Kabatsi Attributes Sacking To Intrigue, Rwanda To Distribute 100,000 Laptops
It's Tuesday. These are the top stories making headlines in top media outlets in East Africa
The former head of the legal department in Office of the President, Ms Joy Kabatsi, claims she was a victim of intrigue and backstabbing by officials.
Giving allegations that raise questions about the state of affairs at State House, Ms Kabatsi told Daily Monitor that President Museveni sacked her without listening to her side of the story in the Hassan Basajjabalaba compensation saga.
“I am forced to talk because the President has acted without giving me a chance to speak out,” she said. “I am a victim of the intrigue at State House.”
Ms Kabatsi claims that she was repeatedly stopped from submitting briefs to the President during her tenure. She offered a new angle on how Mr Basajjabalaba’s hefty Shs142b payout for cancelled contracts was approved. She said Mr Geoffrey Atwine, a legal aide sacked along with her, previously sat on a committee which considered Mr Basajjabalaba’s claims while still employed with the Ministry of Justice.
“Atwine drafted the letter to the President which was presenting Mr Basajjabalaba’s petition,” she said, adding that former Solicitor General Billy Kainamura recommended Mr Atwine to her office “well knowing that he had sat on the compensation committee at Justice.”
While Monitor was unable to independently verify her claims, Ms Kabatsi suggests Mr Atwine became a point-man for Mr Basajjabalaba once he got to State House. She added: “These people went behind my back and were dealing with Basajjabalaba... I was tricked.”
Yesterday, Mr Atwine declined to respond to Ms Kabatsi’s allegations but said he was yet to receive any official communication of his dismissal. “I am at my desk working right now,” he said. “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything beyond that.”
Mr Atwine shot to the limelight after purportedly writing a letter on behalf of the President handing over a contested prime plot of land belonging to Makerere University in upscale Kololo to businessman Nassour Ramez, who won a case to possess the property last week.
Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi at the weekend confirmed the sacking of Ms Kabatsi, Mr Atwine, Mr Edward Muhoozi, the former private secretary in-charge of economic affairs, and Ms Juliet Kaliisa, a long-serving secretary.
No official explanation has yet been given for the dismissals.
Ms Kabatsi said she first heard about her “imminent sacking” two months ago from a senior cabinet minister, whom she declined to name.
She told of her apparent difficulties in finding audience with the President during the course of her tenure. “Since I went to State House I have not been working properly,” she said, admitting that it is only during the tenure of former Principal Private Secretary Amelia Kyambadde (now trade minister) that work was bearable.
“Since she [Ms Kyambadde] left [in September 2010], State House is a real mess and all the people she worked with are now being victimised,” she added.
Ms Kyambadde said she is surprised by the dismissals. She descr
Machar warns South Sudanese in diaspora against erroneous information on disarmament
South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, has warned the country’s members in diaspora against disseminating erroneous information about the planned disarmament of civilian populations in South Sudan.
A comprehensive disarmament was due to begin on 1 March in the troubled Jonglei state, but there has been unexplained delays in beginning the exercise on the ground, which targets over 20,000 illegal guns in the hands of various communities in the state. It is not yet clear when the disarmament will take place.
Addressing thousands of South Sudanese at Minnesota University in the United States on Saturday, Machar urged the diaspora to play positive role in the building of the new nation, advising them to desist from spreading wrong information that will not help the new nation.
He said disarming the civilians will provide peace and security in the areas and usher in development.
Machar, Sudan Tribune reports, also explained to the diaspora the circumstances that forced his government to shut down the oil production, saying Khartoum resorted to stealing the property while demanding unreasonable rate on transit fees from South Sudan.
He added that the new country was working on alternative pipeline routes through other neighbouring countries who will charge transit fees in accordance to international standards.
The vice president urged the South Sudanese diaspora to work together to collectively contribute to the building of the nation and advised them to make use of the educational facilities in the countries abroad.
Otaala's hopes of seat recapture dashed
The Court of Appeal has dented the hopes of former minister, Emmanuel Otaala to reclaim his West Budama County South constituency Parliamentary seat, New Vision reports.
Otaala had successfully petitioned the High Court against the declaration of Jacob Markson Oboth as winner and the Electoral Commission. Oboth, however, appealed to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the High Court.
The three Justices of Appeal concurred that the trial judge failed to properly evaluate the evidence and therefore came to a wrong decision. They are deputy Chief Justice, Alice Mpagi Bahigeine, Constance Byamugisha and Remmy Kasule.
Justice Kasule, who wrote the lead judgment stated: "This appeal is allowed. The judgment of the High Court whereby the election of the appellant (Oboth) as MP of West Budama County South constituency was set aside is hereby vacated.
“It is declared that the appellant, Oboth is elected MP for the constituency having had the majority votes of the electorate in the election held on February 18. 2011."
Otaala, accompanied by his wife Phoebe, was in Court but Oboth was not.
The acrimonious election in the constituency saw Oboth poll 17, 200 votes against Otaala's 16,034. Results from six polling stations however were not included in the tallied elections and this is one of the reasons that Otaala went to the Court.
Otaala complained that voters were disenfranchised, intimidated, harassed and as well as people voting in place of dead people. He said that all these, including violence, substantially affected the result of the election.
