Thursday, 27 February 2014

Raila fights to build ODM winning team

                                                                             Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga
ODM party leader Raila Odinga has survived many political storms since he ventured into politics in the early 1990s.
Friday’s ODM National Delegates Convention is one such occasion where he is expected to draw on his political expertise to ensure the party he expects to use as his vehicle in the next presidential poll remains united following the emergence of two camps.
Mr Odinga is an accomplished grassroots mobiliser, with a huge political clout and forceful personality to match.
And, although he has continued to influence Kenya’s political agenda, his detractors say he is a ruthless politician who will crush those he views as working against his interests.
His earliest brush with Kenya’s turbulent political landscape was in the early 1990s after a fallout in the then pro-equality Forum for Restoration of Democracy that was later converted into a political party, Ford.
Following differences between two factions, one led by his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and another by former detainee Kenneth Matiba, the younger Odinga and other youthful politicians, dubbed Young Turks, teamed up with the doyen of opposition politics to form Ford Kenya.
The other splinter group led by Martin Shikuku and Kenneth Matiba registered its own party, Ford Asili.
However, when Jaramogi died, Mr Odinga found himself fighting for control of Ford Kenya against another group led by then Vice-President Kijana Wamalwa.
When supporters of the two factions converged at Thika Stadium on April 13, 1996 a fracas erupted after disagreement arose over certain delegates.
Each faction later conducted its own elections and sought to be declared the bona fide office holders. A protracted legal battle ensued, resulting in Mr Odinga leaving Ford Kenya and launching the National Development Party (NDP).
In 1998, the NDP entered into an alliance with Kanu which resulted in Mr Odinga and several other members of the party becoming ministers in the government of President Daniel arap Moi.
Earlier, Mr Odinga, a mechanical engineer, would be accused of masterminding the 1982 coup against President Moi’s government and was charged with treason and detained without trial for six years before fleeing to Norway in 1991.
In early 2002, Kanu held internal elections where Mr Odinga became secretary-general.
Mr Moi was to surprise Mr Odinga when he endorsed Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as the Kanu flag-bearer in the polls.
Mr Odinga led a walkout and teamed up with Kalonzo Musyoka to take over the little known Liberal Democratic Party.
Come 2007, he crafted the Pentagon team ahead of the General Election. However, he suffered a major setback when current Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo handed over the ownership of ODM-Kenya to Mr Musyoka, leaving Mr Odinga in a dilemma.
Lawyer Mugambi Manyara came to his rescue and surrendered ODM to him, which he used to contest the 2007 polls.
On September 1, 2007, he was nominated ODM presidential candidate at the Moi International Sports Centre with Musalia Mudavadi as a running mate.
 he sports Centre is a familiar ground for Mr Odinga where he has fought many political wars, won some and lost others.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tanzania the leading source of illegal ivory in East Africa - Interpol

Tanzania was the leading source of illegal ivory in the East African region last year, a new report by Interpol has shown

Tanzania was the leading source of illegal ivory in the East African region last year, a new report by Interpol has shown.
By comparison, Kenya faced much lower rates of poaching in 2013 partly due to extensive law enforcement and operations by the government.
At the same time, the port of Mombasa accounted for the largest volume of seizures in Africa with a total of over 10 tonnes of illegal ivory intercepted between January and October 2013.

According to the report which was released Wednesday, approximately 30 elephants are killed in Tanzania daily amounting to more than 10,000 jumbos annually.
“A significant portion of ivory illicitly trafficked to international markets especially in Asia is derived from elephant populations in Tanzania,” said the report.
An estimated 22,000 elephants were killed illegally continent wide in 2012 representing a slight reduction from the estimated 25,000 jumbos poached in 2011.
Tanzania’s elephant population has continued to plummet in recent years and in Selous Game reserve which boasted the world second largest elephant population at 70,000 elephants in 2006, the numbers have fallen to an estimated 39,000 in elephants in 2009 and currently stand at 13,084 elephants.
“Moreover, the elephant population in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park has declined by 44 per cent since 2006 and now numbers approximately 20,090,” the reports further adds.
The report which was launched at the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi by Mr David Higgins of Environmental Crime programme also revealed that that in 2013, global large-scale ivory seizures reached record levels and many of these seizures occurred in East Africa or in transit to Asia with an East African origin.
“Eighteen large-scale seizures (of over 500 kilogrammes) accounted for 41.6 tonnes of illicit ivory in 2013, these seizures represents increases over previous years mirroring heightened rates of elephant poaching throughout Africa,” the Interpol reports adds.
While poaching in Kenya has reduced due to more pressure by security agents on poachers, the country is being used as a transit route with the port of Mombasa becoming a favourite for poachers.
Interpol says Uganda though a landlocked country is also becoming a transit route for illegal ivory mostly from Tanzania.
“Of particular interest is the use of Uganda, a landlocked country as a transit point for Tanzanian ivory which is packaged in shipping containers and transported to the port of Mombasa in Kenya for onward international transport,” the report reveals.
The majority of intercepted ivory has occurred in maritime ports with the loot hidden in shipment containers usually concealed by other lawful goods.
Mr Higgins called for a new approach in combating poaching and illegal animal trophies trade saying the same was linked to fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
“We need to be more innovative, we need to cooperate to win this war,” he said while flanked by the Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya Mr David Angell.
On his part, Mr Angell said, “we must take urgent and decisive action to tackle the illegal wildlife trade and address the current poaching crisis”.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Rwanda has lowest child death rates in East Africa: report

                                                                                        Butaro hospital in Rwanda
Most children in Eastern Africa are likely to survive if they are born in Rwanda, a new report has revealed.
Nearly 70 per cent of women in the country give birth with a skilled healthcare worker present, the report says.
Ethiopia is ranked with the lowest rate in the region with just 10 per cent of mothers having access to such care.
Kenya is at 43.8 per cent, Tanzania 48.9 per cent while Uganda and Burundi both at 60 per cent.
 The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous and too many mothers give birth alone on the floor of their home or in the bush without any life-saving help,” said Janti Soeripto, Interim Regional Director for Save the Children’s East Africa Regional Office.
According to the report titled Ending Newborn Deaths, high inequalities in access between rural and urban areas, as well as between the richest and poorest families is the main cause of infant mortality.
In Kenya, poor women are four times less likely to have a skilled worker present when giving birth than women from richer households, the survey adds.
The situation is worse in Ethiopia where poor women are twenty times less likely to have this vital support.
Some countries like Uganda have taken measures to make access to healthcare more equitable such as ensuring a minimum package of health services for everyone.
However, the survey notes that "over a quarter of families still do not have a health facility within 5km radius, and attendance rates remain low due to poor infrastructure, inadequate supplies, and health worker shortages."
“We hear horror stories of mothers walking for hours during labour to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy,” Mr Soeripto said.
The Children's Agency says urgent action needs to be taken to reduce newborn mortality rates that account for deaths of more than half of all children under five years.
"The solutions are well-known but need greater political will to give babies a fighting chance of reaching their second day of life," the director said.

