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UHRC: Quotes for a thought; a must read on Human Rights breaches in Uganda!

uganda-masaka-prison

“I had a case of my brother who was arrested by police and was asked to pay UGX 100,000. But after the community meeting by UHRC, I learnt that police bond is free.” A participant in a community meeting in Luweero District (UHRC, P: 64, 2016).

As there been a hectic year for Uganda, with the preparation for the General Election of 2016, the report from Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), should have lots of instances where the breaches of violations towards political opponents and dissidents from the NRM-Regime. As the system is to uphold the status-quo and respect Mzee. I will today look through the Report and find the most staggering numbers and tales. To show what kind of actions the government does against their own citizens, in the name of the Executive and his reign to keep rule all for himself!

Alone alleged violations in Uganda that we’re registered in 2015 we’re “Torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” total of 345, “Deprivation of personal liberty/detention beyond 48 hours” total of 247, “ and kind of violation in 2015 we’re 909 to all the offices of UHRC. As seen the registered complaints to the UHRC; the respondents are the once claimed to be responsible for the violations. Here is the one usually behind it:

“The top five respondents over the past six years (2010-2015) have remained the UPF, private individuals, UPDF, local governments and the UPS. In the six years, the UPF had a total of 2,646 (the highest number of complaints registered against a respondent), while private individuals had 1,271. The UPDF had 622; UPS, 205; and local governments, 200” (UHRC, P: 15, 2016). This here proves the level of violations from the Army and Police; the once that are surprised by that haven’t followed how the Modus Operandi of the security organizations in Uganda.

Kakira Prision

One testimony to the UHRC:

“I was told by the investigations team they would follow up my complaint of being detained for eight days at Kakira Police Station. Indeed the Uganda Human Rights [Commission] team did so. I was never at any one point in time asked for facilitation to conduct the investigation until it ended. I now await the outcome of the investigation. By the way, it is upon the Commission’s intervention that I was released immediately. Investigations were conducted objectively and thoroughly to the extent that the perpetrators asked for my forgiveness.” (UHRC, P: 15, 2016).

Second testimony to the UHRC:

“I was arrested by the police from Adjumani Central Police Station on allegations of theft. During detention, my money [amounting to] UGX 200,000 was taken and kept by the police. After conviction and serving my sentence in prison, I went to claim my money, but police told me it was an exhibit in court. When I reported the matter to UHRC, it was registered and investigated and all my money was paid back.” (UHRC, P: 16, 2016).

Complaints completed in 2015:

“In 2015, UHRC closed 382 complaints after investigations. Of these, 287 were backlog files and 95 were fresh complaints registered during the year. 382 complaints were closed for various reasons, including successful mediations, insufficient evidence, receipt of remedy by the complainant, requests from the complainants, referral to other institutions, cautioning of respondent and not revealing any human rights violation. Other reasons included merging of files, failure to trace respondents and death of complainant” (UHRC, P: 17, 2016).

Human Rights 17.11.15

Outstanding compensation from Attorney General to the Tribunal:

“Therefore, the UGX 758,552,86813 that MoJCA paid as compensation to victims of human rights violations in 2015 did not cover any beneficiary of the complaints decided by the Commission during the period 2013 to 2015 (refer to Annex A). As of 31st December 2015, the outstanding awards against the Attorney General was UGX 5,047,671,968 (Uganda shillings five billion, forty seven million, six hundred seventy one thousand, nine hundred sixty eight)” (UHCR, P:31, 2016). Here is the reason for the delayed compensation of the awarded through the tribunal: “Delayed payment of Tribunal awards. Respondents, especially the Attorney General, take long to pay tribunal awards. Although the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs has argued that this is mainly due to limited budgetary allocations, UHRC has realised that the delay is sometimes caused by the bureaucratic processes that require the respective state attorney to form the first opinion on whether to appeal or clear payment of the award. This has caused untold delays, especially in cases where the state attorney may not be willing to recommend payment of the award, particularly where the Attorney General was not represented during the hearings” (UNHCR, P: 32, 2016).

Prisoners awaiting Ministerial Orders:

“K.S Awaiting ministerial order for 24 years. It was reported that he does not get visitors” (…) “B.E Awaiting ministerial order for the last 15 years” (UNHCR, P: 37, 2016).

