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A soldier attached to the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) is on the run after making off with Shs 400,000 from a mobile money agent in Bombo town council. The soldier, identified as corporal Tom Bingi is attached to Bombo military barracks in Luweero district.

Lt Colonel Deo Akiiki, the UPDF deputy spokesperson explains that Bingi escaped last evening after putting a one Hamza Jaffar, a mobile money agent at gunpoint before running away with all the money he had in his possession.
Akiiki explains that the soldier later fired several gunshots in the air to scare the public and later escaped with the gun and the stolen money. He says the search for the errant soldier is on.

Osman Kassim Ramathan, the LC III chairperson of Bombo says that residents attempted to chase the soldier up to Ndejje trading centre but they couldn't apprehend him because he was armed.

It's also reported that the UPDF is searching for another soldier who went missing with a gun last month from the Bombo military barracks. In 2013, private Patrick Okot Odoch, another soldier attached to Bombo military barracks escaped with a gun and shot ten people including his own colleagues in a local bar.

 
Okot Odoch was arrested and sentenced to 90 years in jail after found guilty of murder and attempted murder charges. During the same year, another soldier private Simon Peter Otenyan attached to the same barracks also shot two colleagues dead.

 

1 day 4 hours ago

Supreme court justice Prof Lillian Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza has lashed out at Ugandans who she said fail to make right choices while casting their ballots and expect the courts to do miracles for them. 

Speaking at a symposium organised by the Makerere University School of Law while marking 50 years of its existence, Ekirikubinza, who, for a long time worked at Makerere, said Ugandans have themselves to blame if their elected leaders act contrary to their aspirations.

 

“People fail to do certain things and want us to do what they failed to do at the ballot. You fail to elect quality legislators and you want court to do that for you. As citizens, you ought to do your job of electing quality legislators who will do quality work for you and not to seek to use the court system to achieve what your leaders have failed to do for you,” Ekirikubinza who was part of the nine judges who in 2016 unanimously decided to uphold the election of President Museveni said.

The former acting vice chancellor of Makerere University might also be part of the panel of judges that will hear the appeal against the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Act that lifted the presidential age limit from the constitution.

Although the Constitutional court quashed part of the provisions of the amendment; the most significant being the extension of the term of office of members of parliament by two years, court, it nevertheless said parliament acted within its powers to lift age limits on presidential candidates.

 

Ekirikubinza said she gets disturbed by critics of court decisions, many of whom, she said are not even competent to make the criticism.

“Some of the critics against court arise out of the fact that we have lawyers who don’t understand judgements and want to comment on them. The judgement is as good as the lawyers; we would want the Law School to come up as amicus curea [friends of court]” Ekirikubinza said.

Speaking at the same function, deputy chief justice Alphonse Owinyi-Dollo castigated those criticising the Constitutional court for upholding the amendment of the constitution. He said these critics fail to recognise that court saved Ugandans from MPs who wanted to usurp their powers by extending their term of office.

“Everyone talks about the age limit provisions that court upheld and no one talks about court’s intervention to stop parliament from allocating themselves power to extend their term. When you read the judgement, you will find out that the justices almost agreed on all grounds. There was only one dissent…it’s okay to tear our judgement apart but you must recognise the good things in it,” Owinyi-Dollo said.

He called upon Ugandans to start believing in the court system, arguing that, its the only way to attaining a full democratic country that believes in its systems. For her part, Lydia Namubiru, the executive director of Laspnet, a not-for-profit organisation with interest in human rights, legal and constitutional issues said, its high time Makerere University Law School taught students who are up to the challenges of the ever evolving world.

She said lawyers must work towards improving their image that has been badly damaged by their greed for money.

“If you put a lawyer and another person from another field, what would society choose? I’m very sure now people will say lawyers are useless. We need to go back and clean ourselves to improve our image,” Namubiru said.

The symposium was attended by prominent lawyers like Francis Gimara, Joe Oloka-Onyango, John- Jean Barya, justice Remmy Kasule among others.

1 day 4 hours ago

During its routine surveillance in Mbarara in March this year, the National Drug Authority (NDA) picked up about 48 vials of suspected falsified Hepatitis B vaccines from several health centres. The discovery triggered off a series of investigations in at least 18 drug outlets in western and central Uganda.

