Thousands of residents have abandoned their homes in Kamwenge out of fear of fresh ADF attacks

KAMWENGE -In the wake of the Islamist terror attack on Kitehurizi Village in Kamwenge District, residents in the affected area and nearby regions have swiftly evacuated. The attack, carried out by suspected militants of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), resulted in the brutal murder of 10 individuals.

Faced with the alarming situation, the local population is gripped by mass panic and fear reminiscent of the late 1990s and early 2000s when ADF terrorism was prevalent in the Rwenzori sub-region, making entire villages nearly uninhabitable.

More than 500 people from Omukamwenda, Kyabandara, Fasha, and Nyabutusi villages, situated near Kitehurizi, quickly left the area starting Tuesday morning through the following day. Some briefly returned to their homes early yesterday but were adamant about not spending the night in Kitehurizi. The village, bordering the large and heavily forested Kibaale National Park, is primarily inhabited by farmers who have now abandoned their fields due to the attack.

Enock Tukamushaba, the village chairman, disclosed that the entire village was devoid of human life on Tuesday night, as terrified residents sought refuge elsewhere, with some families renting rooms in the relatively safer Kamwenge Town. Uncertainty lingers about the situation, leading people to avoid the village, returning only during the daytime to tend to their gardens.

In Kitehurizi Trading Centre, where four individuals perished inside a bar during the attack, most small shops and residential houses remained closed. Residents, such as 72-year-old Eufarazia Nyamishana, joined the mass exodus, expressing fear of potential return attacks. Ms. Nyamishana, along with eight children, mentioned that they were relocating to neighboring Kitagwenda District.

Despite the widespread evacuation, a small number of residents returned briefly for the burial of parish councillor Night Margarete Banyazaki, one of the victims. The funeral vigil, attended by a limited number and protected by the military, took place, and the deceased councillor was laid to rest.

Acknowledging the difficult choices facing locals, Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner Isiah Byarugaba Kanyamahane mentioned ongoing efforts to encourage the residents’ return. Local security watches received praise, with Mr. Kanyamahane warning of potential opportunities for criminals in the absence of residents. The military presence has been increased, and soldiers are conducting sweeps in the national park to apprehend the assailants.

For Christmas, churches are advised to conduct thorough checks on individuals entering places of worship. Mr. Byaruhanga disclosed that seven out of the 10 victims’ bodies have been released to their families for burial, while the others remain at Rukunyu Hospital, awaiting relatives to claim them.

President Museveni Advocates for Prosperity through Commercial Farming in Bunyoro

KAMPALA,(UG) –President Yoweri Museveni has advised residents in Bunyoro sub-region to emulate commercial farming to create wealth and prosperity.

Addressing residents at Kikwaya Primary School in Kikwaya Sub-County of Kakumiro District yesterday, President Museveni emphasized the four-acre model commercial farming practice which he said was launched in 1996.

He acknowledged the minister of state in charge of transport who is also the Bugangaizi West MP in Kakumiro District, Fred Byamukama, for adhering to his advice by establishing projects such as poultry, piggery, cattle rearing and pineapple growing on a small piece of land from where he earns about Shs60 million per month and asked residents to borrow a leaf from the youthful minister.

The President toured various demonstration farms initiated by minister Byamukama at his home in Kikwaya and asked farmers to be visionary and focus on value addition, as well as embracing various commercial farming practices on their small piece of land to improve their household incomes.

Public Service State Minister, Mary Mugasa, asked civil servants and politicians to stop relying on government salaries but to be creative and innovative.

Mugasa challenged Ugandans to grow high-value crops and shun unproductive activities of domestic violence, drug abuse, and immorality.

President Museveni Urges Chief Justice to Prevent Sale of Muslim Property

KAMPALA, (UG) –President Yoweri Museveni has written to Chief Justice Alphonse Chigamoy Owiny Dollo asking him to ensure the looming sale of Muslim property is averted.

In a December 7 letter, President Museveni says whereas he had heard about the wrangles, he did not interfere because he was sure there are national institutions to handle them, and consequently requested the Chief Justice to review the matter and see how to restore sanity.

