Posts tagged as: municipality

Turks Join Rwandans in Community Work in Ankara

The Rwandan community in Ankara, Turkey was joined by Turkish citizens and some friends of Rwanda in a community work activity that was held in Rwanda Park, an area that was designated by Kecioren Municipality to Rwandans in Turkey.

The Friday activity was attended by officials from Kecioren Municipality led by the Mayor Mustafa AK, foreign students from The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic and Italy who are in Turkey for Erasmus Programme.

The community work was organised by the Rwandan Embassy in Turkey in collaboration with Kecioren Municipality, where about 100 trees were planted in the Park.

Apart from planting new trees, the activity also involved watering of trees that were planted earlier as well as clearing of the park.

In his remarks, Mayor Mustafa AK welcomed Rwanda’s Ambassador to Turkey, Williams Nkurunziza, the Rwandan community and Erasmus students in the Kecioren Municipality.

He thanked Rwandans for the good environmental initiative of planting trees and making Kecioren green.

The mayor noted that every tree planted in this park is an important symbol of partnership between Rwandan community and Kecioren Municipality, and promised to take care of the trees.

He also mentioned that the trees planted by foreign students under Erasmus programme will always be a link between them and Rwandans in Turkey as well as the Municipality. He expressed hope that such activity will later encourage students to visit Turkey and visit the park to check on their trees.

On his part, Ambassador Nkurunziza commended the Mayor and management of Kecioren Municipality for the friendship and collaboration with the Embassy and Rwandan community in general.

He thanked the management of Kecioren Municipality for offering an area, where Rwandans and their friends regularly plant trees and for accepting to name the area Rwanda Park.

This activity is a landmark in the cooperation between the Rwandan community and Kecioren Municipality, he said.

About 40 million trees have so far been planted in Rwanda for the last 10 years since the beginning of the community work in Rwanda, according to the envoy.

Rwandans abroad share this particular practice of community work with their friends, Amb. Nkurunziza said, commending mayor Mustafa for allowing Rwandans to share this practice with their Kecioren friends.

He also thanked the foreign students from Erasmus Programme for joining Rwandan community and friends of Rwanda in this environmental activity.

Kecioren Municipality is located in the North of Ankara with a population slightly over one million, a big number being youth. Turkey is located on two continents, Asia and Europe and currently about 200 Rwandan citizens; mostly students are living in this country.

Rwanda

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Muntu, Nandala Contest Not FDC’s Biggest Challenge

Photo: Daily Monitor

Determined. FDC party president Mugisha Muntu addresses a rally recently.

opinionBy Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) will hold its 4th presidential elections in November this year.

The party, registered on December 16, 2004, celebrated its 12th birthday last year. The current president, Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu, and Nathan Nandala-Mafabi, the party secretary general, are likely to be the main contenders.

The party’s National Council will meet early next month to draw the agenda of the November National Delegates’ Conference, which will elect the FDC president.

The FDC National Council is chaired by Ambassador Wasswa Biriggwa and it comprises district chairpersons, MPs and National Executive Committee (NEC) members.

The delegates’ conference comprises the abovementioned individuals plus district secretaries, secretaries for mobilization, district secretaries for youth and women and constituency chairpersons. These are the people who will elect the next FDC leader.

If he offers himself, Muntu will become the only person who has participated in all FDC presidential elections and national presidential primaries as a candidate.

The last election exposed the FDC fault lines and nearly brought the party to a standstill. Reconciling the party automatically became FDC’s main activity for a number of months.

Holding fairly organized and credible elections has distinguished the FDC from other parties. Of course only stupid people expect the NRM to ever hold credible internal elections when Mr Museveni is still breathing.

The FDC deserves credit. And, for me, that is where FDC and Uganda’s problem lies – transition and continuity. I consider this a bigger problem than torturing the mayor of Kamwenge or the kidnap of 12 children belonging to a murder suspect by police.

Africa has remained behind because we don’t know and never prepare for transitions. In Uganda, it is only Asian businesses that usually survive beyond two generations. Here, I talk about Madhvani, Mehtha and Aga Khan.