Joy, anger as Museveni signs law against gays

Pastor Martin Ssempa celebrates the signing of the Bill at the National Theatre in Kampala yesterday
Entebbe- President Museveni yesterday signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, eliciting joy and condemnation across the world.
A tough-talking President told a fully-packed room at State House, Entebbe that western powers that have been pressuring him against signing the bill are social imperialists who want to impose their culture on Africans.
The President said supporters and promoters of homosexuality had “lost the argument” and warned development partners that Uganda was ready to live without aid.
“The outsiders cannot dictate to us. It’s our future and let them take their aid. In fact, it has been a problem,” he said.
A greater part of President Museveni’s speech dwelt on the scientific study done by 10 Ugandan scientists that concluded that homosexuals are “nurtured” and not “natural”.
“We reject the notion that homosexuality can be by choice. When I was fighting after the bill was passed, I didn’t’ know I was fighting a wrong war. I cannot understand why a person cannot be attracted to the beauties of women and go for men,” he said.
Mr Museveni said it was after getting this advice that he realised he was fighting a “wrong war”, adding that the practice was being fuelled by poverty.
“Many of our homosexuals are prostitutes,” said the President. “They are recruited because of money. There are no single nature-driven homosexuals. Nature without nurture, you cannot get homosexuals. Why don’t you remove this nurture and we rehabilitate them?”
Whereas Parliament passed the bill in December last year, the President initially hesitated to assent to it, at first citing the lack of quorum but later indicating he would seek expert scientific opinion.
At the just-concluded NRM party retreat at Kyankwanzi, the President announced he would sign the bill after scientists told him the practice is largely nurtured and not natural.
Offering more advice yesterday, the President warned against oral sex, which he said exposes those involved to health risks.
“I hear some of them do oral sex. The mouth is for eating, not for sex. You can get gonorrhea of the mouth on account of oral sex. Why should you get diseases because of going to a wrong address?” he asked.
Mr Museveni said Africans survived slave trade, colonialists and would also “win the war” against homosexuality.
Moments after news spread that the President had assented to the bill, there were pockets of celebration in parts of downtown Kampala, with traders saying the law will protect their families.
At Omega Healing Centre children carried placards as they praised Museveni, Cabinet and Parliament for enacting the law.
The Church’s pastor, Michael Kyazze, told a congregation of mainly primary and secondary students: “President Museveni has saved you, the future generation.”
Renowned anti-homosexuality crusader Pastor Martin Ssempa, who led a group of followers in celebration at the National Theatre, said he would help rehabilitate homosexuals.
“As Kayihura (police chief) will be playing his part (of arresting), we shall also be playing our part of rehabilitating our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, who sponsored the bill, said: “The signing of the bill is a victory for the people of Uganda and triumph of the sovereignty of our country.”
However, the tone was different from the West, with UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, saying he was “saddened”.
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda has been signed into law. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. We question the Bill’s compatibility with Uganda’s Constitution and international treaty obligations,” he said.
The US Mission in Uganda said President Obama’s earlier statement, where he warned of a “complicated” relationship if President Museveni assented to the bill, still stands. Washington was expected to issue an official statement later.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, warned that the law would institutionalise discrimination and is likely to encourage harassment of homosexuals.
Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch, said: “President Museveni has dealt a dramatic blow to freedom expression and association in Uganda by signing the Anti-Homosexuality bill,” said, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Attacking basic rights and criminalizing the expression of divergent views doesn’t bode well for anyone. This is yet another troubling sign of disregard for fundamental human rights in Uganda.”
WILLIAM HAGUE, UK FOREIGN SECRETARY: “I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda has been signed into law. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. We question the Bill’s compatibility with Uganda’s constitution and international treaty obligations. There can be no doubt that this Bill will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally.”
US MISSION IN UGANDA: “The President’s statement still stands,” Public Affairs Officer, Daniel Travis said, ahead of an expected official response from Washington. President Barack Obama earlier warned that President Museveni’s assent to the legislation would “complicate the valued relationship” between the US and Uganda,”
NAVI PILLAY, UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: “Disapproval of homosexuality by some can never justify violating the fundamental human rights of others. This law will institutionalise discrimination and is likely to encourage harassment and violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation. It is formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone, not just LGBT people.”
MARIA BURNETT, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: “President Museveni has dealt a dramatic blow to freedom expression and association in Uganda by signing the Anti-Homosexuality bill,” said, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Attacking basic rights and criminalizing the expression of divergent views doesn’t bode well for anyone. This is yet another troubling sign of disregard for fundamental human rights in Uganda.”

Monday, 24 February 2014

Museveni set to sign anti-gay Bill

President Museveni to signs the anti-Homosexuality Bill on Monday
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to sign into law a controversial Bill that will see homosexuals jailed for life, despite international pressure, a government spokesman said.
The Ugandan anti-gay bill cruised through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop an extremely controversial death penalty clause, although the bill still says that repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.
"The president will sign the anti-homosexuality bill today,".
Museveni, a key African ally of the United States and the European Union, has already been under fire from key Western donors over alleged rampant corruption, and had been under pressure from diplomats and rights groups to block the legislation.
"The president cannot be pushed by the international lobby groups... he has made it clear whatever he does will be in the interests of Uganda and not foreign interests," Mirundi said.
"Uganda is a sovereign state and the decisions taken must be respected."
The lawmaker behind the bill, David Bahati, praised the decision to sign the Bill. "This is the moment the world has been waiting for,".
Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, earlier this month also signed into law anti-pornography and dress code legislation which outlaws "provocative" clothing, bans scantily-clad performers from Ugandan television and closely monitors what individuals watch on the Internet.
"We thank our President for taking such a bold move despite pressure from a section of foreign organisations," Bahati said. "The law is for the good of Uganda, the current and the future generations."
Gay men and women in the country face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have reported cases of lesbians being subjected to "corrective" rapes.

Ethiopian immigrants 'walked for nine months'

Brothers fighting brothers: Poor border demarcation developed into military conflict and full-scale war in the late 1990s in which tens of thousands of people were killed. Despite the official cessation of hostilities in 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea continued their war through proxies

Twelve Ethiopian illegal immigrants walked for nine months to Zimbabwe to escape religious tensions in the Horn of Africa nation, a court was told on Monday.
They were arrested late last year in Bulawayo but the trial delayed because of lack of an Amharic interpreter.
On Friday, they were sentenced to three months in prison, which was wholly suspended for five years on condition they do not remain in Zimbabwe without proper documentation.
“I walked for nine months to Zimbabwe because of religious tensions in my country. I was hoping to get peace and job opportunities,” one of them said.
The group had been arrested on December 4, 2013 while hiding at a house in Bulawayo.
“My parents were killed while I watched and they burnt our farm which was our only means of survival. We came here seeking asylum because life had become difficult in Ethiopia.
The group signed an admission of guilt letter where they urged the authorities to grant them refugee status.
“This letter serves as an admission of guilt and request for refugee status. There is a social and political unrest in the region where we come from," the letter reads.
According to the magistrate Abedinico Ndebele, it would be a waste of money to fine the immigrants as they had no money.
“This court understands that there is instability in your country and that most of you are young people who entered Zimbabwe for the first time,” Mr Ndebele said.
“Therefore there is no need for us to fine you or put you in prison because you have been in remand for almost three months now. You can go but do not commit such an offence again.”
Last week, an Ethiopian pilot was arrested after he hijacked the plane in a plot to get asylum in Geneva.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Gunmen control Entebbe highway

