THE LANGO ELDERS HAVE AT LEAST GOT SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT NOW!


The idea of helping the elderly is exactly what I am trying to do. I am in the advanced stages of setting up a Lango Benevolent Pensions Fund whose primary purpose will be assist to all of the elderly of Lango, beginning initially with the 70+, widows and widowers and those with dependents under 16. The idea is to give them a basic monthly pension, just like here in the UK, say £50 per month. This pension would be means-tested, ie eligibility would be based on verified income and other means of support. The second aspect of the Fund would concentrate on addressing basic poverty issues, for eg I am going to set up a food bank at suitable locations through-out Lango where elderly people can come and collect food parcels, attend mobile clinics and collect simple medications and clothing or have their homes repaired or re-built. Lastly the Fund will help the elderly with small interest loans to set up viable small cooperative scale businesses.

I have been selling this idea now for at least 2 years and so far I have raised over £250,000 in commitment but I need a starting capital of at least £500,000. My estimate is that about 100,000 Elders will initially qualify. From an organisation I worked with in the Philippines recently when the Tsunami struck destroying most homes, I have learnt a lot how to mobilise funds for people who have been struck by disaster or those facing imminent emergency..Most of the Filipino Tsunami victims have now had new homes built for them, I have made contact with at least three organisations who helped the Filipinos and all of them have told me to let them know when I am ready, and they guarantee they will build these homes in less than 6 months. The obstacle I am having is the same as yours, in that, I can not build each elder his own house in his or her compound as this will sky-rocket the cost. They would have to agree to live in small sheltered units of say 30-50 homes, not in single self-contained bungalows. This would also make it easier for facilities like water, electricity, sanitation etc to be connected.

But for the project to succeed needs me to be there personally, but my commitment in the UK still does not allow me to stay in Uganda for much longer than two weeks at a time. This is a relatively simple project, but it needs a team of very dedicated and honest managers to make it work.

I know the elders have suffered more than any other age group under the fascist regime of Yoweri Museveni Kaguta. I am not going to allow their suffering to continue for much longer if I can help it.

I am also working with the Dokolo Catholic Diocese to build a Community Technical School for 150 school drop-outs. This is completely private. I have not spoken about it here because it would have been premature. Right now as we speak, the buildings are going up. I am building the school in memory of my late father. The latest Collection I sent to them was a £50,000 donation from the Catholic Churches of England and Wales. Your Nubian nitwit who resides at Wellesley Avenue thinks all I do in London is drink beer. He does not realise the extent of my commitment to humanitarian causes in my homeland and elsewhere in the world.

GEORGE OKELLO VIA THE UAH FORUM

GEN. MUGISHA MUNTU – A GREAT LEADER AT THE WRONG TIME AND PLACE


Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu,President of Forum for Democratic Change

Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu,President of Forum for Democratic Change


At the tender age of 23 years, Muntu left Makerere University after doing his last paper for his political science course to join Museveni’s bush war. He was driven by the urge to restore rule of law and human rights to Uganda that had broken down at the time courtesy of Yoweri Museveni who had created a situation to justify his bush war. Being a son of a prominent UPC leader (Enock Muntuoyera) who was a personal friend of the then President Obote, Muntu would have been given a better job in government but his resolute character and urge for the freedom of others took him to the bush. Initially, in the bush he was placed under close watch on suspicion that possibly the UPC government had sent him to spy on guerrillas.

In the bush Muntu belonged to the category of ‘intellectuals’ whom the senior Commanders majority of whom were non university graduates so much detested and harassed. Because of the greed mentality of these commanders at one time Muntu together with other NCOs and led by Enock Mondo at one time planned to escape from the Museveni’s NRA and form their own fighting group. In the bush he was shot in the leg and chest and was smuggled to Kampala for treatment. Upon recovery, he rejoined the bush war. During the same time the remains of his father who had died in exile during Iddi Amin’s regime were brought back and accorded a state funeral that was graced by the then President Milton Obote who used the occasion to call on the young Mugisha Muntu to abandon the bush and return home but to no avail.

In the bush Muntu rose through the ranks to become first the Director of Civil Intelligence and later Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) – a position he held even during and after capturing power. As a DMI Muntu is re-known for living a very simple life while his colleagues rushed for the spoils of war that went with victory. His Aides would face difficulty in explaining the source of expensive house items that they would get for him from the army headquarters. His official car was an old blue Land Rover that he would use to carry any junior staff member that he would find on the war to and from work. This vehicle remained a property of DMI/CMI until recently when it was stolen by Charles Tumusiime Rutarago. In one of the interviews this is what Muntu had to say about grabs “….as the war progressed, we were sure we could take over power people started talking about what they were planning, where they wanted to live,or saying I will be this, I will live in this neighborhood. It became intense when we took overpower. After taking over our intentions were to all go into the barracks but that was heavily resisted as soon as we arrived here. People started running to live in Kololo, Nakasero and I think that is where we lost it. This started creating the sense of acquisition and that went into business of and the feeling of everyone getting in to get something for himself. It has now gone into what we see today.”

