The Nigerian Islamic State rebels have executed 29 Nigerian Prisoners of war in North Nigeria:

These are some of the fighting forces of the Islamic state bent on fighting to make the country of Nigeria Islamic:

May 23, 2019

Written by VOA


FILE - A soldier walks past a checkpoint in Bama, Borno State, Nigeria, August 31, 2016

FILE - A soldier walks past a checkpoint in Bama, Borno State, Nigeria, August 31, 2016


Islamic State's West Africa branch claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a raid in Nigeria two days earlier in which it said 20 soldiers had been killed, and released a video purporting to show the execution of nine other Nigerian soldiers.

A security source and a humanitarian worker, both requesting anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to media, said insurgents struck the northeastern town of Gubio in Borno state on Monday evening, in vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns and on motorbikes.


The insurgents and soldiers exchanged fire for more than an hour before the army withdrew, said the humanitarian worker, who counted the corpses of more than 15 soldiers. A Nigerian military spokesman said he would send a comment on the Islamic State claim, but at the time of writing had not.


Nigeria has said the insurgency, and its rival Boko Haram, are on the back foot, as the sides engage in a battle of propaganda to show who has the upper hand in the decade-long conflict.

The war has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced millions more. The Islamic State branch said in its claim of responsibility, translated into English and published by SITE Intelligence, that its fighters had attacked an army barracks and killed 20 soldiers in Gubio on Monday.

In a separate video also released on Wednesday, Islamic State West Africa showed the execution of nine Nigerian soldiers. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the video.

Before their executions, the soldiers identified themselves by their military service numbers, units and names. Some said where and when they had been captured. For others, it was not immediately clear.

The video also showed Islamic State fighters pledging allegiance to the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, along with artillery, tanks and boats it said it had captured from the military and attacks on Nigerian bases.

Islamic State West Africa have made several claims of responsibility for attacks over the past months, which have often been verified by security sources and other people with knowledge of their attacks.


It is very unfortunate for the richest African country of Nigeria to flung itself into a never ending civil war. 

Now that it is all about religion that seems to divide the African black people on this continent, the Pope and the the leader of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula must come together and fly to Nigeria so that with the African Union serious issues are sorted out. 

The African religious fighters must understand that no modern African will ever accept any sort of religion by the force of arms. Those are gone days when Africans were treated as downward slaves.
What Nigerian African Islamists are doing does not go well with the constitution of the African Union and the United Nation and for those Africans who have a love for the well being of their neighbours a demand must be made to bring these fighters to a table for real human negotiations with the current government of Nigeria. 

And the current government of Nigeria must stop its own atrocities against its African Muslim citizens.






Funerals for Ethiopia aeroplane crash victims but little to bury: 


17 March, 2019 


Priests hold a ceremony beside coffins of


Priests hold a ceremony beside coffins of victims of the crashed accident of Ethiopian Airlines during the mass funeral at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 17, 2019. AFP PHOTO 

Ethiopians were holding funerals Sunday for friends and relatives who perished in last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all onboard and saw the worldwide grounding of the Boeing aircraft involved.
Families in 35 nations were left bereaved when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft plummeted from the sky just minutes into its flight to Nairobi last Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board.
One week after the crash, relatives of the 17 Ethiopian victims gathered with hundreds of others at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, sobbing and holding portraits of their loved ones as an Ethiopian Orthodox priest said the last rites.

"What I can't forget is that she left an eight-month-old child and didn't come back," said Meselech Petros, whose sister Amma Tesfamariam was a flight attendant on the doomed aircraft. 
Her 28-year-old sister wasn't supposed to work that day, but had gone in to cover for a colleague.

Caskets draped in the Ethiopian flag were brought to the cathedral in a convoy of black hearses accompanied by hundreds of mourners.
But it was not clear what the coffins contained.
Witnesses said the plane nose-dived into a field southeast of the capital, with the force of the impact leaving few bodies intact. 
On Thursday, as grieving families and friends visited the area where the plane went down, an AFP correspondent saw them being handed plastic water bottles filled with earth from the site. 
Ethiopia's government has said it may take up to six months to identify the remains.

