No Trust among Ugandans

Dr. Henry Gombya,

I am glad to have read your clarification about the fateful day on which our dear compatriot and freedom fighter, Dr. Andrew L. Kayiira was assassinated. I believe that many like myself who have been confused about the matter will focus on the questions you raised in your clarification, hopefully the killers will be brought to justice. It is about 20 years ago when I suddenly declined your invitation while I was in London, and had to hurry back to Denmark. I conveyed the following mail to the UAH forum explaining the troubles I had to endure during my missions of good will, but hindered by rumours.

The moment I learned about the rumour mentioned in the following mail to the UAH forum, I was concerned by what agony you would be in, hearing the same rumour after my departure. Being from Western Uganda, I find it difficult to interact freely with other fellow Ugandans who always suspect that we, from Western Uganda are used by the UG government to spy on our compatriots. Dr. Gombya, I believe that you remember my perfomance in the Conference we attended together in Stockholm. After that I have been called a ” Traitor” by those who say that the government in Uganda is, ” Our Government”, simply because I come from Western Region of Uganda. There are certain foreign governments which in my view, are accomplices in Human Rights violations by the Uganda government.

As I write here, I want you and the UAH forum members to know that I am a victim of such accomplice against which I am still fighting. I wish you very well and May God Bless Uganda.

Byaruhanga, Jonny Rubin.

Fellow Ugandans, Firstly, I thank Mr. Mulindwa Edward for taking time to clarify the situation at home about which I was very confused. I am also grateful to many participants of the UAH forum who share their thoughts, simply in search for a solution to the situation in our country

In February, 1986 about a month since the NRA/M took power, I telephoned a friend in Kampala and asked him how the situation was. He told me that many people were rejoicing to see the Okellos out, ” for they were convinced that the Okellos were an extension of the Obote regime.” He also told me to mark his words when he said that, ” Museveni is here to stay.” What actually surprised me was that him (my friend) being a Lugbari from West Nile practically the people associated with Idi Amin, a person Museveni loathes very much, could speak so passionately and affirmatively about him. I guess, like many other Ugandans I prayed that the new government would restore the rule of Law and Democracy that were nolonger recognizable in Uganda.

By 1989, The Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden was practically the only voice of Ugandans in Scandinavia. There was also The Uganda Human Rights Activists in Scandinavia ( UHRAS ) led by Mr. Lance Sera Muwanga, based in Sweden. The latter was a splinter group from the original UHRAS which was led by Mr. Ibrahim Mukiibi, then based in Denmark. The organisation split when it was evident that Mr. Mukiibi was increasingly getting closer to the NRA/M, an act which was seen as compromising the organisation’s impartiality. As if to prove their argument, Mr. Mukiibi was appointed by the NRA/M government as Uganda’s Foreign Minister.

By mid 1989, the situation in Uganda was still unpredictable. Ugandans in Denmark were scattered and did not have any organisation to unite us like our compatriots in Sweden. I learned that the former Ugandan Minister of Culture and Community Development, Professor Dani Wadada Nabudere was lecturing at an Internation College in Helsingor, Denmark. I felt that the former Minister with his administrative experience could advise me on how I could form an organisation to bring our people, Ugandans together. I telephoned the College and the Professor was very glad to invite me for a discussion. The following day I went to the College to meet Prof. Dani W. Nabudere. I was accompanied by Mr. Jeffrey Abola, a former policeman in Uganda. Prof. Nabudere was happy and willing to advise us on how we could function as a non political organisation that would bring all Ugandans together irrespective of any affiliation.

He emphasized that not only were Ugandans scattered, but all the Africans were and seemed to have lost any sense of direction. I told him that I was determined to found the organisation. My colleague, Mr. Jeffrey Abola chose to establish an organisation which he called, ” The League of Elders.” I travelled to Sweeden, Germany and the U.K to meet as many Ugandans as possible, for a better knowledge on how we could found a non political organisation.

While in UK I was invited by Mr. Omwony Ojwok who explained to me how the Uganda Community Relief Association (UCRA) based in UK functioned. I met many Ugandans including a former Ugandan Ambassador to the UN, then living in Croydon. While preparing to meet Mr. Henry Gombya, (a former BBC correspondent in Uganda) I met a group of Ugandans in town who shocked me. I heard them speaking Luganda and I decided to greet them in Luganda. I told them that I was enjoying a walk in town. ” Wegeendereze nno, twaagafunye nti nno Museveni yaweereza mbega mukibuka okunoonya Gombya.” ( Be careful, we heard that Museveni has sent a spy in town to look for Gombya.) ” Byaruhanga ry’erinya”. (Byaruhanga is the name). We had not even introduced ourselves, I guess it is the natural happiness that exists when Ugandans meet. I Immediately, excused myself pretending to hurry for the train, but told them that we ”shall” meet at the UCRA meeting.

Mr. Henry Gombya was looking forward to meeting me, I believe because the Ugandans I had met in Sweeden, Germany and UK obviously knew about my mission and could have informed him not to fear me. However, I decided not to meet Mr. Gombya and hurried back to Denmark. In Denmark many concerned Ugandans including Mr. Francis W. Bwengye, Professor A. Baalam C.D. Kweri, Mr. Jesse Mutenga ( former Diplomat) often came to my residense for a chat whenever they happened to come to Copenhagen. Another shock was when I went to the Copenhagen Central Railway Station. I usually went there to buy International newspapers, especially the New African. I passed by a group of Africans seated on a bench inside the hall, as I rushed to and fro’ looking for where to buy certain items. I noticed that the Africans on the bench looked at me with some curiosity, so that I stoped to greet them. I told them that I come from Uganda and with much pleasure they said that they too were from Uganda. Realizing that they were new in town, I told them that I was also new and was looking around for Ugandans to advise me how I could easily get asylum. We spoke Luganda and I told them that I was from Masaka. This I said in case they noticed probably an accent which was not typical of Baganda from Kampala. They said that they were new and were living in an Asylum Applicants’ Centre north of Copenhagen. Before we parted they cautioned me, ” Twaawulidde nti nno wano e Copenhagen waliyo mbega wa Museveni. Bagamba nti oyo gemaaso era gemattu ga Museveni. Erinya rye ye Byaruhanga, oba Munyolo oba Munankole, tetumanyi”. (We heard that there is a Museveni’s spy in Copenhagen. It is said that this one is the eyes and ears of Museveni. His name is Byaruhanga, whether he is a Munyoro or a Munyankore, we don’t know.) I thanked them for the caution and left.

