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Iron sheets scandal, Anti-homosexuality law, deaths of Ministers tops 2023

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Karamoja iron sheet scandal, the deaths of former ministers, and the Anti-homosexuality law topped the year 2023.

In January 2023, Mary Gorreti Kitutu requested 12,200 iron sheets to aid community mobilization and peace-building missions in Karamoja, which had been plagued by cattle rustling and hunger. The iron sheets were shared and ended up in the hands of the Ministers, Speaker of Parliament, Prime Minister, and other top civil servants.

On January 12, 2023, an internal memo to the Stores’ Department at the Office of Prime Minister read in part, “During community mobilization and peace-building missions, I usually meet vulnerable groups and Karuchunas (reformed warriors) who are willing to dissociate themselves from rustling. As part of my intervention, I will be distributing iron sheets to such special vulnerable groups.”

The Prime Minister and several Ministers were nabbed and interrogated, while others were jailed and forced to return the iron sheets.

In the same vein, parliament passed the anti-homosexuality law.

January

Enos Kitto Kagodo was elected Bishop of Mukono Diocese.

Rev. Canon Enos Kitto Kagodo was on Wednesday elected the 5th Bishop of Mukono Diocese. He was consecrated and enthroned as bishop on February 26, 2023, at St. Philip’s and Andrew’s Cathedral, Mukono.

Rev. Enos was born on December 13, 1968, in Nakisunga Sub-country, Mukono District. He was born again on October 14, 1994. Rev. Enos testifies, “God saved me from being a drunkard and from the life full of destructive behaviors that I had started as a juvenile.”

He earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Bachelor in Health Administration from Uganda Christian University after receiving diplomas and certificates in the same fields.

February

Frail and ailing MP Malende returns home.

The Kampala woman, MP Shamim Malende, has been discharged from Agha Khan Hospital, where she was admitted in November last year.

Malende, who showed up in a wheelchair, was welcomed by her relatives and friends. Malende was admitted to Rubaga Hospital after she reportedly suffered a seizure at her home while at her Kawempe residence on November 13, 2022. At the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, I underwent abdominal surgery.

“I want to thank the almighty God for this opportunity; he has given me a second chance to live. We have lost comrades like Counsel Anthony Wameli. I used to work closely with him as a NUP lawyer even before we went to the 2021 elections,” she said.

Speaker Among summons MPs to discuss the Anti-homosexuality bill.

Ugandan Members of Parliament celebrate after passing the anti-Homosexuality bill, during a sitting inside the Parliament Buildings, in Kampala, Uganda May 2, 2023. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa/File Photo

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among summoned MPS to discuss the anti-homosexuality bill.

“I want to ask religious leaders to be there this time around to see who is who? is. We will not allow an aspect of saying there was an aspect of quorum; we are going to vote by show of hands. You are either for homosexuality or against it. We want to see the kind of leaders we have for this country,” she said during prayers at parliament.

The bill comes at a time when there are widespread cases of same-sex relationships in the community and major traditional schools.

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, was passed by Parliament on December 20, 2013, with life in prison substituted for the death penalty. Whereas it was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni on February 24, 2014, the Constitutional Court annulled the law on August 1, 2014, citing that it was passed without the required quorum in the House.

March

Minister Kitutu confessed to diverting 3000 iron sheets for Karamoja.

Minister Kitutu breaks down upon court refusal to grant her bail.

Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu, the Karamoja Affairs Minister, confessed to diverting 3000 iron sheets that were meant for the unprivileged people in Karamoja.

While appearing before the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament, Kitutu accepted responsibility for the mismanagement of the process to distribute the iron sheets procured for the vulnerable in the sub-region.

“Some of the iron sheets were used to roof boys’ dormitory in Situmi Primary School, Namisindwa district. The school lacked a store, hence storing them at a relative’s house,” she said.

She apologized to the committee and parliament, noting that she was never guided about the project.

Kitutu requested 12,200 iron sheets to aid community mobilization and peace-building missions in Karamoja, which has been plagued by cattle rustling.

Anthony Wameli’s body arrives in the country

Anthony Wameli

The body of the fallen head of the National Unity Platform-NUP legal team, Anthony Wameli, has been flown into the country.

The former Nakasongola Grade One Magistrate breathed his last on February 8, 2023, in an unrevealed health facility in the U.S. where he was admitted for treatment.

He was first admitted to St. Anthony Medical Center in Kasangati in May 2021 over stomach-related complications.

His body was received by David Lewis Rubongoya, NUP Secretary-General; MPs Betty Nambooze; Fred Nyanzi; and other party leaders.

The first reading of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to kick off.

The first reading of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has failed to kick off over the lack of a certificate of financial implications.

