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    FULL ADDRESS: M7 Opens Places Of Worship, Gyms, Casinos And Weekly Markets, Orders Schools To Remain Closed…

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    President Museveni

    President Museveni yesterday released some sectors of the economy in his Covid19 address.

    The President begun by giving an analysis on how Uganda is standing as per the spread of the virus and vaccination.

    He disclosed that as of now, the country has 2,294,000 doses of vaccines available at the National Medical Stores (NMS) out of 11,978,840 million doses expected by end of December 2021.

    “The daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilized at 124 cases countrywide from an average of 1,445 at the peak of the second wave in June 2021. For safe lifting of restrictions, the National Task force usually considers a number of factors,” he said.

    Among the considered sectors included: places of worship, casinos, gaming, betting shops, gyms and Weekly markets.

    “There must be strict adherence to all SOPs at all times i.e. handwashing or use of alcohol based sanitizer, temperature monitoring and consistent wearing of face masks by all congregants including the choir and the preachers,” Museveni warned while opening places of worship.

    The president also noted that the number of people attending burials, weddings and social events increase to 200 under strict observance of SOPs.

    However, speaking about the Education sector, the president said infections in children below 18 years are often mild and they recover quickly. However, many of the 15 million learners are day scholars who once infected go back home and infect their parents and grand parents that may subsequently die.

    Museveni therefore instructed those post-secondary institutions of learning will open with effect from 1st November 2021 on condition that all teachers and non-teaching staff are vaccinated.

    He added that the 330,000 students aged 18 years and above in post-secondary institutions should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

    The rest of the learning institutions will open in January 2022.

    Below is the President’s full address:

    Dear Countrymen and Countrywomen,

    Since my last address to you on the 30th of July 2021, the COVID-19 transmission rates in the country have continued to decline. Despite this, some districts continue to show higher transmission rates and are considered hotspot districts. This persistent transmission is in the following 9 districts namely: Kampala, Kalungu, Kabale, Kumi, Soroti, Tororo, Gulu, Nwoya and Yumbe.

    The daily average number of confirmed cases over the last one month has declined and stabilized at 124 cases countrywide, from an average of 1,445 cases at the peak of the second wave in June 2021. Similarly, the daily average number of deaths has declined to 6 from 57 deaths at the height of the peak of the second wave.

    As of 22nd September 2021, the country has registered 122,502 confirmed cases and 3,135 deaths. Additionally, the current admissions stand at 340 in both public and private facilities (272 in public, 66 in prisons and only 2 in the private facilities), of whom 144 (38%) are in the severe and critical category.

    Epidemic curve showing COVID-19 cases (March 2020 – September 2021)

    Following the previous wave, the current national COVID-19 response strategy now focuses on the following interventions:

    COVID-19 Vaccination

    Government continues to carry out extensive mobilization of COVID-19 vaccines and by the end of December 2021, we expect about 12 million doses as shown below:

    Table 1: Vaccine arrival forecast Sept-December 2021

    Source of Vaccine Type of Vaccine Quantity Status
    USA Pfizer 1,647,000 Received –  20 September 2021
    USA Moderna 647,000 Received – 6 September 2021
    France AstraZeneca 501,000 22 September 2021
    Belgium AstraZeneca 344,900 22 September 2021
    China Sinovac 700,000 30 September,2021
    USA Pfizer 3,488,940 End of October, 2021
    GoU Johnson & Johnson 1,200,000 End of October 2021
    GoU Sinopharm 2,000,000 End of September 2021
    COVAX AstraZeneca 1,000,000 Mid October 2021
    Ireland AstraZeneca 350,000 Mid October 2021
    Belgium Johnson & Johnson 100,000 End of November 2021
    Total 11,978,840  

     

    As of now, we have 2,294,000 doses of vaccines available at the National Medical Stores (NMS) out of 11,978,840 million doses expected by end of December 2021.

    In regards to the vaccination strategy, the following are being undertaken:

    1. Scaling up vaccination for all the eligible Ugandans aged 18 years and above (approx. 22 m)
    2. Prioritizing the vaccination of the 4.8 million priority population: health workers, teachers, security personnel, elderly persons of 50 years and above, those below 50 years with comorbidities and 330,000 students in post-secondary institutions aged 18 years and above.

    Therefore, I now direct with immediate effect that, all RDCs, CAOs and DHOs must  carry out intensive mobilization for all eligible priority groups to go for vaccination. They should, in addition, ensure that no vaccines are wasted or left to expire. In any district where vaccines expire, the RDC, CAO and DHO will be dismissed.

