Regional Military Intellegence Centre Opens

 
 
 

 

KASESE

A regional military intelligence centre to neutralise the threat of the Allied Democratic Forces -ADF rebels has opened in Uganda.

The centre located in Muyenga, Kasese Municipality was opened on Saturday by Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs. The centre is opposite the palace of Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere.

The eight-roomed centre will host eight military intelligence experts drawn from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.

Establishment of the centre is part of the activities of the Joint Follow-Up Mechanism, an oversight too set up under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to end conflicts in the region. Last year leaders from the Great Lakes Region met in Angola and resolved to set up the intelligence centre to address the threats caused by ADF in the region.

Countries that form the Joint follow -up mechanism include Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and DRC.

Muburi Muita, the ICGLR Executive Secretary, says that the centre will be used to monitor the activities of the rebel force in the region. He said after gathering intelligence, they will advice the countries in the region on the next course of action.

uita says that there was need to open up the centre due to the continued threats posed by ADF in the region. He adds that Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and DRC will each contribute 1,500 Dollars to manage the activities of the centre.

Col. Henry Isoke, the Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence says that the Centre will be under the leadership of Lt. Col. Charles Anzigura. He explains that the leadership of the centre will alternate annually and next year it will be under the leadership of the DRC.

Lt. Gen Wilson Mbadi, the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces says that the launch of the centre is in line with the regional member states' efforts of addressing insurgency in the region, which is depriving people of peace.

Many families especially in Kasese were affected by the ADF insurgency between 1996 and 2002. Most of the outrageous incidents were the abduction of students from St John the Evangelist Minor Seminary at Kiburara, the hacking to death of 36 people who had sought refuge in Kyalhumba Sub-county and the burning of students of Kichwamba Technical College in Kabarole district.

Jamil Mukulu, said to be the ADF's leader, is in custody and facing charges of treason.

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Conflicting Accounts Emerge on Todwong Shooting

 
 
 
 

GULU

Conflicting reports continue to emerge about circumstances under which Richard Todwong, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party deputy secretary general, was shot on Saturday night.

Todwong is currently admitted at International Hospital Kampala (IHK) after being airlifted from Gulu where he was first admitted with gunshot wounds. A source at Gulu Independent Hospital who preferred anonymity told PRIME RADIO that Todwong was at about 9am on Sunday morning airlifted from Gulu airstrip aboard a UPDF helicopter to International Hospital in Kampala for specialised treatment.

A medical report obtained from Gulu Independent Hospital indicates that National Resistance Movement (NRM) party deputy secretary obtained a soft tissue injury of left thigh.

The report says 45-year-old Todwong with in-patient number 50618 reported to the hospital with gunshot wound two hours after the incident with no prior ill-health reported.

Gulu Independent hospital says continuous monitoring for vital signs of threats to his life after every two hours cleared him of any danger to his life after treatment.

He was stable, alert and not in pain with no sign of shock as he reported to the Gulu based hospital.

"A round shape puncture wound estimated to be 3-4cm in diameter with rugged edge proximal to the left lateral thigh, was noted locally oozing with venous blood. Another similar wound just proximal to the left knee joint about 2cm in diameter, not actively bleeding," the report of Dr. Anena Joyce Oyet who treated Todwong states.

Dr. Anena was not available for interview when a PRIME RADIO reporter visited the hospital. But her report that PRIME RADIO saw ruled out injuries to the hip joint despite saying there was local swelling of the thigh along the imaginary line joining the two wounds with tenderness. Joint range of movement was unaffected and sensation was intact, according to the report.

Todwong was reportedly injured by his own weapon on Saturday evening as he drove to Gulu town. He underwent x-ray from Gulu Independent Hospital that ruled out any internal fracture or dislocation.

The report however states that complete blood count signifies occult blood infection prior to the incident. His wound was dressed and patient put on anti-biotics," it concluded.

The incident happened at Coo - Pelwor trading centre in Kiryandongo Sub County in Kiryandongo district at about 9pm. The trading centre is between Bweyale and Karuma trading centre.

Thomas Lapyem Awany, a lawyer and the younger brother of Todwong, says "Todwong had just driven through a rowdy mob at an accident scene in Coo Pelwor trading centre when the incident happened." Lapyem, however, doesn't give details of what happened at the accident scene that could have necessitated Todwong to pull out his gun.

