National army to resolve Libyan crisis says President Museveni

By Gloria Nakiyimba

President Yoweri Museveni says building a national army is one the key solutions to the problems in troubled Libya.
While meeting the visiting Afro-Arab Youth Council delegation, at Stat house Nakasero the president who is the Patron of the Council noted that “The problems in Libya can be solved through the building of a National Army where they incorporate both the old and new members of the forces.”

He is also proposing that elections should be held where all the Libyans will participate fairly, as the leaders under the African Union continue to search for a lasting solution to the Libyan conflict.

The delegation led by Mr. Abdulhadi Elhwig was in the country to consult with their patron as they prepare for the 3rd General Assembly of the Afro-Arab Youth Council Summit. This is scheduled to take place in Kampala in August this year more than ten years since the 2nd General Assembly of the organization was held in Kampala in 2008 that was attended by former Libyan President, the late Col. Abu Minyar Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr. Elhwig, saluted President Museveni for his e immense support to the group and for accepting to host the summit again in Kampala this year. Libya plunged into a crisis during the Arab spring protests in 2011 which led to civil war and the subsequent overthrow and assassination of Col. Gaddafi on 20th October the same year in Sirte.
The proliferation of armed groups in the once stable Maghreb country led to violence and instability that continues to plague Libya, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of people as well as casualties. The crisis also saw the crumbling of the Libyan economy mainly driven by oil.

Farmers asked to form groups to get government support

By Moses Kidandi

The Uganda People’s Defense Forces have announced the second roll out of government support from Government to local farmers under the operation wealth creation project. Under the second phase, farmers will be required to form groups from 61 in rural-based areas, 41 in urban areas and committees of 9 people in different villages across the country.
“We encourage them to form committees for management, for supervision, committees for finance and investment and then committee for technical for value addition, because we want to go agro-industrialization so that whatever they do, there is value addition,” said Gen. Angina

He emphasized that the committees are for collective responsibility to ensure that you cannot compromise an individual. “In finance where we find a group with a treasurer, we know that it is liable to miss the rest of the group because if the treasurer is compromised then you lose everything, we even believe that we take lessons from other failures that have been in cooperative, in SACCOs because of compromise” he stressed.

Deputy Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation Lt. Gen Charles Angina is now asking different farmers to start mobilizing themselves to groups to benefit from the free distribution of seeds, animals and other agricultural inputs. Gen Angina says farmers who will be organized stand the chance to be the first beneficiaries of Government support to local farmers

“We intend to see to it that we form farmers groups so that they themselves will choose what they want to plant. We only guide them that in this ecological zone you should not grow what will not do well. Because each ecological zone of Uganda has its strength in what you can do best” he said.

With a vision to promote and transform the agricultural sector in Uganda from the point of view of technical leaders, political leaders, farmers, the private sector, Operation Wealth Creation was launched by the Uganda government as an intervention intended to create a system that facilitates effective National Socio-economic transformation with a focus of raising household incomes for poverty eradication and sustainable wealth creation.

Gen Angina was speaking at the National Launch of activities to mark the 38th Tarehe Sita Anniversary at the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Mbuya, a suburb of the capital Kampala. The day will be observed under the theme “Consolidating peace for sustainable development and prosperity”. The main celebrations will be held on 6th February .in the northern district of Kitgum.

German Investors partner with UDB to Finance Innovations

By Edwin Muhumuza

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, has overseen the start of the signing of a series of pacts around cooperation and joint ventures anchored by German’s public and private sector entities worth millions of dollars.

Uganda’s Green growth development strategy, which aims at promoting sustainable financing, innovations, start-ups, and industrialization, has received an endorsement from a visiting German delegation.

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Uganda Development Bank(UDB) which has also signed an undertaking with Germany’s City of Karlsruhe, will be at the center of the financing projects around the Green Growth development strategy. Ugandan enterprises ought to reap from new cooperation of promoting and financing green growth sustainable development projects, being championed by Germany, says Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.

‘I also would like to call upon all Ugandans, companies, and institutions to seize this golden opportunity and build on the foundation we made when we visited Germany in order to make partnerships that will benefit our two countries’.Kasaija remarked.