Third Testimony:

The human rights training we attended were very helpful. I learnt that when I torture a suspect it is entirely on me and me personally…”said an officer from Kasangati Police” (UNHCR, P: 37, 2016)

A little on how the detainees and Prison conditions are:

Many places don’t have transport for suspects of crime, they are taken random by public transport in places like Kole, Erute, Lira, Anyeke, Otuke, Pece and Kinene. With this result on place as well: “At Kamwenge and Bigere police posts, suspects were transported to court and back on bodaboda at a cost of UGX 60,000” (UNHCR, P: 44, 2016). Also inaccurate salaries and compensation of Police officers: “At Buganikere police post, an officer had not received salary since December 2013 and at Hima police station, five staff members had missed their salary of September 2015. At Rwangara police post, staff could not easily access salary because the bank was far away and they would have to incur transport costs” (UNHCR, P: 44, 2016). Even lacking basic structures is a problem at Police Post, Police Stations and Prison cells: “Detention facilities that did not have adequate water for sanitation and personal hygiene included Kiboga, Kasangati and Rubanda prisons, as well as Buseruka Police Post and Nakaloke and Bunkhongo police stations” (UNHCR, P: 51, 2016). When it comes to sleeping facility for detainees: “UHRC found that 234 out of the 896 detention facilities inspected did not have adequate beddings; so, detainees used either tattered blankets, mats or pieces of papers. This was observed in 41 prisons, 192 police detention facilities and one military detention place inspected. These facilities included: Mutufu and Ngora prisons; Ngai, Iceme, Aber, Kwera and Kangai police posts; as well as Dokolo, Otuke (adult cells), Agawata, Adwari and Olilim police stations” (UNHCR, P: 52, 2016).

AGEWATCH-summary-of-summary

The Senior Citizens Grants for Empowerment roll-out plan:

UHRC noted with concern that although 1.2 million people in Uganda were aged 65 years and qualify for the SAGE programme, only 123,260 were benefiting. However, in August 2015, the government announced the roll-out plan of the SAGE programme to 40 more districts across the country over the next five years, beginning with 20 in the FY 2015/16 and subsequently adding five districts every year for the next four years until FY 2019/20” (UNHCR, P: 103, 2016).

Digital Privacy:

“There were allegations of infection by malicious software of communication devices belonging to various individuals, including journalists, believed to be instigated by state agents.156 It is alleged that once infected with this software, a person’s computer or phone could instantly be remotely monitored; passwords, files, microphones and cameras could be viewed and manipulated without the owner’s knowledge” (UNHRC, P: 141, 2016).

On the General Election:

“UHRC noted reports of the overzealousness and selective application of EC guidelines by the UPF, leading to their alleged interference in and denial of some campaign rallies, prevention of opposition accident victims from accessing a health centre for treatment, prevention of people from attending opposition rallies, violently dispersing opposition rallies and injuring supporters; and the arrest of opposition officials and confiscation of opposition materials such as manifestos. It is worth noting that the UPF took action on some of its errant officers and instituted investigations into the incidents” (…) “There were concerns about the alleged discriminatory nature in the way political players enjoyed rights and freedoms of assembly, movement and personal liberty, which did not, in many cases, favour opposition leaders during the electoral period” (…) “Although UHRC noted positive developments, such as strengthened internal mechanisms in political parties, the successful nomination of presidential, parliamentary and various candidates at the local government, and introduction of new technology, such as SMS and the online system, there were challenges that still hindered the realisation of the right to vote. UHRC also noted that some of the challenges identified during the previous elections, such as the timely review of electoral laws, had not been addressed in the run-up to the 2016 elections. In addition, UHRC notes that there is need to address evolving challenges, such as lack of internal democratic party processes, the emergence of crime preventers and militia during the electoral period, and the varied interpretation of laws, in order to ensure that the right to vote is realized” (UNHRC, P: 169- 172, 2016).

UPF 2008 Torture

Proposed amendment of the 48 hour rule:

“There have been proposals to amend Article 23 (4), which prescribes for the production of a detained person to court within 48 hours from the time of his or her arrest, on grounds that the prescribed 48 hours is insufficient to bring a person to court” (… ) ” UHRC, therefore, recommends that:

  • Article 23 (4) should be retained and priority placed on enhancing the investigative capacity of the Uganda Police Force” (UHRC, P: 203-204).

Uganda Police Force should urgently address the issue of detention of suspects without files. If there are no files or charges against them, they should be released:

UHRC made this recommendation to the UPF in 2013. In 2015, the UPF informed UHRC that police commanders and officers in the Criminal Intelligence and Investigative Directorate (CIID) were tasked to ensure that whenever suspects are arrested, files should be compiled, proper and timely investigations carried out, and the necessary procedure followed to take the suspects to court immediately. With the establishment of the Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Services at police headquarters and the deployment of regional human rights officers in 16 regions, this problem was partially addressed” (UNHRC, P: 223, 2016).

