Uganda News Briefs - 29 September 2008 by ashrafp


									                    UGANDA NEWS BRIEFS – 29 SEPTEMBER 2008

Juba Peace Process / ICC
Ugandan rebels deny attacks (News24),,2-11-1447_2400176,00.html
Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has denied reports it recently launched
attacks and abducted children in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

"The recent media reports of LRA attacks are fabricated and dangerous imaginations formulated by
those bent on stifling the current peace process between Uganda and LRA," rebel spokesperson
David Nyekorach-Matsanga said in a statement.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) on Tuesday demanded the immediate release of 90
schoolchildren it said the LRA had abducted in DR Congo the previous week.

The LRA is notorious for kidnapping children and forcing them to fight or become sex slaves.
Unicef also accused the LRA of killing villagers and abducting two Italian missionaries in the northeast
of the sprawling nation, which borders Uganda.

Catholic aid agency CARITAS said that 75 000 civilians have fled the rebel group in DR Congo.
There have also been reports of attacks and abductions in South Sudan.

The Congolese army, backed up logistically by UN peacekeepers, earlier this month sent troops into
northeast Congo to protect civilians from the LRA.

Nyekorach-Matsanga, however, said that there were many other armed militias operating in both DRC
and South Sudan, and that the "malicious" reports should be cross-checked before blame was laid at
the LRA's door.

The LRA, which is now holed up in a national park in northeast DR Congo, began peace talks to end
its bloody rebellion two years ago.

However, it is yet to sign a final peace deal and is believed to have been using the time to rearm.

LRA leader Joseph Kony, a former lay preacher in his late 40s, says he will only sign the peace deal if
the International Criminal Court removes indictments it slapped on him and four other LRA members
for war crimes.

According to the court, the LRA is guilty of abductions, killings, rapes and the conscription of Ugandan

The LRA rebellion, which has stretched over decades, has seen tens of thousands killed or mutilated
and several million displaced in Uganda.

Congolese refugees flee to Southern Sudan after LRA attacks (Sudan Tribune)
27 September 2008
Hundreds of Congolese refugees have fled to neighbouring Sudan following attacks by the Ugandan
rebel Lord‘s Resistance Army (LRA), a southern Sudan humanitarian agency today.

"Tenths of hundreds of Congolese refugees fled their villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Tuesday and continue to arrive till date as LRA rebels terrorize the region looting, abducting and
raping the vulnerable Congolese in the area," the State Sudanese Reconstruction and Rehabilitation
Committee (SRRC) director said.

The LRA, whose leaders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague,
has retreated to the remote forests of the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, DRC. The rebels reached an agreement with Kampala but their leader Joseph Kony asks for
more guarantees before inking it.

Before boarding her flight set for Juba today afternoon, the Governor of WES, Jemma Nunu Kumba,
confirmed the refugees arrival saying "more than one thousand have arrived in Gangura Payam (12
miles from Yambio) and Nabiapai" (21 miles from Yambio).

Kumba further said ―Emergency arrangements to assist the refugees is materializing, the state
government within its meagre resources I supplying good items, non-food items and medical gets to
Congolese Refugees‖.

Also she hailed the quick response from the humanitarian organisations in Yambio.

One of the refugees fleeing the violence perpetrated by LRA in Congo, said the assailants mainly
come from the villages around Dungu which is located in East Province, extreme north-east of the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Tension remains high in the Dungu area, where some villages — Duru, Kiliwa and Nimba — were
attacked last week by Ugandan rebels, with at least ten people killed and over a hundred abducted"
he added.

"The schools have remained closed and we are attempting a headcount of people that fled from fear
of new attacks," another one said.

On September 24, information received from Dungu territory reported simultaneous LRA attacks on
several localities northeast of Dungu in Wando, in particular Kiliwa, Duru, Nambia, Bitima, Bayote,
Nakitokato, Nabungu and Nalemango.

These attacks took place from 18-21 September 2008, causing the displacement of thousands of

The state Governor warned that ―more humanitarian assistance is needed to assist the refugees and
to avoid the spread of tropical diseases among the refugees.

Kony representatives after money, says Acholi cultural chief (Daily Monitor)
The three groups representing LRA leader Joseph Kony are after amassing wealth, the Acholi
Paramount chief, Rwot Onen Acana II has said. The groups are led by Matsanga Nyekorach, Martin
Ojul and Yusuf Adek.

