Oct
01

Ugandan police arrest activists demanding climate

Ugandan climate change activists The activists started their strike from the Lake Victoria shore in Ggaba, Kampala
https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/09/ugandan-police-arrest-activists-demanding-climate-action/
  8 Hits
8 Hits
Sep
03

Podcast: African security forces brutality during Covid-19 lock-downs-Part 2

WhatsApp-Image-2020-08-29-at-16.25.28 Violators of the Covid-19 curfew being arrested in Kampala, Uganda
In part two of this Podcast, I disabuse some of the false impressions created by some western media outlets on the heavy-handedness of some African security forces during COVID-19 lockdowns. Some headlines in western media like the [France 24] April story headline entitled-" Curfew crackdowns in several African countries kill more people than ...
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  241 Hits
241 Hits
Aug
28

Podcast: African security forces brutality during Covid-19 lock-downs-Part 1

Podcast: African security forces brutality during Covid-19 lock-downs-Part 1 A member of the Ugandan Police enforcing the COVID-19 Curfew in Kampala
In part one of this Podcast, I speak at length about the brutality of Ugandan and other African security forces during the COVID-19 lockdowns. I sounded out seasoned Ugandan lawyers on the issue and also spoke to Felix Okia, a social worker in Bukedea, Eastern Uganda, who was wrongly arrested for ostensibly moving past the 7 p.m curf...
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  257 Hits
257 Hits
Jul
17

Divorce for pastors, marriage for Catholic clergy - a new normal?

47623258052_45ae5522cd_o Bill Kochman cartoon
 https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1511811/divorce-pastors-marriage-catholic-clergy-normal
  1025 Hits
1025 Hits
Jul
12

Episode 2: Anti-racism/anti-police brutality songs.

Somali children holding a cloth emblazoned with the words- Black Lives Matter Courtesy Photo
In episode two of this podcast, I present to you more flavours of some powerful anti-racism/anti-police brutality songs. The 2019 Ugandan anti-police brutality song "Afande" by the firebrand People Power President, Bobi Wine is included and also in one of the Africa anti-racism protests sound bytes I use, a Nigerian protestor tells a short sto...
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  464 Hits
464 Hits
Jul
09

Cassava diseases threaten the success of proposed ethanol plant in Uganda

Cassava Cassava Tubers
 https://www.newvision.co.ug/news/1521143/cassava-diseases-threaten-success-proposed-ethanol-plant 
  261 Hits
261 Hits
May
10

Podcast: Paying tribute to Legendary African musicians who have fallen in the COVID-19 era.

Fallen_African_Music_Legends


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.

 
 



  698 Hits
698 Hits
May
09

Uganda scientists make rapid test kit for Corona-virus

Dr._Misaki_Wayengera

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.

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  344 Hits
344 Hits
Mar
16

The male mind is not a terrible thing afterall-----Wise up-Ladies

THINKING_MAN

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].

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  1338 Hits
1338 Hits
Apr
16

Is Ugandan Hip Hop in safe hands with the emergence of the Boy wonder-Fresh Kid?

Fresh_Kid_1

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.

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  2832 Hits
2832 Hits
Mar
05

Podcast: The bloom has steadily been falling off the rose of Uganda's oldest musical genre-Is Kadongo Kamu dying a slow death?

Kadongo_Kamu_late_great_Elly_Wamala_M

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

  486 Hits
486 Hits
Dec
07

Podcast: Can new albums from GNL, Lyrical G revive Ugandan Hip Hop?

Can GNL, Lyrical G new albums revive Ugandan Hip Hop?

  226 Hits
226 Hits
Jun
23

A SHILLINGS 1.3 TRILLION ENVIRONMENT BUDGET; A CUP HALF-FULL

@rwetaya
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.

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  1114 Hits
1114 Hits
Jul
06

Enforcement frustrates Uganda's efforts to ban Polythene bags

A month ago, as Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Environment Day in Mbale, President Yoweri Museveni, ordered for a ban on polythene bags [ locally known as Kaveera] in accordance with section 2 of the 2009 Finance Act.
The Act which stipulates a total ban on the “importation, local manufacture, sale or use” of polythene carrier bags in the country, has for the last 8 years almost had no legal force as the importation, local manufacture, sale and use of polythene carrier bags in the country has continued unabated.

