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The Observer | Retired Col. Fred Bogere Speaks Out On Term Limits and The President’s Desire to Neutralize Him

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:46

Thirteen years ago in 2005, Col Fred Bogere, a quiet little-known army representative in parliament, was cast in the public spotlight for refusing to vote for passage of the controversial legislation that lifted presidential term limits and effectively handed President Museveni a new lease on his political life.

That bold defiance of the army and ruling party position set him on a collision course with the establishment. Bogere, now retired from the military, spoke candidly in a recent interview, about the aftermath of his action.

“There was too much pressure on me that I must come out and correct what they considered a mistake. I said I can’t do that. When I refused, the pressure intensified to the extent that my close friends and relatives were used. I got attacks from everywhere; external and internal,” he said.
He said he was summoned by the president and the late Gen Aronda Nyakairima, former chief of defence forces. He said during the meeting with the president in Mbale, the head of state warned that Bogere and his “legalistic mentality would be neutralised.”

In the wide-ranging interview, which will run in three parts, Bogere speaks about betrayal of the country by its leadership and how Uganda is teetering towards chaos and conflict as marauding gangs grab control over whatever is left of the state.

He says that what happened last year when the elite force which protects President Museveni, the Special Forces Command, stormed parliament, attacked and violently dragged out mainly opposition MPs, is the darkest moment in Uganda’s history.

“It was a terrible abuse of authority, it was a terrible insult to this country; I don’t think we can ever have a leading case of abuse of power than that one….” Bogere said. “There is no doubt the constitutional order was overthrown”.

“I don’t know whether it’s a military junta or what but what is available now is a coup.”

“I must confess that I felt betrayed and up to now I feel betrayed. You know we are not here to stay perpetually, the only constant is change and indeed it will come. Unfortunately, we squandered the opportunity of being part of that change. If change had come and it was attributed to the foundation work we had done, I would be a very happy person.”

Why did you retire from the military?

I chose to retire because I had become weak health-wise. But before that, my first application to retire was in 1996. When I joined the army, I joined as a liberator; I never chose it [army] as a career. I wanted to get back to what I wanted to do before I was forced into joining the struggle.

Actually around 1991, I did a diploma in Journalism with Betty Nambooze [Mukono Municipality MP] at an institute now called the Uganda Institute of Business and Media Studies.

I had a desire to do journalism after the military. But my application was not allowed. By the time I retired in 2016, I had applied six times. After 2005, I felt I was no longer liked; I had this feeling that I was no longer part of the institution; so, I felt it was the right time for me to leave.

I felt I shouldn’t be part of a force that was doing things that seemed to be anti-people. When the right time to judge comes, UPDF will be judged harshly. So, I wanted to be as far away from it as possible.

How does it feel like having people who were once your juniors promoted to senior ranks and responsibilities in the army?

It is a very big challenge to the officer being sidelined. For your information, from 2001 to 2016 when I retired, I remained a colonel. But during the same time, there were people who were recruited and promoted either to the same rank as me or even higher.

Ordinarily, if maybe you have service offences, it would be understandable but for my entire time in the military, I was never presented for any marching orders. It’s really a challenge not only for the sidelined officer but also the one who is fast-tracked.

It’s like if they announced tomorrow that you’re the managing director of The Observer newspaper but then they retain James Tumusiime [present MD] to be under you. You will find problems. How do you order a person who has been your boss? Even him, he will find problems taking orders from you. So, this creates indiscipline in the force.

Even the UPDF Act says that if you have been holding an officer rank for more than five years and you’re not promoted, you have to be discharged. These were my arguments when I applied to retire.

Since you were not seeing eye-to-eye with the minister of defence, how were you elected army MP?

After the 2001 elections, I was elected Member of Parliament to represent the UPDF in the Seventh Parliament. The president makes his list of about 30 people and then he sends it to the Army Council which starts awarding marks on different criteria. Those with the highest cumulative marks are appointed and I was among the 10.

Not so long into my term, I left for Nairobi for a military course. I made sure I travel back before the 15 consecutive sittings of which if you miss, you lose your seat. In 2005, in the heat of the lifting of term limits, I returned to Kampala because I wanted to be part of the debate. When I came back, some people told me to support the lifting of term limits but I flatly rejected the idea, saying if I did, we would have lost the whole purpose of the struggle.

My opposition got back to various authorities who got concerned. There was one particular general who was also in parliament who was most concerned. He started mobilising us. He asked me why I was siding with people in the opposition.

Then they used their mouthpiece, the Red Pepper to say that the army was very worried about Bogere; he might not vote for the lifting of term limits. I travelled back to Nairobi but kept on monitoring what was going on.

I came back near voting day and talked to some MPs. I told them they were very young; that they have this country at their disposal. I told them that if at your age of 30, you are already a member of parliament, you can assume that in the next 20 years you will be the president. Why should you then allow such a thing that blocks your opportunity to take place?

What did they say…?

Some would say we fear this, we fear that. There was all this intimidation that the army was uncomfortable and will take over if term limits were not lifted. I would always try to deflate that kind of thinking. The army was not ready for that; we had come to liberate this country from such undemocratic paths.

I talked to a number of them and we agreed that term limits shouldn’t be lifted. Disheartening as it was, when it came to voting, they didn’t vote as we agreed.

But didn’t word get to your superiors that you were trying to mobilise against lifting term limits?

It got there that’s how it got into Red Pepper. They invited me and warned me against my activities. I told them that what I was doing is what I’m supposed to do…They couldn’t do much because I was an MP in my own right.  Finally, the D-day came and I stood up and said I’m abstaining.

At the second reading you abstained but on the third and final reading you disappeared. Where did you go and why?

There was too much pressure on me that I must come out and correct what they considered a mistake. I said I can’t do that. When I refused, the pressure intensified to the extent that my close friends and relatives were used. I got attacks from everywhere; external and internal.

What I did was to leave home. Only my wife knew where I was. What the army and the politicians wanted was that I call a press conference and say that I’m sorry, I was misled; that in the subsequent voting I would vote yes. So, by the time of the third reading, I wasn’t anywhere. I only reappeared after the voting.

After abstaining, which was as good as voting no, what happened to you?

I was summoned by the president and the late Gen Aronda Nyakairima (former chief of defence of forces). Aronda wanted me to travel at night to Mbale to meet Museveni but I made sure I didn’t travel as he had dictated. I feared for my life; so, I got to Mbale on my own, not on the dictates of the CDF.

I remember the meeting had Amelia Kyambadde [now minister for Trade], Francis Babu, Maj Gen Silver Kayemba and Aronda. The president asked why I had departed from my colleagues yet the army needs to move together. Generally, taking me through semantics of military science; but I said we are discussing political issues; we were determining the future of the country as MPs in our own right, not as a military force.

He then sensed from the way I was answering that I had some level of confidence, which he didn’t expect. Then he asked Aronda: “Is it you or [Amama] Mbabazi who was telling me that he is a lawyer or you were referring to [Henry] Tumukunde?” Aronda answered:  “Both of them are lawyers, Your Excellency.” Then he said, “I can see the legalistic mentality but we are going to neutralise him.”

I answered: “I was not aware of that, Your Excellency” and he did not like that. He thought I was being disrespectful. He told me to go back to Kampala but that they will continue to talk to me.

The intention was to move me to a press conference so I could say I was misled into abstaining. I never met the president again. I was identified as a prime target and there was never any promotion or deployment since then. But I took it in good faith. Even when recently they talked of giving me a rank in retirement, I vigorously fought against it because my brand now in this country is Colonel Fred Bogere.

If I’m made, say; brigadier, it acts against my brand and honestly I don’t want it. The best reward for anybody is to feel that you are liked by people you live with. I walk on the streets of Kampala, do whatever I want freely, not fearing anybody.

How did you feel that President Museveni led the push to remove term limits and rule forever?

I must confess that I felt betrayed and up to now I feel betrayed. You know we are not here to stay perpetually, the only constant is change and indeed it will come.

Unfortunately, we squandered the opportunity to be part of that change. If change had come and it was attributed to the foundation work we had done, I would be a very happy person. But you see the way we are managing the affairs of the country now; change is no doubt going to come. Problem is; it might be the change that is not under any of our control.

It might be change that is disorderly; that will turn this country upside down. We are walking in the footpath of Somalia.

When I went for my military training in Nairobi, I thought that I was wasting too much time in the military, I decided to enroll in the University of Nairobi for a master’s degree in international studies, focusing on international relations and conflict management. I know a thing or two about failed states. Also, during that military course, you are taken to failed states and in our case we visited Mozambique.

We were taken to states which are coming out of chaos and conflict, we were taken to Namibia. We were taken to emerging economies and that was Brazil. For the first world, we were taken to France. So, you globetrot trying to learn what happens if you mismanage the affairs of the state.

With this background, you see certain things and realise where you are going. That’s why I’m saying I felt betrayed; that’s why I was eager to talk to some MPs, some of whom are now ministers. I asked them why they were messing up the country. These people they fear have no powers over them.

They were elected by their constituents; why should they be intimidated? They should determine their own direction of the state. While they agreed with me in preliminary discussions, when it came to voting, I didn’t see them. I think they succumbed to the temptation of money.

When I had just come back, a certain minister I will not name came to me and said, ‘Honourable, why should you miss this opportunity because whether you support it or not, this thing is going to pass anyway.’

He said, why don’t you receive your five million; it’s here. I said I’m sorry I can’t take it. He is still a minister up to now but whenever he sees me even at a function, he shies away. As far as I’m concerned, he lost it. How can you be so cheap that you’re paid Shs 5 million; even if it were Shs 100m how far does it take you?

What do you make of the melodrama that surrounded the 2017 amendment of the constitution to lift presidential age limits?

