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TUESDAY LIVE UPDATES: News from within and around Uganda

4:50PM: Senior OPM official arrested over land grabbing

A senior official in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has been arrested for allegedly grabbing a 200-acre farmland in Kazinga Village, Rwentuha Sub-county in Kyegegwa District.

The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters ordered the arrest and detention of Mr Charles Bafaki, the Principal Settlement Officer in the OPM after he was quizzed in regard to land grabbing, forceful evictions and destruction of property worth millions of shillings belonging to former Tooro Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Irumba.

It is alleged that in 2016 Mr Bafaki, and other senior officials of the OPM violently evicted Mr Irumba and destroyed his property purporting to settle Ugandans who had been expelled from Tanzania on the land after claiming that it was part of Kyaka I Refugee Settlement in Kyegegwa District.

1:05PM: Case file for musicians accused of disturbing Museveni’s peace goes missing

Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court has threatened to dismiss a case against two local musicians accused of disturbing President Museveni' peace through a song.David Mugema and Jonathan Muwangunzi are charged with offensive communication and abetting offensive communication.

In a session presided over by Grade One magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu, the state prosecutor, Mr Abdul Salam Waiswa, told court that he did not have the case file because he lost touch with the investigating officer.

“I don’t know the status of the case because we lost touch with the investigating officer,” Mr Waiswa told court.

This prompted Ms Kamasanyu to give state the last adjournment to April 13 with an order that failure for prosecution to present witnesses will lead to dismissal of the case.

1:00PM: FDC's Paul Mwiru set to hold his final rally

Forum for Democratic Change candidate in the Jinja East bye election Paul Mwiru is set to hold his final rally at Busoga square in Jinja Municipality. Mwiru is battling it out with other 7 contestants with the biggest rope pulling between him and NRM's Igeme Nabeta. 

Today, big members of both the NRM and Opposition are expected to camp in the district to both lobby for support for their respective candidates in the hotly contested election.

12:05PM: Tourism Ministry launches the 2018 Ekkula awards

The Ministry of Tourism has today launched the 2018 Ekkula awards aimed at recognizing people that have played a big role in promoting the country as one of the biggest tourist destinations. 

According to the State Minister of Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda, there are many people that have promoted the image of Uganda citing a local dance group, the Ghetto Kids.

"They didn’t know that they would put Uganda on a world map but such people need to be rewarded, this is when they get motivated to continue doing good," Kiwanda added. 

The awards will happen on the 29th of this month at Pearl of Africa Hotel 

12:00PM: Bakaleke, six other officers face kidnap, robbery charges

Former Kampala South Regional Police Commander Siraje Bakaleke and six others face five capital offences resulting from kidnap and extortion of Shs1.4b from three Korean nationals last month.

Police said the five offences that Mr Bakaleke and his co-accused face include unlawful deportation of two Koreans, obtaining money by false pretence, aggravated robbery for using guns, kidnap and theft.

They were implicated in a scheme that led to gunpoint extortion from the two foreigners who were in the country to purchase gold.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said there are two case files probing the alleged crime committed by its officers; one by Professional Standards Unit (PSU) and the other by Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

11:50AM: Oulanyah attacks Health minister over nodding disease

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, has accused Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, of denying the existence of nodding syndrome within Acholi sub-region.

Mr Oulanyah, who also doubles as the Omoro County Member of Parliament, said Dr Aceng’s statements were wrong considering the fact that suspected new cases are being reported.

Dr Aceng recently said the Health ministry last recorded a case of nodding syndrome in northern Uganda in 2012 and that the condition is being confused with epilepsy.

“To say that there are no cases of nodding syndrome when you are comfortable in Kampala is not fair. It’s like you are not taking your job, profession and the country seriously because on the ground, there are new suspected cases that are being reported,” Mr Oulanyah said.

11:05AM: Mumbere’s guard dies in prison, 11 others ill

One of the 170 Rwenzururu Kingdom traditional guards on remand in Kirinya government prison has died while 11 others are battling different illnesses.

Mr Clarence Mumbahya Bwambale, the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson, said 55-year-old Mikidadi Masereka was pronounced dead last Friday night after being rushed to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital for treatment. He died of high blood pressure.

He said the relatives were, on Saturday, cleared by the Uganda Prison’s authorities to take the body home for burial at the deceased’s ancestral home in Kasenyi Village, Buhuhira Sub-county in Kasese District.

Despite releasing the body for burial, the Uganda Prisons spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine, declined to speak to us, saying he was busy in Nebbi District.

10:30AM: Family secures court order to exhume priest’s body

Court in Mbale has issued an order allowing the police and the family to exhume the remains of the late Rev Fr Peter Kasooli Bwayo who was allegedly buried with unspecified treasures in July 2014.

The order was issued on Monday by the Mbale Grade One Magistrate, Mr Daniel Epobu, to the deceased’s older brother Mr Clement Bwayo and Mr Fredrick Sam Were a police officer attached to the Elgon region police station.

Court ordered that police doctors exhume the deceased’s remains to carry out a postmortem to ascertain the cause of death and also a DNA test to determine the identity of the remains.

“It is therefore ordered as follows; the remains of Rev Fr Peter Kasooli Bwayo be exhumed and a postmortem conducted to ascertain the cause of death, and that a D.N.A test be conducted to ascertain the identity of the remains,” the Magistrate ordered.

10:10AM: Makerere students set for mass production of teargas

A team of Makerere University Students is working round the clock to complete the standardization of locally-made teargas.

The group led by Samuel Falcao Mugarura has set June this year as the deadline for the completion of the product standardization phase and anticipates to start mass production by end of June.

