRISON AGAIN WITHOUT BEING GIVEN CHANCE TO BE HEARD IN A FAIR TRIAL. IT’S OUR MOST HUMBLE PRAYER THAT YOUR LORDSHIP, INTERVEE IN THIS MATTER TO STOP THESE INJUSTICES WHICH HAVE RENDERED THE WOULD BE TEMPLE OF JUSTICE ,TO A MERE MOCKERY.

(v) UNLIKE IN THE CRIMINAL MATTERS YOUR LORDSHIP, WHERE THE ACCUSED PERSONS ARE ACCORDED THEIR RIGHT TO BAIL IN THE ABOVE HIGHLIGHTED SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS, LITIGANTS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR RIGHTS TO FREEDOM, TO A LAWYER, TO FILE A DEFENCE AND BE HEARD TO IN A FAIR TRIAL.

THESE INJUSTICES YOUR LORDSHIP HAVE EXTENDED TO ARREST WARRANTS AGAINST CIVIL DEBTORS BEING EXECUTED ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS , AT NIGHT , WEEKENDS WHEN COURTS ARE NOT IN SESSION ALL IN TOTAL BREACH OF COURT PROCESSES AND RULES GOVERNING BAILIFFS AND CIVIL PROCEEDINGS.

IN SOME CASES YOUR LORDSHIP, LITIGANTS ARE DUMPED TO LUZIRA CIVIL PRISON WITHOUT COMMITTAL PAPERS AND MONEY FOR MAINTAINANCE AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE CIVIL PROCEDURE AND MAGISTRATES ACTS/RULES AND REGULATIONS.

THE ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS HAS REACHED A NOTORIOUS LEVEL THAT MANY OF THE DEBTORS AT THE CIVIL PRISON HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT THEY CAN NOT BE RELEASED UNLESS WHEN THEIR BAILIFFS’ UNJUST, EXORBITANT FEES ARE PAID. INFACT NEGOTIATIONS TO RELEASE OR DETAIN CIVIL DEBTORS ARE LEFT BETWEEN THE MAGISTRATES AND COURT BAILIFFS. THE BAILIFFS ALSO MONITOR PEOPLES BANK ACCOUNTS WITHOUT COURT ORDERS AND IN TOTAL BREACH OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND BANK OF UGANDA ACTS. THE COURT BAILIFFS WITH THE COVER OF MAGISTRATES AND HELP OF SECURITY OPERATIVES INCLUDING THE POLICE AND SOME PRISON WARDERS ARE BASICALLY TERRORISING UGANDANS.

WE ARE ASKING YOUR LORDSHIP WHO ARE THESE BAILIFFS AND ARE THEIR BRUTAL ACTIVITIES AT TIMES WITH THE HELP OF SECURITY OPERATIVES PROTECTED BY THE LAW? WE PROPOSE THAT AN INVESTIGATION BE INSTITUTED TO BRING THIS ABUSE TO AN END. WE FURTHER PROPOSE THAT SUMMARY /EXPARTE HEARINGS BE SCRAPPED AT THE MAGISTRATES COURTS AS CASE IS AT THE HIGH COURTS> WE ALSO PRAY THAT MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION BE INTRODUCED AT THE MAGISTRATES COURTS TO BE PRESIDED OVER BY UP_RIGHT JUDICIAL SENIOR OFFICIALS TO HANDLE COMMERCIAL DISPUTES INCLUDING CIVIL DEBTS TO ENSURE FAIRNESS TO ALL PARTIES INVOLVED. THIS PROCESS WILL ALSO GREATLY ELIMINATE CORRUPTION AND EXTORTION NOW BEING EXHIBITED AT THE SAID MAGISTRATES COURTS. COURTS SHOULD ALSO BE VERY STRICT TO FEES PAID TO BAILIFFS WHO WORK IN TANDEM WITH MAGISTRATES TO STIFLE JUSTICE AND ENRICH THEMSELVES .

