Posts tagged as: parliament

Mr President, This Is Not the Uganda I Would Wish My Grandchildren to Live in

opinionBy George W. Kanyeihamba

Imagine a country where the President declares publicly that his ministers are corrupt and the engine of the economy, the ministry of Finance, is managed by thieves. The President is reported to have also confirmed that there is rampant corruption and mafia in the police.

The Chief Justice, head of the Judiciary – the temple of justice – has publicly acknowledged that judges and magistrates are corrupt or incompetent, but sadly he has no powers to discipline them. In response, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) says she will no longer pursue “small fish” and wants to prosecute only the “big fish”.

Then the Speaker of Parliament not only declares decisions of some judges stupid, but from time to time warns Members of Parliament for their unlawful acts and behaviour. Then a Cabinet minister is allegedly caught red-handed receiving solicited bribes. Mr President, would you wish to live in such a country or your grandchildren to grow in it?

Since the NRM came to power, there have been numerous commissions of inquiry and internal departmental probes appointed by the government to investigate corruption, abuse of office and mischievous behaviour in public institutions and bodies.

Resulting reports have been published and physically delivered to the disciplining authorities including the President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, Judicial Service Commission, IGG and the Inspector General of Police.

These reports have been widely published. Surprisingly, the authorities directly concerned with cleaning the system and disciplining, removing and punishing the culprits have either been toothless, apologetic or protective of those accused of these serious crimes.

Some of the workers in the government institutions who publicly make solemn promises to act correctly and refrain from acting criminally or refrain from violating the rule of law and the Constitution change their minds thereafter and benefit from the betrayal of their oaths and pledges.

Not beyond 75

In a May 2012 interview with NTV’s Patrick Kamara, President Museveni said he would not lead Uganda beyond the age of 75 years. Museveni gave scientific reasons for his decision which many experts may not agree with.

The country is waiting in anticipation to discover whether the President will abide by his decision. Unfortunately, Mr President, many Ugandans believe rightly or wrongly, that our President will not recall or adhere to his own decision.

Several years ago, it was reported that Museveni defended the widely-criticised use of his presidential plane to fly his daughter and daughter-in-law to Germany to give birth because he does not trust Uganda doctors.

Recently, the nation was shocked by the assassination of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his bodyguard and driver. As if this was not enough, the facts and evidence so far disclosed show that some security officers were implicated in the assassination. According to the minister of Security, the assassination was a professional job.

This brings us to the bizarre behaviour and detention of Dr Stella Nyanzi. Some time ago, she stripped naked at the Makerere Institute of Social Research apparently because she had been locked out of her office.

At that time, she uttered and published sexual obscenities, indicating to many Ugandans that perhaps she needed medical help rather than punishment.

Recently, she published the similar obscenities against certain government leaders on the basis that they had failed to honour their political pledges to the nation when they were soliciting for votes to be elected.

Many Ugandans believe that she should not be arrested, detained or charged with questionable criminal offences. They believe that her alleged indiscretions are less grave than those of those the President brands corrupt and thieves or those the IGG has decided should be exempt from criminal responsibility of bribery and theft.

It may not be easy to live outside Uganda just as it is difficult to obtain justice, medical treatment and social service in it, but the adage “please, stop the world. I want to get off” has a credible ring about it.

Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.

Sudan: Memorandum of Understanding On Producing Biofuel in Sudan Signed

Khartoum — A memorandum of understanding was signed , Thursday, between the Higher Council for Environment and Urban Development in Khartoum State, the Africa City of Technology and the Malaysian Bionas Group during a workshop organized by the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee.

The projects set to produce two million tons of Jatropha plant oil.

Representative of the Parliament Agriculture Committee aims to fight poverty and raise standard of living , increase capacity building for small producers at rural areas by targeting five million and 600 thousand people.

Director of Africa City of Technology, Dr Osama Al-Reis said the production of biofuel was a national project set to bridge the gap in production of electricity especially at rural areas.

The Minister at the Higher Council for Environment in Khartoum State, Maj.Gen. Omer Nimir indicated to importance of Parliament role in enactment of laws and legislations for environmental field, stressing importance of partnership to make use of Malaysian experiment in domain of production of biofuel.

Sudan

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Uganda: Govt Prioritises Roads But Doubts Linger On Efficiency

By Ali Twaha

As government plans to deliver Ugandans to middle-income status by 2020, infrastructure has been prioritized in the 2017/18 national budget as a major driver.

