World Bank Lifts Suspension of Funding to Uganda

 
 
 

 

KAMPALA

The World Bank has lifted the suspension of new lending to Uganda after about 10 months.

In August 2016, the Bank suspended lending to Uganda due to numerous reasons including failure to kick start projects in time, poor absorptive capacity, corruption, mismanagement of projects, inability to do feasibility, social and environmental studies as well as human rights abuses in project areas.

The World Bank Country Manager, Christina Malmberg Calvo, disclosed the lifting of the suspension at a press conference held today, Monday at the Ministry of Finance headquarters. Calvo said lifting of the lending suspension followed improvement in government's management of portfolio of active projects, 22 in total.

Calvo said starting June, two new projects will be taken to the Bank's board for approval. The first one is supporting government and civil society effort in combating violence against women and children and the other- on strengthening fiscal decentralization in education and health sectors.

Calvo said going forward, annual financial disbursements to Uganda will increase, suggesting improvement in absorptive capacity of Uganda than in previous years.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Keith Muhakanizi, said they are strengthening feasibility of projects, adding that a policy document on the same is in the works.

As a rejoinder, the World Bank Country Manager said they are in full support of feasibility of all projects to ensure proper preparation through the entire project cycle.

On the sluggish economic growth rate for 2016/17 fiscal year, Calvo said the World Bank is in agreement with the subdued economic outlooks revealed by the International Monetary Fund last week. The IMF reduced Uganda's economic growth in the short-term to 3.5 percent despite earlier projections that Uganda's economy would grow between five and 5.5 percent.

 
 

Former Tenants Seek to Repossess Nakawa-Naguru Estate

 
 
 
 

KAMPALA

Former tenants of the Naguru-Nakawa housing estates are seeking to repossess the land from which they were evicted more than five years ago.

More than 1700 families were affected when a private developer- Opec Prime Properties was given clearance to develop the estates into a satellite city under a USD 300 million(1.071 trillion Shillings) Public Private Partnership-PPP.

The decision paved way for the demolition of hundreds of dilapidated structures that stood on the prime plots adjacent to Makerere University Business School on one side and Nakawa Market, on the opposite side.

Government envisaged that 1,747 flats would be constructed as part of the project, alongside recreation centres and related amenities for low-income earners. Government had also planned to separately build executive apartments, commercial blocks and institutional facilities like schools, clinics, and places of worship to complete the task.

It was envisaged that the entire project would be complete in 10 years. But six years later, the land lies idle and is now surrounded by a thick bush, inside the corrugated Iron sheet fence.

The former tenants now argue that the project is a flop since the developer has failure to meet his side of the bargain under the Public Private Partnership signed with government in 2007 and the subsequent Memorandum of Understanding signed with the tenants.

"The project site remains vacant, except a few residential houses that have been constructed on parceled out pieces of land, in contravention of the MOU… further making us concerned about delivery of the flats," the tenants observed in a petition to the Speaker of Parliament this morning.

The group, led by Simon Baligo, the chairperson of Naguru-Nakawa Tenants Association together with Nakawa Division MP Micheal Kabaziguruka, noted a breakdown in communication between them and government yet they continue to incur unnecessary housing costs elsewhere.

Baligo demanded that government identifies the land that was intended for development and grant them immediate repossession of the project site so that they identify an independent contractor.

Nakawa Division MP Michael Kabaziguruka quoted ongoing negotiations between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Opec Prime Properties for compensation to a tune of 40 billion Shillings for part of the Nakawa estate that President Museveni gave Agakhan Foundation for the construction of Agakhan Teaching Hospital.

Kabaziguruka called for investigations into the matter which he highlights as wastage of tax payers' money for compensating an investor who had failed on a project for many years.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga described the development as a shame on the side of the developer to leave land redundant posing security threats to residents in the nearby areas.

 
 

Mumbere Protests Delay to Complete Investigations

 
 
 

 

JINJA

The Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere is disappointed by the state failure to conclude investigations into his case. Mumbere expressed his disappointment at Jinja High court shortly this morning after Justice John Francis Kaggwa adjourned his case to June 16th.

Justice Kaggwa adjourned court after the State Prosecutor; James Muliro said the state is yet to complete investigations into the matter. Muliro told the same court early this year that they had completed investigations and were working on the committal papers to send the suspects to the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court.

Mumbere, who is jointly charged with 141 royal guards, said it is unfortunate that the investigations are taking long. "My case will go down into the books of history as being the first king since independence to be tried with such a big number of suspects. I was given bail but the restrictions around my home make it another prison." he said.