'Grief belongs to everyone' 
"What makes us very sad is we didn't find any of her remains," said Teshome Legesse, whose 24-year-old niece Ayantu Girma was a flight attendant on the plane.
Ethiopians Airlines is Africa's largest carrier and in many ways the international face of the nation.
The deaths have shocked Africa's second-most populous country, and the funeral attracted a wide range of mourners.

"We all are children of Adam and Eve, even though our skin colours are different," said Seyoum Kidanu, a retired police officer wearing full dress uniform and a sash in the colours of the Ethiopian flag. 
"When one person dies in this world, the grief belongs to everybody."
The black boxes from the plane are currently being examined by France's BEA air safety agency, which is working with American and Ethiopian investigators to determine what brought it down. 
Although Ethiopia has warned the investigation would take "considerable time," there were swift moves in the wake of the crash to ensure the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

The move came after similarities were identified with the October crash of an Indonesian Lion Air jet that killed all 189 passengers and crew.
As the world awaited answers, there were few answers for those trying to cope with the loss of a loved one. 
"She's a very good person. I don't how to describe her," said 26-year-old Selamsew Mathias, brother of the flight attendant Amma. 
"We are broken and hurting very much. It's very difficult."

The Turkish authorities have just leaked a video of the actual killing of journalist Jamaal Kashogi, showing his head being chopped off, and the rest of his body dismembered into pieces:

Jamal Khashoggi, pictured in Istanbul in May 2018. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


By the Multi-Media International 


23 November, 2018


I used to think I was a tough cookie and can never be affected by gory scenes of violence. But this one is so grotesque, savage and barbaric it is advisable not to see it.  It is pure evil, a scene picked straight from the heart of darkness. It shows man at his worst. I actually shed a tear- not so much for Kashoggi, but for humanity. How have we been reduced to this level of grotesque savagery?


Watching  the murder of Kashoggi is similar to watching a butcher at work, chopping his morsels of meat into pieces,  or a pride of lions fighting over their kill- atleast with lions there is a bit more dignity


The murder of Kashoggi reminds me of William Golding's powerful book, Lord Of the Flies.--one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. Golding sets his story on an uninhabited island where a group of English schoolboys being rescued from the Pacific during the second world war  are marooned on their own, without any adult being present. In this context, he attempts to explore his theme of good vs evil. He debunks the idea that it is society that makes men evil because there is no society on the island. He uses young boys because they are the closest thing to innocence - they have not had time to grow up and become ruined by the corrupting nature of society. In spite of the lack of society,


Golding’s central point in the novel is that a conflict between  the  impulse toward civilization  and  the  impulse toward savagery rages within each human individual, regardless whether a child or an adult. He describes the breakdown of civilization as resulting from nothing more complex than the inherent evil of man:


 “So the boys try to construct a civilization on the island; but it breaks down in blood and terror because the boys are suffering from the terrible disease of being human”


"Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of a true, wise friend called Piggy."


What is happening in the muslim world, especially among Arab muslims epitomises the loss of innocence and the darkness of man's heart. How can we rescue humanity from the savagery and excesses of Islam is the constant question one asks after watching such a grotesque video.






"Much Evidence suggests that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of journalist Khashoggi"  says ex-MI6 chief:

Sir John Sawers says that the theory that rogue(evil) Saudi military officers were responsible on their own to kill and chop up a human being is ‘blatant fiction:’


 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photograph: Cliff Owen/AP

A former head of MI6 has said all the evidence suggests Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that the theory that rogue elements in the Saudi military were responsible was “blatant fiction”.

Sir John Sawers told the BBC his assessment was based on conversations with senior Whitehall sources and his knowledge of the Turkish intelligence services.


Jamal Khashoggi 
Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images


The comments came after Donald Trump said he presumed Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was dead and that the consequences for Saudi Arabia would be “very severe” if its leaders were found to have ordered the dissident journalist’s killing.

Sawers, who was head of the British secret intelligence service until 2014, also claimed that the crown prince would only have acted if he believed he had licence from the White House to behave as he wished.

