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    Uganda Families Displaced, Left To Struggle Because Of China’s Mega Dam…

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    Several families are living under the high voltage transmission line in absence of less risky housing.

    Construction of the Kerugma dam has deprived hundreds of people in Uganda’s Nile delta of their land, homes, and livelihoods. Many people have been waiting a decade for relocation, with some left to live under high voltage transmission lines for lack of safer alternatives.

    From a height above the riverbank, you can watch the massive concrete dam harness the powerful waters of the Victoria Nile River. When the hydropower plant is completed by Chinese company Sino hydro Corporation Limited, it is expected to produce 600 megawatts for the Ugandan electricity market.

    The hillside upstream of the river is one of the few places where you can see the whole power station. The transmission substation and part of the riverbank are fenced off and guarded by the military. Two tall surveillance towers have been built to keep intruders outside the area.
    After the construction work started ten years ago, the people in Awoo village lost most of the land they had cultivated for generations, and access to the river where they fished.

    Out of desperation, some of the villagers started to produce gravel from a large mound of rocks excavated from the river basin and dumped next to their homes during the dam’s construction. Men and women make the hazardous 30-meter climb up the deposit to collect the stones, which are then cracked manually with hammers and sold to construction companies.

    A report by Both ENDS describes how land evictions from Awoo village were forceful, with bulldozers bringing down houses, fruit trees and other properties as the community watched. A family was reportedly forced out of their house, which was then set on fire. After that, the community had no choice but to accept the limited compensation offered to them and determined by the Ugandan state.

    Today, those who do not make a living from cracking stones have few options other than doing hard labour for the power company. Normally they earn UGX 8000 a day (about US$2) for cleaning or heavy concrete work, according to the interviews by Just Finance International. This salary is only enough to buy food, they claim.

    When the project first started a decade ago, they were promised relocation to somewhere better and fair compensation for their land. This has not happened. We observed several families living under the high voltage transmission line that connects the power station to the grid which is both hazardous for the health and risky. Still, people claim they have nowhere else to go, a failure that has been flagged as a weakness by Uganda’s auditor general.
    Chinese state-owned company Sino hydro started construction of Karuma in 2013, as well as three high-voltage transmission lines. The infrastructure is a keystone project in the government’s plan to electrify Uganda, where only 22.1 percent of the population have access to the grid. The Karuma hydro plant is expected to power homes, industry, and public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

    The project has been delayed several times, forcing the government to start paying off the $1.7-billion loan to the Export-Import Bank of China before any electricity was produced. The hydro plant is now generating power but not at its full capacity.
    The communities around the dam had high expectations when construction started. The government promised well paid work, roads, a school, a health center, access to water, electricity and a fishpond.

    However, community members interviewed by Just Finance, claim that little has been completed. Not even the promise of healthcare access was fulfilled. The closest hospital is in Gulu, 65 km from the village. Another health center was constructed by Sinohydro in the town Masindi, 112 kilometers away from the villages. This investment is claimed to benefit the communities affected by the dam, but according to Just Finance sources, it serves the military and not the general public.
    Furthermore, the promised water supply is still missing and the garbage collection center for Karuma Township has also not been completed.

    A church has been built. A primary school has been renovated. And a mosque is being renovated although the building has been rejected by the Muslim community because of its poor build quality. The communities still have no access to the roads and, ironically, no one in the communities visited by Just Finance, had access to electricity.

    In Ayuda village, not far from Awoo, the situation is desperate. Despite all the promises from the government and the Chinese company, living conditions have deteriorated. Many families in the village can no longer afford school fees, and they have to walk a long distance to fetch water from springs in the jungle.

    “Our life has been overturned,” a woman told Just Finance.
    According to the villagers, more than 100 acres of land have been taken from them, with just one acre remaining. The community say they were offered 6 million UGX (1600 USD) for the land, an amount they all thought was far too low, but nobody listened, and they had to take the case to court. The process is ongoing after 10 years.

