Posts tagged as: jinja

Jinja Stuck With Shs 1.3bn Street Lights Bill

Jinja municipality is stuck with an accumulated power bill worth Shs 1.3 billion.

Rajab Kitto, the spokesman, Jinja municipality, says the bill has been accumulating over the last five years.

Local authorities are mandated to clear power bills using collections from local revenue. He says the failure to clear the power bill, prompted Umeme to disconnect street lights plunging the municipality into total darkness.

According to Kitto, they are unable to raise sufficient local revenue to clear the bill.

“Of course you are aware that Umeme cut off its power and demands us a lot of money, which is about 1.3 billion. Unless people pay, there is no way we are going to pay that money. We are not in position to pay”, he said.

Majid Batambuze, the mayor Jinja municipality and chairperson Urban Authorities Association, says municipalities unable to sustain street lighting because of the heavy power bills. He wants government to direct power suppliers to incur the cost of streetlights across the country.

“These urban councils collect less revenue and yet they have a lot of other costs to meet. Street lighting is a very expensive venture. If the government can direct the power suppliers to incur the cost of the street lighting before being contracted, then the problem would be solved,” he said.

He however, says most urban council leaders are opting from solar powered streetlights, which don’t have monthly bills.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Uganda: Jinja Stuck With Shs 1.3bn Street Lights Bill

Jinja municipality is stuck with an accumulated power bill worth Shs 1.3 billion.

Rajab Kitto, the spokesman, Jinja municipality, says the bill has been accumulating over the last five years.

Local authorities are mandated to clear power bills using collections from local revenue. He says the failure to clear the power bill, prompted Umeme to disconnect street lights plunging the municipality into total darkness.

According to Kitto, they are unable to raise sufficient local revenue to clear the bill.

“Of course you are aware that Umeme cut off its power and demands us a lot of money, which is about 1.3 billion. Unless people pay, there is no way we are going to pay that money. We are not in position to pay”, he said.

Majid Batambuze, the mayor Jinja municipality and chairperson Urban Authorities Association, says municipalities unable to sustain street lighting because of the heavy power bills. He wants government to direct power suppliers to incur the cost of streetlights across the country.

“These urban councils collect less revenue and yet they have a lot of other costs to meet. Street lighting is a very expensive venture. If the government can direct the power suppliers to incur the cost of the street lighting before being contracted, then the problem would be solved,” he said.

He however, says most urban council leaders are opting from solar powered streetlights, which don’t have monthly bills.

Uganda

Are Police Harbouring Criminal Syndicate Within the Force?

Some weeks ago, President Museveni made a candid statement about the police, which I believe most Ugandans applauded.… Read more »

Relegation Battle

By John Vianney Nsimbe

Although KCCA FC has already won the 2016/2017 Uganda Premier League (UPL) championship, the season is far from over. The focus is now on the relegation dogfight, heading into the penultimate fixture of the season, reports JOHN VIANNEY NSIMBE.

If Sadolin Paints FC fail to beat Express FC tomorrow, they will be relegated from the Uganda Premier League.

However, Sadolin are just one of many UPL sides, including Police FC, Lweza, Bul FC, Kirinya and The Saints that can be relegated depending on results, a situation that should keep the interest in the league palpable.

Sadolin, who are second from bottom, fired their coach Simon Kirumira over a week ago, following their 0-2 loss to The Saints at Namboole stadium. This was a turning point for Sadolin, who ordinarily felt they were favourites to beat The Saints.

But it is a reaction that appears to have come too late, especially when one considers how badly Sadolin has performed in the second round.

They finished the first round tenth, with 17 points, eight goals for, and ten against. Although this earmarked them as the best defence in the league then, the second round has seen them score an additional eight goals only, and conceded 17.

Now they must win their last two games to make it to 32 points. However, Sadolin’s destiny is not in their hands.

