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HomeAHEAD OF 2026EDITOR'S PICKS: 10 Biggest Stories Of 2023 In Uganda

EDITOR’S PICKS: 10 Biggest Stories Of 2023 In Uganda

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Fellow Ugandans, 2023 has been a year of ups and downs and we are yet to find a perfect word to define it. After Christmas, the end of the year draws closer and becomes a reality. 2023 is soon ending and next Monday will be 1st January 2024.

In this article, we are revisiting 2023 for the biggest stories and news topics of the year. One by one and how events unfolded in this banana republic.

Parliament Censures Minister Namuganza Over Misconduct (23rd January 2023)

A committee formed under Rule 109 of the Rules of Procedure led by Hon Mwine Mpaka was tasked to establish whether a prima facie case has been established against of State for Urban Development and Bukono county legislator Persis Namuganza.

Indeed the committee returned in the affirmative and unanimously found her to be in violation of her oath and that her conduct satisfied the grounds in article 118 of the constitution.

“…the matters rained in the interview (which Hon Namuganza gave to various media houses) was obnoxious, reckless, insufferable, beyond the pale and in per incuriam,- said Mwine Mpaka.

He added that, “it was an attack on the person of the Speaker and the parliament without due regard to the Rules of Procedure, the protected status, the procedure of redress, the applicability of privilege and decorum of the house”, read the committee’s findings in part.”

The minister declined to appear and defend herself both in the committee and in the House, choosing to instead say the matter is before court and therefore sub-judice, a view repeated by her lawyers who sought to halt the proceedings on the same ground. Hon. Laura Kanushu (PWDs NRM) who voted in favour of the motion, said the censure of the minister is because she violated the rules

“This is not just about Hon. Namuganza, it is about our Rules of Procedure; how can you be asked be asked to appear before a committee of parliament and you say you can not appear before the Committee?’-she said.

348 Members of parliament voted in favor of the motion to censure Namuganza, however no minister showed up for this particular issue.  The Speaker of parliament who presided over the house that censured Minister Persis Namuganza in 24 hours and pursuant to Rule 109 of the Rules of Procedure, was supposed to relay to the President the decision of the house, who was to take appropriate action as required by article 118 (2) of the constitution

On her part, Namuganza said Speaker Anita Among like she did to Zaake is turning the house in a personal insitituion and issues that led to her censuring was personal not as claimed  by the Mwine Mpaka committee. Namuganza says these stem from Speaker Anita Among’s marriage with Magogo where her husband was the registrar of the marriage since he works with URSB.

Today is 27th December 2023, Namuganza is still serving as Minister, sitting on the ministers’ desk as those who censured her continue looking on shame since the president did nothing to their unanimous decision of sending the minister home.

We did that Story, find it Here or Here

Karamoja Mabaati Scandal (It started on 12th February 2023)

I guess this was the biggest story of the year, it all started when the State house Anti-Corruption unit, Police and the Internal Security Organization (ISO) working on a Whistle Blower’s call moved swiftly to arrest the brother, mother and another relative of Minister for Karamoja Mary Goreti Kitutu after they were found with and selling OPM branded iron sheets. These were meant to be in Karamoja being given to the Karachunas.

Events in the Mabaati Scandal as investigations were expanded and found a list of many ministers who had benefitted from this grand scandal of ironsheets. Among these was minister for lands Judith Nabakooba, State minister for Agriculture Bwino Kyakulaga, 1st Deputy Premier Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, 2nd Deputy Premier Rukia Isanga Nakadama, Prime Minister Robinnah Nabbanja, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, State minister of finance (General Duties) Henry Musasiizi, State minister of finance (Planning) Amos Lugoloobi, State minister of Karamoja Agnes Nanduutu, Speaker Anita Among, Chief Whip Hamson Obua, Minister Grace Kwinokwiny among others.

Parliament also instituted a committee led by Jesca Ababiku which called for resignation of Minister Kitutu and punishment to whoever got involved including Speaker Anita Among who put the committee in place. Their recommendations and investigations were just a waste of time as none was implemented.