The Rwot said the delegations should be disbanded for stalling the signing of the final peace
agreement and misinforming Kony.
He also wants the international community to put pressure on Kony to sign the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. Mr Acana made the remarks recently at the launch of demobilisation and reintegration of
reporters (those who have benefited from Amnesty) programme in Gulu.

A week ago, the Rwot travelled to Juba with a 10-man delegation comprising religious and cultural
leaders to meet the peace talks mediator, Mr Machar Riek. Kony had invited the group to look at the
weakness in the peace agreement before he finally signs.

Mr Acana said the signing has hit a deadlock because Kony still has issues he wants to be clarified,
―but he doesn‘t even avail himself for clarity.‖ ―Kony says he will not sign the agreement until he
understands all the issues involved,‖ Mr Acana said.

He said while in Juba, Kony himself, who invited civil societies from Acholi in May to meet him so that
they clarify certain issues, failed to show up because his delegations misinformed him.

―The LRA delegation is the problem,‖ the Rwot said. ―For the past few days I have interacted with the
delegation in Nairobi, all they think about is money and who gets how much.‖ Added the chief, ―Kony
is interacting with all the three groups and they confuse him the more.‖

Mr Acana said it‘s time to do away with the delegation so that people get the sustainable peace that
the region is longing for. ―Let those who send confusing and conflicting messages to Kony stop
immediately,‖ he said. Sources within the delegation that met Mr Machar said Kony is still worried of
the ICC indictments.

CMI conned by former Kony rebels (Sunday Monitor)
Three former rebels of the Lord‘s Resistance Army who had been offered amnesty by the government
of Uganda have been arrested by military intelligence for suspected con-artistry in a scandal that
shows the darker side of the country‘s bid to get Joseph Kony to sign a peace deal.

Military sources say Sunday Otto, Richard Odongkau and one other person were arrested for
impersonating Lubwa Bwone, a colonel in the rebel outfit and one-time member of the LRA Juba
peace talks‘ delegation.

Col. Lubwa, whose hoped-for defection was for long treated as a possible high-level acquisition by the
Ugandan authorities, NGO‘s and foreign governments, is now, after the arrests, another dead failure
in efforts to resolve this conflict.

Col. Lubwa was one of the few Kony confidants in Juba when the peace process begun, initially giving
the process credibility after he dispatched them to the Southern Sudanese town instead of his deputy
Vincent Otti. The other ―listening posts‖ of Mr Kony in his Juba delegation were Lt. Col. Santo Olit and
Rei Achama.

When Col. Lubwa and his colleagues walked out a few weeks after the talks begin, some observers
warned that this was an indication Mr Kony was withdrawing from the process.

Otto and Odongkau, according to various sources have been running a racket through which they
received millions of shillings pretending to be brokering the defection of the colonel.

Ironically, both Otto and Odongkau had been treated like an early Christmas present by the army
when they defected from Kony‘s Garamba Forest hideout on December 1, 2007. At that time sceptics
pointed out that Otto who was defecting from the rebels for a second time was not a trustworthy

The Defence Ministry and Army Spokesman, Maj. Paddy Ankunda told Sunday Monitor on Saturday
that the three impersonators will be turned over to civilian courts to ―face the law‖.

―What they did was unacceptable and criminal. They conned a lot of people including ministers,‖ Maj.
Ankunda said refusing to comment about who exactly had fallen victim to the con job.

Speaking from Gulu, Col. Walter Ochora, a key player in direct talks with the rebels and district
commissioner, said the arrests marked the need for caution while dealing with rebels or their

― [Long wars] often create conflict entrepreneurs like this,‖ the retired colonel said, noting that the
United Nations envoy to the Northern Uganda peace process Mozambican ex- President Joachim
Chissano and his team were recently duped into providing food and medicine to the rebels after they
were ―excited‖ by phone calls from Mr Kony and his minders.

―A women NGO was convinced by the traffic of messages to wire money for the drugs and empty
sacks to Kony, who has planted a lot of food.

The so-called meeting with Mr Chissano was a ruse to get a UN helicopter to fly the items to Ri-
Kwangba. After the rebels received these items Kony switched off his phone,‖ Col. Ochora said.

