I saw the pictures of Lydia Draru, the said killer of Maj. Gen. James Kazini and couldn’t miss the trademark savage treatment of offenders by our Police. Much as Ms. Draru confessed to having clubbed the General to death, there was no justification for the Police to push her under the improvised steel seat at the back of a Police pickup truck.

Surely handcuffs could have ensured she’s secured under Police custody. But our unprofessional law enforcement officers always seem too keen to engage in torturous acts like stepping onto offenders’ bodies. Police, please style up!

Rita Mbabazi,

Is it Buganda or Uganda?

Journalist Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda’s decision to join active politics did not take me by surprise. His bid reminds me of what Professor Mahmood Mamdani said at the Buganda Conference last year.
“Not that the Baganda are unable to lead; they have simply been unwilling to lead,” he said.

Save for the fact that he sometimes gets personal, I admire Ssemujju’s courage and boldness.  I would disagree with the professor that the Baganda are “gripped by a minority psychology”. They have led in the past and can lead again.

In my opinion the real challenge (and I could be wrong), is balancing between ekitiibwa kya Buganda and ekitiibwa kya Uganda. When one is for the former, it pits him against the rest of the country. And if one is for the latter, he is undermined by Buganda.

Ben Kiwanuka, Uganda’s first Prime Minister, was pro ekitiibwa kya Uganda and Buganda punished him by allying with UPC. As a consequence, he missed leading Uganda to full independence.

In his speech after being sworn-in in 1979, the former President of Uganda, Prof. Yusuf Lule, made this comment: “It is now our turn”. That statement did not go down well with the UNLF. He led the country for just 68 days!
As Ssemujju plunges into the murky waters, it would be wise for him to remember to balance the two.

Moses Erongot ,
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Our leaders ought to learn from their foreign trips

I recently visited Singapore and was very impressed by the high level of cleanliness and seriousness in that country. Our tour guide described Singapore as “a country of fines.”

Dropping any litter on the streets and jaywalking [to cross a street carelessly or in an illegal manner so as to be endangered by traffic] attract fines.  However, in Uganda some people litter the streets and jaywalk with no fear or sense of shame!

Why can’t our leaders borrow a leaf from countries like Singapore? It seems when some of them travel abroad, they waste a lot of precious time and money on expensive things and pleasure and hope to satisfy their own insatiable desires. As a result, they fail to learn or to identify useful ideas that could be replicated in Uganda in order to improve the situation in their own country.

Dan Musinguzi,
Hong Kong.

God does not teach death for gay people

It is very wrong to base one’s arguments against gays on statements like “unAfrican” and “unnatural” and then discriminate against them on the basis of their sexual orientation. It is even more wrong to condemn them to death as if they were bedbugs.

I have no time for gays and believe the perversion can be fought with the right methods. Social exclusion and absolute use of force leading to the discrimination and murder of gays is not the right way to go. It is against international human rights standards, a standard Uganda will be judged by.

The worst thing is for a Christian or some other religious person to support the Anti-Gay Bill based on religious grounds or “morality.” There is absolutely no basis whatsoever to bring religion into politics because the only tangible benefit religion offers Africans today is love and hope.

If you think your God agrees to making gays a target for persecution and execution, then I can also subjectively bring out a quote from His lovely writings that says gays should be given extra love, forgiveness and kindness.  Please do not use God’s great name to promote discrimination, state persecution and execution of human beings.

Sajio Kassana,

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Don't pin your hopes on NRM fighting corruption

Heading to 25 years in power, the NRM is presiding over a country whose citizens are living in abject poverty, people are drinking from polluted water sources, there is inadequate care in most medical facilities in the country, people ferret in the bushes to get a few twigs for firewood instead of using electricity; must I go on?

And yet the country is haemorrhaging at the hands of vampires in government! The NRM party members are stealing from the country left, right and centre. Some of these crooks are disrupting investigations into their activities and whatever NRM spin doctor Mary Karooro Okurut says, it’s a fact that she sits with them in meetings where they try to explain away these insidious activities as minor indiscretions with excuses like: “just saving a local bank from Nigerians.”

Why didn’t they save the local Greenland and UCB? Now we are smacking our lips to receive Chinese money because the Chinese don’t care whether we kill our mothers and eat them, as long as we make them a buck!

The NRM is not only part of the problem, it is the problem. Ugandans should not raise their hopes too high. Yes, they will catch a few chicken thieves and some small NAADS officials but not the real thieves in high places.

Paget Kintu,

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Let's seize demographic window of opportunity

Apparently, Uganda has one of the highest fertility rates (about seven children per woman) as well as one of the highest population growth rates (3.2%) in the world. According to the Uganda National Population Policy 2008, Uganda will sooner or later enter a demographic window of opportunity.

Such an era occurs when a population witnesses a combination of factors, including declining mortality. This leads to a surge in the working age group of 15-64 years.

An increased labour force leads to a reduced dependency ratio. If such a labour force is healthy, educated, and skilled and with increased employment opportunities, it will save, invest and spur the economic growth of Uganda. With the increased unemployment levels, are we benefiting from the opportunity or will it be a mere demographic burden to the government?

Are our policy planners in the government ready to harness the benefits that accrue out of this window of opportunity?
Let us re-examine ourselves and come up with a formidable strategy to harness this demographic window of opportunity.

Gilbert Habaasa,
PopDev Consult International,

The old guard only want to eat

I was amused by those who were surprised by the former FDC national chairman John Butime’s turnaround and eventual return to NRM. They don’t seem to appreciate the unfolding events in Uganda in which the old guard like Eriya Kategaya, Aggrey Awori and others have joined an ailing party while young vibrant politicians like Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda prefer the opposition.