However, logistics experts have expressed fear that some of the investments might not bring the much-anticipated returns on investments. Uganda has discovered an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil reserves within the Albertine rift basin. According to the oil companies that obtained licenses to extract the resource, most imported raw materials will move via the roads.

“We are going to depend heavily on the roads,” said Moses Kirumira, from Total E&P Uganda, who was giving an overview of the amount of work needed to get Uganda’s oil industry to the production stage by 2020 at the earliest. He was speaking at the joint oil and gas convention and regional logistics expo held at the Kampala Serena hotel. The conference brought together at least 200 delegates in the logistics sector.

“We envisage approximately 350 trucks with specific truckloads per day. For Buliisa [an oil-rich region] at peak, we expect to have at least 5,000 people working in the field, 1,000 for the Kingfisher and 4,000 for the pipeline,” Kirumira added.

Members of Parliament recently expressed their concerns over whether the Uganda National Roads Authority had the capacity to absorb funds allocated to it in the 2017/18 financial year. Most of the additional funds, according to government, will be directed towards building special oil roads.

For instance, a lot of internationally sourced materials and equipment for Uganda’s oil and gas industry will go through the ports of Mombasa, Tanga and Dar es Salaam, which might increase traffic on the routes. But Kirumira said that some two check centers will be set up, with one at Hoima and the other at Masindi, to control traffic flow.

According to Mark Peason, a consultant at TradeMark East Africa, 95 per cent of Uganda-bound imports, which come through the port of Mombasa, are transported by road. He said the dependence on this single route has placed Uganda at a disadvantage.

“Ugandan transporters are at a disadvantage because of high costs of fuel, higher taxes on imported vehicles, cross-border, road fees… ,” Peason said.

For example, the distance between Kampala and Mombasa is about 1,200km. When a Ugandan transporter reaches Malaba at the border, this means the driver now covers a distance of 200km to Kampala, where he is exempted from paying road fees. He, however, pays road charges for the 1,000km he covers between the Uganda border and Mombasa.

“Cross-border fees are not uniform. It is expensive for importers because there is no back loads [chances of returning with cargo after a specific delivery],”Peason explained. Cross-border fees vary from one country to another, which he said needs to be harmonized.

Richard Kamajugo, the senior director at TradeMark East Africa, said the logistics sector is cross-cutting and, as a result, there is no central point where all information about the sector can be found.

“The platform needs to build a strong information base so that progress can be monitored and reported,” Kamajugo said.

NARROW ROADS

Peason said some of the roads need widening to meet international standards as Uganda prepares for the first oil drop.

“A standard width of a truck is 2.6 metres and the lanes in Uganda are three metres. So, it is very narrow when travelling at relatively high speeds. In most countries, they moved from three metres to seven metres. So, that is something that could improve the safety of the roads.”

China has promised to extend large lines of credit to Uganda to boost its road infrastructure.

Fuel Shortage Far From Being Worked Out in Burundi

By Diane Uwimana

Long queues of cars, motorcycles and people who have cans, wait for hours at the few stations that are open. City oil and Kingstar stations from the southern to northern neighborhoods in the capital Bujumbura are providing fuel. “I have spent four days looking for fuel but in vain”, says a taxi-driver. He also says he and his family will die of hunger if nothing is done. “I cannot afford food for my family if the shortage of fuel persists”, says another driver met at Kinindo City Oil station in southern Bujumbura.

Many vehicles and motorcycles are empty of fuel. Cans could be seen on the long queues. However, their owners have not been served like others and started complaining about the unfair supply of fuel. “Those who have cans should put them aside, they have no right to be served”, says a police officer trying to supervise fuel distribution at Kinindo City Oil.

Many of the oil stations in Bujumbura city were dry. Engen, Mogas and Kobil branches operating in Burundi have no fuel due to the lack of foreign currency. “It’s been a couple of days we are not working. We don’t know the day we will receive the foreign currency to resume the supply of fuel”, says an agent of Mogas branch.

During the plenary session in the National Assembly on 25 April, Côme Manirakiza,Minister of Energy and Mines said shortage of fuel in the capital Bujumbura and the countryside is due to the lack of foreign currency. He, however, said the administration, the police and the ministry must work together to avoid any speculation from oil tankers.

