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    OPINION: Ugandan Doctors Gave Me A New Lease On Life…

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    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    For some years, I had suffered with serious pain radiating from the foot upwards to the spine. I had been reporting to hospital every once in a while for therapy to relieve the pain. However, the root of the problem remained and last month, I think I would have died if I had not been operated on.

    The problem seems to have resulted from my time as a rally driver, but there could be other contributory factors. Motor rally involves cruising at very high speeds and maneuvering around sharp ends and skipping high bumps.

    It is no doubt that I suffered spinal injury during one or many of those drives. However, I underestimated the injury thinking it would go away on its own. It was not until last month that I realised how endangered my life was.

    I had terrible pain beyond what I can describe, although I remained working, moreover with a greater workload having only recently come to be elevated to my current position.

    My condition was such that I had so much pain that I could only stand because of my busy lifestyle. I did not have time to sit and moan, but it was eating me and I felt my left ebbing away. I told close friends and my supervisors that I feared for my life. I didn’t see how I would survive. Local doctors did tests and it was resolved that I require surgery urgently.

    The tests revealed that my spinal cord had accumulated pus, a sign of long term stress to it. The pus had gone all the way to the brain and any moment I was to suffer a stroke. One side was already paralysed. Scans showed a gripping picture of the state I was in.

    Some scans were sent to Germany and India. The doctors there made similar conclusions as the local team. There were suggestions that I go for the operation in either Germany or India.

    However, seeing that the local doctors had reached the same conclusions as the foreign ones, I resolutely decided that I would have the operation here. I was confident that the doctors who gave me a correct diagnosis would equally know how to treat it.

    Regardless, I was offering myself as a sacrifice if things didn’t go well, but I wasn’t ready to seek treatment abroad at exorbitant costs. If I did not make it, I would save taxpayers’ money and go in peace, knowing that I died in and for my motherland. If I survived to tell the story, as indeed I did, I would live as a testimony that Uganda’s health system works.

    It should be acknowledged that people die even in the world’s most well equipped hospitals but there are preventable deaths which result from lack of specialised care and accompanying equipment. To be honest, Uganda does not match the more medically advanced countries in Europe, USA and Asia, but over time, capacity has been  built that can take care of any condition.

    I foresee a time when this capacity will be at optimum, both in quality and quantity, to crown the glory that has been scored fighting Covid-19 using basics.

    Uganda can now separate conjoined twins like the ones at Soroti and Mbarara.

    And, so, at exactly 8am on Thursday, April 28, 2022, I went under the surgeon’s blade at Kampala Hospital. I chose this facility for privacy purposes.

    On duty was Dr. Nyati Mallorn assisted by Dr. Najjemba Diana. Spinal surgery is a very complicated procedure. Any mistake can incapacitate the patient for life. I could either die or remain wheelchair bound for life. The operation got underway. A tube was inserted in the spine to drain fluid and pus. It stayed for seven straight days.

    During this time, I was in strict isolation, and of course I was not working, the first time in my life that I have stayed away from work for several consecutive days, and weeks.

    The operation was a success. The delicate operation was done without injuring any nerve, yet the spinal cord is a “highway” of nerves that serve the entire body.

    Most surprisingly, all my body systems remained functional, and as of now, are totally renewed. I do not feel any problem anywhere. There is no pain anymore yet before the operation, I was dying of pain. There will be periodic reviews of my condition but for now I believe that the worst is behind me.

    I have more confidence in our healthcare now. If such an operation can be done successfully here, it means that we have some of the best doctors and equipment in the world. And their service comes affordably compared to what referrals pay in foreign hospitals. The operation cost not more than Shs 30 Million in total.

    Apart from being happy to be alive and cured, it is very reassuring to see dedicated medical personnel with the expertise to do a good job. It is only logical that such medics are remunerated better to motivate and retain them, and encourage Ugandans to have more faith in Ugandan medical services. There is no need to blow a lot of money for medical tourism. Instead, we should attract patients from the region where such capacity does not exist. More money should be channeled into training our medical personnel and equipping hospitals.

    In the long run, medical care will be more affordable for everyone.

    I thank Dr. Nyati and Dr. Najjemba for their expertise, dedication and care, and appreciate friends who prayed for me and wished me well. Above all, I thank God for His mercy. Doctors treat but healing comes by His hand.

     

    The author Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    NEWS

    We Don’t Meet People At Night: EC Speaks Out On Allegations Of Meeting Bobi Wine’s NUP Faction At Night…

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    EC Spokesperson Bukenya. Inset is Bobi Wine (top) and Kibalama (bottom). Both leaders claim ownership of NUP

    Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama’s Electoral Commission has cleared the air on allegations that they held a night meeting with the National Unity Platform (NUP) leadership.

