OPINION: Kadaga’s Battles with Vampires, Mafias and FGM is Really Everyone’s Battle

By Martin Ssempa aka (Gabriel Baaba Gwanga’Mujje)

There is no doubt that court will dismiss the vexatious fraudulent suit of one Damiano Akuze who is suing the Honorable speaker Rebecca Kadaga for Shs 200 million claims of having cast spells of magic to cause the 400 members of parliament to elect the Speaker. His suit demanding compensation for house, tipper truck, plot of land and four cows, which all total to Shs 204.5 millions, will soon be dismissed. Yet, that doesn’t matter, as the enemies of Honorable Kadaga use this ‘vampire by night’ fraudster as a weapon to inflict potential damage on the honorable Speaker.

To be true, Kadaga’s job sometimes causes her to challenge many strongholds. Just last week she told Pastors and bishops during the ecumenical prayers of the open Parliament; “unfortunately there are people in this country who think that if you are a leader in this country you should not speak about corruption… that you are spoiling the name of the NRM party… you are spoiling the name of the country. We have no common agenda to commit atrocities. We have never made a commitment to be corrupt. Those who are corrupt are so in their individual capacity and we shall expose them until they go where they are supposed to go.”

She revealed how some Ministers have threatened her in her office for speaking out against the abuse of soldiers who use brutal methods in dealing with the illegal fishing on Lake Victoria. “I told him get out of my office”.

Kadaga’s fight for independence of Parliament and campaign against corruption has irritated some people who would not mind to either hire or support the efforts of Mr. Damiano so that they can discredit the honorable Speaker.

The speed at which the story has been published is suspicious. The suit was lodged on January 28th and it was running as major headline the day after! The opinion of the honorable Speaker was not secured because she was reportedly busy in Parliament all day. It was therefore published without the honorable Speaker’s side of the story, which has made it a one-sided ‘vampire tale’ of this fraudster. An alleged ‘vampire contract’ was referred to but was nowhere and the proof of consideration was not provided.

How is Mr. Damiano going to prove to a judge that he supposedly used his “vampire powers” to bewitch the entire 400 members of the Parliament in the NRM party, CEC, and the President to all endorse Honorable Rebecca Kadaga, as Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament? This is not only fictitious and fraudulent, it is just the claims of a mentally compromised mind.

To be honest, I didn’t expect a serious media house or newspaper like Monitor to carry such a story with wild vampire type claims. This is the nonsensical stuff for tabloid publications who are known and expected to publish such tales. This ‘tale’ is not only a dishonor to the Speaker, but to the respectable newspaper which ran the story, as well as the entire country.

This week, the Honorable Rebecca Kadaga has again put the pressure on the government concerning the horrible practice of female genital mutilation FGM. Female genital mutilation is a practice shrouded in superstition and backward culture beliefs, which perpetuate the genital mutilation of women in the eastern Uganda. Last week, nineteen (19) people were arrested in the Sebei sub-region districts for aiding women and girls to undergo illegal female genital mutilation procedure. The suspects were arrested during a Monday night operation and the mutilators are on the run.

Yesterday, Honorable Rebecca Kadaga held a meeting with officials from the Ministry of Gender, Office of the Prime Minister and the representatives for the female genital mutilation affected districts and donors. She demanded government to provide accountability for the Shs 200 million that was allocated to the Sebei region to fight female genital mutilation.

Without a doubt there are people who are unhappy with the Speaker because she is not only championing the fight against female genital mutilation, but she is also demanding accountability for monies that were either used or misused as in corruption. This is everyone’s battle!

Fearless leaders like Honorable Kadaga find the ‘vampire’ has a way of resisting and striking back in a variety of ways. So, as we can see, baseless lawsuits by the likes of Muzeeyi Damiano are just the propaganda weapons intended to annoy, bully and discredit those who crusade against moral and economic corruption.

We all sympathize with Muzeeyi Damiano being so old and not having a plot of land, a truck or even four cows! Yet, the obvious question is; “If he is a powerful magician as he claims, why doesn’t he use those same alleged supernatural powers to compel his neighbors to donate their land to him, or a truck and also make four cows choose to come to his home? Or even more, why doesn’t he use his supernatural powers to become anything he wants. To heal the sick in the hospitals or maybe help Uganda get rid of all the moral and economic corruption and unemployment. Can Muzeeyi Damiano assure the court and the public that he is not knowingly or unknowingly being used to resist a Champion against corruption and female genital mutilation? I stand confident that court will soon throw out his fictitious lawsuit with all the contempt it deserves.

Meanwhile we continue to pray that Honorable Rebecca Kadaga will continue to her work as the first woman speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda and a fearless crusader against corruption and female genital mutilation.

The writer is a Ugandan pastor, activist, and the founder of the Makerere Community Church.

Parliament to Investigate Funds Allocated to Fighting Female Genital Mutilation

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has instructed the Parliament Committee on Education to carry on with an inspection tour of government’s model boarding schools that were meant to shield the girl child from illegal Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

In 2010, as Parliament passed the law against FGM, it was agreed that government constructs model boarding schools in Karamoja and Sebei regions to protect the girl child during the seasons of circumcision.

