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Inside the EU, Bobi meeting



Robert Kyagulanyi with the European Union delegation at the NUP headquarters in Kamwokya recently

Excited crowds lined the motorcade route as the European Union delegation SUVs snaked through the usually crowded neighborhood of Kamwokya, Kifumbira, en route to the head office of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP)/People Power on August 12.

Excited supporters decked in the red party color overalls and berets also mobbed the NUP office as the SUVs trooped into the parking lot.

As the high-profile visitors disembarked, Robert Kyagulanyi, the party presidential candidate and his co-administrators were on hand to welcome them. The timing of the visit was very significant.

To the hosts and their supporters, this was the perfect endorsement for Kyagulanyi’s presidential bid and a political coup for the young musician-turned-politician as the election campaign enters its most intense period.
This was the first visit by the EU Delegation to NUP, a political party – with a new mindset and new young generation of politicians that has unsettled the ruling NRM political establishment.

The timing of the visit stirred even more excitement within the largely opposition forces for change. After the meeting, NUP spokesperson Joel Ssenyonnyi said the visit was in recognition of NUP as a fully registered and serious political actor in Uganda’s political landscape.

He said People Power pressure group had already engaged with the EU Delegation before it morphed into a political party.

Ssenyonnyi said NUP used the meeting to unveil its objectives as a political party seeking power in Uganda. He said EU ambassadors wanted to know more about NUP’s preparedness to participate in the forthcoming general elections.

He said the delegation has committed to engaging the government on the matter to ensure that this time round, the ground is leveled for all contenders. He said the ambassadors told NUP that they will also hold talks with government to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

Visits to ANT, FDC

But similar EU delegation visits to the opposition Forum for Democratic Change head office in Najjanankumbi, The Alliance for National Transformation and the Democratic Party have since dampened the original NUP enthusiasm and excitement.

Within the EU, the visits are nothing new and out of the ordinary. The visits are part of the regular “political engagement with all political parties that are registered and are active participants in the coming general election.”

This was confirmed by Emmanuel Gyezaho, the EU press advisor in an interview with The Observer last weekend.

“This [visit] was part of the EU’s regular political engagement,” he said by telephone.

According to political party insiders with good knowledge of the discussions between political party officials and the delegation, the EU heads of mission had a similar set of questions for our local politicians and parties.

Interviewed for this story, one opposition party official said of the meetings, “They wanted to understand how prepared we are for the elections, how we are conducting our activities and what issues we stand for.”

The delegation was also keen on knowing the critical challenges political parties are grappling with in this election campaign and solutions if there are any. Many opposition politicians are having a difficult time campaigning especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gatherings are banned and on-the-ground village campaigns are also outlawed. What has been allowed is what has come to be known as scientific campaigns or on-air (radio, TV, social media) campaigns.

But law enforcement agencies have blocked many opposition figures from accessing several radio or TV stations yet ruling NRM politicians continue to draw large crowds during their village campaigns.

The EU delegation, according to insiders, used the visits to ask pointed questions about who the opposition politicians really are and what they stand for. Some political players like Kyagulanyi are new and most of the information the delegation knows about them is either hearsay or gleaned from the media.

But the EU delegation insists the visits are not an endorsement of any political party or player. Protocol-wise, the delegation should have met the ruling NRM party and its chairman President Museveni and his co-administrators first.

But according to insiders, issues about the date of the meeting and timing have stood in the way of that meeting. But the NRM meeting is still on the cards. Besides, one insider said the EU delegation and government officials and the president have regular dialogue.

After the meetings, the EU with the full understanding of the preparedness of the political parties for the 2021 general election, their challenges and ambitions, will move to help the political players.

Shortly after the meeting at the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) headquarters in Kampala on August 26, party leader, Gen Mugisha Muntu twitted “We had a wide-ranging discussion including some of our concerns with the upcoming elections as previously communicated. I thank the ambassadors for their visit.”

The delegation comprised of ambassadors, attaches and representatives of Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Netherlands and Ireland.

The EU has deployed observer missions to Uganda’s local elections for the last four election cycles since 2001.
The EU has written reports with strong recommendations on improving the electoral process “but the recommendations have not been implemented todate,” one insider said.

But deployment of an EU observer mission is a huge doubt for the 2021 general election largely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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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”.

Source –

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