“Sanctions should be imposed on fuel managers who may distribute fuel in cans or try to raise the price”, says the Minister.

However, over the last week, the Ministry of Energy and Mines said the shortage of fuel earlier was due to a “technical breakdown” that interrupted clearance processes within the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR), an allegation the Authority denies. OBR dismissed the claim saying it “is not aware of any connection breakdown”.

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Data Base to Shed Light On Women Qualifications

By Correspondent Abela Msikula

Forging of academic credentials, according to elites, can be described as a lack of confidence and selfishness on the part of the perpetrator. Selfishness creeps in when the forger fails to fulfill their job description due to a low level of education.

On the other hand, academic certificate faking is a source of employment when vacancies are occupied by non- professionals. The only recommended remedy to this bad behavior is reinforcement of the set legal punishment against the culprits, to nip the problem in the bud.

Laying an accent on the need to uproot the evil and cleanse society, President John Magufuli has warned that no certificate forger will remain safe during his reign. During the launch of the University of Dar es Salaam hostels recently, the President said he was waiting for a report believed to have contained about 9,000 certificate fraudsters, to react. “You can see to what extent this country has been plunged into total chaos.

We had as many as 19,000 ghost workers and 56, 000 ghost students who were benefiting from government loans,” said the President. Women activists have resolved to raise their voices in support of President Magufuli’s efforts to weed out bad elements in the civil service by introducing the elite women database, of women who possess clearly vetted academic credentials.

The database to be launched soon comprises women professionals in and outside the country.

It was activists from various non-governmental organization and civil societies, under the umbrella of Tanzania Gender Networking programme (TGNP) who reached such decision; saying the main objective of the data base, among others, is to persuade the government to consider women participation in leadership. The activists urged the President to start selecting names from the database, especially when revoking an appointment, saying women should be considered as a replacement.

TGNP Executive Director, Lilian Liundi assured the public that there are many competent professional women for every field, but have been forgotten in leadership matters despite their potential to bring positive change in society. “We have a good number of engineers, economists, environmentalists, doctors… … Let our President give them a chance and see their capability in leadership,” she said. “We have already conducted a keen credentials’ vetting exercise to support the President’s agenda in eliminating fake academic certificates.

Further inspection would only be just the appointment formalities, this database is one hundred per cent reliable,” says Liundi. For sustainability of the database, activists recommended for quality in education for both male and female school children so as to produce many more female professionals.

They urged the government and other stakeholders to fight against all barriers denying the right to education for female children; recommending availability of sanitary pads as a starting point. The sanitary materials will help curb absenteeism; she said, adding that anecdotal findings showed that mature girls missed classes for not less than five days a month when in their menstrual cycle, equal to 60 days annually.

The situation created a wide gap between male and female scholars, said Selemani Bishangazi from Gender Information Center in Kipunguni, Dar es Salaam. According to Bishagazi, another educational gap stems from embracing outdated Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kipunguni.

“The government has a long way to go in fighting this war,” he says. FGM practices have been carried simultaneously with early marriage; another disadvantage to the girls who are forced to drop out of school.

“Those are few areas that trigger gender inequality. We need collective efforts to set women free from any kind of discrimination,” he said. The women coalition said there was no way women leadership could be avoided, if Tanzania is to switch into industrial economy.

They cited all agricultural activities, one of the important sectors towards industrialization led by women for years; insisting that women are leaders by nature and should never be left behind. ACT-Wazalendo Chairperson Anna Mughwira, said women were less corrupt and urged President Magufuli to cast his eye on the potentiality of elite female, an under utilized human resource.

She discouraged favors like the special-seats saying that was not the kind of leadership women have been fighting for. She was of the view that, some of the nominated MPs have no leadership skills and played no significant role for society except for their personal gain.

“Very few of these MPs meet the leadership requirements and have no selfconfidence, which is an important leadership quality. Some special seats MPs don’t even contribute in the national assembly debate sessions,” she said.

A former veteran Member of Parliament (MP) Anna Abdallah appealed for unity among women to attain their goals over leadership matters; advising them to shun their political ideology differences.

She was speaking during the launch of a book which agitates for revival of new Constitution processes, written by the Coalition of Women and Constitution civil society. The Coalition is composed of various civil society and non-governmental organizations involved in previous new constitution processes.

