Uganda asked to support the resolution on right to privacy before the UN

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solomonws@unwantedwitness.or.ug

Activists have written to the Uganda Government through the ministry of Foreign Affairs soliciting support for a resolution on surveillance and human rights called “the right to privacy in the digital age,’’ at the United Nations.

Unwanted Witness-Uganda an organization that advocates for digital rights and internet freedoms called on government to support the resolution that was introduced by the Brazilian and German delegations at the United Nations.

The Unwanted Witness a campaign based organization promotes the use of modern tools to amplify change people’s lives in Uganda joined other international groups that urge the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a new resolution against indiscriminate mass surveillance.

The draft resolution, titled “The right to privacy in the digital age” was introduced in the wake of the NSA mass surveillance revelations.  The resolution calls upon states to respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication and to take measures to put an end to violations of those rights.

The Executive officer Unwanted Witness Uganda, Godfrey Ssebagala says that Uganda should take a leading role to support the Resolution as it has been doing during its tenure as member of the UN Human Rights Council.

Ssebagala pledged that the Unwanted Witness is to engage in dialogue meetings with the government of Uganda to appreciate the importance of this resolution and undertake measures to enact a national law to safe guard privacy.

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Kampala Lord Mayor finally thrown out amid legal confusion

SOLOMON LUBAMBULA
Solomon@unwantedwitness.com

slubambula@gmail.com

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has been voted out of office despite a court order stopping the exercise.

The motion to vote the Lord Mayor out of his seat was moved by Councilor Sserwamba Baker during a meeting that was chaired by the Minister in charge of Kampala Frank Tumwebaze at city hall this morning. 

The motion was supported by 29 councilors and opposed by only 3 councilors.  The Councilors who opposed the motion included Shifrah Lukwago, Deputy Lord Mayor Sulaiman Kidandala and Aidah Nakuya(NRM). 

Shortly after the vote, Minister Frank Tumwebaze declared the office of the Lord Mayor vacant. Earlier on Lukwago’s lawyers were barred by police from accessing City Hall to serve the meeting with the court order stopping his impeachment. This morning, Lukwago’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka and Medard Ssegona secured a court injunction stopping the authority from impeaching the Lord Mayor

The emotionally broken Councilor Shifrah Lukwago explains how the meeting disregarded the court order and went ahead with the impeachment process.

Kampala Central MP Muhammed Nsereko says this was expected, describing the process as a pure breakdown of the rule of law that calls for alternative actions by Ugandans to restore democracy.

“if a court order was served on to the minister and he disregard it…..but if the rule of law has broken down then another option will have to been taken up, it’s an issue of the voter, it’s an issue of insulting the democratic process.”

A section of Members of Parliament expressed dismay over the news of Lukawgo’s impeachment saying the action undermines the democratic principles Uganda has been trying to propagate.

This morning in a special sitting chaired by the Minister in charge of Kampala, KCCA councilors voted Lukwago out of Office based on the recently released tribunal report that found the mayor guilty of incompetence among other charges.

The Opposition chief whip in Parliament Winnie Kiiza says that today’s action of impeaching the Lord Mayor should be an indicator to all Ugandans that the Museveni regime does not uphold the constitutional and other tenets of democracy.

“what has happened today and what is happening in Kampala is just the climax so that everybody can see that Museveni is a complete dictator, Article one of the construction gives power to the people, this is an attack on human beings, this is an attack on the fundamental rights of those who voted Lukwago….you have been told openly that you do not matter in Museveni’s government”.

The Forum for Democratic Change and also Serere District Woman MP Alice Alaso described the impeachment of Lukwago as a treasonable act that Ugandans ought to challenge.

“this is a treasonable and the constitutional order has been overthrown in this country….. with no respect to any process, not process from the judiciary, Not reason, respect to Uganda aspirations so this is treasonable act , so the ball is back to the court of Ugandans, Ugandan have to raise up and defend that 1995 constitution”.

Meanwhile the Minister promised to report back to the Authority on the way forward now that the office of the Lord Mayor is vacant. Now no one can determine the next cause of action by the people of Kampala especially those who had given Lukwago the mandate in the previous election.

END

I give a shit, Do you? Sanitation is Dignity

 

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solomon@unwantedwitness.or.ug

Many people may shy away from discussing the usually straightforward act of going to the toilet, but the fact remains that the act of using toilet is far from being a simple exercise in some parts of the world. Globally 1.1 billion people defecate in the open and this is common mainly in the slums.