As a senior officer at the timeof taking over government, Muntu was made a Lt. Col when formal ranks were introduced. He was moved from DMI and appointed as the the army’s Chief Political Commissar (CPC) before appointing him as the Division Commander of one of the NRA Divisions. Within less than a year Muntu was elevated to the rank of Maj. Gen and assigned to take charge of of the NRA as the Army Commander. Museveni’s choice of Muntu at the time was not in good faith but was meant to promote his usual divide and rule policy. While Muntu was capable of being the Army Commander, there were other more senior officers at the time who would have been elevated to the same position. The likes of Joram Mugume, Cheif Ali, Tinyefuza, Kyaligonza a.k.a Kumanyoko, Ivan Koreta, Okecho, Maruru, Nanyumba and a few others would have as well served in that capacity.As a result, there are some senior officers who vowed never to salute Mugisha Muntu as a sign of disapproval.

Through Mugisha Muntu, Museveni embarked and implemented his designs of purging certain army officers. It was during Muntu’s time that the practice of Katebe (rendering redundant) started. As a result, some unsuspecting senior officers petitioned Museveni through Gen. Saleh but to no avail. The cool headed Mugisha Muntu sailed though the rough storm. The army laid a foundation for professionalism, estalishment of terms and conditions of service, accounting systems, procurement of equipments etc. Its during Muntus time that the army faced seven internal rebel groups and three cross border conflicts (Rwanda, Sudan and Kenya) but by the time he left office only one (LRA) was thriving with total victory in Rwanda while diplomatic means took care of Sudan and Kenya.

Muntu’s tenure of office failed to get a partner in Museveni his Commander in Chief to fight abuse of office by senior officers who were all out to grab for personal resources that were meant to improve the welfare of ordinary soldiers. Creation of ghost soldiers and outright theft and diversion of army supplies intensified during Muntu’s tenure. In the early 90s, Muntu took the initiative to stamp it out by instituting a team headed by Serwanga Lwanga, Ivan Koreta and Fred Bogere. The team started from the eastern region to physically identify, photograph and document every member of the NRA and auxiliary forces. From the eastern region, the team proceeded to the northern region but half way into the exercise, Museveni called it off. Even in the units that had already been covered, Museveni blocked arrests and prosecution of the suspects arguing that it is the same commanders that were fighting the insurgency that were about to be punished. Since then vice took root and has become a traditional measure of personal loyalty and allegiance to Museveni. Unknown to Muntu at the time was the fact that thieving by army officers was Museveni’s weapon of ensuring loyalty. In aninterview this is what Muntu had to stay “….a kind of warlord mentality emerged – that you fight to take over power ; you must be recognised for it. As we moved on President Museveni’s long term plans and the warlord mentality found a meeting point. He found it difficult to deal with or punish those that participated. Eventually he became a key representative of that very mentality. He says he killed his animal…….” Muntu is one of the many people who followed Museveni to Luwero without realising that his intention was gain and hold the presidency till death.

However, the practice of Museveni purging officers whom he suspected of disloyalty flourished under Muntu’s tenure. Rendering officers redundant (Katebe) and arbitrary arrest and detention without trial took its toll. The affected officers unsuspectingly mistook Muntu to be the architect of their woes thus developing personal hatred. At one time during the funeral vigil of the late Col. Kyatuka in Old Kampala where Mugisha Muntu was among the mourners, a number of junior army officers led by Rwashande openly attacked Muntu accusing him of complicity in the death of senior officers by rendering them redundant and dying from deprivation. They openly and publicly insulted him by calling him names like ‘Omwiru’. The incident sent shook waves within the army but no disciplinary action was taken against the said junior officers who are now very Senior officersunder the Muhoozi project. Years after he had retired from the army, during a rally in Kamuli district Muntu broke down and cried mid sentence thus “When I recall the times I was forced to arrest my friends and relatives……..” Who was forcing him and who were those friends and relatives?

After serving for nine stormy years as army commander, Muntu got the rare opportunity to see tfrom the inside and grasp Museveni’s hidden intents. When Muntu decided to quit the army Museveni offered him the position of Minister of Defence which the former rejected. Museveni ordered the army to give him fifty million shillings to boost his(Muntu) stone quarry business – the only private economic means he had acquired from his earnings in army. Muntu is the only NRA officer who never stole or illegally acquired any personal wealth by virtue of his position. He is a poor man by all standards. However, it is said that his property on 10 Kyandondo Road houses the NRM headquarters.

