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    President Museveni Has Set The Best Example In Uganda – Rwanda Affair…

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    Are we witnessing the definitive restoration of cordial relations between Uganda and Rwanda nearly three years since the shutdown of the common border at Katuna?

    In keeping with optimism and faith in the supremacy of the spirit of Pan-Africanism and Ubuntu, I believe that we are headed for happier times.

    In last year’s elections, culminating from campaigns that started the previous year, President Museveni’s Seniority, Maturity and Experience was a big time selling point to assure Ugandans that he has what it takes to continue according them trusted leadership and “securing their future.” To his supporters, it made a lot of sense; his opponents doubted.

    What is happening on the South Western axis with the reopening of the border proves that Ugandans made the best decision when they entrusted Museveni with their mandate. Few leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa would demonstrate the kind of poise and restraint which Museveni has exhibited amidst great controversy and aggravation. There were diverse ideas from different sources on how to approach the matter. He chose and stood by the diplomatic and “Pan-Africanist” one.

    If there is anybody doing Pan-Africansim proud in our times it is Museveni. Looking at how he has taken the seemingly long route, avoiding reactionarism and fanaticism in trying to prove a point, one can’t fail to see this. While some claim that there is a fight for regional dominance, Museveni stands for dominance of the East African region through multilevel cooperation (read “Integration”) as a means to empower Africans living in this part of the world in more ways than one.

    You cannot be talking “Integration” and then create artificial bottlenecks around areas of common interest. That’s Museveni’s position in thought and act. Even where there are disagreements, there are areas which must not be tampered with because it is the ordinary citizen that suffers most. Whatever the issue, whether elections or in case of unavoidable conflict, even protests and industrial action, the lives, property and opportunities of the ordinary person and their rights, should always be safeguarded. That is Museveni’s philosophy in whatever he does; interests of the common person, first!

    Museveni is very calculative, but is also gifted with unique foresight. I know that while everyone else was agitated and readying for an escalation of sorts at each stage, he knew where everything would end. It was not necessary to try and extract cooperation from the other side because he knew what everyone stood to lose.

    Uganda was losing, people were suffering, the situation was looking bad and shameful; but he had no control of the situation, preferring to buy time so that minds would mature. Throughout this time, his public statements, if any, on the matter, and in his media interviews, he kept a respectful stance, always giving benefit to dialogue and humane options to resolving the differences.

    As always, he was looking at the bigger picture. He can’t be an active extinguisher of instability all over the region on one hand and be an active inciter of the same on the other. He stands firmly for the policy of non-aggression and cultivation of harmonious relations with neighbours.

    Uganda’s relations with all her neighbours-South Sudan, Kenya, DRC, Tanzania are perfect testimony of this ideal. What happened with Rwanda was only a test of the credentials of our leadership. We ought to emerge wiser!

    Three years have been lost, dealing a heavy blow to trade and people-to-people relations. The cost of the border blockade in real terms at both ends is in trillions. The disruption in the lives of the people who were used to living in one country and working in the other on a regular basis cannot be priced. Our sister countries have both lost, the regional has taken a step back. We should work together to recover lost ground and cover up this shameful and regrettable chapter.

    I thank our media for maintaining sobriety and exercising responsibility in how they covered the aftermath of the border closure. There was a lot of misinformed and ill-intentioned coverage from unregulated media that risked jeopardising discussions, but regular media kept moderate. I am aware that there were express in-house directives stopping unauthorised persons from commenting on the matters to avoid feeding into an already tense situation. However, this did not stop social media from carrying on with negative narratives but which did not affect the general direction in which Museveni guided the agenda.

    Now that normalcy is at hand, all stakeholders should concentrate on development-oriented and bridge-building engagements. Sensationalism and rumourmongering have not helped; it’s strategic engagement that has brought us thus far.

    Appreciation goes to the emissaries who have been shuttling all over trying to secure an understanding, and Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba for taking the initiative to meet with President Kagame in a move that added a lot of substance to the negotiations.

