Army’s progress has exorcised ghosts of Uganda’s past
By David Lumu
When asked what she regards as the biggest achievement of Uganda since it gained independence 56 years ago, Agatha Atuhaire, a single mother of two, says: “Considering our history, peace and stability are the biggest positives for me.”
To many Ugandans, the professionalisation of the army, which has taken shape largely during President Yoweri Museveni’s era, is perhaps one of the major changes that have taken shape in the last 56 years.
Today, the army has not only secured the country, it has also embarked on peace-keeping within the region and the African continent.
In his book, Black Hawks Rising: The Story of AMISOM’s Successful War Against Somali Insurgents, 20017-2014, Dr Opio Oloya says the herculean efforts of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), including their professionalism, ideological commitment and dedication to peace-keeping and building, has turned the once written off war-torn Somalia into a beacon of hope despite the existing challenges.
Speaking about the progress that the army has made over time, Museveni, in his address to Parliament in June, said for the first time in 500 years, Uganda is now peaceful.
“This is the first time in 500 years that this area you call Uganda has had peace from corner to corner. We never had peace in the times of kings, we never had peace in the time of colonialists, not after independence, even after (National Resistance Movement) NRM, we did not have peace in the whole country. It was only in 2007 when we defeated ADF, Kony and disarmed the cattle rustlers in Karamoja that we had peace for the first time,” he said.
According to Museveni, the peace, stability and security have provided a firm base for economic transformation and rehabilitation of the country.
The progress that the army has made has turned around the ghosts that historians had cast on the country, when they specifically castigated the past armies for the unfulfilled hopes that shaped the first two decades of independent Uganda. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Political manoeuvres on the road to Independence
Uganda’s Independence can be traced to the founding of Uganda’s fi rst political party, the Uganda National Congress (UNC) on March 2, 1952.
UNC was founded by six men: I.K. Musaazi, Abubakar Kakyama Mayanja (Buganda) Stefano Abwangoto (Bugisu), Ben Okwerede (Teso), Yekosofati Engur (Lango and S.B. Katembo (Toro).
Musaazi was the founding president general and Mayanja was the founding secretary general. The other four automatically became chairmen of their respective regions and the gospel of nationalism spread like wildfire.
Following the political disturbances of 1949 which were codenamed “Number 9” when the African farmers demanded full participation in the ginning of their cotton and marketing it without a middleman, Musaazi formed a farmer’s association called “The Federation of Partnership of Uganda African farmers”.
He invited people from other regions to join this federation. Some of the people he invited were Abwangoto, Okwerede, Engur and Katembo. Musaazi had been in London in previous years studying theology and his intention was to become a reverend in the Anglican Church.
While in London, Musaazi met other great men: Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, George Padmore of Jamaica and Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.
These great men of Africa organised the first pan African conference which was known as the Manchester Conference of 1945 and they passed strong resolutions that Africa must be liberated.
While in London, Musaazi was also in contact with the Rev. Hewitt, who was nicknamed “The Red Dean of Canterbury” because of his socialist ideas. Hewitt visited Russia during the time of Joseph Stalin after the 1917 Russian Revolution and it is said that he embraced socialism and the principles of “a welfare state”.
He wrote a book: The Socialist Sixth in which he advocated the application of socialism. The Church of England banned him from travelling to British colonies for fear that he would influence them.
The Anglican Church in Uganda, which was under the control of the Church Missionary Society and the Native Anglican Church, refused to ordain Musaazi. The reason they gave was because of contacts he had made in London with different people, including African freedom fighters and that he could not carry out Church work with an independent mind.
Jomo Kenyatta returned to Kenya in 1948 together with another freedom fi ghter Omutaka Semakula Mulumba of the Bataka Bu Movement and he embarked on organising the Mau Mau war, which liberated Kenya.
