Uganda Today - Wednesday March 27

By Joseph Kizza

Tourism minister Ephraim Kamuntu and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Sam Mwandha appear before Parliament's Select Committee on Apaa land wrangles.

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ROLLING NEWS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Presented by Joseph Kizza

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@joekizza

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2:53pm

A boost for Kaberamaido production dept

 

New Vision's Michael Onyinge:


Kaberamaido district has handed over nine motorcycles and a motorvehicle to the production department. The RDC of Kaberamaido, George Edward Onya Akunapesa, said the government was interested in boosting production.

The LC5 of Kaberamaido, Albert Anthony Ejoku, warned the extension officers against misusing the vehicles. The chief administrative officer of Kaberamaido, Bernard Ogwang, said he will not hesitate to punish the officers who will be found misusing them.

 

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2:00pm

Parliamentary Forum on Refugees and IDPs launched

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oualanya, today launched the Parliamentary Forum on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Uganda by UNHCR alongside the UNHCR country representative Joel Boutroue and Hilary Onek, the minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees.

With over one million refugees here, Uganda is currently the third-largest refugee hosting country in the world.

 

 

 

 

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1:37pm

Bahati appears before committee over traders

Also earlier today, the state minister for finance David Bahati appeared before the Select Committee on payment of Ugandan South Sudan traders.

The committee is investigating how the payments were made. Some traders were paid by Government and others missed out.

Bahati said his team is to travel to neighbouring South Sudan to present to the government of South Sudan a list of verified Ugandan traders formerly trading in South Sundan with unsettled claims.

"We need to make a case and have these payments concluded," Parliament tweets the minister as saying.

 

 

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1:25pm

Apaa land wrangles: Minister, UWA boss face committee

Tourism minister Ephraim Kamuntu and the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Sam Mwandha appeared before the Select Committee on Apaa land wrangles.

The community is against the land acquisition by UWA that says it is a game reserve.

 

 

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12:25pm

Museveni visit to 'consolidate' Uganda-Kenya relations

Kenya's State House has been tweeting about President Yoweri Museveni's visit.

One of the tweets carries a set of pictures of the visiting leader's arrival, him writing in the visitor's book as well as the two leaders seated, having a chat.

And the message: Museveni's visit will "consolidate the mutually beneficial co-operation between the two countries at bilateral and multilateral levels".

 

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12:15pm

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  How Museveni was received in Mombasa


A colourful welcome ceremony awaited President Yoweri Museveni and co at Moi International Airport on Wednesday.

He is in Kenya for a two-day official visit. He was accorded a full State reception, including a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the Kenya Navy, and a 21-gun salute. Here are some of the pictures from the coastal city . . .

 

 



 

 

 

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11:55am

Meanwhile, the suspect in the murder of police officer Muhammad Kirumira has been committed to the High Court.

 

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11:40am

Earlier at Moi International Airport

President Museveni was accompanied to Kenya by his daughter Natasha. They were received at Moi International Airport in Mombasa by host president, Uhuru Kenyatta - plus these two little cute girls on the welcoming committee wearing colourful ornamental traditional outfits.

 

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11:10am

According to the Office of the Prime Minister, there are over 300,000 Congolese refugees in Uganda, and the majority are settled under well-organized community structures in the various suburbs of Kampala city. This means mobilizing them for public health action is seamless, especially if done through their leadership, says the World Health Organisation.

Find a detailed story on how WHO is mobilising urban-based Congolese refugees in the country via the link in the tweet below:

 

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10:49am

Museveni arrives in Kenya for two-day visit

In fact, Uganda's president in now in Kenya, received by his host, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Yoweri Museveni is in neighbouring Kenya for a two-day state visit in Mombasa, during which he will  tour the Standard Gauge Railway terminal, attend the Kenya-Uganda business forum and also give a public lecture at Kenyatta University.

(Read more on Museveni's Mombasa visit here)

 

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10:20am

Museveni heading to Kenya after South Africa

President Yoweri Museveni has been in South Africa to attend the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Solidarity Conference.

