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Parliament approves Owiny-Dollo, Buteera appointment



Parliament has today approved the appointment of chief justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and his deputy Richard Buteera.

The two appeared before the parliamentary Appointments committee chaired by the speaker Rebecca Kadaga in which they were asked questions and were scored at the same time.

An MP who attended the commission meeting said that the major issue that was raised was how the two arms of government, legislature and the judiciary can work together with the aim of reducing the prevailing friction.

The two have had a longstanding battle where they have failed to agree on several issues such as on the probe into the Shs 6 billion oil cash bonanza after justice Steven Kavuma issued an order stopping an inquiry into the matter. Kadaga called the order “stupid”. Of recent, Kadaga also challenged court for “stopping parliament from doing its work” when court ruled that the Shs 10 billion cash payouts to MPs for COVID-19 intervention was irregular.

Kadaga, according to sources who attended the meeting, allowed two MPs Moses Balyeku and Atkins Katusabe to ask questions on her behalf and score the judges. The MPs reportedly scored the two justices who were interviewed separately on their experience, competence, and achievements among others. The MPs who attended the committee say both nominees excelled and were instantly approved.

“They all deserve it as they were very experienced and competent. The only issue that came up was the one on how the two arms of government can work together,” the source said.

When interviewed, the two justices were all confident that they would make it saying the engagement with the committee was fruitful. They committed to fighting corruption in the judiciary and handling the matter of case backlog.

According to Owiny-Dollo, he hopes to get rid of the rampant corruption in the judiciary but asked that a joint effort be put to stop the vice, saying that the judges would not be bribed or corrupted if the public itself wasn’t corrupt.

On the independence of the judiciary, Owiny-Dollo says that he has personally remained very independent and has severally ruled in favour of the opposition and against the government. He says that those who think the independence of the judiciary is about making a decision against the government are wrong.  

“We have made so many decisions and the powers that be are all over the place complaining how could we decide like this. If we were receiving orders from above, we would not be having those decisions. The Constitutional court which I have been handling has issued certain decisions which nobody under the control of another can ever make.” Owiny-Dollo said. 

“As a High court judge in Masaka, I am the one who made Mayanja Mbabali leave the ministerial post. Isn’t that a government position? I am the same person who made a lady from Luweero a member of parliament; to retain her seat, a member of the opposition. So for those who think the independence of judiciary can only be proved by making a decision against the government are wrong.” he added.  

On the case backlog, Owiny-Dollo said that he told the appointments committee that they need a good number of judges if the issues of backlogs are to change. He says that if the issues of more judges are not addressed, then even the next chief justice will still be asked the same after him.

Buteera on his part said that delayed trials frustrate the public and that is what he hopes to achieve. He says the acute shortage in the number of judges should be handled. On corruption, he says it is giving a bad image to the judiciary, and the corrupt judiciary officers should be made to answer for them.

“They [MPs] wanted information from me and I gave them the information they wanted. They asked questions which in my view and observation, I answered satisfactorily. I have been in the court system for so long, there are programs that will improve the judiciary that we think have to work on and see that there are changes in the judiciary and the most important one is clearance of the backlog seeing that the cases do not stay so long in the court system. Delayed trials frustrate the public,” said Buteera. 

Parliament will now forward these names to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

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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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