The scandal over Col. Bwone is potentially embarrassing for the Ugandan intelligence services as his
defection and that of Lt. Col. Ceaser Acellam, another prized target, would have had a significant blow
to the LRA.

According to one diplomatic source, Sunday Otto and Odongkau, conducted the fraud using a
Thuraya satellite phone which Col. Ochora said they did not declare when they left Garamba.

An accomplice of the two men, who was also arrested, used to use this phone to call impersonating
Col. Bwone. Their luck however ran out when they tried the trick on a woman who had actually
donated the same phone to the rebels over a year ago, the source added.

Eventually shocked operatives reportedly traced the signal of the Thuraya to the upscale
neighborhood of Bugolobi in Kampala. The conspirators were then picked up two weeks ago from a
house where the military had been babysitting them along with other LRA defectors.

They are being held at Makindye military barracks sources added. A decision was taken to keep the
issue silent in part because it meant whatever information the fake Col. Bwone provided had to be
evaluated in light of the developments.

Forgiveness for ex-Ugandan rebels starts on an egg (Reuters)
Dressed in a button-down shirt and pressed trousers, a once-fearsome guerrilla from Uganda's Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) steps on an egg.

Six former commanders follow suit, walking barefoot on the now-broken egg, placed atop of two
branches in a T-shape. Dancers chant nearby.

"Our sons, we'd like to thank you for coming back," says Constantino Okot Ngomlokojo, chairman of
the traditional courts for northern Uganda's Acholi ethnic group.

In Gulu town -- the centre of LRA leader Joseph Kony's two-decade rebellion -- former rebels undergo
the first of three cleansing rituals for a war that has become notorious for the use of mutilation,
abduction and murder.

Rebels and Uganda's government agreed in February on how to deal with war crimes committed
during the 22-year war in the north that has killed tens of thousands of people.

But peace remains as elusive as the LRA's self-proclaimed prophet leader, Kony, who has repeatedly
failed to sign a final agreement, saying he wanted more explanation on a raft of deals signed at talks
in neighbouring south Sudan.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) wants Kony and two deputies for crimes like rape, murder and
kidnapping. Rebels have vowed not to disarm until the charges are lifted.

Sitting beneath ancient mango trees at the ceremony, Captain Vincent Okema, formerly an LRA
fighter for 15 years, said he had been waiting for this day for a long time but does not think peace will

"Kony is just deceiving people. He will not sign. I was one of his body guards and he told me that he
will die in the bush," said Okema, who left the rebels last year.

"I can't judge people's feelings about me, but I want to go back home."


Washing sweet potatoes in a village near the cleansing ceremony, Pamela Acieng said rebels should
be forgiven for abducting her husband for four years and killing his brother.

"For the sake of peace, we can forgive, but they must face justice," the mother-of-four said.

Returning rebels do three cleansing rites before being accepted back into Acholi society. First a rebel
like Captain Okema steps on an egg, which symbolises purity, in a ritual in Gulu. He then returns to
his village to do the same rite again.

Only later will Okema perform the "Mato oput" ceremony in which parties can confess crimes to their
families, ask for forgiveness and pay damages.

"Anything they ask, I will do," Okema says when asked if he will make a confession.

Kampala and LRA rebels have agreed to set up a special division within the High Court to deal with
more severe crimes. Lesser offences will be dealt with by traditional justice.

ICC supporters say only a judicial process with stiff jail terms for grave crimes is acceptable.

In a refugee camp some 470 km (300 miles) north of the capital, 73-year-old Genecio Oryem said he
cannot forgive the rebels who left him to eke out a meagre living making ropes.

"I have lost all my children. I am an old man, I can't go back to my village because I have no one to
build me a home," the frail man said.

Sitting next to Oryem in the camp of thatched mud huts, 80-year-old Angelina Akech agreed. "I don't
see the rebels so how can I forgive?"

Northern Uganda
Gulu student squad ‘commander’ gives in (New Vision)
THE leader of the notorious ‗Tumbafu squad‘, which had been terrorising communities, causing
strikes and planning to burn schools in Gulu and Amuru districts, has surrendered.

Nineteen-year-old Simon Woko-rac, a.k.a Gen. Batak, had been hiding in Magwi town in South

After receiving information that an order had been issued to have him shot, he surrendered to the
Rev. Willy Akena of the Church of Uganda in Gulu on Wednesday.

