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Besigye gives up on presidential elections, moves to ‘Plan B’



Kizza Besigye addressing FDC supporters

Four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye has declared that he will not contest for the presidency in the forthcoming 2021 general election.

Besigye announced the decision at the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) headquarters in Najjanankumbi on Wednesday, finally putting an end to the speculation about his candidature. He said he will now move to ‘Plan B’ and leave ‘Plan A’ [elections] for others.  

Besigye has contested for the presidency since 2001, losing the race to incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni according to results released by the Electoral Commission but in all the three previous elections, Ugandan courts agreed that there was vote-rigging but fell short of declaring the elections null and void.

Besigye said he has decided to drop elections as a path for Uganda’s liberation, insisting that he will yet again legitimise Uganda’s sham elections when Museveni is still president. He reiterated his all-time commitment that he will never leave the struggle to overthrow President Museveni’s regime. 

“Never ever imagine that I can leave the struggle, never. If we felt that again moving with both hands is the most efficient way, maybe we would have done that. But trust my judgement, this country will not be free by [Simon] Byabakama [Electoral Commission chairperson] or whatever he’s called going to Kololo to announce that there’s now a new winner who is not Museveni. And for Museveni to come with his hat and hand over power. Those who are waiting for that day when Mr Museveni will come humbly and thank Ugandans for all the things that we have done for him without our permission of course, he will not do so.” said Besigye. 

Before the announcement, Besigye arrived at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi amidst ululations from diehard FDC supporters. He was received by party leaders including the party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA), spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda, lord mayor Erias Lukwago, the party EC chairperson Toterebuka Bamwenda, the vice-chairperson Eastern Region Salaamu Musumba, and several others.

But mini chaos ensued when his supporters started erecting posters bearing his portrait and placards demanding that he picks presidential nomination forms and take part in the 2021 election. However, Nganda asked his supporters to calm down as he prepared to talk to them and the country at large. 

He eventually told the supporters that the struggle to get Museveni out of power will not only rely on elections because Uganda’s democracy has been greatly tampered with.

“Ladies and gentlemen we’re at another crossroad when the junta, the gunmen are organizing another election to legitimize themselves. That is what they are doing. I told you that in 2016 both my hands were busy – this one engaging the election here, this one engaging the fighting here. That is not very efficient, the election here are our ‘plan A’, fighting here is our ‘plan B’. And ‘plan B’ is wide, it is involving, it is my humble decision that I have discussed extensively with my colleagues that we get somebody to lead ‘plan A’ and you leave ‘plan B’ for me.” Besigye said. 

Besigye then commenced his formal speech mainly narrating his journey in elective politics since 2001. He reiterated that he has won elections all the time he has stood against Museveni, but the results were manipulated to keep the incumbent in power.

“As you know they took me to jail, charged me with treason for declaring myself a winner, and I went to court and I said yes; ‘it is true I declared myself, here I am. Try me, let me show you that it is I indeed who won that is why I declared myself winner.’ It is now five years, we’re going into another election, they have never tried me. I am a prisoner of treason, never tried because they don’t want the truth to come out. And since 2016 the then desperate Mr Museveni has been rampaging all over the place. He then created the new electoral commission this one. He created it when he’s not supposed to be in office himself. This Byabakama-commission is itself illegal because it was set up by an illegitimate man.” Besigye added. 

Besigye assured his supporters that he has confidence in all the people who have picked expression of interest forms seeking nomination for the FDC presidential flag, among them, Wasswa Biriggwa the party chairperson and party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat. He added that he will align his support to whoever will be duly nominated and elected presidential candidate for the FDC.

He also pledged his support for other opposition political players both in the 2021 elections and in another strategy of defiance whose details he declined to dwell deep into.

“We’re building a strong front for change. In the ‘plan B’, we move with everybody who wants change whether you have a party or you don’t have a party. I can tell you without a shed of doubt that I have every confidence in our leaders that we have here today. Mulongo Wasswa Birigwa is not new to the challenges of ‘channel A’. I believe I don’t have to talk much about our president POA. POA has been in national politics for decades, there is no corner of this country that he doesn’t know. He also had experience in public service even before coming into election,” Besigye added. 

Besigye’s decision not to contest in the 2021 presidential general elections has generated mixed reactions from several leaders and members of the FDC. Although the announcement was expected by Besigye’s inner circle, it took many party members by surprise.    

Some FDC members said they will pursue other means to ensure that he appears on the 2021 presidential ballot. Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary general asked young party supporters and other members to rest assured that the party is stronger than ever before.    

He said FDC will not only put up a spirited fight in the 2021 elections but also in the ‘plan B’ of defiance led by Besigye. He explained that Besigye’s declaration will only serve to clarify the roles and camps for two groups fighting for the same cause.    

Doreen Nyanjura, the Kampala deputy lord mayor, said the fears of party members, especially young supporters who had high expectations in Besigye’s candidature are understandable. She, however, said Besigye’s announcement doesn’t mean that he is out of the struggle.  

“Our commander is going nowhere, our commander is still around, he’s simply going to take on ‘plan B’ as other commanders take on ‘plan A’. So really this means FDC is going to get stronger because there is division of labour. KB is going to head ‘plan B’ and we’re going to get another commander to head ‘plan A’.  I understand their emotions because personally I got emotional as well. But I had to understand his message that he’s going nowhere and he’s here for the struggle. So our fighters need to be encouraged, they need to give support to KB and to whoever is going to carry our flag because Museveni is still here and I think that is our major enemy.” Nyanjura said. 

Amuriat said the party is set to work with other political organizations in the next elections but on three conditions.   

“If there are agents of Museveni, we have nothing to do with them. The second factor is going to be on the basis of what they expect out of the struggle. The third is what they bring into the struggle. So those are going to be 3 main factors that will determine our operation with anybody who would like to coalesce with us. We’re doing this because we have been in the past been disappointed by some of our friends and how they have treated us. You remember what happened in TDA. You also remember what happened in IPC and so the English say once bitten, twice shy. We’re going to be a little bit shy when dealing with our potential allies, we’ve got to understand them very well,” said Amuriat. 

Besigye’s declaration coincided with the conclusion of the issuance of expression of interest forms for FDC presidential aspirants. FDC Electoral Commission chairperson, Toterebuka Bamwenda described the concluded process as smooth and fruitful. He says they expect Amuriat and Biriggwa to fulfill the requirements and return the forms for nominations next week.   

Besigye’s refusal to participate in the forthcoming elections will be good news to People Power and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine supporters who have always called on him to step aside for Kyagulanyi. 

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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