Last month, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among tasked Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa with reintroducing the anti-homosexuality bill. The bill comes at a time when there are widespread cases of same-sex relationships in the community and major traditional schools.

“I want to ask religious leaders to time-round be there. We will not allow an aspect of saying there was an aspect of quorum; we are going to vote by show of hands. You are either for homosexuality or against it. We want to see the kind of leaders we have for this country,” she said last month.

Speaker Among returns iron sheets as police and IGG swings into action.

Speaker Anita Among

Speaker of Parliament Anitah Annet Among returned 500 iron sheets to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM.

Speaking during the plenary, the speaker acknowledged receiving OPM iron sheets. She told the house that she had purchased 500 iron sheets to be returned to the OPM.

“I don’t want to be accused of grabbing iron sheets meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja.” She said.

April

Tayebwa welcomes Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya back to Parliament.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa welcomed Makindye West legislator Allan Ssewanyana and Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya to Parliament for the first time after nearly two years.

On February 13, 2023, Masaka High Court judge Lawrence Tweyanze granted Shs20 million in bail to the two legislators after spending 524 days in jail.

The two MPs first met the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, LoP Mathias Mpuuga, who later led them to the Deputy Speaker’s office for guidance before joining their colleagues in the plenary.

Minister Kasaija returns controversial Karamoja iron sheets

The Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, returned the iron sheets to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) stores in Namanve.

This comes at a time when two ministers have been charged and remanded, including Karamoja. Mary Goretti Kitutu and State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development Amos Lugolobi for mismanaging roofing sheets that were meant for the impoverished people in Karamoja.

Appearing before the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament, Kasaija said he received the 300 iron sheets, but he didn’t know that they were meant for the impoverished people in Karamoja.

“I have never applied for iron sheets. I got them. Some called me and said that the office of the prime minister is donating iron sheets, and we have some that I will bring you to sign, and the next thing is that iron sheets were delivered. Even now, I have a bundle of 300 iron sheets, and I don’t know if they were delivered to my home in Kampala. They are in my compound,” he said.

Karamoja Iron Sheets: Minister Lugoloobi grants Shs10 million in cash bail.

The Anti-Corruption Court released Minister of State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development Amos Lugoloobi after spending three days at Luzira prison.

Appearing before Senior Principal Magistrate Grade One, Abert Asiimwe, Lugoloobi, who is facing two accounts of dealing with suspect property contrary to Section 21(a) of the Anti-Corruption Act, was granted Shs10 million cash bail as his sureties were bonded with Shs100 million noncash.

The court also directed him to deposit his original land title and his diplomatic passport and ordered that he not leave the country without permission from the court.

May

A police officer kills a money lender.

A police officer has shot and killed Uttam Bhandari, a money lender from TFT Financial Services. He was killed at the Financial Services offices on Raja Chambers along Parliamentary Avenue. The murder of Bhandari was confirmed by Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Patrick Onyango.

Museveni and Samia Suluhu commission the Kikagati-Murongo hydropower plant.

Presidents Museveni and Suluhu of Tanzania at the launch.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan have commissioned the Kikagati-Murongo hydropower plant. The 16 MW plant was launched in Isingiro district.

With funding from the Netherlands Development Finance Corporation (FMO), Africa Renewable Energy Fund, Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), and Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), the construction commenced in February 2018.

Initially, the Chinese company, China Shan Sheng, was licensed to carry out the project in 2008. At that time, construction costs were estimated at $25 million. Between 2008 and 2013, the Chinese pulled out of the projects. The development rights were taken up by TrønderEnergi, a Norwegian power company, with a Ugandan subsidiary, Tronder Energy Limited.

SBI International AG was awarded the construction contract. The construction cost was reported at $50 million in 2018.

Museveni assents to the Anti-homosexuality bill.

President Museveni has signed the Anti Homosexuality Bill into law, making it harder for the LGBT operations in the East African country.

President Yoweri Museveni has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 following his decision to return it to parliament for scrutiny.

The bill was passed on March 21, 2023 and is awaiting its signing into law. The signing of the bill into law was confirmed by Speaker Anita Among.

Museveni had asked Parliament to reconsider some provisions within the bill, which he said needed clarity before it was signed. He argued that the law should not criminalize the state of one having a homosexual disposition but rather those who engage in and promote homosexuality.

June

Museveni awards late Minister Engola, AIGP Abas Byakagaba

Late Col. Charles Engola.

Former State Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, the late Col. Charles Okello Engola, was awarded posthumously the Masaba Star medal.

He was awarded during the Heroes Day celebrations, which took place this afternoon at Kasaala Catholic Parish Grounds in Butuntumula Sub-County in Luwero District. The medal was received by the widow, Joyce Okello Engola.