The moment Bright Stars, who are on 31 points, secure a point against URA FC in Lugazi, Sadolin will be down on the basis of their highly inferior goal-difference. Bright Stars is on negative four while Sadolin is on negative eleven.

Lweza, who are third from bottom on 28 points have a chance to register 34 points if they win the two games left, beginning with a crunch one against Kirinya, who are eleventh on 31 points.

Considering the form Kirinya has had lately, which has seen them beat SC Villa, Police and Vipers, Lweza have their work cut out. But Kirinya cannot afford to rest on their laurels either. Any slip-up gets them closer to the last three. The same applies to the 2005 league champions Police FC.

On 30 points, Police are right at the borderline. And to eliminate the pressure that comes with that, they must beat already relegated JMC Hippos.

On the basis of the table’s outlook, The Saints, who will be hoping that they can revenge their first round loss to Onduparaka FC in Bombo, need a point to be safe. They will have reached the 34-point mark.

And because all the other teams in the relegation fight below them also have to face each other, Moses Basena’s men have a straightforward situation.

On the other hand, Proline will play a big role in determining who stays up. They will face Kirinya on the final day in Jinja, and how important those points may be. But the outright shoot-out will come against Police and Lweza.

In fact, even if Police failed to beat JMC tomorrow, and they found themselves dropping into the bottom three, their final-day match-up with Lweza will be winner-takes it all.

UGANDA PREMIER LEAGUE

Tuesday@4pm:

SC Villa v Vipers

JMC Hippos v Police

Lweza v Jinja

Onduparaka v The Saints

Proline v KCCA

Sadolin v Express

Soana v Bul

URA v Bright Stars

Uganda: Mother in Agony Over Missing New Born Twin

By Denis Edema

Jinja — On February 8, Ms Zainah Magomu checked into Jinja Regional Referral Hospital to deliver a set of twins.

The first to pop out died shortly after. As her husband, Francis Mubiru made arrangements to take the dead baby for burial, a second child was delivered but it was a premature.

As a medical requirement, the baby was put in an incubator. That, sadly, was the last Ms Magomu saw of the child.

“I went out to the toilet and came back to feed my baby, but the incubator was empty. When I asked the nurse the whereabouts of my baby, she said she did not know,” she narrates.

At the hospital, mothers are only allowed into the Special Care Unit to feed the babies and promptly leave.

According to Ms Magomu’s recollection, there was only one nurse manning the facility on the fateful day.

The couple is traumatised over the disappearance of their baby. Worse still is the fact that they have never received any communication from the hospital.

Ms Magomu said they have spent a lot of money seeking justice.

As their last resort, they have petitioned the President with the hope that power and authority from the top office will help them know the truth about their baby.

“I am demanding for my child whether dead or alive because it was the responsibility of the nurse to ensure safety of my baby while in the incubator,” she said.

Police confirmed the incident, saying it is still being investigated under reference case number CRB 117/2017. Two people, police say, have been arrested, including the nurse who was on duty that day and another suspect whose details police refused to release. They are both out on police bond.

There is suspicion that the investigations are dragging because some people were given money to dissuade them from following the matter.

Efforts to get comments from the hospital director, Dr Sophie Namasopo, were futile as her known telephone numbers were off by press time.

The Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Mr Rex Aachilla, said he has been following the case and engaged the hospital director in security meetings.

“Since the incident happened, we have had security meetings over the matter and the hospital director said she is committed to seeing, through police, that the child is recovered but up to now, the police have not come out with any report,” Mr Aachilla said

He further said there are unusual beliefs surrounding the disappearance of the twin baby that somebody maliciously picked it for a different purpose, which is hindering investigation.

State House has now written to Jinja hospital demanding an explanation.

In a letter dated May 10, signed by Mr Emmanuel Ilukor, on behalf of the Principal Private Secretary to the President, Ms Molly Kamukama, to the Director Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, they are demanding an urgent response to the said allegations.

