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Constitutional Court: Speaker Showed Bias in Zaake’s Impeachment.

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The Constitutional Court has invalidated the parliamentary resolution that removed Francis Zaake, the Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, from his position as a Parliamentary Commissioner. In a majority decision with four Justices in favor and one opposed, the Court ruled that Deputy Speaker Anita Among, who presided over the matter, violated the principles of natural justice by not recusing herself as the complainant.

Justice Irene Mulyagonja, delivering the lead judgment, stated that Among’s failure to address her conflict of interest reflected bias and a breach of the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.

The case stemmed from a petition by Zaake challenging his removal from the parliamentary commission for alleged indiscipline based on a report by the Rules, Discipline, and Privileges Committee. The committee had found him in breach of trust and decorum following his criticism of the Speaker on social media.

The Court agreed with Zaake, stating that there was no quorum when the resolution was passed, and the motion was irregularly added to the order paper. Additionally, the Court criticized Deputy Speaker Among for not heeding advice from the Leader of the Opposition to postpone the proceedings until the Speaker, who had been indisposed, could return to preside.

However, the Court upheld the Privileges Committee’s report and recommended its implementation, clarifying that there was no need for an injunction to halt the resolution’s implementation since it had already been invalidated.

Zaake was awarded part of the costs for the case, and he and opposition legislators welcomed the Court’s decision.

While Parliament’s legal representatives disagreed with the decision, they expressed respect for it and indicated their intention to study the judgment and explore their legal options.

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Police Launch Manhunt for 10 Suspects in Shocking Robbery and Rape Case in Nyamira County

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Police Launch Manhunt for 10 Suspects in Shocking Robbery and Rape Case in Nyamira County

hazues.com lowethirdA shocking incident in Nyamira County, involving a brazen robbery and gang rape, has prompted a manhunt by the police for 10 individuals allegedly involved in the heinous crimes.

In a press release issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on November 2, 2023, it was revealed that one of the victims was a female Member of the County Assembly (MCA), and a minister from Nyamira County was also among those targeted.

Notably, Nyamira County has three female County Ministers: Dr. Grace Nyamongo (Gender, Youth, Sports Culture, and Social Services), Alice Manoti (Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries), and Emilly Moraa Ongaga (Finance, ICT & Economic Planning). The police did not specify which of the three ministers was subjected to the gang rape.

In addition to the political representatives, a school principal and a police officer were also victims of the gang during the incident that occurred on October 23.

Law enforcement officials have already apprehended one of the suspects, and they intend to interrogate him to assist in their ongoing investigation as they continue the search for the remaining individuals involved.

According to the report provided by the investigative agency, the gang besieged a residence for nearly seven hours. “After subduing the victims with beatings and death threats, members of the gang, armed with a pistol, machetes, and other crude weapons, took turns forcing themselves upon three of the women before making their escape, leaving the hostages traumatized,” the statement read.

The horrifying incident unfolded from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. on that fateful night.

Upon receiving the information, all security agencies in the county were mobilized, and investigations were initiated on October 24. The victims received medical attention at various hospitals in the county, and samples were collected from those who had suffered sexual abuse.

The gang also made off with various mobile phones and over Ksh130,000 in cash. Moreover, they seized an undisclosed number of ATM cards and proceeded to withdraw funds from the victims’ bank accounts, with the exact amount remaining unknown, although it is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

The investigative team, supported by crime research detectives and crime scene support personnel, identified a suspected ringleader at the scene and tracked him down in Kondele, Kisumu County. The suspect was brought to Nyamira County headquarters, where an identification parade was conducted, and the victims positively identified him. Subsequently, detectives filed a miscellaneous application to detain him for further questioning.

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NIRA Seeks Shs370Bn Loan for Mass National ID Enrolment and Renewal

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NIRA Seeks Shs370Bn Loan for Mass National ID Enrolment and Renewal

hazues.com lowethirdThe National Identification and Registrations Authority (NIRA) is in the process of obtaining a Shs370Bn loan from local commercial banks to support the extensive enrollment and renewal of national IDs. Rosemary Kisembo, Executive Director of NIRA, has confirmed these plans, stating, “The Authority has continued to engage with the Ministry of Finance to secure the necessary funding for the project, and we are considering cabinet approval for a supplementary budget of Shs370Bn through domestic borrowing.”

