Sembabule Woman Arrested For Child Theft




Sembabule Police are holding a woman accused of stealing a child from her workplace.

The suspect is Betty Alina, a resident of Kilinda in Kitanda Sub County in Bukomansimbi district.

She is wanted for stealing a two-year-old child from her boss’s home.

The victim’s mother, Jancinta Nalubega, a resident of Mbuye village in Lugusulu Sub County in Sembabule district, says she had gone to the garden by the time Alina made away with her daughter.

According to Nalubega, she returned home to an empty house and thought that Alina had gone with the child to the nearby shops to buy some groceries.

She says that she waited for them to return home for hours prompting her to neighbors about the whereabouts of the minor and Alina.

Nalubega says she was shocked to receive information from neighbors indicating that they had seen Alina boarding a Boda boda with the minor to unknown destination.

Amos Mukwaya, a neighbor to the victim’s mother, says they were attracted by alarms made by Nalubega after finding discovering that Alina had made off with her son.

According to Mukwaya, they started a man hunt for Alina in the neighboring villages and got information that she was hiding at her friend’s place in Lutunku trading center in Sembabule district.

Lameck Kigozi, the Southern Region police spokesperson confirmed Alina’s arrest.

He warned parents to be cautious about the people they entrust with their children, saying cases of kidnaps and thefts are on the rise in Masaka region.

He said the suspect is likely to face charges of child of theft once police inquiries into the matter are completed.


Government Changes Strategy on Forceful Land Acquisition



The government has dropped its plan for the forceful acquisition of private land for infrastructural development projects. The change follows public outcry on a draft which had been tabled by lands minister Betty Amongi to allow the government to take possession of private property, even when the owners contests the value determined by the chief Government Valuer.

Under the initial proposal, the government wanted to take over the land and deposit with the court, any compensation awarded to a dissatisfied property owner, pending determination of the matter. The government argued that the proposal was intended to remove hurdles faced in realizing time-bound infrastructural projects.

However, this proposal was widely rejected forcing the government to withdraw the bill.

Lands Minister Betty Amongi says that the government is in the process of introducing an amendment on the Land acquisition act of 1965, to provide for the introduction of a tribunal which will be the first mechanism of handling compensation disputes.

According to Amongi, the Tribunal of five will be appointed by the President. The members will consist of a lawyer, a registered surveyor, a valuation surveyor, a quantity surveyor and a land surveyor. The tribunal's function will be specific only when the government is acquiring land and when the value of land is contested.

Amongi says that the change implies that the government will only occupy land after compensating its owners. Amongi, however, adds that there are circumstances when money will be deposited in an escrow account, for instance in cases of absentee landlords and where different parties are fighting over compensation and ownership of land.

She says where a person declines to negotiate with the government on land deemed for the public interest, he or she will be forcefully evicted.

Meanwhile, the government has initiated a National Dialogue on compulsory land acquisition to provide a safe space for a well-organized, issue-based and inclusive national debate of the draft amendments to the law, and for creating the conditions for the emergence of a national consensus on the way forward.

The National Dialogue organized through Landnet, a Research firm that deals with land, will give Ugandans an opportunity to make side by side comparisons and reasonable parameters on compensation.

Landnet’s Board Chairman Moses Musinguzi says that governments across the world forcefully acquire land, but require an acceptable process to do so.

The National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition will be held in Kampala on Thursday, March 21, bringing together government officials from the Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Justice, State House, Civil Society Organizations, diplomatic corps as well as the private sector and academia.

The National Dialogue is seen as a necessary first step towards reaching a national consensus with regard to proposals on compulsory land acquisition.


KCCA Ordered To Stop Arresting Vendors




Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) council has passed a resolution stopping the institution’s law enforcement officers from arresting vendors and hawkers in the city.

The resolution was passed in a council meeting chaired by the Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago on Wednesday. The resolution comes as the institution moves to expeditiously start issuing licences to vendors and hawkers in Kampala.

The resolution was in response to questions raised by technocrats who argued that arrests happen on daily basis. KCCA Acting Deputy Executive Director, Sam Sserunkuma urged councilors to strike a balance between letting vendors flood Kampala and having a trade order in the city.

Councillors argued that KCCA can deploy law enforcement officers but without them arresting vendors for lack of licences and permits. They argued it has been the institution’s fault for failure to give traders licences even when there are laws under which licences can be issued.

The councillors further argued that since KCCA has been ordered to withdraw charges slapped on vendors and start the process of granting amnesty to those serving sentences, it would be immaterial to continue arresting and sending to prison more vendors.

The council directed that law enforcement team deployed in the city should be guiding vendors or blocking them from putting their merchandise on roads. Lukwago argued that vendors can be arrested for breaking other laws such as blocking of traffic but not for lack of licence.

KCCA legal directorate has been given up to Monday to give a report of vendors and hawkers on remand sentence. The directorate has also been asked to come with a mechanism of expediting the process of ensuring that vendors are released from prison.

The idea of pardoning vendors was first broached by Kampala Minister, Beti Kamya on Tuesday last week. Kamya argued such a move will restore good working relationship with between government and traders.

