Home › Forums › Voices of Oppressed Ugandans › How Yoweri Museveni Cheated Elections
February 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm #1282
Mr Amama Mbabazi emerged out of the presidential election a victor. The veteran politician walked out of a gruelling three month campaign period more cleansed than bruised; scoring moral points he may as well never have ever scored had he stuck to President Museveni’s service. This is why:
Critics of President Museveni, whether basing on his economics or democratic credentials as parameters to assess his 30-year reign, have for long paired him with one of his Mr Fix it.
The story of Museveni’s failures, unlike his successes, has always been complete with men like Mbabazi in the equation. And yet society has a way it closes one eye to our chequered past and opens its arms if we preach change as did the Biblical Saul later Paul.
Edward Lowassa, who gave new Tanzania president John Magufuli a run for his money, had had his name soiled in multimillion dollar scandals during his tenure as prime minister but how Tanzanians, including opposition that largely kept punching Lowasa’s credibility as prime minister, shifted criticism to support is intriguing.
That is where Mbabazi registered himself a victory. For the better part of his time as prime minister, Mbabazi’s time on the floor of Parliament was characterised by heckling from MPs such as the late Cerinah Nebanda and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, always chanting, “Temangalo” in relation to the controversial land transaction that almost dealt Mbabazi’s political career a blow.
Today his yesterday critics speak in less harsh tones and now see him as an ally in the anti-Museveni struggle.
The statistics from the general election remain a slap on Mbabazi’s face, a rude shocker to journalists, pundits and political actors who created the impression Mbabazi was the man sent from heaven to finish a job Dr Kizza Besigye has since 2001 “failed to accomplish.”
Timothy Kalyegira, a columnist with this newspaper, once wrote that Mbabazi was the man to give Mr Museveni the knockout punch.
There were stories, told in broadcast and print media, of how the man from Kanungu was the choice of the West, particularly the United States, the United Kingdom, as well as Asian power houses like China and the Arab world with United Arab Emirates high on the list.
In an interview with the Observer, Besigye was asked to comment on claims that the West had shifted its focus from him to Mbabazi.
The retired colonel said the struggle for a better Uganda was for Ugandans, not foreigners to fight, but didn’t rule out partnering with friends of that struggle.
At The Democratic Alliance (TDA) process to arrive at a single candidate for the Opposition to take on Museveni, every word and deed from the principals at TDA pointed to Mbabazi as a pre-anointed choice whom Besigye, a tested and proven Museveni challenger with verifiable support since 2001, should throw his weight behind.
And then stories were told of how Mbabazi has insider knowledge of the inner workings of every detail of our security apparatus, right from his heydays as a Fronasa winger to National Resistance Army secret operations, stretching to his post-1986 roles as director External Security Organisation, junior Defence minister, Security minister and eventually prime minister.
With these contacts built over a 40 year period, coupled with external backing, with stories told of how America’s Federal Bureau of Investigations, Israel’s MOSSAD, UK’s M16, and the Vatican’s intelligence antennae followed Mbabazi’s movements and no harm could be done to him, the world was told, Mbabazi was “the thing” as Justice James Ogoola would say.
And then came the money tales. Tabloid after tabloid screamed how Mbabazi had received millions of dollars from USA’s powerful gay lobby group, how Chinese and Dubai businessmen had channelled a fortune that could run the Museveni financial muscle thin.
Speaking on Capital Gang, Mbabazi said “I have the money to run the campaign to its maximum” as though to validate claims he had, as MP Ssemujju said on that talk show, “more space for money than people to pass in his house”.
Mr Mbabazi, in the words of a close family member this reporter talked to, “has an image of a god, a superior being, a superstar, and it works for him even when most of what is said is not true”.
But as in Richard Sheridan’s play School for scandal, the whole project seemed to be stuck in the web of appearances vs reality.
Ugandans, it appears, especially those disillusioned with the Museveni regime, are like a drowning man who will clutch on a straw, sometimes reasoning with despair and falling short of interrogating even what appears obviously doubtable.
Mr Olara Otunnu perhaps compares to Mbabazi in the sense of how much excitement he caused when he walked out of the United Nations, bringing to an end a high flying diplomatic career that nearly got him the secretary general slot that Ghana’s Kofi Anan took.
If Otunnu came down to Uganda, we heard, it is game over for Museveni. Mr Otunnu did not vote himself in the 2011 election and seems to have been plunged into the edge.
Gen David Sejusa too, after his controversial letter, got some sympathy and hype around how much he could perform. Today, he is in Luzira prison facing a host of service offences at the General Court Martial.
First, therefore, the arousal Mbabazi stirred can be seen through the prism of a people hungry for anything that appears able to break the camel’s back, sometimes though, we overestimate the magnitude of the stroke and underestimate the size of the camel’s back.
So was Mbabazi a phantom?
Mr Aggrey Awori contested for the presidency in 2001 and scored what Mbabazi harvested in 2016, 1.4 per cent of the vote.
