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    INTERVIEW: Ismael Watenga Reveals How He Ended Up In Chippa, Opens Up About His Brotherhood With Onyango And Why He’s Always On The Move…

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    Ismael Watenga in South Africa

    Ugandan goal keeper, Ismael Watenga has been linked with 4 different teams in less than three years after leaving Vipers SC towards the end of 2018.

    Watenga made a landmark signing this season with South African side, Chippa United. The Chilli Boys confirmed the arrival of the Cecafa Cup-winning goalkeeper after he had trained with rivals and PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

    Watenga intimated to theGrapevine about how he ended up at Chippa, and what really happened. He also opened up about his mysterious short spells in Ethiopia and Kenya.

    Watenga also revealed why he left Vipers where he enjoyed a successful seven-year stint, Watenga also won a domestic trophy and on the international front, he won the 2015 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Ethiopia.

    Here is the full interview of Watenga with theGrapevine;

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been labeled a club traveller by football pundits of late for your adventurous moves from soccer clubs, how does that appeal to you?

    WATENGA: That’s their own opinion. Ask those pundits if it’s bad to develop as a player. Everytime I move, I be aiming at better.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So, you still haven’t found better after less than 3 years in 3 different clubs since departing from Vipers in 2018?

    WATENGA: I have now gathered experience from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and now S. Africa. I don’t think that’s bad. And now that I’ve come here (S Africa), I’ve found it the most competitive.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What are the challenges you’ve faced playing in S.A PL so far?

    WATENGA: Not so many professional challenges, maybe personal troubles. It’s honestly not easy playing away from home, I’m always home sick. You find different cultures, and different people with various behavioural patterns yet you have to fit in.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Your stay in Ethiopia was very short, why did you leave so early? What exactly happened?

    WATENGA: For Ethiopia, the club got another coach who wanted to use only home based players. I worked so hard and felt I should’ve helped the team sometimes I was not fielded. But it seemed like he was determined about his motive to rely on only home based players. I had to leave.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And what went wrong in the Sofapaka deal?

    WATENGA: I met their expectations but they couldn’t reward me equally.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But you left very soon as you had joined with all the other Ugandans Malunda Mousa and Allan Katwe. Was it the same challenge for all of you in Kenya?

    WATENGA: I will speak for myself. For me, I had signed 1 year contract with a clause of leaving anytime I get the offer. So after a time the president thought I was good enough to help the team and told me to extend the contract and my agent tasked him to improve my earnings, which did not happen.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But some reports indicate that you left Sofapaka after a heated argument arising from you and the management from an alleged match fixing scandal.

    WATENGA: What I know is that my agent formally failed to agree with the club. The club proposed their offer which my agent was not happy with.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So for you it’s all about the money?

    WATENGA: This is my job, and I have the right to earn well from it, but I had to leave because the team wanted players who would sign longer contracts to stay for more years, that’s why I left.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You were so big here and you chose to leave. You were shining here. In S. Africa at the moment, you’re not even guaranteed to start games, isn’t that going to degrade your good form?

    WATENGA: But staying in the same league (UPL) for years was not improving me either. I was not growing as a goalkeeper.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But do you also think about it that so many big clubs here would surely welcome you back with both arms wide open.

    WATENGA: I’d rather stay here and fight for my place as a foreign player at Chippa or Mamelodi than comfortably stand between the goal posts back home at Vipers or any other club?

    THE GRAPEVINE: You’re a very big prospect in Uganda’s goal keeping future, and you made regular appearances on the CHAN team before you left for professional football outside Uganda, and it has clearly been harder for you to break into the senior team ranks since, do you at any time feel you should’ve stayed home to make it easier for you to cement your position on the national team?

    WATENGA: I have no regrets. Maybe I’m not making the national team call-up list, but I’m not the same player I was back home in Uganda. The vast experience from different leagues has nurtured me more.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is that honest from you? Every football player’s dream is to represent their nation.

    WATENGA: That’s what I’m saying, I’ll work hard from here (S.Africa) and return to the national team, the hard way. A strong man doesn’t choose the easy path because he knows well that it will lead him nowhere. A real man fights his way out the hard way. And the most successful people are those who have manned up to face the challenges and overcome them. You can’t sleep at home and wake up great tommorow. The only thing now is to keep on working hard the right time will come.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And to be more specific, you left for S. Africa on Mamelodi’s invitation, what happened to see you now at Chippa instead?