 

Releasing the investigation findings yesterday, minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said the falsified Hepatitis B vaccines were subjected to tests and found not to be harmful to the recipients.  

“Chemical tests done on both samples (authentic and false vaccines), did not find any harmful active pharmaceutical ingredient that would be injurious to the recipient. Additional field monitoring confirmed no adverse drug reaction,” Aceng said.

Aceng said NDA has made efforts to monitor any side effects of the falsified vaccines, as well as the ones reported by the media, but so far none have been found.

“NDA has made efforts to monitor side effects amongst those who received the falsified vaccines, but none have been reported and identified. Other events reported in the media were investigated by NDA and found not to be related to the vaccine,” Aceng said.

 

Aceng also said that the potency levels in the false Hepatitis B vaccine had been reduced, meaning it might not have given effective immunisation.

“Given the reduced potency levels observed in the falsified samples, the falsified vaccine may not have elicited the expected immune response that is protective against Hepatitis B infection for the individuals who received this vaccine,” she said.

Aceng said the falsified vaccines had similarities with the government issued vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, prompting government to believe the vaccines were stolen and not manufactured.

“Given the similarities we believe that the falsified Hepatitis B vaccine was government-issued vaccine and was most likely diverted or stolen for sales to private health facilities,” Aceng said.

She said, among the differences in the vaccines was the labelling details, which had been deliberately altered.

“There was however some variation in labelling and related details, such as batch numbers, expiry date, colour, and design schemes. There was also a deliberate attempt to erase the inscription of “Government of Uganda, not for sale, for public use only”,” she said.

Aceng added that the lower potency in the falsified vaccines is most likely due to improper storage by the perpetrators, since no other similar vaccines had been coming in to the country.

“Although the active ingredient and in-vitro potency test showed some differences between the two samples, with the suspect samples returning lower specifications, the difference could have been in poor cold-chain-management of the suspect samples during falsification. This is because NDA did not identify any inlet of that vaccine into the country,” Aceng said.

Aceng said, cases of falsified vaccines are currently undergoing investigation, with one case already finished, which ended in a Shs 500,000 fine.

“NDA continues to work with the Uganda Police, on eight cases which are at various stages of investigation and court hearing,” she said.

The minister said that government is to suspend all private Hepatitis B vaccine camps, until they have been cleared.

“The ministry of Health suspended vaccination camps for Hepatitis B by private health providers. All private medical camps seeking to offer Hepatitis B vaccination must be cleared by the ministry of Health,” Aceng said.

She said, in order to improve the testing of vaccines, the NDA will advance the time on the construction of their own lab, as well as improve their presence on the borders.

“To reduce the infiltration of poor-quality medicines and health care products on the market, NDA is fast-tracking the establishment of its state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory that will significantly increase the scope of testing,” she said.

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1 day 4 hours ago

Social media platforms were on Saturday awash with reports that the MP, who last year moved an amendment to the Constitution to lift the presidential age limits had been poisoned and hospitalized. In a telephone interview with URN, MP Magyezi confirmed the he was in good health condemning the false reports about his life.

 

"It is all untrue, they are just lies. I am fine, I have no problem. There is no poison. I have talked to police and Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and they are trying to find out who started this, am sure they will be arrested," said Magyezi in part.

He described the false messages as acts of criminality and a misuse of social media freedom. Earlier on in a brief statement parliament's principal information and education officer, Moses Bwalatum, urged the public to ignore what they described as 'false', social media reports indicating that MP Magyezi is unwell.

"Today [Saturday] being visitation day, he spent it at Mary Hill high school in Mbarara where his daughter studies. He's now back at home to his family," reads a brief message sent by Bwalatum on Saturday night.
 
Magyezi cited another Facebook message reportedly on Lands state minister Persis Namuganza page announcing his death. Magyezi says that the message indicates that some criminals have hacked into different social media pages with an aim of causing chaos and anxiety in the public.

 

Magyezi, became popular late last year when he sponsored the private member's bill that was passed to remove the presidential age limit. The amendment was later this year upheld by the Constitutional court ruling that approved parliament's passing of the Constitutional (Amendment) No.2 Act of 2017. 

