The government of Uganda has procured armoured police vehicles for the 2016 General Elections from South Africa:

For whom are the youths in UGANDA trained in Masindi at,

 8 September, 2014

In January, about 700 Makerere University students were trained as crime preventers at the same school. The criterion used to select these students is not elaborate and is exclusive to those who are either in the patriotic clubs or the youth league of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Several student groups have attended these courses at Kabalye. Another one of about 2,400 students from several universities and tertiary institution was passed out last week.

We are told the course content includes ideological orientation, self-defence, martial arts, and security skills, among others. I am not sure of how this programme is supposed to add value onto the lives of students, and Ugandans as a whole! Further, I don’t know whether the police budget should be diverted to this kind of exercise.

What exactly does a crime preventer do? Is he/she a security operative who gathers information on certain offenders and then confront them? Is this a voluntary exercise or it is a paid- for, job? If so, it, therefore, calls for certain regulations, obligations and responsibilities.

Is this an auxiliary group to the security organs? Are these students specifically trained to prevent crimes in universities or in the entire country? Sometimes, armed people commit crimes. So, will the crime preventer be armed in order to counter any armed attack?  It is not clear whether all the national tertiary institutions will be equipped with crime preventers. Once, the dubious Kiboko squad described itself as crime preventers.

So, should Ugandans worry that another dodgy group is being prepared, perhaps for the expected intense political activity in 2016?

What is the relationship between these crime preventers and the police, army, and other security agencies in the country? Many of these questions still remain unanswered.  Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura says the course is good because it has equipped the young people with ideological direction.

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines ideology as a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. It further defines it as the ideas and manner of thinking characteristic of a group, social class, or individual. So, if the course is supposed to orientate the students in ideology, in whose ideology are they inculcated? Who determines the correct ideology, and anyway, what ideology was being marketed to these students?

Again, there is a trend that one cannot be a complete cadre or patriot without being equipped with military skills. Everything in Uganda is being militarised. Agriculture has to be run by the military. The police have to be steered by a military man. The immigration and national identification process has to be conducted by the military. A military man runs the highest office in the land.

Ruling party MPs have to conduct their annual retreat in a semi-military camp. Early this year, they (MPs) were all clad in attires that resembled military uniforms! Even the beauty contest is a candidate for military takeover! At their pass-out, the youths gleefully displayed their skills of dismantling and assembling guns. Others performed martial art drills.

Some of these youths are, actually, mere opportunists. They are using this training as a pedestal to clutch on better things in future. Many of them have realised that keeping closer to the party means instant wealth. They have seen how those youths who originally backed Amama Mbabazi for president, but later crossed to President Museveni’s camp, have become instant millionaires.

They know that when time comes for recruiting mobilisers for votes in 2016, priority will be given to those who trained at Kabalye.  Instant, and sometimes unexplained, wealth has become the major motivation of joining NRM programmes. I don’t know the exact ideological direction of the NRM. Even if one asked these youths what NRM’s ideology is, the likelihood is that the answer would not be given. And if it is given, the one who asks the question would remain uninformed.

This exercise in Kabalye is as inoperable as the youth representation in Parliament. The lives of the youth in Uganda have not improved as a consequence of being represented in Parliament. I have not seen bills being sponsored by youth MPs, specifically targeting issues that youths grapple with.

The irony is that the very youths who have trained in crime prevention may be the harbingers of crime. There is a temptation to look at crime as mainly a physical thing such as murder, treason, theft and rape. We forget that there is an unemployed youth likely to engage in forgery in order to access someone else’s account in the bank.

And more threatening is the fact that honesty is no longer something taken seriously, as the strength of youths. So, the economic pressures, which Kabalye never addressed, may turn these cadres of crime prevention into victims of the very mischief they intended to cure. It would be stretching the restraint of a hungry hyena to entrust it with the servicing of a loaded butchery. 





Twitter: @piuskm




o- no plur.(lu/n) strength, energy; good health.

Okuddamu olungubanguba, to regain one’s strength,

recover one’s health. Ndimu olungubanguba. I am in good health.


Lumya (-lumizza) v. Tr. Appl. 2 caus. Cause to bite/hurt, etc.; hurt with/by;injure; worry; disappoint. Ekyo kinumya nnyo omwoyo. This worries me a great deal. Ebigezo ebyalumya buli omu ogw’engulu, very difficult examinations, lit. Which made everyone bite the upper (lip, omumwa implied).


Kuluggusa (-kuluggusizza) v. Tr. Caus. Cause to flow away, wash away. Okukuluggusibwa kw’ettaka, erosion of the soil.


Lala (-laze) in anguish, suffer Omwoyo gundaze. I am in anguish.


Laza (-lazizza) v,i, cause to be in anguish. Kiraza mwoyo ng’ebbwa eridda mu nkovu. (prov.) It causes anguish to the heart, like a sore recurring in a scar.


lalusa (-lalusizza) v,tr, caus.madden, craze.


Lubanga pr,n, the name of Lubaale associated with the Gray Monkey Clan and the Oribi Antelope Clan.



Guluba (-gulubye) v.i. gallop, trot; skip cavort about, frolic cf. Kannagguluba.



Gulugulu also gguluggulu ideo. Commonly used with nywera and its derivatives. Very firmly, very tightly. Eccupa nnywevu be gulugulu. The bottle is tightly sealed. Kino kyange gulugulu. This is my very own.



Gulirira (-guliridde) appl. 2 keep buying, buy constantly; hire; bribe.



Gulaana (-gulaanye) v.i. recip. Buy from one another, barter, bargain.



Guba (-gubye) v.i be or become dirty/filthy/stained; be stunted; grow poorly; be badly cooked; become hardened/inured; be re-sistant to cleaning; become worn (e.g., of a path).



Gubira (-gubidde) v.i. & tr. Appl. Become dirty in, etc.; be hardened/inured to.

Nze emiggo nnagigubira dda. I have long since become accustomed to/ inured to beatings. Obudde bungubiridde. I am in trouble/difficulties/a trying situation.



Gubaasiira (-gubaasidde) v.i be dirty/filthy; look dirtyi. Cf.-gubaasiivu; guba.



Kikudumu, e- also ekikudumo ki/bi dregs in unstrained beer.



Kikufiri, e- (ki/bi) rare small tuft of hair.



Kikujjuko, e- (ki/bi) marvel, wonder, wonderful thing.


Kikukku adv. Alone.

The Uganda housing Slams in the city of Kampla
The chief of defence
forces, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, sent a card late last month inviting me to the 34th anniversary of the founding of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces. 

It was a patriotic act to invite an opposition MP to a military function. In my last years in the media, I, together with Andrew Mwenda and Frank Nyakairu, had been barred from attending any military function or visit a military installation. That is how I did not cover the passing out, (or was it a graduation?) of generals Salim Saleh, Elly Tumwine, David Tinyefuza, and Noble Mayombo (RIP) from the UPDF Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka in 2005.


The UPDF spokesman then, Col Shaban Bantariza, turned down my request, saying he had been instructed not to allow me even near the function. Apart from Mayombo, who died shortly after the course, don’t ask me whether the others have added any value to the institution of the UPDF.


Therefore, by Katumba Wamala inviting me, I think the expressed mission of turning UPDF into a national army has not been after all lost. I guess every MP was issued with this invitation. But I think there was an extra motivation to invite me because I sit on the parliamentary committee on defence and internal affairs that supervises UPDF. 


Unfortunately for Katumba Wamala, celebrating the 34th anniversary of founding the UPDF, the so-called Tarehe Sita, negates the very purpose for which this invitation was issued to me and all other opposition MPs. I have extensively written about this subject in an earlier article.


