Fire guts ware houses in Kampala Industrial area

By Deo Wasswa

Fire has gutted warehouses in industrial area and destroyed items worth UGX 7 billion and more.

According to Dr Bildard Baguma the Executive director of Joint Medical store (JMS) the owners of one of the burnt warehouse, the fire started at around 11.30 pm

In an interview, Bildad noted that speculations have it that fire resulted from wielding activities in the roof of one of the neighboring warehouses.

Some of the items destroyed include health medical commodities, electronic appliances among others.

“So far we estimate that about 7 billion shillings worth of items has been lost and we shall give the actual amount of loss caused as soon as the situation is back to normal.” Bildad noted.

Commenting on the accident, the Nakawa Division Mayor Eng Ronald Balimwezo who is also the MP elect for Nakawa East has blamed the Engineers who constructed the warehouses for not creating enough space to use by fire brigade tracks in case of emergencies like this.

Lack of legislation and consolidated stakeholder interventions hindering clean air in Kampala

By Edwin Muhumuza

Excerpts from the institutional assessment on air quality management, a World Bank-funded research.

Qualitative indicators show that air quality in Kampala and surrounding municipalities has deteriorated over time. According to AirQo, a research initiative of Makerere University that champions the drive to have clean air, the influence of three major sectors; transportation, energy and industry is highly responsible for the state of air quality.

During the institutional assessment stakeholder workshops funded by the World Bank, key issues raised was that lack of explicit legislation on air quality management continues to be a major hindrance towards having a safe environment. NEMA is still in the process of reviewing national air quality regulations.

According to Sadam Kiwanuka, Project Officer KCCA Climate Change Project, the limited technical and financial capacity to implement occupational safety standards has been a major setback for industrial emissions management, adding that government bodies continue to focus on waste management, water pollution, wetland management among other sectors, and little attention is given to the quality of air.

AirQo Project Lead Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha reiterated the need to have a multi-sectoral approach to these challenges. However, participants expressed concerns over the limited engagement with industries to promote self-monitoring. At present, there is no self-monitoring due to limited capacity on effective monitoring and reporting strategies. This coupled with a lack of harmonized policy regime to guide planning makes it impractical to create self-sustaining neighborhoods within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA). Self-sustaining neighborhoods bring services closer to the community and thus limit mobility and exposure to air pollution.
Eleth Nakazzi, the Project Manager KCCA Climate Change Project noted that urbanization has a major influence on air quality adding that over 50% of the World’s population lives in urban areas while Uganda is urbanizing at a rate of 5.3%, one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, reason being that urbanization is considered a key driver of economic growth and Cities as centres of economic activity, job opportunities which attract labour driving further population growth, higher service quality compared to rural areas.

Deo Okure, an Air Quality Scientist at AirQo, said that tailpipe emissions from motorized transportation, road infrastructure (paved vs unpaved, during construction), choice of transport mode combined with domestic combustion, that is to say, domestic energy mix and solid waste combustion, industrial thermal and electrical energy (minimal) are the leading causes of poor air quality in Greater Kampala and beyond.

Currently, the bottlenecks are that air quality is not fully incorporated during vehicle inspections, limited technical, financial capacity for successful enforcement by national and local governments, and for implementation, and not fully incorporated at the planning stages of physical developments, especially during the environmental impact assessment processes.

Other challenges include, insufficient road infrastructure being a major problem. Kampala City has 12000km of roads of which only 29% has been paved, reliance on low-carrying capacity vehicles 14-seater vans (‘taxis’), private cars and motorcycle taxis, the low-fuel quality/adulterated fuels on the market, lack of infrastructure to support alternative/green transport, for example, Non-Motorized Transport incentivizes vehicle ownership and motorization and about 25 signalled junctions which lead to congestion and uneven flow of traffic on major roads.

Furthermore, wastes and industrial pollution are on a high amid limited capacity to manage solid wastes, illegal dumping of other waste profiles especially construction waste because of limited investment in sensitization. This trend is coupled with limited data and studies quantifying the effects of air pollution for different demographic contexts yet equally important such sector-based emissions, residential, economic and social impacts of air quality, and modelling atmospheric influence.

