UPC demands for independent audit into COVID-19

By Alice Lubwama

The Uganda peoples Congress faction headed by Peter Walubiri demands for an independent audit into covid19 funds.

Addressing a news conference in Kampala on Tuesday , Walubiri said millions have been raised and a number of vehicles donated to the national covid19 task force but these have not been accounted for.

Walubiri also says that the recent revelation to parliament by the Uganda virus institute that it is just begging funds from donors to support it’s activities is an eye opener that the covid19 funds have been misused, because testing is a key component in the fight of the pandemic.

He has however denied any wrangles among the UPC party members but accused president Museveni for sponsoring the divisions in the party for his own selfish interests.

Can Museveni’s ‘night time’ changes orchestrate real change?

By Edwin Muhumuza

At about 10 O’clock on Friday 12th 2020, as most city dwellers went to sleep, news began to filter through that the leadership at City Hall had been dismissed.

True to the word, indeed Dorothy Kisaka, who is currently serving as a senior presidential advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister, tasked with coordinating with political and nonpolitical actors to implement public policy had been nominated by the president Museveni to replace Jennifer Musisi who resigned in 2018.

The other officials nominated by the President include Eng. David Luyimbazi Ssali, for the position of Deputy Executive Director, Dr Okello Ayen Daniel for the position of Director Public Health and Environment, Sarah Kanyike, nominated Director Gender, Community Service and Administration and Grace Akullo as the Directorate of Human Resource and Administration.

What came to mind was whether the head of state, President Museveni was beginning to bite to justify his anger at the levels of corruption in his administration.

During Heroes Day celebrations at state House Entebbe, a visibly angry Museveni spent about two minutes of his speech blasting corrupt officials in government, labeling them ‘parasites’ harshly telling them to go to ‘hell’.

He also went ahead to call them ‘weevils’ for choosing to promote foreign made products over those locally made.

Just a week ago President Yoweri Museveni swung the axe that landed on the executive director of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) Judy Obitre-Gama saying she had failed to deliver on her mandate in preference for the new executive director to have a background in ICT.

Her career was dented in April 2018 following an investigation into fraud, corruption and abuse of office and placed under Criminal Investigations Department (CID) after the auditor general reported that shs. 2.1b was sent on individual accounts while shs 1.3 b was wired to the chief accountants personal bank account.

Prior to this event, about a week , President Museveni had also fired the head of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Doris Akol, a move that surprised many Ugandans owing to her good record.

Four others under her were also shown the exit in a similar way including, Dicksons Kateshumbwa, the head of domestic taxes, Henry Saka, from domestic taxes, Silajji Kanyesigye, the commissioner in the large taxpayers office and Samuel Kahima, a manager in charge of rulings and interpretations.

In a similar manner, the president accused the organization of corruption.

However, It should be remembered that in January 2017,the same organization was hailed for having won an oil tax arbitration case worth shs. 2.4trillion and was a key beneficiary of the UGX 6bn ‘handshake’.

Amid criticism from parliament and the Committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprise-COSASE ,which regarded the ‘reward’ as corruption, president Museveni went ahead to defend it.

The manner and the time in which the latest appointments have been made has been quite bizarre. While appearing on the Capital Gang, senior presidential advisor Karuhanga Moses, In response to the president’s recent actions, said “when a president makes appointments in accordance with the constitution or any other law they are communicated first in writing but also in a press release. It has been so for the last 34 years. There is nothing new” he said.

“Apart from promotion of civil servants, by constitution , any promotion of somebody above the rank of a commissioner is supposed to be done by the president in consultation with different commissions. Usually those are not announced.” Karuhanga added.

In the KCCA situation, the appointments were made known on social media at the time when the acting Executive Director is said to have been home. In addition to the peculiar nature ,there was no courtesy letter or a phone call to alert him of the developments, a move that has raised concern among sections of the public.

Opposition chief whip, Semujju Nganda said the president likes to take people by surprise and overwhelming them. Backing up his argument was that in an interview with Professor Edward Rugumayo, while still a diplomat, was informed of his sacking by the house maid who had heard the news on radio.