NIRA, as the government body responsible for creating and maintaining a credible, secure, and up-to-date register of all individuals in Uganda, plays a vital role in ensuring national security and socio-economic development.

Although the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, disclosed in May of the previous year that NIRA would conduct a comprehensive mass enrollment and renewal exercise for National Identification (ID) cards in 2023, this initiative has not yet been realized. Consequently, NIRA is pursuing financial support through commercial bank loans to facilitate the successful execution of this crucial endeavor.

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Speaker Anita Among and FUFA President Moses Magogo Welcome Twins

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Speaker Anita Among and FUFA President Moses Magogo Welcome Twins

hazues.com lowethirdIn heartwarming news, the esteemed Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among, and her husband, FUFA President Engineer Moses Magogo, have recently celebrated the arrival of a set of twins, bringing immense joy to their lives.

The delightful news was officially shared with the public by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, through the popular X platform (formerly known as Twitter). In his announcement, Hon. Tayebwa extended his heartfelt congratulations to the couple, who have now earned the cherished titles of “Ssalongo” and “Nnalongo” following the birth of their twins.

Hon. Thomas Tayebwa conveyed his warm wishes, stating, “With great joy, I congratulate my brother @MosesMagogo and my sister the Rt. Hon Speaker @AnitahAmong upon the double bundle of joy. You are now Ssalongo and Nnalongo. Congratulations once again.”

While the news of the twins’ birth is undoubtedly a reason for widespread celebration, Hon. Tayebwa decided not to disclose the gender or the names of the newborns. This information remains confidential and is shared only with those who are closest to the family, ensuring their privacy and discretion.

The entire nation joins in the felicitations and extends warm congratulations to the Honorable Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and her husband, FUFA President Moses Magogo, as they embark on this exciting journey of parenthood. The arrival of their twins is a testament to the enduring power of love and family, bringing great happiness to all who know them.

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Norwegian Government Donates $1.3 Million to (WFP) in Uganda to Support Refugee Initiatives

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hazues.com lowethirdThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Uganda has received a substantial donation of $1.3 million (Shs 5 billion) from the Norwegian government, aimed at providing hot meals for new arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. This contribution follows an earlier $1.7 million (UGX 6.4 billion) donation made by Norway earlier this year, resulting in a total Norwegian support of $5.8 million (Shs 22 billion) for WFP’s refugee initiatives in Uganda during the 2022/2023 period.

Anne Kristin Hermansen, Norway’s ambassador to Uganda, stated, “As of 31 August 2023, more than 80,000 new arrivals from the DRC and South Sudan have been registered, adding to the existing 1.6 million refugees in Uganda. This funding underlines Norway’s commitment to the refugee response in Uganda.”

Despite its efforts to provide monthly food and cash assistance to 1.4 million refugees, WFP faces significant financial challenges, leading to the distribution of reduced rations. Currently, WFP supplies 60% of the food ration to the most vulnerable refugees, 30% to moderately vulnerable refugees, and has ceased food assistance to the least vulnerable.

Abdirahman Meygag, country director of WFP Uganda, emphasized the importance of this contribution by saying, “This contribution is vital for us to meet the needs of both existing and newly arrived refugees. It will enable WFP to provide hot meals to new arrivals at transit and reception centers.”

The Food Security and Nutrition Assessment (FSNA) survey of August 2023 reported a deteriorating food security situation in Uganda’s refugee settlements, with an 11% increase in food insecurity compared to the previous year. The circumstances are expected to lead to an increase in negative coping mechanisms.

In an innovative approach, WFP is focusing on income-generating activities designed to promote greater self-reliance among refugees and host communities. Norway has also contributed $2.8 million (Shs 10.5 billion) to support this self-reliance pathway, aligning with the Government of Uganda’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. This additional funding aims not only to provide immediate relief but also to equip refugees with the skills and opportunities needed to reduce their reliance on humanitarian assistance for essential needs.

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Buganda Kingdom Launches Ekibira Kya Kabaka Initiative to Boost Environmental Conservation Efforts

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hazues.com lowethirdUganda’s forest cover is facing ongoing deterioration, prompting Buganda Kingdom Prime Minister Charles Peter Mayiga to urge Ugandans to intensify their environmental conservation endeavors to combat the impacts of climate change. Mayiga made this call during the launch of the Ekibira Kya Kabaka Initiative (EKKKI) at Bulange Mengo last Friday.