“As a truce to future good working relationship between hawkers and KCCA, KCCA should withdraw charges against hawkers on remand for hawking. This does not exonerate hawkers on criminal charges,” the letter dated 12th March, 2019 reads.

“KCCA should investigate the possibility of granting amnesty to hawkers who were convicted for hawking and are serving sentences,” the letter further reads. Granting amnesty, Kamya says should be informed by a precedent set by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who at one time directed withdrawal of charges against boda-boda riders who had violated traffic rules.

In a move to win political capital of releasing vendors and granting licences, councilors, argued that Kamya has no power to give directives. What she, offered, they said was mere advice. Council resolutions, they said is what matters.


UPDF Starts Verification of Veterans




The army has commenced a nation-wide verification exercise of all unpaid ex-servicemen.

Adolf Mwesige, the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs in a statement issued on Wednesday said the exercise will target unpaid military veterans and beneficiaries of deceased soldiers who lack necessary documents.

According to the Defence Ministry, there are at least 79,084 army veterans who have not been paid their pension and gratuity arrears worth 500 billion shillings.

The verification exercise starts on Thursday and will end on 13th April in ten zones.

Regional Zonal Leaders have also been appointed to work closely with the existing 39 Zonal Pensions Officers for efficiency of the exercise.

Maj Dick Kaija Kirya will oversee the registration and verification exercise for the Rwenzori region, Maj Fred Kasimoni Mushambo for Ankole/Kigezi region and Maj Samuel Ssekamwa for West Buganda, Maj Robert Lutaaya for East Buganda.

Capt. Samuel Kabiseku for Busoga, Maj Martin Komakech for Acholi/Lango regions. Meanwhile, Maj Fred Mayeku will head the exercise in Bugisu/Bukedi, Capt. Moses Emeju for Teso, Capt. Mike Jackson for Karamoja and Maj Milly Angulima for West Nile.

All unpaid ex-servicemen including living veterans, estates of veterans deceased in retirement, estates of officers and militants deceased while in active service have also been asked to liaise with the Regional Team Leaders and Zonal UPDF Pensions for assistance.

Claimants for death pension and gratuities, executioners or administrators of the estates have been asked to obtain certified letters of administration.

Those to be paid under ex gratia category include documented living veterans of World War II as in May 2010, Uganda army, Uganda National Liberation Army and documented Not Yet Available as in May 2010.

Mwesige has tasked all Resident District Commissioners –RDCs, Local Council V Chairpersons, Local Government officials and District Internal Security Officers –DISOs to ensure the successful implementation of the exercise.


Wakiso District Moves to Support Artisanal Miners




Wakiso district has embarked on a new strategy to improve the operations of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners in the development minerals’ sub-sector.

Wakiso district is endowed with development minerals which are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. The development minerals include sand, clay, quarry stones and kaolin among others. The district has 78 stone aggregate sites, 293 clay sites and 150 sand mining sites.

The District Natural Resources Officer Rebecca Ssabaganzi says that they intend to primarily focus on clay, quarry stones and sand; the three minerals which are already being exploited, by building the capacity of the miners on safety, sanitation and environment conservation.

Ssabaganzi says they have so far kicked off with mapping and locating spatial Artisanal and Small Scale Miners in four lower local governments of Kasanje, Kakiri, Mende and Namayumba. Besides locating the different mining sites, the district will be studying the working conditions of Artisanal miners and training them to add value to their work. This component of the project, targeting over 30 mining sites, is costed at 18 million Shillings.

Ssabaganzi further observes that they will use the same project to sensitize miners to form formal leadership structures to control child labour and tap into various government programmes.

She adds that the miners can as well receive grants from development partners to support and develop their work. She pointed them to the African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Ltd (AGF) which targets 5000 micro, small and medium scale ‘Development Minerals’ operators in Africa.

Ahmed Kasumba, one of the miners from Mende quarry site says that artisanal miners have been neglected for so many years despite their contribution to the district's revenue. William Kakooza, another artisanal miner observed a need for high-quality safety gear to guarantee the safety of miners at work.

Wakiso District Vice Chairperson Betty Naluyima is optimistic that the project will solve questions related to sand mining in Wakiso. She says that they will be reaching out to sand miners to forge a way forward on how they can continue with their activities without breaking the law.

Records indicate that the neglected development mineral’s sub-sector employs over 400,000 Ugandans, 44 percent of who are women. Artisanal Mining is responsible for the production of an estimated 83 percent of all Development Minerals by value in Uganda.


Guard Shoots Kenyan National to Death




Masindi police are investigating circumstances under, which a private security guard shot a Kenyan national working with sugar works limited.

The 30-year-old Nathim Themba met his death on Wednesday night at the hands of Julius Ayebale, a private security guard attached to Saracen Security Company limited.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region police spokesperson, says Ayebale shot Themba following a misunderstanding over unknown reason.

According to Hakiza, after shooting the decease, the guard abandoned his fire arm and took off.

He says a postmortem conducted at Masindi General Hospital on the deceased shows that he died due to excessive bleeding resulting from the bullet wound.

Hakiza says they have launched a manhunt for Ayebale who is at large.

He expressed concern over the reckless fire arm usage by private security guards in the region.



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