Rukiga District Residents Seek Answers Amidst Uncertainty in Wetland Restoration Project

RUKIGA –Residents in Rukiga District are dissatisfied with the government’s program aimed at restoring the Muhanga-Kandago-Burime Wetland System, involving the eviction of locals engaging in activities like brickmaking and cultivation.

The program “Building Resilient Communities, Wetland Ecosystems, and Associated Catchments in Uganda” is purposed for the restoration of 250 hectares for the Wetland System in Bukinda Sub County and Muhanga Town Council in Rukiga district.

During the program launch yesterday in Kabimbiri cell, Kyerero Parish in Bukinda Sub County, residents expressed concern about losing their source of livelihood without clear compensation plans from the government.

Gideon Akampurira, the Rukiga District Councilor representing Bukinda Sub County, highlighted challenges residents are facing along the implementation of this program and called for compensation before eviction, as the land served as collateral for loans, raising concerns about repayment hindrances.

Mbabazi Robert Kakwerere, the Rukiga District LCV chairperson, urged residents to cooperate with the authorities, emphasizing the program’s long-term benefits amidst worries about climate change caused by wetland encroachment.

Emmanuel Ariho, the Rukiga District Environment Officer, assured alternative livelihoods for those affected by the program, stressing its positive impact on wetland restoration.

Linking Nations: Shs691 Billion Chinese Deal to Transform Masaka-Mutukula Road

PARLIAMENT, (UG)-The Government has asked Parliament to okay its Shs691 billion new deal with the Chinese firm, Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO), to work on five major roads in various parts of the country.

The roads to be reconstructed are Masaka-Mutukula road (89.5km) and Nyendo-Villa Maria (11km), while those to be upgraded are the access road to Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) barracks in Masaka and another to Masaka Industrial Park (both 3.5km long), as well as the 28.5km Kikagati-Kafunjo road.

Finance state minister (General Duties), Henry Musasizi, made the call yesterday while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on the National Economy.

Accompanied by Works and Transport Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, Musasizi told the committee chaired by Bukedea County MP, Ikojo John Bosco, that the Shs691.68 billion will be prefinanced through a contract with CICO.

The major road from Masaka to Mukutula was built in the 1960s to link and boost trade ties and co-operation between Uganda, Tanzania and the rest of the East African partner states. However, it has deteriorated over the years, consistently affecting traffic flows, according to Paul Mpalanyi, the Kyotera County MP.

Musasizi also noted that the construction of the Masaka-Mutukula road will link the port in Dar es Salaam and facilitate the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

UNRA Takes Swift Action as Kampala-Masaka Highway Faces Roadway Collapse

WAKISO,(UG)-Traffic at the Busega-Kyengera section of the Kampala-Masaka Highway was today morning diverted following a collapse of the roadway.

In a statement released by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), the approximately 1.5 meters of the road pavement near the embankment was eroded, after the water levels within the Lubigi swamp area escalated.

UNRA in collaboration with the Uganda Police Force have since cordoned off the affected area. In a statement, UNRA said they were working tirelessly to expedite the restoration of this critical section of the roadway, and asked all road users to exercise utmost caution and strictly adhere to the imposed traffic guidelines.

Motorists heading towards Masaka have been advised to divert from the Busega Roundabout, opting for Nakawuka Road at Natete Traffic lights or Mityana Road to avert congestion until further directives are provided by UNRA.

Gender Equality Milestone: Uganda Aims for 50% Women Representation in Decision-Making

KAMPALA,(UG)-Women leaders have called for 50 percent representation in top positions saying the lower numbers in decision-making have delayed proposals to support and empower them. The women made the remarks during the celebration of the fifth National Women’s Week in Kampala yesterday.

The State Minister for Gender and Culture, Peace Mutuuzo, called for the scaling up of women’s representation from 30 to 50 percent in top positions in alignment with constitutional objectives. Mutuuzo said they have been advocating for active participation in the review process and urging individuals and organisations to engage with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs over the matter.

The Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) Executive Director, Rita Aciro, said women should fight for their rights, arguing that though Uganda has made significant progress in women empowerment, women in leadership need more space to fight for others who are lagging.

According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, Uganda ranks 109th out of 156 countries in terms of gender parity in top leadership positions, with women occupying 37 percent of senior management positions in the private sector, and only 36.2 percent of leadership positions in the public sector.

Busongora South County Legislator Gideon Thembo Mujungu Jailed Over Election Petition Costs

FORT PORTAL,(UG)-The Busongora South County in Kasese District, Gideon Thembo Mujungu, has been committed to civil prison for defaulting over Shs183 million arising from the costs of a 2021 court election petition.

Fort Portal High Court deputy Registrar, Francis Dawa Matenga, committed the legislator to prison following an execution for a warrant of arrest issued by the same court in June this year and addressed to Joneni Bamwenda, a court bailiff in Kasese town.

The money stems from the 2021 election petition that Mujungu lost to his predecessor, Jackson Mbaju Kathika. The legislator was yesterday morning arrested from his home in Saluti B of Kanyangeya Ward in Nyamwamba Division of Kasese Municipality by court bailiffs. Speaking to our reporter last evening, Johnson Kamalha Kalyasa, the NRM Publicity Secretary for Kasese District said the party would offer all the necessary support to bail him out of prison.

Kathika initially lost the election petition as per the ruling of the Fort Portal High Court judge, Victoria Katamba, who argued that he had not proven to the court that Mujungu was party to electoral offenses committed on the polling day of 2021. Mujungu trounced Kathika with a paltry margin of 79 votes in the February 2021 parliamentary election to unseat the latter from the parliamentary position, after he garnered 7,522 votes to trail Mujungu in a parliamentary race involving 10 contenders.

Kathika, however, petitioned the appellate court which nullified Mujungu’s election with Shs183 million in costs to his appellant, triggering a by-election last August that bounced Mujungu back to Parliament after winning the poll with 12,088 votes against Kathika’s 6,866 votes.

Alarming Statistics: Acholi Sub-Region Grapples with High Gender-Based Violence

ACHOLI-Acholi sub-region has been ranked as having the highest percentage of gender-based and sexual violence according to a report by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

Doreen Bakeiha, a Senior Gender Officer at the ministry who represented the Commissioner for Gender at the launch of 16 days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence at SOS Children’s Village in Entebbe this week, said the violence cases are as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

The report indicates that gender-based violence in the sub-region is at 78% while sexual violence stands at 64% followed by Bukedea at 61%. In 2022, a similar survey also revealed that up to 16% of women aged between 15 and 29 years in the country had experienced some form of sexual violence.

Bakeiha called for action for increased long-term sustainable investment by all actors and donors to women’s rights organizations working to end violence against women and girls.Irene Nsangi, the Programs Manager at SOS Uganda, noted that they are determined to strengthen families, provide programmes to benefit the youth and be able to respond to emergencies.

Masaka City Council Shakes Leadership: Speaker Censured Amid Allegations

MASAKA (UG)-Masaka City councilors have censured the Speaker, Tony Ssempijja, over allegations of abuse of office and incompetence.

In a midweek censure motion moved by Zahara Nalubyayi (councilor representing Kimaanya Ward); out of the fifteen city councilors, thirteen voted the embattled Speaker out of office, accusing him of inviting them for council business on short notice in contravention of Rule 14(1)(a) in the Rules of Procedure.

The councilors also accused Ssempijja of ‘smuggling’ an item into council business which led to the election and merging of sectoral committees before the end of their tenure. This, they said, violated Rules 19, 18(6) and 27(5) of the standard Rules of procedure governing district councils. In an extra ordinary meeting presided over by Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi, Ssempijja was given the opportunity to defend himself against the allegations by the councilors.

