Posts tagged as: operation

May the Last Journalist Not Switch Off the Lights, Please!

By Yusuf Serunkuma

The media industry is experiencing a consistent exodus of talent. The most recent departure is The Observer’s editor Richard Kavuma.

Because he was a ‘big drum’ in the industry, there have been several column inches about him. Many more ‘small drums’ continue to leave just after a few years. Although we never read about their departures, the damage to the industry is registered.

For almost the same reasons, I left The Independent just after a year. Editor Joseph Were had invested quite a bit of resources in me as he looked at a potential sub-editor. With a few final touches away, I hit the exit button.

If things remain the way they are, the departures will only continue. And as we mourn these departures – of both junior and senior journalists – our diagnosis of the problem is right, but we seem to have no cure.

Identifying the problem as small salaries, journalist Daniel Kalinaki attributed the failure for media houses to pay their journalists well to “the relatively small size of the market and the economy,” which makes it difficult for “media houses to train, pay and retain their best journalists” who end up going “often to better-paying, less-stressful, communications jobs.”

As a prescription, Kalinaki suggests that “citizens must understand the need for good journalism, and be willing to pay for it.”

He continues that citizens should be “willing to pay for good journalism and good journalism will pay for good journalists to stay in the newsroom.”

It is difficult to explain what Kalinaki meant with “citizens must understand the need for good journalism and be willing to pay for it.”

Did he mean to suggest more “citizens” should buy newspapers? How do you ensure that? Did he mean to suggest citizens should fundraise for newspapers through car-washes and runs? How sustainable would this be?

Seemingly overwhelmed, Kalinaki chastened himself with a challenge to his readers “to figure out how best to keep talent within the newsroom,” insisting that citizens ought to do something.

There are two things we can pick from Kalinaki’s rather succinct articulation of the plight of Uganda’s media industry. First, Kalinaki reminds us that citizens are central to this fight as good journalism is important for development since “few societies have progressed without the free flow of ideas, and [without] freedom of thought, expression and the media.”

Second, by noting that departures rob the media of “experience and institutional memory, weaken the quality of [Ugandan] journalism and keeps the market small,” Kalinaki tells us that sustained good journalism has potential to grow/expand the market and, perhaps, then, media houses (perhaps through more copy sales?) will be able to offer big enough salaries and retain their staff.

It is evident that Kalinaki views both the problem and solution as coming from the market. Small market, media is suffering; big market, media will flourish. It is my contention that subjecting media to the whims of the market in sub-Saharan Africa is actually the problem.

Neo-liberal reforms of the 1980s put everything in the [free] market. The government stopped offering support to farmers, universities, health institutions and companies, subjecting everything to the market forces of demand and supply.

The problem with this was that several African societies had not fully developed to a stage where the market could sustain growth. Indeed, as several studies showed, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund pushed these reforms onto the African continent oblivious of context.

In an effort to fight communist Russia as part of the Cold War, notions of free market economies operational in highly developed capitalist and industrialized societies in Europe and North America were imposed on largely agrarian and semi-illiterate Africa.

Very quickly, farms crumbled, businesses collapsed, healthcare and education deteriorated as the market could not sustain them. Indeed, over the years, governments have, albeit timidly, moved away from these reforms: Operation Wealth Creation and Entandikwa schemes in Uganda are good examples.

We need to fit the media into this analysis: with poorly educated folks, subsisting on the land, and zero industrialization, the market in Uganda cannot sustain the media. If the media – both critical and pro-government – is good for development, then the public has to pay for it through the public purse, not through the market.

It is no surprise that the New Vision does fairly well as it gets a great deal of support from government. Now, in semi-democratic regimes across the continent, it would be daydreaming to expect governments to put money in critical news outlets without influencing the narrative.

It would be risking Daily Monitor and The Observer to the vampires in government if they were to receive government subsidies.

This predicament notwithstanding, we need to start seeing the media – especially critical media -as a public good which ought to be taken, at least partly, away from the market, and funded from the public purse. We can discuss the historical, implementation and policy details on another day.