Several weeks later, the Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden, I think it was in conjunction with the Uganda Human Rights Activists in Scandinavia (UHRAS) organized a Conference on Uganda. The Uganda government would be represented by the UG Ambassador to North Europe, based in Denmark H.E Mrs. Edith Grace Sempala. I was one of the main speakers. We were all asked by the Conference Chairman to be as honest and fearless as possible. To my shock again, a senior member and Official of the Organisation of Ugandans in Sweden stood up and said that he did not trust me and that he had reports suggesting that I was a Uganda government spy. I almost collapsed. I sat there wondering who could have spread such false and dangerous rumours about me. Mr. Lance Sera Muwanga stood up and said that he had me followed for a year and found out that I was not a spy. He added that in fact I did not even belong to any party or organisation and assured everyone that I was harmless. Years have passed and there is still no credible opposition to the NRA/M in sight. The FDC which seemed to attract many people has problems of their own, apart from the rumour that it is actually NRM in disguise.

My question is how can anyone dispute my friend’s affirmation that, ” Museveni is here to stay”? Twenty three years in power and still counting. Ugandans don’t trust each other as we used to do. When your name is recognized as from Western Uganda, the topic of discussion changes. I used to hear a slogan, ” Divide and Rule.” Another one, ” United we stand.” We are not united as I can see and we don’t seem to know what we urgently need to do in order to have a system appreciated by the majority. A system that enables the citizens to elect the leaders that would ensure all of us to live in harmony. As long as the people of Uganda are not harmonious, I don’t see any other way to keep the country intact.

Byaruhanga, Jonny Rubin.

Dr.Gombya on Andrew Kayiira’s Death

Henry Gombya

I have read with great amusement comments from Ugandans At Heart(UAH) forum. It seems there is a very hot argument about what happened to the late Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira and the relationship I had with him. I am going to, hopefully, once and for the last time, explain this relationship. I am not being forced by anybody to contribute to your members as I believe I have explained myself for so many years now. But this is the first time I have addressed the issue on a website.

There has been a lot of conspiracy theories regarding my relationship with Dr Kayiira. Most have been so hurting and painful to me and my family. Questions have been raised as to how Dr Kayiira came to stay at my house and not at anybody else’s. There has also been conspiracy theories that in someway, I was privy to Dr Kayiira’s finances and that when he came out of prison he wanted to know where his money was. These are pathetic conspiracies mostly engineered by those who are bent on seeing that the killers of Dr Kayiira are never brought to book.

Nobody should ever doubt how much I would like to see Kayiira’s killers brought to justice.. But every time the theory conspirators engage in telling the world that I had anything to do with his death, those who fall for their tricks help in making sure that attention is driven away from the killers and those who planned this assassination. I believe these killers (apart from those that have since died) are still roaming the streets of Kampala believing that they got away with murder. But  let me tell them this: Whatever it takes and however long it will be, one day they will be brought to justice.

As I have already explained in newspapers worldwide, TV (BBC 2 Newsnight) and on Ugandan and foreign radios about how Kayiira was gunned down in my house, I want to use this opportunity to dioscuss some of the conspiracy theories below.

I had been taking care of Andrew’s finances and I had fallen out with Kayiira!

This is indeed a fallacy! Andrew was Chairman of the Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM). This was a big organisation that had him at the top. It meant there were many people below him holding offices as is always the case in similar organisations. I have never been a member of the UFM so I could not have held any position in an organisation where I wasn’t even a member.. To this day, all I know about the UFM is through mostly my academic research here in the United Kingdom. At the time when Andrew was alive, I did not know much about the UFM apart from what every journalist like me knew at that time.

I believe organisations like UFM have Treasury Secretary or those that look after their finances. To this day no such official has ever come forward to claim I was handling any of their monies. Can anybody believe that any organisation wanting to fund a guerrilla movement like the UFM would have channelled their aid through a journalist filing stories for the BBC, the Nairobi Standard, New African and African Concord? Anybody knows that this, for a journalist, would have made very good copy. The fact is I have never been UFM’s financier nor has anybody ever approached me to handle its money. The last few days of Kayiira’s life were spent with friends who looked after him, bought and always paid drinks for him and fed him. While in prison, friends rallied together to collect funds to look after him and pay for his lawyers. I am happy to have been one of thiose friends who was approached for help while Andrew was in prison and I obliged without hesitation.

It should be noted here that I knew Dr Kayiira for a very short period. But our relationship was very much strengthened when he gave me protection while the NRA were shooting their way to power. We all stayed indoors most of this time particularly myself, as I was afraid to be seen on the streets. Staying in close quarters with people often brings them closer.

Therefore there is not a thread of truth  that at anytime, Andrew and I had fallen out. He liked me, no doubt and I adored him, but that is where it stopped. Our association grew when he asked me to accompany him on a tour of Western Uganda when he was Energy Minister. What Andrew was doing at that time was rare as Ugandan ministers often never asked journalists to accompany them on tours. But having lived abroad for a long time and as a university professor in Boston, Massachusetts, Andrew was doing what every politician in the West does. They take prominent journalists around with them to record what they (the politicians) are doing. Are you aware how many journalists Prime Minister Gordon Brown usually travels with? Or ho0w many are now travelling with the US President here at the G20 summit? Loads!

