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					                       UGANDA NEWS BRIEFS – 18 JANUARY 2010

Northern Uganda
Kill robbers, says RDC (New Vision)
- Gulu
The security committee and resident district commissioner have directed the Police and other
operatives to shoot-to-kill armed robbers who terrorise people in IDP return villages. The deputy RDC,
Milton Odongo, recently said the robbers hide under the cover of remnants of LRA rebels and cause
fear among the people.

Health alert- Blood Bank bankrupt (New Vision)
BLOOD is like a parachute; if it is not there when you need it, chances are, you may never need it
again,” reads a notice at the National Blood Bank offices in Nakasero.

Indeed, many people in hospitals countrywide are bringing this notice to life as they breathe their last
because of no blood. At Mulago, the national referral hospital, over 150 patients need transfusion.

The majority are referral cases from upcountry health facilities. “This is up from an average of 40
patients that we have been transfusing daily,” says a member of staff from the haematology

“We have been like this since November. But it is always an annual problem. Every November,
December and January, we always prepare to lose people because of blood shortage. Students who
form the bulk of donors are on holiday during this period,” he says.

Dr. Edward Ddumba, the director of Mulago Hospital, could not be reached for a comment; while Dr.
Isaac Ezati, the deputy director, declined to comment, saying the health ministry would be in a better
position to.

Who is in dire need?
Nonetheless, an anonymous source says the Acute Care Ward and Ward 16 that handle children are
most affected. The wards are not only congested, but also house „paper white‟ (severely anaemic)
children who look lifeless.

The fifth floor that handles pregnant mothers is not any different. Relatives of labouring mothers pace
around desperately, pleading for the medical workers to „do something.‟

“Caretakers are so desperate that they can throw at you any amount of money for blood. They do not
believe when we tell them that there is no blood.

The temptation to pay, even when they know blood is free, is overwhelming,” the source says.

Ideally blood is free, but being the rare life resource it is, some people sell it. It goes for between
sh50,000 and 100,000, depending on how desperate one is and the state of a patient‟s condition.

“But now, even the unscrupulous people are handicapped. There is no blood,” he says. The general
ward on fourth floor that receives accident victims plus general medical conditions; the haematology
clinic that sees people with bleeding conditions like chronic and severe peptic ulcers and fibroids; the
sickle cell clinic and the cancer institute are all in dire need of blood.

The haematology laboratory, which doubles as the blood bank at Mulago Hospital has over 200
requests for blood.

The majority of the cases range from as low as 2.8 haemoglobin (HB) levels to four. A normal person
should have an average HB level of 12 to 13. “Such a person needs about six to seven units to up the
HB level at least to normal. Currently, we cannot carry out operations because there is no blood,” he

“We have to weigh the outcome. If we have a tumour patient and a pregnant mother, we give the
mother priority because we would be saving two lives,” he explains.

Who should donate?
Some staff members and caretakers are volunteering to donate, but there are those patients without
Even then, out of 100 units of blood collected, only 40 may be suitable for transfusion.

A hospital is not a good catchment area to collect blood because it brings together a high risk group.

“We just ask randomly for whoever can donate with the hope that we can get something to help save
a life, but many times it is a waste of time.

“The majority of donors are often old people who have come to take care of their children or relatives.
Often, they have Hepatitis B, C, E; HIV, or syphilis.

Sometimes by the time the blood is processed, the victim is dead. Yet you would have wasted a lot of
kits and reagents and the cost of destroying the blood is high,” the source adds.

Good blood should be free of the above. It should also be drawn from someone who is aged between
17 and 60; weighing at least 45kg, not sick or having suffered from malaria in the last month, or not on
medication and has no history of chronic diseases like diabetes or blood pressure.

Screening donors is a critical part of protecting the blood supply, particularly against new diseases
that tests cannot detect in the blood.

Some caretakers, who have reportedly been in the hospital since December last year opted to go
back home because of hopelessness.

“We are witnessing a situation where someone says: “just release my patient so he or she can die at
home and save me the transport costs,” he says.

Critics say blood shortage is becoming chronic, leading to loss of many preventable deaths.

Recently, three nurses involved in an accident on the Kampala — Mbale highway died mainly
because there was no blood in the hospitals they were taken to.

Dr. Dorothy Kyeyune, the director of the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service, says blood shortage has
reached crisis levels.

“We need about 2,000 units of blood to offset the situation in the central region,” she says. Kyeyune
attributes the shortage to malaria, saying the December rains pushed malaria to epidemic levels.

Agriculture / Food Security
New cassava breed to grow faster (New Vision)
KITGUM district agricultural department has embarked on promoting the growing of a variety of
cassava called MH 97/2961, saying it has several advantages over others.