EKKKI, a partnership between Buganda Kingdom, Uganda Biodiversity Fund, Absa Bank Uganda, and other collaborators, aims to amplify the campaign for nature conservation. County leaders have already designated land for the planting of indigenous trees as part of this initiative.

Mayiga emphasized the importance of restoring Uganda’s natural beauty, highlighting that Uganda earned the moniker “Pearl of Africa” due to its natural splendor. He urged the active involvement of young people in nature conservation efforts and proposed the idea of planting trees on various occasions, envisioning the planting of 1,000 to 1,500 trees every week.

He questioned the wisdom of investors establishing factories in wetlands and called for an end to granting licenses for factory construction in wetland areas, urging the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to take action.

Nicolas Magara, a Commissioner at the Ministry of Water and Environment, represented the State Minister in Charge of Environment, Beatrice Anywa, and commended Buganda Kingdom for its conservation initiative. He encouraged other kingdoms, such as Toro and Busoga, to replicate similar efforts. Magara also stressed the need for all local governments in the 18 counties comprising Buganda Kingdom to participate in the EKKKI program.

Michael Segwaya, the Executive Director/Chief Finance Officer of Absa Bank Uganda, highlighted the importance of environmental conservation as a means to address climate change, emphasizing the risks it poses to the environment, food security, and the economy. Absa Bank Uganda pledged to contribute 50,000 indigenous and fruit trees as part of the EKKKI partnership.

Dennis Mugaga, the Head of the Climate Finance Unit at the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, underscored the need for financing climate initiatives, including biodiversity, in various sectors. He mentioned that the government requires $28.1 billion for such endeavors and highlighted the government’s investments in renewable energy and agro-industrialization.

Ivan Amanigaruhanga, the Executive Director of Uganda Biodiversity Trust Fund, expressed concern over Uganda’s annual loss of over 80,000 hectares of forests, citing data from Global Forest Watch spanning from 2001 to 2021. He emphasized the importance of public support for EKKKI to restore degraded forest landscapes and mitigate the effects of climate change, particularly in districts like Luwero, Mubende, and Mukono, which have experienced significant tree cover loss.

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Opposition MPs Stage Walkout in Parliament to Protest Arrests of Party Leaders and Supporters

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hazues.com lowethirdDeputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, addressed Members of Parliament, underscoring their inherent entitlement to freely enter and leave the House. Tayebwa clarified that MPs do not need prior permission from the presiding officer to access or exit the chamber, particularly when they feel uncomfortable with the proceedings.

This statement was made in response to a walkout protest organized by opposition MPs to express their concerns regarding the ongoing arrests, kidnappings, and detentions of supporters of their party leaders.

Tayebwa stated, “This is a matter that should be discussed after interacting with the presiding officer; it should not be sprung as a surprise on the floor. When we are in this House, no one seeks my permission, and no one has informed me of their intention to walk out. Hence, those interested in conducting parliamentary business should proceed, while those who feel uneasy can leave.”

The Deputy Speaker’s comments followed his attempts to restore order among the opposition MPs to allow the government to present a statement explaining the actions of the security forces. However, the opposition rejected these efforts, prompting Tayebwa to remind the Leader of the Opposition and his group that the presiding officer lacked the authority to restrict their departure from the chamber.

Tayebwa stressed that such matters should have been discussed between the Leader of the Opposition and his office before the decision to walk out was made. Furthermore, he clarified that, despite his role as the presiding officer, he had no power to prevent any MP from exiting the chamber.

The acting Leader of the Opposition, Muwanga Kivumbi, who led the protest, declared that they would not continue attending Plenary sessions unless the government provided an explanation for the arrests of their leaders and colleagues.

Kivumbi stated, “As we gather here in this August House, on this significant day, the very principles of our independence have been gravely violated and challenged over the past few days. The Leader of the NUP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, was recently taken from a plane and transported to his home. Additionally, the NUP offices were not only sealed off, but national leaders, from the Secretary-General to the Spokesperson, were arrested, and hundreds of our youth were detained,” before leaving the House in protest.

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