Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why the high court 'erred' by punishing an RDC - #Uganda

Last week the High Court in Kabarole ordered the former RDC of Kabarole, Kambarage Kakonge, to pay 50M in compensation to Dr. Ephraim Basaliza for torture, cruelty, inhuman treatment and degrading treatment. The matter arose from an incident in 1999 when Kakonge was the RDC Kabarole district and he made Dr. Basaliza to kneel down for some time during a local council session at Kibiito Sub-county headquarters. Dr. Basaliza was at the time the Sub-county NAADS Coordinator and was accused by the RDC for disobedience of lawful orders. In March 2010, the same Kambarage attempted to kill a one Fred Atugonza of Kigorobya in his home area, Hoima but the bullet narrowly missed him.
The victim was accused of interfering in the chores of Kambarage's herdsmen. In August 2010, the same RDC, Kambarage assaulted and threatened to shoot a one Yustus Musinguzi who was a student of Mpanga Secondary School in Kabarole. Musenguzi was accused of not properly explaining why he was near the police station. With the mediation of the Police, the matter was resolved amicably and the same RDC had to compensate the victim with 800,000 shillings. Justice has taken eight years and its not yet over because not only was the RDC exercising the powers he derives from the President but Kambarage was rewarded for exemplary performance whereby he is currently the Commissioner of National Guidance under the Office of the Prime Minister.
Under Museveni's military dictatorship, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) are the representatives of the President in the district and exercise unlimited presidential powers. Being the Chairman of the District Security Committee, the RDC uses the cover of state security to exercise extra judicial powers in any public undertaking. They can hire and fire public servants, undermine the performance of other technocrats in the district through false allegations, forment land grabbing, harass and blacklist NGOs, assault and shoot at will, keep the population in darkness by controlling the local media, curtail and harass opposition activism, vet and recommend beneficiaries of patronage, spearhead the dictatorship propaganda, and other forms if maladministration.
The choice of RDCs is made by Museveni mostly from those who have been rejected at the polls, those whom he has bought from the opposition, those he intends to reward for their support to his dictatorship and family members of his past fallen supporters and army officers. In fact, with the ongoing militarisation scheme, the impending reshuffle of RDCs will see more army officers appointed as RDCs. Therefore, for the High Court to fault former RDC, Kakonge Kambarage was a waste of time and resources and disrespect of the status quo. No wonder, on appeal, cadre Justice Steven Kavuma will dwell scribe the verdict as an act of redundancy before overturning the High Court verdict.
For the doubting, Tomas just look at this
  1. In February 2006 the then RDC of Rubaga Division ordered his body guard Lt. Ramadhan Magala to open fire on opposition rally killing two people and injuring others.
  2. In July 2010 the RDC Kanungu, Kasiita Juuko assaulted a New Vision Journalist, Dismus Buregyeya in Masaka as he was taking photos of the RDC confronting Dr. Besigye at a burial ceremony in Masaka.
  3. In March 2011 the RDC Amuru district, Milton Odong in the company of Soldiers and police attacked Kololo Hill School where he beat up teachers and students accusing them of illegally occupying land meant for an investor, Madvhani.
  4. In April 2011 the Deputy RDC Soroti district, Tonny Opio, assaulted the O.C of Awoja Police Post by grabbing him by the groins and bundling him into a waiting car.
  5. In February 2011 the Chairman EC threatened to order for the arrest of the Mbale RDC, Paulo Nangoli for harassing and intimidating opposition's Mandala Mafabi who was contesting against the regime's Beatrice Wabudeya.
  6. In October 2015 the RDC Kabaale, Denial Nzeirwe assaulted Nelson Nshagabaija during the Katuna T.C local council primaries. The RDC was being obstructed from ballot stuffing.
  7. In February 2016 the RDC Buhweju, Moses Mwebesa in the company of the DPC and DISO attacked a Catholic parish in Bihanga and ordered all the people to leave amidst prayers. He accused the Parish Priest, Fr. Tibaingana of supporting the opposition.
  8. In July 2015 the RDC Manafwa District, Moses Wamoto donning a military combat uniform canned residents on camera.
  9. In January 2016 the RDC Buyende district, Ssenuonjo Kyeyune assaulted his office secretary for late coming. He had no remorse but simply stated thus; "I will not hesitate to free a government employee who doesn't want work."
  10. In October 2016 the RDC Kabaale district, Nzeirwe, in the company of the District Police Commander, Bindeeba assaulted a striking university student on camera.
  11. In October 2015 the then Bubulo East M.P, Simon Mulongo used his police escorts and his gun to threaten rough up his opponents during the NRM primaries.
  12. In June 2016 the RDC Rukungiri district, Charles Byabakama threatened to close Born Again Churches accusing them of threatening state security because of night prayers.
  13. In May 2017 the LC 5 Chairman of Dokolo district assaulted the Amoona S/county Councillor, Betty Otto.
The list is endless but what is clear is that an RDC is a small god in the district because he derives his powers from the big god, Museveni.
Change of guards blog

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