Ugandan businesses suffer amid South Sudan’s ineptness

By Edwin Muhumuza

Finance State Minister David Bahati has revealed that Uganda is forming a team that will travel to Juba, South Sudan on 15th April, in a bid to exert pressure on their counterparts to enforce the bilateral agreement in which South Sudan government committed to refund the money owed to Uganda as damages and losses to property and business owned by Ugandans.

Bahati who was appearing before the parliaments select committee was reacting to concerns raised by some traders who have been ignored after the Finance Ministry paid Shs 40 billion to ten(10) Uganda-South Sudan grain traders yet the list outlines 23 companies.

The minister notes that the main obstacle against the move to refund Ugandan traders who made losses in South Sudan during the war was the difficulty to form a joint verification committee from both governments.

On Tuesday, March 26, the minister of Trade Ms. Amelia Kyambadde disowned the list of Ugandan companies that were approved before Parliament seeking for compensation for their lost goods in South Sudan during the war in 2013.

The committee chairperson highlighted that there have risen a number of concerns from several witnesses that have appeared before the committee accusing her ministry of leaving them out while compiling the list of beneficiaries.

However, she denied the responsibility of manipulating the list of companies noting that they compiled a genuine list which was arrived at during an inter-ministerial committee verification process which was constituted by the Ministry of Trade, that of Finance, and of Justice.

During the session,Bahati also denied owning companies that benefited from compensation over loss of business in South Sudan. He told the committee that even if he owned a company in South Sudan, he wouldn’t accept to be part of the on-going compensation process.

This after the Select Committee Chairperson Ann Maria Nankabirwa revealed that she had received information alleging that Bahati’s companies were part of those defrauded in South Sudan and are in a process of being compensated. She read out M/S Kaimat Enterprises, M/S Jan Jang Company Limited and M/S Nile Site Company as some allegedly owned by Bahati.

The process for compensation of affected companies has so far seen ten companies paid. They are Rubya Investments, Kibungo Entreprises, Aponye (U) Ltd, Afro Kai ltd, Swift commodities establishment ltd, Sunrise commodities, Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and KK Travelers.

Others that are pending payment include; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company, MFK company among others.

Sudan Ambassador , minister Mugoya meet to discuss plans for peace and regional security

By Moses Kidandi

The Governments of Uganda and Sudan have agreed to jointly work together to implement all the decisions reached by the two respective Presidents during the recently concluded interactions.
Uganda and Sudan agreed to ensure that the Democratic Republic of Congo holds peaceful presidential elections this December, Support the Re-union of Ethiopia and Eritrea and maintain Peace and Security in the region and also give support to South Sudan Peace Agreement that was reached to.

This was agreed during a meeting between the Assistant Under –Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan, Her Excellency Ambassador Ilham Ibrahim Mohamed
Ahmed who paid a visit to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador, Patrick Mugoya on Wednesday at Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Kampala.

On her part, the Under-Secretary from Sudan promised to work very closely with the Government of Uganda to strengthen the Relations between the two Countries.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya further welcomed Her delegation to Kampala and said that it was a great opportunity between
the two countries to improve Political, Economic and Social status of the people of Uganda and Sudan via Improved Peace and Security in the whole region.

The meeting was also attended by Sudanese Ambassador H.E Abdel Bali H. Kabir and Uganda’s Ambassador to Sudan H.E James Kinobe today 5th December 2018, Uganda and Sudan will start negotiating areas of Cooperation and signing of a Joint Ministerial Commission Memorandum of Understanding will take place on Friday, 7th December 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Poor toilet habits posing sanitation challenges in Lamwo refugee settlement

Palabek Ogili Refugee Settlement in Lamwo district is struggling to promote sanitation and hygiene among South Sudan refugees in the area. The settlement is now home to an estimated 25,000 refugees who fled conflict in Pajok and other parts of South Sudan.

Families already resettled on allocated pieces of land have been given up to August to construct a three meter deep pit latrine among other sanitary facilities on their plots.

