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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Can anybody outside there help me get justice?: John Bosco Olweny

By Vincent Nuwagaba
Can anybody outside there help me get justice?: John Bosco Olweny
While in Murchison Bay Prison where I spent 13 days from 25th October to 7th November, I found it prudent to gather some views from inmates and share with them experiences. Some of the notes I had written, I failed to trace as I was going to court but I have some of the notes which I feel obliged to share with the Ugandans at Heart forumists. I am convinced that if we continue exposing the grave human rights violations, we will ultimately be able to have a society free from human rights violations. Sadly, the Uganda Human Rights Commission seems not to be interested in human rights violations of this nature. This partly explains the reason as to why the Uganda Human Rights Commission wins awards as the best National Human Rights Institution because a picture is painted that the human rights situation in Uganda is improving yet in an actual sense it is deteriorating and we have many Ugandans who have lost faith in state institutions and therefore choose to suffer silently because they know even reporting will give them no redress. Below is the self-reported ordeal of John Bosco Olweny, Court File 076/08 General Court Martial
My name is Olweny John Bosco. I was arrested from Nandos along Kampala Road on 19th May 2008 by plainclothes security operatives only to identify themselves from their Headquarters, Kireka that they are officials from Rapid Response Unit (RRU). From around 10:30 am (time of his arrest) both my legs and hands were tied up with handcuffs. From midday till 17:30 hours I was locked in a small toilet waiting to be tortured. It came to pass then- they tortured me with batons while undressed. During this time of torture the operatives were demanding money to the tune of Shillings 10 million if my life was to be spared. They maintained that failure to comply with their demands, I would be killed.

After five days or so, I was told to plead guilty to the offence that I didn’t know of and also which I didn’t commit – i.e. intent to commit a felony. I never wrote any statement nor was I taken to court. It was by surprise that after a month on 20th June 2008 I was told by a one Asiimwe to write a caution statement. I was told that I was involved in a different case which was committed in Arua on 12th June 2008 together with other three who were brought from Arua on 18th June 2008. I later found their names to be Ojango Emmanuel, Odong Martin Opira and Odongo Wilson. I denied any knowledge of having been a partner in crime by the said names.

It is actually absurd and irrational for the operatives to contend that I was participant in an alleged criminal action of the 12th June 2008. Aware that I was already in the unlawful custody in Kireka from 19th May 2008. If one checked for the CRB, Lock Up and admission book for the station , they would prove what I say.

On 1st July 2008 together with others, I was taken to Makindye Military Barracks (Go down). Up to 7th October I was in detention. The three – Ojango, Odong and Odongo who later turned to be my co-accused were taken to General Court Martial and remanded to Kigo Prison. I remained. 

On 15th October I was taken to the General Court Martial only to be told that I was charged with illegal possession of firearm and attempted robbery. The operatives arrested me alone without any documents linking me to committing a felony or even with any weapon as it was alleged.

On 23rd October 2008, I was in the same dock with the three offenders from Arua whose offence was committed on 12th June 2008. The hearing was adjourned to 19th  November 2008. On 11th November the case was heard before the then GCM chairman Lt Gen Ivan Koreta. Prosecution witness one, a complainant  named Aziz and prosecution witness two, a police detective who arrested the three accused from Arua were summoned.

In their testimonies, both prosecution witnesses identified the first three accused and stated that they participated in the offence. This was on 11th November 2008. Both prosecution witnesses denied knowledge of my arrest and also attested that I never took part in the attempted robbery.  Prosecution Witness 2 – the police officer said that they were interested in arresting the other three and indeed they arrested them. That Ojango was arrested red-handed with a pistol without a certificate contrary to the laws of Uganda. I was added as accused number 4 which left me in a dilemma. 

On 18th December 2008, our case was fixed for further hearing. Court didn’t sit until the 28th October 2009 under a new chairman Brig Bernard Rwehururu. Instead of proceeding with the hearing, the case was mentioned and adjourned to 10th December 2009. On the 10th December 2009, the first two changed their plea for all the charges, i.e. they pleaded guilty. They were then remanded and later on the 16th December 2009 they were brought to court for mitigation. They were convicted and sentenced to four years for the two counts.

For the two of us – accused three (A3), Odong o Wilson and me (A4), the court made an adjournment to 17th February 2010 in order to summon more witnesses. We were later to go back to court on 19th May 2010. When we appeared in court on May 19, 2010 defence lawyer Captain Edgar Tibaijuka advised us to apply for bail. With the help of FHRI’s Rashid Bunya we applied for bail. Sh1.5 million was paid to the said Edgar Tibaijuka by my mother and my wife. Captain Tibaijuka received the money but he was aware that he had been transferred from the General Court Martial for other assignment within the UPDF operational areas. He didn’t even pay the money for my bail – he used the money.

On 20th July, 2010 I went to court but it didn’t sit. I was again called on production warrant on 22nd July. I never entered the dock and I was not told why I was summoned and why my bail documents were never presented and accepted in court.  

On 27th July, I was again called on production warrant for bail. But again I never entered the court room.  Meanwhile all my sureties were coming and they were not being told what to do. I learnt later that Capt Edgar Tibaijuka the defence lawyer ate the money for bail.

I was supposed to report on 12th August 2010 but I was not picked. The same thing happened on the 14th September without any explanation. On 29th September 2010, I went to court but I didn’t enter the court room. On 4th November 2010, my sureties came and talked to a new defence lawyer Capt Drago who said that Edgar might have misused the money and further said that my bail application documents were missing and promised to trace them.