The hospital has been, among others, asked to explain circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the said twin baby from the hospital incubator, the whereabouts of the baby; alive or dead, the list and details of doctors and nurses who were on duty from the time the mother was admitted for maternity, during maternity to the date of discharge and the names and details of doctors and nurses who were supposed to be on duty.

They must also produce the attendance register for the hospital employees to the maternity section for the period of February 2 to February 13.

Mayor Tortured Over Kaweesi’s Murder Speaks Out

Photo: NBS TV/Youtube

Now Kamwenge town council mayor Geoffrey Byamukama claims that police detectives tortured him from the now notorious high security Nalufenya police detention facility in Jinja district.

By Johnson Taremwa

Geoffrey Byamukama, the mayor of the western Kamwenge town council, looked helpless and in agony on his bed at Nakasero hospital in Kampala.

His knees and feet bore sore wounds. Byamukama is a suspect in the murder of the former police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, who was killed in March by hitherto unknown gunmen.

Asked how he ended up in this pathetic state, Byamukama told The Observer on Wednesday that he was tortured while in detention at the notorious Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja.

Speaking to this newspaper from his hospital bed, Byamukama said he was arrested from the office of a commissioner in the ministry of Lands on April 11 by two gentlemen.

They identified themselves as Fred Tumuhiirwe and a one Byenkya from the police’s flying squad and special operations unit respectively. Byamukama said he was then put into a waiting police van where he found three muscular men. They closed the door and drove him to an unknown place.

“When they dropped me into their van, the beatings started. They told me that to save my life, I had to confess that I participated in the killing of Kaweesi which I refused,” he said, almost on the brink of tears.

Byamukama added that he pleaded with his tormentors to stop the beatings but they refused. Later, he said, he was dumped at Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja where the beating continued only that this time, he almost got killed.

“When I went into comma [after the beating], they rushed me to a hospital in Jinja where the management refused to admit me because I was half dead,” he said.

“I don’t know if I will ever walk or stand on my legs again,” he said, while shedding tears.

“I think this is the right time for God to take me. I am tired and angry; I deserve to rest forever,” Byamukama said, wincing in pain.

Byamukama’s wife, Viola Komugisha, told The Observer at the hospital that her husband was arrested and tortured by police officers attached to the flying squad.

“My husband was tortured by officers from the flying squad claiming that he knew Kaweesi’s killers,” she said.

She said once they (family) found out that he had been taken to Nalufenya, they went there. She said they found him (Byamukama) in critical condition and requested to take him to hospital but the police refused.

Other sources within security told us that Byamukama was taken to various police stations before he was taken to Nalufenya where he was tortured.

The sources said Byamukama was later rushed to Jinja regional referral hospital for treatment, but doctors rejected him, claiming that his situation was worrying.

SNEAKED INTO NAKASERO

Byamukama’s tormentors then tried to rush him to Mulago hospital but they feared human rights activists and groups would be alerted.

He was later secretly booked into Nakasero hospital, where he has been heavily guarded since. On Wednesday evening, our sources tipped us that he was still holed up at the hospital. Later in the night, we sneaked into the hospital and managed to locate Byamukama in room 312.

SECURITY DENIES

Byamukama’s testimony, and numerous claims that police is torturing suspects, has forced the force on the defensive. The commander of the police flying squad, Herbert Muhangi, denied that his men tortured or even arrested Byamukama.

“I have never ordered or directed for the arrest and torture of Byamukama. I have my methods of investigations and interrogations but I cannot torture people,” he said yesterday.

Muhangi said Byamukama knows the people who tortured him and they are not from flying squad.

“Good enough, he mentioned people who arrested and tortured him. I have never been with such people in the flying squad,” he said.

Muhangi also said he relocated from Nalufenya some time back and he is not responsible for what happens at the high-security detention facility.

Other sources claimed Byamukama and other suspects were arrested and tortured by operatives from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI.

But the CMI chief, Col Abel Kandiho, rubbished these accusations in a telephone interview with The Observer yesterday.

