Child rights activists unite to end violence against children

By Edwin Muhumuza

Six of Uganda’s leading child rights organizations on Tuesday launched a joint operation dubbed “Joining Forces” aimed at fast tracking progress on ending violence against children.

Child Fund, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Childrens’ villages, Terre des Hommes and World Vision have come together to collaborate on initiatives to create child-led solutions through empowering children to understand how to tackle challenges within their communities .

Brechtje Van Lith ,Country Director, Save The Children said, ‘We really want to make sure that children s’ voices are being heard. The national child participation strategy is so important in that respect. It really acknowledges that children should be involved in the mechanisms of both designing and implementing policies.’

The national survey released this year by the ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) revealed shocking statistics, indicating that most children have experienced physical violence and more than 90% experienced multiple incidents. Also that violence is wide spread in schools.

As the national survey was released, we once more see how critical issues are of ending violence. We felt that this was a good moment to give it an extra push, to give it more attention and be more  on top of these stake holders to play their part’. Brechtje added.

Olive Lumonya, National Director of the SOS Children Villages notes that these kinds of huge numbers mean a call to action. This would entail working with all existing local government systems and structures to create awareness and more impact.

Linnet Awor, Program Manager, Terres de Hommes said ‘we are one of the six international organizations promoting child protection in Uganda. We are doing this even globally at international level. We decided to join forces at national level.’

This rare event seemingly goes to tell the extent of violence against children and the urgency that it requires.

We are in-putting into the national legal processes whereby we are contributing towards the development of the human sacrifice bill,the childrens act…right now we are doing a countrywide assessment on children rights and we will be working with government especially in regard to the upcoming reporting that countries do on child rights,’Awor reveals.

In 2017,the CEO’s of the worlds six leading child-focused NGOs met and decided to accelerate progress on achieving sustainable Development Goals for children. Focusing on tow key projects;(i)-ending violence against children-a national-level effort in five pilot countries, including Uganda to increase the programme impact and contribute to SDG 16. In Uganda they focused on ending violence against children in schools.(ii)-Child Rights Now!;a national and international advocacy push in up to 20 countries to renew political commitment to children’s rights through implementation of the SDG’s and support for the UN Convention on the rights of the child.

The Joining Forces coalition is piloting an initiative called Plan Z, which creates child-led solutions to help end violence against children. Through this process children in the Plan Z pilot identified the issue of child kidnap for ritual purposes, ransom and murder as one of the worst abuses against children.

UGX 152 Bn has been released for road maintenance across the country

The Uganda road fund has released 152 billion shillings for road maintenance across the country, for the quarter two financial years 2018 /2019, though halting funds for two districts including Kole and
Pakwach .

While announcing the funds In Kampala today, the executive director Uganda road fund engineer Michael Odong said that the accounting officers for the two districts had failed to present accountabilities for the previous funds during the financial year 2017/ 2018.

Odong stresses that the road fund committees for those districts should ensure that the accounting officers properly accounts for the funds given to their districts before any fund can be released.

“We cannot eliminate corruption 100%, but there is good utilization of the road fund maintenance by the agencies.” Odong said.

Odong adds that proper utilization of the funds has been their biggest achievement in the last 10 years.

80% of the funds released will focus on the community access roads especially in sub counties , warning road agencies not to deviate from the terms given in the performance agreements as they receive the funds.

He has also blamed members of parliament especially those from Kampala district of not playing their oversight role of monitoring the use of funds.

“Since funds have been released, concerned MPs should meet immediately to make a work plan for the roads to be worked on.

On road safety, he commended drivers and transporters for being vigilant on the roads eventually   reducing on road accidents.

He has also asked    bus owners to employ drivers whose social and economic problems can be managed especially while driving, telling them to ensure that  when they are  employing these people, their eyes
are tested, and  drinking habits  know.

“Even when they have social problems they cannot concentrate on the steering , somebody has been quarreling with the wife the whole night he did not sleep but you’re  telling  him to drive to Lira, of
course he will cause an accident.” he explained.

A member of the road fund Nathan Byanyima warned the road agencies not to exaggerate the cost of road maintenance because a few of them will be worked on and this affects the communities.

92 billion will go to the Uganda National Roads Authority, 6.8 billion or Kampala Capital City Authority,717 billion for districts,9 billion will go to the municipalities, town councils receive 7.7 billion
shillings, community access roads have been given 17 billion shillings  among others.