    Credit also goes to the Rwandan leadership for reconsidering its position on outstanding issues and inclining towards the side of Pan-Africanism. The Great Lakes region is very delicate. There are many forces at play in and around it. We must be conscious not to arm them to our collective detriment.

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Email: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug
    Contact: 0702980496/0776980486

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    NATIONAL

    Panic In UPDF As Furious M7 Gives Gen Okidi’s Team Two Weeks To Give Him Detailed Report On Why Army Helicopters Are Crashing…

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    One of the army helicopters that crashed recently

    A furious President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is the Commander-In-Chief has ordered Maj. Gen. Charles Okidi’s team to present to him a detailed report on why Uganda People’s Defense Forces(UPDF) helicopter crashed in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and killed the country’s soldiers including a Ukrainian national who was the pilot.

    Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the incident explaining that as usual when such incidents happen, the president orders for investigations.

    According to Reuters, more than 22 UPDF soldiers have died in two separate helicopter crash incidents inside DRC where the country’s commandos are fighting the deadly Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists who have been frequently killing Ugandan and Congolese nationals.

    However, Gen. Kulayigye rubbished Reuters reporting on the number of UPDF soldiers who have died in the incident but confirmed that Yury Vyshykvy, the Ukrainian national who was the pilot of the Russian made Mi-17 died on spot and together with two Congolese nationals.

    Sources in UPDF have revealed that president Museveni has directed that the concerned persons should inform the deceased’s next of kin over the death of their people.

    Mi-17 crashed few minutes after delivering food and medicine consignment to the UPDF commandos who are fighting ADF terrorists in Eastern DRC and a number of causalities were rushed to Bombo Military hospital for further medical attention.

    Sources in UPDF disclosed that the president wants to establish why the forces’ newly acquired military helicopters are crashing.

    The DRC accident happened a day after another Mi-24 also crashed in Fort Portal.

    Fortunately, no person died in that particular accident.

    Sources noted that like other military helicopter accidents, Gen Okidi’s report will not be made public but will be given to the assigning officer.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    We Don’t Want A Country Where People Are Being Picked Up By Drones And No One Is Held Accountable – Muntu Warns On Rampant Broad Day Light Kidnaps…

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    Mugisha Muntu

    Former presidential candidate, Gen. Mugisha Muntu has warned on the rampant abductions that have taken lead in the country.

    Muntu statement was premised on the rising cases of gunmen picking civilians off the streets or their homes in drones.

    Muntu emphasized that they don’t want a country where people are being picked up by drones and no one is held accountable, and the government doesn’t speak out even when issues are raised.

    “What we see currently on the surface of things seems to be calmness, but beneath is a situation that we all need to focus on.”

    He explained, “We have two forms of fear. One is the fear that is deeply engraved in the minds of those people in power. They fear relinquishing power, and therefore, it drives them to do the things they do.

    “Unfortunately, in this country, we have never had a peaceful transition, which is abnormal, and therefore, we need to focus on where we are heading. It is not too late.”

    Muntu insisted that they need to use the platforms where they can speak and break the culture of impunity that keeps growing.

    “The principle of separation of powers in institutions is not working. Parliament is just a shadow of what Parliament is supposed to be. On the surface you might think that there is peace but below, the situation is worrisome,” he intimated.

    He added that sectarianism is a symptom of a larger problem.

    “If we want to have fairness, we have to ensure that whatever we practise, is rooted in these values of fairness, justice and equity, among others.”

    Muntu made the remarks at Golf Course hotel today during a Public Dialogue under the theme ‘Ending Secretarianism and Tribalism.’

    Today, a man in civilian attire accompanied by the three men wearing military fatigue and armed with assault rifles kidnapped Mr. Rafik Khan, a car dealer at Kireka C in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District at 5pm.

    Residents and Mr. Khan’s colleagues looked on helplessly as the armed men dragged the businessman into a waiting Toyota Probox car.

