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CORONAVIRUS: Drama At Entebbe Quarantine Centre: Minister Tells German National To Shut Up, Warns: ‘If You Don’t Want To Be Quarantined, Go Back To Your Countries’, Quarantine Fee Cut From $100 To $50…

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Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, one of many Ugandans being detained at Central Inn Entebbe has narrated the drama at the country’s quarantine centre for Coronavirus.

Central Inn in Entebbe is a place where most Ugandans from abroad are quarantined for 14 days.

During his address on Wednesday, President Museveni said that any person who comes into the country via Entebbe is suppossed to be quarantined at Central Inn and they are supposed to pay 100 dollars for the services. He warned that those who don’t want to be quarantined should  back to their countries.

Below is Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo’s narration of what is happening:

“The point in quarantining people is to control the spreading of disease. Thus far, many of us are in support of the measure. But I only support it to the extent that it can be effective.

What we are subjected to here is hostage, not quarantine. No health officer has stepped here since yesterday to see what is happening. It is hotel staff in charge, and they barely have knowledge on how to safely conduct themselves in the circumstances. They are mixing with us, many without proper protection or precaution. They are handling money and other stuff from us with bare hands and minimal use of sanitizers. Of course, their work is to extract as much foreign currency from us as they can.

They are walking in and out of the hotel gate. They all seem confused about what’s going on. One has confided in us that there was a group of Chinese here earlier that they did not know how to handle and were scared of. Talking to some of them the impression you get is that much of the knowledge they have about the disease is either at the surface or mythical. Literally, we are dumped here.

This can easily become a breeding center from which the virus could spread to the outside through workers. And all of us here are at high risk of being infected. I understand that adherence to self-quarantine may be difficult. It requires high discipline. But I’m convinced I would be safer self-isolating in a room at home than at this potential mortuary. All we have here is a good example on how not to quarantine.

At the smell of money, anything can become a commodity in this country! So we are basically here as food to some heartless vampire that saw a business opportunity in the disease. If hell has a kiln, the gluttons behind this should be the firewood.

Some have advised me that if I keep talking about this I might stay here longer and put myself at other risks. I wish I cared about that more than the potential national disaster the conditions here posed. This is not only about me and those of us in here.

An impression is given by some people that we in here are resisting being quarantined, and that all our concerns zero on that. I have read statements like: ‘if they don’t want to be quarantined, let them go back to their countries’; ‘they want to come out and infect us’… This is not true at all. I understand that in times of crises like this pandemic, there tends to be a crazy mixture of truths, untruths, and myths. There may be no time for scrutiny of what we hear.

First, if I wanted to get out of here, I would be out on the first day and I have received suggestions for such help. Some people have left this place, that’s no secret now. Some used their connections at the airport, some could have bribed. Many of us raised it to the government officials that we met last evening that we are not here because we have failed to get out. We have medical doctors, professors, nurses, priests, lawyers, students, etc in here. It’s not that they couldn’t mobilise a $50 bribe, even if they may be financially constrained in the circumstances.

Our major concern was with the gross mismanagement of the quarantine exercise, which partly justifies the escapes. When you mismanage such a measure and make people feel like they must escape to protect their own lives or run from an injustice, you put society at risk. We’ve heard of cases of people escaping from Ebola camps in DRC. Quarantine shouldn’t be made to feel like a punishment. And, if people can’t afford, they should be helped by the state in order to avoid worse case scenarios.

If you can find huge funds to throw to political supporters and buy posh cars to lure musicians, how can you say you can’t help a small group of people that was trapped by a good policy that was passed while they were on their way! Even when abandoning them puts society at risk? If one can’t afford and you force them into quarantine, you are providing incentive to escape and thereby putting all to danger.

Actually, even if they can afford, it is in the interest of the country to pay for them in order not to risk anything. While here, one is not working, and then you add another ABRUPT financial load on them! At least those who travelled after the president’s directive had information to help them prepare. Why does the state spend on the accommodation and meals of incarcerated criminals yet find no reason in intervening here!

