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Schools, Airport, Places Of Worship And Sports Freed Under Strict Guidelines As Mass Gatherings Are Still Prohibited, And Bars Remain Closed…

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President Yoweri Museveni has okayed and confirmed the reopening of Schools starting 15th October, 2020 for only the finalists (P.7, S.4, S.6 and finalists in tertiary institutions, Colleges & universities).

He added that other students will wait till early next year for a properly weighed up decision.

“We have decided to reopen schools for the candidates including P7, S4, S6 and finalists in universities and tertiary universities. We believe that the number of these is small,” Museveni said.

While addressing the nation at State House, President Museveni lifted the restrictions on border districts, and flagged green the opening of open air activities of sports provided there are no spectators. “We must learn to have games without spectators. Players should be tested 72 hours before the games,” Museveni said.

Museveni also revealed that The International Airport and land borders will now be opened for tourists provided they test negative, and they don’t mix with Ugandans.

Below is the President’s speech in part of some of the relaxed restrictions:

Given this avoidability vis a vis the virus, provided the SOPs are strictly followed at the group and personal levels, the virus could and can be contained. Therefore, my job today is to, again, emphasize the two tasks: for group behavior and for individual behavior. With this emphasis, it is now time to, further, relax the
restrictions as follows:

• We have decided to re-open schools for the candidate classes of P-7, S-4, S-6, finalists in tertiary colleges
and finalists in Universities. Why? Number one, we think that it is safe because the finalists in each learning institution are a much smaller number compared to the total enrollment in these Centres. Indeed, the total number of finalists is 1.2million learners out of the total of 15million, less than 10%.

Therefore, each group of finalists will have bigger space for socialdistancing – whether they are in day schools or boarding schools. If they follow the SOPs, they will be safe. Moreover, the cost of waiting any further, is quite high. Why? It is because of the jam that will be created in terms of the usual transition from the Primary School, Lower Secondary schools, Higher Secondary Schools, tertiary colleges and Universities, respectively. If the batch of 2020 do not move on, what will happen to the batch of 2021? Can we afford to have two batches in 2021? The answer is a clear: “no”. Fortunately, it can be done safely if people follow the SOPs. A solution for the nonfinalist learners will be found by January 2021. International schools that have got less numbers, can engage the Ministry of Health on the way forward. The Schools will open for finalists on the 15th of October, 2020. We are aware of the dilemma of
the Private Schools that were operating on money from Banks etc.

We have tried to help the teachers in Private schools by giving them a Ushs. 20BN (twenty billion shillings) grant for their SACCO. We shall continue to study and see how the Government can affordably, further, support these Ugandans – the teachers. The schools will now open in the limited way pointed out above. If for some reasons, there are private schools that cannot re-open on account of the obvious disruption of the business of the Private Schools, the Ministry of Education is already directed to expand the number of secondary schools.

We were assuming a secondary school enrollment of 2 million learners (the current number is 1.6 million learners). If we take one classroom and one teacher to cater for 50 learners, we need 40,000 classrooms and 40,000 classroom teachers. If you assume a school of two streams per class up to S.4 and then a science and an Arts class for S.5 and S.6, each will be having 12 classroom units. This will, therefore, mean about 3,340 schools to accommodate the 2 million secondary school learners. The Government already has 1,267 Secondary Schools and we are planning to build 374 new ones. I direct the Ministry of Education to study the number of community schools that the Government can take over in the areas that do not have Government Secondary Schools. If the worst came to the worst, the Government should have the capacity to absorb into Government schools all the learners and even teachers that are shed off by Private Schools on account of the financial difficulties facing private schools, precipitated by the Covid-19 crisis. The Minister of Finance should also meet the owners of the Private Schools and see how the Government could come to their aid. The Government should not only think of rescuing the learners and the teachers and remain oblivious of the plight of those Ugandan entrepreneurs that invested in private schools because they did not know that a terrible disease would come from bats in distant China and cause so much chaos. Can UDB help? What is the magnitude? The Government plan for distance learning, through the provision of 9 million radio-sets, is on course. The money is available. That route of alternative learning will continue to be consolidated, not only for dealing
with the present crisis, but also for the future. That strategy may have some advantages such as democratizing access by all to good teachers etc.

