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Raila Odinga’s 1991 Dramatic Escape to Exile via Uganda



This week, many were astounded  when Former Kenyan Premier Raila Amollo Odinga opened up on his epic 1991 escape to exile in Norway.

Until yesterday, many of his young followers were oblivious of the fact that at one point in time, the man they call ‘Baaba’ had to sneak through the eye of a needle to save his life.

Perhaps, this would not have happened hadn’t little known Robert Njura spilled the beans days earlier.

But in a typical show of statesmanship, ‘Baaba’ as he is affectionately known, decided to reach out to Njura, a then Senior three student at Makunda Secondary school in Budalangi who paddled him to safety.

In a tear evoking testimony, he recalled how he left Kenya as a Catholic Priest and left the Ugandan territory as a Muslim, in a Thursday August 28, 2020 Facebook post.

“For my flight to exile in Norway via Uganda, to avoid a fourth detention and possibly assassination, I once again honor Robert Njura for his steady hands on the boat,” Odinga extolled.

The Journey

Trouble started brewing in 1982 when a group of young malcontents within the army led by a one Hezekiah Ochuka Rabala attempted to oust President Arap Moi in a badly staged coup.

After subduing the plotters, a paranoid Moi went on rampage incarcerating political opponents and insiders who dared him.

By 1992, Odinga, who then was a thorn in the flesh of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), had already endured three prison spells and numerous threats.

However, around June 21, 1991, he received credible intelligence that state agents were planning to do away with him once and for all.

This prompted him to immediately take to his heels.

“I was evacuated from here following first; an attack by some goons who had been hired, they were following me. They had attacked me in front of my house and I was admitted at Nairobi Hospital,” Odinga recalled yesterday.

Under the stewardship of the Catholic Church, a plot was hatched to sneak him outside the country before the worse got to the worst.

“So I took off through the grace of the Catholic Church, one father, Mark Opio and a catholic nun, Sister Dianne from the United States,” Odinga retorted.

“The father was wearing a collar, the sister was wearing white and myself I was being carried with a collar. And my name was Father Augustine from Machakos,” he stated further.

Thereafter, the company proceeded to a catholic mission in Kisumu where they were served a meal before heading to Ranga’la Mission.

At night, Odinga was taken to a canoe at Sirongo beach located in Bondo and entrusted to Njura, who first steered him to a Lake Victoria Island known as Ndende.

On the waters of Lake Victoria, they came into contact with a boat being manned by Ugandan businessmen.

“These were businessmen, they were bringing timber and they would go back with manufactured products. They would take clothes, sugar, mattresses and so on,” he disclosed.

After acquiring fake Ugandan documents in the name of Joseph Ojiwa, they set off again and arrived at another island where they found only one resident, a man who was related to Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko.

Their next journey took them up to an island near Iganga from where Odinga boarded a Jinja bound taxi and changed to another one which took him to Kampala.

“At the entrance of Owen falls Bridge, we found a road block and they were expecting identification. They saw my name Joseph Ojiwa Odero there and I had also certificates of tax called ‘emisolo’,” he intimated.

Raila Odinga meeting with Njura on Thursday.

Entering Kampala

After maneuvering through obstacles of all kinds, Odinga arrived in Kampala.

This time he was alone had parted ways with his fellow Kenyans who had helped him evade arrest.

Within a blink of an eye, he raised his long time friend, a one Shem Konga who came to his rescue.

On top of housing Odinga for the unspecified time he was in Kampala, Konga assisted him to get documents for asylum in Norway.

“They were again looking for me in Uganda and I had to be camouflaged again. Here I departed as a Ugandan Moslem with a kanzu and my name was Al-Hajj Omar, a Moslem who was going on pilgrimage to Mecca. And that’s how I boarded a plane from Entebbe,” Odinga explained.

Risks at hand

Whereas Government apologetics might claim that Odinga’s persecution was a hoax, media records say otherwise.

A 1992 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) “Focus on Africa” article written by Mitch Odero, who at the time a deputy editor of ‘The Standard’, offers some important leads.

Serial killings

In his article contained in the October to December 1992 issue, Odero recalls a series of mysterious deaths that gripped the nation starting with that of Kenya’s Foreign Minister Dr Robert Ouko in 1990.

Two years after that incident, Hezekiah Oyugi, Powerful Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President also followed suit.

“He died with vital information about the people who murdered Kenya’s Foreign Minister Dr Robert Ouko in 1990. Mr Oyugi was in charge of internal security and provincial administration,” Odero writes.

At the time of his death, Oyugi was interrogating circumstances that led to Ouko’s sudden death but all of a sudden, a judicial commission appointed to this matter was disbanded a day before he could tender in evidence.

Instead, he was named as a suspect in Ouko’s death, incarcerated and died shortly after being released.

“A former International Police (Interpol) Chief in Nairobi, Nehemiah Ombati who had arrested Mr Oyugi and Mr Biwott, died at a Nairobi hospital a day before Mr Oyugi was buried,” Odero further intimates.

A week later, Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD) Vice Chairman Masinde Muliro, a close friend of the Odinga’s followed suit.

In an intriguing twist of events, he passed out after returning from a foreign trip where he had met a dissident, a one George Luchiri Wajackoyah.

“A week before Mr. Ombatti died, the vice chairman of FORD, Mr Masinde Muliro collapsed and died at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. He had just returned from London where he had met a former police officer, George Luchiri Wajackoyah,” the article stipulates.

Wajackoyah had reportedly run to London with a cache of evidence incriminating top Government Officials on the murder of the Oyuko.

“Wajackoya had fled to London early this year, claiming to have in his possession highly damaging information about leading politicians gained when he tapped their telephones as a member of the police ‘music box’ unit,” Odero further alleges.

Coincidentally, Moi’s total man, Biwott, had travelled on the same flight with Ouko to and fro but absolved himself saying it was mere chance that they boarded the same flight to the same place.

Perhaps what sums this conversation is an interview of (Raila’s) father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga that is contained in the ‘Law Magazine’ issue of January 1992.

Asked whether the President’s advisors were to blame, he replied, “He cannot be a good person. Advisers go according to your feelings; behave according to your feelings. If they know that Moi likes this or the other thing, then they advise him in that direction.”

“Kenyatta was more humane and at the same time public opinion influenced him. He tried as much as possible to meet people halfway. Moi’s regime is quite ruthless,” Oginga juxtaposed.

At the time, Oginga was interim Chairman of FORD, having parted ways with the ruling KANU as early as 1966.



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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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