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    FULL SPEEECH: EAC Is The Fastest Growing Region In Africa – M7







    22 FEBRUARY, 2018


    Excellencies Heads of State and Government

     The Secretary General of the EAC and your Secretariat staff

     Government Ministers and Officials

     Distinguished Partners and Invited Guests

     Ladies and Gentlemen

    I welcome you all to this EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing as part of Development. On behalf of the Government and the people of Uganda, I extend a warm welcome to all of you and invite you to enjoy the hospitality of our Country.

    Colleague Heads of State and invited guests, this Joint Retreat will serve two purposes – first, as the 4thRetreat on Infrastructure Development and Financing where we review progress on the implementation of the priority projects agreed upon in the 3rd Retreat held in November 2014. Secondly, as the 1st Retreat on Health Sector Financing and Development.

    As at our previous Retreats, this is to say that we owe it to ourselves and the future generations to ensure that this region has efficient, interlinked and interoperable infrastructure to enable our People to increase their prosperity through the exchange of goods and services.  The greater the volume of goods and services that the East Africans sell to one another and to others, the greater their wealth is.

    We are, here, also to consider the regional health sector investment priorities in line with our commitments to achieve a robust health coverage and healthy lives for the people of East Africa.


    I wish to thank you for taking decisive actions jointly and severally during the intervening period which has enabled the implementation of some of the infrastructure projects prioritized at the previous Retreats. Your commitments as Heads of State in this process provided requisite assurance not only to development partners and investors but also implementing agencies to propel the infrastructure agenda forward. I wish to thank all those partners that are supporting the regional infrastructure development initiatives in different ways.

    Allow me to cite a few notable major ongoing infrastructure developments in the Region: the implementation of the flagship Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) of which the construction of the Mombasa – Nairobi section in the Northern Corridor is complete and operational while the construction of the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro – Mwanza – Dodoma on the Central Corridor is ongoing. Other major undertakings are: construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, the development of Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Project corridor, among others.

    Within Uganda, we are getting ready to, first of all, repair and start using the old railway lines to Malaba from Kampala, to Pakwach from Tororo and to Kasese from Kampala.  Even using the old line to Mombasa, is cheaper than using the road.  With the Standard Gauge now in Nairobi, it costs US$5 cents per metric tonne transported on the railway compared to US$ 15 centsper metric tonne transported on the road.  With the completed Standard Gauge Railway the rail transport will cost US$ 8 centsper metric tonne compared to US$ 21 cents per metric tonne on the road.  There is also the use of the Lakes: Victoria (Nalubaale), Kyooga with the Nile, Lake Albert (Mwitanzigye), Lake Edward (Butuumbi – Rutshuru) and the River Kagyera, through Kyaaka in Tanzania to Nshungyeezi in Uganda, a mere 30 miles short of the Rwanda border at Kakitumba.

    However, when we are dealing with the Railway, Electricity and ICT backbone, we must ensure the final price of the utility is competitive because those elements are dangerous cost-pushers.  High electricity, transport and internet costs will not allow us to industrialize.  Therefore, the cost of money and the structure of ownership should never be allowed to interfere with this strategic aim.

    The Region is also moving forward on trade facilitation through the harmonization of Vehicle Load Control and operationalization of the One Stop Border Posts.  We will open yet another crucial boarder post of Busia on Saturday, as planned by our Regional Ministries.

    We have also made good strides on the EAC One Area Network as the implementation of cross-border ICT infrastructure is critical for the attainment of a unified market in communication services in East Africa.   I am gratified to note that Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have implemented the EAC Roaming Framework, which has considerably reduced on the telecommunication charges for the East African citizens. I urge all the Partner States to embrace this initiative for the benefit of our people.

    The transformation of the EAC Customs Union into the Single Customs Territory was a major step in advancing the integration agenda. The Community has, since January 2014, incrementally rolled our cargo on the Single Customs Territory.  I am happy to report that in December, 2017, all goods were rolled into the Single Customs Territory.  Thus, all goods are entered into the Single Customs Territory once they reach the first point of entry into the Community with taxes being assessed and paid to the destination Partner States.

    I call upon Your Excellencies to continue on the path of connecting our region and internal investment in infrastructure to boost the facilitation of production and productivity.

    While the rest of Africa continue to register slow growth, EAC is the fastest growing region. This is partly due to solving this bottleneck of communication by investing heavily in infrastructure.