On 12th January 2011, I went to court but court didn’t sit and an adjournment was made for 9th March 2011. Again on 9th March court didn’t sit. On 24th, I again went to court but remained in the cell and I was given an adjournment to 1st June when again court didn’t sit.

On 25th April 2012, I was produced in court before Brig Charles Angina. Brig Angina made an adjournment to 2nd May and said that if the prosecution doesn’t produce witnesses, he would release me on no case to answer. Unfortunately, court was stopped abruptly and didn’t sit. To date, I have not been called to court.
My humble concern and request is to get justice. I have lost money, time and I continue to languish in prison when I am innocent. The first two accused who pleaded guilty have since finished their sentence and are now with their families. Ironically, I whom both the complainant and detective who arrested the others denied ever knowing don’t know my fate and I always ask, where is justice?

FHRI’s Josephine, Rashid, Adrine and the rest know my standing and have the copy of my concern and my case is not new to them. I don’t have money any more, what do I do?  Can anybody out there help me get justice and bail me out of the hell in which I am? May all civilians being tried in the General Court Martial be tried by the civilian courts for fair and expeditious trial? People are dying. My humble request is to be helped out of this dangerous and serious issue.

Background to Olweny’s ordeal
Sometime back before 2006, I was employed by a security firm tasked with transportation of valuables such as cash in transit. In October 2006 I was implicated and charged with embezzlement in the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Buganda Road Court. This was after Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) which later changed into Rapid Response Unit (RRU) looted my money worth Shillings 26 million, a generator, photocopier, digital camera and other household items.

The alleged embezzlement was orchestrated by the fraudulent action of the bank officials who happened to handover the consignment when they had already removed the boxes.

I was arrested with others from my place of work on 13th October 2006. Justice prevailed for me and the case was disposed off in 2011 in his favour on no case to answer.

The then VCCU told me not to report to anybody about my money and other property. They threatened to kill me if I ever reported the matter. I didn’t succumb to the threat.

In 2008, I was arrested because of my continuous demands of my money and other property. At one time during the arrest they told me that I should sell my house to rescue me claiming that they knew it had bought it using embezzled money.  I was in possession of Sh3 million and they said I had to add Sh7 million if I was to be released.

One of the operatives by the name Nixon Byaruhanga in his words told me to plead guilty to any offence. They said if not I would die in jail. Byaruhanga said, “These handcuffs are basically to punish you since you are so mean as you have refused to raise the Sh10 million and refused to sell the house”. Byaruhanga said, they would fasten the handcuffs until I confess. Byaruhanga said, “If you confess now, we shall remove the handcuffs now; if you confess tomorrow, we shall remove them tomorrow, if you take a year without confessing, you will wear them for a year and if you never confess, you will wear them up to your grave”.

Much as I was brutally tortured, I maintained my innocence. Later they irrationally and maliciously implicated me with the offence of illegal possession of firearms and attempted robbery with the other three culprits arrested from Arua. 

I appeal to human rights defenders to intervene and avert the travesty of justice against me. 

As told to Vincent Nuwagaba
Vincent Nuwagaba is a human rights defender

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Makmot's Historical Paper on Lango and Uganda