The author is a PhD fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research.

Nigeria: ‘Ports Concession Spurs U.S.$2 Billion Investment By Terminal Operators’

By Sulaimon Salau

A whooping $2 billion investment by the terminal operators has massively turned around operations at Nigerian seaports since the commencement of the concessioning programme about 11 years ago.

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, who disclosed this recently, commended the Federal Government for its foresight in instituting the programme.

Before terminal operations were concessioned in 2006, Nigerian ports faced major challenges, which placed them among the most inefficient in the world. Before concession, the average waiting time for ships before berthing was 21 days, vessel turnaround time was seven days while dwell time for cargo was as high as 45 days.

Virtually all the major seaports across the country were heavily congested leading to insecurity and pilferage, delays in cargo clearance and inefficiencies in cargo handling largely due to manual processes.

According to Haatrup, the $2 billion invested by private terminal operators were deployed in modernising and upgrading their various terminals as well as in manpower development.

She said the success of the ports concession programme, which was implemented in 2006, has made it a model for consideration by other governments across the world to concession public infrastructure, and also for Nigeria to extend the model to other sectors of the economy.

Haastrup said: “What concessioning does is free government resources for the provision of other social services to the people. Government remains the ultimate owner of the concessioned facilities but the private sector is mandated to develop and operate those facilities under agreed terms over a certain period.

“This is a worthy model, which has not only improved operations at our ports, but has also attracted commendation from within and outside the country. “After Nigeria’s port concession, we now have countries like Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, and even Greece adopting our model. The Liberians and Ghanaians sent delegations to understudy our port concession model to develop theirs.

“Also recently, the Greek Government concessioned the Thessaloniki Port, which is one of its most important public infrastructure. This is a clear indication of our success as a nation in building models worthy of emulation by others,” Haastrup said.

She also said the Federal Government’s consideration for adopting the concession model for the railway and aviation sectors derive from the success of the port programme.

“I have implicit confidence in the present government’s ability and commitment to the improvement of public infrastructure in the country and one is delighted to note that concessioning has become the model being adopted for both the railway and aviation sector reforms,” she said,

The STOAN chairman also commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for launching a Safety, Information, Operation and Communication Centre to enhance 24-hours operation at the port.

“The commissioning of this centre and the recent launch of four new tugboats by NPA will deepen reforms at the port. It will complement the efforts of terminal operators to make our ports competitive,” she said.

As a result of the challenges, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006, concessioned cargo handling operations at the ports to 25 terminals operators under various lease agreements raging from 15 to 25 years.

Museveni Deploys Army to Fight Corruption At Investment Authority

Photo: The Independent

President Yoweri Museveni.

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Kampala — President Museveni has taken a leap of faith by deploying the military to fight reported graft in Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and restore foreign investors’ confidence.

Gen David Muhoozi, the Chief of Defence Forces, will according to a source, this or next week name the team which will report to the President through State Investment and Privatisation minister Evelyn Anite.

This newspaper understands that Mr Museveni last Friday instructed Ms Anite to set up a customised anti-corruption office at UIA headquarters on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala and a toll-free line to enable investors and members of the public report corruption cases to UPDF.

The soldiers, according to Ms Anite, will also handle complaints about delays in approving investment projects.

At a news conference on Monday, the minister announced telephone number 0800100770 as the “Anti-Corruption Hotline” for reporting the cases to soldiers.

She told journalists that the President also instructed her to work with Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga, to ensure that those caught soliciting bribes don’t get bail. The minister didn’t explain how the president intends to deny suspects bail yet it’s a constitutional right.

“Corrupt civil servants were asking investors to give them bribes including, shares of up to 10 per cent in their companies before approving projects. This is going to stop,” Ms Anite said, adding: “The president has instructed me to work with the UPDF and bring the culprits to book. Under the new arrangement, investors will report demands for bribes and any form of delays to the military and those arrested will not be given bail.”