Contacted by this newspaper for a comment on Friday, Mr Awori first laughed and said: “Firstly, Mbabazi has been demystified; he was a balloon that took a little bit of a pin to burst.
He was not on ground. How do you contest for national office without structures? In every polling station you should get at last 10 votes from your agents, but in some stations he got two votes or even zero, meaning he had no agents in most stations.”
Mr Godber Tumushabe, who offered TDA technical input and warmed up to the Mbabazi ‘phantom’, told this reporter the TDA thought process rotated around leveraging on Besigye’s popularity and harnessing that with Mbabazi’s “organisational infrastructure and superior skills at mobilising resources”, but this did not seem to be backed by evidence.
What we read as Mbabazi’s organisational infrastructure, it appears, was a shadow of the arsenal he was able to bring forward in his days around Museveni which comes easier with access to State resources.
Mr Awori says: “All along he survived on Museveni who put him there and sustained him and when he went away he was exposed.”
Veteran politician and Uganda Peoples Congress senior member James Rwanyarare told this newspaper in a previous interview, as did his colleague and former minister in Obote II government Yona Kanyomozi, “Mbabazi is like the moon that reflects light from the sun and when the sun is withdrawn the moon loses its shine.”
Dr Rwanyarare said: “In 2011, the voters told Museveni that they don’t want Mbabazi but he told them that they are voting him, not Mbabazi, so they should not ditch Mbabazi.”
After he gathered a mammoth crowd in Mbale, at the start of his consultative meetings, Mr Mbabazi in an interview with NBS TV derided as “foolish” people who had compared him to the moon, boasting of how he has spent decades in politics and would silence all those who ridiculed him as a man with no following.
And, indeed, he sure pulled crowds in Arua, Kitgum, Mukono, Masaka, Jinja, parts of Lango which seemed to morale boost him. Unlike Besigye, however, Mbabazi’s oratory skills always came calling, but the gods of eloquence seemed to abandon him when he needed them most.
Sometimes he struggled to speak in Luganda, a language Museveni and Besigye speak fluently, and resorted to MP Medard Ssegona’s translation.
When he attempted to touch base with the ordinary folk, he pulled off a dance stroke with a musician on the rostrum, joked with voters, hugged what senior presidential adviser John Nagenda once called the “unwashed of the slums” but it all appeared a little too late.
Here he faced a challenge from Besigye and Museveni, who just like FDC secretary general Nandala Mafabi have the gift of people skills, recalling by name their remotest agent’s name and reaching out to them.
Awori thinks Mbabazi’s own personality of a man who is “too elitist and not sociable” left him and the voter millions of mile out of touch.
And yet some Ugandans, accustomed to flip floppers in politics, to this day still think Mbabazi and Museveni are up to a game. Mbabazi, therefore, still has trust issues.
Some choose not to trust him because of his record in government, as Rwanyarare says: “If there is any problem we have had as a country, from the Public Order Management Act, phone tapping law, muzzling of political space and other freedoms, they have been designed and executed by Mbabazi. I cannot see how we can turn to such a person as alternative leadership.”
Makerere University law don, Prof John Jean Barya, told this newspaper in an interview:
“In a sense, Besigye has benefited from the Mbabazi factor, precisely because Mbabazi has been so close to the President and people are not so sure that he is a new person that can be trusted. So they are willing to give him votes, but they are sure of Kizza Besigye that he is tested and means what he says.
There are question marks about Mbabazi and that is what has given him problems. But nonetheless, he has that significant contribution in terms of being part of the process for change.”
Mr Kanyomozi opines that Mbabazi’s insistence on NRM was a miscalculation too. “He wanted to inherit one part of the balance sheet of the NRM. How do you inherit assets and run away from liabilities? He wasn’t clear, he should have moved away at once,” the ex-minister says.
At Kamwenge Primary School playground, Mr Mbabazi told voters, “I want to tell you that I am a member of NRM, but the NRM which is free from corruption and with economic and political stability.”
Some of the people, especially in the Opposition, human rights movement and civil society who listened to Mbabazi looked at the scars they incurred, thanks to NRM, and that seemed to be their departure point from his aspiration.
To this section, NRM is like a car, written off by traffic police and in dangerous mechanical condition and to insist on delivering passengers to the promised land using the same car, by merely changing drivers, did not seem to add up.
Mr Awori also doubts Mbabazi’s hyped knowledge of security, “When he was State minister for Defence, I was in Opposition and I remember we would take him on security matters and he was always not knowledgeable.
How do you serve as ESO chief, Defence minister and Security minister without even a handful of junior officers following you?”
“Yes, he had intelligence but intelligence without gun powder has never overthrown any government. He was good as Museveni’s administrative assistant, fix this, write minutes of the other meeting but in elective politics he cannot score much.”
Mr Mbabazi had always told journalists to watch the space and wait for the day his followers in NRM come out. Only one MP from Sebei region, who lost in the NRM primaries, emerged.