The minister and her PS came here with a visible bias, plus their own understandable stress of course. I think they had been heavily misinformed about the concerns of the ‘quarantined’ group. Their opening remarks emphasised in strong words that we must be here for 14 days whether we like it or not. This was none of our concerns! And, even if under normal circumstances one would understand their stress, the last thing you do is to scream at an already traumatized people. I advise, that on account of the heavy load on them currently, Dr Ruth Aceng and Dr Diana Atwine should get regular counseling. Not doing so is a risk to their own health and the entire health system.

We had been herded at high infection risk and dumped here. No safety information or measures at all. No health officer came to follow up on us until we made online noise and officials came to apologize and make promises. No one was concerned that people were leaving! How would they know anyway since they never cared to follow up! It’s not on such a group of people that you try to show might by parading soldiers around and saying ‘shut up’ when interrupted.

The conditions here did not meet the most basic standards of quarantine and were totally contrary to its goals. Neither the ‘quarantined’ nor the said protected wider society was safe. We laughed when, on the second day, an officer meeting us said we were seated too close to each other and should observe some distance.Maybe he didn’t know that we came in here packed in a coster seated shoulder to shoulder and that he was even the first to mention a safety tip to the group ever since we arrived at Entebbe.

They still insist that the state won’t pay for the accommodation and meals, even after some people literally broke down in tears explaining the circumstances of their return to Uganda. Some people have insensitively asked why we chose to travel at this time! Well, one student explained to the minister that she was given hours to leave the country where she was before more borders were closed. No one wants to get trapped with a helpless foreigner when they are also unsure of their own safety. Many of these countries and host institutions have been so good to foreigners and tried to help them travel back to their countries as fast as they could. Some of these are struggling students on scholarship. We have a wrong impression that everyone who travels to Europe is well off and they do so by their own means. Hence the insensitive comments and expectation that, even if some of these people are returning abruptly, they must be having money on them!

Some of the foreigners here started their journeys with the official information of self quarantining. They had made appropriate arrangements and booked places for that. But because the directive changed while they were on their way, they were brought here. There is no problem with Uganda passing new directives for the safety its citizens, but there should be understanding where this raises very difficult circumstances for innocent people. A British lady also broke down and cried explaining what she has gone through as a result of these changes and why she needed an ear. Not all these people are well off as we assume, neither are they adamant and disrespectful. Good enough their embassies are now coming in to help them.

It is the case that in the circumstances everyone is thinking about their own safety and survival, but we can still be human while at that.

The meeting with the two officials was cordial and considerate. Some concessions had been made where food was to be free and rent to be discussed further with their bosses. But agreement had been made that rooms were to be immediately provided to each of those that hadn’t checked in.

Later on, the minister of Health, Ruth Aceng, and Permanent Secretary, Diana Atwine, show up and a meeting is quickly convened. They came along with over 10 soldiers that stood in front and in the sides. I couldn’t tell if this was their security detail or just the day’s accompaniment for a point. The minister and PS came with a rather condescending attitude, especially the minister. At some point she yelled at an old German man who interrupted her, telling him to ‘shut up’.

It was my first time listening to her, but I had her being praised lately as the best minister. Of this I don’t know, but she came across as a hard working lady of good character. But on this occasion, she came across is rather arrogant and condescending. Well, they resolved that we shall have to pay $55 full board. How the price came from $100, to $60, (no lunch, no supper), to now $55 full board is interesting.

The options given were two: One either books in at this hotel or can be checked into a school dormitory for full isolation! Arguments by some returning students that they had no money at all were met with a suggestion to quarantine them in a school dormitory!”

We will keep you posted…

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INVESTIGATION

How LDUs Are Killing More Ugandans Than Covid19: Is M7’s Good UPDF Now Turning Into A Force Worse Than His Predecessors Because Of LDUs? Top Human Rights, Security Experts Speaks Out….

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Since the liberation war in the bushes of Luweero Triangle, President Museveni has always stressed the need to have a professional disciplined army that respects the rights of the citizens.

Numerous stories have been told by those who fought with the old man with a hat of how officers who infringed on the rights of citizens were punished and even killed.

The President has on several occasions warned that the UPDF and other security forces must not replicate the atrocities committed by armies of past regimes.

However, with the incorporation of the LDUs in the UPDF as a reserve force, the good image is slowly being tainted with dirt and blood and the indiscipline of the LDUs is eating into police and the once cherished UPDF.

theGrapevine takes a deep look into what went wrong.