District agriculture officer, Peter Abal said the improved cassava variety does not only have high yield
but also matures early and is tolerant to diseases.

He added that the crop could serve well as food security and eradicate poverty by bringing instant

“We have been promoting this cassava for the last two years and farmers have embraced it. This
variety could serve well as a food security crop since it matures early and the yield is very good,” he

The crop, when planted on one acre of land with about 4,000 stands, could fetch the farmer about
sh4m in an open market, said one farmer.

Abal said the planting of cassava should be promoted on a large scale to help fight rampant food

“Cassava is good because it can be used in many ways. You can turn in into flour and eat is as bread
or eat it fresh. It can also be used for brewing local drinks,” Abal said.

He said the cassava cuttings are available on the market.

2 EA firms receive $2m to fight cassava disease (East African)
The fight against cassava diseases in sub Saharan Africa has received a $2.4 boost from Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture n partnership with the
Agricultural Research Institute of Tanzania and the National Agricultural Research Organisation of

The funding will be used to breed cassava varieties resistant to cassava brown streak disease. The
disease, which is caused by the cassava brown streak virus and results in a dry rot in the tuberous
roots rendering them inedible, is one of greatest threats to food security in sub-Saharan Africa as
cassava is an important staple food from which over 200 million people derive over 50 per cent of
their carbohydrate intake.

IITA and ARI have identified a few varieties with some level of resistance to the disease. The four-
year project, under financial assistance from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to identify the
DNA markers associated with the resistance genes in these varieties and integrate marker-assisted
selection into cassava breeding programmes.

Marker-assisted breeding will enable the breeders to determine whether the desired genes of the
disease resistance have been successfully transferred from the parents to the offspring at the
seedling stage using DNA testing.

According to the team project leader at IITA Dr Morag Ferguson, the breeding for disease-resistant
cassava is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to control the devastating effects of the virus.

Dr Ferguson said that conventional breeding takes eight to 12 years to produce improved varieties.

The project will enable one of the first applications of marker-assisted selection for cassava breeding
by the National Agricultural Research Systems in Tanzania and Uganda.

The markers identified will also be applicable to all countries either struggling with the disease, or
concerned with pre-breeding in anticipation of the spread of the virus.

Dr. Lawrence Kent, Senior Program Officer in the Agricultural Development initiative at the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation said that the diseases like Cassava Brown Streak have devastating
impacts on small farmers in the developing world who rely on staple crops for food and income.

Dr. Kent said that by leveraging recently discovered scientific information, this project will enable
African crop breeders to create enhanced varieties of cassava that are resilient to local diseases.

This grant is part of the foundation‟s Agricultural Development initiative, which is working with a wide
range of partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to provide millions of small farmers in the
developing world with tools and opportunities to boost their yields, increase their incomes, and build
better lives for themselves and their families.

The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain-from seeds and soil to farm
management and market access-so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over the
long term.

Economic divide to be reflected in PLE results (Daily Monitor)
Privately-owned urban schools are expected to outperform their rural counterparts in the Primary
Leaving Examination results that are due to be released this week.

This domination is acerbated by the fact that they are well funded, well equipped institutions, as
opposed to Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools which lack reading materials, have
overcrowded classrooms and are dogged by teacher absenteeism.

"Poor performance is more evident in rural areas where parental contribution towards the children's
education is almost zero," says Mr Issa Matovu, the executive secretary of Uganda Muslim Teachers

Although the Ministry of Education banned the listing of best candidates to prevent putting schools
under pressure to cheat, independent surveys show that private schools like Greenhill Academy,
Hillside primary school Naalya, Kampala Parents and Lohana Academy, record very high pass rates.
Matovu says the divide is less pronounced between urban public and private schools.

"But in town, public schools equally compete with private ones given the fact that they possess better
instruction materials and facilities like those in private schools," he said.

Social barriers Mr Matovu believes that a relatively uniform pupil performance in exams would only be
attained if social and financial barriers to provision of quality and affordable education are addressed.

"Government must show commitment to improve education standards across the board through
punishing the corrupt and addressing other social issues that bar many children from completing the
education cycle," he said. This scenario isnot far different from that in neighbouring Kenya where
education experts have asked their government to impose a quota system where pupils from the
private and public primary schools can share slots in high schools.

But education consultant Mr Fagil Mandy insists that public schools can equally or outperform private

"That is simply a public perception that must change. There are hundreds of government schools I
know that perform better than private ones," he says.

He cites Kitante, Buganda Road, Nakasero and Arua Public primary schools as examples of
government owned schools that perform well.