The NRM, therefore, has a squad of people in its ranks that are in the evening of their lives and only care about their bellies and not the future of their country. Therefore, people like Butime just want to eat and don’t mind about their dignity. The younger generation must come out to resist these fellows before it’s too late.

Derrick Kiyonga ,
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0 #1 Raymond Otika 2009-11-16 05:23
Rita you are spot on. Ugandans need a Police Service not a Police Force. It is an abuse of human rights to torture a suspect. But our policemen and women, for whatever reasons don't even conceal their brutality towards suspects.

It is almost on a daily basis that Ugandans watch helplessly as suspects and dead bodies are shoved under the rusty, filthy, tetanus infested pickup truck seats. One would think they are bales of bivumba (used clothes and shoes) not human beings.

It is understandable if a suspect is violent or mad. But sometime this year a suspect suffocated and died on transit. But whether a suspect is violent or not, it is very easy for a suspect to suffocate and die, because of claustrophobia.

As if that is not enough; when down there, with the face on the dusty or muddy deck, and out of breath, the policemen aboard the truck rub their dirty boots on the suspects noses.

In Lydia Draru case, she did not even resist arrest. She actually called the police to come her. Therefore there was no reason whatsoever to shove her under that rusty, tetanus infested pickup seats.

And for heaven's shake she is a woman who herself survived death at the hand of a certified Brut.

Shoving suspects under the seats has become a second nature of our policemen. They are constantly being captured live on cameras when arresting suspects.

It is therefore mind boggling how the police deny torturing suspects; when in fact the Patrol Pickup truck in itself is a torture gadget. One would wonder how much torture takes place away from the public eyes and journalists cameras?

Gen Kale Kayihura, suspects have a right to be transported comfortably while on transit to either the Police Stations and/or detention centers. Let the Police civilize its mode of transport; not only for suspects but also those on patrol duty.

I think the patrol pickup truck is a health hazard especially for the officers traveling at the back. I am sure they will or many already suffer from respiratory problems associated with constant exposure to dust, cold wind and rain.

The Mobile Police Department must have a human face: It must buy covered vehicles or vans; comfortable enough for its staff and also suspects. Many have confided that they are constantly at risk of falling off the improvised crampy seats. Moreover they are exposed to speed and weather hazards.

0 #2 Mayanja C 2009-11-16 09:58
I dont get shocked when Butime, Eriya Kategaya, Aggrey Awori join NRM.Joining NRM in their late years is an incentive for a secure flow of pension to them.

Since "eating" is now a core value of NRM these days, then its time for them to keep having fun.
0 #3 Richie.Dave....USA, Alaska 2009-11-16 20:53
Uganda Police is not a professional police at all. However this is a third world country. My concern however is that Draru should get her self a public defender. The way it sounds, is that she was defending her self.

If this case was in a well developed LAW system, she could easily walk free. It doesn't matter who is involved. Did some one come to her house and invade here known space, then she has every right to defend her self.

Besides if she was at the Generals house and she ended up committing the same act, then may be ????? Woman's groups should stand up for her and protect her. She could be a victim of Domestic violence. So lets not judge her.

The police should not have treated her that way. First she should have been put on an ambulance and taken to a hospital, then later do the necessary detective work. Obviously it is sad the General is gone and he will be missed .

I shall tell you though that if some one came to my house and tried to cause me bodily harm, I sure would do anything to protect......

The story behind this whole drama is yet to unfold. We should not forget that all parties involved are struggling with the pain of loosing their loved ones under such circumstances.
0 #4 Lakwena 2009-11-17 10:34

Brilliant. You made something click in my mind. I have been thinking in the box. But after reading your input I am beginning to think loudly outside the box.

In other words, the hunted killed the hunter. Kazini must have been an early morning intruder who came to kill Draru. The clue? He switched from the official UPDF vehicle (which would have been easily recognized by Draru's neighbors) to a private, Southern Sudan registered, SUV motor vehicle.

0 #5 Kinyera PBanya 2009-11-18 08:52
I am terrified by the comments of someone who says Draru was treated in such a savage manner! That tells how unrealistic Ugandans can tend to be, even in the face of crystal clear reality.

The reality is, Draru terminated the life of not only a person, but a patriot, a freedom fighter, a military General, a father, a husband, a son, and above all, God's creation! What kind of treatment would one for this excuse of a human being!

That is why I always have problems interpreting the law. I feel Draru has received even lesser savage treatment from our seemingly polite Policemen. One time, I watched on TV when a boda-boda rider was being tramppled upon by the heavy boots of the police, because he had 'trace-passed' to Makerere University.

I then fail to understand, who deserves to be man-handled and who does not? Such cases like day light killings and violance can only be reduced if serious laws are inacted. Men and Women, don't side with Draru. She is a disappointment to humanity.
0 #6 Christopher Vunni 2009-11-18 11:38
I do not think so, we should follow the law and ensur that we respect human diginity. we are portinong blame to one peerson and leaving the other to go free. why of all things does he change vehicles?

from armoured to civilians what motive, is it allowed for a high ranking officer to do that? we must examine this case far beyond and perhaps ther must be hand and the innocent Draru is sacrifical lamp.

The powerfull are the one always right in Ugandan soil and it is unfolding.Condo lences to the family but men should take responsibilty and learn to take control over their unending lust.
0 #7 maria birungi 2009-11-19 06:59
dear rita clobbering a man who has fed you for years can never be equal to being pushed under a car seat.let Draru face the consequences of her actions if she is the killer and if she is not,only harsh treatment will make her talk.i salute the police in this case
0 #8 Evi 2009-11-19 07:50
Oh please!

Evil people will alway sbe evil however good you treat them. Are you one of them. Let us stop defending killers.Tell that to Kazini's wife

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