CONSPIRACY THEORY TWO: I was working for the NRA!

How stupid! How low can anyone go in advancing such a theory? What am I doing here in Europe 23 years since leaving Uganda if I was a NRA stooge that tricked Dr Kayiira to come and stay at my house? FACT: I invited Kayiira to my house because he had saved my life when the Okello’s threatened me. He gave me 24 hour protection until the NRA captured power and secured Kampala. Finding him squeezed into a one-bed-roomed flat belonging to his cousin, I thought that since this was the very fellow who had protected me I owed it to him to take him into decent accommodation. My only regret is that I failed to return his favour. Contrary to the belief of those cowards who gunned him down, Andrew had no plans to stage a coup against Museveni. Those cowards know themselves. They are the ones who ahve kept quiet and not uttered a word about the many times, Andrew attempted to see Museveni after his release, saying that he could talk to the rebels who were  causing problems in the North and that he believed he could persuade them to stop fighting. But every time he tried to make an appointment with Museveni, the door was cruelly banged shut against him..  One of your bloggers thinks I was an NRA spy because I was the one who told Museveni that the Okellos had overthrow Obote. While it is true that I did tell Museveni about Obote’s overthrow, there is no truth whatsoever that I was doing this because of being an NRA spy. FACT: I called Museveni in Gutenberg, Sweden after my bosses at the BBC in London gave me his number and asked me to call him to get a comment about the Okello coup. So calling Museveni was to do with my job as a journalist and nothing to do with the spy conspiracy.

CONSPIRACY THEORY THREE: Where did I get the wealth to live in a 14.5 million house?

I have never lived in a house this expensive and I have no idea where the figure came from. The house I was renting at Gaba was at UgShs3 million a year. I was able to afford this amount because while I may have been working for Ngabo and the Star, I was already freelancing for the BBC programme Focus On Africa, a monthly stipend with the Nairobi Standard newspaper, the weekly African Concord, then based in London, articles for the New African and Africa Now magazines. These paid me in foreign currency and I was easily able to transfer this in Uganda currency and afford such a house.
The money I was paid for my work as News Editor of The Star only paid for fuel for my car. At that time I remember I was one of only about four Ugandans journalists who made most of their earnings through foreign news organisations. We were all relatively well off compared to our fellow colleagues in Uganda.

The killing of Dr Kayiira completely turned my life around.I lost so much money in contracts I had captured with the foreign media. I have had to start my life all over again. The only positive I can take from my exiled life is the fact that I have educated myself to such a degree that I am in a very good position to understand why Africa is the way it is today. Had I been in Uganda all these past 23 years, I doubt whether I would have accumulated the kind of knowledge my poor and exiled life has enable me to achieve.

Throughout this period no one seems to have taken a step back and wondered how it feels to lose a close friend and read every day of your life conspiracy theories that you could have been part of the plot to kill him. No one has had the courage to come out and speak against these theories and no one has spared a thought about my dear wife who was the last person to see Dr Kayiira breathe his last breath.  And no one seems to care what effects the killing of Dr Kayiira has had on my life and that of the immediate members of my family.

No one seems to question why some former senior ranking officers of the UFM have chosen to stay quiet and neither come out in my defence, nor speak out against me. No one has question why people like Francis Bwengye who was UFM Secretary General at first fled Uganda soon after Kayiira was killed and is now living comfortable in Kampala. No one has questioned the acceptance of ambassadorial posts by Dan Ssozi, a former close friend of Dr Kayiira. And while I have not stepped on the African continent for more than 23 years now, no one seems to question why so many have come to London and claimed asylum saying they had been Kayiira’s supporters and on getting their immigration status take the next plane back home.

When crimes are committed, the police usually look for a motive. Does anyone in their sane minds really believe that an ordinary journalist like me would have planned and carried out the killing of a leader of a guerrilla movement? I may be academically clever but I doubt whether I would have managed this assignment. It was a professional job done but professional killers. I have never been one. No one has taken much interest in comments made by a Uganda police dog handler who categorically stated that police dogs followed a scent from my house to lubiri barracks and inside, they found my wife’s handbag. Why has no onwe said anything aboyut this? What was my wife’s handbag doing at the end of the police dog scent inside Lubiri barracks? Am I wrong then in thinking that I have been purposely made a scape goat?

I hope I have given you guys something to think about and it is my prayer that you help me find who killed Kayiira. It is a job I intend to do as long as I am alive. It is a job that every peace loving Ugandan should be doing now. On his release from Luzira prison, Museveni told journalists in Kampala: “Kayiira may have been released by the courts. We in the NRA believe he was atttempting to  overthrow the government. And we will follow him. If anyone is looking for a motive, shouldn’t they be starting here?  And that is one reason I have refused to return to Uganda as I believe this can be done better while I am here. As long as the NRM is in power, Kayiira’s killers may never be brought to justice but as a historian I can only say that history repeats itself. The Museveni regime is here today. It will be gone tomorrow. And then, the search will resume on homeland.

This is the only and last time I will speak on this issue.

Regarding Ngabo Radio, I am happy to report that I will be presenting an English show every Saturday starting May 19, 2009. I am writing this while covering the G20 summit in the Excel Centre East London. I will be away for two weeks and will start the show on Saturday 19th. The show will be the English version of Tuula Twogere, the Luganda show I have been hosting for the last three weeks. We intend to bring on the show several important people to help us understand the problems we have in Uganda today. Ngabo Radio is for all Ugandans and not only for the Baganda. It may have started with Luganda but rest assured that we want each and every Ugandan tio feel free to participate in the shows as this is the only voice at the moment Ugandans have to voice their concerns with fear or favour, knowing that after the show, they will return to their homes without having to look over their shoulders wondering whether anyone is following them. So I urge you to join in by calling the show to say whatevere they want and let everyone know about the radio.

A luta continua!

