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    OPINION: Is There A Big Motive To Fail EAC Integration? Why DRC Is Becoming A Theatre Of Foreign Interference…

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    CDFs of EAC countries pose for a group photo early this week. Inset is Faruk Kirunda

    Who is responsible for the flare up of violence at the Congo border(s) with Uganda and Rwanda? How come that the Congolese are angry with Uganda and Rwanda at a time the two countries are engaged in battling armed groups operating in the vast country that recently joined the East African Community (EAC)?

    As Africans, we are to blame for much of the instability going on our continent due to artificial divisions and unprincipled nature of our people and weakness of some leaders. However, if one looks closely, he or she can see the hand of foreign elements in action.

    How come that the flare up of violence arises just as the EAC solidifies, thereby opening up the region for mutual trade and socialisation while strengthening strategic security? The answer is that there is no coincidence in this; the same forces that have always fought African unity and progress are at play to fail the regional integration dream.

    Last year, Uganda deployed its army, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in the DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri to flash out the ADF rebels who had been making daring incursions in Uganda, shooting big personalities in their cars and planting bombs that killed scores in Kampala. ADF has been more of a menace in DRC where they would carry out systematic butcherings of the population in the East part of the country. They had a plan to spread their reign of terror regionally, and then team up with other groups to make the region uninhabitable and ungovernable. UPDF’s intervention was a total necessity that has saved our people from bloodshed.

    Codenamed “Operation Shujaa”, the operation is still on and has so far made the killer groups sneeze; they have scattered and lost appetite for their crimes, as President Yoweri Museveni, the man behind the move to totally pacify the Great Lakes region and make Africa a powerhouse that can defend itself at all times, would say.

    Teaming up with the Congolese army (FARDC) ensured better coordination and pooling of logistics to give the rebels a bloody nose. It also gave the operation legitimacy since the Congo Government had given it a green light. The Congolese people were relieved and welcomed the operation, treating the Uganda soldiers as heroes and according them due support.

    The deployment had been long in coming and was done out of the greatest necessity given how much trouble had been brewing in that part of the region. The deployment was done transparently.

    President Museveni, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the UPDF authorised the operations 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 emphasised security of person and property as the bedrock of democracy and transformation. He has made security his key constituency in the defence of which he has battled numerous threats and neutralised them, locally and internationally.

    ADF has been among the few latent groups attempting a resurge and he was not about to stand by and look. The Congolese were crying, Ugandans were hurting and there was no one to help. It was time to send it where all other groups that attempted to destabilise Uganda ended up and make them pay for their crimes. And paying they have been!

    Then, suddenly, we hear that the Congolese population is up in arms against Uganda and Rwanda, blaming them for the resurgence of activities by a different rebel group, M23, which is fighting the Congolese Government. I am not well-versed with the formations and motives of some of these groups but what I know is that ADF was started to fight President Museveni’s Government. When defeated, they fled and set up their bases in DRC and began to work as guns for hire and promoters of fundamentalist ideology in the region. They also went into plundering natural resources and the farms of the Congolese, on top of killing them.

    The war against ADF must not be fought in halves; it should be fought until ADF is totally no more, then, if need be, the firepower is directed to other enemies operating in the same theatre of action. I have reason to believe that there is such a plan in the pipeline and that is what is causing hostile elements backing and benefitting from the activities of the terror groups to panic and seek to redeem their schemes by stirring mass discontent among the Congolese so that Pan-Africanist forces like UPDF are turned away from completing the task at hand.

    It also has to do with the rekindling of relations between Uganda and Rwanda of recent. With the historical bonds restored between the two countries, prospects of regional stability and Integration are brighter and Africa’s enemies hate to see this. They are now behind-the-scenes engineering schemes to turn the DRC against Uganda and Rwanda so that they remain in charge of the vast resource-rich Eastern DRC territory.

    But the bigger motive is to fail EAC Integration. Africans, let us avoid being manipulated to fight each other so that we miss the bigger picture of where we could be if we agreed to integrate!