A checkered past in implementing bans on Polythene [Kaveera]


Through the years, Uganda has had a checkered history in implementing laws proscribing the production and usuage of polythene bags.
In 2007, Ezra Suruma, the then Finance Minister proclaimed during the Budget speech that the government had banned the trade, production, importation and use of plastic materials.
Not much leeway was however made in enforcing and implementing the ban.
The government ban followed similar proscriptions in Zanzibar, Kenya and Tanzania and came against a backdrop of increased smuggling of polythene bags into the country.
In the legislation, the government banned the usuage of polythene bags of not more than 30 microns.
To boot, it also imposed a punitive excise duty of 120% on polythene bags and other plastic materials above 30 microns.
4 years earlier in 2002, the government had imposed excise duty of 50% on the local production of polythene and plastic containers as an action to encourage producers to develop more environment friendly alternatives and for consumers to cut down on the usuage of the plastic materials.

Needless to say, the excise duty imposition did not stop the problem as had been earlier envisaged.
In 2002 as well, the High Court ruled that rampant and uncontrolled use of polythene bags posed a danger to the environment and violated the rights of Uganda to a clean and healthy environment.
In 2015, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) declared a ban on polythene bags of less than 30 microns.
The ban, which was to be implemented in coordination with the Kampala Capital City Authority; was in line with the Finance Act 2009 and the Finance (permitted plastic bags and other plastics for exceptional use) Regulations, 2010.

To ensure the effectiveness of the ban, a stepwise approach that involved a ban on the issuance and distribution of polythene plastic carrier bags by Supermarkets was instituted.
According to Bob Nuwagira, NEMA’s senior information, Education and Communication Officer, NEMA registered a 70% success in recalling outlawed polythene from supermarkets and shops.
The implementation of the law was preceded by a public notice communication about the enforcement exercise.
At a press conference held on the 20th of May 2015, Dr Tom Okurut, the Executive Director of NEMA disclosed that in the aftermath of the ban, NEMA had harvested 7 tonnes f Kaveera, through seizure and willful handover by supermarkets.
Though there were some successes, the status quo, generally remained the same.
Why the bans have hit a snag

“The problem has been with enforcement. The hope is that the President’s directive can be heeded. The law has to be enforced in earnest, if the problem of single use plastics is going to be dealt with. NEMA owes it to the country to bring to task those who violate the ban,” Environment scientist Sam Owach opines.
“The ban on plastics has often hit a dead end on account of increasing urbanization, which has drawn forth increased consumption of plastic materials. Minimal thickness (30 microns) rules and economic tools (taxes and levies) have all not worked because of weak enforcement,” Phiona Muraza, an environmental engineer, says.
“The failure to properly market and promote eco-friendly alternatives such as paper and canvas bags by the authorities has also exacerbated the problem.”
The 2015 ban had supermarkets stocking up on eco friendly carrier bags, but their issuance and usuage was short lived.
Within a year, as a testament to failed enforcement, most supermarkets were back to issuing plastic polythene bags to their clients.
Enforcing the ban on only specific sizes of polythene was always going to be a tall order.
“The fact that the ban excluded polythene bags of over 30 microns, yet they are equally hazardous and have same environmentally degrading properties did not make sense,” Owach says.
Scholars Johnny Mugisha and Gracious Diiro of Makerere University’s Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics noted in their 2015 report entitled “Households responsiveness to Government Ban on Polythene carrier bags in Uganda” that the exclusion of polythene bags of over 30 microns ban was a partial instrument that would be difficult to apply.
Whilst strides were made in policing the manufacture of polythene bags; it was much more difficult controlling and monitoring usuage by consumers.
“Few people were able to differentiate between banned and unbanned Kaveera and there was little effort in educating people on the difference. As such, there was confusion. If the ban had been on polythene bags of all sizes as was the case with Rwanda, there would have been headway,” Muraza says.
Experts also note that had there been an awareness campaign, for example, casting light on the dangers of the harmful industrial chemical-BPA or bisphenol found in polythene bags, there could have been a turn in the tide.
Tasked, last year, by the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee to explain his organisation’s failure to effectively implement the law, NEMA’s Executive Director-Dr Tom Okurut, without giving details, blamed the failure on crowding in the implementation of the law.
Okurut said different stakeholders involved triggered confusion and frustrated efforts to enforce the ban.
The resistance of polythene bag manufacturers also made it hard to execute the ban.
Whilst meeting NEMA officials a year ago to deliberate on the country’s environmental woes, Silas Aogon-Member of Parliament for Kumi Municipality hinted that some investors had made it a habit to run to the President whenever the ban seemed to bear down on them.