Traffic on the Kampala-Entebbe Highway. Armed thugs have of recent attacked areas on the highway
During the 15th African Union Summit in Kampala, Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura received a telephone call. The caller was none other than his commander-in-chief, Gen Yoweri Museveni.
“Where are the police officers that I told you to deploy on Entebbe highway? I don’t see them,” President Museveni asked Gen Kayihura during the summit in 2010.
Gen Kayihura had no definite answer. Soon after President Museveni put down the receiver, Gen Kayihura hit the ground running.
“I didn’t sleep because of these undisciplined officers,” Gen Kayihura said. “I deployed patrol vehicles and personnel on Entebbe Road but they were not there because of indiscipline. The President passed on the road and he found no police presence on the road.”
Last week, Gen Kayihura was back on the Entebbe highway for a similar situation which President Museveni wanted to avoid in 2010.
On Valentines’ Day, gunmen killed the officer in charge of Kajjansi Police Station, Joseph Bigirwa. Preliminary police investigations show that the police had not deployed in Kajjansi Town that day and it took more than 30 minutes for reinforcements to come when the gunmen had long left the scene.
When Gen Kayihura visited the scene on Tuesday, he confirmed that his senior officers had not deployed in the area at the time of the attack as he had advised.
Most guarded
Entebbe road is the most guarded highway in the country. But with the increase in crime, especially the grabbing of police guns on the airport highway, a new challenge to Kampala Metropolitan Police intelligence and operations units emerges.
Just months before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in 2007, Entebbe highway was one of the few roads where discipline seemed to be taking root.
Motorists observed traffic rules, the then Kampala City Council (now KCCA) erected street lights and garbage cans (or skips) on the roadside and cleaned the roads daily to restore cleanliness and sanity on the airport highway.
Police installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and increased their presence, deployed more patrol cars and motor vehicles on the highway than elsewhere in the country.
The airport road is a gateway for tourists and visitors coming into the country.
The 22-mile (35km) stretch from Entebbe to Kampala was allocated more than 29 police patrol vehicles and 45 motorcycles. Each patrol car has eight officers and a motorcycle has two, which translates into 322 police personnel. This means, the 35km stretch has the same number of police personnel as is deployed in remote districts of Agago, Bukomansimbi, Lamwo and Bududa which have 326 police personnel altogether.
They are also better facilitated in terms of motor vehicles than those in sub-regions of West Nile, Karamoja and Acholi.
However, most of these patrol cars have become resting places for officers, especially at night.
Despite the high presence of police, gunmen are ruling the highway, raiding police stations and robbing them of guns. Last year gunmen attacked Mpala Police Post and took off with one sub-machine gun. The same gun is said to have been used by thugs to kill a police constable in a foiled robbery in the Nalumunye outskirt of Kampala two weeks ago.
Two guns were grabbed at Ngobi and Akright police posts by an armed gang in 2010. Only one of the guns was recovered by police in an armed robbery in western Uganda months later.
The CCTV cameras on the airport route have not helped much. Everyday passengers and passers-by have fallen victim to muggers at Clock Tower, Kibuye and Nsambya road junctions in the city where CCTV cameras were installed.
Muggers target unsuspecting passengers and motorists and snatch their phones and other valuables and run way. Many passengers do not even bother to report to the police as they know they will not recover their property.
Entebbe highway has also become a hub for conmen who often telephone unsuspecting victims that they have won gifts or they want them to supply certain items. Urban areas like Lubowa, Namasuba, Stella-Najjanankumbi and Sseguku are major centres for conmen. The crime has become so worrying that a team of detectives was set up and tasked to track the offenders.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi said they have broken the racket of conmen who purport to trade in motor spare parts, animal drugs and gifts on the airport highway.
Fake NGOs
“This racket has operated on Entebbe Road, conning people of their hard-earned money. We have arrested nine people from their illegal offices in Namasuba after getting complaints from more than 60 victims at our various stations in the last two weeks,” Mr Ssenkumbi said.
The group was alleged to have extended its illicit dealings to establishing fake NGOs which purport to be engaged in poverty alleviation programmes. Police said they would charge the nine suspects with obtaining money by false pretence, forgery, computer misuse and obtaining money by trickery.

The road has also become a safe haven for drug and human traffickers, especially those who are from West Africa. Recently, a US national, Mr Robert Muller, was rescued by police after people who lured him to Uganda for a purported oil business venture turned against him and kidnapped him on the airport road to the city.
Mr Muller’s attackers were demanding a ransom of $50,000 (about Shs125 million) from his relatives in the United States. It was discovered later that his kidnappers were Nigerians and were keeping him in Sseguku, off the airport road. A police team recovered illicit drugs in the house of the suspects.
The same group kidnapped an Australian, Ms James Robert, and demanded Euros65,000 (about Shs219 million) from his relatives. They managed to get Euros35,000 (about Shs118 million) ransom before they released her.
The night of February 14, 2014, was like no other for the residents of Kajjansi, the busy suburb 17km on the Kampala-Entebbe Highway famous for its clay works.
It was Valentine’s Day when lovers and friends shower each other with affection. While many went about celebrating the day, a 32-year-old cadet police officer entered through the back entrance a small bar – Destiny Bar - in the trading centre just opposite Gaz fuel refilling station.
It was very common of cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Joseph Bigirwa to spend the night after work in this specific bar with two of his friends, one also a police officer deployed at one of the police posts in Lubowa.
He sat in his favourite spot just near the door and ordered a soft drink which he always begun with before he graduated to alcohol as the night wore on. His colleague, cadet ASP Alexander, had arrived earlier and was already taking his drink. But soon afterwards, he excused himself and left.
About 20 minutes later after ASP Alexander had left Bigirwa’s company, a gunshot was heard outside.
Bigirwa, like any trained officer, went straight for the door and behold, just across the road at the petrol station, the pump attendant had been put under gun point and some people had attacked the Mobile Money shop which was located within the refilling station.
Rushing back into the bar, Bigirwa approached the bar owner and asked for the back door to be opened from which he passed and went out.
All his focus directed at the petrol station, Bigirwa could have as well been any other by-passer watching, but the difference was no by-passer would have attempted to cross the road to the side where four armed thugs had taken charge.
As he jumped the ditch to enter the road, a gunshot was heard, and then another and the exchange continued with people in the area lying on the ground.
The four thugs were at this time still busy at the petrol station, raising suspicion that they were more than the number counted.
It was after they had left and all the people gained confidence to rise from the ground that everyone started wondering who the courageous young man that had even removed a pistol and attempted to fight with the thugs was.
It was the bar owner that identified the murdered police officer a few minutes before a police patrol car arrived at the scene.

The whole action had taken less than 10 minutes.
Thugs tracked officer
On Tuesday, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura, together with Kampala Metropolitan Commander Andrew Kaweesi, visited the scene to help detectives reconstruct what could have transpired on the fateful night.
Gen Kayihura says there is a possibility that the two thugs who are believed to have shot the officer knew he was in the bar and were keeping their eyes on him as the other four accomplished the robbery mission.
“These guys could have been following him all along. One shot him standing behind him while the other was on his right side,” Gen Kayihura was heard telling the detectives.
Failure to rescue their own
Police preliminary findings indicate that a patrol car was packed less than 50metres from the scene of the murder, but no police officer was at the patrol, and that the DPC was at the station but only responded about 15 minutes after the robbers had left.
Two traffic officers are also said to have been on the highway near the scene but made no attempt to respond to evidently clear gunshot sounds that were heard by almost all residents of the Kajjansi trading centre.
The leadership of the Kajjansi Police Station is to also explain why no officer had been deployed at the petrol station as per the directives of the President.
“I have told you before that all petrol stations should have an armed police officer guarding it. This was a directive from the President because of the possible terror attacks on these installations,” Gen Kayihura told officers.
By Dear Jeanne
29: The police patrol vehicles deployed along the Kampala-Entebbe Highway. Each patrol car has eight officers.
35km: The distance from Kampala city to Entebbe Town. The airport road is a gateway for tourists and visitors coming into the country.
45: The motorcycles deployed along the Kampala-Entebbe Highway. Each motorcycle has two officers.
322: The police officers deployed along the Entebbe highway, the same number as officers deployed in four remote districts combined.

