The Dead Silence: The two MPs – Sseginya and Ssewanyana – Bail dismissed after nearly 300 days in prison

UPDATE: The Court of Appeal has dismissed the bail appeal of Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Sewanyana. Instead, the court has directed that the state expeditiously fixes their capital offences for trial” (NTV Uganda, 29.06.2022)

UPDATE: Court of Appeal has dismissed the bail application of Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Sewanyana. The Court has instead directed the State to expeditiously fix their capital offences for trial” (Daily Monitor, 29.06.2022).

The Two MPs has been in the spotlight and behind bars for close to 300 (296 days since the summons of the DCI) days now. As the DCI summoned them in September 2021. Now in end of June 2022 the MPs are far from freed and the case is still pending. This shows how it is botched case and a political one, which nobody wants to touch.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) MPs are targeted and charged for involvement in the Masaka murders last year. The panga or machete murders, which went on for a month and killed 18 people. The killers and the ones who was behind it was never taken in. However, the NUP MPs has become the scapegoats, because there is no proof or evidence of involvement. If the state or the prosecution had proof of the allegations and the charges. The state would have produced witnesses, affidavits and shown the conspiracy to a court. However, no one is doing anything about it.

This is just a travesty and injustice. The victims and their families isn’t getting justice served either. The ones that was murdered are used as a shield to keep these MPs behind bars. They are detained and charged for something I doubt that can ever prove, because I have a hard time believing these men would ever conspire to do such a thing.

Heck, Mr. Update was busy finding donors and help in the Netherlands to upgrade the hospital and medical equipment in his district. At the time of the murders. He tweeted about that and his dreams for the hospital. So, if you have forgotten about that. It is time to revisit the timelines and the stories around the time.

That’s why I know this case, which has soon been pending since September 2021 and is still ongoing. Seemingly there is no way out. It just shows how the state is going after its dissidents and pinning crimes on them, which they didn’t do. Peace.

Opinion: Acheng should explain the allegations against NUP SG Rubongoya…

Police in Kampala have today arrested Mr. David L. Rubongoya, General Secretary of NUP

and his Driver Agaba Godwin Joseph on allegations of threatening violence. It’s alleged that on 26/05/2022 at about 1200 hrs while in Omoro County Mr Rubongoya using Motor vehicle reg. no.UAS 490Z Toyota land cruiser white in colour threatened Hon. Acheng Ruth vide Omoro SD reference 19/26/5/2022. They are pending transfer to Omoro” (100.2 Galaxy FM Zzina!, 22.06.2022).

Today there was news that National Unity Platform (NUP) Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya was first arrested around Wandegeya and later re-arrested on new charges, which is alleging him to threaten Minister of Health, Ruth Acheng. Therefore, after being released on bonds or bail this evening.

The Minister of Health should explain herself. Even release an affidavit. Since, this seems like a political charge and nor a sincere. The Minister has a heavy security detail around her. She is never travelling alone. While the NUP SG doesn’t have it similar. That’s why his easily to arrest across the city. Which is why the authorities could arrest him and keep him detained so easy.

This just shows what the state is capable of doing. They can easily arrest high ranking officials in the opposition and they don’t even need proof of the allegations. Not that this is anything new. That’s why people are lingering behind bars for “inciting violence” and such. This is what the authorities does and it clear. It is open intimidation and crack-down on the opposition.

What we should need to know is what the Minister has done and why the charges is suddenly pinned on the NUP SG. That is needed now and she should address the allegations to the public. Because, the opposition leader shouldn’t be charged willy-nilly. Neither should anyone else be apprehended or charged without proof. This is why the Minister needs to explain it to the public. I have feeling she feels above that or any critique.

However, that he was taken into custody and so suddenly. Make you wonder what’s the reason and why the state did it today. Certainly, this tale is far from over. As the NUP SG was released hours later, but the case will now be pending. However, we should never expect anything to be address or any substantial trial. Since, it is all a mockery and an attempt to silence an opposition leader. Peace.

Karamoja: The NRM got money for the army, but not for the starving…

The recent surge in cattle theft and cross-border conflicts in Minister Kasiaja: Karamoja sub-region issues will continue to be addressed. In a recent supplementary budget, Government provided Shs.112.5 Billions to facilitate the UPDF to carry out operations” (91.2 Crooze FM, 14.06.2022).

More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja – Report” (…) “A new report indicates that the Karamoja region is undergoing a crisis of food insecurity and may slump into famine if there are no measures to reverse the situation immediately. The report on integrated food security phase classification also shows that Moroto and Kaabong districts are in a critical phase of acute malnutrition. While receiving the report, the government committed to implementing some of the short-term recommendations” (NTV Uganda, 14.06.2022).