February 6, 1981, is the day Museveni, together with Tumwine, Julius Chihandae, Fred Rwigyema and others attacked Kabamba barracks to loot guns so they could begin a war to remove Milton Obote from power. This UPDF that Katumba Wamala heads is a creation of the 1995 Constitution. It is, therefore, 20 years old and not 34. What is 34 years old is the guerilla outfit called National Resistance Army (NRA) that is no longer in existence.


It is through questioning the marking of days like this that one will understand the mindset of our revolutionary leader. He has denied us a chance to transit from the Luweero jungle mentality to a new order. I raised this matter in parliament last week and Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga summarily ruled me out of order. On that same day, parliament, for the first time I think in its history, refused to grant an MP a chance to introduce a private member’s bill.


The procedure is, you get parliament’s staff to help you print a bill, then you officially notify parliament by way of asking for what they call “leave” to prepare the bill.


That is what Dr Michael Lulume Bayiga did when he asked parliament to allow him prepare a bill called Presidential Transition. The NRM, led by new kid on the block Peter Ogwang, shouted a big no. Kadaga attempted to explain that this was more or less a ceremony. She noted that real work would begin when Bayiga tabled the bill to no avail.


That is how polarized this country has become.  I hear in Kyankwanzi, Kasule Lumumba, the new NRM secretary general, has vowed to fail the Bayiga bill because for them they have a “sole candidate.”


According to Lumumba, thinking or imagining another president other than Museveni is now criminal in the NRM. We are in for interesting times. Don’t blame Katumba Wamala, a former UNLA soldier, when he invites people to celebrate the formation of a guerilla outfit. The most important issue for the citizens is to continue noting incidents of looting and abuses going on under this regime.


I hope you have not forgotten that we officially spend Shs 8.5 billion every month on the war in South Sudan. This amount doesn’t include the wear and tear of our military equipment and the loss of soldiers deployed to keep a weak government in power. Mind you, we don’t have Shs 4 billion to repair scan and ultrasound machines in public hospitals!


Our army went to South Sudan in December 2013. It is now about 14 months since that deployment. This, by the way, means we have so far spent Shs 119 billion executing a war on behalf of a weak leader.


That is why our expenditure on the military has hit a Shs 1.1 trillion mark. Out of this, Shs 342 billion is classified expenditure. The ordinary soldier continues to languish in ramshackle structures as the bosses ride in the latest state-of-the-art Land Cruisers. The ordinary soldier continues to live in the Luweero jungle as the bosses enjoy the ‘heaven’.


Harnessing the collective strength of everybody suffering under this regime is what has eluded us these three decades. This is not the opposition’s sole responsibility; church leaders, Muslim leaders and civil society must all act. That is what should occupy us; but unfortunately, the media is feeding us on the Kyankwanzi menu.



The ambitious chairperson of the Parliament of Uganda, Ms Kadaga seems disappointed with a Government that looks tired in governance after 30 years in power:

By Moses Mulondo


Added 23rd December 2016


The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has castigated the government for failing to implement national days for planting trees.


“I am disappointed by government for failing to follow-up on the national tree planting days 15 years after we passed it. Government has failed to show leadership in that area. For me I will not stop talking about it until it is implemented,” Kadaga passionately said.


The Speaker made the remarks on Friday while briefing the media on what the 10th Parliament has done.

The Kamuli woman MP attributed the dry spells and food shortage in the country to the cutting of trees not accompanied with tree planting.

“People keep calling me that they don’t have food. We need to address the issue of food production and storage. This famine comes many times. I have asked government to come up with a comprehensive plan for ending famine,” she elaborated.


The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Ms Rebecca Kadaga


The Speaker also faulted government for failing to present Bills to Parliament ever since the 10th Parliament started.

“In June the President read 29 Bills which they would present to Parliament but they have not brought any single Bill. Government has not given us enough business,” Kadaga lamented.

The Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya also raised a similar concern in October before the independence recess that the executive had failed to give business to parliament.

Some of the key achievements Kadaga highlighted in her press conference today include the investigations into sand mining through the committee on natural resources, assessing the state of all the referral hospitals through the parliament health committee, and forcing the five Chinese companies to return over sh26b which they had irregularly received from UNRA in 2015.




The Great ancient Kingdom of Bunyoro, in Uganda is blaming the National Forestry Authority and the  Military Police of Uganda for destroying dense tropical forests on its territory:

Written by URN


Created: 29 October 2016


Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom is accused the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and police of aiding illegal logging on the Kyangwali ancestral land.

The accusations come barely two months after a court order issued by Julia Acio, the assistant registrar at Masindi High court to maintain the status quo on the ownership of the 22 square kilometer land, pending the outcome of the main application filed by NFA challenging the land title.

The title for the land, which NFA says is part of the Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Hoima district has since been cancelled by the ministry of Lands on grounds that it was issued in error. The kingdom however maintains that the title is genuine because the ministry has never written officially about the said cancellation.

Bunyoro kingdom prime minister Norman Lukumu says that the forest reserve has become a base for illegal logging. Lukumu alleges that there is a conspiracy between NFA and the police to deplete tress from the contested land.

Part of the forest cleared by investors

“There is timber at the guardhouse. Everyday you go there, there is timber. You go there another day; the timber is gone, another day you go there, there is timber. And that logging is being done on our side not on the side of NFA.

Surprisingly. So, you ask what is the motive? The increment in the number of police [officers], I suspect is for purposes of simply guarding people who are logging illegally because, they should never tell anybody a lie that there is violence in that place. It is not there. There is no problem between Banyoro and Bakiga or the Alurs or the Barundi who are in that place”, he said. 
Lukumu adds that the land in contention is of great value to Bunyoro kingdom because it holds several cultural sites including King Kabalega's tactical base during the fight against the British colonialists.
“[Kings] Kabalega, Kamurasi…they brought many of these trees and herbs from Karangwe in Tanzania, many were brought from the forest of Ituri in Congo and particularly in Bulega areas where Kabalega was born. So, we cherish these forests and nature generally as Banyoro. Those areas were for our kingdom. You hear of Muhangaizimwe, Muhangaizimwe is a ritual site for the king. But the king is bound to go to that area of Muhangaizimwe every month and he carries out his rituals. Muhangaizimwe is in Kyangwali ancestral land. 

However, Jimmy Ouna, an environment specialist with NFA refuted claims that NFA is cutting trees for timber from a reserve under its protection. Ouna says that NFA has worked together with the police to impound timber from illegal loggers.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine regional police public relations officer says that that at the moment, no complaints have been lodged against individual police officers who might be overstepping their mandate to log on the disputed land.



Well then if the Great Ancient Kingdom of Africa cannot look after the God Given Forests of this environmentally delicate planet earth how come they are working so hard to recover their vast lost Empire of Kitara(Empire by the Sword). What will they be doing with all the millions of Square miles their Great grand fathers used to control? If they entrusted their property with the Uganda Republican state and there is no security forthcoming, whose problem is that?

Nyimbwa Forest in the Luweero green belt, in the State of Buganda, Uganda, has been replaced by urban industries right under the watchful eyes of the land owners:

















A depleted section of the Nyimbwa Forest Reserve along the Kampala - Gulu Highway.




Posted  Wednesday, May 25   2016 



By June 2015, much of the of the 65 hectares forest reserve land, located 35kms north of Kampala, was property of investment companies and individuals after getting land titles from Luweero District Land Board under the close supervision of the district natural resources office


Abdul Habib Issa, 52, is a mixed farmer and resident of Nakatonya village in Nyimbwa Sub-county Luweero District. Two decades ago, Issa was a prominent farmer, growing cereals on his two-acre piece of land throughout the year, which he used to sell in markets around Kampala City to meet the basic needs of his family members.

However, this is no more. Issa blames this whole situation on the sudden change in weather patterns as a result of the depleted nearby Nyimbwa Forest Reserve, which has left the land bare. He is also quick to blame government for failing to reign in as Luweero District officials who parceled out the forest land to establish factories.