Mr Mugarura thrust himself into the public limelight, garnering media attention in September 2016 when he launched what he termed as locally manufactured teargas.

Perceived as an average student academically then, Mugarura whose life was illustrated by "anarchism" (leading strikes) set the entire university into a state of bafflement with his teargas invention that earned him a call from State House and a meet up with President Museveni who promised him support. 

The team received Shs400 million from the government this financial year to standardise the product sample.

9:45AM: Monitor, NTV to name, shame errant drivers

The Nation Media Group – Uganda will tomorrow start a public road user campaign in which it will publish photographs and videos of errant road users as a way of curbing indiscipline on the roads.

The campaign dubbed “Stay in Your Lane” will see photographs and videos of errant road users published in Daily Monitor newspaper, NTV and all their online platforms. Registration numbers (and names of errant motorists or registered owner) will be mentioned on KFM and Dembe FM – location of offence and type of misdemeanour.

Mr Charles Bichachi, the Monitor Publications Limited executive editor, said the campaign is intended to educate motorists on the traffic rules.

9:30AM: LDC loses Shs1.3b case to landlord

The Law Development Centre (LDC) has lost its bid in which it had sought to recover over Shs1.3b from businessman and former land lord, which money was attached from the institution's Stanbic bank account.

While rejecting LDC's bid to set aside the earlier court orders, Justice Patricia Basaza Wasswa of the Kampala High Court, in her ruling dated March 7, ordered LDC to instead recover its money from government and not from Mr Daniel Sserufusa Wasswa, formerly the owner of LDC land.

This, the judge reasoned that the government was a joint defendant in the main suit and even accepted to indemnify the institution in case of any compensation for the land lord.

9:05AM: FDC seeks Shs5 billion compensation from Government

The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is demanding Shs5 billion to replace property that was allegedly vandalised when police raided their headquarters in 2016.

During the party's weekly press conference at the headquarters in Najjanankumbi yesterday, the  Secretary General, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi said that after waiting for such a long period, the are considering going to court which would compel the state to compensate them.

“We have been waiting for government to give a report or return our property but in vain. We have finished to value all property that was vandalised and taken. If they don't respond, we are dragging them to the courts of law,” he said.

In February 2016, police raided FDC offices and confiscated items that were allegedly being used to tally results of the general elections.

9:00AM: Sleep making Ugandans poor - Museveni

President Museveni has said Ugandans, and Africans more generally, are poor because they spend too much time sleeping.

“Africa is so rich because we have got water, land, minerals, good weather. So, how does this (poverty) come about? It is because of nino (Langi for sleeping),” Mr Museveni said. In Africa, he noted, there is also a lot of “oversleeping”.

“People, as the prayer book of the Church of Uganda says, ‘leave undone as they ought to do and they do things that they are not meant to do’. That is why you get (poverty) in the place which has got a lot of lonyo (Langi for wealth),” he added.

8:50AM: Minister probed over academic papers

The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Irene Mulyagonja, is investigating junior Lands minister, Ms Persis Namuganza for alleged lack of requisite academic papers to serve as a Member of Parliament and in Cabinet.

The investigations by the Ombudsman were prompted by a petition filed by a group calling itself “concerned people” from Busoga Sub-region, the minister’s home area. Ms Namuganza represents Bukono County, Namutumba District in the 10th Parliament.

“This is to confirm receipt of the complaint against minister Namuganza that is dated March 7, 2018,” IGG Mulyagonja said last Friday, adding: “We are going to carry out preliminary investigations into the complaint of her lacking academic papers.”

8:45AM: IGG stuck with 4,620 unresolved complaints

The Inspectorate of Government is battling 4,620 unresolved complaints under investigation mainly corruption cases.

The backlog is comprised of cases of corruption, abuse of office and breach of the Leadership Code among others. They were carried forward from the bi-annual reporting period of January-June 2017 to July-December of the same year.

The revelations are contained in the bi-annual report for January-June 2017 that the Inspector General of Government, Justice Irene Mulyagonja, submitted to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, last month.

8:40AM: Grief, anger mark the burial of killed traffic officer

Grief and anger marked the burial of a traffic police officer, who was knocked dead last week by Devine Bus registration number UBA 684T while on duty at Kabakanjagala junction along Rubaga road.

Cpl Wilfred Tweituk, a traffic officer attached to Old Kampala Police Station, was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Kisitya cell, Siron ward in Kapchorwa Municipality yesterday.

Hundreds of mourners including the Kampala Metropolitan Traffic Commander, Mr Norman Musinga, flocked the deceased’s ancestral home for the burial. Speaker after speaker condemned the act of the driver, who ended the life of the "well-disciplined" officer.

8:30AM: What happens to Gen Kayihura's '11 million' crime preventers?

The fate of crime preventers, who were a key plank of outgoing police chief Gen Kale Kayihura's community policing programme, hangs in balance following his removal from office.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima told a media conference that the new Police leadership would decide how to relate with or engage the crime preventers, said to be about 11 million.

However, National Coordinator of the Crime Preventers Forum Blaise Kamugisha told NTV that they serve the country, not individuals and would therefore continue working as usual.

8:00AM: Witchdoctor arrested for impregnating own daughter

Police in Mpigi District have raided the shrine of a famous witchdoctor at Kanaani village in Buwama Sub-County and arrested him over allegations that he defiled and impregnated his biological daughter.

Vincent Ssenoga alias Jjaja Kasooba, 69, was picked from one of his shrines and detained at Buwama Police Station on Monday afternoon.

According to police, the suspect had engaged and used his 20-year-old daughter in sexual affairs for almost seven years. The two now have three children.