Magyezi's bill was seconded by Kyaka South MP Jackson Kafuuzi, Jinja West MP Moses Balyeku and Amolatar Woman MP Doreen Amule.

Since his involvement in the 'age limit bill', Magyezi has on several occasions spoken out about threats on his life. In an earlier interview with URN after the Constitutional court ruling, the MP said that he still receives threatening messages on his phone. He, however, said that the court's decision to uphold his bill had taught him to continue standing firm by what he believes in.

Magyezi says that some of the people who sent him threatening messages had since apologized while police is still carrying out investigations into different international telephone numbers sending him threats.

1 day 4 hours ago

KYOTERA. Hundreds of people are heading to Kasasa grounds in Kyotera Town Council, Kyotera District to celebrate 56 years of Uganda’s independence.

Various guests including; ambassadors, ministers, religious leaders and Members of Parliament among others are already at the venue.

A fleet of yellow buses started as early as 7am to collect people from various villages around Kyotera and Rakai Districts leading them to the venue. Many people are still lining up along streets in Kyotera Town, waiting for free transport service.

Local musicians are keeping the audience entertained. Police have deployed heavily to secure the venue and its neighbourhoods.

According to the Kyotera District Police Commander, Mr Musa Kayongo, all the routes leading to Kasasa grounds are well secured to ensure sanity during the celebrations.

“We ask all our people to cooperate well with the officers because they are deployed to ensure their security," Mr Kayonga said.

Several routes leading to the venue are decorated with Uganda flags. In Kyotera Town and Kasasa Township, business people are going about their usual businesses.

Mr Moses Kiwanuka, a businessman in Kyotera Town says the prevailing poverty cannot allow him to take part in the independence celebrations.

“Poverty is biting hard and we no longer have time for such events. If I close my shop and go to Kasasa, who feed my family? We left such celebrations to civil servants,” he says .

56 years ago, Uganda’s first executive Prime Minister Milton Obote set four-fold priorities for an independent Uganda: political stability, safeguarding the economy, improving social services and building an efficient civil service. That was at Kololo ceremonial grounds in Kampala on the night of October 9, 1962.

This afternoon, President Museveni will, for the 33rd time, ascend the rostrum to speak to Ugandans as they observe the 56th anniversary of independence.

6 days 4 hours ago

Tororo- Leaders of the Opposition Uganda People’s Congress in Tororo District Tuesday asked the ruling National Resistance Movement government to recognise their party for leading the country to independence under the leadership of the former president Milton Obote.

Speaking during the 56th anniversary of independence celebrations at King George Memorial Stadium in Tororo, the leaders said the struggle to attain independence was not as easy as it’s considered by some Ugandans.

The concerned leaders through the chairperson of the Women Council in the district, Ms Yedida Padde, appealed to the ruling government to be honest and give credit to UPC for its role in ending colonialism.

She said it’s sad that the NRM government is busy giving out medals to “even cooks” but has never bothered to recognise those who fought for independence.

‘’It’s unfair for government to be seen awarding medals to even cooks leaving out historical leaders who fought for independence. Much as you are in power, records show that UPC led the country to independence and it should respected,’’ she said.

‘’All of us once belonged to UPC or DP and formed NRM. Therefore, it’s only a fool that will never remember where she or he came from,’’ Ms Padde said.

The State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Achieng Opendi commended the UPC leaders for raising their concerns saying the government has not forgotten about them.

 

6 days 4 hours ago

Police in Bugweri district shot and killed a young man while quelling a protest in Nawangisa A village. The deceased has been identified as 25 year-old Matia Isooba, a resident of Nawangisa.
 
Police rushed to disperse the angry residents when they blocked the busy Iganga-Tororo highway on Saturday afternoon to protest a decision by the chief administrative officer, Jonathan Mukose to shift Nawangisa health centre II to Minani village and elevate it to a health centre III.

The protesters put up resistance and started pelting the police officers with stones forcing them to respond with fire. Isooba was hit in the lower abdomen killing him instantly. The deputy police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango told URN on phone that Isooba was hit by a stray bullet.