    On Thursday, appearing on NBS TV’s Frontline, Gideon Tugume, the Secretary for Information in Moses Kibalama’s NUP faction alleged that they have enough evidence including camera footage showing Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine’s NUP faction leaders, led by David Lewis Rubongoya, meeting top Electoral Commission leaders at night.

    He claimed that the Tuesday night meeting resulted in the Electoral Commission letter disowning Kibalama’s faction and declaring Bobi Wine’s faction as legal.

    Tugume was supported by government spokesperson and also the Media Center boss, Ofwono Opondo who insisted that the Electoral Commission should be investigated over the night meeting allegation.

    However, in a phone conversation with theGrapevine, Mr. Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission spokesperson rubbished the allegation.
    “It is not true that we meet people at night. Our offices are open between 8am to 5pm, beyond that time, we are officially closed for any business,” the soft spoken Mr. Bukenya explained.

    He further emphasized that the Electoral Commission only deals with legally recognised institutions and Bobi Wine’s NUP is the recognised NUP leadership.

    He explained that they cannot recognise an institution whose legal records they don’t have.

    “All of us know that Bobi Wine’s NUP is the leading opposition party in parliament and we have been sending them taxpayers money because of their numerical strength in parliament not Kibalama’s faction,” he noted.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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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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    CRIME

    CID Arrests 24: How They Robed Investors, Financed ADF Terrorism Activities In DRC And Uganda…

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    Some of the suspects

    Uganda Police spokesperson CP Fred Enanga has disclosed that the Directorate of Crime Intelligence (CID) has arrested 24 suspects who form part of a criminal network, involved in the financing of ADF terrorism activities, in the DRC and in Uganda.

    In a statement released today, Enanga said that, “those arrested are Kyeyune Isma alias Ismail alias Beckam alias Buguman alias Musilamu alias Mohammad a 30 year old, boda-boda rider and a resident of Bulaga- Nakabugo and Kinamundu villages in Wakiso District, who was recruited in the ADF ranks in 2021, by Adam Matovu alias Manhajji alias Musa Muko from Kalerwe.

    “The task team also arrested Musa Mubiru alias Musilamu alias Professor alias Sheikh alias Nathan; Kiiza Patrick alias Pato; Kinene Hamis alias Mis and Wadimba Jackson alias Sejusa. Together with others, they paid allegiance to the ADF and admitted to conspiring with others, to stage robberies of aggravated nature. The proceeds were being used to finance ADF activities (including recruitment of future terrorist fighter), and also cover welfare costs of families of ADF fighters.”

    He added that the two suspects were trained in combat and martial art skills from Kawempe- Ttula, together with Ajode, Musa Kabanda alias Musomesa and Mwebe, who were arrested recently from the ADF hub in Luwero.

    “During the disruptive operations, two notorious gang leaders, were fatally wounded, one while resisting arrest and the other during a foiled robbery. One of them was identified as; Tomusange Farouk alias Otto alias Juma Otti alias Ssebaduka Ramadhan alias Abdulaziz Nsubuga.

    “His gang participated in the robbery of Ugx 300m, from Mohammad Ahmed, a Somali businessman at Equatorial Hotel on 25.05.2020, they robbed Her Worship Gladys Kamasanyu at Green Hill Academy on 17.07.2021; robbed Ugx 400m from Lee Yin Tang, a Chinese Businessman along Nkurumah road, robbed JUWAN LAL, an Indian businessman on the 24.07.2022, along Mawanda road; on the 9.02.2021, they robbed 100.000 Euros from Kushamohan Konnakutty, an Indian businessman at the Jinja Road Traffic junction, among others,” he added.

    “The second gang leader, identified as Mugalu Ibra alias Nakwero, was shot dead during a foiled robbery at Old Kampala in Mengo on the 2.06.2022. The former convict was involved in the robbery of Ugx 150m and two mobile phones from Gitawu Abdallah, a Kenyan businessman along Apollo Kaggwa road; robbed USD 4500 and Ugx 20m, from KE QIU FANG MA LEE, a Chinese businessman; also robbed 3 separate South Sudanese business persons at Kawaala (USD 80.000); Bakuli Mengo (USD 30.000); Kasubi – Namungoona (USD 10.000).”

    Enanga divulged that the criminal gang network conducted effective surveillance against foreign businessmen transporting cash, whom they attacked at suitable get-away points.

    “They further utilized various methods of secret communication to conceal their criminal activities. Several exhibits of motorcycles, mobile phones and documents were recovered,” Enanga said.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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