“We don’t know that person [Byamukama]. We have never arrested him and he is not in our records,” he said.

Kanduho said CMI has the list of people they arrested in regard to Kaweesi’s killing and nobody has come up to say that he was tortured by CMI.

“If the mayor says that he was tortured by police, then police should take the blame and explain why they tortured him,” he said.

Brig Richard Karemire, the UPDF spokesperson, said yesterday that it is not the culture of UPDF to torture suspects. He said, “If the mayor accuses police of torture, then it is police to explain who tortured him and why.”

MORE ARRESTS

Yesterday, seven other suspects were arraigned before Nakawa magistrate’s court in connection with the murder of Kaweesi, bringing the total number of arrests so far to 20.

The suspects who appeared before Grade I Magistrate Noah Ssajjabi were charged with terrorism, two counts of murder of Godfrey Wambewa and Kenneth Erau, the driver and bodyguard of Kaweesi respectively, abetting terrorism, and robbery of two guns from their victims.

They were sent on remand until May 18 since the magistrate’s court cannot hear capital offences.

Kagoma Polls – Museveni Warns On ‘Playing With a Lion’s Tail’

Photo: Denis Edema/Daily Monitor

Boost. President Museveni waves to the crowd at Mr Moses Walyomu’s campaign rally at Bulugo Primary School in Buyengo Sub-county.

By Tausi Nakato, Abubaker Kirunda and Denis Edema

Jinja — Candidates vying for Kagoma County parliamentary seat in Jinja District ended their campaigns yesterday amid reports of violence as both NRM and Opposition FDC party bigwigs camped in the district to swing the vote in favour of their candidates.

The campaigns that saw President Museveni and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) founding president Dr Kizza Besigye drum up support for rival candidates, did not entirely pass off as smoothly as anticipated by the Electoral Commission (EC).

One of the victims, Mr Abubaker Maganda, was roughed up as he returned home after attending a rally of the FDC party flag-bearer, just days ago.

Mr Maganda is the FDC party chairperson for Jinja District.

The Saturday attack by a yet-to-be identified gang wearing black masks, is believed to be linked to Mr Maganda’s active support for FDC’s parliamentary candidate Timothy Batuwa Lusala.

“I was together with Mr Harold Kaija; one of our members, and suddenly, masked men in a double-cabin vehicle blocked us at Muguluka Trading Centre before beating us up with batons,” Mr Batuwa Lusala told Daily Monitor.

“I lost my cell phone and wallet with important documents,” he added.

Mr Batuwa Lusala is recuperating at the KYM International Hospital in Jinja.

Mr Gerald Twishime, the Kiira Regional police commander, said the police are investigating the matter.

Speaking at a rally to swing support for the NRM flag-bearer, Mr Moses Walyomu, at Bulugo Primary School in Buyengo Sub-county on Monday, NRM secretary general Kasule Lumumba told President Museveni that their supporters were being harassed.

She asked the President to pronounce himself on the matter.

In response, President Museveni warned those intimidating NRM supporters and likened their alleged provocation to someone playing with the tail of a lion.

“If you punish someone because he is supporting NRM, then it is as if you are touching or playing with a lion’s tail. Some people don’t know that when you play with NRM you’re causing yourself trouble,” Mr Museveni said. “Anybody who disturbs the peace in Uganda, we will deal with him the same way we did in Karamoja during the disarmament or the way we dealt with [LRA rebel leader] Joseph Kony and Alice Lakwena,” Mr Museveni warned.

He then directed Mr Twishime and Mr Asuman Mugenyi, the director of police operations, to ensure the violence stops.

Also traversing Kagoma County to ensure victory for the FDC candidate was Dr Besigye.

The former FDC presidential candidate, who has since challenged President Museveni for the top seat in the last four elections, was part of the party bigwigs combing votes for the party’s flag-bearer, Mr Batuwa.