“Samson Kisseka when he was sacked as prime minister, he had been out of the country and only returned when there were no vehicles to pick him from the airport”, Semujju added.

In light of these changes ,Ugandans await to see whether they will yield anything substantial or a mere change of guards.

Museveni says Uganda has survived without foreign aid during the pandemic

Uganda has survived without foreign help-Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

President Museveni has hailed his government saying it was able to keep the country’s economy afloat in the wake of the global Covid 19 pandemic.

In his speech to parliament during the budget speech 2010/21,in which he told legislators that he refused to be pessimistic about the economy and its growth projections.

He has again reiterated his attack on bureaucrats that he has blamed for having slowed down the country’s efforts to come up with a COVID-19 cure and continued to sound a caution to corrupt public servants warning that his government was purging state institutions of the vice just like he ordered the firing of Uganda Revenue Officials.

Earlier, Finance minister Matia Kasaija announced measures expected to stimulate the economy which has slowed down .

The economic growth is recorded at 3.1% in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic according to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, contrary to previous projections that were put at 6% .

The minister however insisted that the economy was on the path of recovery and not collapse.

Among the stimuli government included 130 Billion shillings for youth affected by Corvid-19 mainly in Kampala. This coupled with another 94 Billion for Micro Businesses that are tax compliant.

The other round of stimuli packages include tax waivers worth 12.5bn of 10,000 companies in Corporate tax and a waiver of presumptive tax worth 1.38bn affecting over 22,000 companies.

Relatedly, government has waived Pay As You Earn until 30th June for tax compliant businesses a move it says will ensure that money will be retained by the business community.

This includes, waivers amounting to 65.5billion for Manufacturing and tourism sectors as well as interest and tax penalties waivers incurred before July 1st- amounting to 50bn shillings.

The Finance minister has also announced that companies that made donations towards Corvid-19 relief will not be taxed to the tune of the amount contributed.

In addition payement of outstanding VAT returns amounting to 120.53 Billion Shs will be refunded.

In her remarks the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga urged government to implement digital working methods in a bid to safe guard the economy from being affected negatively by emergencies.

This following the locust evasion,corvid-19 and floods which have had an impact on the economy leading to loss of revenue.

Uganda parliament in April approved a Shs 45 trillion budget for FY 2020/21. Works and Transport takes the biggest share at Shs 5.8 trillion (13%) 2. Security Shs 4.5 trillion (10%) 3. Interest Payment Shs 4 trillion (9%) 4. Education Shs 3.6 trillion (8%) 5. Health Shs 2.7 trillion (6%)

Meanwhile,government is set to borrow shs 11trillion and as the house prepares to sit on 16th June, several alignments will be made and some will include ;a cut on travel and conferences worth billions of shillings, taxes on products that can be manufactured in Uganda in a bid to encourage import substitution and emphasis on agriculture as a resilient sector of the economy.

According to the finance minister, the Corona Virus pandemic has necessitated additional interventions and resource allocations after the Budget was approved.

“We have since been undertaking extensive consultations with several stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector, on remedial actions. Consequently, the budgets of all Ministries, Agencies and Local Governments will be revised to align them with the nine (9) strategic priorities and 14 production lines articulated by His Excellency, the President. This will focus the budget on production and not consumption.” Kasaija remarked.

Mbabazi invited for special meeting with Museveni

By Robert Segawa

The National Resistance Movement ( NRM) central executive committee is meeting today to discuss the proposed Constitution amendment to be presented to the National Executive Committee (NEC) tomorrow for approval.

The meeting is being held at state house Entebbe where a special statement will be issued for consideration to the NEC .

Rogers Mulindwa the NRM secretary spokesperson says President Museveni has selected five special delegates to attend the NEC meeting tomorrow.

Those selected by national chairman are former vice President Dr. Specioza Nabayego, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, former Prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Hon Kintu Musoke and Capt Francis Babu.