    Surveillance

    In order to prevent the third wave and importation or emergence of new variants in the country, I direct the Ministry of Health to:

    1. Enhance surveillance at the airport and all the 53 land ports of entry. Government will establish testing facilities at the airport and all land border points of entry. In the interim (not more than 2 weeks), the private laboratories will continue to test the incoming travellers.
    2. The UPDF and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will support the Ministry of Health to complete the modifications necessary for installation of the testing facilities and to carry out the surveillance processes.
    • Carry out regular and systematic genomic sequencing to detect any new variants (locally emerging and imported)
    1. Work with Ministry of Education and Sports to support head teachers to carry out surveillance and early reporting of suspected cases in schools to the District and City Task Forces once the schools open
    2. Follow up the use of Rapid Antigen Self-tests with World Health Organization (WHO), and once approved, inform the Ministry of Education and Sports to consider their use in schools

    Safe re-opening of sectors under lock down

    For safe lifting of restrictions, the National Task Force usually considers a number of factors such as; risk of transmission in that sector, vulnerability of individuals and the overall economic impact. This is further guided by the following:

    1. Scientific evidence based approach for safe and sustainable reopening in a phased manner
    2. Enforcement of the SOPs by the sector in line with the COVID-19 Statutory Instrument
    • Increased awareness by the sector of the risks and adherence to SOPs

    I am aware of the limitations of the current Public Health Act. Cabinet will fast track its amendment to facilitate the enforcement of SOPs and include among others, the on-spot and court fines of those who fail to adhere to SOPs.

    In this regard, the National Task Force has reviewed the sectors that were pending lifting of restrictions and I now direct as follows:

    Places of Worship:

    The places of worship can now open under the following conditions:

    • Limit the number of worshippers at any one time to not more than 200 provided the place of worship can ensure physical distancing of 2 meters on either side and adequate aeration.
    • There must be strict adherence to all SOPs at all timese. hand washing/ use of alcohol based sanitizer, temperature monitoring, and consistent wearing of face masks by all congregants including the choir and preachers.
    • No congregation for worship after curfew hours
    • The 200-persons-limit, physical distancing and all other SOPs should be respected even during special occasions e.g. weddings, funeral services, confirmation etc
    • Partner with Government to communicate and mobilize the population for vaccination and other control measures

    Weddings, Burials and other social events:

    The number of persons attending these events can now increase to 200 under strict observance of SOPs

    Casinos, Gaming, Betting shops and Gyms:

    • The casinos, gaming, betting shops and gyms can now operate during the day and close by 6:00pm.
    • The various local governments, Cities and Kampala Capital City Authority, working with the National Gaming and Lottery Board MUST inspect the various betting outlets for suitability and adherence to SoPs before opening.

    Concerts, disco halls, performing artists and beaches

    These tend to congregate large numbers and are difficult to control.  With the level of vaccination still low, I direct that these remain closed until at least the 4.8 million priority population is vaccinated.

    Bars

    Bars are a high risk area where individuals have no sobriety to observe the SOPs. They  will be considered for re-opening when the 4.8 million priority population is vaccinated.

    Cinemas and Bibanda (Local Cinema Halls)

    These should remain closed as the local cinema halls are areas of immense crowding and mostly have poor aeration and are designed to have artificial ventilation systems.

    Curfew

    Restriction of movement of persons at the night time is key to the enforcement of other preventive health measures. Curfew remains at 7:00pm – 5:30am. Boda bodas should stop movement at 6:00pm.

     Weekly markets

    These are open door settings and currently transmission rates are low in some areas. These can be opened with strict adherence to SOPs and the curfew hours except for current hotspot districts (Soroti, Kampala, Kalungu, Kabale, Kumi, Tororo, Gulu, Nwoya and Yumbe). The RDCs, RPCs, DPCs, DISOs, GISOs should enforce adherence to SOPs.

    The Minister for Health should follow up the hotspot districts and review their situation for safe re-opening of the weekly markets after two weeks.

    Reopening of schools:

    Infections in children below 18 years are often mild and they recover quickly. However, many of the 15 million learners are day scholars who once infected, go back home and infect their parents and grandparents that may subsequently die. This was observed during the second wave.

    To avoid a similar scenario, the National Task Force,  on several occasions considered conditions for safe re-opening of schools which included; vaccination of teachers, non-teaching staff, 330,000 students aged 18 years and above, plus all the other priority population, This was in addition to the rate of transmission in the country.

    To-date, out of the targeted 550,000 teachers, 269,945 have already received the 1st dose of vaccination while 96,653 have received the second dose. This leaves a total of 280,055 not yet vaccinated at all.

