National News

 
 
 

How Nambooze, Ssegona Eluded Numerous Check-points to Masaka

KALUNGU

The police leadership could still be evaluating their deployment tactics after legislators Betty Nambooze and Medard Lubega Ssegona beat numerous road-blocks to travel to Masaka on Sunday.

Nambooze, the Member of Parliament for Mukono Municipality and Ssegona, her Busiro East counterpart, were part of an aborted Democratic Party (DP) meeting called to protest against the leadership of party president Norbert Mao. It was after the meeting was blocked by the police that violence broke out in Masaka town.

On Sunday, police deployed heavily along Masaka-Kampala highway to prevent Nambboze, who was recently suspended as Buganda Region Democratic Party Vice President, and her supporters from travelling to Masaka for anti-Mao crusade.

A section of DP supporters led by Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga had convened the crusade at Tropic Inn to discuss the party wrangles which saw Nambooze suspended.

However, anti-riot police commanded by John Mwawule, the Masaka District Police commander, raided the hotel and ordered all guests to leave the place. Police mounted road blocks along Kampala - Masaka Highway to block MP Nambooze from making it to Masaka.

But Namboze, travelling with Ssegona, managed to beat heavy security along the 124km road to make it to Masake for the crusade.

Nambooze and Ssegona travelled in a black Cross Country Mercedes Benz. Despite the fact that police had erected three road blocks in Lwera alone, Nambooze and Ssegona went through without their vehicle being checked.

Police near Kayabwe and at the road block near Lukaya Rice Farm waved the vehicle to proceed but stopped coasters carrying passengers to Masaka.

It was only at Lukaya that the two MPs waved to supporters that police noticed them and attempted to arrest them but they still eluded Police and drove off.

At Kaddugala trading centre, Nambooze branched off towards Kalungu district, connected to Villa Road and emerged from Kyabakuza.

The drivers of two police patrol vehicles got confused and continued to Masaka through Villa-Maria road yet Nambooze had continued to Bukomasimbi.

At this point, Nambooze and Ssegona changed the vehicle entered one blue car and connected to Kyabakuza-Sembabule road.

At around 2pm, the two opposition legislators had made it to Masaka. Police was surprised to see her at Mathias Mpuuga's office. Police moved and fire rubber bullets at Ssegona and arrested him.

Next was Nambooze who, too, was arrested as police fired teargas to disperse a crowd that had formed. In the chaos that ensued, police ran out of teargas forcing military police to intervene.

As the military police from Masaka Amoured Brigade beat up people, some of the DP supporters attacked police personnel who had run out of teagas. Juliet Nakawala, the head of Criminal Investigations and Intelligence (CIID) at Masaka Central Police station, was the first officer to be beaten. An unidentified man kicked her and she fell in the sewage lagoon near Byansi Medical Centre along Elgin Street. The DP supporters accused her of leading the arrest of Nambooze.

A police officer identified as James Yocar who was running away from the mob fell and twisted his leg. He is nursing injuries at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.

Latif Zaake, the Southern Region Police Commander says Nambooze and her group camouflaged and used different vehicles which confused the police. He also says they used village routes.

Zaake however says police used excessive force after DP supporters turned violent and started throwing stones at police officers.

 
 

32 Parishes Lack Chiefs

 
 
 

KABALE

Thirty two out of the seventy parishes in Kabale District operate without parish chiefs. Most of the parishes haven't had a parish chief for over three years.

The absence of parish chiefs hinders the implementation of key programs like local revenue collection.

Abert Matsiko Mutungwire, the Chief Administrative Officer Kabale District, says currently some of the parish chiefs handle more than one parish.

He says the shortage of parish chiefs has hampered the smooth operation of activities at the parish level.

Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, the Kitanga Parish Priest in Kashambya Sub County, says even the available Kitanga parish chief isn't qualified to hold the office.

Batanyenda says most of the government projects, which need supervision by the parish chiefs have been left to waste.

He accuses the district leadership of keeping silent on the issue of the parish chiefs, yet they play a vital role.

Robert Kakuru Byamugisha, the Director Kick Corruption out of Uganda, a non-governmental organization that fights corruption, says the absence of parish chiefs affects development since they are charged with the responsibility of chairing village planning meetings.

James Mugisha, the Acting Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabale district, says their hands are tied since they can't recruit new parish chiefs.

 
 

MPs Scrutinise Human Rights Bill

 
 
 

KAMPALA

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee has started scrutinising the Human Rights (Enforcement) bill, 2015. The bill was tabled by Mitooma Woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka.

It seeks to enforce Article 50 (4) of the constitution, which compels parliament to enact laws for the enforcement of rights and freedoms provided for in Chapter four of the Constitution. These include the right to life, respect for human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment, right to own property, right to privacy, right to education and others.

Parliament hasn't enacted any laws under Article 50 (4), which provide for the enforcement of human rights by all persons, institutions and organs of government since the 1995 constitution was promulgated.

The Human Rights (Enforcement) bill, 2015 limits the enforcement of human rights by the High Court and empowers any person or organization to initiate a human rights and enforcement action before the same court.

It however restricts he High Court's powers not to issue redress where the same is available under any other law such as the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Act. On procedures, Clauses 5 to 6 provide that for a matter to be taken to court, it should be by an Ordinary Complaint and the matter should be heard in open court by a single judge.

The bill also provides for reference from a subordinate court or tribunal, if in the course of any proceedings any question of violation of a fundamental right and freedom guaranteed under Chapter four of the Constitution arises. In this case, proceedings in the subordinate court are stayed until the High Court determines the human rights question, and the decision of the high court is binding on the subordinate one.

Clause 7 of the bill empowers High Court to make all orders it considers necessary and appropriate for the enjoyment of rights and freedoms including compensation when a right has been violated, unlawfully denied or there is need for its enforcement.

The bill also provides for appeals from the High Court to the Court of Appeal. Kamateeka, who also doubles as the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee appeared before the Legal committee today to defend her bill. She told the committee that once approved the bill will give people an opportunity to choose to file human rights violation cases before the Uganda Human Rights Commission or courts of law.

However, some committee members led by Robinah Rwakoojo, the Legal Committee Vice Chairperson wondered whether the bill will not limit powers of Uganda Human Rights Commission. Kamateeka clarified that the Human Rights bill does not in any way limit the powers of Uganda Human Rights Commission.

Kamateeka also said that due to the absence of enforcement procedures, applicants are currently at the mercy of the judges.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) says that Clause 4 of the bill should be amended to grant original jurisdiction of human rights cases to the Chief Magistrates Court.

Dr. Rebecca Amollo, the FHRI Research and Advocacy Officer told legislators that it would be easier for complainants to receive justice in the magistrates' courts due to the case backlog in High Court.

Different reports have in the past pinned government agencies for various human rights violations, including arbitrary killings, torture and cruel treatment, poor conditions in detention centres and harassment of opposition politicians.

In 2016, a human rights report by the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy highlighted lack of respect for the integrity of the person (unlawful killings, torture, and abuse of detainees), restrictions on civil liberties (freedoms of assembly, expression), and violence and discrimination against marginalised groups, such as women and children as the most serious human rights problems in Uganda.

 
 

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