Monday, January 27, 2014

A new Museveni at the NRA/NRM Victory Day

Speech by H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at the 28th NRA/NRM Victory Day Anniversary -26th January 2014-Mayuge district

As we celebrate the 28th Anniversary of the NRM Victory in 1986, we have, indeed, a lot to celebrate. First and foremost, we should celebrate the victory itself. That victory has since, been able to bring peace to the whole of Uganda. This was achieved because of the correct line of NRM of organizing the people on a patriotic, non-sectarian basis. That is how we were able to build a strong army that won that victory and also contribute to regional peace building efforts. The Banyankore have a saying: “Orutetera rwa guli nomwongo” ─ the seed of a pumpkin produces a pumpkin that is similar to the original pumpkin from which the seed came from.

The Bible puts it another way. In Matthew Chapter 7:16-17, it says: “You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?” “A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit”. Verse 20, says: “Therefore, by their fruits you shall know them”.

An indisciplined and ideologically bankrupt army cannot create peace in the country. In spite of the general line of the NRA/UPDF of always being on the side of the people, there were incidents in the anti-insurgency campaign for which we are ashamed. I do not know why the people did not report those incidents. Apart from the Mukura railway wagon incident and the Bucoro pit incident, which were reported, there were other incidents that are coming to light now. 

These include: the incident at Kanyum where wanainchi were killed by elements of our army for no reason at all after the army had been attacked by the rebels; there were incidents of looting property including cattle; and other incidents of indiscipline reported in Nwoya. I am going to follow up all these incidents, unearth the culprits if they are still alive so as, to hold them accountable and compensate the victims or their descendants.  
It was a mistake for the wanainchi not to report these incidents. It was also a failure of the respective Division and Brigade Commanders not to have discovered these crimes that were committed under their command using, first and foremost, the wanainchi. Where these mistakes were discovered, stern action was carried out. That is why, since 1986, about 23 soldiers have been executed for homicide, rape, etc. I will personally organize Mato-put (Okukaraba in Runyankore ─ blood settlement) ─ with the concerned families and communities. I appeal to the people to always report the misbehavior of police or army personnel without any fear.

Now that the UPDF has pacified the whole country, it is only the ordinary criminals that continue to disturb the people. One solution for crime is identification. Identification enables us to fight crime accurately and promptly. Hence, the importance of the identity card project. The computerization of the identities of all Ugandans and all the residents in Uganda, will enable us to identify criminals accurately and promptly. The computerized record of all persons living in Uganda will capture everybody’s fingerprints, picture and bio-data. This is not only good for fighting crime but also for elections by ensuring that the crooks, who have been tampering with the voters register, will be exposed. It will be impossible to engage in multiple voting, etc. with the computerized record of persons.

Apart from stability, the NRM has been able to cause the recovery of Uganda’s economy. Uganda’s economy in 1986 was a mere US$1.5 billion. Today it is 64 trillion shillings, which is about US$ 24 billion. Therefore, in terms of size, the economy has expanded 16 times in the last 28 years. The economy could have expanded more if it was not for the internal sabotage we normally have to deal with, especially the delay of projects by the different power centres.

The proportion of the people below the poverty line has declined from 56% to 22%. The GDP per capita is now $600 in spite of much of the population still being mired (stuck) in subsistence farming. If all the homesteads in Uganda wake up and engage in small scale commercial farming, the GDP per capita will be more than double. This is because many families are either not contributing to the monetary economy or are doing so marginally. 

I have repeatedly told you that for the rural population, with small pieces of land (4 acres and less), need to listen to our advice of the 1996 Manifesto of selecting enterprises with the highest return per acre per annum. Back, then, we recommended one acre for clonal coffee, one acre for fruits (mangoes, oranges, pineapples, apples or grapes), one acre for food-crops (bananas, cassava or Irish potatoes) and one acre for elephant grass as livestock pasture for zero-grazing dairy cattle. Add to these four, two backyard activities such as poultry and pigs for those who are not Moslems. Such a family will get an annual income in the region of 40 million shillings. In dollars, this will be US$ 16,000 per family. Since an average family may have five persons, this will be US$ 3,200 per capita. On account of reasons I can not easily understand, this simple anti-poverty formula could not be grasped by many actors. This is what NAADS and all those agencies were supposed to implement. 