Dr.Henry Gombya

Journalist/Ugandan residing in the UK

UAH forumist

”Kyeyo”:Uganda Boarding schools aren’t good for kids anymore

The boys of S.4 West in 1995 in Kibuli Secondary School when Alhajji Abbasi Kawaase was stil the headmaster

Dear Ugandans abroad,

Sending a child to a boarding school in Uganda is a mistake! Taking ones kids to school here just because you have failed to discipline them there abroad is wrong. There is no school in Uganda that is going to do them discipline for you. In other words there is no school here that is going to do the parenting for you. Schools in Uganda especially the private “good” ones are merely business projects. They are simply interested in your money.

There is this myth that Ugandan schools are better blah blah.This is simply nostalgia. Those schools are long dead- gone with the fundamental change of 1986 by Museveni! I know of many people who brought back their unruly kids to be taught here and they have all failed. Very few have gotten their money’s worth. The kids even got worse from here in Uganda. They learnt how to smoke bhung, marijuana and even cocaine from Kampala!

One of the kids when he went back to London became the boss of the street kids there! He is now serving time in “wormwood scrubs” a big prison in London! No, keep your kids where you are and where you can personally give them the parental love they need to grow up into responsible citizens.You bring them here in Uganda as a punishment, they will punish you back! Keep your kids with you. There are better schools over there. It’s where the Ministers and big people here in Uganda take their kids. Schools here have been spoilt by UPE,USE and no UUE (Universal University education)!

Just like the health sector has gone to the dogs, so has the education and everything else! It’s only the Presidency (PPU) that still works here! And even this, there are those who wonder …….

The mistake people make is to first bring their kids there in the developed nations then after they realize they are “failing” then “deport” their kids back to Uganda.This is both traumatizing and i think even illegal ! Imagine you are used to eating sausages and eggs, then they take you back to a place where they serve posho and lumonde! You are used to living with your “loving” parents then you are abruptly whisked to live with strangers in a dormitory?

If you think schools here in Uganda are better then leave your kids here and never take them there in the first place. It’s only fair. I have seen Big men cry when they land at Entebbe after being deported. What do you think a young child goes through? Some people have even committed suicide!

My view is this: Never ever take you kids out only to send them back “Mbu” to learn good manners or how to behave.The standard here have of course gone down the drain kabisa kabisa! I don’t think we shall ever get back to even half of what we had before the “Revolution”!

I earned my living sometimes back advising our people about this. It’s not a new thing. I got kids and I know what iam talking about. I went to boarding schools all my life and i think i got one of the best education our country did provide then. But i swore never to take my kids to boarding school. I just couldn’t imagine myself chewing chicken at home as my kid is somewhere with a rumbling stomach!

Thankfully of the many kids God has given me, only one has been through what i went through.. boarding school at a young age!

Gook Akanga

UAH forumist in Uganda

museveni jet is a sign of selfishness

Fellow ugandans,

You have to remember the reasons which were cited by the administration for the sell off of Ugandan airlines routes-the price of gas, insurance and maintenance. To maintain one of these jets, for simple trips like flying from Uganda to Kenya, costs in the excess of $20,000 US dollars, and that might be an lower estimate. Does the president not realize, what an extra $20,000 a month could accomplish at any of our hospitals?

This is indeed a very selfish act by a man who has asked every Ugandan to tighten their belts. A complete turn about from our hero, who authored the book “What is Africa’s problem” The YKM who authored the book above, would definitely convict this new YKM- and that is the dichotomy that we are all trying to grapple with as students of African philosophy and progress. Nyerere his mentor would have never acted this selfishly.

Therefore, it is not only the cost of the plane that is worrisome; it is maintenance, insurance and gas, all costs that have to be put into consideration. Our outcry, does not emanate from the simplistic want of our president to not look presidential in his many travels, NO! we are seriously questioning the wisdom, practicability, the audacity to put such an expensive self-interest item ahead of all the matters of life and death that are a daily plague in the country he has lead for 23 year, matters that he claims are brought on by the lack of resources.

Worse still, we rallied for debt forgiveness, citing poverty as the reason for not being able to pay back our creditors-how does the president dryly look these folks in the eyes? The countries that forgave us such huge debts, with a promise of turning debt service monies into the re-building of our infrastructure to effectively service poor masses. Does he say to them, well, among the few items we have bought with that debt forgiven windfall, is a new Lear jet; it does not make dry sense to me.

Talk about owning a Cadillac in the Ghetto-while collecting welfare food stamps. The president has definitely lost his priorities the country cannot afford such luxuries-when our schools lack roof tops and books and people are dying in our hospitals at such an alarming rate, due to lack of resources. A days worth of jet fuel, could furnish an entire wing of a hospital in Kabale, Mabara or Kawolo-hospital, yes on jinja road where all the accident victims go, which still has an operation theater that is the age of Owen falls dam.

It is a shame indeed If I had a close up opportunity with the president, I would like to ask him-whether we should burn his books, because amidst the suffering his beautiful words on paper back have not born out his deeds.


Land titles are now useless in Uganda

It is the truth.  I repeat the market for land collapsed long ago. And it collapsed because the govt messed up with the incentive structures.  Actually several things are happening simultaneously in the land sector.  The land bill Act of 1998 or 1997 offered full insurance to land squatters/bibanja holders/and so called bonafide land tenants (read land grabbers). I equate land to insurance. Once the laws was passed things fell a part literally. There has never been order/certainity in the land sector ever since.  I invite you to wonder why it is that insurance firms discriminate on the basis of age, gender, and even race.

For some strange/stupid reason the cabinet of Uganda wanted to treat every one in the land sector the same. Actually tenants were treated better than mailo land owners which in the insurance industry would be like treating young male better than middle aged women drivers. In other words, the land bill should have taken into consideration quality. Quality of land/location/size etc but also quality in terms of ownership.