Joyce Alima, former deputy speaker of Gulu district local government says Todwong accidentally shot himself "as he adjusted himself on his car seat."

Captain Okot Santos Lapolo, Gulu Resident District Commissioner has ruled out assassination attempt on Todwong. He confirmed after speaking to family sources in Gulu that the NRM deputy secretary general injured himself using his own weapon.

James Ochen, the NRM chairperson in Gulu has also confirmed it was an accident.

When PRIME RADIO spoke to Martin Okoyo, the Gulu district Police Commander, he said that neither the accident nor the shooting were reported to Police.

Lt. Hassan Kato, the UPDF 4th Division Commander says he was yet to be briefed on the details of the accident despite Todwong being airlifted from Gulu airfield near the division barracks.

Quoting Maj. Gen. Charles Otema Awany, the Commander of UPDF Reserve Force and also the eldest brother of Todwong, Gulu based Mega FM reported that Todwong shot himself as he paid attention to a suspicious vehicle trailing his car in Diima village in Kiryandongo district. This account from a member of the family makes no mention of the accident.

On Sunday evening, NRM secretary general, Justine Kasule Lumumba, issued a statement saying that there was a fatal accident involving a Tata Lorry and a motorcyclist.

"On the evening of Saturday February 18th, 2017 while driving to his country home in Nwoya District, the Deputy Secretary General, Hon Richard Todwong, found a boda-boda cyclist who had just been knocked down by a Tata Lorry Registration No. 307 UDG at Chopelwor Village. The lorry sped off, leaving the injured cyclist by the road side. Unfortunately the boda boda rider passed on," reads the statement in part.

Lumumba noted that Todwong acted as "a leader and responsible citizen" and pursued the truck. This, according to Lumumba, "necessitated Todwong to fire gun shots in the air to dispel by-standers as well as force the driver of the truck to stop." The truck driver however continued running until they reached a roadblock mounted along the road by traffic police where the driver was arrested.

"It was while explaining to the police officers at the road block that the officers pointed to Hon Todwong blood stains on his trousers. So, we cannot establish at this moment whether he shot himself or was shot by someone else," says Lumumba.

 
 

Classroom Crisis Hits Hill Road Public School

 
 
 

 

MASAKA

Hill Road Public School in Masaka district is battling a classroom crisis following an increase in the number of pupils.

Charles Nsereko, the Head Teacher Hill Road Public school says that the school admitted over 700 new pupils this year driving the enrollment to 2700 pupils. As a result, pupils are squeezed in multitudes with the available classrooms. On average, every classroom has 100 pupils.

PRIME RADIO visited the school and found the classes congested with each desk shared by five pupils. Others sit on the floor. A primary seven pupil who talked to PRIME RADIO observed that the congested affects their concentration and learning abilities. He added that a leaking roof also disrupts their lessons whenever it rains.

However, Nsereko attributes the increase in enrollment to a good performance in Primary Leaving Examinations - PLE over the years. In 2016, Hill Road primary school recorded 108 candidates in first division, out of a class of 168 candidates.

According to Nsereko, at least 15 new classrooms will be needed to address the problem created by an increase in the number of pupils at the school.

Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga has asked Lukanga Majwaala, the Katwe-Butego division Chairman to ensure that his council allocates funds for additional classrooms at Hill Road Public school to address classroom crisis.

Mpuuga is however concerned that the school buildings are roofed with asbestos. Mpuuga noted that asbestos iron sheets are old fashioned and come with several health risks.

Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen. They further show that exposure has an elevated risk for cancers of the throat, kidney, esophagus, and gallbladder.

Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis, an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage.

 
 

KCCA To Face Onyango's Sundowns

 
 
 

 

KAMPALA

KCCA FC has qualified to face South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round of the 2017 Total CAF Champions League.

Coach Mike Mutebi's team lost 2-1 away to CD Premeiro de Agosto on Sunday in a match played at the Eastadio 11 Novembro, but tied 2-2 to qualify on an away goal rule

Striker Geoffrey Sserunkuma who also scored in the first leg 1-0 netted the opener midway the first half before the hosts leveled matters through Bua. CD Premeiro de Agosto netted the second goal through Geraldo after recess .