I hope the Mulwana empire will survive beyond its founders. Already, the Mukwano empire is being run by the second generation, at least guaranteeing its survival beyond the founders.

The colonial administration, with all its shortcomings, laid a very formidable foundation for us but we have systematically destroyed it (foundation). They built and handed over Mulago hospital in 1962.

After running it down, we recently borrowed more than $100 million to repair it. Mind you, in 1962 Uganda had just about six million people.

Today, we are 37 million and our leader lists renovation of Mulago as an achievement, moreover on borrowed money!

Colonialists built for us the first hydropower dam in Jinja with a capacity of 180MW using the Coffee Stabilization Fund. Power from the colonial dam is sold at three US cents per unit while that of Aga Khan from Bujagali is at 13 US cents.

Look at all our towns: Kampala, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Masaka, Tororo, Soroti, Mbale, etc. The only parts of these towns that are planned are those that were built by the colonial administration.

That, for me, is the biggest challenge. People who started the FDC have slowly exited or retired from active involvement. Here, I talk about Augustine Ruzindana, Amanya Mushega, Dan Wandera Ogalo, Anang Odur, Wafula Oguttu, Jack Sabiiti, John Kazoora, etc. Others such as Sam Njuba and Sulaiman Kiggundu have died.

But even those who are still on the scene such as Salaamu Musumba, Reagan Okumu, Kasiano Wadri, Alice Alaso, and Bwanika Bbaale are less active.

We are lucky that Gen Muntu and Mafabi are still interested in running the FDC. We are even blessed that Col Kizza Besigye has refused to give up the battle.

The real challenge is going to be the human resource still available to serve the FDC and the country. Between Muntu and Mafabi, whoever wins, who will they work with? I mean a set of skilled human resource willing to sacrifice for the FDC and for the country.

At the risk of being reprimanded, I think the current quality of FDC leaders in some positions is no match for its founders. And Museveni, whose duty is to murder institutions, has already identified the weak points.

Look at the NRM leaders today and compare them with those who ushered it in. I keep laughing each time I look at James Waluswaka in parliament, the chap who defeated Emmanuel Dombo in Bunyole East. What about Ibrahim Abiriga, who now represents the mighty Arua municipality?

Countries don’t die but I think Uganda is going to break that record one day. The reason I say countries don’t die is because one still needs a visa to go to Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, etc.

There is absolutely no doubt that Mzee is about to transit. Trouble is that he doesn’t want this even discussed. There are no tested mechanisms that we will employ.

Already, each passing day, Mzee is creating another warlord. What will happen, for example, between Gen Kale Kayihura and Gen Henry Tumukunde when he finally leaves?

Let us, therefore, have a dialogue on who takes charge when the current crop of leaders has gone. At least that should be the debate in FDC.

The author is Kira Municipality MP.

100 Arrested Over Masaka Attacks

By Martins E. Ssekweyama

Masaka — Police have arrested more than 100 people suspected to be behind the current wave of attacks on people’s homes in Masaka.

The attacks have swept through Greater Masaka region with thugs dropping anonymous letters, threatening to kill or harm certain individuals. Of the 100 arrested suspects, 34 have so far been arraigned before courts of law for prosecution, according to the Greater Masaka regional police commander, Mr Latif Zaake.

“Also between six and 17 lives have been lost and about 32 homes robbed,” said Mr Zaake.

It is close to nine months now since Masaka residents started experiencing the attacks.

Mr Zaake, however, did not divulge into the identities of the arrested suspects. He warned that this will jeopardise police investigations.

Just recently, a group of thugs calling themselves ‘UPFF’ dropped a letter at the residence of the Vice President, Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, in Masaka’s upscale Kizungu suburb, urging him to join a force that would allegedly overthrow the current regime. This came a day after thugs executed a surprise raid in which they shot dead a renowned local businessman, Gideon Tusubira, after attacking his home in Bisanje Trading Centre on the outskirts of Masaka Municipality.

Mr Lameck Kigozi, the southern regional police spokesperson, said two of the suspects were arrested last Friday by boda- boda riders who got them circulating threatening leaflets.