Dr Besigye told a crowd at Budondo Sub-county yesterday that Kagoma County should vote the FDC candidate because they deserve better and not people who will only rubberstamp even unprincipled positions while in Parliament.

Dr Besigye urged the electorates to vote for Mr Batuwa to kick-start their disapproval of how bad the economy and the country has degenerated.

Other candidates in the race include Mr Alex Brandon Kintu (Independent) and Mr Muhammed Bidondole (Independent).

History

The Kagoma parliamentary seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal nullified the result of the 2016 election following an appeal by Mr Alex Brandon Kintu, who was one of the contenders in the 2016 parliamentary race.

After losing the election to Mr Moses Walyomu, Mr Kintu filed an election petition in court detailing election malpractices manifested in the form of voter bribery, something he said unjustly swung the result in favour of his rival.

The Court of Appeal agreed with his argument and in early March, a verdict nullifying the election was declared, resulting in the rerun of the election.

Two Years On, Work On Kampala-Jinja Express Highway Yet to Begin

Photo: Daily Monitor

Project. An artistic impression of the highway from Kinawataka overview in Kampala.

analysisBy Isaac Mufumba

The Promise

In the second week of December 2013, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) announced that construction work on the Kampala-Jinja Express Highway was would commence in 2015.

UNRA’s Corporate Communications Manager at the time, Mr Daniel Alinange, said work on the 77km stretch would cost nearly Shs800 billion and that the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development had already slapped a ban on further development on land in areas the road was planned to pass through.

“The master plan for the road is already in advanced stages, and we shall be moving full throttle in 2014 to address issues like compensation of affected persons,” Mr Alinange then said.

He said the design of the eight-lane carriage and two bus lanes was drawn by a Japanese engineering firm.

The road had been expected to branch off the current Kampala-Jinja highway at Banda, and run through Kinawataka, Bweyogerere, Mukono, parts of Lugazi Sugar Works plantations, Nyenga and Buikwe before connecting to Jinja through the New Nile Bridge, which is currently under construction.

The plan for the highway to cross part of Lugazi plantation was meant to avoid the expressway running through Mabira Forest, which environmentalists want preserved.

The road was also expected to connect to the Southern Bypass by way of a network of tunnels and flyovers.

The project was meant to be undertaken as a Private Public Partnership (PPP), with government providing the bulk of funding as a co-financer. The idea was that the core investor would build, own and operate the toll road for 25 years from the date of commissioning. It was presumed this would considerably reduce the burden that wholesale undertaking would have squarely placed on the shoulders of government.

Clearance to use the expressway would be for a user to buy specifically designated token coins obtained before access.

According to UNRA’s projections, commissioning had been expected to take place in 2020.

Status

The only progress so far towards realizing the promise was UNRA’s selection in June 2014 of the International Finance Corporation to work as its lead transaction advisor in the process of assessing the potential to develop the highway on a PPP basis.

Spea Engineering was then hired to assist URNA to identify possible investors for the project.

But outside of those two initiatives, and close to three-and-half years since UNRA made the announcement, residents of areas through which the road was meant to pass are yet to be compensated and construction work has never began.

Official Position

According to the UNRA’s Director of Communications, Mr Mark Ssali, work on the express highway is progressing.

“Feasibility studies have been updated and submitted for approval by the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Committee. When that approve comes, which will be soon, we hope procurement will commence,” he said.

Mr Ssali said the European Union (EU) and the African Development Bank Funding, which will constitute government’s contribution towards the project, has already been approved.

Other sources within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning have since told Daily Monitor that the European Union (EU) and the Government of France through the French Development Agency (AFD are contributing €180 million (approximately Shs707.5 billion). Each of them has contributed €90 million (approximately Shs353.8 billion).

Impact

During the July 2014 Financing Summit for Africa’s Infrastructure, which took place in Dakar, Senegal, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), identified the Kampala-Jinja express highway as the sixth infrastructure projects that were lined up for development before 2020. COMESA allocated $74 million (approximately Shs170.32 billion) towards its development.