They are battling 41 counts of treason, terrorism, murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery. Details of the case are that Mumbere, his guards while at different places in Kasese and Kabarole between March and November 2016, planned to overthrow a lawfully established government by force of arms.

Mumbere's lawyer, Samuel Muyizzi, says they are negotiating with the state to transfer the case to a more convenient court for the suspects and their legal teams.

 
 

IGP In Gulu to Fight Iron Bar Crime

 
 
 

 

GULU

There is heavy police deployment in the streets of Gulu town as the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura camps there to coordinate operations against iron bar hit men.

This morning, both plain cloth and uniformed Police officers deployed strategically around Gulu Central Police Station and streets in the town as Kayihura addressed personnel at the station.

Kayihura arrived in Gulu town on Wednesday evening, a day after suspected iron bar hit men clobbered, John Oola Omona, the Senior Assistant Town Clerk to death.

Omona was killed on Monday morning minutes after dropping his female friend in Kanyagoga B parish in Bar Dege division.

Captain Santos Okot Lapolo, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner, says shortly after his arrival in the district, Kayihura held talks with the Police leadership.

He is expected to meet Omona's family in Lukome village in Bungatira Sub County in Aswa district later today. Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesperson has confirmed the development.

 
 

Children to Produce Parents IDs for Registration

 
 
 

 

JINJA

Pupils whose parents have not registered for national identification cards risk being left out in the upcoming registration exercise in schools.

Michael Muganga, the National Identification Registration Authority-NIRA deputy Public Relations Officer says that all students will be required to carry a copy of their parents' National Identification Number (NIN) for them to be registered.

He was speaking at the launch of mass registration of children aged between 5 and 16 for the national identity card project Eastern Uganda at Sunset hotel in Jinja on Wednesday.

Muganga adds that the unregistered pupils will be affected because the government will not plan for their needs in schools including examinations. He adds that the registration exercise that kicks off on May 29 and ends on August 25 is aimed at getting the exact number of children in schools so that the government plans better.

The State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde said that the government spends over 20 billion shillings on ghost pupils.

Seninde says that the identity number that will be given to each student will be captured on the report cards such that even when a pupil changes the school, the education ministry can follow up by tracing the identity number. She notes that with such a policy, the government will be able to reduce on the school dropouts since there is easy follow up.

The pupils will however not be given National Identity cards. Instead, they will be given a national identification number which will be used for the issuance of a National ID, once they turn 16. During the initial registration in 2014, the authority captured data for citizens aged 16 and above.

 
 

Police Bans Officers From Land Matters

 
 
 

 

LUWERO

Edward Kyaligonza, the Savannah Region Police Commander has banned police officers from getting involved in land matters as the force struggles to restore trust among residents.

He issued the directive to all in charges of Police Stations and District Police Commanders in the region on Wednesday, saying the directive takes immediate effect.

According to Kyaligonza, he was prompted to issue the directive following several complaints implicating police officers for escorting land grabbers, which has tainted the image of the Police force.

Hussein Kibazo Katende, the Luweero Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says some Police officers were being hired by landlords to demolish the property of sitting tenants maliciously and charge them with criminal trespass.

He has welcomed the directive by the RPC but asked him to act on some of the officers implicated in the land mess by transferring them or subjecting them to disciplinary action.

Both the residents and local leaders have welcomed the directive despite the fact that some of them are skeptical that it will create a difference given the high rates of corruption.

Abubaker Ssematimba, the Kikyusa Sub county LC 3 Chairperson, says many people have been thrown in police cells and others remanded over flimsy charges because of the collaboration between landlords and police officers. He says the directive of the RPC is a sigh of relief for victims of land grabbing.

But Salim Zimula, the Kakabala parish councilor in Butuntumula Sub County, says even officers in the Land Police Protection Unit are accused of corruption and working in favor of land grabbers. He cites the involvement of officers in land grabbing in Gayaza and Tebabyala in his Sub County.

Edirisa Ssempaka and his sister Mariam Night Nansubuga, both residents of Luzzi Zone in Wobulenzi town council were arrested for allegedly trespassing on a 13 acre piece of land they inherited from their father.

According to Ssempaka, Police officer are now used to aiding land grabbers. At least 50 land cases are registered by both the Police and Office of Resident District Commissioner each month. Some of the land cases have led to violent clashes as the tenants resist their eviction.

Recently, angry residents of Bugabo village in Kalagala Sub County set ablaze a tractors hired by the office of the Treasury in Buganda Kingdom while protesting their eviction. Early this year, President Yoweri Museveni appointed a commission of inquiry into land matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemeriere and make recommendations on how the wrangles can be resolved.

 
 

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