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Archive for April 15th, 2007

Rainstorm kills motorcyclist

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

Monrovia (Liberia) A violent rainstorm in Kakata, northern Marigibi County about 45 kilometres from the capital, Monrovia, killed a motorcyclist and destroyed 30 houses while leaving thousands homeless, APA has learnt.

Reports from the city, the third largest in Liberia, say the storm hit Saturday evening amidst a heavy downpour of rain.

In a presser Saturday, Margibi County Development Superintendent John Bowen, appealed to NGOs and humanitarians to assist the storm victims.

The storm in Kakata is the latest in a spate of tropical storms which have recently devastated towns in the country.

On March 21, a storm in the north-eastern Nimba County commercial town of Ganta, destroyed 424 houses, leaving thousands homeless.

The material damage caused by the latest storm has been estimated at 250,000 dollars.

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Uganda: Buliisa chief defends Bukenya on Nakku

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

 Vice President Bukenya affair

By Fred Kayizzi – New Vision

IT is wrong to castigate the Vice-President over his alleged affair with Jamila Nakku, the Buliisa district chairman has said. Fred Lukumu said Prof. Gilbert Bukenya’s alleged extramarital affair with Jamila Nakku, was a normal practice in African culture.

Addressing district councillors on Tuesday, Lukumu said having many wives in Africa was “a sign of prestige.”
Nakku, a secretary in the president’s office, recently claimed she was the second wife of the Vice-President, arousing a lot of interest from the public.

Bukenya, however, said the reports were the work of his political rivals.
The Buliisa chief alleged that most leaders in the country were polygamists and urged Bukenya not to be ashamed of the reports.

“Imported cultures were killing our culture. There should not be any hullabaloo about Bukenya’s act. In any case a vice-president is like a king and you all know that having many wives was a sign of prestige for a king,” he said, drawing applause.

He said Bukenya should be judged by his performance as vice-president but not by his private life.
Lukumu hailed Bukenya as an exemplary leader who has spearheaded the campaign to fight poverty.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

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Uganda: Adultery law unnecessary – CJ Odoki

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

By John Semakula – New Vision

UGANDA can exist without laws criminalising adultery, the Chief Justice, Benjamin Odoki, has said. Odoki said in Uganda, where the majority of the people are Christians,  laws on adultery are unnecessary.

He explained that criminalisation of adultery was more important in the past because Christianity was not entrenched.  

“Christians need not to be herded by the constitution, but by the Bible,” Odoki emphasised on Thursday while meeting the staff of Uganda Christian University.

He noted that Uganda was one of the few if not the only country in the world, which still possessed laws on adultery until last week when they were scrapped.

Five Constitutional Court judges last week scrapped the law. the ruling received condemnation from the clergy and other groups who argued that it would increase immorality.

Odoki called on the public to engage in debates over the matter and that formulation of a new law needed to be done after wide consultation.

He, however, commented: “The Constitutional Court should have let the criminalisation of adultery continue for two more years after the ruling, before finally scrapping it.” He explained that by doing that, the court would have let the criminalisation of adultery away more easily without necessarily bringing up new laws.   

Odoki, the patron of the Uganda Christian University Law Society said he was considering setting up an ‘experience bureau’ for law students to enable them get exposure before graduating.

Dr. Alex Kagume, the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academics, hailed the Chief Justice for his support towards the establishment of the university’s law department.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Uganda: Govt, opposition on anti-Asian violence

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

By Emmy Allio
and Steven Candia

THE Government strongly condemned the violence, saying it holds the leadership of the Kampala City Traders Association, KACITA, and some politicians responsible.

“The organisers of the demonstration are responsible for this mess,” said information minister Kirunda Kivejinja.

“We told the traders association not to demonstrate in the city centre. They should have known that they were going to cause problems since there are other people in the city who hold wrong motives against some Indians. We are taking every step to ensure that those who incited the public are brought to book.”