Recently, I started using the army in the Luwero triangle, the Rwenzori region and other Fronasa bases to implement this 17 years old plan. Here in Mayuge, Lt. Colonel Dhamuzungu has distributed 68,390 seedlings of coffee, 5,000 seedlings of fruits, maize and beans. Overall, General Saleh and Hon. Sarah Kataike have distributed 5,540,074 seedlings of coffee, 1,000,000 seedlings of tea, 230,324 seedlings of fruit, cassava, beans, maize, etc.

We are going to expand this programme in the coming financial year. Here in Mayuge, Dhamuzungu distributed the 68,390 seedlings to 102 families, orange seedlings to 37 families, etc. With UPDF, we are not populist actors. Each family must get, at least, 450 coffee seedlings per acre and 120 orange seedlings per acre. We want impact and results and not show for cheap propaganda. This financial year, we needed 810 billion shillings to role out this programme to as many families as possible, throughout Uganda. We only managed to get 57 billion shillings for this purpose. We are restructuring NAADS in order to do away with the coordinators so that most of the money goes for breeding and planting materials instead of being consumed by salaries.

With the increase in the size of the economy, our tax collection also went up. That is why we are now able to fund very many infrastructure projects by ourselves. Here in Busoga, we have been able to take power all the way to Bukhungu and reconstruct Jinja-Kamuli road, complete Iganga-Bugiri-Busia/Malaba road and we are going to tarmac Musita-Mayuge-Nankoma-Namayingo-Majanji and Busia road using our own money. This capacity to fund our infrastructure projects by ourselves is a source of great pride to me. It is a harbinger of things to come. Those with eyes to see, should be able to discern its importance.

Throughout the country, there are numerous road and electricity projects that are being executed with Government funding. We are grateful to friends from the USA, EU, China, India, etc. that have been funding or offering to fund various infrastructure projects. These projects include Karuma, Isimba, Ayago, Oraba Rd, Nimule Rd. etc. With discipline and the greater resources at our disposal, the future is bright. We should discourage the thinking that all problems can be solved at one go. Our time-tested way of solving problems is “kamu-kamu gw’muganda” ─ one by one makes a bundle.

I am told that the recent fighting in South Sudan has caused the decline of prices for agricultural and industrial goods. The prices have come down. While this is good for consumers in Uganda, it is not good for farmers and for the industrialists. The higher prices, on account of the bigger markets in East Africa, South Sudan and Congo were greatly boosting and stimulating greater production in agriculture, industry and services. 

The obvious linkage between bigger markets, greater production, job creation, wider tax base and, eventually, more prosperity, again, expose the bankruptcy of those who push sectarian position. If tribes, gender chauvinism and religious sectarianism are very important, then, why were so many Ugandans caught inside South Sudan? What were they looking for? Why abandon their tribes, their religious groups and their social peers and go to South Sudan even, when the situation is not very stable. The answer is simple. One’s prosperity and that of his family depend on taking the advantage of the opportunities available and opportunities may be outside the tribe, the religious sector or the gender fraternity. I am sure given all the concerted efforts, South Sudan and DRC will stabilize so that regional trade can resume in full force. This will be good for everybody.

I would like to conclude today’s remarks by talking on health. By emphasizing immunization, hygiene, nutrition, behaviour change and malaria control, we would eliminate more than 80% of the sicknesses. Sicknesses like hepatitis-B, hepatitis-E, AIDS/HIV, etc. are preventable by either behaviour change, immunization or hygiene. Health is wealth. Let the District Medical Officers educate the public about these health issues so that everybody participates in promoting health and we get rid of these diseases of ignorance. 

Some of these diseases are very dangerous and yet they are easy to avoid. Hepatitis-E, for instance, is caused by either open defecation or uncovered latrines. It is oral-faecal ─ from faeces to mouth. Hepatitis-B goes through sex, kissing or sharing injection instruments. Both these diseases affect the liver very dangerously and can lead to death. Yet, they are easy to simply, avoid. I do not have to talk about AIDS. You know that story.
Let us wake up from sleep and transform our country. In the coming years, let our slogan be: “Improved service delivery, improved infrastructure and wealth creation by all persons and all households”.
I thank you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Unwanted Witness -Uganda

Press Release

Kampala, 17th/January/2014; the right to privacy and internet freedom are facing enormous (growing) threats as Ugandan government starts to import surveillance equipment and setting up internet monitoring units among the various security agencies; according to the Unwanted Witness Report.