Woko-rac, said his groupcomprised of 225 students , mainly former students of St. Joseph‘s College

He said he dropped out of school in Senior Four due to lack of school fees since his father died. He
then decided to form the squad

―We formed this group for drama purposes. But later, other students joined us and started using it to
terrorise the communities and schools,‖ Woko-rac said.

He said he registered for a cadre course at the resident district commissioner‘s (RDC) office before
fleeing to Sudan for his safety.

The deputy RDC, Milton Odongo, said the army and the Police had been directed to shoot him dead
on sight, adding that he was lucky to have surrendered.

―Many people wanted you dead, but I can assure you now that you will not die. If the Government can
pardon rebels, how about you, a former student who can still reform? You don't even deserve an
amnesty certificate because you are not a rebel,‖ Odongo said.

Earlier, Woko-rac had been arrested twice by the Police and escaped with other four suspects from
the detention cell.

Some Tumbafu members were arrested at the border of Uganda and Kenya recently.

―Other members are armed and are on the run,‖ Odong said.

Rev Akena urged the Government to guarantee Woko-rac‘s security to encourage others on the run to

Woko-rac said he would mobilise members of the Tumbafu group to stop evil acts and return to

Danish royal to visit northern Uganda (Sunday Vision)
THE heir to the Danish throne, Princess Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, is due to visit northern Uganda to
raise awareness of the problem of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

―The Crown Princess of Denmark, Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, will be in Uganda between September
28 and October 2,‖ the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Nathalia Feinberg, told a press conference at
the Danish Embassy on Friday.

Princess Donaldson, the Countess of Monpezat, is the patron of the Danish Refugee Council, an
international organisation working to ease the challenges of refugees in over 30 ‗hotspots‘ in the

The organisation works in northern Uganda where it supports communities that host refugees and
programmes for repatriating IDPs.

The princess would visit TASO at Mulago Hospital on Monday, before travelling to Gulu and Moyo.

Denmark is one of the main funders of the Government‘s HIV/AIDS programmes and activities of
NGOs involved in curbing the spread of the disease. Denmark also provides funds to the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees programmes in Uganda.

Trader killed in South Sudan (New Vision)
The district has asked South Sudan to address the issue of border insecurity and the killing of Deo
Okeny, the chairman of Ugandan traders in Ikotos, by unknown gunmen over the weekend.
Residence district commissioner Alfred Omwony Ogaba said Okeny was ambushed and killed
between Tera-Tenya and Ikotos while riding a motor cycle from Kitgum town by unknown people.
Omwony said he was organising a meeting with the South Sudanese commissioner to address
insecurity in the area. He added that there was need for good relationship between the two counries.
The UPDF 5th Division publicst, Capt. Deo Akiiki said SPLA and Police were tracing for the killers and
would bring them to book.

Red Cross to support 10,000 in Karamoja (Daily Monitor)
Over 10,000 Karimojong will benefit from a new programme by Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS).
Under the programme each household in Apeitolim, Lomaratoit and Nabwal resettlement camps will
get farm implements and relief items to enable them start producing their own food.

Launching the relief operation that started with the distribution of relief items in Karamoja last Week,
URCS vice chairman Robert Ssebunya said the exercise was part of a wider plan to alleviate the
suffering of the Karimojong.

―We have not come to Karamoja for one month. We have come here to stay and we need your full
support,‖ Mr Ssebunya said while addressing Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Apeitolim Camp
in Lokopo Sub-county.

―Our target is to see you learn how to produce your own food and reduce the over-dependence on
handouts. We know it is a hard task but it is good that we have laid the ground,‖ he said. An
assortment of relief items including blankets, saucepans, plates and cups were distributed to IDPs in
Apeitolim and Nabwal camps.

Cattle rustlers and famine drove many inhabitants of the three camps away from their homes in
January 2007. It is estimated that over 700,000 people in the region are starving and in dire need of
food. There has been crop failure for two consecutive years in Karamoja and communities entirely
depend on food supplies from humanitarian organisations.

According to a recent report entitled Famine in Karamoja, Poverty and Hunger in the region have
increased mental illnesses and suicide.