Mr Mbabazi set his eye on the presidency as early as 2006, telling journalist Arinaitwe Rugyendo in a Red Pepper interview (August 9-15 2001), “I would not wish to commit myself to commenting on speculations that I am eyeing the presidency. It is just too early. But yes, the President said I am presidential material.”
At the time he had just been appointed Defence minister. Mr Awori thinks Mbabazi did not use the offices he occupied then, to advance his project.
“He should have done what Obote did in 1965, play with the rules, amend the laws so that you give yourself more powers and take control of critical offices where you can advance your course. But even as Attorney General and prime minister, what much did he do?” says the former Samia Bugwe North MP.
Mbabazi’s lawyer Severino Twinobusingye thinks assessing Mbabazi on the premise of a contested election does not add up.
“This was a fundamentally flawed election right from the start; it went against every letter and spirit of the Constitution with the Electoral Commission, police and other State organs descending into the arena in favour of the incumbent,” Twinobusingye says.
Mr Mbabazi has said the process leading to the election “illuminates that this election was fundamentally flawed and that the announced results were not a reflection of the will of the Ugandan people”.
He harvested 132,574 (1.4 per cent) of the 9,701,738 total votes cast.
To be fair to him, analysts says, Mbabazi, as any other opponent of Museveni, faces a challenge that goes beyond an ordinary election; it is a contest with the State.
To laugh at him is to laugh at a Uganda at crossFebruary 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm #1284
President Yoweri Museveni has today attended the consecration of Rt. Rev. Vincent Kirabo as Bishop of Hoima diocese.
The ceremony took place at our Lady of Lourdes Bujumbura Cathedral in Hoima.
He presented a gift of a band new Pajero to the new bishop.March 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm #1297
UGANDANS IN WASHINGTON DC HELD A DEMONSTRATION AGAINST ELECTION RIGGING AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN UGANDA.
March 19, 2016 at 2:12 pm #1299
- This reply was modified 7 years, 2 months ago by Yoweri Museveni.
My party FDC is filled with cowards and oppotunists, how on earth can one think that by boycotting going to work on thursdays, shuning tubonge nawe artists can shake or even give Museveni any sleepless nights? those pretending to be demonstrating in diaspora should stop waiting their valuable time and come home to organise a demonstration to state house, FDC as a leading opposition party in the country can not move without #Besigye, is he the only opposition leader we have in this country? #Muntu, #Alaso, #Okumu, #Nandala #Latigo, #Cecilia #Oguttu and many others, what is your role and benefit to FDC if you can not organise a demonstration that ugandans are eagerly waiting (the youth) against rigged elections, #Beatrice_Anywar was so active in mobilising ugandans to standup and stop the dictator from selling mabira but very mute and useless in organising ugandans to standup to claim the victory, #Odonga_Otto was intrumental in mobilising people in his region to demonstrate against #Mbabazi coming for consultation rally in his region but can not do the same against open day rigged elections, is #Kizza_Besigye the only man who can move things in this country, when he is arrested or imprisoned the opposition is dead? Shame upon those who call themselves elitesMarch 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm #1300
BETRAYAL IN THE CITY.
AMAMA MBABAZI’S LAWYER WAS BEHIND THE LAW FIRM BREAK-INS
REGIME PAID HIM A HEFTY REWARD.
Amama Mbabazi’s lawyer Muwema (see pic.) sold out to M7,after he was given 900 million in a deal brokered by Jim Muhwezi ,and thereafter jumped out of the petition case, locked his office before stage-managing the raids at the twio law firms, and steal the signed affidavits and other evidence on petition. So Muwema was part of the evidence theft from his own and Mohammed chambers.
Muwema ran off with 157 affidavits that were signed and then claimed police took everything, thereafter he passed on info to the state agents who started arresting and harassing witnesses, and the remaining Amama lawyers started all over again to get the new affidavits. .
Muwema first lied that his landlord had closed him for failure to pay rent. He connived with the estate manager and they closed his office for 3 days, but the Amama people managed to get the landlord and the offices were opened and they started doing new affidavits in Muhammad Mbabazi’s office,which was also broken into by the regime people who were in collusion with Muwema and Jim Muhwezi. .
This high level betrayal dents the image of the legal fraternity in Uganda,and the people of Uganda are the ultimate victims of these schemes.March 19, 2016 at 2:17 pm #1301
In 2013 during Mukula trial Muwema was paid reportedly @$100,000 by Mbabazi and Jim Muhwezi to fail Mukula in court, he apparently was asked not to ask specific qns that wd have exonerated Mukula but we all know how that ended, capt was sent to Luzira and he got other lawyers ie Mpanga, Oscar Kambona and others and they represented him very well. Muwema is a dirty lawyer and he is two faced! I guess Mbabazi shd have known better than to trust this crook with his petition! He can sell his arse to the highest bidder in any currency including Zimbabwean dollars! What an inept part-time thinker!March 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm #1302
Ugandan opposition parties are faced with a familiar conundrum—fairly sure that the election they just lost was rigged, but unsure how to prove it.
