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Nearly 500 Burundian Refugees Voluntarily Repatriated Back Home



Nearly 500 Burundian refugees who fled political violence in their home country to Rwanda have Thursday been voluntarily repatriated after 5 years of living in Mahama camp in Kirehe district, Eastern province.

In a statement issued Thursday morning the Ministry in charge of Disaster Management said the repatriation was facilitated by the government of Rwanda in collaboration with Government of Burundi and United Nations High Commission for Refugees

“This is the first phase of the organized voluntary repatriation process. The Government of Rwanda will continue to facilitate similar operations as registration of refugees willing to return home continues across the country. So far, UNHCR has registered 1,800 requests,” reads part of the statement.

“5,922 refugees had already voluntarily gone back to Burundi, returning their refugee status documents at Rwandan border posts.”

According UNCHR spokesperson Elise Villechalane only 471 of 1800 who requested have been repatriated because the Burundi government agency tasked with resettling them once they have arrived lacks capacity to handle big numbers.

“We shall continue to register all those who wish to go home but repartition will be in fazes due to unavoidable circumstances on Burundi’s side,” she said.

Emmanuel Bizimana one of the refuges repatriated back on Wednesday evening said he believed the situation in his country has improved and it was better for him and his family to go back home.

“Our president asked us to come back home, he assured us we would be safe. Since the one we fled from is no longer in power and died we believe there will be no threat on us,” told local media.

As per the Rwanda’s measures in the fight against COVID-19 spread the refuges were tested for corona virus before departure

The repatriation follows last month’s petition which was signed by over 330 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp appealing to Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye for a dignified and lawful return to their home country.

President Ndayishimiye added weight to their petition by accusing Rwanda of holding the refugees hostage.

According to the Government of Rwanda a close to 72,000 Burundian refugees are have been hosted in the country from 2015 until March 2020, when Rwanda closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The refugees fled their country in 2015 following political violence triggered by after former president Pierre Nkurunziza decision to seek a third term which his opponents was against the constitution.

The announcement sparked protests by those opposed to Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office. The protests quickly turned violet leading thousands to flee the country and over 1000 killed security forces and ruling party militias.

President Nkurunziza would shock the world last year when he said he would not seek re lection even after he had charged the constitution to allow him stay in power up to 2034.

In June Nkurunziza died of heart attack and was replaced by Gen Everisto Ndayishimiye who had won the May elections.


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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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