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As it happened | Uganda Today - Tuesday, January 28

By Joseph Kizza

Added 28th January 2020 08:19 AM

"This aircraft was heading to Kabamba for a joint training exercise that is ongoing there. It is unfortunate that it did not reach," says Maj. Edward Birungi at the scene of the chopper crash in Butambala.

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"This aircraft was heading to Kabamba for a joint training exercise that is ongoing there. It is unfortunate that it did not reach," says Maj. Edward Birungi at the scene of the chopper crash in Butambala.


Presented by Joseph Kizza



(Scroll down the page for earlier updates)


7:00pm |   Coronavirus: rising death toll, global impact'

  laboratory of the ational eference entre for respiratory viruses at the nstitut asteur in aris rance A laboratory of the National Reference Centre for respiratory viruses at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France


A new virus that China announced in late December has killed more than 100 people, infected more than 4,000 and spread to around 15 countries.

Here is a timeline:

New virus

On December 31, China alerts the World Health Organization (WHO) to cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city in Hubei province. The virus is unknown.

Several of the infected worked at a seafood market where live animals are also sold. It is shut down on January 1.

As infections rise, Chinese officials on January 5 rule out a return of the SARS virus, which also originated in China and killed more than 770 people worldwide in 2002 and 2003.

On January 7, they say the outbreak involves a new virus from the coronavirus family. It is named 2019-nCoV.

First death

China announces its first death on January 11: a man in Wuhan.

Two days later the WHO reports a case in Thailand, the first outside China, a woman who arrived from the city.

On January 16 Japan reports a case of a man who had visited the city.

The United States, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan confirm cases over the following days.

The US starts screening flights arriving from Wuhan.

 erman health minister ens pahn  speaks next to the president of the obert och nstitute r othar  ieler in erlin during a press conference on the situation after a erman man contracted the novel strain of coronavirus German health minister Jens Spahn (R) speaks next to the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Dr. Lothar H. Wieler in Berlin during a press conference on the situation after a German man contracted the novel strain of coronavirus


Human transmission

On January 20 China reports a third death in Wuhan and more than 200 infections, with cases also reported outside Hubei including in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Human-to-human transmission is "affirmative", a Chinese expert on infectious diseases Zhong Nanshan tells state broadcaster CCTV.

Asian countries introduce mandatory screenings at airports of arrivals from high-risk areas of China.

Wuhan quarantined

On January 22, the death toll in China hits 17 with more than 550 infections. European airports step up checks on flights from Wuhan.

The city is in effect placed under quarantine on January 23 as air and rail departures are suspended.

Public transport is halted in at least 18 other cities in Hubei, affecting tens of millions of people.

Beijing cancels events for the Lunar New Year starting on January 25, and officials report the first death outside of Hubei.

 edestrians wearing face masks cross a road during a unar ew ear of the at public holiday in ong ong Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road during a Lunar New Year of the Rat public holiday in Hong Kong


Evacuations planned

On January 24, Shanghai Disneyland closes along with a section of the Great Wall and other famous landmarks. Hong Kong's Disneyland follows on January 26.

The United States says it will evacuate its citizens from Wuhan.

On January 27, Mongolia closes its border with China and shuts schools and universities.

The WHO admits making an error in originally assessing the virus' worldwide threat as "moderate", saying the risk is "high at the global level."

Beijing extends the Lunar New Year holiday to limit population flows.

Malaysia bans visitors from Wuhan. Sri Lanka and the Philippines announce tighter visa restrictions for people coming from China.

First non-imported transmissions

On January 28, with 56 million people subject to travel curbs in Hubei province, China urges its citizens to delay overseas travel.

Japan sends an aircraft to Wuhan to repatriate its citizens and France says it will do so on Thursday.

In Germany, a man is infected by a Chinese work colleague in what is believed to be the first human transmission in Europe.

Japan reports a case of a man who had not been to China recently but had apparently driven tourists who had come from Wuhan.

Other countries planning to pull out their nationals from Wuhan include Australia, Germany, India, Morocco, the Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 


6:25pm |   Ill-fated UPDAF chopper 'was heading to Kabamba'

Maj. Edward Birungi, who is at the scene of the crash in Bulo, Butambala district, says the helicopter was headed for Kabamba in Mubende district.

"This aircraft was heading to Kabamba for a joint training exercise that is ongoing there. It is unfortunate that it did not reach.

"The cause and circumstances that have led to this crash will be determined later when the investigation team come up with a report.

"The details of the crew members will be given out when the investigations are complete and when their family members have been informed," he says.



