Brig. Tumukunde Bubble Bursts As Rwanda Genocide Fugitive Stirs Court
It's a cloudy Wednesday in Kampala. These are the top stories making headlines today in East Africa's leading news outlets.
Guti Promoted To Lt. General, To Head AU Somalia Mission
Leading Amisom troops. Lt. Gen. Andrew Guti will be deputised by two officers at the rank of major general from Burundi and Kenya, reports Daily Monitor.
President Museveni yesterday promoted Maj. Gen. Andrew Guti to the rank of Lieutenant General and deployed him to Mogadishu to replace Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha as the African Union force commander in Somalia.
Gen. Mugisha’s tenure in Mogadishu has been cut short by a year in surprise changes that follow the reconfiguration of Amisom command structure which requires the new Amisom commander to be at the rank of Lieutenant General.
According to the new Amisom outlook, two officers at the rank of major general from Burundi and Kenya will deputise Gen. Guti
The army spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye confirmed the changes, saying Gen. Guti, who has been the commandant of the Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka, will command Burundian, Kenyan, Djiboutian, Ugandans and Sierra Leonians who are joining the mission in June.
Burundi will be in charge of logistics while Kenya, whose forces are deployed in the south of South Mogadishu, will be overseeing Amisom operations.
Col. Kulayigye said Gen. Mugisha could not be promoted to remain the force commander “because it’s less than a year ago” since he was promoted to Major General.
“It would be unfair,” he said, “the Commander-in-Chief has the right to appoint and promote the soldiers at his will,” Col. Kulayigye said.
Uganda will have an expanded role to command 17,731 troops from Djibouti, Kenya, Burundi and Sierra Leone.
Other changes, according to military sources, include the director of intelligence in the airforce, Lt. Col. Michael Kisaami, who has been promoted to Colonel and made the deputy military intelligence boss.
The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) has not been having a substantive deputy chief after Col. Dominic Twesigomwe was sent for a military course in Nairobi
Lt. Col. Richard Otto is the new director of intelligence for Land Forces while Lt. Col. Chris Ddamulira is the new deputy boss of the Joint Anti Terrorism unit under CMI.
Brig. Tumukunde: We Want Freedom
Former internal security chief, Brig. Henry Tumukunde, has become the latest senior army officer to denounce what he says is the lack of freedom under the leadership of President Museveni, whose government he criticised for betraying some of the ideals that inspired the 1981 - 86 bush war.
“I am a victim of not getting free competition. If I was given free competition, I am sure I would have made an impact,” said Brig. Tumukunde, the former head of the Internal Security Organisation at a celebration to mark the installation of Mr Mathew Rukikaire as honorary canon of St. Emmanuel Cathedral Kinyansano, Rukungiri District.
“Those who reach people who deny us free competition please communicate this because we fought for freedom such that freedom may rain on us.”
The weekend criticism echoes a similar though much harder-hitting critique of the leadership of Mr Museveni by another Rukungiri politician and former soldier, Dr Kizza Besigye, whose 1999 paper outlining how the NRM lost the broadbase, fell under the spell of a manipulative leadership and became undemocratic, set off a chain of events culminating in the prevailing tense political environment today.
Brig. Tumukunde said the lack of free competition had disadvantaged people like Mr Rukikaire, reports Daily Monitor.
“In Africa, there is no free competition. If there was free competition I am sure Mathew would have made a serious leader,” Brig. Tumukunde said, attracting applause.
A bush war hero, the former intelligence chief, fell out of favour with the establishment in 2005 and was forced to resign as army MP after he openly expressed his opposition to plans to have presidential term limits lifted from the Constitution to allow Mr Museveni run for a third term.
He was subsequently arrested, placed under house arrest for two years, charged and court martialled.
Since his fallout, Brig. Tumukunde, who is out on bail awaiting disposal of the case in which he is charged with allegedly spreading harmful propaganda, has kept a low profile.
His comments, however, will offer credence to recent remarks by former premier Kintu Musoke about the ailments afflicting NRM, including impunity, lack of ideological direction and corruption.
He also joins FDC leader Besigye, and other former bush war fighters who have either crossed to the opposition or continue to speak against the reported excesses of a government they see as being just as intolerant and disrespectful of the rule of law as the regime they went to the bush to fight.
At the function, Brig. Tumukunde thanked Dr Besigye -- himself a former ally and personal physician of Mr Museveni -- for treating him in the bush but questioned what could have inspired the “good doctor” to “go into murky politics.”
