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As it happened: Uganda Today - Tuesday April 16

By Joseph Kizza

Added 16th April 2019 08:53 AM

"Uganda asks for the respect of the views of the people of Sudan. We wish and urge that Sudan should remain intact whatever happens," says State foreign affairs minister Okello Oryem.

As it happened: Uganda Today - Tuesday April 16

Minister Okello Oryem appeared before Parliament's foreign affairs committee on Tuesday. (Credit: Miriam Namutebi)

"Uganda asks for the respect of the views of the people of Sudan. We wish and urge that Sudan should remain intact whatever happens," says State foreign affairs minister Okello Oryem.


Presented by Joseph Kizza







  Good evening

Will leave it here for today. Scroll down for earlier stories.

Let me leave you with this closeup of a  bee landing on a large-leaved lupine (lupinus polyphillus) in a bees' garden.






Speaker Kadaga 'back and resting'

New Vision's Moses Walubiri reports that the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, quietly returned home on Saturday after spending three weeks at Aga Khan Hospital following a health emergency in the wake of a whirlwind trip to Rabat (Morocco) and New York (USA) last month.

Kadaga's principal press secretary Sam Obbo told Walubiri on Tuesday that the Speaker, who doubles as the Kamuli district Woman MP, is in much better shape now.

But he was guarded about how long Kadaga will spend away from her official duties recuperating. "It is only her doctors who can answer that question. But she is back and resting."







  Jjumba appointed new bishop of Masaka diocese





Second funeral service held for Nnabagereka's father


New Vision's Lawrence Mulondo:

It was a somber mood at St. Luke Nkumba Church of Uganda as hundreds of mourners attended the funeral service of John Mulumba Luswata, the father of the Nnabagereka of Buganda, Sylvia Nagginda.

He was 81.

Tuesday's was the second funeral service for the late after the first one at St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe on Monday.

In attendance were Luswata's family, officials from Buganda kingdom and the central government, politicians, members of Mother's and Father's Unions, Nkumba residents and others.

According to the burial programme, Luswata would be laid to rest today at his ancestral home in Nkumba, about 3km from the church.






'We are closely watching Sudan'


New Vision's Miriam Namutebi:

More from Minister Onek . . .

"We are closely watching Sudan, and we classify it as an immediate neighbour. The transition is volatile and moving very fast. We are asking our players who are in touch with the key players to keep us in touch with the situation.

"Uganda asks for the respect of the views of the people of Sudan. We wish and urge that Sudan should remain intact whatever happens. Nobody should have aspects or desire for Sudan to break up.

"It is very important that the successor to be guarantor to the peace of Sudan, otherwise South Sudan might fall back to chaos. We don't underestimate that what can happen to Sudan can have an efffect on  Uganda in terms of security and trade," he said.





'Our country is open'


New Vision's Miriam Namutebi:

Earlier today, State foreign affairs minister Okello Oryem appeared before Parliament's foreign affairs committee, during which he he gave an update on the Uganda-Rwanda border situation.

"We believe that these are matters that can be addressed through the right diplomatic channels and we hope the diplomatic avenues can be used. Our borders remain open to all Rwandan," he said.

"I would like all other countries to welcome anyone from Sudan, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda  and  provided they respect the rules of Uganda."




'No tolerance for misuse of refugee money'


New Vision's Timothy Murungi:

In the same spirit, the Ugandan government has said it is ready to sanction any official who misuses refugees money, according to Hilary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

He was allaying fears of Ambassador Kameda, who expressed concern over issues over accountability of refugee funds.

 li bdi the nternational rganisation for igration  chief of mission represented the Ali Abdi, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) chief of mission, represented the UN






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Refugees: Japan assured Uganda of continued support



Ambassador Kameda assured Ugandans Japan will continue to help refugee-hosting districts in Uganda.