For quite some time majority of the people who have come out to discuss Uganda’s politics have always discussed the bad side of [former presidents] Apollo Milton Obote and Idi Amin. They draw us to the so-called [1967] pigeonhole constitution.

They tell us how forces surrounded parliament but when you interrogate it further, you realise that the so-called encirclement of the House which we have ways condemned in the biggest terms was only on Parliamentary Avenue, then near City Hall and National theater.

That was the furthest government forces went to parliament. But now what happened [in 2017]?  Forces escorted goons not only to surround parliament but to step on the table of the clerk and started showing their skills in acrobatics.

It was a terrible abuse of authority, it was a terrible insult to this country; I don’t think we can ever have a leading case of abuse of power than that one. Where does that leave the concept of separation of powers?

If I’m to agree with what professors, Joe Oloka-Onyango and Fredrick Jjuuko taught me, the constitution was literally overthrown. We are here in some shaky thing called a government and all that, but there is no doubt the constitutional order was overthrown.

We can pretend that everything is normal because somebody has a microphone he can talk and nobody can remove it from him but, honestly, the constitutional order was overthrown. 

I don’t know whether it’s military junta or what but what is available now is a coup. What we have is not a government envisaged under the 1995 constitution. There is now one side with a microphone. If we got people who are impartial to interrogate this matter, they would certainly rule that there is no constitutional order here; it was overthrown.

Did it surprise you that all the nine army MPs voted yes?

It didn’t; I expected it. But nevertheless, I sympathise with them, they had to oblige with what they were told to do. But on the other hand, I only urge them to put the interest of the country first.

They are setting a very wrong foundation for our children. There has been this assumption that President Museveni is good, which I don’t want to go into. But how dare you or how dare me create an atmosphere that will allow a despot to emerge on the political scene and find such a fluid atmosphere and take advantage of it when this good one has departed for one reason or the other?

He might depart by God’s action but he might also depart by an uprising which might come up and it is uncontrollable. A despot will say he is ruling according to the constitution.

We are playing with fire; and all of us are participating in the condemnation of our children. By the time our grandchildren come crying that their mothers and fathers have been imprisoned anyhow, we shall be simply helpless. Probably you will be using a walking stick and as a former minister, your child will be arrested for no reason or simply because he doesn’t agree with those in authority. 

What do you make of the army being in a multiparty parliament?

I don’t agree with it. I actually wrote a paper to the military that it was not in order for us to remain in parliament after parties were allowed back. We also need to liberate this country from politicians.

We need to come up with constitutional provisions that require that a person can only be MP for three terms while the president can have only two terms. We have turned being MP into a career and it is becoming hereditary now. What’s this?

Much as these people have been good, it doesn’t matter, this country is not short of good people. We even have better people who have not emerged because they have been denied an opportunity.

Obote used to say that Museveni is a bandit who he will find in the bush and leave him there. Did he leave him there? If Museveni has been so good, what happened with what Obote used to say that he knew this young man so well that he cannot run the affairs of the state? 

This idea that there is nobody [else] with a vision is an insult to some of us.

Your comment about sending our military to places like South Sudan, Somalia etc…

There is no problem for as long as there is parliamentary approval. When those countries remain in chaos, it overflows to our countries. So the main objective is very good but the dilemma is; it is not done within the framework of the law. Some people would like to simply force it on us that once they approve, then it’s given.

The military is now effectively in the hands of young people; good thing for the country?

It’s a good thing because many of us, with the exception of a few, never joined the military on our own free will. But those who are in the military today we recruited them; they chose the military as their career.

Therefore, they are better placed to lead. The only problem comes with the nature of promotion that tends to be one-sided, bordering on nepotism. But as long as that is addressed, there wouldn’t be a problem.

I share the sentiments of Hon Aggrey Awori of the possibility of genocide due to tribalism. In the military, there is that element but it’s not to the extreme like you see in the police. You cannot [rationalize] to Ugandans that more than 85 percent of our district police commanders come from one region; this is a disaster.

What do you make of the fast-tracking of Museveni’s son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to major general?

I left that to him and his conscience. I believe anybody can see whether it makes sense or not. You think people can just look at it and ignore it or they make interpretations?

During the peak of the age limit debate, Evelyn Anite, the state minister for privatisation and investment said they had the magye (army).

She knew what she was saying; after all it came to pass. You saw the forces accompanying the goons and they wreaked havoc. But that is one statement she will live to regret having made. It will hang around her neck for quite long yet she is still a young lady.

She said it excitedly, having the misconception that after all she is associated with those with authority. She forgets that those with power have it only today and tomorrow. The other days or months or years to come you don’t know who will have the authority.

There might come a time when certain commissions of inquiry are established and such statements might be attributed as the cause of conflict afflicting the country and she is called upon to answer.

You have worked closely with police chief Gen Kale Kayihura; how do you assess him?

Allow me not to comment about him because the assessment might not be fair, if I’m to be honest. I have attended various military courses with him starting with our first military training in Libya in 1981. When we took over government, Kayihura and Aronda Nyakairima were all juniors under me.

Actually, a certain minister one time came to see me and I showed him an internal memo written to [former army commander] General Muntu who had asked me to find a suitable officer under me to go and take over as intelligence officer for the Presidential Protection Unit which is now SFC.

I wrote on that note which I photocopied, recommending Aronda Nyakairima. By that time [I showed the minister the note] Nyakairima was the chief of defence forces. The minister asked me, ‘you mean this officer was under you?’ I said yes. He said ‘no, no, no, this world is unfair’. But I just told him we are used to this. 

What do you make of the fights between Kayihura and Minister of Security, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde?

From the little I read on my master’s programme, some of what you are seeing today is what is lined up as one of the characteristics of a failing state. To an ordinary person, when the minister for security is not on talking terms with the inspector general of the national police, it simply means that the centre is no longer holding.

What if their boss is in control and simply enjoys the fight knowing it has no bearing on his grip on power…

I don’t know whether he is enjoying it but my issue is that why is there nobody emerging to say ‘stop!’? There are ministers, deputy prime ministers, the prime minister, the vice president you mean all these can’t call these people to order?

This means we need to wake up because we have a very serious problem.

The president has promised that by 2020 we will be a middle-income country…

It is good for the president to give people hope but one thing I know is that some of these goals can’t be achieved by mere wishes. They come about by practical action by both the state and other stakeholders.

Those of us who travel in the region, Kenya is way ahead of us but it’s not thinking of a middle-income status at least to the level of say Egypt. When we talk about middle-income, we are talking about the second world and we know what this means. We are talking about countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Source — The Observer

Anne kansiime Featured Speaker | African Women Leadership Conference At Wellesley College, Boston March 8 – 9th 2018

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:18

The African Women’s Leadership Conference at Wellesley College is a first-of-its-kind convening of some of the most influential voices in African women’s leadership—from education and politics, health and technology, entertainment and the law.

Organized by Wellesley College in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, this timely and important conference will expand our understanding of the many ways women leaders are transforming their communities and their nations; it promises to advance thought leadership and provide opportunities to learn from the women who are making a difference not only across Africa but around the world.

In lectures, breakout sessions, and informal discussions, attendees will explore what women’s leadership looks like through the lens of four key leadership competencies—confidence, creativity, courage, and resilience—leading to a deeper appreciation of the challenges African women leaders face and offering productive strategies for addressing them.

KANSIIME ANNE — Ugandan entertainer, comedian, and actress, known as “Africa’s Queen of Comedy”

Anne Kansiime is a Ugandan entertainer, comedian, and actress. Dubbed “Africa’s Queen of Comedy,” she currently hosts the television show “Don’t Mess With Kansiime,” and belongs to a sketch comedy group called Fun Factory. Her YouTube channel has amassed more than 50 million views and 400,000 subscribers.

Diaspora Gala 2017 | Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala Video Highlights & Keynote Speech

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 02/21/2018 - 07:30

On 30th December 2017 the 7th Annual Ugandan Diaspora Social Networking Gala was held at Kampala Serena Hotel. The Keynote speaker was Lt. Col. Dr. Ivan Edwards a US Pilot and Surgeon born at Mengo Hospital who inspired Ugandans to cultivate a culture of saving and planning for their retirement.

Other attendees included H.E. The Vice President and the French Ambassador to Uganda. A special thank-you to all our partners and sponsors for the continued support. We now welcome our Ugandan Diaspora audience to watch and hear the inspirational speech by our keynote speaker at the Gala — Dr. Ivan Edwards 

Diaspora Breakfast | The 4th Annual Ugandan Diaspora Business Breakfast Highlights – Dec 29th 2017

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 01:45

On December 29th 2017 the Uganda Diaspora Network held its 4th annual Ugandan Diaspora business breakfast at Katonga hall, Kampala Serena Hotel. The breakfast was moderated by NBS anchor Solomon Sserwanja assisted by the Patron Ugandan Diaspora Network, Dr. Maggie Kigozi and it attracted several business leaders in Kampala.

Organized in Partnership with Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and NBS Television the breakfast covered a broad range of subjects of interest to the diaspora. Below are a few of the highlights from business breakfast that was broadcast LIVE on NBS Television.

The New York Times | For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 21:50

KIGALI, Rwanda — In Kenya, they are called the “clothes of dead white people.” In Mozambique, they are the “clothing of calamity.”

They are nicknames for the unwanted, used clothing from the West that so often ends up in Africa. Now, a handful of countries here in East Africa no longer want the foreign hand-me-downs dumped on them because they’re trying to manufacture their own clothes.

But they say they’re being punished for it — by the United States.

Here in East Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi have been trying to phase out imports of secondhand clothing and shoes over the last year, saying the influx of old items undermines their efforts to build domestic textile industries. The countries want to impose an outright ban by 2019.