NRM aspirants complain about postponing of party primaries

By Daudi Zirimala

The NRM parliamentary and LCV aspirants in seven new created districts are not happy with the lengthy party primaries which were postponed by the party after nomination of of candidates in the districts.

The districts include; Nabilatuk, Kapelebyong, Bugweri, Kwania, Kassanda and Kikuube.

According to Kapelebyong LCV Akorikin Francis the postponement has created a lot of confusion in the NRM electorate and at worst; there is fear that it’s going to give opposition elements an advantage in the final campaigns.

“We have come to Kampala to raise our voices to the party’s electoral commission that we shall not continue campaigning with out a clear road because the NRM candidates have spent a lot of money as a result of this recklessness”,says Akorikin Francis.

The NRM national Electoral commission nominated candidates to contest for position of party flag bearers for woman member of parliament and district LCV chairperson in July with elections to take place in August 2018, however as the campaigns started,the party electoral commission postponed elections to 14th August 2018,unfortunately as the polling date was approaching as scheduled,the party EC once more postponed the election until further notice.

However, the the NRM electoral commission chairman Dr. Tanga Odoi has assured the candidates that spoon the commission will secure funds to continue with the primaries as it was stated earlier in July.

“Those new districts we are going to have elections we are just waiting for funds because NRM party does not use government money we use our own funds but I hope next week we shall clarify on this”, says Tanga Odoi

Opposition politicians held in connection with death on Bobi Wine’s driver

Opposition politicians who were arrested on Monday night  in Arua Municipality are being held in connection to the shooting of Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi’s driver  Yasin Kawuma.

The politicians some of whom police claim were found armed with pistols at the time of arrest include;  Gerald Karuhanga, MP Jinja East Paul Mwiru, MP Mityana Municipality Francis Zaake, former MP Micheal Mabike and candidate Kasiano Wadri.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima while briefing the media at police headquarters said investigations will tell who exactly fired the bullet that killed Kawuma  between us and the people arrested since some of them were found with fire arms.

Kawuma was shot dead while sitting in Kyagulanyi’s car around hotel Pacific.

Police officer held for defiling minor

By Robert Segawa

Police in Bombo is investigating the circumstances under which a police officer defiled 15 year old pupil.

Police constable Mpima Charles 49 year old attached to Nyimbwa police post defiled primary five pupil of St Tereza Nandere  boys primary school.

It alleges that the victim threatened the mother of the victim  a one Nakitende Magret to commit suicide if she disclosed her affairs, so the mother decided to report her to the area police of Nyimbwa where she was detained and in that course, the accused was defiled by the above officer while in police custody that night.

Kangave Paul the Savannah region police spokesperson  says after the suspect get to know that is being investigated the suspect fled and now also being charged with Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL).

NEMA, VIVO, NEXT media partner in kaveera ban

By Deo Wasswa

State minster for water and environment Dr. Kitutu Mary Gorreth has directed National Environment Management Authority and ministry of health to put sign posts on their entry gates that prohibits people from entering their premises with polythene bags.

According to her, this should be done to implement the kavera ban as well as sending signal to people manufacturing and importing Buveras to stop it and have alternative business that can replace Kavera.

Minister made the directive during the launch of national wide campaign that will see kavera completely out of use in Uganda.

The campaign spear headed by  Vivo energy, NEMA, Next Media , Ministry of health and other partners will be involved in  sensitizing and educating Ugandans to shun the use of Buveras to live healthier and  preserve environment.

On the other hand of the event held at shell Bugolobi, the NEMA police led by Byamukama Moses  stopped  a group of more than 60 people under their umbrella Uganda plastic manufacturers and recyclers association who also had organized a meeting opposite shell  to educate people on better managing  the disposal of Kavera after its use.

The group was led by Ategeka Moses, the communication director at Uganda plastic manufacturers and recyclers’ association.

