Over 160 Rwenzururu royal guards have so far surrendered to security agencies in Kasese, four weeks after the arrest of their King Charles Wesley Mumbere.
This is after government extended amnesty to the royal guards suspected to have been involved in clashes with government forces in late November.
The November clashes in Rwenzururu palace left over 100 people dead and many others including their king Mumbere arrested.
According to Agapitus Ecotu, the Rwenzori East Police Commander, out of 167 who surrendered 165 came from Bukonzo west constituency while 2 came from Kasese municipality.
“We have so far received and screened 167 Royal Guards who surrendered to security officers at sub-county level. We have profiled them after recording their statements at various police stations” Ecotu said.
It should be remembered that Mumbere alongside his royal guards are currently battling numerous charges including murder, aggravated robbery, and terrorism among others.
They will be appearing before Jinja magistrates’ court tomorrow (December 28) for hearing of the charges.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Police in Kampala have this morning used excessive force to break into Nakasero Tabliq mosque where they carried out a search for about four hours.
According to eye witnesses, police raided the mosques as early as 4:00am and they have carried out the search till morning when they were seen leaving the place.
Still according to eye witnesses, the officers in uniform and plain clothes left with all the computers and many other documents belonging to the leaders of the Tabliq sect which they found in the place.
It’s worth noting that the Tabliq Muslim sect is under serious scrutiny following allegations that they are the mastermind of the continued killing of Muslim clerics in Uganda.
14 suspects of tabliq sect including their leader Sheikh Yunus Kamoga are being tried in courts of law in connection to the killing of 14 Muslim clerics.
The latest cleric to be killed is Maj. Mohamed Kiggundu who was gunned down in November in Masanafu.
Since then, police has arrested over 14 suspects in connections to his murder and are yet to be produced to court for trial.
By Serestino Tusingwire
About 25 people are reportedly dead following a boat accident that happened today (Friday) morning on Lake Victoria.
A boat carrying at least 30 people has capsized in Bukasa, Lake Victoria and only four people have allegedly survived.
This website has understood that the survivors had life jackets.
According to Richard Musisi, the DPC Kalangala district, the victims were travelling from Bukasa, Kalangala District to Entebbe mainland for the Christmas festival.
“The marine police had barred them from travelling. They also had no life jackets. Some of them said they were going for Christmas on the mainland,” he said.
He revealed that only six bodies have so far been recovered, four people rescued while 20 are still missing.
Businessmen and women around Kampala, as well as consumers have a huge reason to smile after the launch of the Uganda coupon book.
The book, for starters, is aimed at giving savvy shoppers an opportunity to enjoy their favorite goods at a very reduced price.
Thus said, the book comprises of over 70 businesses around Uganda, with varying offers on their products.
According to Akshay Agarwal, the MD Uganda coupon book, the product will be a quarterly issue containing a discount coupon on every page.Akshay Agarwal with some babes during the launch
Speaking at the launch on Saturday afternoon, held at Tamarai Restaurant, Agarwal said “We aim at giving shoppers a very exciting offer, not on one product, but most household and leisure items.
Excited businessmen and women who attended the launch looked extremely pleased with the idea, as they hoped for the best.
Some of the already-registered businessmen range from Food and beverages, Health and Fitness, Home and Lifestyle, Retail, as well as travel and accommodation services.
Meanwhile the launch attracted not only a bevy of good-looking ladies, but the A-class cluster as well.
By Alex Bukumunhe
A woman believed to be the mother to the late Kenneth Akena Watmon who was allegedly gunned down by businessman Kenneth Kanyamunyu attacked the suspects at court.
Dressed in yellow kitenge, the woman pointed at Mathew Kanyamunyu and told the widow to the late who was carrying the deceased’s baby saying; “that is the one who killed your husband.”
Immediately the widow broke down and wailed uncontrollably as she stormed out of court with her baby.
This was after Kanyamunyu together with his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari and Brother Joseph Kanyamunyu appeared before Nakawa Grade I Magistrate Noah Sajabi for the mention of their case.
The prosecutor Rachael Nabwire informed court that investigations were still ongoing prompting Sajabi to adjourn the case to January 5, 2017 for them to return and be informed whether enough evidence has been found to warrant their committal to the High Court or none has been found so that they can be released.
Unlike the previous appearing two weeks ago when Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar came and joined the Akena’s family members in the quest for justice this time she did not turn up.
It was her counterpart Ruth Aciro of Aruu North who came in company of
Akena’s relatives who were dressed in black T-shirts with inscription
“Justice for Akena.”
On Kanyamunyu’s side, there was a girl who exactly resembled Munwangari but the other three beautiful Kanyamunyu sisters who were in court last time did not turn up this time round.
It is alleged that on November 12, 2016 along Kampala – Jinja Highway opposite Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) and Malikh car bond Mathew and Joseph Kanyamunyu together with Munwangari caused the death of Akena.
Akena, a former Kasese District Community Development Officer is believed to have been shot by Mathew when his cars scratched the one Kanyamunyu was driving with his girlfriend along Jinja road.
It is said Akena went to apologize to Kanyamunyu, only for him to reach for his pistol and shot him in the stomach.
He later took him to Nakasero hospital claiming he was a Good Samaritan who was helping someone who had been shot by unknown assailants who wanted to finish off his girlfriend Munwangari but Akena allegedly told his brother and other people at Nakasero hospital that it was Kanyamunyu who had shot him.