• The International Airport and Land borders will now be opened for tourists, coming in and going out, provided they tested negative 72 hours before arrival in Uganda and provided the tour operators ensure that the tourists do not mix with the Ugandans. How will this be done? The tourists will be driven straight from the Airport to their destinations or to designated transit hotels that are set aside for that purpose. Business delegations should also
be handled in the same way by the Local Partners. The returning Ugandans, who have negative PCR results, will
be allowed to go home. The Ministry of Health will only get their addresses for follow up.
• Restrictions on movements on border districts are hereby lifted.
• Curfew, from 2100 hours (9 p.m.) to 6 a.m., will be maintained; but for the boda bodas, their movements must
always end at 1800 hours (6 p.m).
• The places of worship, should open with the following precautions:
• Individual prayers or confessions with priests or counseling with the necessary SOPs.
• Prayers and fellowships whose numbers do not exceed 70 and by observing all the other SOPs.
• Night prayers and transnights are not allowed.
• The regular large gatherings of prayers and preachings of Sundays and Fridays will be considered at a later
stage, depending on how the disease will be evolving; but the rule of the number of 70 and not more can be
used on the Fridays and Sundays.
• There should be no Sunday School for children. Let the enemy first go away before the children are involved in this congregating (okwerundaana).
• Open air activities of sports will re-open provided there are no spectators and the players are tested for Covid-19, 72 hours before. This test will expire in 14 days. Hence, the Sportsmen will have to repeat the test.
• Sportsmen and women should remember that masks should not be worn, when you are engaged in
strenuous exercises.
• With tournaments, teams should be quarantined for the whole season of the competition.
• Indoor sports activities, including gyms, remain closed. Why? It is because the virus spreads more in enclosed spaces.
• Casinos, gaming centres and cinemas remain closed. Why? It is because those activities are in enclosed spaces and are not compatible with social distancing.
• Bars shall remain closed. Why? It is because bars, apart from many of them being in enclosed spaces, which phenomenon favours the rapid spread of the virus, are not known for sobriety and lack of sobriety is not compatible
with health safety through the observance of the health SOPs.
• Hotels will continue operating following the SOPs agreed with the Ministry of Health.
• Restaurants should continue to emphasize the takeaways. Indoor restaurant services should be minimized and follow the SOPs.
• Mobile Markets, monthly cattle auction and produce markets, should remain closed as the Ministry of Health
continues to develop SOPs.
• Mass gatherings are still prohibited. Some people have been trying to use the recent NRM elections to justify their own misbehaviours. Lining behind candidates, is not the same as holding public meetings. Lining behind candidates would have been done scientifically (social-distancing), if the organizers had been serious. With public meetings, however, there can be no social distancing, rationally.
• Our Bamasaaba grandchildren that are engaged in Imbalu in these months, have SOPs from the Ministry of Health
that were agreed with the Cultural Institution. There should be no processions dancing Kadodi – that is dangerous
congregating. The Security forces, especially the Police, should monitor those activities. Cases of Covid-19 have
gone up in Mbale recently. They are now 107 and 5 deaths have occurred in that area.

 

By Baron Kironde

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NATIONAL

WE DON’T WANT HIM HERE: Bunyoro Kingdom Rejects Police Boss Who Fired Tear Gas At Top Buganda Officials And Catholic Bishop Over Bobi Wine…

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Bunyoro Kingdom premier Andrew Byakutaga (L) and Alex Mwine (R)

The Bunyoro Kingdom administration has strongly rejected police boss who fired tear gas at top Buganda Kingdom officials and Catholics clerics ovbecause of the presence of National Unity Platform (NUP) party supreme leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine.

Bunyoro Kingdom premier Andrew Byakutaga protested the deployment of Alex Mwine as the new police commandant Hoima because of his questionable discipline.

“As the Bunyoro Kingdom, we have written to the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola requesting him to rescind the transfer of Mr. Mwine to Hoima and instead deploy befitting disciplined officers,” Byakutaga stated.

Mwine is accused of commanding police in Mityana to teargas and disperse mbogo clan meeting upon getting information that Kyagulanyi, who is one of the prominent members of the clan, was going to attend.

Among the top senior citizens who were affected include retired Masaka Diocese Bishop John Baptists Kaggwa and mbogo clan leader omuttaka Kayiira Gaajuule.

The ceremony was to commemorate the good work done by the mbogo clan in Buganda kingdom especially when Kayiira successfully served his king as the kingdom clans head.

Police bosses are currently on a tour publicly apologizing to everyone who was affected by Mwine’s lugubrious  actions, they have so far apologized to Buganda kingdom and the Catholic community.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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I’m Like Jesus, If They Abused The Son Of God, Who Am I Not To Be Abused? – M7 Commissions Sugar Processing Plant In Atiak, Says He Is A Man On A Mission…

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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has commissioned Atiak Sugar Factory in Amuru District. The factory is owned by entrepreneur Amina Moghe Hersi, while government holds 41% shares through the Uganda Development Corporation.

Museveni noted that a country needs labour, natural resources, capital, knowledge and entrepreneurship to be industrialized.

He singled out entrepreneurs as the most visionary people who have the spectacles to see opportunities which others do not see, citing that the stock of entrepreneurs in Uganda is growing.

The president stressed that once a factory is in Uganda, it’s a Ugandan factory irrespective of ownership.

“I hear some Ugandans talk of Indian factories, those are in India not Uganda. Previously, some people in Acholi were opposing these developments. This is terrible. Why would you reject progress? When I passed here in 1968, all I saw was grassland, fit for grazing cows. Then Amina Hersi came with different spectacles and here we are,” he said.