In winding up the discussion, they recommended strengthening and consolidating existing regulatory frameworks, developing technical capacities for air quality management, investment in sustainable transport alternatives and promoting collaborations between academia, private sector and policy actors.

The key actors currently undertaking air quality monitoring in Kampala include Makerere University under the AirQo initiative, KCCA and the US Embassy. Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha further confirmed that these initiatives are working together to develop and improve the potential for low-cost monitoring making it more accessible for local governments.

Key facts to Note according to the study.

-Pollution patterns indicate that the highest pollutant concentrations (with respect to Particulate Matter) are observed between 05:00 and 10:00, and 16:00 and 02:00, while 10:00 to 16:00 are the least polluted hours of the day.

-During the peak pollution hours, major roads and commercial centres experience disproportionately higher levels of pollution as generation is almost inversely correlated with dispersion. Across all the monitoring locations, however, concentrations are largely within the unhealthy zones.

-Greater Kampala area hosts more than 32% of the manufacturing businesses in Uganda and ideally on track to attract more industrial activity and with it the level of industrial pollution if not regulated.

-The location of industries is majorly around wetlands and fosters the formation of informal settlements due to the settlement of cheap labour close to employment opportunities, further complicating the pollution matrix associated with industries.

-Contribution of domestic solid waste management practices to the pollutant emissions profile of the City is such that there is limited segregation of waste streams at source, the formal waste collection currently operates at 60% coverage, making informal settlements among the most underserved areas and residents resorting to open waste burning as a method of waste disposal.

Kampala likely to face fresh lock down

By Moses Kidandi

The government of Uganda has revealed that it will announce a lock down on Kampala Central Business District (CBD) if people working and living in Kampala continue neglecting and ignoring Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were issued by the Ministry of Health, in a bid to prevent the spread of Corona virus (COVID-19) in Uganda.

The revelation comes few days after Uganda registered two COVID-19 deaths.

The minister for Kampala Betty Amongi said that cabinet has resolved to institute a COVID-19 lock down specifically for Kampala, after observing that the city is increasingly becoming a hub for COVID-19 infections.

Amongi says that the said lock down will be effected in two weeks time, if nothing is done to help the situation.

The minister adds that the decision is based on advise from scientists who are warning that Ugandans in Kampala have continued to ignore Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)like wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and others.
She says Kampala will close down to save other parts of the country.

Uganda Red Cross collects upto UGX21.9M to help those in need during lock down

By Deo Waswa

Ugandans responding to the call by the Uganda Red Cross society and have contributed shs21.9million towards the society’s efforts in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.

The contributions were made through a MoMoPay merchant code that MTN Uganda launched in April as one of the telecom company’s interventions in the fight against the deadly virus.

Through the merchant code *165*3*191919# MTN customers are in position to make donations of any amount toward the efforts to combat covid19.

Speaking after receiving the money from MTN Uganda on behalf of Red Cross, Dr. Josephine Okwera, the Director Health and Social Services at URCS noted that the money will go a long way in making the lives of some people easier during this hard time.

She said after the extension of the lock down for more 14 days, more support is still needed to rescue those that are worst hit due to the lock down.

This comes at time when Uganda is still registering new cases of COVID 19 with more from truck drivers especially From Kenya and Tanzania.

On Wednesday 6th May, 2020, two new COVID-19 case were confirmed from 3,071 samples of truck drivers and this brings a total of confirmed cases to 100 in Uganda.

The two new cases arrived from Kenya via Malaba; and are Eritrean and Kenyan nationalities

All 438 community samples tested negative for COVID-19

Lukwago says Amongi should consult division mayors on planned changes in the city

By Robert Segawa

Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago rejects plan by Minister of Kampala affairs Betty Amongi to reduce the number of taxis and Bodaboda riders who will operate in the central business district of Kampala.

Government plans to enforce this move after the Covid-19 lock down. This will see all taxi and boda boda operators work outside the city center until all of them register with Ministry of Works and Transport in the stipulated 42 days.
Lord Mayor says the move is unfair and has not been brought up for consultation.

He insists that the plans should include all five division Mayors,Lord councilors, taxi and boda boda leaders as well as for a better plan rather than ambushing them because because of the lock down opportunity.