Across Africa, secondhand merchandise is the primary source of clothing — much as it is for cars, planes, hospital equipment, computers and sometimes even drugs that have passed their expiration date.

Buses with Japanese lettering are ubiquitous. Planes in Congo have signs in Italian. Aspirin from Europe past its sell-by-date floods markets in Cameroon. Old medical equipment from the Netherlands lies idle in hospitals in South Africa. Ghana has become a dumping ground for huge amounts of electronic waste.

Rwanda, in particular, is seeking to curb the import of secondhand clothes, not only on the grounds of protecting a nascent local industry, but also because it says wearing hand-me-downs compromises the dignity of its people.

But when countries in East Africa raised their import tariffs on used garments last year — to such a high level that they constituted a de facto ban — the backlash was significant.
In March, the Office of the United States Trade Representative threatened to remove four of the six East African countries included in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, a preferential trade deal intended to lift trade and economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa. (Burundi and South Sudan, gripped by upheaval, had already been expelled from the trade deal because their governments were accused of perpetrating state violence.)

Under the deal, products like oil, coffee and tea are allowed access to American markets with low tariffs. But the White House has the right to terminate the agreement with a country if it feels that the relationship doesn’t benefit the United States.

The dispute has thrown into relief the perennial debate among countries, especially developing ones, over how to balance protectionism with the risk of damaging their relationship with an interconnected world.

The American response reflects a desire to both protect jobs and have open access to small but promising markets. The East African nations are trying to replicate the success stories in Asia and even the United States, where infant manufacturing industries were initially protected and nurtured before they were able to compete on the global market.

Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who has been the most vocal leader about the used-clothing ban among the East African nations, said that the region should go ahead with the ban even if it meant sacrificing some economic growth.

“We have to grow and establish our industries,” Mr. Kagame said in June. “This is the choice we find that we have to make. We might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way.”

East Africa imported $151 million worth of used clothes and shoes in 2015, mostly from Europe and the United States, where consumers regularly buy new clothes and dispose of old ones, often giving them away to charities. At least 70 percent of donated garments end up in Africa, according to Oxfam, a British charity that also sells used, donated clothes to the continent.
The American threat, officials in the region say, is an example of a Western nation bullying countries that are trying to move beyond what the continent is typically known for: exporting raw materials, not finished products.

For countries like Rwanda, a small landlocked state with few natural resources to extract and export, building local manufacturing is vital for development, officials contend.

“Politically and morally it is wrong,” Mukhisa Kituyi, the secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Kenya’s former trade minister, said of the American threat to remove countries from the trade deal. “The leadership of Rwanda and East Africa is right and should not lose sight of the bigger picture they have in mind.”

The trade relationship between the United States and East Africa should be founded on mutual respect, he added, “and should not go down the way of 19th century England when it started a war with China over opium,” he said of Britain’s determination to pry open Chinese markets to sell drugs.

East Africa could export garments worth up to $3 billion annually within a decade, according to McKinsey, the consultancy.

Behind the American response to the East African ban is a group of 40 used clothing exporters, known as the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association. It says that 40,000 American jobs, like sorting and packing clothes, are at risk. Clothing thrown away by Americans, the association says, will end up in landfills in the United States and damage the environment if not sold abroad.

The organization, which describes the East African tariffs as “taking advantage of U.S. generosity,” lobbied for the American response. It did so on the grounds that the East African countries were contravening rules that require them to show they are “making progress” toward eliminating trade barriers to American goods and investment.

“It’s hard to argue that the U.S. should continue to give preferential access to its market if the country is taking steps that harms U.S. companies,” said Grant Harris, who served as the principal adviser to former President Barack Obama on issues related to Africa.

The United States often uses the trade deal as a negotiating tool. In 2015, South Africa nearly lost its eligibility over a ban on American chicken imports, which it said were killing the country’s poultry industry. Last year, the United States warned the tiny nation of Lesotho that it could lose its eligibility if the government failed to enact political reforms.

As South Africa did on chicken imports, Kenya blinked and withdrew its support for the used-clothing ban because it risked losing its lucrative textiles exports to the United States; globally, Kenya exported about $380 million of clothing globally in 2015, much of it made for American companies. The United States Trade Representative now says it will not review Kenya’s eligibility.

Despite the possible ejection from the trade deal, which American officials say will be decided at the end of the year, the remaining members appear determined to uphold the ban.

Underlying their protectionist move is the damage done in the 1980s and 1990s by economic liberalization. That, and a combination of debt crises, falling cotton prices and cheap Chinese imports, wiped out textile industries across the continent.

While African economies were being pushed by institutions like the International Monetary Fund to open up trade, the West protected its textile industries by restricting imports of yarns and fabrics from developing countries.

“Removing barriers to trade made it easier to import and export things but made African economies more vulnerable to imports, and manufacturing industries in particular became uncompetitive,” said Andrew Brooks, author of “Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes.”
The current dispute over the trade deal, he said, exposed “the underbelly of globalization.”

Kenya, for example, had half a million workers in the garment industry a few decades ago. That number has shrunk to 20,000 today, and production is geared toward exporting clothes often too expensive for the local market. In Ghana, jobs in textiles plunged by 80 percent between 1975 and 2000. Many people in Zambia, which produced clothes locally 30 years ago, can now only afford to buy imported secondhand clothes.

Although many support government efforts to build national textile industries, they say that the ban on used clothing should be done incrementally.

In Rwanda, where the per capita gross domestic product is $700, many people oppose the ban, saying it has thrown thousands out of jobs distributing and selling secondhand clothes and has hurt the nation’s youth in particular.

Since Rwandan import tariffs on used garments have been raised 12 times, clothes sellers in Kigali have watched their revenues plummet. The government decision was premature, they said, put in place before the country was able to produce clothes that are affordable. And though the ban excludes imports of secondhand clothing, it hasn’t stopped the influx of more expensive new clothing from China.

Peter Singiranumwe, 26, relied on selling used clothing to help pay for his rent and studies in telecommunications and engineering. “Now I’ll have to stop because I don’t make enough money anymore,” he said. “It’s impossible.”

And the question remains whether Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are ready to build a textile industry of their own.

Vital ingredients for that to happen are still missing, and cutting off imports of used clothing alone is unlikely to fix the problem, some in the industry say. Energy and transportation costs in Rwanda are among the highest in Africa, there is a dearth of skilled workers in tailoring and light manufacturing, and imports of high-quality materials like fabric and yarn are prohibitively expensive.

There’s also the question of the size and purchasing power of the local consumer market. “Do we have a ready market here to which we can feed ‘Made In Rwanda’ clothes to the population?” asked Johannes Otieno, the manager of Utexrwa, which makes uniforms for the army, the police and hospitals.

Mr. Otieno said he opposes the East African ban on secondhand clothing, questioning what Rwanda would do if the United States ejected it from the trade deal.

“A country cannot survive alone,” he said. “We depend on America for a lot of things. We’re not stable enough to say, ‘We don’t need you anymore.’”

Source – The New York Times

Dr. Daniel Kawuma | UNAA President Elect Sworn in By UNAA BOT Chair Dr. Buwembo In Boston, MA

Uganda Diaspora - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:24

UNAA President Elect – Dr. Daniel Kawuma swears in after a snap repeat election held Feb 9th. Holding the mic is the former UNAA President and BOT member Rosette Sserwanga. This was at the Hilton Woburn Saturday Feb 16th.

Dr. Daniel Kawuma was yesterday sworn in as UNAA President after a snap repeat by-election called by the UNAA BOT and the UNAA – EC following a petition filed by the Kawuma campaign team to annul the election in the wake of a questionable voter register that revealed inflated numbers and members not in good standing that were allowed to vote in Miami.

The oath of President was administered by Dr. Joseph Buwembo who appeared via skype from Canada and was also attended by two other Board of Trustee(BOT) members present in Boston. Other attendees included religious leaders and some prominent members of the boston community who braved the wintry weather conditions to attend this event on Saturday Feb 16th at the Hilton Woburn Hotel. 

A legal battle is expected soon in the State of Massachusetts Courts if no peaceful transition takes place, armed with the UNAA audit and Election petition findings the incoming leadership hopes to file a motion with the Secretary of State to obtain all UNAA instruments of power since UNAA is a registered non profit entity in the State of Massachusetts.

The function was also streamed LIVE on B.U.E. Tv a local community online television. Below is the full speech by Dr. Daniel Kawuma following the swearing in Ceremony held at the Woburn Hilton Hotel on Saturday February 16th in Boston, MA. 

Full speech below,


My fellow Ugandans in North America, friends, supporters and family it is a great honor and humbling experience to stand before you today as the President of theUganda North American association. Thank you! 

I would like to start off by thanking everyone who has made it to this function on short notice and very cold weather. Your presence here means a lot to me and those following online, I thank you for your time and support. 

I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of my campaign team. You have been great and put it all on the line for me. This victory wouldn’t have been possible without you. You made me a better candidate, you made me a better person, and you turned me into something I never liked to be called – a politician.

Secondly, I thank Mr. Monday Atigo for his service, we might have disagreed on some issues  but you stepped up to serve UNAA and I respect you for that commitment. I hope when you return from Uganda, we can sit down to come up with a road map on how best to move UNAA forward.

I would like to thank my supporters and also Mr. Atigo’s supporters for loving our organization, for loving your communities and engaging in this election. 

 As we move our organization forward, the time is now to put our differences aside and join hands to work towards a stronger UNAA. We are more powerful as a Uganda Diaspora if we speak in one voice. We have a lot in common coming from the same motherland and we all sacrifice greatly to live in the Diaspora.

