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UPDF soldier gets 35 years for murder, blames act on poor training

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A Uganda Peoples’ Defense Force-UPDF soldier who was convicted of murder has said he was inadequately trained and did not have the required knowledge and skill to perform his duties at the time of his deployment.

Private Moses Solomon Omuge, a soldier attached to 37th Battalion was convicted of murder during the three-day marathon trial held by the 3rd Division Court Martial at the Ngariam Sub County headquarters. He gets 35 years in jail.

Omuge is accused of shooting to death, a one Estakusi Ikabat alias Naboth Opio on December 18, 2021, in Apuuton Village, Katakwi District. The prosecution alleged that Omuge, with other soldiers, laid an ambush at Achanga where they shot three people on suspicion of being cattle thieves. The attack killed Ikabat while the two others, Emmanuel Elungat, 24 and Isaac Operemo, 22 survived with injuries.

The prosecutor Maj. Jeff Kennedy Aringakech explained that after the unlawful act, the soldier was heard boasting about his bravery in killing Ikabat. His side also presented five witnesses including survivors of the shooting and soldiers who manned the ambush at Achanga who all pinned Omuge for deliberately ending Ikabat’s life.

One of them explained that Omuge met Ikabat and others at the said ambush where he ordered them to sit down. Without asking what they were doing, he ordered them to kneel and went behind to shoot at Ikabat in the back. He paid a deaf ear to their call for mercy and continued shooting until Ikabat breathed his last.

But his defence lawyer Capt. Elly Rugyendo told the same court that the soldier had mistakenly shot at Ikabat while acting in self-defence. He added that the soldier mistook the victim for a cattle thief armed with a firearm when he saw the sweater tied around his (Ikabat) neck.

“The accused was trying to defend himself against somebody seen armed with the firearm and in this case, the civilian was armed with a bow and arrow. The deceased found himself in an ambush that was meant to get cattle thieves. Your Honour, this was not a case of murder with malice aforethought but the case of mistaken identity,” he argued.

However Col. Francis Kateraho, the Chairman of the 3rd Division Court Martial said that the shooting, as explained by the prosecution witnesses was not only unlawful but evil and jailed him for 35 years. He added that the soldier erred and needed to serve an exemplary sentence as a deterrent to other UPDF personnel misusing firearms.

Col. Kateraho noted that Omuge had been transferred to Ngariam after attempting to kill another person in Okore Sub County in November last year.

But Omuge blamed the action on his poor training. Omuge who was integrated into the UPDF in September 2021 was first recruited into the Local Defense Unit- LDU. During integration, he was given additional training for about four months before deployment. Omuge said that the training was inadequate to have equipped him with field tactics that could have saved the situation.

He also noted that he was taking orders from experienced officers who should have guided him in the field. “I was on government duty after being deployed by my commander. I manned the ambush with orders. Secondly, I’m not a well-trained soldier- I was trained for only four months. But what surprises me is that an experienced commander is given intelligence by the community members but he decides to keep it from me who was in the bush!”, he said.

Omuge added that there was little manpower on the ground and he feared for his life,.

Ikabat left five children, one of whom was born two weeks after his burial. He was among the victims of murder during the renewed cattle thefts in Katakwi and Kapelebyong districts by the suspected Karimojong.

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Presidential system to be adopted by Osun.

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The Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, OSSIEC, Hashim Abioye has once again reiterated that the presidential system of government will be adopted for the local government election in the state.

The Osun State House of Assembly in 2022 passed the OSSIEC Law, 2022 which readopted the presidential system.

The OSSIEC chairman also stated that the basis for the adoption of the system was premised on the Electoral Act, 2022 which was passed by the National Assembly.

In his words, “OSSIEC Law, 2022 stipulated the presidential system for the local government poll in Osun State.

“That is what we will adopt for the local government election in Osun in 2025. The Electoral Act, 2022 will be complied with in totality. OSSIEC will not go against it.”

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Benon and Vamposs share rehearsal teaser videos

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The much-awaited fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions is about to drop, and oh boy, it’s going to be a musical rollercoaster like no other!

The teaser videos that have been circulated on social media have left fans tapping their feet in anticipation as the dynamic duo, Benon and Vamposs, gear up to deliver a heart-warming episode.

The teaser gives us a sneak peek into the rehearsals where Benon, with his signature smile, promises fans, “just be ready for surprises, and I think people should expect a premium Benon & Vamposs.”

These two maestros have been instrumental in shaping the Ugandan music scene, and now they’re back to spill the beans on their journey, success, and maybe a bit of their infamous banter.

“The creative process has been hectic; we still have the chemistry, and I think it’s something that comes from performing together for a long time and the many years we have crafted our art…,” reveals Benon in the teaser.

But it’s not all serious. Vamposs can be heard poking fun at Benon’s love life, adding a dash of humour to the mix. “I don’t see where you even got this love that you are writing about except lying to this crowd,” he jokes.

On a more sombre note, Vamposs shares, “We have a lot of different stories. We are working with the band to see how mellow we can get. It’s not going to be all that rough,” hinting at a different stage presence which will be more intimate in comparison to their usual vibrant performances.

Music lovers should save the date; Sunday, March 3. The fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions featuring Benon & Vamposs will be live on the Tusker Malt and Swangz Avenue YouTube channel at 6 pm. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the magic, the music, and the memories.

You can also catch up on previous episodes featuring the likes of Kenneth Mugabi, Lilian Mbabazi, The Mith, and Juliana both YouTube pages.

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Ronald Mayinja reveals the inspiration behind his classic song “Necklace”

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Renowned Ugandan singer Ronald Mayinja has shared the story behind his popular song “Necklace.” Born in 1976 in Benja-Gomba, Ronald Mayinja has produced numerous hit songs throughout his career.

Necklace, in particular, has remained one of the favourites among fans, especially those in love. At a press conference for his upcoming concert Old is Gold Mayinja at 49, the singer disclosed that the inspiration for the song came from his girlfriend Julie.

Julie, who attended boarding school while Mayinja was in day school, sparked his fears of losing her to someone else. He penned down “Necklace” as a request for her to entrust her necklace to him to cherish in her absence.

However, after receiving advice from Mariam Ndagire, Mayinja decided to make the song more relatable by expanding its meaning beyond his personal experience.

He hence created a song that resonated with anyone who has ever been in a long-distance relationship or felt the ache of missing someone they love.

He crafted lyrics that painted a vivid picture of two souls yearning for each other’s presence, using the metaphor of a necklace to symbolize the connection they shared.

Over the years, “Necklace” has remained a timeless classic in Ugandan music. Its universal theme and emotional resonance have allowed it to transcend time and continue to touch the hearts of listeners, regardless of age or background.

Mayinja’s decision to expand the song’s scope and make it relatable to a wider audience proved to be a stroke of genius, cementing his status as a celebrated veteran musician in Uganda.

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