After there, he will be heading to Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa for a number of engagements. He is expected to tour the Standard Gauge Railway terminal, attend the Kenya-Uganda business forum and also give a public lecture at Kenyatta University.

(Read more on Museveni's Mombasa visit here)

 

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9:58am

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  'What might you be able to do to help?'


I have traced that tweet I have just shared to a post on Facebook by the man himself. Strive Masiyiwa.

A businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, London-based Masiyiwa - a Zimbabwean - has an estimated net worth of $3.6b - which is about sh13.4 trillion (in Ugandan currency).

Here is how he reflected on the disastrous Cyclone Idai:

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9:54am

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  A heart of giving gets rewarded


Meanwhile, the warm gesture of an elderly woman in the wake of Cyclone Idai caught the attention of one of the richest people in Zimbabwe: Strive Masiyiwa.

 

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9:45am

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  Up to 500,000 displaced by southern Africa cyclone
 


 

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A cyclone which struck southern Africa has affected almost three million people, of whom nearly 500,000 have been driven from their homes, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Cyclone Idai smashed into Mozambique on March 15, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rain that flooded much of the centre of the country and then battered eastern Zimbabwe and Malawi.

More than 700 people have been killed in Mozambique and Zimbabwe alone and hundreds are missing, according to an AFP toll compiled from figures provided by governments and some UN agencies.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said roughly 3,125 square kilometres (1,200 square miles) of land had been swamped, and nearly three million people across the three countries had been affected.

"Close to 500,000 have been displaced," the agency said in a briefing note.

In New York, UN humanitarian aid chief Mark Lowcock launched an appeal to provide Mozambique with $282 million (250 million euros) of relief aid over the next three months.

Similar campaigns will shortly be launched for Zimbabwe and Malawi, he said.

Hunger

  backhoe stuck in mud sits on a road after the area was hit and isolated by yclone dai in staquinha A backhoe stuck in mud sits on a road after the area was hit and isolated by Cyclone Idai in Estaquinha

 

Survivors of the cyclone began receiving medicine, food and tents Tuesday as floodwaters receded, enabling a detailed picture of the crisis to emerge for the first time.

In the small village of Bejaga, some 150 survivors were hungry.

In the past week relief workers have dropped off "just a cup of (vitamin fortified) soya per family. It's way too little," said peasant farmer Francisco Lopez. "We are waiting," he told AFP.

He had salvaged a few maize cobs in the mud and he sifted through them grain by grain, looking for any edible morsel. He had dried the food on a tarpaulin, but much of it was rotten after nearly two weeks under water.

"We really have nothing to eat, we have received almost nothing in aid," he said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Sebastian Rhodes Stampa said Monday that 30 aid missions were flying in while others were going by road "so we can really deliver volume."

International Organisation for Migration (IOM) chief Antonio Vitorino cautioned, though, that food shortages were likely for months to come because of destruction to farmland.

"Given its devastating impact, Cyclone Idai could rank as the worst disaster to hit the region in decades," he said in a statement.

An estimated half a million hectares (1.2 million acres) of crops have been destroyed, much of which had been ready to harvest, and loss of livestock is likely to be severe.

Health peril

Stagnant water, decomposing bodies and lack of sanitation in overcrowded shelters in Mozambique could create breeding grounds for cholera, typhus and malaria, experts say.

The WHO says it is withdrawing 900,000 doses of cholera vaccines from a global stockpile to help forestall an epidemic.

The government has already identified some suspected cases of cholera, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, said.

"The worst thing is the children crying and looking for their parents... It is heartbreaking," he said, adding that it remained unclear how many children may have been orphaned.

Medical services in the affected region were stretched even before the cyclone hit.

Beira hospital's operating theatre sustained serious damage. As many as 17 health centres have lost their roofs, Doctors without Borders (MSF) said.

The South African military has deployed several aircraft to the affected area and an EU-funded WFP helicopter is supporting rescue and recovery efforts.

 

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9:30am

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  Cyclone Idai: Uganda lends helping hand to Mozambique victims
 


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Here is the statement from the foreign affairs minister:

The Republic of Uganda has joined the international community and the rest of the world in providing relief assistance to the people of Mozambique following the aftermath of the devastating effects caused by Cyclone Idai.