Only 55 will participate in the NRM delegates conference

By Moses Kidandi

Following the creation of new districts between 2016 and 2019, the National Resistance Movement Electoral Commission (NRM-EC) is set to conduct party structural elections in a total of 55 new electoral areas.

This will include twenty three new districts, twenty one old districts, seven municipalities and four districts with special cases such as the death of chairpersons among others.

This was revealed by the Party Electoral Commission Chairman Dr.Tanga Odoi saying that these elections will be held on Tuesday, January 21st before the consultations of all aspirants from their electorates from16th to 21st this month.

The elective positions at municipal level include the Youth League, Women League, Elders League, Veterans League and People with Disabilities League and at the district-level they will vote for Youth League, Women’s League, Elders League, Veterans League, People With Disabilities’ league, workers’ league, and Entrepreneurs’ League.

Odoi says that those aspiring for the above positions don’t require any qualification, however, he warned old chairpersons in old districts not to influence elections in new districts and municipalities.

He also revealed that they are to spend 2.8 million shillings in the 55 new districts and municipalities.

Day three into the NRA memorial walk, Museveni remembers his bush war challenges

By Deo Wasswa

It is the third day since President Museveni embarked on a trek in memory of National Resistance Army (NRA) bush war.

Before setting off from Kiboga this morning, President Museveni addressed the team and residents about the struggle he endured during the war.

President Museveni confessed that apart from the struggle to capture the power, he had two other challenges, he says he had no blanket and secondly had no toothbrush.

From Kiboga, the team will get a stopover at Pentecostal church in Kateera along Hoima road after covering 8 kilo meters.

The team will also reach to Kagogo below the Famous Katera Hills where the Tanzanian reinforcement army to the Obote Government clashed with the NRA then Rebels.

Hon. Lt. Gen Pecos Kutesa, Gen Elly Tumwine and others almost lost their Lives at these Hills but narrowly Survived.

The journey will climax on day six after covering 191Km

Raila, Museveni meet, discuss socio-economic development issues

By Moses Kidandi

President Yoweri Museveni and former Kenyan prime Minister Raila Odinga have agreed to work together to boost agricultural crop production through the application of phosphates that are produced in Tororo.

The use of phosphates is meant to supplement compost and organic manure that is in use in Uganda as the country enjoys favorable climatic conditions of two rain seasons.

Mr. Raila Odinga who visited the President also discussed with him matters related to socio-economic as well as political development in their respective countries.

The President informed his guest that Uganda has registered systematic political growth characterized by affirmative action for marginalized groups like the women, youth and the disabled.

Museveni in China for a working visit

By Moses Kidandi

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has this afternoon (Monday) arrived in Beijing China for a four-days working visit on the invitation of his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jingping.

On arrival at Beijing International Airport, the President was received by the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Mr. Liu Xianfa. Others present were Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Chin’s Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Zhuqiang.

A group of nine African diplomats led by Uganda’s Ambassador to China, Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga, were also available to receive the President. The other eight chair the key African Union blocs in China like ECOWAS, SADC and the EAC.

President Museveni assures experts about implementing of hepatitis vaccine

By Daudi Zirimala
The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni has assured health experts that advocacy for vaccination against viral hepatitis is at the forefront of his work, and the Ministry of Health will immunize all adolescents and adults in the country and get rid of Hepatitis B and vaccination started in July 2015.

Speaking at the opening of the first ever African Hepatitis Summit, the president who was represented by his Vice Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi said that it’s important to sensitize people on the modes of transmission hepatitis B during such international events.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, informed the delegates that the Government of Uganda adopted the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions of 2010 and 2014 on viral hepatitis that recognize the disease as a public health problem.

She further revealed that the Ministry of Health established a Hepatitis Technical Working Group, which developed a strategic action plan for the elimination of Hepatitis B, a Vaccination plan to vaccinate adolescents and adults and statutory instruments declaring Hepatitis B as a public health threat in Uganda.

In Africa, dying of viral hepatitis is becoming a bigger threat than dying of AIDS, Malaria or Tuberculosis. It is estimated that every year, 200,000 people die from the complications of viral hepatitis B and C mostly liver cancer in Africa.