Joseph was also arrested on suspicion that he is the one who hid the gun which was used in the shooting and investigations are still going on since the gun has not yet been declared recovered by the police.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Elders and opinion leaders from Rwenzururu Kingdom have formed the ‘Rwenzori ‘Go Peace’ clan heads committee to work for peace in the region.
The elders are demanding the release of the Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere as a gesture of good faith that will boost dialogue.
The committee of elders includes the Presidential adviser on Rwenzori, Christine Muhindo and acting Rwenzururu Prime Minister, Jeremiah Mutoro among others.
“We are ready for dialogue with the president such that our king can be released as soon as possible.” Muhindo said.
They are asking President Yoweri Museveni to directly talk to King Mumbere to establish the root cause of the conflicts in Rwenzori region to engender sustainable peace.
The troubled Mumbere was arrested at the end of November following heavy clashes in his Kingdom between his royal guards and security.
The clashes left over 100 people dead, many others injured and about 150 arrested.
Mumbere is now detained at Luzira maximum prison on charges of murder, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery among others.
He will reappear before Jinja magistrate’s court on December 28.
A few years after Gen. Aronda Nyakairima was appointed as the chief of defence forces, then Col. Leopold Kyanda went to State lodge, Nakasero to meet President Yoweri Museveni.
After saluting the president, Kyanda turned emotional and told the president that he had unearthed an assassination attempt against his (Kyanda) life. He claimed that a tea girl very close to Aronda had put a dosage of poison in his tea.
Kyanda further claimed that he became suspicious when his African tea served to him started changing colours.
He claimed to have taken it to a chemist who claimed that it was poisoned.
Characteristic of Museveni, he listened to Kyanda as he narrated his ordeal. He thus promised Kyanda that he would investigate the matter.
As Museveni’s investigations where still on course, a query emerged in which Kyanda was allegedly linked to a mineral scandal.
Kyanda denied an involvement in it but the president seemed unconvinced. Museveni actually told a subsequent meeting that maybe Kyanda alleged that Aronda was plotting to assassinate him in order to cover up the alleged mineral scandal.
Months after, Museveni sacked Kyanda from the leadership of CMI and replaced him with Brig. James Mugira.
Following his sacking, the filthy rich foreign minister, Sam Kutesa, proposed that Kyanda be appointed Uganda’s military attaché to Washington and Canada.
Such suggestion was accepted by the president as one way of rehabilitating him. His transfer caused a bad blood between Kyanda on one hand, and Mugira and Aronda on the other.
While in Washington, Kyanda devised means of rehabilitating himself.
The first thing he did was to become a born again Christian just like most members of the first family. His first pastor was his in law Andrew Rugasira who would meet him in Washington when he (Rugasira) went there to plot his tea.
His other relative, Maj. Gen. (rtd) Mugisha Muntu would also preach to him the Word of God.
When Museveni received reports that Kyanda was a changed man, he recalled him from Washington.
On the recommendation of Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Kyanda was appointed the chief of personnel and administration in UPDF.
He earned a fast promotion to become the chief of staff of Land forces in the subsequent army reshuffle.
While holding that position, his working relations with the chief of defense forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala and his deputy, Charles Angina was not all that good.
Katumba always complained that Kyanda was not performing well especially when Uganda would be required to deploy peace keeping forces in Somalia.
At the time, some soldiers were complained that there were cases of favoritism as those friendly to top army officers would be included on the list in order to earn the many dollars offered in Somalia.
Katumba was also complaining that Kyanda was likely to suffer conflict of interest because he allegedly had links with a security firm located near Kira police station which exports security guards to Somalia and other Arab countries.
Such a state of affairs left Kyanda and Katumba with a poor working relation. Matters worsened when the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura complained to his allies that Kyanda was eying his job.
Because of that suspicion, when a fake story earlier ran on the social media that Kyanda had replaced Kayihura as police chief, Kayihura suspected Kyanda of being behind it.
It later turned out that when Kyanda was linked to polish arms scandal, Museveni tasked Kayihura in November to go to Poland to investigate the matter. Kayihura went and spent two weeks there conducting the investigations. He returned about three weeks back with a voluminous report.
He straightaway went to State House, Entebbe where he delivered to Museveni his findings. The findings were implicating Kyanda, much as he kept denying it when the president summoned him.
Museveni was however determined to sack him, albeit some first family members who kept pleading for Kyanda.
The only compromise Museveni in respect to that pleading was to send him for further studies in India.
He replaced Kyanda with the little known Brig. Geoffrey Katsigazi.
By Serestino Tusingwire
The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), the umbrella body of civil society organizations monitoring budgetary issues and the Tax Justice Alliance have vowed to petition court over the new income tax amendment law.
The controversial law that has a section in it exempting MPs from paying taxes on some of their allowances was assented to by President Yoweri Museveni on 19th November.
“This is very unfortunate, we are quite disappointed. We are going to court to challenge this law.” Julius Mukunda, Coordinator CSBAG said.
Museveni first resisted signing on proposed bill for three times fearing public reaction, but following continued pressure from MPs, he passed it into law at long last.
This immediately sparked public outcry condemning the MPs for being selfish by exempting themselves from taxes yet low income earners continue paying them.
The implementation of the law means Uganda Revenue Authority will lose about Shs50bn.
The activists are also pushing for a referendum to ask Ugandans whether MPs should be exempted from paying taxes on some of their allowances.
By Ben Byarabaha
Uganda’s richest family, The Madhvani Group has said President Yoweri Museveni is being messed up by Trade and Industry minister, Amelia Kyambadde.