    One woman told Just Finance that she used to sell her harvest on the market and earn good money, but now she has nothing to sell. To survive, they have to work for the Chinese company. It is hard labour, and her salary of UGX 8000 per day is only enough to buy food, she said.
    The Ayuda village had more than 150 graves in the project area. Construction works have destroyed many of them, according to people in the community. No one got any compensation to move the graves.
    “It is an evil omen when the graves are destroyed. It will affect our community mentally for generations to come,” one woman said.
    The community members find it difficult to communicate with people from the Chinese company. There are no translators, and the government does not help them. This has caused misunderstanding and mistrust.
    One woman claimed she had 8 acres of land before the hydro plant was built, of which 5 were farmland. But when her land was evaluated by the government, they wrote that she only had 3 acres.
    “It was a fraud, and somebody else got the money. I have no money left and I have no land anymore. Instead of creating development this has worsened our situation and destroyed our community,” the woman said.
    Just Finance International has contacted Sino hydro Corporation Limited and Ugandan electricity company, Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL), but to date they have not yet provided a response.

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    CELEBRITY GOSSIP

    Buganda Caucus MPs Blocked From Visiting Kabaka Mutebi In Namibia As Mayiga Summons Clan Heads Over M7 Deals, King Visit…

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    Buganda Kingdom King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi (L) in Namibia

    The management of Okonguarri Psychotherapeutic Center in Namibia has blocked three Members of Parliament from accessing the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi.

    Buganda Premier Charles Peter Mayiga confirmed that Kabaka Mutebi is in Namibia resting following the advice of his doctor in Europe.

    However, there are ongoing allegation that Kabaka is in the said medical facility receiving medication not resting.

    Based on the ongoing contradiction, legislators who are members of the Buganda caucus in parliament secretly decided to travel to Namibia to confirm the development.

    theGrapevine has exclusively established that the three male legislators are members of the National Unity Platform and they sneaked into Namibia without the knowledge of the Ugandan embassy in Namibia or their chairperson Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi.

    When contacted, one of the legislators confirmed the development but pleaded with theGrapevine not to reveal his identity because it was going to create a war with Buganda Kingdom leadership.

    “It is true we were blocked from accessing the Kabaka and we are the ones who advised the Buganda Kingdom clan heads who also plan on visitinf the Kabaka to first seek permission from Mayiga, Prince David Kintu Wasajja or Agness Nabalogo because they are the ones to give permission to any person who wants to access Kabaka,” a soft spoken legislator from greater Masaka said.

    He added that they tried to reach out to Prince Joseph Ndawula, the Ugandan ambassador to Namibia but he also didn’t help them, so they decided to return back to Uganda.

    The development comes at a time when Mayiga has just issued summons to the executive members of Buganda Kingdom clan heads council.

    According to highly placed sources in the clan council, the meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday next week at Bulange building the headquarters of Buganda Kingdom.

    Even though Mayiga didn’t give the reasons why he has summoned the clan council leadership, sources claim that top on the agenda is their planned visit to Namibia to visit Kabaka and last week’s State House meeting with president Museveni.

    “When we passed a resolution in our meeting to go to Namibia to visit Kabaka, our council speaker (omutaka Austine Kizito Mutumba) pleaded with us to reverse the resolution explaining that it was going to place him in bad light before Mayiga and it is going to deepen the misunderstanding between him and his administration, but we rubbished his prayers,” a clan head said.

    He boasted that at this time, Mayiga has nothing to do because President Museveni has given them the green light and promised to coordinate the visit.

    He revealed that there are only two people who haven’t yet finalized their travel documents because they did not have passports.

    “By Thursday morning, we will be on the plane going to check on our beloved chairperson (Kabaka). Who is Mayiga to stop us from visiting Kabaka, even the president told us that he doesn’t like him and his ministers, and in Buganda kingdom, he only recognizes Kabaka, us the abataka and even informed the Nnabagereka when he met her recently,” a clan head said.

    It is not clear what mechanism Mayiga and Mutumba are going to deploy to stop clan heads from visiting Kabaka because they have been trying to frustrate them from meeting President Museveni but they overrun them.

