Museveni To Address UMSC General Assembly on Muslim Unity




President, Yoweri Museveni has promised to meet the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council General Assembly so as to address the issue of Muslim unity in the country. Museveni said this while addressing Muslim leaders during the Iftar dinner at State House Entebbe last evening.

He was responding to the request by the Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje to meet the General Assembly, the top most organ of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council over the issue of Muslim Unity. In his response, Museveni welcomed the proposal, saying he will find time and address the general assembly.

According to Museveni, the issue of Muslim unity is line with the NRM agenda. He explained that NRM believes in unity around common interests and opposed to identities. "We don't care about your identity, all we care about is people uniting around common interests," he said. Adding that, "This is why were able to unite people in this country."

Museveni also noted that he was happy that the Quran promotes reconciliation among warring parties. "It is good that I have learnt that the Quran doesn't allow disunity, we shall work to unite all Muslims in the country," he said.

According to Museveni, even the Catholics and Protestants in England were split at one time leading to the 30 year war, but they were able to put behind their differences and work together.

Unity has eluded Muslims in Uganda since its advent in the country. In 1972, the former president, Iddi Amin Dadda forcefully united Muslims under the umbrella of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council. However, the unity was short-lived as his government was disposed in 1979.

Muslims reunited again in 2000 shortly after the election of the incumbent Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje but broke up only a few years later accusing his leadership of illegally disposing off Muslim property. A group of Muslims dragged to court and three others for theft of Muslim property, which exonerated them of any wrong doing.

Those opposed to his leadership were dissatisfied with the ruling and went ahead to establish a parallel leadership based at Kibuli Mosque. As a result, Museveni appointed the Professor. Tarsis Kabwegyere led Commission to inquire into the perennial Muslim wrangles and make appropriate recommendations for implementation.

However, the report is yet to be implemented. The Iftar dinner drew representatives from various Muslim groups including Ismailia, Ahmadiyah, Kibuli Muslim faction and Shias.


UPDF Withdrawal Created Security Vacuum in CAR



The recent withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the Central African Republic-CAR is likely to create a security vacuum that may be exploited by armed groups in the volatile country, UN envoy François Louncény Fall has warned.

His warning comes barely two months after the withdrawal of Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF from the Central African Republic bringing an end to a combat-equipped deployment in search for Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army.

The UPDF had been in CAR since December 2009 as part of Operation Lightening Thunder, launched after reports that the LRA was causing instability in Obo, a forested town in CAR and later as part of the African Union Regional Task Force launched in 2012.

Although Ugandan leaders indicated that operations by the African Union - Regional Task Force dramatically weakened the LRA in numbers and overall effectiveness, Francois Fall warns that the continued threat by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to regional stability should not be underestimated.

He observed that the LRA and other armed groups operating in the region are likely to exploit the void left the the withdrawal of both UPDF and United States forces, a development which could affect regional stability.

The African Union Peace and Security Council warned last month that the LRA is likely to rejuvenate itself if countries in the great lakes region don't urgently fill the vacuum.

Fall, who also heads the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) observes that the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the country, known by its French acronym MINUSCA, is not mandated to conduct anti-LRA military operations yet the country's security forces lack training and need structural reforms. He was addressing the UN security council on Tuesday.

"Collectively, there is a need to remain focused on efforts aimed at the total eradication of the LRA," he said, stressing that the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa will remain engaged, including by reviewing the UN regional strategy to address the threat and impact of the LRA, and ensuring coordination among the various stakeholders working on the issue.

The LRA conflict began in northern Uganda in 1986 displacing an estimated two million people. The number of those killed remains unclear but UN agencies estimate that 60,000 children were abducted in the conflict that gained notoriety for killing, maiming and abductions of women, children and men for sex slaves, porters and fighters.

Although a number of his fighters have been captured, Joseph Kony, the group leader remains elusive. He is one of the five LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court five years ago.


Human Rights Tribunal Awards UGX85M to Victims




The Uganda Human Rights Commission Tribunal sitting in Karamoja has awarded Shillings 85 million to two people for the loss of their families at the hands of a Uganda People's Defense Forces soldier.

Mzee Peter Lomuge was awarded Shillings 55 million as compensation for the loss of his wife, Anna Korobe and daughter, Rose Loyoro while Edmond Ayopo Lokol was also awarded Shillings 30 million for the loss of his 17-year-old daughter, Teresa Aule.

Human Rights Commissioner, Meddie Mulumba announced the awards during their monthly tribunal sessions in Moroto on Monday. According to information by PRIME RADIO, the trio was shot on September 9th, 2010 in Nakapiripirit district by a UPDF soldier only identified as Kaikura in their house. Kaikura is said to have opened fire on the victim over a love affair gone bad.

During the hearing, Lomuge told the tribunal that on the fateful day, Kaikura confronted his daughter for allegedly refusing to honor their 'deal' after drinking his beer.