However, the judge said that though there was evidence of disenfranchisement of the voters in the six polling stations, there was no evidence that was brought to prove that voting took place on behalf of the dead.
He also said there was no evidence to prove that the intimidation, harassment and violence were done with the knowledge of Oboth or his agents.
Rwanda Project To Distribute 100,000 More Laptops
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is set to receive 100,000 more laptops in a bid to ensure that all 416 administrative sectors in the country have an OLPC-enabled school.
The project that was launched in 2008 by President Paul Kagame has seen about 80,000 laptops distributed in 145 schools countrywide.
“We will receive an additional 100,000 laptops in May 2012,” Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the OLPC Coordinator in the Ministry of Education told The New Times in an interview yesterday.
He explained that the first phase that covered five schools per district was soon coming to an end.
“We are targeting to complete the first phase by the end of March. Now that all districts are covered, we are moving to sectors. We want to ensure that all 416 sectors countrywide have an OLPC enabled school,” he asserted.
Commenting on the rollout of electricity in schools where there is no power, Bakuramutsa said they had an approach that varied depending on the location of the school.
“For schools that are far from the grid, we are working closely with the project in charge of electricity rollout in the Ministry of Infrastructure to install solar energy. Closer to the grid, we are working with district officers and Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) to complete the connection of schools to the national grid,” he explained.
“This is an ongoing process, but for the current phase, we should have all selected OLPC schools connected to power by June 2012. The sector level deployment will see schools connected faster given the experience we developed in the first phase.
Nkubito pointed out that the use of laptops on a daily basis in all schools was going to drastically increase with the current deployment of servers in schools. They will enable all lessons to be covered through digital courses.
OLPC Project has also trained 1,500 teachers and head of schools and is targeting a second round of training which will cover another 1,200, The New Times reveals.
Whereas government-supported schools are given the custom-made computers free of charge, there is also another arrangement where private schools buy them at a subsidised price of $200 (approx. 120,000).
Speaking to The New Times, Jeanne d’Arc Twambajemariya, the Director of Etoile Rubengera in Karongi District, Western Province, said OLPC had enabled students to learn with ease.
“Our school is not government owned and thus not among the beneficiaries. In partnership with parents, we have purchased 31 laptops,” she said.
“The laptops have improved our pupils’ knowledge in the use of ICT tools, but they are very few compared to the number of children we have. We have written to the OLPC project requesting them to assist us with more laptops if possible.”
According to Theogene Sibomana, the Director of Camp Kigali School, children have learnt how to use various applications using laptops.
“They are interested in the use of laptops and this has led us to double the time kids spend on them in school,” he noted.
Raila, Mudavadi Teams Deadlock
Orange Democratic Movement's highest decision-making organ failed to resolve the standoff between teams led by party leader and Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Mr Musalia Mudavadi over nomination rules.
Despite the presences of the two rivals for the ODM presidential ticket in coming elections, the National Executive Committee sitting at the partyheadquarters in Nairobi, failed reach consensus on any of the proposed amendments to the elections and nomination rules crafted by internal legal team that Mudavadi’s side complains favours Raila.
"How do you change the nomination rules without overhauling the current constitution?" asked an MP who attended the meeting.
The NEC meeting was pushed to March 23, when all issues regarding the nomination of the ODM presidential candidate would be revisited, reports The Standard.
Members siding with Mudavadi, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, rejected a proposal by the committee that party primaries for members of the National Assembly and the County Assembly be picked through universal suffrage, which is countrywide election by party members.
At the meeting attended by the Prime Minister after a morning dash to Uganda for official business, it also emerged that the issue of nominating the presidential candidate through a National Delegates Congress as was the case in 2007 at the Moi International Centre, Kasarani, was avoided, and emphasis instead put on the universal suffrage system, which was also rejected.
"The Mudavadi side argued that it was not cost-effective and would also be difficult to identify party members because there are no proper registers," said an MP who attended. Others also argued that the system could easily cause chaos and could be a tactic to stop others from winning the nomination through unorthodox means.
The committee had also recommended new nomination fees, raising that of presidential aspirants to Sh4 million.
Deputy Musalia Mudavadi. Mudavadi and Prime Minister Prime Minister Raila Odinga attended an ODM delegates meeting to discuss election rules for party nomination [Evans Habil/Standard]
Those aspiring for positions of governor and senators would be required to pay Sh300,000 while aspirants for national assembly will pay Sh200,000.
Nomination fees for a Women County Representative are pegged at Sh100,000 that of County Assembly Sh20,000 while youth and persons with disabilities fee re to pay Sh75,000.
It is believed that Raila’s side fear the nationwide elections could be used by ODM members from Rift Valley, where Eldoret North MP William Ruto, who has since fallen out with the PM, wields influence, to sway the vote in favour of Mudavadi.
The PM’s side also feel the same could happen in Central Kenya where Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who is with Ruto in the G7 Alliance holds sway. Mudavadi’s side, on the other hand, does not support the delegate system because of conviction it favours the PM.
Instead of Mr Mugambi Imanyara who chairs the legal team, the report was presented to NEC by lawyer Tom Kajwang’, who is Immigration Minister and Mbita MP Otieno Kajwang’s brother, former MP Joseph Kiangoi and Mwerisa Aboso –both lawyers.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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