The History of Uganda cannot be complete without mentioning the role played by the Langi as a community.
The participation of the pre-independence Langi politicians in agitating for self rule and self-determination of Uganda’s destiny as a nation was championed               by the following personalities, among others, namely: Mr. Yekosafati Engur,                Dr. Apollo Milton Obote, Hon. Zephaniah Mark Okae, Hon. Samwiri Okelo Olong, Mr. Benedict Olwit, Olyec Ogwal Akwel, and Mr. Ben Otim Etura.
By 1958, all the four major political parties had a Lango as its Vice President, while a Muganda was, respectively, the President! Dr. A M Obote was Vice President of the Uganda National Congress (UNC), a Party then led by Ignatius Kangave Musaazi, Hon. J M Okae assumed the Vice Presidency of the Uganda Progressive Party (UPP), Hon. Samwiri Okelo Olong took the Vice Presidency of the United Congress Party (UCP), while Mr. Benedicto Olwit deputised the late Benedicto Kagimu Kiwanuka, as Democratic Party (DP) Vice President.
It was therefore of no wonder that one of the four Political Party Vice Presidents edged his way to the top leadership of his Party, the Uganda People’s Union (UPU), which broke away from the UNC, and subsequently received the Instruments of Independence on the 9th Day of October, 1962; in his capacity           as the President of the Uganda People’s Congress Party (UPC) - a union of UNC and UPU; after forming an alliance with the Kabaka Yekka (KY). (By some curious coincidence, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote sadly passed on a day later, in 2005).              As expected Parliament elected a Muganda, Sir Edward Mutesa, on October 4, 1963 to become the first Non-Executive President of Uganda, and was sworn in on the First Anniversary of Uganda’s Independence - i.e. October 9, 1963.
At independence, Uganda was faced with three immediate problems to deal with, namely: the demand by the Baganda for autonomy, the issues regarding the lost counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi, and neo-colonialists who wanted to use the back door to control our economy, then dominated by foreigners.
The first two problems were effectively dealt with within the initial two years after Independence. The Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa II, was sworn in as the Ceremonial President of Uganda and, for a while seemed contented with this new position. The lost counties were transferred from Buganda Kingdom to Bunyoro Kingdom, after the inhabitants overwhelmingly voted in a referendum held in 1964, to decide as to which of the two Kingdoms they wished to belong.
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It may be of interest to note here that the first ever attempt to rig elections in Uganda was made by the Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa II, when he ferried lorry-loads of voters from the neighbouring districts to influence the outcome of the referendum.
When he failed, Kabaka Mutesa went to one of the counties on a market day and personally shot at the people, randomly, killing two and injuring scores more. Unfortunately, due to the immunity he enjoyed as Uganda’s Head of State, the matter was not pursued further. He later boasted to his aides and chiefs that he shot at the people to vent his anger!
Later, when the Kabaka was asked to append his signature onto the document transferring the two counties from his Kingdom to Bunyoro Kingdom, in his capacity as the Head of State, he declined. Dr. A. Milton Obote signed as the Executive Prime Minister, and that concluded the lost counties chapter. Naturally, the Kabaka was not amused and the rift between him and the Prime Minister began.
But, time heals. By 1965, the Kabaka had virtually forgotten about the lost counties, save for his Kingdom’s relations with the rest of Uganda. This was to be the cause of the oft talked about 1966 Crisis, which led to the Kabaka escaping                to the United Kingdom and subsequently dying in London in 1969.
The 1966 Crisis came as a bad joke. According to H.E. Ambassador Eric Otema Alimadi, it was because of Kabaka’s birthday arrangement gone sour, that led to the infamous Crisis. Briefly, the Kabaka wanted the Army Band to play music at his Birthday party at State House, Entebbe. Unfortunately, the British High Commissioner had already booked and paid for the Army Band to play music on the UK National Day. When the Prime Minister drew the President’s attention to this fact, and proposed the Police Band instead, to avoid a diplomatic hitch and embarrassment, that did it and the Kabaka decided enough was enough. “Obote”, the Lukiiko resolved, “must remove his government from Buganda soil”. The rest, though grossly biased in favour of the Kabaka, is history.
The third problem the nascent UPC Government had to contend with was that of the neo-colonial interests in Uganda. The struggle to put the economy of Uganda in the hands of its indigenous citizens met with stiff resistance from the leaders of Western Europe and North America. The Move to the Left policy, which led to the Nakivubo Pronouncements codenamed “The Common Man’s Charter” was seen by the western leaders as a betrayal of their cherished capitalist ideology, and placed Obote on a direct collision path with them, and subsequently in the line for imminent ouster. This scenario undoubtedly manifested itself into the Coup de Tat of January 25, 1971, with the attendant atrocities that were to be visited onto the people of Uganda by the military regime led by General Idi Amin, from 1971 to 1979.
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But, “Politics is a dirty game”, reads a time tested adage. Therefore, in playing the game of politics, one cannot avoid getting messed up and becoming dirty or, for that matter, being smeared with political dirt. Such is the gist of my topic in this paper – to attempt to wade my way through the waters of historical wrongs done by or to us as a community.
The Wrongs Done by the Langi as a Community to Ugandans
Dr. Apollo Milton Obote took over the reigns of the Sovereign State of Uganda as the Executive Prime Minister at a tender age of 36 years. (He turned 37 on December 28, 1962). At that age, though exceptionally brilliant, he lacked most of the attributes of leadership that only come with age. The Kabaka of Buganda, Maj. Gen. Sir Edward Fredrick William David Walugembe Mutebi Luwangula Mutesa II, was equally young at 37 years; turning 38 on November 19, 1962. The two were, according to Ambassador Eric Otema Alimadi, “young and restless”.
The Nakulabye incident in which 6 (six) people were killed by the police marked the first wrong the UPC government, under A. M. Obote meted to the people of Buganda. That there were no investigations carried out to establish the identities of the culpable police officers, so as to get them punished, showed the weakness of the Prime Minister in enforcing the rule of law. This was to be followed by countless number of police and army impunities and indiscipline, which culminated in eroding the UPC support amongst the Buganda and the Busoga plebiscite, which erosion the Baganda and the Basoga liberally expressed through the ballots during the 1980 elections.
The indiscipline of the army personnel under the late Major General David Oyite Ojok, and later the late Brig. Smith Opon Achak, both Chiefs of Staff of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), in succession, was unprecedented in our recent history. The late Captain Ageta led the indiscipline score to the extent that he practiced a Lango legend which states that there once lived a man called Mzee Odyek Awidi, who used to escort his visitors for some distance from his home and if a visitor did not branch off the road into the jungle to ease himself / herself, Mzee Odyek would order him / her to go back and eat more food...! On his part Captain Ageta used bottles of whisky and brandy to execute his whims. In other words, as a community, we failed as leaders, both of the Government and the peace-keeping institutions thereof.
