Court Backs Ugandan President’s Sixth Term Bid

Museveni
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

 

A court in Uganda cleared the way for President Yoweri Museveni, 73, to run for a sixth term when it upheld a constitutional change that scrapped presidential age limits on Thursday.

Previously, the law required presidential contenders to be under the age of 75 and would have blocked Museveni, president since 1986, from seeking re-election in 2021.

But a bill removing the limit was introduced in parliament in September and signed into law in December, sparking demonstrations and outcry from the opposition which accuses Museveni of a power grab.

A group of opposition figures brought the judicial review heard by judges in a marathon session.

A majority of the constitutional court judges, sitting in the remote city of Mbale some 225 kilometres (140 miles) east of the capital Kampala, ruled in favour of lifting the age cap for presidential contenders.

But they struck down lawmakers’ efforts to extend their terms of office from five to seven years which would have pushed elections back to 2023, with one judge describing their effort as “selfish”.

The judges also decided that an attempt to reintroduce presidential term limits — scrapped with the reintroduction of multi-party politics in 2005 when the constitution was last amended — breached parliamentary procedure. They ruled the bid invalid, paving the way for a Museveni life presidency.

Museveni, who seized power at the head of a rebel army in 1986, once said leaders who “overstayed” were the root of Africa’s problems.

However while running for a fifth term in 2016, he said it was not the right time for him to leave as he still had work to do.

AFP

Uganda Declares National Mourning For Accident Victims

Museveni
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

 

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, on Sunday declared three days of mourning after dozens died when a speeding bus hit a tractor at night and then ploughed into a truck.

The Red Cross put the toll at 48 dead, including 16 children, but police said 22 died and 14 were injured.

The accident was one of the deadliest in Uganda in recent years and happened in heavy rain on Friday night in Kiryandongo, 220 kilometres (140 miles) north of the capital Kampala.

“On the directive of HE President Museveni, the government is declaring three days of National Mourning,” starting Sunday, said a statement from Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

Initial investigations “point to speeding and vehicles in faulty mechanical conditions as the cause of the accident,” the statement said.

Families of the dead would each receive five million shillings (1,145 euros) while the injured would be paid three million shillings each.

More than 9,500 people died in road accidents in Uganda between 2015 and 2017, according to the transport ministry, with the situation worsening each year.

A UN report last year found 10 people die on the roads every day and that road accidents cost the country $1.2 billion (about one billion euros) — or five percent of Gross Domestic Product.

In 2015, Museveni sacked 900 officials in charge of building and making roads, holding them accountable for the abysmal state of the network.

AFP

Ugandan President, Museveni Fires Police Chief, Security Minister

Museveni
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

 

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has fired controversial police chief Kale Kayihura as well as the country’s security minister, a statement said Sunday.

Kayihura, a serving general, was once regarded as the most powerful military officer in the country but has recently fallen out of favour with Museveni who has ruled Uganda since he took power at the head of a rebel army in 1986.

Kayihura was appointed inspector general of police in 2005, the same year that a successful referendum was held on restoring multi-party democracy to the East African nation after a near 20-year ban on political parties.

His tenure as police chief was characterised by the proliferation of military-style units in the force and an increase in the perceived politicalisation of the police.

Since the March 2017 assassination of Felix Kaweesi — a senior policeman who had been viewed as his potential successor — Kayihura has come under pressure for failing to curb growing insecurity.

At least 23 women have been killed in unsolved murders around the capital, there has been a spate of deaths of foreign nationals and last week a woman from an influential family was killed after being held captive for three-weeks by kidnappers demanding a huge ransom.

The rising insecurity further discredited a police force widely viewed by the public to be incompetent and corrupt.

In the aftermath of Kaweesi’s assassination — which remains unsolved — Museveni said “criminals have infiltrated the police” and ordered Kayihura to “clean the police.”

Nevertheless, in May 2017 Kayihura’s contract was renewed.

Since then a rival security body — the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) — has made several high profile arrests of senior policemen viewed as being close to Kayihura who are accused of corruption and torture as well as gangsters who have admitted working with the police.