LDUs AS RESERVE FORCE

In March last year, president Yoweri Museveni the Commander in Chief (CiC) of the armed forces passed out over 6,436 Local Defense Unity (LDUs) to beef up police, army and other security agencies in the fight against the rampant crime around the country.

In 2018, in his security address to the nation, Museveni ordered the recruitment of over 24,000 LDUs to fight urban crime and most of them were deployed in urban centers especially in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono.

However, president’s dream of fishing out criminals in the society has turned into a nightmare and innocent Ugandans are losing their lives and hundreds have survived with serious injuries.

The situation worsened when the president declared a curfew and lockdown among other directives to fight the deadly COVID19 pandemic.

Many LDUs knowingly or unknowingly misinterpreted the presidential directives.

President Museveni passing out LDUs

LDUs HAVE KILLED MORE UGANDANS THAN COVID19

According to investigations made by this website, LDUs have killed more Ugandans than Covid19 in the months of March, April, May and June.

Uganda currently has 977 Covid19 positive cases with no death and over ten deaths as a result of LDU brutality with many causalities.

Most Ugandans we have talked said that you have 99.9% chances of surviving death if you contract Covid19 but 1% chance of surviving if you meet an angry LDU officer.

Most of the affected people are boda boda riders, pregnant women and people in upcountry areas.

On May 8th, an LDU officer killed a man and a pregnant woman in Masaka Municipality along Elgin Street.

On May 12th 2020, an LDU officer shot dead 46-year-old Alfred Mwanga of Kapkwata village in Kapkwata Parish in Kapkwata Sub County in Kween District and injured David Denis Chemusto.

On 7th July 2020, UPDF 5th division Court Martial sentenced an LDU officer Pte. Jolly Thomas Opoka to life imprisonment for killing Francis Ogwang, a 65 year old man.

Recently in Lukaya, an LDU officer hit a boda boda cyclist with a gun killing him instantly.

Today, during the opening of plenary, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Betty Awol Ochan disclosed that LDUs killed one person in Oyam, one in Kasese and one in Agago.

Female youth MP Anna Abaju Adeke revealed that Emmanuel Tegu, a third-year Veterinary Medicine student of Makerere University was allegedly beaten to death by LDU officers even though police denied these allegations.

Among those who have survived the wrath of these LDUs with serious injuries include; Ali Waswa a journalist with vision group based in Mbarara was badly beaten by UPDF soldiers and LDUs attached to Makenke in Mbarara district.

Ms. Olivia Pita, a resident of Moyo district sustained deep wounds on her forehead after being beaten by LDUs. She claims that she was found burning rubbish in her home.

Beatrice Kabatembuzi, a resident of Kanara Town Council in Ntoroko district claims that she was beaten by LDUs when they found her cooking food on her verandah.

On Tuesday, Mulengeranews reported that Soroti Resident judge Wilson Masalu Musene and David Wangutsi, a High court judge of the commercial court admitted that they were beaten by LDU officers.

On Tuesday evening, Joseph Luzige, the Mityana district chairperson was humiliated and insulted by LDU officers for trying to stop them from beating a boda boda rider who was carrying a pregnant woman.

These are some of the cases that have seen the light of day, but many go unnoticed.

Security expert Egesa

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

To establish how deep this rot is, this website went an extra mile and talked to prominent human rights defenders and security experts.

Celebrated private investigator and security expert David Fredrick Egesa, he revealed that recruiting LDUs was a wrong project.

Egesa guided that the president was supposed to first weigh his decision of deploying people who are not well trained in society.

Egesa said that LDUs were supposed to cook food for UPDF not to put on their uniform because they even lack the basic law.

He insisted that the country is sitting on a time bomb, “LDUs will one day exchange bullets with police because each of them thinks that they are superior to the other.”

Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo told theGrapevine that you cannot divorce the actions LDU from UPDF because it’s under its command.

He insisted that whatever LDU is doing is supervised by UPDF and one time a top commander of UPDF told them to kill Ugandans because they were trained to kill.