There is evidence that President Yoweri Museveni’s main challenger, Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), made significant gains in many parts of the country, especially urban areas. It is also clear that intimidation and repression were widespread, including the repeated detention of Besigye in the weeks of and after polling day. But neither domestic courts nor international election monitors are likely to declare an election unfree or unfair on the basis of this kind of background manipulation, although both the European Union and U.S. State Department found the election process to be marked by a lack of transparency and worrying irregularities. At the end of the day, it is only hard evidence of ballot box stuffing or faulty vote tallying that is likely to sway them.
So, do the results, published by the Electoral Commission (EC) in almost complete form towards the end of February, point to a rigged election? And if so, how was it done?
When evaluating election results it is important to keep in mind two questions:
- Is there clear evidence of rigging that systematically benefitted one side over another?
- Was this rigging sufficient to change the result of the election?
In many elections, we see one of these questions answered affirmatively but not the other. In the Ugandan context, Museveni officially received 60.62 percent of the vote, with Besigye on 35.61 percent—a gap of almost 2.5 million votes. So, with these two questions in mind, what do the results tell us?
The results: Election rigging, Ugandan style
As expected, urban areas including Kampala voted overwhelmingly for the opposition, with Besigye winning a presidential majority in 14 constituencies, up from just 4 in 2011. These results fit with reports by journalists and commentators during the campaign. But in other ways, the election results appear far-fetched. In national elections, it is practically impossible that 100 percent of registered voters at a particular polling station would turn out to vote. Yet the results for this election show a high number of such cases clustered in particular areas.
In Kiruhura District—in the heartland of Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM)—67 polling stations logged highly improbable turnouts of 100 percent. Forty-three of those stations made the even more dubious claim of 100 percent of votes in favor of the incumbent. In the same district, a further 59 stations recorded turnout of between 98 and 99.99 percent of the registered voters. The total turnout in Kiruhura District was 86.87 percent, contributing more than 120,000 votes for the president or 91.35 percent of the district’s total valid ballots. In Nakaseke District, two sub-counties had 14 stations between them with 100 percent turnout and 100 percent of the votes in favor of the incumbent out of a total of 29 polling stations. Taken in total, all the polling stations across the two sub-counties recorded a 97 percent turnout, with over 97 percent of the valid votes going to Museveni. This pattern was repeated across multiple other districts.
The suspect results tend to come from rural districts—where media coverage and opposition party networks are generally weaker—and NRM strongholds, where opposition party agents are least likely to feel safe in monitoring procedures. The results suggest an election rigged in favor of one side, and with significant attention paid to where manipulation was—and was not—likely to be detected.
But this conclusion is cold comfort to opposition parties for two reasons. Firstly, the NRM has been careful to prevent so-called over-voting. Vote inflation looks to have been used to ensure 100 percent turnout and 100 percent support for Museveni, but no polling station recorded a turnout of over 100 percent, and so no electoral offense is represented, strictly speaking. Second, the total votes cast at these polling stations was considerably smaller than the overall gap between the two candidates. This evidence therefore fails to prove that Museveni got less votes than Besigye. Further data would be required for this, but it is extremely difficult to collect, and in spite of some questionable results there is little of the kind of hard evidence that would be needed to persuade a court of law.
In part, this is because of the strategies employed by the NRM government since voting ended. Ballot stuffing was reported in a number of districts, but it is the opaque transmission of results from polling stations to district tallying centers and then to the National Tallying Centre that has raised the most questions regarding the reliability of the Electoral Commission’s counting process. Attempts by the opposition to collate their own results were thwarted by police raids of party tallying centers, the seizure of computers and equipment, and the alleged intimidation and disappearances of party agents.
The EC is also culpable. Three weeks after the election, the commission still hasn’t released the results of the parliamentary vote—this would provide an opportunity to cross check the high levels of voter turnout in the presidential polls. In Kiruhura in the 2011 election, 22.45 percent more voters participated in the presidential elections than the parliamentary ballot, despite both being held simultaneously. Opposition candidate Amama Mbabazi and his movement are challenging the results in court with a petition that must be decided by March 31, but the case has been hampered by a suspicious robbery at their lawyers’ chambers by 30 assailants—some reportedly in police uniform—in which only the election case files and relevant computers were taken.
A warning sign for the NRM
A danger of election rigging, even if it does not change the actual result, is that it undermines the credibility of the government. This has clearly happened in Uganda, where Besigye has won a moral, if not an actual, victory. Rigged results also distort information on government popularity, potentially leading to a false sense of achievement and the low prioritization of much needed reforms.
Moving away from the overall figures, which show an overwhelming victory for Museveni, voting patterns in polling stations at police posts, stations and barracks tell a story of a ruling party in decline. In Gulu, at the barracks housing for police and their families, the station polled 62 percent in favor of the opposition leader, higher than the district total of 50.67 percent. In Ntungamo, at the police headquarters, votes for the opposition were particularly high—53.66 percent relative to the district total of 30.74 percent.