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper, the group’s Managing Director, Mayur Madhvani and his co-director Kamlesh Madhvani said sugar production in the country is being frustrated by Kyamdadde.
Madhvani Group operates Kakira sugar as its flagship brand, on top of other lucrative companies in and outside the country. Kakira produces more than 50% of Uganda’s market share.
The factory has seen its production capacity drop from the installed capacity of 7,500 tonnes per day to 5,000 tonnes, a decline they attribute to ‘lack of effective law on sugar zoning’
Madhavani slammed the new sugar bill and warned that if the governors of this country don’t come up with effective economic and tax reforms, the country is doomed.
“We were sick but now we are in intensive care,” Mayur warned.
He said the sugar bill has been with ministry for the last six years but nothing is forthcoming. Mayur said they had proposed zones for sugar industry in the bill but all was ignored.
“This is international practice. You can’t do away with zones otherwise the industry will collapse. Look at what’s happening in Kenya; they failed to zone and have realized late,” he said.
The 71-year-old Sugar tycoon told Red Pepper last week that Museveni has a clear vision for this country but he is being ‘messed up by the likes of Amelia Kyambadde.’
“H.E has clearly said he believes in zoning, he has asked them (sugar companies) to move. He believes they shouldn’t have been given licenses. . but no action is taken. We have been saying this for many years. He must be frustrated… he is being confused,” Mayur said.
He said under international practice, Sugar factories are supposed to be in a radius of 25km but “a corrupt and liberalized system has licensed companies in a radius of 8km.
“It’s sad. We are losing a national treasure. The competition for cane will kill everything; companies need to nurture their own cane, not poaching,” Mayur cried out.
Kakira sugar claims some provisions in the proposed law were not in their favour and threatened to fight the Bill once it is tabled before Parliament without their input.
They said they don’t do not agree with the provision of establishing a sugar board whose intention is to monitor, and coordinate all activities of the sugar industry.
“The board will instead take long to make decisions. Why can’t be just a department?,” he said.
Cabinet recently approved the Sugar Bill that seeks to provide a regulatory framework for the sub-sector.
The Bill spells out clear conditions for registration and licensing of sugar producers, and intends to ensure greater quality and high production standards.
While presenting the Bill before Cabinet, Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde said if passed into law, the new Bill will solve the outstanding problems that are facing the sugar industry.
The proposed National Sugar Act 2015 is to replace the outdated Sugar Control Act of 1938 and its effectiveness has been overtaken by events in the existing set up of the sugar sub sector.
Red Pepper’s Ben Byarabaha interviewed Majur Madhvani and Kamresh Madhvani and they talked about a wide range of issues affecting the country. Below are excerpts
QTN: You talked about listing on the stock market. How far have you gone?
Madhvani: This is our wish, we have been longing for a time when Ugandans can be part of Kakira Sugar Works. However, we have been distracted by government. We have been disturbed by zoning, plans have been there to have Ugandans, not institutions having shares.
QTN: So are you proceeding?
Madhvani: Once we stablilise and sugar companies are relocated, many Ugandans would want to associate themselves with Kakira and now it’s more interesting since we are going into bi-fuel. We already produce electricity. I think any Ugandan can invest because it will be very lucrative.
QTN: Looking at the predicament you’re going through, do you feel you have been let down by government?
Madhvani: On zoning, yes, definitely yes and very badly.
QTN: But you’re always with the President! What can’t u tell you tell him?
Madhavani: H.E has clearly said he believes in zoning, he has asked them to move. He believes they shouldn’t have been given licenses. . He asked them to move. Fortunately, he is a man of vision and says the right thing but no one takes action we have been saying this for many years. He must be frustrated …being confused.
QTN: Have you briefed him about your predicament; your frustrations at Amelia‘s ministry?
Madhvani: To me, the president is the head of state; we should be engaging ministries, they should be engaging us and arresting problems. But it seems there is a big gap from what the head of state feels and understands because he knows the whole big picture of Uganda and you have ministers not bothered. And I don’t think am the only one facing this in the private sector. We have a lot of problems and we are not able able to see some kind of action we need. We have issues to do with sugar, a lot of construction going on by the Chinese and various foreign contractors. They should be using Ugandan steel, Cement. This does not need StateHouse. It should be done by ministries. It’s sad!
QTN: Why do you think it’s not being done?
Madhvani: I don’t know. You should ask someone else.
QTN: Do you think the economy is being run in a proper manner?
Madhvani: Partly run well. Bank of Uganda has played a huge role in stabilizing the shilling, stabilizing policies at macro-economic level. There are some areas that need to be discussed. Industries need to be encouraged. If you’re a Ugandan and you want to start a factory, you can’t get money. If you’re getting 20% loans to do business, my advice is you’re better off depositing at 22% and keep quiet. Interest should go down. I think there should be more pro-tax policies to local industries, we should be more…… I mean…you hear what’s going on throughout the world; I think you have seen what’s going on in USA; President elect Donald Trump saying ‘we should have more for America.’ Government needs to reduce taxes, have more incentives; you know if you tax people too much, you won’t have a productive country.
QTN: So the problem is taxation…
Madhvani: It’s a very important part, I have just told you Ugandan taxes on sugar are the highest in the region. We sell a Kg of sugar at Shs3500 and the price of a bag is Shs117,000. Shs5000 on each bag goes to government in exercise duty, then you have VAT at 18%, also going to government. So nearly 22% of sugar price goes to government, that’s almost quarter of the sugar price which goes to government, not Kakira.