US spent 506.1 M dollars on improving health in Uganda

By Gloria Nakimba
A total of 8.76 million Ugandans were tested for HIV/AIDS in 2017, according to new report to the Ugandan People released by the US Embassy in Kampala on Thursday.
US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac says her government spent  506.1 million US dollars, about 1.8 trillion Uganda shillings in assistance to promote a healthy Uganda while the overall  assistance to the  Ugandan people  in the financial year 2017 totaled  to 971 Million US dollars  approximately  3.6 trilling shillings.
According to the report nearly 60% of Ugandans living with HIV achieved viral load suppression which has been shown to reduce onward transmission by 96%.
Ambassador Malac however noted that there are still challenges regarding resources for health workers asking government to invest more in the health sector to address this challenge.
This she says is a challenge not just in Uganda but in a number of countries where the resources are constrained, and health workers including nurses, midwives and physician are not paid enough to retain them to keep them as part of the system.
Center for Disease Control country director   Dr. Lisa Nelson noted that Uganda has registered great progress in HIV response getting towards the epidemic control as well as controlling malaria.
She explained that much of the support was towards the health sector to help the country deal with disease outbreaks “Uganda is in the Congo basin with a lot of emerging disease threats, and I think one of the things the US government and all agencies are involved in is also supporting Uganda to have the system to detect disease outbreaks and be prepared to respond so that they don’t spread and contain economic impact of those threats” Dr. Lisa Nelson told the media at the launch of the report at the American embassy in Nsambya. She hailed Uganda’s capability to diagnose infections as and when they break out.
“Some of your institutions such as Uganda virus research institute really are world class and are able to detect these disease and able to detect them in a timely fashion” she said.
Uganda is among 13 countries that were selected as one of the comprehensive countries to focus on epidemic control. Amy Cunningham Coordinator PEPFAR program told the media in Kampala that the country is two years away from epidemic control.
PEPFAR supported 993,070 of the 1,051,138 Ugandans receiving treatment for HIV last year. According to the report, more than 26 million Ugandans were kept safe from Malaria last year, thanks to the insecticide treated mosquito nets that were distributed under the US President’s Malaria initiative.
More than one million insecticide treated nets were distributed to families and 200,000 nets were handed out to pregnant women.
Malaria remains the leading cause of illness in the country resulting in 27 to 34 percent of outpatient hospital visits and 19 to 30 percent of hospital admissions country wide .On the issue of stability, the US government contributed 371.3 million dollars that is 1.3 trillion shillings to promote a stable Uganda.
According to Ambassador Malac  some this money went towards supporting the country’s response to an influx of refugees.
 1.3 million Refugees in Uganda received assistance through support from the Bureau of population refugees and migration at the US department of state
She hailed Uganda’s response towards refugees fleeing fighting back home especially those from South Sudan
“We continue to be very impressed with the government of Uganda and the Ugandan people’s willingness to accept refugees, it’s really a very extraordinary position” Ambassador Malac noted.

Anti corruption coalition urges parliament to discuss audit reports

By Deo Wasswa

The anti corruption coalition Uganda has expressed concern over the delay by parliament to effectively discuss audits reports made by office of the auditor general warning that this promotes impunity and corrupt tendencies by government officials.

ACCU Executive director, Cissy Kagaba says from 2017 to date only 18 out of the 97 audit reports have been handled by the parliament.

Speaking during the validation of a report on selected implementation of value for money audit meeting at hotel Africana, Kagaba noted that the parliament should critically look at recommendations from the auditor general to avert worsening service delivery brought by some public official who steal public funds and walk away free.

Student shot dead as police contains school strike

By Robert Segawa

Police  in Buhweju has shot dead  and injured another  student as they tried to control a  student’s strike.

The incident happened at Nyakitojjo secondary school in Buhweju district where students were striking to demand education ministry to transfer their headteacher. The head teacher Alex Mabwindi had been accused of crumbling down the academic performance of the school.

Bonface Kinyera the district police commander Buhweju says the deceased Innocent Natuhangana a student of senior four was hit by a stray bullet during the last night strike at 9pm while the injured Felix while Musiimenta is admitted at Nyakitojo health center IV.

Beatrice Tusiime the District Education officer says it was a sad incident because they had just sat with students to end the impasse adding that it was unfortunate that students went on and became riotus.

Man murdered and dumped in Wakiso district

By Robert Segawa

Police in Matuga is investigating the circumstances under which 32 year old Enrolled nurse died and was dumped in Kagujje village Wakiso district.

According to Luke Owoyesigyire the Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson the deceased identified as Tumukunde Ivan.

It is alleged that on Wednesday the deceased was taken to Fellowship Medical Centre in Matuga in a company of his wife to receive a treatment and admitted because he was ill .

To the surprise of the loved ones he was found lying dead in Kaguja this morning something that sparked off fears in the community that he could have died from the clinic and the clinic wrapped the body in the old bed sheets before dumped in the bush.

This forced the angry residents  of the area to storm the clinic with intention of setting  it a blaze and the police intervene.

Police arrested two staff members of Fellowship medical center to help in the investigation these are Mugwanya Patrick a clinic officer, and Nampera Phiona a nurse who is at Matugga police.