This state of affairs came after businessman Justus Kyabahwa took the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) to court seeking to be compensated nearly Shs19 billion for failing to give him possession of a piece of land in Ssembabule district. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Kampala has today issued a temporary injunction against the sale of prime Muslim property within the city, after a decision by the court to allow an application by the Muslim leadership to stop the businessman from seizing and selling their properties.

The court, led by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, and Justices Geoffrey Kiryabwire and Irene Mulyagonja, will issue a detailed reasoning for their decision overturning that of their single colleague Justice Christopher Gashirabake at a later date.

UMSC had appealed Gashirabake’s decision, and the three-justice panel granted them temporary relief, restricting seizure of the Muslim property until the appeal is heard and decided.

President Museveni Kicks Off National Census 2024: A Vital Step for Uganda’s Future Planning

KOLOLO,(UG)-President Yoweri Museveni has today launched the National Population and Housing Census 2024 exercise at Kololo Independence Grounds.

The National Population and Housing Census is the main source of demographic data in Uganda. The information collected during the censuses is useful for planning and evidence-based decision-making.Uganda last held its census exercise in 2013 and 42 million people were counted as the country’s population.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) executive director, Dr Chris Mukiza, the census exercise shall provide crucial statistical data and information required in the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) and measurement of the National Development Plan III (NDP III) outcomes and inform the development of NDP IV.Statistics show that nearly 64% of the working population was engaged in subsistence agriculture.

This information informed, among others, the 3rd National Development Plan, Operation Wealth Creation and the Parish Development Model.The results of the census 2024 will inform the next National Development Plan, implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and other development strategies.

The Government launched the National Census Council (NCC) which is guiding and coordinating the Census 2024 activities.

Uganda Human Rights Commission Chair Raises Alarm Over Prison Congestion

KAMPALA, (UG)-The chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Mariam Wangadya, has decried the increasing congestion in prisons.

Speaking at a press conference in Kampala yesterday, Wangadya said her commission has been visiting different jails across the country and noted the difficulties faced by prisoners because of the congested facilities.

Wangadya cited a prison they visited last week in Jinja with over 2,600 prisoners, yet its capacity is only 300. Her comments come days to the commemoration of the Human Rights Day slated for December 10. The UHRC called for the fast-tracking of the hearing of court cases so that the innocent are released and urged the government to construct more detention facilities to accommodate inmates.

The recent Government of Uganda-Development Partners Access to Justice report revealed that the prison population had doubled from 35,564 prisoners in the 2013/2014 financial year to 73,722 prisoners in 2022/2023.

Uganda Accuses West Countries For LGBTQ Agenda Pressure Amidst Visa Restrictions

KAMPALA, (UG)-The government of Uganda has accused the West of trying to pressure Africa into accepting homosexuality after the United States slapped more Ugandan officials with visa restrictions for adopting the tough anti-gay law.

The enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023 triggered criticism from rights groups, the United Nations and Western powers.On Monday, Washington imposed visa bans on unnamed officials deemed responsible for undermining the democratic process in Uganda and abusing human rights, including those of the LGBTQ community.

The state minister for foreign affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, in an interview with the AFP news agency yesterday, criticised the US decision and accused the West of pushing an LGBTQ agenda on Africa, Uganda in specific, in a mistaken attempt to coerce the nation into accepting same sex relationships using aid and loans.

The US imposed a first round of visa restrictions on Ugandan officials in June, and last month announced it would remove the country from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade pact effective January 2024. Oryem said that Uganda can liberate herself without external help, adding that no amount of aid can change Uganda’s development programme.

The draconian anti-gay law adopted in May contains provisions making aggravated homosexuality a capital offence and imposes penalties for consensual same-sex relations of up to life in prison.

The Constitutional Court in Kampala is due to start hearing a case against the legislation on Monday next week.

Uganda’s President Urges Timely Dispute Resolution for Economic Prosperity

KAMPALA, (UG)-President Yoweri Museveni has asked courts to be proactive in the fight against poverty.