However, public schools that used to perform well before the introduction of UPE like Shimoni
Demonstration School, Nakivubo Blue and Nakivubo Settlement have all seen their grades plummet.
Other stakeholders are adamant it is not possible to realise eaqually good student attainment in public

"There are staffing problems in public schools accompanied with absence of serious inspection and
monitoring unlike in private schools. With that we expect the same trend of private beating public
schools," says Mr Benon Kwikiriza, the chairperson of Uganda Association of Private Vocational

Kigezi High School director of studies Mr Joseph Tumuine says teachers in private schools are
dedicated to delivering outcomes unlike those in public schools.

Teacher absenteeism While releasing results last year, Uneb Executive Secretary Mathew Bukenya
said pupils had performed poorly because of teachers and pupils' absenteeism, dependency on past
papers as teaching materials instead of developing concepts and reasoning and candidates' low
literacy levels which affects their level of understanding the questions.

A total of 569,890 candidates sat PLE last year compared to 516,890 in 2008.
Examined pupils included a total of 1,527 Sudanese nationals and over 200 prison inmates.

According to the PLE results released last year, the pass rate for 2008 was 80.2 per cent compared to
86.5 per cent in 2007 and 88.2 per cent in 2006.

Of the 463,631 pupils who sat for the 2008 PLE, 89,306 (19.3per cent) completely failed all the four
subjects taught. This implies the number of failures shot up by over 50 per cent, compared to the two
previous years.

In 2007, there were 56,603 (13.5 per cent) pupils who failed whereas 47,717 (11.8 per cent) pupils
failed PLE in 2006. Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) on Saturday said the results will be
available by short message service (SMS) on phone, a new system announced recently.

This time round, parents will instantly access their children's results via SMS text messages which
they will send to a Uneb code accompanied by the student's index number.

Police deploy in Kibaale (Sunday Vision)
THE Anti-riot Police have heavily deployed in the district as two sub-counties fight over boundaries.
Residents of Kisiita and Nalweyo sub-counties on Thursday evening clashed claiming ownership of
Ijumangabo village and set ablaze five makeshift structures belonging to casual labourers.

Kisiita Sub-county which is predominantly occupied by the settlers commonly refereed to as Bafuruki
is up in arms with Nalweyo settled by the Banyoro accusing one another of intending to grab land.

Karim Kisuule, one of the casual labourers, said on Thursday evening a gang of men welding pangas
and sticks attacked them forcing them to flee for safety.

“We could not resist the big number of the people who had attacked us. We, therefore, decided to run
but all our property was destroyed,” Kisuule said. Among the burnt items were nine bicycles, and
several household items.

Some of the people whose houses were burnt include Muhammad Opio, Mutwalibu Mugisha, Charles
Kiriman, Moses Malinzi and Abdu Mugisa all from Kiboga District.

The Commandant of the Anti-Riot Police, Christopher Obach, said it was unfortunate for residents to
destroy property to such an extent because of a small boundary dispute.

“How can you people fail to resolve such a small issue of boundaries and you go to the extent of
burning houses and property?” asked Obach.
He warned the people of Kibaale against taking the law in their hands.

“Whoever is behind this saga will be brought to book and dealt with accordingly,” he said.

However on ground it was discovered that the issue of boundary is secondary is only a pretext, and
real reasons relate to land acquisition and ownership.
Some residents New Vision talked to accused the Banyoro of ferrying in the Basoga from Kiboga
district and taking over their Bibanja which are not developed.

“We have over 200 Basoga from Kiboga who have settled here recently, but we are still questioning
the modalities of how they acquired Bibanja,” one councilor said.

‘We were denied our land and inheritance’ (East African)
The protracted Bunyoro kingdom case for compensation was instituted in the High Court on August
13, 2004 and registered in the Uganda High Court as Civil Suit Number 595, in which the Banyoro are
demanding compensation and a court order nullifying the 1900 Agreement.

In the suit, the plaintiffs argue that, by the 1900 Agreement, the British Crown, as punishment against
the Banyoro for resisting British imperialism, purported to donate the land as a reward to the King of
Buganda and some 3,636 Buganda absentee landlords, and that, by doing so, they deprived the
Banyoro of their land and other natural inheritance.

The plaintiffs argue that the land policy consistently employed by the government in the lost counties
is “sectarian, discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional”.

The plaintiffs claim they lost properties estimated at over £500 billion “as a result of the invasion,
pillage, destruction, looting and final occupation for over 65 years”, and are therefore entitled to
damages for trespass and loss of life.

Bunyoro is insisting that before the 1900 Agreement, Buganda owned only 13 counties, but thereafter
its territory increased to 20, including the seven counties taken away from Bunyoro — Buyaga,
Bugangaizi, Buheekura, Buruuli, Bugerere, North Singo (Kiboga) and Bulemeezi.

The six joint defendants are the Attorney General of Uganda, Her Majesty‟s Government of Great
Britain, the Kabaka of Buganda, the Electoral Commission, the Uganda Land Commission and the
3,636 absentee landlords of Bugangaizi and Buyaga in Kibaale District.

