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Explainer: The coronavirus and US political conventions | USA News

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The United States political convention, a presidential campaign ritual dating to the 1830s, is being reinvented on the fly after being short-circuited by the coronavirus pandemic – much like the campaign itself.

Here is a look at how the Democratic and Republican conventions will be different this year – and maybe for campaigns to come. 

Seizing the spotlight

There will be no roaring crowds of delegates in a cavernous hall, no balloon drops or wall-to-wall parties.

Both Democrats and Republicans will offer mostly virtual programmes featuring speeches and events from around the country. Nevertheless, the August 17-20 Democratic National Convention could give presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden his first big, attentive audience in months, said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University.

Though Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump in opinion polls leading up to the November 3 election, the Democratic former vice president has been largely booted off the campaign trail by the pandemic.

Trump, meanwhile, has continued to command heavy media attention with his White House briefings and campaign events. That puts increased significance on Biden’s televised acceptance speech, the traditional starter’s gun for the final sprint to the election.

Vice President Joe Biden reacts to seeing his wife Jill Biden on stage during the third day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia [File: John Locher/The Associated Press]

“That could be more valuable this year than in other years, particularly for Democrats, because most people have not been paying as much attention to the nominee lately and he hasn’t been campaigning,” Zelizer said.

For Trump, his speech could be a chance to move beyond the debate about his handling of the coronavirus and allow him to present his broad vision for a second term, said Ford O’Connell, a former Florida Republican congressional candidate who consults with the Trump campaign.

“The campaign believes if they can get past that hurdle, it’s easier to make your other points,” he said. “This is the place for Trump to make his case about where he wants to take the country.”

The prime-time speeches will be more intimate. Biden will speak from his home state of Delaware, not Milwaukee, the host city for a mostly virtual convention. Trump, who will be renominated at a small Republican convention on August 24 in Charlotte, North Carolina, is expected to deliver his speech later that week from somewhere in Washington. 

Pushing party message

The reimagined format of the back-to-back conventions will force the parties to try to find a more compelling way to get their messages across. Speeches by party stalwarts and rising stars will be delivered remotely from around the country.

Democrats have designed a virtual video control room to take in hundreds of feeds, with the potential to interact with Americans nationwide.

“They aren’t confined to one stage or one place, so they will be forced to innovate,” said Kelly Dietrich, a Democratic strategist who has been running training programmes on virtual campaigning for political candidates and staff.

So far the Democrats’ convention has been a mixture of live and taped events, bringing in the voices of ordinary people alongside more traditional political speeches.

RNC in Cleveland 2016

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers his address during the final day of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio [Michael Reynolds/EPA]

The challenge will be to generate excitement and motivate the party faithful while encouraging independents and infrequent voters to take a look.

One plus for party unity: The virtual nature of the conventions will minimise the chance for signs of discord and unscripted moments, although the first night of the Democratic convention did have a few awkward pauses between segments with voices offscreen occasionally heard telling speakers to start.

In 2016, heckling from supporters of US Senator Bernie Sanders disrupted the first night of the Democratic convention that nominated Hillary Clinton. At the Republican convention that year, US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump’s top rival for the nomination, drew boos when he refused to endorse Trump and told delegates from the stage to “vote your conscience”.

This year, “you don’t have to worry about booing”, Dietrich said. 

End of an era?

Critics have assailed conventions in recent years as tightly scripted party advertisements drained of political drama and relevance.

Predictions of the imminent demise of the traditional American political convention came true in 2020 thanks to the pandemic. Experts are uncertain whether that will be a permanent change.

US Democratic race: How it works

“There may still be conventions, but I don’t think they will fundamentally be the same,” Zelizer said.

Longtime Democratic strategist Robert Shrum said he expected to see them back as strong as ever.

“It’s the nominee’s one chance for totally unmediated communication with voters. I don’t think people will happily give that up,” Shrum said.

After the pandemic, he said, “people will want to return to the things they have done in the past.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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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.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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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.  





Source – observer.ug

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