President Museveni first fronted the proposal of blanket bail denial to suspects at the height of the Walk-to-Work protests in 2011, claiming that the demonstrators were “economic saboteurs”.

The idea, opposed by a cross-section of citizens, however, immediately ran into a legal conundrum because the Constitution gives courts discretion to grant or deny bail to suspects on case-by-case basis.

Minister arrested

Last month, state Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki was arrested and subsequently suspended on allegations of soliciting a bribe from an investor, Aya Group chairman Muhammad Hamid, whom police is investigating over accusation of sexual harassment brought against him by a former female worker.

Prior to the minister’s debacle, the President had coordinated the arrest of two senior officials in the Ministry of Finance for reportedly soliciting a bribe from Chinese investors. This matter is in court.

Opposition leaders denounce reversion to the UPDF as a magic institution to fix corruption as “a slap in the face” considering its own checkered record on the matter.

The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja, on the other hand cautioned that the soldiers “better know what they are going to do” if they are to succeed. For instance, she said, they must follow proper procedures of referring the suspects to institutions that are mandated to fight corruption and other crimes.

“They (soldiers) can catch the corrupt, but they cannot prosecute them. They may have to refer such cases to us or any other authority mandated to do that work,” Ms Mulyagonja said, adding that since the President has on several occasions referred cases to the Inspectorate, he might do the same when he gets information from the UPDF team.

“And once we have their information, we would have to carry out fresh investigations. Any intervention in the fight against corruption is a welcome move and we cannot oppose it. The Inspectorate of Government cannot afford to send staff to sit in government agencies (to monitor what happens) because we don’t have resources,” she said.

Addressing a news conference last Monday, the minister who said he was implementing directives from the President, however, explained that the involvement of UPDF in the fight against corruption “does not undercut the role of anti-corruption agencies,” but rather serves to supplement their efforts in the war against “the cancer of corruption has eaten into the bone marrow of our economy and is threatening the future of Ugandans”.

Minister Anite said: “We cannot rely on the few bold investors who come out to report those asking for bribes. We need people we can trust to help us fight back. Our people want jobs some people are frustrating investors. The information we have is that 80 per cent of investors in Rwanda, first came to Uganda and left because there is corruption in the Ministry of Finance where I sit; there is corruption in UIA and there is corruption in public service.”

This is, however, not the first government institution where UPDF is going to get involved. The President in 2014 entrusted National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads) programme, the country’s flagship plan to modernise agriculture, with the army after persistent complaints about corruption in the delivery chain.

The Operation Wealth Creation where Naads falls is headed by the President’s brother, Gen Salim Saleh. However, the insertion of the armed men and women instead of professionals has resulted in no turn-around in the limping programme. Seeds supplied under Naads are failing to germinate; the animals are dying; and, procurement is irregularly linked to demand or season in the case of seeds.

The President has previously defended his decision to deploy soldiers on civilian programmes as justified because “soldiers are tested, they deliver and not corrupt”. This clean bill of health flies in the face of the army’s blighted record of procuring under-size uniforms, maintaining ghost pilots of payroll for nearly a decade, buying expired food rations and junk helicopters.

The UIA executive director, Ms Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, confirmed the UPDF assignment and explained that an office has been earmarked for them at UIA head office and that she was only waiting for the President to identify the team.

“This decision has accelerated what we wanted to do in the fight against corruption,” Ms Kaguhangire said, adding: “I had wanted to establish an information centre to speed up job creation. Transparency, integrity and professionalism is what we want.”

She promised to work with UPDF in the fight against corruption.

Without giving names, Ms Anite revealed that one of the richest men in Africa had come to Uganda to establish a cement factory but he relocated to other countries because people were asking for shares in the company. She said this matter is being investigated and that the culprits will be dealt with.

“UPDF is going to help us safeguard our exit doors such that once we have investors; we don’t lose them to other countries. We are going to protect witness because we want to build investor confidence. We are cleaning up and we are confident that the UPDF is going to succeed where civilians have failed,” she added.