The other wrong was gross indecision by Dr. A M Obote which led to two coup de tats against his two UPC governments in a span of 14 years; the first in 1971, the second in 1985. In both coups, perpetrated and executed by the army commanders, appointed and decorated by him, Dr. Obote precariously omitted or neglected to carry out his duties as the Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda Army. This omission and neglect was to cost the Country very, very dearly.
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Let us start with the first Coup de Tat of January 25, 1971. All indications were that the Army Commander, General Idi Amin Dada was planning to overthrow the Government. A few army officers were mysteriously killed and investigations about the cause of their death revealed that the Army Commander was involved. Instead of arresting Amin before leaving the Country, Milton left for Singapore leaving instructions to have Amin arrested before he returns. General Idi Amin was never arrested and Milton did not return to Uganda till May 27, 1980! The loss of life and property that followed the failure to get Idi Amin arrested in good time was such that nearly every family in Lango and Acholi lost at least one dear member. Besides, the omission ensured that an illiterate Army Commander became the President of Uganda!
The rest of Uganda equally suffered loses of life and property. Most notable was the expulsion of the Indian Community, who left Uganda in such an economic mess, the aftermath of which has besieged the country up to this day. Given that at the time of the Coup of 1971 the economy of Uganda was almost at par with those of Singapore and South Korea, the loss suffered by our Country’s economy as a result of that Coup de Tat is immeasurable.
A war of liberation erupted in 1972, and a number of fighters lost their lives at Mutukula when the Amin’s forces overpowered the ill-equipped Dr. Milton      Obote led Kikosi Maalum and the Yoweri Museveni led FORONASA forces. Later in 1978, over 100 combatants (111 to be exact) drowned in Lake Victoria, and never returned home to hug their family members. Yet a large number died as they fought their way to capture Kampala, and to liberate the entire country from the claws of dictatorship. Reports from Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) indicate that 496 Tanzanian soldiers died in action, while several others died from non-combat causes, long after the fall of the Idi Amin regime.
There were also the people who were killed inside Uganda upon suspicion that they were collaborating with the exile forces in Tanzania. Notable among them were Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Janani Lowum, Hon. Alex Ojera, Minister of Information, Hon. Basil Bataringaya, Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. William Kalema, Minister of Commerce, Hon Benedicto Kiwanuka, the Chief Justice of Uganda, Major Emmanuel Ogwal, Commander of the                    Air Force, Dr. George Ebine, Mr. Ben Ongom Ogati, Michael Kaggwa, a Kampala business mogul, to mention but a few. A number of pro-UPC Government army officers and men were lured to return to their duty stations and slaughtered like chicken. Notable among them were Captain Agona, a U.K. trained Electrical Engineer, then installing a radar for the Air Force at Entebbe, Captain Atyang, an ace Fighter Pilot, Captain  Winifred  Ogwal, an Air Force Ground Crew wizard,                and Corporal Nelson Opio, who was rebuked by Mr. Naphlin Akena Adoko                   for  reporting a  clandestine  training  grounds  at  Bamunanika, where, his ‘friend‘
General Idi Amin was training the Anyanya mercenaries, in their own dialect,           long before he staged the Coup. Also brutally murdered was one, Captain Charles
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Arube, Amin’s own kinsman, who dared talk to him against the wanton killings of the Langi and Acholi army officers and men in cold blood.
Finally, a group of fighters escaping through Lokung and Owiny Kibul, in the now Southern Sudan, to proceed to Tanzania and join their colleagues were mowed down by the Amin’s army, and the owners of the Lorries that were ferrying them across the Uganda-Sudan border never lived to tell their story after the fall of the dictator. One of the lucky owners was Mzee Nathan Achol, the erstwhile UPC Lango Central Constituency Chairman, who survived by living in perpetual hiding from 1972 till 1979!
All the loss of life enumerated above was as a result of Milton’s failure to take corrective actions in good time to stave off the chain reactions that normally follow any delayed activity. As the old adage goes, “a stitch in time saves nine”. By postponing the arrest of Idi Amin to a later date the Ugandan population ended up losing more than can be imagined, both in terms of life and property, and in terms of the national economy as a whole.
Let me turn to the July 27, 1985 Coup de Tat, aka the Okelos Coup. This Coup was the most unfortunate in that everybody saw it coming. But perhaps the events that led to the 1980 elections being disputed and regarded as rigged in favour of the UPC need be addressed as a precursor.
Dr. Apollo Milton Obote landed in Mbarara Airfield on May 27, 1980, kissed the soil, and proceeded to address a huge rally at Ishaka grounds in Bushenyi District. He then travelled to Kampala the following day to a tumultuous welcome by all and sundry. All looked bright and well till February 6, 1981.
The general elections of 1980 were slated to be held on the 10th Day of December, 1980. But due to the late arrival of voting materials to most             Polling Stations, the elections were extended to the 11th Day of December, 1980, implying that few or no results would be forthcoming until late that evening, or even the following day.
At about 2 p.m. on December 11, 1980, one former Lango UPC, then turned a DP member, arrogated to himself the duty of announcing imaginary results of an election which was still on-going. A large group of DP supporters immediately collected right in the middle of Kampala Road, opposite the DP Party Headquarters, then located at the junction of Johnson Street and Kampala Road, near the present day Pioneer Mall Shopping Arcade, and opposite Shell         Capital Petrol Station Flats, where I was living with my late wife Edna. I had just returned from Lwampanga, where I had been sent by my Party President,                  Dr. A Milton Obote, to monitor the presence or absence of voting materials in the Luwero electoral area. I was, therefore, feeling very tired, having left my bed            at 4 a.m. that morning, and so decided to take a nap for a while before reporting my findings to him.
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When ululations intensified, I woke up and, through the window, saw a tall, dark skinned man in the middle of a quickly swelling crowd, all chanting the DP slogan of “egumire” at every announcement of the DP purported victories. “In Tororo District, all constituencies were taken by our candidates”, the man bellowed. “DP egumire”, the crowd cried in response. “In the West Nile Region, we have won all the constituencies except the one robbed from us by Dr. Moses Apiliga”, he boasted. “DP egumire”, the now charged and apparently very, very happy crowd yelled, amidst deafening ululations from the female stock.
I cut short my rest, came down from the Flat, stealthily entered my Land Rover vehicle, lavishly decorated with UPC Party colours, and, before they could see me, drove off to Impala Road. I heard shouts of “baabo, baabo” as I sped off.
At Impala I first reported my findings about voter materials along                    Kampala - Gulu Road, all the way to Lwampanga. Then upon seeing the map             of Uganda heavily covered with UPC colours to signify the constituencies              the party had won, and thick coating of DP party colours mainly in Buganda and Busoga, signifying the same for the DP, I whispered to Dr. Moses Apiliga to tell me the numbers as they stood on the UPC map. With a wide smile, Moses said “we are well ahead of the DP”. “But, the DP is already celebrating on Kampala Road, opposite their headquarters”, I whispered again.