    I would like to also request all partner states to focus on to the challenge of doing business in order to realize value for money for the investments we make in infrastructure.

    I wish to mention some of the challenges, like, delays in project delivery caused by procurement challenges. As Heads of State, we agreed on the priority projects across the region but we do not have in place a harmonized approach of procuring for these projects. This is an area that we must address, collectively.

    Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, whereas developed countries anchor their infrastructure development on their strong financial and capital markets, this region lacks such muscle and, hence, miss the opportunity to access sufficient and cheaper capital. Infrastructure bonds issued through vibrant financial markets have become feasible and profitable investment portfolios for  emerging countries in South East Asia.  We need to embrace this approach in our Region as part of our strategy to enable us realize our long-term Infrastructure Development goals.

    Let me inform you that, in the Health Sector, the EAC has witnessed a notable increase in life expectancy from 51 years in 2005 to 61 years in 2016. Despite this progress, huge public health challenges still exist. There is a growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers; high prevalence of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; maternal, neonatal and nutritional complications; road and other accident related injuries; epidemics such as Ebola, marburg and even resistance to antibiotics.

    In East Africa, we need to learn lessons from the outbreak of Ebola that ravaged West Africa from 2014 to 2016 in which over 11,000 people perished, but also investment, production and travel were severely disrupted.  Such outbreaks overstretch the health systems and resources, threaten trade and slow down the overall socio-economic transformation. We, as a region, need to strengthen the rapid response mechanisms against health security threats.

    With the current array of technologies at our disposal,  there is no reason why we cannot eliminate some of the public health challenges such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS; preventable maternal and child deaths. We are also better equipped to deal with non-communicable diseases and epidemics.

    We must, therefore, deliberately refocus our efforts to address these challenges through increasing investment in prevention, human and technological resources to accelerate progress towards universal coverage of essential health to the peoples of East Africa.

    As we commit ourselves as leaders to champion the health agenda, I call upon investors and development partners to take advantage of potential investment opportunities such as the high unmet needs for specialized healthcare of the rapidly growing population; growing middle class and a wide range of potential incentives offered by Partner States.

    Besides, ensuring healthy lives, we expect the health sector to contribute more significantly to the economy through creation of new jobs, proliferation of innovations, expansion of manufacturing of medicines and health technologies and medical tourism.  The sector should be a foreign exchange earner to the region.

    In this regard, we need to learn and apply lessons from emerging economies such as India, whose total healthcare industry revenue is expected to increase from US$ 110 billion in 2016 to US$ 372 billion in 2022 in response to deliberate investments in telemedicine, manufacturing of medicines and health technologies, medical tourism, health workforce training and risk pooling/health insurance, among others. In order to achieve this, we need to plan in a harmonized way.  In Uganda, for instance, we, indeed, have a nascent pharmaceutical industry producing Aids/HIV, Malaria, Hepatitis-B, pharmaceuticals, etc. drugs.  These are, however, still using imported pharmaceutical grade starch and imported pharmaceutical grade sugar.  The pharmaceutical grade starch and sugar are crucial for making tablets and syrups for children’s medicines.  Yet, the starch is from maize and cassava and the pharmaceutical grade sugar is from sugar.  I am told the drugs would be 20% cheaper. Moreover, apart from helping in the pharmaceutical industry, more refined sugar is also needed in the soft drinks industry.  Uganda is squandering US$34 million per year importing refined sugar for the soft drinks, about US$ 20 million for importing the pharmaceutical grade starches not including the other raw materials, US$ 77million for taking patients to India etc.  Africa is incredibly rich but wasteful.


    It is my sincere hope that the outcomes of the Roundtable reports which will be presented to the Heads of State will provide avenues and strategies for addressing infrastructure and public health challenges in our region.

    At this juncture, I urge all governments and partners to re-affirm their commitment to strengthen infrastructure and health sectors to accelerate attainment of overall socio-economic transformation for the peoples of East Africa.  I look forward to your fruitful deliberations.

    It is now my singular honor and privilege to declare this EAC Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure and Health Financing and Development officially open.


     Thank You All and Asanteni Sana!



    Ssegirinya Ready To Faceoff With Mufumbiro For Kawempe North Parliamentary Seat Come 2026 Elections…



    NUP spokesperson Waiswa Mufumbiro (R) and MP Ssegirinya (L)

    Embattled Kawempe North legislator Muhammad Ssegirinya has confirmed to theGrapevine that come 2026 general elections, he is ready to fight for his Kawempe North parliamentary seat.

