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The Trump method: How Netanyahu jeopardises Israel’s democracy | Benjamin Netanyahu News

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After the fourth election in two years and the ever-more-likely departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as the country’s prime minister, the situation in Israel is becoming increasingly volatile – and Netanyahu himself is once again pouring fuel on the fire.

Netanyahu faces nothing less than the loss of power on Sunday after 12 years in office, but he is not inclined to accept the latest development of a variety of opponents joining hands against him.

Instead, he is putting massive pressure on Knesset members so they do not vote for a new government by mobilising his supporters, who have been gathering in front of the houses of lawmakers for demonstrations and intimidation efforts.

These next few days will show whether the Netanyahu era is indeed over. Since the planned government alliance with Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett only has a slim majority of 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, every day counts.

Netanyahu and his Likud party’s efforts to find defectors among the coalition forces is the latest example of “King Bibi” and his quest for power.

Ironically, it was Netanyahu who made the next government possible by passing a new law and by ending the tradition of not entering talks with Arab parties, said Donna Robinson Divine, professor of Jewish Studies and Government at Smith College.

“Netanyahu paved the way for the alternate government about to gain power. He introduced a Basic Law allowing for alternative prime ministers; he began to speak to Mansour Abbas about supporting his own coalition,” she told Al Jazeera.

Machiavellian power plays

It has become a reoccurring theme in Israeli politics. For years Netanyahu utilised all kinds of political shenanigans and Machiavellian power plays to remain the country’s prime minister. However, Israel has paid for it dearly. Politically, Israel has been paralysed. Even the most basic government responsibilities have been put on hold, Divine said.

“Netanyahu found ways to impose four elections in two years on Israel, with the country having to operate without a budget for the last two,” she noted.

Socially, the country is deeply divided, essentially into pro and anti-Netanyahu camps.

The head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, warned of political violence and asked all those involved to disarm verbally.

Without naming names, Argaman’s remarks were directed primarily at Netanyahu and Likud. The latter has openly insulted right-wing Knesset members of the future coalition as traitors.

While Netanyahu himself said he condemned any call to violence, he is fully cognisant of his words and their effects.

“Netanyahu is an extremely bright, well-read politician and a master of Israeli political tactics,” said Divine.

His words were thus chosen deliberately. Netanyahu spoke of “the greatest electoral fraud in the state’s history“, and even the “greatest fraud in the history of democracy”. Bennett’s decision to enter a coalition with the left and Arabs was why people felt deceived and reacted accordingly, Netanyahu pontificated.

Netanyahu’s rhetoric resembles former US President Donald Trump and his post-election remarks, particularly on January 6 – lies that triggered rare political violence in that country.

Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party has denied it would seek to pass a law barring Netanyahu from office [File: Abir Sultan via AP]

‘Israel is at risk’ campaign

Asked about whether Netanyahu’s remarks of election fraud are similar to Trump’s playbook, Uriel Abulof, visiting associate professor at Cornell University, told Al Jazeera: “To an extent: Netanyahu was not suggesting that it was rigged, but that Bennett deceived his voters. However, Bennett did not, as he clearly indicated that he would like to see Netanyahu removed.”

Indeed, Bennett declared he did not want to work with main coalition partner Yair Lapid or Arab parties. However, the devil appears to be in the detail, said Abulof.

“Many refer to Bennett’s signing a document pledging not to sit with Lapid and the Arab party, but forget that the document bore the title of ‘treaty’, and Bennett invited Netanyahu to sign it. Netanyahu did not, so supposedly it is void.”

However, as Abulof also pointed out, Bennett did not resort to this rationale. Hence, he might feel he did indeed rescind his pledge.

Additional fuel was added by the support from an influential group of national-religious and ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who adopted a similar tone by stating “everything” needed to be done to prevent the new government from being sworn in.

Moreover, the situation has been exacerbated further by reports the new government would seek to pass a law that would bar Netanyahu from office.

While Bennett’s Yamina party is claiming this was just a proposal and denying this law made it to the final version of the agreement among the coalition, the rumour itself has had an effect already and might be to Netanyahu’s benefit, said Maayan Geva, lecturer in the Department of Social Science at the University of Roehampton.