    In the last Buganda Kingdom parliamentary session, Mayiga declined to allow the prayer made by one of the representative Professor Badru Katerega who wanted the Kingdom administration to guide those with money so that they can be allowed to go and visit Kabaka.

    Mutumba told theGrapevine that he is just a speaker of the council of Buganda Kingdom clan heads and has no power to stop them from doing whatever they think is good for their clans and Buganda Kingdom at large.

    He confirmed that he was not informed of last week’s State House meeting and he was very happy with the results of the meeting because the President agreed to help the kingdom clan heads to fight poverty among themselves and their grandchildren.

    President Museveni also promised to deploy UPDF engineering experts to help in the building of a commercial building on the land he bought for them in 2023 which is situated opposite the Bulange building.

    The president also promised to deposit Shs200m in the bataka Mutindo SACCO which they can use to fight poverty.

    However, when clan heads visited Museveni in 2023, Mayiga declared that he will not accept any person to mislead any member of the Kingdom organs with the aim of dividing Kabaka’s subjects.

    A resolution was passed in Buganda Kingdom parliament condemning the clan heads’ visit to Museveni and they were advised to apologize which they declined to do arguing that Mayiga and the Kingdom parliament don’t have such powers.

    The Clan heads insist that they are an independent organ in Buganda kingdom culture and they are the ones responsible for electing the Kabaka, thus they cannot be forced by Mayiga and his people to apologize.

    A committee chaired by Kingdom lands minister and also city commercial lawyer David Kisitu Mpanga was established by Mayiga to mediate talks between him with clan heads.

    However Isreal Kitooke Kazibwe the Kingdom spokesperson and also the minister in charge of mobilization rubbished the narrative of clan heads being independent explaining that all leadership in Buganda Kingdom are under Kabaka Mutebi and there is not independence.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    How Boyfriend, Pressure For Wedding Money Forced MP Nanyondo To Withdraw Her Signature From Censure Motion Against Mpuuga And Company…

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    Bukomansimbi woman legislator Veronica Nanyondo

    Kira Municipality legislator Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has explained that the actions of Bukomansimbi woman legislator Veronica Nanyondo to withdraw in writing her signature from the censure motion against the four parliamentary commissioners over corruption allegations was showed that legislators don’t read.

    He revealed that the reason why he always overshadows fellow legislators on the floor of parliament and even during media talk shows is because they don’t read but just sign documents, especially when they are told that they will get allowances after signing.

    “How can a member of parliament withdraw her signature claiming that you were misled to sign, now how can you convince your voters that you are not misled to take decisions that affect them!” Ssemujju wondered.

    In her defense, Nanyondo said that the movers of the motion to impeach the commissioners used her signature from the opposition cabinet meeting and put it on the censure motion papers.

    Ssemujju noted that once a legislator appends their signature on a censure paper, he or she cannot withdraw it and Nanyondo is still taken as one of the legislators who signed the censure motion against the legislators.

    However, theGrapevine established that Nanyondo was forced by her boyfriend to withdraw the signature.

    Sources claim that Nyanyondo’s boyfriend, a one Kateregga who was a councilor for Bukomansimbi district, pleaded with Nanyondo to withdraw her signature because Mpuuga is one of their own and it will shame them to betray him.

    He alleges that Nyanyondo and her boyfriend are set to legalize their marriage in church before the end of this year and Mpuuga has already contributed Shs20m to help in the preparations of their wedding.

    Others who contributed include Annet Anita Among the speaker of parliament who contributed Shs10m.

    Sources divulged that Kateregga nowadays spendsmuch of his time in the United States of America because the couple plans on relocating to the US once this political term ends and after they legalize their marriage.

    Sources added that Nanyondo is not going to defend her position in the coming 2026 elections after realizing that the ground no longer favors her.

    Before joining politics, Nanyondo and Kateregga were running a printing business on Nasser Road in Kampala city.

