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THURSDAY LIVE UPDATES: News from in and around Uganda

5.57 PM: Ugandans imported 4000 cars in March

Over 4000 cars were imported into the Country, compared to the monthly average of 3000 Cars.

4,272 cars were imported into the country in March alone compared to an average of 3,000 monthly imports.

This is the highest in more than four years.



2:00PM: Rukutana asks court to dismiss age limit case petitions

The Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana together with the Solicitor General Francis Atoke have this morning led a team of 18 State Attorneys to defend the age limit law before the Constitutional Court sitting at Mbale High Court.

In his opening remarks, Rukutana maintained that Parliament acted within the law and prescribed procedures to duly amend the Constitution.

In his submissions, Rukutana has also applauded the speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga for having acted within the law during the entire process of conceptualisation and actualisation of the bill on top of supporting President Museveni for having legally assented it to the law.

He has further defended government as having acted legally in doing whatever it took to facilitate the entire process of this Constitutional amendment.

10:40AM: Government starts it's defence in the Age Limit Petition

Government has started defending it's self in an age limit case that is being heard in the Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale.

The case which is being heard by five justices led by the deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo has today entered day 4 with the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana submitting his defence as a respondent on behalf of the Government.

10:22 AM: Ugandan-born actress Sheila Atim wins Best Supporting Actress at Laurence Olivier Awards

Sheila's win comes after she acted as Marianne in Conor McPherson's Girl From The North Country - the five-star play scored by a reimagining of Bob Dylan's songbook.

10:00AM: 11 lions killed in Queen Elizabeth National Park

The conservation fraternity in Uganda is mourning the loss of a pride of lions at Hamkungu fishing village, an enclave of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This comes just a month after the country joined the rest of the world to mark the UN World Wildlife Day Celebrations under the national theme; “creating a safe environment for the survival of big cats”.

Speaking to us, the Uganda Wildlife Authority communications manager, Mr Bashir Hangi, confirmed the incident.

“It is true we lost a pride, 3 mothers and 8 young ones, in a fishing village called Hamukungu” Mr Hangi said.

9:20AM: Investors to fund oil refinery venture

The Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC), the venture of American and Italian firms that were on Tuesday commissioned to design, finance, construct and maintain the proposed oil refinery in Hoima District, will pick the Shs14.6 trillion ($4b) capital expenditure, including government’s share for the project, which will be recouped once it starts making profits.

The refinery is expected to be financed under the public-private partnership ratio of 60:40. The government’s 40 per cent equity share was agreed to last December by the Finance and Energy ministries and the joint shareholders of the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).

Uganda’s share will be carried through the Uganda Refinery Holding Company, a subsidiary of UNOC, which is mandated to manage the country’s commercial interests in the oil sector.

9:10AM: Police defend mob action on Masaka fugitive

As police led by a village security committee swung into action to arrest criminals who had raided the home of Ms Resty Nakyambadde in Mukoko Village, Kalungu District on Monday night, a mob trounced on one of the suspects, Muhammad Kiddawalime and killed him using stones and sticks.

Kiddawalime is one of two murder suspects -- the other being Musa Galiwango -- who escaped from Masaka High Court on March 1 and has been hiding until he resurfaced on Monday.

Although in Ugandan laws mob action is itself a criminal activity and whoever involves in it commits an offence, police have since defended the act.

Mr Lameck Kigozi, the southern regional police spokesperson, said the police have no plans of arresting any resident who participated in mob action as the circumstances under which it was done are justifiable.

8:45AM: Gen Nalweyiso blames Church over Mukono land

The presidential adviser on Security and Defence Affairs, Maj Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, yesterday blamed the Church of Uganda for neglecting its land in Ntawo Village, Mukono District, leading to encroachment.

Gen Nalweyiso is named among high-ranking government officials who are accused of occupying part of the 640 acre-church land registered under Uganda Christian University (UCU) Holdings Limited, an investment arm of the Church.

Others include State Minister for water Ronald Kibuule, former MP Anthony Mukasa, Mr Moses Male Byekwaso, the LC chairperson, also accused of mobilising squatters against the Church and the university officials, Retired soldier Musinguzi Kazayi and area defence secretary Robert Wasswa.

8:30AM: UTL gets lease of life from govt agencies

Non-compliant government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been given up to end of this month to either switch to Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) or write to President Museveni, explaining why they are unable to adhere to his directive.

In a January 9 letter, the President gave the directive ordering all government institutions to procure all Internet and other related services from UTL and demanded a press report after three months.

Mr Museveni said this will save the company from what he called a group of corrupt officials who ‘sucked’ UTL dry through self-enrichment with huge salaries and had plotted to devalue its assets worth Shs148 billion.

8:00AM:MPs term extension has puzzled Cabinet - lawyers

The Constitutional Court yesterday heard that Cabinet is facing a dilemma harmonising the office terms of the President, Parliament and local government councils following the amendment of the Constitution.

Lawyers for the petitioners challenging the Constitution amendment law told the court in Mbale Town that the amendment of Article 102 (b) as it is now, has created two office terms of different length which will require elections on different dates.

They said the term of MPs is now seven years while that of the President is still five years.

Mr Erias Lukwago, one of the petitioners’ lawyers, argued that because of the dilemma, Cabinet has been thrown into panic which could disrupt government functionality.

7:45AM: Trafficked Ugandan girl dies in Oman

A Ugandan girl, said to be one of those trafficked to the Middle East country of Oman, has died with reports linking her death to torture.

Sources in Oman have revealed that the 24 year-old, identified as Doreen Karungi, was found dead on Tuesday inside a small room in Ibra town about 170km from the capital, Muscat.

Suffering from alleged torture wounds and starvation, she had been locked up in the room with another Ugandan who is reportedly suffering from mental disorder.

It is a common practice for Omani and Ugandan human trafficking agents to lock up girls in their offices in the different towns of the Arab country, especially when the victims decide to abandon work to elude torture from their bosses.

7:40AM: Five held over Boda boda, mobile money theft

Police in Kampala have arrested five suspected Boda boda hit men and mobile money robbers.

Three men suspected to be part of the group of thugs that hit Boda boda riders in Kampala city, Mukono and Wakiso districts were arrested on Tuesday by Katwe police after they were identified by victims of deadly missions.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigyire, identified the thugs currently detained at Katwe police station as; Mr Muzamir Katende, a resident of Namasuba, Mr Asuman Kiyemba, a Bujjuko dweller and Mr Robert Sserunjogi, of Kasenge in Nakawuka.

7:30AM: Thugs invade Mukono villages, one killed

Unidentified thugs attacked two villages in Mukono Municipality on Tuesday night and one was shot by Col Egesa while trying to enter his home in Dandira village.

On Wednesday morning, the shot suspected thug was found by residents lying unconsciously near Col Egesa’s gate, dragged him to the bush and burnt him beyond recognition.

The Kampala metropolitan Police spokesperson, Mr Luke Owoyesigirye, confirmed the incident, but said police were still trying to identify the deceased.