“As residents living near the forest, we were never consulted and sensitised about the change in land usage. We were surprised to see factories being established and to make matters worse, some of them release dark smoke emissions which is exposing residents to risks of respiratory infections and cancer,” Issa explains.

Records from the district council and the natural resources office reveal that a team from the ministry of Water and Environment in April, 2014, conducted a sensitisation meeting with district officials including councillors on how to jealously protect local forest reserves and steps which had to be taken if the district wanted to change land use at the different forest reserves under local government in line with the forestry policy.

This was after a tour of the different forest reserves where it was discovered that encroachment was a threat to Nyimbwa forest reserve land.

However, Luweero District ignored the guidelines. Although in many areas where forest reserves have been destroyed ,the culprits have always been local communities who look for extra land for farming and settlement. In the case of Nyimbwa , a section of district top officials were directly involved in the forest giveaway even before the official de-gazzetment process was initiated.

This possibly explains the fact that when district councillors tried to institute investigations into the alleged parceling out of the forest land to industrialists, several district executive members ‘remained unbothered’ and did not want to get involved in passing a resolution calling for an investigation on the alleged land giveaway of Nyimbwa forest reserve.

More than five investment companies including Royal Form, Egypt Uganda Food Security, AYA Group of companies, Umoja Veterans and Ruma Industries Ltd are already registered owners of plots of land in the forest reserve after obtaining land titles rather than user permits as per the guidelines.

By June 2015, much of the of the 65 hectares forest reserve land, located 35kms north of Kampala was property of investment companies and individuals after getting land titles from Luweero District Land Board under the close supervision of the district natural resources office.

While the district council kept records indicating that a section of the forest had been given out to private companies and individuals applying for user permits on the basis of promoting forestry and environment activities, the district land board acting contrary to the set guidelines and also outside the district council mandate had by November 2013 issued land titles to individuals and investment companies who have cleared the entire forest cover and constructed factories and several permanent structures on more than half of the forest land.

In 2009, youth in Luweero District were granted permission and allocated over seven acres for tree planting by the district council as part of a forestry rejuvenation and environment campaign.

The youth, according to one of the youth leaders, Samuel Mulwana, planted more than 2000 pine and eucalyptus trees on a section of the forest land. But the trees were cut down and land cleared for a different purpose without consulting the youth.

Efforts to seek intervention of the district council to cause an inquiry into beneficiaries who had taken over land allocated to youth were frustrated by a section of the district technical staff including some district councillors who possibly had a hand and actually knew the individuals who had cut down trees youth had planted.

The 2009 tree planting campaign that was supported by the National Youth Council, was part of the celebrations to mark the 2009 International Youth Day hosted by Luweero District, according to Mulwana.

The big debate


The debate on the alleged sale and issuance of land titles at the forest reserve land was reawakened at a council meeting on October 28 ,2014 when Luweero Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Eustace Gakwandi confirmed receiving a letter from Uganda Revenue Authority seeking clarification about papers presented by Royal Forms, one of the companies which were allocated land at Nyimbwa.

URA, according to Mr Gakwandi was seeking clarification on the existence of the company and the activities it carries out in the area . At the meeting, the councilors passed a resolution instructing the district staff surveyor, Stephen Sserwambala to initiate a boundary demarcation and redrawing for the forest land at Nyimbwa.

The district council on October 28, 2014 passed a resolution instructing the district staff surveyor, Stephen Sserwambala to initiate a boundary demarcation and redrawing for the forestry land at Nyimbwa.

One of the reasons advanced by the district natural resources officials for the delay in initiating the boundary demarcation for the already encroached forest reserve land was the lack of funds to undertake the exercise which required a team of surveyors and extra manpower among other essential requirements.

Surprisingly, the chairperson Luweero District Land Board, Lule Kiggundu during the same month and year claimed that the district council had withdrawn powers for management of the forest reserve from the district land board through a district council resolution.

The reported user permits, land titles and land giveaway at the forest reserve were now a matter between the district natural resources officer, Hood Luyima and the district forestry officer, Deo Mijumbi. Several district councillors at the meeting claimed that the council resolution to withdraw management powers of forest land from the DLB was the work of a senior technical officer within the natural resources department who had links with the investors who wanted the land for industrial purposes.

“Issues regarding the forest land were very complex and tactfully hidden from some members of the district council,” Erasto Kibirango, a district councillor, representing Bamunanika Sub-county said during a recent interview.

Nadduli says


The Outgoing Luweero NRM District chairperson Hajji Abdul Nadduli.

The allegation by Luweero District councillors was later proved right by outgoing Luweero District chairperson Hajji Abdul Nadduli during a council meeting held on July 23, 2015.
Nadduli told council that the Presidents’ Office (State House) had requested Luweero District to ‘work closely’ with a group of investors who had interest in establishing some industries in Nyimbwa Sub-county were the district was to help them access land at the forest reserve.


“We had already initiated negotiations and allowed these investors to take part of the forest reserve land for the benefit of our youth who were likely to get employed,” Nadduli told the councillors.

Already more than half of the forest reserve land had been cleared by the time Nadduli informed council.
“All the transactions were done behind our back which lends credence to allegations that particular officials were beneficiaries in a deal to parcel out the forest reserve land. We were betrayed by some members of the district council executive. You cannot rule out the allegation that they too (some top district officials) got some share of the land,” councilor Namuyanja revealed during an interview recently.


Activists’ take:


Mr John Sseguja, a civil society activist and executive director Community Development Initiative (CODI) says giving away Nyimbwa forest was in bad taste and a clear manifestation that leaders in Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts are partly responsible for the disappearing forest cover in what is widely known as Greater Luweero area .


“If the explanations fronted by Luweero District officials are genuine that they plan to buy land to plant there a new forest, then they could have equally used that money to buy land for industries. We pray that the district gets that land as claim, but I highly doubt that ,” Sseguja says.

On April 28, 2016, during a district council meeting, councillors were briefed that the Minister for Water and Environment had instructed Luweero District to purchase alternative land where to plant a new forest before seeking permission for degazzettment of the forest which is already given away. Luweero District Council through the office of the chief administrative officer had a month before written to the Minister of Environment seeking permission to have the forest land degazzeted to pave way for an industrial park.

Luweero District officials according to environmentalists and concerned residents want to legalize a mistake made earlier when they acted against the advice given by the Ministry of Water and Environment including the commandant of the Environment Police in April 2014. “ One wonders which approval they want now when they have already parceled the forest land .It doesn’t make sense at all.” Sseguja adds

In April 2014, a team from the ministry of Water and Environment led by Charles Byaruhanga visited Luweero District and held a consultative meeting and later sensitisation of district officials regarding policy, laws and management of local government forest reserves. Aware of the encroachment on the 160 hectare forest land at Nyimbwa under the direct watch of Luweero District officials, the ministry team outlined guidelines for which the district could change land use for forest.

This included seeking approval of National Environment Management Authority for environment impact assessment, possession of an alternative land with a land title for tree planting, council minute resolution from the district, consultation and sensitisation of the local communities surrounding the forest reserve about the new programme, seeking approval from Parliament, legal advice from the Solicitor General after which Parliament debates whether to degazzete the forest or not. According to Sarah Namuyanja, a district female councilor representing Butumtumula Sub-county, the visiting Ministry team recommended for survey and boundary demarcation of the forest .


A section of the Nyimbwa Forest Reserve along the Kampala - Gulu Highway which has been given to NRM individuals and companies.


The visit and sensitisation meeting by Ministry of Water and Environment team was part of a follow up on the recommendations made by an investigation team led by the Commandant of the Environment Protection Police, Taire Idwege.