Robert Ochan, the camp chairman Palabek Ogili Refugee Settlement decried inadequate water supply in some areas and poor toilet habits among residents. He says that although sanitation is being promoted at household level due to logistical challenges related to management of community pit latrines, many households are facing challenges in building their own facilities.

Aldo Langoya, one of the leaders in the settlement is says that in addition to having functional pit latrines and kitchen drying racks, all households are expected to practice hand washing and proper refuse management.

Robert Ochan, the camp chairman says promoting sanitation and hygiene among Lutugu ethnic group is particularly challenging due to their cultural belief that sharing a pit latrine with male members of a family is a taboo.

Lutheran World Federation (LWF), one of the many charity organizations promoting sanitation in the settlement has distributed construction materials which include plastic toilet slabs, hand washing facilities, poles and roofing materials to households that have been allocated pieces of land for settlement.

 

 

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UNICEF receives 8Bn to help with the growing refugee crisis in Uganda

An emergency nutrition and education response to the refugee crisis in Uganda by the UN Children’s Agency-UNICEF has received a boost of 8 Billion Shillings thanks to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

More than 950,000 refugees have crossed into Uganda since the start of the conflict in from South Sudan in December 2013, driving the refugee population in Uganda to 1.3 million people. At least 750,000 of these arrived after July 2016.

“With over 2,000 South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda every day, Uganda is now host to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world,” Isabelle D’Haudt, ECHO’s Humanitarian Advisor for Uganda said in a statement issued this morning.

The ECHO contribution will enable UNICEF to provide nutritional screening for all children at refugee entry points, appropriate treatment and care for severely malnourished children, Vitamin A micro-nutrients and deworming medicine for children, and iron/folate supplementation to pregnant and breastfeeding women. The nutrition intervention is estimated to reach nearly 200,000 beneficiaries.

A recent food security and nutrition assessment conducted in the refugee hosting districts shows high malnutrition rates, stunted development due to chronic malnutrition and high levels of anemia among children and women.

Similarly, in the education sector, in both early childhood development (ECD) centers and primary schools, there are vast needs ranging from inadequate classrooms, teaching materials and latrines, among other needs.

“Considering 60 percent of all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are under the age of 18 and 56 percent of the population in all South Sudanese refugee-hosting districts in the country are children, children are the face of the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Uganda,” Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda said.

For education, UNICEF will construct seven new ECD centres as well as upgrade 15 ECD centres from a temporary to semi-permanent state, which will provide multi-sectorial quality early childhood development to around 5,000 young children.

As at May 2017, UNICEF’s response to South Sudanese refugees and host communities in Uganda has supported more than 135,000 children with vaccinations against measles, over 70,000 children with vaccinations against polio, nearly 185,000 people with clean water and 9,000 severely malnourished children with therapeutic feeding treatment.

More than 12,000 children who have been separated from their parents and families have been supported with family tracing and reunification services, while another 85,000, children and adolescents have had an opportunity to access education and nearly 50,000 young children to access critical Early Childhood Development services.

 

 

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Unending civil war in Sudan causes institutions to relocate to Uganda

A number of South Sudanese religious and educational institutions are relocating to Uganda as the civil war in the country intensifies.

Close to a million people have fled to West Nile in Uganda amidst claims of ethnic cleansing by the warring factions.

Already a health training institution from Kajokeji town has relocated to Arua district with all its students. In Moyo, preparations are almost complete to relocate the Catholic Diocese of Kajokeji to Moyo town.

Kajokeji is located in Yei River State, one of the 28 states in South Sudan. Before the creation of states, it was part of the six counties of Central Equatoria. It is approximately 150 kilometres south of South Sudan capital, Juba, and 50 kilometres from the Uganda border post at Nimule.