The report indicates that the State House Entebbe was the first to be equipped with surveillance equipment with capabilities of undertaking surveillance on over ten mobile phone subscribers at ago.

“It irritates to witness the diminishing of the enjoyments of human rights in Uganda. The trends we are taking as a country is to obstruct and control the enjoyments of these rights and freedoms. Offline rights and freedoms are the causality of the day including assembly, expression and association having been excessively limited and now internet freedoms are being targeted” Said Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer

The research which was carried out from November 2013 to January 2014 to understand online threats and risks faced by Human rights Defenders, Netizen, Bloggers, journalists, artists and poets among other internet users, indicates that Internet monitoring units have been established in major security agencies including the Uganda Police Force, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and State House among others.

The report under the title “THE INTERNET; THEY ARE COMING FOR IT TOO” released in Kampala as part of activities to commemorate the Internet Freedom Day, 2014, which is held on the 18th January every year worldwide, expressed fears that as government moves to undertake systematic surveillance, the majority of internet users especially Human Rights Defenders and bloggers are un-ware of their being spied on by the government, they lack capacity to protect themselves while online and who to hold accountable for such actions; and many noted that they were never consulted during the legislative processes of laws on enacted to regulate internet activities.

The report noted that in the bid to regulate activities in the cyber space the government enacted more than five (5) legislations in a period of less than four years including; the Computer Misuse Act, Electronic Signatures Act, Uganda Communications Act, Regulation to Interception of Communications’ Act, and Electronic Transactions Act among others.

However, there’s a fear that the legal framework was drafted to undertake and strengthen the control over the internet other than facilitating the enjoyment of freedoms of expression, speech, association, assembly and access to information online which rights are not only guaranteed by the 1995 constitution of the republic of Uganda but also provided under various international human rights instruments to which Uganda is party
The Unwanted Witness therefore recommends that;
1. The Uganda Government is under obligation to protect its people from surveillance and should protect their right to privacy
2. Enact a data protection, surveillance and privacy law
3. Put measures in place that aim at implementing the UN resolution on protection of the right to privacy in the digital age
4. Review all laws enacted to regulate online and make necessary amendments that will see the legal framework facilitating the enjoyment of online freedoms rather than control.

For interviews, and further Information please contact; Mr. Twesigye

Godfrey, Tel; +256-701-807429; E-mail:

Download the full report:


Friday, January 17, 2014

Uganda expedition being launched to profile the “Doomed Glaciers of Africa”

Press Release:
16 January, 2014 | Entebbe, Uganda: A two-week expedition of western Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains, conducted by Pax Arctica, Makerere University’s Mountain Resource Centre and Green Cross International, is being launched tomorrow to raise awareness on Africa’s vanishing glaciers and the global water crisis.

The expedition is being led by explorer Luc Hardy, founder of Pax Arctica, an organization that promotes awareness of the impact of climate change on arctic regions. Mr. Hardy is also Vice President of Green Cross France et Territoires, which is part of the Green Cross International (GCI) global network, founded in 1993 by Mikhail Gorbachev to respond to the inter-related challenges of environmental degradation, security and poverty.

Scientists have predicted the glaciers located in the Rwenzori Mountains, or Mountains of the Moon, may cease to exist in two decades, possibly as early as the mid-2020s[1]. Studies have shown that from 1906 to 2003, the area covered by glaciers has reduced from 7.5 km2 to less than 1 km2. Research efforts to discover the impact of the disappearance of these glaciers are now critical.

The findings of the Uganda expedition will provide valuable information about the effects of climate change on Africa’s fast disappearing glaciers, and the consequence it may have on water shortages and water ecosystems in this region. Other objectives are to investigate the composition of plant species in the region, and develop the Mountain Research Centre’s glacial monitoring capacities.

“What is happening in the Rwenzori Mountains sheds light on the challenges we are facing globally from climate change and the world water crisis,” said Mr. Hardy. “Human-kind’s inability to contain climate change, and its negative consequences, can be visibly seen in this part of Uganda. The shrinking of this unique African glacier, along with the obvious loss on sustainable water supplies, pose major threats to local communities.”

