Ongwen's Defense: LRA War Creation of Government

 
 
 

HAGUE, NETHERLANDS

The defense team of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has blamed Government for northern Uganda war led by Joseph Kony.

Ongwen's lead lawyer, Crispus Ayena Odongo told journalists at The Hague based ICC the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA emerged in Northern Uganda because of the political situation in the region and mistreatment of people there.

He says that the fact that Government failed to end the war and rescues those abducted shows that they knew what they were doing. The team wonders why the army that was one of the big players in the war isn't mentioned in the ongoing trial at ICC.

He asked the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda to consider the testimonies from the witnesses from Uganda appearing before the court and available information.

"When you look at the situation then in Northern Uganda, it enabled the existence of rebels, and that was the point when Government should have stopped this war. Many people lost their lives yet government took its time in solving the case," Ayena said.

He noted that it takes two to tangle, adding that all those involved in the war should be brought to the ICC. Ayena says there is a lot of evidence pointing to crimes committed by the army other than LRA. He says for instance they have video evidence from top Army officers confessing the role of the army and the president in the war.

Ayena also says while Kony is the main player in the LRA war ICC is taking Ongwen like the major player. Charles Achaleke Taku, another defense counsel, says Government failed in its constitutional mandate to protect Ongwen and other children from abduction.

He says Ongwen was abducted as a child and in this case, it is the Government that is supposed to stand trial before ICC. He says as the defense team, they will rely on the fact that Ongwen was abducted as a child and indoctrinated.

Fadi Abdallah, the ICC Spokesperson, however says they can only work on cases that are referred to them and not political statements and things that are not yet before court.

Ongwen, who is currently before the ICC, faces 70 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged involvement in the Lukodi, Abok, Odek and Pajule attacks. He surrendered in 2015.

The LRA ravaged northern Uganda killing thousands and displacing many to Internally Displaced People's-IDPs camps.

 
 

Museveni Gave Out UGX 3B to City Traders

 
 
 

KAMPALA

President, Yoweri Museveni dished out more than Shillings 3 billion to traders down Kampala on Friday and promised them more money and goodies.

The donations are likely to increase once the details of smaller SACCOs are fine-tuned and submitted to the president's office for consideration. He literally promised to solve problems raised by the traders.

This was Museveni's first visits to Kampala down traders since the commencement of elective politics in 1996, almost 12 years after he assumed power. Museveni bluntly told traders that they abandoned him and he abandoned them in return.

Who got what?

Museveni visited six groups in a tour that started at midday and closed at 7:00PM. At Nakasero market where Museveni addressed the first rally, he donated Shilling 100 million to the trader's main SACCO and promised Shillings 10 million for each small SACCO.

This reporter was told that there are over 20 smaller SACCOs meaning that the president will hand out more donations in excess of Shilling 200 million. From Nakasero, Museveni proceeded to Old Tax Park where he announced a donation of Shillings 500 million to the taxi operator's main SACCO. He also promised to donate Shilling 10 million for each small SACCO.

There are over 30 small SACCOs, an indication that Museveni will give out extra Shillings 300 million to Old Taxi Park based SACCOs.

The president's third stopover was Owino Market where he also donated Shillings 500 million to the main market SACCO and promised Shillings 10 million to each small SACCO. The president was told that there are precisely 97 small SACCOs, which will fetch Shillings 970 million extra cash.

In Owino, the president promised to pay a Shillings 4.5 billion debt that traders owe DFCU bank. Government, he further promised will help traders to develop the market.

Museveni then headed to Qualicel Bus terminal where he met groups of traders from various arcades. He launched Kampala Acarders Advocacy Forum (KAAFO) SACCO and blessed it with a donation of Shillings 100 million.

Museveni further promised to fund 10 women from Kampala Women Traders Development Association (KAWODTA) who requested for financial support as they plan to go for a study trip in Turkey.

Museveni's penultimate mini rally was at the market of disabled traders situated on the edge of New Taxi Park. Disabled traders under Kampala Association of Disabled Traders Company Limited are consumed are locked up in a land row. He didn't make any donation here.

Kiseka market, the famed opposition arena that has for many years been seen a fermentation ground for opposition protests in Kampala was where Museveni held his last rally. Throngs of people parked on aisles of Nakivubo Road and cheered Museveni as he entered Kiseka.

Museveni equally donated Shillings 250 million to each of the SACCOs belonging to the two rival groups in the market. As at the preceding mini rallies, he promised Shillings 5 million to each of the small SACCOs in the area. He was told that that there are over 40 small SACCOs in Kiseka.

Kampala politics

Museveni told traders that they decided to go with opposition politicians first; Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, then John Ssebaana Kizito and now Erias Lukwago. Museveni used various proverbs to explain Kampala's politica dilemma. For instance, Museveni referred to a runyankore proverb at various rallies that goes; "amazi kugagira ngu otanyoga, oti nanye naba ntine nziro." This is loosely translated to mean that "when water rejects you, you in return say you had no dirt that warranted a shower."

To pronounce his return, Museveni referred to another runyankore proverb which says; "ekyitita muhima tikyimaraho ente ze." This literally means that "what can't kills a cattle herder, can never kill all his cows." Museveni said he had finally come to see people who have been politically rebellious for a long time.

Museveni said traders should pardon him for abandoning them, but hastened to argue that they should also ask to be pardoned since they were the first to abandon him when Uganda opened the curtains for elective politics in 1996.

Markets

Museveni chided traders for electing "useless" politicians who later came to haunt them by selling markets to private investors and city tycoons. Museveni told traders at Nakasero Market that politicians who they elected sold markets and never shared proceeds with them.

Since 2011, when Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) replaced the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC), traders have been laboring to regain control of markets and market land. From Nakesero market to Owino, Old Tax Park, traders are entangled in deep seated conflicts over ownership, eviction threats and struggles to acquire land titles among others. Almost, all these markets are saddled in litigations.

Explaining the philosophy of markets, Museveni likened them to nurseries, where traders start horning their business skills. And when they feel, they have graduated from informal trading; Museveni argued traders leave market stalls to other people who want to join. He reiterated several times selling these markets, was a big mistake.

 
 

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