KCCA will have the chance to face African Champions Mamelodi Sundowns where Uganda Cranes first choice goalkeeper plies his trade. KCCA FC will will visit Sundowns on the weekend of March 10-12 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria for the first leg.

Onayngo and his Sundowns team won the Africa CAF Super Cup last Saturday after a 1-0 win over DR Congo's TP Mazembe.

KCCA now join Vipers SC who also qualified in the Total CAF Confederations Cup on Saturday after settling for a 1-1 draw against Comoros Club Volcan De Moroni. They qualified on an away goal rule. Vipers SC will also face another South African side Platimum Stars will all first leg matches to be played next month.

 
 

NRM to Hold Fresh Primaries for Kamuli By-Election

 
 
 

 

KAMPALA

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party says it will hold fresh primary elections for Kamuli Municipality parliamentary seat.

The seat fell vacant on February 14th after the Court of Appeal nullified the election of Rehema Watongola over the authenticity of her academic documents. This was after the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Salaamu Musumba challenged Watongola's election.

Watongola, who contested on NRM party candidate, garnered 8,175 votes against Musumba's 6,702 votes.

Speaking about the road-map for the re-election, NRM electoral commission Chairperson Dr Tanga Odoi told the media today that the party primaries will be held on March 20th.

Nominations will be held on 6th and 7th March followed by a joint campaign from 9th to 18th.

Odoi strongly warned what he called uneducated candidates against seeking to contest stating that they will face serious disciplinary measures.

When asked about the current flag-bearer, Rehema Watongola, Odoi stated that she will have to go through the primaries since court ruled that her papers were not legitimate. He added that for her to also contest she will require a different document from that which court dismissed.

Dr Odoi said they will also seek guidance from party lawyers and Electoral Commission before admitting her. Odoi also said the NRM EC will ensure a rigorous examination exercise to get the right candidates.

Watongola, however, vows that if NRM does not take her as the flag bearer, she will contest as an Independent candidate. When asked if she has legitimate documents, Watongola stated that she sat for the Advanced Level examinations in 2016 and has genuine results.

She however insisted that her previous documents presented to court are also legitimate.

"I have 90% of Kamuli Municipality residents as my supporters, and if NRM does not support me as a flag bearer I will have to go as Independent," she said.

The Electoral Commission has set April 12th as the day of elections. The Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, early this week stated that the court ruling did not bar Watongola from contesting in the future, but only challenged the legitimacy of her results.

He said if Watongola is to stand as a candidate, the same criteria to check her qualification will be applied.

 
 

Govt to Recruit 3,700 Community Health Workers

 
 
 

 

JINJA

The Health Ministry will in the financial year 2017/2018 recruit 3,715 Community Health Workers (CHWs), Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the Director General of Health Services has said.

According to Mbonye, the community health workers will replace Village Health Teams (VHTs) in health service provision in communities. Unlike VHTs that have been working in their villages, the CHWs will be managing parishes and these will be two individuals per parish for the more than 7,000 parishes in the country.

In an interview with PRIME RADIO, Mbonye also revealed that these will be paid a monthly salary of 180,000 Shillings and will also receive motor cycles for transport.

Mbonye says the ministry has started on a process of phasing out VHTs because of the challenges that have been identified with the strategy.

In a survey conducted by the ministry this year, only 60,000 VHTs were found to have been trained to manage patients in communities out of the 180,000 members of the team. Mbonye noted that because of such challenges with the strategy, the ministry has decided to recruit two CHWs per parish giving priority to VHTs that have at least completed Senior Four level.

He added that currently the Health and Education ministries have jointly developed a curriculum for the CWHs and these will have to undergo a one year training.

He also noted that these will be considered as civil servants with a salary and a motorcycle to enable them move from home to home. He notes the new policy on CHWs has been revised to ensure close monitoring and evaluation and that these will be paid depending on the output of their work.

Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director for African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), however, warns the government against introducing a policy that they are not willing to fund. He adds that government should focus on comprehensively training the CHWs.

He notes that VHTs strategy has failed because there was no clear funding source and no close monitoring. He adds that the strategy should be clear with the evaluation and monitoring.

 
 

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