9 things you didn’t know about Mugabe

Marking 90 years. Robert Mugabe turned 90 on Friday. Born in Kutama, Village in Zimbabwe, Mugabe was educated by Jesuits and went on to become a teacher before joining the liberation struggle. He spent 11 years in prison and became Zimbabwe’s first leader in 1980. Nine things you may not know about Mugabe- and which may hold the key to his longevity

Exercise and traditional food
“I fall sick if I don’t exercise,” Mr Mugabe said three years ago.
Needing little sleep, he gets up between 4:00am and 5:00am every day to exercise, according to a close source. But he’s not fond of the gym machines his wife has installed in state house and prefers to follow his own regime. “In prison, we had no equipment, we just had ourselves and that’s what I still do today,” he says.
Another secret to his long life may be that he prefers his sadza - Zimbabwe’s staple food - to be made the traditional way from unrefined grains, which is much healthier than the ubiquitous white version of the maize dish. Plus he doesn’t smoke, although he is known to have some wine with dinner.
Despite constant rumours of ill health [a Wikileaks cable suggested he has prostate cancer], his health and political career appear robust. Cataracts are his only confirmed ailment - he had an operation to remove one this week. “I have died many times - that’s where I have beaten Christ. Christ died once and resurrected once,” he said when he turned 88.
Although he was brought up a Catholic [his mother was very religious], Mugabe told South Africa’s public broadcaster SABC some years ago that he is not a devout Christian.
Great cricket fan
Mugabe has long professed his love of cricket. The patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket association, his official residence is right next to the Harare Sports Club, which allows the president to keep a watchful eye on the wicket during national matches.
“Cricket civilises people and creates good gentlemen,” Mr Mugabe said several years after Zimbabwe became independent. “ I want everyone to play cricket in Zimbabwe; I want ours to be a nation of gentlemen.”
Bad loser
As a boy, Robert Mugabe was a “keen and good” tennis player, said a student teacher at the Catholic mission where he studied. But when he lost, he would throw his racket to the ground. “You would see his head fall and his shoulders drop down and he would leave the court without saying anything to anybody,” Brother Kazito Bute told Heidi Holland in her book Dinner With Mugabe.
He’s admitted he was a poor footballer when young, but now enjoys watching the game, being a self-confessed Chelsea and Barcelona fan.
“When I watch soccer, I do not want anyone to disturb me,” he said in 2012. “Even my wife knows where to sit because while they are scoring in the field, I will also be scoring at home, kicking everything in front of me.”
Prefers Cliff Richard to Bob Marley
The late Zimbabwean politician Edgar Tekere told the BBC that when organising the independence celebrations in 1980, Mr Mugabe wasn’t keen on having Bob Marley perform.
The prime-minister-in-waiting is said to have stated that British pop star Cliff Richard was much more to his taste. Journalist Wilf Mbanga, who knew Mr Mugabe well in the 1970 and 1980s, said country singer Jim Reeves was another favourite of the president.
Others have speculated that Mr Mugabe would have wanted the more clean-cut Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff to perform at the festivities on April 18, 1980. His dislike of Rastafarians is well-known - he once warned young Zimbabweans: “In Jamaica, they have freedom to smoke marijuana, the men are always drunk. Men want to sing and do not go to colleges, some of them dreadlock their hair. Let’s not go there.”
Snappy dresser
Saville row suits with matching tie and handkerchief, are what he is most comfortable in - and were his trademark until his former spin doctor Jonathan Moyo gave him a makeover in the early 2000s and he started campaigning in brightly coloured shirts emblazoned with his face and sports caps. Now his signature has inspired a designer fashion range.
But his Zimbabwean tailor Khalil “Solly” Parbhoo says: “He still dresses like an English gentleman - that’s always been his style.” He told Heidi Holland: “His suits were always made in London or I think somewhere in Malaysia, now that he isn’t welcome in Britain anymore.”
Admires Kwame Nkrumah
Mr Mugabe’s political awakening happened while in Ghana, where he was a teacher and met his first wife, Sally Hayfron.
He arrived a year after pan-Africanist politician Kwame Nkrumah had led the Gold Coast to independence in 1957, the first sub-Saharan country to throw off the shackles of colonial rule. Mugabe said he was inspired by their liberation encapsulated in Ghana’s Highlife music.
On his return home two years later, Mugabe began politicising people. “I started telling people… how free the Ghanaians were, and what the feeling was in a newly-independent African state,” he said in an interview in 2003.
“I told them also about Nkrumah’s own political ideology and his commitment that unless every inch of African soil was free, then Ghana would not regard itself as free.”
A man of many degrees
In total, Mr Mugabe has seven degrees, first graduating from South Africa’s University of Fort Hare where Nelson Mandela studied, with a bachelor of arts. He did his other degrees by distance learning - two of them while he was in prison - in administration, education, science and law.
He has also boasted of leading a party with “degrees in violence” - in a warning to trade unionists before strikes in 1998.
A violent crackdown on opposition activists amid the political turmoil of the last decade has led several universities to revoke honorary degrees awarded to him for his achievements.
Queen Elizabeth II also stripped him of his honorary knighthood as “a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe”.
Had a child at 73
He has three children with his second wife Grace Marufu, his former secretary. The couple’s third child, Chatunga, was born in 1997, a year after they were married.
His first son, Nhamodzenyika, died of malaria at the age of three in Ghana. Mr Mugabe, then a prisoner of the Rhodesian government, was refused permission to join his wife Sally in Accra for the funeral.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

I’ll work with Russians, Museveni tells Obama

President Museveni (L) after commissioning Uganda’s first flight simulator in Entebbe on Friday where he said he will work with Russians.

Entebbe-President Museveni has said he will work with Russians because they don’t meddle in the internal affairs of other countries.
The comment follows US President Barack Obama’s statement that the relationship between his country and Uganda would be “complicated” if Museveni signs the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law.
However, while commissioning a new flight simulator at the air force headquarters in Entebbe on Friday, Mr Museveni told Obama to stop interfering in the affairs of Uganda, adding he will work with Russia instead of America.
“Russia has worked in Africa since 1917, meaning they have been here for more than 100 years. I want to work with Russia because they don’t mix up their politics with other country’s politics,” Mr Museveni said.
He added: “If you see a person going to another person’s home then you know there is a problem.”
“This is my home. You cannot find a man with a bald head like mine in his home and tell him what you want. Go back to your home,” he said in a veiled reference to President Obama.
“In Ankole, if you find such a thing happening, one will enter his house and pick his stick.”
Mr Obama’s warning came a day after President Museveni announced at the NRM party caucus retreat in Kyankwanzi last week that he would assent to the Bill after a presentation by Ugandan scientists concluded that homosexuality is not a genetic abnormality, but an adopted sexual behaviour.
An earlier statement from the White House in Washington quoted Mr Obama as saying: “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.”
However, on Friday, Mr Museveni said: “I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will ‘complicate our valued relationship’ with the USA as President Obama said.
He added: “Countries and societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making. Valued relationship cannot be sustainably maintained by one society being subservient to another society.”
Mr Museveni thanked Ms Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of former USA President Robert Kennedy and a human rights activist, who sent him opinions by scientists from the USA, saying there are some indications that homosexuality could be congenital.
What Museveni doesn’t want: Those who agreed to become homosexuals for mercenary reasons (prostitutes) should be harshly punished as should those who paid them to be homosexual prostitutes. Exhibitionism of homosexual behaviour must be punished because, in this part of the World, it is forbidden to publicly exhibit any sexual conduct (kissing, etc) even for heterosexuals; if I kissed my wife of 41 years in public, I would lose elections in Uganda.
His appeal to the US: I, therefore, would encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation. I would be among those who will spearhead that effort.
Waiting for clarification: The President said: “I have now received their (scientists from the Department of Genetics, the School of Medicine and the Ministry of Health) signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality.”
He added: “What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual. Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.”

Somalia presidential palace hit by car bomb, gun attack

Debris after an attack in front of Somalia's presidential palace on February 21, 2014 in Mogadishu. At least 14 people were killed on Friday, including five Somali officials or soldiers plus nine attackers, in a suicide attack by Al Shabaab rebels against the presidential palace in Mogadishu, police said. 

Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab rebels launched a major suicide commando attack on Friday against the heavily-fortified presidential palace, home to the country's internationally-backed government, police and witnesses said.
A huge car bomb exploded at the perimeter of the central Mogadishu complex, and a group of around a dozen suicide attackers breached the Villa Somalia compound. Al Shabaab rebels immediately claimed responsibility.
The UN's special envoy to Somalia said the country's president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, had telephoned to say he was unharmed in the attack against the complex, one of the best-defended locations in the war-torn country.
"There is a large attack on the presidential palace. Initial reports are that a suicide car bomber hit the gate and exploded, then men with guns followed," police officer Mohamed Ali told. Another source said he saw at least nine gunmen attack.
"Security forces are dealing with terrorists who blew up a car... and there is exchange of fire. We have no details of the casualties but of course there are casualties," said Ahmed Moalim Adan, a security official near the scene of the attack.
Witness Hussein Isa said the attackers were fighting inside the presidential compound.
"A suicide bomber rammed a car full of explosives into the perimeter wall of the presidential palace and another one with heavily armed men penetrated the area where the first one hit. There is heavy exchange of gunfire continuing inside the building but we cannot tell what is happening," said the witness.
A military spokesman for Al Shabaab said that the group was behind the attack.
"Our commandos have attacked the so-called presidential palace in order to kill or arrest those who who are inside," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Musab said.
"We are still holding some of the buildings and the fighting is continuing. The enemy had suffered a great deal of harm but I don't have the exact casualty figures," he added.
The attack came just a week after the militants carried out a suicide car bomb attack at the gates of Mogadishu's heavily-fortified international airport, and the Al Shabaab spokesman said the group wanted to show "that no place is safe for the apostate government.
 The airport, so-called presidential palace and anywhere in Somalia can be attacked as we plan," he warned.
The sound of intense gunfire and numerous explosions could be heard coming from the presidential complex,  but the gunfire then died down -- although it was not clear if the complex had been fully secured.
In a message on Twitter, UN special envoy Nick Kay said the president "just called me to say he's unharmed" and that the "attack on Villa Somalia had failed."
 Sadly some lives lost. I condemn strongly this terrorism," Kay's message said.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Stolen baby brought back home after months in Juba

Foreign Affairs and Children’s Department officials with baby Marua Munene at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on February 21, 2014.  
A Kenyan baby stolen from its mother just four days after birth returned to the country on Friday after a South Sudanese court ordered that he be brought back.
The boy, who was in the company of the Children’s Department and Kenya Mission in South Sudan officials, remained playful, at one point grabbing a journalist’s microphone, but his parents are yet to be identified.
The boy will be staying at a children’s home in the meantime.
The baby had been in the custody of the Kenyan embassy for four months, before he was finally flown in.
His story begun on September 30 when a woman in her 40s boarded a Simba Coach bus destined for Juba in Nairobi.
The woman, who has since been jailed for child abduction, boarded the bus after claiming that she was the real mother of the child.
But in a journey that takes more than 20 hours, the cat was always going to get out of the bag.
While the abductor managed to pass through the Kenya-Uganda border, she was not lucky after crossing into South Sudan.
The baby started crying and the other passengers got concerned because the mother was neither breastfeeding nor soothing it.
The following day at the Namule border point in South Sudan, the passengers notified police who questioned the woman.
“She initially said she was the mother, but later changed the story saying she had only been given the baby to bring it to South Sudan. Through the South Sudanese authorities, we arrested two other women, one from Kenya and another from South Sudan,” Mr Lawrence Chemonges, the Foreign Affairs Senior Assistant Secretary for Diaspora Service, told reporters.
The ministry had been notified of the incident in October, but relied on South Sudanese authorities to trace the woman’s movements. It appears her phone records helped.
“The passengers in the bus had suspected that the child is stolen because the baby had been crying all the way from Nairobi and she was not breastfeeding him,” a dispatch from the Kenyan Embassy in Juba describes how the Mission got wind of the theft.
One Kenyan woman on the bus, who had talked to the abductor, later called the Mission in Juba to report the incident.
According to the report, when they asked her why she was neither cuddling nor breastfeeding the baby, she told them she had just adopted it.
It is a curious incident given that normally, an adult travelling in the company of a minor across the borders must declare the identity of the child.
The Foreign Affairs ministry could not determine whether she had declared her details at the Kenyan border.
Border officials later demanded that her breasts be checked to determine if she had breastfed at all. It is after this that they updated their national security agencies in Juba.
The mission further updated Nairobi that the suspect, only identified as Hellen Syokau, had initially indicated that she was from Tanzania before her identification documents betrayed her.
“She informed the passengers that she was from Tanzania but upon producing her documents, they found out that she is from Kenya, Eastern Province and Kamba by tribe,” it stated.
The baby now identified as Marua Munene alias Baby Lucky Juba, though his real name is yet to be known, was returned to Nairobi by Kenyan Foreign Affairs officials following a court order in Juba that the baby be brought back.
According to the embassy, the baby’s three would-be abductors have since been jailed, with the Kenyan getting a year behind bars for abduction and trafficking.
The ministry declined to identify the other Kenyan woman and her south Sudanese accomplice, saying, further investigations were going on.
“We still don’t know the baby’s parents because there were no identification or birth certificate on the woman. We managed to trace other suspects using the woman’s previous telephone calls and she later admitted to have stolen the baby in Kenya,” Mr John Mariera, the secretary in the Kenyan mission in Juba said.
Foreign Affairs could not name the children’s home the baby will be taken to, but has asked anyone who lost a baby of this age to report the matter to the police or contact the ministry urgently.

DPP gives terms for Kidero-Shebesh charges withdrawal

The criminal charges facing Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh cannot be dropped formally until they present themselves to the respective police stations where they filed complaints

The criminal charges facing Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh cannot be dropped formally until they present themselves to the respective police stations where they filed complaints.

In a letter presented before Justice David Majanja Friday, the Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Keriako Tobiko said the two have to present themselves to the police to withdraw the complaints.
Both parties said they require a week to do so and requested to return to court on February 28 to report on the progress of their intended withdrawal.
Lawyer Cecil Miller for Ms Shebesh and Tom Ojienda for Mr Kidero said they have received the DPP’s letter and their clients were willing to abide by the requirement.
The lawyers said they would return to court in a week’s time to register the progress of the matter.

EAC single tourist visa launched

East African heads (L-R) Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni in Munyonyo yesterday.
KAMPALA- Tourists visiting Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda will now need a single instead of multiple visas to tour the three East African countries.
This followed the launch of the East African Tourist Visa by the regional heads of states yesterday in Kampala where President Museveni, in his remarks took a swipe at the international community for contemptuously lecturing him on homosexual matters.
Mr Museveni said regional integration will not only provide formidable markets but also politically strengthen East Africa.
He gave an example of how the international community is mounting pressure on him not to sign the anti-gay Bill into law as a move by the Western powers to belittle weak nations.
“We (Uganda) are being given lectures on homosexuals because we are weak,” Mr Museveni said. He continued: “How can you start lecturing an old man with a bald head on how to run his home? This is my house I know how to run it—this is contempt.”
According to Mr Museveni, the strength of East Africans does not lie in the numerous tribes and religion but in the huge markets that the integration presents.
Together with President Paul Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta, they launched the tourist regional visa that will reduce bureaucracies involved in getting multiple visas.
Burundi and Tanzania which were formerly left out of the regional infrastructure projects, were this time represented and in their communication they noted the need for all the EAC partner states to move on the same page.
“Burundi fully supports the integration infrastructure projects and it’s a right of Burundi to take an active role in this process. We need to be involved in all the technical and political decisions,” the second Vice President of Burundi, Mr Gervas Rufyikiri, said in his communication yesterday.
While the Tanzanian Vice President, Mr Mohammad Gharib Bilal, said his country though willing, will be observing the developments closely as it unfolds.
South Sudan, which has applied to join the EAC, called on the regional leaders to condemn the resumption of fighting in the world’s newest nation.
South Sudan Foreign Minister, Benjamin Marial Barnaba said more than 500,000 people have been displaced. And 800,000 have sought refuge in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Mr Barnaba told the summit the Presence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan should be appreciated and not condemned. International Community is opposed to UPDF continued presence in South Sudan where they have been fighting alongside South Sudan government forces.
President Kenyatta said the single regional tourist visa marks the beginning of free movement of goods and person in the regional.
The Rwandan President, Mr Paul Kagame whose country spearheaded the establishment of regional single tourist visa, said its launch was important illustration of commitment to integration process.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Wenger slams cynical Bayern as Arsenal face exit

Arsenal's Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny (R) is given the red card after a foul on Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben during the UEFA Champions League Last 16, first leg football match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich at The Emirates Stadium in north London on February 19, 2014.