William Anyama, the Local Council Five Chairperson of Moyo district says land and structures have already been put in place to accommodate the bishop and other diocesan leaders from Kajokeji diocese in the district. Anyama says over the last few months, several people have been displaced from Kajokeji and have taken refuge in Moyo district. He says the situation in South Sudan is alarming and calls for the residents of Moyo to offer shelter for the fleeing refugees.

Anyama says the influx is placing a heavy burden on the district to share the little resources available.

In Arua town, Kajokeji Health Training Institute has already opened its gates for the students to continue learning. Founded in 2013, the institute produced its first set of graduates last year after three years of training. The school located in Kajokeji town had its own premises complete with facilities. In September last year, unknown gunmen raided the school, killing two students. The raid forced the school management to close the institution and decided to relocate to Arua.

Santa Gudoa, the Administrative Assistant at the institute says since all the people in Kajokeji have fled, there was no need to continue operating the school there.

The relocation exercise has also come with a heavy burden on the management of the institution. Isaac Draciri, the Deputy Principal of the institute says the cost of relocating has been heavy. He says the current facility they are renting is costly. He says they are paying 3,000 US Dollars a month and the landlord forced them to pay for six months. According to Draciri, this has eroded the resource base of the institute.

Draciri also says the relocation has had an effect that a number of students have dropped out because they cannot afford to pay the high fees charged in Ugandan currency. He says this also affects the financial base of the institute coupled with the high costs of renting and provision of other facilities.

On a positive note however, the deputy principal says the cost of hiring tutors has lowered. Draciri says while in Kajokeji, they used to hire tutors from Arua and Gulu, with very high costs. He says they would pay for the visas and transportation from Uganda to Kajokeji. He now says they have cut down on the costs because the tutors are readily available at a reduced cost. He hopes this will improve the standards of the institution.

To the students it is a new experience. Betty Peter Elisa, a second year student studying nursing says she feels more at peace in Arua than when she was in Kajokeji. Elisa says after the death of her colleagues she was traumatized and wanted to leave the institute. She says when they were told that the school would be relocated to Arua, she and her colleagues were excited because they knew they would be safe.

 

 

 

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Rebel leader Kony suffers from sever stomach ulcers

The elusive leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA, Joseph Kony is battling severe stomach ulcers, one of his former top commanders has revealed.

Regimental Sergeant Major, Peter Labeja Kidega told URN at the UPDF Child and Family Protection Unit in Gulu district on Friday last week, that Kony’s health gets unpredictable each passing day.

According to Kidega, Kony confided in his loyal commanders in Darfur Region in Sudan that he is battling severe stomach ulcers, ending years of speculation on his health. Kidega says Kony’s ill health and accumulation of mineral wealth are shifting his focus from warfare to personal survival as his troops dwindle to 120 personnel.

Kidega is among the few senior LRA commanders who were entrusted with the secret on Kony’s health. He defected to Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic Defense Forces on November last year. Kidege was abducted by LRA rebels from Kubwor Village in Parabongo Sub County in Agago district in 2003.

Lt. Hassan Ahmad Kato, the UPDF 4th Division Spokesperson says Kony has been weakened due the pressure from Ugandan troops pursuing him in the jungles. “For us as UPDF, we welcome the defections of abducted children and we are confident that we shall bring Kony himself to justice; so he can account for atrocities he committed on our civilians”, he stated.

Joseph Kony is on the International criminal Court (ICC) wanted list for war crimes and crimes against humanity he is alleged to have committed during two decades of conflict in Northern Uganda.

 

 

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Germany Government finalizes 37Bn grant to support South Sudanese refugees

The German government has announced a grant of 10 million Euros, approximately Uganda shillings 37 Billion to support South Sudan refugees in the country.

The money will be spent on supporting improved water supply and sanitation of South Sudan refugees and host communities in North Uganda.

A Dec 22, 2016 press statement from the Germany embassy in says “the new allocation comes in addition to a pledge of 8 million Euros agreed during the intergovernmental negotiations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Uganda in October 2016”.

