The year 2018 saw a number of decisions and events that left a land mark impact on the country and the Nile Post looks at them.
Kayihura sacking, charging in army court
On the night of March 4, the unexpected happened when President Museveni who is also the commander in chief sacked then Inspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura and replaced him with his then deputy Martin Okoth Ochola.
This brought to an end, the 12 year tenure of Kayihura, a self-confessed ruling NRM party cadre who had also been the longest serving police chief.
The subsequent happenings indicated a growing rift between Kayihura and his boss when the former was eventually arrested from his country home at Katebe village, Kashagama sub-county Lyantonde district and detained at Makindye military barracks where he spent close to three months before being arraigned in the General Court Martial.
Appearing before the army court, the former police chief was charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and subsequent repatriation of Rwandan exile and refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda between 2012 and 2016.
He was also accused of failing to protect war material when he issued arms to unauthorised persons including Boda Boda 2010 members led by Abdallah Kitatta.
He was later released on bail.
Army arrests senior police officers
Following Kayihura’s arrest and subsequent incarceration, a number of his cronies cum senior police officers were also arrested and detained at Makindye military barracks by the army.
Among those arrested and detained by the army included the former cyber-crime head Richard Ndaboine, former crime intelligence director Col Ndahura Atwooki, the former Flying Squad commander Herbert Muhangi, former Professional Standards Unit Commander Good Mwesigwa and Lt Col Peter Musherure, the former deputy police director of crime intelligence among others.
These have up to now never been arraigned in court to be charged of any offence but the army is tightlipped about their fate.
Boda Boda 2010’s Kitatta
Early in 2018, the fate of notorious group, Boda Boda 2010 led by one Abdalla Kitatta was sealed.
On January 22, Kitatta together with other members of his Boda Boda 2010 group were arrested by the army before being detained at Makindye military barracks.
Meanwhile, the following days saw the army raiding several Boda Boda 2010 offices around Kampala and arrested more group members and seizing a number of the property found in their offices.
The last stroke in the group’s back was the invasion of their offices by other groups of boda boda riders before setting them ablaze.
Kitatta was later charged together with 12 other Boda boda 2010 members of charges related to unlawful possession of arms, ammunitions and military equipment including caps and uniforms.
Suzan Magara murder
On February 7, little known Suzan Magara, 28, a cashier for Bwendo Dairy Farm in Hoima was kidnapped in Mengo as she left work to drive home in Lungujja by unknown assailants and kept for over three weeks.
Efforts by security agencies together with her family to trace her whereabouts proved futile and despite giving them a shs700 million ransom, the kidnappers later killed Magara before the body was found dumped in a bush along the Entebbe- Kampala expressway.
A number of people were later arrested before being slapped with kidnap and murder charges by the Buganda Chief Magistrates Court.
Following Magara’s kidnap, there were a number of subsequent kidnaps and murders in various parts of the country targeting especially women.
On August 13 as the Arua Municipality by-election campaigns to replace slain MP Col.Ibrahim Abiriga were being concluded, something unusual happened.
The presidential convoy was allegedly pelted with stones by independent candidate Kassiano Wadri’s supporters prompting the arrest of a number of people including Bobi Wine, Wadri, Paul Mwiru, Gerald Karuhanga , Francis Zzaake and many others.
The following days saw photos depicting the arrested people especially Bobi Wine and Zzaake badly tortured during the arrest.
Meanwhile, various parts of the country led by Kampala and Mityana erupted into riots that saw the army move in to quell them.
The chaos saw a number of people arrested whereas others were injured as security tried to calm the situation in various parts of the country.
Muntu quits FDC
On September 25, former Forum for Democratic Change president Maj.Gen.Mugisha Muntu announced he was leaving the party he had partly founded.
“We have resolved to leave the party. As already explained, we do not do so in anger or animosity towards the current leadership, but in careful consideration of the national cause of liberating our country. The current party leadership needs to be given the opportunity to pursue their agenda untethered by the constant worry of sabotage or suspicion,”Muntu said in a statement.
He later announced he would form what he termed as the ‘New Formation’ that he said would rally Ugandans to cause regime change in the country.
Age Limit ruling
In July, the Constitutional Court sitting in Mbale delivered its ruling on the age limit petition in which it upheld the amendment of article 102(b) to lift the minimum and maximum age limit from the constitution.
Parliament had the previous year passed the controversial age limit bill to lift the cap on the presidential and district chairperson age limit from the constitution after a total of 317 MPs voted in favour of the motion whereas 97 were against it.
A group of five people including; the Uganda Law Society (ULS), lawyer Male Kiwanuka Mabirizi, six opposition MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, Prosper Businge, Dr. Abed Bwanika and Jonathan Abaine Buregyeya would later petition the Constitutional Court challenging the passing of the age limit bill into law saying it contravened the constitution.
In a 4:1 judgment, the judges of the Constitutional Court said the age limit amendment was passed in compliance with the constitution.
“Court declares removal of age limit for president and LC5 are valid and passed,” ruled the Deputy Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny- Dollo.
Mobile money tax
In May, the Ugandan parliament approved the Excise Duty Bill that approved government’s proposed 1% tax on mobile money transactions.
The percentage was later reduced from one to 0.5 but the move to pass the bill attracted a lot of backlash from members of the public with many condemning it for being introduced to put several transaction agents out of business because customers would abandon the popular and convenient payment method.
The number of mobile money transactions later reduced as people feared to pay extra charges or their money being deducted in the name of taxes.
Social Media tax
In the same month, parliament also passed the Excise Duty Bill that approved government’s proposal to levy a shs200 per day for the use of social media platforms including facebook, whats app and twitter among others.
A group of Ugandans led by one Daniel Opio would later sue the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) accusing it of unfairly giving an enabling environment for Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to collect the social media tax and the Attorney General (AG) seeking answers as to why government does not offer free internet services to its citizens.
Meanwhile, passing of the bill forced a number of Ugandans to resort to Virtual Private Network (VPN), a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet.
Ban old vehicles
Parliament in May also passed the Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that among others effected a ban on the importation of vehicles that are 15 years old or more from their date of manufacture.
The bill that came into effect on July 1 meant that anyone who imports a vehicle which is 15 years old or more from the date of manufacture pays an environmental levy for the vehicle charged by Uganda Revenue Authority before being cleared to enter the country.
Passing of the bill also saw the increase in the registration fees for vehicle entering the country whereas an environment fee was introduced on vehicles which are five years old but do not exceed eight years from the date of manufacture.
Passing of the bill meant that the cost of importing and finally buying of vehicles, especially the second hand ones which are most sought for by Ugandans had increased.