In his speech read by Vice President Jessica Alupo during the East African Magistrates and Judges Conference yesterday, President Museveni said the courts should ensure disputes are resolved on time, to free up money that would have been held up in endless court cases.The conference was organised by Uganda’s Judiciary at the Common Wealth Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.

The President noted that government is currently implementing the Parish Development Model (PDM) as a way of liberating Ugandans from poverty. However, he added, without functional courts to resolve disputes that may arise from the citizenry’s different economic transactions, these initiatives may be undermined.

President Museveni stated that when criminals like murderers, and thieves, among others, are locked away, businesses thrive, resulting in prosperity in communities.

The President also observed that corruption fosters criminality and slows down efforts to eradicate poverty.The conference was attended by delegates from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda, among others.

Ugandan President Condemns Unethical Legal Practices at East African Magistrates and Judges Conference

KAMPALA,( UG) –President Yoweri Museveni is concerned about unscrupulous legal practitioners who have turned the Judiciary into a pawnshop to influence judgements.

The President’s dissatisfaction is contained in a statement read on his behalf by the Vice President, Maj (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Epel, during the East African Magistrates and Judges Conference (EAMJA) at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Kampala, yesterday.

President Museveni stated that some so-called good lawyers are just crafty, to the extent that they access and influence judicial officers and court staff to favour their clients against the law, acts of corruption and negotiated justice that in the end, erode people’s trust in the Judiciary. According to the president, this has resulted in great injustice and suffering.

The President observed that public trust is the cornerstone of the dispensation of quality justice, and advised on harnessing the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in court processes to achieve public trust in African Judiciaries. He also said the Ugandan government will render any possible support in the building of judicial confidence at national, regional, continental and international levels.

The Conference has attracted delegates from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Uganda, the East African Court of justice, Lesotho, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Zanzibar, and the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA).

President Museveni Advocates For Streamlined Access to Climate Change Compensation Fund at UN COP28

KAMPALA (UG)-President Yoweri Museveni has told world leaders at the ongoing UN COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai that whereas Uganda welcomes the creation of a fund to help compensate countries struggling to cope with loss and damage caused by climate change, it should be free from the usual bureaucracies in accessing it.

The President’s call was in a speech read for him by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja who led the Ugandan delegation to COP28 in Dubai said on Saturday.On the opening day of the UN COP28 Climate Summit, nations agreed to create a fund that aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.

To this, several nations started putting in money right away with the hosts, United Arab Emirates, and Germany each committed to donating $100 million (Shs380.4 billion). The loss and damage fund board will in January 2024 meet to discuss the structure of the fund and Uganda is one of the first seven countries to benefit from it.

Speaking on Saturday, President Museveni said while Uganda’s natural biodiversity presents important opportunities for adaptation and mitigation that can greatly contribute to global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 24.7% by the year 2030, it is highly vulnerable to climatic shocks.

The president told the leaders that because Uganda is mindful of the rampant degradation and the associated impacts escalating climate change, government has come up with policies to protect and preserve our environment and biodiversity.He however noted that currently, only 10% of climate finance in Uganda reaches the local level, calling for the need to have this changed.

Museveni Urges UPDF To Be Vigilant Amidst Rising ADF Threat”

KAMPALA,(UG) –President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) operating under Operation Shujaa carried out seven more attacks against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists in the Democratic Republic of Congo, further throwing them in disarray.

In a post via his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) handle today, the President said the Ugandan army have intensified the hunt for the ADF terror group members in DRC.He explained that in the just concluded week, the UPDF carried out six devastating attacks using different air platforms and one attack by medium-range artillery.

According to him, the air-attacks were at a distance of between 64km and 65km from the border.Meanwhile, President Museveni has urged citizens in public places like churches, markets, mosques and leisure centres, among others, to be vigilant of strange faces and revenge attacks from the rebel group.

The President’s message of vigilance comes hours after a similar call by the Police following two separate blasts in Nabweru and Makindye in Kampala yesterday evening, though with no fatalities.