‘The biggest now that am focusing on is Bukasa port with support from Germany to enable us to be able to load our cargo either via Dar es Salaam or Mombasa port.’he added.

The signing-off is to establish the German – Uganda Training and Research Centre for Renewable energies at Makerere University’s College of Engineering.

The Ambassador Dr. Albrecht Conze said that the cooperation between Uganda and Germany’s City of Karlsruhe is also expected to support Uganda’s national efforts in creating a modern, resilient and sustainable economy.’since this spirit of the invention is strong in the country.

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‘So I think it is very interesting because you also have a different landscape of enterprises of situations you need solutions for and it’s often better to go the way with small and medium-sized enterprises and not with the big players…’ according to the Dr Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe Germany.

For Private sector actors, the Uganda Development Bank will under the pact support interventions into projects in innovations, energy, industry and education among others.

The Managing Director, UDB, Patricia Ojangole said that at the end of it there will be lots of initiatives they will undertake and implement but all is towards help Uganda fast track its economic development Agenda.

Uganda’s tourism stakeholders form a joint security committee

By Edwin Muhumuza

Tourism stakeholders have formed a joint security committee in a bid to ensure quick and efficient handling of crime in the sector. This during a dialogue at the Uganda Tourism Board offices hosted by the head of quality assurance Samora Semakula.

The stake holders dialogue was attended by the commandant of tourism police Frank Mwesigwa ,Association of Uganda Tour operators(AUTO),Uganda Hotel Owners Association(UHOA),Uganda Safaris and Guides Association(USAGA),The Uganda Association Of Travel Agents(TUGATA).

‘Members of the committee are expected to keep track of cases that have been reported countrywide to rid the industry of masqueraders who often fleece tourists of their money’ Semakula explained.

Tourism being the economic backbone of Uganda, has attracted quite a number of people into the sector seeking to cash in on the rewards of the God-given beauty of the country, consecutively listed among the top three destinations of the world every year by global tourism agencies.

However, weaknesses in the law have been a challenge in ensuring transparency amid concerns that the Tourism Act,(now under amendment) is silent on several issues pertaining to safety and quality of services offered by stakeholders.

Commandant of tourism Police Frank Mwesigwa appealed to tour operators to liaise with the police to ensure that tourists are accommodated in Known hotels and to provide security when necessary. This on grounds that tourists have complained of theft of property and other valuables when accommodated in poor quality and substandard hotels and lodges.

The Chairperson of the Uganda Safaris and Guides Association, Herbert Byaruhanga noted that all members of registered associations should have their lists displayed on their websites as well as that of the Uganda Tourism Board, so that Police can easily identify criminals adding that blacklisting and displaying of suspected criminals will go a long way in ensuring that tourist and hotels will shun them.

The Executive Director, Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Jean Byamugisha called for a Name and Shame list of tour operators and Hotels that have been named to have been involved in criminal activity because there are no consequences for now, so that the law can deal with them. Byamugisha added that there is need for the sector to ‘bite’ and use one culprit as an example to the rest to desist from crime.

Concerns were also raised from the Uganda Association Of Travel Agents over the laxity from some airlines to join their association, a move they say may be a set back to the sector.

Other issues of concern was that there is no one in the country that can produce a record of the number of tourists entering Uganda per day from all entry points for accountability purposes. However members observed that it will have to take an order from cabinet to the sector to deliver the records daily to the tourism police other than the Uganda Bureau of Statistics that has red-tape.

French gov’t to construct modern sport facilities for Uganda public schools

By Robert Ssegawa

French government has pledged to construct modern sports facilities for several government primary schools across the country in a move aimed at improving pupils’ talents.

This was disclosed by French ambassador to Uganda Madame Stephanie Rivoal while handing over all weather court facilities at Kibuli Police children Primary school and Nakivubo blue Primary schools wort 30,000 US Dollars to the acting director KCCA Sam Sserunkuma.

 

 

Ambassador Rivoal says this was part of the France –Uganda friendship tokens adding that French government will construct two more modern play grounds in different schools in Kampala next year.