When Muntu the former Army Commander joined the opposition, desperate Ugandans who have lost all hope of democratic change of government saw a messiah in him. They anticipated an army man who would employ militaristic approach to the sitting military government under Gen. Museveni. At worst they anticipated Gen. Mugisha Muntu to eat into Musevei’s power base – the military and run him down. Instead, Mugisha Muntu embarked on building and strengthening the leading opposition party. Some sections of Ugandans who don’t fully understand Muntu think that he is a Museveni sympathiser. Ugandans should not be fooled that Mugisha Muntu is not fully aware that Museveni can not accept to loose power through democratic means. In the current efforts to rescue the country, Muntu’s role and method of work should be compared with DP’s Paul Ssemogerere who led his party to form the opposition during the 2nd UPC government. Let us not underrate the role that was played by DP’s Ssemogere to check the excesses of the UPC government which role in turn afforded breathing space and survival of the NRA fighters. There were democratic institutions during the 2nd UPC government unlike the current military dictatorship under Museveni. The other difference is that Muntu has bullet wounds in his chest and leg. Does he fear to be shot again? For those who doubt Muntu’s capability, ask Museveni and you will be surprised. No amount of money, intimidation, blackmail or offer of top position can buy off Mugisha Muntu.

INFORMATION IS POWER

POSTED BY ROBUKUI VIA UAH FORUM

VETTING THE UGANDA POLICE WONT HELP


BY ROBUKUI
Introduction
Last week a Police Constable Julius Mugambagye attached to Mbarara Police Station shot dead four people over a love affair. He was formerly a member of the Local Administration Police (LAP) that was dismantled and integrated into the Uganda Police Force (UPF). As usual immediately after this incident for fear that the it could spark off the much feared civil disobedience, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Kayihura rushed to the scene of crime. He addressed the residents and dished out cash handouts to the families of the deceased. In his ADDRESS, he expressed regrets over integration of former LAP into the UPF without adequate training. He promised that all police officers were to be subjected to fresh vetting to wipe out the undisciplined and unprofessional thus: “We can not tolerate this. All Police persons are to be subjected to fresh vetting to remove the undisciplined, those with criminal mind and character and the non patriotic.” He ordered that all former LAP personnel be taken for fresh training in Yumbe. He cited patriotism among the few benchmarks for one to be a Police Officer but fell short of disclosing that they were to undergo political indoctrination under the guise of fresh training.

Privatising the Uganda Police Force

When Museveni came to power in 1986 he inherited a Police force that was dominated by people hailing from the northern and north eastern regions though the force had a a good number of personnel hailing from the other regions. He viewed the entire force as being hostile to his regime the same way he it had been the case with the Judiciary and the entire legal fraternity. That way, the army took over policing with Gen Aronda’s team stationing itself at the Central Police Station (CPS). In the countryside, Civil Intelligence Officers (CIO) – the old version of the present District Internal Security Officers (DISO) took over running of police stations. His desperate efforts to recruit loyalist cadres into the police force around 1987 did not make any impact save for a few like Cadre Turyagumanawe. As time went on his conflict with the police escalated to the extent that he one time publicly told them that unless they learnt to vote wisely,their welfare would never improve.

He initiated the Julia Sebutinde commission in order to target and eliminate certain individuals in the Police force. He deployed Gen Katumba Wamala not to improve the force’s performance but to give way for ‘his own’ Gen Kaziini to rise to the position of Army Commander. At the time it was Gen Ivan Koreta and Gen Katumba Wamala who were most qualified to replace Gen JJ Odong as Army Commander. For the same purpose Gen Koreta was diverted to Internal Security Organisation (ISO). At the same time the rising star in the Police force, Inspector Fred was diverted to peace keeping in South Sudan. While at the helm of the Police, Gen Katumba Wamala was accused of mobilising logistics from City tycoons to facilitate community policing – a move Museveni described as “nonsense”. By the time both Gen Katumba and Gen Koreta returned to the mainstream military service, Gen Kaziini had raised to the position of army commander. The same way Gen Aronda had been assigned to the privatisation of the army scheme, Museveni appointed Gen Kayihura turn it into a coercive arm of his ruling NRM clique.

Intergrating LAP into UPF
As part of the wider privatisation scheme of the security forces, the traditional LAP was integrated into the UPF. The Uganda Police Force is provided for by Art 211 of the Constitution thus: “There shall be a police force to be known as the Uganda Police Force and such other police forces in Uganda as parliament may by law prescribe.” The LAP had been provided for under the Local Government Act Cap 243 S.179 thus: “Local Government Police and Prisons existing at the enactment of this Act shall CONTINUE in existence until a new law covering them is enacted.” The Police Act Cap 303 S.67 provided for LAP to be under the local government system but for matters of training and standardisation placed under the responsibility of the IGP. The Police (Amendment) Act 2006 amended the principal Police Act, S. 67 thus:

INTERPRETATION:
Police Authority means:-
(b) In relation to Local Administration Police, the administration of the area in which that force is
established.

S. 67A(1) A local Administration Police force existing immediately before the commencement of
this Act shall continue to exist in accordance with this Act and shall be fully integrated into the
Police Force as a Local Administration Police.