But in 2001, the World Toilet Organization declared its founding day, 19 November, as World Toilet Day. Since then, 19 November has been observed globally by its member organizations.  Such a day opens up an opportunity to the people to discuss this very important subject to the men, women, children, the old, the rich and the poor. 

However the problem of having no toilets and proper usage is more pronounced in the poor societies

In these slums, hundreds of thousands of people live in homes that are little more than makeshift shacks, in such situations the people lack the most basic water and sanitation facilities, and just one public toilet is available to every 300 people.

Such condition first of all makes people become adept at holding it in, often spending hours in discomfort. Secondly the people eventually find relief by doing the necessary in a plastic bag, and then tossing it out onto path outside. This is termed as “flying toilets”, one of the many scourges of life in slums like Katanga.

Sanitation is one of the world’s biggest problems. Forty percent of the world’s population don’t have toilets. Yet experts say about 70% of the diseases come from the lack of sanitation, where water is polluted.

Uganda’s population is estimated at 34.5 million people, according to the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics.

Authority at the ministry of health indicated that the National Average toilet coverage is around 68% which means almost seven homes out of every 10.

However the coverage also differs according to the locality, 80% that is eight homes out of every 10 in urban areas have toilets, and 60% a representative of six homes out of every 10 in rural areas have toilet facilities. In the slums the situation is bad because the coverage is 40% indicating that four homes out of every 10 have toilets.

Now governments and the Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) have embarked on finding solutions to the problem especially in the Slums and other parts of the community in order to attain the sanitation Millennium Development Goal by 2015.

Marking this year’s World Toilet Day the state minister in charge of Primary Health Care in Uganda Sarah Opendi stressed the need for all stakeholders both in Government and Non government Organization to step up their efforts to ensure the people have and use toilet facilities.

Opendi asked leaders at the District and other local government levels to reach out their communities with by-laws on sanitation issues without being intimidated with denial of votes in the next political elections.

The minister said that “government aims to stop open defecating by the year 2018 and the leaders should not focus at achieving such targets in 2030 and beyond”

Opendi stressed that whereas the country’s progress on attaining the Millennium Development Goals has not been convincing, as a country we can use the remaining 700 days to make a difference on the sanitation front.

Because Uganda’s performance in terms of sanitation stands at 71 % which is still below the Millennium Development Goal target of 77%, the ministry of education, health , that of Water and Environment all other agencies need  work closely together to have get the country back on track for the Millennium Development Goals, said Opendi.

She says that government losses 389 Billion shillings due to the productive time lost and treatment of its people who suffer from illnesses caused by poor sanitation.

“yet this 389 billion shillings could be used in other sectors if saved, for instance we(government) are looking for 30 billion shillings for starting the students’ loan scheme which we do not have”

 Meanwhile both international and local civil society organizations have embarked on sensitization and other activities to ensure sanitation and hygiene for the people.some of the initiatives include designing biodegradable bags that can be used as toilets and after which the human waste is sold out to be used in making fertilizers. Hopefully this will give an income to many but also ensure hygiene and dignity.
END

Civil Society turn to Courts over POMA

 

 

 

 

slubambula@yahoo.com

 

 

Although President Museveni assented to the Public Order Management Bill last month making it illegal to hold public meetings without police permission according to the new law, activists say the struggle for their freedom of assemble continues.

 

 

By the nature of operations of the Civil Society Organizations that  always interacting with the Public, a host of civil society organizations under their umbrella organizations the Development Network for Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA) have decided to petition the Constitutional Court challenging the Public Order Management Act 2013(POMA).
 
 The civil society Organizations under DENIVA that convened for their annual general meeting, discussed the effects of the law on their activities and came up with a number of resolutions.

 

The DENIVA Executive Director Justus Rugambwa the new law comes with a lot of uncertainty regarding the civil society work. Giving the example of the annual general meeting that attracted over 700 organisations Rugambwa said that as organized they were not sure if the gathering was lawful since they had not written to the police as recommended in the law.

 

The law requires organizers of public meetings to write to the Police 48 hours before holding the event.
 
“we should have filled a form, waited for 48 hours notice by the police and got permission from own of the premises and watched out what we are saying, so these community based organizations are now asking, with all the work they do in monitoring social service delivery in groups, must they fill the form, must they inform the police since they talk about public projects, policies and programs”-Rugambwa

 

 The Uganda Law Society Secretary General Nicholas Opiyo who is drafting the constitutional court petition on behalf of DENIVA, explains that the Law has four contentious issues that must be challenged.

 

He says holding organizers liable for the criminal acts of the participants of the meeting is unfair and irregular because because practically organizers may not have control over all parties involved.