Typically, polling stations like these reflect the broader patterns of the communities in which they are based. If police are voting in large numbers at these stations, they are likely also voting for the opposition in numbers similar to the rest of their communities, potentially calling the loyalty of the police force into question. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, with police officers and their families being evicted from some quarters in suspected retribution for their voting choices. Police loyalty is particularly important for a regime that is increasingly reliant on coercion during periods of insecurity, such as elections. It might also mean a more prominent role for a better-resourced and more dependable enforcer—the military.
Ultimately, the 2016 poll suggests that the Ugandan state is less secure in its electoral legitimacy, opting to ensure favorable outcomes through subversive means. It seems clear that there was vote inflation, but this is unlikely to result in either observers or the courts intervening to challenge the final result, as opposition parties face the incredibly difficult task of trying to prove that it was sufficient to change the poll’s outcome. Yet although Museveni may have been declared the winner again, he is unlikely to rest easy in the knowledge that his mandate, and hence his legitimacy, is on the wane.
Nicole Beardsworth is a political analyst at the University of Warwick. Nic Cheeseman is associate professor of African Politics at the University of Oxford and the co-editor of the journal African Affairs. Nicole tweets @nixiib and Nic tweets @fromagehommeMarch 19, 2016 at 2:31 pm #1304
THE LEOPARD ANUS OUTBURST HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH NATIONAL SECURITY
Museveni’s lawyers think that the people of Uganda are dumb.How can they say Museveni mentioned the anus of the leopard as a way of warning on national security in his capacity as president?.THAT IS TOTALLY MISLEADING. THE DICTATOR SAID CATEGORICALLY CLEAR WHILE INVOKING THIS ANUS, AND I QUOTE.” YOU ATTACK NRM MEMBERS?ON UGANDAN SOIL?” SO UNLESS NATIONAL SECUTRITY IS ONLY ABOUT NRM, THEN THESE LEARNED PEOPLE’S ARGUNMENT WOULD THEN HOLD.FOR NOW,THEY HAVE ALOT TO EXPLAINMarch 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm #1305
Sc villa jogoo salongo president eng ben emma misagga addressing his villa team at training yesterday at villa park nsambya after returning from Sudan victorious( 1 -0)courtesy of software engineer Tadeo Lwanga goal .HE PRESIDENT EMPHASISED unity, hardwork , discipline and being focused. They won the battle but the WAR is not over yet..He expects them to accomplish the war at nakivubo stadium on Saturday 27th February 2016. Charges are 10,000/= ,20,000/= and 30,000/= VIPERS FC is playing away to enyimba fc of Nigeria next week .They won 1-0 at nakivubo stadium on Friday 12th February 2016 courtesy of Erisa Keith Sekisambu wonderful tantalising goalMarch 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm #1306
villa fans and supporters please if u want to see your team training go to Njeru Technical centre jinja up to Thursday when they depart for confederations game in khartoum Sudan to be played on 14th February 2016. But please don’t forget that there is another very important game at nakivubo stadium on Friday 12 th February between VIPERS FC VS ENYIMBA of NIGERIA. Charges are 5,000/= and 10,000 / = so please come one come allApril 4, 2016 at 6:40 pm #1320
Heritage Oil and Gas Ltd Company knew beforehand of a capital gains tax that Uganda later imposed, and worked aggressively to circumvent it, according to previously unreported details contained in internal correspondences.
Panama Papers: secret accounts of the rich and powerful
The company, also known as HOGL, besides deciding to fight the tax liability head-on, engineered a re-domiciliation from the Bahamas to Mauritius in a move that would have benefited it since Uganda has a double-taxation agreement with the latter.
In an April 1 2016 email to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, HOGL, through a law firm, Carter-Ruck Solicitors, said the process of re-domiciliation began “long before the completion of the transaction [in Uganda] … [and] for a variety of business reasons”.
After HOGL, in 2010, sold its 50% stake in Uganda’s oil fields at US$1.5 billion (UGX5tn) to Tullow Uganda Ltd, yielding the first biggest windfall of the country’s nascent petroleum sector at the time, the government through the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) slapped a US$404 million (UGX1.4 tn) capital gains tax on the transaction.
Tullow Uganda Ltd is a subsidiary of Tullow Oil Plc, which, like HOGL at the time, is listed on the London Stock Exchange. HOGL shares’ listing and trading on the stock market was suspended on June 27 2014 and cancelled four days later, on July 1, according to information from the company’s website.
The tax dispute became a protracted legal battle and different courts, including a Ugandan Tax Appeal Tribunal and a commercial court in London, combined took four years to resolve it.
New evidence shows HOGL learned of the imminent tax liability weeks before it was officially imposed and contracted tax accountants and lawyers to fight it off as unwarranted and illegal.
In the offshore and tax haven business, nothing moves until lawyers and accountants have had their word and cut.
The oil firm settled for two options: tackle the levy head-on and, on failing, move the business and assets to a tax haven with the professional help of lawyers and accountants. Whereas HOGL was at liberty to restructure its business portfolio, including for the purpose of paying the least taxes, its re-domiciliation approach was contrived to defeat the tax liability in Uganda, according to copies of emails obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) based in Washington, D.C.
