As the year 2018 comes to a close we can’t help but notice the tale tell signs that keep reminding us of this year near summation.
We take a look back at this year’s biggest and most memorable events and which lessons we should carry with us into the New Year and what it means for the future of Ugandans.
From the tragic death of one of Uganda’s greatest musical icons to the much needed win by Quinn Abenakyo as she was crowned Miss Africa in the recent Miss World competitions, the list is endless when it comes to the news that rocked our country’s headliners. Eagle online sat down to look back at this year and what events made it significant.
One of the major signs of the fast approaching festive season is the annual mass urban-rural migration that takes place in early December as thousands travel back to their various villages in anticipation of the coming festivities and New Year. To mark this we start off with one achievement that makes this migration possible:
The construction of the Jjinja
The new 525 metre bridge in Jjinja that was commissioned by President Yower kaguta Museveni this year was one of the biggest highlights of 2018. The newly constructed Nile bridge called ‘the source of the Nile Bridge’ cost a staggering $12million and will not only open up various business opportunities for both citizens and foreign businessmen but it will also greatly improve the transportation services for both farmers and tourists looking to visit the source of the Nile. A sight to behold; the Bridge stands gloriously above the River Nile as it lights up the night sky with colors beaming with pride of the accomplishments this year brought for Uganda.
Social Media\Mobile Money Tax:
Earlier in July the president Museveni sanctioned into law new taxes that would require citizens of Uganda to pay a certain fee in order to access social media. The social media and mobile money tax were considered rather regressive and thus were met by a strong uproar form social media users who felt that the new laws were highly exploitative. Although the president explained the need for such taxes in order to boost the country’s economy in order reduce the amount of debt accumulated from foreign loans and investments, Ugandans still hold reservations concerning the particular management of these funds given the poor track record of the Ugandan government in the past when handling government resources and its corrupt officials.
The Age-limit Ruling:
In July the petition to amend the constitution that pertains to the age-limit beyond which one cannot rule was passed. The petition that would see the current incumbent president: President Museveni rule beyond 75 years has had quite a rocky, even violent build up since it was first presented to parliament by a one M/s Evelyn Anite, State Minister of Investment and her colleagues. The petition has since been vehemently rejected not only by the people of Uganda but also Member of opposition climaxing into a full on physical confrontation with special forces inside the parliamentary chamber in front of millions tuned in. this however, was not enough to stop the amendment of the constitution and this year in July, the presidential age limit was scrapped with a majority vote from four judges out of the five who had presided over the case in Mbale. On the other hand the petition to extend the terms of office for Member of Parliament from five to seven years was rejected and pronounced null and void.
Abiriga and Kirumira Assassinations:
A blanket of insecurity enveloped the country earlier this year as two government officials were mercilessly gunned down in the middle of the street by yet to be discovered/revealed assassins, despite the government’s attempt to curb these assassination style killings since the death of former Assistant Inspector General of Police Felix Kaweesi and Joan Kagezi last year. Whilst the former Arua Municipality MP was renowned for his vocal and robust support of the ruling party, the former Buyende District Commander Muhammed Kirumira gained fame and popularity after he publicly came out to criticize the government and police’s methods of administration, even going as far as attempting to defy court orders on several occasions. The death of both these contrasting men shed a little bit more light onto the motives of these killers. Although no particular organization has come out to take responsibility of the assassinations, security officials claim to have a lead and are working around the clock to ensure that these killers are brought to justice; Ugandans recently saw the arrest of many top ranking officials in the police who were behind the killings of Former AIGP Felix Andrew Kaweesi. The Government has further gone ahead to install more security measures such as security cameras in a bid to reduce on the crime in and around the city.
Kale Kayihura Arrest.
On June 13, tension gripped the nation as police and security operatives embarked on a man hunt for a one Kale Kayihura, the former Inspector general of Police. The chase that was closely followed by Ugandans across the nation saw the waste of many government resources in this endeavor including a missed helicopter flight and the thorough search of popular Courtyard Hotel in Lyantonde where he was discovered nearby, at his home in Kashagama. The former IGP who was sacked on the 4th March together with his rival, the then Minister of Security, Henry Tumukunde, one of the main officials behind the demise of the former Police Don albeit his own impromptu sacking. Initially arrested for the murder of his former AIGP, Felix Kaweesi, these charges had to be dropped prematurely due to faults in the evidence presented and a new charge sheet typed up, this time implicating the general on three accounts, mainly: i) failing to protect war materials, ii) failing to supervise police officers and iii) abetting and kidnap of Rwandan refugees and officials. The news of Kayihura’s capture came as a celebration for many but more so for opposition members who felt that the former IGP was in fact partisan official despite government offices requiring a modicum of objectivity and also a saboteur of many political arrangements that went against the ideals of the incumbent president.