 

 “the law makes organizers of demonstrations criminally liberal for actions of third parties in our view that offends the principle of individual criminal liability, nobody should be held liable for actions of the third parties.”
 
Quoting section 6 of the Act that requires anybody who is aggrieved by a decision of a police officer to stop a demonstration must run to court, Opiyo argues that the police cannot constitute themselves into a jury and judge of their own case.
 

 

Despite the fact that the police should go to court and seek a court order to stop a demonstration, now law tasks the organizers of demonstrations to go to court to justify their own demonstration.  Council Opiyo says this is a reversal in the principle for presumption of innocence and fair hearing. 

Opiyo further justifies the petition saying that the state must be able to allow everybody to exercise their freedom simultaneously but peacefully instead of allowing one group a right over others.
 
The Public Order Management Act was passed by parliament on August 5th 2013 before President Yoweri Museveni assented to it on October 10.
 
The law is aimed at regulating the conduct of public assemblies and empowers the police to allow or disallow any gathering of more than three people meeting to discuss political issues. Government says the law is meant to curb lawlessness and encourage discipline among political leaders who use public assemblies to incite violence. 
 
The Act provides for the regulation of public meetings, specifies the duties and responsibilities of the police, organizers and participants of such gatherings. It also prescribes measures for safeguarding public order without compromising the principles of democracy, freedom of association and freedom of speech.

 

The Public Order Management Act was passed by parliament on August 5th 2013 amid strong opposition from political, diplomatic, religious circles and civil society circles. Disregarding the public outcry over the bill, President Yoweri Museveni assented to it on October 10.
 
The law is aimed at regulating the conduct of public assemblies, by giving powers to the police to allow or disallow any public meetings discussing political issues.

 

Butambala MP Muwanga Kivumbi  who has been at the forefront of fighting this law said the new law goes beyond infringing on the people’s rights enshrined in the constitution but also violate Article 92 which prohibits parliament from enacting laws to overturn the ruling of courts.

 

Muwanga based this argument on the fact that after his constitutional court petition in 2008, challenging section 32 of the Police Act that was giving powers to the Inspector General of Police to prohibit a public meeting, Court ruled that this was a limitation on the rights to freedoms of assembly and association.
 

 

In a rare move Muwanga honestly said, all Ugandans ought to appreciate the achievements by the President Museveni’s regime, consolidate and build on them. The opposition and critical lawmaker said it is not worth even for President Museveni or any other to bring laws like this one that may degenerate the country into a situation that may undermine the National achievements registered over the years.

Muwanga said it is no incumbent upon all patriotic Ugandans to oppose and defy the POMA as the constitution which is the supreme law requires them to do.

END

 

Opposition threaten to torch city over Lukwago impeachment

 

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A section of opposition legislators have threatened that they would cause havoc in the country’s capital Kampala if the Museveni regime go ahead to remove the people’s elected leader the lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

The threats comes amid rumors of a planned impeachment of the lord mayor based on a leaked report by the 3 man- tribunal headed by justice Catherine Bamugemeire which is pending the official release.

While addressing a rally organized by Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante at Nankulabye Market last Saturday, opposition who were put under tight security from Police deployment under the command of Samuel Omara, warned that if the executive goes ahead with their sinister moves to remove the Lord Mayor from the City Hall office, they will not just look on but to put a spirited fight against this.

Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze who is also the shadow Minister for local government says the people of Kampala should embrace the struggle to defend Erias Lukwago because the battle by KCCA executive Director Jennifier Musisi and a few councilors is directed to them who voted for Lukwago. Nambooze warned the people who turned up in Nakulabye that they will be to blame when they let the Executive and a few individuals to impeach Lukwago.

She added that the residents of Kampala and those who operate in the city should be ready for any consequences thereafter Lukwago’s impeachment.

However she quickly encouraged them to wake up and exercise their powers as guaranteed to them by the constitution to defend their elected leaders.

Despite Omara’s presence who occasionally took video recordings using his mobile phone, Nambooze threatened that if the executive dares to remove Lukwago, the city will be burnt down.

“It only takes one match box to burn down this city, if Lukwago is impeached”-Nambooze.

Nambooze further called on the proprietor of Hotel Africana Haji Brahim Muwanga Kibirige, not to host the electoral commission and whoever will be conducting the electoral process of the councilors for professional bodies. According to Nambooze these elections are aimed at fully constituting the Kampala Capital City Authority an act that would facilitate Lukwago’s impeachment.