6:12pm |   70,000 mosquito nets to be distributed

As many as 70,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets will be distributed in the UPDF community during the Tarehe Sita celebrations due early next month.

The health ministry handed over huge batches of the nets to the UPDF on Tuesday.


5:30pm |   UPDATE: UPDAF helicopter crash

Here are more images from the chopper crash site, on elevated ground. The pictures show the mangled remains of the ill-fated helicopter in which two UPDAF soldiers - one a senior pilot and another a cadet captain - were killed.

The aircraft is unrecognizable.

A scene of death.





5:14pm |   'Our thoughts are with you'

Keep in touch, Ugandans in Wuhan (China) told.


4:57pm |   UPDATE: UPDAF helicopter crash

More pictures from the crash site . .  .




4:45pm |   UPDATE: UPDAF* helicopter crash

It is understood that one of the victims of the UPDAF had over a decade of flight experience.

It was a training mission.

New Vision's Simon Ssekidde at the scene talked to  a resident of the area, who said the area where the accident happened was misty.

We don't have any official information on the likely cause of the crash, though.

* Uganda People's Defence Air Force


4:30pm |   UPDATE: UPDAF helicopter crash

Here is the first picture we have received from the helicopter crash site.

New Vision's reporter at the scene, Simon Ssekidde, says two people who were onboard the ill-fated chopper have been confirmed dead.

The location: Ndeese in Bulo sub-country, Butambala district.



2:50pm |   UPDAF helicopter crash

The crash is a huge blow the the UPDF community, who only on Tuesday launched the Tarehe Sita celebrations at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya.


2:45pm |   UPDAF helicopter crash

According to deputy army spokesperson Col. Deo Akiiki, the crash happened in the areas over Mpigi and Butambala, near one of the UPDF training grounds.

It is understood one of the victims was a senior pilot while the other was a cadet.

Akiiki says the accident is unfortunate and that the entire UPDF fraternity is in mourning.

A detailed report is being compiled, he adds.


2:25pm |   Two UPDAF soldiers killed in helicopter crash


Two crew members onboard a Uganda People's Defence Air Force (UPDAF) helicopter have been killed after the JetRanger crashed during a training mission, UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire (pictrued) has tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Not much is known about the crash - or the identities of the victims.

"Investigation into the cause has started. Condolences to their families and the entire UPDF fraternity," the Twitter post says.


2:10pm |   Coronavirus: 'We are hoping for the best'

Robert Tomusange is a leader of Ugandan students living in China. He is studying at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, the epicentre of the New coronavirus.

The Chinese Embassy in Uganda has posted footage of Tomusange speaking about the students' situation in China.

"We were all in panic and a lot of anxiety arising from fear that perhaps there wouldn't be any drastic measures taken to avert the situation," says Tomusange of the time coronavirus broke out.

But they have since been re-energized by the measures taken by local authorities to curb the spread of the virus, which has claimed the lives of 106 people so far.

The universities where the Ugandan students are studying have "tried to do all that is possible to avail us with masks - free of charge", according to Tomusange.

"We are also given disinfectant," he adds.

Random temperatire checks are also being carried out.

"I would like to commend the Chinese [authorities] for the job well done, especially the Chinese Prime Minister [Li Keqiang], who paid us a courtesy visit about 20 hours ago to officiate and commission a makeshift hospital in Wuhan to handle issues pertaining the coronavirus," says Tomusange.

"As a student leader, I have heard from many other Ugandan students - close to 400 of them - across China, who are telling us that they are doing well and that similar measures effected at Normal University have been effected in their own universities."

The students have been given hotlines emergency too.

"So far, we would like to reliably say that we have not experienced any case, or whatsoever, from our Ugandan community and we hope for the best."


12:34pm |   Judges conference under way

President Museveni is presiding over the meeting.



12:16pm |   Can coronavirus spread before symptoms



The World Health Organization says it remains unclear if the deadly coronavirus spreading in China and beyond is contagious during its incubation period, before symptoms appear.

The virus, which can cause a pneumonia-like acute respiratory infection, has in a matter of weeks killed more than 80 people and infected some 2,740 in China, while cases have been identified in more than a dozen other countries.

In a fresh report on the new virus, known as 2019nCoV, the UN health agency said current estimates put the incubation period for the virus at between two and 10 days.

"Understanding the time when infected patients may transmit the virus to others is critical for control efforts," WHO said.

It did not immediately confirm assertions made by Chinese authorities that people who are infected can spread the disease before they show any symptoms of fever or respiratory difficulties.

"Detailed epidemiological information from more people infected is needed to determine the infectious period of 2019nCoV, in particular whether transmission can occur from asymptomatic individuals or during the incubation period," it said.