According to the terms of reference, the team was to investigate the alleged encroachment on the forest reserve land located at Nyimbwa Sub-county and later release a report. The Minister for Water and Environment sanctioned the investigation after receiving reports about land giveaway at the forest reserve by Luweero district authorities.




In March this year, the issue of destroying Nyimbwa forest was brought on the floor of Parliament by Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar ,who indicated that local authorities in Luweero had signed off the deal in total disregard of the Paris Declaration on Environment. Although speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga tasked government to explain how the forest was given away , the latter is yet to give Parliament a report .


NFA manages 506 forest reserves across the country, but many of them have been destroyed and converted into plantations. According to a recent report by Food and Agricultural Organisation, 200,000 hectares are destroyed every year down from 92,000 hectares two decades ago. The report says the rate at which forests are disappearing outstrips the rate of tree planting, which is estimated at only 7,000 hectares annually .

Other statistics show that from 1971 to 1987, Uganda lost 50 per cent of our forests, including virtually all primary forests. Between 1990 and 2010, an average of 88,150 hectares were lost or 1.86 per cent per year. So in total, between 1990 and 2010, the country lost 37.1 per cent of its forest cover. This means Uganda is left with only 13 per cent of the forest cover it had in 1970.





Beatiful Earth as seen from 240 miles above:

The World of West Africa as seen by the ISS( NASA)

The country of Peru as seen by ISS (NASA)


In Uganda, as the Uganda Army gives up guarding the forests illegal pit-sawyers turn violent against the National Forestry Authority officials:


Posted  Tuesday, October 20  2015



A forest supervisor under the National Forest Authority (NFA) last week survived lynching by residents of Kabamba Sub-county in Kibaale District.

An eye witness narrates how a group of people armed with pangas, sticks and spears stormed a Wednesday meeting and beat up the members leaving about five of them injured.

The meeting convened at Kiryanjagi village adjacent to Ruzaire Central Forest Reserve, was to discuss strategies of how to set up a community forest management group.

The witness said an area leader, Mr John Baringoha was critically injured and has since been admitted to hospital in Kagadi.

“We were seated in a meeting at a primary school when a group of people stormed us and began beating us. I had been called to brief the community on the procedure of starting up a community group,” Mr Uziah Ndyanabo, a forest official, said in a telephone interview.

The attack comes hardly a week after the withdrawal of UPDF soldiers by the law enforcement office at the headquarters without explanation.

Mr Ndyanabo said the soldiers were taken without replacement leaving their lives at a risk.

He said a senior politician told communities to gang against NFA staff and beat them up.

The attack has prompted them to halt their routine patrols for fear of their lives.

In 2009, government deployed the army and the police to protect forest officials from being attacked or killed by illegal pit-sawyers.

With the involvement of army officers, government said they have arms and power to control criminals while the police would be involved because they are responsible for charging the culprits in court.

The incident resulted from the killing of a forest supervisor and a guard while another one escaped with injuries.


The revival of passenger Concorde flying is on:



                         Passenger Concorde takes off to fly supersonic



When asked about the possibility of Concorde flying again, a British Airways spokesperson is emphatic: “There is absolutely no chance.”

That is, at least, as far as BA is concerned. While the airline has no plans to revive services, a group of enthusiasts have released plans to not only put one of the planes on permanent display in central London but to commence flights aboard the supersonic airliner once more.

Operated by BA and Air France, Concorde’s last flight took place on October 24 2003, and its demise has been heavily, enduringly, lamented by members of Club Concorde . The organisation comprises former Concorde pilots, charterers and frequent fliers, among others, and the group has now secured what it believes to be adequate financial backing to return Concorde to service.

They have two aims: firstly, to place one of the aircraft on a purpose-built platform positioned by the London Eye and above the Thames; secondly, to return another to use as part of a Return to Flight project.

Drawing from a £40 million investment, the club is aiming to purchase a Concorde currently stationed near Orly Airport in Paris and to place it as the main draw in a £16-a-head London tourist attraction that would include a restaurant offering dishes that were originally served on Concorde flights . Club president Paul James hopes the plane could be on display by 2017.

Getting Concorde back in the air would be rather more complex. The club has access to an additional reserve fund worth £120 million and plans to use this revenue to purchase a Concorde currently on display at Le Bourget airport in Paris. When restored (and dressed in an entirely new, neutral livery) and deemed safe to again take to the skies, the plane would be deployed for use in fly-pasts at air shows and made available for corporate and special events, as well as for private charter.

James will be well placed to cater to that demographic. During the aircraft’s heyday, he worked as a tour operator and chartered Concorde 19 times for luxury trips. A particularly extravagant excursion was a one-day visit to the pyramids in Cairo in 1982; priced at £780, it was marketed as the most expensive day trip in the world. He suggests that this future incarnation of the plane could be used, for example, to take groups from London to Monaco for the Grand Prix.

Club Concorde is aiming to recommence flights by 2019, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the inaugural Concorde flight, and should the initiative prove a success the organisation may subsequently aim to make flightworthy another Concorde at a later stage.

Jonathan Glancey, author of Concorde: the Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Airliner(published October 1 by Atlantic Books), believes the group could well succeed in their efforts. “So many people miss Concorde [and it] could certainly fly again given both financial and technical wings, while from a technical point of view there is nothing a team of expert and motivated engineers can’t tackle. For the moment, we should support it. ”

He points to a successful precedent. Used by the RAF from 1960-92, the Avro Vulcan V-bomber XH558 “The Spirit of Great Britain” was later returned to service and has flown for eight further years thanks to the Sky Trust and Lottery funding. It is set to make its final flight next month.

While efforts to revitalise Concorde continue, a number of other companies are also seeking to launch commercial supersonic flights.   Boston-based Spike Aerospace claims its proposed Spike S-512 supersonic jet will reach speeds of Mach 1.6 (1,100mph) and could be airborne in the early 2020s. NASA, meanwhile, recently provided funding to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California and other bodies to support their research into how to improve existing supersonic flight technologies .

Its passengers could expect to fly from New York to London within three hours but would need to adjust to one peculiar new feature: in order to reduce weight, minimise drag and maintain speed, the jet is expected to be built without windows in the main cabin . Instead, the jet’s interior walls would be covered in curved electronic screens that could display films or transmit footage of outside.

It seems the prospect of a return to commercial supersonic flights has had another burst of momentum.



Future Travel from London to Sydney in eight hours is soon on its way by supersonic planes:

World's fastest plane revealed
18 November, 2016
It is rare indeed for something to exist as a notable, celebrated slice of the past, and as an almost inevitable, glittering part of the future – but be absent in the present.


Supersonic flight is just such a shape-shifter. It floats in the general consciousness as a chic ghost of journeys of yesteryear, its glamour wrapped up in Concorde ’s broad wingspan – and gleams tantalisingly on the horizon as a symbol of a tomorrow where we will all zoom across the planet at enormous speeds. But for today, at least, and for the rest of the decade certainly, it is something you can only do in your memories or your dreams.

This week, though, has seen the second era of travel at greater than the speed of sound come a little closer – via the news that Sir Richard Branson has thrown in his lot (or, more importantly, his money) with a new American company which plans to redefine the way we cross the globe. Boom is an ambitious start-up, under the ownership of one Blake Scholl – a man who has worked as both a pilot and an executive for Amazon – which has just unleashed a prototype supersonic jet. Perhaps it is the fact that the plane looks the part – it is a mini-Concorde, all pointed nose and sleek sides. Perhaps it is the fact that Scholl has based his firm in Denver, the hard-working capital of Colorado, rather than amid the technology swell of Silicon Valley, suggesting a determination to crack on with the masterplan rather than endlessly swirling around in the hub of all things social media – but Branson has been impressed enough to place an order for 10 Boom planes.

Both men have been talking the talk.

“I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights,” Mr Branson commented earlier this week. “We’re excited to have an option on Boom’s first 10 airframes.”