Aftermath: 

Here you saw the definition of Human Rights issues, there we’re even more labor questions and education on Human Rights. The certainty is the levels of force from the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) that are extending themselves into the citizens sphere and not being there to create security; instead breaching the levels of trust from the security organization and the citizens.

If you feel I left something behind, please put it in the commentary. This is for me the most important details; I couldn’t pick it all; as there we’re many breaches and many questionable actions towards the citizens that could be posted today. Because this is close to 2000 words, but the report are 296 pages. So the amount of details in the report could fill many pages more and a bigger article. This here is just a hunch of the breaches that the government and their institutions are doing, also the missing pieces to the laws and the institutions that’s securing the rights of the citizens. Peace.

Reference:

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) – ‘The 18th Annual Report of the Uganda Human Rights Commission To the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda’ (July, 2016)

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NRM MPs wants to secure an extended term from 5 to 7 years for President Museveni; fits the Modus Operandi of Museveni; As Mzee seeks to stay in power forever!

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There are stories that are breaking, stories that are strange, stories that are surprising, what I write you today are the new normal and the Modus Operandi of the NRM-Regime and the NRM party. As there been a pattern when it comes to President Museveni, as his grips of power and continues to be the Executive. This he has done deliberately since 1986. Or since after the rigged election of 1980; a history most that has followed the Uganda President should know by now, and should be part of their knowledge.

In the beginning he stated that the Movement System would continuation of the African democratic model as the constituencies would pick their men, than through Multi-Party System, he hold on to it as long as he could. And he kept it until second voting on a referendum that leads into the 2006 elections with the Multi-Party system, and not only NRM party as it had been since 1986. Before 1986 there been other parties that long had been in shadow or worked under the system and being imbedded in the Movement System to sustain positions, but not free-parties to hold their own consultations and own meetings. As the referendum opened up for; just with this proves how little he works for the dissidents or other views in the country, as it is the NRM who matters as that is his Party!

What I will discuss today is how he has used laws both inner-party of the NRM and the deepest in the general law to keep the laws that fits him. Such it was in beginning of the Constitution, who also gained him credit abroad and made him a donor-friendly destination. I will take the amendment, sole-candidacy of 2014 and now the longer terms for him. Take a look!

In 1995 the new constitution gave the President or the Executive power under the Article 105 a basis of two terms, which each term would last 5 years. That was the basis of the new constitution that NRM and President Museveni made during the first period of his presidency.

The Original constitution states this:

“105.  Tenure of office of a President.

(1)       A person elected President under this Constitution shall, subject to clause (3) of this article, hold office for a term of five years.

(2)       A person shall not be elected under this Constitution to hold office as President for more than two terms as prescribed by this article”

But in 2005 he had changed his mind as he wanted to keep power in the country even if he had been elected twice in presidential elections in 1996 and in 2001. So when 2006 elections were coming, he had together with his party change the law to fit him.

As the Constitution Amendment Act 2005 which states:

“28. Amendment of article 105 of the Constitution Article 105 is amended by repealing clause (2) and substituting for it the following—“(2)A person may be elected under this Constitution to hold office as President for one or more terms as prescribed by this article.”

That got voted in Parliament and lead to the general election in 2006, where President Museveni also won the election and took a landslide of MPs in Parliament, as he has always done. This has continued into a single spiral of his strengthen power of the NRM, while cutting ties with men inside the party wishing to take his place in the party, as with Gilbert Bukenya and Amama Mbabazi at times.

Museveni-with-a-dummy-map-of-uganda

So to solidify his position he made this happen on a Party Retreat or Conference at Kyankawanzi and the words express the readiness for yet another term and rule under President Museveni and not have a new leader controlling the ruling party. As it says here:

The Kyankwanzi Resolution of 2014 – President Museveni’s right for Sole Candidacy in the NRM:

“RESOLUTION ON PARTY COHESION AND GOVERNANCE

We, the undersigned members of the NRM Caucus attending a retreat at the National Leadership Institute(NALI) Kyankwanzi (6,February 2014); Fully aware of our Country’s historical  past and the need to consolidate and sustain the Milestones registered over the years since 1986; Cognizant of the fact that there is still a lot more to be done in order to realize our ideological vision of uniting Uganda(Nationalism), Pan-africanism, transforming our country from a poor peasantry society to a modern economy and upholding democracy; Conscious of the fact that what has been so far achieved over the last 28 years needs to be guarded jealously and improved upon to realize our vision; Aware  that when individuals engage in personal scheming, party cohesion is undermined, development efforts aredistracted and the population is diverted from work to early politicking;

DO here by resolve;

To support H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to continue leading and facilitating our country on its take off journey to transformation”.