To privilege the tenant/bonafide tenant over the mailo land owner was the biggest mistake the bill made. It may be the case that tenant/bibanja holders have groups that represent them but not mailo land owners  because the regime hates them even as the big men in the regime have become the largest land holders in Uganda not by birth, but through land grabbing, okay blackmail purchases. Anyone who cares to know knows that the President Museveni is now the largest land holder in Uganda (that is why he and the twatera embuddu clique eschewed efficient tools such as land taxation).  The consequences are there for all to see: the opposite has happened to the land sector. The order the bill wanted to introduce is no no more.  Truth of the matter is tat the land sector is characterized by chaos and uncertainty.

That chaos and uncertainty has led to the second problem: multiple land titles. Mailo land owners have the original copy which by law-gazette notice -has never been annulled. The crooks with the right connections have duplicate copies.  Mark you, the ministry of lands is a den of thieves who create land titles for the NRMO crowd.   under such an environment, land buyers can never be sure that the land they are buying belongs to the person selling it in the first place.  That is where the lemon problem comes in.

What you saw the IGP doing is the equivalent of what buyers of second hand vehicles in the West do: demand a certificate from govt licensed garage to verify that indeed the car is not a lemon.  It is costly.  With the crime levels in Uganda, the IGP is now in the business of verifying land titles.  How did things get to that level?

Things will get worse not better. I suspect that as Kony terrorized parts of northern Uganda, some ‘bonafide’ tenants may have taken over people’s land.  Mark you the Land Act does not take such developments into consideration. If someone takes over your land and can prove that they have been on that land since 1986 (notice the cut off year) for 10 years, they can invoke the law to protect them.

Basically, the Land Act assumes that if you let -never mind whether you were aware or not-someone on your land for 10, you are deemed to have slept on your rights and therefore out of luck. The bonafide tenants has all the rights to be issued land titles.

The insight I want to emphasize on Ugandans is that if NRMO really wanted to create efficient land use in Uganda, it should have used taxation. All holders of  mailo land holders/other forms of land would be subject to a land tax.  It would have served multiple goals. a) it is more efficient than the current land Act. b) there would be no such uncertainty with regards to land titles and therefore  minimal chaos in the land sector. C) It would have been more equitable in the end.  The logic is that you tax heavily something you do not like(NRMO hates land owner). Those unable to pay the tax on the expansive land would sell to return portions they can afford to pay the tax on.  It is possible the govt could have generated bilions in taxes since land can’t be hidden to vade taxes. I told why taxation was not considered: it would hit the new kids on the land block.

As Justice Wendel Holmes famously observed, taxes is what people pay for civilization. YKM wanted to avoid land taxes for personal reasons and created the current chaos in the land sector.  Similarly, he hoodwinked Ugandans when he abolished the only taxes most people paid so today they have no voice. How can Ugandans complain that YKM is hiring only his relatives when they pay no taxes? If they want that voice they have no choice but pay taxes.

Let the embattled  land holders counter YKM’s land reform with a proposal to be taxed instead on their land holders. NRMO would then have to explain why a revenue starved nation would leave money on the table. As they say kyoyagala kikusezza (you pay dearly for what you treasure). Imagine if the land holders were to call a national press conference and announce that they are willing to be taxed on their land holdings.  Things would interesting would they?

This the what Akerlof talked about. The land market is full of lemons hence the uncertainty. No one can be certain of the land title they hold. It has now become so costly to a level where the IGP checks land titles. The picture of IGP in the NewVision with scared Katoto checking land titles said it all: the land market is Uganda is no more. That is the uncertainty  Akerlof talked about.   The govt offices are responsible for the lemon business. No one can be sure of the land titles they hold.  Former Finaces ministers are not pared and so is NSSF

The point is this, the land sector can be reformed without fragmenting land any further. But to do so, the govt must come up with an upper limit on the amount of land the landless qualify for under the subsidy/land fund.

Let me wade into a controversial region. By all indications, Bunyoro seems to have plentiful of land. But the presence of plentiful land does not mean that Bunyoro’s land should be fragmented or grabbed.  Large scale/’modernized agriculture’ could take place in Bunyoro and in regions where land has not been fragmented.

The people of Bunyoro have a legitimate point when they complain that new arrivals have more land than the indigenous Banyoro.  Should individuals who were landless elsewhere own more land than indigenous Banyoro? That is wrong period.  It is happening because the govt out of stupidity has promised such individuals to access the land fund and buy themselves out.  It is the perfect case of moral hazard. They continue to take over  more and more Bunyoro land and complaining-imagine-that the govt is not doing what it promised: to give them funds from the land fund, my foot, to buy their luxurious lifestyles.

Again the Baganda have a saying that “eyali affude bwalemaara (sp)/he who was all given up for the dead, when he ends up disabled is fine. I equate the almost dead to the landless who should be grateful for whatever little the govt can help them afford.  But they are foolish and would rather live like kings on expansive land holdings.

And let me be clear again. If the land fund is going to be operationalized, priority should go to the indigenous people. In the case of Bunyoro, priority should go to the Banyoro to buy back some of the land but not to finance luxury. That is why the govt should come up with an upper limit. How much land should the landless be facilitated/subsidized to acquire through the land fund? That is perhaps the mother of all questions and to my knowledge no one has asked it yet.

And in the case of Buganda, priority should go towards bibanja holders and not bonafide tenants/aka 1986 creations. But once again, the question is how much land should they be able to buy from the land owners?  Should bibanja holders be able to force the mailo land owner -the land act forces the land owners to sell at Ugs shs 1, 000-to sell them against his/her wish 20, 30, 50, 70, 100% of his/her land? How much should be given up under the law/land Act?  Yes, the incentives have to be properly aligned (emphasis added). The last I checked the land reform is silent on these issues.