S. 67A(3) Local Administration Police shall be under the command and control of the IGP who
shall be responsible for all its operations.

S. 67A (4) The Local Administration Police shall:
(a) Receive the same training as officers of the Uganda Police Force.

S. 67A (5)
(b) Assist the local government in collection and safe keeping of money collected by
division councils.
(c) Work with Chiefs and Local Councils as may be required in the enforcement of law
and order.

S. 67A(6) Local Administration Police shall be appointed by the respective authorities under the
Act.

Going by the above, it is the IGP to blame for the alleged lack of training and professionalism by the former LAP personnel. However, the issue is not lack of training and professionalism but the erosion of discipline orchestrated by institutional impunity and protectionism. Just during the same time of the Mbarara incident, there was a similar incident in Jinja where the Police and the so called Crime Preventers OPENED fire to unarmed traders who had a scuffle with tax officials and injured two. The Police at the scene were under the command of the District Police Commander Apollo Kateba. In retaliation, the traders also descended on one of the crime preventers whom they almost lynched to death. The Regional Police Commander disclosed that two of his officers had been arrested for shooting people adding that they should have used their training to contain rioters. This phenomena of District Police Commanders leaving their stations to oversee small operations by their men alludes to the much feared civil disobedience. Its for the same reason that the other day the DPC of Old Kampala was involved in chasing the innocent journalist on the street before attempting to murder him. The Police Commanders are under briefing to be on the look out and not to take any incident for granted thus acting under pressure.

Its not only LAP that was integrated into the Uganda Police Force; all the different auxiliary forces that had been created in different parts of the country ended up in the Police force as Special Police Constables without going through the formal police recruitment and training. Currently the drive is targeting millions of NAZI GESTAPO like secret police in the form of Crime Preventers. As part of the reaction to the Mbarara shooting incident, plans were announced to recruit and train 23370 Crime Preventers throughout the district. But AGAIN how does a Local Administration Police personnel from Bunyaruguru end up serving in Kotido in Karamoja. The suspect Mugambagye Julius had just been transferred to Mbarara from Karamoja shortly before the incident.

Essence of vetting
Periodic vetting of Police officers would be a healthy move if it was done in good faith. In Kenya it is provided for in the constitution under Art. 246 and the S.7(2) and (3) of the National Police Service Act. It is carried out by the National Police Service Commission who invites the public to provide INFORMATION that may assist in determining the suitability and competence of officers. The overall objective is to build confidence and trust in the national Police service. The APPLICABLEvetting standards include officers satisfaction of entry and training requirements, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity financial probity, and respect for human rights. Those who satisfy the commission are retained and those whose integrity is found lacking are removed from the service. The last such vetting in Kenya was carried out in late 2013 through early 2014 when some heads rolled.

Therefore the vetting Kayihura is talking about is a purge to get rid of those suspected not to be fully loyal to Museveni’s life presidency project.

INFORMATION IS POWER.

Bank of Uganda Statement on the Exchange Rate


Uganda’s exchange rate against the US dollar, in common with those of many other countries around the world, has come under strong pressure in recent weeks. This is mainly for two reasons. First the dollar has itself strengthened dramatically on global markets, for example by 13 percent against the Euro since the start of 2015. Second, in Uganda demand for dollars has increased strongly, mainly from the corporate sector, to fund imports and dividend payments to foreign shareholders following improved corporate profits in 2015. Unfortunately export earnings have declined mainly because of problems in foreign exchange markets, hence the current account deficit has widened.

The BOU’s policy is not to peg the exchange rate or otherwise prevent it from adjusting to levels which are sustainable in the long run. However, when exchange rate movements are too rapid, the BOU will intervene to dampen volatility. After a sharp fall in the Shilling in mid morning, the BOU intervened and sold dollars, which restored some stability to the market.

There has been concern voiced in the media about a re-run of the instability of 2011, especially because of fears of election related public spending, and these concerns may be contributing to the pressure on the exchange rate. There are, however, major differences between the situation in 2011 and that of today. In particular, under the macroeconomic framework that has been put in place since 2011 the BOU will not finance Government borrowing and it will use its policy interest rate to forestall any danger of inflation rising above the medium term policy target of 5 percent. The strength of Uganda’s macroeconomic framework has been recognized by, among others, the international credit rating agencies. For example, Fitch upgraded Uganda’s sovereign credit rating from B to B+ on February 15, 2015, citing in particular Uganda’s good track record of prudent macroeconomic policies supporting robust growth.