The Party President overheard me and asked me to repeat what I had just said to Dr. Moses Apiliga. I did just that and all the calm and joy in his face varnished. He telephoned H.E. Paulo Muwanga and asked him to liaise with Mrs Rose Akora, who was monitoring the results at the main Post Office, in the company of her colleagues from the DP, the UPM and the CP, to confirm the results they had received as at that time, and then join us at Impala Avenue. Meantime, Rose confirmed the results to us with her characteristic hearty laugh, assuring us and the Party President that the UPC was well ahead of its nearest rival, the DP.
What surprised me most was that when H.E. Paulo Muwanga arrived at Impala Road to confirm the results as we knew them to be, Dr. Obote asked him                   to call Hon. Stephen Ariko, then the Minister of Justice and Attorney General under the Military Commission Government led by Paulo, to come over and join us so as to draft what was to become the undoing of the otherwise very free and fair elections to date. I advised Paulo Muwanga against issuing and publishing the promulgation, but I was deemed, in Milton Obote’s own words, “too young in politics to envisage the aftermath of making the DP supporters believe that their Party has won only to be told later that the Party has lost”. Although at 34 I was not so young in politics, I conceded, and the promulgation was issued and aired on Radio Uganda, reaching far and wide.
The consequence of the tall black skinned man announcing incorrect results, coupled  with  an  ill-conceived  promulgation, drawn and issued  in panic, was             to not only discredit the UPC Party worldwide, but  also  to  create a  stage for the
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NRF / NRA protracted 5-year ‘liberation’ war which led to the short-lived Coup de Tat of July 27, 1985. The loss of life and property, both in the Luwero triangle and elsewhere in Uganda, caused by the war and the HIV / Aids, may be attributed to that irresponsible behaviour of that Lango man and hence to all of us as a community. Fortunately for him, he took off to exile and lived happily in a white man’s land till he came back to, among others, a juicy ministerial post before falling out with the appointing authority. That he bounced back to the UPC as a leading member of that Party is risible at best.
The UPC won the 1980 election freely and fairly; and no one in his right mind should doubt that fact. In their Report, the Commonwealth Observer Team had this to say, “At no time did we lend credence to claims made by the DP that they had won a clear majority. Rather we contacted the DP to advise it of the position as we understood it to be, and subsequently the DP confirmed that some of the information from the outlying districts had been incorrect”.
Earlier on, when the Team met Dr. A. Milton Obote on his campaign trail                in Hoima, one of the observers, who had met the leaders of the DP, the UPM,  and the CP in the comfort of the Parliamentary Buildings at Kampala, asked a rhetoric question, viz., “How does any of the three presidential candidates           expect to win these elections without campaigning?
On his part, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote made one unfortunate mistake when forming his Cabinet of December, 1980. He ignored the advice given to him by senior UPC members, led by Shaffique Arain and Gurdial Singh, to form a Government of National Unity and left out of the Cabinet all the leaders and supporters of the rest of the political parties and organisations that also participated in the liberation wars of 1972, and of 1979, the latter of which wars led to the ouster of General Idi Amin Dada from power. By so doing Dr. Obote’s actions led to a further loss of life and property as a result of the NRF / NRA war which ensued from that unfortunate mistake. 
The NRF / NRA launched their bush war by an attack on Kabamba barracks on February 6, 1981. Up till January 26, 1986 numerous lives were lost on both the Government army side and the NRA side. The skulls that were displayed along  the Kampala - Gulu Road bear testimony to this. Besides, the map depicting the HIV / Aids scourge in Uganda correlates very closely with the path traversed by the NRA combatants as they fought their way around the Country, all the way to Koboko. The death toll from the war and the HIV / Aids can comfortably be blamed on the activities of the UPC leadership immediately following its victory  in the December 1980 elections. The leader of the UPC was one of our own and as such we do, and indeed should bear the blame as a community.
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The Wrongs Done to the Langi as a Community by other Ugandans
Besides the atrocities visited on the Langi by General Idi Amin’s regime from January 25, 1971 through to April 11, 1979, the most gruesome wrong suffered by our community is the loss of our livestock in 1987, where many lives were lost and hundreds of thousands of our cattle rustled away by the Karimojong. That to date no commensurate compensation has been made to most of our people who lost their relatives, livelihoods and property during the rebel activities in the area compounds the wrongs that our community has suffered and continue to suffer up to this day.
The Kony bush war has also gravely inflicted loss of life and property in our community. The Barlonyo massacre, the abduction of our children and able bodied adults, mostly males, and the spread of HIV / Aids in our towns, townships, and villages have all caused untold sufferance amongst the Lango community.
Added to the above wrongs, the Lango Community has suffered from government job droughts to the extent that of all the numerous permanent secretaries and under secretaries, the Lango community boasts of only one, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Environment. As if that is not bad enough, Northern Uganda is now synonymous with the Acholi Sub-region, leaving our Sub-region hanging, with very little or no social amenities directed to the Sub-region by the International Aid Agencies.
The Lira Campus of the Gulu University, which should have been in full operation by now, has met with stiff resistance from the managers of the ‘parent’ Gulu University. This has led to the majority of our people calling upon the Government to consider establishing a separate and fully fledged University for the Sub-region; a call which is yet to be heeded to by the powers that be.
For the Langi aspiring to become leaders in our country, please always bear in mind that as a leader you must be able to lead at all times. If a leader does not lead at each and every stage the sycophants, of whom nearly 90% are pretenders and opportunists, take over and begin to lead the leader.
Obote was a genius and, therefore, a leader of a very unique calibre. He led at all times and in all aspects that needed his leadership acumen. He was immensely gifted with exceptional reasoning capacity; with immeasurable memory capacity; with admirable analytical ability; with an outstanding perception capability; and with awesome oratory ability, enforced by a rich English vocabulary and a spicy choice of words. Therefore, it is of little wonder that Hon. Wafula Ogutu once referred to him as “a word smith”.
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When asked whether in case he returned to Uganda alive his supporters would not pressurise him to run for the presidency again, Dr. Obote had this to say in reply, “I am a leader”. Sadly, Dr. Obote did not return to Uganda alive, but even in his coffin Milton radiated unprecedented leadership synergy to the delight of his admirers and the chagrin of his foes.
However, because of the collective responsibility stance of the Cabinet, and his avowed principle not to take decisions that are not blessed by most of his political and other colleagues, coupled with his benevolence, some of the wrongs attributed to Dr. A Milton Obote in this Paper are mainly due to his role as a leader. Tasked to lead on his own, and knowing him as I do, I can comfortable aver that Milton would have acted differently. As matters now stand we as a community find ourselves culpable and do take full responsibility for all the wrongs that Dr. Apollo Milton Obote’s leadership incurred upon the people of Uganda, and upon Uganda as a country.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
I say all these, For God and My Country.
Henry M B Makmot

