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Seven women on Joe Biden’s shortlist of potential vice presidents | USA News



With the November 3 general election in the United States less than 100 days away, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to select a running mate for his challenge to incumbent President Donald Trump. In his most recent comments on the topic, he pledged to name his choice at some point in “early August”.

During the final debate just before the coronavirus took over the headlines and airwaves, Biden committed to choosing a woman and he has held fast to that promise since. Consequently, the list of Biden’s potential running mates is exclusively women.

Biden was already under pressure from Democrats to have a woman of colour on the ticket because of the outsized role that Black voters played in his road to the nomination during the primaries. The recent reckoning over racism and inequality – roiling the nation following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis – has only added to that pressure.

Selecting a running mate is a critical decision for any presidential candidate, but it is an especially critical calculation for the 77-year-old Biden, who if elected would become the oldest American president in history. The decision carries additional weight amid the coronavirus pandemic, which, beyond its high human toll, has devastated the US economy to an extent that will be felt well into the first term of the next president and beyond.

Below are five of the women Biden is widely reported to be considering.

1. Kamala Harris 

Kamala Harris speaking during the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season [Saul Loeb/AFP]

A Senator from California, Harris is a former rival who endorsed Biden and began campaigning for him after she ended her bid in December. She has been at the centre of vice-presidential speculation since. Harris, 55, was elected California attorney general in 2010 and has been a rising star in the Democratic Party. A daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she could help rally Black voters, a crucial Democratic voting bloc, behind Biden.

2. Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to reporters, after announcing she has formed an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020, outside her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., Dec

Elizabeth Warren speaking to reporters after announcing she had formed an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020, outside her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US [Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Warren, 70, who also vied for her party’s nomination during the primaries, is a Massachusetts Senator and an academic who specialised in bankruptcy and commercial law. Her policy proposals are much more progressive than Biden’s. Picking her as his running mate might help sway some of the more liberal voters in the Democratic party in his favour.

3. Val Demings

Val Demings

Representative Val Demings questioning constitutional scholars during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC [Drew Angerer/Pool via Reuters] 

The African American congresswoman from Florida rose to national prominence after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose her as one of seven Democrats to serve as a manager in the impeachment proceedings against Trump. Before coming to Congress, she worked her way up through the ranks of the Orlando, Florida police department to become its first female chief. Demings, 63, was first elected to office in 2016. The fact that she hails from a state deemed critical in November helps, but her background in law enforcement may not please some who have been critical of Biden’s track record on criminal justice.

4. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Michelle Luhan Grisham

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, signs a gun control measure in February 2020 [File: Morgan Lee/AP Photo] 

The New Mexico governor is another unknown nationally but hails from a family prominent in New Mexico politics. Luhan Grisham, 60, served three terms in the House before being elected governor in 2018 and is also one of the highest-ranking Latina elected officials in the US. In the past, she has been a strong supporter of abortion rights, committed her state to push for lower greenhouse gas emissions, and, as a congresswoman, called for a higher minimum wage and restrictions on the sale of semi-automatic rifles.

5. Susan Rice

Susan Rice

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice takes part in a discussion on global leadership at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee [File: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo]

Susan Rice worked closely with Biden during his time as vice president, and has emerged as a favourite among some former Obama administration officials and is personally close to the former president. She has never held elected office but has extensive foreign policy experience, including as US ambassador to the United Nations. She’s also been an outspoken critic of the administration of Trump since leaving the White House and considered running for the US Senate in Maine.

Rice has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made blaming the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya on protests spawned by an internet video. Republicans have also accused her of spying on Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, though records declassified by the Trump administration show no evidence of Rice improperly accessing any information.

6. Representative Karen Bass

US Representative Karen Bass

Representative Karen Bass questions US Attorney General William Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC. [Chip Somodevilla/Pool via Reuters]

A late addition to Biden’s shortlist, Bass, a congresswoman from Southern California and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, would add a progressive voice to the ticket.

Bass has an extensive background in police reform efforts and has spearheaded the legislative response in the House to the killing of George Floyd. But at 66, she may not offer the prospect of generational transition that Biden wants to show.