Arsene Wenger accused Bayern Munich of resorting to cynical tactics as 10-man Arsenal were left facing elimination from the Champions League after a 2-0 defeat against the holders.
Wenger's side are on the verge of crashing out of Europe's elite club competition in the last 16 at the hands of Bayern for the second successive season following a frustrating first leg loss at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
The result was hard to take for Gunners boss Wenger, who was infuriated by what he perceived as Bayern's theatrical attempts to influence Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli by making the most of any contact from Arsenal players.
Wenger's rant seemed harsh on Bayern, who made their class tell after an early wobble when Mesut Ozil's penalty was saved by Manuel Neuer before Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for conceding a spot-kick with a foul on Arjen Robben.
Bayern's David Alaba missed the penalty, but Pep Guardiola's team eventually made their numerical superiority pay thanks to second half goals from Germany midfielders Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller.
Wenger was convinced Robben had conned Rizzoli to win the penalty that swung the balance of the match.
The Frenchman made a diving gesture on the touchline just after the incident and stuck to his guns when asked to give his view on Bayern's antics.
"Robben made more of it," Wenger said. "He has enough experience to make the most of it and Bayern made the most of every single contact.
"We are not used to that in England. Fouls were given that are not given in the Premier League.
"The referee made a decision with the penalty that killed the game.
"The regret I have is he decided that Wojciech misjudged the situation, but there was no clear desire to make a foul.
"I just feel frustrated. It was a great game until half-time.
"The sending off changed the game, it killed it. Until then it was top quality, but in the second half it was boring, it was one-way traffic."
Bayern boss Guardiola wouldn't be drawn on Wenger's criticism, but he felt Rizzoli made the right decision with Szczesny's red card.
"I don't answer my colleagues," he said. "I saw it on television, it is a penalty. When it is the last man the rule is it should be a penalty and a red card."
Szczesny appeared to make an obscene gesture, presumably aimed at the officials, as he trudged down the tunnel following his dismissal.
But Wenger refused to comment on that ill-tempered reaction and also kept his cool when asked about Germany midfielder Ozil's tamely-struck ninth minute penalty.
The miss was symptomatic of an inconsistent first season at Arsenal for the club's record signing, with Wenger saying: "He missed a penalty with his style, what can I say?
"It's frustrating because you could see Bayern were on the ropes at the start. We had three good chances, but to make them insecure we needed to score that penalty but he missed it.
"He was affected by it afterwards, you could see 10 minutes later he was still shaking his head. It had a huge impact on his performance."
While Bayern will be firm favourites to finish the job in the second leg in Munich on March 11, the Gunners did win 2-0 there last season, although that result wasn't enough to stop them bowing out on goal difference.
"It isn't over because we will fight until the end," Wenger said.
Guardiola finally got his first win as a manager at Arsenal, but he warned his players not to rest on their laurels in the return.
"After the clear penalty and the red card the game changed completely," he said.
"We showed good patience when faced with nine defenders.
"Now we have to focus on the second leg. If we just go to defend the result everything can happen, so we have to be careful."

Mugabe tells party to stop discussing his exit

                                                                                               Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe who turns 90 on Friday says there is no need to talk about his succession because he is not about to retire.
According to extracts of an interview published by the government owned media on Thursday, President Mugabe said he was not happy with the jockeying for his post in his Zanu PF party.
A full interview is set to be broadcast on state television on Thursday night.
The veteran ruler, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, said his retirement was not due and those raising the succession issue would divide his party.
He said he does not want to leave Zanu PF divided along factional lines.
“But why should it (succession) be discussed when it is not due? Is it due?” he asked.
“The people can discuss it if they want, but the moment they start they go into factions and then you find the party dividing itself and so why discuss it when it is not due?
President Mugabe added: “When the day comes and I retire, yes, sure the day will come, but I do not want to leave my party in tatters. I want to leave it intact.”
He said those angling to succeed him risked expulsion from Zanu PF as they were fanning factionalism.
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have often been identified as leaders of a faction jostling to position themselves in the event President Mugabe decides to retire.
However, the two have repeatedly denied the accusations.
President Mugabe said it was “terrible even to have your name mentioned as leader of a faction. It is shameful.”
The Zanu PF factionalism played out during the party’s provincial elections held last December.
There is a belief that any leader whose factions is in pole position ahead of Zanu PF’s next elective congress would stand a better chance to succeed President Mugabe.
But the former school teacher, now of one Africa’s longest serving leaders, promised to ruthlessly crush the camps in his party going forward.
“That is what we are fighting against and I am going to fight against this one quite blatantly because that is what is destroying the party,” he charged.
President Mugabe’s succession has been discussed in hushed tones for decades and he has repeatedly stressed that he is not thinking about retirement.

Tear gas welcomes chancellor Ssebuwufu to Kyambogo varsity

A student protests after he was arrested by police at Kyambogo University campus yesterday.
KAMPALA- Riot police was yesterday prompted to fire tear gas to clear way for the new Kyambogo University Chancellor, Prof John Ssebuwufu, to attend his swearing in ceremony as rowdy students blocked the entrance to the university main building.
The function, which was scheduled to start at 9am , started an hour late as police fought running battles with students to clear the way.
The angry students were protesting delayed release of the final graduation list yet many claim they cleared all academic and financial requirements to enable them graduate.
Police had to put a security cordon around the venue where the function took place to keep the students at bay. Jinja Road police commander Wesley Nganizi said they deployed at the university on the request of the administration to ensure all ceremonies between Wednesday and Friday go on smoothly.
Alupo’s disappointment
In the middle of the fracas, Education minister Jessica Alupo arrived to preside over the installation function and expressed shock at what she saw and heard about Kyambogo. She urged the university management to bring their house to order.
“I didn’t expect to get this reception in an institution of higher learning. What is wrong here? I thought you, the officials are on top of the situation.” she said as unidentified students whom police had bundled on pick up shouted: “Madam we are not graduating. Those officials there ‘chewed’ our money.”
At least 6,315 students are expected to graduate between today and tomorrow but many were still skeptical by press time whether they will graduate because the final graduation list was not yet out.
Ms Alupo described Prof Ssebuwufu as ‘a sent messiah’.
“I can bear witness that Ssebuwufu is a messiah to this university. I know you (Ssebuwufu) as a man of integrity, humility and when you were vice chancellor at Makerere, I was a student there but I didn’t hear of or see cases of students missing on the graduation list or staff strikes.”
Prof Ssebuwufu promised to serve diligently.
“I am not new in Kyambogo, the current problems were part and partial of the institution even when I was still here as a principal but I am sure with God, we shall sail through,” Prof Ssebuwufu said.
The university council chairperson, Prof John Okedi, downplayed the students’ claims, saying those complaining were undisciplined students, who were either irregularly admitted to the university or misused their tuition fees.
He denied reports that some officials had swindled students’ tuition fees.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Tough penalties loom as Museveni signs Anti-Pornography Bill into law

Promoters of pornographic material could soon be in trouble after the President signed the Anti-Pornography Bill, 2011 into law. Publishers, broadcasters, film importers and exporters, artists, bar owners and internet café operators are the likely culprits.
Ethics minister Simon Lokodo announced the President’s assent to the Bill at the government Media Centre yesterday.
The announcement came on the heels of Mr Museveni’s indication at the weekend that he would soon sign the anti-gays Bill into law, provoking a backlash from the West where US President Barack Obama called the legislation an “affront to human rights” with potential to “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.”
Fr Lokodo said pornography had pervaded the Ugandan society, becoming an insidious social problem that had eaten society to the “marrow.” He said children had become innocent victims. Other costs of the vice, he said, included the rise in HIV/Aids infections, murders, teenage pregnancies and school drop-outs.
Section Two of the law defines pornography as “any representation through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology, or by whatever means of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of sexual parts of a person for primary sexual excitement.”
Under this definition, people who skimpily dress may fall prey to the legislation. “If your miniskirt falls within the ambit of this definition then I am afraid you will be caught up by the law,” the minister said.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Obama warns Museveni on anti-gays Bill