Police chief Kale Kayihura also said the rioters had another agenda. “They wanted to burn part of the city. But we were alert and had to resort to Plan B to ensure that they don’t hold the city at ransom. We have information on who the inciters are and I have instructed all security agencies to work together to find them so that they face the law.”

Earlier, Kampala Police Chief Edward Ochom singled out Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar Atim, as responsible.

“She is the one who wrote to the Inspector General of Police notifying him about the procession. The IGP approved it but advised that they should keep off Kampala road and instead use Nasser road. But she was defiant,” Ochom said.

However, Atim blamed the Police and the Government for the loss of life. “If the Police and the Government had not mishandled the situation, these dead and destruction would not have happened,” she told the press in Parliament, together with Frank Muramuzi of Save Mabira Forest. She warned Mehta of serious consequences if the Government insists and gives them the forest.

The Asian community in Kampala blamed thugs in the city of taking advantage of the situation.

The leader of the Indian Association in Uganda, Rajni Taylor, also held the KACITA leadership responsible for not controlling their members, noting that many Indians are members of KACITA.

“Our community is here for business and not for any political interests. If it is Mabira forest, the position of the Indian Community in Uganda is that Mabira should not be given to Mehta,” Taylor added.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Uganda: I will not be deterred – Museveni

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

By Joyce Namutebi – New Vision
 
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has scoffed at critics who oppose the proposed Mabira Forest giveaway, saying he will not be intimidated.

“I shall not be deterred by people who don’t see where the future of Africa lies,” Museveni said yesterday.

He emphasised that the future lies in processing and he would not be party to a programme that excludes it.

The President was addressing hundreds of people who turned up for the launch of the Milk Cow Initiative at the country home of the Vice-President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, in Lwantama, Kakiri, Wakiso district.

The President noted that he enjoyed reading what was written in the newspapers about Mabira.

“I get pleased when I see it because it is the short-sighted people who put their opinions in writing. They don’t understand that the future of all countries lies in processing,” he said.   Promising that he would respond to Mabira critics, he warned that he would not be “intimidated and out-shouted” on radio.

He added that the matter would be discussed in the Cabinet and the NRM parliamentary caucus and a conclusion would be reached. 

The President repeatedly hailed Bukenya for “being a good student” of “Bonna Bagaggawale,” a programme aimed at fighting poverty nationwide.
He said he had gone to Kakiri to boost the Vice-President in his effort to promote the programme.

Twenty Friesian cows, each costing sh1m, were given out to farmers to help improve their household incomes.
The President criticised other leaders for not taking the programme as a priority.

Pointing towards where the ministers and MPs were seated, he amused his audience when he said that he invited leaders to his home in Rwakitura to learn about the programme but when they went back, they got taken up by diversionary issues such as the closure of Nation TV.

“Sometimes I regret the tea, meat and chicken I have been cooking for them,” he said amid laughter. “I want to thank His Excellence, Honourable Prof. Bukenya. I advised him to visit me and he saw that it was possible to change people in the village,” he went on.

The vice-president had been in the press in recent weeks over an extra-marital affair.

Before the start of the function, the jovial Bukenya embraced Wakiso district chairman, Ian Kyeyune, who was also named in the scandal.

Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi, ministers, the First Lady Janet, and Bukenya’s wife, Dr. Margaret, attended.

Posted to APN by Ham Mukasa

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Uganda: Ugandan-Asian tensions are century old

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

NEWS ANALYSISBy John KakandeTHE anger and hostility exhibited against members of Asian descent in (recent) demonstration was not primarily caused by the Government plan to give away part of Mabira Forest to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda (SCOUL), which is part of the Indian-owned Mehta Group. The tension between both communities goes back to colonial times, over 100 years ago.

The British colonial administration originally imported labourers from India, primarily to work on the construction of the Uganda Railway around 1895. The colonial administration had to resort to Indians because the African peasants were purportedly not willing to take up the work and get paid ‘wages’. Later, more Indian immigrants came to Uganda as soldiers,
artisans, clerks, carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths and gardeners.

