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    WHAT WE EXPECT: COVID-19 Taskforce Meets M7, Recommends Compulsory Vaccination Of Taxi, Bus Drivers, Teachers And Medics, Partial Release Of Some Sectors And Another 14 Days Lockdown Extension For Schools, Churches…

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    President Yoweri Museveni

    The Covid-19 National taskforce met president Yoweri Museveni yesterday at State House Entebbe ahead of his national address today evening and advised him on the way forward after the completion of the 42 days of lockdown.

    Sources who attended the State House meeting revealed to theGrapevine that a team led by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja gave the president a number of recommendations.

    These included compulsory vaccination of all taxi, bus drivers and their conductors, vaccination of all teachers at all levels and medics countrywide.

    One source added that the taskforce explained to the president that the group of people who they recommended for vaccination interact with so many people during the running of their day to day activities.

    It should be remembered that many of the medics especially those upcountry reported government officials especially RDCs to the Uganda Medical Association for harassing them and forcing them to be vaccinated.

    Some, especially those in upcountry health centres even took off and hid in the nearby bushes trying to dodge the needle.

    When contacted for comment, Kampala Metropolitan Affairs State Minister, Christopher Kabuye Kyoffatogambye, one of the members of the National Covid-19 taskforce confirmed the development and noted that those who will refuse to be vaccinated will not be allowed to work in Uganda.

    He added that a law is in process to legalize the exercise to control the spread of the virus.

    Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the senior minister for Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance disclosed that from this week, vaccines from different countries will be arriving in the country.

    He added that the government has released Shs. 150m to each district Covid-19 taskforce and Shs100m to each Municipality Covid-19 taskforce to fight the spread of the pandemic.

    Dr. Baryomunsi, who is also the spokesperson of the Covid-19 task force revealed that in today’s address, the president is expected to release some sectors from lockdown.

    Another source disclosed that other sectors, especially those that involve mass gatherings like schools, churches and others are expected to remain in lockdown for another 14 or more days.

    President Museveni is expected to address the country today (Friday) evening at 8:00pm.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Inside Deputy Speaker Among, Ministers Otafiire, Muhwezi Meeting Over MPs Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana Bail Conditions…

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    Lawyer to embattled Kawempe North and Makindye West legislators have spoken out on the meeting between the Deputy Speaker of parliament Anita Among, Security Minister Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi and senior Internal Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire concerning their continued stay in prison despite being granted bail by court.

    Credible sources in parliament intimated to theGrapevine that last week, there was a secret meeting summoned by Among to negotiate a deal to have the two embattled legislators released on bail.

    Sources that attended the meeting added that the opposition leadership ran to Among for help after parliament Speaker Jacob Oulanyah dismissed their prayer for parliament to intervene and save the legislators.

    Last week, Oulanyah told Members of Parliament that parliament was not ready to intervene into Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana troubles.

    The speaker only promised to go and visit these MPs in Kigo prison.

    The speaker also asked parliament to leave the security agencies to investigate the alleged offences slapped on these legislators for the interest of justice and fairness.

    However, sources in parliament held that opposition leaders in parliament were not happy with Oulanyah’s decision and decided to run his deputy who is a very good friend to both legislators, especially Ssegirinya.

    The source said that before meeting both ministers, Among first talked to president Museveni about the issue. The president referred him to Muhwezi and Otafiire since they were the ones closely handling the issue of greater Masaka murders.

    The source further told theGrapevine that Among tried to convince the ministers on the positives in releasing the legislators on bail including creating a good relationship with the opposition especially the radical National Unity Platform (NUP).

    She further told the ministers that releasing legislators on bail does not mean that they will dodge prosecution since they will be coming from their homes.

    However, the source disclosed that both Otafiire and Muhwezi disagreed with Among’s explanation.

    They told her that the Masaka murders put government in bad light given that they caused a lot of insecurity yet Ugandans want peace.

    Gen. Muhwezi told Among that security agencies especially UPDF is very serious in fighting the ongoing criminality in the country especially after these criminals targeted Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, their very own and killed his daughter Brendah Nantongo Katumba and driver Sgt. Haruna Kayondo.

    He further told her that if these legislators are released, it will weaken the morale of the security operatives investigating these murders.

    The source added that Gen. Otafiire even wondered why the speaker did not plead to have all the suspects in this matter granted bail and instead concentrated on only the two legislators.

    The matter was not resolved and a decision was taken to refer it to the president for a final decision.

    On Wednesday, president Museveni blasted judges for granting bail to murder suspects and promised to meet with NRM Members of Parliament to resolve the matter even if it will need a referendum.

    When contacted, Abubaker Ssekanjako, one of the lawyers representing Ssewanyana and Ssegirinya neither confirmed nor denied knowledge of any meeting between opposition leadership in parliament seeking assistance from the deputy speaker of parliament.

    “I don’t know whether any of our members went to the speaker for assistance. What I know, a number of plans were made to save our brothers but we decided to concentrate on legal matters and that’s why we applied for bail which was successfully granted,” Ssekanjako said.

    He added that they have fulfilled all the requirements put in place by Masaka High Court Judge Victoria Nakintu Nkwanga to make sure that their people are granted bail, including paying a cash bail of Shs. 20m and depositing the passports of the accused at the High Court Crimes Division Kampala.

    On Monday both legislators were granted bail but up to Friday evening they were not released from prison as directed by the Judge.

    They are battling with murder, attempted murder, terrorism and abetting terrorism charges.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Who Are You Trying To Please? M7 Blasts Judges For Granting Bail To Murders, Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana Still Detained Even After Being Granted Bail….

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    Ssegirinya Muhammad and Allan Sewanyana in Masaka court recently over Masaka region murders

    President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has tasked the judiciary to explain to the nation the person they are trying to please by granting bail to murder suspects.