AGAIN ITS OUR HUMBLE PRAYER THAT YOU EMPLOY YOUR HIGH OFFICE TO END THESE INJUSTICES IN THE WIDER PUBLIC INTEREST .YOUR LORDSHIP, WE THE UNDER SIGNED, YOUR HUMBLE PETITIONERS, ARE WILLING AND READY WITH OUR RESPECTIVE CASES FOR YOUR INVESTIGATION AND FURTHER NAME AND SHAME THE COURT OFFICERS AND THE BAILIFFS INVOLVED IN HE SYNDICATE IF ACCORDED THE OPPORTUNITY AT YOUR EARLIEST TIME OF CONVINIANCE.


FINALLY YOUR LORDSHIP, ITS OUR HUMBLE PRAYER THAT YOU TREAT OUR PETITION NOT AS AN EFFORT TO DEFEAT JUSTICE BUT WE ARE SEEKING YOUR INTERVENTION TO ASSURE THAT JUSTICE IS EFFECTIVELY ADMINISTERED FAIRLY AND JUDICIOUSLY IN THE INTEREST OF ALL THE PARTIES CONCERNED IN THE MATTERS RELATING TO CIVIL DEBTS.
- Show quoted text -
WE SO PRAY.

SEE ATTACHED THE NAMES OF YOUR HUMBLE PETITIONERS

C.C OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
C.C OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
C.C OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
C.C SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT
C.C MINISTER OF JUSTICE /ATTORNEY GENERAL
C.C INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE
C.C INSPECTOR GENERAL OF GOVERNMENT
C.C HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES
C.C COMMISSION GENERAL OF PRISON
C.C REGISTRER IN CHARGE OF COURT BAILIFFS
C.C UGANDA LAW SOCIETY
C.C LAW COUNCIL
C.C MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
C.C FILE

NO. NAMES PRISON NUMBERS PHONE NUMBERS
1 ALBERT MAGEZI 089 0701851963
2 WAMBOYA ISMAIL 144
3. SSENKUSI PAUL 136.11 0772438742
4. ONYANGO HANNINGTON 142
5. KAKANDE MUBARAK 143
6. MWIJUKA BENSON 130
7. NTALE FELIX 052.11
8. MATOVU BENON
9. NYOMBI RAYMOND 124
10. MUKASA SAMUEL 131
11. BYAMUKAMA EDSON 422
12. NSUBUGA JOHNBOSCO 132
13. KALYEBOGA KITHENDE 090
14. SOLOMON K. MUSOKE 399/10
15. NSUBUGA MUSA 139-2011
16. KASULE JAMES 079-2011
17. MOSES BIKARA 133.11 0712803834
18. DAVID KATO 123
19. KALANZI RAPHAEL 107/2011
20. MUSOKE EMMANUEL 129/2011
21 DR. KOMA ISAAC MIKE 079/11
22. SEMPALA SULAIMAN 098/11
23. KYANAA FRANCIS 112/11
24. MATOVU BENON 0231
25. LUBEGA MEDDIE 033/11
26. KASAJJA ANDREW 034/11
27. KATONGOLE JOHN 121/11
28. MUKISA JOSEPH
29. BRAN JUMA 113/11
30. ZARIMOZA WALUSIMBA 122/11
31. MAYAMBALA R.S 095/11
32. KULOBA WILLIAM 063/11
33. MAGOOLA DAVID 127/11
34. SENFUKA FREDRICK 065/11
35. JAMES SEKYALA 117/11
36. AKIIKI MANSOOR 096/11
37. SALIM BBOSSA 100/11
38. TWEBAZE GODFREY 067/11
39. ELIAS NANUNGI 094/11
40. BISASO B 104/11
41. JACKSON KIRABILA 133/11
42. NSUBUGA ROBERT 070/11
43. OPOLOT FRANCIS
44. MOSES OKUMU RINGA 391/10
45. ASIIMWE NOEL 043/11
46. KARUNGI SAMUEL 007/11
47. WANYAMA GODFREY 007/11
48. DR. KOMA ISAAC MIKE 079/11
INFORMATION FOR THE TABLE BELOW HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO YOUR LORDSHIP’S ACTION

DEBTOR COURT MAGISTRATE LAWYER BAILIFF DEBTOR

Saturday, April 30, 2011

GOVERNMENT MUST RESPECT FREE SPEECH AND MEDIA FREEDOMS

This week the US government has protested the Uganda government’s alleged attempts to block communication on social media networks and live broadcast of the ‘walk-to-work’ protests.

The Deputy State Department Spokesman, Mr Mark Toner said in the statement that the US government was also concerned about the loss of life and continued arrest of opposition leaders by the security forces during the protests.

This follows several directives from the Uganda Communications Commission, the communications regulator, to several Internet service providers instructing them to block Face-book and Twitter networks for 24 hours during the protests that left five people dead.

The same body has also approached broadcasting houses and advised them to avoid live coverage of the ‘walk to work’ demonstrations against high fuel and other commodity prices. These actions deserve outright condemnation by all people of goodwill. Since in a democracy people should not use armed means to demand for their legitimate rights, the only platform left for them to express themselves is through peaceful demonstrations and the media.

Freedom of expression, the media and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights and critical components of a democratic society. The government should respect these rights as granted to the Ugandan people by our national constitution in order to make public officials accountable.
Gagging the media and free speech can only inflame the situation and drive the dissenting voices underground. This is a situation that should not be allowed to manifest especially after we have had largely peaceful general elections. The issues for which people have reallied to protest are real and need the urgent attention of the government .
The high cost of living is unbearable for the majority of Ugandans. People can hardly live within their means. And they have now come out in a spirited show of solidarity to demand for government’s urgent intervention. This is the best civil manner in which people can express themselves.
The government, therefore, should not block these un-confrontational means of communication left for the people to channel their grievances. Our national leaders should instead listen and address the critical issues affecting Ugandans. Only then shall the country have peace.

The writer is a Journalist and Advocate of the Hih Court of Uganda

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Makerere Should define its riorities

Makerere University has asked government to approve a proposal to increase student’s tuition fees up from shs.3m to 6m per academic year. According to the Makerere university Secretary, Mr Muhwezi Kahunda, the increase in tuition fees is necessary because the expenses incurred at the university are very high.

For sometime now Makerere has been toiling with the idea of increasing fees but has faced strong resistance from both the students and the general public. With the liberalization of University education, the increased number of student enrolment and , introduction of many new courses one would have expected student fees to remain reasonable and affordable. Unfortunately this is not the case.

With the increased cost of living in Uganda today due to high fuel and other commodity prices , one wonders how parents will afford to pay tuition fees for their children at the university.

The proposed fees increment will have a significant disincentive effect on youngsters yarning for university education. The Makerere administration should ensure the right balance between enabling as many people as possible to get a degree and helping the university sustain its finances. When a middle level public servant earns estimated 15 million per annum in salaries and allowances how can they afford to send their children to Makerere.
And here is the irony. While the Makerere university claims to be short on money to fund its operations, they can afford at the same time, to buy a Land Cruiser VX, at shs. 360m for the vice-chancellor. Already the lavish life style of the top administrators at Makerere has attracted criticism from Dr Tanga Odoi, the Chairman of the lecturers’ association MUASA.
DR Tanga Odoi has stated: “ Makerere’s problem is not shortage of funds but the failure to understand our priorities.” He is spot on. The hypocrisy of those charged with the management of our public institutions must be stopped.
And in this case, Makerere University administration must fully explain the resources needed to maintain the institution’s national , regional and global status and offer the very best student experience without fleecing the unsuspecting public. Makerere should not be given a blank cheque when its vast resources are not put to proper use.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SAVE THE UGANDA MUSEUM

There is disheartening news that one of Uganda’s cultural heritage centers – the National museum will soon be no more. It has been reported in national newspapers that the home of the only remaining national museum will be demolished to allow the construction of a 60-storey office block for the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. What a travesty.

But it's no surprise that government officials can take such a decision given that the Uganda museum is one of those important national institutions that have been neglected for rather to long. The structure that houses the museum was designed by a German architecture Ernst May more than 60 years ago to suit the purpose of the institution.

Thefore, apart from being a national historical monument , the museum houses a collection of historical artifacts and is a source of information on well over 650 cultural heritage sites dotted across the country. What this means is that the national museum is a center of learning about life, culture and heritage of the people of Uganda.
Dr Ephraim Kamuhangire, the former commissioner for Museum and Monuments and curator of the now dilapidated national museum is one of many Ugandans who are disappointed that nothing has been done to upgrade the institution-the only remaining national reference center on our cultural heritage.

Dr. Kamuhangire has noted that due to lack of funding , the Uganda museum has lost its place as the best in the East and Central Africa region. Uganda still needs this institution and every effort should be made by all concerned parties to protect its existence for the benefit of the present and future generations.

The idea of demolishing this historical monument must be scrapped and in its place plans are made to upgrade the museum to capture and reflect the country’s cultural and socio-economic transformation over the years. All advanced societies have preserved these institutions because of their unique and important functions in collecting scientific, educational and methodological works that seek to enhance the sense of national identity .
Government must therefore, support the role of the Uganda national museum to increase and preserve our cultural heritage, from the nation´s earliest settlement through to the modern day.
Its at the national museum that the past meets the present.


SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MONITOR
EDITOR
ADVOCATE OF THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA
msserwanga@monitor.co.ug
msserwanga@yahoo.com
msserwanga@gmail.com
msserwanga.blogspot.com
+256772434677

Friday, February 18, 2011

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION SHOULD DO THE RIGHT THING

MS
Millions of Ugandans have turned out to cast their votes in yet another historic general election that is likely to change the political landscape of the country. The presidential campaigns have been innovative and unprecedented as the candidates embraced the fast changing dynamics in communication especially the social networks.

Just last week the first ever mayoral debate was successfully organsised by Monitor Publications Limited and Nation Television (NTV) at Serena hotel in Kampala. Even the most critical opposition candidates at all levels can attest the fact that overall ,the campaigns have been peaceful thus far.

Now the day of reckoning has arrived and as the Electoral Commission readies to announce the results and the eventual winners, let the people’s will prevail. The Ugandan people have made their choices and their decisions at the polls should be honoured.. Elections are a celebration of every citizen's fundamental right to vote and must be respected by all.

It's encouraging that the campaign process has been conducted in a calm and peaceful manner . we now call on all political actors, particularly the candidates to maintain a high level of integrity in the electoral process, and respect the responsibility of managing the elections by the Electoral Commission.

It’s was also prudent for the Electoral Commission, the Uganda Police Force, and Uganda Media Council to generated agreed guidelines and codes of conduct for law enforcement officials and the media during the elections. It is hoped that strict adherence to the governing laws of the country will ensure that the outcome of the electoral process is legitimate and acceptable by all parties and citizens.

But the Electoral Commission, should ensure transparency in the way the votes are counted and the results released to the public. They should ensure that the ballot boxes are not tampered with especially after the votes are tallied at the polling centers.

The results should be released expeditiously in order not to create any environment for suspicion. And all Ugandans should be prepared to accept the outcome of the polls whether our respective candidates have won or not . In other words the t the country should remain united whatever the out come of the polls.

Friday, February 11, 2011

MPS: Court erred in interpretation of the law

As we approach the final lap in what has truly been a grueling campaign period , the Constitution Court has thrown the proverbial spanner in the works by declaring the nominations of members of parliament who did not resign their seats before joining parties other than those for which they were elected MPs unconstitutional.
A legal assessment of this judgment handed out by a Coram of 5 judges of the Constitutional court shows that their justices applied the strict and literal interpretation rule when they considered the meaning of article 83(I) (g) (h) of the constitution.

The article provides that a member of Parliament shall vacate his or her seat in parliament if the person leaves the party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to Parliament to join another party or to remain in parliament as an independent member.

This particular provision is a recent addition to the constitution to cater for the complex issues of independents and errant MPs who cross party-lines in the course of their tenure. Indeed in the 8th parliament there are some 70 MPs who fall in this category and are directly affected by the Constitution Court’s ruling.

But with due respect to the learned judges of the court, their interpretation of the meaning and application of article 83 was right in some respects but flawed in others. For instance the judges are right to hold that MPs who cross from one party to another must first vacate the seats for which they were elected as per the provisions of the constitution. This principle of the law also applies to independent MPs who have since joined parties of their choice before vacating their seats as independents. But because the term of the 8th parliament has come to an end and because the law (the constitution judgment is Law until otherwise quashed/reversed by a superior court) the errant MPs can only be compelled to refund the emoluments earned from the date when they illegally crossed party lines.

On the other hand, however, the Court erred in law when it extended the application of article 83 to the nominations of MPs for the next parliament.

It’s clear from the wording of the provisions of article 83 that it’s application is limited to the term of every seating parliament and therefore cannot be extended to the next Parliament which is even not yet constituted.

The candidates for seats in the next parliament therefore need not to resign as per article 83 as declared by court.' Otherwise how can one resign from a parliament that is not yet in existence?

In fact by operation of the law once a member of Parliament is nominated to contest seats in the next parliament their term as MPs should automatically expire. The sad thing, though, is that the law is silent about the transition period between nominations and when the next Parliament is inaugurated in May.
The learned judges again erred in law by interpreting article 83 in isolation of other provisions of the constitution especially article 72 which allows people to contest for elective positions on any political party platform they so wish.

One of the core principles of constitutional interpretation is that the constitution should be ready and interpreted as a whole. I hope the Supreme Court will revisit some of the contradictions in the Constitution Court ruling and settle the issues in clear terms.


Writer is Journalist and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda
msserwanga@gmail.com

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Optic fibre Internet project is long overdue

Optic fibre Internet project is long overdue


BY MOSES SSERWANGA
One of the major challenges Uganda is facing today is the slow speed of the Internet or absence of the service in most parts of the country. Unlike Rwanda where the authorities are determined to ensure that our neighbours become an ICT hub in the region, in Uganda no serious efforts are being made to challenge this competition. The UN has established that there is a direct link between the spread of Internet and economic growth. The International Telecommunication Union found that every 1 per cent increase in Internet penetration results into a $593 (about Shs1.4million) increment to GDP per capita.
Indeed its very encouraging that one of our leading universities - Makerere - through the Faculty of Computer Science has taken the lead to not only train students but also develop software solutions that can be suitably deployed to address many technological challenges that face the country. It can thus be argued that Makerere’s contribution to the development of the ICT industry will to a great extent help Uganda to remain at the same level or even exceed other players in the region like Rwanda. It should also be noted that Rwanda is set to establish “on-line Campuses” throughout the country to benefit an estimated 50,000 students in higher institutions of learning.
This will not only allow almost all students in Rwanda to attain higher education but it will also significantly reduce on the cost of education. There are a number of bottlenecks to Uganda’s development of the ITC industry and the major one being access to the Internet.
The optic fibre cable project being implemented by a Chinese company - Huawei Technologies Company - has been slowed down by disagreements over cost and quality of work . These issues need to be sorted out because its the fibre cable network that will allow Internet providers to spread these vital services to most parts of the country. It’s claimed that Rwanda paid to Korea Telecom and Horizon $38 million to cover a distance of 2,300km as opposed to $61 million paid by Uganda for 2,100km.
Yet according to Rwanda ICT Framework presented by the Rwandan Minister in the Office of the President in charge of Science and Technology, Prof. Romain Murenzi, the country’s National Broadband was to cost $66 million for a distance of 2,300km and not $38 million.
Therefore, Rwanda is spending $66 million, out of which $38 million is for equipment and the rest for civil works. On the other hand, according to the agreement between Uganda and Huawei, government is investing $61 million for a distance of 2,118.6km including the fibre construction with 28 transmission sites and two protective rings. The component will also have access to 28 government departments and network security system. The other investment of $44 million, which brings the total cost in Uganda to $106 million, is for E-Government infrastructure.
Looking at the Uganda-NBI project Investment Comparison analysis with that of Rwanda, its clear that the unit price of the Rwandan project is a meagre variation and yet the Uganda project covers more components. These development projects which are vital for the provision of essential services to the majority Ugandans need to be supported to make us competitive in the global market.
It is encouraging that after wide consultation involving the ICT ministry, the national information technology authority, MPs and Huawei Technologies, members of the parliamentary committee on information technology have okayed government to go ahead with the second phase of the Optic fibre project to speed up the process of extending these services to the countryside where the majority of Ugandans live. The Committee chairperson, Mr Nathan Igeme Nabeta has rightly noted that the more time the cable lies incomplete the more Uganda will lose .