We know that the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) launched Operation Usalama Kwa Wote in July 2021 and they have continued ever since. The UPDF and the authorities have burned villages and killed civilians in their manhunt for cattle-rustlers. However, there been no oversight or proof of their operation really stopping violence or the murders for cattle in the region.

The only thing that has been shown is that the government has killed around 700 civilians and there is no direct justification or proof of the need to do so. There is no direct proof of the use of firearm or report on the use of the weapon. People are just killed and dying because the UPDF said so.

In this regard… the budget priorities are very clear. As the Karamoja is getting funds for the operations of the UPDF in the region. However, there is nothing scheduled or funds to cover or help the people in need. Karamoja is possibly getting into famine and people are now going hungry. That is a sign that the government has failed this people. They are now in the hands of the government.

The UPDF seems to be more important than the civilians it is defending. Since, it has funds and operational means, but the public don’t have what they need. Neither does the state has the mechanisms or the institutions to help them. That’s why they are starving and not getting help. This shortfall has to be covered by either a UN Organizations, CSOs or NGOs. Because, they have ability and funds to come to their aide. Since, the state don’t pay it no mind and would only care if it was profitable.

Karamoja have been targeted and the army has intervened as it has… because the minerals and mining operations needs land. The villages and the people have to flee lands and the use of former methods is to shield their operation. Now it is even more evident as Karamoja is getting money for the army, but not the people in need. This has been forecasted by FEWSNET and others. It isn’t like it happened without any forewarning.

Karamoja was in a danger-zone and the army operations there wouldn’t make it any better. No, the state has addressed its own needs, but the needs of the population. The region has burned because of the army and the soldiers haven’t helped the farmers or the cattle-keepers. Instead it has possibly worsened it and created more internally displaced people. Therefore, it is striking that the UPDF gets funds, as a reported half a million will live in food insecurity and live in hunger.

I don’t see the state doing much or taking action about it. This will most likely spiral into a famine. Because, the state doesn’t have mechanisms or the willpower to do what is necessary now. That’s because the ministries and the institutions haven’t been invested into and neither is there a working protocol for cases like these. That’s for the simple reason: The International Community and their aid organizations are the shortfall for the inept and corrupt elites of Kampala.

That’s why the Minister of Karamoja will do nothing and neither will anyone associated with it. They are awaiting orders from the Office of the Prime Minister and the State House. Which will wait and we shouldn’t expect any miracles. The army is stationed here and they will not bring hope to a troubled region. A region that has burned and now it’s soon starving too. It doesn’t get a minute of peace or hope. Peace.

Amuru Land Grab: The Apaa Village evictions is never ending story…

Legislators from the Acholi sub-region were blocked from accessing the Apaa township, bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts. The eight MPs from the region were in Apaa on a fact-finding mission following an arson attack, displacement, and reports of gross abuse of human rights over persistent land wrangles. These were instead met by police officers and army men heavily armed with teargas and guns who blocked their access” (NBS Television, 10.06.2022).

This here story goes back in time. So far back that we are now soon two decades since the state gave the land to the investor. Since then the Apaa village has seen the forceful state, evictions and other sorts of tactics of the state to takeover the land. In the Northern Uganda land has been taken and given to “industrial” purposes like the plantations for the Kakira Factory for instance. Therefore, the ideas of taking land for “development” isn’t new. However, the state doesn’t give anything in return to the evicted and only creates more internally displaced persons. Which is another crisis in the making.

The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better. They have been victims, which shown by this quotation from a report in 2014.

The case of land in Apaa Village (Amuru District) illustrates the suspicions of local people concerning the acquisition of large tracts of land. In 2005, when people were still living in the camps, land was given to Bruce Martin from South Africa who was investing in game reserves for sports hunting. When resistance from the community intensified, it is claimed that the government changed tactics and asked the neighbouring district of Adjumani to contest ownership and claim that this land actually lies within Adjumani District. The Adjumani District authorities then passed a council resolution giving the land away to the ‘investor’. Some participants in this research argued that the boundaries between the two districts of Adjumani and Acholi are clear, and that some district politicians are manufacturing the boundary conflict. During an interview with the District Chairperson of Adjumani, he showed a map of the area in dispute claiming the area belongs to Adjumani District” (Otim & Mugisha, P: 8, 2014).

What is striking is that this case has been a running case in the 9th and 10th Parliament. Now, it returns to prominence in the 11th Parliament too. That means the Apaa village never been resolved, neither has the rights of the Apaa community really been heard. Secondly, the former MPs and Local Councillors haven’t been able to voice it up. This because it is a stalemate and the land is still up for grabs.