“They bring the number to eight people arrested in a space of two weeks and some are voluntarily helping us bust the racket,” he said.

These incidents that created animosity among residents begun late last year. They were first reported in the districts of Sembabule and Bukomansimbi where unknown people raided villages at night and robbed the residents.

The unknown thugs, who seem to be highly familiar with the targeted villages, begin by knocking on people’s doors and calling the occupants by their names.

They dupe them into opening their respective doors before forcing them to surrender money and other valuables.

According to the Bukomansimbi District chairperson, Mr Muhammad Kateregga, the group is believed to operate in a coordinated network.

Such a clandestine network enables the groups to execute their missions without detection from the local security apparatus.

Although police in Bukomansimbi District had in January arrested some suspects whom they labelled to be Kampala-based ring-leaders, the situation has not yet improved.

The latest leaflets dropped in Kirimya, Ssenyange -both in Masaka Municipality and Kalungu District demand the poor residents to leave at least Shs20,000 at their doorsteps while the wealthy residents should keep more money with them and instantly hand it over to them anytime they strike.

Nansana Moots By-Law to Force Contractors Source Local Labour

Photo: Moses Ndhaye/Daily Monitor

orkers..

By James Kabengwa

Wakiso — Businessmen seeking contracts in Nansana Municipality in Wakiso District, will be compelled to source labour and other services from within the municipality starting next financial year if a proposed by-law is endorsed by the municipal council, Daily Monitor has established.

According to Ms Regina Bakitte, the Nansana Municipality mayor, after endorsing the by-law, municipal contractors will be obliged to buy goods and services from within Nansana area as a way of lifting people’s livelihoods and bringing about development.

She observed that many contractors, who were previously awarded contracts in the municipality, were ferrying workers and raw materials from outside Nansana, leaving out residents who have the capacity to provide labour and businesses like hard wares shops crippling.

“Contractors must hire services, especially casual labourers from within Nansana and goods such as cement must be provided by our people here. We are going to push this through this council to come up with a by-law and we believe it will help to empower our people. There is no reason as to why a contractor buys goods or services from outside the municipality,” Bakitte said during an interview on Wednesday.

Nansana Municipality, Ms Bakitte said, must be ‘the town of choice’ for all and to achieve that status, residents must have robust incomes.

“Apart from other services that need highly technical expertise, we will not be hiring garbage companies from outside. We are developing capacity of our residents to sort garbage and collect it by themselves. Most of the money generated from within must remain here,” Ms Bakitte said.

She said the municipality is currently developing a waste management system with the help of some experts from Israel and policy documentation has already been prepared. However, the actual project will be executed by Koreans, who will establish a garbage collection centre.

“We anticipate the project will generate employment opportunities for those who will collect garbage from households and those who will work at the plant,” Ms Bakitte said.

Mr Daniel Kaweesa, the Nansana Municipality town clerk, said they are committed to improving the face of Nansana and they have already earmarked funds to work on roads in Nabweru, Kagoma and Kamaanya.

“We are also drawing physical plans to gazette areas for specific activities. We are working together with the communities so that there is no conflict after the final plans are drawn,” Mr Kaweesa said.

Uganda

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Museveni ‘Evasive’ on Age-Limit Issue As Mobilisation Continues

Photo: The Observer

President Yoweri Museveni.

By Sadab Kitatta Kaaya

For the first time while featuring on the Qatar-based global broadcaster, Al Jazeera’s talk show, Talk to Al Jazeera, President Museveni spoke about the alleged plan to amend the Constitution to allow him to run for another term in 2021.

The show was aired last weekend. Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, did not want to discuss in detail questions to do with the alleged plot to amend Article 102(b) of the Constitution that caps the age of an incoming president at 75.

“I cannot change the Constitution because I do not have that power,” Museveni told AlJazeera.

At 72 this year, Museveni will be ineligible to stand for re-election in 2021 under the current law, which has led to calls from within his ruling NRM party to have the Constitution amended.

The calls started in July last year, two months after Museveni was inaugurated for his fifth term, when the Kyankwanzi district NRM leaders resolved to push parliament to change the law.