A mother in California making a sacrifice to leave her children behind in Uganda for a better job opportunity

A college student in Seattle leaving his family in Uganda to seek a good education.

A father in Boston who works through the long winters to put food on the table to support the family they left behind in Uganda.

A grandmother in Texas who leaves home seeking medical care.

A community member who opens a restaurant, a barber shop, tv station, a saloon or a shipping company to bring services to Ugandans in our communities in North America.

Sending half or more of your paycheck back home to support a family member or loved one, paying medical bills for a brother or sister.  These are the stories and experiences of many Ugandans in our communities.

The challenges our brothers and sisters face back home led many of us to seek opportunity in the Diaspora. Most of us are not here because we dislike our country. If given a choice we would rather have these opportunities in Uganda. We would rather raise our children in Uganda, we would rather retire and spend the rest of our lives home. As UNAA president I will work with our leaders from Uganda and in North America to make sure opportunities are in Uganda not in the Diaspora. To make sure peace and prosperity is in Uganda not only in the Diaspora. To make sure a better education and healthcare is in Uganda not in the Diaspora. 

In order to achieve that goal:

Uniting UNAA under one umbrella will be one of my number one priority. As UNAA President I will not look at UNAA causes or Ttabamiruka, Banyakigezi, Twegaite or any of the other groups as rivals to UNAA. 

I see them as fellow Ugandans, I see them as partners with a mission to improve and serve their communities. I will listen, acknowledge and understand the concerns of all Ugandan diaspora organizations and stop the culture of them vs us.

We are in this together and in order to solve the challenges we face as immigrants in North America, we are more likely to succeed as a voice of 50,000 Ugandans. Because Strength comes from Unity, Unity comes from building relationships. If we work together, UNAA will achieve the plans I have put in place to empower our communities and open doors of opportunity for our people.

Going forward,

When UNAA looks in the eyes of a Ugandan parent struggling to afford tuition for their children, a Ugandan looking to advance their professional career, a Ugandan who is looking for guidance to find job opportunities and a Ugandan worried about their immigration status- under my leadership we shall look in the eyes of those Ugandans and tell them that UNAA has a place for you – that UNAA has an answer for you. Because on this new day the sun will once again shine on the priorities of Ugandans in the Diaspora.

I campaigned on moving unaa’s mandate and mission beyond conventions because not every Ugandan can travel on Labor Day weekend to be part of these festivities. I have a plan to achieve that.

However, the last few months have challenged our leadership structure and my top priority is to create stability in our organization. I have already reached out to the Council speaker, Board of Trustees, UNAA treasurer and other stake holders and will continue to do so in the coming weeks.

UNAA’s 30 year anniversary will be in Seattle and I’m committed to working with community leaders and local organizing committee  to make it a success. Some have asked the question. What has unaa achieved the last 30 years? What has unaa done in my community? The fact that we are even asking that question implies that we have work to do. I’m committed to having a clear answer for our members in the next 100 days. 

In the first 100 days I want to add value to what it means to be a UNAA member. We plan to achieve this from several fronts. 

First, is economic empowerment and financial security?  UNAA members will have option to sign up for a life insurance policy. This will secure our members and their families financially. 

Secondly, we are going to launch the Diaspora investment branch. We come to the diaspora to seek economic opportunities and moving forward I want UNAA to take a lead as an economic engine for our community. With over 50,000 Ugandans in NA, we have the potential to tap into that base and build wealth for our community. We want Ugandans to become business owners and job creators instead of job seekers. 

In the first 100 days we shall launch the emergency fund as a safety net for our members. Living in the Diaspora has a lot of uncertainty and I want UNAA to be one of the possibilities for our members to seek solutions.

In the first 100 days we are going to launch a database that can be a resource for community members seeking job opportunities, legal assistance, mentors, immigration resources and other community resources.

Under my leadership UNAA will be more engaged in policies that affect our people in the Diaspora and back home. The Diaspora deserves a voice, you need to be heard and we are going to be heard. I was recently in DC making sure we fight for the rights of immigrants. That’s just the beginning of what we are capable of accomplishing as an organization.

I cannot forget the youth and first generation Ugandans. We have many young people born in the Diaspora that seek an identity, in search of their heritage, that need mentors that need career guidance. Under my leadership UNAA will offer opportunities to the future leaders of tomorrow

There is a lot on my agenda and the core of my message is to make sure UNAA has a presence all year round in our communities.We have been going to conventions for 30 years, my vision for the next 30 years is to demonstrate that we can achieve more. 

But for that to happen, I have been very clear that we need to get our house in order. If the diaspora wants to have a moral authority to address corruption, we cannot be corrupt, if we want the moral authority to speak out against rigged elections, we should walk on the path of integrity, if we demand that our leaders should deliver services to our people, our own organization should be after 30 years delivering quality services for our people.

We have the resources, skills and talents to make it happen in our community. But fellow Ugandans, I can’t achieve this without your support, your hard work, your commitment and your input. Please reach out to me if you have the skills and resources to participate in the programs we are going to launch.

As your president I’m going to do all I can to make leave a mark on our organization because your values are my values, your struggles are my struggles – your resilience will be the pillar on which I lean serving this great association

I will fight for you – i will be your voice and together we shall transform UNAA into the organization that you are all proud of. A diaspora that is divided lacks strength- a diaspora in conflict lacks a foundation – a diaspora without a vision is where we have been for years and on this day we are not turning back. Thank you so much. It’s a great honor to be your next UNAA  President.

To learn about the genesis of the repeat by-election and the UNAA-EC report visit link below.

UNAA Electoral Commission | Declares Mr. Daniel Busuulwa Kawuma duly elected in the UNAA Repeat Elections held on February 9th

UNAA Electoral Commission | Declares Mr. Daniel Busuulwa Kawuma duly elected in the UNAA Repeat Elections held February 9th

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 17:17

Ugandan Diaspora News today received the results of the repeat UNAA Elections held online between February 9th and 12th 2018. A total of 373 ballots were sent via email and the number of votes cast were 217 in total. Mr. Busulwa received a total of 181 votes while Mr. Atigo got 33 votes. The position for South Pacific II was unopposed there by having Mr. Alex Semwanga duly elected.  Below is the full report of the election results and the background to the the petition that led to the repeat elections as presented by the EC Chairman. If and whether the UNAA fraternity will embrace these results is constant only time will tell. Whatever side of the divide we fall lets strive to make UNAA great again!!

February 13th, 2018

To: Ugandan North American Association Members and Community
From: UNAA Electoral Commission

Subject: Official 2017 Repeat Election Results

The UNAA Electoral Commission (EC) appreciates the UNAA Board of Trustees, UNAA Executive, UNAA Council, and UNAA members for the opportunity and trust bestowed upon us as we conducted the repeat election for the positions of UNAA President and UNAA South Pacific II Region Representative.

We especially want to thank the candidates and all members of the association who worked with the EC to ensure that the election is conducted smoothly and fairly. Your participation contributed immensely to the success of this election and we hope that your faith in the dignity and integrity of UNAA’s electoral process will continue.

This election was conducted solely online and based on the participation and feedback, we are pleased to note that this is a historic and monumental achievement for UNAA as we move towards enhancing and modernizing our electoral process.

The official results from the repeat election are tabulated as follows:

Members and Voters:

Total number of ballots sent: – 373
Total number of ballots cast: – 217



In the powers vested in me as the chairman of UNAAEC, I would like to congratulate and declare Dr. Busuulwa Daniel Kawuma and Mr. Alex Semwanga as the validly elected UNAA President and UNAA South Pacific II region representative, respectively.

Approved and Signed By:

Franco Mukhwana Wantsala
Chairman, UNAA Electoral Commission

Chairman Mr. Franco M. Wantsala
Vice Chairman Dr. David Irakiza. PhD
Commissioner Prof. Johnson Makoba. PhD
Commissioner Mr. Peter Matovu
Commissioner Mr. Joseph A. Kazinduka (Although he abstained from the process, he agrees to the release of the results)

Background to the Repeat Election 2018

The special election was sanctioned and endorsed by UNAA Board of Trustees in their November 12th, 2017 directive to UNAA Electoral Commission. The directive for repeat election came as a result of a Petition filed by Dr. Daniel Kawuma who was one of the contestants for UNAA Presidency in Miami elections 2017.

Dr. Kawuma petitioned UNAA Electoral Commission challenging the validity of the voters register, a register of 594 UNAA members that was used for voting in Miami election, and where 358 members voted and gave Mr. Atigo a win.

Upon receiving Dr. Kawuma’s petition, UNAA EC members held a meeting and reviewed the content of his petition and they concluded that as far as the Electoral Commission was concerned, there was nothing new that they could do about it, and for that reason, they referred the petition to UNAA Board of Trustees for further investigation in the matter as per the constitution.

The UNAA Board of Trustees investigated it and wrote back to UNAA EC and to the UNAA Executive about their findings where they requested the UNAA Executive to provide evidence for over 110 UNAA members who voted in Miami election without proof of membership payment.

Since the UNAA executive did not provide proof of those members’ membership payment, and neither did they challenge the findings, UNAA Board of Trustees wrote back to UNAA Electoral Commission stating that those 110 listed members voted in Miami Election but were not members in good standing and could have influenced the election results, and as such, they directed that EC conducts repeat election for the positions of Presidency and UNAA South Pacific II Representative. The two positions were singled out because of the slim margin difference in the votes of UNAA presidency that was only 23, where Mr. Atigo got 189 votes and Dr. Kawuma got 166 votes respectively, and 3 for UNAA South Pacific Region, where Mr. Alex Semwanga got 44 votes and Mr. David Kabukuru got 41 votes, so 110 unpaid voters could have impacted the results. Otherwise, the rest of the positions in were unopposed.