SMART TAXATION CONCEPT TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY(PART 2)


In September 2013 I assessed losses due to drought suffered by over 250 maize farmers insured by AIG in Kiryandongo District. The claim settlement (of a 9 digit figure in Ugandan shillings) paid by AIG made the farmers promise to continue borrowing from ECLOF Microfinance (that had insured their agricultural production loans). This experience convinced me that a new taxation concept modeled on these farmers’ income might stimulate the economy by creating employment to over 60% Ugandans in the agricultural value chain.
This new taxation concept aims at leveling the (playing field) cost of doing business by abolishing tax holidays, VAT, withholding tax (W/T), stamp and import duties. (Using this new taxation model) the Government (GoU) would enact laws taxing (companies, individuals) at say 10% deductible on bankable income (credited to URA) by the tax payer’s bank. Only excise duty would be paid on specific goods requested for by (local) industries that need protection and on items posing health risks.

The 20% (economic activity) contribution to GDP from agriculture to have bankable income would require a policy in agricultural insurance whose premium would be paid by GoU; farmers would, thereafter, qualify for agricultural production loans from financial institutions – resulting in their bankable incomes from agriculture to be taxed by 10% (without e-tax returns filed by less than 5% of Uganda’s population connected to the internet). A premium of UShs 150 billion (Nakasero market compensation??) paid by GoU to insurers (for agricultural insurance and perils such as drought) at a premium rate of 0.5% would stimulate the economy by UShs 30 trillion (agricultural production loans). However, a 3% premium (Kiryandongo farmers’ rate) stimulates the economy by UShs 5 trillion; for 10% of the above premium (UShs 15 billion) given to insurers, the economy would still be kick-started by (between) UShs 3 trillion (and 500 billion) in the agricultural sector alone as banks and insurance companies compete to absorb the premiums. The multiplier effect (of agricultural value-chain industries) would create more employment.

URA would narrow its scope of operations to only audit banks for the 10% taxes deducted from bankable income; filing tax returns would become unnecessary business expense; payment of corporation tax would enable acquisition of Tax Clearances for loans and forex transactions. By using a cashless (mobile money economy) from a tax base of 15 million accounts each earning UShs 300,000 (monthly income) GoU can collect UShs 5.4 trillion annually before the 10% taxation (bankable income) from other sectors. 

To enforce opening of bank accounts (for the automatic 10% taxation) for those keeping sacks of money at home, new currency notes would be introduced (offered only through bank accounts); any financial transactions made to mop-up (money sacks) liquidity would (additionally) stimulate the economy. In addition to tracking embezzlement (and money laundering) during the 10% taxation (for onward investigation by IGG), banks and GoU would design more (cashless) services using ATMs.

The current punitive taxes (based on gut feeling, suspicion or perception of the tax authorities) such as VAT, W/T and Import Duty (paid before earning!) would be replaced with (real) taxes paid after being earned. Uganda would become competitive to do business in (a Duty Free zone – ‘Dubai’ of the Great Lakes region).

The current taxation model (since VAT was introduced 20 years ago) of doing the same thing over and over again has stifled expansion and sustainability of the same small business community; whereas the above taxation model reinforced by a policy in agricultural insurance needing further debate and consideration by a People’s 2016 Manifesto might offer probable Plan B to our economy.

Once again “The country needs to make difficult economic policy decisions to restructure the economy rather than leaving the global and local market forces to do the wild and uncoordinated restructuring” as Dr. Fred Muhumuza, a Senior Manager at KPMG Uganda said.

By: Dafala Khalil

“SMART TAXATION CONCEPT TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY


When the fragile Uganda shilling hit the lowest 3000 mark against the dollar on Tuesday, 10th March 2015 I was forced to hurriedly edit the above concept to offer probable Plan B to our economy as part of the People’s 2016 Manifesto series anyone can contribute to in order to influence policy changes in manifestos of political parties. This scenario of a shortfall on the economy’s inability to generate sufficient economic activities was predicted by Mr. Muhammed Ssempijja of Ernst & Young (Tax Partner) in the Daily Monitor of Monday, 29th December 2014 when he explained that “The economic environment is not attracting and retaining enough investments. This means that the tax base is not expanding because there are fewer players.” Of course needless to say is that the economy depends on imports rather than exports.

Over-taxation stifled business growth and made EU countries uncompetitive that finally forced firms to relocate (jobs) to Asian countries. The Daily Monitor of 22nd September 2014 echoed something similar, “AVOID WESTERN TAX MODELS – EXPERTS” summarized by Action Aid International chairperson Irene Ovonji Odida as “Western models are said to be unfavorable to developing countries like Uganda”. President Museveni was even spot on when he made Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) waive taxes on building materials for Nakasero Apartments owned by a Somali business-woman. Therefore, in view of the foregoing it seems Uganda must ‘invent the wheel’ in taxation by striking a balance between collecting taxes and stimulating the economy without copying IMF and World Bank policies.