Since actual work is yet to begin, Uganda is yet to tap into those funds.

Besides, the road, which forms part of the Northern Corridor of the Trans-Africa highway, which links Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and parts of the Eastern DR Congo (DRC) to Kenya and the Indian Ocean Port of Mombasa, Kenya, to the Atlantic Ocean Port of Matadi, in the DR Congo, is arguably the busiest and most congested road in Uganda.

Travelling on this 80km road, which used to take less than an hour, has now become every traveller’s nightmare. Traffic often slows down to a crawl, especially between Kampala and Mukono town. Covering the 23km stretch sometimes takes motorists between one and half and two hours.

While the rest of the road is not very congested, its narrow stretches constrain motorists. It only ceases becoming a single lane in either towns or on climbing lanes. That means that travelling on those stretch takes motorists nearly 3 to 4 hours.

The traffic jams also mean increased fuel consumption, which is not good for business.

With the Mukono-Kayunga-Njeru route as the only alternative for motorists who find themselves caught further down the road towards Jinja when trees in Mabira forest fall across the roads or when trailers overturn are often forced to park for hours on end until when help the Police brings in Cranes to move the trees and trailers, such delays coupled with high fuel consumption means the cost of doing business in Uganda gets much higher.

Matters are further complicated by lack of alternative mode of transport. While a few traders occasionally use the railway transport system to move goods between Kampala and Jinja, there are no passenger train services.

Air transport between Kampala and Jinja is yet to be developed and water transport between the Jinja Pier and Port Bell on Lake Victoria has not been operational for more than 15 years now.

VOICES

“Heavy traffic jams on the current highway have been affecting business. No one wants to stop and no one wants to construct a house in an area in which he spends so much time on the road when he wants to access it. So we welcome the express highway. We think it will decongest the highway and make it easier for people to come and invest. I think the investments will even go as far down as Namawojjolo and Namataba areas”

Jackson Muyanja Ssenyonga, MP (NRM) Mukono County South

“If the time spent on travelling between Jinja and Kampala were reduced, it means that many more people would be staying in Jinja and working in Kampala, which would stimulate growth and development in Jinja and Busoga, which is centrally located. If the highway kicks off, it will serve as catalyst to a possible upgrade of the Kimaka Airfield to a regional or even international airport. Busoga stands to benefit a lot from this.”

Ahmed Osman Noor, Second Deputy Prime Minister of Busoga Kingdom

“I know there are fears that diversion of traffic might stall development, but the express highway will certainly quicken traffic on the existing highway. I think it will have a provision for movement of heavy trucks which have been causing most of the congestion. I also think that the new express highway will help kick-start development in other areas in Buikwe District. The express highway is definitely very welcome” Isaac Ssozi Mulindwa, MP (NRM) Lugazi Municipality Buikwe District

Daily Monitor position

The difficulties experienced by travellers along the existing Kampala-Jinja highway are once again a reminder that in Uganda, those who hold the planning docket must be moving to put in place a master plan that will enable the country develop its capacity to make all alternative transport systems operational.

As government works towards ensuring work starts on the Kampala-Jinja Express highway, we also need to revive the lake water transport between the Jinja Pier and Port Bell. Steam-driven vessels should return to facilitate transportation of passengers and goods between Jinja and capital city Kampala.

Consideration should also be given the renovation of the Kimaka Air field in Jinja as the start of the reintroduction of flights between Jinja and Entebbe.

This, therefore, implies that such a master plan should not be allowed to go the way of most, which have been left to gather dust on shelves in government offices and departments. The plans should be put into action.

Jinja Returning Officer Quits Electoral Commission

By Denis Edema

Jinja — Following complaints from the electorate, the Jinja District returning officer, Mr Anthony Ambrose Mwaita, has stepped down forcing the Electoral Commission (EC) to appoint Mr Rogers Sserunjogi as his replacement.