The proposal to re-domicile from the Atlantic island nation of Bahamas to Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean, the correspondences show, was “primarily due to the double tax agreement between Uganda and Mauritius”.
HOGL then contacted Bruce McNaught, a chartered accountant and then director of Hansard, the firm’s administration office in Guernsey, who on February 8 2010 wrote to Messrs Moller and Morris introducing Mossack Fonseca & Co Bahamas as the oil firm’s registered agent. The identity of Messrs Moller and Morris is not clear from the correspondences or online. Mossack Fonseca is a Panamanian law firm that helps investors to set up tax structures in Panama and other Caribbean tax havens.
“HOGL … is due to complete the sale of an asset in Uganda within the next 11 days,” McNaught noted, “Due to tax reasons emanating from Uganda, the directors have been advised by tax accountants to re-domicile HOGL to Mauritius from the Bahamas before completion [of the sale].”
He added: “The group’s tax accountants are working hard to eliminate the potential tax charge imposed by the Ugandan authorities without HOGL having to be re-domiciled, but as a second line of defence, the directors have been advised to put in place all that is necessary to effect re-domiciliation to Mauritius so that the process can be completed if it becomes necessary (which we believe to be the case).”
The double-taxation agreement enables only one of two countries where an individual or entity earns income to collect tax, and Kampala signed one with Mauritius to attract direct foreign investment, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs ministry Permanent Secretary James Mugume said on March 20 2016.
“The double-taxation principle is to benefit us, not the foreign oil companies,” Mugume told this newspaper. HOGL, however, embarked on a different game plan that people familiar with the dealings in the underworld of tax evasion say could have only been to deprive Uganda of the tax revenue.
“The proposal to re-domicile its operations is clearly an attempt at aggressive tax avoidance since the only motive is to dodge a potential tax liability,” the London-based Tax Justice Network Executive Director John Christensen, a foremost global campaigner for tax justice, noted in reply to Uganda’s Daily Monitor email enquiry.
Shortly after HOGL initiated the tax avoidance scheme, Hansard’s general counsel Jonathan Hart, in a follow up to his colleague McNaught’s email, wrote to the Mossack Fonseca & Co Bahamas office to emphasise how “extremely urgent” it was to stop the capital gains tax.
Hart asked them to share information about HOGL with the contracted two firms and “provide them with all such assistance as they may request.”
The teams then set up an impromptu conference call to discuss the nitty-gritty, shortly after McNaught, in his email, sought guidance on know-your-customer (KYC) requirements or key information to minimise risks across jurisdictions, including on anti-money laundering, to allow them to assemble the material necessary to save HOGL from a huge capital gains tax.
In July 2015, International Monetary Fund (IMF) researchers published an estimate of profits shifted by multinational companies, suggesting that developing countries such as Uganda lose around $213 billion (UGX710tn) a year, almost 2% of their national income, to this practice.
The IMF’s Monetary and Exchange Affairs department in 2000 listed Mauritius as one of the offshore financial centers where companies prefer to be headquartered to avoid paying tax, Uganda’s Observer newspaper reported, adding that the operation of offshore financial centers reduces transparency in different jurisdictions and impacts good governance.
Much of the potential benefit from attracting foreign direct investment to developing countries under double-taxation agreement is lost, Christensen noted, because of the aggressive tax avoidance practices of the companies involved.
At below 14%, Uganda’s tax to gross domestic product ratio is one of the lowest in East Africa, putting authorities on tenterhooks to muster resources from all tax heads.
Such was the approach Ugandan officials adopted in dealing with the foreign oil firms, and their meetings over the tax dispute often turned hostile, according to revelations before London’s Commercial Court. Justice Michael John Burton heard the case in which Tullow sued to recover monies it paid in capital gains tax to the Ugandan government on HOGL’s behalf.
With HOGL unwilling to pay tax, Ugandan officials, including President Yoweri Museveni and the then URA Commissioner General Allen Kagina, put their feet down and demanded the payment.
The London court heard that in one such meeting on August 3 2010 with Tullow’s head of tax Richard Inch, Kagina lost her temper and “there was shouting and she was angry”. When they met two months later, on October 23 2010, Kagina told Inch, “tax is imposed and collected by law, not compromise”.
Because Tullow, as the buyer, had yet to pay HOGL, the Ugandan government threatened not to renew its exploration licenses, which were due to expire, unless it deducted and remitted the equivalent capital gains tax.
After a hard bargain, in April 2011 Tullow capitulated and sent to the Ugandan government US$121 million (UGX403b), an equivalent of a 30% threshold down payment, antecedent to filing of tax appeals under the country’s laws. The balance of US$283 million (UGX943b) was deposited on an escrow account with Standard Chartered Bank in London, pending resolution of the tax dispute that ended in 2013.
Another US$30 million (UGX100b) was separately assessed on a US$100 million that Heritage additionally paid Tullow Uganda Ltd as cash settlement arising from a breach of the companies’ Sharing and Production Agreement.