Joining the expedition will be Sheila Ruyondo, a Ugandan environmental advocate and Uganda’s youth representative to the World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW), which is a partner of the expedition. WYPW is a network of young advocates committed to responding to the global water crisis and its links to climate change. Raising awareness and mobilizing youth for this cause are two of its key missions, and are embodied in this expedition.

Ms. Ruyondo was raised at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, and is dedicated to promoting the right to access clean, safe water as well as initiating conservation efforts in this region of Uganda. Mountain guide David Rastouil and Ugandan university student Richard Atugonza will also participate in the expedition.

In an article by Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Tom Knudson wrote that people familiar with the Rwenzori Mountains have noticed a disturbing shift in decreasing precipitation patterns in recent years. The lack of rainfall has caused many trees to die, diminishing the regions’ ability to soak up and store water, leaving downstream villages at risk for water shortages.

For updates in the coming days about the Doomed Glaciers of Africa expedition, please refer to Green Cross International’s blog and Pax Arctica for reports, photos and videos.

Contacts for interviews:
Editors note: A post-expedition seminar to present observations is planned in Uganda. Contact Bob Nakileza for more information.

About PaxArctica
The Pax Arctica Initiative was created to promote awareness of the threats facing the Arctic regions, to convey a global message of peace and to support the introduction of new ecological regulations for the Arctic region. Luc Hardy is the leader of the Initiative, he is and adventurer, author, and member of the Explorers Club. He is president of Sagax, a US-based investment and management advisory firm.
More information:

About Makerere University’s Mountain Resource Centre
The Makerere University Mountain Research Centre collects information on mountain issues and brings together researchers that do work in mountain areas especially in Uganda but on global issues. It is the focal point for mountain research involved in organising workshops, conferences, trainings on mountain issues and documenting mountain research.
More information:

About Green Cross International
GCI was founded in 1993 by Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev and is an independent non-profit and nongovernmental organization advocating and working globally to address the inter-connected global challenges of security, poverty eradication and environmental degradation through advocacy and local projects. The GCI Water for Life and Peace programme advocates for universal access to safe drinking water and the equitable and sustainable use of shared water resources.
GCI is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has offices in some 30 countries and local projects around the world. More information:

About the World Youth Parliament for Water
The World Youth Parliament for Water is a network of young people acting for water. It is active in 71 countries, with a mission to advocate for youth participation in the water sector, and to implement concrete actions for water. It acts at all levels: from local communities, where it implements concrete actions and lays the foundations for universal access to water and sanitation, to the United Nations General Assembly, where it advocates for youth participation in the water sector.
More information:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Internet Rights in Uganda: Challenges and Prospects

Workshop Report 28, 11, 2013 Kampala

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA, in conjunction with Unwanted Witness Uganda ( on November 28, 2013 organised a workshop on promoting internet rights in Uganda. The workshop aimed to create awareness among civil society, netizens, and the media in Uganda on how policy and practice affect internet freedoms in the country. The workshop also sought to draw up strategies for network building and advocacy to promote and protect online freedoms in Uganda.

Background to the workshop
The internet has become an important domain for citizen participation in democratic processes, as well for increased scrutiny of government actions. In turn, there is recognition at the global level[1] that the rights citizens enjoy online need to be protected as much as the human rights that are enjoyed in the physical world. 

In Uganda, however, there are few conversations on the need to promote online freedoms (also referred to as internet rights). Informed, sustained, and inclusive debate about the need to preserve the privacy of individuals as well as the need for persons and organisations to enjoy the breadth of rights of expression that are enabled by ICTs, is often lacking. Similarly, there is a paucity of information on the state of online freedoms in the country, a mapping of actors in this sphere, and advocacy positions and resources that can be utilised in creating awareness and lobbying for the protection and promotion of internet freedoms.

This creates the need for: understanding how policy and practice affect internet freedoms in the Uganda, forming a network of national and regional actors involved in the promotion of internet freedoms, raising awareness and spurring multi-stakeholder conversations on the importance of protecting internet rights the way human rights have always been protected and promoted. Equally important is for users to know that as much as the internet gives seemingly unlimited freedoms, their actions online can have negative consequences on society and direct repercussions on themselves. This calls for responsible online actions, including an awareness of the law but also having safety skills.