This follows complaints by several voters in the district who described Mr Mwaita’s behaviour during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections as unacceptable.

With the Kagoma by-elections just days away, the new returning officer will, according to the EC, hit the ground running.

Speaking in a mid-week interview, Mr Mwaita said: “I have stepped down because of complaints from the electorate. Several people during the harmonisation meeting that was organised by Civil Society organisations believed that I was not fair in my conduct in the previous elections. So for the purpose of free and fair elections, I will step aside.”

In his remarks, Mr Sserunjogi said he will be fair to all and work within the electoral rules.

He also assured the people of Jinja that the Kagoma by-election will be free and fair. The by-election will be held on May 11.

The role of the returning officer includes taking charge as well as setting up polling places, supervising staff working at polling stations, counting the votes and declaring the results for elections.

The Kagoma parliamentary seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal nullified the result of the election following an appeal by Mr Alex Brandon Kintu who was one of the contenders in the 2016 parliamentary race.

After losing the election to Mr Moses Walyomu, Mr Kintu filed an election petition in court detailing election fraud manifested in the form of particularly voter bribery, something he said unjustly swung the result in favour of his rival.

The Court of Appeal agreed with his argument and in early March, a verdict nullifying the election was declared, resulting into the forthcoming by-election.

Candidates

Candidates vying for the Kagoma Constituency parliamentary seat include Mr Alex Brandon Kintu (Independent), Mr Moses Walyomu (NRM), Mr Muhammed Bidondole (Independent) and Mr Timothy Batuwa Lusala (FDC).

Uganda

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Museveni Urges Local Leaders to Allocate Free Land to Investors

Photo: Dennis Edema/Daily Monitor

President Museveni (with a hat) is taken on a guided tour of the Sunbelt factory in Jinja.

By Tausi Nakato & Abubaker Kirunda

Jinja — Investors looking to invest in industrial development must be allocated free land without delay, President Museveni has directed.

Justifying his directive, Mr Museveni said granting free land to investors will boost industrialisation, which will in turn solve the unemployment question.

Speaking at the launch of Sunbelt Textile Company in Jinja Town on Monday, the President said investors who want to establish factories and industries should be provided free land without any delay, arguing that Ugandans will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

He said it’s the economy that stands to lose if Ugandans make it hard for investors to operate in

“At least 1,200 youth are now employed in this factory. If we get another 10 factories of this kind in Jinja then we will have at least 12,000 youth employed here. And if we get 100 factories like this one then we will have all our youths in Busoga get jobs and we will even have excess jobs,” Mr Museveni said.

He continued: “For this to happen I want you to give investors land so that they don’t find it a challenge when they want to set up factories here. Already I have worked on the issue of electricity and it is no longer a problem.”

Creating excess jobs

Mr Museveni said he wants to turn Uganda and particularly Busoga sub-region into a Japan of sorts where there are excess jobs for the youth.

He noted that a factory does not need a huge space as it can operate on a small piece of land but with high capacity for mass employment unlike a farm that takes a huge space yet employs very few people.

“This factory sits on 13 acres of land and it generates $110m (Shs396b) every year.

“But if the same land is used to grow potatoes, how much do you think will be collected every year and how many will be employed?” The President asked.

He continued: “You know very well that Jinja is an industrial area and that is why we need more industries here to create many jobs and make us a lot of money compared to what we can earn from agriculture.”

According to the President, the future prosperity of the country can be generated from industries, both big and small scale, commercial agriculture and in services such as hotels and Information Technology.

These sectors, he said, will boost the economy and help supplement the meagre job (about 40,000 jobs) opening that the government provides every year.

Mr Museveni also warned against corruption, saying it scares away potential investors from investing in the country.

“You have to be trustworthy so as not to tarnish your name as a country. If you are not a trustworthy person when these people go back to their country they tell others that Ugandans are thieves and this is not good for our reputation and our efforts to turn our country into an investment destination.”