We know in 2018 that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) did some evictions of people in the area. This was done with the support of the army or the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). That just shows that the District Land Board and Area Land Board wasn’t able to petition or have a say. Therefore, the directives and the promise of land was already settled without considering the implications locally.

That’s maybe why the MPs are trying to investigate it. They are MPs representing the Acholi sub-region, but still not allowed to access the area. That says something about the what is going on and possibly could be furthering escalations. We can be rest assured that the State House has directed it and is silently behind it all. As they have promised the land for the investor.

It is tragic that this is happing to Apaa village. Wonder, if the President would have been so kind to an “investor” if it happened to his farm in Rwaiktura farm in Kiruhura district. As a Namibian “investor” was given land and for “development” purposes in the greater Mbarara area. Because, that would be the same and he would have to idly move without any compensation. That would have been a similar act of land grab, which is what’s happening here in Apaa village in the Acholi sub-region. Peace.

Reference:

Otim, David & Mugisha, Police Charles – Saferworld: ‘Beyond the reach of the hoe: The struggle for land and minerals in Northern Uganda’ (April 2014)

Justice Forum (JEEMA): Legal Statement on the Continous Beleagurment of the JEEMA HQTRS by the Uganda Police Force and its Sister Security Agencies (09.06.2022)

The Dead Silence: The two MPs – Sseginya and Ssewanyana still behind bars without any proof of their criminal conspiracy in the Greater Masaka Murders of last year

Fear has increased in Masaka region after the panga-wielding assailants killed another man in Sembabule district. His death brings the number of murder victims to 18 in Greater Masaka Region in one month” (Urban Television, 27.08.2021).

The murders of the Greater Masaka area of last year has gone out of the folklore. The cases and pending evidence is lost. The momentum of the authorities, the DCI, the UPF and everyone is gone. The proof the alleged criminal conspiracy seems to be all made up. As the victims of the murders are not answered, the real culprits are on the move and the injustice served the opposition is getting ever so clear.

Instead of finding, arraigned and detain the ones who was behind the killings. The authorities did chose to use these murders and crimes to pin it on two popular National Unity Platform (NUP) MPs. These being Kawempe North MP Mohammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana. Who was summoned in September 2021 and is still behind bars to this day.

They are lingering in Kigo Prison and charged with murder and terrorism. While there is no proof of this. They have been pinned with these crimes, but the authorities has not provided any evidence or affidavit or anything else of that sort to prove it. What is striking is that one of the members was in the Netherlands when he was supposed to do it. He was ensuring his district to get medical aid and an ambulance as well. This was Ssegirinya MP, that’s how shoddy the case is and shows how political it was.

These has now carried the debt of the murdered people of Masaka, which at one point was estimated to be 30 murders. That is 30 people with families, friends and loved ones who are never seeing them again. Which is used to implicate and charge innocent men who isn’t participating in these crimes. The criminal conspiracy was done by someone else and is shielded since the state has used all resources to go after these two MPs.

This isn’t the first time or the last time the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has done this. No, they have done this before and the MPs are just a proof of how the state oppress its dissidents. The two MPs are treated as outlaws and terrorists, but that’s only happens because of their political affiliation and their popularity. Because, everyone with some sense knows that these two aren’t behind it all.

What is sad is that the Greater Masaka murders are never resolved. The ones who lost their lives was used as pawns in a political game and not for the greater good either. Just to prove a point and show who has the authority. Since the state has not let them off the hook and doesn’t seem intended to do so either.

This is the dead silence. No one is caring for the loss of lives, these people just died and life moved on. People are seeing their leaders taken away and they are forgotten about behind bars. That is the dead silence…

I wrote these final lines about the murders in August 2021 and it seems fitting today: “It is tragic and sinister… but that is how it seems and it’s not looking good. The murders after curfew seems to continue. Lives is at stake and these are untouchable assassins” Peace.

Uganda: FEWS NET projected food security levels as stressed in the Greater Northern Region and a crisis in Karamoja

Staple food prices have continued to increase in recent months and are higher than prices recorded last year and five-year average levels across most of Uganda. Prices of staple sorghum and maize are now significantly above average in several key reference markets across the country. In Karamoja, terms of trade for sorghum against firewood, charcoal, and goats are below average and worse than last year, significantly restricting food access for poor households. After the first season bimodal harvest in June/July, food prices are expected to decline but are now expected to remain above average given expectations for below-average production, increased net exports, and impacts of the war in Ukraine on global supply chains and prices” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

The Cassava Republic is getting hit hard by not only the rising commodity prices, but the weather. The agricultural production will be slowed down and that will hurt the farmers of the regions in the Northern Uganda and in the Karamoja sub-region. That is very evident and FEWS NET together with the World Food Programme is clearly having an oversight here. This here should worry the state, as it has targeted and had a military operation in Karamoja. Which is not mentioned here, but the burning region of Karamoja isn’t having a better times ahead of it. To the contrary things are only getting worse.

