In part one of this Podcast, I shine a spotlight on three Fallen African music Legends (Aurlus Mabele, Manu Dibango, and Joseph Shabalala) who have passed on during these apprehensive COVID-19 times.
Ugandan researchers have developed an inexpensive COVID-19 test kit that can deliver results quickly, offering hope for a “homegrown solution” to sub-Saharan Africa’s testing needs.
It is a tad old now, but that Kendrick Lamar-classic Song-“b**tch don’t kill my vibe” still resonates heavily.
In my deduction, it is a song that speaks huge volumes about the male psyche.
For starters, Lamar [in the song] expresses his desire to be left alone; on occasion that is.
The lyricist tells his hypothetical beau to eschew killing his vibe [ruining his mood].
Since the likes of GNL Zamba, St Nellysade, Burney M.C, Cyno, etc, quietly took a hiatus, as it so often happens in the checkered Ugandan Hip Hop landscape, the genre has, for the most part, lacked that fresh and exciting spark.
In many ways, the bloom has been off the genre's rose.
The bloom has steadily been falling off the rose of Uganda's oldest musical genre-Is Kadongo Kamu dying a slow death?
Have a listen here to the last edition of my Kadongo Kamu Podcast
For a sector that scored the most increment (66%) in the recently passed 2018/19 budget, Uganda’s Water and Environment ministry still has to limp through most of the financial year, as the allocation still falls short of responding to the budgetary targets of the different agencies.
A boost from last year’s sh632b, the sector’s allocation of sh1.27 trillion is meant to support and manage Uganda’s water resources, diverse ecosystems and biodiversity in the next financial year.
Earmarked as one of the key drivers for the attainment of the National Development Plan II and Vision 2040, the increment in funding to the water and environment sector implies that players, such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and the National Meteorological Authority will have an enhanced resource envelope to execute their mandate.
NEMA has, for instance, been allocated a total of sh13.095b, up from sh9.2b, this financial year. However, this still leaves the environment watchdog with a sh22.73b funding gap.
NEMA needs sh14.5b to support its decentralized management function at the district and municipal level; sh3.5b to support the restoration of ecosystems and sh1b to execute its public education, environmental literacy, capacity building and sensitization programmes.
Wearing tattered clothes, 11 year old Daniel Madibo, 14 year old Fred Kamba and 12 year old Kassim Njalira trod quietly on the busy Jinja- Kampala highway.
The trio (street kids from Iganga) had moved by foot for days and pitched camp for a day at Nakibizi in Jinja.
The next day they continued their journey to Kampala which in their reckoning would be a better place to beg.
The piping hot afternoon sunshine did not seem to faze them as they moved.
Madibo, Kamba and Njalira looked drained of energy but they kept wending their way.
They anticipated being in Kampala, Uganda's biggest metropolis, in the first week of July.
But as it turns out, Madibo, Kamba and Njalira are metaphorically walking into a lion’s den, incognizant of
impending draconian measures that were to applied against all street children in Kampala.
Last week, the State Minister for Youth, Florence Nakiwala announced that all street children in Kampala would be rounded up and sent to street child reform and rehabilitation centers.
The issue of street children had however already sprung up on the Ugandan Cabinet’s radar.
A few weeks, before Nakiwala's proclamation, Simon Lokodo, the ethics and integrity minister, had pronounced that Cabinet had agreed to construct specialised facilities in Masulita in Wakiso district and Koblin in Moroto district to accommodate street children.
“The issue of street children has for long given us a bad image. In the decisions taken by the cabinet on June 18, we shall get these kids a place where they can attain regular education,” Lokodo told Masaabachronicle, pointing at negligence by parents as the major driver of children to the various streets.
The Lokodo announcement was made in the aftermath of a Cabinet debate on the plight of street children.
A majority of the Ministers had agreed that the presence of begging Karamojong children on the streets mars the country’s image.
Col. Shaban Bantariza, the deputy government spokesperson told journalists on Monday at the Uganda Media Centre that: “Street kids are a menace and degrade the image of the country and some of them are even used by other people to attract people’s sympathy so that they can give them money.”
Earlier in May, the minister for Karamoja affairs, Eng. John Byabagambi; had in a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs directed that, all Karamojong street children be repatriated back to Karamoja in an operation called ‘Back Home Campaign for Karamoja Children.’
“As you may be aware, the issue of street children in Karamoja and neighbouring towns is becoming a national challenge. Basing on the fact that most of these children come from Karamoja, the purpose of this letter is to direct you to resume the operations and have these children back to Karamoja sub-region and be re-united with their families,” he wrote.