     Table 2: Vaccination Status of the 4.8 million priority population to-date

    Category Target 1st dose 2nd dose Unvaccinated 1st dose Unvaccinated 2nd dose
    Teachers 550,000 269,945 (49%) 96,653 (17.6%) 280,055 453,347
    50yrs+ 3,348,500 309,592 (9.2%) 135,799 (4.1%) 3,038,908 3,212,701
    Comorbidities 500,000 27,698 (5.5%) 10,347 (2.1%) 472,302 489,653
    Health workers 150,000 112,129 (74.8%) 56,687 (37.8%) 37,871 93,313
    Security 250,000 145,389 (58.2%) 48,493 (19.4%) 104,611 201,507
    Total       3,933,747 4,450,521

     

    I, now, direct as follows:

    1. Post-Secondary institutions of learning to open with effect from 1st November 2021 on condition that; all teachers and non-teaching staff are vaccinated
    2. The 330,000 students aged 18 years and above in post-secondary institutions should be vaccinated as soon as possible
    3. The rest of the learning institutions will open in January 2022.

    I call upon all teachers and support staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible to enable safe re-opening of schools.

    Patient Care

    Regarding patient care and the challenges observed in the second wave which were:

    • High patient numbers
    • Inadequate oxygen supply
    • Insufficient bed capacity
    • High cost of care and holding of dead bodies by the private health facilities

    I direct the Ministry of Health as follows;

    • Fast track the installation of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants at National (1) and Regional Referral Hospitals (15) and the cryogenic plants at 3 designated regions
    • Prepare selected district hospitals in hard-to-reach areas and islands as treatment centres to cater for patients that have challenges accessing Regional Referral Hospitals
    • Strengthen Home Based Care (HBC) through refresher training of VHTs and equip them with the HBC Tool kits
    • Work with the Ministry of Education and Sports to ensure that schools designate their sick bays with basic Infection, Prevention and Control materials for isolation of mildly sick children once schools open.

    Strengthening decentralized response

    The implementation of the preventive health measures is majorly carried out by the Local Governments.  I therefore direct the Ministry of Local Government to ensure continuous functionality of the District and Sub-County Task Forces.

    The Ugandan health workers have done a commendable job since the start of the pandemic. I would like to commend them for the spirit of hard work and patriotism.

     

    I thank you for listening.

    For God and my Country

    Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

    22 September 2021

     

     

     

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    CRIME

    Former Minister Mbayo Survives Arrest, Sneaks Into CID, Grilled Over Nepotism And Corruption…

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    Minister Esther Mbayo

    Former Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo has survived arrest after secretly presenting herself to Kibuli based police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to answer charges related to corruption and nepotism.

    Last month, police threatened to arrest the Luuka district woman Member of Parliament for refusing to respect the criminal summons issued against her through the office of the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah.

    Mbayo pleaded with the speaker for assistance claiming that the police detectives are being used by her political opponents to humiliate her and brand her a criminal.

    However, the speaker advised her to go to CID and record a statement since police have followed the necessary requirements to summon her as an MP.

    On Monday last week, Mbayo sneaked into CID together with her lawyers and she was grilled by detectives led by Julius Twinomujuni.

    Sources at the CID disclosed that Mbayo was grilled on allegations of influencing the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation(UPPC) board to approve her sister Christine Mayengo as the Finance and Accounting manager yet she lacked the required qualifications.

    It is alleged that Mbayo used her influence as the former minister to put pressure on the chairperson Finance, Investment and marketing committee Dr. Patrick Ibembe and Managing Director Tom Wasswa to omit the capable  candidates for the job as advertised in mainstream media in favor of her sister.

    It is further alleged that Dr. Ibembe disclosed that they did not have to engage any external consultant for the said recruitment.

    Sources revealed that Mbayo was told that her sister emerged second in the interview but she was declared the best candidate.

    Sources state that as a token of appreciation to these officials, Mbayo increased their retainer fees from Shs2,500,000 to Shs3,500,000 and Shs2,000,000 to Shs3000,000 to Board chairperson and other members respectively.

    Mbayo was also grilled on allegations that she benefited from the Shs9bn cash which was paid to UPPC by the Electoral Commission to gazette the elected political leaders and polling stations in the recently concluded 2021 general elections.

    Investigators allege that Mbayo directed UPPC management to share the Shs9bn and she was given her share which was used in her 2021 political campaigns in Luuka district.

    Sources revealed that the former minister denied all the allegations and she was released on a police bond.

    The current minister for presidency Milly Babalanda suspended the UPPC board and the management on allegations of corruption, abuse of office and embezzlement.