KAMPALA- American President Barack Obama has warned that his country and Uganda’s relationship would be “complicated” if President Museveni assents to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
A statement from the White House in Washington quoted Mr Obama as saying that the bill will “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda”, adding: “The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.”
Mr Obama’s Sunday warning came a day after President Museveni announced at the NRM party’s parliamentary retreat in Kyankwanzi that he would assent to the Bill after a presentation by Ugandan scientists concluded that homosexuality is not natural.
“It is on the strength (that people are not homosexuals by genetics) that I am going to sign the bill,” President Museveni told the MPs. “I know we are going to have a big battle with the outside groups about this but I will tell them what our scientists have to say.”
Whereas Parliament had passed the Bill in December, President Museveni was hesitant to assent to it, first citing the lack of quorum on the day it was passed but later indicating that he needed a scientific explanation on whether homosexuality was a natural condition.
Barely 24 hours after his Kyankwanzi pronouncement, the President was already facing the “battle” with the American National Security Adviser, Ms Susan Rice, calling Mr Museveni to express her government’s and Mr Obama’s reservations on the matter.
According to the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, the Americans had called to offer “further evidence” that homosexuality is a natural behaviour in contradiction with what the local scientists had presented.
“We are discussing with the US government. We are waiting to see what they have [to present]. I am told that the Americans have some materials and evidence that they feel were left out by our scientists,” Mr Mugume said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Asked when the US was scheduled to table the said evidence, Ambassador Mugume could not give a clear time-line, only saying: “It will not take a lot of time. It will be soon.”
Weighing in, the President’s Press Secretary, Mr Tamale Mirundi, said: “Uganda’s relationship with the US has not been based on homosexuality. We have had a long relationship with the US even before the word homosexuality was invented. Museveni will not allow them (homosexuals) to be persecuted but they also cannot be allowed to exhibit themselves.”
While Ambassador Mugume did not offer details of Ms Rice’s call, the American top official posted on her Twitter account that “she had spoken at length” with Mr Museveni.
Thereafter, the US White House posted Obama’s official statement on their website, in which he warned of the “complication” of relationships if Uganda went ahead and passed the law.
“As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love,” the statement said in part.
A post on the US embassy in Kampala official Facebook page yesterday, quoted Ambassador Scott H. DeLisi, saying: “This is not a debate about homosexuality, it is about fundamental rights for all citizens regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or community.”
Ms Erin Truhler, an information officer with the embassy, insisted she had “no specifics apart from what is in the statement.”
The statement did not delve into the specifics of the US-Uganda relations that are likely to be strained by the Bill, but the former supports local efforts in the social, economic, political and security spheres.

More than 400,000 Ugandans receive badly-needed ARVs under the US life-funded President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in addition to supporting several humanitarian and recovery programmes.
The US also provides military advisers helping in tracking the notorious LRA commanders in the DR Congo and the CAR.
February 17, 2014: President Museveni says he is ready to battle with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.
February 16, 2014: President Museveni says he is ready to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill because there was no scientific evidence that homosexuality was genetic or natural.
January 26, 2014: President Museveni tells NRM Caucus meeting that he will only sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill after scientists have proved to him that it is a normal behaviour
January 7, 2014: PM Amama Mbabazi tells Uganda’s foreign envoys that the NRM caucus will review the Bill.
December 25, 2013: President says he will first peruse the anti-gay Bill before signing it into law.
December 23, 2013: Gay rights activists in Uganda vowed Monday a “fight to the end” to stop a draconian anti-homosexuality bill passed by parliament from becoming law in the African nation.
December 20, 2013: Parliament passes the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
October 2012: Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga tells off Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird over gay rights at a meeting.
November 16, 2012: Kdaga directs the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2011.
November 23, 2012: The death penalty provision in the anti-gay bill is dropped.
December 12, 2012: Dozens of gay activists storm the Ugandan embassy in London protesting the Bill.
October 2012: UK PM David Cameron warns African countries that those receiving British aid should respect gay rights.
November 15, 2012: Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that Parliament will pass the bill as a Christmas gift.
December 17, 2012: President Yoweri Museveni says during the installation of Archbishop Stanley Ntagali that gay people should not be killed or persecuted, as parliament considers an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, but warned homosexuality should also not be promoted as a good thing, either.
November 1, 2011: Ugandans tell off UK Premier David Cameron over threats that he intends to slash aid for Kampala over abuse of homosexuals’ rights.

February 4, 2010: US President Barack Obama denounces as “odious” the anti-gay law in Uganda
June 9, 2010: Former Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo blames US Christian evangelical groups for fomenting anti-gay hatred in his native country. “
January 12, 2010: President Museveni calls for “extreme caution” over the bill
December 29, 2009: Pastor Martin Ssempa announces a nationwide rally for January 19, 2010 in support of the bill.
October14, 2009: Ndorwa West MP David Bahati tables the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.
                                                               Anti-gay activists demonstrate in Kampala last year

We are paying UPDF operations, says South Sudan minister

Gen Katumba Wamala, the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces, addresses Ugandan soldiers in South Sudan recently.

A senior South Sudan government official has said his country is picking the bills of UPDF’s offensive against Riek Machar’s rebels, contradicting accounts in Kampala that Uganda meets the costs.
Defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, made the revelations on Juba’s Eye Radio’s Sundown show, Sudantribune reported online on Friday.
“We are funding all activities of UPDF and SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army),” the publication quoted the minister as having said.
He said: “It is the government of South Sudan footing the bill of the operation, which started officially on December 23, last year, when fierce fighting broke out in Juba and entered to other towns.”
Mr Juuk’s revelations come at a sensitive time when Uganda defence officials are reportedly making final touches to a supplementary budget for parliament’s consideration, initially planned to be tabled this week, to pad financing gaps for the open-ended mission.
Ugandan officials declined to comment on whether the accidental disclosure by South Sudan’s Defence minister was true, and if so, to whom the pay is routed.
“I don’t have the answer; we will have to consult with the ministry of Defence officials,” said Amb James Mugume, the permanent secretary at Foreign Affairs ministry.
President Museveni in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief deployed the UPDF in South Sudan at the close of last year, allegedly at the behest of his counterpart Salva Kiir, after violence erupted in Juba and spread to other key states.
Parliament endorsed the deployment on January 14 after government said UPDF was there to facilitate evacuation of stranded Ugandans and secure critical South Sudan state installations, including Juba Airport.
MP Peter Emmanuel Eriaku, the vice chairman of Parliament’s Defence committee, told this newspaper yesterday they expect the Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga in parliament mid this week to present figures on Uganda’s expenditure to-date on the South Sudan mission and a breakdown of the proposed supplementary budget.
“As per the Status of Forces Agreement the minister of defence (Kiyonga) tabled before us, it is Uganda footing [UPDF’s] bill,” he said, “Now for him (South Sudan Defence minister Juuk) to say they are the ones footing the bill, I don’t understand.”
The Defence committee, MP Eriaku noted, had instructed ministry of Defence officials to modify the Status of Forces Agreement - with a proposal for the two countries to share the costs - and they expect feedback later this week.
Uganda’s military spokesman, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, promised to clarify the contradicting narratives on funding of the two-month-old war, but did not pick or return calls from this newspaper by press time.
The UPDF has been credited for normalising the South Sudan, and propping Mr Kiir in power, but emerging details of unattributed use of banned cluster bombs and requirements under the ongoing IGAD-brokered Addis Ababa talks, has seen growing calls, including by the US, for UPDF to withdraw.
The conflict
War broke out in South Sudan at the close of last year following a fall-out between President Salva Kiir and his former vice Riek Machar. UPDF intervened to save Kiir’s collapse, however, even as the Ugandan army receives significant praise for restoring calm, there are growing calls for UPDF to leave South Sudan.