    WATENGA: I have a short term contract with Chippa United. But I aim for the top, if Mamelodi is the best here, that’s my target, I’ll work so hard to go there.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So what’s your next destination after S. Africa?

    WATENGA: I am not a tourist. I am a football player who came here with a purpose.

    THE GRAPEVINE: But we have seen you leave Ethiopia and Sofapaka on very short notice before, you could be secretly planning another quick move away from S. Africa.

    WATENGA: I leave South Africa now, to where? This is the best league in Africa! I want to settle in here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You could maybe head to N. Africa where there’s such good competition as well, or even Sudan which has become a good market for Ugandan players.

    WATENGA: I have a running contract here and so I can’t again start thinking about where to go when I’m still here. I believe there are millions of players in Africa who wish to come and ply their trade here.

    THE GRAPEVINE: How do you cope up with life so far away from home?

    WATENGA: I miss my family so much. I wish to be with them, and I know they miss me too. But good thing is they know I’m far away from them to create a better life ahead for all of them.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Doesn’t that create emptiness within your kids and trust issues in your relationship with your wife?

    WATENGA: It’s not the first time. I was in Ethiopia and Kenya before. They all know I am here for work so they understand. We always talk on video calls so it’s like we are always together.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What do you count as your greatest achievement as a footballer so far?

    WATENGA: Now let me remind you just in case you’re forgetting, I came from a small village in Nakaloke, Eastern Uganda, and now I’m signed here as a professional footballer with a big S. African club. For me, that’s too much already. I believe I wouldn’t be here if not for football.

    THE GRAPEVINE: What is your best moment in football so far?

    WATENGA: I’ve created many good memories in football, and I’ve had so many precious moments in football I can’t choose one specific time.

    THE GRAPEVINE: And your worst moment as a player?

    WATENGA: I can’t forget when I got ruled out of the CHAN tournament with a nasty injury in Rwanda. I was psychologically tortured. I know it’s part of my job but it’s a horrible experience to get injured.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You look so contented with staying here (S. Africa)

    WATENGA: When I came here (S. Africa), I linked up with Dennis Onyango and Moses Waiswa, they really helped me alot to adapt.

    THE GRAPEVINE: So you’re having a great time here?

    WATENGA: Yes, as a fact, when I was still training with Mamelodi Sundowns, Onyango could personally pick me up to go for training in his car. I felt like I was home so far away from home.

    THE GRAPEVINE: It’s evident Onyango likes you so much. He freely expresses it on many occasions.

    WATENGA: I think it’s a blessing to be loved and I thank God for that. He’s such a humble guy.

    THE GRAPEVINE: Is he preparing you to be his successor?

    WATENGA: Hahaha He’s just good to everyone. He advises me on how to do things on and off the pitch. I don’t think he in his capacity as a player can choose which player should play. That’s not his job.

    THE GRAPEVINE: You have been exceptionally articulate. Your communication skills are impressive.

    WATENGA: Hahaha I was at one of the best schools in Uganda (Kitende) So what do you expect?

    THE GRAPEVINE: How is your relationship with your former principal Mulindwa ever since you left Kitende?

    WATENGA: He will forever be my father.

    THE GRAPEVINE: When did you last talk to him?

    WATENGA: I have taken long with out meeting him. And you know Mulindwa is a very busy man. He can only meet you on special appointment. We’re given only a maximum of three weeks off season with so many things to do so here and there. But next time I come back to Uganda I’ll have to meet him.

    By Baron Kironde

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    NATIONAL

    It’s Not Over Yet: Justice Kisakye Writes Tough Letter To CJ Dollo Demanding For Her Confiscated File, Threatens To Take The Matter Further If Not Heeded To…

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    Justice Kisaakye (L) wants CJ Dollo (R) to return her confiscated file

    Practical Supreme Court Justice, Dr Esther Mayambala Kisakye has written a protest letter to the Chief Justice, Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo demanding for her confiscated file.

    Sources at the Supreme Court have revealed that last week, the office of the Chief Justice received Dr Kisakye’s letter formally demanding for her file containing three of her dissenting rulings in the controversial Supreme Court’s presidential petition filed by National Unity Platform(NUP)’s former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) against president Yoweri Museveni.

    Sources revealed that in her letter, Kisakye told Dollo that all efforts to meet him were frustrated by his personal assistants and his heavy security which forced her to formally write to him demanding for her file which was confiscated on his orders.

    Sources added that Dr Kisakye threatened Dollo that if he desists from giving her her file, she will proceed with legal actions including petitioning the Judicial Service Commission.