He, however, pledged to have the Jinja Municipality road improved, saying it will also enhance the status of the town.

He said: “Your people stole my money for Katosi Road but the work has since resumed so don’t get worried. The money for roads is available and we are going to work on Main Street Road, Walukuba-Masese Road and Nile Resort Hotel Road.”

His pledge followed an appeal from the Mayor of Jinja Municipality, Mr Majidu Batambuze, on renovation of roads which are currently in a poor state.

The chairperson of Sunbelt Group of Companies, Mr Sun Lian Zhang, said they have invested $18 million (Shs64.8b) in the company.

Priority sectors

In 2014, then minister for Investment Gabriel Ajedra said a new criterion had been drawn by the government to start giving free land to investors.

“Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has developed a land allocation criteria which has already been approved by both UIA and PPDA that will be used to allocate land to all deserving investors in all our industrial parks across the country,” Mr Ajedra said at the Media Centre in Kampala.

He said investors in four government priority sectors; minerals, hospitality and tourism, agro-processing and ICT, will get land.

UIA strategy

While speaking about her target to transform Uganda into a top investment destination recently, Ms Jolly Kaguhangire, the executive director of Uganda Investment Authority, said part of her strategy was to look into interests of Uganda, the needs of investors and look at UIA’s internal capacity to take on a different approach to grow investment.

Top on her agenda is to ensure that industrial parks are functional.

“Functional industrial parks covering four regions of the country will be developed by the end of four years, beginning with the completion of Kampala Industrial Business Park Namanve, Nakasongola and others,” she said.

Ms Kaguhangire said she intends to build investor confidence and strengthen processes at UIA. “Investor confidence cannot be built when you have poor services, delays in processes, we have to have professionalism in what we are doing,” she said.

Candidates Sign Anti-Bribery Agreement

By Andrew Katabulawo & Edema Denis

Jinja — Candidates vying for the Kagoma Constituency parliamentary seat have signed an agreement to run a decent campaign.

The four candidates, including Mr Alex Brandon Kintu (Independent), Mr Moses Walyomu ( NRM), Mr Muhammed Bidondole (Independent) and Mr Timothy Batuwa Lusala (FDC), signed to particularly run a campaign that is devoid of voter bribery.

The Kagoma parliamentary seat fell vacant after the Court of Appeal nullified the result of the election following an appeal by Mr Kintu who was one of the contenders in the 2016 parliamentary race.

Appeal decision

Mr Kintu stood as an independent but lost to Mr Walyomu. He then filed an election petition in court detailing election fraud manifested in the form of particularly voter bribery, something he said unjustly swung the result in favour of his rival.

The Court of Appeal agreed with his argument and in early March, a verdict nullifying the election was declared, resulting into the forthcoming by-election.

To cure the repeat of what mainly led to the nullification of the earlier results, NGOs such as the Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) and First African Bicycle Organisation (FABIO) have teamed up to push for fair play during the Kagoma by-election campaigns.

In an effort to do that, the aforementioned NGOs, whose agenda is good governance and fair play, have had all the nominated candidates make a public pledge and sign an agreement committing to free and fair election.

The four candidates signed the agreement last week in Jinja during a harmonising meeting chaired by the Jinja District returning officer, Mr Anthony Ambrose Mwaita.

The director of FABIO, Ms Katesi Nagisa, said so far, 65 activists have been deployed in at least five sub-counties, comprising 15 parishes with nearly 120 villages to move from door to door telling the voters not to sell their votes.

According to the representative of ACIFIM, Mr Henry Mugizi, selling and buying votes normally undermines the quality of services delivered, let alone rendering the whole electoral processes a shame.

In his remarks, Mr Mwaita urged the candidates to strictly follow electoral rules and not breach the public pact they have just entered; saying going back on their promises and breaking of any rules will have dire consequences.

He said as the representative of the electoral prefect, he will ensure the election is free and fair.

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