8,500 cases of rabies are reported in Uganda annually (Sunday Monitor)
Uganda is today marking the World Rabies Day to raise awareness of the disease, a government
official has said.
Dr Chris Rutebanika, the Assistant Commissioner Animal Resources said the celebrations would be
aimed at raising awareness on the importance of rabies prevention. ―Rabies kills 55,000 people

In Uganda, 85,000 cases are reported each,‖ Dr Rutebanika told journalists at Entebbe.
He said between 68 and 8500 cases of rabies are reported every year in Uganda.

Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans through bites and
contamination of broken skin and saliva of infected animals.

He said the disease is primarily found in children who commonly play with domestic animals like dogs.

Hospital runs out of drugs (New Vision)
The regional hospital has run short of drugs for diabetic patients.The head of the diabetes clinic, Dr.
Medard Bitekyerezo, said they had not received drugs in five months. He appealed to the government
to consider diabetes patients and provide them with drugs like they do with HIV/AIDS. Mbarara
Diabetes Association has over 1,060 members, all catered for by this hospital.

Uganda short of physicians (New Vision)
Uganda is short of trained Physicians, health minister Steven Mallinga says.

According to Mallinga, the country has only 2500 trained physicians who cannot adequately cater for
the increasing number of patients.

The minister says trained physicians leave Uganda for other countries where they are well
remunerated for their services.

Malinga emphasizes Government‘s commitment to invest more in the health sector by training more
health workers.

ARVs causing side effects phased out (New Vision)
A twitching in his left eye, shingle on the lower left side of the eye, a rash on the arms and early
morning paralysis in the feet make Fred Kanyankore wonder what has befallen him.

He finds it hard to believe that the disturbing changes in his body are a result of the type of ARVs he
is taking.

―I have been taking these drugs since 2006. They cannot cause these things now,‖ he says.

Kanyankore, a carpenter in Fort Portal town says these symptoms started about a month ago. He has
come to Mbarara Hospital to see a doctor about the symptoms.

Teopista Kobugabe is also complaining about a swelling under the ear and her nails are discolored. ―I
look like I have mumps,‖ says Kobugabe. ―I am sure someone is responsible for this. First it was the
black nails and now the feet often get paralyzed in the mornings.

I think I walked over herbs that could be responsible for this. Whoever is bewitching me has hit the
target because after someone has taken away your hands and feet, what can you do for yourself?‖
she says, fixing a blank gaze at the ceiling.

These are just two of many cases of side effects resulting from the arv drug option Triomune.

The Ministry of Health is aware of the side-effects and has instructed health facilities countrywide to
phase out the drug.

Triomune is a fixed drug combination and one of its components, Nevirapine has been blamed for
these side-effects.
Dr. Michael Owor of Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) Fort Portal says the complaint rate is high.

At this branch, which has 6,500 patients, several clients have had side effects such as pencil legs,
swelling of the cheeks and nail discoloration, excessive heating and feet paralysis.

However, Dr. Owor says nail discoloration is not only associated with Triomune.

―The children are still on Triomune and rarely present with these side-effects.
We are now giving those with complaints alternatives like Combivir and Atripla as the first lines of
treatment,‖ he says.

But what has been the response after changing from Triomune to other options?
Dr Owor says: ―The response is okay. For those changing to other drug options, the visible side
effects like shingles are fading.

In three months or so, we will have finished transferring all our adult patients from Triomune,‖ Owori
says. He says Mengo Hospital has finished shifting their patients.

Dr. Nasur Akbar, a medical officer in Yumbe Hospital says National Medical Stores stopped supplying
them with Triomune.

―We are now getting Combivir as the first line of treatment.‖ Of the 600 HIV positive people registered
with Yumbe Hospital, only 23 have been tranferred from Triomune.

This is because a number of the patients who have reacted to Triomune does not warrant a shift. ―It is
only when a patient presents with side-effects that we give alternatives.‖

Triomune, according to Dr. Nasur, is good for patients with heamoglobin (HB) less than 8, instead of
Combivir which has a component called Zidovudine or AZT, which can cause anemia. Heamoglobin is
an iron-containing pigment that carries oxygen to to body tissue.

However, some doctors are sceptical about changing the drug regimes. Dr. Agaba Byamukama of
Kasana in Luweero district says: ―Some of these changes are unsustainable.

Remember the story of Chloroquin and Fansidar. The Government introduced Coartem as the first
line of treatment against malaria and relegated the other two.