The Cassava Republic is also hit with an impactful war, which is not only hitting the exports of wheat, but in general. That’s why prices of commodities will go up and has gone up over the last year. Things are not getting better there either. Just read the quote below, which is a continuation of the first quote from FEWS NET on the matter.

In general, prices of food and non-food commodities have increased notably since late 2021. The main driving factors include rising transportation costs due to increasing fuel prices, seasonally declining market stocks, and reduced production prospects from the upcoming first season harvest following below average rainfall. More recently, impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis have driven further fuel price increases and increased the rate of general inflation of food and non-food commodities, further reducing household purchasing power. In March, retail prices of maize grain and sorghum increased farther above five-year average levels. Retail prices of beans and cassava generally remained below average in March, though prices of beans increased by 9-20 percent across monitored markets from February to March” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

Here is the worrying statement:

However, rising food prices will likely result in some higher selling prices for famers, increasing access to income for those with near average production. For pastoralist households, pasture and water availability is expected to improve in May given the forecast of above-average rainfall. Overall, most households in bimodal areas are expected to access sufficient food and income to meet their essential food and non-food needs, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes expected to persist at the area level throughout the projection period. However, given revised expectations for a third consecutive below-average production season as well as rising prices of food and non-food commodities including fuel, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are now expected to persist throughout much of northern Uganda for the majority of the projection period. In Karamoja, availability of food and income is expected to remain seasonally limited as the lean season progresses. Given delays in the agricultural season, the lean season is now expected to last through July, longer than usual by about three weeks. During this time, insecurity is likely to continue constraining limiting income-earning, including from livestock production and sales. When schools reopen for the new term in early May, households will likely experience some improved food consumption due to WFP’s food and nutrition programming for school children, including school meals, take-home rations, and supplementary food for households with malnourished children. However, food prices are expected to continue increasing through around June until the harvest from bimodal areas begins to boost market supplies, with an increasing number of poor households likely to face consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during this time. Though some seasonal price declines are expected following this, prices are expected to remain above average. For many poor Karamoja households, below-average purchasing power will continue constraining access to food from market purchases. Around August/September, the start of harvesting in Karamoja is expected to support improved access to food from own consumption and income from crop sales and reduce the number of households facing consumption gaps, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist at the area level even during the post-harvest period. Overall, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are now expected to persist through at least September, with worst-affected households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes” (FEWS NET, 06.04.2022).

We are seeing changes and the next coming months will be impactful to say the least. As the farmers and everyone else will struggle. There will be lack of food and a distress in some parts of the Republic, but it can become really dire in Karamoja. The Karamoja where the army has attacked, burned villages and gone after the citizens. That’s where things are getting worse and where they will have a terrible food insecurity to the levels of crisis. They can possibly get into Emergency, which should worry anyone. This just really speaks of how the state is failing its citizens and things are not getting any better.

The state should act upon this and think of safeguards. Nevertheless, don’t think they will. They rather send more soldiers and have more birthday bashes for Muhoozi. Than being concerned with the lack of food or ability to plough their fields. No, the state is more busy scheming and enterprising for their own. That’s why this sort of news needs to be spread. Because, the citizens of Karamoja and the Greater North will be hurt by this. That is the message from FEWS NET and it should be heard. Peace.

Opinion: Karamoja is burning over mineral explorations…

A total of 17,083 square kilometers of land in Karamoja is licensed for mineral exploration and extraction activities, according to official data. Twenty-six companies currently have exploratory or mining rights in the region. In 2018, Chinese mining company Sunbelt was given 3.3 square kilometers of land to set up a $13 million dollar marble mining factory in Rupa sub-county. A year later, the company expanded its operations to cover an additional 4.1 square kilometers, ostensibly after a deal with local leaders. Hundreds of families have since been pushed out of their ancestral homes, local officials say. Locals accuse Rupa Community development trust, a community trustee group created three years ago, of conniving with investors to steal their land” (Diana Taremwa Karakire – ‘Mining Rush Threatens Indigenous Peoples in Karamoja, Uganda’ 01.09.2021).