Musaazi also came back almost at the same time. With the breakout of the Mau Mau in Kenya in early 1952, Musaazi quickly decided to turn the Federation of Partnership of Uganda African Farmers into a political party thus he and Mayanja and the four others formed UNC with a nationwide rallying call for independence. CLICK HERE for more ont his story
Uganda to produce its first oil barrel in 2023
By John Odyek
At least $10b (about sh38 trillion) has been invested in the exploration and production of Uganda’s oil over the last 10 years.
Over the next three years, $20b (about sh76 trillion) is expected to flow into the country. When commercial quantities of oil were discovered in Uganda in 2006, the Government set several targets for producing the first oil barrel.
The target has over the years been revised because of the complexity of the oil industry and the huge capital and technology needed for production to be achieved. Uganda has 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil and it is estimated that between 1.4 and 1.7 billion barrels can be extracted using the available technology.
Oil sits on sponge-like material, whose extraction is akin to squeezing water out of a wet sponge.
The oil and gas industry is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs if all the opportunities in the sector are to be harnessed. The Government, with the international oil companies — China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda, Total E&P and Tullow Uganda have made tremendous progress towards developing the industry.
Preparatory activities Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, says Ugandans should not only set their eyes on the first oil barrel, but focus on gaining from the production preparatory activities. Rubondo says many businesses are already benefiting from Uganda’s oil and gas industry.
These include hotels, restaurants, transport companies, fuel dealers, food suppliers, geo-scientists, security firms, health providers and beverage manufacturers. Rubondo says many youth have acquired certified training in welding and are already working in oilproducing countries, especially the Middle East.
The Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba has been set up to skill youth to work in the industry. Progress towards the production phase will involve the construction of the refinery; the building of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline from Hoima to Tanga in Tanzania, construction of associated infrastructure or facilities to support production, processing as well as transportation. The land acquisition for this project commenced with the development of a Resettlement Action Plan. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Bizarre laws: Why are they still in our statute books?
As Uganda celebrates 56 years of independence, we take a look at some of the laws that are still in our statute books but are considered obsolete and no longer applicable today. To underscore the irrelevancy of these laws in Uganda, most of the practising lawyers New Vision contacted, said they have not read them although they are aware of their existence.
Shop hours Act, 1963
Section 2 (1) of this Act states that on a weekday, a shop is supposed to open at 7:30am and close at 8:00pm, while on Sunday, shops should open at 9:00am and close at 1:00pm.
When a person keeps the shop open contrary to section 2, they commit an offence and are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding sh1,000. The Act grants an exception when the shop remains open to serve the customers who were already there before the closing hour struck or when one is serving goods required for the sick or injured persons.
Exception was also granted on bazaars, sale of goods for charity, sale of burial materials, restaurant and hairdressing business, motor vehicles, bicycle and aircraft repairs, sale of fuel or lubricants, sale of liquor and ice. However, despite the existence of this law, most shops open in the wee hours of the morning and close late in the night.
Rent Restriction Act, 1949
The Act was enacted to regulate rent charges of dwelling houses and business premises. Under it, in case a house was rented out prior to January 1, 1942, the rate at which it was let out becomes the standard rent amount.
However, if by that date the premises were not occupied or rented out, a competent board, tasked with controlling or regulating rent, would have to sit and determine the standard rent for the premises and other similar houses or buildings.
In determining the standard rent, the board takes into consideration the capital value of the site, as assessed by the commissioner of lands and surveys. The gross rent was not to exceed 10% of the capital cost of the building, plus 5% of the capital value of the site.
“No owner or lessee of a dwelling house or premises shall let or sublet that dwelling house or premises at a rent which exceeds the standard rent,” states section 2 (1) of the Act. Any person who goes against the standard rent and increases it, is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding sh10,000 or six months imprisonment or both. The conviction also applies to a person who asks for a six-month rental pay in advance. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Kyotera: The Independence Day town
By Davis Buyondo
When you talk of Kyotera, the mind immediately runs to Rakai, its mother district. It is one of the nine districts that form the southern region namely: Rakai, Masaka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Bukomansimbi, Sembabule, Kalangala and Kalungu.
It is among the 23 new districts which Parliament, in September 2015, approved in order to extend effective administration and services closer to the people. Kyotera became operational on July 1, 2017.