    This is on the heels of over 15 NUP supporters who have recently been arrested from various parts of the country by men moving in drones.

    Democratic Party president, Nobert Mao, who also doubles as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs hailed Muntu for taking a strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands.

    He argued that as they discuss the framework for the truth and reconciliation process, they must agree on what truth and reconciliation are not.

    “I have to give credit to Gen. Mugisha Muntu because of his militant and strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands,” he adduced.

    He maintained, “Let me state what the truth and reconciliation process is not. It is not good to be confused about the aims of the truth and reconciliation process.

    “The truth and reconciliation process should not conduct a formal legal process and should not duplicate the work of criminal investigations, initiate court actions, among others, on matters already covered by other organs.”

    Mao noted that however, there are some trends that will lead them to conclude that colonialism played an important role in the false start that Uganda made as they headed towards independence and the years after, adding that he doesn’t believe that all the blame goes to the colonialists.

    “The North is seen as the “underprivileged backyard”. As Uganda went to independence, historical accidents disarmed the north of their fears that they had a position in an independent Uganda.”

    He propounded, ” Therefore, even a Munyankole that has made money is seen to have been corrupt. An Acholi who hasn’t killed anybody when they go to Luwero will be a suspect.

    “There was perceived dominance of the North, Baganda, and western Uganda. This was looked at as a problem that should be seen through sectarian lenses.”

    Mao therefore emphasized that a national truth and reconciliation process is the only thing that can salvage this country.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    NATIONAL

    Fights In Bobi Wine’s NUP: KCCA Councillor Cited In Kyagulanyi, MP Kagabo Disturbing Leaked Audio Recording…

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    Hakim Kizza, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Secretary for engineering and technical services, who is also the Lubya Parish representative in Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago’s city council has cleared the air on the allegations that he has a hand in the leaked disturbing audio recording where embattled Bukoto South Member of Parliament Twaha Kagabo is revealing secrets about NUP party and his principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine).

    In the leaked audio, Kagabo is heard confessing to a friend via phone that he is not in NUP because he loves the party so much but he is there because of the political wave.

    He added that many NUP legislators are not happy with Bobi Wine’s leadership style but they have nothing to do because he is popular.

    The recording was leaked a few days ago when Bobi Wine had just praised Kagabo for being a patriotic legislator and very loyal to the party after he accepted his mistake and returned the controversial Shs.40m bribe.

    It should be remembered that Bobi Wine ordered his party legislators to return the Shs.40m bribe which he alleged was given to MPs at the speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among’s home in Nakasero, a Kampala suburb.

    Dr. Kagabo returned the money and accused speaker Among of giving it to him. Suprisingly, he later refuted his early statements against Among and apologised to her.

    Days after apologising and being forgiven by the Speaker, an audio leaked of him blasting Bobi Wine and NUP.

    Kagabo supporters now accuse councillor Kizza of playing on Kagabo’s intelligence and releasing the shocking audio of him blasting his party boss.

    Sources in Bukoto South told theGrapevine that Kizza had intentions to contest for the area parliamentary seat but he was frustrated by NUP leadership in Kamwokya who gave the party ticket to Kagabo.

    Sources added that when Kiiza decided to contest on an independent ticket, he was advised to try another time because it was going to be hard for him to defeat Kagabo who was already armed with a NUP ticket and money.

    He later accepted defeat and stood for KCCA councillor representing the people of Lubya Parish.

    Sources further narrated that Kagabo used a lot of money to get the NUP ticket after first battling for it with Dr. Abed Bwanika who was later forced to shift to Kimanya-Kabonera.

    Sources said that from then, Kiiza has been on ground, which he admitted when contacted.

    “I’m not new in that constituency, he found me there but he used money, but I remained with my people,” Kiiza said.

    He however denied allegations that he was behind the leaked audio recording.

    Kagabo and Kizza’s political fight is one of the many political fights in Bobi Wine’s NUP party.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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