“I think President Trump and his ministerial team are waking up to just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States,” Sawers said.

“If it is proven, and it looks very likely to be the case, that [Prince Mohammed] ordered the killing of the journalist it is a step too far – one that the UK, the EU and the US are going to have to respond to.”


 Donald Trump: It 'certainly looks like' Jamal Khashoggi is dead – video

Sawers said he respected the thoroughness and professionalism of the Turkish intelligence services: “The level of detail that is coming out from Turkish security sources is so clear that some form of tape must exist.”

He suggested the tensions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the past decade would mean Turkey “will be monitoring very closely what goes on inside Saudi offices. They may well have had the consulate general bugged in some way, or there may have been other devices carried out by the squad that carried out the assassination that they were able to intercept.

“The level of detail is very damning of the hit squad, and [their reported identities] show how close are they are to the crown prince”.

Sawers’ remarks are likely to be treated as incendiary in Washington.


Armed guards have been placed outside the Saudi consul general's residence in Istanbul.
 Armed guards have been placed outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Photograph: Arnaud Andrieu/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock


He predicted that members of the Saudi royal family, business community and conservative religious clerics will take advantage of the crown prince’s involvement to undermine him. “There will be a reaction inside Saudi Arabia to this dreadful killing and there will be some correction.”

Reports in Turkey say Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered inside the consulate by members of an assassination squad with ties to the crown prince. The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post who wrote critically of Prince Mohammed’s rise to power.

According to British sources Saudi Arabia may take as long as week to receive and respond to a Turkish government report expected to detail how Khashoggi was killed by a 15-strong Saudi hit squad.


Sir John Sawers.
 Sir John Sawers. Photograph: Elyse Marks/Edelman/PA


Turkey is trying to use the intelligence it has gathered, possibly by bugging, to gather other evidence it is more able to share with the world to prove its theory. A search is under way in woods on the outskirts of Istanbul and to another Turkish city near the Sea of Mamara, 56 miles (90km) south of Istanbul.


Turkey has been leaking details of Khashoggi’s gruesome death based on intelligence reports, but the country’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, said the raw intelligence including any audio recordings has not been given to any foreign power, such as Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state.

The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told LBC there would be “very, very serious consequences” for UK-Saudi relations if reports of Khashoggi’s murder were true, but appeared to steer away from ending arms sales, pointing out that Saudi Arabia was a strategic partner in the battle to constrain Iran.

Hunt said the scale of the British response would depend on how Saudi Arabia responded to the Turkish findings, but it is hard to know if definitive evidence will be published showing Prince Mohammed’s complicity.


A man reads the Sabah newspaper
 A man reads the Sabah newspaper, which has led with coverage of the apparent assassination of Jamal Khashoggi all week. Photograph: Burhan Ozbilici/AP

It is thought that Turkey may possess as-yet unreported intelligence that could go further in revealing the individuals responsible for ordering a gang of senior officials to travel to Istanbul to murder Khashoggi. There have been rumours that the crown prince would be required to step aside as the price for restoring confidence of overseas investors, but the US has been told Saudis were preparing to pin the blame on Major General Ahmed al-Assiri for either over-stepping or misunderstanding orders given by Prince Mohammed.

The senior army officer has been a frequent visitor to London in order to explain the rationale behind the Saudi war to save the UN recognised government from Houthi rebels.

The UK Foreign Office confirmed that the UK trade commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, and the UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, would both attend the controversial Riyadh investment conference next week. A host of politicians, bankers, and media chiefs have withdrawn from the event.

Liam Fox, the UK trade secretary, pulled out on Thursday in light of the Khashoggi case. The continued attendance of Penney and Collis, underlining the UK’s reluctance to damage its entire relationship with Saudi Arabia, was confirmed in a written answer to the Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards said: “Spinelessly sending the British ambassador to this ‘Davos in the desert’ shows just how desperate the Westminster government is to appease despots. Agents of the British state – be they ministers or diplomats – should not be affording the rogue Saudi regime the legitimacy of their presence.