What I feared the most seems to be reason for the joint operation of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UDPF) in the Karamoja sub-region. Which is an continues operation and it is persisting. The state is even furthering it’s investments into it by deploying 6,000 Local Defence Units or LDUs in Karamjoa. Therefore, the burning and bleeding will persist for a long time.

The lack of accountability and transparency is very clear. The obvious reasons for that is the licensed land and territories given to mineral extraction corporation over the indigenous people. The people and the citizens are neglected. They are perpetrators and the unlawful one in the mind of the state, but not by their rights as people.

The Government and the Authorities are coming in as a colonial government. They are occupying and violently removing people. The state is blaming the cattle rustling, but it is obviously more too it. Because, it is not like the government would create so much and damage over some livestock. However, it would do so over the mineral extraction and possible gold-rush in Karamoja.

We know they have given this state operation the name of “Usalama Kwa Wote” to disarm and take away illegal guns, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was an alternate motive. A cash enterprise and a possible profit objective of the state. As they know the values of the land and what it possesses. When knowing that… they might find it easier to scare people away and not take ownership of land. Make them displaced and ensure their fear to return. As the mineral exploration and exploitation can start. In such a manner, that the government and the companies can start their trading.

The unfortunate families, villages and the Karimojong is just dying. While they are defending their land and we don’t have any idea about the amount of fatalities. As the GoU, the State House and UPDF doesn’t release any sort of update on their Joint Operation there. Only in the beginning and stopped when the public outcry ceased to exist.

The Karamoja sub-region continues to burn, be looted and is destroyed by government entities. While they are blaming old cultural factors and blaming the herders. That just shows their sinister motives. Because, we are not supposed to know about the vast licensing agreements and the planned mineral exploitation, which has been sanctioned without the concern of the locals or the Karimojong in general. They just have to accept the loss of land, livelihood and where they have lived for generations.

Because, that is the “steady progress” and “securing your future” means for Karamoja these days. The state don’t mind violating or destroying, as long as it has a prosperous future ahead of it. Peace.

Opinion: Karamoja is bleeding and nothing is being done…

The Karamoja Sub-Region has been burning and bleeding of late. This has been as a result of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force and Uganda Police Force, which are doing a joint-operation to stop cattle-rustlers, but clearly acting out of their means. As the 7 Karamoja districts are hurt as a result.

These districts are Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, and Amudat. All of them are touched by the state sponsored violence and savage killings. People are becoming internally displaced. Houses are being burnt and people are forced to flee. The amount of fatalities are unknown, as the UPDF have only dropped one update and the numbers from there is certainly an understatement.

The Joint Mission Update was what the authorities had done between 19th and 29th March and we are now on the 3rd April and the violence is still occurring at an uncertain rate. The verified 309 people must have add-ons as people are seeking shelters in mosques and elsewhere. Karimojong are really under fire here.

There are even a viral video clip of some soldiers in Abim district who killed an alleged cattle-rustler and burned the remains. While showing the skull in one of the hands of the soldiers as the burning fire of the remains was continuing in the back. That sort of video clip is haunting and show what sort of sinister acts that is going on.

We know that Commander of Land Forces Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerubaga has promised them “hell” and his serving that on a plate. They don’t need to wait for the after-life to be in danger or meet the devil. The forces of Muhoozi is the agents of the Hell is already there and to get away from them would be like heaven.

As before in the month. There been speculations of mineral resources, findings of petrol and wider implications of foreign investors possible getting viable land. If not there is also reports of possible heists of livestock and thieving cows from the sub-region. As well, there is also reports of poisoning of goats there.

Whatever the reasons why it’s happening now. The citizens and the ones that dies… it happens without due process and without the courts of justice. The civilians are guilty before proven innocent in Karamoja right now. This is injustice and extra judicial killings. With the murder of over 300 people. Some might easily say massacres is going on and we don’t know to what extent. Since there is little to none reporting on the actual actions going on. The fatalities is therefore totally hidden and the bloodshed is happening in darkness.

The justification for the amount of death and it’s scale should be really crucial. As these amounts of deaths would be close to war or skirmishes between enemies of a civil-war. Alas, the state is behind a huge operation, which is causing harm that will linger on in the sub-region for decades. The fatalities and the insecurity isn’t becoming better, but worse. The devastating results will linger on and the damage cannot be mended. The souls taken and the land scorned will not be viable quickly. The needs for dialogue and peace. There isn’t a need for war or more guns. It is only causing more fatalities and more death.

That seems to be the devil in Muhoozi. He comes with death and thrives on the burning region of Karamoja. That’s the devil in the details… and how it can be perceived. Peace.

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