NEMA'S view on why bans have failed

Dr Daniel Babikwa, NEMA’s Director of District Support, Coordination and Public Education says the ban has hit a snag on account of people’s reluctance to observe the law proscribing Kaveera.

“Ugandans keep buying single use plastics even when they are warned about their dangers and even they are encouraged to use eco friendly alternatives. The culture here is never to observe laws and that has presented as a real challenge,” Babikwa says.

“Single use plastics have also been hard to ban because of their pervaded use across the country. Their cheap pricing is attractive to people at rank and file level in both rural and urban areas. The manufactures, needless to add, are encouraged to produce more, whilst those who market eco-friendly alternatives have faced long odds as people dread the added costs that come with using them.”

For good measure, the strong Kaveera manufacturing and trading lobby has also played havoc and frustrated the law proscribing the use of polythene bags.

“There is a law in place, but there are strong interests on the manufacturing side, bent on growing their businesses at whatever cost. With support from some circles in government, it has been a tall order making the law bear down on them,” Babikwa says.

Nuwagira echoes Babikwa’s sentiments.

“One of the reasons, NEMA has been facing challenges in enforcing the ban is the fact that plastic manufacturers have continued to protest what they supposedly say is the stringent nature of the law.
To that end, they have protested and made appeals to the government; contending that the ban interferes with their businesses. It is the reason, there was recall in the enforcement ban that was registering success in 2015,” Nuwagira explains.

“The manufactures give conflicting figures on their recycling rates to build their mileage with government.”


Recommendations

Environmental experts say environmental law enforcing agencies, specifically NEMA will have to get tough if progress is to be made.
“There have to be legal consequences for those who violate the ban. By refusing to comply, they not only endanger the environment, but also the lives of other Ugandans,” Environmental management specialist, Duncan Mugisha says.
“If NEMA gets tough and strict in its implementation of the Finance Act, there will be headway. Industrialists that manufacture polythene should be taken to task and pay heavy fines if they violate the ban,” Environmental scientist -Edmond Wangota says.
Wangota adds that supermarkets and retail outlets that supply polythene carrier bags in violation of the ban ought to be litigated.
Babikwa says NEMA can carry out enforcements but one of the proper approaches in the wake of the Presidents directive will have to be education.
“People will have to be brought to terms with the fact that the item they are so partial to is dangerous.”
NEMA has embarked on a Public education drive on the dangers of Kaveera. One of the components involves prevailing upon manufacturers to heed the ban as a means of contributing to sustainable environment management in the country,” Nuwagira adds.
“The usuage of Polycarbonate plastics should be banned outrightly. Polycarbonate plastics such as water bottles, baby bottles, plastic tableware such as plates and cups and containers for storing and reheating foods contain a harmful industrial chemical known as BPA or bisphenol.
Ugandan should be encouraged to use biodegradable or eco-friendly alternatives such as lax paper bags and canvas or cloth bags,” Muraza opines.
Several experts contend that a change in mindset would stand in a good stead.
“In general, there is need to change the mindsets of Ugandans regarding the usuage of Kaveera. There is a lot of apathy even when there are messages warning people of dangers associated with a product. There is a need to raise awareness on the dangers of polythene products amongst Ugandans of all persuasions,” Mugisha says
Global perspective
At present, 200 plus cities around the world have banned plastics.  
The European Union proposed the banning of single use plastics to help protect aquatic life, close to a month ago. 
Rwanda launched a nationwide awareness campaign on the dangers of plastic pollution a month ago. 
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1267 Hits
Jul
10

Ugandan Cabinet debates plight of street children

 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.

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1238 Hits
Sep
01

Beaten Ugandan Journalists narrate their experiences after recent violent protests in Kampala

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).

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1411 Hits
Jan
24

One in 6 Ugandan health workers has been sexually harassed-Research

Vicky Amoding is a happy go lucky nurse; the kind who easily makes friends, not only at her work place, but also at her place of abode.

The 31 year old’s easy going nature has endeared her to many, but, unfortunately for her, some of the endearments have come in the form of subtle and sometimes, overt sexual overtures from men she works with.
 
Amoding, who works at one of Jinja’s big health facilities, has admittedly turned down several of the advances and, as a result, has made enemies.