“The reports have been spread very extensively by Netanyahu himself and media outlets which support him, so they are being used as part of Netanyahu’s ‘Israel is at risk’ campaign,” Geva told Al Jazeera.

While Geva acknowledged such a law could ultimately be passed, it is not without hurdles.

“Netanyahu is surely the source of many problems for competing politicians, and if they are in a position to pass a law to help them solve the Netanyahu problem, then they might very well pursue it. It is worth noting that even if a law is written and approved by the Knesset, it is very likely to be challenged at the High Court of Justice.”

‘Israel is not a monarchy’

Meanwhile, Bennett spoke of a “violent machine” that was deliberately set in motion. Then, addressing Netanyahu directly, he said, “Let go and allow Israel to move forward.”

Regarding Likud’s claims the new government would be far left, he replied the coalition was “10 degrees further to the right” than the current one and Israel was allowed to elect a government not headed by Netanyahu.

For Bennett, it will be about resilience and focus over these next days.

“There will be lots of shouting about the transition of government, but Naftali Bennett is correct – Israel is not a monarchy,” said Divine.

However, the damage has been done. Netanyahu is seemingly inclined to jeopardise Israel’s democracy for the slim chance to somehow remain in power, primarily for personal reasons, Divine said.

“His determination to remain in office as a way of avoiding prison if he is convicted on the charges against him have compromised state institutions.”

Nevertheless, the implications of Netanyahu’s selfish modus operandi are vast and dangerous, according to Geva.

“We are witnessing a desperate politician who has been in power for a long time and is fearful of what will happen if he is no longer PM. Netanyahu has a strong support base, and it is possible that some violence will ensue in response to his claims. Possibly some of this violence will be directed at members of the predicted government, in particular members of right-winged parties whom Netanyahu is portraying as traitors.”

‘Act on the accusations’?

Netanyahu, of all people, ought to be cognisant of how swiftly heated circumstances can escalate. In 1995, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a right-wing hardliner.

Similar to today, Netanyahu played a role and does not seem to have learned. While opposition leader, he was the key speaker at two demonstrations that included chants such as “Death to Rabin” and generally was involved in the anti-Rabin movement. He has denied the accusations.

“Netanyahu is again playing a major role in fuelling the dangerous idea that the country is under existential threat in an attempt to rally his supporters,” said Geva.

“Therefore, it is easy to compare the present with 1995 based on the concern that people will act on the accusations coming from Netanyahu and his supporters, and use violence in order to ‘save the country’.”

So what does the worst-case scenario look like? “A civil war if violence erupts,” said Abulof. However, the chances of that are currently minimal, he acknowledged.

“If Bennett is sworn in, chances are the state will compel Netanyahu to step down – however ungracefully,” he said.

In essence, the current situation is another test if Israel is becoming a failing state, Abulof concluded.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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OPINION: Real Estate Business at a Glance in the Eyes of the Uganda Fiscal Year 2021/2022

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By CPA David Kiwanuka

Section 5 of the Income Tax Act has been amended to include a new subsection 2a. This new subsection provides that: “A person who during a year of income earns rental income from more than one building shall account for the income and expenditure of each building separately and shall pay tax for each building separately.”

A second amendment concerning rental income is in line with the amendment of section 22 of the Income Tax Act: “In the case of rental income, seventy-five per cent (75%) of the rental income is deductible as expenditure and losses incurred by a person in the production of such income.”

This applies to both individuals and companies. The previous rate was 20% of the rental income for individuals and 100% of all losses and expenditures incurred by the company in the generation of rental income in a year of income.

Thirdly, there is an increase in the rental tax rate as per the amendment in Part VI of the Third Schedule. The applicable tax rate is 30% of the chargeable income of a person. The previous rate was 20% for individuals and 30% for non-individuals.