PLAN international launches UGX15Bn project to empower youth

By Alice Lubwama

Plan international Uganda, a child rights organization has launched a 15 billion youth social empowerment project that will build the capacity and ability of young people to make free and informed choices regarding sexual and reproductive health rights.

Speaking at the launch of the five year project in Kampala today, the interim country director plan Uganda Greg Lavender said that the five year project targets over 200,000 young people in the age range of 10-24 years from the six district’s in Uganda.

This is the second phase of the NI-YETU project which has been running for the last five years to elevate the voices of young people in policy discussions both at the district and national level to ensure that their voices are reflected in important decisions around reproductive health.

The project being funded by the Swedish government will benefit districts such as Buyende,Kampala, ,Kamuli,Tororo,Lira and ,Alebtong.

Grey says that this project will build on the previous program to address the challenges faced by girls and young women like child marriages and gender best violence in communities who will engage policy makers to find practical ways to address the issues and challenge some of the attitudes of the community which open the pass to such acts to continue.

Grey also urges Government of Uganda to fast track the sexual offenses bill to ensure that there is a clear legal basis for challenging child marriages which continues to be the major issue in the communities of Uganda.

The project will majorly focus on the SDG advocacy of empowering women and girls and also create awareness on the impacts of climate change.

Speaking at the same function the coordinator of adolescent health and school health services at the ministry of health Dr Mugahi Richard said that the level of health services offered at the higher institutions of learning is not young people friendly hence facing a number of reproductive challenges.

Mugahi however added that ministry of health will work with the one for education and the universities to take integrated reproductive health out reaches to students in order to bridge the information gap between the health workers and students.

He further noted that due to inadequate information at universities and tertiary institutions, there has been a number of unwanted pregnancies leading to abortions.

Proceeds from this year’s CJ’s Kyambogo run will be committed to promoting neonatal health care

Proceeds from this year’s CJ’s Kyambogo run will be committed to promoting neonatal health care in one of the health facilities under Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA management. Funds raised from the 1st September annual event at the Kyambogo cricket oval will be used to purchase incubator machines to improve the lives of preterm born babies in Kampala.

Buganda’s Royal Prince David Kintu Wassajja will be the chief runner at the Café Java’s run under the theme “ run 4 premature babies”

“I am very glad to be here to be part of this very good noble cause which is to raise money for the premature born, the less fortunate and disadvantaged people in our society. As you all are aware, I am a sports enthusiast, I like running, and running is more enjoyable when you are running for a good cause so I am very happy to be part of this initiative” averred Prince Wassajja.

He encouraged the public to participate in “a very good cause to raise money for buying equipment for premature babies”. To those not willing to run, Prince Wassajja says they can buy tickets at 20,000 from all Café Javas restaurant outlets around Kampala, thereby contributing to the cause.

According to Yasin Ahmed, the director Café Javas they chose this cause following an increase in reports of premature babies dying in hospitals around Kampala Statistics show that preterm births in Uganda stand between 13-14 percent, while 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide. “ When this opportunity came to support the Kyambogo run, which translates to supporting the premature babies in buying incubators for some of the hospitals, we quickly jumped on it because it aligns with the Mandel Group of companies goals to support sports and support premature babies,” said director Café Javas

A preterm baby is a high-risk infant prone to infection due to the compromised immunity and undeveloped antibodies. South Africa’s High commissioner to Uganda Prof. Maj. Gen. Lekoa Solly Mollo will be the chief guest. Yayiro Kasasa of Beyond Sports organization, the key organizer of the event revealed that the run will have 21 Kilometer, 10 Kilometer, and 5 Kilometer targeting a total of 1000 participants.

Mayor Lukwago calls for modernizing of Kampala City

By Moses Kidandi
The Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has called upon all stakeholders to strive to have Kampala as a Smart City of the 21st Century.

Lukwago said this while he was giving closing remarks at the _Kampala Roads Rehabilitation Project meeting with stakeholders at Hotel Africa this afternoon. He said we need to modify the way we design projects in order to maximize the benefits to the community.

Under this project, KCCA specifically targets to reconstruct and improve *46km and associated drainage* together with *Signalizing 22 junctions.*

He said the infrastructure and investments must respond to the needs on the ground and this is what he has always strives for. He said its valuable in guiding the design of these projects so that they benefit the communities m.