Friday, 17 August 2012

Current Economic and Development Outlook of the Eastern Federal State

‘Current Economic and Development Outlook of the Eastern Federal State’
By Matthias Ngobi Miti
Butembe County
1.0 Introduction
This paper was aimed at drawing together basic information on the economy of a potential Eastern Federal State in Uganda.  Eastern Uganda is categorized into three sub regions specifically East-Central, Mid-Eastern and North East. The districts in East Central include: Jinja, Iganga, Namutumba, Kamuli, Kaliro, Bugiri, Luka, Budiope, Namayingo and Mayuge. Mid-Eastern has Kapchorwa, Bukwa, Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Tororo, Butaleja, Sironko, Paliisa, Budaka and Busia. The sub-region of North East consists of Kotido, Abim, Moroto, Kaabong, Nakapiripiriti, Katwaki, Amuria, Bukedea, Soroti, Kumi and Kaberamaido districts. In some cases, the economic performance of the said region is compared against others as well as nationally. The discussion is centered on nine socio-economic indicators specifically household characteristics, education, employment, health, consumption expenditures, poverty and inequality trends, household income, welfare and vulnerability levels.
2.0 Household characteristics
Eastern Region has the largest population by region in Uganda. There was a decline in the proportion of the population in Central region from 29 to 27 percent and Western from 26 to 24 percent while in Eastern region it increased from 25 to 30 percent when compared to 2005/06.
Furthermore, the average household size of Eastern region remained the highest at 5.6. Central region registered a sharp decline of 0.7 at 4.1 in 2009/10 as well as Western region from 5.5 to 5.1 by 2009/10 possibly because of increased education levels compared to Eastern region. In terms of family stability, Eastern region had the lowest population above 18 years who never married(15%),highest currently married polygamous(19.7%),second highest divorced/separated) and  nearly the utmost portion of widow/widowers(8.3%) with Northern Uganda at the top with (9.1%) attributed the civil strife and wars.
Regarding religion, the Protestant faith had the majority of followers (38.0 %), followed by Catholics (30.4 %), Muslims (17.8%), Pentecostals (11.4%), SDA (1.2%), traditionalists (0.2.0%) and others (1.0%).
3.0 Education
In contrast to other regions, adult males in Eastern region maintained the lead position in having the highest illiteracy levels in Uganda while the increment in the literacy growth rate for females was lower than that of Northern region between the years 2005-2010.  Literacy levels for adult females in Eastern Uganda increased from 56 percent in 2005/06 to 60 percent in 2009/10 while in Northern region, the increment was 7 percentage points at  52 percent in 2009/10. Overall, Eastern region with 68 percent in 2009/10 follows Northern region (64%) in having the lowest adult literacy rates by region.
In terms of Education attainment (Persons aged 15 years and above), 18.3 percent in Eastern region had no formal schooling while 23.1 percent complete secondary education. Eastern region had the highest proportion of persons who complete primary (56%) but also had the lowest proportion of persons who were educated at secondary level and above (2.5 %) in 2009/10.

Of the 5 regions, Eastern Uganda occupied the third position in the reading culture.  Overall, 30.5 percent participated in reading, 39. 8 percent male and 22.4 percent female. The leading region in participation in reading books, news papers, magazines and journals was Kampala with 70.4 percent .It was followed by Central with 44.7 percent.

4.0 Employment
Whereas Eastern region had the highest labour force[1] by region (26%) and the fastest labour force growth rate of 6.9 percent, it also recorded the lowest Labour Force Participation Rate[2] (LFPR) in the two surveys; 71.4% in 2005/09 and 76.8 percent in 2009/10.

