Japan donates over USD 9 million to Uganda for Ugandan refugees

By Moses Kidandi

The Government of Japan has contributed USD 9.8 Million which is approximately UGX 36 billion to support refugees, host communities as well as border security. This will focus on mitigating the COVID-19 impacts, over a period of one year from April 2021 to March 2022.

The support has been channeled through eight International agencies comprised of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) among others.

According to Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Hidemoto Fukuzawa their contribution is in response to Uganda’s generous progressive refugee policy and needs for humanitarian development support.

Uganda’s ranking in fight against corruption drops

By Alice Lubwama

Uganda’s ranking in the fight against corruption has dropped from 137th to 142nd position out of the 180 countries that were assessed in the world.

According to the corruption index report of 2020 released by Transparency International Uganda today, Uganda has moved from the third to the fourth position as the most corrupt country in the East African region after Burundi.

While releasing the report, the executive director Transparency International Uganda, Peter Wandera said that the drop in ranking could have resulted from the corruption scandals that surrounded the management and allocation of resources for COVID-19 pandemic and the bribery during election period.

“Even up to now we not sure how some of these monies were used, there was bribery at quarantine centers, so all this might have contributed to our drop.” Wandera said.

He now calls upon leaders from Uganda and Burundi to have political will to fight corruption just like their counterparts in Rwanda and Tanzania.

“Tanzania used to perform poorly previously, we were in the same club of poor performers but president Magufuli, has done reforms and stood his ground on the issues of corruption by putting to order any public official that has been found to be corrupt.” he added

In the Sub Saharan region Seychelles was the best performing country, followed by Botswana and Cape Verde.

The best performing countries across the world were Denmark followed by New Zealand, Finland and Singapore among others.

Human Rights Commission says elections were free and fair

By Alice Lubwama

The Uganda human rights commission says the recently concluded presidential elections were free and fair because people turned up in big numbers to vote.

While releasing their preliminary report on the presidential and parliamentary elections at the commission offices in Kampala the acting chairperson of the commission Katebalirwe Amooti said that those who think that the exercise was not free and fair are entitled to their opinion and should collect evidence to take the matter to court instead of burning petrol stations and roads.

He also defended the deployment by security agencies during elections, saying this did not affect the people from voting because they turned up in big numbers.

On the house arrest of National unity platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi , the commission has regretted the inconveniences caused by the security agents to Kyagulanyi and his family but said he should follow the law and ask his lawyers to take up the matter to the courts of law rather than encouraging people to violate it.

The commission justified the suspension of the internet by the Government, they say it is permitted under the access to information act to limit the right of access to information in case of any security threat.

One of the commissioners Dr Patricia Achan says the Government took a drastic measure to suspend the internet on realizing that the internet was becoming a security threat.

“If the state came up and said this is becoming a security threat, there is a lot of misinformation out there , some religious institutions had come up with some prophecies that there is going to be a lot of bloodshed in the country so Government had to take that drastic measure.” Achan said.

NUP asks EC to intervene on police interference during campaigns

By Sania Babirye

National unity platform party led by Kyadondo East MP Kyagulanyi has unveiled their Presidential candidate Official Poster.

These have also launched their slogan, “When the struggle is over, we shall wear the victors’ crown in A NEW UGANDA.”

Speaking at the function at their headquarters in Kamyokya, David Lubongoya the party secretary general has revealed that their manifesto will be unveiled soon.

Joel Senyonyi the party spokesperson has called upon the electoral commission to intervene in what he has called the continued defacing of their presidential flag bearer posters by security operatives including the police and the army if its not partisan.

Ssenyonyi now wants the electoral commission to intervene if its independent by stopping the police and the army from continuing to pull down posters of party president Robert Kyagulanyi down while protecting those of president Museveni.

Senyonyi further says that it is not fair that EC that has powers but has not come out to criticise such actions of the army and police .

He says that if this does not stop, its likely to cause disharmony amongst Ugandans.

He also criticized the police from arresting and detaining their members including those who are underage like 17 year old Walakira Elijah without charging them with any offence.

Uganda’s inflation registered at 4.5%

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda’s inflation has been recorded at 4.5% from 4.6% last month.

While releasing the consumer price index report for the month of September, the principal statistician at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Sam Kaisiromwe , noted that the decline is attributed to a gradual reduction in prices of food stuffs.

‘The prices of food crops continue to go down and they have now reached to minus 6.2% for year ending September 2020 compared to minus 5.4 registered in August.’

Looking at food crops, vegetable inflation decreased to minus 3.7% compared to the rise in August when they were registered at 0.4%.

