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    OPINION: Deployment Of UPDF In DRC Is Within President’s Powers…

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    Commander of operation shujaa in the Eastern DRC against the ADF terrorists, Maj Gen Muhanga Kayanja (holding stick) with some DRC army commanders

    The surprising but not unexpected deployment of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) against ADF in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu province is a welcome development that is already giving Ugandans breathing space.

    The action had been long in coming and was not done out of lack of what to do but out of the greatest necessity given how much trouble has been brewing in that part of the region.

    From the onset, it should be understood that the deployment was done transparently, the operations are acknowledged in broad daylight and there is no element of hostile aggression on Uganda’s part.

    Most importantly, though, is the place of President Yoweri Museveni in this development; the president, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the armed forces, authorized the operations. The authority with which he acted was within his Constitutional powers, obligations and responsibilities as per the Oath he took while assuming office in swearing to protect Ugandans and their property.

    Since assuming power in 1986, President Museveni has emphasized security of person and property as the bedrock of democracy and transformation. He has made security his key constituency in the defense of which he has battled numerous threats and neutralized them. ADF has been among the few latent groups attempting a resurgence but without engaging in full scale armed rebellion as it attempted to do in 1996 when it first made incursions into Uganda through the Kasese area.

    Using isolated but coordinated surprise attacks on individuals and, lately, selected locations for bombing, ADF was working to frighten Ugandans and sow uncertain which they hoped, I believe, would tie in with political sentiments to precipitate regime change.

    In his recent addresses to the nation, the president has recounted how ADF was given a bloody nose in 2007 in the Semliki valley from where they retreated to the vast Congo jungles. From there, they started launching targeted assassinations of Muslim clerics and security personnel, investigators of the attacker and eminent pro-NRM politicians like former Arua Municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga. A spate of urban warfare was on, significantly compromising the peace of mind of Ugandans who kept wondering “if big people are being killed, how about us?” Museveni kept on assuring the nation all would be well.

    However, for some time, there was uncertainty as to who was responsible for those attacks. ADF always came up but there was a lot of speculation, with some pundits supposing the advent of a new group or some kind of insider work.

    But through painstaking and focused action of the security agencies and connecting one end to another, the real culprits were identified. And with the most recent attacks in Kampala in perspective, essential clues were gathered which confirmed that ADF was behind the bloodletting and was indeed bent on causing more damage. It was time to take decisive action!

    Before that had been established accurately, security had been treating the symptoms while the root cause of the problem remained. The deployment into DRC is meant to uproot the problem from the base and reestablish Uganda’s reputed reign of peace and tranquility. It has taken patience and sacrifice to reach this point but the action being undertaken will leave no doubts as to President Museveni’s commitment to fulfilling his obligations to Ugandans as Constitutionally enjoined.

    The president took time studying the phenomenon of the attacks that have been happening and made appropriate consultations with key allies internationally and regionally, before signing off the operations. He made it publically clear what he sought to do through his national addresses. Anybody who can claim not to have seen #OperationShujaa- as the onslaught is codenamed-coming is not serious.

    If ADF thought that the president was bluffing or that there would not be consensus among affected states then they have been rudely knocked out of their fantasies. It is time to pay, and pay heavily. This is a war that UPDF cannot lose, and the enemy knows this very well. The enemy cannot put up with the full force that Ugandans have collectively responded with.

    The overall game plan of the groups that have been working to destabilize Uganda, including the machete killer groups, was to divert the fulfillment of the NRM programmes for the country by disrupting the core constituency of security. It is safe to say that such criminal actors have no future in Uganda and had better abandon rebellion and sabotage and use Constitutional channels to advance their agenda.

    UPDF was invited to fight in Congo with the consent of the DRC government. The Congolese have suffered the deadly reality of ADF perhaps more than Ugandans. People have been butchered systematically in purges that some pundits have termed as genocide.

    Congo was tired, Uganda was tired. Why wait anymore when there is a common enemy and the means to finish him off? It was a mistake not to make this decision earlier even though there had to be full information and evidence to work with. Now there is no turning back. In any case, ADF itself invited the UPDF by attacking and killing Ugandans! It was the most viable response.

    Ugandans should fully support these operations and encourage their sons and daughters on the ground to make their country proud. Insecurity has been costing us a lot of money; once the operation succeeds, the money will be reallocated to development programmes for the benefit of Ugandans.

    At an appropriate time, the president will brief the nation on progress of the operations and other matters incidental to. Arguments about the deployment not going through Parliamentary approval are diversionary and somehow lack imagination.

    The president has addressed the nation on security matters variously in recent times. In Parliament, he sought opportunity and secured it to addressed legislators on a raft of security measures to curb the attacks marked by assassinations of prominent Ugandans over years.

    That was in 2018. Surprisingly, some of the legislators demanding for parliamentary pre-approval of the operations shunned the president’s addresses at the time for reasons best known to them but not detached from always looking at things through politically partisan lenses. Parliament is not composed of robots or aliens whose security needs are the same as those of the rest of the populace.

    Do these “bigwigs” want to suggest that because they are well-off and able to afford extra personal security the security of Ugandans does not matter? What kind of leadership is that?

    I have previously placed the blame for insecurity in the Great Lakes region-and Africa at large, at the feet of leaders-the inability to work together, inability to think straight, inability to care about the people’s plight, inability to diagnose and prescribe solutions, inability to provide leadership during time of crises and inability to read into the future of this part of the world. Museveni is not about to be part of such a disappointing lot! Any insecurity you direct at his people comes back to you!

     

    Faruk Kirundais the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    NATIONAL

    Government To Rehabilitate And Revamp Railway Networks To Curb High Prices Of Fuel…

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    Government is set to revamp the railway networks across the country to help curb transportation challenges arising from increasing fuel prices.