He was awarded alongside Brigadier General Abdul Rugumayo, the deputy director of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, who joined the National Resistance Army on July 20, 1988. During the celebrations, 45 people were awarded for their contribution to the development of Uganda.

On May 2, 2013, Engola was shot and killed by his bodyguard, Pte Wilson Sabiiti, at his residence in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb. The killer fired several shots at close range before fleeing the scene up to the trading center, where he entered a salon and shot himself dead.

PM Nabbanja and Gen. Saleh pay tribute to Kato Lubwama.

Prime Minister Robinna Nabbanja and the Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Gen. Salim Saleh, have mourned the demise of the former Rubaga South MP, Kato Lubwama.

The talented Ugandan actor, singer, comedian, and playwright succumbed to a heart attack at Stana Medical Center in Bunamwaya last week.

Justice Arach Amoko passes on

RIP Justice Stella Arach Amoko.

Justice Arach Amoko, a Ugandan judge who had served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda, breathed her last. Justice Arach Amoko died at Nakasero on June 17, 2023.

Following her death, the judiciary issued a funeral program stating that the deceased justice was to be buried in Nebbi and later released another one showing that she would be buried in Adjumani on June 23, 2023.

This prompted the deceased’s children, through their lawyers, to serve a cease-and-desist on the Judiciary, and on June 22, 2023, vide the Chief Registrar’s letter, a postponement of the burial program. She was buried at her ancestral home in Nebbi, as she wished.

July

Museveni blames the attack on Nyabugaando on relaxation by the security forces.

President Yoweri Museveni blamed the attack on Nyabugaando Secondary School, a private school near the Lhubiriha River, on relaxation by the security forces.

On June 16, 2023, a group of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed with machetes attacked Nyabugaando and killed 42, including 37 students.

“Condolences on the death of the 37 students of Nyabugaando Peter Hunter Secondary School at the hands of the terrorists of the ADF, possibly working with other criminals, because I hear that school had some wrangles about it. I extend condolences to the families and the whole country,” he said.

August

A court orders Airtel Uganda and Onmobile Global to pay Shs817 million to a Jamaican singer.

The commercial division of the high court ordered Airtel Uganda, Onmobile Global Limited, and Mtech Limited to pay Shs29.1 million to Jamaican singer Garfield Spence, aka Konhens, for severely infringing his copyright.

In 2015, Konhens dragged Airtel to court for infringing his copyright and unlawfully accessing his songs and availed them as caller tunes to its subscribers at Shs600 every month.

Airtel and the co-accused failed to account for the proceeds from the caller tunes or pay him any royalties and asked the court to compel them to pay him Shs1.3 billion.

In her ruling, Justice Patricia Mutesi ordered the three companies to pay Shs667 million ($180000) and interest of 15% per year from the date of filing the suit until payment in full.

“Airtel shall pay Shs20 million while Mtech Limited is directed to pay Shs30 million as exemplary damages for copyright infringement,” she ruled.

September

The DPP directs that all Anti-homosexuality case files be sent to her officer for legal opinion.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Justice Jane Frances Abodo, directed that all files with charges preferred under the Anti-Homosexuality Act first be submitted to the Headquarters for further guidance before the prosecution process is affected.

Her decision came barely three weeks after the World Bank decided to suspend its financing of Uganda. The World Bank Group’s decision followed the government’s decision to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023. The World Bank said that the new law contradicts its moral values of eradicating poverty without discrimination. The Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) came into force on May 30, 2023.

UMC discharges Ssegirinya and jets into the country.

Kawempe North MP Muhammed Ssegirinya was discharged from the UMC hospital in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he has been undertaking treatment.

Ssegirinya had been in poor health, and while in prison, he was admitted to a hospital in Amsterdam. Prior, he was admitted to Mengo Hospital before traveling to Agha Khan Hospital and later to UMC Hospital in the Netherlands.

The court rescinds Anita Among’s decision to suspend Zaake.

Troubled Zaake Francis

The Constitutional Court rescinded parliament’s decision to suspend Mityana municipality MP Francis Zaake from the position of commissioner.

The court ruled that several rules of procedure were illegally suspended. These suspensions included amending the order paper to include a resolution to expel Zaake from the commission.

The court ruled that she offended the rules of natural justice and had no quorum in parliament by the time the decision was made.

October

Renewal of national IDs flops over funding gaps (NIRA

The renewal of National Identity Cards had flopped over funding gaps, Eagle Online learned. The revelation was made by Rosemary Kisembo, the Executive Director of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).

The renewals of IDs were scheduled to start in August 2023 up to August 2025, targeting 17.2 million citizens who have never been registered and 20 million Ugandans who wish to renew their national IDs.