Byabagambi said reception centres in Masulita and Koblin had been constructed to enhance the rehabilitation process of the children, which includes education and re-uniting them with their parents.
August 20th 2018 was an infamous day for several Ugandan journalists.
Caught in the thick of the “Free Bobi Wine” protests in the Ugandan capital Kampala; few would have imagined or predicted the mauling that was to befall them later as they went about their journalistic grind.
The day started off, placid, barring the ominous clouds that hovered over the Kampala city horizon.
Not many people however would tell that the ominous clouds were warning signs of imminent protests and a subsequent Police and Army crackdown on protesters and Journalists.
While trying to pacify some tense parts of the city, irate soldiers turned their rage on unsuspecting journalists, severely hitting them with sticks.
James Akena of the Reuters Wire News agency took the heaviest brunt of the beatings.
Even as he raised his hands and camera up as if, to alert the soldiers that he was a journalist, the beatings continued.
Akena's camera was destroyed in the process.
Other journalists were also beaten, chased and many lost their mobile phones and recorders; among other gadgets.
With tears rolling out of his eyes, Akena narrates his ordeal to Masaachronicle.
“I suffered injuries to my head, spine and hand and to make it worse, I was detained without charges. I was traumatized,” the bedridden Akena says.
Akena plaintively explains that his family suffered psychologically after watching the incident on the Prime time 9 o’clock news on NTV, a local Television station.
“What exacerbated their worries was the fact that they could not reach me.
They were concerned and at the same time, furious.”
Casting his mind, Akena says if only he had intuitively known what was to befall him; he would not have gone to cover the protests.
“It was incumbent upon me to cover the protests but had I foreseen what happened, I would have stayed away from that area,” Akena says.
Alfred Ocho, a freelance photo journalist with the Observer newspaper in Kampala who was also assaulted during the protests.
“I was mauled just like Akena but whilst he can meet his medical bills and get a camera replacement, am hard pressed as a freelance journalist because I earn pittance. Iam a hard place now as I have to get treatment and repair my camera,” Ocho says.
Ocho reveals that he was hit on the head with a baton, as he took pictures of the rioters.
“My shirt was torn in the process and I also lost some money [Ugandan sh200, 000], a phone and to add insult to his pain, his camera got spoilt in the process,” Ocho says.
The Ugandan Parliament takes a stand
In a joint press briefing, recently at the Ugandan parliament, in Kampala, several workers MP’s called upon the army and the police to replace the Journalist’s damaged equipment and pay for their medical treatment.
Led by Margret Rwabushaija, Agnes Kunihira, Ngora County MP,
David Abala and Kasambya County MP, Mbwatekamwa Gafa, the MP’s castigated the country’s security forces for the draconian treatment of the journalists.
“We watched with dismay the brutal manner in which the security forces
mauled members of the fourth estate, principally James Akena, Herbert Zziwa, Ronald Galiwango[ both of NTV]and others. We abhor the maltreatment of Journalists,” Rwabushaija said.
The MP’s added that the beating of the Journalists was a violation of their rights and freedoms, which were guaranteed by Article 29 of the Ugandan constitution.
Luke Owesigire, the Kampala metropolitan Police spokesperson says
they had begun earnest investigations to establish who beat the Journalists and to ascertain how they lost some of their gadgets.
“Whoever tortured the Journalists will be held accountable. If they were Police men, the Ugandan Police will deal with them, according to the law. If they were soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces and its proven that they were culpable, the Army will deal with them in accordance with the law,” Owesigire said.
Uganda Journalists Association president Robert Kagolo says they are still demanding for the prosecution of the Army or Police officers complicit in the beatings of the Journalists.
The protests in the Ugandan Capital-Kampala- came in the wake of the arrest of Bobi Wine alias Robert Kyagulanyi, the popular and firebrand Kyadondo East Member of Parliament after the Arua Municipality by election.
Arua is in the West Nile region of Uganda.
Wine was arrested on allegations that he was an accessory in the stoning of the Ugandan President’s Motorcade, a few hours before the election.
President Museveni was in Arua to canvas support for the ruling NRM party’s candidate, Nusura Tiperu, who, lost, at length.
Wine was also in Arua to canvas support for his preferred candidate, Kasiano Wadri. Wadri won the by election.
Earlier, Wine’s driver Yasin Kawuma, had been shot dead.
Wine was also accused of being in possession of illegal firearms, that where apparently found in his hotel room.
The owner of the Hotel, Candia Luiji however denied that Wine checked into his facility with any firearms.
Several Lawmakers were arrested in the wake of the Arua by election; to wit, Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality).