When history is finally written, it would record that a lawyer by training and a lawmaker by practice, hatched and enabled the enactment of the heavily detested computer misuse law. Hajji Mohamed Nsereko’s piece of law not only seeks to control what kind of views Ugandans should hold hence reducing them to merely cows, but also seeks to control the right to express which views and which views not to express.
The law in a way curtails the right by wananchi to demand accountability from their leaders, and somehow massages the corrupt while setting up whistleblowers to be easy targets for prosecution and imprisonment. By restricting the wananchi from receiving info regarding their leaders and in the hands of the state and paraphernalia, the same law is guilty of encroaching on yet another set of a superior law in terms of precedence of time, by whittling away the right by the wananchi and the press, to receive such info.
By purporting to regurgitate the law on the publication of false news, no matter by even another name, Nsereko is guilty of torpedoing the Constitutional Court ruling in the case of Onyango Obbo, Andrew Mwenda and others which invalidated the same. Fortunately, enough, Nsereko won’t be alone to be captured by the historians in future vide this regard.
JPAM and his POMA
Former Prime Minister as well as Super Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi (JPAM) will too, be recorded to have midwifed the birth of another scandalous piece of law. That law is what is referred to as the Public Organizations Management Act (POMA). JPAM, by coming up with such a law, he was scandalously and recklessly seeking to almost criminalize political association.
This, as opposed to enabling the relatively young multi party dispensation in Uganda to deepen and flourish. POMA didn’t stop at that. It went as far as directing the organizers of any kind of meeting involving more than two people, to seek for prior permission from the head of the police. Yet, Karma is a double crosser. The architect of the said law, Ndugu JPAM, would himself end up one day, being subjected to the same piece of law by the police.
Yet Mbabazi is an exceedingly brilliant law student who had even had the privilege and honor of working as the country’s learned Attorney General. He should have thus known better than to set up himself for such a rough encounter with his unjust POMA. Just as he would end actually being subjected to the same law which he himself had helped to midwife into being born.
Mbabazi is a dishonest grumbler. You must have heard and witnessed the elder from Kanungu furiously whining about how the police were misusing the law to curtail his own campaign whilst enabling that one of the one who butters their bread. Yet, the shameless `Go Forward` guy had never ever at all, protested during the times when the same law was being applied against the likes of Dr Kiiza Besigye and such opposition politicians. But how I tend to forget quickly. JPAM was still in the good books of the big guys in power. As he went about promoting them by applying his law against their political adversaries.
For this reason, there was no way the big guys were going to bother. This, by applying the law against JPAM. It’s only and only after he had crossed the rubicund that the big guys would be prompted to reach for JPAM’s own quinine and serve some good doses of the same to him. Whereupon, the Wampewo Avenue high-flier resident would resort to shedding the crocodile tears as you yourselves saw and heard him inconsolably whining.
Prof Khiddu’s Distorted Anti-Bail Opinions
Professor Khiddu Makubuya had been such an eminent law don and scholar that the President ended up appointing him the Justice Minister as well as Attorney General. Not only that. Khiddu will go down as one of the very few law students in Uganda to have passed with a first-class degree from the law school of Makerere University.
Yet, just merely two acts of advising against granting bail to Dr Kizza Besigye, and advising against allowing him to run for President over the treason charges which were yet unproven, would end up seeing Dr. Prof Khiddu Makubuya losing it all. This position, since both the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, plus the laws thereunder, permits the suspects to be deemed innocent until proven otherwise.
For which reason, the suspects would be accordingly entitled to the release on bail. Save in situations where they have been justly and fairly gauged by court to have failed to meet the conditions set thereof. The current denial to bail of the suspects deemed to be adversarial to the interests and aspirations of those holding State Power currently. Such as the opposition NUP lawmakers, Mohammed Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana, are being traced to such kind of distorted advice as was rendered by the former learned Attorney General who was too, an otherwise globally acclaimed law professor.
Alex Nyombi and his Funny Legal Opinions
The man famed for having handled the majority of adoption cases lodged on behalf of his foreign clients, would end up declared a disgrace by his own legal fraternity members under their Uganda Law Society umbrella. Such position, since the Attorney General had been accused by his own fraternity body of having turned into a habit, the business of rendering of worthless legal opinions to the President.
Ibingira and his Detention without Trial Trap
Prior to that, President Dr Apollo Milton Obote’s Deputy, Grace Stuart Katebariirwe Ibingira had helped to midwife the law of detention without trial. Just as JPAM, Hon Nsereko, plus Prof Khiddu are, Ibingira too was a lawyer by training and an excellent one by far. But the same would not stop the witty politician from scandalizingly sponsoring the detention without trial piece of law when he had found it expedient to do so.
Trust Karma to be a just and a fair judge. Obote would not hesitate to use the same legislation against its own midwife, in future. Here is what had transpired. Ibingira had plotted to impeach his boss out of power. He had done this by covertly sponsoring a petition to the national assembly. He would use the Kabaka Yekka’s Daudi Ochieng to present the petition to Parliament.