7. Senator Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth

Democratic US Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois at the Capitol in Washington, DC. [File: Cliff Owen/AP Photo]

Duckworth, 52, has a compelling personal story and would help bolster the campaign’s national security credentials.

The senator from Illinois is a combat veteran who lost her legs when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004. She went on to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American elected to US Congress. Duckworth, however, has not been on the forefront of civil justice issues like Harris, Bass and others on Biden’s list.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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Museveni issues ultimatum to police boss




Museveni flagged off distribution of motorcycles for NRM chairpersons

President Yoweri Museveni has given Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martins Okoth Ochola a chilling ultimatum: You either do your work or I will do it myself!

Museveni disclosed the ultimatum he gave to the IGP today Monday at the NRM secretariat at Plot 10 Kyadondo Road in Kampala where he was flagging off the distribution of motorcycles to parish chairpersons of the ruling National Resistance Movement party across the country. 

“I told the IGP that if the police doesn’t do their work, I will do it myself by arresting the police officers themselves,” Museveni stunned his audience as he commented on the electoral violence that marred the NRM primaries held on Friday last week. At least 4 people were killed across the country during the primaries. 

“There was violence in Bukono county [Namutumba district] where people were beaten. I got information that police has not done much work. Some (policemen) have been arrested and given police bond; there is no police bond for somebody who has attacked Ugandans!,” Museveni added. 

Museveni vowed to deal with all persons who messed up the party primaries.  In some parts of the country, there were massive regularities where candidates who had been defeated ended up being announced winners. In some places like Namutumba, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Jinja, Katakwi, among others, there was violence that led to the killing and wounding of civilians. Museveni said that they are going to make sure that all those who participated in these irregularities and violence are held to account. 

Museveni said although the violence was orchestrated by the politicians, the police personnel are to be held accountable for failing to contain it.

Last week, police spokesman Fred Enanga warned police personnel especially those guarding VIPs against being drawn into the politicians’ political wrangles, reminding them that they would face the music if they did. With the president now threatening to go and conduct the arrests of errant policemen himself, IGP Ochola is likely to move fast to avert the spectacle. 

Museveni wondered why police would shoot at unarmed people who were fighting amongst themselves: “That policeman must be arrested; even the ones who are threatening people you will go to jail for that if we get evidence,” a seemingly incensed Museveni said.

He also said that the state minister of Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana who was captured on camera attempting to shoot people over the weekend in Ntugamo after he lost the  Rushenyi primaries, will be charged with threatening violence and attempted murder. 

 “This game is finished,” Museveni said.

Rukatana has since been charged and remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district in western Uganda. Museveni called upon all those dissatisfied with the election results to write petitions to the regional panels of elders which he said are going to be constituted to hear all election complaints.

“We are going to get three respected people who are not part of the struggles, then we shall go and audit village per village and we shall discover. If you have committed forgery, the registrar or the politician who ordered,  you all shall go to jail. The game is finished; the voting is by lining and if you miss-add, you are ‘miss-add’ yourself,” Museveni said.

Museveni’s speech came shortly before that of Justine Kasule Lumumba, the secretary general of the NRM who called upon the president to reign over some senior people who with impunity were freely changing the results of the elections.

“Some of our staff were lured into changing declaration forms on the way forgetting that people who had participated at the village don’t need to write; they registered the record in their faces…Some have done things with impunity… in Butemba county Kyakwanzi district, one of the candidates who got 3,000 votes brought in soldiers, cordoned off that place and was declared a winner and off they went away,” Lumumba said. 

The ball is now in Ochola’s court to get the police to execute their duties professionally and with impartiality. In March 2017, President Museveni warned Ochola’s predecessor Kale Kayihura to clean the police force of wrong elements. As months passed with no visible sign of police officers shaping up, Museveni resorted to other security agencies who started arresting rogue senior police officers and charging them in the military court for various crimes.

Kayihura was then removed from office, arrested and jointly charged with the errant officers in the army court. To avoid similar fate, Ochola is likely to use a firmer hand on the police officers so that by the time of the February 2021 elections, there is no laxity in the force’s execution of its mandate to maintain law and order.

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