The financial assistance amounting to $200,000 (sh745m) was announced yesterday [Monday] by Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of International Affairs. This follows an approved decision by Cabinet of the Government of Uganda and a directive by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda in fulfilment of his pledge to rally support to assist victims affected by this disaster that occurred from March 4 - March 21, 2019.

Hon. Lt. Col (Rtd) Dr. Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Defence in charge of Veteran Affairs, Gen. Ivan Koreta, Hon. Member of Parliament representing the Uganda's People's Defence Force (UPDF), and H.E. Richard Kabonero, Uganda's High Commissioner accredited to the Republic of Mozambique, will be in charge of oversight co-ordination and ensuring that this contribution is duly received to aid in provision of relief assistance to the victims affected by this disaster.

Hon. Okello Oryem emphasized that this gesture is a sign of goodwill and commitment expressed by the Government and People of the Republic of Uganda, assuring of more assistance to be provided in solidarity with countries affected by this disaster.

The cyclone, in its wake, followed by torrential rains and massive floods, caused catastrophic damage of property and infrastructure, claiming more than 400 lives, with the Republic of Mozambique registering most of the casualties, according to official statistics. Cyclone Idai is regarded as one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to have affected the southern hemisphere, particularly the SADC countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar, leaving hundreds dead and several more missing.

 

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9:15am

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  Today's Ras toon


Eng. Monica Azuba, who is the works and transport minister, told Parliament that all is set for the long-waited national carrier, Uganda Airlines, to take to the skies.

 

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9:05am

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  AFRICAN NEWS ROUNDUP



Comoros President Azali re-elected in a landslide


 

Comoros President Azali Assoumani was re-elected Tuesday by a landslide, according to results published by the electoral commission, in a divisive poll that has sparked tensions and opposition accusations of fraud in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Azali, who first took office in 2016, was credited with 60.77 percent of the vote following Sunday's election, far ahead of his closest rival Mahamoudou Ahamada, who garnered only 14.62 percent, results showed.

The 66-year-old president had been tipped to return to power in the island nation of 800,000 people, which is one of the world's poorest and most unstable states.

Counting was marred by tensions, with authorities violently breaking up an opposition protest on Monday.

Twelve people were injured as police fired teargas and rubber bullets at opposition candidates and supporters as they marched through the capital Moroni protesting alleged irregularities.


New DR Congo leader to visit as US sees progress

 

The new leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo will visit Washington next week as the United States seeks a fresh start in working with the country to combat ills including corruption, the State Department said Tuesday.

President Felix Tshisekedi will visit Washington from April 3-5 in the first official trip by a leader of the vast, resource-rich nation to the United States in five years.

The State Department said Tshisekedi would meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo but did not announce a summit with President Donald Trump, who under ordinary protocol would receive a visiting head of state.

"We share President Tshisekedi's interest in developing a strong partnership between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

"We're committed to working with him to advance his agenda to combat corruption, strengthen the rule of law, enhance security, protect human rights and promote economic growth through increased foreign investments and trade," he said.


Tunisia panel calls for reforms, head of state apology

 President Beji Caid Essebsi

 

A tribunal tasked with healing the wounds of dictatorship in Tunisia called for institutional reforms and an official apology from the head of state, in its final report published Tuesday.

Set up three years after the 2011 uprising that ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) was created to probe human rights violations and make recommendations for Tunisia on its path to democracy.

The IVD's report calls for reforms "to dismantle a system of corruption, repression and dictatorship" within state institutions.

The panel calls for President Beji Caid Essebsi, as "a symbol of the state", to make an official apology to all the victims of human rights violations at the hands of the state since 1955, a year before independence from France.

The apology would be addressed to all the victims in a presidential speech delivered at a venue to be renamed after the event.


Algeria army chief demands Bouteflika be declared unfit to rule

 resident bdelaziz outeflika meets with army chief hmed aid alah in lgiers President Abdelaziz Bouteflika meets with army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah in Algiers

 

Algeria's army chief called Tuesday for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to be declared unfit to govern, following weeks of mass protests demanding the ailing leader step down after two decades in power.