But one year later, the district is set to host the 56th independence anniversary celebrations at Lukoma playground, Kasasa sub-county, in Kakuuto county. This will be the fourth big national event after Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli’s visit for the offi cial opening of the customs offi ces at Mutukula border post and to the East African Oil Pipeline Project in November last year.
Other major events were the offi cial opening of Kasolo Foundation by President Yoweri Museveni in July and the World Rabies Day on September 28. However, like its mother district Rakai, people easily identify Kyotera with HIV/AIDS, cannibalism, smuggling, prostitution, gruesome murders and related evils.
But on the other hand, there are excellent things that make the district unique and a great destination. Kyotera has been going through a process of rejuvenation in the recent years, even before it attained district status.
Why is Kyotera important
One may wonder why the district was chosen for all these events. There are various factors ranging from political and socio-economic to its historical background. Kyotera has a strong political history dating back to the 1970s. It is home to Mutukula, a Uganda- Tanzania border post, which inspires cross-border trade. Mutukula is known to be a place where the Uganda-Tanzania war started in 1979, lasting for over fi vemonths.
A story is told of a Ugandan soldier who crossed into Tanzania for a drink and picked up a quarrel with Tanzanians in a local bar.
It is said he returned to Uganda and picked his gun. He went back and started shooting, although he never injured anyone but returned to his base in Uganda.
However, information reached Lt Col Juma Oka of the Malire Mechanised Specialised Reconnaissance Regime at Lubiri, who ordered one Lt Byansi to immediately attack the Tanzanians for their actions. Aided by Ugandan exiles and the Front for National Salvation led by Yoweri Museveni, the then Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere fought back and defeated Amin’s troops.
The district is also known as an NRM stronghold. The NRM has been vibrant at all levels from LCI, III, district and parliamentary offi ces. Prominent party politicians include Maria Mutagamba (RIP), who was a minister of water and environment and later tourism. The other was Vincent Ssemakula Ssetuba (RIP), the former Rakai LC5 chairperson and NRM chairperson. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Minerals: Uganda’s untapped potential for development
Many countries rich with mineral resources exploit and squander that wealth, turning it into a curse instead of a blessing. Such countries tend to be poor and breaking that pattern of the misuse of mineral wealth is complex.
Uganda possesses a wealth of metallic and non-metallic minerals due to its diversified geology, which provides an opportunity to develop a strong mining industry.
The Government has made efforts to ensure that Uganda’s mineral resources are a blessing and lead to the development of Uganda. The Government has recently carried out a review of the Mineral Policy 2001 where over 15 years, the mineral sector has experienced many challenges and new developments.
The review was completed in May and the new policy is now in place. The principles for the amendment of the Mining Act 2003 have been prepared for submission to Cabinet.
Irene Muloni, the energy minister, said the new policy and law would strengthen licensing, inspection, monitoring of exploration and mining activities. The Government is undertaking the process of streamlining and building the capacity of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASM).
The number of registered ASM associations has increased. Procurement for a consultant to develop an ASM biometric registration and database is under evaluation.
The Government is maintaining and updating the mining information through the Mining Cadastre and Registry system.
A mineral exploration unit has been set up in the directorate of geological survey and mines to acquire data to attract investors. The online mineral licensing (e-government service) that will reduce licensing timeframes and increase transparency in the licensing administration was launched in August.
A total of 650 licences namely: prospecting licence 120, exploration licence 346, mining lease 39, retention licence four and mineral dealers 67 were operational as of June 30, 2018. The number of licences decreased from 692 for the financial year 2016/17 to 650 for the financial year 2017/18.
This was due to the removal of speculators by the strict mining licence application procedures with a clean-up of the non-performing mineral rights. For close to 20 years, the mineral sector had been invaded by fake investors and smugglers until the recent entry of new investors.
Some of these investors have taken advantage of the weak laws, systems and low technology for scanning goods at border exits and Entebbe airport to smuggle precious minerals out of Uganda mainly gold. CLICK HERE for more on this story