Mbarara: Angry Pensioners Seek Museveni’s Intervention

The Country Director Mott MacDonald on Thursday appeared before the on-going UNRA probe to explain issues concerning the land compensation for affected persons along the Kampala Entebbe Express way.

According to information so far provided to the commission of inquiry, recipe Government of Uganda lost Shs 40Bn in compensating for land in wetlands and forest reserves.

Mott MacDonald sub-contracted another firm ‘Katuramu and Company Ltd’ whose role was to do land valuation and surveying.

However even with a strip topographic map that clearly identified that some land titles were in gazetted public land, information pills the firm went ahead to approve them for compensation.

Mr. Ronald Athiyo, the Country Director Mott MacDonald said: “We had a specific task of verification of titles which we ably did.”

The commission’s Assisting Lead Counsel Mary Kuteesa however insisted on why responsible authorities NEMA and NFA were never contacted.

“We presume as a consultant you knew the law of the country, the parastatals responsible and the consequences if you didn’t. You however went against the law and caused government to lose Shs 40 billion,” stated Kuteesa in a strong tone.

Athiyo in defense said the government authorities whom they contacted confirmed the land titles in question as genuine.


Another issue that raised concern to the commission was the fact that Mott MacDonald signed an addendum whose duration was longer than the initial to a contract.

Initially, Mott MacDonald was contracted (in 2011) to do detailed design and tender assistance for the Entebbe – Zzana road.

The contract was to last 49 months at a cost of $ 4m.

Two addenda (1 and 2) were however signed in December 2012 and January 2013 respectively.

Addendum 1 was for land acquisition and implementation and had duration of 30 months at a cost of $ 1.4m.

Addendum 2 supposed to cover project management was to last 54 months at a cost of $ 2.9M.

The initial contract is to expire in October 2015 yet the addenda extend past the time scope of the initial contract.

The implication of this would be that the consultant may abandon their work irrespective of whether services in the addenda are completed.

Mr. Athiyo told the commission that for 60 percent of road, resettlement of affected persons has been completed.

The commission also queried why a one Steven Jonnes signed the contract on behalf of Mott MacDonald yet the company’s Directors entrusted ‘John Right’ with powers of attorney.

The commission bears no documentation to prove that Steven Jonnes is related to Mott MacDonald.

On her part, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire stated; “Mott MacDonald has benefitted from tax payers’ money, several people have been paid billions. What does that say to your tolerance to corruption and fraud?”

The Country Director said the company did as much due diligence on their contracting partners.

Justice Bamugemereire requested Mr. Athiyo to provide to the commission the company’s Anti-corruption policy.

Observers say since Mott MacDonald is a UK-based company, its bosses should be stripped of their passports and even arrested to ensure they do not evade justice at the time of prosecution.


The Mott MacDonald Group is an employee-owned multidisciplinary consultancy with headquarters in the United Kingdom.

It provides engineering and development consultancy internationally for both the public and private sectors

Mott MacDonald claims on its website that “Make the world you love” is what drives their passion for “creating ideas that improve life.”

The company further states on its website that, “Our engineering, management and development teams combine the power of ingenuity with personal aspiration to change our world for good – for our clients, for everyone touched by their projects, even generations to come.”

The controversial company’s board of directors comprises Keith Howells, Mike Haigh, Kevin Dixon, Guy Leonard, Ed Roud and Kevin Stovell.
UPDF officers serving in the African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM) have been accused of storming a wedding ceremony and singling out 6 men from women and instantly shooting them dead.

“AMISOM should impartially investigate the killing by alleged Ugandan army troops of six men at a wedding on July 31, drugs 2015, clinic in the Somali port town of Merka, unhealthy ” a New York based body, Human Rights Watch said on Friday morning in a statement seen by ChimpReports.

AMISOM issued a news release on August 4 stating that its supply convoys had come under repeated attack by Al-Shabab in Merka and that its forces had responded “proportionately” in “self-defense.”