“Some men take my easy going nature to mean a willingness and openness to engage in sexual indiscretion. I have been at the receiving end of crude sexual jokes, from several unscrupulous men I work, because of objecting. The men know they can get away with it, scot-free because there are literally no rules and regulations that can bear down on them, even when you report to a higher authority,” Amoding tells Masaabachronicle.

Amoding’s story may read like an isolated case, but, by all accounts, it is not.

Several of her collegues have also silently fallen victim to sexual harassment.

Hellen Mukimba, a colleague of Amoding’s, has a similar narrative.

Harassed several times by debaucher bosses who have insisted she will not progress in her nursing career, unless she predisposes and copulates with them.

The stories of Amoding and Mukimba are ostensibly, just a fraction of several other sexual harassment cases that are rife in Uganda’s health sector.

A 2012 Ministry of Health Gender Discrimination and Inequality survey [GDIA] revealed that 32.1% of female health workers had experienced some form of sexual harassment, at their workstations.

In 2016, a sexual harassment Formative Assessment, carried out by the Ministry of Health and IntraHealth International, an international nonprofit organisation, dedicated to working with developing countries to improve their public health capabilities; revealed that sexual harassment in Uganda’s health sector starts during recruitment of health workers and continues in the workplace.

The Assessment indicated that the vice is mainly perpetrated by men in positions of power in recruiting positions.

Experts weigh in



Rebecca Nabwire, the Principal Labour Officer, in charge of Inspectorate at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and social development says the high prevalence of sexual harassment in the health sector, casts a slur on the country’s health sector.

“By our statistics, more than one in 6 women in the country’s health sector has fallen to sexual harassment, which is another form of gender-based violence. Sexual harassment is a widespread vice and a big number of cases often go unreported because victims are indisposed to reporting, due to fear. In many ways, this vice taints the image of the country’s health sector.”

Reasons why sexual harassment in the health sector is rife despite laws in place.

Dr, Diana Atwine Kanzira, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health says sexual harassment continues unabated in the health sector on account of the unscrupulous nature of some senior male medical staff.

Speaking at a recent workshop, where she launched the human resources for health tools and guidelines at Hotel Africana, Kanzira castigated men in positions of power in the health sector who take mean advantage of young female nurses.

“There are shameless men taking mean advantage of young nurses. They cajole and want to copulate with them as a means to raise their salaries, to give them promotions or jobs. This is unacceptable,” Kanzira told Masaabachronicle.

“Many victims are not partial to the idea of taking about such vices openly but that has to change. There are many young women who are invariably harassed in the health sector but they irresponsibly keep silent. The lack of reporting mechanisms is actually feeding the beasts who perpetrate these crimes. The issue has to be addressed in earnest.”

Simon Mugalu, one of the health ministry experts who drafted the human resources for health tools and guidelines, says sexual harassment has persisted in the health sector, principally because of lack of awareness, misuse of power and the limited implementation of laws.

“Harassers operate with impunity because in most cases, the victims are not cognizant of the laws in place to deal with sexual harassment, such as the Public Service Standing Orders 2010, Employment Act (2007), and the Employment (Sexual harassment) Regulations (2012),” Mugalu says.

“The legal and policy frameworks above mandate the government to take all necessary action to ensure that all health facilities and institutions adopt a comprehensive zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment.”

How sexual harassment impacts on victims

Dr James Mugisha, a senior health planner from the Ministry of Health, says victims of sexual harassment often suffer mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“These adverse psychological consequences are all risk factors for various chronic diseases. Various studies have also showed that sexual harassment doubles the risk of psychological distress for women, than it does for men. The other negative effects for victims include intentions to leave work, low productivity, absenteeism, little work morale and low career progression ambitions,”

The global ME TOO movement; a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault, notes that sexual harassment prevents employees reaching their full professional and personal potential and accentuates gender-based inequalities.


The different forms of Sexual harassment


Alice Nayebare, the gender and non discrimination program officer at IntraHealth, Uganda says sexual harassment takes different forms.

“It can be physical; unwelcome or unnecessary touching in a sexual manner. It can also be verbal in the form of suggestive compliments or jokes, innuendos and demands for sex.  It can be gestural in the form of winking, licking lips or graphic in the form of displays of objects of a sexual nature, sexually explicit pictures, etc.
It can also be psychological in the form of persistent unwelcome proposals to go out on dates.”

Nayebare adds that mediocre responses to sexual harassment in the health sector, have in many respects, exacerbated the situation.