Some Ugandans have accused Kayihura of being too close to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and there have been unsubstantiated accusations in the tabloid press that the pair have secretly plotted to overthrow Museveni.

In the same statement, Museveni fired the minister in charge of ISO — Henry Tumukunde — who has been openly critical of police failings.

Tumukunde and Kayihura have been engaged in a public tussle for over 15 years.

Both men are veterans of the “Liberation War” which brought Museveni to power

Tumukunde had previously fallen out with Museveni when, in 2003, he had opposed the removed of term limits. In 2005 he was forced to resign as an MP representing the army and was arrested.

The man in command of the soldiers who arrested him was Kayihura.

By 2016 Tumukunde was rehabilitated and Museveni appointed him security minister.

Okoth Ochola will replace Kayihura as Inspector General of Police and General Elly Tumwiine has been appointed security minister, according to the statement.

AFP

Uganda President, Museveni Visits Buhari In Abuja

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has paid a courtesy visit President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

The East African country President visited Nigeria with his wife, Janet and they were received by President Buhari and his wife, Aisha.

See Photos of the visit below…

African Leaders Meet For Giants Club Elephant Summit

Elephant SummitAfrican leaders will meet in Kenya on Friday to discuss how to save the continent’s elephants from extinction.

The inaugural summit of the so-called giants club will be led by the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

As well as heads of state, the conservation group will bring together business leaders and scientists.

Experts say Africa’s elephant population has fallen by 90% over the past century and warn that the animal could be extinct within decades.

Among those expected to attend the summit are Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni and President Ali Bongo from the West African nation of Gabon.

After the summit, Kenya will set fire to nearly its entire confiscated stock of ivory, 105 tonnes, and equivalent to the tusks of more than 6,700 elephants.

U.S. Accuses Uganda Of Rights Violations

Rights Violations
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

The United States has accused Uganda of persistently violating the rights of its citizens and media in the aftermath of February’s presidential election.

The allegation of rights violations are the latest signs of worsening relations between western powers and Uganda, an ally in the fight against Islamists in the region.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, said in a statement that Uganda’s repeated detention of opposition figures and harassment of their supporters, and the government’s interference in a challenge of the poll results are “unacceptable activities in a free and democratic society”.

“The United States and Uganda have a long standing and strong partnership that has contributed to the stability and prosperity of the region.

“We are concerned that the Ugandan government’s recent actions could endanger the economic and political progress that has enabled our relationship to grow,” the statement said.

Uganda’s electoral commission declared 71-year-old incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni, the winner of the Feb. 18 election with 60% of the vote.

Kizza Besigye, who came in second with 35% and who is currently under house arrest, has rejected the results.

 

Court Annuls Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law

Uganda gay protestUganda’s Constitutional Court on Friday annulled an anti-gay law that had drawn widespread criticism.

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, had initially proposed a death penalty for offenders but was later changed to life in prison.

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, had signed the law, defying protests from rights groups, criticism from Western donors and a U.S. warning that it would complicate relations.

A petition had been raised by activists who said that the anti-gay measure was invalid because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked quorum.

 

Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill, Defying The West

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, has signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality on Monday, defying protests from rights groups, criticism from Western donors and a U.S. warning that it will complicate relations.

The new bill strengthened existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for “aggravated homosexuality” – including sex with a minor or while HIV positive.

It criminalized lesbianism for the first time and made it a crime to help individuals engage in homosexual acts. Gay rights activists in Uganda said they planned a legal challenge.

Ugandan officials broke into loud applause as President Yoweri Museveni put his signature to the document in front of foreign journalists at his State House outside the capital.

“There’s now an attempt at social imperialism, to impose social values. We’re sorry to see that you (the West) live the way you live but we keep quiet about it,” he said.

The legislation exposes the wide gulf between the continent’s often culturally conservative administrations and many of the foreign donor states that support them. Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh last week called homosexuals “vermin”.

Western donors immediately criticized Uganda. Norway and Denmark said they were withholding or diverting aid money and Austria said it was reviewing assistance. Britain, a big donor, condemned the new law but did not mention aid cuts.

“I feel sick. The degrading words the president has use…my country is in a state of insanity right now,” said Ugandan gay activist, Kasha Nabagesera, adding that the gay community expected to challenge the bill in the courts.

Gay and lesbian organizations fear the bill will encourage other governments to strengthen penalties, increase harassment, discourage people from taking HIV tests and make it impossible to live an openly gay life.

“Disapproval of homosexuality by some can never justify violating the fundamental human rights of others,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement.

Uganda Troops Fighting South Sudanese Rebels

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has confirmed Uganda does have soldiers fighting alongside their South Sudanese counterparts, to end rebel take over in the country.

The announcement comes as fighting continues around cities of Bor and Malakal, where government forces seem to be making progress.

In a summit in Angola, Mr Museveni said: “Only the other day, 13 January, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA, (South Sudan Army) and elements of our army had a big battle with these rebel troops at a point about 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Juba, where we inflicted a big defeat on them.”

Hundreds have been killed since the fighting broke out December 15, when President Salva Kiir, accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup against him. A charge he denies.

The dispute has seen killings along ethnic lines. Mr Kiir is a member of the Dinka community, the country’s largest, while Mr Machar is from the Nuer ethnic group.

East African Nations Partner To Defeat South Sudanese Rebels

East African nations are to move in to defeat South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar, if he rejected a ceasefire offer, threatening to turn an outburst of ethnic fighting into a regional conflict, Uganda’s president, President Yoweri Museveni, has said.

Hours after Museveni’s ultimatum, rebels and the feared “White Army” militia clashed against government troops just outside Jonglei state capital Bor, officials said.

They said the government side was braced for a “full scale” attack on the town, seized by rebels for several days earlier this month and the site of an ethnic massacre in 1991. Thousands of civilians had fled for the surrounding swamps.

Two weeks of clashes have already killed at least 1,000 people in the world’s newest nation, unnerved oil markets and raised fears of a civil war in a region ravaged by fighting in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We gave Riek Machar four days to respond (to the ceasefire offer) and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us,” Museveni told reporters in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, referring to a December 31 deadline.

Asked what that meant, Museveni said: “to defeat him”.

He did not spell out whether South Sudan’s neighbors had actually agreed to send troops to join the conflict that erupted in Juba on December 15.

But his words underlined the scale of regional concern over the fighting that has spread to South Sudan’s oil-producing states – often along ethnic lines, between Machar’s group, the Nuer, and President Salva Kiir’s Dinka.

Past conflicts in South Sudan have sent refugees pouring over its borders, and spurred on rebels in neighbouring countries, including the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

There was no immediate confirmation of the pact to take on Machar from other East African countries, who have been trying to mediate and last week gave the sides until December 31 to lay down their weapons.

Kenya’s presidential spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, said it would be inappropriate to comment until the deadline has passed. Machar himself did not respond to calls.

Information Minister Michael Makuei said the rebels want to take Bor ahead of the deadline so Machar “can talk from a position of strength” once peace talks start.

“This is why he has been intransigent,” Makuei said.

Ugandan President Blames Poor Education For Africa’s Underdevelopment

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has attributed Africa’s underdevelopment to poor education which has over the years robbed the continent of quality and skilled human resources.

President Museveni said human resources are critical to the development of any nation adding that a literate but unskilled human capital is a partial achievement.

The Ugandan president was addressing what he termed strategic bottlenecks in Africa’s progress among which he listed as infrastructural development and private sector involvement.

President Museveni,who was speaking at the 2013 convocation lecture for the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), in his lecture examined issues surrounding education and national development.

He also highlighted the incessant crises that have become the aftermath of sectarianism. A matter he said has rubbed many African countries, including Nigeria of peace, adequate national planning and wholesome development while countries like China and Japan continue to thrive upon the same resources.

The Ugandan president who has ruled his country for over two decades also said cheap electricity is sine qua non with economic growth and development.

This, he said, is one infrastructure that Africa must get right so that its skilled human resource will thrive beyond limits.