Upon receiving that directive, the UNAA Electoral commission of the then 15 members on the commission became divided on whether to implement the directive or not. Several meetings were held and most members decided that the fresh election should be held in Seattle at the AGM while others took to it that the constitution does not give the EC an option of where to hold a special election of this nature. Secondly, their unilateral decision was made without interfacing with the Petitioner and other affected parties. In this process, the secretary of the EC became erratic and as a consequence he was fired by the Board of Trustees for misconduct during meetings with stakeholders, so he is no longer a member of UNAA EC and does not speak for the Electoral Commission anymore.

The 14 members who remained were still divided up to the run up of the repeat election where 2 of the EC members abstained, 7 were opposed and did not participate in the process, the rest decided to carried out the election as directed by the BOT.

New Process:

Unlike the last register that was used in Miami where two member lists were used, one from the Executive secretary with 781 names and the other from the Executive Treasurer with 426 names, the one used in Repeat Election was signed off by both the Executive treasurer to affirm payment of members in good standing and eligible to vote, and the BOT to affirm its validity and accuracy.

Voting System:

The system used for voting was first used in Miami elections where both options of Onsite voting and online voting were carried out successfully. The System is ELECTIONBUDDY and can be accessed at

How the Voting was done:

Each voter was assigned and emailed a unique identifier that they used to access their ballots and cast their votes. Each ballot cannot be re-used once a vote has been cast or once an identifier is shared on more than one devise (e.g. through an email forward), that associated ballot becomes invalid, and also no email can be used for more than one ballot.

Why the Repeat Election is different from that of Miami:

  1. This time EC was given an ample time to thoroughly verify and scrutinize the documents that were given to the commission to make sure such irregularities that happened in Miami don’t happen again. It’s by this scrutiny that EC found out that Mr. David Kabukuru who was a contestant for UNAA South Pacific II was not a member in good standing during Miami election. He was therefore disqualified from the repeat election after EC communication to him and where he acknowledging the oversight.
  2. To ensure confidence in this process, the voters’ register was signed off by both the Executive treasurer and the Board of Trustees
  3. Voters’ register was first sent out in a draft form to all UNAA membership to ensure that all members in good standing were indeed included and no one was left out.
  4. Guidelines were also sent out asking for documents such as government IDs and personal utility bill for proof of North America residence.
  5. Final clean register of 377 members in good standing was send out to all eligible voters at least a week in advance as opposed to one day display of a partial register in Miami
  6. EC members got 373 voters’ documents and so 373 ballots were email to their respective emails for voting, and out of 373, 217 or 58% voted in repeat election where Dr. Kawuma got 181 votes, Mr. Atigo got 33 votes, and Alex Semwanga was unopposed for UNAA South Pacific II Regional Representative.

What Next:

The UNAA Board of Trustees will be informing the next step as far as adopting the results is concerned. Otherwise, it has been an interesting process that has had UNAA steadily and surely taking on tough questions or issues, one at a time. EC’s work is to protect the integrity and fairness in the electoral process, but not against or for anybody or party. EC is encouraged that members came out in big numbers to vote and made a statement seeking accountability, but against any sort of fraud and irregularities if any in UNAA.


Franco M. Wantsala, Chairman – UNAA Electoral Commission

Disclaimer — As a diaspora news blog we shall CONTINUE to bring you the developments as they unfold please note that the press release above in its entirety was supplied by the UNAA -EC.

UNAA Financials | UNAA Audit Report For 2015 – 2017 Made Public

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 20:14

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY — In accordance with Article eleven, Section 11.5, of UNAA Constitution and by-laws, MK.Accounting Firm, LLC has conducted an audit of activities of the Ugandan North America Association (UNAA) for the period 2015 through 2017 (October 1st, 2014 to October 1s, 2017).

The objectives of our audit were to provide a detailed analysis of historical expenditures documenting how funds were spent and identify potential errors, irregularities, and questionable expenditures. We also performed an internal control review identifying potential internal control deficiencies and recommendations for correcting them. Lastly, we identified and provided potential efficiencies and procedures that would lead to cost savings for UNAA.

We executed this performance audit in accordance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA’s) Auditing Standards Board. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions.

This audit was to ensure that UNAA has control systems in place to safeguard its assets. Our audit revealed how lack of adequate controls can lead to an abuse of a nonprofit agency’s assets. The audit shows possible questionable expenditure findings totaling at least $78,000 dollars.

Full financial report in link below. —

SABC Television | ANC gives President Zuma 48 hours to resign or will be recalled

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 07:16

South Africa’s state broadcaster SABC tv reports — The ANC has given President Jacob Zuma 48 hours to resign or he will be recalled. Earlier, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa and Secretary-General Ace Magashule’s motorcades have been seen entering the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.

Hours went by with no information coming out of Monday’s African National Congress’ (ANC) National Executive Committee meeting that is widely expected to finalise the fate of beleaguered SA President Jacob Zuma, who has refused his party’s requests to step down.

16/12/2017. ANC President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa share a light moment during the 54th ANC National Conference taking place in Nesrac.Picture: Masi Losi

Zuma allegedly refused to tender his resignation, with the ANC now having to navigate the humiliating prospect of bringing its own motion of no confidence in Zuma. Cyril Ramaphosa, the deputy president, took over the leadership of the ANC in December in a hotly contested election.

Source — SABC Television.

Diaspora Events | Bobi Wine | Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu’s Town-hall Meeting in Boston – Saturday 10th February 2018

Uganda Diaspora - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 04:43

On Saturday evening February 10th 2018 Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu a.k.a Bobi Wine held a Town-hall meeting in opposition stronghold of Boston at the Hilton Hotel Woburn, Massachusetts. The discussions centered around the State of Uganda’s Political, Social & Economic Development and the views from the Diaspora on the ongoing political dispensation.

Moderated by Ronnie Mayanja, Charles Muvawala and Ed Jumba of Radio Uganda USA the town-hall was a tremendous success that attracted a cross section of Bostonians and generating considerable buzz on social media . After the town-hall meeting Bobi Wine the artist took over the stage playing some of the crowd favorite songs that included political themed sattire…

Highlights of the entire event were streamed live by Diaspora TV and below are the highlights. Good viewing.  Disclaimer — The views expressed during the town-hall are not a reflection of Uganda Diaspora News but an individual representation of those that spoke at the event.

Business | Uganda Telecom (UTL) Bailout | Government Should Have Saved ThreeWays Shipping

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:03

By the time protestors dragged Muammar Gaddafi through the streets of Sirte in Libya during the height of the Arab Spring in late 2011, Uganda Telecom Limited (utl) was spiralling from one financial pitfall to another.

The then Libyan government, with Gaddafi as its leader, was a majority shareholder in utl with about 69 per cent. Around the same time, in the humid terrains of western Uganda, trucks were belonging to ThreeWays Shipping transported rigs and all sorts of materials to mainly Tullow Oil’s wells and camps. 

With Gaddafi overthrown, the financial injections from Tripoli to utl ground to a halt. The company slashed its capital investments at a time when its peers such as Airtel were pumping more money in their network operations.

For example, in 2010, utl accounted for six per cent of the total net investment spend in the market. By the end of 2011 that figure had shrunk to two per cent. The company losses more than doubled over the same period. Numerous management shake-ups came after. Utl’s free-fall could hardly be stopped.

On the other hand, ThreeWays Shipping was raking in huge amounts of money. By 2012, the company said it had more than 750 employees. In the same year, ThreeWays had a turnover of $30 million, up from $3.2 million nine years earlier. ThreeWays became the biggest local company operating in Uganda’s oil fields, where foreign firms are dominant. The sky appeared no limit for ThreeWays.

Five years later, utl and ThreeWays found themselves in a similar position: cash-strapped and in need of a bailout. Company managers rushed to the one man who usually has the last word on pretty much everything – President Yoweri Museveni.

Both companies presented two different plans: utl, with Evelyn Anite, the state minister for Investment and Privatisation, as its key negotiator, pushed for a compulsory acquisition of its services – both voice and data – by all government ministries. That particular suggestion, among other proposals such as the writing off of debt, sounded wild.

ThreeWays Shipping got hit by a slowdown in Uganda’s oil industry as protracted negotiations over tax and a route for a crude oil export pipeline took longer than what many players had predicted. A series of bank loans from Standard Charted bank, among other factors, would later lead to the collapse of ThreeWays Shipping.

To recover, Jeff Baitwa, the founder of ThreeWays Shipping, came up with what looked like a brilliant idea: he tried to convince government that Uganda needed an oil fund to help distressed local firms borrow money at a cheaper rate. His reason was that for local content to make meaning in the oil industry, Ugandan local firms have to be at the centre of winning the key tenders, and therefore they need all the help they can get.

In the end, Anite’s plan to force all government bodies to sign up to utl’s services, outrageous as it sounds, last week received a thumbs-up from Museveni, while Baitwa’s proposals appear to have been shot down before they were even internalised.

ThreeWays was placed under receivership and there is little hope it can ever recover, while utl has received a new lease of life. So, that brings me to the question: which of the two firms – utl (ignore the fact that it is a government company) or ThreeWays Shipping – should government have saved?

While both firms deserve a bailout, it is important to look at what impact the two had/have in their particular sectors to know which of the two should be sacrificed for the other.

The telecom industry has evolved over the years. Due to the heavy competition, the profit margins have been narrowed due to the price wars. Prices for voice and data products have been slashed under the false pretence of labelling them as promotions.

One of the reasons as to why Orange Uganda left the country in 2014 was partly because the price wars had made it difficult for the French company to make money.

Utl is not likely to come anywhere close to the competition that MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda pose. This is because matching the big two telecom firms requires huge investments in the network, which government might not be ready to commit to the firm. Also, forcing government agencies to sign up to utl services does not necessarily bar the consumption of other products from the competition.