    Last month drama ensued at the Supreme Court when eight justices of the Supreme Court refused to appear with Justice Kisakye as she read her three dissenting rulings on a case filed by Bobi Wine; Including the extension of time to file more evidences, allowing him to amend his petition and the application for recusal against Chief Justice Dollo and put aside proceedings of Bobi Wine’s petition filed by maverick city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi.

    Dr Kisakye alleges that Dollo ordered for the confiscation of her file, and commanded that power and speakers be switched off because she had refused him to vet her rulings. However, the Chief Justice through Salongo Solomon Muyita, the senior Judiciary Communications officer denied the accusations.

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    INSIDE STORY: How Sheikh Ndirangwa Resigned To Avoid Impeachment Over Underground Deals With M7, Why Prince Nakibinge Pushed Him To The Wall….

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    Prince Dr. Kassim Nakibinge (R) Sheikh Kasule Ndirangwa (L)

    Yesterday, Sheikh Kasule Ndirangwa verbally announced his resignation as the Supreme Mufti of Kibuli-based Muslim faction with immediate effect.

    Ndirangwa was appointed Supreme Mufti of the Kibuli-based Muslim faction on December, 16, 2015, replacing Sheikh Zubairi Kayongo who died in April 2014. Mahmoud Kibaate and Sheikh Habib Kabasa have been his deputies.

    Our earlier report indicated that Ndirangwa’s abrupt resignation was prompted by endless fights within the Kibuli establishment.

    theGrapevine has further established that it was a very well calculated move by the embattled Sheikh to resign from his position as the Supreme Mufti to save his dignity and keep his curriculum vitae clean as a Muslim scholar.

    Sheikh Ndirangwa’s resignation news broke at 9:40PM, and his decision was televised live from Masengere building which houses Buganda’s Central Broadcast Service (CBS) radio and Buganda Broadcasting Services (BBS TV).

    In his resignation message which was not written, Sheikh Ndirangwa said that it was infighting that forced him to resign.

    “I would like to tell you that I am no longer going to serve Islam as leader. I have resigned as the Supreme Mufti of Uganda. I have taken the decision for the good of Islam. I have resigned to keep Islam in peace because I am sure that Islam is bigger than me as an individual,” Ndirangwa said.

    In his words, the soft-spoken Muslim scholar from Bukomansimbi district added,” To maintain peace within the religion, I have decided to step down because I won’t keep on fighting with fellow Sheikhs in Islam all the time. I am sure that there are those who can serve better than me. So let me give them the room to serve Islam and perhaps accomplish what I might have not finished during my reign.”

    The former Kampala district Khadhi said, “I thank Almighty Allah for giving me a chance to serve the Muslim community and I am glad that I have done my part. I also take this opportunity to thank those who have been working with me, especially the district Khadi’s from different parts of the country.”

    Ndirangwa was announced as the Supreme Mufti by late Sheikh Anas Kariisa on behalf of the eminent Sheikhs after the death of Sheikh Zubair Kayongo, the first Supreme Mufti in 2015, deputized by Sheikh Muhamood Kibatte and Sheikh Habib Kabasa as the second deputy Supreme Mufti.

    NDIRANGWA HASTILY RESIGNED TO AVOID THE EMBARRASSMENT OF IMPEACHMENT

    Multiple credible sources in the office of the Supreme Mufti have revealed that there was a deadly move orchestrated by top prominent Sheikhs and district Khadis to impeach Ndirangwa over incompetence and abuse of office. One of the sources told theGrapevine that when Ndirangwa was was tipped on the deadly move, he consulted a number of his confidants including his family members who advised him to throw in the towel because even prince Dr. Kassim Nakibinge, the titular head of the Islam faith in Uganda was not on his side.

    Hajji Ntale hastily mobilized a few journalists and told those who were far to jump on  boda bodas to Masengere where the supreme mufti was going to make a landmark announcement.

    “Even his demeanour was telling a lot, he was panicking, he was not reading from anywhere, he wanted to tell the public that he has resigned so as to silence the deadly impeachment plot against him,” the source said.

    NDIRANGWA’S TROUBLES STARTED WITH MBABAZI

    Sheikh Ndirangwa occupied the office of the Supreme Mufti during the 2016 presidential campaign battle between president Yoweri Museveni of the NRM and John Patrick Amama Mbabazi who stood on the Go Forward ticket.

    Both presidential candidates were fighting for Kibuli Muslims’ votes since it was very clear that Old Kampala faction, which is headed by sheikh Ramathan Mubajje was behind Museveni.