On 4th February 2015 traders within Kajjansi on Entebbe Road were visited door to door by URA demanding payment of taxes; by coincidence there had been an article in Daily Monitor of that same day, written by Kyetume Kasanga titled “Private schools should pay the 30 per cent tax without increasing fees”. Analysis of the above unsustainable method used by URA to collect taxes in this dot com era proved to me that URA needed to re-invent a taxation model probably similar to the attached concept for further debate. Four examples will serve to explain the need for a new taxation methodology in this era: –

1.Walk into any down town city shopping mall in Kampala; are you convinced that URA collected taxes (on every item you see being sold in that mall) at importation or from its local factory here? If your conscience says no, then who is fooling who or what other taxation model can be used?

2.As (only?) Kampala is opening up to all the unplanned development (with suburbs such as Kibumbiro, Kasokoso or Kikubamutwe), will it be KCCA or URA to reach out to collect taxes (the Kajjansi way?) from such undeveloped areas (including from private schools suggested by Kyetume Kasanga) without endangering the lives of the revenue collection staff? Just recently in Kenya, school children fought off an ‘investor’ who had taken over their playing field in this global village of children’s rights.

3.Dr. Fred Muhumuza, a Senior Manager at KPMG Uganda wrote in the New Vision of 9th February 2015 ‘Explaining the current shilling depreciation’ that Uganda “The country needs to make difficult economic policy decisions to restructure the economy rather than leaving the global and local market forces to do the wild and uncoordinated restructuring”.

4.Winnie Byanyima’s article in the Daily Monitor of Tuesday, 3rd February 2015 on “Revise Corporate Tax Rules to close wealth gap” argued on behalf of Oxfam International that there needs to be a global tax reform to redistribute global wealth; her BBC radio debate titled “A richer world but for whom” aired on 25th January 2015 completed her argument.

The answer to the above scenarios is, “do not use yesterday’s solutions for today’s problems” in the collection of taxes and restructuring the economy; my ideas in the attached taxation concept have a Ugandan context which could thereafter be used to engage and lobby the Ministry of Finance.

The key questions this ‘new’ taxation concept will try to address are: –

• The current taxation system stifles growth of businesses that finally go under; an overhaul needs to be undertaken which unfortunately the elite and politicians might be slow to accept as they are the direct beneficiaries of the current system and/or enslaved by IMF and World Bank policies.
• A good taxation system should not tax any business before sales; in the Ugandan context most businessmen lose an average of two (2) weeks for each consignment imported as they are caught between URA and looking for money to pay taxes (losing about two months annually).
• Real value for money (i.e., taxes) is not sometimes realized as tax evasion, undervaluation and/or overvaluation takes place with connivance of clearing agents thus creating unfair business climate.
• The 18% VAT; 25% Import Duty; 6% Withholding Tax makes Ugandan products become very expensive.
• The above tax percentages remain high because widening the tax base has been left to URA alone who always retains the high percentages over the same small business community thus ending up stifling the expansion and sustainability of this same small business community.

The (attached) taxation concept also offers a very simple model with very fair sustainable percentages; collected at source (banks); easy to audit by URA, Bank of Uganda and Auditor General; removes all bureaucracy of assessment and filing of returns; widens the tax bracket by bringing on board the more than 50% (unbanked and untaxed) farmer populations using Oxfam’s model termed “Even It Up” of using public financing (in this tax model) for agricultural insurance; which triggers expansion and stimulation of the (insurance and) agricultural supply chain to create employment; catches up with corruption and embezzlement of public funds by exposing such culprits to the IGG directly from their bank accounts; and might in the long term check money laundering.

The conclusion to be drawn from the taxation concept presented is that maximizing on tax collections alone (even at times when URA surpasses their own targets in the hardest of times) strangles the economy. Please have a nice reading.

DAFALA KHALIL

KITUMBA OR REMMY KASULE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER THAN KATUREEBE FOR CJ


These new chaps Katureebe and Kavuma are cadre judges. Kavuma
particularly. Museveni now has total control of the judicial system. In the Court of Appeal, there are at least three judges who are are independent and not NRA cadre judges, and these are Remmy Kasule, Ruby Opio Aweri, and Christine Kitumba, so the court was somehow balanced 4 cadres against 3 independents. Now the two cadres have been promoted and we remain to see who will be promoted from the High Court of Constitutional Court to replace them. It is more likely Museveni will promote cadres, meaning that he will completely control the highest courts of the land.

As I told you before, Christine Katumba was my personal choice for CJ because of her academic record, having taught almost 50% of all the lawyers practicing in Uganda. She is also not controversial. The second choice was Remmy Kasule. At least I thought Mueveni would appoint one of them as CJ or Deputy. Now he has totally ignored the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission, and you cant even understand what exactly they do, if Museveni just runs rough shod over what they are supposed to do. His Nepotism has now reached sickening proportions.