“When we were in the bush, I was shot. We never had many doctors but the first doctor to treat me was Dr Kizza Besigye. He was a very good doctor I don’t know why he chose to go into murky politics,” Brig. Tumukunde said.
Rujumbura MP, retired Maj.Gen. Jim Muhwezi backed Brig. Tumukunde’s assertions.
Shocking Twist In Basajja Saga
President Museveni has ordered a fresh investigation into the inflated Shs 142bn compensation to businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba, The observer reveals.
According to a highly placed source, Museveni was recently shocked to learn from a security brief that the offices of the Attorney General and Solicitor General could have ëignoredí a Commercial Court ruling that dismissed a law suit filed by Basajjabalaba seeking compensation after a tender he was awarded to redevelop the Constitution Square was cancelled.
Museveni is also investigating whether a consent judgment, which resulted in the doling out of an astronomical compensation to Basajjabalaba, was forged. The latest wave of investigation could shed new light into the compensation jigsaw, which seems to be shadowed by a complex labyrinth. However, it is quite conspicuous that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) missed this vital piece of information in its report.
Apart from the resignation of two cabinet ministers, Syda Bbumba and Dr Khiddu Makubuya, this scandal has cost a number of State House staff their jobs. The genesis of this new investigation is premised on a ruling by former Commercial Court judge, Egonda Ntende. According to the ruling, which Museveni is now in possession of, Justice Egonda Ntende, on August 14, 2006, dismissed a lawsuit in which Basajjabalaba had sought compensation after then Local Government minister, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, had cancelled a tender to lease the Constitutional Square land for construction of a shopping mall.
The Observer recently reported that three officers from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) interviewed Bidandi Ssali in an attempt to build up a case against Basajjabalaba. One of our sources believes Bidandi Ssali's questioning is part of the wider probe that the President has sanctioned after the latest revelations.
After Bidandi Ssali ordered for a commission of inquiry into how the businessman acquired the lease from Kampala City Council, Basajjabalaba, through his attorneys, Kavuma Kabenge and Company Advocates, on August 4, 2006, sued the Attorney General, saying, "the acts of [Bidandi Ssali] were unlawful and unreasonable, and the defendant is vicariously liable for the said acts of its servant who was acting in the course of his employment."
The suit added: "The unlawful acts of the defendant have caused special damages in a sum of Shs 235,000,000 paid as premium to the City Council of Kampala. "The unlawful acts of the defendant have caused quantifiable loss in the form of loss of income for building rent, engineering and architectural fees penalties on termination of building contracts and interests on loans."
State Secrets Ground Won’t Stop ICC: Team
Citing national security alone won’t make judges reject evidence on State House meetings to plan revenge attacks in Naivasha, warns report.
According to Daily Nation, the government cannot stop ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo from claiming that post-election violence was planned at State House, it emerged on Tuesday.
A report by a high-level panel advising the government on the cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) says the government would have to prove grounds on which national security will be compromised if the prosecution evidence is admitted.
“As noted by the Pre-Trial Chamber in the Kenya cases, the reference alone to ‘State House’ in the evidence ‘is not convincing in itself to justify an automatic reference to national security interests,” says the panel whose mandate ended on Saturday.
The team pointed out that not every disclosure of national security information was prejudicial to national security interests.
“Any application by the government for the protection of information on grounds of national security could only be based on legitimate national security interests,” the lawyers state.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo claims meetings to plan revenge attacks in Nakuru and Naivasha were held at State House Nairobi.
The lawyers warn that the government may find it difficult to protect information it has already given to the ICC on grounds that it touches on national security.
“While the government has a right to seek to protect information and documents that could prejudice its national security interests, it should be aware that upon application, the court could take the view that such a right does not extend to information it disclosed or made available to the court.”
The report says the authorities had the opportunity to sift through documents before handing them over.
“This conclusion is based on the fact that the government would have or should have taken advantage of the provisions of Article 72(5) of the Rome Statute which gives the State a right to refuse to provide information to the court on national security grounds and to be allowed to disclose information in a form that does not prejudice national security interests,” they further note.
The ICC ruled in January that Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto, Mr Francis Muthaura and Mr Joshua arap Sang have cases to answer in connection with the chaos in which 1,133 people were killed in 2007/8. (READ: Youth petition Kibaki over Mungiki link)
Strange Disease Attacks Boy, Set For Operation
It all started when Oketch had just learnt how to walk, then the disease attacked him.