Uganda: Drive Responsibly to Stop Road Carnage

editorial

A review of news reports about road accidents across the country will place the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara highway at the top. Accidents are common on Uganda’s major highways but the frequency and magnitude of road carnage on the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara highway calls for urgent attention. At the weekend, two grisly accidents claimed eight lives on the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara highway.

The first accident, which occurred on the stretch between Kampala-Masaka at Mpugwe village, involved a car from Kampala heading to Masaka and a semi-trailer that was coming from Rwanda heading to Kampala. The accident claimed seven lives and left two other people injured.

The second accident, which killed one person and injured three, happened on the Masaka-Mbarara highway at Kyangoma village in Nkoni Town, Lwengo District. Police attributed both accidents to human error, giving credence to the argument that most accidents, particularly on Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara highway, are caused by reckless driving.

According to the southern regional police spokesperson, Mr Lameck Kigozi, the first accident could have been caused by the driver of the trailer who was driving on the right side of the highway. In the second incident, the driver tried to overtake another vehicle in a sharp corner.

These accidents come just a week after another accident on the Mbarara-Masaka highway killed Maudah Atuzarirwe, former head of Registry at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The accident, which occurred around 5am at Kingo in Lwengo District, was blamed on an oncoming vehicle that had full headlights. The trend of accidents and police reports on the causes mostly point to human error. Accidents do happen but they can be greatly reduced if motorists learn to drive responsibly. Granted, there are other factors such as narrow and bumpy roads that exacerbate road accidents but that accounts for a much smaller percentage of accidents on our roads. And there are police records to validate this.

In the first eight months of 2016 alone, more than 200 people died on the Kampala-Masaka road, making it one of the deadliest roads in East Africa. These staggering statistics prompted the launch of the famed Operation Fika Salama (reach safely) last August aimed at reducing accidents on highways. The operation, which involved sensitising motorists on road safety and establishing police check points on black spots on highways, did register positive results – but only for a while. Traffic officers stopped the rigorous checks and motorists have gone back to reckless driving leading to more accidents. The key message for road users, police, and the transport industry is: we cannot tackle road carnage unless all stakeholders, especially motorists and traffic police, recognise the need and urgency to make accident prevention and general road safety a priority.

The issue: Accidents

Our view: We cannot tackle road carnage unless all stakeholders, especially motorists and traffic police, recognise the need and urgency to make accident prevention and general road safety a priority.

Uganda

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Al-Shabaab ‘Kills Recruits Suspected of Espionage’

Photo: Hamza Mohamed

Al-Shabaab fighters

By Kalume Kazungu

Kenyans who had been recruited into Al-Shabaab are being killed in a worrying manner, the government says.

Operation Linda Boni director James ole Seriani revealed that Kenyan recruits are no longer trusted by the militants in Somalia and are suspected to be government spies.

Addressing journalists at the Mwana Arafa Hotel in Lamu town today, Mr Seriani said a considerable number of recruits from various parts of the country, including Lamu, who crossed into Somalia to join Al-Shabaab have ended up being killed by the terrorists.

SIX KILLED

He cautioned the youth against joining the terror group, saying they stood to get nothing but death there.

“We have reports that at least six Kenyan youth who had joined Al-Shabaab in Somalia were killed between March and April this year alone,” he said.

“Most Kenyan recruits are no longer trusted by the militia group; they are suspected to be Kenyan government spies.

“That’s why we are taking this time to warn youth against joining the Al-Shabaab.”

SECURITY RESTORED

Mr Seriani however said with the ongoing Operation Linda Boni in Lamu and neighbouring counties, security and peace had been restored.

“For the past seven months we haven’t experienced any attacks or attempts from Al-Shabaab,” Mr Seriani said. “This proves that the operation is successful.”

He added: “We have eliminated Al-Shabaab elements hiding deep in Boni Forest.”