The devil is You!...There is a GOD state and a Devil state to all consciousness. How it works? Just as simple as Love and Hate, if you find the synonyms to Love and Hate whatever you feed, in Love or Hatred in routines will bring all that is synonyms alive in you...Your dominant meals in what you feed will be expressed in your Human form in the avatar of Love and Hate...Lets look at it, so you will see in people, so you know who they are

Love - kindness, benevolence, admiration, warmth, endearment, ardor, solicitude, fondness, charity, passion, manners, etiquette, philanthropy, caring, compassion, sympathy, friendliness, cleanliness harmony, meditation, stillness, non vulgar-ness

Hate- loathe, detest, dislike, belligerence, envy, greed, lust, vulgarity, toxicity, execrate, combative, abhorrence, animosity, contempt, disgust, revulsion, odium, aversion, antipathy, gross-ness, ignorance, no manners



Allaah gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him."And if Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things." (6:17)
 Revealed: Saudi autopsy expert 'who butchered the body of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi:'
18 October, 2018
By Doyen Ikanos

Noted, and more pro-action might have helped: the now
late Kashoggi and fiancée expected foul play and were
prepared to report it, incase it happened. Her monitoring 
of the development in the embassy and sharing it widely "as it
started happening" might have shamed the butchers out 
of it. To all souls departed or departing over worldy power
- Peace
The Saudi Muslim butcher was actually trained at Glasgow University- the University is in shock. This is the last thing they expected to hear about their former student. It is the worst possible news an institution of learning could ever getr about its student- it is the same as news of a child having tragically died.
He can be heard leading the brutal dismembering of Khashoggi's body with a bone saw.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy (pictured), who is known as a 'forensic expert', studied pathology at the University of Glasgow in 2004 and learned how to carry out autopsies while in Britain.

Saudi autopsy expert ‘who butchered the body of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi with a bone saw’ learned his trade at Glasgow University 14 years ago

  • Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy studied pathology and how to carry out autopsies 
  • He is a 'forensic expert' and is head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics
  • A tape reportedly reveals Tubaigy leading brutal dismembering of Khashoggi
  • The Saudi journalist has not been seen since entering Consulate on October 2 
The man accused of butchering Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is a doctor who trained in Britain - it has been revealed. 
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who is known as a 'forensic expert', studied pathology at the University of Glasgow in 2004 and learned how to carry out autopsies.  
He was pictured jetting into Istanbul on the day Khashoggi went missing on October 2 and has since been linked to his murder by an audio recording taken on the journalist's Apple watch. 
In the seven-minute tape, Tubaigy can reportedly be heard leading the brutal dismembering of Khashoggi's body.

Still missing: Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly butchered while still alive by members of the 15-strong Saudi 'hit squad' where several have been found to have close ties to the Royal family
Tubaigy was identified by an anonymous source as telling others in the squad to put headphones in while he set about cutting the victim into pieces on a desk.
According to the source, who spoke to Middle East Eye, Tubaigy, who also holds a position within the Saudi Interior Ministry, said: 'When I do this job, I listen to music.'
Tubaigy was identified by an anonymous source as telling others in the squad to put headphones in while he set about cutting the victim
The tape is said to reveal Mr Khashoggi was dragged from the Saudi Consul General's office to a table in a next-door study, where he was surgically dismembered, before he was 'injected with an unknown drug and he fell silent.
Dr. Salah Al-Tubaigy was pictured at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2, raising more suspicion around his involvement in the alleged torture case.
Tubaigy identifies himself on his Twitter account as head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics. 
He has not publicly addressed the allegations. None of the suspects could be reached for comment. 
The Times said on Wednesday that at least nine of the 15 worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.
The newspaper said it gathered more information about the suspects through facial recognition software, a database of Saudi cellphone numbers, leaked Saudi government documents, witnesses and media.
The Times said three other suspects are Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Hawsawi - a member of the security team that travels with Prince Mohammed - Thaar Ghaleb al-Harbi, and Muhammed Saad Alzahrani.
Harbi and Alzahrani have the same names as two people who have been identified as members of the Saudi Royal Guard, the Times said.
Tubaigy pictured at Istanbul's Ataturk airport having flown in by private jet on the day Khashoggi disappeared
Tubaigy pictured at Istanbul's Ataturk airport having flown in by private jet on the day Khashoggi disappeared
An anonymous source claims to have heard Mr Khashoggi's final minutes on an audio recording made on the journalist's own smartwatch after he entered the consulate, pictured


This monument to Ugandan independence features a man unwrapping and holding a child to the sky. It is typical of a baby country that will never grow up for many years and counting!