According to Kisembo, they are short of Shs666.85 billion, which is needed to kick-start the exercise. “NIRA cannot commence the mass enrollment of 17.2 million people due to funding gaps,” she said.

Former minister, Henry Kyemba

Former minister Henry Kyemba passed on. Kyemba succumbed to diabetes-related complications at the URO CARE hospital in Kampala. He was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Bugembe, Jinja district.

The government and a Russian firm launch an Intelligent Transport Monitoring System.

The Ministry of Works and Transport and the Russian firm Joint Stock Company Global Security launched an Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) project that will see Ugandan vehicles reregistered and fitted with electronic number plates.

The project is aimed at enhancing crime management through detection, tracking, identification, and recognition of all vehicles and motorcycles operating in the country, improved revenue collection, and traffic management, and reducing or eliminating duplicate registrations of vehicles or motorcycles, as the case has been of late.

In July 2021, the government signed a 10-year contract with the firm to provide digital vehicle trackers for motor vehicles and motorcycles to curb insecurity.

The late Dr. Aggrey Kiyingi’s body arrives in Uganda.

late Aggrey kiyingi

The body of Australia-based Ugandan cardiologist Dr. Aggrey Kiyingi was flown into the country. Dr. Kiyingi died on September 30, 2023, in Sydney, Austria.

The return of his body was confirmed by his wife, Kiyingi Galiemaya. “Glory be to the almighty God who has made it possible for me to return Dr. Kiyingi’s body back home as he wished,” she said.

The deceased will be laid to rest tomorrow at his ancestral home in Seeta-Busukuma, Namulonge.

November

A court sentenced a killer nurse to 30 years in prison.

The High Court in Mukono sentenced former Mulago hospital medic Matthew Kirabo to 30 years in prison.

The medical doctor is accused of murdering his former girlfriend, Desire Mirembe. The incident allegedly took place on July 6, 2015. He was nabbed, charged, and remanded to Luzira prison; however, he was granted bail, and in July last year, High Court Judge Henry Kaweesa Isabirye found him guilty and later convicted him of murdering his girlfriend.

He skipped court and ran to Kenya, prompting the court to issue a warrant of arrest against him. In September, he was arrested by Interpol in Nairobi and extradited to Uganda.

Former Minister Joyce Rovincer Mpanga breathes her last

The former minister, Joyce Mpanga, died on Saturday, November 18, 2023. She was laid to rest at her ancestral home in Maya, Wakiso district.

Bobi Wine visits the UK after a 10-year visa ban.

Mr Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine posing for a photo in front of BBC studios.

Singer and National Unity Platform party leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, was granted a UK visa after a 10-year ban.

In 2014, Bobi Wine was banned from going to the UK after gay rights campaigners accused him of inciting homophobic attacks in his song lyrics. He was forced to cancel two scheduled shows in Birmingham and London, where he was due to support Ugandan drama and music group the Ebonies.

The activists claimed that Bobi Wine writes songs with blatant homophobic lyrics and calls for gay people to be attacked or killed, and thus allowing him to appear in public would raise tensions.

December

Dominic Ongwen to serve a sentence in Norway

The former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Dominic Ongwen, was transferred in December to Norway, where he will serve his sentence.

In May 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) sentenced Ongwen to 25 years of imprisonment. He is accused of 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed while commanding LRA rebels who attacked four camps for displaced people in Pajule in Pader District, Abok, Lukodi, Odek in Gulu, and Oyam districts in 2003 and 2004, killing, raping, and looting, among other crimes committed by the insurgents.

Parliament gifted Kadaga and Sekandi with brand-new cars.

Parliament handed over vehicles to four former Speakers of Parliament and their deputies; the vehicles are worth Shs3 billion.

The four include Rebecca Kadaga, Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, Francis Butagira, Al Hajji Moses Kigongo, and Prof. Edward Rugumayo.

UPDF troops exit the Eastern DRC.

UPDF soldiers readies themselves for deployment in DRC.

UPDF troops, who were operating under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, exited following the expiration of their contract on December 8, 2023.

Earlier, the president of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, declined to renew EACRF’s mandate in Congo after local residents accused the multinational force of cohabiting with the rebels rather than forcing them to lay down arms.

The retired bishop of Kumi, Rt. Thomas Edison Irigei, passed on

The first bishop of Kumu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Thomas Edison Irigei, died. His death was confirmed by the Bishop of Kumi, Rt. Rev. Michael Okwi Esarkan.

Rt. Rev. Thomas Edison Irigei was consecrated as the first bishop of Kumi Diocese by His Grace the Most Rev. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo on July 22, 2001.

Bishop Irigei has served under three archbishops: Most Rev. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, and the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali.

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