 

 

 

 

KCCA acting Director Sam Serunkuma noted that the authority has put in its budget sports funds in the next financial year in order to improve and nurture sports talents in its schools. The money used to construct the weather courts was raised during the French Uganda week 2018.

 

 

Survival pushing Kenyan women into mining toxic mercury

Scorching sun beats down on half a dozen women as they carry large sacks of crushed ore on their backs at the Osiri-Matanda gold mine near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.On wooden tables, they sieve the powdered ore into metal pans, add mercury, and heat the mixture over a charcoal fire.

The air fills with fumes as the liquid metal evaporates – leaving behind a lump of gold.

The women complain the work is hard, hours long and wages meager. But the job brings bigger concerns: exposure to toxic mercury could be killing them.

“Many women here know the risk,” said Eunice Atieno, 40, dumping a sack by the side of her table at the mine in Kenya’s southwestern Migori county.

“But we do not know what else to do for a living if we stop working here,” she said, describing health problems, such as weight loss, body weakness and trembling hands, which she has experienced after a decade working in the mines.

Atieno is one of more than 1,000 women across 25 countries including Kenya, Myanmar and Indonesia, whose hair samples were tested for mercury by IPEN, a Stockholm-based network of charities focusing on health and environment.

IPEN found that more than 40 percent of those tested, including Atieno, had mercury levels greater than 1 part per million — exceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s safe exposure level.

High mercury levels can damage the nervous, digestive and immune systems and poison the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes, says the World Health Organization. Pregnant women also risk giving birth to babies with congenital diseases.

Kenya’s 2016 mining act outlaws the use of mercury.

But there are no easily available alternatives and many of its 250,000 small-scale gold miners – mostly in western Kenya around Lake Victoria – are unaware of the risks or too poor to care, campaigners say.

“Health workers and government officials should be resourced to conduct workshops among women involved in small-scale gold mining to explain the toxicity of mercury to women and the unborn children,” said IPEN’s researcher Lee Bell.

“They should also assess them for mercury intoxication and provide appropriate healthcare, demonstrate how they can minimize their exposure to mercury in the short-term and work with them to implement non-mercury gold extraction techniques.”

Health Risks

About 20 percent of the world’s gold comes from small-scale mines, which employ up to 15 million people, including 5 million women and children, the United Nations says.

Mercury has been used to extract gold for centuries. It is inexpensive and simple – often allowing miners to produce gold in a single day.

Developed nations have adopted cleaner, safer alternatives for extracting gold, and enforced strict rules on mercury use.

But poor countries lag behind. Government officials, mine operators and workers often ignore the health risks of mercury exposure, citing a lack of capacity and expertise to better protect workers, experts say.

“We still do not have an alternative even though we are supposed to phase out the use of mercury,” said Bismarck Onyando, owner of the Osiri-Matanda mine.

The only other way of separating gold from sand in Kenya is to use sodium cyanide, which can kill instantly, he said.

Beatrice Ondieki, 29, had been working at the Osiri-Matanda mine for just over a year when her family noticed she was ill.

First, her hands began to shake uncontrollably. Then she started stammering. When she began to have difficulty walking, her brother suspected her symptoms were linked to mercury.

“She was found to have high levels of mercury in her blood and the doctor commenced her treatment, giving her some tablets to reduce the mercury,” said her brother Stephen Ondieki.

“She got better initially, but the side effects of the medication have caused her to have severe stomach pains and she now stopped the treatment and is at home in bed. The family is trying raise enough money to admit her to hospital.”

Another Way

In August, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to reduce the use of mercury, came into force. Ratifying countries must develop plans to eliminate harmful mercury use, promote mercury-free mining and improve miners’ health.

While almost 130 nations signed the agreement, about 40 – including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – have not ratified it.

Kenyan officials say they are committed to the convention.

“We plan to phase out mercury, but first we are working on registering the miners, hopefully within three years,” said Raymond Odanga, inspector of mines for Migori County.

“Then it will be much easier to deal with the mercury issue.

Currently the miners are still using it. Getting them to change to other methods will take some time,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The United Nations Environment Program and the Global Environment Facility, which provides grants, launched a project last year to finance and promote safer gold extraction technologies in eight countries, including Kenya.