To those of us who own rental facilities, and you have been complying, and also intend to continue complying, the above changes yet to be implemented effectively 01st July 2021, indicate that as an individual, you have a tax advantage of approximately 57% compared to the previous one, and for the company especially if you are still incurring significant expenditures above 75% of the total rental income, you are yet to incur more tax liability as illustrated below (that is; Suppose your annual rental income is Shs 100m, qualifying rental expenditures are Shs 80m; this would result in chargeable rental income of Shs 20m & tax liability would be Shs6m only, for a company.

Currently, the same rental income is expected to result in a tax liability of Shs 7.5m since the qualifying expenditure has been predetermined at 75% of the rental income thus, increasing the chargeable rental income more by 5m. For an Individual; using the same illustration: with the tax reform, the tax liability would be Shs 6.654m, and for the old setting yet to expire on 30th June 2021, you were expected to incur a tax liability of  Shs 15.436m).

Lastly, it is imperative to further appreciate that, the deduction for the depreciation of an industrial building that qualifies for initial allowance has been deferred to the next year of income. Hence, in the year of investment, you can only claim an initial allowance, and from Year 2, you will be eligible for an industrial building allowance.

This makes a lot of sense to investors that have been targeting industrial building statutory purposes (i.e. an industrial building put to use for; an approved commercial building, an approved hospital, an approved hotel business, mining operations, and manufacturing operations) to ensure short and long term tax optimization.

In summary, for as long as you invest in real estate business, whether you earn a profit or incur a loss, you will have to pay tax if you are managing as a company i.e. for a non-individual; at least 30% of the 25% of the annual rental income “Ceteris paribus.”

 

The post OPINION: Real Estate Business at a Glance in the Eyes of the Uganda Fiscal Year 2021/2022 first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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‘Watching my world collapse’: The plight of Nigeria’s widows | Nigeria

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In Nigeria, stories abound of widows being forced to drink the water used to wash their husband’s corpse – in the belief that it will kill them if they are guilty of causing his death – or of being made to declare their innocence before a local deity.

The stigma, or outright rejection, a woman who has lost her husband can face often leaves her abandoned. Superstition causes other women to believe they may lose their husbands if they associate with a widow, while some men fear they, too, will die.

Such stigmatising practices have been outlawed in Nigeria since 2015 under the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law and are subject to a 500,000 naira ($1,220) fine or two years in prison, but so far only 23 out of Nigeria’s 36 states have formally adopted these laws into their own statutes, and cultural practices continue regardless.

Many must abide by strict traditional practices in widowhood such as cutting their hair short, wearing only dark clothes and remaining isolated at home for a period of 41 days, while others lose their property as it is claimed by their husband’s relatives.

While Nigeria’s laws of inheritance provide for women to inherit from their husbands, many defer to local, traditional practices instead. These can be deeply patriarchal. A widow’s fate, therefore, can depend entirely on the goodwill of her late husband’s family.

As the United Nations highlights International Widows’ Day today, with the theme “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”, we shine a light on the realities of life for Yoruba widows in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Elizabeth Adebowale, 44, was abandoned by her late husband’s family in 2012 after she refused to give in to their demands to sell the land she owned with him [Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera]

Elizabeth Adebowale: ‘His mother became hostile to me’

When Samson Adebowale died from liver disease in July 2012 at the age of 39, he left behind his wife, Elizabeth, now 44, and two small children aged three and five.

He also left behind a family dispute.

In May 2012, Samson had complained of fever and stomach pain. Like many low-income Nigerians who wish to avoid expensive hospital tests and appointments, he first went to the local pharmacist who gave him some medication for the pain. But he did not get better.

Days later, the couple received a diagnosis at the hospital – liver disease. During the next two months, they frantically tried four different hospitals, but none of them could help him. They spent all their money on medical bills and their joint business, selling mobile phone top-up cards, suffered.

There is no universal healthcare system in Nigeria. The government does subsidise low-cost insurance policies, but even these are out of the reach of many poor people, particularly those who earn a daily wage rather than a monthly or annual salary.

In July, Samson asked his wife and two of his siblings to take him to a prayer mountain – a sacred space on a mountaintop where prayers and other religious practices take place – in a last bid for a miracle cure. He died there. Elizabeth was distraught, and her relationship with her husband’s family quickly turned sour.