HOGL later opposed these tax payments as “collusion” between Tullow and the Ugandan government, resulting in the London case that Justice Burton on June 14 2013 decided in Tullow’s favour.
Whereas Uganda eventually bagged its capital gains tax, the protracted flexing of muscles of rich and powerful foreign investors, often supported by their equally mighty home governments, would more likely arm-twist developing countries fraught with corruption and weak systems to capitulate than fight for what is their right. Uganda’s approach, in this instance, was an exceptionally strong act of political will.
The URA deferred comments for this story on lessons it learned from the tax dispute, but the Ugandan Parliament is currently considering proposed amendments to the country’s income tax law to help close some of the loopholes that foreign investors exploit.
According to Christensen, developing countries need to re-negotiate or revoke weak treaties, particularly on withholding tax, to prevent multinational companies from shifting their profits to tax havens. “[Their] governments should require all inwards investors to provide annual accounts based on country-by-country reporting requirements, which might reveal where profits shifting is taking place and trigger a tax audit,” he noted, proposing that African leaders support attempts by the United Nations Tax Committee to shape new global rules for taxing multinational companies.
HOGL, alongside Hardman Resources Pty which the parent Tullow Oil Plc later acquired, and Tullow Uganda Ltd, gained a reputation in Uganda by striking the first commercially viable quantities of the hydrocarbon deposits, bringing the country closer to becoming an oil producer.
Although the intent of HOGL, which has since left Uganda, to use offshoring to avoid tax liability was referenced in the London case, this is the first time emails to expedite the scheme have been leaked.
This story was produced by Times Media in conjunction with the African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.April 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm #1322
Finally, the whole truth about the infamous verdict read by Bert Katureebe on the 31st, March 2016 has come to light.This country is in big trouble and this is exactly what happened during the deliberations( this information is 100 percent accurate and based on electronic eavesdropping).
1-After the end of the presentations by the lawyers on both sides, the judges were told by the chief justice to prepare their own seperate judgements and later come together and have deliberations and exchange of legal positions, before each arrived on final individual verdict.
2-On 22nd March, 2016 a session was called and during this session, each judge brought out the issues they had put into consideration.During this meeting, 6 judges namely: Esther Mayambala Kisaakye, Stella Arach Amoko, Faith Mwondha, Ruby Aweri Opio, Eldad Mwanuya and Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza, presented their case and indicated that there was enough grounds to annul the election, and one of the them, Stella Arach -Amoko went on to suggest that , the court at minimum tries to interprete the law and find if there is a posiblilty of deciding on a recount of the votes.The other three Bert Katureebe, Jotham Tumwesigye and Augustine Nshime did not want anything of it, and Bert Katureebe is heard tossing a threat, that, they had to dismiss the case without further inquiry for Museveni was not able to accept any other outcome, since his party had over 300 members of parliament.”Why should we even waste our time inquring furhter in this case when we all know , how the situation will end if we uphold this petition?” He intimated to them.The session was adjourned to 29th March, 2016.
On the afternoon of 29th March, the justices met for a final session and during this meeting, Bert Katureebe , who is heard speaking more loudly near the bug, indicating he was very close to it, told the justices that, he had an interim verdict which he openly told them about, and hje said it was the only one that could prevent what he called: “turmoil in the country”..” we all have a stake in this country” he is heard telling his colleagues, and he goes on: “we must get this thing out of our hands” and you can adjust your already prepared verdicts accordingly after Thursday” he is heard concluding. “We shall take a 2 hour break as you read this draft verdict and we come back at 4.45 PM.” he told them. Shortly after that , Bert Katureebe is heard talking to someone called ENOC, whom he tells he would get back to before 6.Oclock.
3-The justices came back to the venue where they were earlier meeting, and the chief justice had remained in the same room and was heard calling his family member, whom he spoke to in Runyankole.A lady justice now positively identified as Amoko, told the chief justice that if he had to present his draft verdict as the final verdict and since he said, nothing else would be accept by Museveni, and if he was saying the country will face turmoil, so for her it was noloner necessary to prepare a seperate verdict.The other five judges who had wanted to annul the election, also felt threatened, judging from their questions to Katureebe, and one of them Ester Kisaakye is heard asking for another day to consider the matter, and Bert Katureebe told her it was not possible.
At 5.15 PM on the same day, Bert Katureebe told them that, they had to go with his draft judgement, and asked them to try and adjust their already made verdicts to accomodate it.He said they had to save the country from political and financial chaos.He said he was going to give them several months to do that adjustment, before they present their individual judgements..FEELING THREATENED, THE 6 JUSTICES DECIDED TO JOIN THE OTHER THREE IN TAKING UP THE DRAFT VERDICT PREPARED BY KATUREEBE, AND A ONE ENOC(according to the phone call, Bert had with him) , THE REST IS HISTORY.