Parliament’s intervention follows media reports on massive forceful practices of FGM in the district of Kween where over 100 girls have been victims of the practice in the last one month.

The Speaker of Parliament now wants the committee to ascertain whether the model schools that were meant to be constructed by government are in place and whether they are realizing their intended purpose.

“These schools were to be used to accommodate the girls during the season of circumcision. I know that the one in Amudat has not been built. The one in Nakapiripirit was abandoned, I think the only one that is built is the one in Kosin in Sebei,” Kadaga said during plenary on Thursday.

Kadaga further tasked the Ministry of Gender, Labour And Social Development to give an accountability of the Shs 200m allocated in the annual budget for the campaign against female genital mutilation in Karamoja and Sebei regions.

“We have been sending this money for the last 7 years but I dont know if there is any output. The Commiittee on Gender should thus take interest and establish what this money is doing and the impact of the campaign,” Kadaga said.

The Speaker as well called upon government to find alternative employment and sources of income for the local surgeons who earn a lot of money from the cultural practice.

“Those surgeons get a lot of money during circumcision, if you circumcise 100 girls, you get Shs 5m,” she said.

Amudat Woman MP, Nauwat Rosemary noted that the FGM practice can only end through educating the masses and keeping the girl children in the Sebei region in boarding schools. She appealed to government to ensure it completes the school structures that are meant to help these girls.

Nauwat however noted that the Shs 200m funding from government is still insufficient to sensitize all the masses, noting that more funding should be allocated to the campaign.

“This money goes to Reach Programme based in Sebei and it is that same money which is to be used in all the districts where FGM is practiced. It is very little,” Nauwat said.

Female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia.

In 2010, Uganda passed a law banning and criminalizing FGM, but studies show that the practice still thrives secretly especially in Sebei and Karamoja.

A report released by Uganda Women’s Network in 2017 indicated that over 80% of women and girls among the Pokot community (in Karamoja) undergo the procedure .

The report said that the nature of FGM practiced in this community was Type III which involves the removal of all of the external genitalia – clitoris, inner lips (labia minora) and outer lips (labia majora).

The supporters of the practice within the community say FGM is a form of cultural identity, rite of passage, suppresses women’s sexual desire and enforces fidelity. They also say it promotes hygiene and prepares girls for marriage by instilling pride and value among them.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says there are about 200 million girls and women around the world who have gone through the cut. The consequences are both physical and psychological and can last a lifetime.

The procedure can cause severe bleeding, infections as well as complications urinating and during childbirth.

Chief Justice: We Need Stronger Systems to Stop Past Rights Abuses from Reoccurring

The Chief Justice of Uganda, Justice Bart Katureebe has said that Uganda must build stronger institutions and systems if the country is to turn around its ugly past that was characterized by gross violation of human rights.

The Chief Justice made the statement on Monday during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. The ceremony was held at the Railway Grounds in Kampala under the theme ‘Stand Up for Human Rights’.

Today, December 10, marks 70 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted in 1948, the Declaration which spells out individual rights has since become binding as a part of customary international law.

Justice Katureebe who was Chief Guest alluded to the occurrences in Uganda in 1971 while as a law student at Makerere University he witnessed crimes against humanity including public executions under the rule of former President, Idi Amin.

“I will never forget when we witnessed at about 11 o’clock in the morning a man being pushed in the boot of the car and the car drove off, and we know there could have been no return for this man,” the Chief Justice said.

He said the International Human Rights Day is important in assessing progress that has been made over the years in regard to protection of human rights as well as to come up with ideas for improvement.

“When we were making the 1995 constitution, one of the commonest sayings of each member was ‘Never Again’. Never again should we see what this country has seen before,” he told delegates who attended the ceremony in Kampala

It is for this reason that the Bill of Rights and the 1948 Declaration were incorporated within Uganda’s constitution, as a yardstick to judge performance on human rights as individuals and as a nation, he said.

Chief Justice Katureebe however highlighted incidents of torture, Ill treatment, limited access to justice, child marriages, female genital mutilation, gender based violence among others that have in recent times continued to creep up in Uganda.

“We really have a challenge as a country. We can’t allow ourselves to continue to be defined by the past. We must see to it that we build strong institutions and that we recognize the inherent dignity of each one of us,” he said.

“Europe has moved on. Crimes that shocked the conscious of mankind were committed in Europe. But they built strong institutions after the war [Second World War]. They have strong Judiciary and the question of abuse of human rights does not arise. Germany is no longer defined by Hitler”.

The Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Per Lindgarde in his remarks noted that the world has increasingly become less safer and that democracy is under threat.

“The fight for human rights stands as strong today as it did 70 years ago,” he said.

The strides registered in Uganda over the last few years including ratification of international and regional instrument notwithstanding, the country still grapples with rights violations, according to Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Med Kaggwa.

He cited incidents of torture, abuse of freedoms of expression, deprivation of life, brutal arrests, violence against journalists among others.

Kaggwa made a call for compliance on the part of governance to human rights as well as penalizing errant officers.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda, Rosa Malango in a message read on her behalf advocated for the passing of key legislations including the Human Rights Enforcement law.