However, he at first rejected the offer, saying he needed seven days to prepare a written defense which council declined.After several adjournments, Ssempijja said he was working under challenging situations and accepted that he erred in the process of conducting his duties as Speaker and asked for forgiveness. But the charged councilors instead voted him out and replaced him with Achilles Mawanda, the Deputy Mayor and Mukungwe Ward representative. Ssempijja, who had served in the position for barely 3 years, said he was going to court to challenge his dismissal.

According to the Local Government Act Section 11(6), a speaker can be removed from office by the council through a resolution supported by not less than two thirds of the members on grounds including abuse of office, incompetence, misconduct or incapacity as would render the speaker incapable of performing the duties of speaker.

Explosions Rock Kampala – Police Launch Probes Amid Calls for Vigilance

KAMPALA,( UG) –The Police have called for increased vigilance in the country following two separate blasts in Kampala yesterday.

The deputy Police spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Police, Luke Owoyesigyire, said in a statement today morning that Police responded to two separate incidents in Nabweru and Makindye last evening at about 9 pm.The first blast was in Mayor Zone, Kabalagala Ward in Makindye Division, at a business premise specializing in frying chips. Owoyesigyire told our reporter that Nakasagga Joy, 23, the owner of the business, sustained minor injuries. Simultaneously, in Nabweru, the bomb squad and forensic services responded to a blast heard in one of the unoccupied rentals.

Fortunately, no fatalities were reported in both cases.According to Owoyesigyire, the Police have since launched investigations into the cause of the blasts.

Meanwhile, Police have urged the general public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities in their communities adding that cooperation is crucial in maintaining the safety and security of our neighborhoods, ahead of the festive season. P

International Criminal Court Looms as Butambala MP Presses for Accountability in Uganda

KAMPALA, (UG) –The Butambala MP, Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, has announced the opposition’s intention to bring the Ugandan government to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the disappearance of Ugandan citizens.

Muwanga emphasized the need for accountability and justice, noting that government’s response on the matter on Tuesday will determine the next course of action and strategies they will adopt.He made these comments after the national symposium on the rule of law, human rights, and policing in Uganda where legal experts presented their findings, which aimed to identify and document initiatives for reforming the Uganda Police Force since 1986. The objective was to establish a democratic, accountable, people-centered, effective, and efficient national police force.

According to Kivumbi, the disappearance of a single person is a crime against humanity and can be tried at the ICC.In July of this year, a group of individuals filed a petition with the ICC, accusing President Yoweri Museveni and his son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, of sponsoring violence and abusing critics. Previously, in 2020, former leader of the fractured Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye, petitioned the ICC, accusing the NRM government of human rights abuses and violations.

Kivumbi outlined several demands, including accountability for all missing person cases, a state apology on the same, prosecution of responsible officials, and a government commitment to prevent the recurrence of such acts.

AfDB Approves $252.83 Million for Key Road Projects in West Nile and Kigezi

KAMPALA,(UG) –The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced yesterday that it has approved a total of $252.83 million (Shs961 billion) for developing a better road network in West Nile and Kigezi sub-regions.

The loan will go towards the construction of Laropi-Moyo-Afoji Road in West Nile and Katuna-Muko-Kamuganguzi Road in Kigezi.Augustine Ngafuan, the AfDB country manager in Uganda, said the road project is intended to improve rural transport connectivity and facilitate regional integration in the districts of Kabale, Rubanda and Moyo, adding that the same will facilitate trade while opening up an alternative transport corridor linking Uganda with South Sudan.

In addition to the two main roads, the project will also facilitate street lighting to improve the business environment for traders, and regional bus terminus in Moyo, and as well provide for the construction of market stalls, complete with cold storage facilities, in Kashasha (Katuna of Kabale district), Moyo and Laropi.

These stalls are intended to support women traders who currently operate on the roadsides, in order to improve earnings from perishable products such as fish and vegetables.

As of November 2023, the African Development Bank Group’s active portfolio in Uganda comprised 23 projects with a total commitment of $1.957 billion (Shs7.4 trillion).