Mulago and Nurses should be facilitated enough

Kampala International hospital, the best private hospital in Kampala

Dialysis is not a rocket scientist’s procedure.Extreme caution and great knowledge are essetial in carrying it out  though. There is nothing medical that Mulago will not do if the right personnel is trainned for the appropriate equipment/procedure. Mulago is doing well on removal of prostates, using one of the  most non invasive surgical methods(forget those bloody laporatomies for prostatectomies) I have known in modern medicine. Dr. Kagwa, who trainned in the US is a real shinning star on this one. He will do dialysis in a heart beat if the equipment is in place. Remember so much has been done with olden equipment and obsolete medications( for the west).Prioritising in health investments should not be embattled at all as health is the pivot of our lives.

On the issue of man power,according to the original plan, Mbarara University was to start and  help the  already trained allied health professionals to upgrade into medicine mostly, Medical Assistants now called Clinical officers like their compatriots in Kenya and TZ. But the plans changed when Museveni came onto the political scene. The unfinished university buildings were suddenly occupied by fresh students whom Makerere medical school could not take due to different reasons, space, level of passing etc. In a heartbeat, Cuban doctors were brought in to teach the fresh medical students. This has in the long run become a good thing, but at the same time, there has been a tremendous loss of manpower to be tapped into by not facilitating further education for people who are already in the system.

Nursing is still looked upon in Uganda and yet revered in the US. Bottom line is that the practice of medicine in general is simply based on patient care which is done by a team (forget the hard academic hassles). Many times doctors will do work that one would consider fit for a nurse and a nurse will act as a doctor in times of emergency. A case in point is airway management, say in case of an accident and someone sustains a head injury, is unconscious, bleeding from the nose and mouth  and probably through the ears(bad stuff here). Do you think a nurse at site will stand with arms akimbo saying, OK, this is a doctor’s case, may be a neurologist to see so I will not secure the  airway?

NO, unless she is in the US where legalities and red tape are the order of the day. Remember the first caesarean section was done by a midwife. She managed to save the baby but the mother died. This mentality of overlooking nursing should stop and the nurses be allowed to study more and become nurse practitioners as they do here in the US so that quality care to patients could extend to remote areas of the country as the nurse practitioners would be allowed to open up private clinics just like their colleagues in the US. I am sure they would be able to determine the types of cases and emergencies they would handle and be able to refer the rest in time.

I just remembered the Lines of patients on Rubaga Road that used to zigzag into Dr.Mumpi’s clinic. This was real madness, as one doctor or medical assistant could not accurately investigate, diagnose and treat diseases of all those many people that flocked into his clinic every day. Something has to be done by the government of Uganda to improve the quality of health care as well as improving the training standards of the medical personnel. Buying new text books, introducing high tech equipment and supplying ample sundries for practical work for the students will greatly improve our people’s health. But how will this be possible if the financial resources are wasted on non priorities like buying new presidential jets or when our people have been told not to pay graduated taxes, so that they keep in a happy state(euphoria) , happy enough not to disagree with a selfish Museveni who hates  and fears democracy?

One is tempted to  bet that the books some people used at the Albert cook Library in the 70s, the Cunninghams, the Gray’s Anatomy, Nzarubara’s book  on surgery  are still the same  volumes that  fill that beautiful library annexed to a perennially blocked private place, while the modern world is writing new books with new information almost every day! This is our Uganda and its president of 23 years.

Jenifer Biri

Ugandan resident in New York/UAH member

‘Tutsi’ are the only Ugandans in Museveni’s book


You observation below is well noted! That stated, Mucebeni has undertaken a deliberate  policy measure to frustrate the advancement  and aspiration of many citizens of Uganda  who are not Tutsi.

  • Only Tutsi are allowed to get government loans to set up business.
  • Only Tutsi are provided with government  scholarship  to study abroad,
  • Only Tutsi occupy prominent Government positions in any ministry

When a  journalist asked  Museveni about this apparent discrepancies which tends to favour tutsis in all aspects of the Uganda social, political and economic life , Museveni had the audacity to tell  the journalist  that  mbu Tutsis  seem to have all the favour because they are well read and smart .Other people from other parts  of Uganda … like in Northern Uganda are simply backwards and primitive.

Yet it is museveni’s policies of creating wars for 20 years and counting which has lead to dismal academic performance of Students in Northern Uganda. In Buganda, biting poverty has rendered most parents incapable of financing their children education in Good schools! And if some how a smart Muganda  kid reaches the University and obtains that degree  guess what… the kid never obtains any kind of employment. This has really frustrated many fellow citizens in Buganda.

And now Museveni is working hard to deprive citizens of the one thing they are still hanging on for survival… that is land!!! Once he grabs all the land and hands them over to Tutsi, people will really have no means to survive! You simply die a pauper!!!Something really must be done!!…

Matek Kopoko

Old Student of Buganda Road Primary School/UPC Activist and now resides in USA


Dear Netters,

Thanks for responding to the subject of witch-doctors intimidating and causing untold fear amongst the Uganda population to the point of believing  lies and tricks of witch-doctors in attracting people to believe that human sacrifice of calousily killing young girls and boys in the unfounded hope of acquiring wealth from such barbaric acts.

One characteristic of all the respondents is that nobody has hit at the effective solution. Nobody has agreed that practitioners of witch-craft are basically honest, genuine people but who act ignorantly.

Only education of their minds will remove their ignorance. And this can only be carried out in the education system begining in the prirmary, secondary and at university level.

The press can play an effective role, but people like Kalundi Serumaga fear to antagonise witch-dcotors. Killing innocent young girls and boys should invite sympathy but Serumaga has never presented a programme to condemn this practice for fear of antagonising witch-doctors.

Most  netters are saying that witch-craft be criminalised and the Police Force be awakened to take strong action against practitioners of witch-craft.
The laws against witch-craft are there, but are they enforced.

The great weakness of these proposals is that the majority of Ugandaans, including the Police Force and the judiciary are all of them believers in witch-craft hence they cannot take  action against witch-doctors.