For the Bible tells me so’ - Judge Sebutinde & the S.Africa-Israel dispute: Part II


Written by Dr Busingye Kabumba


Justice Julie Sebutinde


Last week, this column engaged with Judge Sebutinde’s Dissenting Opinion in the South Africa v Israel case (Provisional Measures) before the International Court of Justice.

We explained that in two main ways – the ‘political question’ argument and the failure to provide for the most basic interim relief – the Opinion was out of tandem with the Court’s previous jurisprudence; Judge Sebutinde’s own prior approach to international adjudication, and arguably, even basic humanitarian considerations as articulated by Israel’s Judge Ad Hoc Aharon Barak.


The question we left unanswered was as to how it could be that an erudite Judge like Sebutinde could arrive at a decision at such odds with the consensus of her peers on the Court, that it contained a stance more extreme than that adopted by Judge Ad Hoc Barak. It is an  important question – one which indeed is being asked and contemplated across the world, in the wake of the Court’s decision.

Perhaps predictably, given the state of the world today, aspects of these deliberations have been ugly, with needless invective and vituperation being hurled at the first African female Judge of the ICJ. It is obviously scurrilous to suggest that Judge Sebutinde might have been acting under direction from the Ugandan government – or that she was bribed, or intimidated, by any State.


If her Dissenting Opinion proves anything, it is that Judge Sebutinde does not fear to shock, offend, or take decidedly unpopular decisions. That said, as we pointed out last week, it is difficult to justify – in legal terms – the extreme posture adopted by Judge Sebutinde in her Dissenting Opinion. This brings us back to the deferred question, as to how such a decision might be reconciled with the clearly astuteperson and record of Judge Sebutinde.

In this case, I suspect that the only means of accounting for the nature and content of the Dissenting Opinion might be found in a somewhat unlikely corner – the influence of religion. At the risk of the impropriety of intruding upon what would otherwise be within the realm of her private sphere, we can reasonably refer to Judge Sebutinde’s strong connection to the Pentecostal movement in Uganda.


Indeed, she has herself made no secret of it – nor should she. This right – the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief (including the freedom of religion) is one guaranteed to her, as it is to all Ugandans under Article 29 of the 1995 Constitution. Indeed, it is also guaranteed under a range of international human rights instruments, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18), the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18) and the 1986 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Article 8).

Nonetheless, when one is exercising a public function, it is important that, as far as possible, private religious or other convictions not unduly motivate or inform the exercise of such function or duty. In this case, there is some circumstantial evidence that the disconnect between legal principle, Judge Sebutinde’s own previous adjudicatory approach and basic considerations of humanity; on the one hand, and the extreme nature of her stance in South Africa v Israel on the other, might have been unduly motivated by strongly held religious beliefs.


As noted above, Judge Sebutinde’s links to the Ugandan Pentecostal tradition in general, and the Watoto Church (formerly Kampala Pentecostal Church) in particular, are no secret. For instance, when in June 2014 Watoto Church held what it called the ‘Watoto big party’ one of the dignitaries who testified as to the impact of that church on their lives and work was Judge Sebutinde.

At that event, she noted that: ‘I have the chance to practice justice at the world level because of the values I picked from Watoto Church. I am proud of Watoto’ [See Carol Kasujja ‘Grammy award-winning Christian singer Israel Houghton thrills crowds at Watoto big party’, The New Vision, 6 June 2014] This invites a further enquiry into what the values – historical and contemporary – of Watoto Church might be.