“Concorde’s designers didn’t have the technology for affordable supersonic travel. But we do,” Scholl said at the prototype’s unveiling on Tuesday – outlining a coming epoch where supersonic air fares will be “about the same as tickets in business class” and travellers will “be able to get anywhere in the world in five hours for $100 [£80].”

“Step-by-step supersonic air travel will become available for everyone,” he continued. “It won’t be a bucket-list purchase any more. There is a huge market and the margins are enormous.”

Grand ambitions. Mr Branson has said that his Virgin Group will lend the expertise it has garnered in its attempts to create a commercial space craft to the Boom project. Scholl says that his prototype is a jump towards accessible flights between London and New York in 3.5 hours, and London and Sydney in as little as eight. And within the next 10 years. Boom’s baby will commence test flights in southern California early next year, and there is hopeful chatter about the first commercial jets being in service by 2023.

So is this the beginning of something special? Possibly. Supersonic travel has been the big travel question mark ever since Concorde touched down for the final time in 2003 – taking with it a pace and style of aviation that had become too expensive to sustain. Fuel costs, a fading safety record, an ageing fleet and a price tag which had left an icon of the heavens beyond the reach of the average passenger all combined to consign British Airways and Air France’s most recognisable planes into the 'where are they now?'



GettySpike Aerospace is another rider in this most forward-thinking of races. This Boston-based company is currently developing the S-512 Supersonic Jet, and has claimed that it could be flying by the end of the decade. This will be a 12-18 seat commercial plane that will reportedly be able to reach Mach 1.6 (about 1,100mph) – although will largely be a luxury steed aimed at the private jet market.Boom is the latest company to raise its hand and suggest that it has the answer – but it is not a lone example. Even as you read this, teams of scientists and engineers are labouring over laptops and in closed workshops, seeking the holy grail of the plane which can go to Mach 1 (the speed of sound; 768mph) and far beyond – but do so without operational costs leaping to levels that only billionaires can contemplate without wincing.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the USA’s stargazing behemoth NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has declared that it is working with aviation company Lockheed Martin to continue the development of its revolutionary range of “X-planes”.

Airbus, meanwhile, has set up a partnership with the Nevada-based Aerion Corporation – in the hope that a marriage of the latter’s technological nous and the former’s business clout and economic muscle may yet give birth to the new Concorde. Elsewhere, the European giant’s key American rival Boeing is also looking to craft a supersonic solution.

It is not as if the technology does not exist. The X-15, developed for the US Air Force in the Sixties, is thought to be the fastest aircraft ever to leave terra firma – its rocket-powered design propelling it to a documented Mach 6.72 (4,520 mph), and the verge of space, in October 1967. NASA’s experimental X-43 was even faster, ratcheting the dial to Mach 9.6 (7,310mph) – but “only” as an unmanned rocket-boosted shard of improbability that had to be launched from atop an airborne B-52. Only three were built (circa 2004), with one of them exploding at altitude, and the other two being (deliberately) allowed to  plunge into the ocean. The Mach 9.6 passenger plane is a long way off.

The challenge will be making the extraordinary work in the ordinary.

“Supersonic passenger air travel is back on the agenda of key market players who are determined to make it commercially viable for a wide consumer base,” says Nadejda Popova of travel commentators Euromonitor.

“The return of supersonic jet travel would be transformative, opening up far-flung destinations to new source markets such as Australia, the US and Latin America.

“While the first flights are likely to be on the busy transatlantic routes, there are over 500 future global routes open to supersonic travel, with trans-Pacific flights being key.

“Boom is the first supersonic company to have had orders placed, but NASA and BAE Aerospace are also working on supersonic prototypes that could fly even faster.”

Mention of Mach 9.6 – or indeed, a mere Mach 5 (3,300mph, which the Boeing X-51, another mould-breaker still in the testing stage, managed on its first – unmanned – flight in May 2010) – makes Concorde, which had a maximum speed just over twice the speed of sound, at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph), seem even more buried in history than it already is.

© GettyThis great trailblazer was not the only passenger jet of the first supersonic era. The Soviet Union, ever keen to keep pace with – or out-pace – the West, concocted the Tupolev TU-144, which was similar to Concorde in appearance, but not in success. It first flew on December 31 1968, from Moscow, two months before its rival achieved lift-off – but struggled with financial and mechanical issues. It never really recovered from a crash at the Paris Air Show in 1973 which damaged its image (and killed its six crew), and managed only 55 flights in its brief window of commercial service (November 1977-March 1978).

By contrast, Concorde swooped and shimmered in the liveries of British Airways and Air France between 1976 and 2003. Like the Tupolev TU-144, it was ultimately grounded by tragedy. The terrible crash of Air France Flight 4590, in Paris, in July 2000, which raised worries about the jet’s ongoing reliability, was a trauma that was always likely to be fatal.

But when it worked, Concorde truly soared. Anyone who was alive in Britain, France or east-coast America in the Eighties and Nineties will surely have enjoyed that startling moment when one of these jets passed overhead, almost causing the sky to ripple in a roar of noise. If you were quick, you could look up and catch a glimpse. If you tarried, it was gone, away through the clouds, leaving just its ragged vapour trail tapering behind it.

Of course, you can still see Concorde. It enjoys its retirement at several museums around the planet – such as the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy wing of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC ( ), the Auto & Technik Museum ( ) in Sinsheim, Germany (where an Air France model sits alongside a Tupolev TU-144 – the only case of the two planes being exhibited on the same site) – and at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace at Le Bourget airport in Paris ( ).

A British Airways Concorde, meanwhile, snoozes in the Seattle drizzle at the Museum of Flight ( ) in Washington State – while one of its colleagues enjoys the sunshine at the Barbados Concorde Experience ( ), at Grantley Adams International Airport, to which it was a regular visitor. Another is at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum ( ) in New York – the city which was Concorde’s halcyon destination.

Take a trip to see one of these old statesmen of the stratosphere, and you place one foot back into the 20th century. We await supersonic flight’s reemergence in the 21st .




The scene at Bukasa police station on Monday last week painted a vivid picture of the extent of forest land grabbing in Uganda.

Located on Kirinya road in Wakiso district, just behind Bweyogerere, the police station was playing host to a heated negotiation between trespassers on government land and government officials. In another place and another time, the encroachers would be hiding from the police; but here was a group of ‘illegal’ occupants arguing with victims of their actions.

They were engaging officials from NEK Consults Ltd, a company commissioned by Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) to establish a 132kV power transmission line to serve Mukono, Iganga and Luzira industrial parks.

The transmission line is meant to pass through a fairly extensive swamp neighbouring a contentious piece of land belonging to the National Forestry Authority (NFA), which the locals have forcefully occupied.

Bricks and sand

“We are not yet into the swamp, but some of us are planning to use it for making bricks and extracting sand. So, how are you planning to compensate us,” one of the residents asked in Luganda.

Now, under normal circumstances, a wetland is supposed to belong to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) or, since it is part of a forest reserve, NFA should have been in charge. But instead, a government project was negotiating with trespassers over a wetland. These encroachers, according Panos Eastern Africa’s technical advisor on natural resources, Hassan Muloopa, first trickled in in a simple way –by engaging in stone quarrying. They were ignored, seen as poor people honestly trying to eke out a living.

However, after they sold the stones and got money, they began putting up permanent structures. And today, they are fully entrenched as owners of land that was formerly part of Namanve central forest reserve.

The encroachers have organised themselves into associations to defend ‘their’ land. According to Sowedi Ssemakadde, the speaker of Bukasa People’s Development Association, their group alone has 417 people occupying 73 acres of the forest reserve land.

“We are the people who were chased from Naguru estates,” Ssemakadde told The Observer, adding: “We were given this land by Minister Maria Mutagamba in 2010.”