George Okello Via UAH forum

Parliament Seats for Ugandans in the Diaspora


TO: His Excellency Edward Sekandi

RE: Parliament Seats for Ugandans in the Diaspora

December 23, 2014

Dear H.E Vice President Edward Sekandi,

Thank you for meeting with the Ugandans Overseas Peoples Organisation. We are an organization representing the tens of thousands of Ugandans living abroad in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. We are a hardworking and patriotic group, and we want to contribute to the developments in our home country and have our issues heard. Ugandans living overseas encounter a myriad of issues that should be addressed by our leaders. But it is extremely difficult to get in touch with ministers—they usually travel abroad for brief periods of time, or they’re unwilling to meet with us. We need representatives in Parliament who understand the types of problems we face, and can serve as liaisons between you and us. We are requesting 50 seats in Parliament for Ugandans in the diaspora, a number that is less than a quarter of the current total of 383 seats.

Outlined below are some of the more common issues Ugandans overseas encounter, and the ways in which our own representatives in Parliament would assist us.

· Ugandans imprisoned abroad: In many cases, they never receive assistance from embassies and are left on their own. A representative from Parliament would be responsible for following up on cases, getting in touch with relatives, and finding ways to provide legal assistance.

· Prostitution: Young Ugandans are lured to the United States under false job promises and are then forced into prostitution. Our representative would ensure that individuals or companies offering jobs to our children are thoroughly researched and investigated, and held accountable.

· Ugandans who die abroad: There are instances where someone dies without relatives back home knowing and/or having a way for their bodies to be returned. The MP would facilitate getting in touch with those related to the deceased and help organize burial logistics.

· Investors: These are small-scale entrepreneurs eager to bring business to Uganda, for instance in the agriculture and technology sectors. The MP would work to connect these investors to vendors and business owners in Uganda. In addition, Ugandans living abroad who want to build businesses in Uganda would benefit from having a representative to link them to reputable vendors. Too often we have been scammed by dishonest practices because we’re living abroad and are unable to directly oversee our business.

The 50 Parliament seats would be divided as follows.

· United States and Canada: 20 seats, 13 of which should be women. Eight from the East Coast (including New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington, DC); five from the West Coast (such as Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington state); three from the Midwest (such as Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan); two from the South (including Texas, Florida, Georgia and Arkansas); and two from Canada.

· Europe: 10 seats, 7 held by women, including from England, France, Belgium, and Sweden.

· Asia: 15 seats, including from United Arab Emirates, Russia, and Turkey.

· Africa: 5 seats.

MPs would be registered members of the Ugandans Overseas Peoples Organisation and would not represent political parties. A Board consisting of ten members shall review applications for potential MPs, narrow down the list, and forward finalists to your office for selection. These representatives would be held accountable for fulfilling obligations and communicating with constituents. If we feel our representatives are not carrying out their duties, the Board will remove them and send a new list of names to the President to replace them. The representatives would sit in Parliament for three months at a time, then take one month to travel to their respective countries and meet with Ugandans constituents. This would give provide them an opportunity to update us on any developments, and for us to voice our issues. The month abroad would also build awareness about current events in Uganda, promote tourism, and create a gathering space for Ugandans in the diaspora.

Thank you for considering our request. We look forward to working with you in addressing the needs of Ugandans living abroad.

Sincerely,

Florence Kiremerwa – President

Ugandans Overseas Peoples Organization

Email: uoporganisation@gmail.com
UGANDANS OVERSEAS PEOPLES ORGANISATION
P.O BOX 5267 KAMPALA, UGANDA

Issues Facing the Ugandan Diaspora


Dear Members of the Ugandan Diaspora,

Greetings,

I wanted to speak directly to you on the issues that affect us as members of the Ugandan Diaspora, request your input and share with you some of the efforts that UNAA has been spearheading since my administration came into office two years ago.

This is a conversation, and your input is vital to its success. Let’s begin this conversation now and hopefully we shall be able to continue it in New Orleans in a few months.

As the oldest and largest Ugandan Diaspora Association, UNAA has been the pre-eminent voice of the Ugandan Diaspora since its founding in 1988.

At the 2000 UNAA Convention in Kampala, the UNAA leadership at the time presented a very strong case that was instrumental in the passage of the dual citizenship law about 10 years later. While we are grateful and welcome the law’s passage, it has some serious shortcomings which have seriously hampered the ability of the diaspora to take full advantage of it.

Part of the reason this is so, is that the Ugandan diaspora was not adequately consulted while the law was being drafted. Right now, there is a draft national diaspora policy document before the Ugandan cabinet and I think it is paramount that the document gets the input of the Ugandan Diaspora and especially you the UNAA Members.

We have been able to gather the following issues as those currently affecting the Ugandan diaspora that government can address, we would like to engage you in a conversation about some other issues we may have missed out. Please send an email to info@unaa.org with the Subject “Diaspora Issues” to contribute to the conversation.

The Ugandan Diaspora remains a key participant in Uganda’s economic development over the last 30 years. The average remittances per year between 2008 and 2012 amounted to about US $800 million, which exceeds official aid which averaged US $538 million but equivalent to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Uganda. In addition, remittances have been a more stable source of capital than private capital since the diaspora is more likely to continue investing even when the private capital markets consider Uganda to be high risk.