WHO last week stopped short of declaring the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern -- a rare designation used only for the worst outbreaks that would trigger more concerted global action.

But the world body admitted Monday it had made an error in its risk assessment for the deadly virus in several reports last week, acknowledging the global risk was "high" rather than "moderate".

The virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003 and was also traced to the wild game trade.

The new virus is believed to have jumped to people from animals in a Wuhan market, but it has since begun spreading between humans, although the exact mode of transmission has yet to be confirmed.

As with SARS and another deadly coronavirus known as Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, WHO suggested that the new virus could be spreading through droplets, for instance when people sneeze or cough, or through direct contact with infected people or with objects they have touched.

To reduce the risk of infection, WHO stressed the need to avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequently wash one's hands, and avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

The agency also stressed the importance of practising so-called cough etiquette, including maintaining distance and covering coughs and sneezes with tissues.

WHO has not recommended any international travel or trade restrictions, but does call for high levels of vigilance, including encouraging airport exit and entry screening for passengers leaving affected areas to check for fever and coughs.


12:00pm |   President Museveni arrives for Judges Conference

President Museveni has arrived and is set to officially open the 22nd Annual Judges Conference, which got under way on Monday.






11:54am |   'There is no room for corruption'


Brig. Johnson Namanya, the Commissioner for Citizenship and Passport Control, says immigration underwent two shifts.

The first, a  shift from the old passport to the new regime. And the second, a shift from manual to online (last month).

"So we have already issued over 200,000 passports using the two shifts," he tells reporters.

One of the benefits of the reforms in improving effeciency, he adds.

According to Namanya, the decision to put into place the e-passport was made by the East African Legislative Assemby (EALA).

"The earlier Ugandans applied for this passport, the better. Express passports are for one to two days while ordinary ones take two to three days to process," he says.

"There is no room for corruption."


11:43am |   E-paper project: Joint effort needed

ICT and national guidance minister Judith Nabakooba says it will take a joint effort by the internal affairs ministry, NITA-Uganda, NSSF, URA and NIRA and others for the e-passport project to be successful.



11:37am |   Over 83,000 passports issued so far

Addressing a press conference at Uganda Media Centre, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Kania Mario Obiga has revealed that his ministry has issued over 83,233 passport as of January 27, 2020 through the electronic system.


The minister says that immigration has positively impacted the development of Uganda and for that reason, "various efforts are underway to harness its potential so that migration is managed correctly for it to benefit Uganda".

"Many people are wondering why there are few people at the immigration offices nowadays. It is because we now have an ICT system to deal with the e-passport service delivery," he added.

"We are relying on services from the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance and the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) for more flexibility and efficiency."



  A view from the gantry

Pictures from Day Two of the 22nd Annual Judges Conference . . .

(Which faces can you identify by name?)








11:08am |   Annual Judges Conference enters second day

That's one firm handshake between Chief Justice Bart Katureebe and justice minister Ephraim Kamuntu . . .


The 22nd Annual Judges Conference has entered its second day at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.

It is themed: Discharging the mandate of the Judiciary towards a modern, professional and effective judiciary.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to preside over today's session. For now, judges have been asked to have set targets if the Judiciary is to clear the mounting case backlog, reports New Vision's Miriam Namutebi.



10:50am |   Stolen motocycle number plates

As many as 28 number plates of suspected stolen motorcycles have been recovered by Police.

The "intelligence-led operation" was conducted by the Metropolitan Police in  Nkere Zone, Makindye Division.

The Police revealed the recovered number plates:

UEU 397L, UEX 372X, UEO 292X, UEM 480J, UER 819B, UEP 060Q, UEU 765L, UEU 218S, UER 333F, UET 358F, UER 222K, UEU 508P, UEQ 426K, UES 567X, UEJ 687J, UEL 503W, UDW 904T, UDZ522G, UEJ 340L, UET 609U, UEK 270W, UEB 539C, UEK 957P, UEL 688L, UEL 868Q, UEQ 073J, UEA 919J, UDV 347C

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga says they are "trying to establish if the recovered exhibits are linked to a number of attacks on boda boda riders and robberies.

"We have filled out PF 28 and submitted them to URA for particulars of the motorcycles.  We are also entering the registration plates in our CCTV system, to trace for the last locations and the riders identified from the footage. The motorcycles remain outstanding and are not recovered yet," he said Monday.

"Our operations since last year indicate that motorcycles especially boda bodas are a lucrative business for criminals who steal and dismantle them.  We believe the suspect could be part of the gang which targeted and stole boda boda motorcycles.