As we seen that the President Museveni together with Parliament in 1994 before introduction of the Constitution of 1995. Where it stated certain limits for the president, meaning two periods for the actual president and that was that. After and near the end of the official two periods as presidents the constitutional amendment abolished that in 2005. Later he continued to rewrite the NRM Party guidelines and got the resolution of 2014, where they rewrote it so that he is the Sole Candidacy of him as a presidential candidate for the party and be the president of NRM at the same time, as he has been for decades.

So now the news of a new resolution from yet another conference or retreat at Kankwanzi, that will give the Presidency more Power and for longer time!

Today the 14th March 2016 at another NRM MPs retreat at Kyankwanzi:

“Live in Kyankwanzi where the NRM orientation and retreat is on going! Resolution has been passed to extend the term limit from 5 years to 7 years!” (The Inspector, 2016).

This is an amendment that supposed to the same that the MP James Kakooza the MP for Kabula County in Lyantonde District initiated in 2010. The Kyankwanzi resolution for the longer term length is on the precedence of the Rwandan Presidents who have 7 year terms already and the idea of MP Hon. Kakooza want to emulate that. What the NRM MPs does not is copying and also doing this to show support to the President for their ability to be MPs in the 10th Parliament. They should initially give thanks to once they represent (the people) and not the President, they serve him, but they in theory represent the people first. This kind of law and resolution does not give more power to the people or represent them better. On the other hand it gives longer staying power for President Museveni and nothing else. As his next term would be extended with two more years not the 2016-2021, but now would be 2016-2023. That is massive difference and giving him more time to make more laws fitting him.

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As I am sure we will see more of this and make sure the laws that fit the NRM-Regime and the longevity of President Museveni and his presidency. That is the only certainty as the opposition gets worse treatment and the laws made to suit the Executive and not the people. As it come more and more to forefront and becomes the reality. Last time at Kyankwanzi resolution gave carte blanche for a sole candidacy, now in a similar fashion they want to give him two more years as head of state, as he already embarks on the 30th year in power. And with the new term system the nedt tenure would total 37 years! That is like fish out of the water, and surely is not just an idea from a MP, I am sure this seems like a tactic from the Presidency to do it now after the polls; to justify his extended time in Power.

I don’t believe that this all of sudden happen out of the nowhere. As the other extensions have happen deliberately and through steady choices of the executive, he has made choices and decisions how to manipulate the electorate, the parliament and the laws to fit his way. That has been strength of him and as long as that gave positivity in the county, the people didn’t mind. Now it is not positivity as at the beginning of the presidency, instead the totalitarian power who keeps the power to himself and using all methods to keep it.

This here today is yet another method and another way of securing the power for the presidency, the extension of the term is just the next step for him and his rule. Peace.    

Ugandan Electoral Commission: Press Statement – Extention of Date of Nomination of Candidates for Presidential Elections (02.010.2015)

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The Proposed changes and added amendments on the Election laws that can be seen as preparation for the Election in 2016 in Uganda.

Fred Ruhindi

On the 25th September 2015 three amendments will be read for the parliament. These Amendments are the President Elections Amendment Bill of 2015, Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill of 2015 and the Electoral Commission Amendment Bill of 2015. They are all interconnected and will be a part of the preparations to the election that is happening in 2016.  All the Amendments comes from the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi

The Main parts of the Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill of 2015:

Parts of the bill with revise the requirement for a candidate to campaign in every district in Uganda and to stop the polling stations at 4:00PM on the polling day. Another main part of the bill is that nominations fee for the candidate will go from Shs. 8Million/= to the the new fee of Shs. 20Million/=.

The first issue with the candidate is that with the surge of districts make it difficult for a candidate to be in all the new districts before the polling day while campaigning. The second one is for fitting the economic environment that is different than in 2005.  The third issue is that the polling time is set from 5:00PM to 4:00PM to give the Electoral Commission more time to count the votes.

And a new amendment to proof the voter’s identity:

“a fourth table located at least ten meters from the ballot boxes where every voter, after deposing the ballot paper into the ballot box, shall proceed and the thumb or other finger on the voter’s right hand determined by the commission marked with or applied with inedible ink as one indicators that the voter has cast the ballot”.