Uganda has an estimated 6.2 million internet users and according to[2], social media sites – Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and blogspot are among the top ten most visited sites in the country. On May 30, 2013, the Uganda government announced that it would form a social media monitoring centre “to weed out those who use this media to damage the government and people’s reputations” and also targeted at those “bent to cause a security threat to the nation.” 

In recent years, some government departments have ordered curtails on the citizens’ right to seek, receive, and impart information through digital technologies, including ordering a temporary shutdown of some services such as SMS, and instructing internet service providers to block access to some websites. Uganda is also among six African countries that asked Facebook to disclose users’ details, according to the organisation’s transparency report for the first six months of 2013.

While the legislation in Uganda states the circumstances under which an order may be made for online content to be taken down or blocked, recent years have seen instances of takedowns that have not followed the law. There have been orders to take down or block access to certain websites, with at least one court case against an online journalist.[3] One journalist is on trial over an article published online in 2010. He was initially charged with “intent to defame the person of the President.”

On April 14, 2011, the regulator – the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) – instructed ISPs to block access to Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours “to eliminate the connection and sharing of information that incites the public” in the face of opposition protests.”[4] Uganda passed an interception of communications law in 2010 to give effect to aspects of an anti-terrorism law of 2002 under which journalists who “promote terrorism” can be liable to capital punishment. A registration of all SIM card owners in Uganda exercise concluded on May 31, 2013, which could make the monitoring easier.

Accordingly, the workshop addressed issues such as:
1)      What are online freedoms and why do they need to be protected?
2)       Status of online freedoms in Uganda.
3)      Threats and challenges to online freedoms in Uganda
4)      Strategising and network building for promoting and protecting online freedoms and online expression in Uganda.

 Workshop Presentations

Uganda Freedom on the Net Report 2013, Grace Natabaalo, Programme Associate, African Centre for Media Excellence
According to a 2013 report on the state of online freedom for Uganda[5], which the presenter co-authored, there were no reports of internet content being blocked or filtered during 2012 and in the first quarter of 2013, although various government officials publicly expressed the “need” to police online discussions. 

The Uganda Communications Act 2012 was passed in September, creating a new media regulatory body that has been criticised for its lack of independence from the government. Meanwhile, SIM card and mobile internet registrations continued through early 2013 amid concerns that the registration requirements infringed on the right to privacy given the lack of a necessary data protection law. Overall, she said, government harassment for online writing was documented, while suspicions of proactive government surveillance of online communications increased in the past year.

Ms. Natabaalo said internet penetration was growing but there were hindrances to use, including poor infrastructure, prohibitive costs, and poor quality of service. Social media and blogging platforms were freely available in Uganda and they were among the most visited websites. In the past, however, there were incidents when the government directed Internet Service Providers to block access to certain services and sites. 

She noted that the Uganda police chief had recently called for policing of social media, and that there were several laws that appeared to negate constitutional guarantees for freedom of expression. She said Ugandans online were becoming more open but were often subjected to threats from government functionaries. She also mentioned that there was self-censorship online, with matters of the president’s family and many issues related to the military considered taboo topics. Overall, Uganda was categorised by freedom House as ‘Partly Free’.

The Ugandan blogosphere, privacy and threats to expression, Esther Nakkazi, a blogger and journalist: According to Ms. Nakkazi, the use of technology can have positive and negative impacts. Citing a report by the Swedish Programme for ICTs in Developing Regions (Spider) she said technology allows people to connect with one another at a speed and scale unimaginable and with a degree of anonymity. 

However, what we do now to preserve privacy and fundamental freedom online will have a profound effect on the next generation of users: either the number will grow or shrink. In Uganda, the number of users is growing but there is a need to ponder privacy considerations. As has been noted by Spider, privacy is a right and human rights are universal. 

As such, behaviour that is unacceptable offline is unacceptable online, whether by governments or individuals. Therefore, users of social media and other ICTs need to be aware that the responsible behaviour expected in the offline world is also expected in the online world.

She stated that the internet is a key means by which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

But there are many other uses to which Ugandans are putting the internet, with blogs, twitter and Facebook among the prominent platforms used. These include: for ‘exhibitions’ (pictures and videos) of their social lives, or to converse. There is also discussion of politics and news; monitoring of services delivery, searching for funding, doing business, sports betting, participation in interest groups, marketing and many more.

