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THE WEEK: Controversy over Busoga King appointment, Bitekyerezo new NDA chief

Controversy as Busoga king is appointed ambassador

On Jan.27 when the President appointed a new group of ambassadors, Busoga King Gabula William Nadiope was on the list as ambassador in charge of special duties in the office of the President. This created controversy with discussions centering on the legality of the appointment and its likely implications on the kingdom. While the King accepted the position, several people have come up to oppose the move with some saying its disrespect for their customs for their king to be made a servant. Some including former Presidential candidate Maureen Kyalya and popular lawyer Asuman Basalirwa have even threatened to petition court if the appointment is accepted. Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has advised the king not to take up the position because according to him the position of the ambassador in charge of special duties is fictitious and doesn’t exist anywhere in diplomatic circles.

However, government maintained that those against the appointment are hoodwinking the Basoga and wish them the worst.

Bitekyerezo is new NDA board chairman

Replacing Dr. Sam Zaramba, Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo Mbarara Municipality legislator and chairperson of the health committee in the 9th parliament has been appointed chairman of the National Drug Authority (NDA) board. During his time in parliament, Bitekyerezo was known for grilling officials who failed to account for public resources and was on several occasions quoted saying that corruption is responsible for the unending problems in the health sector.

 NRM nominates candidates for EALA

As June fast approaches when new members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) are meant to meant to take over, campaigns have gained momentum with candidates mainly from the ruling NRM party and the opposition FDC warming up for the nine seats entitled to each member state. NRM started nominating their candidates on Jan.30 with each interested candidate required to pay a fee of Shs2million. By end of the first day, 15 candidates had returned forms and notable among them is former MP for Kampala Francis Babu, former Minister for Economic Monitoring Henry Banyenzaki, former Internal Affairs Minister Rose Akol, Sarah Kagingo a communication assistant and Former MP for Ntungamo Yona Musinguzi.

Different from the previous years, parliament has amended rules of procedure allowing for special interest groups like people with disabilities to have a slot at the regional parliament.

New EC boss complains of insufficient budget, low pay

The New team at Electoral Commission (EC) headed by its chairman Justice Simon Byabakama on Jan 27 petitioned parliament with concerns about their budget. Handing over a brief to speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Byabakama said the commission’s budget has not been increased yet new districts have been created. Quoting the budget framework paper, he said six new districts will start operating come July where they are supposed to conduct elections but despite proposing a budget of Shs5.1billion for the exercise, government is only providing a paltry Shs530million.  He also argued that salary of his staff has not been revised for the last 18 years and therefore proposed that in the new financial year the wage bill is changed from the current shs8.2billion to Shs45billion if they are to deliver on their mandate more efficiently.

Kezaala resigns role in DP

Speaking to the media on Jan.31, Democratic Party spokesperson Samuel Kakande was rather emotional and quoted the bible for every question he was asked. He repeatedly said Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. It was just a day after Muhammed Keswala Kezaala the National Chairman of the Democratic Party tendered his resignation for a new appointment as a deputy ambassador. Kezaala said his new position requires him to serve in a Uganda mission outside the country and couldn’t continue to actively participate in party activities.

“Doing a civil service job naturally doesn’t require partisanship”, he said. For Kakande, this meant that his colleague had given up on the battle he has fought for over 20 years having joined young through the party’s youth wing – the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD).  Among sections of the opposition, the appointment is a ploy by the government to weaken its opponents.

CJ condemns re-arrest of suspects at court

Marking the new law year on Jan.30, the Chief Justice (CJ) Bart Katureebe complained about the new habit by security operatives to arrest suspects at court premises saying its disrespect for the judiciary. “If you want to arrest these people wait for them at their places of work or at their residence not at the temple of justice where they have come to seek refuge”, he said adding that there’s need to train law enforcement officers on what they should do and what they shouldn’t do. The most recent of arrests that the CJ was referring to was the re-arrest of the Rwenzururu King Wesley Mumbere at the court premises in Jinja shortly after being granted bail.

Other issues discussed include the soon to be tabled Judiciary Administration Bill which is said will provide a better sense of direction to the institution whose credibility appears to be going down the drain.

Mumbere remanded again

The Rwenzururu King Wesley Mumbere will be on remand at Luzira Maximum Prison until February 20 when he returns to Jinja Magistrates Court after prosecution requested for more time to conclude its investigations. The Omusinga appeared at the court on Jan 30 where five more suspects were arraigned adding to the over a hundred others.

While the defense team couldn’t secure bail for the king, they asked that minors who are part of the accused be transferred from Luzira to children detention centers. Membere is charged with several counts of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and terrorism offences said to have been committed between February 2016 and November 2016.

Chad’s Foreign Minister named AU commission boss

Moussa Faki Mahamat Chad’s Foreign Affairs Minister was on Jan.30 named the new chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission replacing out going leader Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who has served in the position for the last four years.

Mahamat beat four other candidates to the position including Kenya’s foreign Minister Amina Mohammed, Abdoulaye Bathily Senegalese diplomat and academic, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi a veteran politician from Botswana and Mba Mokuy who has served as a senior adviser to Equatorial Guinea’s President.

Mahamat secured 39 votes in the final round beating Amina Mohammad during the summit sitting at the Union’s headquarters in Ethiopia. Apart from election, other issues tackled at the summit include re-admission of Morocco to the 54-nation body and Africa’s relationship with the International Criminal Court (ICC).






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