Saturday, 25 June 2016

President Kaguta Museveni, here is Corporal (retired) Edirisa Kamoga

The National Resistance Army (NRA) radio call crackled at 10pm.

Edirisa Kamoga, an army signaller, then 19–years–old, received it.

NRA’s division in Mbale wanted to know how the soldiers in Pabbo, 375 kilometres north of Kampala were faring.

Just then, gunshots reverberated in the air in Pabbo.

Kamoga believes the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels fired the shots since it happened during the insurgency, in 1991 to be specific.

An NRA soldier responded with a Rocket Propelled Grenade, which brushed the radio call aerial Kamoga had looped on a tree.

It sparked and triggered an electric current, which flowed to the receiver Kamoga was holding to his ear.

Kamoga blacked out.

“I regained consciousness in Lacor Hospital,” he says.

In 1992, the NRA discharged him from the army.

The NRA attributed it to “reduction in establishment”.

Thirty–six per cent of the soldiers the NRA discharged between 1992 and 1995 were on account of reduction in establishment.

The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) Act, 2005 entitles officers or militants discharged on such grounds to pension in lieu of gratuity.

The act also provides that the pension shall be paid monthly.

However, 24 years since the army demobilised Kamoga, the government has never given him even one month’s pension.

“They [army officials] keep telling me I will be attended to the following month. They even tell me to make sure I maintain the minimum balance on my bank account so that my account, to which they will send the money, is not closed. But when I check to the account, I find only the minimum balance I put there. Months have turned into years and yet I have not received even a cent and yet I was a soldier. I became ill during the bush war. I know of soldiers who were not even injured but who have since been paid their dues. For the time I was in the army, I never had an opportunity to laze around Kampala,” Kamoga says.

And it is affecting him.

A landlady in Bombo, which is 37 kilometres north of Kampala, has now kicked him out of the tenement he was renting.

He owes her Shs320, 000 for eight months rent.

Kamoga, his wife Aisha Nanyonga, 34, and two children, now sleep in the lawns and the waiting areas of Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala.

It is now one month since they started sleeping within the precincts of Mulago.

“It is cold at night. Our children cough a lot as a result of the weather. Many times, we are told [by the hospital's guards] to leave this place. But we have no where else to go. I cannot go back to my mother’s home; she is taking care of our two elder children in Kyaggwe, Mukono. Our household items are in the tenement we were renting in Bombo,” Nanyonga says.

To survive, the family goes to the nearby Mulago Hospital Mosque for alms from fasting Muslims.

And to answer nature’s call, the Kamogas go to public toilets.

“I request those concerned to help my husband to get paid so that we, too, can live a decent life. My husband fought to get the National Resistance Movement in power,” Nanyonga adds.

UPDF spokesperson Colonel Paddy Ankunda says if Kamoga has not been paid since he was discharged, there could be a problem.

He, therefore, urges Kamoga to bring the matter to the attention of UPDF’s Directorate of Pensions and Gratuity for investigation and solution, whicn Kamoga says he has done time and again and still his problem has not been solved.

“Running to the media won’t help him; the media will not pay [the arrears],” Col. Ankunda says.

The army owes about 30, 000 veterans’ arrears, he said.

In December 2015, while campaigning for reelection, President Museveni said at a press conference in Jinja Municipality that the bill for the veterans was Shs1.5 trillion.

Of that, he said the government had so far paid Shs1 trillion (US$443.262 million - going by the Saturday, June 25, 2016 Bank of Uganda Dollar to Shilling exchange rate).

The President did not say when the Shs500 billion ($147.754 million) would be cleared.

Mr Museveni was responding to former army commander Major General (retired) Mugisha Muntu who said many former soldiers have not yet been paid their dues.

Maj. Gen. Muntu said he is one of those who have not been paid.

Kamoga, who now and then bleeds from the ears and mouth, needs his money to buy drugs.

According to a Chieftaincy of Medical Services internal memo, Kamoga suffered head injuries during the insurgency.

Since then, he has been in and out of hospitals such as Bombo Military Hospital, Mbuya, Mulago, and the Aga Khan in Kenya.

In May this year, medics in Bombo wheeled him to Butabika Mental Hospital in Kampala Capital City.

After a night in the facility, Kamoga left for Mulago.

“Some people in the army want me certified insane so that I do not claim for my money,” Kamoga says.

Kamoga later went back to Butabika for review since army doctor Ocen had recommended so.

According to a June 15, 2016 Butabika medical form, Kamoga is “mentally calm and cooperative”.

Butabika though referred him to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

However, Kamoga says he will not see the specialist he was referred to, claiming he is part of the team of officers who want to deny him his pension.