So it is upon this note that Nambooze asked BMK as the proprietor of host hotel not to be “swayed way by Money” because Ugandan are watching every one “contributing to Lukwago’s impeachment” she said.

The Kyadondo East MP Ibrahim Ssemujju who started by asking the people to isolate and never welcome people like Omara in their midst because of what he called “atrocities inflicted on the innocent Ugandans” said the opposition is to step up its efforts to block the illegal election of the councilors for professional bodies.

“Every one of you should contribute to this struggle by doing whatever is in their powers instead of the battle leaving it to them (opposition politicians) and a few other activists” Said Ssemujju.

Ssemujju stated that the election of these councilors is being conducted in bad faith, just to play one role of impeaching the Lord Mayor.

“The day we will lose hope that is when we will be defeated as a people. So we should be charged every day that passes if we are to desist the oppressive rule of President Museveni”-Ssemujju added.

Responding to the President’s statements while opening the newly constructed Wandegeya Market recently, the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago vowed not to apologize to President Museveni for him to retain is Lord Mayorship position.

Also using a Market place at Nakulabye just the President, Lukwago said that he was not ready to be compromised to retain his position at the expense of the people’s plight.

Lukwago asked if President Museveni is in State House courtesy of the people’s mandate, then why is he disrespecting the people’s voices that voted for him as the capital city Lord Mayor.

He further asked the congregation whether he had wronged them(as people of Kampala) in anyway, and in response the hundreds of people that had gathered shouted a big “No”, Lukwago further posed another question directed to President Museveni as to why should he go out yet the people of Kampala who voted for him are still with him.

Speaking emotionally, Lukwago stressed that he is determine to fight against oppression of the ordinary city dwellers under the guise of development.

Lukwago said though he is not necessarily against genuine development, it should be executed with fairness to the people who are the beneficiaries. He further explained to the crowds that the executive and a few councilors embarked on this impeachment plan, just because he has refused to be part of the group that is plundering this city and the country at large.

Lukwago stressed that he is being political witch-hunted because he remains at the major stabling block to this theft at the city hall. He says he is always tasking the KCCA executive director and other to account for the tax payers’ money.

The Lord Mayor said, “That is why there is no case of misappropriation of funds put against me”

END

Beware of the ills related to tourism development-Museveni warns

 


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President Yoweri Museveni has acknowledged the need for the country to devised mechanisms to avert different ills that may come with increased tourism activities.

Marketing the country’s rich tourism sector under a safe and secure environment open to all potential tourists, the President was quick to caution stakeholders to be keen about the vices that may crop up as a result of tourism development.

Speaking ahead of viewing the solar eclipse at Owiny Primary School in Pakwach Nebbi district, Museveni said whereas the Tourism Industry contributes to the country’s economic development, there should be efforts to avert the possible problems like terrorism, poaching, Drug trafficking, Prostitution and child Labour that may come along.

“ we need to have in place monitoring mechanisms  and functions to fight these evils. Parents, schools and communities must be now more vigilant to fight these vices” -Museveni

Apologizing to the visitors that gather at Owiny Primary school for the rigorous security checks, Museveni said the terrorists and other wrong elements may disguise as tourists just to cause harm to the country.

Museveni who marketed the country’s tourism sector assured the entire World that Northern Uganda is now peaceful and tourists can safely enjoy the tourism attractions across the country.

Turning to the locals, Museveni urged Ugandans to stop depleting swamps, encroaching and cultivating in National Parks saying that the gazatted areas should be protected by all because they generate more revenues which benefit the economy.

After explaining the tourism endowments, an increased wildlife population and how Uganda has a package with different weather patterns all year round, Museveni said, “Lets preserve this beauty because it is a unique gift”

 Museveni who presided as the chief viewer of the solar Eclipse at Owiny Primary School said Ugandans should appreciate the National Parks instead of growing Malakwang (local green vegetables) in these protected areas.

“you grow Malakwang in other parts but not in the National Parks because we need the National Parks, they bring more money than we can get from these crops grown there”-Museveni .

The President said since the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of states Meeting in Kampala, more people have started to show interest in visiting Uganda. He said that there efforts to strengthen the country’s cultural and natural biodiversity because the sector contributes about 1.5 million dollars in addition to employment opportunities it offers to the young people.

The president also attributed the growing Wildlife population over the years to peace, security and reduced cases of poaching in the country.

Uganda is now regaining her position as a tourism destination on the African continent as it was in the 1950s and 60s, Museveni noted. He added that the country’s Tourism potential is evident with the number of accolades the country has received in appreciation of its tourism developments.

END