    Ssegirinya’s confirmation comes on the heels of a tip off to theGrapevine political desk from a National Unity Platform (NUP) insider claiming that their president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) is set to support his blue eyed boy who also doubles as the party deputy spokesperson Alex Waiswa Mufumbiro to oust Ssegirinya.

    Sources claim that Bobi Wine lost trust in Ssegirinya when he was briefed that their release from prison on murder and terrorism charges was as a result of a deal they sealed with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government.

    Ssegirinya and his co-accused Allan Ssewanyana, the Makindye West legislators took months after their release from prison without talking to Bobi Wine or other party leadership members until they publicly complained.

    However, Ssegirinya recently said that he has forgiven Mufumbiro who he had publically warned never to step next to his grave or his dead body.

    Ssegirinya was bitter after Mufumbiro attacked him while on treatment abroad that he was playing on people’s intelligence and feigning sickness.

    Upon landing at Entebbe airport, Ssegirinya said that he told his mother and his other family members and friends never to allow Mufumbiro to attend his burial since he was very sure, after getting assurance from his doctors in Netherlands that he is going to die before Mufumbiro.

    He noted that if 2026 reaches when he is still alive, he is going to contest for the Kawempe North parliamentary seat and will retire in 2031.

    Ssegirinya insists that no one can defeat him in Kawempe North.

    He boasted that within six months after swearing in as the area legislator, he had already fulfilled all the promises he made to do his electorate and now he is in bonus much as his plans were frustrated by his imprisonment.

    Ssegirinya’s enemies now claim that the only position Ssegirinya can contest for is councilor since they have information that he forged the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and the Uganda Advance Certificate of Education (UACE) which he used in 2021, that is why he is still facing criminal charges.

    Other people interested in Ssegirinya’s parliamentary seat include; former area legislator Al-Hajji Latif Ssebaggala and Sulaiman Kidandala.


    By Grapevine Political Desk


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    Mafabi, Amuriat Survive Another Coup; Besigye Camp Accused Of Tempering With Files At The Electoral Commission To De-register FDC…



    Dr. Kizza Besigye (L) with Nandala Mafabi (R)

    Last week, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leadership sitting at the party headquarters Najjanakumbi rushed to Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama’s Uganda Independent Electoral Commission Offices at Bugolobi a Kampala suburb to stop a clandestine process aimed at deregistering their party.

    Highly placed sources at Electoral Commission revealed to theGrapevine that among the FDC leaders who stormed the Electoral Commission Offices include; Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the party Secretary General and Yusuf Nsibambi, one of the founders of the FDC and a seasoned lawyer.

    At the Electoral Commission offices, Mafabi and team establish that the tip they had received about some strangers who were conniving with some Electoral Commission staff to temper with their file was very true.

    Sources claim that a number of essential documents including the file containing the list of newly elected leaders from the grass root was pulled out and was missing from the file.

    Sources said that Mafabi had to rush back to their Najjanankumbi office to get the new list of the leaders and put it back into the file.

    Last week, after being nominated to contest for the position of the party national vice president in charge of Buganda, Nsibambi told party members at Najjanankumbi that all efforts by Dr. Kizza Besigye’s Katonga faction to register their passed resolution at their illegal extra-delegates conference failed because they are not recognised by the Electoral Commission which is the supreme supervisor of all political parties in the country.

    He explained that it is only the Najjanankumbi faction that is recognised by the Electoral Commission because it has the party stamp.

    He guided that all people who wish to stand on FDC ticket in the coming 2026 general elections have to get recommendation from Najjanakumbi not Katonga.

    FDC insiders told theGrapevine that the reason why Dr. Besigye’s Katonga team were fighting hard to make sure that Birigwa’s extraordinary delegates conference is held was they wanted to get resolutions to deregister FDC in order to frustrate Mafabi’s faction.

    The move was kept secret and not publicly announced like other resolutions that were passed and announced by Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the party spokesperson.

    Besigye faction held their delegates conference in the presence of the Court Order issued by the Civil Division of the High Court stopping it.

    Sources claim that the list of names pulled out of the FDC file at the Electoral Commission was set to be replaced with the names of people who attended Birigwa’s extra-ordinary delegates’ conference.