In addition to that, and we have established these facts in our book UNVEILING WTICH-CRAFT these people are intimidated into fearing the repurcusions of witch-dcotors. Fear of witch-doctors makes law enforcers, the Police and the Press,  to fear to take action against them. They fear to be cursed and to be possessed by the devil, they fear to be be-witched by witch-doctors.

This fear is based on ignorannce of the highest degree.

The only solution is to remmove fear from our people.  Fear can only be removed if they are convinced from the bottom of their hearts that the witch-doctor has not power to send spirits to attack anybody. We have established that there are no such spirits known as amayembe, lubaale, emizimu, ebyookoola, ebyomunju, etc.

In our book we demonstrate very clearly the basis of how witch-doctors claim to possess such powers. We have converted hundreds of thousands of witch-doctors who have spilled the beans on how they deceived and trick people.

Netters have asked me whether we have approached the ministry of education and other law makers to educate the population about these lies and tricks of witch-dcotrs.

Yes, we have approached the highest authorities in Uganda. We have written letters to H.E. President Museveni, and the MInister of Presidential aAffairs, Hon Wabudeya, and the PPS in the President’s office, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde. The latter had even made an appointment for us to meet the President but some how it did not materialise.

We have approached Makerere University and delivered complimentary copies to relevant departments like that of Sociology, Psychology, Education, Anthropolgy, Religious Affairs, The Faculty of Law,etc

The Presidents office invited us to meet Canon Ruhunda who is incharge of Religious Affairs in HE’s office. We carried two ex-witch-doctors to his office, and all the spirits and other paraphernalia witch-doctors use in the spirits shrines and demonstratred how  they tell lies and how they change their voices to sound like spirits and how they make horns (amayembe) walk about and how they make them talk.

WE were invited at  Makerere Institute of Languages where the department of Anthropology operates from and  we carried  two ex-witchdoctors who demonstrated how they make spirits (horns) and lubaale, talk and walk about.

Briefly, we showed how witch-doctors capitalise on the gullibility of the population to deceive them.

At this stage Ugandans should be abhorred by the story of the young girl who was so calously placed in a ditch, alive and watching every activity going on, sand poured over her and made her die a very painful death.

In civilised societies such a story would prop up in Parliament and the Minister of security would be put on the carpet, indeed, the Government would be forced to resign if the culprit is not found and prosecuted.

Briefly, the solution is to criticlly read that book and analyse it and see how our findings can help educate the minds of the people so that they no longer succumb to witch-doctors lies and tricks. It is only after fear of witch-doctors has been removed that we can face them and refuse to kill young girls and boys for their body parts to prescribe medicine for acquiring wealth.

We also approached the Minsitry of Education and donated five books to all the ministers in that ministry and their commissioners.

But, dear netters, we have never even received a letter acknowledging receipt of our donations. And this subject has never been even mentioned in the minisrtry.

Our suspicion is that these officers are themselves believers in witch-craft hence they cannot take action that will remove what they believe in. Or, they are so effectively intimidated by the thought that witch-doctors will attack them if they take action.

Henry Ford Mirima

UPE and USE program in Uganda

Whereas UPE started in 1997, USE started with the 2007, ten years later. This implies that the beneficiaries of UPE the editor referred never benefited from USE. There are several factors responsible for the high drop out especially after P7 including but not limited to

· failure to make it from primary section to secondary

· poverty

· community’s perception about a girl child

· attitude towards education

· education environment

· early pregnancies

Several studies have been made about UPE drop outs and facts well are documented. Initially there was no free education after Primary seven, so many dropped out for reasons of school fees this is what prompted government to usher in USE even when other players thought we were ill prepared. We had however taken lessons from UPE and thus courteously implemented USE.

Government decided not to take on all classes and schools as desired we started with S.1 and S. 2 day schools in 2007 with candidates who had at least attained 28 aggregates. It was assumed that a parent who can afford to take a child in a boarding school is averagely fairing and therefore could afford to push on as Government supports the needy poor. This caused need for day schools in areas whether they are not available in order to extend this service evenly and equitably thus governments programme for seed secondary schools, one at least in every sub-county. We also cooperated with private day school to take on Government students as government constructs her own schools to accommodate the numbers.

USE at the moment is limited to O’ Level. Government proposes investing more in vocational institutions than advanced level so that 2 years after Ordinary level one comes one with practical skills relevant to his life. Then matters of theory and geography can be furthered by people with an option.

I am trying to access Mr. Kibenbe to get his comment on the inspectorate department and when I get it I shall post it. I have his mobile but I am not at liberty to give it out you can however try his office line on 414 258429.

However I want to let you know that there is no age limit to UPE. Many people too advantage of the opening up to education and went back to school when UPE started and that’s how the numbers overshoot. There is 75 year man who is now P. 6 in Arua and another one in 60s sat his Primary seven Kiwatule. He actually studied with his grand children in the same class.

Kids on the road: Government instituted rehabilitation officers at District levels to care of child affairs and they do a lot in resettling these children. They do monitoring up to their homes to settle conflicts in homes that cause children run aways. The challenge however is that this became a source of income. Many people with NGO to settle pretending to be helping these children actually entice them to keep on road. Besides others are sent by their own parents to stay on road and beg, so its been tricky. But I also agree that not enough has been done by the City Authorities.

Education was decentralised both by region and sections. By sections I mean Primary, Secondary and Higher Education. The Person now responsible for secondary education is Commissioner Nsubuga who can also be reached on 414 348026. I will talk to both and try to get their email addresses.

Aisha Kabanda

Former presidential Aide

Let Ugandans compile evidence against their leaders for ICC

I guess Ugandans are saying that Museveni and his Tutsi Generals are the law and the Law is the same Museveni and his Tutsi Generals. For now it looks that. Anyway, on a wider aspect if anyone is not happy with ICC, let him/her be aware that there is a Review Conference of the International Criminal Court Statute that took place sometime after July, 2009 to consider amendments to the treaty that founded the International Criminal Court. This can only mean the Court is going to be there and it will only get better to put those bent to impunity into the dock.. The Review Conference will only get ICC to a better form if members of the Assembly of States Parties put their contributions positively.