QTN: With the current taxation policy, what is the company’s next step?
Madhvani: I think there is need to address issues; there is a need to address many sectors, which need to be helped. Look at the confectionary industry; Uganda has the highest tax on sweets. As the result, we are importing sweets from Kenya because the structures there are more favourable for production. We have steel. We should be be favaoured, we should be using local steel, not steel from overseas. What is happening, we are building dams and roads. But why are we using steel from China? Cement from overseas? Surprisingly, it’s the Ugandan taxpayer to pay back these loans. There is no free lunch!
QTN: You mean Ugandans are not benefiting?
Madhvani: Yes, I think His Excellence is addressing this… we have to credit him. He is addressing this very strongly. He is insisting on local content. In Kenya, they have already done that. President Uhuru Kenyatta recently decreed that all infrastructure projects must have a Kenyan component to a tune of 40%. In Uganda we are talking. I think the president needs to be firm on this.
QTN: Could this be the reason why the dollar is hitting the shilling?
Madhvani: There are many reasons. If you see the dollar run-ins in the economy, we need to develop our coffee, tea and sugar business. For example if you run down sugar factories and you start importing sugar, it’s terrible. We need to develop all those exporting industries. Tourism is a big thing but government needs to do more. People need to know Uganda is a beautiful country to visit. Kenya spends a lot more on tourism. If you look at our tourism budget from the Ministry of Finance, it’s very small, you can cry.
QTN: So you’re now venturing into tourism?
Madhvani: Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world. We are very bullish; when people discover, they find they have discovered something special. I think we have been very unlucky. If you go overseas and tell people ‘I am from Uganda’ they think you belong to Idi Amin; is it safe? But time will come when people will realize. I am very hopeful about young Ugandans; youngsters will change perception. This will be the next big thing, the next generation, even in our tourism projects, we are looking at youngsters travelling, not necessarily foreigners because we have a population here. These young Ugandans are the ones going to be our success.
QTN: What will happen if the current circus in the ministry of trade over sugar is not handled?
Madhvani: If the government doesn’t act quickly and zones the sugar industries; For example you give Kakira, Lugazi their zones and other industries, we will be back to our thing. Government needs to act fast, not to drag the feet. We were sick but now in intensive care, we better act quickly, don’t be too late and wait for everything to collapse. See what’s happening in Kenya.
QTN: If no action is taken?
Madhvani: We will see problems; food insecurity and price of sugar will go up.
QTN: Possible closure?
Madhvani: Yeah, definitely. The Sugar industry employs very many people, around a quarter of a million; Kakira employs around 100,000, Kinyara 60000-70,000, Lugaziaround 40,000. That’s what happened in Kenya; you fail to zone, industries close.
QTN: Reports indicate these industries have forced you to increase the price of Cane?
Madhvani: No… when the price of cane goes up, sugar also shoots up. I don’t believe in trying to destroy people by doing these thrown-ins. If you have two security dogs, and you hold them together, they will fight and die. Why can’t you keep them apart and they keep protecting you. Keep manufacturers apart, they will produce, keep them apart but don’t put them together. Don’t put them in the same area but now we have Mayuge Sugar, Gm Sugar, 7star sugar, Luzinda sugar and some of these ….Kaliro sugar is out, Kamuli not too close. But other are just 8Km, 20km and 15km close! What happened?
QTN: Several land acquisitions you have embarked on have been shrouded in controversy. Why?
Madhvani: We are very keen to put up a huge factory in Amuru, South of Zoka forest. We selected this place after looking at the whole of Uganda; this place is very fertile and the factory can cause minimum displacement of people. I think there has been misrepresentation about what we intend to do but we have reached along way, we hope the political leadership will move fast, so that we can start to develop the area as soon as the survey is complete. We need to have big factories; small factories are a liability. Amuru would have been bigger than Kakira three times and Kakira is the largest in the region. However, we are the largest producers of electricity using sugar-cane throughout Africa.
QTN: But I saw production in your powerhouse at 32MGWTTS
Madhavni: Yeah capital is being wasted; we developed the cane but people are snatching it at night. If Mayuge and GM close today, we shoot up; zoning is the problem.
QTN: What has been the secret to your success?
Madhvani: Hard work and passion; desire for this industry to come up. But our main success is our employees, 65% of the group’s success is owed to our employees; our team, they work with us, we share, they move with us. We select good people and enable them to be better. In that, we also get better because they are better. That’s the success of every business; Human capital must be better. May be its different for people who use robots.
In Uganda, when you start a business, you think about girlfriends, wives and cars. You don’t think about a one Musoke seated in the next door. It’s that Musoke, not your wife who will lead you to the next million dollar. We need to change that; Ugandans need to change the way they do things.
QTN: But this is a family business and it’s a success story?
Madhvani: True it’s a family business; i am a shareholder and I have other shareholders, soon I will have more shareholders. We run this in a different way, if you’re an employee, you can also be a shareholder. I am the Managing Director.They elect me annually at the general meeting. If I miss behave and profits go down, they will definitely dismiss me. You will find another Mayur, another Simon Mayur here.
QTN: You returned from exile and found everything in ruins! How did you start up?
Madhvani: Hard work and passion I told you. We found everything destroyed. It was just sadness.
QTN: Did you get funding?