Titled: “Our Energy, Our Voice: Joint Agenda in New Constitution Processes” the book was sponsored by Women Fund Tanzania “We belong to different political parties but agreed to form this Coalition specifically for pressurizing writing of a new Constitution.

Let us stick to our stand,” said Ms Abdallah, adding: “Remember Tanzanian women have so many unresolved issues, leadership opportunities being one of them. I dare say that the new Constitution is the only remedy, pull up your socks. Nothing is impossible on this planet as long as you do not break the law,” said Ms Abdallah.

Kibiti Police Killings Report Lands On Speaker Desk

By Reginald Miruko

Dodoma — National Assembly Speaker, Job Ndugai, has received a report on the killings of eight police officers in Kibiti, Coast Region recently.

The report has been compiled by the Security, Foreign Affairs and Peace Committee after it was tasked by the Speaker following the brutal killings of the law enforcers.

Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, told the Parliament today that among others, the committee met the minister for Home Affairs, Mr Mwiguli Nchemba.

It also collected information from various sources before compiling the report to Speaker Ndugai who has also handed the same to the government for action.

The eight policemen were killed on April 13 by unknown gang as they were returning to their base after a day long patrols.

On April 18, Bukombe MP, Dotto Biteko, asked for Speaker’s guidance, calling for the Parliament to halt its business and discuss the issue.

But, Speaker Ndugai sent the issue to the Parliamentary committee, asking it to investigate and hand a report which the Parliament will use to make further deliberations on the issue.

Tanzania

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Legislators, Cabinet Clash Over Declaring State of Emergency As Hunger Worsens

Parliament has passed a motion seeking to declare a state of emergency in the country over the hunger. Last evening, the legislators voted in favour of a motion moved by Kumi woman MP Monica Amoding, stating that government has failed to handle the situation and people are suffering from hunger.

“This [relief] food has trickled in and has been very insufficient in the few districts that the ministry has attempted to reach out. As I stand before you and as I have narrated this chronology of details, the few affected districts that have so far received food have also been very little between 100 bags to 600 bags of posho or 200. Which is so insignificant. Madam Speaker and honourable members in spite the fact that some areas have received rain as we talk right now, it will take most of these vulnerable districts [time to harvest]”, she said.

At least 10 million Ugandans face food insecurity according to the January 2017 National Food Security Assessment Report. In areas of Teso and Karamoja, residents and leaders are appealing for help as they resort to eating wild plants. In November last year government announced that 1.3 million Ugandans were in need of food aid.

Amoding said government had pledged to feed the most affected districts between February and April 2017, but this has not happened as even the most affected districts have got meagre portions of food. She said declaring a state of emergency would mean more support for Ugandans affected by hunger.

Declaring a state of emergency is provided for under Article 110 of the 1995 Constitution. The article stipulates that a state of emergency can be declared when Uganda is threatened by war or external aggression, when the security or the economic life of the country is threatened by internal insurgency or natural disaster or which render necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Uganda and the maintenance of public order and supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga stated that the issue of hunger in Uganda has been on since August last year, and any further delay would mean the situation getting worse. She says now that parliament has done its part, it is expected that cabinet also plays its role to ensure people get food.

“If they don’t want to [declare state of emergency] but for us we shall do . Hon Prime Minister, the rest is in your hands to either declare or not declare, but you have responsibility to support the people of this country to get food”, said Kadaga.

Felix Okot Ogong, the Dokolo South MP says many Ugandans are starving and are at risk of death. He says parliament should propose the declaration of the emergency and leave it to cabinet and the president to decide.

“… to declare state of emergency because of the level of starvation – unprecedented level of starvation in this country and is unmatched. Madam Speaker, with this high level of starvation and hunger, as government, we have not provided enough funds to handle this situation. We have not put in place machinery to handle this situation. And therefore, Madam Speaker our constitution is very clear that it is the president to declare the state of emergency”, said Ogong.

Relief and Disaster Preparedness minister Hillary Onek stated that more funds are needed to support the affected districts. Onek says in many cases, delivery of relief food was made, but another question could be whether the actual beneficiaries are actually getting the items.

He says the food crisis is hopefully going down by end of May, stating that government is delivering food continuously. He says government needs up to Shs 123 billion for the next one and a half months to feed Ugandans.