Such petition had accused Obote and his army commander, Idi Amin Dada, of helping themselves to a good serving of gold from the neighboring Congo. Oh, the trap that is Congo’s gold also! Obote and Amin would move faster and nip the bad petition into the bud. This, by swiftly arresting Ibingira and his fellow intriguers right there on the floor of Parliament. The same bunch of grasshoppers would thereafter be hurled into jail in Luzira prison without necessarily being accorded the right to trial. See! Karma is an excellent equalizer.
KK and the Short Guy’s Tale
Ibingira’s own fate would quickly remind me of that one of Uncle KK too. Obote’s fond pal and host of many years, had helped to come up with a piece of law similar to that of Ibingira. Following his seeing off by the short fella, KK unconvincingly went ahead to whine about how his predecessor had gone ahead to subject him to the unfair detention without trial law. Unfair detention without trial law? Did I hear well? How hypocritical our politicians can prove themselves to be!
KK had made untold noise about how the short guy was up to the mischief of bad governance. His successor looked up some convenient law to use to zip up the former teacher- turned-president’s big mouth plus loud vocal cords. This is how the new president ended up landing his eyes on KK’s law and how he would end up applying the same to torment him.
Gen Kale and the Bean Weevils
Gen Edward Kalekyezi Kayihura had too, treated the critics of this regime and his enemies to a good serving of quinine. During his heydays, the student of law holding a Masters` Degree in Human Rights, would keep company of a team of gangsters moving with clubs to publicly whip whoever would dare to oppose the ones who were buttering his bread. He had filled up the police with dozens of goons of the kind and style like that of Nixon Agasiirwe, Abdallah Kitatta, Faizal Katende, Sserunjogi a.k.a Sobbi and such.
Those guys would afford to contemptuously laugh at, and mock the law with untold abandon with their enabler standing close by, in readiness to harshly deal with anyone reckless enough to dare question his sidekicks. Kayihura’s amazing contempt for the rule of law and justice would hit the crescendo when the larger-than-life IGP one day appeared at the Magistrates Court in Makindye, over a private criminal issue.
His goons numbering in hundreds would end up cutting off the court premises, prompting the judicial officers to let Kayihura alone and free. Yet, when the same man himself had later on ended up landing within the untold jaws of the military courts over espionage-related charges as well as for the mishandling of war materials charges, he would resort to crying foul over abuse of his rights and particularly, that one about his release on bail.
Kale is a dishonest man. How could he be seen and heard to be complaining about human rights and bail? Recalling he himself had, during his time as the head of the country’s police, done everything possible to deny such rights to thousands of suspects. Kale is also on record as blaming his fate on Col. Kaka Bagyenda, the currently under fire military man, following his disgraceful exit as the boss of the Internal Security Organization (ISO).
Kale said Kaka had falsified the criminal charges against him after filing dozens of bogus intelligence reports to their boss. Yet the same man had during his time as the IGP, fabricated several cases against the opposition politicians such as Dr Kiiza Besigye whose rape and treason charges were unsurprisingly struck out.
This is not to try to imply and suggest that the rest of tens of hundreds of other Ugandans who suffered the same fate because of Kale, do not matter. Far from the truth. Such innocent Ugandans are well remembered and consoled for the bad treatment they had gone through, merely because they had been maliciously accused and prosecuted as well as detained for years by the former IGP and his equally malicious hangers-on.
Gen. Sejusa and Mukura Debacle
Gen David Sejusa formerly Tinyefuza, is another former larger-than-life guy who the historians are going to paint in bad colors. Sejusa is a law student too, boasting possibly of a Masters` Degree in the same field of study. But the same fact wouldn’t by itself, stop him from abusing human rights with untold abandon.
His first known gloss human rights abuse happened when he was acting as one of the commanders of the war in the northern part of the country. Sejusa is said to have ordered a dreaded military operation in which the locals of Mukura – Teso, were herded like cattle. Having been herded as such, Sejusa is believed to have forced them into a railway wagon. And then, oh dear! My heart sinks a bit over what followed.
Well, the commander is suspected to have closed the wagon and lit fire underneath the same. Just like that, the poor souls would end up perishing under such kind of chilling suffocation and sizzling heat that had been set under the wagon where they had been fast closed! Yet, being a lawyer himself, one would have expected Sejusa to have known better than to subject his victims to such manner of extra judicial and cruel killings. The same legal mind would later on suspiciously supervise another deadly operation during the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s ill-fated tour of Kayunga and Bugerere.
During the said operation, scores of youths were cut out of life in yet another round of chilling and extra-judicial killings and in broad day light. It would therefore surprise many people when the same Sejusa trotted to the courts of law to try to enforce his own rights as a Ugandan but the same which he himself had denied to fellow Ugandans years back.
Time doesn’t allow me to continue enumerating each and every author of each and every other bad law and occurrence. By that reason, I beg to rest my case and accordingly, sign out till when we meet again. And, where else, but on these very pages, God willing. Thank you so much for patronizing this media website and stay safe and tighter.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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