The Main parts of the Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill of 2015:

First part of the bill is to get four representatives of persons with disabilities to be elected by Electoral Colleges Constituted in accordance to the four traditional districts: Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions. The second part of the bill is on the nomination fee for the candidate will go from Shs. 200k/= to new fee of Shs. 1Million/=.

The Main parts of the Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill of 2015:

First part of new amendment is: “The commission shall, not later then two weeks before polling day, transmit to every political party and organization and independent candidate taking part in the election, an electronic text based copy of each voters’ register which the commission shall use on polling day”.

Second part is that the Commission has to employ one a District Election Administrator and an Assistant Election Administration. The District Election Administrator has the supervision, is in charge and custody of the voters’ in the district, and also seeing through the manner of the voters registers. Important character that the Administrator need is integrity, high moral and also “a person taken to have behaved in a corrupt manner in relation to his or her duties if he or she commits any act of dishonesty in connection with his or her duties, whether or not it constitutes a criminal offence”.

Third part is: “the Commission shall, before the display of the copy of the voters’ roll publish in the Gazette and in the print media, a list of all the places at which a voters’ roll is required to be displayed under this section”.

Aftermath:

The Presidential Candidate first gets more expensive to pay the nominee fee as a candidate it goes up Shs. 12Million from the 2005 to the total of Shs. 20Million and was at 2005 set to be Shs. 8Million. Everybody understands that’s a viable and big fee change and the argument is for the economic climate that has changed since 2005. If the value of the shilling has devalued that much in about ten year period that the candidate must pay over double of the fee, then the economic system has server issues.

The Second change is the time that is set from 5:00PM to 4:00PM on the polling station at the Election Day to give more time for counting. I am sure that this will be more of a statuary fix. The counting will have enormous ability to be manipulated after the votes are cast. The time set or fixed times is just an small tweak.

The third change in the Election laws are the thumb print that each voter has to get before casting the ballot. This will be sign of ink on the thumb proving that the voter has cast his or hers ballot. It’s a nice fix especially thinking about how the reports was a last election that people and military personal was bussed between voting stations to vote multiple times. With the ink on the finger it should be harder to dupe this one and the officials should easily see the print of ink on the thumb if a person tries to vote twice.

Fourth change is that a nomination fee for representatives for the disability goes up to Shs. 1Millon. There will also be four representatives one each representative from traditional districts: Central, Western, Northern and Eastern. This is in general a nice gesture to the community with applying that the Parliament gets people with special needs to the Parliament from now on.

Fifth change is that each political parties and independent should at least receive the voters register before two weeks before the polling day.  This is good thing to give them time to see the registers and check it. Might even give feedback to the Electoral Commission on shortfalls for the registration of voters in districts and municipalities that is necessary, though two weeks are little, if the registers are big who would have the capacity to oversee and scrutinize the register?

Sixth change is the additional new staff each district need. The new staff by the law is now District Election Administrator and Assistant Election Administrator who will look over the Polling and Election in the District. The person who will be hired has to have a moral compass, integrity and not act in a corrupt manner. All of the ones that are put into law are not exceptional this is what they should be as members of society and also professional people delivering and serving their nation and government so that the citizens can be sure of a valid result. A result and poll that is efficient and following procedure so that the tally can be justified and also being correct. Because if the Election Administrator doing their job and picking the right people, not letting the Electoral Commission having ability to trick the numbers or anybody else. Then the ballots and elections would be less rigged and actual have trustworthy people doing their jobs. If not, this is just a nice on paper and we still see the same issues in the Districts and clear the ballots for a free and fair election in 2016.

Seventh change is the publication in the Gazette or in print media. Where the Voters roll will be published, that is just a good thing. And proving to the public that the results getting official and can be explained. That should have already been there and is basic of official and public order, with this the Electoral Commission proves that it does it actual job in the election.

This all should be seen as interesting and see if this get voted in. If this gets official law it will have some effect on certain aspects on the coming election and the later by-elections as well. Since the signs of the public and local display will be visual with the thumb print and the District Electoral Administrator getting a vital role in procedures of the polling. Also the establishment of higher nomination fees for Presidential Candidates and also Special Disability representative which is total 4 representative one from each traditional regions. That is a great sign of all of the laws.

I don’t want to write for the third time what the laws says, but the issue is that it’s really patchwork and also quick fixes. If they will play big in the election is time to tell. And see if the next Commonwealth Report of 2016 will be as harsh as it was on Presidential Election in 2011. Peace.

Uganda – UCC-BD/Gen/03 – Letter – Re: Caution to Media Stations as we Approach Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections (08.07.2015)

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