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FDC, EC Lock Horns over Delayed Political Party Funds

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As the country inches towards the 2021 polls, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has arraigned the Electoral Commission (EC) for delaying to release funds towards party activities.

The money in question constitutes the Shs 10 Billion that political parties under the Inter Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) receive each year according to a 2020/21 Budget Framework Paper.

Speaking on Monday at Najjanankumbi, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda the Party Spokesperson, told the press that in spite of their pleas three months into the new Financial Year, (FY) nothing has come by.

“We don’t know whether Justice Byabakama wants to release this money after elections and what will it be for? We are now in another financial year, we have done one quarter and we don’t see this money, yet parliament approved this it,” he complained.

Semujju said EC’s adamancy has crippled the operations of the FDC especially considering that they have multiple activities to conduct such as Party Primaries and the Presidential Flag bearer race among many others.

Hitherto, he retorted that they still think that the Government has deliberately refused to release these funds so as to weaken them as they head into the 2021 General Elections.

“Maybe Museveni told them ‘don’t give them this money so we can go to a contest with people who have no guns, no police, no money to make NRM and Museveni’s work easy’,” Semujju pointed out.

However, when this question was paused to the EC Spokesperson Paul Bukenya, he acknowledged the delay, saying it has posed cross cutting challenges to the five political parties under IPOD.

“These first 3 months of July, August and September, no money towards that vote has been received by the Electoral Commission. And we have informed all political parties with representatives in Parliament,” he disclosed.

Bukenya, however, bashed FDC for attempting to cast EC in bad light when it was duly notified about this issue in time.

“I wouldn’t see why a registered Party would raise that matter with that kind of intrigue trying to suggest that the EC is not doing what it is supposed to do,” he bemoaned.

On the other hand, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) Spokesperson Jim Mugunga tossed the ball back to EC.

“I am hearing you loud and clear, but I think ask for clarity. Ask them whether they actually made an explicit request for political party funding starting this quota,” Mugunga paused.

 



Source – chimpreports.com

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Kasese COVID-19 task force restricts burials to mid-day

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Kasese district task force has restricted all burials to mid-day to limit human interaction

Kasese district task force has restricted all burials to mid-day to limit human interaction

Kasese district COVID-19 task force has directed that all burial ceremonies in the district take place before mid-day to minimise human interaction.  

The order follows an upsurge of coronavirus disease cases in the district as the country continues to battle the second wave of the pandemic. Kasese district has recorded more than 160 positive COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths since the second wave began last month. 

Last week alone, the district registered 72 cases with five referrals. Joshua Masereka, the Kasese deputy resident district commissioner, says to limit the infections, they are trying to limit the time people spend on burials as a measure of enforcing the standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

He says that longer burial ceremonies often attract high numbers of people, allow a lot of time for interaction and violation of other procedures like social distancing. Masereka says that the burial time restriction applies to COVID-19 victims and other deaths. 

Gregory Kombi, the Bwera sub-county chairperson LC III has welcomed the directive, noting that people have deliberately failed to comply with the burial guidelines issued by the president.   

Jackeline Masika, a resident of Kasese questioned the relevancy of the directive by the task force if the numbers of mourners have already been restricted to 20 people. He says close relatives from far distant places are already barred from travelling to send off their loved ones and hence it makes no sense to define the burial times. 



Source – observer.ug

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Wildfires burn across US West threatening Flagstaff, Arizona | Climate News

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Dozens of wildfires were burning in hot, dry conditions across the western United States, including a blaze touched off by lightning that was moving towards northern Arizona’s largest city.

The mountainous city of Flagstaff was shrouded in smoke Monday. The national forest surrounding it announced a full closure set to begin later this week — the first time that has happened since 2006.

Intense heat that has hampered firefighting efforts more broadly was expected to moderate in the coming days. But, the National Weather Service noted it could bring uncertainty for fire crews.

“The humidity and the possibility of some scattered rainfall is a good thing,” said meteorologist Andrew Taylor. “The lightning is not a good thing.”

In California, firefighters still faced the difficult task of trying to contain a large forest fire in rugged coastal mountains south of Big Sur that forced the evacuation of a Buddhist monastery and nearby campground.

In Globe, Arizona, US, in early June, firefighters in Arizona were fighting to gain a foothold into an enormous wildfire, one of two that forced thousands of evacuations in rural towns and closed almost every major highway out of the area [File: Joseph Pacheco via AP]

In New Mexico, lightning-sparked blazes have been scorching the southern part of the state where a large portion of the Gila Wilderness remains closed, and fire officials are closely watching the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

More land has burned across Arizona so far to date with new wildfire starts quickly shifting resources. While humans are to blame for an overwhelming majority of wildfires, lightning started a 80sq-km (31sq-mile) blaze west of Sedona that was moving towards Flagstaff, called “the Rafael Fire”.

A top-tier management team had been ordered to oversee the blaze that is burning in grass, juniper, chaparral and ponderosa pine.

Some campers already evacuated, and residents of rural areas have been told to prepare to evacuate on a moment’s notice, said Coconino County sheriff’s spokesman Jon Paxton.

If the fire continues its northeastern push, hundreds of people in Flagstaff — a college city about two hours north of Phoenix — also could be affected, Paxton said.

Fire officials were mapping out a plan to starve the Rafael Fire of fuel as it moves through rugged terrain, canyons and wilderness, said fire information officer Dolores Garcia. As of Monday, it was moving parallel to Interstate 40 along the Coconino and Yavapai county lines.

The 7,283sq-km (2,812sq-mile) Coconino National Forest, a popular area for camping, hiking, boating and fishing, is shutting down Wednesday because of concerns it will not have enough resources to respond to any future wildfires.

The forest has only partially closed in recent years because of wildfire danger.

“We have limited resources, and we’re tapped right now,” said forest spokesman Brady Smith.

Arizona is at the highest level of preparedness for wildfires. A large wildfire burning near Superior, about 97km (60 miles) west of Phoenix, was nearly 70 percent contained Monday. The 730sq-km (282sq-mile) blaze was human-caused.

Residents near the small communities of Pine and Strawberry remain evacuated because of another wildfire that has hopped among treetops, with flames jumping ahead carried by wind. Some local roads also were closed.

Firefighting crews have yet to contain any of the wildfire’s perimeter. The lightning-sparked blaze was estimated at 132sq km (51sq miles) Monday and is being managed by a top-tier team.

In Utah, several wildfires were burning in bone-dry conditions. The largest near the small town of Enterprise in southern Utah forced evacuations during the weekend. But homeowners were allowed to return as containment reached 50 percent.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Ethiopia Election 2021: Voters cast ballots in a twice delayed election

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What has been heralded as a true test of democracy in Ethiopia, the twice postponed elections finally took place in the shadow of a pandemic, internal struggles in the country’s northern state of Tigray and boycotting by some of the country’s biggest opposition parties.

This poll is Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first electoral test since coming to power in 2018.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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