Museveni ready for battle on gays

                 President Museveni shares a light moment with NRM legislators during the recent retreat in Kyankwanzi
After finally agreeing that he will assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, controversially passed by Parliament in December last year, President Museveni has warned that he is ready for “battle” with “outside groups” sympathetic to homosexuals.
On the day he told NRM MPs in Kyankwanzi that there is “no scientific proof yet that people are homosexuals by genetics,”- a condition he had previously given for not assenting to the Bill-the President quickly declared a “big battle with outside groups,” who have been lobbying against the Bill.
“It is on the strength [that people are homosexuals by genetics] that I am going to sign the bill. I know we are going to have a big battle with the outside groups about this, but I will tell them what our scientists have to say,” Mr Museveni was quoted by a State House press statement released yesterday.
Pressure against Bill
In Kyankwanzi, the President did not delve into details about the “outside groups” he was referring to, but the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been campaigned against by lobby groups in the West.
Last month, the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights and the vocal South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu were engaging in clandestine diplomatic maneuvers in a bid to persuade Mr Museveni not to sign the bill.
US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) also voiced displeasure towards the bill, labeling it “repugnant” and “of no benefit to Ugandans.”
“It only serves to jeopardise basic rights – and[the President should] reject it,” Mr Daniel Bekele, the HRW Africa director, was quoted in a statement last year.
As pressure against the Bill reached a crescendo, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi told Uganda’s foreign envoys last month that the NRM Caucus in Parliament will review the Bill before Mr Museveni assents to it. It is unclear whether such a review was conducted.
The Bill also put the Executive and the Speaker on collision course.
Last month, Mr Museveni penned a strongly-worded letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, accusing her of leading “a small group of our MPs” into passing the Bill without quorum even after he had advised the dropping of the bill until the government had thoroughly studied it.

Two people charged over illegal Sh44m Viagra drugs

According to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, sex enhancing drugs are supposed to be prescribed by doctors but many retailers sell them over the counter.

Two people have been charged at a Nairobi court over illegal possession of sex enhancing drugs worth Sh44 million.
The consignment was seized at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Friday, while the duo was waiting to pick them for distribution in the country, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board confirmed.
They were charged at the Makadara Law Courts on Monday.
According to Director of Inspectorate, Surveillance and Enforcement Ahmed Mohammed, the drugs branded ‘Vega’ from India, have been circulating in the country for the last two years.
He said their label indicated that they were manufactured by a company identified as Heri Pharmaceuticals from Mumbai and imported by Diani Pharmaceuticals which is not registered with the Board.
“The drug has been on sale in the country on an irregular basis for the last two years and we have not been able to get to the importer until last Friday,” he told the Nation.
“We had been carrying out intelligence investigations and ours was a ‘backward’ investigation where we begun with retailers up to the main supplier,” he said.
The surveillance officer said the drugs came in as hand luggage marked “harmless substances” in a bid to conceal it.
“Demand for such drugs in the country is high and business people would want to make a big cut so they avoid registering the drugs or the company as the process is rigorous,” said Dr Mohammed.
The official said sex enhancing drugs are supposed to be prescribed by doctors but many retailers now sell them over the counter.

Robert Mugabe pardons 2,000 Zimbabwe prisoners

                                                    Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe speaks during a past rally.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has pardoned 2,000 prisoners, mostly women and juveniles in a move that should ease congestion in the country's jails, a government notice said.
The numbers of pardoned prisoners amounts to over 10 percent of the prison population, which stood at 18,460 last year against a holding capacity of 17,000.
Under the sweeping amnesty all females will go home, except those serving life terms, according to the clemency notice.
Mugabe also granted amnesty to prisoners aged 18 and under "irrespective of the offences they committed".
The pardon also extends to all terminally ill inmates, and those over 70 years-old.
Prisoners convicted of murder, treason, rape, carjacking, armed robbery, stock theft and those serving a sentence imposed by a court martial are excluded from the amnesty.
The country's constitution allows a president to extend amnesty to prisoners whenever he wishes.
More than 100 prisoners died last year in Zimbabwe's cash-strapped prisons, which have been hit by food shortages, according to a rights group citing prison statistics.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said prison officials had told a parliamentary committee that the prisoners died "owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced by food shortages and natural causes".
In 2009, the International Committee of the Red Cross had to step in with food, blankets and soap handouts to avert massive hunger and disease outbreaks.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Kenyans get condom delivery service

A Kenyan businesswoman has launched a condom delivery service to help tackle Aids, saying many people are too embarrassed to buy them
"Most of them died of Aids because they shied off buying condoms," she said.
The condoms are usually delivered by motorbike to beat Nairobi's notorious traffic jams but on Valentine's Day, two limousines decorated with red flowers were used for some customers.
Ms Ndiwa says she has already has about 4,000 clients - men and women - after starting her business two weeks ago, ahead of Friday's official launch.

She says weekends are the busiest days for her company of 15 employees.
A packet of three condoms sells for $3.5 (£2), which includes delivery across the capital, Nairobi. The service also works in the towns of Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret.
"It is time we beat this culture of being afraid, as it will help us save millions if we can practise safe sex," she told the BBC.
The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza says free condoms are supposed to be available in all public toilets, hospitals and health clinics in Kenya but they have often run out.
He says sex is still a taboo subject in the country, and many people are reluctant to buy condoms openly in case others think they are sexually promiscuous.
On Thursday, the National Aids Council distributed over a million condoms in Nairobi in a campaign to promote safe sex.
A recent government survey says at least 1.2 million people live with HIV in Kenya.
But the prevalence rates have dropped from 7.2% to 5.6% over the past five years.

Some customers got their condoms delivered by limousine on Valentine's Day

Thursday, 13 February 2014

James long-range three beats Warriors

LeBron James sunk the Golden State Warriors with a last-second three-pointer as the Los Angeles Clippers also won in the NBA on Wednesday.

James completed one of his best displays of the season with a three-pointer in the dying stages lifting the Miami Heat to a 111-110 win over the Warriors at the Oracle Arena.

The superstar finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in a complete performance much-needed by the two-time defending champions, who were missing Dwyane Wade (left foot).

Stephen Curry's three-point play – he finished with 29 points – had the Warriors ahead before James' 27-foot shot silenced the home crowd.

Miami comfortably lead the Southeast Division, while the Warriors are third in the Pacific Division.

The Clippers pulled away from the Portland Trail Blazers to win 122-117 at the Staples Center.

Once more, Blake Griffin was the star of the show as he scored 36 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in yet another stellar showing.

The Houston Rockets made it seven straight wins after a 113-112 victory over the Washington Wizards.

James Harden converted a driving lay-up with 0.7 seconds left to complete his 35-point haul and give the Rockets victory, while Dwight Howard (24 points, 16 rebounds) also starred.

Tim Duncan (25 points) and Marco Belinelli (16 points, 11 rebounds) guided the San Antonio Spurs past the Boston Celtics 104-92.
Monta Ellis' 23 points led the Dallas Mavericks past the Indiana Pacers 81-73 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Toronto Raptors will hold the Atlantic Division lead heading into the All-Star break after a 104-83 belting of the Atlanta Hawks.
A 20-point haul from Zach Randolph saw the Memphis Grizzlies edge their way past the Orlando Magic 86-81.

Tristan Thompson's double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds helped the Cleveland Cavaliers overcome the Detroit Pistons 93-89 and the Brooklyn Nets were too good for the Charlotte Bobcats in a 105-89 victory.

The Sacramento Kings claimed a 106-101 overtime win against the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-98.

The Minnesota Timberwolves dominated the Denver Nuggets on their way to a 117-90 victory and the Utah Jazz were 105-100 winners against the Philadelphia 76ers.