Madhvani: Yes we got a lot of support and funding from World Bank, African Development bank but I think above all Ugandans. The reception we got from people was tremendous; people wanting business to start. You talk about exile; how many Ugandans died? We have suffered enough in Uganda. This generation, new generation, you don’t know life without sugar because you take it for granted; that’s how it should be. I hope we can move forward faster, but with these funny polices on sugar, we are losing more. It’s very sad. I’m not saying it because of Kakira, I’m saying it because of the sugar industry. People must wake up, people must start doing things, otherwise you will lose that is of national pride.
QTN: What’s your net worth?
Madhvani: I don’t know; I’m not worth anything!
QTN: Aren’t you the richest man in Uganda?
Madhvani: I have no money …laughs. Ask Kamresh Madhvani.
QTN: You’re a very rich man. How can you have two kids only yet poor Ugandans manufacture kids night in, nigh out?
Madhvani: Kids are very expensive Ben! Very expensive my son.
QTN: But you’re rich?
Madhvani: I planned my life. I don’t want to run to somebody for school fees…hahahaha..Kids expensive.
QTN: Kakira is valued at more than Shs500bn. How come you haven’t been listed by Forbes Magazine?
Madhvani:…hahah..the Madhvanis keep low. That’s we… okay.
QTN: How do you balance family and business?
Madhvani: hard question, we have to make time for family. Its tough, we have to be in office by 7:00am upto 8:00pm. It’s tough, but I to spare some time for family.
ENTER KAMLESH MADHVANI
Kamlesh Madhvani also a director in Madhvani Group
QTN: Tells about the Sugar bill. Did you make an input?
Madhvani: We have had six years of discussion with government. We thought the government was listening to us but everything we proposed in the bill has been thrown out. We deserve to have an input because we hold the biggest market share in Uganda. We believe the head of state understands our predicament but we have been let down. H.E understands, but for whatever reason, people in the ministry have frustrated us.
QTN: You believe HE is being defied at the ministry and keeping quiet about it?
Madhvani: We think so.. Youneed to ask them. We know what the president wants, we know his stand. There is a disconnect between him and the implementers.
QTN: Have you tried to talk to the minister herself?
Madhvani: Yes, several times but it seems she has lost sympathy for us. I don’t know why?
QTN: What’s her motive?
Madhvani: I don’t know! But I think her plan was…. have more sugar factories, get more sugar. This is nonsense. You have to look at other countries how they do it big time; India, Mauritius, Brazil etc. You must zone or crash. Yes you can have more factories but in their zones, we have no problem with that. The country is large. We have a lot of fertile soils; Busoga is not the best place for sugar. We struggled. Our forefathers struggled a lot, begged for land from government and helped many farmers but our cane is being eaten.
QTN: How much have you invested in Kakira?
Madhvani: We have invested more than $200m in the last few years, expanding the infrastructure that has been there since 1927.
QTN: Final word; say something about Sugar prices
We need clear polices on sugar or else the industry will crash. On sugar prices, we sell our sugar at Shs3500. Traders’ realistic margin is Shs1,100. We have enough stock; there is no reason why sugar prices should go up. I think its speculation and artificial demand towards Christmas and New Year.
Incredible photos capture freak snowfall in the Sahara Desert, believed to be first time it has fallen on the unforgiving red dunes in almost 40 years.
The largest hot desert on the planet, spanning 3,600,000 sq. mi. and many North Africa countries, is not the first place many would associate with a snow during the festive period, with the rare occurrence leaving the man who captured the event stunned.
Amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata says he took the incredible pictures of snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on December 19.
“Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert; it is such a rare occurrence,” Mr Bouchetata explained.
“It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away.”
Reports suggest it is only the second time in living memory snow has fallen in one of the most hostile environments on Earth.
The last time snow was reportedly seen in Ain Sefra, known as ‘The Gateway to the Desert’, where the Atla Mountains meet the Sahara Desert, was on February 18, 1979, when the snow storm lasted just half an hour.
Live Science notes that snow landing on the sand dunes is incredibly rare, adding it is a more common occurrence on Saharan mountain ranges.
“On February 18, 1979, low altitude areas of the Sahara desert recorded their first snowfall in living memory,” the site reports.
“Snow fell in spots of Southern Algeria, where a half-hour snowstorm stopped traffic.”
Temperatures in ‘the Greatest Desert’, which covers countries including Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali and Morocco, have preciously surpassed 47 °C (117 °F).
On December 20, the United Nations General Assembly paid tribute to the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who died last November 25. The special tribute was organized by Cuba’s permanent commission to the UN, following a request by a group of countries from several continents.
Representatives speaking on behalf of global and regional organizations recalled Fidel and his legacy, according to reports by Telesur.
Venezuela’s permanent representative to the UN, Rafael Ramírez, noted that his country is eternally grateful to Fidel for his support of the Bolivarian Revolution. “I had the privilege of hearing him speak, of meeting and working closely with this globally renowned politician,” he stated.
Ramírez described Fidel as a wise, modest man, loyal to his people and his socialism. “On behalf of Venezuela we pay heartfelt tribute to a giant of Latin America and the Caribbean, as Nicolás Maduro said, Fidel has fulfilled his task, history has absolved him, and now it’s our turn to uphold his name.”27 Sep 1960, New York, New York, USA — Historic leader of the Cuban revolution Commandante Fidel Castro addresses the United Nations here. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Likewise, Dominican Ambassador, Francisco Cortorreal, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), highlighted the importance of Fidel’s legacy for regional integration, based on the principles of sovereignty, peace, and solidarity among peoples, reported Prensa Latina.