    Prince Nakibinge invited Mbabazi and Museveni, who was always represented by the government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and announced publicly that Kibuli would not publicly side with any of them.

    Museveni’s team quckly started strategizing on how to defeat Mbabazi from Kibuli.

    Credible sources intimated to theGrapevine that after investigating, Ndirangwa, secretly went with controversial Sheikh Kamulegeya to meet Museveni at State House-Entebbe without informing his boss Prince Nakibinge.

    Our source further revealed that Prince Nakibinge only learnt about the development in the news when State House leaked photos of Sheikh Ndirangwa and Kamulegeya meeting Museveni.

    Another source intimated to theGrapevine that Ndirangwa apologised arguing that his meeting with the president was purely faith based not political.

    He maintained that his discussion with the president was solely about how to develop the Muslim community in the country.

    Another source however explained that both Ndirangwa and Kamulegeya pocketed fat envelopes which later led to a misunderstanding between the two top Sheikhs.

    Eventually Sheikh Kamulegeya left Kibuli and even stopped pledging allegiance to Prince Nakibinge. theGrapevine has learnt that Prince Nakibinge was very bitter with the two because he felt betrayed, but the matter was temporarily settled when two top Sheikhs together with the late Kariisa, late Musa Katongole and the late Muzaata Batte intervened.

    M7’S MULTI BILLION DEAL THAT BROUGHT NDIRANGWA TROUBLE

    Towards the 2016 general elections, Museveni awarded Sheikh Ndirangwa’s Saudi Arabia-bound pilgrimage company a multi-billion deal.

    Safa and Marwa Company was given billions of shillings to facilitate a trip of over 1000 pilgrims which also created a sharp division amongst Ndirangwa and other top Sheikhs, they felt it was unfair that such a big deal was only given to Ndirangwa and other travel companies were sidelined.

    BOBI WINE SPOILS THE BROTH

    During his political consultations, National Unity Platform (NUP) principal and former presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine publicly met Kibuli leadership led by prince Nakibinge to mobilise for support.

    He even started attending several Kibuli functions something that sent Museveni camp in panic.

    Sources revealed to theGrapevine that Museveni was then prompted to secretly meet Ndirangwa again without the knowledge of Prince Nakibinge and other officials in the supreme Mufti’s office.

    According to a source privy to the details of the meeting, Ndirangwa requested for cars to help ease transportation of districts Khadis.

    The source said that Museveni directed that Kibuli be given 11 cars, a promise which was implemented before the general campaigns for presidency.

    M7’S CARS TROUBLED NDIRANGWA

    When the cars touched base at Kibuli, a bitter Prince Nakibinge questioned the intention behind the donation and the beneficiaries.

    The source narrated that Prince Nakibinge directed that the said cars be taken to Hotel Africana and be parked there until all his question regarding the cars were answered.

    The source added that Prince Nakibinge told Ndirangwa that the donation was going to put the Kibuli Muslim faction in bad light because the public would easily take the donation for a bribe by Museveni to vote against their “own son” Bobi Wine.

    Inside sources intimated that since then, cliques were formed among the top leaders between those supporting Ndirangwa (most of who were beneficiaries of the cars) and those supporting Prince Nakibinge.

    Ndirangwa was then branded a Museveni mole.

    M7 PRESSURISED NDIRANGWA OVER CARS

    A source said that Museveni through Lt. Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso, the senior presidential advisor on security pressurised Sheikh Ndirangwa to reveal when he would deliver the cars to the owners.

    theGrapevine has learnt that Museveni clearly wanted the cars to be given to the beneficiaries before the presidential elections which was not done. Under immense pressure, Ndirangwa made an effort to explain that they were waiting for Nakibinge to give them the green light.

    A source intimated to theGrapevine that two weeks back, Lt. Gen. Nalweyiso phoned Ndirangwa and asked him why the cars were not given to the rightful owners.

    She made it clear to him that the president wanted to calm a storm by donating these cars that is why he  wanted the cars to be given to the owners before the end of March.

    Ndirangwa apparently ran into panic mode after Nalweyiso’s phone call to him.

    Hastily, without informing his team and Prince Nakibinge, Ndirangwa organised a ceremony and the cars were given to the beneficiaries.

    He assured those who missed out that the president was going to give them more cars soon.

    Our source revealed that those Sheikhs who missed out started backbiting Ndirangwa, accusing him of “eating their money” which they speculated was given to them by the president, they even reported him to the Prince.