 

"Police had to come in and in the process they were confront by angry residents who started pelting them with stones. In the process of officers seeing some of their colleagues bleeding because they were injured they started firing in the air. A stray bullet caught him in the stomach." Onyango said. 
 
He explains that 18 police officers were injured by the stone-throwing protestors and are nursing wounds in their homes. He however, said they have started investigating the incident.
 
Yazid Menya, the Nawangisa A village chairperson who led the protest expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the district to relocate a health facility from his village, saying it promotes unfairness in the new district. 

"This is a new district and we expected equal distribution of resources but this decision is totally unfair to our parish, which has three villages and 1500 people," Menya says. 

Residents claim Minani village already has a health centre III, arguing that establishing another health centre III in the same village will jeopardize service delivery in others.

6 days 4 hours ago

Naome Kibaaju, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party candidate has won the Sheema North parliamentary by-election.
 
The Sheema district Electoral Commission returning officer, Deborah Asiimwe declared Kibaaju winner at about 9:10pm on Monday night.

Kibaaju garnered 11,326 votes representing 60.3 per cent while Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Guma Nuwagaba garnered 7,322 representing 39.0 per cent. The invalid votes were 123 accounting for 0.7%.
The Electoral Commission chairperson justice Simon Byabakama commended the candidates and their electorate for being peaceful during campaigns and voting day. He said both voters and candidates exhibited a high degree of maturity during and after the exercise.

Shortly after being declared winner, Kibaaju said she will focus on reuniting people who could have been divided by elections and before she embarks on developmental projects.
 
Kibaaju noted that Sheema North is struggling with lack of clean water and electricity, which she says will be top on her agenda. Her rival Nuwagaba couldn't be reached for comment on the poll results.

Marshal Tumusiime, the Greater Bushenyi region police spokesperson, said they didn't register any serious incident during the polls. He commended residents for being peaceful and cooperating with security.
 
The Sheema North parliament seat fell vacant mid this year after the former legislator Dr Elioda Tumwesigye opted to contest for the newly created Sheema municipality parliamentary seat.

6 days 4 hours ago

Kampala- Luweero Diocese Bishop Elidard Nsubuga is pushing for a mixed use of prayer and medicine to achieve total healing for patients.

Bishop Nsubuga told health workers at Luweero Health Centre IV on Wednesday that the full healing of patients can only be achieved by the merciful intervention of God who blesses the efforts of health workers.

“We need to allocate time for spiritual counseling and devotional prayer hour at our health facilities. We need to encourage the patients to understand that God is the chief healer. A spiritual counsellor is best suited to offer the message of hope and prayer for particular patients.

The Church is ready to support medics in realising a holistic healing,” he said.

“You will always receive patients who are depressed and counselling could be the first option,” Bishop Nsubuga told the health workers.

He said a spiritual counsellor plays an important role through selected application of a timely message of hope in the life of a patient.

In response, Dr Sarah Ogobi, the officer-in-charge of Luweero Health Centre IV, told the bishop that her staff have already embraced a holistic management approach for ailments.

“The counselling unit at the facility is active with the staff now fully participating in the devotional prayers organised by the chaplaincy which was established by Luweero Diocese,” she said.

Overwhelmed
Luweero Health Centre IV, which government has lined up for elevation to a district hospital, is overwhelmed by the patient turnout with more than 200 mothers delivering at the facility per month on average.

Similarly, its outpatient department, laboratory, eye clinic and the sickle cell clinics register large patient turnout daily.

“The large numbers we receive call for a holistic management approach, which we are now implementing. Our services will be made better when government fulfills the upgrade to a hospital,” Dr Ogobi said.

The 2014 National Population and Housing Census puts Luweero District population at 456,958, with 27,506 of the residents walking nearly five kilometres to access medical care at the nearest public health centre.
Another 2,534 of the residents lack toilet facilities, exposing them to diseases related to poor hygiene such as cholera, food poisoning and diarrhoea, among others.

1 week 1 day ago

President Yoweri Museveni dished out more than Shs 3 billion to traders in downtown Kampala on Friday during his tour of the area. 