Meanwhile, the Group of 77+China described the leader of the Cuban Revolution as an extraordinary statesman.
The UN’s solemn tribute to Fidel Castro began with a minute’s silence, after which Assembly President, Peter Thomson, highlighted the vision of the revolutionary leader, with his call to save the world from war, underdevelopment, hunger, poverty, and the destruction of natural resources vital to the survival of the human species.
East African nationals in the diaspora are set to enjoy local content from their respective countries after plans to launch a television channel in Europe being finalized.
We have learnt that five East African Community countries to wit; Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda will launch a Television Network to promote tourism and attract investment to the Region from Europe.
According the Wild life Authority in Uganda, the project is estimated to cost a tune of USD4m and is slated to take off mid next year.
In 2014, ministers responsible for Tourism from the EAC partner states and the EAC Secretariat hosted an EAC joint event to promote the region as a single tourist destination at the World Travel Market (WTM) where they launched a single East African visa, which increased the number of tourists to the region.
Sources reveal that this yet to be launched TV network will help in marketing the tourist attractions and many of the attractive historic sites in the East African countries.
This channel will also help in clearing the negative image portrayed and subsequent negative travel advisories issued in the five nations With regard to safety and security.
Sources reveal that the channel will provide pertinent and strategic information about various investment opportunities in the region.
This EAC TV channel will compete with West African networks like ABN TV, BEN TV and VOX TV which have projected the West African states positively in Europe.
President Yoweri Museveni has directed that each public university second a lecturer to work with National Curriculum Development Center on the proposed reforms of the Lower and Secondary education Curriculum.
The President was yesterday meeting officials from National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC), Education Ministry Officials as well as Vice Chancellors of all Public Universities in Uganda.
The meeting, which was attended by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, took place at State House Entebbe.
The President emphasized the need to reduce the number of subjects taught in schools from the current 48 to 14 and urged the team to identify loop holes with a view to cut out repetition, duplication and overload of subjects on students.
He said the move if well monitored, will be easier in terms of content and work load for students.
He noted that practical skills as well as linkages of knowledge to real life experiences should be emphasized
The meeting agreed to improve the current curriculum especially on reduction of subjects, linking subjects taught to real life and reducing on the time children spend at school to allow them have time to interact with home environment.
The Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni commended the committee that seeks to address the new challenges in the education curriculum, calling on all the stake holders to work together to see that the revised curriculum helps a Ugandan child to reduce on the work load and perform better.
The meeting was attended by NCDC Director Ms. Grace Baguma, Ministry of Education Officials as well as Vice Chancellors from Public Universities of Makerere, Kyambogo Mbarara, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Busiitema and Soroti among others.
By Serestino Tusingwire
The Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) has been given permission to do things in its own away including hosting opposition politicians.
According to the ICT and National Guidance minister Frank Tumwebaze, the troubled media house has been granted editorial independence that allows it host whoever they wish to.
“We’ve given UBC the editorial independence. If opposition wants to come to UBC let them come,” Tumwebaze said.
He said this while at the maiden official visit to the Corporation headquarters at Nakasero-Kampala on Thursday morning.
It’s worth noting that UBC which is known to be a State broadcaster designed to serve the whole country without any kind of discrimination, has been only serving the ruling party.
In the recently concluded presidential elections, no opposition candidate could be allowed to visit the station to do his/her campaign.
In the probe report on UBC that was released on Tuesday, the seven-man committee discovered rot in UBC management and suggested various changes that can be made to boost the Corporation.
Among the recommendations are; to restructure the management, make it independent to freely serve public interest, and inject in more funds to revamp the troubled broadcasting institution.
Parliament has passed an interim report from one of its committees recommending changes/improvements in procurement and management of six government entities.
The Report prepared following investigations by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), covers the Uganda National Roads Authority; Uganda Broadcasting Corporation; National Forestry Authority; Uganda Railways Corporation; National Housing and Construction Corporation; Rural Electrification Authority.
Committee Chairperson, Hon. Abdu Katuntu, said that “In all the entities covered, there are challenges of leadership. Decisions tainted with fraud and incompetence are daily occurrences.
“It is the Committee’s view that there is inadequate supervision of these entities by the Boards and or parent ministries. Where there has been ‘supervision’, it was under undue influence,” said Hon. Katuntu.
Katuntu said that for the period under review, which 2013/2014 to 2014/2015 was, there was high level of fraud and incompetence, and that any achievement was more of an accident than deliberate.
Members were unhappy to learn that evidence given by the Committee indicated interference by would be supervisors in the workings of the entities.
Legislators said that incompetent firms won contracts whereas they lacked the necessary equipment. They also said that contractors ended up changing road designs in the period between bidding and award of contracts.
The Committee said that the road sector needs close supervision by both the Executive and Parliament, but cautioned that the Executive should not unduly interfere with the professional management of UNRA.
“Some of them (Board Members) are part of the problem. Ministers and political leaders should get out of the procurement process since they are supervisors,” he said.
The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa had initially rejected the move to vote on the interim report as the House waited for a government position on the various issues raised. She however relented to the vote.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca, said despite claims to the contrary by the media and public, the Committee on COSASE had shown that Parliament was working.
Government has presented to Parliament the Local Governments (Amendment) Bill to provide changes to the existing law in preparation for planned Local Council (LC) elections next month.
In the Bill, government proposes a reduction of the time of display of the voters’ rolls from 21 days to two days in respect to the elections at the lower administrative units.