Economic conflict
The conflict between the Indian community and the indigenous Ugandans first emerged in the 1920s. The colonial regime, according to Ugandan political
economy scholars, deliberately refused to sell land to the Indian immigrants for political and economic reasons. The Indians thus took to trading. At the same time, the policy of the colonialists was to keep the Africans in the agricultural economy and away from the market place. The Indians thus became dominant in commerce and trade. They particularly controlled the lucrative cotton ginning and processing trade, which put them at logger heads with the African cotton producers.

In 1945, 1948 and 1959, riots in Kampala and other parts of the country targeted Indians, mainly because of their monopoly position in trade. In 1959, a mass boycott was organised of shops owned by the Asians. Augustine Kamya, the trader-cum-political agitator who led the Uganda National Movement, announcing the mass boycott stated: “From now, ten minutes to six, all trade is put into the hands of Africans. From this hour, no African
should enter a non-African shop.”

One of the demands was that the Asian traders must leave retail trade to the Africans. The colonial regime also moved to enable Africans, through cooperatives, to participate in the lucrative cotton ginning and processing
trade. When political independence came, the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC)
that took over power had to grapple with the Asian question. The Government
tried to promote what was called African trade development. In practice,
this meant enabling the African traders expand into retail and wholesale
trade, which was originally controlled by Asians. Rivalry, however, remained
between Asians and African traders.

On seizing power in 1971, Idi Amin took a number of populist measures to
boost his support. On the political level, he freed all political detainees
and appointed some of them to his Cabinet. The President of the main
opposition Democratic Party, Ben Kiwanuka, was appointed Chief Justice. To
woo the Baganda, Amin returned the body of Ssekabaka Edward Mutesa II for
burial.

On the economic front, Idi Amin, ruthlessly expelled the Asians in what he
called an “economic war” to ensure that the national economy was in the
hands of Africans. The Amin regime then distributed, free of charge, the
assets and enterprises formerly owned by the Asians to local traders. Some
enterprises, including those of the Mehtas and Madhvanis, were turned into
state parastatals. In due course, the enterprises collapsed due to
mismanagement. The national economy, too, was ruined.

After the fall of the Amin regime in 1979, Obote II opted to return the
properties to the former Asian owners. A law, the Expropriated Properties
Act, was put in place to facilitate the Asians to repossess their
properties. A few Asians, including the Mehtas and Madhvanis, took advantage
of the law. But owing to the political instability and insecurity in the country, the majority of the Asians stayed away, until 1986 when the National Resistance Army captured power.

Amin input
On taking over, President Museveni accelerated the process of returning the
properties to the Asians. A big section of the Ugandan business community
and political class were opposed to this. The then interim legislature, the National Resistance Council (NRC), met in a closed session to debate the issue. The session was chaired by President Museveni himself and according to reports; the debate was quite heated. The NRC begrudgingly agreed to allow the Asians to repossess their properties.

The NRM government’s decision was reportedly dictated by the economic
realities and by the donor community. For the donor community, it was not easy for Uganda to attract new foreign investors before redressing the gross injustice committed against the Asian community.

Come Museveni
Museveni’s Government had inherited an economy in ruins. Essential commodities like sugar and salt were scarce. Actually the Government allocated sugar through the local village committees. The authorities were desperate to attract investments to revive the economy. They believed the
Asians had the capacity to mobilise funds for the revival of the economy.

Furthermore, most of the properties under the Departed Properties Custodian Board were on the verge of collapse due to poor maintenance. The Board was broke because the tenants of the properties paid peanuts in rent.

Returning the properties to Asians revived the age-old hostilities against the Asians. Some local traders, who were operating from the premises, resisted. But eventually the exercise was successful. Over the past two decades, the Asians managed to regain their leading position in the national
economy.

Kampala city traders anger
The re-emergence of the Asians as key players in the retail sector as well as import and export did not please everybody. It was not surprising that the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) joined in the demonstration against the planned Mabira give-away. Note that KACITA has hitherto either opposed or stayed clear of political demonstrations.