Vincent Oketch had just started trying out walking at the age of one-and-a-half years when a strange disease hit him. His legs started swelling out of the blue and gradually, his condition worsened.
At first, his parents thought he had developed elephantiasis, but a medical check at Tororo hospital proved them wrong, reveals New Vision.
Oketch's father, Tito Opwoya said when his son's legs continued to swell, he gave up and left the issue in the hands of God. But in no time, the toddler was confined to a wheelchair.
"Since then, he has used three wheel chairs with each bigger than the other," Opwoya sid, seated beside his son at the hospital.
Opwoya said the boy was liked by his teachers since he was brilliant at Mbula primary school in Tororo where he was in P.2 until last year when he could no longer go for classes due to the ailment.
"He eventually became too heavy and it required at least five men to lift him to school which was over a kilometer away from home," Opwoya reminded.
When seated, Oketch, now nine years old, occupies space of about four normal children of his age. On examination, doctors at the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CORSU) in Entebbe, found out that his left leg was shorter than his right, and the right leg was bigger.
Dr. Isaac Osire through his Tororo-based organization, Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth and Children (ADYEC) helped to transfer Oketch to CORSU for treatment.
But when medics examined Oketch, they advised that the boy undergoes an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan, which costs not less than sh1.1m at most facilities in Kampala.
MRI is used to detect structural abnormalities of the body. This is just one of the few treatments that the young boy requires to get better, but his family does not have money.
"The doctors told me that he needs the scan so that they know how to best deal with his condition. His lymph nodes are damaged, so, the MRI scan will give a detailed report about the extent to which they are damaged.
“They also said he has too much fluid in his legs and buttocks that needs to be sucked out," Osire noted. Osire is now looking for Good Samaritans to rescue the helpless boy..
Osire revealed that ADYEC signed a memorandum of understanding with CORSU at the beginning of this year in which he will be regularly taking children with various complications to the health facility.
He has taken over 100 children with disabilities to the hospital since he started working with the hospital a year after it was established in 2006.
Mugesera Refuses To Be Quizzed In Kinyarwanda
The Prosecution has expressed frustration over Genocide suspect Leon Mugesera’s refusal to be interrogated in Kinyarwanda – a language he used in his ‘radical’ speech.
The Prosecution is basing on Mugesera’s incendiary speech in Kabaya in 1992 to implicate him for his role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.
In the speech which he made in Kinyarwanda, Mugesera who was by then the vice-chairman of the former ruling party is alleged to have incited the killing of Tutsi (whom he referred to as scum) and tossing their bodies into Nyabarongo river, a tributary of the Nile, as a short cut to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where they ‘came from’.
In an interview with The New Times, Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, said that his office will not violate the laws just to honour Mugesera’s request of being interrogated in French.
“The law says that the suspect should be interrogated in the language he understands, not the language he imposes on the prosecutors,” said Ngoga.
Charged with three counts of; planning the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, inciting the public to commit Genocide and distribution of weapons, Mugesera made his first appearance in court on February 2, where he was given two months to prepare his defence.
His first appearance in court was conducted in Kinyarwanda and he responded to the judge in Kinyarwanda.
According to Ngoga, “Every participant in the case; Mugesera and his lawyer, understand Kinyarwanda. The speech at Kabaya which constitutes the object of the crime he is accused of was in Kinyarwanda.”
Legal experts believe that Mugesera’s move of requesting to be interrogated in French is a trick aimed at making his Kabaya speech lose context. However, according to Ngoga, ‘the Prosecutors will go ahead and file the indictment based on the facts and evidence available.’
“He can go on and raise his language issue with the court when the trial commences. We believe he is just pretending,” added the Prosecutor General.
One of the reasons Mugesera gave the interrogators was that he expects foreign lawyers to jet in for his defence, but Ngoga said that the judiciary can’t work in anticipation.
“If they are hoping to have lawyers who don’t understand Kinyarwanda, the point is, we do not have them yet, he may as well bring those who speak Portuguese or Spanish. We do not work in anticipation, we tackle issues as they arise,” said Ngoga.
When The New Times contacted Mugesera’s lawyer, Donat Mutunzi, on why Kinyarwanda wasn’t his client’s favoured language, he said he could not go into details without the authorisation of his client.
“…but the Constitution allows the use of three official languages,” said Mutunzi.
Mugesera is expected to re-appear in court on April 2.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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