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Contact 0776980483/0783990861
    Email: kirundaf2@gmail.com

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    NATIONAL

    How I Saved Gen Saleh From Being Punched By Dr. Kiggundu Over Greenland Bank Closure And Why M7 Banned Mambo Bado – Veteran Radio Talk show Host Nsereko Narrates …

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    Radio talk show host Meddie Nsereko. Inset is Gen. Saleh (top L) and President Museveni (bottom L)

    Veteran radio talk show host Meddie Nsereko Ssebuliba has narrated how he saved now Operation Wealth Creation boss Gen. Salim Saleh from being punched by the late Dr. Suleiman Kiggundu over the Greenland bank closure.

    The CBS FM Radio presenter disclosed that, “For the last 26 years which I have spent here moderating political talk shows, I have seen a lot of things that have surprised me, but I will never forget the two talk shows which put me in tension. One was when I hosted late Dr. Kiggundu and Gen. Salim Saleh over the closure of Greenland bank, and another is when I hosted President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Mambo Bado.”

    He revealed that in the early 2000s, the closure of Greenland bank was a very big topic of discussion since many business people both big and small were customers to the bank.

    Nsereko re-counted that as words filled with bitterness and anger were being exchanged between Dr. Kiggundu and Gen. Saleh’s camps, he was forced with approval from the producers of ‘Kkiriza oba ggana’ talk show to invite both Saleh and Kiggundu to a debate live on radio to explain their issues.

    Nsereko related that Gen. Saleh was the first to arrive at Bulange Mengo, the headquarters of CBS radio. A few minutes to 7pm, Dr. Kiggundu also arrived. But when he looked at Gen. Saleh he quickly lost his temper and started throwing strong abusive words at him.

    “Kigundu told me, Nsereko, I cannot sit in the same room with that man who has double standards, let me go. The man was very bitter and I understood his bitterness but to calm him down, I greeted him in Islam. I said, Dr. Salaam-Alaikum, let us enter the studio, he accepted and we entered the studio. We found Gen. Saleh already seated inside,” he said.

    He narrated that when Dr. Kiggundu looked at Saleh he lost his temper again and tried to punch him.

    “He grabbed him but I pleaded with him not to fight. When the talk show started, Dr. Kiggundu accused Gen. Saleh of betraying his loyalty because he supported them in the bush and even when they had just captured power, he kept on financially supporting them but it’s a pity that they paid him by taking his bank,” Nsereko divulged.

    Nsereko said that Dr. Kiggundu also accused Gen. Saleh of being bad hearted especially towards Baganda and that’s why he spearheaded the move to impoverish him and fraudulently took his bank.

    Nsereko said that in his defense, Gen. Saleh denied all the allegations insisting that it was Bank of Uganda that sold Greenland bank not him.

    Nsereko asserted that the second show that put him on tension was during the 2006 election.

    He narrated that because Besigye was breathing down President Museveni’s neck, towards the 2006 presidential elections, Museveni decided to appear on CBS’s Mambo Bado political talk show.

    By then, Mambo Bado was the hottest and most listened to political talk show in the country.

    Museveni complained that the show was full of opposition supporters who use the platform to abuse him. However, CBS radio management told him that they are not against him but his people don’t want to appear on talk shows to counteract opposition’s allegations.

    “President Museveni told me, ‘You have been telling me that my people fear these opposition people, now I have come to talk for myself’,” Nsereko quoted Museveni’s opening remarks.

    He said that after Museveni’s long submissions, he invited other people to counter his submissions and among them was a one Nakunda Muwanga who told the president that he is a dictator who is competing for president after tying the hands and legs of those competing against him.

    Nsereko narrated that Museveni was very bitter with Muwanga’s submission and a few days later, Mambo Bado talk show was banned by the Uganda Communication Commission.

    He added that Dr. Kizza Besigye, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, Gen. David Sejusa are the other prominent people who put him in a difficult position behind the microphone.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    EC’s Justice Byabakama Accused Of Meeting Bobi Wine’s NUP Leaders At Night…

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    NUP leader Bobi Wine (R) and EC boss Byabakama (L)

    Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) has been accused of meeting Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine’s top National Unity Platform (NUP) Leadership at night.

    Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo disclosed that EC should be investigated over allegation that on Tuesday this week, Byabakama met a team from Kamwokya led by David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary General.

    Ofwono added that EC’s behaviour in the ongoing fight between Bobi Wine’s Kamwokya based NUP and Moses Nkonge Kibalama’s Lubaga base over the ownership of the party is questionable and should be probed.

    He wondered why EC bosses were very fast to respond to Kibalama’s letter written to them over the new changes in the leadership of their party when it takes them years to respond to other political parties’ letters.

    Opondo was emphasising allegations made by Gideon Tugume, the Kibalama faction secretary for information on NBS tv’s frontline talkshow.

    Tugume claimed that they have enough evidence that before EC responded to their letter, they first met Rubongoya’s team at night.

    “The Electoral Commission acted on forgeries; we know the things that happened before that letter was released.

    “The good thing cameras are installed at EC, we challenge them to retrieve the footage captured on Tuesday night to dispel rumours that Rubongoya was not at their offices. What did they discuss at night?” Tugume challenged Justice Byabakama.

    He further challenged Justice Byabakama to make NUP’s constitution public like they do to other parties’ constitutions instead of hiding it.

    In defence of Bobi Wine’s NUP faction, Busiro East Member of Parliament, Medard Lubega Ssegona rubbished Tugume’s allegations and branded him a state mercenary.

    He explained that the only route Kibalama can use to take over NUP leadership is through a petition in Court which he vowed to challenge as a lawyer with the help of other party legal brains.

    On Wednesday, EC disowned Kibalama’s NUP faction insisting that Bobi Wine’s faction is the one that is legally recognised.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    EDUCATION

    Prime Minister Nabbanja Orders ISO To Deal With Striking Arts Teachers As UNATU Instructs Lawyers On Education Ministry Statement…

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    PM Robinah Nabbanja and UNATU boss Filbert Baguma

    The Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has issued moving orders to all Internal Security Organisation (ISO) operatives to deal with striking arts teachers who refused to obey President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directives.

    Exclusively speaking to theGrapevine, Nabbanja disclosed that all ISO operatives all over the country have been instructed through their bosses from Kampala  headquarters to make sure that no unpatriotic teacher is playing with the President’s directives to end strikes.

    Yesterday, President Museveni’s government, through Catherine Birakwate, the Ministry of Education and Sports Permanent Secretary issued a statement directing teachers either to go back to class and teach or resign from public service.

    The statement followed an emergency meeting summoned by President Museveni in State House Entebbe which was attended by the Vice President Jesicca Alupo, Minister of Education and Sports  Janet Kataha Museveni, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, Minister of Public Service Muruli Mukasa and other officials from their respective ministries.

    The meeting resolved that Arts teachers should wait for the coming financial year when government will increase the salaries of all government workers.

    Nabanja told theGrapevine that government is going to make sure that the President’s directive is implemented and that no one is defy it.

    “This time is not for joking, this is a government in power and all ISO operatives are directed that from 24th June, 2022, they should be moving around their jurisdiction inspecting all government schools and recording those teachers who think they are bigger than government,” Nabbanja said.

    She added that government is not going to look on as innocent young Ugandans are suffering without studying because of selfish people among teachers under their umbrella body, the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU).

    “When you see them opening their eyes wide you may think that they are fighting for a common teacher, but no, they should know that they are not the only people who studied education.

    There are many young people who are unemployed and want to be employed by this government, if they cannot wait for government to fulfill their promise in the coming year, let them go,” a furious Nabbanja said.

    She pined UNATU bosses of misleading teachers especially Filbert Baguma, the Union’s Secretary General.

    Nabbanja said that people like Baguma are seeking to benefit personally from teachers strikes.

    Nabbanja insisted that government is going to increase the salaries of its employees in the next fiscal year, “this financial year we have started with scientists.”

    However, Baguma insists that the strike is still ongoing. He warned government, especially people like Nabbanja, to stop using threatening language.

    He rubbished Birakwate’s statement that the teacher’s industrial action is illegal.

    He pleaded with teachers not be intimidated. Baguma revealed that they have instructed their lawyers to study Birakwate’s impugn statement.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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