ThreeWays, however, has a different story. The company is purely private. However, it had an impact on how much money the country would make from its oil industry. Being local, some of the oil majors found it cheaper to hire a local transport company than a foreign entity.

As such, the recoverable costs – the first batch of money that government would have to pay an oil production company before profit from the sale of oil is shared – was bound to be significantly lowered.

ThreeWays said that at the start of oil exploration in the early 2000s, daily hire rates for trucks and cranes ranged between $800 and $1,000 per day per semi-trailer truck, and $1,400-$1,800 per day per crane. By 2016, the rates were $300 – $400 and $850 – $1,100 respectively.

The numbers don’t lie. Utl might not be able to influence any price movements in the market. ThreeWays Shipping could. It does not take rocket science to figure which of the two firms is quite critical to the country right now.

Source — The Observer

Opinion | Smile for the Camera, said the Cop to the Suspect: Guilty or not, you must be on TV – By Jack Daniel Kalinaki

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 06:38

A few days ago, the police arrested a man in connection with the death of popular musician Mowzey Radio. Media platforms were awash with pictures of the man, including one, apparently handed out by the authorities, in which a police officer towered triumphantly over the suspect.

A statement from the office of the Inspector General of Police followed with a congratulatory message to the teams involved in the arrest. Other details poured forth, about how the man had been tracked, and pictures of detectives leading the man around the crime scene.

By the time you read this report ,it is likely that the man would have been charged (with murder), denied bail and remanded to Luzira Prison. Swift. Efficient. Or is it?

What if, Dear Reader, the man in the picture is innocent? And, even if he isn’t, can he expect to receive a free and fair trial after being condemned by the public opinion court? Our police officers work long hours for low pay to save us from ourselves and from one another.

They also receive a lot of flak for their partisanship and routine incompetence. One can understand their keenness, when they think they have gotten it right, to nail their flags to the mast. Hardly a day goes by without the police parading some hapless suspect: burly alleged robbers handcuffed next to their illegal arms; burglars squatting next to flat-screen televisions; the occasional village pervert, tethered to a bewildered-looking goat that he was caught, in flagrante delicto, in some thicket, trying to point in the general direction of the Devil’s Metropolis.

Evening news bulletins are not complete without a police officer, barely able to contain their pride, describing how a suspect, to whom the camera frequently pans, killed, stole, lied or committed some offence, and how the suspect is now destined for the courtroom.

There are reports of cases in which a suspect having been arrested, say for allegedly stealing a bicycle in some dusty village, is kept in custody until a TV news crew arrives, and then dragged around by locals long enough for the police officers to “arrive and whisk them to safety”.

What we are never shown, or told about, are the many suspects who, after being thus paraded, are released without charge. Neither are we told about those who, after long stays in prison, are set free because they were victims of mistaken identity or jealous rivals and enemies.  The original stain is one that, in many cases, can never be washed away.

During its centennial celebrations in October 2014, the Uganda Police Force declared a shift from colonial to community policing. Several reports, including one that will be launched in Kampala this week by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung shows a mismatch between the promise of crime prevention and improved community relations, and the reality. It is easy to see how a desperate need to be seen to be working can fuel antics, including those that jeopardize investigations.

Yet police can enforce the law while operating within it. Many moons ago your columnist offered pro-bono guidance to our men and women in police uniform.

It wasn’t taken, but here is a summary, based on the basic understanding that every one is innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of law through a free and fair trial. When suspects are apprehended, police can indicate as much, including giving some descriptions of age and gender, but without naming names.

The nuances also need to be made clear: has someone attended a police station or been arrested; is someone a person of interest, a suspect, or simply helping the police with an on-going investigation? And when suspects are released, is it on bond, or without charge?

Once investigations are complete – and for crying out aloud stop giving step-by-step details of who is looking for what where – and suspects formally charged. The police can then name names and provide a mugshot of the suspect. In trying to improve police-community relations playing within the rules is more important than playing to the gallery.

Mr Kalinaki is a journalist and a poor man’s freedom fighter. email —
Twitter: @Kalinaki.

Source — Daily Monitor.

Ghost Refugee Scandal | Uganda Investigates Allegations of Refugee Aid Fraud

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 09:16

Reuters — The East African country hosts more than 1 million people who fled war in neighboring South Sudan and some 400,000 more from Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, a massive aid operation that whistleblowers said had become subject to fraud.

“The government took them (allegations from U.N. agencies) seriously and immediately instituted an investigation,” Julius Mucunguzi, spokesman for the prime minister’s office, which overseas refugee affairs, told Reuters.

The U.N. agencies have demanded from Uganda “a proper audit on the (refugee) numbers because the process for verification … has not been robust enough.”

“And related to that is food, so if the numbers are not right, how much food is going to who?” Mucunguzi said. “They want a value for money audit.”

As refugee numbers surged since mid-2016, donors responded to urgent appeals for extra aid. The European Union, a major donor, said the allegations had been forwarded to its own anti-fraud office for investigation.

“It is indeed of utmost importance to address swiftly and thoroughly any allegations of malfeasance in order not to impair … public support from the European taxpayers,” the EU delegation in Uganda said in a statement.

Corruption is widespread in Uganda and successful prosecutions are rare, with courts usually targeting low ranking officials.

Mucunguzi said although it was too early to say whether the allegations were true: “It’s likely that there may be malice, and people wanting to tarnish a good program.”

Source — Reuters and NBS Morning Breeze video.

SMW Consulting Engineers | A Solution to Construction and Building Needs For Diaspora Ugandans!

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 07:51

SMW Consulting Engineers — Many of us living in diaspora have either heard or got some remarkable stories to tell about building or trying to build in our motherland, Uganda. As members of diaspora community ourselves, we have certainly experienced many disappointments when constructing our personal projects/retirement homes in the past.

Based on our own past experience, SMW Consulting Engineers was founded and initially catered for fellow diaspora family members and friends. Over the past 8 years, SMW has expanded its clientele based hugely on referrals from those that have been beneficiaries of our craft and dedication.

Fully registered in Uganda, SMW specializes in all aspects of construction including, land acquisition, design, planning, refurbishments to construction of domestic & commercial buildings.


Nine 2-bedroom apartments – Kasanga | A 3 storey house with roof terrace – Buwaate

SMW is currently the only construction company with a base in Diaspora, which makes us unique and fully aware and convesant of our fellow diaspora customers’ needs.  The technical knowledge of both local and western building techniques and the use of the latest building technics available has given SMW an edge over our local competitors.

The company prides itself on having company directors, registered Chartered Engineer and designers based in both the diaspora and Uganda and offering diaspora customers a unique opportunity of realizing their building dreams.

Single storey house – Entebbe Road  | Three 2-bedroom terrace houses – Manyagwa 

We also provide management and maintenance service solutions tailed to suit client’ needs such as; holiday homes, rentals, commercial premises, etc.

We also appreciate how difficult it is to find big lump sums of money to embark on a building project back home. SMW therefore breaks up each project into affordable construction phases, based on clients’ income and reports progress on a regular basis..

Of recent, SMW has engaged some local commercial banks who can now provide building financial support to our customers in the diaspora, through actual home loans and mortgages.

We take great pride in our reputation for customer satisfaction, delivering a high quality finished product in a timely fashion and within budget. The majority of our business is built on the recommendations and referrals of our past clients so, customer satisfaction is key to our way of working, accountability and as our slogan says, we are ‘Building on Trust’.

Should you wish to discuss with us any building related matters, please feel free to contact us on:

SMW Consulting Engineers Limited

MUTEC Building

Plot 101/7 Butikiro Road

Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 772 456 150 (Sam)

       +447958 045097 (William)

       +447831 701575 (Eddie)

Email: /


Dual Citizenship Dilemma | The Government of Kenya Deports Politician Miguna Miguna Back to Canada!

Uganda Diaspora - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 07:25

A Kenyan opposition politician was charged with treason on Tuesday over the symbolic presidential “swearing in” of opposition leader Raila Odinga, reigniting street protests in which one person was killed.  Two opposition lawmakers present at the “swearing in” a week ago were arrested and later released.

So far police have not arrested Odinga. Campaigning lawyer Miguna Miguna was arrested on Friday in a dawn raid on his home. He was granted bail of 50,000 Kenyan shillings ($500) but has remained in police custody with his whereabouts unknown until he appeared in court in Kajiado County, neighboring Nairobi, on Tuesday to hear the charges.

On Tuesday evening, High Court judge Luka Kimaru ordered that all proceedings against Miguna be stopped until police brought him to a Nairobi court, as ordered, on Wednesday morning.

Isaac Okero, president of the Law Society of Kenya, told reporters: “Once again the state is wilfully violating Mr. Miguna’s rights by moving him without any notice to his lawyers or his family and, in order to frustrate their access to him, to a court stationed outside Nairobi.”

In an unprecedented move by the Kenyan Government Miguna Miguna was deported back to Canada even though he held dual citizenship having been born a Luo from Kisumu, Kenya — He was a self styled NASA general who contested for Governor of Nairobi in the past. 

Who is Miguna Miguna 

Miguna Miguna was born in Magina village in Kisumu county in Kenya is the last born in his family. He is named after his dad. That is why he has the same name twice: Miguna wuod Miguna. He is a Kenyan author and columnist. He is also a barrister and solicitor in Canada, and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.He served as a senior adviser to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga from 2009 to 2011.

Miguna Miguna went to Onjiko Secondary before proceeding to Njiiris High School. In both schools, he was a prefect. In 1987, he serving as a student leader at the University of Nairobi, for a BA in Literature and Political science. During his second year at the University of Nairobi, he was elected to the SONU as finance secretary. He was also the editor in chief of the campus newspaper.