Interestingly, Ssemakadde acknowledges that this land is for NFA, but hastens to add: “It is no longer theirs because it was given to us by government.”

“NFA land is too big. It stretches from Kito to Namataba, Kirinya, Bukasa up to Namanve. For Kito, Namataba and Kirinya, the president gave it out to the veterans. Ours in Bukasa was given to us by the minister,” he says.

Asked for documentation to that effect, Ssemakadde is quick to say: “They are safely kept at home”.

The only documentation that he moved with that day is an interim order from Justice Wilson Masalu Musene of Nakawa court, prohibiting NFA from evicting the encroachers, in a case where his association sued NFA.

With the court backing, the encroachers have quickly put up more permanent structures everywhere. They are now slowly moving into the swamp, with activities such as sand excavation already underway.


Forest land grabbing is on the rise in Uganda – because of the exploding human population and activities such as agricultural development, where vast lands are cleared without conservation considerations, large-scale peri-urban housing projects development, fuel wood generation, uncontrolled forest harvesting including poaching for logs and poles, and urbanisation.

The destruction of Namanve forest reserve started with the de-gazetting of part of the forest for the establishment of Namanve industrial park. This, according to Panos’s Hassan Muloopa, was against the purpose for this forest reserve was established, as a strategic resource for Kampala city.

“This forest reserve came as a result of a survey... that found out that we would continue using wood for a long time,” Muloopa says.

Official records show that Namanve Central forest reserve was gazetted in 1932, covering 2,300 hectares. It was recommended that Namanve forest reserve be established to cater for Kampala’s demand for fuel. But with death of this forest reserve, Kampala continues to grapple with overwhelming demand for fuel for cooking.

The 2009/10 national household survey shows that 95 per cent of the households  still use firewood and charcoal as the main source of energy for cooking. Even in Kampala, where the majority have access to hydropower, 75 per cent of households mainly use charcoal for cooking. This has created a booming charcoal business, which is devouring Uganda’s forest cover.

According to a World Forestry day report released by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment  (Acode) recently, Uganda loses 90,000 hectares of its forest cover every year due to activities such as charcoal burning and forest land giveaways. If this continues, it is feared that Uganda could lose all its forests by 2050.

Muloopa says that previously, each town had land gazetted for a peri-urban wood plantation in anticipation of future growing demand for fuel. However, most – if not all – of these peri-urban forests have been given away.

Mbarara central reserve, for example, lost 168 hectares that was degazetted in 2007 for urban development. Today, Ankole sub-region is one of the highly-deforested sub-regions, with almost all the rolling hills cleared of their forests and water bodies such as River Rwizi carrying dirty water.

Tooro sub-region is also gradually following in the same footsteps. Fort Portal central forest reserve, meant to serve this green and quiet town, was given away to a private developer who instead changed its use to a dairy farm.

The 2001 Uganda Forestry Policy provides for establishment of urban forests because of their significance not only in reducing energy costs, but acting as windbreakers, and reducing air pollution by actively removing pollutants.


“In future, people may demand rejuvenation of these forest reserves. Presently, there is one man who thinks for us; he doesn’t listen to anyone including his wife, not even the technical staff. Once that powerful person goes, city mayors and people will demand peri-urban wood plantations,” Muloopa says.

“It is a very bad precedent that whoever changes the land use of a forest reserve should be left. It is fueling encroachment.”

According to fuelling on forest reserves is happening at two levels: first, is where politically-connected groups, for example veterans, illegally enter a forest –like what happened in Namanve and what is happening in Bugoma central forest reserve. The other is where government deliberately uses its powers to allocate forest land to private developers.

A 2012 study on land grabbing in Uganda carried out by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (Nape), says that the government, keen to attract investment, has allowed foreign companies to move onto large areas of land for a range of projects, including the development of a large-scale oil palm plantations, carbon offset tree plantations and, following the recent discovery of oil, for drilling.

“Forests have been cleared to make way for the plantations and wetlands have been drained, damaging the rich natural biodiversity…Governments and private companies are both keen to gain access to fertile land at a low cost,” the report reads.

Oil palm growing on Bugala island in Kalangala district, for example, claimed 10,000 hectares of natural forest. Because large areas of forest have been cleared to make way for oil palm plantations, there is pressure on the remaining forest resources, which traditionally provide wood for building materials, boat-making, food and importantly, fuel for the local population.

An environmental impact study had earlier indicated that the project would not have significant climate or hydrological impacts on the island, but that it was likely to reduce forest cover, resulting in a loss of endemic species, and that it would reduce windbreaks, increase siltation in Lake Victoria, increase logging, and reduce the potential for ecotourism.

Previously, government gave out Butamira to Madhvani family’s Kakira sugar works, and recently, it attempted to degazette part of Mabira forest for use by Mehta’s Lugazi sugar factory.

“The issue of government consultation and consensus building is still wanting,” says Care Uganda’s Technical Manager Annet Kandole Balewa.

“For all the forest land that has been given away, has there been consensus with the different players in the sector?”

At the answer to that question lies the heart of the problem.

This Observer feature was sourced with support from Panos Eastern Africa


Yumbe Town in Uganda is waking up and trying to stop the  sale of lots of charcoal made from cutting forest trees.

A truck transports charcoal in Arua Town recently. Leaders in West Nile

sub-region say charcoal business has degraded the environment.




Posted  Wednesday, May 13  2015 


Yumbe District council has passed a by-law banning the sale and transportation of charcoal in bulk in the district.
The by-law was passed last Friday following public outcry over rampant cutting down of trees. More than 10 trucks leave the district daily, carrying sacks of charcoal. 
However, the district council resolved that charcoal will only be used locally and transported on bicycles.
“This ban will not affect district revenue. We are not pleased with the way revenue on charcoal is collected because the 35 per cent is not remitted to the district by sub-county authorities. The monies end up being diverted by sub-county leaders,” said Ms Jane Alejo, the district secretary for finance.
Mr Swaib Andama, the district forestry officer, said the ban was necessary because levying high taxes on charcoal as earlier suggested did not have any impact.
“We are going to partner with police to implement the resolution but the office of the CAO is yet to write a letter formalising the ban,” Mr Andama said.

Ban welcomed
Kululu Sub-county councillor Mubaraka Tibo said the resolution was a good move. 
“Charcoal burning and trade make people poor. They should instead use the available rains for farming,” he said.
A sack of charcoal costs Shs13,000 in Yumbe and a vehicle that transports charcoal in bulk pays tax of between Shs120,000 and Shs140,000 per trip.

The resolution
Any person who violates the resolution will pay a fine while vehicles carrying charcoal will be impounded. A licence will be given only to those who transport charcoal on bicycles. The charcoal produced will be used within Yumbe. Tree-planting campaigns will also be intensified.


Bill Gates Financial Foundation's $1.4bn

in fossil fuel investments:

By Damian Carrington and Karl Mathiesen
Toxic waste in a tailing pond at the Syncrude open pit oil excavation mine in Fort McMurray,Alberta, Canada, on 21 Jul 2009. The top soil is removed to give access to the controversial tar sands. The sand goes through a processing plant to extract usable oil.: A Guardian campaign backed by 95,000 people so far is asking the gates to sell their fossil fuel investments.
Corbis A Guardian campaign backed by 95,000 people so far is asking the Gates to sell their fossil fuel investments.


The charity run by Bill and Melinda Gates, who say the threat of climate change is so serious that immediate action is needed, held at least $1.4bn (£1bn) of investments in the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies, according to a Guardian analysis of the charity’s most recent tax filing in 2013.

The companies include BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko Petroleum, which was recently forced to pay a $5bn environmental clean-up charge and Brazilian mining company Vale, voted the corporation with most “contempt for the environment and human rights” in the world clocking over 25,000 votes in the Public Eye annual awards.