COMMUNITY POLICING

Mr Seriani attributed the success of the operation to a committed working relationship between the security agencies and residents, whom he urged to continue co-operating with security agencies.

He said with the help of the public the operation had exceeded its target.

“We have sealed all routes that were used by militants to cross into and hide in Lamu, especially in Boni Forest,” he added. “We have eliminated all terror elements. We can confidently say things are fine again.”

He urged returnees who have secretly crept back into the county to voluntarily submit themselves for rehabilitation, failure to which they would be treated as suspects and get arrested.

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Rwandan Police Peacekeepers in Darfur Donate Solar Equipment to Women Business Centre in IDP Camp

Rwanda Police peacekeepers serving as Individual Police Officers (IPOs) under the African Union-United Nations hybrid Operations in Darfur (UNAMID) donated solar home systems to light business centre for women in Abushouk internally displaced camp.

The centre helps women to make ends meet through various income generating activities like sewing, and acts as a training ground for varied skills in tailoring and art and craft.

At the event, last week, the Rwandan peacekeepers also donated air-fan machines to the women centre as well as clothes and mats to the kindergarten school in the same camp.

The donation is a financial contribution of each of the 54 Rwandan IPOs, who act as Police advisors and mentors in UNAMID.

The handover was presided over by the Police Commander of Sector North, Brig Gen Mohammed Abdullahel Baki; head of Reform and Restructuring, Lokesh Singh, the acting Rwanda police contingent commander, Bernard Mukama, Rwandan peacekeepers as well as community and women leaders in the camp, among others.

Gen Baki, while thanking the Rwandan peacekeepers for the humanitarian assistance, said: “The power problem at this center has been a request for a long time; we thank God for answering these women’s prayer through the Rwanda Police contingent.”

He highlighted the good relationship between the Abushouk community and the Police.

“Our aim is to help the IDPs, give them hope and develop their capacity. The operation of the center will open many doors for training and livelihood activities even after UNAMID leaves,” he said.

Nafisa Mohammed Ismael, the women leader in the camp, also thanked the Rwandan peacekeepers for “supporting and giving women hope to strive on.”

The electric sewing machines were operating manually due to lack of power coupled with a very hot environment, which was making it almost impossible for the women to operate their income-generating activities.

“These women will now be able to gain more skills through training, make and sell clothes, and get some small income for their living,” Ismael said.

Mukama said it is in the values of Rwandans to look at the bigger picture of human security, not only at home but also in peacekeeping missions.

The donation comes at a time when Rwanda National Police is marking its 17th anniversary, which starts on May 15, with month-long activities under the context of ‘Police Week,’ including giving home solar systems to 3000 households – 100 in each of the 30 districts – and 30 health centres.

It also follows a similar humanitarian assistance a fortnight ago by Rwandan IPOs serving in Central African Republic, who donated an assortment of dormitory items and foodstuff, including beddings and mosquito nets, and other personal effects to orphans of the 2013 crisis.

South Africa: Car Hijacking Syndicate Cracked

press release

The SAPS Provincial Tracking Team have conducted a special operation on hijacked cars and recovered a hijacked Mercedes-Benz sedan in the Makhado Policing outside Thohoyandou.

The operation proceeded to Botlokwa where a large amount of stock which was stolen at Dipateng Village in the Magatle Policing area outside Lebowakgomo, was recovered.

Four (04) suspects, aged between 36 and 47 years, were arrested for possession of suspected stolen goods and the estimated value of this recovered stock is R120 000-00.

The suspects will appear before the Makhado and Morebeng Magistrate Courts respectively soon.

Police investigations are still continuing.

South Africa

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Uganda: Four Die, 15 Injured in Masaka Road Accident

By Sadat Mbogo

Mpigi — Four people have died and 15 injured in an accident at Kabira village, Kamengo, in Mpigi District on the Kampala-Masaka Highway.

Three children are those who were critically injured in the Sunday evening accident that involved a commuter taxi Reg. No. UAX 751M that was headed for Kyotera in Rakai District and a Mitsubishi Pajero Reg. No. UAQ 770S, that was coming from the opposite direction.