Arua riots-Bobi Wine:
The artist turned politician begun his journey not shortly after his One-love beach had been repossessed by the Buganda Kingdom. In 2017, the young celebrity had already dropped his shaggy dreadlocked appearance for a more refined, professional demeanor coupled with his zeal to fight corruption in the halls of governance. Whilst most artistes looked forward to sharing the profits of the ‘Tubonga nawe’ initiative, the former ghetto president was already aligning himself next to the then opposition leader, Dr.Kizza besigye, a clear indication for those paying attention that rogue musician had ideas of his won and on a mission to correct that which the government had failed-free the people of Uganda from tyrannical oppression. Little did he know the price he would have to pay for such a dream, including risking his own life and that of his driver’s Yasin kawuma who lost his in the Arua riots to a stray bullet during the fracas that ensued shortly after? What was supposed to be a peaceful election turned into a blood bath when youths turned riotous provoking police and the military to take action? Captured in his Hotel and detained in an undisclosed location for about two weeks, the young politician and his colleagues suffered a series of torture at the hands of security operatives and were later charged with treason along with other members of the opposition. Like the old adage goes, what doesn’t kill you make you stronger, so was the case for Bobi wine; after his capture and torture the popular politician garnered a lot of fame and support not only locally but internationally as his plight brought to light the oppressive nature of this regime and its lack of respect for human rights. Human rights organisations have also since called for action from both the United Nations and African Union as many advocated for the impeachment and trial of President Museveni due to his abuse of office and democratic façade, a feat few artistes have achieved in this lifetime.
Death of Mowzey Radio.
His unique voice and style of music not only take Uganda’s music to the next level where him and his partner Douglas Mayanja aka Weasel won numerous accolades including a nomination for best International act at the Black Entertainment Television awards in 2013. Since their debut album that featured their hit singles ‘nakudata’ and ‘breadnbutter’ the duo has been unstoppable. Until this year, when a drunken brawl with bouncers in a popular hangout in Enttebe claimed the life of Mowzey radio (born Moses Nkintije Ssekibogo) leading to the untimely end of the musical maestro that had become the Goodlyf crew. The tragedy that befell this talented musician broke the hearts of many fans both here and across the globe but it also called into question the reckless lifestyle of not only Mowzey radio but most celebrities and artists in Uganda. A musical genius like never seen before, Mowzey’s melodic voice will forever sing on in our hearts, a stark reminder of the consequences of our actions.
Another artist who almost reached the brink of ruin, Kavuma Ivan aka Qute Kaye, made headlines this year when he was grabbed red handed stealing car headlights. Some Ugandans would refer to him as a veteran artist and one of the pioneering acts behind the ‘slay king’ era long before social media was even a thing and Maurice Mugisha still roamed the streets with his angels. As all one hit wonders go, Qute kaye came on the spot light in the early 2000s, serenading his many fans with his emotional and captivating voice that carried across messages of love and romanticism but then disappeared not shortly after that only to return as a gospel artist albeit its lack of popularity. In 2011 false rumours of the ‘Ginkese’ singer’s death begun circulating the media but it was later revealed that the artist had in fact been ill for some time. Although it is not clear what transpired in the artist’s life thereafter, it was clear for all that the struggling artist was not going to be releasing music anytime soon. A drug addict and failed musician forced to revert to petty crime to survive, 2018 did not find Qute kaye looking his best, nonetheless this did not stop Ugandans and hardcore fans from reaching out to lend a helping hand including Mama Fina and Captain Mike Mukula. We wish him a quick recovery and quick return to the studio.
Miss Uganda win.
Despite a rough start due to poor mismanagement and funding, in addition to a grueling training program, Quinn Abenakyo showcased the utmost resilience and grace when she boldly braved the challenges both here in Uganda and China to go on to be the first ever Ugandan to be crowned the Miss Africa 2018. A Makerere business school graduate, Abenakyo has not only made Ugandans around the world proud but also paved a way for many young black girls to dream big and set out to achieve those dreams even though they might seem impossible or far-fetched. The African Beauty who hails from the land of Busoga managed to secure the title of ‘Miss Africa’ by wowing not only the judges but the audience as well by sharing her ‘beauty with brains’ initiative that aims to fight underage pregnancies that force many young girls to drop out of school. Although many girls have gone on to represent Ugandan at the Miss World contests, Abenakyo makes history as the first Ugandan to make it to the final rounds and wining among the top five finalists.
Lake Victoria boat cruise accident.
This heart wrenching incident that took place on the very waters of Lake Victoria claimed the lives of about 30 people including some of the first responders to the rescue. The ill-fated boat that ferried more than 100 revelers and celebrities across the Lake was owned by Templar Bisasse who also succumbed to the boat accident alongside his wife and many other youths. Although details aren’t clear on what caused the boat to sink, it is clear that the boat exhibited technical difficulties from the very word go; Singer Irene Namubiru was among the few survivors and her tales of the ordeal indicate that the boat had been flooding before it went under. Other survivors who shared harrowing details of the boat accident expressed a clear lack of safety measures on board as some survivors and victims were found without any life jackets or safety precautions. The boat accident not only shed light into the need for stronger safety measures but also a need for more regulatory maritime policies around water bodies in Uganda as the resucue operation was found to not only be short staffed highly inadequate.
On Wednesday Uganda held its Inter-party organisation for dialogue (IPOD) where different political figure heads including the President met and sat down to tackle a number of issues concerning the Nation. This comes as great news for many Ugandans given the political tension that is ever prevalent in Uganda’s internal affairs and also goes ahead to provide a platform through which all political parties can come together to prioritise the needs of Ugandans. The last time Mr Museveni gave such an audience to his rivals was in 2016 when he sat down with different candidates in a presidential debate at the serena hotel. He chastised the absecence of his arch rival party-Forum for democratic Change (FDC)