It is unfortunate that yesterday’s demonstration degenerated into an
anti-Asian riot.

An entire community or ethnic group should not be blamed for the action of
one person or a company. That is precisely what caused the massacre of people in Lango and Acholi during Idi Amin’s regime and the massacres in West Nile during the Obote regime. It is unacceptable.

Posted  to Apn by Ham Mukasa

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Gubernatorial” or “Guber race” raises the enthusiasm, fright and frenzy among Nigerians

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) Some 60 million Nigerians are casting their ballots to renew or extend the office of 35 governors and about 850 state MPs, APA learnt on Saturday.

The mere evocation of the word “Gubernatorial” or “Guber race” raises the enthusiasm, fright and frenzy among Nigerians as the gubernatorial polls alone catalyse all attentions and passions as to how important it is to control the federal territory.

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has governed Nigeria since the restoration of civil rule in 1999, controls 28 of Nigeria’s 35 federal states plus the federal capital of Abuja, regarded as the 36 th state, but which is governed by a minister named by the president.

PDP has enjoyed unwavering domination over the states through two elections (1999 and 2003), and the snowball effect following Obasanjo’s election and the strong emergence of PDP has kept the party’s governors unchanged for eight years.

But observers said as the Nigerian Constitution limits presidential and gubernatorial rule to two mandates of four years, this year is a turning point and that of all possible hazards.

This year’s general elections are Nigeria’s first passing test from a civil regime to another, and PDP will not leave a stone unturned to remain in power.

“The power must change hands, but not parties”, President Obasanjo said at the beginning of the year.

Therefore, defending the power begins with a comfortable victory in this Saturday’s election in a country where relations between governors and state MPs turn into balances of power immediately after elections.

In this vein, governors (mini-presidents) are those who reflect the federal policy on their respective states, often paying little heed to the opinions of the Parliaments under their orders.

Conversely, when these parliaments do break the shackles of gubernatorial sway, their power can exceed any limit and raise conflicts that even usher in the sheer removal of the ruling governors.

Between 2005 and 2006, state MPs “unleashed their wrath” on and later impeached ten governors.

Saturday’s elections are therefore the ruling party’s polling tool to confirm that its grip over the country has remained intact.

If PDP wins the polls, the presidential, Senatorial and House of Representative elections will become a mere formality.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Support needed to accomplish kidney transplant

Posted by African Press International on April 15, 2007

GRANDMOTHER Naomi Michuki, 49, has made an emotional plea to find a lifesaving new kidney – after waiting an astonishing eight years.

She only survives each week by having dialysis three times, and knows she could die if she does not find a donor soon.

Her prolonged wait has been hampered by a chronic shortage of black and ethnic minority donors.

Naomi, of Shakespeare Square, Hainault, said: “It’s horrific, I’ve been waiting for so long. I have a life of hospitals and dialysis all the time. I’ve had dialysis three times a week for eight years and I can’t lead a normal life.

“I can’t work and I can’t even do my shopping.”

Naomi, whose kidneys collapsed in 1999, has a daughter Catherine, 28, and a six-year-old grandson, Jaunte.

She added: “I know that at the moment my lifespan isn’t very long. Long term living on dialysis can lead to heart attacks and other medical issues like diabetes.

“It’s terrible and I don’t really think people have an idea of what organ donation means.

“I want to raise awareness as people don’t think about it until someone in their family needs a transplant and they say ‘I wish I’d done something’ and it’s too late.”

Naomi supports the UK Transplant campaign, Can we count on you? to encourage more black and Asian people to consider organ donations.

These ethnic minorities only account for two per cent of deceased donors and black and Asian transplant patients have to wait twice as long for suitable donors. Last year almost 60 people died while waiting.

Naomi’s daughter has considered donating a kidney, but she couldn’t do it as her son has learning difficulties and she would find it too difficult to cope with the operation and her son’s needs.

Posted to APN by Karuga wa Njuguna

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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