This is against a background that, 60 million people in this region were living with chronic hepatitis B infection as early as the year 2015, of which, 4.8 million are children under five years old. In addition, an estimated 10 million people are infected with hepatitis C, almost certainly due to unsafe injection practices.

In Uganda, according to the Uganda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey, (UPHIA, 2016), it is estimated that the prevalence of Viral Hepatitis B is at 4.1% in the population aged 15-64 years. The disease prevalence, however, varies from region to region with the highest prevalence in the North at 4.6% and the lowest in Southwest at 0.8%. While the actual prevalence of Viral Hepatitis C in Uganda is unknown, the data from the National Blood Bank indicates that the prevalence of Hepatitis C among blood donors in Uganda is approximately 1.5%.

To mitigate Hepatitis B prevalence, Uganda has embarked on producing the first line drugs recommended for treating Hepatitis B. This makes it one of the first countries in Africa to produce the medicines. This is being done by Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Ltd, a WHO-approved pharmaceutical manufacturer says Aceng.

Criminal summon issued against Bobi Wine

By Sania Babirye

Criminal summons have been issued against Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine after he failed to turn up in court this morning for mention of his case.

Bobiwine was to appear before Buganda road court grade one magistrate together with his four co accused but only his co accused appeared in court today.

However, his lawyer Asuman Basalirwa informed grade one magistrate Esther Nahirya that his client is currently out of the country on official duties.
The magistrate then issued criminal summons requiring the Musician turned politician and legislator to appear in court mot later than the 10th of July this year and also extended their bail up to then.

On the 2nd of May, Buganda road court grade one magistrate Esther Nahirya granted bail to Bobi wine via a video conferencing system.

Bobi wine became the first person to be tried using the new technology that was launched by the chief justice Bart Katureebe on the 15th of April this year to allow judges to try inmates without necessarily being present in court but through a video link in Luzira prison.

Bobi wine was remanded to Luzira prison on 29th of this month by grade one magistrate Esther Nahirya after he was charged and pleaded not guilty to offenses relating to disobedience of statutory duty .

The magistrate also failed to grant him bail and referred his bail application to the 2nd of May.

His lawyers led by Asuman told court that his sureties had been blocked to access court with some arrested and detained at Nagalama police station in Mukono in case of Hon.Francis Zaake while others had their documents like local council letters confiscated by police.

The magistrate then ruled that Bobi wine should be remanded briefly to allow his lawyers organize their sureties and the magistrate also advised them from bringing high profile suruties that attract too much attention.

According to the amended charge sheet tendered in court , Bobi Wine was surprisingly charged over offenses he committed in 2018.

The charges are apparently in relation to his protest over the now social media tax (OTT) which he is said to have allegedly committed on 11th of July 2018 at City square with in Kampala city.

Bobiwine is accused of holding a public meeting without giving notice to any authorized officer or police who would ensure that all participants of his meeting are unarmed and peaceful .

Prosecution states that the actions of Bobi Wine were contrary to sections 5 and 10 of the public Order Management Act of 2013.

Bobi Wine is charged with four others.

These include David Lule, Julius Katongole, Edward Sebuufu and Fred Nyanzi Sentamu, however, the four were charged in 2018 .

However before accepting to go on remand, Bobi Wine adressed and in his own words he said:

“Your honor I am confident because it is not me on trial but this court on trial because I have not committed any crime. I have not stolen public funds or killed anyone. I am here because I have spoken against this government and specifically president Museveni. Your honor i am here because i have spoken against unfair taxation so i am fighting for everyone and for you”.

Leader of opposition did also criticism reasons cited by state while objecting to the bail application of Bobiwine.

This is after state prosecutor Timothy Francis Amerit told court that sureties like Hon.Miria Matembe were insubstantial since she was of advanced age of 64 and not capable to feasibly compel Bobiwine to adhere to court orders.

However, the leader of Opposition said that it was ironical that the State recently just amended the constitution and lifted the presidential age limit to allow even a person of over 100 years to rule the country yet,the state is objecting a person of 64 years to only stand surety.