    The FDC Constitution allows that the party can be deregistered if a resolution is passed by the party’s top organ.

    This is what Besigye’s group wanted to successfully execute so that they make Mafabi’s coming delegates conference illegal.

    Nsibambi confirmed that the only delegates conference that is going to elect the new party leadership will be held on 6th October, 2023.

    However, Mubarak Munyagwa, the former Kawempe South legislator who is also Dr. Kizza Besigye’s diehard denied the allegations that the Electoral Commission declined to receive the resolutions made at Birigwa’s delegates conference insisting that there is no way their resolutions can be denied.

    He explained that their acting Secretary General, appointed at Birigwa’s meeting Harold Kaija will file their resolutions with the Electoral Commission before the end of this week.

    When contacted, Paul Bukenya the spokesperson of the Electoral Commission declined to comment on the matter. He advised FDC members to clean their house internally instead of using the Electoral Commission to fight their battles.

    Last week, Justice Byabakama pleaded with both parties fighting over FDC leadership to follow the country’s laws and laws that govern political parties.

    He explained that the Electoral Commission has not yet been officially informed about the ongoing wars apart from seeing correspondence from both parties on social media.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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    NUP Boss Declares Lukwago A Vampire: Is His Presidential Ambition Set To Cost Bobi Wine In Buganda, Muslim Community Come 2026!…



    Makindye Division Mayor Ali Mulyanyama (R) and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago (L)

    The Makindye Division Mayor Ali Kasirye Mulyanyama, a blue eyed boy to National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) has warned his party members to be very careful with Kampala Lord mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago who he branded a vampire.

    Mulyanyama branded Lukwago a war monger who cannot be at peace but finds pleasure in picking up fights with other people.

    It is at this point that Mulyanyama branded Lukwago a vampire who is always smelling for blood.

    He explained that Lukwago is using these wars to seek popularity from the gullible local people who think that he is fighting for them but in reality, he is looking for personal gains.

    Mulyanyama was commenting on the fresh verbal ongoing fight between Lukwano and Kampala State Minister Joseph Kabuye Kyafatogabye over road construction in the city.

    Kabuye accuses Lukwago of frustrating road construction in the city because he wants to achieve political gains.

    However, Lukwago insists that government officials like Kabuye are undermining the resolutions and proposals of the elected leaders in the city with the mission of placing them in bad light before their voters.

    Political commentator and also the senior presidential advisor on media Joseph Tamale Mirundi recently revealed that Lukwago is going to use his new position as the leader of Katonga Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) faction to achieve his 2026 presidential ambition.

    Mirundi claims that the four presidential candidates Dr. Kizza Besigye is going to make sure that Lukwago, who he mentored politically has plans to stand for presidency come 2026.

    He explained that Lukwago’s presidential candidature will cost Bobi Wine badly in his strong areas of Buganda and among the Muslim community.

    Mirundi added that Lukwago’s candidature is going to bring together the Muslim sects which include; that of Old Kampala led by mufti Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, Kibuli faction led by Prince Dr. Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu and the Tabliq sect led by Sheikh Muhammad Yunus Kamoga.

    “Bobi Wine is gone, the only person who can save him is Buganda King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi or Prince Nakibinge who have the power to convince Lukwago to drop his presidential ambitions otherwise Bobi Wine will bleed,”’ Mirundi said.

    Sources within Katonga camp revealed that very soon, they are going to unveil their political pressure group which is expected to be named ‘One Uganda One Dream’.

    The Katonga group want to use this pressure group as a political motor vehicle come 2026.

    Insiders in NUP that theGrapevine talked to during the course of investigating this story disclosed that Lukwago’s political calculation is to threaten that he is standing for presidency so that he catches the eye of Bobi Wine who will fear splitting the Buganda and Muslim community vote.

    “Lukwago has calculated that because of this fear, Bobi Wine will enter a deal with him which will involve ring fencing his Lord Mayor position so that NUP do not front a candidate in 2026,” the insider said.

    Sources disclosed that once Bobi Wine makes such a decision, Mulyanyama, Kawempe Division mayor Emmanuel Sserunjogi and Kampala city speaker Zahara Luyirika who are competing for the NUP ticket for Lord Mayor slot will be badly affected.

    Sources in the FDC told Grapevine that they are set to front former Makindye East legislator Ibrahim Kasozi.

    National Resistance Movement (NRM) is set to front Kampala Central Division mayor Salim Uhuru.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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