‘Still with food crops, inflation of fruits is seen to be going up a bit to minus 8.9 % in September compared to minus 12.3% in August’, he said.

At sectoral level, transport registered the highest inflation of 27.7% in September, followed by clothing and foot wear that registered 2.5% compared to 1.9% in August.

The least inflation was seen in food and non-alcoholic beverages that resisted 0.2% compared to 1.7% in August. Restaurants and Hotels registered 1.2% compared to 1.6% last month, and communication registered 1.3% compared to 1.4% in August.

Regionally, the basket of Kampala High Income recorded the highest inflation of 5.5% in September compared to 4.5% in August. This was followed by Kampala Middle income that registered 5.2% for September compared to 5.5% in August.

Gulu region and its surroundings registered the lowest inflation of 2.6% compared to 3.4% in August.In all regions transport inflation remains high according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

Monthly, Month on Month inflation rose by 0.7% compared to 0.3% rise in August.

Some of the items that increased in prices include, cooking bananas, mangoes, taxi fares for shared short distances, citrus fruits, dried cassava, pumpkins, whole cassava and fish specifically Nile perch.

However during the month of September Maize flour prices went down, liquefied gas, round onions, cabbages, fresh beans, eggplants, bitter tomatoes and tomatoes also registered price reductions.

In the Residential Property Price Index, which measures the prices of houses within greater Kampala metropolitan area, different geographical areas contribute to the index .

Wakiso contributes 39.5% of the total stock of houses on sale, Kampala and Makindye around 23.7%,Kawempe and Rubaga around 23.3% and lastly Nakawa at 13.4% of the houses.

The results indicate that the index declined to 10.1% for Q1 compared to 10.5 in Q4 of the last financial year.

The decline was due to residential properties in Kampala and Makindye areas that declined to 6.5% for Q1 of 2020/21 compared to 25.2% registered in the previous quarter.However Nakawa prices increased to 26.4% in Q1 compared to 20.1% registered in Q4.

In addition Wakiso prices of houses also increased to 13.0% for the year ending Q1 of 2020/21 compared to 5.1% in the last quarter.

Another Calf rhino, Jabali has been born

By Patricia Osman

It is yet another score for the tourism industry following the birth of a baby Rhino at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Speaking to Capital Radio, Angie Genade the executive director Rhino Fund Uganda, says the male called Jabali was born last night to Bella who has had six babies now adding that the great news only pushes them closer to their goal of re-introducing Rhinos to the wild.

The baby is extremely strong, he is already running around and playing with his two year old brother, the excited Angie said.

Bella is the female that had the first calf at the sanctuary in 2008 unfortunately it was a still birth.

Just two weeks ago another Rhino Laloyo gave birth to a female baby Rhoda. Today the sanctuary boosts of 32 Rhinos.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Rhino Fund Uganda are planning to take Rhinos back to the wild by 2022.

This is what it takes for a rhino to be re introduced into the wild;

A Feasibility study should be done to see which national park or area would be best featured to receive the white Rhinos. Then, a genetics report of the Rhinos is a produced before splitting them bearing in mind which ones move and which ones stay for purposes of continuity of the breeding process.
The rhinos should be at least four and a half or five years old because then they can fend for themselves.

In the event that rhinos are younger than the above age, then they should be moved with their mother who will then take care of them.

FDC extends nomination deadline for the third time

By Robert Segawa

The opposition Forum for Democratic Change Party leadership has once again postponed the nomination deadline for presidential flag bearer.

The Party’s Electoral Commission chairperson Bonifance Toterebuka Bamwenda told journalists at the Party offices in Najjanankumbi-Kampala that reluctance by the National Electoral Commission to furnish them with electoral guidelines was the reason they have continued to postpone events.

Bamwenda said the new schedule would be announced when the National Executive Committee (NEC ) convenes on Friday.

Bamwenda said those interested in picking nomination forms for FDC Presidential flag bearer must pay 5 million shillings which is non refundable.

This is the third time when the main Opposition Party postpones nominations.

The Party has also issued a one week ultimatum to all it’s district structural leadership to identify Member of Parliament aspirants in the newly demarcated 46 Counties by government.

MPs oppose guidelines to allow pregnant girls in school

By Alice Lubwama

A section of lawmakers have opposed the guidelines being drafted by the ministry of Education to retain pregnant girls in schools saying this will encourage more to get pregnant.

This was during a consultation meeting between MPS under Uganda parliamentary association and officials from the Ministry of education on the guidelines.

The commissioner basic education in the ministry of education Mugenyi Cleophus says the number of teenage pregnancies have escalated during this time of Covid19 pandemic when school girls are Idle at home.