He appreciated the African Development Bank for supporting this project and prayed that implementation can be expedited.

He said road infrastructure improvements, upgrade and junction signalization has been a long walk but it has finally been realized.

He concluded that he is passionate about the Kampala Multi model Transport Plan and he looks forward to have a metro to ease transport in the city.

There has been slight reduction in crime says IGP

By Robert Segawa

The inspector general of police Okoth Martin Ochola has urged Members of the public to continue working together with Uganda Police in the fight against crime which will boost the country’s economy and development.

The IGP Ochola said this the launch of the annual report of year 2018 where he pointed out a total of 238,746 cases reported compared to 252,065 cases registered in 2017 reflecting a decrease in crime by 5.2% .

He says that 4.5% of all crimes were committed along the highways, 47.7% were in urban centers while 47.8 % were committed in rural areas.

He adds that cases of defilement, thefts, rape, Burglaries and murders have been more rampant in rural areas while robbery, common assaults, and Aggravated assaults are common in urban areas.

He further adds that 73,035 cases were taken to court reflecting an increase of 66,626 cases that were taken to court in 2017; with convictions totaling to 22,263, while dismissed cases are 11,121 in 2018.

Ochola further says 239,484 persons were victims of crime of whom 143, 880 were male adults, and female adults were 60,648 , while young boys are 10,772 and girls were 24,184 victims.

In her part as Director Criminal Investigation Directorate AIGP Grace Akullo has identifies leading crimes in 2018 as Common assaults, Defilement, domestic violence and fraud obtaining money by false pretense among others compared to 2017.

Grace Akullo says that 29,735 were registered, and defilement with 15,366 cases, domestic violence 13,916, followed obtaining money by false pretense with 12,313 cases among others.

She pointed out Kampala south division, Kampala north division, West Nile , Albertine region, Elgon region, Kampala East division,Busoga north and Sezibwa as the leading regions where crime has been committed to have increased in the same year.

In his part as Director of traffic and road safety AIGP Dr.Steven Kasiima reports that a total of 3,689 died in road accident in a total of 3,194 fatal accident s registered in 2018.

Dr Kasiima says their has been a slight increase in the number of people who died by 5.4% compared to the people who died in 2017 totaling to 3,500 lost their lives.

He adds that serious accidents were 6,085 and minor accidents were 30,526 in 2018.

He says that the causes of accident are due to reckless driving, over speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, careless pedestrians and vehicles in dangerous mechanical condition among others.

He adds that 199,785 penality tickets were issued out to indiscipline driver’s of which 15.6 billion have so far been paid while 18 billion shillings is to be paid by defaulters.

Down town building owners and traders raw deepens

By Sania Babirye
Land Division High court judge Alexanderia Rugardya Nkonge has refused to allow Kampala lord Mayor Erias Lukwago to cross examine Kampala businessmen Drake Lubega and Mansur Matovu (Younger) in a case filed by the Traders demanding for an independent account to deposit their rent arias until court determines who manages the buildings .

Justice Nkonge has ruled that this might pre-empty the main case before her in which Horizon Coaches sued the two businessmen for illegally occupying its buildings.

The case had come up for hearing, but the judge instead ordered all parties to file in their written submissions since one of the correspondents (Horizon Coaches) had not filed in their reply.

The judge has also set to give its ruling on the matter on notice.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Bus Operators Association Ltd has also claimed ownership of Qualicel bus terminal and has since issued a note dated 15th of April 2019 demanding rent from the Traders.

According to Uganda Bus Operators Association chairperson Hamim Ssetongo, he holds the legitimate title of the building and that none of the three businessmen is allowed to operate from them .

On the 12th of this month, the Traders on the three building being claimed by Drake Lubega, Mansur Matovu, the late Muhangi Family and now UBOA withdrawn their case from the high court civil division and filed it before the the High court Land division following the mysterious way in which the case file was allocated to a new judge without their knowledge.

Through their lawyer Erias Lukwago, the traders contended that their case file was first case listed before Justice Musa Ssekana and was set for hearing on the 8th of this month but when it came for hearing, they were surprised to see that tge original judge was dropped and replaced bu justice Andrew Bashaijja without their knowledge.