A month later, the Kyankwanzi NRM leaders led by the district’s Woman MP Anna Maria Nankabirwa handed to Museveni the resolution promising to consult with the NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC), the party’s second topmost decision making body.

AMBIGUOUS MUSEVENI

To many opposition politicians, Museveni’s response was not surprising since he has always sounded ambiguous on the matter.

“Every time the Constitution has been amended, it has been at his own initiative and, at all times, it has been done with outright bribery of MPs”, Wilfred Niwagaba, the shadow attorney general, told us last week.

“You could see from his interview on Al Jazeera that he is prepared to do the same, and anybody who thinks that Museveni is going to retire peacefully is living in illusion,” Niwagaba added.

Museveni, according to Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, acted the same way ahead of the 2005 amendment of the Constitution that led to the scrapping of the presidential term limits.

Under the then law, Museveni was ineligible to stand again for president after serving two terms as an elected president.

Desirous to extend his hold onto power, Museveni quietly pushed for the removal of the two-term limit clause from the Constitution. MPs were paid Shs 5m ahead of the vote and, immediately after, Museveni openly defended the amendment.

“If he was not going to amend the constitution, he would have been bold like he was during the [2011] NTV interview, and told Al Jazeera that he would not amend the Constitution,” Lukwago told us on May 4.

“Every time he makes ambiguous statements, you know he is hiding something,” Lukwago added.

MOBILISATION ONGOING

Recently, this newspaper reported about a plot by the ruling party MPs to scrap the age-limit clause during their retreat at Kyankwanzi. (See: How MPs plan to remove age limit at Kyankwanzi, The Observer March 17).

The retreat, which had been scheduled for April, was pushed to June after the passing of the 2017/18 national budget but the mobilization is still on, according to an MP linked to the project.

“I can assure you that it will pass with ease. We have done some good mobilization. You just wait for the day we go to Kyankwanzi, you will get some good news,” the MP, who preferred not to be named, said last week.

This MP is part of the group of seven legislators that have been working with a minister, who has a military background, since the collapse of the first attempt by Robert Kafeero Ssekitooleko, the Nakifuma MP, to table a private member’s bill to amend the Constitution.

The MPs in the group are: John Bosco Lubyaayi (Mawokota South), Simeo Nsubuga (Kassanda South), former FDC treasurer Anita Among (Bukedea Woman), Arinaitwe Rwakajara (Workers), Peter Ogwang (Usuk), Michael Tusiime (Mbarara Municipality) and Jacob Oboth-Oboth (West Budama South).

An insider source told The Observer last week that this group has appointed a team of researchers led by NRM’s policy analyst Stephen Hippo Twebaze to scrutinize the records of the Constituent Assembly, especially the arguments that led to the inclusion of the clause on the presidential age-limit.

Not sure about how the electorate will take in another amendment to extend Museveni’s stay in power, the plotters, we have been told, are also looking at the possibility of changing Uganda’s governance to a parliamentary system to avoid subjecting Museveni to a direct presidential poll. This, to Niwagaba, will be a tall order.

“…they should know that progressive forces will resist all his machinations using lawful means to ensure that the country for the first time gets a peaceful handover of power,” said Niwagaba .

Government Orders Sugar Importation to Curb Scarcity

The government has directed the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) to import sugar following acute shortage of the commodity due to closure of local industries.

A survey conducted by the ‘Daily News’ revealed that prices of the commodity are soaring in most parts of the country as it is sold at between 2,600/- and 3,000/-. In Dar es Salaam, sugar is going between 2,400/- and 2,700/- in places where it is available.

At American Supermarket, which used to sell the commodity at a much lower price compared to other supermarkets, the price is now at 2,500/-. Some of the leading supermarkets did not have the commodity in stock.

In Kilimanjaro Region, where one of the largest sugar plants – The Tanganyika Planting Company (TPC), is located; sugar prices have soared to 3,000/- per kilo in retail shops, in some parts of the region. In Moshi Municipality, Moshi Rural, Rombo and Same, the prices range from 2,100/- to 3,000/- depending on several reasons, one of them being remoteness of the area, from the town centre.