Atieno – who started a support group for women miners after discovering the toll mercury is taking on their health – says it needs to act quickly.

“We depend on this job to put food on the table. But we are at a risk and cannot wait until we die from mercury exposure,” she said, as the vapors rose into the air. “We appeal to authorities to give us another way to extract gold without having to use mercury.”

~VOA

The Dirt: Dwyne opens up on his secret battle with depression

Wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) talked about his secret battle with depression in an interview with The Express one month after he recalled on Instagram how he had saved his mother from a  suicide attempt. “Struggle and pain is real. I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly,” Dwayne Johnson said. A fan recently told Dawyne Johnson that he’s battling depression and the Fast And Furious actor replied: “I hear you. I’ve battled that beast more than once.”

In February, while shooting for the upcoming season of television series Ballers, Dwayne Johnson talked about the day when his mother tried to commit suicide. Dawyne was all of 15 and they were evicted from their apartment, he shared on Instagram. “She got out of the car on Interstate 65 in Nashville and walked into oncoming traffic. Big rigs and cars swerving out of the way not to hit her. I grabbed her and pulled her back on the gravel shoulder of the road. What’s crazy about that suicide attempt is to this day, she has no recollection of it whatsoever. Probably best she doesn’t,” he wrote.


~NDTV

The Big Wedding experience: God chose capital FM to turn our dream into a reality #TheBigW2017

By Cathy Amanya
It’s a moment I will never forget! Every day, I reminisce the magical moments of that date.
It was that moment that I always dreamt of, walking down the aisle with the man of my dreams Gordon Amanya; the only one who ever stole my heart.
A year after Gordon and l had lost our first born there was a brief separation but the love we had for each other surpassed everything, so we made up.
Gordon heard the big wedding promo on capital FM and he applied, followed all procedures and through voting by capital FM fans, we made it to the top twenty , then to the top ten and finally to the top five. That was the peak of the competition. We started soliciting for votes from workmates, family and friends and well-wishers. It came to a point where we would approach strangers, and request them to vote for us.
We bought airtime of all networks, our well-wishers influenced other people and even bought for them airtime, our bosses campaigned. We used almost all avenues to ensure we won the big wedding because indeed there was no way we would have one since Gordon didn’t have enough money yet he wanted to give me the best wedding. We could not cohabit because I come from a staunch Christian family and there was no way my parents would ever allow that.
Gordon told me how he prayed and fasted to have that happen.
On the D- day, I was in Nakasongola in my room half dead wondering what would befall us if we lost. At 9.00am, l should have been at office but l was too nervous to make it but good enough my supervisor knew what l was going through. I went about my room glancing at my phone every second, listening to capital FM and behold after many minutes of waiting, my phone rung, it was Marcus and Jackie. At the time, tears were flowing, my heart pumping like never before.
The big announcement was made. The big miracle happened- “Jesus turned water into wine”- it’s the best way l can explain it. The votes were authentically counted, and it was Gordon and Cathy leading!
I screamed and everyone in the neighborhood ran to me as if to rescue me but they found a teary happy woman with no explanation to give them such miracles are hard to explain. We always say God chose capital FM to turn our dream into a reality. The wedding had to happen within one week with everything from the dressing, salon, transport, reception etc to be catered for by Capital FM and its partners. Therefore our simple duty was, to choose and agree with the church of our choice and appear for the day.
To cut the long story short, time for the wedding reached. We had mobilized relatives and friends. Everyone was excited. The entire entourage was picked very early in the morning by Jackie Lumbasi and other capital FM staff for salon where a team of stylists was waiting for us. They did their work perfectly and we looked angelic!
A few hours later, we left the salon and entered the bridal cars. It was our first time to sit in a limousine. Sincerely, the whole look was heavenly. We smiled from ear to ear all the time as they cruised us around town in a rare motorcade. Miracles happen indeed. It seemed unbelievable. Later, we arrived at All Saints Church where we found our parents, relatives, friends, and clergy waiting for us. After a wonderful sermon, we exchanged our vows, a moment everyone had waited for. We then moved out and traversed serene places for videography and photography. We were over joyed. Time for the ceremony reached and we proceeded to Seven Hills in Kololo ( the reception venue). I could not believe my eyes, when l got out of the car. In my life I have not seen that kind of decoration and arrangement. The word BIG made sense on that day, because the scene was perfectly beautiful.
We danced through the welcome music as everyone else joined, sat in our well decorated chairs. Gagamel group and other outstanding artistes entertained us. Our guests were treated to a sumptuous dinner, speeches were made and they never seemed to end. Later, we received a land title from Zion Estates, a honey moon package and ticket to Nairobi. We danced the night away and later went to our hotel Le Petit Village!
Whoever attended that party has never forgotten what happened. The memory of the big wedding is a glue that keeps Gordon and l together through the highs and the lows of marriage. We are blessed with two girls- Shantelle and Melissa and doing many more things together. Indeed, only death shall do us part. We shall never disappoint God and the loyal fans of capital FM. Long live the Big wedding, long live capital FM. We had the best wedding at Zero cost. Thank you Capital FM!