"We would like to also issue a serious warning to mechanics and dealers who facilitate these crimes," said Enanga.


10:36am |   Of public consultations

The Police say they are "closely monitoring consultative preparations" by "some political actors and group".

In a statement, they say the Police must be notified first by aspiring political aspirants, as per the Electoral Commission guidelines.

Here are the details of the missive:


We have noticed that some political actors and groups have released roadmaps for public consultations online, and went on calling delegates and supporters to take part in these consultations. We would like to remind them that it is a requirement under the Electoral Commssion guidelines, for all aspiring presidential candidates to formally notify the Police. At the moment, we are carefully monitoring all politicians on holding consultations to ensure they do not flout these guidelines.

Based on recent experience, we saw the negative impact of illegal processions and assemblies were serious to public order and public safety, where witnessed in Kasangati, Jinja and Soroti. As a result, we would like to ask all politicians and their organisers to work with the Piolice to achieve their objective of consultations.

As the public would expect, we continue gathering intelligence on all potential risks and threats to public safety. We have plans to respond proportionately, in the face of any violent situation by using minimum but necessary force that may include the use of teargas to disperse and arrest the offenders.

ALl out territorial commanders have been reminded to train and equip our officers to maintain public order and to further have effective plans of mobilising officers within their territorial jurisdiction or across territories where necessary.

We pledge to continue policing all lawful and peace assemblies. We also call upon the public to help us fight illegal protests by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious behaviour.


10:25am |   PROGRESS: Kiira Vehicle Plant Site

The construction and installation of a 3.7km-long 33kV medium voltage electricity line connecting the Kiira Vehicle Plant Site to the national electricity grid have been completed, tested and commissioned by Umeme.

Government says that the construction and installation of a 5.4km-long 6-inch water pipeline connecting the plant site to the municipal water supply system have been completed, tested and commissioned by National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).


10:07am |   FUFA unveils extended headquarters

Uganda's football governing body FUFA has opened an extension of its headquarters at a function graced by visiting FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura and State Minister for Sports Hamson Dennis Obua.

Uganda Cranes coach Johnathan McKinstry was also there.

Samoura and co also toured the Kadiba Project in Mengo, which is one of the projects funded by FIFA for the development of Ugandan football.

The FIFA secretary-general said she "enjoyed visiting the site", adding that FIFA will "work side by side with you to improve the football infrastructure in Uganda".

She said they are looking forward to seeing the finished project.


Meanwhile, Sports State Minister Hamson Obua hailed FUFA for soliciting funds from FIFA and CAF to be directed into developing the sport in the country.


9:36am |   Peter Otai: Ex-minister's body arrives Wednesday


The family of former minister and Uganda People’s Army (UPA) rebel leader Peter Iloot Otai have expressed gratitude to President Yoweri Museveni for accepting to have his body returned home and accorded a state funeral.

The interment is scheduled to be in his native Soroti district.

Otai left Uganda for the UK where he commanded rebellious activities against the then National Resistance Army (NRA) that assumed power in 1986 under the leadership of Museveni.

“We are grateful to President Yoweri Museveni for accepting the remains of our son be brought back for burial,” said Michael Eroku, the zonal clan chairman of Irarak-Iderin in Soroti.

Eroku said Otai’s body will arrive Wednesday afternoon.

Read full story HERE.


9:15am |   'Heartbroken, devastated' LeBron vows to continue Kobe legacy



NBA superstar LeBron James has said he was "heartbroken and devastated" over the death of Kobe Bryant while vowing in an Instagram post to continue Bryant's championship legacy with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion in 20 seasons with the Lakers, died Sunday at age 41 in a helicopter crash only hours after Lakers star James overtook him for third on the league's all-time scoring list.

"I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother," James posted. "Man I love you big bro.

"I promise you I'll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!!

"Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here!"

The NBA postponed Tuesday's scheduled Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers in the wake of Bryant's tragic death. The Lakers' next scheduled game is at home Friday against Portland.

James also made it clear he is still trying to process the shocking death of an iconic long-time rival and dear friend long before they had expected to say farewell, the crash having killed nine people in all, including Bryant's daughter Gigi.

"I'm Not Ready but here I go," James said to start his message. "Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!

"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!!"

The Lakers have won 16 NBA titles in team history, one shy of the Boston Celtics' all-time record. Bryant won five titles in seven NBA Finals appearances, taking crowns in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

But the Lakers have suffered six consecutive losing seasons since their last playoff appearance, including the final three campaigns of Bryant's career.