    The Prince was very bitter with Ndirangwa and immediately asked Sheikh Muhammad Lunanoba, the head of eminent Sheikhs to take action against Ndirangwa.

    Upon realising that things had gone bad Ndirangwa rushed to resign before he could be shown the exit.

    WHAT NEXT FOR NDIRANGWA?

    When theGrapevine talked to Sheikh Twaha Mubiru, the deputy general secretary of the office of the Supreme Mufti today, he revealed that the council of eminent sheikhs is going to sit and pave a way forward following Ndirangwa’s abrupt resignation.

    “The resignation was abrupt and we shall communicate our decision in a few hours,” Mubiru said.

    However, other sources revealed that Ndirangwa’s resignation was a result of incompetence, citing that he didn’t follow the rightful procedure, which includes informing the council of eminent Sheikhs.

    “He was not appointed by the media, we have not yet received his resignation letter, we don’t know what he wanted to achieve by not following the rightful procedure,” an insider said.

    He added that as per now, the office of the Supreme Mufti is being run by Sheikh Muhammod Kibatte the Deputy Supreme Mufti.

    NDIRANGWA TIPPED FOR MINISTERIAL JOB

    However, a source in Ndirangwa’s camp intimated to theGrapevine that their man is likely to eat big in president Museveni’s next cabinet. The same source revealed that Ndirangwa is tipped to be appointed a Minister, an ambassador or a senior advisor to the president.

    If Ndirangwa is appointed minister, he would not be the first religious leader to be a minister, Fr. Simon Lokodo is currently a Minister in Museveni’s government.

     

    By Alirabaki Sengooba

     

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    NATIONAL

    NRM Is A Freedom Fighting Movement Trying So Hard To Become A Political Party – Prof PLO Lumumba…

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    Prof PLO Lumumba appearing on the NBS Frontline show

    Distinguished Kenyan lawyer, Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba has stressed that it is about the right time the National Resistance Movement (NRM) headed by Yoweri Museveni took charge of the East African agenda to ensure that not just Uganda but the whole region moves in the right direction.

    Speaking on the NBS Frontline show, Lumumba stressed that the common problem of Africa is that countries around the continent are all poorly governed.

    “I believe that this is the time I would love to see a President Museveni looking towards East Africa integration,” Lumumba said adding that upto now, he only sees the NRM as a freedom fighting movement trying so hard to become a political party.

    “It is time that President Museveni takes on the East African agenda as the eldest in the region,” Lumumba emphasised.

    Referring to deceased Tanzanian leader, Lumumba noted that John Pombe Magufuli came and captured the hearts of Tanzanians and Africans of goodwill.

    He added that even after Magufuli’s death, he will still be remembered as an iconic Pan Africanist who showed the world that Africa can develop and it can be done with the very African natural and human resources.

    “If you have a leader with a vision, you will see change within a short time. The beauty of Magufuli is that he came from a political party with a tradition. I hope the next Tanzanian President may have a different approach but with the same vision and direction,” Lumumba stated.

    “The word democracy must be unpacked. Democracy is a buffet of ideas. I don’t expect that democracy in Uganda must be the same in Tanzania. Politics has become an enterprise. A typical Parliamentarian who didn’t have a house, car, or Rolex watch will have them within a year. This is why politics has become cutthroat where throats are actually cut,” he added.

    “We now have thieves. A friend of mine told me there is no corruption in Africa but theft and I agreed with him,” he added.

    To disagree with Lumumba, government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo argued that all MPs who have ill-gotten wealth are the ones that buy their way to Parliament. “In this country, we have people who say they want to be a minister, and indeed by next year, they are. They instead chase their petty issues instead of doing the work,” the government spokesperson explained.

    Lumumba further stressed that any administration needs a responsible opposition to force results. Ha advised that It is up to the people of Uganda through their Constitution to create funds for the opposition.

    Lumumba added that the problem with many African countries is if you have an alternative idea, you are immediately mistaken for an enemy by the government. He labeled it “sad and political immaturity

    He noted that in many African countries, it is as if the opposition is dealing with a different country, and the ruling party is also dealing with a different party.

    The government spokesperson partly agreed Lumumba’s claims on mishandling the opposition, but added that they (opposition) concentrates more on perceived failures of the government in power instead of formulating alternative policies.

    “I admit the failure of the NRM to handle the opposition by arm twisting them. We have begun funding the opposition but they are a typical African opposition with bad manners, they mishandle the money. The opposition in Uganda has lost it for a long time,” Ofwono Opondo stated.

    By Baron Kironde

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