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Outrage as Pompeo’s Jerusalem speech to RNC breaks years of norms | USA News

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Mike Pompeo’s planned speech to the US Republican National Convention this week has sparked a fury of criticism for breaking decades of precedent for sitting secretaries of state avoiding overt partisan political activity.

Despite State Department assurances that Pompeo will be speaking in his personal capacity and will not violate prohibitions on federal employees participating in public political events on duty, Democrats and others have cried foul. They accuse the country’s top diplomat of inappropriate behaviour that has been anathema to his predecessors.

Four teams of lawyers, including the State Department legal counsel, have reviewed the speech that will be recorded in Jerusalem and broadcast in prime time at the Republican convention on Tuesday to ensure that it does not cross ethical lines, a person close to Pompeo who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press news agency.

That person and the State Department said no taxpayer money will be used in the production of the video, which will be filmed on the first stop of Pompeo’s current multination trip to the Middle East that is otherwise clearly dominated by official government business.

“Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump,” Pompeo tweeted after the RNC announced his appearance. The State Department followed quickly with comments distancing the agency from the planned remarks.

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“Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity,” the department said. “No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo’s appearance. The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”

The person close to Pompeo said the short address would focus on Trump’s accomplishments in making Americans and the world safer and promoting his “America First” foreign policy. The speech will not delve into Pompeo’s own activities as secretary of state, according to the person who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pompeo is likely to tout Trump’s Middle East policies and the recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalise relations.

Critics, though, say that does not matter and that Pompeo is violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, known as the Hatch Act, by using government resources to travel to the venue and jeopardising long-standing tradition that domestic politics ends at the water’s edge when it comes to diplomacy.

At the same time, they complain that in using Jerusalem as the venue, Pompeo is further politicising the US-Israel relationship with a pitch for President Donald Trump’s re-election.

“It is unprecedented and highly unethical for a sitting secretary of state to address a political convention while on official foreign travel,” Halie Soifer, the head of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, told the AP. “In addition to violating the Hatch Act, Secretary Pompeo’s plans to speak at the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem underscore the president’s ongoing effort to politicise the US-Israel relationship.”

Trump has proudly claimed the mantle of being the US’s most pro-Israel president ever and pointed to his decisions to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights and sideline the Palestinians as proof.

Such actions have won him high praise from conservative Israelis and American Jews but also appealed strongly to evangelical Christians in the US whose support Trump is counting on.

While previous secretaries of state have naturally supported the policies of the presidents they served, they have steered clear of public political endorsements, sometimes going to great lengths to avoid their parties’ conventions. So Pompeo’s decision to take time out of his official schedule in Israel to record the speech has raised eyebrows.

Previous secretaries of state have shunned overtly partisan rhetoric, and some have made a deliberate point of being out of the country and unavailable during their political parties’ presidential nominating events.

Like two of his predecessors, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, both of whom were unsuccessful Democratic Party nominees for president, Pompeo was a member of Congress before joining the executive branch. But both Clinton and Kerry eschewed the Democratic National Convention while they served as top US diplomat.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wearing face masks bump elbows after a joint news conference in Jerusalem, August 24, 2020 [Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters]

When President Barack Obama was officially nominated for a second term during the party convention in 2012, Clinton was half a world away, travelling to the Cook Islands, Indonesia, China, East Timor, Brunei and far eastern Russia. When Clinton was nominated in 2016, Kerry was travelling in Europe and Southeast Asia.

It is not just Democrats. When Republicans nominated John McCain in 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on a trip to Portugal, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.





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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