After the elections Miguna Miguna was detained by the Moi regime for his political activism.After he was released, Miguna fled to neighbouring Tanzania on foot and briefly stayed in Swaziland. He was granted political asylum in Canada where he continued to pursue his higher education.

In Canada, continued to pursue his higher education where obtained his Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1990 .He graduated with a first class. He soon thereafter enrolled for a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School. He later pursued masters in law graduating with distinction.

During his college years, Miguna Miguna started to fight racism and discrimination against people of color in Canada. He was a regular contributor in some of the newspapers in Canada with wide readership.He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1995 and the Kenyan Bar in 2008.

After his return, Miguna Miguna contested in the primaries of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)’s nomination for Nyando Constituency but lost to Frederick Outa Otieno. In March 2009, he was appointed as Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s senior adviser on coalition affairs and concurrently served as the secretary to the Permanent Committee on the Management of the Grand Coalition.

Miguna Miguna launched his first memoir titled Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya on 14 July 2012 which made People to protest against him and was attacked whilst promoting his book at a hotel in Mombasa and had to be rescued by the police.

I am a visionary and committed revolutionary Pan-Africanist who believes in and is committed to a more equal, accountable and transparent governance. I’ve a history of incorruptibility and will instill ethics, honesty, efficiency and order in the delivery of services for the people.

In September 2012, he resigned from ODM as a life member and announced his candidacy for Governor of Nairobi County in the 2013 gubernatorial election as an independent candidate. He later on cancelled his candidacy.

He launched his second memoir in February 2013 titled Kidneys for the King: Deforming the Status Quo in Kenya. which heaps even more scorn on Raila, cataloguing a series of misdeeds allegedly committed by Raila.

Raila on his part has declined to answer to the claims made in Miguna’s books or even to sue for defamation in the belief that this would deny the limelight Miguna is seeking. Raila is widely viewed in Kenya as a leading proponent of political reforms, an image which could be badly sullied if Miguna’s claims as made in his books prove to be true. In an act of rejection of his former political boss, Miguna endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila’s rival, in the 2013 presidential election Uhuru went on to win the poll albeit amid claims of poll fraud by Raila.

In March 2016, Miguna declared that he would be vying for the position of Governor for Nairobi as an independent candidate. He unveiled his revolutionary manifesto in August 2016. The manifesto promised visionary leadership based on integrity, clear policies, programs and a commitment for service delivery, job creation and infrastructure development things which many Kenyans saw that he could not deliver. Consequently, came in fourth in the 2017 Nairobi gubernatorial elections held on August 8, 2017.

On February 6, 2018, Miguna Miguna was deported to Canada and his Kenyan citizenship was allegedly revoked.

Seven Interesting Things About Miguna Miguna

  1. Miguna Miguna was a student leader at the University of Nairobi 1986 to 1987.
  2. Miguna Miguna was arrested and detained for championing multi-party democracy in 1987. He was later expelled from the university.
  3. Miguna Miguna has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. He also has a Juris Doctor (JD) from The Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the same school.
  4. Miguna Miguna became the Coordinator of the Committee for Democracy in Kenya (CDK) between 1989-1994.
  5. Miguna Miguna served as a senior adviser and chief strategist for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and its party leader, Hon Raila Odinga between 2006 and 2009. He has also been a commentator on cultural and socio-political affairs.
  6. Miguna Miguna has published six books including the popular ‘Peeling Back The Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya’ in 2012 and ‘Kidneys for The King: deForming the Status Quo in Kenya’ in 2013.
  7. Miguna Miguna was detained during former president Moi’s regime due to his political activism.

Source — Wikipedia, Soft Kenya, Reuters and KTN Jeff Koinange archive video…

Death Announcement | Mrs. Rosemary Lwande Mutahakana Passes On After Battling Breast Cancer in Boston.

Uganda Diaspora - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 19:16

On behalf of the family of Mr. Franklin Mutahakana of World Bank,I wish to announce the passing on of Mrs. Rosemary Lwande Mutahakana, which occurred at 2 a.m. on Sunday 4th 2018 at Lahey Hospital Intensive Care Unit. She has been battling Breast Cancer for the last five years.

Rosemary is the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lwande, former CEO Speed Delivery Uganda. A sister to Dr. Jerry Lwande of South Africa. She leaves behind a husband, three children, parents, siblings and friends. She was a force of beauty , intelligence, warmth and love. May her soul rest in peace.

The family can be reached at:

Mr. Franklin Mutahakana    – 781-547-9559

Dr. Richard Mutyabule         – 774-368-0015

Mr. Barnabas Nkore.             – 781-244-5912

     Mrs. Jackie Tindebwa               -857-247-9905 

For the Boston Community and the USA at large the following arrangements are in place:

  • Viewing and Memorial Service on Friday 9th February at 6pm-9pm:

              St. Mary’s Rectory

              133 School Street, Waltham, Massachusetts

  • Funeral service on Sunday 11th 2018 at 11am- 2pm

             Anointed Worship Centre, Pastor Kenneth Mutegyeki

            556 Trapello road, Belmont MA 02478

             Tel: 508-933-1809

Rosemary’s remains are at the:

Brasco Funeral Home in Waltham, Massachusetts, 773 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453

Phone: 781-893-6260

Visitation hours and appointments are arranged through the funeral home.

For further information contact Dr. Richard Mutyabule at +1-774-368-0015

Disclaimer — The social media posts making rounds regarding the late are totally false, misguided and an embarrassment to the community of Boston which knows her very well. May Rosemary Rest in Peace.

Real Estate | Universal M. Enterprises Introduces Affordable Housing For Low Income Families in Kampala

Uganda Diaspora - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 21:11
Universal Affordable Housing — In recent years, increasing numbers of households using housing infrastructures have moved to the suburbs, following a general trend for minority and low-income families. Suburban residents often resist this in-movement because of concerns that the clustering of families will lead to increase in crime and decreases in property values.     This is partly what prompted  Universal Affordable housing  to  kick  start  two  new projects  in Najjera  and  Kira  of up 80 and  40  units  respectively. Just  like  all our other projects, it takes Universal a  record  9 to 11 months to complete a new project and  we are able  to  realize  sales  almost  as  soon as the project  has been commissioned.      Today, we  have  a  total  of  11 projects  in the  areas  of  Najjera, Kira,  Naalya  with  a  total  of  200  units  yet  to  be  sold. More  than  60  percent  of  this stock is part of ongoing projects.    Universal first commissioned their maiden project in 2013 in Bweyogerere  with  a block of  20  apartments.  The  project  was handed  over  6 months after  completion  with  all units sold.     Today Universal M. Enterprises has shifted its focus from subsidizing building tenants to subsidizing owners with condominium mailo titles. Our affordable houses avail access to better quality housing, safer neighborhoods, and better neighborhood amenities. Our sites very  accessible and  strategically located, with very  good  access to  the  main  road,   trading centers  and  proximity  to  facilities like Schools,  Hospitals and shopping  mall thus giving unmatched  taste  to  our  prospects and  indeed  they  live  up to  the  value  of  their  money.      With our affordable prices, own an apartment with either a 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms from Galaxy in Bweyogerere, Gemini in Kira, Leo Zodiac, Mercury Plaza, Jupiter, Venus Enclave & Villas in Najjera and Pisces Legends, MoonLight, Sunrise Avenue in Naalya, will meet your dream.    To buy an apartment call +256-783277052 or +256-705369653 or visit our website on   Email:

Police | Maverick DPC Kirumira in dramatic arrest

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 20:32

Police from the flying squad have this morning fired several gunshots while arresting one of their own, Buyende district police commander ASP Muhammad Kirumira.

Maverick Kirumira, who was locked inside his house located in Bulenga in Wakiso district to fend off arrest, was forced out after police cut out his door.

Speaking through his house window to multitudes of cameras surrounding his house, Kirumira said police had no arrest warrant and, therefore, couldn’t take him. In the house, there were his children and heavily-pregnant wife.
However, when the Flying Squad officers finally removed the front door, he came out with hands in the air and voluntarily entered a police truck that immediately sped off. As soon as he entered the truck, police started shooting in the air to disperse an ever-growing crowd.

He is believed to be held at Kampala Central Police Station. Yesterday, Kirumira took to social media to announce that he was resigning from the force following a police tribunal charging him of both criminal and disciplinary charges – a move he said was witch-hunt tarnishing his image.

He offered several media interviews too, revealing too much rot within the embattled force which has of recent been accused of and seen to be working with criminals. Kirumira was last Tuesday arraigned before a tribunal at Police Headquarters in Naguru and slapped with charges of assault, corruption, extortion, torture – all of which he denies.

In a statement yesterday, Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima said the police officer’s actions are scandalous and cannot be tolerated in the force.

“When the full wrath of the law weighs on you, it will be you alone to tell the story and you will need no sympathy,” Kayima warned Kirumira in the statement.

The Police Act provides guidelines for an officer to resign which include writing to the permanent secretary of the ministry of Internal Affairs, which request is discussed and cleared in the police administration chaired by the minister of Internal Affairs.

Kayima says instead of following the laid down procedures, Kirumira has contravened the code of conduct of any serving police officer.

“He has even gone ahead to grant interviews to some media houses which is an act of indiscipline and totally contravenes the code of conduct of serving police officers,” Kayima says.

But in his earlier statement, Kirumira said he was only stepping down as Buyende DPC to allow smooth investigations into his case after which he will formerly apply for early retirement.

