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Will Buganda kingdom’s new legal body stop land grabbers?

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Justice Esther Kisakye (C) with the katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga (R), former Buganda attorneys general David Mpanga (L), Godfrey Lule (3rd L) and John Katende (2nd R) as well as the current attorney general Christopher Bwanika at the launch of Buganda Royal Law Chambers

One of the most pertinent issues in Uganda revolves around land, especially in Buganda region where many peasants are still struggling to register their land or kibanja due to lack of access to legal representation. As a result, illegal evictions and land-grabbing have become routine, something that has worried the kingdom leadership for years.

However, last week’s creation of the Buganda Royal Law Chambers could herald a new chapter in helping poor people with legal representation, writes DAVID LUMU.

On August 14, the cream of Buganda legal brains converged at Bulange gardens in Mengo to officially launch the Buganda Royal Law Chambers (BRLC), the new legal department for the kingdom.

Supreme court justice Esther Kitimbo Kisakye, who was the chief guest, described the move as a move long overdue; Charles Peter Mayiga, the katikkiro, praised it as a breakthrough while Christopher Bwanika, the kingdom attorney general, noted that BRLC is the turning point in the fight against land grabbers because it will offer access to justice for indigent Ugandans.

“One of the biggest challenges for Ugandans is to get legal representation because it is expensive. Even as a kingdom, we have been relying on the good relations with some top law firms to represent us, sometimes at no fees,” Bwanika said.

“The situation is much harder for individuals who have no financial capacity to get the best legal representation, especially when faced with an adversary who is intent on evicting them from land. So, BRLC comes in as a department to help those people in Buganda at a minimal fee and, where necessary, in the interest of public litigation, BRLC will do so on a pro bono arrangement. It is going to be a legal aid project. The fight to ensure that our people enjoy their fundamental human rights is a noble fight which we shall carry on with integrity.”

Bwanika also noted that with this new standing legal team, it shall also assist the kingdom to manage legal risks.

NEW DAWN

Since the restoration of Buganda kingdom in 1993, it has been striving to rebuild the pillars that constitute its heritage. According to Mayiga, the establishment of BRLC will make  it not only convenient for the kingdom to oblige with the law, but will also provide it with the requisite strategic direction as it endeavors to position itself in the general scheme of things in the country.

“For instance, we aspire for a federal system of government but such an aspiration is only attainable in full compliance with the rule of law and the Constitution. Therefore, BRLC will be pivotal in this regard,” he said.

“Presently, Uganda experiences episodes that challenge the rule of law like rampant land grabbing and unlawful occupation of land, the sporadic violations of human rights and economic deprivations that affect a big number of our people. The solution lies in an emphatic observance of the law and adherence to the constitutional provisions, however weak or inadequate the institutions that enforce them may be.”

Mayiga also decried what he described as some laws and court orders being morally repugnant.

“St Peter’s church Ndeeba was demolished following due process but the action of demolishing the church touches upon people’s spiritual inclinations and beliefs and I believe these ought to have been taken into account by the court,” he said.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT

In the same vein, he pointed out that there is a profound symbol of Buganda heritage at the same site in the form of Oluzzi Kalinda next to the church. “It is a royal spring that supplies water to the Kabaka during the coveted ritual of coronation of the Kabaka at Naggalabi, Buddo. Therefore, my first instruction to BRLC is to pursue all lawful means to secure, preserve and protect Oluzzi Kalinda,” he said.

On her part, Justice Kisakye commended Buganda kingdom and all those who conceived this idea. “I have no doubt that this initiative will bear high dividends for the kingdom,” she said. Kisakye, who will mark 11 years at the Supreme court in October, reinforced this notion, basing on a recent experience she had at the Supreme court, where she couldn’t hear a matter in which a kibanja holder, unbeknown of the court process, appealed to her for relief from eviction.

“I told him that he is in a wrong forum; however, I advised him to seek legal services from various organizations. So, I’m very proud to be here when the kingdom is launching a legal department whose mission is to provide legal aid to indigent Ugandans,” she noted.