NOTE: THE BUG WAS PLANTED BY MUSEVENI PEOPLE AND PATRIOTIC PEOPLE HELPED ALERTING OF ITS EXISTENCE,, AND EAVESDROPPING IN IT.FOR SECURITY REASONS, NO MORE DETAILS CAN BE PROVIDED.May 8, 2016 at 8:04 pm #1393
A man and his wife were traveling to Italy by air, as they were at the peak of the journey, the pilot announced that: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are sorry to announce that one of the engines has stopped working while the remaining one is not functioning as required therefore, we may crash in a few minutes from now. We advise that everyone should reconcile with God and settle every issues that need to be settled.”
At that point, Mr. Manji touched his wife Ellista and said “Honey, please forgive me ooooo, your sister Simi that stays with us is my sex machine,
we had several abortions she has even planned to poison you on our returned from Italy so that the both of us will elope for the U.S.A please find a place in heart to forgive me.
She responded “No problem dear” She continue, “since it’s a confession moment, let me also confess. Please you must also forgive me oooo, John and Esther among our three children are not your biological children. Your biological child is Victoria the rest belong to Eti Your best friend. You also remember you were robbed by arm robbers last year?” He answered “Yes I remember” she continues “I actually set you up by some gangs who robbed you because I needed to pay for my boy-friend Albrass’ tuition fee. He got admission in Oxford University in England. Even now as we are talking, I have arranged for your death through hired assassins on our return.” Mr. manji responded “no problem I have forgiven you.” Meanwhile as the confessions were going on, the pilot announced again.
“Ladies and gentlemen, is like you people are powerful men/women of faith because, God has answered your prayers, the two engines are perfectly ok and we are sure of safe landing” At that point, the whole passengers became mute instead of celebrating the good news. One of the passengers shouted “Pilot, Pilot, this plane must crash ooooooo or we will crash the plane” everybody shouted “YES oooooooo”
Dont laugh alone. Kindly share and put a smile on someones face.May 8, 2016 at 8:06 pm #1395
Imagine kayihura Fooled people with kifesi group pretending that are just thieves after using them and they need to clean themselves and to achieves cheap popularity in stupid Ugandans who believe in any nagisi. in fact ugandans your stupid you will never understand m7 and that why is going to rule this country forever due to your low understand. he he he i tell you this uganda is controlled with comedy of high level. how can that woman bring the baby to kayihura and gave her 50000shs and you fail to know that it was a planed and a set up to show the public that kayihura is having good heart and he care about people. Ugandans your very fake let them rule you pakalast cos of your stupidity. KIFESI ARE IN POLICE STOP BEING SO STUPID NAMWE. please am i wrong to say that kifesi are used by this government?May 8, 2016 at 8:15 pm #1396
A war of words erupted Friday evening through Saturday, between FDC’s four-time Presidential candidate Col Kizza Besigye’s wife Mrs. Winnie Byanyima and senior journalist Andrew Mwenda, with each attacking the other’s stature on democracy and rule of law.
The bitter exchange over social media broke out when Mwenda first picked on Winnie, after she was stopped and searched by police at her Kasangati house upon arrival from the UK.
The police are watching her husband Dr Besigye, to prevent him from leading FDC activities related to the banned ‘defiance campaign.’
Mwenda thought Winnie had just tasted her own medicine, having worked for and defended the same NRM government back in the day.
He mocked, “Winnie Byanyima and her husband Kizza Besigye with Museveni claimed such police behavior was personal to Obote. Now the two claim its personal to Museveni”
Accusing the journalist of dishonesty, the Oxfam international boss shot right back, reminding him that her record on human rights is in the Constituent Assembly and Parliament’s Hansard for all to see.
She went to accuse Mwenda, a former strong government critique of “selling his soul” to turn around and back the same “dictatorship,” that he condemned.
“You were with us in challenging a growing dictatorship till you joined the dictatorship,” she said.
Mwenda, who up to the late 2000s made an international name for his scathing and daring assaults on Government, President Museveni and his family; has often times been accused of being “bought off” by the regime to silence him.
“If the Mwenda of the 2000s met the Mwenda of today, the two would fight,” is a common reaction to his currently much more flattering observations on the NRM government.
Mwenda however, denies being bought or joining the 30year regime. He says he only recognizes the progress the NRM government has made over the years.
“Whatever its imperfections today, NRM is much more democratic than when you supported it,” he attacked Byanyima. “So why did you leave now?”
He added, “And your accusation that I joined the dictatorship is cheap talk. When did I join it? What actions prove that?”
The Independent Magazine proprietor says Byanyima lacks the moral ground to attack the NRM government which was much worse when she was part of it.
“In 1986 when you were an NRM die hard, it was a government that was not elected but had used violence to grab power. You were a strong supporter of NRM when it was killing people in Mukura, Acholi etc., and blocking political party activities,” he charged.
But Winnie was on the defensive, “I wasn’t a ‘strong supporter’ I was critical; on record challenging NRA cattle theft in Teso. Check Hansard!”
“I led fierce anti-corruption battles against NRM through 90s till I left. Mwenda u can’t change history. I criticized NRM publicly, was fired for speaking up on human rights violations. You defend dictatorship.”
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