In this regard, some indication is provided by a post, from October 2023, on Watoto Church’s Instagram account, in the following terms: ‘What an incredible opportunity that we have to participate in the extension of God’s Kingdom in Israel through our annual My Miracle Missions Offering. Numerous lives are being impacted as we partner with Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM), a global family of believers that is empowering local ministries to transform lives in Israel with the love of Jesus. Thank you for giving #GodisAble #MYMMO2023# PioneerAgain’


Further indication is evident in a major sermon delivered by Pastor Gary Skinner (Founder of the Watoto Church), two years ago, entitled ‘Israel The Greatest Sign’ (available on YouTube, posted by the Watoto Church account).

At minute 28 of that recording, Pastor Skinner quite predictably (since the invocation of this particular verse is a common staple in Pentecostal churches) quotes Genesis 12: 1-3, which is to the effect that: ‘The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”’

It is not inconceivable that the position adopted by Judge Sebutinde in South Africa v Israel – one so extreme that she stood alone even on positions conceded by the Israeli Judge Ad Hoc Barak – was directly informed by this Biblical exhortation to avoid ‘cursing’ Israel through a finding that was adverse in any respect whatsoever.

An additional window into this approach – of analyzing global events through Biblical lenses – is provided in a May 2019 epistle written by the First Lady of Uganda (and Minister of Education), Janet Museveni, entitled: ‘A letter to all Ugandan children who call me Maama by choice’.

Among other things, she attributed a number of Uganda’s, and Africa’s, challenges to the cardinal sin the Egyptians committed when they enslaved Israelites several years ago: ‘The Bible informs us that ancient Egypt was the political and economic powerhouse of its day. The Pharaoh who was king had unrivaled influence and power over the known world. The Children of Israel who came to Egypt first as guests

or refugees of famine, soon had a reversal of fortunes and became the slaves of Egypt for 400 years ... All these accounts show that the Africa of antiquity was not only prosperous and wealthy but more so a political and global hegemon.

The question that I have pondered many times over the years is, “What happened to Africa?” Africa committed the grave sin of enslaving the children of Israel for 400 years, which returned to haunt the African continent with the advent of the evil trans-Atlantic slave trade.’

If anyone needed any further indication that Judge Sebutinde’s Dissenting Opinion – almost certainly informed by the terms of Genesis 12:1-3 – was wholeheartedly sanctioned by the Ugandan Pentecostal movement, this would come in the form of an Instagram post, on 28th January 2024, by Pastor Patience Museveni Rwabogo (who happens to be the daughter of President Yoweri Museveni and Mrs Janet Museveni).

Patience, the founding Pastor of the Covenant Nations Church, posted a picture of Judge Sebutinde with the caption: ‘Not all heroes wear capes. Julia Sebutinde has made a historic stand at the ICJ. May God always remember her for mercy and may Uganda as a nation always be found on the Lord’s side.’

Pastor Patience Rwabogo

For avoidance of all doubt, we should not be understood as suggesting that Judge Sebutinde was duty bound to find against Israel. Rather, the point (stressed in the column last week) is that her Dissenting Opinion was so patently incongruous with previous ICJ jurisprudence, her very own historical approach to adjudication and such elementary and basic considerations of humanity (as invoked by Judge Ad Hoc Barak) as to taint it with a high degree of irrationality and illegitimacy.

And this is the very danger posed by any uncritical suspension of rationality occasioned by religious belief. Simply put, bad – even tragic – consequences can result from this. It is for this critical reason that Article 7 of the Constitution requires that the State have a secular character, providing: ‘Uganda shall not adopt a State religion’.

This is an important provision, although unfortunately one more honoured in breach than in observance. Sadly, part of this breach has been on the part of Ugandan judicial officers. One of the most egregious examples in this regard was the decision of Justice Amos Twinomujuni in the 2007 case of Julius Rwabinumi v Hope Bahimbisomwe.

The issue in this case related to distribution of matrimonial property upon dissolution of a marriage. Instead of looking primarily to the relevant constitutional, statutory and common law principles to resolve the question before the court, Justice Twinomujuni felt compelled to additionally invoke, and rely upon, biblical principles, observing: ‘In this petition, we are dealing with the dissolution of a marriage contracted in Church under the Christian tradition.