“So, for the many senior counsels and members of the legal fraternity present, the kingdom has launched this initiative but it will not be able to carry out this function effectively if you don’t come to its assistance, especially in this area where some of the people who greatly need legal services cannot afford to pay for them. The country is crying out for justice.”

Also drawing from her experience as a lawyer at the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (Fida-Uganda) before she joined the bench, Kisakye said the creation of BRLC was long overdue.

“A lot of progress has been made since the kingdom resumed its activities 27 years ago. However, BRLC has been established at a time when the kingdom continues to face many challenges of a legal nature like the quest for a federal system of government in Uganda, the place of the Buganda kingdom within the current constitutional order, recovery of property confiscated by government as well as the issues of securing and enforcing competing rights in land within the overall legal regime governing land ownership and holding in Buganda. Then there is documentation and enforcement of unwritten Buganda customary law,” she said.

“We all know that the kingdom has over centuries produced positive values and customs which were saved by the 1995 Constitution but when these laws are unwritten, everyone interprets them as they choose. That’s why I believe it is time for us to move forward and I see the BRLC having a role here.

“So, given the challenges I have highlighted above, it is my conviction that BRLC will go a long way to assist the kingdom to render this service that is required but in short supply.”

Kisakye reiterated that she has no doubt BRLC will bring affordable, quality and efficient legal services to the kingdom but it would also go a long way to safeguard the interests of the kingdom of Buganda and its people.

“Addressing current and future challenges requires a team of professional and dedicated advocates who are willing to serve above self and who are committed to serving the kingdom with integrity,” she said.

Kisakye also delved into the controversy of the demolished church. “For those who have had the opportunity of reading the judgment, you can see that the lawyers could have done better. We can only judge the cases as good as they come. If you do not make [good] arguments before court, I may be the proud daughter of Buganda but I would follow the law. So, help develop our jurisprudence by presenting good arguments.”

She summed up the presentation by warning that as BRLC strives to be a centre of excellence, it should recruit the very best in legal practice. “I trust there are good brains that can build the institution that will make us all proud as well as safeguard and protect the BRLC brand. We look forward to seeing BRLC becoming a legal think-tank for the kingdom and its institutions.”

BACKGROUND

In practice, BRLC is now the official representative of all Buganda entities such as Buganda Land Board (BLB), Kabaka Foundation and Buganda Cultural and Development Foundation, among others.

According to Dennis Bugaya, the BLB spokesman, a similar institution that resembles BRLC was created under the 1900 Buganda agreement until the kingdom was abolished in 1966. “It used to fall under the office of Omulamuzi [judge]. Presently, Omulamuzi is the equivalent of Ssabawolereza (Attorney General); so, BRLC is equivalent to the Attorney General’s chambers,” he said. “This is now the reestablishment of the office.”





Source – observer.ug

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Year of the Overcomer-Prophet Elvis Mbonye

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The eagerly awaited first fellowship of controversial Prophet Elvis Mbonye left viewers shocked as he declined to issue his now famous prophecies citing a refusal to settle for the new normal. In an on online service watched by thousands, the Prophet said him prophesying would “ be a concession to gathering online, rather than physically” further stating that it is not the will of God that church should meet online!

The Covid-19 SOPs given by the government and Ministry of Health have heavily impacted gatherings and as a result, ministries with large congregations have resorted to online services. The prophet however insists that this is a ploy to diminish the influence of the Kingdom of God.

He however proceeded to give the Prophetic Word of the year , saying “This is the year of the Overcomers” amidst cheers from those present. He also stated that this would not be a “gloomy” year, probably meaning that this would be a good year. Given that many of his prophecies have actually come to pass, should we pay more attention to him? We eagerly await the prophecies this year.

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Kabuleta blasts Media over “COFIT” reporting in new rant.

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Presidential hopeful Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta has expressed dissatisfaction with the media over what he says was”alarmist reporting” over the Covid-19 pandemic which he calls “COFIT” a term we believe is a wordplay between covid and profit, a view held by many that claims that the disease was exaggerated to maximize funding and corruption. Kabuleta has come to be known for his straight shooting style and admirable command of facts and policy, even being touted as the “smartest candidate” in the race.here is the full statement:

MEDIA AND THE COFIT ENTERPRISE

By Joseph Kabuleta

“Don’t look at where you fell, but where you slipped”
AFRICAN PROVERB

We know where the media fell. They fell when they were caught in the crossfire between opposition politicians and trigger-happy security hitmen; when they were unfairly targeted as they went about their noble duty of covering this explosive elective season. Sadly, some journalists are nursing wounds; others weren’t so lucky.
But it’s important for us to understand where they slipped.