The move would potentially clear the way for elections to be organised in the coming months unless the president recovers.

"It is necessary, even imperative, to adopt a solution to get out of the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Algerian people, and which guarantees the respect of the provisions of the constitution and safeguards the sovereignty of the state," General Ahmed Gaid Salah said in a televised speech.

The armed forces chief of staff, considered loyal to Bouteflika who appointed him in 2004, added that the solution "is in article 102" of the constitution, putting the onus on the president either to resign or be declared unfit to govern by a vote of parliament due to a "serious and durable illness".


Kenya plans to close its largest refugee camp Dadaab: document

 

Kenya plans to shut a refugee camp that is home to nearly a quarter of a million people, mostly Somalis, in the next few months, according to an internal UN document seen by AFP Tuesday,

The three-decade-old Dadaab camp in eastern Kenya would be closed by the end of August under the Kenyan plan, it said.

A United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) document dated February 28 said the Kenyan government had sent a note verbale informing it of "plans to close the Dadaab camps within a six-month period".

The note, which was dated February 19, asked UNHCR "to expedite relocation of the refugees and asylum-seekers residing therein."

In the document, the UNHCR said it was committed to working with the government on voluntary repatriation to countries of origin, relocating refugees to other parts of Kenya and resettlement to third countries.

An aid worker in Dadaab, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP that all international organisations were aware of a plan to close the camp, but the "government is keeping it low profile".

Dadaab was considered the world's largest refugee camp, with at its peak some 580,000 refugees. The largest camp is now Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, home to some 600,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled neighbouring Myanmar.

Dadaab now shelters some 230,000 people, the vast majority of them Somalis who fled across the border following the outbreak of civil war in 1991. Many have lived there ever since.


UN appeals for $184 million for Cameroon displaced

The United Nations on Tuesday called for $184 million (163 million euros) to help more than 400,000 people displaced by the separatist conflict in western Cameroon.

"Violent clashes in Cameroon between the military and armed separatists over the past 13 months have forcibly displaced thousands, including across the border into Nigeria," the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said in a statement.

"The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. And there are fears now that more people will become displaced over the coming months."

The UN estimates that 437,000 have been displaced in Cameroon itself, while over 35,000 have fled across the border into Nigeria -- a number that is expected to rise as fighting continues.

Of the estimated aid needs, $35.4 million is needed urgently, "for critical life-saving assistance," the UNHCR said.


Zuma's son pleads not guilty over S.Africa car crash

 

Duduzane Zuma, son of South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter over a fatal late-night car crash in 2014, a court heard Tuesday.

He went on trial at the Randburg Magistrates' Court in Johannesburg accused of causing the death of Phumzile Dube after his Porsche hit a minibus she was travelling in.

Three others were injured and one passenger, Nankie Mashaba, died in hospital weeks later.

Prosecutors withdrew a manslaughter charge, known as "culpable homicide" in South Africa, related to Mashaba's death.

 

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8:50am

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  What's happening around the continent?


A news roundup of the latest African news coming up shortly . . .

 

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8:35am

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  Today's inspirational quote


"It's going to be hard, but hard does not mean impossible."

 

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8:25am

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  Good morning - Rise and shine!


Hello there, hoping you are well on this 27th day of March. It's always great to wake up with determination and head to bed with satisfaction at the end of the day. Right?

So how about you kick off what promises to be another hot day (rain, where are you???) by flushing some milk into your system, eh?

 
Or slap some generous scoop of butter onto that crunchy toast . . .

 
But what do I know! - your taste buds could be itching for a sumbi (samosa) or two . . .

 
Or you could be in mood for some warmth in your biological tank. So if you are daring enough, what better way to do so than with a cup of the world's most expensive tea - the Darjeeling.

Yes, you gotta have some deep pockets to get a sniff of it. But no, you won't be drinking gold. Instead, you will be enjoying a cup of what is famously called the "champagne of teas".