The NRMO or Museveni supporters who are apprehensive of the ICC should reconsider fully embracing it after all Uganda is already a member of the Assembly of States of ICC and next year Uganda shall be hosting ICC in Kampala. This was decided at the seventh session of the Assembly of States Parties in November 2008. The Assembly decided that the Review Conference of the Rome Statute shall be held in Kampala, Uganda, during the first semester of 2010. Just to add onto that, this Court is governed by the Assembly of States Parties and Uganda is one of the parties. The Assembly of States Parties is the Court’s management oversight and legislative body and it consists of one representative from each state party. Each state party has one vote and every effort has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote. This is how the Court manages its four organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry.

One Ugandan called Abbey Kibirige  Semuwemba wanted to know the appeal procedures. This can be found in the Judicial Divisions of the Court. The Judicial Divisions consist of the 18 judges of the Court, organized into three divisions — the Pre-Trial Division, Trial Division and Appeals Division — which carry out the judicial functions of the Court. These Judges are elected to the Court by the Assembly of States Parties. They serve nine-year terms and are not generally eligible for re-election. All judges must be nationals of states parties to the Rome Statute, and no two judges may be nationals of the same state. They must be “persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective States for appointment to the highest judicial offices”

The Prosecutor or any person being investigated or prosecuted may request the disqualification of a judge from “any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground”. Any request for the disqualification of a judge from a particular case is decided by an absolute majority of the other judges. A judge may be removed from office if he or she “is found to have committed serious misconduct or a serious breach of his or her duties” or is unable to exercise his or her functions. The removal of a judge requires both a two-thirds majority of the other judges and a two-thirds majority of the states parties..

Let us get another point clear too. ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. It is legally and functionally independent from any body including the United Nations. However, the Rome Statute grants certain powers to the United Nations Security Council under Article 13 of ICC. This Article allows the Security Council to refer to the Court situations that would not otherwise fall under the Court’s jurisdiction (as it did in relation to the situation in Darfur, which the Court could not otherwise have prosecuted as Sudan is not a state party). Article 16 of ICC allows the Security Council to require the Court to defer from investigating a case for a period of 12 months. Such a deferral may be renewed indefinitely by the Security Council. During the negotiations that led to the Rome Statute, when deciding on its jurisdiction, a large number of states argued that the Court should be allowed to exercise Universal jurisdiction. However, this proposal was defeated due in large part to opposition from the United States. A compromise was reached, allowing the Court to exercise jurisdiction only under limited circumstances:

  • where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party (or where the person’s state has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court);
  • where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party (or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court); or
  • where a situation is referred to the Court by the UN Security Council

The Court cooperates with the UN in many different areas, including the exchange of information and logistical support. The Court reports to the UN each year on its activities, and some meetings of the Assembly of States Parties are held at UN facilities. The relationship between the Court and the UN is governed by a “Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations”.

The Court is intended as a court of last resort, investigating and prosecuting only where national courts have failed as it has been stated clearly by Abbey. It ought to be there to deter or prevent impunity where they occur. The issue of whether President Bush or Israel President are left of the hook is a matter of politics. The law is there and it is sending a clear message to these leaders with some tangible influence being realised though slowly. Even the recently invasion of Gaza by Israel is in the process. The only biggest downfalls at the moment are its power of arresting, prosecuting and enforcing its judgement. It has no police. It relies on the member states and that is why it may not be ast to drag Bush to the Hagues or for that matter Museveni or Kony!

As of February 2009, 108 countries have joined the Court, including nearly all of Europe and South America, and roughly half the countries in Africa. However, ICC in its current state has got some shortfall but it is a baby and it has all the good reasons behind its formation. It should be supported and developed to offer alternative justice to those who would otherwise not get any. We already have a world court, ICJ, but it only deals with cases between states. And this is what those who are committing impunity wants to hide behind. They want to dangles States immunity before your eyes will impunity continues unabated.

But ICC is meant to crack through the veils and that is what they done like. Also remember ICJ was established in 1945 by the UN Charter and the Court began work in 1946 as the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Statute of the International Justice similar to that of its predecessor, is the main constitutional document constituting and regulating the Court. But ICJ has dealt with relatively few cases only in its history, and there has clearly been an increased willingness to use the Court since the 1980s, especially among developing countries. As usual the stumbling block has been the United States.

In 1986 United States withdrew from compulsory jurisdiction of ICJ and so it now accepts the court’s jurisdiction only on a case-to-case basis. But the irony about this is that in 1948, following the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals when the United States was then leading the show, the United Nations General Assembly recognised the need for a permanent international court to deal with atrocities of the kind committed during World War II and the USA supported it then. Since 1948 not a lot happen due to all sorts of thing including Cod War era.

But in 1989. A N R Robinson, then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, proposed the creation of a permanent international court to deal with the illegal drug trade and the idea was revived. Not a lot happened until 1995 when some small group of NGOs founded a Coalition that coordinated their work to ensure the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

Since then, the Coalition’s membership has increased exponentially as its original goal of establishing the ICC grew to a Coalition for the International Criminal Court that includes over 2500 organizations around the world working in partnership to strengthen international cooperation with the ICC; to ensure that the Court is fair, effective and independent; to make justice both visible and universal; and advance stronger national laws that deliver justice to victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

As of February 2009, 108 countries have joined the Court, including nearly all of Europe and South America, and roughly half the countries in Africa. However, these countries only account for a minority of the world’s population. A further 40 states have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute; the law of treaties obliges these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty..

Charles Eliba

UPC Activist/Lawyer


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