“You saw me hold a bag of sugar in the factory there. That is Atiak sugar. There is Kakira, Lugazi, Kinyara and now we have Atiak sugar. This factory adds to our capacity to produce sugar for internal consumption and export,” he added.

The president disclosed that the sugar factory employs upto 2,000 workers and impacts on more than 20,000 people and their families, pointing that neighbours who have sim sim, malakwang, potatoes and other things have got market for their goods from the factory workers.

“In Rwakitura, I sell a litre of milk at Shs600 yet my friend Prof Nsibambi, who had a farm near Kampala, would sell at Shs1,200 because he had a big market. Therefore, when you get a factory like this, please support it. Even if it does not directly employ you, there are many spill-over benefits. The nearby shops, schools, and other facilities will all benefit,” Museveni said.

Atiak will mainly be using out growers as the fulcrum. Much of the sugarcane will be grown by the local people, and each of the families engaged will have five acres ploughed and planted for them by the factory. The families will then be tasked to look after the cane and will each earn Shs18 million after 18 months.

The president pledged government’s continued to support this project. Museveni revealed how Amina Hersi took him to River Aswa and explained how the people of Lamwo are growing so much sugarcane but have to move 175km to bring it here, citing the need to build a bridge that would help reduce the distance by 36km to the factory.

He confirmed that the bridge will be built so that the part of the project which is on the Lamwo side will be directly linked with the one on Atiak side to help save the farmers’ money in transport.

“I thank the people of Atiak and Lamwo for making Africa proud because they have showed that even rural areas can receive the message of development and are able to reject the message of liars and malicious leaders,” Museveni pleasurably commended.

“I thank Amina for being a freedom fighter, she is like her uncle Museveni who does not give up even when I am abused. If they could abuse Jesus, the son of God, who am I not to be abused? But Jesus had a mission and was not deterred even when he was abused. He fulfilled his mission. That’s the same with me,” he added.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Ugandans Should Brace Themselves For The Toughest Election Ever – Opposition Wingers Warn, Trash EC’s ‘Inconveniencing Reforms’….

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Upon releasing an improved roadmap to the 2021 General Elections, The EC has been faulted by several opposition parties and members for allegedly stressing their genuine efforts to attain power.

The EC spokesperson, Paul Bukenya in respect to parliamentary and local council elections confirmed that the roadmaps are out, adding that the stage is set for the next act which is the candidates reaching out to the voters.

“Next we have the presidential nominations and date for elections,” he said.

Parliamentary aspirants, mostly from the opposition wing have decried the measurably little time they’ve been officially allocated to converse for votes. They have accused the EC for conniving with the incumbent president and his government to favorably keep him in power by implementing adverse policies to specifically oppress those entities contrasting the current government.

DP president, Nobert Mao, projected that this, particularly is going to be a very intense political season, citing that it requires clarity on rules of engagement more so from key stakeholders like the EC.

“The purpose of an election is to give the voters a chance to choose. This period is very short if you are running for a presidential election. You must have very many speaking for you. It is going to put a lot of pressure on the EC too,” Mao stressed.

Mao says the EC has not done enough of it’s duty on civic education with a lame excuse of lack of funds.

Another opposition parliamentary aspirant, Odonga Otto to his disappointment asked, “How can the EC change the dates gazetted for nominations?”

“It looks like the size of the shoe is clear and also who should put it on is clear. The presidential race is tailored for one person. One of the players in the elections dismissed half of the EC commissioners, he added, in obvious reference to incumbent President Museveni.

He argued that no amount of specific civic education whatsoever will at the moment change voter bribery, but a law. He said, “I still think Parliament needs to change the law so that it is not the president that elects the EC leadership.”

“I was in the village for a week waiting to be nominated. They had to extend the nominations so that the NRM cleans its house, then they call themselves the Independent Electoral Commission, Otto angrily submitted.

EC publicist, Bukenya’s justification of the process was trashed by the Aruu county MP. “You are looking ugly. You are looking like a magician trying to explain a failed magic,” he said.

Veteran opposition singer, Salamu Musumba submitted that the EC is not in charge, but rather remote controlled by the state.

She added that the scientific elections will create anarchy, adding that it will be a jungle that all Ugandans must prepare for.

“We are not ready for democracy. This is like a supermarket where the highest bidder takes it all,” Musumba stated.

Uganda Media Center (UMC) boss Ofwono Opondo however refuted all such claims. He stated that there is no record that the NRM requested the EC to extend the date for nominations of the MP aspirants.

He mockingly asserted that any serious political party should have known that there are going to be elections in February, 2021, and should therefore have been organised regardless of the COVID19 consequences. “The opposition is just using this as an excuse to justify their weakness,” he said.

 

By Baron Kironde

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