In August 2005, lawyers representing the Banyoro submitted a Notice of Appeal following High Court
Judge Oscar Okumu Wengi‟s ruling that struck out Great Britain from the suit.

Justice Wengi ruled that “the English sovereign has, in this case which involves her imperial power,
declined to submit to the jurisdiction of this court, and that is that.

The Judge added: “Since the Attorney General, who is the first defendant, has not supported the
impleading of the English sovereign for the purpose of indemnity or otherwise, I would accordingly
strike out the name of Her Majesty‟s Government of Great Britain from the suit.”

According to the Appeal Notice, the judge erred in law and in fact when he confused the issue of
whether a sovereign had submitted to the jurisdiction of a foreign court.

Judge Wengi sent the case back to the Land Division of the High Court, where hearing continues
against the other five defendants.

Lawyers representing Britain argued that the British Crown could plead the case in Uganda, but only
in England.

“If the court declares that Britain can only be sued in England, then so be it. Otherwise, our wish is to
have the case heard here because the crimes were committed in Uganda,” Ford Henry Mirima, one of
the principal plaintiffs, said.

Krispus Ayena Odongo, of Ayena-Odongo and Co, Advocates, in an interview with The EastAfrican,
confirmed this possibility, saying although they were appealing the Ugandan High Court ruling, they
were also considering filing a suit in England.

“We are appealing against that ruling. In the meantime, we are exploring possibilities of and mobilising
the necessary resources to file the suit in England,” he said.

Mr Mirima says they need about three London barristers “but they are expensive.”

The plaintiffs residing in Kibaale and Kampala districts are suing in their representative capacities on
behalf of all indigenous people of Kibaale district. They contend that since the forefathers of the
plaintiffs and, by extension, the plaintiffs, were not privy to the so called Uganda Agreement, there is
no way their land could have lawfully formed consideration for, and, therefore, part of the said

Getting back the ‘lost counties’ no easy task (East African)

Legal experts have told The EastAfrican that the Bunyoro suit has the potential of causing a
constitutional crisis.

This means the country could return to the tense moments just before 1900 if it does not undo all that
the colonial agreement did and return all the land given to the Buganda to its rightful owners.

But the Baganda aristocrats will not want to see the communally-owned land they got from the
commoners (Bakopi) slip from their grips, and bringing absentee landlords — some of whom are
horribly poor peasants — to answer to allegations of the atrocities their forefathers committed is

Recently, the government opted for regional administration of the districts, as opposed to the federal
system of government being demanded by the Buganda Kingdom.

Eric Norris, a colonial administrator who served in West Nile, says that, throughout the 60 years of
British administration in Bunyoro, one grievance was never absent from the hearts and minds of the
indigenous folks, and that this remained the subject of a series of petitions from the Omukama to the
Secretary of State for the Colonies.

This was “a claim to territory which, under the Protectorate, formed part of the Kingdom of Buganda
— a kingdom which, in extent, population, wealth and importance — far outstripped Bunyoro. It had
not always been so”, Norris writes in Looking Back at the Uganda Protectorate: Recollections of
District Officers, published by Douglas Brown in Australia.

Norris says that, in 1894, the British Commissioner, Colonel Colville, had rewarded his Baganda allies
by extending the northern frontier of Buganda to rivers Kafu and Nkusi and Lake Kyoga, a territory
that had previously belonged to the Banyoro. “This action appears to have been taken without
authority, but it received the blessing of the Foreign Office when Bunyoro was included in the Uganda
Protectorate in 1896, and was entrenched in the Buganda Agreement in 1900. This territory became
known as the „Lost Counties.”

Norris adds: “The Banyoro were told that the status of the Lost Counties had been settled in the 1900
Agreement and could not be changed.”

The plaintiffs contend that by an agreement between the Kabaka and the British Crown dated March
10, 1900, the Kabaka, without the Banyoro being privy to the said agreement and without their
consent, purported to cede or alienate the land from the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara and incorporate it
into the Kingdom of Buganda.

The Banyoro are therefore seeking the nullification of the 1900 Buganda Agreement through which
British Government annexed Bunyoro-Kitara‟s seven counties and up to now they have never been
returned to the kingdom.

The plaintiffs argue that there was no compliance with the 1962 Constitution in relation to the lost
counties and with the Referendum (Buyaga and Bugangaizi) Act 1964. And the land policy
consistently employed by the government in the lost counties is sectarian, discriminatory, and
therefore unconstitutional.

The Banyoro were customary owners of land, which they used for settlement, cultivation, hunting,
burial, religious and other cultural performances and ceremonies, grazing, wood harvest and herbal


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