Now there is scarcity of Coartem in health facilities due to its high cost. Some reports are indicating
that we may have a shortage of Combivir in the near future.‖

However, the Ministry of Health says the supplies are sustainable. Despite the recent ARV scarcity,
the Government says ARV supplies are now available.

The head of the antiretroviral therapy programme at the ministry, Dr. Elizabeth Namagala, says the
drugs have already arrived in the National Medical Stores.

The general manager of the National Medical Stores, Moses Kamabale confirmed that ARVS and
anti-malarials have been delivered to the National Medical Stores in Entebbe.

Paracetamol may raise asthma risk (New Vision)
INFANTS who have been given the common pain reliever, paracetamol may have a higher risk of
developing asthma and eczema by the time they are six or seven years, a study covering children in
31 countries has found.

The findings were published in the journal Lancet together with two other studies, which found that
runny noses and wheezing early in life may be strong predictors of asthma.

Suspicions of a possible link between paracetamol and asthma have been around for about 10 years
with experts observing an increased use of the drug to a simultaneous rise in asthma.

They analysed data from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood for risk factors
involved in asthma, hayfever and eczema in over 200,000 children.

The study found that giving paracetamol to treat fever in children in the first year of life meant that
child had a 46% greater risk of having asthma symptoms at the age of six to seven.

It also found that six to seven year-olds who had taken paracetamol once a month in the 12 months
prior had a three-fold increase risk of asthma.

Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand says there are mechanisms that
may explain the association.

―Paracetamol reduces your antioxidant defences,‖ he says. ―In the airways, that can lead to
inflammation which is the basis of asthma and this may switch the immune system to become more

Wrong end of the stick?
Some researchers believe a viral infection, which causes fever and thus encourages paracetamol use
might trigger the onset of asthma. Also children with allergies are more likely to be given paracetamol
in the first place.

Dr. Denis Buluma of AAR says children with allergies are more likely to cough, wheeze or get a runny
nose when they get a virus infection.

Dr. Wilford Karungi, an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health calls for controlled trials to test whether
paracetamol causes asthma. Finding the answer is important because many people take

Beasley says one in five children aged six to seven in New Zealand are given paracetamol once a
month. If the link is proven, 20%-40% of asthma cases might be attributed to paracetamol exposure.

Related studies
The Lancet revealed that allergic reactions causing a runny nose, were a strong predictor of asthma
that develops in adulthood.

Valuable evidence
Dr. Jacinta Amadua, the commissioner for clinical services at Ministry of Health says: ―It‘s a
fascinating study because we do not know why allergic diseases are more common today.

Paracetamol ‗still the safest‘
However, the researchers emphasise that the study does not warrant parents switching to other
drugs. Paracetamol should remain the drug to relieve pain and fever in children because its
alternative, aspirin, was linked to the risk of Reye‘s syndrome, a complication in children and that
provokes asthma attacks.

Treating fevers
Dr. Samuel Kasule of AAR, says paracetamol should be used only to treat serious fevers that are
38.50C or above. Other methods that bring down fever include giving the child plenty of fluids and
removing their clothes.

Natural Hazards
Hailstorms destroy crops in Lira (Daily Monitor)
Heavy rains with hailstorm have for the last one month continued to destroy crops and kill animals and
birds in different parts of Lango Sub-region.

The worrying situation is coming after people expected to get good crop yields in the second season
following a long period of drought in the first season. This also follows devastating floods that hit the
region about a year ago, destroying roads and crops.

After resettling in their villages, most of the people in Lango have engaged extensively in farming but
their hope is being thwarted by the heavy rains and hailstorms.

LC5 councillor for Adekokwok Sub-county Okello Ayo said the hailstorm that struck his area last week
destroyed crops such as simsim, sweet potatoes, cassava among others.

There have been reports of hailstorm on daily basis in different parts of Lango region. Acting district
chairperson Tony Ogwang Adwari said the situation is worrying and appealed for assistance.

Deadly storm hits Kabarole (New Vision)
A powerful hailstorm hit Kabarole district and destroyed banana plantations and other property.
The storm hit parts of Kasenda Sub-County in Burahya County on Thursday afternoon. One house
had its roof blown off by the storm.

The LC3 chairman Kasenda Sub-County, Deus Katuramu, said half of the families in the sub-county
were affected.