Government is also proposing a reduction in the campaigning period from seven to one day.
The Minister of Local Government, Hon. Tom Butime, presented the Bill for the First Reading, during the Wednesday 21st December 2016 plenary sitting.
Government recently announced that about Shs37b had been allocated for the holding of Local Council elections in January 2017, the first time since 2001.
The Bill also seeks to give power to the Electoral Commission to determine objections arising from the display of the voters’ roll in accordance with the Local Governments Act.
According to the Bill, for the purposes of the village, parish and ward elections, the period of display of the voters’ roll under the Electoral Commission Act, shall be at least two days.
The Minister said in the preamble to the Bill that a 21 days display of voters’ rolls causes delay in holding of the elections.
“The amendments are intended to facilitate the holding of elections for administrative units in a more cost effective manner,” said Butime.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, referred the Bill to the Committee on Public Service and Local Government, which she asked to consider it expeditiously.
Kadaga also said that if there is need, the House, which breaks off for the Christmas and New Year recess today, would be recalled to consider and approve the Bill.
Source: Parliamentary News
A motion for a resolution on constitutional limits on presidential terms has been rejected after the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries overwhelmingly voted against it.
The vote on the motion was taken Wednesday 21st December 2016 during the plenary of the 32nd ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly that closes today.
The decision on the resolution comes following lengthy meetings of the Committees of Political Affairs of both the ACP and the European Union, which debated the reports in separate and joint meetings during the session of the assembly that has been meeting in Nairobi, Kenya from 14th December 2106.
The proposals for presidential terms limits were being advocated by Members of the European Union Parliament with support from some Members from the ACP.
During the course of the Committee meetings, there were heated debates on whether the European Parliament should dictate on the way sovereign countries should govern themselves.
Before the final vote on the motion, the ACP group met to harmonize its position with several members calling for the dropping of the motion altogether citing interference from the EU Parliament.
The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, who has been strongly opposed to the motion citing sovereignty of countries, said that when the vote was taken at committee level, the ACP was not properly constituted and therefore lost the vote.
“We did not have numbers at the committee level; we now have the opportunity at joint assembly. The European side has brought back some amendments, which we rejected at the committee. Let us defeat the whole resolution,” Oulanyah said.
Hon. Tulia Ackson from Tanzania, who was the co-rapporteur for the Committee on Political Affairs, said that it would be unfortunate that the whole resolution would be voted down but added that the ACP agrees with the will of the people.
“Constitutions must be respected but these same constitutions can also be changed by the same people,” she added.
The delegates from Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde expressed reservation on the decision that was agreed on wondering why there was a change in position at plenary yet they had voted differently at committee level. They said that this was unprecedented in the ACP and would cause a rift among the members.
Hon. Fitz Jackson (Jamaica), who chaired the ACP caucus, called for cooperation and reconciliation among the ACP countries urging members not to be divided.
“The last thing we want is refusing to support each other. If we don’t cooperate with colleagues today, we may not have support of the group next time,” he urged.
The co-president of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Netty Baldeh, from Gambia then put the matter to vote and 18 countries agreed to vote against the resolution with nine promising to vote for.
The motion for a resolution on constitutional limits on presidential terms was tabled in Brussels in December 2015.
The Parliament of Uganda delegation to the ACP-EU meet in Nairobi also had Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo), Hon. Juliet Kinyamatama (Rakai), Hon. Wamanga-Wamai (Mbale Municipality) and Hon. William Nokorach (PWDs).
Source: Parliamentary News
A parliament session in Kenya has descended into chaos, with rival MPs trading punches.
Opposition lawmakers tried to block discussions on the introduction of manual vote-counting for next year’s presidential election.
The government wants a back-up to the electronic system but the opposition says it is a way of rigging the poll.
Kenyan politics is known to be highly partisan and this is not the first physical fight.
In 2014, four lawmakers were assaulted and one had his shirt torn.
The live video feed from parliament was cut after the fight broke out on Tuesday evening and journalists were ordered out of the press gallery.
After an earlier highly charged discussion over the proposed changes to the electoral law, opposition MP Millie Odhiambo attacked President Uhuru Kenyatta, calling him “extremely stupid”.
Mr Kenyatta gave his initial response to that attack at an event to usher in the festive season, saying “some idiots continue to insult me” but added that it was part of their freedom.
But Mr Kenyatta seems to have now ended his war of words with Ms Odhiambo, as a local media station on Wednesday shared a picture of a Christmas card from the president addressed to the MP.
You’ve tried crunching baseball stats. You’ve mentally replayed your last round of golf. You’ve outlined the steps to making your favorite sandwich. But the more you try to last longer in bed, the faster you finish—and you’re not alone.
“Premature ejaculation is a problem that affects almost every man at some point in his life,” says Thomas J. Walsh, M.D., a urologist at the University of Washington.
Dr. Walsh says there are primarily two methods if you want to last longer in bed: physical and psychological treatments. While physical remedies target the sensations you feel during sex, psychological solutions address your worry, stress, or other mental factors that may explain your quick trigger, Dr. Walsh explains.
Just remember that duration isn’t the most important part of the formula for having great sex. (To discover what really matters to her in bed, check out How to Pleasure a Woman, the ultimate sex manual from the editors of Men’s Health.)
Here, he and other experts break down a few of the most helpful techniques for dealing with premature ejaculation (PE).
But be warned: Dr. Walsh recommends trying these out on your own before attempting them during sex.
In general terms, this refers to the idea that you can regulate your own neurophysiology—or the way your body responds to physical sensations, Dr. Walsh explains.