It also leads other regions in terms of the working population growth rate which increased by 6.4 percent at 26.6 percent in 2009/10. Excluding Kampala, it had the lowest proportion of multiple job holders of 26.1 percent by 2009/10.
Unemployment in Eastern region sharply rose by 2.3 percent to 3 percent (91,000 persons) in 2009/10 which was slightly below the national average of 4.2 percent.
Whereas in 2005/06, it was in the third bottom ranking position, currently Eastern region tops with 4.1 percent in time related underemployment. It is 0.6 percentage points above the national average of 3.5 percent in 2009/10. This implies that more people in Eastern region work less than 40 hours a week in comparison to other regions. The same region had the lowest proportion of Skill under utilization of 2.7 percent in 2009/10. In addition, the UNHS 2009/10 findings show that 10.8 percent employed persons in Eastern region are inadequately paid.

5.0 Health
With regard to health, Eastern region had a bigger proportion of the population that suffered illnesses within 30 days compared to other regions. Disease prevalence rose by 1.9 points at 50.6 percent, which is far higher than the national coverage of 42.9 percent in 2009/10. The 2009/10 UNHS results indicate that Eastern region had the highest incidences of Malaria (53.9 percent) despite the rise in the use of mosquito nets from 17.2 to 47.0 percent, lowest respiratory infections(12.9%),second highest cases of diarrhea(3.7%),highest urinary and skin infections of 0.3 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. About 76.5 percent of communities reportedly accessed Improved Sources of Drinking Water.

 6.0 Consumption Expenditures
Consumption Expenditure per Household rose by UGX 14,500 at UgX.193,400 but  still below the national coverage of 210,450 in 2009/10. Although the mean per capita expenditure within Eastern region increased from UgX.31,800 in 2004/05 to 34,850 in 2009/10, the figure is far below the national average of  UgX.42,150.Besides, a real decline is noted in the urban areas of the Eastern region.

Of all regions, the Eastern recorded the lowest average growth rate of Mean Consumption Expenditure per Adult Equivalent (MCEA). The average MCEA growth rate for Eastern Rural slumped from 4.4 to 3.4 percent while Eastern Urban recorded a sharp fall from 2.4 to -2.4 percent for the periods of 2002-2006 and 2006-2010 respectively.  The people in the East of Uganda spend 54 percent of their income on food and beverages while those in central and Kampala spend as less as 38 and 30 percent respectively. Other expenditure items for the east included Rent, fuel and energy with 15 percent, health with 6 percent while Transport and communication absorbs 6 percent.  In contrast to other regions, Eastern had the lowest expenditure on education of 5 percent.

7.0 Poverty and inequality trends
According to the recent UNHS, 2009/10:81-85, the proportion of people in poverty in Eastern region declined from 35.9 percent to 24.3 percent (that is, from 2.45 million to 2.2 million persons in poverty, respectively). The decline is driven by the rural areas, which experienced a 12.7 percentage point drop. Considering the poverty levels in 10 sub-regions, North East was in the lead with 75.8 percent, followed by Mid-Northern with 40.4 percent, west Nile with 39.7percent, Eastern 26.5 percent, East Central had 21.4 percent and Mid-Western had 25.3 percent. Inequality varied from 0.319 in Eastern region to 0.451 in Central region.

Figure 1: Number of poor persons in the Eastern region.
Data source: UHBS, 2009/10

Eastern Rural had the highest poverty incidence of 3.09 percent which declined to 2.36 in 2005/06 and 2.07percent in 2009/10.  In the year, 2002/03, Eastern was at the top of other regions with 3.19 millions of poor persons. Meanwhile, Northern region had only 0.64 poor persons in excess of Eastern Uganda in 2009/10.  However, from 2005-2010, Eastern was over taken by Northern rural sub-region whose poverty rates slightly dropped by 0.23 percentage points at 2.72 percent in 2009/10.

Findings of study by UBOS titled, Spatial Trends of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda: 2002-2005,” indicated that Busoga region, Mbale and Pallisa districts reportedly had the highest concentration of poor people. The report said more than 100 poor people live per square Km in these areas.  In these districts, the poverty density (number of poor people living on less than a dollar a day) per square Km per sub-county is more than 100 people, compared to other regions. Poverty was attributed to poor health, lack of access to clean water, poor sanitary disposal and high population.

Figure 2: Headcount[3] poverty estimates and trends by region
Data source: UNHS 2002/03, 2005/06 (2009/10)
Why do areas sub regions not severely affected by War compared to Northern Uganda, have almost the same number of poor persons? If the cause is related to deliberate public neglect and poor policy options, then the regime in power ought to account for this discrepancy to the people in the East of the country!

Table 1 : Poverty estimates and contribution to P0, P1 and P2 in the UNHS IV 2009/10 by sub region
Population Share
Poverty estimates
Percent contribution to P0, P1 & P2
East Central
Data source: UNHS 2009/10

The study by Okurut et al (2002:28) concluded that based on the national poverty line, Northern Uganda has been found to be the poorest area in the country; it has the largest depth of poverty and the worst inequality. However, ‘Using region-specific poverty lines, Eastern region has the worst indicators of poverty. The same paper affirms Western region as the richest region in Uganda.
At the national level, various studies of (UBOS), indicate a striking decline in poverty incidences from 56 percent in 1992 to 38.0 percent in 2003, 38.8 percent in 2005 i.e.9.8 million Ugandans, 31 percent in 2008 and 24.5 percent by 2010. Despite this drop, the Gini- coefficient index increased from 0.395 in 1999/2000(UNHS) to 0.428 in 2002/03 (UNHS). Other studies show that poverty levels increased from 39 to 49 percent among households engaged in Agriculture. Yet the proportion of those employed in Agriculture grew from 39 to 50 percent over the same period (DENIVA, 2006, SEATINI, 2005).