Human Rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo

“LDUs are mere sub-contractors of the UPDF on serious crimes which would have been committed by the army. In every election cycle we have paramilitary groups that commit the same crimes, we had crime preventers do the same crimes, there is a pattern here of the use of paramilitary groups to collude elections, from Kiboko squad, crime preventers now LDUs and they all come during elections. You cannot look at LDUs in isolation but in the context of being used as a paramilitary group sub contracted by the state to carry out violence,” Opiyo noted.

He bears the same opinion with Constitutional lawyer Peter Walubiri who stated that UPDF which is essentially president Museveni’s NRA has been leaving a deceptive life and what the LDUs are doing is to show the true character of the UPDF.

He insisted that NRA from the days of Luwero, Teso insurgency, Congo have been implicated in human rights abuses including torture and murder.

“When you read reports from human rights Commission and Amnesty international for the past 30 years, you will see that all these things are not new. Who killed people in Kasese? Who killed people when Buganda Premier Walusimbi was stopped from going to Bugerere in 2009? It wasn’t LDUs but UPDF. People have been tortured in safe houses, Kireka Special Investigation Units and Nalufenya by the military,” the soft spoken lawyer said.

Veteran investigative journalist Stanley Ndawula wondered why LDU was put under the command of a professional army of the UPDF, he explained that some of the LDU commanders are disgruntled and drunkards who are excited because they are getting a lot of money through extortion.

He prayed to the appointing authority to disband LDU and allow police to take over their duties before the two groups exchange bullets.

He noted that he witnessed a scenario where an LDU officer took over the command of an operation from a DPC including the suspects they had come to arrest.

Journalist Stanley Ndawula

UPDF SPEAKS OUT

Efforts to speak to Major Bilal Katamba the spokesperson of the LDUs were futile since he was not picking our calls or responding to our messages.

When we contacted, UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire did not pick our calls while his deputy Lt. Col. Deo Akiika’s phones were off.

However, on the Mityana incident, Brig. Karemire released a statement today regretting that the incident happened.

“The UPDF regrets this gross act of indiscipline that is not characteristic of the UPDF as a people’s army. We wish to restate that discipline remains a core value and bedrock on which the UPDF was founded. Anyone who deviates from this will always be punished according to the established laws. There are examples to prove this in the recent past like a soldier in Kasese was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment and an LDU personnel were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment all because of unprofessional conduct.

We therefore strongly condemn this act meted out against one of our senior civilian leaders,” Brig Karemire said.

He added, “The UPDF wishes to reiterate its full commitment and loyalty to the people of Uganda and will always remain subordinate to the civilian authority as provided for under Article 208 of the Constitution.

There is no need to lose heart over these incidents.  A comprehensive review of these deployments to enforce anti-COVID 19 measures is soon to take place and we expect better results.”

Speaker Kadaga

SPEAKER DIRECTS MINISTER TO EXPLAIN

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga today directed the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odong to explain to Parliament and the country, the circumstances surrounding the death of Emmanuel Tegu, a third year student at Makerere University, allegedly killed by LDUs.

“You would imagine that the University is a safe place for our children to be but this has happened. Secondly, I think it’s time Government explained to Ugandans what they have done to the LDUs who have beaten and killed people – because the reports are there,” she said.

She added, “We want answers. Why is it that no LDU has been prosecuted? What action has been taken against these LDUs? We want answers from the Minister of Internal Affairs by Tuesday next week.”

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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NATIONAL

I Warned Katureebe On The Consequences Of LDUs, They Are Now Killing Ugandans, Beating Up Judges And Insulting Leaders – Lawyer Mabirizi….

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LDU officer beating up a local trader (Courtesy photo)

Revolutionary lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has revealed that he warned judicial officers on the consequences of incorporating Local Defense Unity (LDU) into the security system but they decided to rule otherwise without thinking that they will one day also become victims.

Mulengeranews recently revealed how Soroti Resident judge Wilson Musalu Musene and his counterpart David Wangutsi, a judge of the High Court Commercial Division were badly beaten by LDUs in Mbale town for violating the presidential curfew directive.

On Tuesday evening, social media was awash with a video of LDU personal and army officers insulting Joseph Luzige, the chairperson of Mityana District. Luzige who is a member of the ruling NRM party was accused of trying to stop security officers from beating a boda boda cyclist who was carrying a pregnant woman.