The traders claimed that they were not getting justice before justice Bashaija and asked for their file transfer.

As a result, Justice Bashaijja accepted their request but for the second time ordered that the frustrated traders pay costs to the businessmen because they had incurred costs along the way through hiring lawyers to represent them in the high court.

The businessmen also said they are demanding a 2 billion compensation from the Traders since they their lawyer Lukwago did not follow the right procedures in withdrawing the case.

On the 10th of April the same judge (Basaijja) ordered the Traders to pay costs to the businessmen after dismissing their application with costs in which they wanted court to allow another file before the ongoing land division to be added to this current file before the high court civil division.

The three buildings include Qualicel, Nabukeera and Jamboree all located at downtown Kampala.

Justice Bashaijja dismissed Lukwago’s application in which he wanted to appeal a ruling that had denied him a chance to amend his pleadings before the court.

The case had came up for hearing and during his submissions, Lukwago had asked court to allow him to add an application that is before the Land division to be part of that in the civil division of the High court.

Justice Bashaijja instead declined Lukwago’s submissions and ordered that the application be heard as it is.

The 291 traders through their lawyer Erias Lukwago had petitioned the court to allow them to deposit their rent arias on an independent account until court determined who owned and managed the said buildings.

The Traders want to deposit rent monies with a safe account in court until court decides on who of the three warring parties including Drake Lubega , Mansur Matovu and the management of Horizon Coaches formerly belonging to the late businessman Charles Muhangi owns and manages the said buildings .

The buildings are currently being claimed by city businessmen Drake Lubega, Mansur Matovu alias Young and the late rally driver Charles Muhangi through his Horizone coaches ltd.

On the 2nd of April, 291 the traders filled their suit escorted by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago asking court to summon the warring factions to appear before court and clarify on who is the real owner and manager of the contentious buildings.

Currently, both Lubega and Mansur are claiming ownership of the building following the sudden and abrupt death of Muhangi in February this year to whom the traders were paying their rent arrears too.

These have since informed the traders that the buildings belongs to them not the late Muhangi whom the supreme court had declared owner of the buildings.

And worse still the now new owners and managers are forcing the traders to not only pay their current arrears to them, but also repay five months arrears that they had paid to Muhangi when he was still alive.

These have also gone ahead and closed the shops of those traders who are not willing to clear to them the already rent arrears that they had paid to the late Muhangi which has seen traders protesting.

However, the traders insist that they do not know who is the real owner and manger of the buildings to whom they should pay rent too since the court had declared that Muhangi owned the said buildings and he was doing so until his sudden death.

The traders also insist that if court clarifies on the rightful owner, that they are willing to pay the rent arias to him starting with the new months (February) but not even the past five months that they had paid to Muhangi through Horizon Coaches ltd as being demanded by the alleged new owners.

According to the traders, the supreme court placed the management of the three buildings under Horizon Coaches ltd on the 5th of November 2018.

These further claim that after the supreme court order, the buildings were renovated and renamed Horizon city and Bazanya Nengo respectively and each tenant was ordered to pay a 1.2 million shillings as registration fee which they cleared .

They further state that the tenants have since then been paying rent fees ranging from 400, 000 to 3 million shillings to Horizon Coaches until some time in February this year when both Drake Lubega and Mansur Matovu showed up each claiming ownership and management of the 3 buildings.

The traders say that apart from the two claiming owners hiring stick wielding men and security to beat them, these have also turned off electricity and other utilities and locking their shops and threatened to evict any trader who wi continue with paying their rent arrears to Horizon Coaches.

These are now asking court to issue an injunction stopping the 2 businessmen from further trespassing and interfering with their business premises until issues of management are clarified and settled by court .

They also want court to order Drake Lubega and Mansur Matovu to pay them General damages for loss of business and inconvenience after the two closed their shops yet they had cleared their due rent arrears.

On the 21st of March this year the traders closed their shops and protested after their power was switched off by allegedly Young after they refused to pay the double rent.

These were also demanding an independent account on which they should pay their rent because they were tired of paying rent to one person and then after someone else comes and claims to be the real owner of the building.

It took Kampala central Member of Parliament Muhammad Nsereko’s intervention to have the power turned on and promised to take the traders grievances to Parliament fir redress.