―About 400 families have been affected by the storm but the number could even be higher because
some areas have not been visited,‖ Katuramu said.

He said the worst hit areas were Kabata, Kitoro, Kibuga, Nyabweya and Nshongya.

The residents said the storm started on Thursday morning and raged on all day.

―There were heavy winds followed by heavy rains and suddenly the plantations started falling,‖ said
Kajura Kiiza, a resident of Kabata.

The Resident district commissioner, Kakonge Kambarage and Kabarole Lc5 chairman, Michael
Mugisa, visited the area to assess the damage.

Mugisa said the district would appeal to the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness for assistance after
assessing the damage. He said this was a big loss to the district.

Arrest defiant head teachers, says Nsibambi (New Vision)
Head teachers that have defied the education ministers‘ directive to close their schools should be
arrested, Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi has said.

―There is no way we are going to let people defy the law of the land and go unpunished. This is
unacceptable, and with immediate effect, I am going to make sure this directive is implemented,‖
Nsibambi said.

―The education standards and safety of our children cannot be compromised.‖

He was addressing local leaders at the launch of the Parliament public outreach forum in Masaka on
Friday, meant to link MPs to local governments and people at the grass-root level.

Almost 400 schools were closed in central Uganda for failure to meet the minimum required
operational standards.

Nsibambi was reacting to questions raised by Joseph Musoke, the chairman of Mityana district.

Musoke had called the schools‘ closures unrealistic and an uncoordinated move.

―There was no coordination between the central and local government when schools were being
closed. No wonder some head-teachers defied the directive,‖ he said.

In the same forum, Nsibambi also accused Buganda of frustrating the Government‘s plan to create
regional governments.

―Who really speaks for Buganda? Is it the elected leaders, or the Mengo government who are not
elected?‖ he wondered.

―Mengo rejected the regional government but at the same time is demanding for its property, currently
being controlled by districts. This is not fair.‖

UPE irritates local leaders, MPs (New Vision)
LOCAL leaders in Masaka have criticised the Government‘s Universal Primary Education (UPE)
programme, saying it had tripled the enrolment of pupils in primary schools but lowered the quality of

Reacting to Prof. Ogenga Latigo‘s presentation at the first parliamentary outreach forum in Masaka,
they argued that there was need for the Government to increase UPE funds and improve the
standards of education.

―It is surprising that private schools in rural areas out-compete the Government schools. Government
schools do not have (enough) teachers and desks for pupils. Where do our taxes go?‖ asked a
councillor from Masaka.

―The funds the Government contributes to UPE is too little and at the same time they stop parents
from contributing. The Government should either increase the funds or allow the parents to contribute
themselves,‖ said Philemon Mubiru, the Chief Administrative Officer of Nakasongola.

The speaker of Masaka Municipal Council, Dennis Lukanga, said UPE was not a bad idea but it had
been mishandled.

―Why should a pupil reach Primary Seven and not be able to read and write? What kind of education
is this?‖

UPE was initiated in 1997 with the aim of increasing access to education. Pupils‘ enrolment increased
from three million to over seven million in 10 years.

Latigo, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, had earlier said UPE should not be used by the
Government just to generate numbers.

―We (opposition) are not necessarily fighting UPE. We are looking at ways on how to improve our
education. What will today‘s UPE graduates do in this computerised world?‖

The two-day Parliamentary outreach forum was closed on Saturday, with Latigo asking leaders of the
opposition and the Government to work together for the development of the country.

Uganda loses soil to Sudan (New Vision)
UGANDA loses millions of tonnes of fertile soils to lower Nile riparian countries of Sudan and Egypt
through erosion, Parliament has heard.

Environment state minister Jessica Eriyo said this on Thursday.

Quoting the National Forestry Authority National Biomass Study Report 2007, Eriyo also said
Uganda‘s forests had been depleted at a rate of 92,000 hectares annually from 1990 to 2005.

She noted that the forest cover had reduced from over 4.9 million hectares to 3.5 million hectares.

Eriyo explained that her ministry is faced with the challenges of a growing population in its fight
against deforestation. She noted that unless the country had a good land use policy, it would be
difficult to control deforestation.

Eriyo said forests contributed about $546.6m annually to the economy.

Development Goals: Uganda on course but challenges remain (Daily Monitor)
Nearly every school day, 14-year old Gloria Abako from Endru Primary School in Arua district
agonises about taking afternoon lessons on an empty stomach.