    The president said this while presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of the six new judges and Justices of the Court of Appeal, Justice Christopher Gashirabaki and Judges of the High Court include Justice Tom Chemutai, Justice Lawrence Tweyanze, Justice Vincent Wagona, Justice Alice Komuhangi and Justice Florence Nakachwa wife to Chief Justice Owiny Dollo.

    At the same ceremony, the newly appointed Inspector General of Government (IGG) Betty Kamya and her Deputies Dr. Patricia Okiria Achan and Ann Twinomugisha Muhairwe also took their oath.

    Museveni protested the continued granting of bail to murderers in the presence of the deputy chief justice Richard Butera.

    ” For somebody to kill a person and you give them bail is provocation. It is abominable. This bail, what is the hurry? Who are you trying to please? Who said bail is a right? It is not in the Constitution. We are going to work on this,” a furious Museveni said.

    He added that in the few weeks to come, he is going to summon his NRM party Members of Parliament to a meeting to discuss the bail matter.

    Museveni insisted that even if it needs a referendum, he is ready for it because he is tired of the judiciary granting bails to murderers.

    Museveni made the statements after two National Unity Platform (NUP) Members of Parliament Ssegirinya Muhammad and Allan Sewanyana were still detained at Kigo prison even though they were granted bail by Masaka High Court Judge Victoria Nakintu Nkwanga on Monday.

    Both legislators were charged with offences of murder, attempted murder, terrorism and abetting to terrorism.

    State alleges that the legislators together with others still at large have a hand in the recent deadly murders in Masaka.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    OPINION: NUP Should Boycott IPOD Money, Too…

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    NUP boss Robert Kyagulanyi (L) and Faruk Kirunda (R)

    The nascent National Unity Platform (NUP) has declined to join the Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD), a forum which brings together parties with representation in Parliament to dialogue on issues affecting the country.

    NUP was invited together with the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) to join the organization after the expiry of the 3-year MOU which member parties had signed before NUP was formed. Surprisingly, the NUP Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya, wrote to the IPOD secretariat communicating that they were declining to join, alleging that the platform has been “used to legitimize a brutal regime that has no regard or respect for democracy.” He described the forum’s meetings as “tea and photo” opportunities.

    Previously, it was FDC boycotting IPOD activities, their reasons including that they didn’t want to shake hands with President Museveni who usually attends in his capacity as National Chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

    Last year, FDC’s chair at the summit remained empty, symbolically representing its absence from the table of men. As we talk, FDC is paying for its mistakes, with its base steadily getting eroded because all potential allies see them as arrogant and uncooperative.

    At the time, I predicted that in a few years (if not before this year), FDC would be a limping shadow of its former promising self, and take on the mantle of a “sick man of Uganda’s politics’ ‘; isolated, defied, desperate and obsolete.

    I believe I was not far off the mark as the party has shrunk considerably, losing place to NRM and NUP in its former strongholds. I also based on FDC’s stance on IPOD to predict that opposition agitators for a single front by the opposition at the general election should forget it because a seed of discord has been sowed.

    When FDC boycotted the summit at Munyonyo, DP’s Nobert Mao, JEEMA’s Asuman Basalirwa and UPC’s Jimmy Akena attended. FDC made fun of them and claimed they were in bed with NRM. Such remarks were an affront on the dignity and rights of the other parties, and also an attack on the collective agenda to develop and grow multiparty politics in Uganda. IPOD is not a private enterprise of any one individual or group but a forum for discussing matters of mutual interest. It’s also a forum for raising some of the concerns that abstaining groups raise on the streets and in the corridors.

    NUP is making the same mistakes as FDC and will live to regret it. An attitude of self-importance and self-isolation is selfish and self-seeking.

    NUP is showing too early that they are not for unity and that they despise the efforts of other players. They are playing a defeatist game; they claim to have a lot of grievances but cannot come forward to table them formally for solutions to be found. Who did they consult before deciding to boycott IPOD? Why not recall its MPs since it is by virtue of their presence in Parliament that it qualifies to belong in the body? Why not completely relocate from Uganda since the Museveni/NRM they loathe so much is present all over the country? It is not enough to avoid him in IPOD circles.

    Among the key benefits of belonging in IPOD is receiving a share of funding under its arrangement to support their activities. Is NUP turning down this support or they will only go for the buttered side of things? I will follow up to see how they will reconcile themselves on this-even FDC.

    NUP’s level of intolerance is very worrying. As a young party, they would set a good example by promoting the politics of dialogue and reconciliation. It is possible that other having representation in Parliament, they have not put together a proper political programme to sell in the political common market, and this worries them that they may be overwhelmed by the superior programs of NRM, which has majority MPs, and DP, or even FDC, or UPC, which are more established and experienced.

    NUP should style up and act with maturity if they are to set an example of how they want others to treat them.

    NRM has its own grievances and is committed to democracy and dialogue as part of its contribution to a better Uganda. Whoever has grievances should table them for consideration among peers instead of gossiping about them in the media- and to foreigners.

    Museveni, whom the opposition loves to hate, remains a most valuable partner at every turn in support of democracy and has also been very warm and supportive of IPOD which can be a springboard for dialogue between all political groups-not just parties represented in Parliament-so that the polarization we have witnessed of recent does not escalate, but NUP cannot see because their politics is amateurish and lacks ideological depth. If any group needs the auspices of IPOD, it’s NUP!

    The problem is that some of the opposition players are so uncooperative and arrogant yet they accuse Museveni/NRM of the same whereas facts disprove their claims.

    Faruk Kirunda  is a Private Secretary to

    H.E the President in Charge of Media Management

    Contact: kirundaf2@gmail.com

    0776980486/0702980486

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