President Museveni would later order police to expand the investigations, this was done and the mabaati scavengers started panicking. Director of public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo who is a born of Karamoja moved swiftly to level cases against several ministers. Museveni then ordered every minister to return the iron sheets or cash amounting to the same as minister’s like Kasaija insisted he’s not aware of how the mabaati got to his compound in Kibaale district.

Police started arresting culplits and started with Minister Mary Goreti Kitutu and her brother Micheal Naboya and these spent this years Easter in jail at Luzira prisons as the Anti-Corruption Court differed their bail hearing. Later another Minister Agnes Nanduutu was arrested and also sent to Luzira prisons. Minister Lugoloobi was also arrested a few days later and also sent to Luzira. It’s only those three who are facing criminal charges.

However, all this ended in dramma as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jane Frances Abodo on 24th June dropped charges against all the culprits and this gave a sigh of relief to several Museveni ministers

We covered this story extensively Read them here or here or here or here or here or here, here, here, here, here, here and here

The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 (22nd March 2023)

Parliament of Uganda through Bugiri Municipality legislator Asuman Basalirwa re-introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 which had suffered a set back 9 years ago when the house passed in December 2013, president assented to it in February 2014 and court nullified in August 2014. Parliament this time round made sure all the loop holes including quorum issues that gave chance to Andrew Mwenda and Fox Odoi to quash the law were all catered for. Indeed parliament on 22nd March 2023 passed the bill in large numbers and sent it to the president to assent to it such that it becomes a law of the land.

This bill introduced tough punishments including life imprisonment, death penalty and heavy fines for those convicted in homosexual related cases.

However the president returned it to parliament saying the Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuzi advised him not to sign the bill. Indeed parliament re-tabled it on 2nd May 2023 and sent it back to president Museveni who on 29th May 2023 revealed that he had signed it into law sending shivers to those involved in the vice. However like they did last time, Andrew Mwenda, Fox Odoi and other Ugandans and Civil Society organizations ran to court to nullify the law.

US president Joe Biden in a very strong worded statement called upon Uganda to consider recalling this tough law, he also threatened Uganda would suffer dire consequences as the US would pull out funding to key government sectors like Education, Health, Defense and Security among others. He also said Uganda would be blacklisted from the America’s lucrative AGOA which links American businesses and investments to African countries. He also threatened of several sanctions to individuals involved.

Uganda has been suspended from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Museveni’s government is currently begging to be re-instated. The world bank suspended any further funding Uganda because of the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, Secretary of State Antony Blinken sanctioned several Ugandans involved. He also issued sanctions against prison boss Johnson Byabashaija. Bobi Wine revisited his stance on homosexuality when he went to the UK after 10 years.

Canterbury ordered the Church of Uganda and Archbishop Kazimba Mugalu to consider stopping to be vocal against homosexuality in Uganda.

Court started hearing the petition seeking to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023. Led by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, the constitutional court Bench said they’ll soon issue their judgement at least before soon but we are reliably informed this might happen early next year

We covered this extensively and you can read these stories here, here, here, here, here or here. Others are here, here, here, here and here

Minister Okello Engola Killed By His Bodyguard Private Wilson Sabiiti (02nd May 2023) And The Shootings

The killing of State Minister for Labor Col Charles Okello Engola by his bodyguard private Wilson Sabiiti who also the same day took his own life was a shock to Ugandans. The minister had been seen a day before in Namutumba as the country celebrated the World Labor Day. Alot rotated around this shooting including other shootings in and out of the city that last for almost 2 months. Blogger Isma Olaxess was also shot days after the Engola shooting. He was buried in Oyam North.

NRM would later come with his son to stand in the by-election to replace his father like it has been in Serere, Kamuli, Omoro, Butaleja and other places where relatives have replaced their own in parliament. The president even when to campaign for Engola’s son but to their shock Oyam being a UPC stronghold tested the NRM-UPC relationship and Dr Eunice Apio Otuko won with 15,718 votes as Engola’s son trailed second with 15,161 votes.