The writer is a journalist and an advocate
msserwanga@gmail.com
+256 772 43 46 77

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL JUDGEMENT ON INDEPENDENTS

MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL JUDGEMENT ON INDEPENDENTS

BY MOSES SSERWANGA

Problem is the learned judges of the Constitutional Court, have made a strict and literal interpretation of article 83(I) (g) (h) which provides that a member of parliament shall vacate his or her seat in parliament.

(g) if the person leaves the party for which he or she stood as a candidate for election to parliament to join another party or to remain in parliament as an independent member

Much as this article is a recent addition to our constitution to take care of the complex issues of independents, It doesn’t specify whether it's application is limited to the present or the next parliament. In my view article 83 is limited to the current parliament and not the next .

And if that's the case , my interpretation is that this article doesn’t apply to nominations for seats in the next parliament - people are free to switch alliances or move from one political party to another or more still stand as independents because they are contesting for seats in another parliament and not the present one. The candidates for seats in the next parliament therefore need not to resign as per article 83 as declared by court.


The learned judges again have erred in law by interpreting article 83 in isolation of other provisions of the constitution especially article 72 which allows people to contest for elective positions on any political party platform they so wish.

One of the core principles of constitutional interpretation is that the constitution should be ready and interpreted as a whole.

Another issue is that the judges have not addressed themselves to the transition period between nomination and swearing in of the next parliament.

Writer is Journalist and Advocate
msserwanga@gmail.com

Saturday, January 29, 2011

KILLING BABOONS A BLOW TO ECO_SYSTEM

Early in the week Daily Monitor published images of some 30 baboons, which were killed by the Luwero District vermin control officials. This was after the District authorities made a unilateral decision to carry out the mass extermination of the animals which were said to be destroying food crops in Kamira sub-country .

But according to the Uganda Wild Life Act , the ownership of every wild animal and wild plant existing in its wild habitat in Uganda is vested in the government on behalf of, and for the benefit of, the people of Uganda.

The law cited above provides that an animal can only be declared a vermin on the advice of the executive director of the Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) and a declaration has to be published in the Gazette and local newspaper having wide circulation in the areas affected.

And where the animals are of value, like in the case of the Luwero baboons, the executive director is mandated under the law to advise the local communities and recommend the appropriate methods for taking the animals away.

Apparently, the enthusiastic Luwero district vermin control officers did not seek technical guidance from the UWA before they killed the more than 30 baboons .

They also did not take into consideration an agreement between UWA and the districts of Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola which is meant to provide guidance on how the mentioned areas can benefit from the wildlife in their areas. It’s amazing how some of our public officers are in a hurry to devise knee-jerk solutions to complex issues.

A UWA spokesperson has stated and rightly so, that although baboons are vermin and can be destructive, killing them indiscriminately is against the law. It’s prudent that the public should support professionals who are charged with the work of ridding society of dangerous animals but they should execute their duties in accordance with the law.

Uganda is privileged to have a variety of wildlife including baboons, which certainly add to the biodiversity of our country’s eco-system. Instead of killing these animals, the vermin control officers should have coordinated with the UWA to have them relocated or exported to countries which don’t have the opportunity to own such wildlife. The country would in the end have generated revenue for the sustainable use of our wildlife for the benefit of both the present and future generations.

The writer is an advocate of the igh Court of Uganda
anmd Editor of Sunday and Saturday Monitor
can be reached on
+256 772 43 46 77
msserwanga@gmail.com
msserwanga@yahoo.com