“In many instances, perpetrators who are accused of sexually harassing their juniors pass the blame instead to the people they harassed. This victim blaming is a ploy. One of the blame constructs has been indecent dressing. The victimization, most times, has a negative effect.  Victims predispose to fear often times, when their cases are dismissed.
The shame, blame and gossip that follow usually have a depressing effect on victims.”

The Ugandan Health Ministry's strategy to fight the vice

One of the new strategies the Ministry is fronting is a toll free call center platform where victims or vulnerable young nurses, can call in confidentiality and report offenders.
The toll free line-0800-100-066.
 
“That line is in operation. All calls with complaints of sexual harassment shall be directed to the sexual harassment focal point person at the Ministry who will direct the complaint to the appropriate person/body for further handling,” Mugisha told Masaabachronicle.

The health ministry, in collaboration with IntraHealth Uganda, also recently developed guidelines on the prevention and response to sexual harassment, which are currently being distributed in all health facilities across the country.
 
In a foreword in the Ministry of Health Publication entitled-“Guidelines to Implement-The policy on prevention and response to sexual harassment Doctor Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health says the guidelines will assist and guide users in implementing effective and standardized mechanisms for prevention and response to sexual harassment complaints in the health sector at all levels.

The guidelines she concluded will help improve work conditions, workforce productivity, retention and morale of workers in the sector.

By all accounts, the health ministry is also planning on orienting and training all regional referral hospital heads and health sector employees on the management procedures of sexual harassment complaints.
At the recent workshop launching the human resources for health tools and guidelines, held at Hotel Africana, several regional referral hospital heads made commitments towards implementing the sexual harassment guidelines.
For good measure, the health ministry also plans on integrating anti sexual harassment training into the curriculum for pre-service and in-service healthcare professionals.
 
“The health ministry in tandem with the Gender Ministry are also planning to conduct gender-responsive research that will highlight the root causes, consequences and complexities of sexual harassment so as to develop appropriate, gender responsive interventions that reduce its occurrence,” Mugalu told Masaabachronicle.

Side bar

The World health organisation in its International day for the elimination of Violence against women-message on 25th November, 2018 noted that violence against women including sexual harassment is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today.

The WHO notes that the vice remains largely unreported due to impunity, silence, stigma and shame.

A Uganda Human Rights Defenders Association (UHRDA) survey carried out in 2013 in 2,910 organizations indicated that 90 percent of women are sexually harassed at their places of work by their male seniors.

Laws proscribing sexual harassment at work places

Uganda has several laws that proscribe sexual harassment like the employment act 2006 section 7 and the employment [sexual harassment] regulations 2012.
These provide legal recourse for victims of sexual harassment.

Experts note that if the sexual Offences Bill is passed, it will strengthen protection for women and girls from sexual abuse and exploitation.

Government Policy

The government- employment sexual harassment regulations state that an employer with more than twenty-five employees shall adopt a written policy against sexual harassment which includes a notice to employees that sexual harassment is unlawful.

The employer is to also create a sexual harassment committee in which the committee receives and registers complaints of sexual harassment.  Reported cases are investigated by the labour officer.





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1156 Hits
May
04

Go to court-Ugandan Government tells suspended Journalists

The Ugandan government has advised journalists affected by a stern directive by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to prominent media houses to suspend senior journalists and producers over abuse of the country's broadcast guidelines, to go to court.

The Uganda Communications Commission regulates the communication sector in Uganda, which includes among others, telecommunications, broadcasting, radio and data communication.

Addressing the Ugandan Parliament on Thursday, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the Urban development State Minister and acting ICT Minister said the UCC didn’t error in issuing the directive.


“the directive was issued  in view of an infringement in broadcasting standards. The Journalists who are aggrieved are free to go to court and challenge the directive. We should however allow the UCC to do their work,” Baryomunsi told MPs.

On Thursday, the Ugandan Parliament condemned the call for suspension of senior journalists and producers by the UCC saying it derails Media Freedom.

UCC served letters to different media houses instructing them to suspend some of their staff over an alleged breach of minimum broadcasting standards during the recent arrest of firebrand Ugandan Politician and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Ssemujju Nganda, the outspoken Kira Municipality MP criticized the UCC directive, calling it a violation of media freedom in Uganda. 

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76031 Hits
Jun
18

Back off Murchison falls-tourist operators tell Ugandan government

Ugandan Tour operators have asked the Ugandan government not to approve an application for a license by a South African energy firm, Bonang power and Energy (Pty) Limited, to construct a hydro power dam along the famed River Nile in the Murchison falls national park area.