There were many shootings in and around town as police officers, soldiers and security guards turned the burrel of the gun to their colleagues and friends

We Covered This extensively, you can read these stories here, here, here, here, here and here.

ADF Attack On Lhubiriha School In Kasese And Other ADF Attacks

The Allied Democratic Forces have for the better part of 2023 launched several attacks on Uganda despite Uganda having the UPDF stationed there specifically to fight the ADF who have occupied the area since the 1990s. Their commander Jamil Mukulu remains caged in Luzira prisons and has never faced trial since 2015 when he was arrested in Tanzania.

Using the same tactic of attacking and burning victims to ashes like they did on 8th June 1998 at Kichwamba Technical College in Kabalore district, ADF attacked a school in Lhubiriha in Mpondwe Kasese district, the attack left over 40 dead and unknown number abducted.

The school was closed down and every family which lost a student in the attack were given UGX5million by president Museveni who usually call them pigs whenever they carry out attacks in Uganda.

The ADF have been accused of planting bombs in Uganda especially Kampala which have always been detonated before they cause problems to Ugandans.

The militants attacked a truck carrying onions on October 13th, the rebels would later attack a tourist couple and their driver in Queen Elizabeth National Park on October 17th. The group whom president Museveni claims to have weakened with his UPDF stationed in Eastern Congo last week attacked a village in Kamwenge district killing 10 people and did the same yesterday in the same parish killing a 75 year old woman with her 3 grand children.

We have covered this too extensively, Read the stories here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Angel Of Death Take Prominent Figures In Uganda

This year 2023, the dark hand of death has picked and taken several key Ugandan figures causing the clouds of sorrow to hover above their families. Notable Figures who left us this year is long serving Permanent Secretary and Economist Keith Muhakanizi who died on April 14th 2023 from Milan Italy where he had gone to seek medication. Minister Charles Okello Engola who was gunned down by his guard private Wilson Sabiiti on 2nd May 2023, Retired High Court Judge Wilson Museene Musalu died on 16th April 2023, Justice Keneth Kakuru Died 7th March 2023, Lady Justice Arach Amoko died on 17th June 2023 and was buried after court intervention when her husband wanted to lay her to rest against her will of burying her at her ancestral place.

The other notable Ugandans who left this year is Dr Agrey Kiyinji who died on 30th September 2023 from Australia where he fled in exile, vocal politician Hussein Kyanjo died on 22nd July 2023, Comedian Kato Lubwama died on June 7th, Musician Evelyn Lagu died on September 18th after a long battle with Kidney related illnesses, business man Nyegamahe Apollo alias Aponye also died in a car crash on July 6th, former Ministers Dr Kantale Kazungu died on November 6th and 18th October 2023. Henry Katanga was mysteriously killed on 2nd November 2023 at his home in Mbuya.

We covered these stories extensively, find them here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Struggles In The FDC party, Katonga Vs Najjanankumbi 

In the theatre of politics, we have seen the once opposition biggest party for the last 15 years or so the Forum for Democratic Change split into two factions of Katonga and Najjanankumbi. Katonga is led by Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, four time presidential candidate Dr Kiiza Besigye, Former Leader of Opposition Wafula Ogutu, Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda among others. Najjanankumbi is headed by party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Secretary General Nandala Mafabi, Treasurer Geofrey Ekanya FDC Whip in parliament Yusuf Nsibambi among others.

Problems stem from accusations that Nandala Mafabi, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Geofrey Ekanya and Jack Sabiiti for receiving billions of money from president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to run their 2021 general elections. This was revealed by four time presidential candidate Dr Kiiza Besigye who was given some boxes of cash to keep at his home. A committee led by former country legislator Dr Frank Nabwiso was put in place but it found the accused free from any wrong doing.

Katonga accuses Najjanankumbi of harboring plans to take the FDC to Museveni like how Mao and Akena did to DP and UPC respectively. Najjanankumbi especially Nandala accuses Besigye and the Katonga group of harboring plans to take the FDC to Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP).