    The state minister for works and transport, Fred Byamukama confirmed the report following the president’s speech on Friday regarding high fuel prices.

    During the president’s address, he noted Uganda’s real problem currently is fuel and the answer to it is electrical vehicles and the railway.

    Confirming the report, Byamukama said that the government is revamping different railways across the country with a purpose of reducing heavy traffic jam and transport fares.

    “From Kampala to Malaba which is 243km is the only line we have functioning at the moment,” he said.

    Byamukama re-echoed that Museveni reminded the country and gave a directive that he had earlier through the ministry of works and transport embarked on revamping the railway transport in Uganda.

    Byamukama analysed that the one from Malaba to Mukono then to Kampala and the one from Tororo to Gulu is 375 km.

    “Then we have Gulu to Pakwach which is 129km, Kampala to Kasese is 350km and also we have the one from Mukono to Kampala then Kyengera to Portbell which is about 55km.”

    Byamukama also revealed that the ministry is planning to introduce a modern standard gauge railway system in addition to the 1266km metre gauge railway volume with an agenda of improving relationship among the East African member countries.

    “The East African community members agreed, we have seen Kenya and Tanzania doing it and other countries. For us, we are delayed by that connection that Kenya must connect from Naivasha up to Malaba.”

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    FDC Boss Narrates How Former Kampala Legislator Nabilah Played 3 Top Politicians In 24 Hours…

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    Former Kampala woman MP Nabilah (L) and Kira Municipality MP Semujju Nganda (R)

    Maverick Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) spokesperson and also Kira Municipality Member of Parliament (MP) Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has revealed how former Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi Ssempala played 3 top politicians within a period of 24 hours.

    Ssemujju narrated that Nabilah used her beauty very well to capture the three men’s attention to fulfill her goal of winning the 2016 parliamentary seat.

    “I’m telling you Nabilah is a superwoman, she met president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni early in the morning at State House Entebbe, later in the evening she was with John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, who by then was a political enemy to President Museveni, the next morning she was with Dr. Kizza Besigye who was a political enemy to Museveni and Mbabazi by then,” he said.

    He divulged that when Dr. Besigye appointed him to his select team that had to accompany him to Namboole stadium for his nomination as presidential candidate, Nabilah was not in his plans because he was briefed with evidence that she was with Museveni and Mbabazi.

    He was also told that Nabilah was an operative sent by Museveni’s camp.

    Ssemujju revealed that he was very surprised to meet Nabilah seated close to Dr. Besigye the next day.

    He said that he tried to forcefully evict her from sitting near Besigye but he was advised that he was brewing trouble for himself.

    He insisted that most of the politicians in Uganda are like prostitutes without principles to stand on.

    He added that it is the reason why in 2021, Nabilah was with NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu and she was fronted to contest against Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

    He narrated that right now, he knows that there are a number of politicians who are fighting tooth and nail to make sure that there is no cooperation between Dr. Besigye and Bobi Wine because they think that that if these two opposition heavyweights cooperate, some MPs will lose their political seats.

    Nabilah was not reached for a comment because she did not pick our phone calls.

    Nabilah recently suprised court when he testified against her husband Isaac Ssempala Ssebagala before the High Court Commercial division over a debt she ate from Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba who wants to take their family house for failing to pay back his money.

    It is alleged Nabilah got the money without the consent of her husband but now wants her husband to pay or surrender the house to Baryamureeba.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Panic In UNRA As Top Bosses Face Jail Over Shs.100bn Kampala-Entebbe Expressway Fraud…

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    Kampala-Entebbe expressway

    The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) bosses may face jail over the Shs.100bn Kampala-Entebbe Expressway fraud.

    This shocking revelation was revealed by controversial lands junior minister Dr. Sam Mayanja during an exclusive interview with theGrapevine.

    Mayanja said that he has received a dossier from a whistleblower narrating how officials from UNRA and those in the Ministry of Lands defrauded government during the construction of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.

    “I have already established a select committee to investigate the fraud and I am expecting their report before the end of this year, but I can assure you, people are going to sleep in prison,” Mayanja said.

    He explained that when some officials from UNRA got information that government had entered into a deal with the Chinese government to construct the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, they immediately connived with Ministry of Lands officials and issued fake land titles so that they can be compensated by government.

    Mayanja said that it is the reason why government spent a lot of money compensating affected persons yet it is public knowledge that much of the land on Kampala-Entebbe Expressway were wetlands, forest reserves and gazetted road reserves.

    He said that the land titles were issued in the wetlands, forests reserves and road reserves all owned by government not private citizens.

    “There was a lot of fraud. How can you compensate a person with a land title in the wetland? Government is going to sell the properties of those UNRA and Ministry of Lands officials who were involved in the scam to recover taxpayers’ money worth Shs.100bn. And if we find out that the properties they own are not worth the money they stole, they will be imprisoned,” Mayanja said.

    He divulged that a similar scheme was used during the construction of the Northern Bypass where UNRA compensated top city tycoons for owning land titles in wetlands and government lost billions of money.

    The celebrated co-founder of the Kampala Associated Advocate(KAA), a renowned city law firm revealed that his boss President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is already equipped with all the information.

    They have also established that such money is being used by fake city tycoons to illegally evict bibanja owners from their land.

    Mayanja noted that the money which will be recovered by the government will be used to pay the big debt that government secured to construct such big public projects.

    It should be noted that Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and her probe teams both on UNRA and Land, discovered that the mafias hide behind land grabbers in UNRA and in the Ministry of Lands.

    Minister Mayanja revealed that the president is carefully studying Bamugemereire’s recommendations to squeeze mafias in his government.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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