LDUs have of late been accused of killing innocent Ugandans under the guise of implementing presidential directives in the fight against COVID19.

In an exclusive interview with this website, Mabirizi disclosed that that he smelled a rotten rat and collapse of the rule of law when security operatives stormed parliament and beat up members of parliament who were against the lifting of the age limit that is why he ran to court to guide the nation.

He explained that unfortunately, the courts of law presided over by the eminent members of the society led by retired Chief Justice Bart Magunda Katureebe ruled that it was not illegal for security men to raid parliament and beat legislators.

“On 15th January 2019, during the hearing of the age limit case, I warned Katureebe and his six other justices of the Supreme Court that the consequences of upholding collapse of rule of law through failure to nullify a law passed through UPDF violence would be indiscriminative because judges would also fall victims one day,” Mabirizi explained.

He added that he reminded Katureebe the scenario where former Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka was killed from his office and in Ghana and in Nigeria where judges were arrested from court.

“I told them that the effects of their ruling will be like a hailstorm ravaging a village, it does not discriminate among pagans, Christians or Muslims and here we are, judges and district chairpersons are being battered,” Mabirizi noted.

He explained that when president Museveni officially incorporated LDUs into the national security organizations, he ran to the High Court again and challenged this decision because it was illegal.

“LDUs were going to turn against Ugandans and legally there was no law one could use to challenge their acts,” Mabirizi said.

The maverick lawyer explained that to his surprise, his case was dismissed after High Court judge Musa Ssekana reasoned that LDUs are members of the reserve forces without being gazetted.

Mabirizi insisted that if Ugandans keep on folding their hands without legally challenging the behavior of security agencies, Uganda is going to turn into a lawless country.

When contacted, Joseph Luzige said that he was degraded and humiliated before his people and he expects that disciplinary action is taken against the culprits.

The former Democratic Party strongman wondered why security personnel are behaving in a hostile way yet they are answerable to civilians who are paying for the facilities they are using and their salaries.

He noted that before he was insulted, he was trying to save a boda boda man who was carrying a pregnant woman from being thumped by these security personnel.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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MY MONEY

Balaam Asks For Shs.1billion From Kabushenga Led Kampala Sun For Portraying Him As A Fraudster And Extortionist…

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It seems the troubles of Robert Kabushenga led Vision Group are not about to end.

This is after events promoter and National Resistance Movement (NRM) party diehard Balaam Barugahara threatened to sue them if he is not compensated with Shs.1bn.

Through his lawyers of Isabirye and Company Advocates, Balaam claims that, Vision Group, through its weekly newspaper the Kampala Sun defamed him when they alleged that he was muscling Uganda Cranes players for a share of money allegedly paid to them by President Museveni.

“Needless to say, that the publication was false, baseless and not with any truth but has none the less damaged the reputation of our client in a manner that is irreparable, as when construed and contextualized in its natural, and ordinary meaning, or by innuendo, said article is understood to mean and to suggest that Mr. Balaam Barugahara, our client, is a criminal, an immoral and indefensible man,” Balaam’s lawyers stated in their letters.

They insist that the Kampala Sun article under the headline ‘Balaam harasses Uganda Cranes over Sevo Cash’ negatively impacted on the integrity of their client, demeaned his reputation in his capacity as a businessman and a family man in the eyes of reasonable Ugandans, East Africans, Africans and the world at large to the extent of him being viewed as a fraudster and extortionist.

“In addition to causing him to limit his interaction with his peers, contemporaries, business partners and colleagues in order for him to avoid the contempt and ridicule that he suffers when amongst them, this emotional suffering has caused him to suffer stress and affected his moods and behavior in a depressing manner,” the lawyers added.

They claim that because of such suffering, their client demands a public apology for the claimed false story and compensation of Shs.1bn.

They gave vision group only three days from yesterday to do so.

Last week, Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC) suspended Urban TV’s Scoop on Scoop gossip show after socialite Sheilah Gashumba petitioned the commission over defamatory statements from the show host Tina Fierce against her. Urban TV is another Vision Group product. Sheilah also asked for Shs.400 million compensation.

 

By Jamil Lutakome

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