Issues Facing the Ugandan Diaspora:

1) The Right to Vote. The Ugandan Diaspora strongly feels that their democratic right to participate in Uganda’s political development has been strongly hampered by their inability to be able to cast votes from their lands of residence.

2) National ID. The National ID Program Implementation and its imitations for the Ugandan Diaspora and dual citizens. Will there be the ability for the diaspora to acquire the ID at the nearest Ugandan Embassy or mission? If not yet possible, what measures are being put in place to cater for the diaspora who still need services from Uganda but do not have the ID?

3) Loss of Ugandan Citizenship. As currently written, if a Ugandan citizen acquired the citizenship of another country, say the United States or Canada citizenship, they automatically lose Ugandan citizenship and would need to reapply and pay $400 in order to be dual citizens. This needs to change. If you are a United States Citizen and acquire Israeli citizenship for example you don’t lose United States citizenship and vice versa.

4) Ring-fencing Dual Citizens out of Positions. As currently written, Dual citizens can not serve is certain positions in the country. The diaspora feels this is discrimination, and rightly so.

5) Citizenship to Children born abroad. Children of Ugandan citizens born abroad don’t automatically acquire Ugandan citizenship, they have to first apply and be 18 years of age. A child of a United States citizen born abroad automatically becomes a United States citizen. This needs to change in Uganda as well.

6) Need for Cheaper Calling Rates. Because of taxes, calling Uganda is more expensive than calling Kenya or Rwanda, this needs to change.

7) Need for a cheaper Money Transfer Mechanism. There is a need to understand why the money transfer fees are quite high for Uganda compared to Kenya or Rwanda, this needs to change if it has to do we taxes. I am aware that some new money transfer services have emerged that are considerably cheaper than the traditional banks and services like Western Union and MoneyGram.

8) Non-Resident Assets Protection Program. If you buy Mailo land and you’re in the diaspora, a squatter who has lived on your land (without permission) for 12 years can not be kicked off. We need a special provision for the diaspora. Also, the other issue that has been raised is a diasporan’s descendants inheriting land especially since they are not automatically Ugandan citizens by virtue of their parents being Ugandan citizens.

9) Expansion of the Online Services. Payment of Taxes, Utilities, Registration of businesses, Verification of land titles, births, death.

10) Visa Fees Waiver. President Museveni promised to waive these fees, on his recent visit to Dallas, Texas. This needs to be followed up. We feel dual citizen or not, a citizen is a citizen and should be not be discriminated.

11) Diaspora Bond. Ugandans in the Diaspora would like to have a right to participate in Uganda’s economic and infrastructure development. Many other governments have been successful with these efforts.

Current Diaspora Services:

1) Diaspora Services Department – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The DSD was created in 2007 following a Presidential Directive for a Diaspora Services Department to be created in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Public Service approved the creation of Department in 2008.

2) Diaspora Desk – Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
The desk was created in 2013 to create a link and a sustainable communication channel through which Ugandans in the Diaspora can get information about Parliament of Uganda, Uganda at large and how Parliament can be supportive to them

3) Diaspora Office – State House, Entebbe, Uganda
President Museveni promised to set up a Diaspora Desk reporting directly to him on his recent visit to Dallas, Texas in September 2014. We will follow up.

Brian M. Kwesiga
President and CEO,
Ugandan North American Association – UNAA
972.415.6372 | http://www.unaa.org | “United We Stand”

WAS M7 BAPTIZED OR NOT?


Stories about Museveni are interesting depending on who says it. The other day I got a Somali in a clinic; we greeted each other and exchanged pleasantries; he introduced himself and added that he was from Somalia; I also introduced myself but at first hesitated to mention my country of origin but after assessing his friendliness, I told him that I was from Uganda. Oh, immediately said, “Museveni?” and I said, yes!. The old man told me of his friend in Mogadishu who slept in the same room Museveni had used in Sweden; that the man often brags that he is the only one who has shared a room with a president! But that his friend whom he visits yearly whenever he goes to Mogadishu says that Museveni is a pagan, has no religion and his actions are ungodly. Oh, I stopped him there and told him that Museveni is a Christian and that his name is Yoweri; the old man argued saying Museveni picked that Yoweri name for “Survival” and challenged me to name other Christians that behave like Museveni. I was going to argue further but my appointment to see the doctor came, I was called and that was it.

Later I pondered over the “survival” issue and wondered about its possibility; might it be true that my president wasn’t baptized but picked the name “Joel” in order to feel welcome as getting services during his time was pegged onto somebody’s religion. Another question that has kept me preoccupied is to unearth how the Somalis came to that conclusion, might have somebody tipped them of that secret, and if so, who was that person with Somali connections, could that person be Salim Saleh who has businesses in Somalia? My president is a pagan and yet he preaches in churches?

Peter Simon Okurut via UAH Forum.

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