Climate change campaign

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Asset Trust is the world’s largest charitable foundation, with an endowment of over $43bn, and has already given out $33bn in grants to health programmes around the world, including one that helped rid India of polio in 2014.

Guardian campaign, launched on Monday and already backed by over 95,000 people is asking the Gates to sell their fossil fuel investments. It argues: “Your organisation has made a huge contribution to human progress ... yet your investments in fossil fuels are putting this progress at great risk. It is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal.”

Existing fossil fuel reserves are several times greater than can be burned if the world’s governments are to fulfil their pledge to keep global warming below the danger limit of 2C, but fossil fuel companies continue to spend billions on exploration. In addition to the climate risk, the Bank of England and others argue that fossil fuel assets may pose a “huge risk” to pension funds and other investors as they could be rendered worthless by action to slash carbon emissions.

landmark report citing climate change published by the Lancet medical journal and University College London concluded that climate change is “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”.

In their annual letter in January, Bill and Melinda Gates wrote: “The long-term threat [of climate change] is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide.”

The Guardian analysis of the Gates endowment revealed investments in 35 of the top 200 companies as ranked by the carbon held in their reserves. These included coal giants Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Glencore Xstrata and Peabody Energy, the oil majors Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Total and Brazilian oil company Petrobras, currently embroiled in a corruption scandal.

“This is very shocking. I never knew that they had so much of this kind of investment,” said Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian activist who received the Right Livelihood Award in 2010 for “revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production” in the Niger delta where many oil majors operate. “If this is a charity that really care about the health of the people, they ought not to be investing in fossil fuel industries. They should pull back their resources from this sector completely.”

Bill McKibben, who leads the fast-growing Go Fossil Free campaign, said: “The Gates Foundation has worked so hard to grapple with global poverty. But at the same time they’re investing in the same companies that drive climate change, which endless studies now show is one of the key factors behind ... global poverty. The developing world deserves better than this kind of tunnel vision.”

He said: “The great industrial fortune of the 20th century, the Rockefeller oil legacy, has begun aggressively divesting from fossil fuel, arguing explicitly that climate change undermines its philanthropy for a better world. It’s time for the great technological fortune of the 21st century to do likewise.”

Prof Hugh Montgomery, a medical doctor at University College London and one of the authors of the UCL/Lancet study said: “I am backing the Guardian divestment campaign because I support the Gates Foundation and am a great fan of their work. I just want to help them to do more good.”

A spokesman for Bill Gates’s private office said: “We respect the passion of advocates for action on climate change, and recognise that there are many views on how best to address it. Bill is privately investing considerable time and resources in the effort [to develop clean energy].”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declined to comment on fossil fuel divestment and said all investment decisions were taken by a separate entity, the Asset Trust, which manages the endowment but never makes public comments.

However, the Gates’s charity has a track record of divestment from other sectors, having sold companies linked to the conflict in Sudan and banned tobacco investments. It alsosold its stake in a security company G4S, following controversy over its prison contracts in Israel.

The Gates charity investment policy states: “When instructing the investment managers, Bill and Melinda consider issues beyond corporate profits, including the values that drive the foundation’s work. They have defined areas in which the endowment will not invest, such as companies whose profit model is centrally tied to corporate activity that they find egregious. Bill and Melinda regularly re-assess the endowment’s holdings.”

In recent months, the Gates charity sold off its huge stake in ExxonMobil for $766m, which has in the past funded climate change deniers and now argues it is “highly unlikely” that international action on global warming will stop it selling oil and gas “far into the future”. No reason was given and it is unknown whether new fossil fuel investments have been bought.

“At this critical moment in time, if you own fossil fuels, you own climate change,” said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the $168m Wallace Global Fund, which has fully divested from fossil fuels and now invests in renewables and energy efficiency.

She has worked with many of the 75 other philanthropic organisations that have followed suit. “At a minimum, our investments should not be driving the problems we ask our grantees to solve. And those who acted early avoided the collapse of coal and oil prices. They were rewarded with strong financial returns: doing well while doing good.”

Dorsey said fossil fuel divestment by the Gates charity would be a huge boost for the fight against climate change: “For a foundation with such global prominence to lend its full weight – with grants and investments combined – would be game changing.”


Spring water that is bottled is frighteningly faecal polluted in Uganda:

People queue to fetch water from one of the protected

People queue to fetch water from one of the protected water springs

in Kigongi cell, Kigogi ward, Kabale Town.

Such springs are said to be contaminated.




By Emmanuel Ainebyoona 


Posted  Friday, May 1   2015 


A report found that some water sources were contaminated with faecal matter and lacked water-purifying substance.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cleared National Water and Corporation free from contamination but raised the red flag over high levels of faecal contamination in springs and some brands of bottled water.

A preliminary report prepared by Dr Jennifer Murphy and Amy Kahler, both scientists in the waterborne prevention branch of CDC, indicates that springs or wells exhibited high frequency of faecal contamination and none of them contained chlorine, a water purifying substance.

“One of 13 presumably treated manufacturer-packaged bottled water samples exhibited low-risk faecal contamination. None of these sources contained detectable chlorine,” the report reads in part.

According to Mr Asuman Lukwago, the ministry of Health permanent secretary, the investigations were prompted by the typhoid outbreak in Kampala and some neighbouring districts in February.

“I attended a forum where a group of people raised concerns to a senior government official over water contamination in Kampala,” Dr Lukwago said.

He added: “We cannot ignore results prepared by experts at CDC. We are going to study the report and see how we can use this information,” he added.

Dr Lukwago said the earlier results had also found wells and springs to be 90 per cent contaminated with faecal material.

He, however, noted that NWSC and manufactured bottled water sources were found to be safe.

The CDC report further reveals that vendor-sold kaveera and refilled water bottles were contaminated with high levels of E.coli, a bacteria that causes most diseases of the digestive tract, and urinary tract infections.

Also at high risk of waterborne diseases, are individuals who consume jerrycan water after they were found to be containing faecal material.

The report advised the public to boil water got from the various water sources before consuming it.


One should  try to move about the city of Kampala and its surroundings and appreciate the problems of the National Water and  Sewerage Corporation. The serving pipes for clean water are situated only about 7 to 15 ins deep in the soil. The damage to these pipes causes thousands of water pipe leakages. One cannot even try to talk about the water problems of the SEWERAGE PIPES OF THIS CITY FOR NOW. This water company even if it works 24 hours to repair these many good quality water outlets there are many more that open up. For sure, the historical great natural Lake Nalubaale is not going to last another 30 years at this rate of water loss. The experts at CDC just checking the quality of water and giving the go ahead to NWSC to continue to pump lots of nice water to the healthier people of Kampala is very unfortunate indeed.

Some of these water leakages have been going on for months and have picked up so much contaminants that are floating about in the NWSC pipe systems. Every year CDC is silent on such environmental problems and keeps giving a very good report to this water company. And the good guys on the board of this government corporation are some of the richest in town.


Omudumu gwa kazambi gwabise mu Kisenyi abatuuze ne beekalakaasa:
Kampala | Jun 19, 2015
Bigirwenkya ng’akutte omu ku beekalakaasi olwembeera zo budde mu kibuga
Kampala, Uganda.


OMUDUMU gwa kazambi gwabise mu Kisenyi abatuuze ne beekalakaasa nga baagala KCCA ne n’abekitongole ky’amazzi ekya, National Water babannyonnyole lwaki tebaddaabiriza myala na midumu gitambuza kazambi.

Byabaddewo ku Lwokusatu mu Muzaana Zooni okuliraana Ovino abakuba obuwunga we bakolera, omudumu gwa kazambi we gwayabikidde kazambi n’atandika okukulukutira mu maduuka g’abantu.

Amaduuka gonna baagaggadde ne bakung’aanya ebiti n’ebibaawo ne babisuula mu kkubo ne balemesa ebidduka okuyitawo ne basibawo n’omuguwa.