“His mother became very hostile to me. She said terrible things to me; that fate had decided that I would be a widow,” says Elizabeth. She did not retaliate, she says, because of the traditional expectation that women must always be respectful to their mothers-in-law. Then, Samson’s family demanded that Elizabeth sell the couple’s land on which they had started construction work to build a new home.

“His brother told me that they wanted to buy land where they could bury him in Abeokuta. So, they had to sell the land we owned together.” While Samson’s brother had no legal rights over the land, his demand came from a traditional belief in the community that a man’s land is owned by his brothers.

Samson’s brother seized some of his other property, including some bicycles, his widow says. However, she refused to sell the land because it was all that her husband had left behind. Instead, she wanted him buried there so that their children would be able to visit his grave and still have the land as an inheritance.

She moved swiftly, asking gravediggers to dig a grave on the plot. This made it difficult for his family because there is a traditional belief among Yoruba people that once a grave is dug, the person for whom it was intended has to be buried there; not doing so could spell bad luck for the family of the deceased.

They were surprised at her refusal to give in to their demands, Elizabeth says, but ultimately they backed down. She has not heard from them since.

To support her children, she worked as an attendant at a petrol station and learned how to sew clothes and school bags. She used the income to send her children to school.

“Things were very tough for us but I know that as long as I have my hands and good health, we will not suffer,” she says. “And I have tried all that I could to provide good food for my children and send them to school.”

Five years after her husband’s death, she was pressured by people – particularly congregants at her church – to remarry in order to provide a father figure for her children. She did so and had another child, but the marriage only lasted two years because, she says, her second husband mistreated her.

Elizabeth believes her status as a widow enabled him to treat her badly. She left with all three children last year and is now gradually picking up the pieces of her life all over again – something made harder by the fact she has been diagnosed with heart disease.

Still, she says, she finds ways to stay happy.

“These days, I sing. I bought a secondhand keyboard and I am learning to play. You know that thing that they say about what does not kill you making you stronger? I have realised that I have to remain strong for my children,” Elizabeth says, smiling.

Alice Ibitoye, 54, was widowed in 2006. Her husband’s family refused to help her unless she gave up custody of her two children aged one and four at the time, which she refused to do [Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera]

Alice Ibitoye: ‘I had to stay indoors for 41 days’

As a child, Alice Ibitoye, 54, dreamed of learning to design and sew beautiful clothes for people to wear. In June 1982, when she was just 15, however, she started suffering intense pain in her left leg and developed a fever. This condition continued on and off for 11 years before she was finally diagnosed with osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone, in her leg. The condition requires surgery, which Alice has never been able to afford.

Her dreams of being a fashion designer died because she could no longer use the pedal to work her sewing machine and found walking to source materials at markets too difficult. She resorted to setting up a small business selling nylon packaging and bubble wrap instead.

In 1997, she met her husband, a Ghanaian taxi driver named Abdulmumin, who not only helped her to transport the goods for her business but also supported her financially once they were married.

But, in 2006, nine years into their marriage, Abdulmumin died in a car accident while driving his taxi, leaving her alone with two children, aged four and 16 months. As was required by his family’s beliefs, following his death, Alice cut her hair short and confined herself to her house for 41 days.

“If you refuse to do it, people may think that you are responsible for his death. They say, ‘Why should you be going out immediately after his death? Why should you be looking good when your husband’s body is not cold in the earth yet?’” Alice explains.

But as a daily wage earner, this made life extremely difficult for Alice and her children.

Alice asked her husband’s family for help but they refused unless she surrendered custody of her children to them. “I did not want to release my children to anyone else. I would rather raise them myself even if we are hungry,” she says.

Due to her health condition and a lack of support from her late husband’s family, Alice was forced to rely on donations from well-wishers in the neighbourhood. Fifteen years later, she still struggles to pay her rent and the landlord has threatened her family with eviction several times.

“I have been served a quit notice by the landlord more than five times,” she says. “Once I am able to pay half of a year, the landlord tempers justice with mercy. The last one was not funny. He almost did not want to listen to my plea again.”