If someone is sitting by the roadside sipping on his brew and he sees a gang of people sprinting past him, as if for their lives, it’s understandable if he impulsively joins without asking questions. But if after nine months he is still sprinting, and has still not asked any questions, then there’s something terribly wrong with him.

When we first went into lockdown in March, it was probably the best course of action because we didn’t know the full extent of the Cofit threat. But in the first 90 days, it was clear to all and sundry that it was never going to rank among Uganda’s top health challenges. And that’s not my opinion.

The Daily Monitor on July 15th quoted Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, describing the Cofit strain in the country as a mild form of flu which does not require hospital admission since it can be treated at home or in lower health facilities.
“l told Ugandans right from the beginning that the type of coronavirus we expect in Uganda is the mild one. It can be treated at health centre II, III, IV or the district hospital,” the top Medic said.

I read the story with glorious delight supposing that finally common sense, (or should I say science sense) would inform our decisions as a nation. But it’s difficult to know where science stops and politics starts. It’s become clear over the months that Cofit is not just a virus that causes respiratory problems, it’s a lot more than that; it’s a weapon in the hands of politicians that gives them power beyond their wildest dreams. In America, for instance, Democrat Congressman Jim Clyburn said Cofit is a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our (leftist) vision” while actress and activist Jane Fonda said that Cofit was “God’s gift to the left.”

Our media could have taken the side of poor Ugandans by showing the immense suffering and death from preventable sicknesses that resulted from the harsh Cofit measures; they could have highlighted the plight of businesses permanently closed and workers rendered redundant and sent back to villages. They could have wondered why truck drivers were testing negative in Kenya and positive in Uganda, or wondered why Cofit deaths only started after Prophet Museveni showed us a macabre lineup of coffins in his address, or why every celebrity who dies since then is ruled as Cofit (no autopsy required)

They could have told us that according to Worldometer, Cofit has a 0.28% mortality rate (or a 99.72 survival rate) and that it doesn’t rank anywhere in the Top 10 of Uganda’s health challenges; they could have told us that a child dies of malaria every two minutes (and Uganda accounts for 3% of the world’s malaria fatalities), which means that more Ugandans die from mosquitoes in ten days than Cofit has (allegedly) killed in the nine months it’s been on our lips.

Ugandans (especially of my age) have lived through real pandemics. As a young man growing up in the early 90s, nobody had to remind me that AIDS was real. Goodness me, I knew it was! And I didn’t need police to force me to wear protection, I knew the consequences. The fact that we are constantly being reminded that ‘Cofit is real’ tells a story of its own.

The media could have asked why Uganda, with one of the lowest Cofit cases or deaths, still holds on to a 9:00pm curfew when Kenya moved to 11:00pm in September, as did South Africa and several countries. The media could have told us that Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania and, recently, Ghana all held successful elections with full blown campaigns in 2020, and we aren’t hearing people dropping dead from Cofit in any of those countries. May be they should have tried to find out if people are dropping dead in Tanzania which altogether ignored all Cofit measures and went on to acquire middle-income status while Ugandans were still in lockdown.

They could have told us about the asymptomatic Cofit patients who were filmed dancing the night away in hospital wards, or of people suffering from other diseases who dare not go to hospital because they fear to be given a fake Cofit label and held for two weeks against their will.

The media could have told us that Cofit deaths across the world have been grossly inflated. Minnesota lawmakers say Cofit deaths could have been inflated by 40% after examining death certificates (according to The Washington Examiner) while Fox News reported that in Colorado 45% of Cofit corpses “were also found to have bullet wounds”.

They could have told us that 22 European countries, all of which had tens of thousands of Cofit deaths, opened their schools in the fall, and there has not been any reported spikes in cases as a result. They could have told us that more people have been killed by security men enforcing Cofit measures than by the virus itself.