While there are a lot of different types of biofeedback, he says one of the most common for lasting longer in bed is to bring yourself right to the edge of orgasm before stopping all sexual or masturbatory activity until you have your excitement under control.
Also known as “edging”—one of the 5 Off-Beat Sex Trends to Try—practicing this technique can help you teach your brain and body to better control your orgasm response, adds sex therapist Emily Morse, Ph.D.
Just be sure to use a lot of lotion or lube (we like the Almost Naked Organic Lubricant from the Men’s Health store) while you practice edging to avoid chaffing yourself, she advises.
- The Squeeze
If you can feel your orgasm coming on, stop and squeeze right below the head of your penis. Apply firm pressure with your thumb and forefinger and focus the pressure on the urethra—the tube running along the underside of the penis, advises Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of She Comes First.
The squeeze technique can help yop last longer in bed by pushing blood out of the penis and momentarily decreasing sexual tension, which represses the ejaculatory response, Kerner says.
“This is another type of biofeedback, similar to edging.” Dr. Walsh adds.
- Ladies First
When you help her finish first—whether with your mouth, your fingers, or a toy—knowing she’s enjoyed an orgasm may relieve some of the pressure you’re feeling to last longer in bed, Kerner says. (Need some pointers? Check out our Beginners’ Guide To Mind-Blowing Sex.)
Like the stuff dentists slather on your gums before jamming in the needle, there are topical sprays called “local anesthetics” that you can apply to your penis to lessen the sensation and keep control, Dr. Walsh says. “When used properly, you can adjust the amount of desensitization with these sprays, and it won’t transfer to your partner,” he adds.
He says some of his patients have had luck with a product called Promescent. (Dr. Walsh is in no way affiliated with the company that makes this product.)
But be warned: The lack of sensation could make it difficult for you to stay erect, he says.
- Condom Control
Most major condom manufacturers make extra-thick rubbers that act like a slip-on desensitizer for your member, Morse says, and these can help you last longer in bed.
Look for marketing lingo like “extended pleasure” (from Trojan) or “performax” (Durex), which are fancy terms for this thicker style of condom. (Here’s how to Pick the Perfect Condom For Your Penis.)
Plenty of men pop a pill to become erect. And in Europe, there are also legal drugs that can help you last longer in bed, Dr. Walsh says.
The problem: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved those drugs to treat PE in the U.S. Why?
“Even though trials show these drugs genuinely benefitted men with premature ejaculation, the FDA sets a very high bar for drugs used to treat non-life threatening conditions,” Dr. Walsh explains.
While you could take these drugs for “off-label” uses like the treatment of PE, most of these meds are antidepressants that could lead to mood changes or other side effects—meaning they shouldn’t be used unless your performance problem is seriously affecting your life, Dr. Walsh says. He advises talking to your doctor to discuss this option.
- Ask an Expert
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to have better sex without success, it may be time to discuss your problem with a sexual dysfunction specialist, Dr. Walsh says.
“A lot of the treatments we’ve already discussed—edging and biofeedback—are pretty challenging techniques that a specialist can help you use effectively.”
He recommends asking your doctor for a referral to a urologist, who can either treat you himself or refer you to the right person for your problem.
“He or she will help you approach this practically and pragmatically,” Dr. Walsh says, adding, “It’s not about getting in touch with your inner self. It’s about learning the physical or mental mechanisms that can help you
UNFPA Launches Innovation Accelerator Focused On Empowering Youth To Address Sexual And Reproductive Health Bottlenecks
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in collaboration with Outbox, a local business incubator, last week launched a health-based innovation accelerator dubbed ‘Up Accelerate.’
This innovative program is part of a regional initiative by UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Office,with funding from UKAID.
Up Accelerate seeks to explore new and engaging ways to tackle pressing sexual and reproductive health(SRH) challenges in Uganda while promoting social entrepreneurship among young people.
“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and further UNFPA’s mandate, we need to test new approaches and improve on those already in use. Innovation and the active engagement of young people in our work can be catalyzers of significant change, and help achieve the demographic dividend in Uganda,” said Ms. Miranda Tabifor, UNFPA Representative.
The demographic dividend can be reaped if Uganda simultaneously prioritizes enhancing the quality of its human capital, empowering of women and their partners to reduce fertility, and reforming the economy to increase productivity and create jobs.
Up Accelerate calls on young people to realize their desire to learn about and contribute to the challenges faced by the country in regards to improving access to, and the planning, availability and quality of SRH information, services and programmes.
Investing in a healthier and more educated population and enabling young people to access opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, will provide young Ugandans with a favorable environment to thrive in business and private life, and to make informed and safe decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.
“Working with UNFPA as an institutional partner contributes to our mission of building innovative infrastructure that leads to development of inclusive communities.
It is these kinds of unusual productive partnerships that create an enabling environment where young entrepreneurs can learn about problems worth solving and leverage industry networks to quickly go to market,” said Richard Zulu, Founder of Outbox.
The UNFPA- Outbox- Up Accelerate project is set to run from November 2016 through to October 2017. Eight youth-led innovations will be picked to join the two acceleration cycles.
These entail two months of training, mentoring and assistance for fine-tuning their solutions and business models, and two months of support in going to market, for which training, mentorship and seed funding of up to USD 10,000 will be provided based on achievement of pre-agreed business milestones. Interested participants can apply athttp://upaccelerate.co.ug/.
The deadline is today December 22.