However, there are threats to privacy and free expression for Ugandan internet users. Access to at least one site was blocked (Radio Katwe), journalist Timothy Kalyegira was charged over an article he published online, local princess Ruth Komuntale had her privacy severely invaded during a break-up of her marriage, and there are indications of government agencies intending to monitor what citizens are doing online. There is also a lot of false unchecked information online.

This raises some questions: Who are the people who are under threat? And if we want to protect internet rights, how do we promote responsible behaviour? Are there existing systems with models we can build on? How can anonymity be secured in situations when anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive information are communicated? Are there circumstances in which we need to adjust these concerns? Who needs to have oversight? Who needs to be involved? What external expertise do we need to have?

Introduction to the OpenNet Africa Initiative – Ashnah Kalemera, Programmes Associate, CIPESA
The OpenNet Africa[6] Initiative aims to promote and monitor internet freedoms in East and Southern Africa, with the focus countries being Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Why OpenNet Africa? Because there are few conversations in African countries on online matters; and where these conversations related to internet freedoms are taking place, they are often not informed by research, nor are they driven by an agenda that seeks to educate citizens and promote liberal regimes of online rights. And yet if digital technologies can promote democracy, there is need to protect individuals and organisations that use these technologies. The OpenNet Africa portal contains primary and secondary data, including:
         Information on African internet freedoms and cyber security
         Research Materials
         Censorship incidents
         African Initiatives promoting internet rights
         Policy and advocacy material.

Defending Digital Rights in Uganda, Godfrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, Director, Unwanted Witness Uganda[7].
Unwanted Witness was founded to defend digital rights and to join hands with other organisations working to promote digital freedoms and the use of modern technologies to change lives. With the proliferating use of ICT tools, it was realised that there were opportunities, threats and challenges.

The presenter stated that secret surveillance was going on in Uganda, with security services spying on unsuspecting citizens. He said telecom providers were accomplices in the government-run surveillance. According to him, there are three pieces of legislation in Uganda – all passed in the last three years – on interception of communications, computer misuse, and the communication regulatory authority – which could be used to deny citizens their internet rights. He regretted that the policymaking process related to these policies was not participatory.

Threats and Challenges to Online Rights; Strategies for Network Building and Advocacy - Lillian Nalwoga, Policy Officer, CIPESA.

This session focused on prevalent threats and challenges to online freedoms in Uganda, and drew up some advocacy and network building possibilities. Below is a summary.

Threats to online freedoms in Uganda
Challenges to online freedoms in Uganda
Actions needed
Limited skills/ awareness of internet usage
Low digital literacy levels

Increase public awareness through sensitisation both online and offline

Low internet penetration in the country

Limited accessibility & affordability of internet
Train users, civil society in online etiquette

Hackers’ intrusion into users’ private information
Low access to electricity
Train police/ security agents on online freedoms
High data prices online

Strict policies/laws on internet usage/online freedom
Advocate increased awareness of/ affordability of internet
Conservatism, religion and culture

Uganda’s capacity to monitor online freedom
Advocate for Uganda govt. to respect online freedoms
Government surveillance on online freedom 

Surveillance by government
Cyber laws should be changed to respect online freedoms

There were questions on the methodology of the Freedom House report, specifically what issues are evaluated to determine whether the country is free or not free as far as freedom on the net was concerned. There was also debate on whether these evaluation criteria added up to the state of democracy in a country. It was widely held that a country where there was no online freedom was unlikely to be democratic.

It was pointed out that in Uganda, journalists plus all people who are active users of social media, as well as activists – for human rights, environmental protection, or gay rights – are potentially under threat. There was therefore need to protect the internet rights of a broad category of users but also to make them responsible while they communicate and engage via digital technologies. Social media users were also advised to use as many channels as possible, rather than relying on one to avoid being shut down completely if one of their platforms was interfered with.

There were concerns about the possibility that Huawei, the Chinese company installing a fibre backbone for the Uganda government, could carry out surveillance on users. The media was challenged to educate the public on the importance of protecting internet freedoms, while government was challenged to do more to increase internet access and use. However, there was need to create awareness about online freedoms-related legislations among not only ordinary citizens but also the media and legislators.