8.0 Household income
Available information reveals that households in the Eastern region earn 1.8 times lower than their national counter parts.

At regional level, Eastern had the lowest growth rate (10.3 percent) of the total average monthly household income for the period 2005/06-2009/10. Kampala stood in the first position with 175.8 percent growth rate, followed by Western with 90.6 percent and Central with 86.1 percent. Both Northern and Eastern were below the national average of 77.8 percent. Simply put, the total monthly income of a resident in Kampala is about 6 times more than a resident of Eastern region which formerly hosted the most industrialized town in East Africa!

Table 2: Total average monthly household income and growth rate by region from 2005/06-2009/10
Average Income growth rate
Source:  UNHS, 2009/10, Extracted from Table 7.1: Average Monthly Income by Region and Residence (UGX); 93.

With regard to income from cultural activities, the majority 53.8 percent in Eastern region earned from herbal medicine practice. The region also recorded the highest proportion of interpreters (12 .2 %). In comparison to other regions, Eastern still had the lowest proportion of adults who earned from music (17.8%) and drama (7.3%), and making mats and baskets (9.1%). About 24 percent households were operating Informal Businesses. Mining and quarrying (52%) and fishing (47.9%) were predominant in the Eastern region (52%). In addition, the industries of agriculture had 32 percent, food processing (22.4%), hotels & restaurants (23%), trade (24.6%) and services (21.8%)

9.0 Welfare levels
Well-being of individuals or groups takes consideration of their health, happiness, safety, prosperity, and fortunes. Eastern was in the lead with 90.7 percent of the households owning a house. This was above the national coverage of 81.4 percent. In terms of the households owning land, it was second with 81.7 percent to Western Uganda which registered 85.4 percent.  It had the lowest proportion of households owning electric equipments such as television sets, radios, and radio cassettes (43.5percent) lower than the national coverage of 53.9 percent and also the least proportion of households owning Jewellery and watches (13.3 percent). It had the second lowest portion of households using mobile phones of 38.7 percent below the national average of 46.3 percent.

Furthermore, Eastern had the highest proportion of households using bicycles 46.6 percent, which was above the national average of 36.7 percent. Only 2.7 and 0.8 percent do own motor vehicles and motor cycles respectively.

Table 3: Household welfare indicators
Household Welfare indicator
Possession of Two Sets of Clothes
Ownership of Blanket
23.7 0
Possessing at Least a Pair
of Shoes
Took One Meal a Day
Data source: UNHS,2009/10
Eastern region had the highest proportion of   households 17.8 percent who did not provide Breakfast for children Aged below 5 Years and also had the lowest proportion of households (0.8percent) that provided children Porridge with milk! Also, it followed Kampala (93.3%) in the proportion of households owning furniture and furnishings with 86.4 percent.
In 2005/2006, Eastern was still in the lead with 43.2 percent of the households who considered borrowing from neighbors when they ran short of salt. However, in 2009/10, it slipped in the second position with 47 percent and Northern had the top borrowers of salt of 62.3 percent.
Importantly, Eastern had the highest proportion of households using paraffin candles ‘tadooba’ as lighting fuel, 81.2 percent in 2005/06 and 80.2 percent in 20091/0. It also occupied the second bottom place in the proportion of households connected to electricity (3.5 percent). In 2009/10, it was at the top of all regions with 83.1percent still using the traditional ‘three stones’ cooking technology while also maintaining the lowest position in the use of improved stoves with a slight increment of 1.7 percentage points at 4.8 percent .  About 11.4 percent of households do not use toilet facility but visit the bush to dispose off their feaces. This is above the national coverage of households without toilets were 8.7 percent in 2009/10. Eastern Uganda also had the second lowest proportion of households using VIP (1.9%) and flush toilets (0.6%).
1.0 Vulnerability:
Eastern region had the lowest proportion of paternal orphan-hood (5.8%) and proportion of orphans (9.2%). It also recorded the highest proportion of children aged 0-17 with surviving two parents (90.8 %). Only 1.6 percent had lost both parents. In 2005/06, it also had the second highest proportion of households with 4 orphans and beyond but by 2009/10, this slumped to 12 percent and it was in fourth position. In 2009/10, it had the second least proportion of vulnerable children with 34 percent down from 66 percent in 2005/06.

References for Further Reading:
DENIVA. (February 2006). A final report on the TDP project; Uganda: The Impacts of Trade Liberalization in the Dairy and Maize Sectors on Household Welfare.
Okurut F.N. et al (November 2002). Determinants of regional poverty in Uganda, The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Research Paper 122, Nairobi.
SEATINI (January 2008).The impact of liberalization of agricultural imports on the performance of the agricultural sector and welfare of small scale farmers.
SEATINI (July 2005).The economic partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations: Implications and way forward.
UBOS (2010). The Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) 2009/10, Socio-Economic Module, Abridged Report, November 2010.
UBOS. Uganda National Household Surveys (UNHS), 2002-2003, 2005/6.

[1] Labour force refers to the economically active population including persons aged 14-64 years, who were either employed or unemployed during the last seven days prior to the survey.
[2] The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is the number of persons in the labour force expressed as a percentage of the working-age population. It measures the extent to which a country’s working age population (14-64 years) is economically active. It also gives an indication of how many people of working age are actively participating in the labour market and includes both the employed and unemployed.
[3] Headcount (P0) shows how broad or wide spread the poverty is (the estimated household population spending less than what is necessary to meet their caloric requirements and to afford them a mark-up for non-food needs. P1 measures how poor the poor are and, by giving more weight to the poorest, P2 gives an indication of how severe poverty is.