This season, the Lakers have the second-best record in the NBA at 36-10 to lead the Western Conference, with James averaging 25.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and a league-best 10.7 assists a game.

James had reached the NBA Finals eight consecutive years and nine times in his career until last year's Lakers struggled in his first season with the club.

Bryant retired in 2016, the same year James fulfilled his life dream of winning an NBA title with his hometown club, the Cleveland Cavaliers, after having taken his first two crowns with the Miami Heat.

James led the Cavaliers into the NBA Finals the next two seasons, losing each time to Golden State, and in 2018 opted to leave Cleveland and join the Lakers.

James said his heart went out to Bryant's widow, Vanessa, and Kobe's surviving daughters.

"There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it!" James wrote. "Until we meet again my brother!!"

James's message came alongside a photo of him in a Lakers uniform greeting Bryant as he rose from a courtside seat.


9:00am |   Kobe Bryant: private helicopters ferry LA elite above traffic

Uganda and the rest of the world are still trying to come to terms with the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other people in a Sunday helicopter crash in California.



Police, firefighters, news channels and tourists: helicopters are a constant buzz in the Los Angeles skies, but only a few wealthy people like Kobe Bryant could afford to use them on a daily basis.

The expensive, rapid option is restricted to a handful of businessmen and celebrities -- including the late basketball legend -- seeking to avoid the Californian city's notoriously clogged roads.

"Renting a machine like (Bryant's Sikorsky S-76) is about $4,000 an hour, the pilot is earning at least $100,000 a year," Philippe Lesourd, a helicopter pilot and instructor who has been flying in the state for 29 years, told AFP.

"It's not within anyone's reach."

Beside Bryant, other celebrities who regularly use helicopters include the Kardashian family, said Lesourd, as well as businessmen who prefer an option "about five or six times faster than the road with traffic."

Bryant started using private choppers around 2006.

After dropping his daughters at school by car in the morning, he would fly 40 miles north to the Lakers stadium in downtown LA for basketball training, and return to Newport Beach in time to collect them.

The journey took just 15 minutes by helicopter, compared to at least two hours by car during rush hour.

"I had to figure out a way where I could still train and focus on the craft but not compromise family time," Bryant once said.

After retiring in 2016, the basketball titan -- worth an estimated $600 million -- continued to rent helicopters and pilots for his travels.

He was in his regular helicopter Sunday morning when it crashed into a hillside near Los Angeles.

Eight others were killed, including his 13-year-old daughter, whom Kobe was accompanying to a basketball game she was due to play in.


The causes of the disaster have not yet been determined, but the city was shrouded in a dense fog.

"He should have said to himself 'Let's take the car,' or stopped somewhere and waited a couple of hours for the fog to lift," said Lesourd.

According to Lesourd, the likeliest explanation is that the pilot suffered "spatial disorientation" after losing sight of the ground upon entering the clouds.

"A helicopter is unstable -- not like a car or a plane. You constantly have to actively control its altitude," he said.

"When you're in the clouds, your brain doesn't know which way is up and which is down, like when you're scuba diving."

Bryant's pilot would have been highly experienced, because helicopters which transport individual passengers "on demand" require strict, airline-style permits to operate.

Such "air taxi" pilots -- a minority of those flying helicopters -- have to undergo regular training and drug testing checks, added Lesourd.

California is the US state with the highest number of helicopter accidents, with 177 recorded between 2007-2016, according to official statistics.

Helicopters were on average safer than airplanes in the US, with a fatality rate of 0.82 per 100,000 flying hours, including 55 deaths in 24 accidents last year.

But according to figures from a US helicopter safety group, private flights have the worst performance of any sector.

Over the past decade, they accounted for only three percent of flying hours, but 26 percent of fatal accidents.



 8:50am |   They are back!

The triumphant Uganda U17 women football team is back home after beating Ethiopia in the return leg of the World Cup qualifiers to advance to the second round.

The Ugandan girls beat Ethiopia 3-1 in the second leg in Bahir Dar to progress 5-1 on aggregate.

And there was every reason for the victorious team to celebrate -  with cake - before returning home.


8:45am |   Today's Ras Toon

President Yoweri Museveni has called for calm following a trade blockade and tariff hike on Uganda’s milk by Kenya.


8:40am |   Today's dose of motivation

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure."

- Colin Powell



8:30am |   Good [wet] morning!

Rain in January?

Strange, huh? But well, after recent dry days, we have an early morning shower!

Good morning to you all. Welcome to this live page, and as usual, I will keep you posted with bits of what's happening in Uganda, about Ugandans beyond the borders and any news that is relevant to Uganda.

Let's creep right in.


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