"To account for our recent contributions since the outbreak of the violence erupted in Juba [South Sudan] in July 2016, which brought about massive influx of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda, the government of Japan has contributed more than $27m (sh101b) through Ugandan government UN agencies, Japanese NGOs and directly to local communities," he said.

ameda said: "All projects have been carried out in close coordination with the Government of Uganda, above all with the Office of the Prime Minister in the field, for the assistance to reach the refugees and residents of the host communities where they were most needed.


"Taking this opportunity, I cannot help but touch upon the issue of the accountability and transparency of the contributions to be provided for refugee and host community assistance," said the envoy.

"The Government of Japan, of course, like other development partners, believes that contributions for the refugee assistance in Uganda should not be misused in any way, and strongly requests that effective preventive measures will be put in place. In this regard, I am encouraged by the Government of the Republic of Uganda, which has repeatedly promised that thorough investigations on the alleged cases shall be carried out in cooperation with its relevant United Nations agencies.


Kameda added: "Punitive actions shall be taken against those who have been implicated in substantiated cases, and preventive measures against fraud and corruption shall be put in place.

"The introduction of the biometric registration across the country, which was made possible thanks to the tireless work of the staff of respective agencies and government's authorities, is indeed encouraging sign to restore donor confidence. However, I cannot over-emphasize that the donors are held accountable for any portion of our financial contributions originated from our taxpayers."





'Protracted presence of refugees in West Nile'

Earlier today, Japan's ambassador to Uganda Kazuaki Kameda addressed a press conference about Japan's contribution towards refugees and host communities in Uganda.

This was at Uganda Media Centre in the capital Kampala.

He said the newly announced contributions to the five United Nations agencies - UNHCR, WFP, Refugees, WFP, IOM, UNICEF and UNOPS - total $7.5m (sh28b).

"My visit to some refugee settlements in West Nile sub-region last March underlined the protracted presence of refugees in this sub-region, which would result in their local integration as a realistic option," he told reporters.





Principles for proposed amendments to Foreign Exchange Act approved

Cabinet sat on Monday at State House Entebbe and approved the principles for the proposed Amendments to Foreign Exchange Act, 2004 and the Foreign Exchange (Forex Bureaus and Money Remittance) Regulations, 2006.

The amendments are intended to:

- Strengthen provisions in the existing law that are considered inadequate for the effective execution of Bank of Uganda's mandate with regards to supervision of forex bureaus and money remitters.

- Make regulatory provisions for new business trends and technological developments that were not provided for.

- Ensure effective implementations of new national legislation such as the Anti Money Laundering Act, 2013.

- Adopt International best practice with regard to the supervision and regulation of foreign exchange bureaus and money remitters.

- To harmonize the regulatory regime with the East African Monetary Union Convergence Criteria as agreed with the East African Community partner states.





Finance releases fourth quarter funds


New Vision's Edward Kayiwa:

The finance ministry has released sh4.948 trillion for the last three months of the 2018/19 i nancial year. This caps the entire year's release to sh24.732 trillion. The Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ochailap, said about sh1.038 trillion of this money is to pay wages, sh1.111 trillion is for non-wage expenditure and sh2.186 trillion will go to debt repayment.

Ochailap added that about sh612b is for Government's development expenditure. He said of the release, sh274.1b will go to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to cater for certii cates under the road infrastructure development. The UNRA gets sh132b for maintenance of roads.

According to Ochailap, the National Medical Stores (NMS) will get sh52b to purchase essential drugs, pensions and gratuity wil get sh137.55b, where as seducation and the local governments will get sh107b to cater for the second school term.

He added that of the sh683b released to local governments; sh497b will be for wages while sh185b will go to non-wage expenditure.

"To date, we have released sh3.143 trillion to local governments and this represents 100% of their budget," he said. Ochailap revealed that the budget absorption rate this year stood at 75%, which is considered relatively good.

However, civil society organisations said they have a problem with the budget for year 2019/20 financial year, because there are cuts in key service areas, which affects the ordinary people.

David Walakira, a budget policy specialist at the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group, said the Government seems to have ignored the earlier decision to move to programme-based budgeting.