Quoting the bible here cannot be regarded as far fetched. In Genesis Chapter 2 verses 21-25, we find the following provision ... This statement [provides that] though woman was created differently from man, yet they were made for each other to be equal to each other in unity as one. The parties to this appeal were married in the Christian tradition on 30th August 2003.

The ceremony took place in Our Lady of Africa Mbuya Catholic Church. All those who choose to be married in Church must take vows at the precise moment when they become husband and wife. The vows are to the effect that they undertake to live together as husband and wife, in shared companionship in riches or poverty.

These vows are usually made in presence of hundreds and sometimes thousands of their parents, relatives and friends. My understanding of the vows is that at the time the bridegroom and the bride become husband and wife, all the property they own become joint property.

All the property they acquire during the subsistence of their marriage is theirs to share equally in unity and love. At the time of the vows, it is never envisaged that the spouses would have to split. In fact they are told in Church that: “That which God has put together let no person divide” ... In my humble judgment, I do not see why the issue of contribution to the property should arise at all.

The property is theirs – Period ... My conclusion is that matrimonial property is joint property between husband and wife and should be shared equally on divorce, irrespective of who paid for what and how much was paid ... From [the moment of Church vows] onwards the fact that they are registered in the names of the wife or husband is not relevant. It belongs to both.


Therefore on separation they should be equally divided and shared to the extent possible and practicable.’

Luckily, on appeal to the Supreme Court in 2009, this anomaly was subsequently remarked upon, and expressly disapproved. Justice Esther Kisaakye, in particular, rightly pointed out that the secular nature of the Ugandan State required judicial neutrality in terms of the application of legal principles, noting that: ‘The statements and reasoning of [Justice Twinomujuni] are, with due respect, legally problematic, for several reasons.


Justice Esther Kisaakye

First, it is important to note that Uganda is a secular state, which is not governed by Cannon law, but by the Constitution, statutory law, case law as developed from common law and doctrines of equity; principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Customary law is also applicable in some areas of personal law, provided it meets the Constitutional standard set out in Article 32(2) of the Constitution of Uganda, 1995 ... Given the secular nature of this country, it was again not proper, for the learned Justices of Appeal, to base their judicial decision on religious marital vows ... I therefore agree with counsel for the appellant when he took serious issue with the pronouncements made by the learned Justices of Appeal that legal title to an equal share of any property previously held individually passes to the other spouse ... by virtue of the marriage vows exchanged during the marriage ceremony ...’

Nonetheless, this trend has continued, almost unapologetically, in certain judicial quarters. In the 2021 case of Julius Kyobe Luseleka and 5 Others v Aida Namalwa, for instance, the Court resurrected the impugned Twinomujuni approach, when in determining burial rights as between the spouse and relatives of a deceased person, the Judge asserted as follows: ‘... upon marriage, men and women have the right and are expected to live independently and exclusively of any other person(s) including their parents and or brothers and sisters and clan members at that.

I also find that this is in line with the Biblical principle in Genesis 2:18, 24 which counsel for the respondent further relied on. That portion of scripture states thus: “the Lord said ‘it is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’ ... For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and they will become one flesh.”

This same principle was re-echoed by Jesus Christ in Matthew Chapter 19 verse five (Matthew 19:5). I am mindful of the fact that Uganda is a secular nation and does not have a state religion but I am also alive to the fact that Christianity as one of the recognized religions in Uganda has the Bible as the major source of guiding principles, norms, values and standards.

In the instant case, the respondent and the deceased both practiced the Christian religion and chose to get married at Namirembe Cathedral which is the Anglican Church/Church of Uganda. My considered view is that by doing this, they chose to be bound by the biblical principles which are taught in church. I therefore do not find it out of order to cite the Bible.’

Fortunately, there have been some more positive indications from other sections of the Judiciary, which signal a greater commitment to the constitutional dictate contained in Article 7. For instance, in the 2017 case of Rev. Fr. Cyril Adiga Nakari v Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki and Registered Trustees of Arua Diocese, Judge Mubiru noted that: ‘Under Articles 7 and 29 of The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, the relationship between Church and State is based on two principles.