“The situation has changed because more people now want food. However, the coming of rains will see these numbers drop considerably by end of May when maturing crops have reached harvesting. In order for the Office of the Prime Minister to feed the population in need adequately for the next one and half months, we calculated according to the 1/4kg per person, we need additional Shs 123.7 billion”, Onek said.

Ann Maria Nankabirwa, the Kyankwanzi Woman MP, also government Chief Whip however, said there is no need to declare a state of emergency since the situation is not yet as alarming as legislators were making it to be.

“To declare a state of emergency of a country is just too much. Declaring a state of emergency means that it is a situation of insecurity or a national danger… .So honourable members we can substitute the word state of emergency [with] word state of national disaster so that government can mobilise resources to address the hunger situation”, she said.

Kaps Hassan Fungaroo, who moved to support the motion said there is a problem of giving refugees in West Nile food and money which makes the market price higher for locals to purchase food. He says people who are giving food should be encouraged. Fungaroo said that at this moment, even political parties should be allowed to give food.

The deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana advised the House against declaring a state of emergency saying government was managing the situation.

Zimbabwe: Tobacco Seed Sales Register 309% Increase

By Kudakwashe Mhundwa

TOBACCO production is expected to increase during the 2017 /18 season with seed sales registering an increase of 309 percent on last year.

Tobacco Industry Marketing Board statistics show that farmers have bought 14 575 grammes of tobacco seed. This is an increase of 309 percent from the 3 565 grammes that were bought by farmers during the corresponding period last year.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Wonder Chabikwa said the rise in seed sales indicated that there could be an increase in production of the crop next season.

“Farmers are finding it viable to grow tobacco which is a positive indication. However, we should make sure farmers remain motivated to grow the crop.

“It is unfortunate that farmers are experiencing cash challenges this season and spending days at the floors. We should not dampen farmers’ spirits,” he said

Meanwhile, contract floors have contributed 80 percent of the flue cured tobacco that has been sold since the opening of the 2017 marketing season. Latest statistics from the TIMB show that 40 966 growers have sold their crop through the contract system while 13 705 growers have sold through the auction floors.

Most farmers are engaged in contract farming because of the timely availability of inputs and favourable prices on the market. The highest price at the contract sales since the opening of the season is $6 per kg while the price has remained at $4,99 per kg at the auction floors. TIMB statistics also show that Zimbabwe exported 164,5 million kg of tobacco valued at $933,9 million throughout 2016.

An increase of 88 percent was also registered in new grower registrations. This season there are 18 188 new growers this year compared to 9 674 last year in 2016.

“So far total registration stands at 93 698 farmers, a 23 percent increase compared to previous season, while a total of 13 705 growers have sold through the auction system and 40 966 growers through the contract system,” said TIMB.

Zimbabwe

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Court Throws Out Kyadondo East MP

The Court of Appeal has upheld the High court judgment nullifying the election of Apollo Kantinti as the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament.

The three Court of Appeal judges; Richard Buteera, Cheborion Balishaki and Paul Mugamba concurred with the earlier judgment of Justice Henry Kaweesa, saying the elections didn’t comply with electoral laws, which substantially affected the final results.

They ordered the Electoral Commission to conduct by elections for the constituency.

The judgment followed an application filed by Sitenda Sebalu, the former NRM candidate challenging the decision by Wakiso district registrar, Sarah Bukirwa and the Electoral Commission to declare Katinti winner despite the irregularities that marred the election.

In his application, Sebalu argued that results from seven polling stations were excluded from the final tally. He also argued that there were errors in tallying results from some areas like Kabubu polling station, which affected his chance of winning the elections.

While reading the judgment this afternoon, Didas Muhumuza, the Court of Appeal assistant registrar noted that “After a careful re-evaluation of the evidence on record, the judges have also come to a conclusion that it was not clear on who won the Kyadondo East constituency election since results from 9 polling stations were not included in the final tally.”

The justices also ordered Kantinti to pay costs of the suite.

Uganda

Govt to Look Into NGOs Distributing Sanitary Pads – Janet Museveni

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Uganda: Parliament Report Exposes Rot At Unra

[Monitor] Parliament -A new report by a parliamentary committee has exposed what MPs have called ‘irregularities at the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) ranging from awarding contracts to incompetent consultants, abuse of procurement laws, to awarding contracts before appointing consultants and payments to firms without contracts.’

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