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Joe Biden presents US election as a fight for the nation’s soul | News



Joe Biden has formally accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, describing in a televised speech to a virtual convention his vision for a new United States that is facing multiple crises at once.

“It is an America we can rebuild together,” Biden said, pledging to make control of the coronavirus outbreak his first act if elected president.

“We will never get our economy back on track. We will never get our kids safely back in schools. Never have our lives back until we deal with this virus,” Biden said.

In a week in which the US death toll from COVID-19 passed 170,000, the former vice president promised to deliver the “honest, unvarnished truth” to Americans and spoke directly to people who have lost loved ones to the virus. “I know what it is to feel that dark hole open in the middle of your chest,” he said.

‘The speech of his lifetime’

Kamala Harris sees US at ‘inflexion point’ in upcoming elections

Biden delivered his speech without the cheers of nearly 4,000 delegates who would have packed the conventional hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In that unusual setting, he achieved a conversational intimacy with viewers by speaking directly into the camera without interruptions.

“Joe Biden gave the speech of his lifetime, and he accomplished what he needed to, presenting an optimistic, forward-thinking voice for voters,” said Nichola Gutgold, a professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State University.

“He came across as ‘the president next-door’ offering a glimpse of his life as a young boy growing up in a small town, combining a folksy decency with policy points,” Gutgold told Al Jazeera.

“It was unlike any other convention speech in American history.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, Senator and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff celebrate on the final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Democrats used the four-day convention programme to frame the November election as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency and laid out a series of centre-left policies on key issues confronting the nation.

“The magic of Joe Biden is that everything he chooses to do becomes the new reasonable,” like selecting Kamala Harris as the first woman of colour to be vice president, said Andrew Yang, one the contenders in the party’s presidential primary elections.

Speaker after speaker defined the election as a choice between liberal American values of inclusion and diversity embodied by Biden and division and alienation, which they said Trump fosters.

“We continue to be prisoners of the darkest of American forces,” said Jon Meacham, a leading US historian.

“That’s the issue of this election, a choice that goes straight to the nature of the soul of America,” Meacham said. Biden will be a president “with empathy, grace, a big heart and an open mind,” he added.

Party stars line up for Biden

Senator Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a grenade attack, called Trump “a coward in chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings, or even publicly admonish our adversaries for putting bounties on our troops.”

Billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Trump’s record on jobs and the economy is one of inaction and failure. “Why the hell would we rehire Donald Trump for another four years,” said Bloomberg, who has pledged financial support to Democrats.

Pete Buttigieg at Dem conventions

Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke about tolerance [Democratic National Convention/Pool via Reuters]

Former presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is gay and married, talked about the social progress he has seen in the US since serving in the Army in Afghanistan.

“Just over ten years ago, I joined a military where firing me because of who I am wasn’t just possible – it was policy,” Buttigieg said.

“Now in 2020, it is unlawful in America to fire anyone because of who they are or who they love. The very ring on my finger reflects how this country can change.”

But that tolerance and acceptance is threatened by Trump’s divisive politics, anti-immigrant policies, opposition to the Black Lives Matter protests and side-lining of public health experts in the pandemic response, Buttigieg said.

“Every American must now decide. Can America be a place where faith is about healing and not exclusion? Can we become a country that lives up to the truth that Black lives matter,” he asked.

Keisha Lance Bottoms at Dem convention

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms linked the Black Lives Matter protests to the legacy of the late civil rights icon John Lewis [Democratic National Convention/Pool via Reuters]

Keish Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, took a tough stand against rioters during the wave of protests over George Floyd’s death in police custody and pushed back against a Republican governor’s reopening orders amid the pandemic.

Bottoms introduced a video featuring the life of the late Representative John Lewis, who was arrested 40 times for peaceful protest during the US civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“People often think they can’t make a difference like our Civil Rights icons, but every person in the movement mattered – those who made the sandwiches, swept the church floors, stuffed the envelopes. They, too, changed America,” Bottoms said.

Obama slams Trump’s ‘reality show’ presidency at DNC

“We have cried out for justice. We have gathered in our streets to demand change, and now, we must pass on the gift John Lewis sacrificed to give us, we must register, and we must vote.”

Democratic leaders have embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and protests for racial justice that rocked cities and towns across the US following the death of Floyd.

Trump, who has adopted a “law and order” posture towards the protests, appeared at a campaign event on Thursday near Scranton, Pennsylvania, an old coal-mining and industrial city where Biden was born.

Trump argued his pro-business policies have helped create new jobs in Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016, and warned Biden’s plans would hurt the state’s economy and worse.

“Joe Biden is a puppet of the radical left movement that seeks to destroy the American way of life,” Trump said.

As Biden was delivering his address, Trump took to Twitter to attack the Democratic nominee, claiming that “In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks”.

The Democrats’ final convention evening was punctuated with humour and entertainment from celebrities, actress Julia Louis Dreyfus, comedian Sarah Cooper, singer John Legend and rapper Common.

Sarah Cooper at Dem convention

Comedian Sarah Cooper does an impression of Donald Trump by video feed during the 4th and final night of the convention [Democratic National Convention/Pool via Reuters]

Biden leads Trump in most national polls by an average of 7.6 percentage points, according to, although the spread between Biden and Trump is likely more competitive in key swing states.

Biden appears to lead Trump 49 percent to 45 percent in Pennsylvania, according to an August 11-17 survey by the Allentown Morning Call newspaper and Muhlenberg College.

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



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.


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




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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