Located 305 kilometers north of Uganda's capital- Kampala, the Murchison falls National Park has one of the most spectacular views of the Nile cascading over 23kms breathtaking rapids.

On June 5th, the Ugandan government through the Electricity regulatory Authority (ERA) placed an advert in several local dailies, acknowledging receipt of a notice of intended application for a license from Bonang power and energy limited to construct a dam near the falls.

However addressing journalists in Kampala, recently, the tour operators, under their body the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) implored the government not to approve the construction of the dam, saying it would erode the Murchison falls and affect tourism.

“There should be no approbation for this project. Thinking about construction of the dam at the falls alone,  is bad enough, even when the government says it has not yet approved the planned project,” Everest Kayondo, the chairman  Association of Uganda Tour Operators said.

According to the Ugandan government, Bonang Power and Energy (Pty) Limited  intends to undertake detailed  feasibility studies and other activities leading to the development of the power project  whose proposed installed capacity  is 360MW.

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974 Hits
Jul
09

Eight years under KCCA: Is Kampala City's road infrastructure getting any better?

A good and well organised road infrastructural system is a critical component for development in any city.

At the present time, cities-whose roads are a byword for pot holes, insufficient road signage, narrow lanes, long traffic gridlocks, unruly motorcyclists/taxi drivers and constricted walkways for pedestrians; face long odds in attracting serious investment projects and scoring high on any reputable road infrastructural indice.

Kampala, despite its recent development strides, still faces many challenges, meaning on a scale of one to ten, on any meaningful road infrastructural indice, the city would probably score 5 or lower.

With the passage of time, Kampala city’s numerous road infrastructural challenges have had a negative bearing on its image and competitive impetus, in the East African region.

In the last eight years of Kampala Capital City Authority however, the infrastructural development status quo in Kampala has, by and large, improved.



[Kampala Capital City Authority replaced Kampala City Council as the governing body of the Ugandan Capital]

By the time, Jennifer Musisi, the erstwhile-go-getting KCCA Executive Director tendered in her resignation, a myriad road infrastructure projects had being undertaken, to wit- the widening of the Jinja road stretch from Airtel House towards Nakawa.

By all accounts, a total of 210 kilometers of roads were constructed and upgraded to Bitumen; while a total of over 240km of road works were ongoing.

Kira-Bukoto roads, Yusuf Lule road stretch, amongst others are some of the roads that were upgraded and revamped to a turn, during Musisi’s tenure.



At present, there are over 500kms of gravel roads, under maintenance in the city, while 48 roads with a total length of 54.15Km are under construction and will apparently be completed by December 2019.

For good measure, Andrew Kitaka, the acting KCCA Executive Director, recently commissioned works to upgrade 26 km of roads, to wit, (Lukuli Rd, Kabuusu – Kitebi – Bunmwaya – Lweza rd, Nakawa - Ntinda a dual carriageway rd, John Babiiha (Acacia) Avenue a dual carriageway, Kulambiro Ring Rd).

The construction works will be undertaken by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited and Stirling Sobetra Joint Venture.

KCCA has also been able to reconfigure and install responsive functional traffic signals at 21 junctions including Nakawa, Natete and Wandegeya, Fairway, Bwaise, Kira road ,Game Lugogo, Kati-Kati, Kololo Airstrip, Nakulabye & Naguru among others.

4,988 Streetlights have been installed in the City; of which 1,560 are solar street lights; promoting use of solar street lights.

Of recent too, roads such as Makerere Hill road, Kira Road, Mabule road, Bakuli –Kasubi have been reconstructed and transformed, under the auspices of the World Bank, into dual carriage ways.

The roads were all fitted with 13 new traffic signals to improve mobility.

If you have recently been to Makerere University, you may have seen the new roads, KCCA constructed around the campus.  The roads are nine in total.

According to a recent Press statement from the office of the Executive Director, the Authority recently handed over KIIDP [Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development project] batch 2 roads, like Acacia/John Babiha Avenue (1.5km,6 junctions), Nakawa Ntinda Road (2.8 km, 5 junctions), Kulambiro Ring Road (4.8 km and one junction and Najeera Link (0.8km), Kabuusu – Bunamwaya – Lweza Road (8km, 2 junctions) and Lukuli Road (8km and I junction) to contractors and construction works are set to commence, next month.

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