Matooke, a big part of Uganda’s culinary celebration

By Annah Nafula

There is a common joke about the baganda is;a muganda will out rightly say a meal without matooke is not food it doesnt matter how heavy.

That explains the value attached to matooke in most  western, central and eastern parts of Uganda. The food is highly celebratory as it is served at all special functions in these parts of the country.

In the past owning a huge plantation of matooke was prestigious and equally amounted to being wealthy. Having and maintaining this annual crop takes some real attention.

The tasteless berry is commonly peeled, wrapped in banana leaves, smashed and simmered; usually enjoyed with stews commonly groundnut stew.

There are different types of matooke preparation  and the common ones include;

Katogo;

Katogo is a mixture of foods and ingredients to create just one dish. The most common katogo served in Ugandan restaurants and homes is the matooke and tripe/meat/gnuts/beans. In this, vegetables and spices are added. The scrumptious dish is usually served for breakfast across the country.

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Steamed Matooke;

Steamed matooke is usually cooked at ceremonies and usual family meals. The intricacy in preparing this particular type of matooke is what makes it a distinct dish. The matooke is carefully peeled, washed, wrapped carefully in banana leaves, smashed and simmered. The longer the dish is simmered on low heat the better. The ready matooke is usually enjoyed with stews like beef, groundnut, beans, peas depending on what is available.

Roasted matooke/mpogola;

This is a common meal at Uganda berbeques. The roasted matooke is usually raosted alongside meats. It is a meal usually enjoyed with roasted beef, pork, chicken usually topped with a very nice well seasoned kacumbari or avocado.

Banana cake;

Ripe matooke is usually very sweet and can be perfect for use in a banana cake. The aroma of this cake is as irresistible.

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Kabalagala ; A Ugandan snack that sparks sweet childhood memories among Ugandans

By Annah Nafula

A friend once told me that she can tell someone’s age by hearing how fondly they speak about kabalagala.  A delicacy that is increasingly becoming rare sparks sweet childhood memories amongst most Ugandans who were born in the 90s and below.

Thinking back, a lot of memories are attached to this delicacy right here. And since we have already dubbed the Rolex as the nation’s ultimate power street  food/snack, I thought it only fair to give these sweet banana pancakes the spotlight too.

Because lets be honest: Who does not love pancakes? They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, supper and as a snack too. And what not a better way to have them with a favourite drink/beverage? Ultimate dessert it is!’

Kabalagala as they are widely known in Uganda are pan cakes that are made out of cassava flour and very ripe sweet bananas. After the mix is completely mixed the pan cakes are deep fried. The aroma from the ready pancakes is tempting.

Over time the taste of the pancakes have been improved over time as cooks in the country have become more creative and tastes and preferences keep changing. Most people now no longer use the traditional small sweet bananas known as “ndinzi” in Luganda and have opted for cheaper options like ripe matooke and Bogoya. Some cooks now add pepper.

However you love it, the pancakes still remain one of the most affordable snack on Uganda market and sparks a memory in many of Ugandans’ memories.

 

 

 

 

-Additional information from  This is Uganda