―My parents say they don‘t have money to pack food for me every day. I cannot go back home to eat
something because it is very far,‖ said the primary six pupil. Like Avako, who is one of over seven
million children benefitting from the ‗free‘ primary education programme launched in 1997, her school
has failed to provide all basic academic needs.

At Endru Primary School, only pupils in the top three classes sit on desks. The rest are condemned to
the often cold, dusty floors.

Rev. Nason Mindrea, the headmaster, says his school currently has 1,529 pupils, 660 of whom are
female, but doesn‘t have sufficient facilities for all their needs. ―We had benches but they got spoilt
and replacing them takes time,‖ he said. ―There are also other things like sanitary needs for girls. We
also don‘t have safe water.‖

Rev. Mindrea says his school – with a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:59, well above the 1:40 recommended
by the education ministry – also needs more teachers.

Such challenges have consistently dogged many schools under the Universal Primary Education
(UPE) programme. UPE has increased enrolment in primary schools from 3.1 million in 1996 to over
7.2 million today, but failure by government to provide sufficient facilities threatens its success.

Statistics show that the national completion rate fell from 60 per cent in 2004 to 48 per cent in 2006.
These are some of the challenges that Uganda has to contend with in its effort to achieve Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) two; providing basic primary education to all children by 2015.

―Some of these pupils go up to primary seven without knowing how to write their names. The standard
of education has collapsed. We need to revisit our commitment to this programme,‖ said Terego
County MP Kassiano Wadri, at a recent dissemination of the progress report on the MDGs in Arua

The MDGs are eight development targets that the international community has agreed to achieve by
2015. They are reducing poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and empowering women,
reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases,
ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

President Museveni is confident Uganda is on course to meet all but one or two of the MDGs.
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York last Monday, he said, ―I see no reason why these
goals should not be achievable. Other than HIV/AIDS, which is behaviour-related, I am sure all the
others are achievable if we do enough political-led sensitisation and investment.‖

But countrywide findings show that there are challenges to be overcome before the goals are met.
The 2007 MDG progress report, prepared by the United Nations Development Programme, says
Uganda is likely to achieve six of the eight goals.

In its assessment of the challenges, the report says Uganda could fail to reduce, by two thirds, the
number of children who die before their fifth birthday or reduce, by three quarters, the number of
mothers dying during childbirth.

Uganda only reduced its maternal mortality rate between 2001 and 2006 from 505 to 435 deaths per
100,000 births. Now, it needs to reduce it to at least 108 deaths per 100,000 births to meet the goal.

Health minister Stephen Mallinga recently decried the rate at which expectant mothers die from
haemorrhage infection due to lack of antibiotics. His ministry has since introduced a new, low- cost
drug called Misoprostol to prevent bleeding after birth.

The UNDP report says Uganda further needs to improve access to obstetric emergency health care
facilities for handling life threatening complications related to pregnancy, increase the number and
skills of health personnel, as well as provide more financial resources.

Where Uganda has registered considerable success is in the effort to reduce poverty levels.
Government says it has reduced the number of Ugandans living below the poverty line from 56 per
cent in 1993 to 31 per cent, and, according to the UNDP report, if the trend continues, this goal can be

Uganda is also well on the way to achieving MDG six; combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and
other diseases, although experts warn that complacency could diminish the current achievements. In
the last five years, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has stagnated at 6 percent yet the country registers
135,000 new cases of HIV every year.

The latest World Malaria Report by the World Health Organisation commends Uganda for reducing
the malaria cases from 16 million in 2005 to 12 million in 2006 through the provision of insecticide
treated nets especially to children and pregnant women, indoor residual spraying and availability of
anti malarial drugs.

Another goal, according to the UNDP report, that Uganda could achieve if there is no reversal in
current trends, is the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.

The report says that with more girls in school, more women in gainful employment and participating in
politics, the delay in passing the Domestic Relations Bill to address social injustices remains one of
the few stumbling blocks.

The report says Uganda needs to increase funding to vital sectors like education and health to
overcome the demands of an ever increasing population and, subsequently, meet some of the MDGs.

It adds that governments now have to contend with new challenges like the global economic
slowdown, the worldwide food security crisis, and climate change as they strive to achieve the MDGs.


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