“I cannot return to Bombo; if they could send me to Butabika, this time they could inject me with something that might kill me,” Kamoga says.


13 August 1985 – Kamoga is conscripted into the NRA

17 April 1991 – Kamoga sustains head injuries while in Pabbo

30 June 1992 – the NRA discharges him

36, 000 – officers the NRA discharged between 1992 to 1995

Shs134, 000 ($39.5) – the monthly salary Kamoga was earning at the time he was demobilised

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Museveni receives Uganda's highest military honour

President Museveni and his brother General Caleb Akandwanaho, also called Salim Saleh, have today been awarded Uganda’s highest military honours.
Mr Museveni got the Order of Katonga, the highest military honour whereas Gen. Akandwanaho, otherwise known as Salim Saleh, got the Kabalega Star, the second highest honour.

The military awards for Messrs Museveni and Akandwanaho come on the heels of the promotion of Muhoozi Kainerugaba from brigadier to Major General of the Special Command Force, which guards the President and his family, and the appointment of Janet Museveni as the Education minister, the ministry with the second largest budgetary allocation.

A citation by General Elly Tumwine, the chair of the decoration board, said Mr Museveni contributed to the liberation of Uganda.

Gen. Tumwine traced Mr Museveni role to an event in December 1972 in Mbale District, which is about 260 kilometres East of Kampala.

Then, Field Marshal Idi Amin was the President of Uganda, having captured power through a coup a year earlier.
Mr Museveni, who was not happy with the Amin regime, started meeting with some like – minded persons in Uganda to brainstorm on how to liberate Uganda from Amin.

During one such meeting, in Maluku housing estate in Mbale, an estimated 15 Uganda Army Military Police, acting on intelligence information, surrounded the house in which Mr Museveni was meeting some comrades.
Fighting broke out, resulting in the death of two Uganda Army personnel and two of Mr Museveni’s comrades Martin Mwesiga and H. Mpiima.

Mr Museveni, who reportedly had only a pistol, made a daring escape from the Uganda army soldiers.
“That escape of Yoweri Museveni in 1972…ensured his survival, thus enabling him later to lead an attack on Kabamba Barracks in Mubende District,” Gen. Tumwine said.

The attack on Kabamba Barracks marked the start of the National Resistance Army (NRA) bush war struggle.
“…Museveni to begin the struggle stands out as a unique attribute of leadership, service and sacrifice. This unique contribution to the struggle culminated in the liberation of our country on January 26, 1986 and forms the basis for this award,” Gen. Tumwine added.

Gen Tumwine said it was Mr Museveni, who conceptualised, planned and saw to the execution of the liberation struggle against Amin.

He said Mr Museveni actively involved in military operations and accepted additional responsibilities and danger beyond the call of duty and risk of life and as well leading the struggle to its logical conclusion.
Gen. Akandwahaho was awarded the Kabalega Medal for his role in saving Mr Museveni from an ambush in Kireka in November 1980.
It is said that on November 15, 1980, while conducting room service at the Nile Mansions, now Serena Hotel in Kampala, a caterer at the hotel told Fred Rwigyema that they had overhead an army signaler saying ‘Yoweri Museveni Kireka Road’.

Rwigyema, who was already an acquaintance of Saleh, looked for the latter and the two mobilised some guerrillas to head to Kireka roadblock to ensure Mr Museveni is not captured by the army.

“…No reconnaissance had been done on the roadblock. The action saved Mr Museveni for the people’s struggle,” Gen. Saleh said.

“Saleh exhibited courage and determination at that time. During the [liberation] struggle, Saleh commanded the mobile forces during the guerrilla war. He exhibited command, manoeuver towards the UNLF [Uganda National Liberation Force] soldiers and were a turning point in the struggle.”

In total, at least 650 medals will be given out by the time the ongoing awards ceremony ends today.

Former presidents Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania are only the other persons who had ever been awarded the Order of Katonga medal.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