Alice’s children, now aged 19 and 16, cannot continue their education beyond secondary school because there is no money to pay for it. Meanwhile, her leg has worsened. The skin is scarred and pus-filled and she walks with a limp using a walking stick. The last time she visited the hospital, she was asked to pay 350,000 naira (around $850) for the surgery she requires.

“Where will I get that kind of money?” She asks.

When Abimbola Ogundare’s husband hanged himself in 2006, she had to endure the shame and stigma associated with suicide, which is taboo in Nigeria [Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera]

Abimbola Ogundare: ‘His family was ashamed of his suicide’

At first, March 13, 2016, was a Sunday like any other for Abimbola Ogundare, now 44. She bathed her children, dressed them in their Sunday outfits and headed to church. Usually, her husband, Wale, would join them later on. But on this Sunday he never arrived.

The next time Abimbola saw him, he was dead. He had hanged himself. His church clothes were still on the bed, untouched. The couple had been married for 16 years and had six children. It was one of their sons who first found his father. He had nightmares for months after.

It was Wale’s fourth suicide attempt. “Looking back, I think that he was depressed but he never talked about it. He would be sad, wear a long look, and no matter how much I tried to ask him, he never responded,” Abimbola recalls. Her husband had been struggling to find work as a painter.

In Nigeria, suicide is taboo. It is common for people to speculate openly about whether the widow was responsible. For two years, Wale’s body remained in the mortuary: His family wanted nothing to do with his burial after they learned how he had died and Abimbola felt it would be disrespectful to bury him without their participation.

“Because of their beliefs about suicide, his family wanted him to be buried at the site of the suicide. This was not possible because it was a rented apartment. So, they left everything to me – they wanted nothing to do with it. I did everything myself. I raised the money to pay the 1,400 naira ($3.40) weekly mortuary bill, to pay for his burial ground. Till today, they do not know where he is buried,” she laments.

Abimbola’s own health began to deteriorate after her husband’s death. “I could not sleep for days,” she says. “I started using sleeping medications just to get some hours of sleep. I was also having continuous headaches.

“I would be going out on the road and thinking I could hear him calling my name. I was also having terrible dreams.”

The family had to leave the house they were renting. “The landlord believed that his death was a bad omen and he wanted nothing to do with it,” Abimbola explains. “My neighbours were calling me mad because I would be hearing him calling my name.”

Every Friday after his death, for the two years his body remained at the mortuary, Abimbola’s church pastors organised special prayers for her children so that they would not die too. This is because, in Nigerian culture, many people believe that when someone takes their own life, they will return after death to carry off members of their family. Abimbola says she visited her husband’s body at the mortuary to plead with him not to take her or their children with him.

He was only buried when the Oyo state government ordered families with relatives at the mortuary to come and take them away – something that happens every so often when mortuaries become over-full.

It has now been five years since Wale’s death, and Abimbola is still struggling financially. She says there are days when they do not eat three meals and months when she has to beg at her children’s schools because she cannot afford the fees. However, her children have helped her to move on from the sadness over time.

“It is my children that make me happy. We play together. I may not have a husband but I am happy with my children. They are my husband now,” she says, smiling.

After Folasade Johnson was widowed at the age of 26, her husband’s family seized most of his possessions as well as the earnings from the couple’s poultry business [Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera]

Folasade Johnson: ‘I had to start my life over again’

For 12 months after her 58-year-old husband’s death in a road accident, Folasade Johnson, then just 26, kept her hair short, dressed only in dark clothes and did not wear any makeup or jewellery. The accident, 16 years ago, nearly claimed the lives of Folasade and her 10-month-old daughter as well, but for the kindness of a passing stranger who took them both to hospital.

“It was as if I was watching my world collapse right before my eyes,” Folasade, now 42, recalls.

Folasade and her husband, Feyisara Joseph, had started a poultry business together but, after his death, his family were of the opinion that the business was solely his. They went to all of the couple’s clients and took the money Folasade was owed.

Then, they allowed Folosade to take a few possessions from her home before removing everything else from the rented accommodation. They just wanted her gone, she says.