He said despite the projected increase of sh7 trillion to bring the budget to sh38.947 trillion, the budget is still structured in sectors and votes, which will make tracking of specii c programmes hard. He also accused the Government of not prioritising critical sector programmes, such as NAADS.

He noted that NAADS budget has been slashed by more than sh127b to sh122.903b.

"The local government, education, health, agriculture, water as well as environment budgets have lost a combined sh31.253b. Primary health care specii cally has a shortfall of about sh17b. We have, however, identified areas where money can be cut and channelled to addressing some of these shortfalls," he said. Walakira cited travel, allowances and conferences.

He also admonished the government ministries, departments and Agencies MDAs for failing to submit their ministerial policy statements by March 15 every year as required by law. He said this frustrates the timely issuance of certii cates of compliance.






 World leaders stunned by Notre-Dame fire, urge rebuilding

Meanwhile, back to a story several miles away from Uganda but one that has hogged global headlines.

Global leaders and institutions have shared the international shock at seeing Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral consumed by flames. They have stressed the unique and iconic place the monument has in human history and expressed solidarity with France.

AFP has collated some of the reactions:



Pope Francis "is praying for French Catholics and for the people of Paris in face of the terrible fire," his spokesman wrote on Twitter.


Notre-Dame "belongs to the whole of humanity. It has inspired writers, painters, philosophers and visitors who have come from all round the world," said EU Commission head Jean Claude Juncker.

"You are going to rebuild your cathedral," vowed EU President Donald Tusk, calling on all 28 European Union member states to help.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called the fire "a blow to the heart for the French and for us all Europeans" while Spanish Prime Minister lamented the "sad news for our history and our universal cultural heritage".

The Venice Opera House noted it was hit by fire in 1836 and 1996 "but twice we rose stronger from the ashes," adding: "We are with you, friends; do not be afraid."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman invoked the Latin motto of Paris -- Fluctat nec mergitur, meaning "it may be tossed around but never sink" -- in the wake on the disaster. "Notre-Dame is a symbol of France and of our European culture," he tweeted.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the people of Paris after the "terrible blaze".

Russia President Vladimir Putin emphasised that Notre-Dame was "a historic symbol of France, a priceless treasure of European and world culture, one of the most important Christian sites" and said the disaster "leaves sadness in Russians' hearts".


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "horrified" by the fire and called Notre-Dame "a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century".

"Our hearts are broken," said the head of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, adding that the historic cathedral "represents an architectural, cultural and religious heritage, a unique literary heritage that speaks to the whole world."



US President Donald Trump was quick to tweet as the disaster was unfolding: "So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

His predecessor, Barack Obama, also weighed in, saying: "We're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It's in our nature to mourn when we see history lost -- but it's also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can."

Middle East, North Africa

Iraq's president, Barham Saleh, linked his country's recent devastation from war to the Notre-Dame fire, tweeting: "Iraqis uniquely appreciate the pain, sense of loss afflicting the people of France as we have recently experienced destruction of much of our national cultural heritage."

Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said his thoughts were with "the French and all Catholics," calling the  cathedral "that iconic monument dedicated to the worship of our one God & that brought all of us closer through (Victor) Hugo's literary masterpiece."

Moroccan King Mohammed VI said "this catastrophe hits not only one of the most historic and emblematic monuments of Paris but also a place of prayer and worship for millions of faithful in the entire world."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, writing in French, said on Twitter that "our hearts are with the people of France and the real and fictional legends of Notre-Dame, and we pray that it lasts for eternity."

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry expressed "deep regret" at the fire and expressed its "sadness" and "solidarity with friendly France".






  Works on Nile Bridge underway

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is working to replace the "defective asphalt layer" on the Nile Bridge, weeks after coming on the receiving end of criticism from the public over the surface. The works will continue until July, according to a statement UNRA shared on social media on Monday.