Police identified the dead as Michael Ssebunnya (a taxi driver), Robert Bwanika a resident of Nyendo in Masaka District, Maria Nankinga of Mukono, and unidentified youth who did not move with any identification document.

Those who were critically injured are Mr Arafat Muyingo (the Pajero driver), Ms Beatrice Nansamba a resident of Kinyerere in Masaka District, Mr Emmanuel Ssenyonyi of Bukunda – Kabuwoko, Ms Aisha Nakalema of Nyendo, mr Gerald Mukasa of Sseeta – Mukono, Ms Annet Nakasiita of Bisanje village, ms Jackline Namulindwa, Ms Jane Sarah of Nakaye – Gomba and Mr Kamya Ssewanyana of Kyotera, among others.

The survivors who escaped with broken legs and arms were taken to Mulago Referral Hospital.

Mr John Magambo, an eyewitness said: “The Pajero vehicle veered off its climbing lane and collided head-on. It’s as if the driver was sleeping.”

Mr Ahmed Kimera Sseguya, the Mpigi District commander attributed the accident to reckless driving and speeding.

“Our preliminary investigations show that all problems came after the recklessness of the Pajero driver and people should learn to follow road signs because if he had read the climbing lane signage, he wouldn’t have caused this accident,” he said.

Accidents on the Masaka-Kampala Road had reduced after increased traffic police patrols and deployment under the famous the Operation Fika Salaama.

Uganda

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Somalia: South Korea to Send Anti-Piracy Forces to Somalia

According to the Yonhap news agency, the one-day drill will involve the 4,500-tonne destroyer Daejoyoung, a 17,000-tonne commercial vessel and 350 sailors.

In May, the Daejoyoung is expected to join the South Korean naval group in the Gulf of Aden deployed there since 2009 as part of global anti-piracy fight off the Somalian coast.

Somalia has been plagued by civil war since 1991. Years of lawlessness and corruption have provided pirates with ample opportunities to hijack international ships for ransom with relative impunity.

In 2008, the European Union, along with a number of non-EU members states, launched the anti-piracy operation “Atalanta.” The ships of the participating countries have been patrolling shipping routes off the shores of the Horn of Africa since December 2008.

In November, the Council of the European Union extended the mandate of the operation until December 2018.

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Samburu Leaders Want Police Operation in Laikipia Stopped

By Lillian Mutavi

Leaders from Samburu County have condemned the shooting of three people during the ongoing operation in Laikipia and want the government to call off the operation.

The leaders allege that the ongoing operation is politically instigated as the police have been collecting IDs of locals and looting their livestock a move the leaders have termed as economic sabotage.

Speaking in a city hotel on Thursday, the leaders led by Nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda, Woman Representative Maison Leshomo, Samburu Senator Sammy Leshore and Gabriel Lengoiboni an aspirant for Governor’s seat said that the operation should be stopped and dialogue given a chance.

Ms Lesuuda said that the office of the President and the interior ministry should mediate the talks between the leaders and residents of Laikipia instead of using force.

She said that since the operation begun, over 500 animals have been lost through shooting and 35 people have been arrested while others injured by the police and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers deployed in the county.

“We want the national government to stop this operation and call us for a dialogue since the people are suffering and the allegation that Samburu have invaded the ranches are untrue.

“We have lived in consensus with the ranchers and even pay them to feed in their grounds why now… we demand answers from the government,” posed Ms Lesuuda.

Ms Leshomo said that they locals have been driven to Laikipia due to drought and once the rains come they will go back asking the government to allow them live in consensus with the ranchers.

She said that police had already arrested those suspected to have killed Briton Tristan Voorspuy and that the Samburu where not involved.

“The original communities in Laikipia are the Samburu, Pokot, Turkana and Kikuyu and it is a cosmopolitan area and the notion that Samburu and Pokot have invaded Laikipia is untrue,” said Ms Leshomo.

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