First: there is no State Church; Church and State are separated. This means on the one hand that the state should not identify itself with any ideology or religion, and, on the other hand, that it must not be institutionally attached to churches or to one single church.

Second: “religious bodies” regulate and administer their affairs autonomously (independently but in cooperation with the state) within the limits of the law, i.e. the right of churches and other religious communities to conduct religious activities autonomously (e.g., build places

of worship, conduct worship services, pray, proselytise, teach, select their own leaders, define their own doctrines, resolve their own disputes, etc.) ... Neutrality of the state can be seen as the most important principle governing the state in regard to religious communities.’

Similarly, Judge Ssekaana in the 2020 case of Rev Charles Oode Okunya v Registered Trustees of the Church of Uganda, cited Mubiru J’s approach in the Cyril Adiga case with approval and emphasized the importance of state institutions, including courts, refraining from any actions which might be ‘interpreted as an endorsement of one religious view over another’.


Justice Musa Ssekaana

These positive trends should be affirmed and entrenched, and the Twinomujuni approach (reasserted in Kyobe Luseleka) actively challenged and resisted. This is because not only is it inconsistent with a core constitutional value (the neutrality of the State), but it can also, in some cases, lead to some really perverse and unconscionable outcomes – particularly where the fundamental rights of persons, or groups of persons, are implicated.

One can imagine a wide range of issues where it will always be important for all bodies exercising State power – executive, legislative and judicial – to be fully cognizant of the duty to avoid unduly infusing religious feeling (however deeply held) into the conduct of public affairs.

Where state power is exercised, this should be on the basis on rational considerations, based on sound evidence and founded upon fundamental constitutional values – rather than being founded on private beliefs. Again, for avoidance of all doubt, individuals (including public officials) are free to hold whatever beliefs they like – however fanciful and farfetched these may be.

As a United States Court noted in the 1998 case of Argello v City of Lincoln: ‘Government is not free to declare certain beliefs — for example, that someone can see into the future — forbidden. Citizens are at liberty to believe that the earth is flat, that magic is real, and that some people are prophets.’

The challenge is where such officials appear to transpose these private beliefs into their public roles and functions. Certainly, international adjudication based on the fear of a curse, or the hope of a blessing, contained in Genesis 12:1-3 is problematic, as is the conduct of educational (or other) policy based on the notion that the colonialism of Africa was divine retribution for the actions of Egyptians hundreds of years ago.

Beliefs that the earth is flat, that magic has real effects or that certain people are (or were) prophets can be privately held, but not publicly imposed through the exercise of executive, legislative or judicial power.

Several questions will continuously have to be dealt with in the public sphere – at the national, regional and global levels - involving issues which elicit significant contestation, emotion and controversy. Yet, it is precisely these matters which require persons charged with the authority of legislating, applying or adjudicating them to apply law and sound principle – rather than fear, belief (or, it must be said, superstition) in their determination and resolution.

At the national level, one can think of several such issues, like access to safe abortion; comprehensive sex education; the possibility of no-fault divorce regimes; the rights of unmarried, or cohabiting couples (including to fair property distribution in the event of the termination of such relationships); the regulation of alcohol consumption, and the use of narcotic and other substances; the rights of sexual and gender minorities; whether terminally ill persons might have the right to medically assisted death to promote dignity and alleviate suffering; arrangements around surrogate pregnancy; pre and post-nuptial agreements; organ donation; rights of biological and adoptive parents and children; possible legal implications of conscious artificial intelligence; transgenerational equity and many others.

One hopes that when these questions arise – particularly before the Judicial branch – that the Judges look to the law – constitutional, statutory, common, and where applicable, international – and resolve the questions before them as per their judicial oath. It is the Constitution, and other relevant law, which should guide them, rather than the text of the Bible – or the Koran (or other religious texts for that matter).

The Constitution promises to all of us an open, liberal and secular democracy. It would be unfortunate for Judges, Members of Parliament, Ministers and other political connected persons to turn Uganda - by stealth or with impunity – into a theocracy.


The writer is senior lecturer and acting director of the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) at the School of Law, Makerere University, where he teaches Constitutional Law and Legal Philosophy.