During the three months of the works, traffic flow in the area will remain diverted as follows:

- Kampala-bound traffic (Jinja to Kampala) will continue to use the Source of the Nile Bridge.

- Jinja-bound traffic (Kampala to Jinja) is being detoured to the Nalubaale Bridge.

- Local traffic will continue to use normal routes.

- Cyclists and motocyclists traffic to and from Jinja will continue to use the Nalubaale Bridge and Faraday Road.





A call for vigilance

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit, which is led by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, is warning the public that the unit has no offices or agents elsewhere in the country. The call is for viligance over individuals postering as agents from the unit.



The unit tweeted: "Over the past few months, some individuals and groups have come up to impersonate and affiliate themselves as part of our Unit, One of such is an anti corruption activist called Mike Adoko from lango subregion that was arrested and later handed over to the military court.

"He was arrested for obtaining money (shs6m) under false pretence from the Head Teacher of St. Katherine Secondary School with a promise of protecting her from answering for reports on the emblezzlement of shs66m.

"Another group intimidating the lango sub region by impersonating as agents of the Anti corruption unit is the Red Army that extorts money money from civil servants."





Video conferencing launched in criminal cases

New Vision's Betty Amamukirori:

Chief Justice Bart Katureebe launched a video conferencing system Monday to help in expediting the handling of criminal cases at magisterial level while at the same time minimising the cost of transporting suspects.

The new system, which links Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court and Luzira Maximum Prison Virtual Court, was launched at the former court.

Since 2001, the Judiciary has been transforming its structures to adapt to new technology in order to improve efficiency, tackle case backlog and reduce bureaucracy in handling of cases filed before it, and bring justice closer to the ordinary people.

So far the institution has implemented four ICT strategies, but Katureebe noted that their biggest setback to achieving full digitalisation of its structures is underfunding.

Speaking at the launch, Katureebe he said the Judiciary has been grappling with case delays and case backlog in the administration of justice.

However, he noted that the system will easily connect parties to a case, including interpreters and law enforcers with the magistrate's court in real time.

For a start, the system will connect the magistrate's to Luzira prison's virtual courts fitted at the male and women's wings using video conferencing facilities. Each of the courts is fitted with virtual servers, big flat screens and cameras to relay sound and video.

(Read the full story here)





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  2019 U17 AFCON: Uganda Cubs eyeing first win in TZ

Uganda's under-17 side will have to beat hosts Tanzania on Wednesday if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stage and the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Uganda lost 1-0 to Angola in their opener on Sunday in a group (A) that also features table-toppers Nigeria. Uganda will play Nigeria on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the lads are training hard for an important duel against the hosts, who lost their opening game 4-5 to Nigeria, hours from now.






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DIASPORA: What to look out for this year

If you are a Ugandan in the Diaspora, here are some events you could attend:

From August 22 until August 23, there will be an awareness workshop in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It will involve government ministries and agencies. The location, according to the office of diaspora affairs, will be communicated "very soon".

The same month, on 25 and 26, there will be a similar workshop in London, UK at Novotel Hotel Excel 7 Western  Gateway Royal Victoria Dock. Also in London, another workshop will be held at the Uganda High Commission in London on August 27-28.

In the US, an awareness workshop for Ugandan diasporans will be held from August 30 until September 2 at UNAA in Chicago.





TrueBeam radiotherapy machine: A first in the region

Uganda Cancer Institute staff have taken an inspection visit to Varian Medical systems TrueBeam radiotherapy treatment.

The machine will arrive in the country this July and is expected to be installed in August/September. It is udnerstood Uganda will be the only country in East to Africa to have the TrueBeam radiotherapy machine, a bigger version of the VitalBeam machine.






 Notre-Dame Cathedral in flames

It has been a battle like no other.

As many as 500 firefighters have been trying to snuff out a blaze that swept through part of the 850-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral in France's capital Paris.

Reports said the main part of the medieval structure was salvaged but its spire came crashing down.


So what caused this fire and what is being done?

Here is what we know so far.





Pontiff humility

This is what Mr Ras was making reference to in his latest work . . .




Pope Francis call for warring South Sudanese factions to respect the latest armistice after a two-day Vatican retreat aimed at shoring up the fragile peace.

"I express my heartfelt hope that hostilities will finally cease, that the armistice will be respected," the pope told President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar at the Vatican.

The pontiff said he hoped "that political and ethnic divisions will be surmounted, and that there will be a lasting peace for the common good of all those citizens who dream of beginning to build the nation".

The arch-rivals last saw each other in October last year, shortly after the signing of a power-sharing deal, when Machar made a brief return to Juba for the first time since fleeing on foot in a hail of gunfire in July 2016.

Machar was Kiir's vice president until a falling out in 2013 which kickstarted a civil war just two years after independence from Sudan.

Battles between those from Machar's Nuer community and Kiir's Dinka people were characterised by brutal violence, rape and UN warnings about "ethnic cleansing".





Today's Ras toon

Last Thursday, Pope Francis kissed the feet of the South Sudan leaders after a two-and-a-half days' retreat at the Vatican.







This is from the health ministry's statement shared on its Twitter account on Monday:

The Ministry of Health has noted that there are various social media reports alleging that there is Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the country, especially Kasese, Wakiso and Jinja.

The ministry would like to inform the public as follows;

1. As of today [Monday], there is NO CONFIRMED case of Ebola Virus Disease in the country. Therefore, there should be no cause for alarm. The public is advised to disregard all the rumours making rounds on social media, but always seek accurate information from the Ministry of Health.

2. However, the ministry would like to inform the general public that there is one confirmed case of Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) who died on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The deceased was a 32-year-old male, a resident of Bendegere village, Kasenyi parish, Katabi sub-county in Wakiso district. His body was transported and buried in Batagaya village, Jinja at the mosque burial ground on Friday, April 12, 2019. A blood sample obtained from the deceased tested positive for CCHF by PCR at Uganda Virus Research Institute on April 11, 2019.

Ministry of Health, working with partners, are undertaking the following actions;

- A National Rapid Response Team (jointly from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries and partners) has been dispatched to Jinja and Wakiso districts to monitor contacts of the deceased and offer all possible support.

- Teams are also providing health education and awareness to stop further spread of the CCHF.

About Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is a viral zoonotic diseases (i.e. transmitted from animals ato humans) caused by infection with a tick-borne virus. The hosts of the CCHF virus are mostly wild and domestic animals cattle, sheep and goats. These animals become infected after being bitten by infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about two weeks after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites.

Human beings get infected when they are bitten by infected ticks. CCHF presents with several symptoms, including: sudden onset of high-grade fever, muscle aches, neck pains, neck stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and sometimes bleeding from body openings.

We appeal to the general public to observe the following measures:

- Take any case presenting with high grade fevers and bleeding tendencies to the nearest health facility. Please also inform MOH (Ministry of Health) by sending a free-text message to 8228 OR calling the Ministry of Health toll-free line: 0800-100-066

- Use protective wear while slaughtering and handling animals to prevent transmission of animal diseases to humans.

- Always wash you hands with soap and water after handling fresh meat.




No cause for alarm

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has come out to say that there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda.

This follows "various social media reports alleging that there is Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the country, especially Kasese, Wakiso and Jinja".

More on that coming up.






  Today's inspirational quote

Today is life - the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto. - Dale Carnegie






 Good morning

Hello everyone, we have got a bright morning before us here in Uganda's capital Kampala. Are you struggling to pick yourself out of bed today?

Tuesdays cannot get this sluggish, can they?


If you bundled your bones together and climbed out of that good-old sweet bed, and fixed yourself some breakfast, you will definitely be fully awake. I promise.

So, get on with it!





How messy can it get?

🚙💨 We are cruising through April . . .


Of course it can never be as smooth as we would wish it to be.

But you have to keep the pedal to the metal and rare on. No turning back. Sometimes, you've got to be a daredevil, innit?



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