Folasade had to start all over again. Unable to afford rent, she moved in with her godmother.

“With a loan from my godmother, I was able to gradually find my footing again,” she says. “Without my godmother’s kindness and that loan, it would have been really tough for me to start again.” It was this that inspired her to start the Hope Soars Foundation for Widows in Ibadan, Nigeria in 2016.

“I wanted to help women find the hope to rise again, beyond their widowhood experiences. They do not have to go through all that I went through,” she says.

Through the foundation, Folasade helps widows train in new skills as well as get medical checkups, loans and food, which she hopes should make their burdens easier to bear.

Five years after the foundation started, she says it has helped about 3,000 widows, including by sourcing scholarship programmes for 10 children, while about 40 widows have used loans from the foundation.

“Everything that happens happens for a reason. I think I experienced widowhood so that I could make other women’s experiences easier,” says Folasade.

Monsurat Omobonike’s husband died at the age of 60 in 2003 when she was just 35. She struggled to put her four children through school but her son, a successful footballer, died when he was 30 [Femi Amogunla/Al Jazeera]

Monsurat Omobonike: ‘My husband died, then my son died too’

In May 2003, when Monsurat Omobonike was 35, her husband died after suffering a stroke. A security official at Lagos Airport, Usman Abu was 60. The couple had married when Monsurat was a teenager after the early deaths of her parents left her responsible for five younger siblings at the age of 13.

Their marriage was happy, she says. “He was a very kind man who treated me and my children well. He always brought back goodies for his children from his job at the airport,” she remembers.

For the 41-day mourning period, she was secluded within the house with her four children, aged between eight and 16.

After her husband’s death, things became really difficult for the family. Her husband had been an only child, so had no siblings who could help her. Monsurat’s catering business went through a tough time when her unlicensed stall was removed from the university campus it was located at. She was forced to resort to menial jobs such as cleaning and doing laundry to survive.

After her own parents died, Monsurat, who is now 53, had been unable to finish school and she wanted better for her own children, particularly her daughters.

“Isn’t a girl also a human being deserving of education? Look at me now, just doing small small work, only to survive,” she says. “That was when I told myself that my own children must go to school, that they must have an education so that they will be better.”

Once, when things were particularly tough, she sold a plot of land to pay her daughter’s school fees. Her only son, Yusuf, was good at football and was able to make a successful career out of it.

After he secured a place with a local football club in Oyo State, he promised to support his mother. “I will buy you land. I will build you a house. I will buy you a car,” he told her. He bought the land and was paying his sisters’ school fees but then tragedy struck.

Yusuf, too, died in November 2020, after collapsing during training. His mother says she never found out what caused his death. He was 30 years old.

“His death made me remember his father’s death all over again,” Monsurat says. “It was as if I was stripped naked two times. He was my only hope; he left me hopeless.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Bukedea family isolates suspected COVID-19 patient in bush

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The family says they decided to isolate the student in the bush over Covid

The family says they decided to isolate the student in the bush over Covid

A family in Bukedea district, eastern Uganda has decided to confine one of their own in a bush on suspicion that he could have contracted COVID-19.

Michael Moses Ocan says the COVID-19 suspect is a student who recently traveled from Kampala when schools closed and presented with coronavirus disease-like symptoms such as cough. 

According to Ocan, his family decided to confine the suspect in the bush for fear of spreading the virus to other family members.

“When the family discovered that he had signs of the virus, they agreed to isolate him in the bush. He also accepted since his body was not normal,” said Ocan.  

Adding that “He is now being treated in the bush where he is provided with everything including food. His samples were picked by the district task force to confirm whether he is negative or positive.”

Geoffrey Okiswa, the Bukedea resident district commissioner (RDC) who also doubles as head of COVID-19 task force, says they lack an isolation center for suspected cases.

“As a district, we do not have an isolation center and funds, but we are working hard to reach people in the community to educate them on the dangers of the virus,” said Okiswa.

Stephen Ikodet, the Bukedea district health officer, says despite receiving reports from the community of suspected COVID-19 cases, they don’t have testing kits.



Source – observer.ug

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