Source — The Observer and NTV video

UNAA Repeat Elections | Mr. Franco Wantsala, Chairman, UNAA Electoral Commission Response to Mr. Monday Atigo – And Proposed Election Feb 9th – 12th

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 07:11

Executive Committee
Mr. Monday S. Atigo
Tuesday January 30″ 2018

From: Mr. Monday Atigo, 

To: Mr. Franco Wantsala, Chairman, UNAA Electoral Commission

Dear Mr. Franco Wantsala,

RE: Exclusion of My Name From Any Non UNAA Related Exercise and Practicing Restraint When
Disseminating UNAA Members’ Information.

I would like to commend you and the entire UNAA Electoral Commission for the great spirit of volunteerism and service to UNAA. Following your recent communication calling for re-elections, I must caution you that such communications are misleading and contrary to the November 25″ 2017 resolutions agreed, voted on, and published by the UNAA Electoral Commission Secretary, Mr. Peter Simbi.

I hereby recommend that you practice restraint when disseminating such literature that is divisive and creating confusion among the UNAA membership. Further still, be sure to exclude my name from such exercise because it is not a recognized exercise by the UNAA Executive nor the UNAA Electoral Commission.

Last but not least, be advised that as a member based Organization, we have to protect our Members’ information and only share it through official UNAA Communication Channels while following the right procedures. Unwarranted Publication and distribution of such information should stop immediately.


Mr. Monday Atigo

cc: Mr. John Julius Muwulya, UNAA Vice President cc: Mr. Peter Mukunya, UNAA Executive Secretary ce: Mr. Arthur Nantamu, UNAA Treasurer cc: Mr. Alex Semwanga, UNAA Council Speaker. cc: Mr. Eddy Kyobe, UNAA Council Deputy Speaker cc: Mr. Kenneth Walube, UNAA Council Secretary

January31st, 2018

To: Mr. Monday Atigo, Candidate UNAA Presidency

From: Franco Mukhwana Wantsala, Chairman UNAA Electoral Commission

Subject: Official Response to your Letter on Matters Pertaining to UNAA Electoral Commission Affairs

Dear Mr. Atigo,

I hereby acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January 30, 2018, addressed to me, the chairman of UNAA Electoral Commission.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reaching out to me on the matters of the UNAA Electoral Commission, and the eminent repeat elections as directed by the UNAA Board of Trustees.

Mr. Atigo, allow me to begin by re-stating why the issue of a repeat election for the two contested positions, as outlined in UNAA Board of Trustees’ directive to the UNAA Electoral Commission on November 12th, 2017, arose:

I. Following the Miami elections, you were declared the winner and sworn in as the President of UNAA. Immediately after that declaration, your opponent, Dr. Kawuma, petitioned the UNAA Electoral Commission, claiming that an inflated voters’ register had been used to conduct the election. Because, we (the UNAA Electoral Commission) did not have the resources to investigate how many UNAA members were in good standing and hence appeared on the voters’ register, we referred the matter to the UNAA Board of Trustees, who as stipulated in the UNAA Constitution, are both the custodians of UNAA Organization and are responsible for arbitrating and resolving electoral disputes that cannot be resolved by the UNAA Electoral Commission.

II. The UNAA Board of Trustees in their investigations discovered that about 110 people voted without any proof of membership payment hence were not members in good standing as required by the UNAA Constitution. These findings were reported back to UNAA Electoral Commission who in turn advised that the matter of payments be reverted to the UNAA executive members who received membership fees.

As far as the UNAA Electoral Commission is aware, the UNAA executive has yet to show proof of payment for the questionable members that the UNAA Board of Trustees discovered hence the need for the repeat election still stands in order to rectify these irregularities.

In response to your reference of a November 25th communication from the UNAA Electoral Commission secretary, I would like to point out a few issues pertaining to this reference:

a. Following the resolution of the electoral dispute, the date of the repeat election was (as is expected) determined by the UNAA Board of Trustees, not the UNAA Electoral Commission, in the interest of fairness and expediency in resolving the dispute.

b. Any complaint from the UNAA Electoral Commission regarding the resolution of the dispute had to be communicated back to the UNAA Board of Trustees for consideration. The communication you reference was prematurely released to the public while internal communication between the UNAA Electoral Commission and the UNAA Board of Trustees was still on-going.

c. As the appointed chairperson and leader of the UNAA Electoral Commission, any official communication pertaining to the commission has to have not only the knowledge but also the approval of the chair. In the event where that leadership gets circumvented, such as in this case, that communication should be rendered null and void.

d. Again, as a matter of fairness and constitutionally, UNAA Electoral Commission cannot make a unilateral decision of when and where to hold a special election without consulting and agreeing with either parties including the petitioner on delicate matters such as this one.

On dissemination of Members information, on January 15th, 2018, I communicated to UNAA Executive Secretary to publish the electoral guidelines for the repeat elections. Upon receiving my communication, he wrote back to me declining my request. This communication was copied to you as an interest party but no alternative was given to me as to how I can communicate the UNAA Electoral Matters to its Membership.

Lastly, as far as the UNAA Electoral Commission is concerned, your candidature in the previous election automatically transfers to the repeat election, for the same position you expressed interest in. If you are no longer interested in contesting for the position of UNAA presidency, please communicate to the UNAA Electoral Commission officially withdrawing your name from the race.

Otherwise, the election is still on as scheduled for February 9th through 12th, 2018.


Franco Mukhwana Wantsala

CC – UNAA Board of Trustees
CC – UNAA Members of the Executive
CC – UNAA Members of the Council
CC – UNAA Electoral Commission


Register for the 30th UNAA Convention at —

Reuters | Chinese-built expressway divides Uganda as debts mount

Uganda Diaspora - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 06:09

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Traffic will soar above the muddy swamp between Uganda’s capital and its international airport when a new Chinese-built highway opens in a few months time, but the road itself is mired in controversy.
The government has partly funded the 51-km (30-mile) $580 million expressway with a loan, part of $11 billion in borrowings in the decade since the World Bank canceled debts about a third that size as part of debt relief for poor states.

Uganda says the four-lane road is the jewel in the crown of an infrastructure program that will boost economic growth; critics accuse President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 32 years, of squandering debt relief and mortgaging much-anticipated oil revenues before crude starts to flow in 2020.

China alone has loaned the east African nation nearly $3 billion and is in talks for $2.3 billion more as part of its vast overseas development Belt and Road scheme.

“Uganda will grind to a halt as a country because of Museveni’s reckless borrowing. We’re like a patient on life support,” said opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, alluding to a debt warning from the central bank last year.

The government says the criticism is misplaced.

“We’re not borrowing for consumption and luxury, we are investing,” said Finance Ministry spokesman Jim Mugunga. “The heightened borrowing is deliberate, it’s to put up modern infrastructure and push up economic growth.”

Uganda’s first expressway should trim the two-hour trip between the capital and international airport to 30 minutes.

Begun in 2012, construction should end in May, missing the initial target by a year. But it is the price, rather than the delays, that has alarmed Uganda’s auditor general, John Muwanga.

In a 2015 report, he noted the new road’s cost per lane per kilometer was double Ethiopia’s six-lane Addis-Adama Expressway, a road built by the same company — the China Communications Construction Co. Ltd — with more features like underpasses and link roads.

“The project costs could have been much lower if the contractor had been procured through competitive bidding,” said the report.

The company did not respond to queries and the Chinese embassy in Kampala was not immediately available for comment.

Patrick Muleme, head of design at state-run Uganda National Roads Authority, said single-sourcing was a requirement for China providing a $350 million Exim bank loan for the road.

Muleme said challenges like a 1.6 kilometer bridge over a vast swamp had driven up the cost.

“When you just see two projects and you compare costs it’s misleading because it doesn’t take into account the peculiarities and the unique features,” he said.

Other differences included variations in cost of materials, topography and land tenure systems, he said.

The auditor general’s report compared only the costs of construction between the two roads, not including $100 million Uganda spent on acquiring the land. Fred Muhumuza, a lecturer at Makerere University who helped carry out initial economic studies for the road, said the price was “insane”.

The expressway is designed as a self-financing toll road, but Muhumuza said there is not enough traffic to Entebbe, a staid, colonial-era lakeside town, that will pay tolls to avoid the more circuitous route. The Uganda National Roads Authority said charges have not yet been determined.


Slowing exports, declining agricultural output and bureaucratic dysfunction have all taken a toll on Uganda, along with what critics say is rampant corruption.

Economic growth slowed to 3.9 percent in the latest financial year from 4.8 percent the year before. This year, the central bank projects 5 percent growth, still below the 7 percent needed to absorb new entrants to the job market in the youthful nation of 29 million.

Twelve years after the World Bank forgave $3.5 billion, nearly all Uganda’s debt, external debt is now at $11.2 billion, according to figures from the central bank.

“Uganda’s debt may be moving from a level of low to moderate risk of distress,” the bank warned last year.

Ratings agency Moody’s said in August that Uganda faced “deteriorating debt affordability, in part due to growth in non-concessional borrowing.” The warning followed Moody’s downgrade of Uganda’s long-term debt eight months earlier.

In the 2018/19 budget, interest repayments – at 17.3 percent – will consume the largest chunk of domestic revenues.

The climbing repayments come as public hospitals suffer shortages of basic drugs and supplies. Teachers, doctors and other public servants have gone on strike over low and unpaid salaries.

Other mega-projects funded by Chinese loans include two new hydropower dams on the River Nile worth about $2 billion and a $325 million expansion of Entebbe Airport. Talks are ongoing to fund a railway at $2.3 billion.

Auditor General Muwanga has said one of the two dams under construction used “poor quality of concrete” and had “cracks in some sections.”

Yusuf Masaba, spokesman for ministry of energy and minerals, said any problems had been identified and corrected. He said, “cracks or any minor defects do not mean that we’re not getting value for money”.

Source — Reuters


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