Splitting was eminent as Katonga through the National Chairman Waswa Birigwa called a delegates conference which was foiled by police but they would later convene at Katonga the same day and fired Patrick Oboi Amuriat as party president and replaced him with Erias Lukwago as substantive president.

Najjanankumbi too through the chairperson electoral commission Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda summoned a delegates conference which was protected by police and voted Amuriat as party president and Nandala as Secretary General. The other people who were approved by the conference were Yusuf Nsibambi as party whip in parliament and Chairperson for Buganda, Geofrey Ekanya was also elected as the party’s Treasurer General.

Majority of MPs have abandoned Najjanankumbi ahead of the 2026 general elections leaving only Ekanya, Nsibambi and Nandala to attend key events at the Entebbe-road based party headquarters.

We covered this extensively and some of the stories are here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Inside The Politics Of NRM, NUP, UPC and DP

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) lost the Serere By-election where voters went to the lines to vote for their member of parliament to replace Bishop Samuel Okabe who perished in an accident in Budaka alongside his wife. This was won by Okabe’s Son Emmanuel Omoding won massively as the NRM trailed. NRM also won the by-election for Bukedea LC5 boss where Mary Akol won massively with 90% of the votes cast. The lost the by-election in Oyam to UPC’s Dr Eunice Otuko.

For the first time president Museveni ordered for the arrest of those involved in vote rigging in favor of the NRM after it was revealed several high profile government bosses and security chiefs were involved.

In NUP, Bobi wine was whisked away from a plane when his party attempted to carry out a one million match from the airport to his home in Magere. Opposition in parliament avoided plenary over human rights abuses and it was after government said something about the disappearance of opposition supporters that these returned. NUP suspended some of it’s leaders in Busoga, NUP also launched it’s new party headquarters in Makerere Kavule but what topped the year is dropping Mathias Mpuuga from being the leader of opposition and replaced by Nakawa west MP Joel Ssenyonyi

We covered these extensively and you can read these stories, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Sale Of Muslim Property Causes Panic At Old Kampala

There was brewing panic and fights at Old Kampala’s Uganda Muslim Supreme Council over plans by court bailifs to sell off key Muslim properties to pay off a business man Justus Kyabahwa who accuses Old Kampala of selling to him land in Ssembabule which was already occupied by another person. There were fights at some point.

It’s the intervention of president Museveni after complaints from Mubajje who wrote a letter to the Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo to save the National Mosque, court of appeal would later block sale of Muslim property. Sheikh Ssemambo the Deputy Mufti briefly overthrew Supreme Mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje but court blocked his election over irregularities and Mubajje is still in charge of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council and Old Kampala.

The Kyabazinga Royal Wedding 18th November 2023

The Kyabazinga of Busoga HRH William Wilberforce Kadhumbula walked down the aisle with his wife Inebantu Mutesi Jovia on 18th November 2023 at Christ’s Cathedral Bugembe. Several companies contributed to this cause but as the wedding drew closer, a woman who identified herself as Anna Gabula threatened to stop the wedding claiming she was the legitimate wife of the Kyabazinga.

She reportedly instructed her lawyers to run to court, these served the Church of Uganda. This forced the Archbishop Dr Stephen Kazimba Mugalu to run to president Museveni for guidance. The president was invited as the chief guest but was no show at the colorful that was attended by mostly government and NRM leaning politicians.

Bobi Wine revealed revealed that the organizers who had invited him disinvited him at the last minute because the son of president Museveni Gen Muhoozi Keinerugaba was going to attend.

City lawyer Mabirizi has since dragged the Kyabazinga, his wife Mutesi, the Archbship Sten Kazimba Mugalu and Buganda Queen Naginda to court over the marriage.

We covered that story extensively and you can read the stories here, here, here, here or here .

If you have a story in your community or an opinion article, let’s publish it. Send us an email via ultimatenews19@gmail.com or WhatsApp +255769138299. We Wish you a Happy New Year 2024 Ahead.

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