The statement also said AMISOM would address allegations of civilian deaths and that the detachment commander had been recalled for questioning.

The HRW said the investigation should be carried out with maximum protection for witnesses, and again the Ugandan government should fairly prosecute any of its soldiers responsible for criminal offenses.


The HRW said in the statement that witnesses told them that following a bomb attack on an AMISOM convoy, Ugandan forces entered several nearby houses in Merka’s Rusiya neighbourhood.

At one house, where the Moalim Iidey family was celebrating a wedding, the soldiers allegedly separated the men from the women and shot the six adult men – four brothers, their father, and an uncle.

Four died immediately, one brother hid under a bed after being shot but later died, and the father died during the night after the soldiers allegedly refused to allow the family to take him to the hospital.

“African Union forces in Somalia face difficult challenges, but that makes respecting the laws of war even more crucial,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Gunning down people at a wedding or anyone else in cold blood as punishment for insurgent attacks will only make things harder for the African Union forces in the future.”

Under international humanitarian law applicable to the armed conflict in Somalia, parties to the conflict, including troop-contributing countries to the peacekeeping force, have an obligation to investigate alleged war crimes by their forces or forces under their jurisdiction, and appropriately prosecute those responsible.


One witness reportedly told Human Rights Watch that: “After the explosion everyone in that area ran, because people fear AMISOM a lot. I think the family thought they would be protected because they were celebrating a wedding and thought that would stop AMISOM from killing them. Instead AMISOM turned the wedding into bloody event.”

In 2012, AMISOM troops supporting the Somali army helped retake Merka from the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab. AMISOM forces have remained, but Al-Shabab maintains control over large portions of surrounding rural areas of the Lower Shabelle region.

The AMISOM forces now based in Merka are from the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

AMISOM carried out a preliminary investigation into the July 21 killings, and has since created a board of inquiry to look into both that and the July 31 incidents in Merka.

Al-Shabaab has executed civilians for allegedly assisting AMISOM forces.

The HRW added that AMISOM leadership and troop-contributing countries will need to work carefully to ensure that witnesses who are interviewed are provided confidentiality and necessary security.

This may involve bringing witnesses to Mogadishu and interviewing them in safe locations.

The AU Peace and Security Council deployed the peace support troops known as AMISOM to Somalia in 2007 under a United Nations Security Council mandate.

Since then, AMISOM’s mandate, size, and geographical presence have steadily increased.

AMISOM is currently conducting a new offensive against Al-Shabaab in several regions of south-central Somalia.

On July 28, 2015, the UN Security Council renewed AMISOM’s mandate until May 2016.

The HRW however argued that the resolution that extended mandate failed to underscore the importance of accountability for abuses by AMISOM forces.

The Security Council resolution, however, said the AU should share information gathered through its newly established Civilian Casualty Tracking Analysis and Response Cell with relevant stakeholders, including the UN.
Elders in western Uganda under their association, visit Ankole Region Pensioners’ Association (ARPA) have planned a demonstration over their delayed pension money.

In a meeting they held at Comfort Inn in Mbarara on Wednesday, the pensioners complained that they had not received their payments for the last two months.

They are now seeking President Yoweri Museveni’s audience when he visits Isingiro district on August 17th.

The association Chairman Pius Batarinyebwa said that the area RDC was paying a deaf ear to their grievances.

They also urged Police not to intervene in their matters once they have commenced their demonstration.

“We are not working; ours is verified money which we worked for long time ago. That is what we are depending on today,” said Batarinyebwa.

The association’s secretary general Lawrence Twesigye expressed concern that government was considering payment of their pension as a favor.

He also lamented that up to 15% of his association members had been scrapped off the pension pay lists, under unclear circumstances.

The meeting was attended by the Mbarara District Chief Administrative Officer Felix Cathbert Ethoko who tried to calm down the irate elders.

The CAO informed them that their payment had been delayed by government’s move to decentralize the pension system which commenced last month.

Felix promised to verify the pension lists and have all their arrears cleared in the shortest time possible.

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