Well, they could have…but they didn’t. And that’s where they slipped.

Instead they chose to go down the path of alarmist reporting and in so doing became, inadvertently or otherwise, enablers of Uganda’s trillion-shilling Cofit enterprise. Like Squealer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the media used flowery language to drum up fear by keeping people’s eyes transfixed on swelling numbers while the thieves carried their loot and stashed it away, and loan money was distributed among family members or used in regime prolongation.

The recent joint television news bulletin, and the adverts that followed, were the peak of hysterical reporting. “Zuukuka Tusaanawo” (wake up, we are perishing) screamed an advert featuring top media personalities. What a load of……(fill in appropriate word).

Remember, all the tyranny we have witnessed in this season has been done in the name of Cofit, and such sensationalist reporting justifies it; it gives dictators like Museveni the perfect pseudo-moralistic cover to unleash their most despotic fantasies while actually pretending that it’s for the good of the people. Unfortunately, the terror has now spread to the very media people whose hyperbole enabled it in the first place. There is such a thing as the law of cause and consequence, after all.

Instead of the media walking out of pressers and threatening to boycott government functions, let them threaten to stop all Cofit reporting. Museveni himself would come running with chocolate in hand.

If the president extended curfew by just two hours, for instance, he will have put as many as 200,000 Ugandans back to work especially in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries; but he doesn’t care, and sadly neither do many middleclass Ugandans who suppose that it’s their moral obligation as responsible citizens of the Global Village to fret over Cofit just because their ‘fellow citizens’ in Europe and America are doing so. Of course they can afford to do that because their corporate jobs have, for the most part, insulated them from the devastation of the government-instituted Cofit measures. They can enjoy working at home, beer in hand, as they listen to CNN and BBC and still expect the full complement of their salaries at the month end, and that makes them feel every bit like ‘their brothers’ overseas.

Such aspirational conformists are more likely to be offended by my stance on Cofit because they haven’t traversed crook and creek of this country and seen the damage reigned on this fragile society; not by the virus, but by the measures supposedly instituted to mitigate it.

You see, perhaps the most enduring damage this regime has done to our society is creating a three-part hierarchy of class and needs. At the zenith are a handful of connected ‘1986 generation’ and their families who feel entitled to all power and wealth. Beneath is a small (and shrinking) middleclass, and at the bottom of the pyramid is a mass of peasants. Every society, to various degrees, is ordered in the same fashion, but what makes Uganda unique is that the megalomaniacs at the top don’t give a nickel about the plight of the middleclass and the middleclass in turn don’t care a bit about the quandary of the peasant. The charlatans at the top will impose punitive taxes on the middleclass, then dip into NSSF coffers at a whim to share out their savings, and no one can stop them.

And the middleclass Ugandan, armed with his medical insurance, and safe in the knowledge that his wife is unlikely to die in child birth (20 Ugandans do EVERY DAY), and his children are very unlikely to die of malaria (20 do EVERY DAY), or from malnutrition (thousands do every year), will go around trumpeting Cofit because it’s more relevant to his status than malnutrition or malaria.

I could just as easily go down that path. I could also close my eyes to mothers failing to get breast milk because they can only afford half a meal a day (black tea with a piece of cassava), and the malnourished babies that emerge as a result; I could close my eyes to the teenage girls that were given out in marriage because schools closed, or those given out to meet family needs; I could ignore the fact that our president is opening 5-star markets in cities which have 1-star referral hospitals; I could also choose to look the other way and enjoy my middleclass lifestyle, but as an aspiring leader, I cannot.

As a leader, my aspiration is to remove the privileged/entitled class, to expand the middleclass (and their income), and to shrink the peasantry; but mostly to blur the lines that separate each category.
It doesn’t bode well for our country if the average Corporate Ugandan knows more about racism in America than about extreme poverty in Teso or Busoga because that disqualifies him/her from the solution to those local problems.

And finally, I have come to the realization that the biggest pandemic afflicting our country is poverty and the virus that causes it is called M7-1986. Vaccination against it is January 14

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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