He says that whereas the matter was resolved, Kaikura the soldier returned at midnight and opened fire indiscriminately killing three people and injuring others. The two welcomed the tribunal ruling, saying at last justice has been done.

"This cannot bring back my wife and daughter to life but it will help me since am now incapacitated as you see," Lomuge said as he tried to wink his sight less eyes.

The tribunal also dismissed a case of torture reported by a UPDF soldier in 2010. According to Paul Otim, the in Karamoja UHRC Regional Officer, the case was dismissed when court found out that the complainant; Dominic Mwesigwa had passed on in the Central African Republic.

Otim says the tribunal deferred one case pending judgment and adjourned seven others for hearing in the next session. Meddie Mulumba, the presiding Commissioner urged the local communities to value their rights by reporting perpetuators of human rights violation to authorities.


Cape Verde 0-1 Uganda Cranes




Uganda Cranes kick started the 2019 Total Africa Cup of nations (Afcon) on a winning note away to Cape Verde on Sunday.

Substitute Geoffrey Sserunkuma, the 2016/2-17 Azam Uganda Premier League top scorer netted the sole goal at the Praia Stadium to make sure the team collected maximum points.

The KCCA FC striker replaced Emmanuel Okwi after 76 minutes and made his impact felt after only six minutes on the pitch with a close finish past the Cape Verde goalkeeper.

It was all celebration after the final whistle for the Uganda Cranes team who endured a difficult flight connection problem from Dakar, Senegal where seven players arrived in Cape Verde on Friday and the rest only made it late on Saturday, forcing the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to push the game forward by 24 hours.

The home side started the game with lots of dominance, but the Cranes defenders stood firm and steady to keep them at bay. Skipper and goalkeeper Denis Onyango also made some key saves for the team.

After the win, the Uganda Cranes now top Group L with three points and one goal, while Tanzania and Lesotho who drew 1-1 on Saturday are joint second, while Cape Verde are bottom.

In the other games played on Sunday, the Black Stars of Ghana humbled Ethiopia 5-0, while Zimbabwe also picked a 3-0 win over Liberia in Harare. Rwanda lost 2-1 away to Central Africa and Benin best Gambia 1-0.


Fying Squad Operatives Held For Stealing




Five Police Flying Squad operatives in Kasese district are in trouble for alleged theft of two bags of coffee beans. The five, whose identities have been withheld by Police, are being held by the Police Professional Standards Unit.

They allegedly confiscated two bags of coffee, which had been reported stolen together with three others and disappeared with them. Police spokesperson, Asan Kasingye, says the operatives found the five coffee bags from the store belonging to a businessman only identified as Muumber, but only picked up two of them and left.

"The owner of the store where the remaining three bags were found is helping with investigations into the theft by the officers as well as the initial theft of all the five bags," Kasingye told Journalists while addressing the media at police headquarters Naguru.

Preliminary investigations indicate that Kule Francis, a resident of Hima in Kasese District on Saturday filed a complaint on theft of his coffee by unknown person. Flying Squad personnel immediately took over the investigations and started trailing all the people who had access to Kule's storage facility.

It was later suspected that the stolen coffee beans could be in Mumbere's hands. During the search, five operatives who had raided Mumbere's home found the five bags but took two and left. Kasingye says, "the officers sold the 2 bags of coffee at about Shillings 2million." The operatives were arrested from their respective homes last night.


Oil Could Save Uganda's Ailing Economy




Uganda's economy could pick up in the next three years if governments fast-tracks plans to have oil out of the ground by 2020. Experts suggest that oil revenues could have a cooling effect in economic activity squeezed by slackening domestic demand and rising cost of finance.

The International Monetary Fund in May projected that Uganda's growth rate for the 2016/17 fiscal year will be between 3.5 to 4 percent.

But Patrick Mweheire, the chief executive officer of Stanbic Bank says oil could make Uganda grow at a much higher rate even about 6 percent. He adds that recent developments in the oil and gas sector prove the earlier widespread expectations that oil will transform Uganda's economy.

Mweheire is however cautious to add that such transformation will happen if the sector is managed under international best practices like transparency and accountability.

Uganda and Tanzania recently signed an agreement for the construction of the 1400-kilometer pipeline for transporting crude oil to the port of Tanga at the coast. There are also plans to construct an oil refinery at Kabale in Hoima. The refinery is expected to refine over 230, 000 barrels of oil a day.

The building of the pipeline and refinery is expected to cost up USD 14 billion. There is expectation that the construction stage will create some jobs and therefore increase demand for goods and services. Mweheire says the combined investment is the sector is promising.

He says estimates by Stanbic bank indicate that oil will have a catalyst on other sector. He says estimates show that fast-moving consumer goods will grow five times between now and 2020.

Mweheire's estimates are not so different from those of the International Monetary Fund prediction about the effect of oil production on Uganda's economic growth.

Clara Mira, IMF representative in Uganda in May said Uganda will reach an economic growth rate of between 6 and 6.5 percent by 2020 when oil is expected to be flowing..



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