The donations are even likely to increase once the details of smaller Saccos are fine-tuned and submitted to the President's Office for consideration. Museveni promised the traders even more money and more goodies - literally promising to solve all the financial problems raised by the traders.

 

This was Museveni's first tour of downtown since the commencement of elective politics in 1996, almost 12 years after he assumed power. Museveni bluntly told traders that they had abandoned him by electing opposition politicians and he'd abandoned them in return. 

Who got what? 

Museveni visited six groups during the the tour that started at about midday and ended at 7:00pm. At Nakasero market where Museveni addressed the first rally, he donated Shs 100 million to the traders' main Sacco and promised a further Shs 10 million for each small Sacco. 

This reporter was told that there are over 20 smaller Saccos - meaning that the president will hand out more donations in excess of Shs 200 million. From Nakasero, Museveni proceeded to the Old Tax Park where he announced a donation of Shs 500 million to the taxi operators main Sacco. He also promised to donate Shs 10 million for each small Sacco. 

 

There are over 30 small Saccos, so Museveni will give out extra Shs 300 million to Old Taxi Park based Saccos. The president's third stopover was Owino market where he also donated Shs 500 million to the main market Sacco and promised another Shs 10 million to each small Sacco. The president was told that there are precisely 97 small Saccos, which will fetch Shs 970 million extra cash.

In Owino, the president promised to pay the Shs 4.5 billion debt that traders owe to DFCU bank. Government, he further promised, will help traders to develop the market. Museveni then headed to Qualicel Bus terminal where he met groups of traders from various arcades. He launched Kampala Acarders Advocacy Forum (KAAFO) Sacco and blessed it with a donation of Shs 100 million. 

Museveni further promised to fund 10 women from Kampala Women Traders Development Association (KAWODTA) who requested for financial support as they plan to go for a study trip in Turkey. 

Museveni's penultimate mini rally was at the market of disabled traders situated on the edge of New Taxi Park. Disabled traders under Kampala Association of Disabled Traders Company Limited are consumed and locked up in a land row. He didn't make any donations here. 

Kiseka market, the famed opposition arena, that has, for many years been seen as a fermentation ground for opposition protests in Kampala was where Museveni held his last rally. Throngs of people lined the aisles of Nakivubo road and cheered Museveni as he entered Kiseka. 

Here, Museveni donated Shs 250 million to each of the Saccos belonging to the two rival groups in the market. As at the preceding mini rallies, he promised Shs 5 million to each of the small Saccos in the area. He was told that that there are over 40 small Saccos in Kiseka.
 
Kampala politics
 
Museveni told traders that they decided to vote for opposition politicians first; Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, then John Ssebaana Kizito and now Erias Lukwago as city mayors. Museveni used various proverbs to explain Kampala's political dilemma.

 

For instance, Museveni referred to a Runyankore proverb at various rallies that goes; "amazi kugagira ngu otanyoga, oti nanye naba ntine nziro." This is loosely translated to mean that "when water rejects you, you in return say you had no dirt that warranted a shower."

To pronounce his return to downtown, Museveni referred to another Runyankore proverb which says; "ekyitita muhima tikyimaraho ente ze." This literally means that "what can't kills a cattle herder, can never kill all his cows."

Museveni said he had finally come to see people who have been politically rebellious for a long time. Museveni said traders should pardon him for abandoning them, but hastened to argue that they should also ask to be pardoned since they were the first to abandon him when Uganda opened the curtains for elective politics in 1996. 

Markets 
 
Museveni chided traders for electing "useless" politicians who later came to haunt them by selling markets to private investors and city tycoons. Museveni told traders at Nakasero market that politicians who they elected sold markets and never shared proceeds with them. 
 
Since 2011, when Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) replaced the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC), traders have been labouring to regain control of markets and market land.

From Nakesero market to Owino, Old Tax Park, traders are entangled in deep seated conflicts over ownership, eviction threats and struggles to acquire land titles among others. Almost, all these markets are saddled in litigations. 
 
Explaining the philosophy of markets, Museveni likened them to nurseries, where traders start horning their business skills. And when they feel, they have graduated from informal trading; Museveni argued traders leave market stalls to other people who want to join. He reiterated several times selling these markets, was a big mistake.

1 week 1 day ago

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