A retail businessman from Machame Uroki, Mr Mathias Mushi, said he sells sugar at 3,000/- a kilo, to get what he termed as little profit, having bought a 50kg bag for a little more than 100,000/-.

A businesswoman from Singa Village, Kibosho East Ward, Kibosho Division in Moshi Rural District who preferred anonymity said she sells a kilo of the commodity at 2,600/-. In Same District, the price is ranging between 2,800/- and 3,000/- while in Rombo it is between 2,600/- and 2,900/- .

The prices are well above the 1,800/- per kilo set by the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT), last year. In Mwanza, sugar is being sold at between 2,600/- and 2,800/- per kilo, in Mbeya between 2,300/- and 2,800/- , while in Sumbawanga it is between 2,650/- and 3,100/-.

The TPC Director of Corporate Services, Mr Jaffari Ally said they had nothing to do with prices. He noted that they always produce and sell at wholesale price and as of now, the factory was on its normal annual closing schedule, but also to pave the way for maintenance of machines. Mr Ally said they closed production on normal routine in March and will resume production by June, this year.

He said that they don’t have sugar in their warehouses as the entire product had been sold. He revealed that this season, they had produced above their set target (110,000 tonnes) as they reached a record 111,800 tonnes, while last season they produced 95,000 tonnes of the sweetener and would always like to produce more to meet market demand.

The Kilombero Sugar Company Public Relations Manager, Mr Henry Muchunguzi, told the ‘Daily News’ over the phone yesterday that he was not aware of price increases in the market, saying the issue was crosscutting. “So far, the wholesale price at the sugar factory has remained the same.

But, the issue of pricing also involves regulatory authorities and marketing,” said the Kilombero Sugar Public Relations Manager.

South Africa: Astral Reprieve Doesn’t Absolve Municipality From Debt – Eskom

Power utility Eskom pointed out on Thursday that its court settlement with poultry producer Astral Foods doesn’t usurp its constitutional right to recover debt from owing municipalities.

Astral on Wednesday reached an agreement with the power utility in the North Gauteng High Court which ended the threat of disruptions in electricity supply to its operations in Standerton (the Lekwa municipal region).

According to the agreement, Eskom will now not disrupt electricity supply to Standerton as previously threatened, which Astral said would have had “devastating consequences” for its operations.

Astral warned in January that millions of chickens would starve if Eskom’s planned power cuts to its largest facility went ahead.

“Should permanent power cuts be implemented as outlined by Eskom in their correspondence, Astral will be left with 11.5 million chickens that they will not be able to feed on a daily basis,” the company said at the time.

“The animal welfare impact will be catastrophic, leading to unprecedented large-scale euthanasia of the birds.”

Astral CEO Chris Schutte hailed the agreement as a “victory, which resulted in the settlement agreement being made an order of court thereby protecting Astral’s operational interests in the region permanently”.

Astral based its original complaint on Eskom’s plan to cut electricity supply to Standerton, because of the municipality’s incompetence and failure to pay over monies collected from consumers in the region and service its mounting debt.

In a previous judgment in February 2017 in the North Gauteng High Court, Astral was granted temporary relief from electricity interruptions pending further argument in the high court, which has now taken place.

Astral will now receive uninterrupted power supply to its operations in Standerton, on the basis of making direct payments to Eskom for its electricity consumption. The court order also ruled that Eskom will bear Astral’s legal costs for all applications in the matter, including the earlier interim relief application.

Eskom acting head of legal and compliance Suzanne Daniels explained: “Astral and another industrial customer will be paying their contribution of municipal consumption directly to Eskom, which was estimated at about 60% of the monthly municipal consumption.”

However, the Lekwa municipality remains fully liable to servicing the balance of its debt to Eskom. “The municipality will transfer 15% of its equitable share to Eskom, as and when this is allocated to Eskom to absorb the costs of the suit.”

The municipality has signed a legally-compliant payment agreement, the terms of which still need to be honoured.