But legislators such as James Waira Magyegere Bunya east and Noeline Kisembo Kibaale woman MP say that the girls should be only allowed to continue with their studies after giving birth ,because keeping them pregnant in schools with others will be sending a bad signal.

Among the proposals in the guidelines all teachers shall protect the pregnant girls and adolescent mothers from stigma and discrimination.

The schools will also be required to form health committees with counselors who will be in charge of counseling the pregnant girls who will be allowed in schools till six months.

The parents shall be required to report the schools that fails to admit their daughter to the district education officer.

Uganda ranks 6th most popular African destination for international conferences

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda has been ranked the sixth most popular destination in Africa for hosting international conferences and events in the 2019 statistics report released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). ICCA represents the world’s leading association for the global meetings, conference and events industry.

The rank is a four point advancement from the 2018 report where Uganda ranked 10th.

Uganda has over the last 5 years ranked consistently in the top 10 African destinations for hosting international conferences and events. The rankings are based on the number of association meetings taking place regularly, rotating between at least three different countries and with 50 participants.

According to the UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova, Uganda in 2019 hosted 22 association meetings including the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentarians Conference, 8th African Population Conference, Africa Now Summit, 4th African Judicial Dialogue and the 2nd Congress of the African Primatological Conference; among others all which attracted a variance of domestic, regional and international visitors and contributed to the rankings that currently place Uganda as a top Meeting and Events destination in Africa.

“In 2020, Uganda had organized and was scheduled to host a number of notable conferences and meetings that had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These included among others; the G77 summit, Africa Climate week, World Health Summit, CBR World Congress and the AfrAA Conference,” Ajarova explained.

She highlighted that many of these conferences have been rescheduled to take place in 2021 pending confirmation of the dates as the COVID-19 pandemic is examined and travel restrictions reviewed.

“As Uganda continues to grow its MICE industry, the next few years will see our association meetings increase as the world normalizes in the post COVID era,” Ajarova said.

Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria.

Its abundant wildlife includes chimpanzees as well as rare birds. Remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a renowned mountain gorilla sanctuary. Murchison Falls National Park in the northwest is known for its 43m-tall waterfall and wildlife such as hippos.

Court orders government to pay UGX12M compensation after losing case

By Sania Babirye

The Kampala high court has ordered government to pay a one Gabula Africa Evans Ronald 12 million shillings at a 10% interest rate per annum and costs to the suit in compensation after ruling that he was unlawfully arrested and tortured by security operatives for one month while being coerced to confess to dealing with Ugandan based Australian cardiologist Dr.Agrey Kiyingi.

Justice Patricia Basaza Waswa has ruled that Gabula was indeed unlawfully arrested, detained and tortured which infringed on his fundamental rights and freedoms to protection from deprivation of liberty, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Gabula dragged government to the high court accusing officers of the Special Operations Unit (SOU) under the Police Force of unlawfully arresting and torturing him under the commandant of Nixon Asingwire and Samuel Okello in 2014 which was an infringement of his fundamental rights and freedoms.

Justice Basaza ruled that indeed the government did admit to the said allegations since government never denied his torture claims either
by way of a written statement or defense.

She further ruled that Gabula’s torture evidence presented before court which was never challenged by the attorney general but supported by the medical report from the African Center for treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and an account given by an eye witness -bystander proved that the actions of the Police officers named, were actions done by a Special Unit of the Police Force, done during working hours, on consecutive days.

Justice Basaza in conclusion ruled that although done in unauthorized place and manner, the Police Officers were acting in the course of their duty for which the Attorney General, representing the State, is vicariously liable and ordered government to pay the said compensation at a 10% interest rate per annum from the time of the judgement

In his defense, Gabula told court that after being arrested on the 26th of December 2014, at 10am, at Game, Lugogo Mall by plain clothed security operatives sent by a one Nixon Asingwire, he was whisked away to (SOU) head offices at Clement hill n the boot of a car, handcuffed and face covered were he was slapped, kicked beaten until he lost consciousness as police officers advised him to confess to dealings with a one Dr. Kiyingi which he declined to do, on the basis that he did not know the person.

He further revealed that during the course of his illegal detention from December 22, 2014 to January
21, 2015, he was subjected to other forms of torture including tying his hands, his legs, his mouth being cut off
(sic) with a scissors and disfigured, beaten with belts, whipped by three men which forced him to bled from the mouth, elbows and legs and being poured on cold water for dozing .

The officers also Placed a hot nosal of the pistol on the wound of his mouth, gave him a piece of posho and water that tasted like alcohol with severe pain in his teeth and was later taken tov Kireka to the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) and later to Mbuya barracks.