In total the German Government has committed 32.5 million Euros (approximately 120.3 billion Uganda shillings to support refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda in 2016.

The statement says Germany has also contributed to the UN World Food Program in Uganda and significantly increased its share in regional programs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) supporting South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries and those internally displaced in South Sudan.

“The contribution to the UNHCR programs in the region targeting South Sudanese refugees increased from 5 million to 31 million Euros”, it says.

Uganda is now home to 1.3 Million South Sudan refugees living in settlement camps in Adjumani, Moyo and Yumbe districts. More refugees continue to arrive daily as UN chief Ban Ki Moon warned on Monday that the conflict in the restive country is progressing towards a mass atrocity.

 

 

 

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Over 52000 South Sudanese refugees have registered entry in Uganda

Refugee flows from South Sudan into Uganda have doubled in the past ten days, growing to more than 52,000 people since violence escalated three weeks ago.

Most of the new arrivals are from Yei, a city that lies close to the borders of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They say they received letters warning them to evacuate the town in anticipation of conflict between rebels and government forces.

Others are from Eastern Equatorial, with smaller numbers from the capital Juba and Upper Nile state.

The refugees have also reported that armed groups operating across different parts of South Sudan are looting villages, murdering civilians and forcibly recruiting young men and boys into their ranks. They add that armed groups operating on roads to Uganda are preventing people from fleeing South Sudan.

Charlie Yaxley, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR in Kampala says that many of the children registered at the reception centres have lost one, or both of their parents.

“Many took advantage of the opportunity to flee alongside Ugandan military convoys evacuating Ugandan nationals,” Yaxley said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Kenya has also reported the arrival of 1,000 refugees in the same period, while 7,000 have fled to Khartoum. In total, 60,000 people have fled the country in less than one month, bringing the overall number of South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries since December 2013 to nearly 900,000.

Both Kenya and Uganda are reporting rising cases of severe malnutrition, particularly among very young children. Those found to be suffering are being placed on food nourishment programmes to bring them back to health.

Yaxley adds the generalized collapse in the protection of civilians is also affecting many of the 250,000 refugees, mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia, and the DRC.   Aid agencies are unable to provide urgent help to needy populations.

With over 2.6 million of its citizens forcibly displaced, the world’s youngest nation currently ranks among the countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally. Half the population relies on humanitarian aid.

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Cases of gang rape increase in South Sudan amidst political conflict

The UN Mission in South Sudan- UNMISS has condemned continuing reports of widespread sexual violence against women and girls around the South Sudanese capital Juba.

Reports of sexual attacks began as soon as fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and then First Vice President Riek Machar, erupted on July 8. More than 100 separate cases of sexual violence against unarmed innocent civilians have so far been recorded.

UNMISS said in a statement that the reported crimes include rape and gang rape by soldiers in uniform and by unidentified armed groups of men in plain clothes. Various locations have been involved, including the vicinity of the Protection of Civilian Sites near UN House.

Despite calls to all parties to cease from this kind of inhuman behavior, reports were still coming in, UNMISS added.

The Mission said that in order to improve the security of vulnerable communities, including women and children, patrols had been intensified around protection sites. Peacekeeping escorts for women and young girls were also being coordinated, to allow them to leave sites to collect food and other supplies.

It added that it was taking very seriously, allegations that UN Peacekeepers may not have rendered aid to civilians in distress adding that all peacekeepers had an individual and joint duty to act if any harm or abuse was being carried out.

Although a ceasefire was agreed between government and opposition in mid-July, fighting is continuing, which has led to thousands more displaced and rampant food insecurity.

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Police prepares for home coming

Preparations to take home Ugandans stranded at the Uganda-South Sudan boarder of Eregu are underway.

Aswa Region Police spokesperson Patrick Okema says these include people who lack transport to take them back to their original home area because they lost their properties and money as they fled fighting.

Okema noted that majority of refugees crossing into Uganda are women and children.


Photo: acholitimes.com