'Njoki Chege', I am leaving

‘Njoki Chege’, I am leaving.
And I shan’t return.
This has got nothing to do with your claim that there are taller and handsomer men in Garissa. No.
I am just tired.
It might be some children’s idea of a good life. But I have 32 teeth – though you say mine remind you of a hacksaw, a shark’s – an adult.
You remain in Nairobi.
Like the drug lords in Colombia who use choppers, the independent Njoki can afford to fly from Karen to Nanyuki for just sundowners.
You need not go to office every morning and leave during the morning and evening rush hours respectively.
The dividends you get for your substantial stake in blue chip companies listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange could pay your bills.
So, you shan’t miss me. In any case, you never have. Still, I like you.
Despite the distance, I will still be ‘reaching’ you virtually, dear City Girl.
I learnt about timekeeping from you and Aliko Dangote.
Before we ‘met’ though, like you, I thought less of those tall boys who ‘vroom’ Subarus or Alteezas from the city to their landlords’ houses.
Don’t remind me of those on Instagram, who will latch on any social networking application American or Russian college students develop.
South African reggae artiste Lucky Dube must have told you ‘I am going back to my roots’.
I am.
‘Njoki’, don’t say I penned this to get ‘Facebook likes’.
I could get more ‘likes’ by if I used Jeremy Meeks mug shot.
Few people know him
Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Lagos, keep with your vehicular traffic gridlock.
I am off to the airy countryside. We, shagzmondoz, we own the huts we live in.
And we’ve got plenty of room for our children to run around and fart.
Best wishes, this Easter, dear friends.
I will be spending mine upcountry, away from your cities maddening traffic.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Electricity tribunal to rule on Umeme case 'this week'

Ugandans will by the end of this next have known if power distributor Umeme should 'keep' the extra money got from ‘excess’ electricity Uganda generates and sells.

The Electricity Disputes Tribunal (EDT), which has been deliberating over the issue since 2012, is finalising assessing the arguments for and against.

“The ruling should come any time next [this] week,” the tribunal’s chairperson Mr Charles Okoth Owor said when asked why the EDT has taken too long to rule on the matter.

He said the tribunal will deliver the ruling on March 30.

Umeme (the appellant) and ERA (the respondent) made their financial submissions to the EDT in March 2015, one year ago.

“I can’t say why it [ruling] has taken long,” said Mr Owor on March 3 on telephone.

Umeme petitioned the EDT in March 2012 after the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) amended Umeme’s power supply license.

ERA had a month earlier amended Umeme’s power supply license to reconcile the money Umeme was getting from projected vis-à-vis actual electricity sales.

Before the amendment, the previous year’s energy sales were used to project the coming year’s sales.

But it is generally known that power generation, suppressed demand as well as electricity sales increase in the subsequent years.

So though the distribution utility would sale more power than had been projected, it would ‘keep the extra cash from the excess energy sales’, and not pass it on to, say, the transmission company.

Umeme argued then that it needed the “free cash flows” to plough into its energy loss reduction programmes.

It added that the free cash would motivate it to achieve performance targets set by the regulator.

Above all, it claimed ERA had not consulted it before amending Umeme’s the license, a charge ERA refutes.

Basing on these arguments, Umeme asked the EDT to quash the amendment.

ERA argued that it is unfair to electricity consumers for Umeme, which does not generate the electricity, to keep the extra cash got from excess energy sales.

The regulator added that Umeme already gets a profit of 20 per cent on the money it invests in capital assets in distribution network to motivate it to achieve set targets.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Museveni got 57.90 per cent, not 60.75 per cent, of votes cast

Uganda's Electoral Commission on Saturday, February 20 announced that President Museveni got 5, 617, 503 of the 9, 701, 738 votes cast during Uganda's February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections.

According to the commission, Dr. Kizza Besigye got 3, 270, 290 of the votes cast while Mr. Amama Mbabazi got 132, 574 and Mr. Abed Bwanika 86, 075.

Mr. Venansius Baryamureeba got 51, 086, Ms. Maureen Kyalya 40, 598, Benon Biraaro 24, 675 while Elton Joseph Mabirizi got 23, 762 of the votes cast.

The invalid votes were 455, 175 whereas 25, 538 votes were reported spoilt.

Going by the above figures, Mr. Museveni got 57.90%, not 60.75% as reported, of the 9, 701, 738 votes cast.

How did I get the 57.90%?

I divided Mr. Museveni's number of votes by the total and then multiplied it by 100.

On the other hand, the runner up Dr. Besigye got 33.70%, not 35.37% while Mr. Mbabazi got 1.36% not 1.20%.

Dr. Bwanika, who the Electoral Commission  and the media reported got 0.93% actually got 0.88% of the votes cast.

Mr. Venansius Baryamureeba got 0.52% not 0.55% of the votes while Ms. Maureen Kyalya got 0.41% not 0.44%.

Mr. Benon Biraaro got 0.25% not 0.27% whereas Mr. Elton Joseph Mabirizi got 0.24% not 0.26% of the votes cast.

The only percentage the EC and the media got right is that of the invalid votes, 4.69%. The spoilt votes account for 0.26%.

All these add up to 100.21%. But they should have added up to 100%.