Daniels emphasised that the present agreement between Eskom and Astral is merely an extension of the arrangement which had been in place since January.

“We have consistently said that the implementation of scheduled interruptions, as a debt recovery mechanism, was an option of last resort, a necessary lever exercised responsibly within the strict application of the required law,” she said, adding that Eskom never had any “malicious intent” in implementing power cuts.

“Eskom is always open to creative alternatives to addressing these challenges without totally crippling the functions of a service delivery. It is in this spirit that the settlement has been reached,” said Daniels.

Municipal debt cannot be addressed by using a “one-size-fits-all” approach, as each municipality has unique dynamics and challenges which need to be considered on a case by case basis, said Daniels.

Source: Fin24

South Africa: Pietermaritzburg Housing Project Remains Incomplete Four Years Later

By Nompendulo Ngubane

Beneficiaries of R2.1 billion project believe construction has stopped because of poor quality structures

Families who are set to benefit from the Vulindlela Development Association (VDA) housing project in Pietermaritzburg have been waiting four years for their homes to be completed.

The R2.1 billion housing project in rural Vulindlela in the Msunduzi Municipality was approved by the Department of Human Settlements in 2011. Beneficiaries of the project believe that construction of about 700 houses has stopped as a result of the poor quality of the structures.

Many of the homes remain incomplete, some without roofs, windows, and doors or cement slabs.

Sizakele Majola, 50, of Sweetwater in Nadi said his family has “lost hope”. Majola said they have made several visits to the VDA offices in a bid to get answers.

“They started building the house in December 2013. In 2014, they told me that they are stopping because the [house’s foundation] was poorly built. They took the bricks that belonged to us and started building the house next door. They said they would return to fix the slab [foundation] and continue with our house, but they didn’t. It broke my heart,” she said.

Majola then went to the VDA offices to demand answers and said she was shocked when they told her that according to their system their home was done. “I may not be educated but that information confused me. How can a house that only ended up with a slab be complete? It’s been four years now. We don’t know if the project will still continue or not,” she said.

Majola’s daughter Zinhle Majola said the family was forced to share a small mud house with other relatives while they wait for their new home. “We are all squashed in the same rondavel. They should not have raised our hopes. It’s clear that people living in rural areas will always be victims of government projects,” said Majola.

Spokesperson for the Department of Human Settlements Mbulelo Baloyi said they were aware of the incomplete project. Baloyi said that after the visit by President Jacob Zuma in 2016, VDA management promised to visit the affected households and fix the problems. He said the delays were also due to residents “fighting over houses”.

When GroundUp contacted VDA Chief Executive Officer Senzo Mfayela, he said they were forced to halt operations due to funding issues. “The project fund administrator has been replaced. We expect this problem to be resolved in the next two to three weeks,” he said.

Mfayela said that any defects were identified by their quality assurance team. He said a field officer will be visiting the homes of families to investigate their complaints.

South Africa

Durban Man’s Conviction Set Aside After Serving Nearly 20 Years in Jail

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South Africa: Minister Naledi Pandor Hands Over a Mobile Computer Lab to Isigidisabathembu Primary School, 6 May

press release

Learners at iLenge-Majuqule village in UThukela District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal stand to benefit from an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology, aimed at improving access to science and technology in the country’s deep rural areas.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, will on Saturday, 6 May hand over a mobile computer lab to Sigidisabathembu Primary School, which is expected to improve mathematics and science skills in the district where performance in these subjects has been poor. The facility will also see teachers in the district receiving training in teaching computer-based curricula.

Supported by the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, Minister Pandor will also interact with members of the community members, in an imbizo organised to discuss issues that may need government’s intervention in the area.

An exhibition with interactive displays on science will also form part of the handover, to further demonstrate the value of science in society.

Expected to attend are the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Willies Mchunu, KZN MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwana, Mayor of UThukela District Municipality, Cllr Alfred Mazibuko and Mayor of Alfred Duma Local Municipality, Cllr. Vincent Madlala.

Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Education

South Africa

We Can Do More to Spur Domestic Tourism

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When Eating Food Aid, You Are Eating Our Roads – Museveni

Photo: The Observer

Museveni talking on phone by the roadside (file photo).

By Ibrahim A Manzil, Yahudu Kitunzi and Mudhanga Kolyanga.

Pallisa — President Museveni used the International Labour Day celebrations yesterday at Saza Grounds, Kamuge Sub-county in Pallisa District, to criticise the on-going relief food distribution, referring to the move as “very, very dangerous.”

He warned recipients of the food aid to look out for the smell of public infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals, which he said could waft over as they eat.

“The danger is that when you are eating relief food, you should chew carefully; you may feel that you are chewing a road, a school or a hospital… just chewing it you may smell a road there, a school or a health centre,” Mr Museveni said.

The President sounded a veiled criticism of Parliament, which last week passed an advisory resolution urging government to declare a state of emergency in the country in order to effectively tackle the acute hunger ravaging afflicting households in the countryside.

Sponsored by Ms Monica Amoding (NRM, Kumi Municipality), Parliament passed the resolution amid protest from ministers led by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who was abandoned by the majority of ruling National Resistance Movement legislators.

“There has been some pressure, especially by politicians who want to use food for politics,” Mr Museveni said, adding; “This relief must be used very carefully because it can make recipients disoriented so that they don’t think about production because they talk about relief from government.”

The President said the government will only come in where there is a real problem.

He then dwelled on his pet theme of bottle irrigation as one of the strategies that can deal with the on-going drought, reiterating government’s commitment to support irrigation in the country.

Mr Museveni then turned to labour union leaders and urged them to talk about industries and job creation, in an apparent shift away from calls by several speakers for the government to set a minimum wage.

“You should be talking about more factories, more hotels and more companies; that is what you should be talking about on Labour Day like this one,” he said.

Mr Museveni said through revitalising the old factories, at least 1.4 million jobs were created, but said this won’t be enough for the more than 40 million Ugandans.

Mr Museveni blamed laziness in the countryside on uncontrolled sports betting and alcoholism, vowing to introduce measures to limit drinking and gambling hours.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Usher Wilson Owere, the chairperson of the National Organisation of Trade Unions in Uganda, told Daily Monitor that the President had agreed with the workers pushing for a minimum wage, but Mr Owere warned the unionists to navigate the issue carefully because government can easily back-track on its promise.

“When you are dealing with government, you have to be careful because they can say yes when they mean no,” Mr Owere said.

Mr Arinaitwe Rwakajara, one of the workers MPs, who has tabled a private member’s Bill to effect the minimum wage, had in the morning expressed optimism that the President will not make negative pronouncements against the policy.

Gender, Labour and Social Development minister Janat Mukwaya, in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor, expressed ignorance over the Arinaitwe Bill, saying a proposal to introduce a minimum wage is already before the Cabinet.

“I am not aware (about the Bill), but a policy is already before the Cabinet,” Ms Mukwaya said, without elaborating.

Pension Act

Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions chairman Chris Kahirita, requested government to revisit the Pension Act so as to make sure they’re no mistakes once the sector is opened to other players.

“Let us revisit the Act and reform it. Because we don’t want the NSSF act repealed but instead adopted” he remarked. He also asked that as the Act is revisited, consideration should be made for a win-win situation, where other pension funds and NSSF can compete and have the workers choose who they want and suits their needs.

The celebrations also saw several people awarded national medals.

Among the recipients was Maj Gen Peter Elwelu, the UPDF’s Land Forces Commander, who received the ‘Rwenzori star medal’. Gen Elwelu was recently thrust in the limelight following the bloody joint police and military attack on Rwenzururu King Charles Mumbere’s palace last year, which he commanded.

Corrupt officials

Declaring Uganda as “one of the richest countries I have seen on earth,” the President attacked corrupt civil servants whom he likened to ticks, and warned them about a spacious Luzira prison which can accommodate all of them.

“Another problem is corruption and lack of patriotism by the public servants who are delaying or frustrating investors; there is enough accommodation for them in Luzira,” saying by arresting “10 or 20 all the disease will be cured.”

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