    Police discover Shs600m in the course of investigation and it alleges that this was part of the Shs9bn paid by the Electoral Commission.

    The police are still investigating the matter.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    M7 Summons KCCA Ministers, ED Kisaka Over Invisible Hands Fueling City Market Wrangles…

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    Minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda (L) and Suzan Kushaba (R)

    President Yoweri Museveni has summoned Kampala Metropolitan Minister Hajjat Minsa Kabanda and Dr. Dorothy Kisaka, the Executive Director Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) over allegations that invisible hands are fueling city market wrangles.

    In a chat with the Grapevine, Kabanda confirmed the meeting adding that it is going to take place next week at State House Entebbe to resolve the ongoing leadership fights in Kampala markets especially St. Balikuddembe commonly known as Owino market, Nakasero market, Wandegeya market and Bugolobi market.

    “It’s true the president summoned us to guide on his directive given on the leadership of the city market and I am going with members on the technical wing. He wants to know why his directives are not being implemented and also guide us on how to implement them,” Kabanda said.

    Museveni’s decision to summon KCCA bosses comes after getting information that there are ongoing fights between KCCA and the interim market leadership who refused to vacate offices to allow the election of new leadership to run the market.

    Sources revealed that during the Monday cabinet meeting, minister Kabanda reported Suzan Kushaba, the interim Owino market boss to the President for refusing to leave office and insulting her and Kampala City Resident Commissioner (RCC) Hawa Namugenyi Ndege.

    Sources revealed that Kabanda decided to run to Museveni after meeting security bosses in Kampala City who warned her to go slow on Kushaba because she is working for some big government official.

    “Security cannot remove Kushaba from the office, the lady is protected by SFC and police fear her,” a source at the KCCA revealed.

    He further revealed that when RCC Ndege evicted Kushaba from office last week, she contacted her bosses who allegedly intensified her security and directed her to go back to her office.

    A new energized and fully armed Kushaba went back to office with swag and insisted that she will not leave office on orders of the Minister.

    She further claimed that she had information that the minister wants to sell the market and also return the bad leaders who were fired by the president for mistreating market vendors.

    Yesterday, Minister Kabanda held a meeting with security heads in Kampala to see how to handle Kushaba but it didn’t resolve anything.

    Another source disclosed that the minister is bitter with Kushaba for branding her a fraudster who is behind the selling of public land and city markets like park yard which she sold to controversial city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu.

    However, the minister insisted that her directive on city markets still stands and Kushaba should leave office for new leadership.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    CRIME IS A CRIME: Stealing From An Employer, Whether Government Or Private, Will Send You To Jail – M7 Directs Arrest Of Top Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Security Chiefs, RDCs Over Corruption….

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    President Yoweri Museveni

    President Tibuhaburwa Museveni has directed the arrest of top ministers, permanent secretaries, security chiefs and Resident District Commissioners (RDC) over corruption and neglect of duty.

    In a letter dated 22nd August 2021 to the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Frank Tumwebaze, copied to the Vice President, Prime Minister, Attorney General and other top ministers, the president gave three courses of action against the suspected corrupt government officials.

    The president was responding to Minister Tumwebaze’s letter dated 11th August 2021 where he accused top government officials of frustrating government service delivery in local government through corruption and lack of patriotism.

    Tumwebaze reported that these actions are putting NRM in bad light. However, in his response, the president insisted that the problem starts from the top, in the ministries and they should be cleaned.

    “The problem is not just in the districts. It starts with ministries in Kampala, the ministers, the permanent secretaries, who do not supervise and monitor programs of the government being implemented by the districts” the president stated.

    He told Tumwebaze that he has information on government officials who are selling vaccines and government properties but he is still collecting evidence against them so that they are arrested and prosecuted.

    In his letter, Museveni gave three courses of actions against the suspects and these include; arresting and prosecuting the suspected officials, sacking and arresting Chief Administrative Officers (CAO), dismissing or prosecuting RDCs, DISOs DPCs, GISOs under whose jurisdiction these crimes are being committed.

    Museveni further directed that even political leaders can be arrested and prosecuted if they collude or aid these crimes.

    “It is, therefore, not a structural problem but neglect of duty by the ministers and the permanent secretaries. Decentralization did not decentralize crime and impunity. Crime is a crime. Stealing from an employer, whether Government or private, will send you to jail for ten years,” Museveni stated.

    Museveni’s letter comes on the heels of a warning from Milly Babalanda, the Minister for Presidency who cautioned RDCs and security bosses in Busoga region to stop involving themselves in illegalities because the president has already directed for the prosecution of all public officials implicated in corruption and evicting tenants from their land.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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