    When Nanyondo contested for the first time as MP to replace her sister Suzan Namaganda, the former wife to former East African Assembly Uganda representative Fred Mukasa Mbidde, Kateregga was in charge of pinning her posters.

    theGrapevine made several phone calls to Nanyondo’s known phone numbers for a comment on the story but they all went unanswered.

    Nanyondo is among the poor performing legislators in Buganda.

    The four commissioners who in trouble are; Mathias Mpuuga the Member of Parliament for Nyendo-Mukungwe, Prossy Mbabazi Akampulira the Rubanda district legislator, Solomon Silwanyi the Bukooli Central legislator and Esther Afayochan of Zombo district woman legislator.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

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    CRIME

    Stanbic Bank In Trouble, Client Petitions Court After She Was Defrauded Of Shs68m Via Flexi Pay…

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    Stanbic Bank CEO Anne Jjuuko whose bank is under fire

    Nakku Joweria a resident of Kyebando has sued Stanbic Bank Uganda limited for failing in its duty of protecting her saving account leading to defrauding her of shillings 68 million which was withdrawn from her account in a period of 24 hours through Flexi pay an application she had never registered for.

    In a court case filed before the Commercial division of the High Court of Uganda and coming up for directions in the registrar Christa Namutebi’s chambers, on the 24th June, 2024 at 9:40am, Nakku Joweria through his lawyers of Kimanje Nsibambi Advocates contends that between 7th and 8th February, 2023, there was unauthorized withdrawal of 68 million shillings from her savings account No. 903000026244 via the Flexi Pay Banking, a platform of Stanbic Bank and a total of 28 unauthorized transactions were conducted by fraudsters who fraudulently accessed her account undetected by the bank.

    She questions how a savings account which had a transaction limit was significantly exceeded during the unauthorized and undetected fraudulent transactions which led to her losing her’ money.

    “Our client has been a loyal client of Stanbic bank since 2001 way before the implementation of the FlexiPay system and at no point did she sign up for or activate the flexi pay on her savings account. The 28 unauthorized withdrawals from our clients account using four unknown Airtel lines raises serious questions and/ or lapses on the part of the bank for which we hold the bank specifically liable for the loss since it was in a better position to detect and prevent this fraud had it exercised reasonable care to detect these suspicious 28 unauthorized transactions that took place within 24 hours on a savings account that was rarely operated by our client,” reads the documents in parts.

    She also questions the effectiveness of the bank’s authentication protocols with their flexi pay system, effectiveness of the transaction monitoring to the extent of allowing 28 unauthorized transactions within 24 hours using four unknown Airtel lines and significantly exceeding the account limit.

    Nakku wants court to direct Stanbic Bank to reimburse 68 million to her account that was fraudulently withdrawn and pay her the costs and damages.

    On 6th February 2023, Nakku Joweria lost her phones to the robbers on her way to work at around 9pm. She reported the incident to police at 9am and to the telecom companies on the 7th February 2023.

    However, the telecom companies MTN and Airtel couldn’t process the new simcards because she had misplaced her original National Identity card.

    The robbers used her MTN number to open up a wallet on the Flexi pay which number had four other Airtel numbers that don’t belong to her which they used to make 28 unauthorized withdraws of 68 million shillings from her Stanbic bank saving account on the 7th and 8th February in a space of only 24 hours.

    When she went to withdraw some money from her account on the 6th, March 2023 that’s when she realized that her money was fraudulently withdrawn from her account.

    She wrote to the bank manager complaining about the matter and the bank promised to do thorough investigations to reveal how the money was withdrawn by the fraudsters.

    Through her lawyers of Kimanje Nsibambi Advocates, she wrote a demand notice to Stanbic Bank manager to reimburse her money since it was their weakness and fault for failure to efficiently protect her account.

    The bank through Twine Arnold, the senior legal advisor, Risk and Dispute Management wrote back with an out of court settlement request.

    However, the bank had proposed to reimburse only 34 million out of the 68 million on the premise that the settlement shall not be taken as admission of liability by any of the parties, a proposal she rejected and instead thought for legal redress in the commercial court.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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