Participants also regretted that few Ugandans take part in policy making processes, even in instances where parliamentary committees call for public input. Concern was also expressed that the country’s laws, including those that were ICT-related, seemed to be mainly concerned with controlling citizens rather than assuring their privacy and giving them space for free expression.

Furthermore, civil society was challenged to keep an eye out on the data protection bill which cabinet had debated and which might soon be in parliament. It was also noted that if government officials were not engaged in dialogues and awareness raising activities on internet rights, little might be achieved in promoting progressive policies and practices on online freedoms.

Finally, civil society was advised not to campaign for “rogue freedom”. In other words, civil society should promote responsible use of ICTs, with users educated on legal and legitimate limits to their freedoms, otherwise irresponsible behaviour might give the government an excuse to clamp down on citizens’ freedoms.

[1]See, for instance, Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, May 26, 2011;
[2] Top Sites in Uganda

[3] See CIPESA, Uganda’s Assurances on Social Media Monitoring Ring Hollow, June 10, 2013,

[4] CIPESA/ APC, Intermediary Liability in Uganda, April 2012,
[5] Freedom House, Freedom on the Net 2013 Report,
[6]OpenNet Africa,
[7] Unwanted Witness,

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Kalamba Community Development Organization

Butambala district joined the rest of the country and the world in marking World AIDS Day on 1st December urging its residents to take an HIV test.

The community based organization (CBO); Kalamba Community Development Organization with other partners was in charge of the two days activities at the Kalamba sub county grounds.

While the Global theme for the World AIDS Campaign was ‘Zero HIV infections, Zero AIDs related Deaths’, Uganda's theme for this year (2013) world AIDS day was ‘Re-engaging communities for effective HIV Prevention.’

The guest of honor Dr. Ben Kiwanuka Mukwaya the Buganda Minister for health encouraged the residents of Butambala to test for HIV and commended the work the CBO has done so far in engaging the communities in HIV prevention.

Mr. Fredrick Bombo, the executive director of Kalamba said that despite efforts by Government to reduce the spread of HIV, Butambala remains among the districts in Uganda with a high HIV prevalence rate at 10.4% compared to the national of 7.4%.

Like elsewhere in the country, women in Butambala are more infected than men at 8.3% compared to 6.4% respectively. But contrary to popular beliefs and research that Muslim (circumcised) communities have lower prevalence, in Butambala the HIV prevalence is going up like the national prevalence is.

This is basically due to challenges like high poverty levels, risky sexual behaviors, low literacy rates, high level of school drop outs, stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV (PLHAs) and children, drug and substance abuse by the youth.
Butambala is predominantly Muslim and ranks among the 10 top densely populated in the country.

According to Mr. Bombo at the World Aids Day celebration activities the turn up for safe male circumcision in Butambala was disappointing due to a misconception by members of other religious faiths that male circumcision is a campaign to convert them to the Muslim faith. Bombo said this was caused by inadequate awareness and unclear, uncoordinated messages.

Also the attitude about family planning is still very poor especially among men and so there is poor participation in reproductive health, basically due to inadequate awareness and refusal by the community  to do couple counseling.
Health workers attest to the various occasions when women test without consent of their male counterparts which causes a lot of domestic instability and violence.

But the district has scaled up the elimination of mother-to-child-transmission, the uptake of HIV counseling and testing and the district leadership has taken on the HIV leadership role just like the President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet Museveni, said Bombo. The Early Infant diagnosis (EID) Program is also being expanded to lower health units.

Butambala residents have also been availed with a new brand of condoms; life defender, by UNFPA. Emily Katamujuna from PATHFINDER based at the Kalamba organization reported increased use of condoms and availability.

Major activities for the two day function at Kalamba included a marathon and bicycle race with the support from PROMETRA Uganda, HIV testing and counseling; safe medical male circumcision by Gombe Hospital, Mildmay and TASO Entebbe branch.
There was also cervical cancer screening and family planning by PACE, blood donations by the community in collaboration with the Uganda Red cross and Blood bank as well as humanitarian support to selected PHLWA Households in collaboration with Bright parents junior school in Lubowa and KAINSUDE Kamengo. Community mobilization and welfare was supported by World vision Kamengo cluster and the village health teams.

For more information please contact
Email: Telephone : +256772505590