Poliisi ya Muzaana yazze ng’ekulembeddwamu, Henry Bigirwenkya kyokka abantu tebaamuwulirizza ne basigala nga bagenda mu maaso n’okwekalakaasa ekyawalirizza poliisi okukuba amasasi mu bbanga okubagumbulula.

Oluvannyuma poliisi ya Kampalamukadde yatuuse ng’ekulembeddwa atwala poliisi eno, Phillimon Ameru ne bayimirizaamu okwekalakaasa. Mu kavuvungano, poliisi yakutte omusajja ng’asuula emisanvu mu kkubo wabula n’abeegayirira n’ateebwa.

Abatuuze baategeezezza nti omudumu gwayabika wiiki nnamba emabega ne bakubira KCCA n’abamazzi essimu ne batafaayo.

Bigirwenkya yategeezezza nti, baakubidde ab’amazzi ne KCCA era nga baabadde mu nteekateeka okuziba omudumu guno wabula n’asaba abasuubuzi okukkakkana.





Kenya could become a dictatorship in the near future — blame it on water - An Opinion by:




So, the Kenya Tea Development Agency says factories in key tea-growing areas in southwestern Kenya are scaling down operations as the hot, dry, weather cuts deliveries by more than half.

The amount of tea sold at the world’s largest auction of the leaves in Mombasa dropped 27 per cent from a year earlier in a sale held this week.

Currency analysts are saying that reduced tea exports will put further pressure on the Kenyan shilling.

In short, the reduction in tea volumes and part of the depreciation of the shilling are to be blamed on water!

Though I do not export tea or any other crop, like other Nairobians, I too have taken a hit. For weeks, water to our part of the city has been rationed.

To get a bowser to top up the tanks for a week costs about Sh7,000 ($77). That is about a three-month water bill from Nairobi Water.

I am not alone. Thousands of people in Nairobi suffer a similar fate. So we are all the poorer because of water.

We hear stories that because of the dry weather, water levels in reservoirs have dropped sharply. The reservoirs are dependent on rain water because other water sources such as streams and rivers that would have fed them are gone.

People encroached and built on the banks, dumped in city garbage, and choked them to death. And wetlands too were taken ages ago.

This is an environmental crisis, yes, but the problems with water will cause a totally different problem in Africa in general — it could kill democracy.

These days, all those who occupy wetlands, encroach on forests, and take over river banks have something politicians need — the vote.

In some countries, Kenya included, politicians actually support them in grabbing forests in exchange for votes.

So, when the environmental or forest authorities move to evict them, there are protests and the encroacher-backed MP takes the matter to Parliament.

If not, they will go to court and a judge will grant them an injunction.

And so, we are getting to a dangerous point. In many of the countries in Africa where there has been environmental recovery, the governments did not go and kneel and appeal to the nationalism of the encroachers to leave wetlands and forests.

They sent in armed troops with bulldozers, guns, and trucks and carted off the peasants or encroachers forcibly.

Unless democratic interventions succeed, I fear that cities like Nairobi or Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to name just two, could, in 10 years, reach a point where a strongman tells the city residents:

“Choose, we either shoot people out of wetlands and violently break down homes that are blocking streams or you and your city die.”

You will be surprised how many starched white shirt and tie-wearing and church-going people will support the Draconian alternative.

It will not stop there. Any time an attempt is made to bring order to the roads, especially to the matatu industry or regulate boda bodas, there is chaos. The city MP who is dependent on their votes will raise a ruckus, and they will also go to court, and a judge will rule in their favour.

One can see here too that the mess on our roads will, in the years to come, play into the hands of a disciplinarian autocrat. Writing in the Daily Nation last week, Kwame Owino of the Institute of Economic Affairs, argued that one civilised way to deal with traffic congestion would be to impose a congestion charge.

It is possible to make a congestion charge work in London, for example, in part because Londoners know that city officials will not use it to marry second wives.

A congestion charge in Nairobi would cause a civil war, and elected officials would oppose it. So, again, we can see that in the long-term, there is no way Nairobi can be fixed in a democratic context.

However, a tyrant who does not have to worry about the next election, and who is not a thief, would get support to use extreme measures to clean things up.

Of course, as we have seen with the environmental nightmare in China, even unelected illiberal regimes pollute and mess the earth.

But you will not be able to tell a Nairobian who is dying of thirst in 10 years that it is wrong to shoot on sight anyone throwing his trash into the river.

The author is editor of Mail & Guardian Africa. Twitter@cobbo3






The sea ice cap of the Arctic appeared to reach its annual maximum winter extent on Feb. 25, according to data from the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At 5.61 million square miles, this year’s maximum extent was the smallest on the satellite record and also one of the earliest. The past decades have seen a downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent during both the growing and melting season, though the decline is steeper in the latter.


California drought goes from bad to worse as this modern state grapples with heat wave big time.

Experts say fix requires global effort going into an era of climate change in which ‘the temperature is essentially always conducive to drought’

california drought lake mcclure la grange
A concrete block that was used to moor a boat sits in dry cracked earth that
used to be at the bottom of Lake McClure in La Grange, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images in Los Angeles

Experts say the scorching spring days are part of a long-term warming pattern – driven largely by human activity – that is increasing the chances that future droughts will be as bad as this one. The warm and dry weather exacerbates already dire conditions as soil dries, snow melts and water usage is driven up.

“It’s like a one-two punch,” said Jeanine Jones, deputy drought manager for the state Department of Water Resources (DWR). “Not having enough water to fill our reservoirs and having the hot weather evaporate the little that we do have.”

According to the most recent USA drought report, moderately below-average precipitation, coupled with extremely above-average temperatures, has maintained or worsened drought conditions in California. The consequences have been devastating, from shriveling reservoirs to vanishing groundwater, dying crops, thinning herds and raging wildfires.

California relies on a series of massive storms during the winter months to drop snow on the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. During the spring and summer months the snowpack, acting like a natural reservoir, melts as water demand rises.

But the recent extremely warm weather has caused precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. The effect is dramatically less snowpack melt from the state’s mountain ranges, which can provide as much as a third of California’s water supply.

This year, the mountain runoff will likely be just a trickle. Snow on the mountains has fallen to 12% of average levels, from 28% last year. In March, data collected from parts of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains indicated that some sites were for the first time snow-free by the first of the month. Jones said the 1 April snowpack measurements, which will be reported next week, are expected to be the lowest on record.


“That does not at all bode well for our depleted reservoirs,” Jones said.

Hotter temperatures are predicted to be the new norm in California, the result of rising temperatures under climate change. This month, for the first time since record keeping began in the late 1880s, the temperature in Los Angeles peaked in the 90s fahrenheit for six consecutive days, according to the LosAngeles Times.

Based on the current warming trajectory, the likelihood that low rain years will coincide with high heat years is almost a certainty.

“California is in a climate regime where are much more likely to get this kind of drought event again because of the role of temperature rise,” said Stanford University professor Noah Diffenbaugh, who led a study examining the role of warm temperatures in California’s droughts.

That study, published earlier this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that historically, California’s worst droughts occurred when conditions were both dry and warm, and that those conditions had occurred more frequently in the past two decades than in the last century.

Diffenbaugh said global warming was increasing the risk that dry and warm years would coincide to almost ensure a drought similar to the present one. The researchers also found that in the early and mid-20th century, the warm and dry conditions occurred more or less independently.

“We’re heading into a regime where the temperature is essentially always conducive to drought,” he said.

With no foreseeable end to the drought in sight, policy makers at every level are scrambling to conserve the little water the state does have and avert dire predictions that the state could run out of water soon, possibly in one year.

“This is a struggle,” California governor Jerry Brown said at a press conference earlier this month. “Something we’re going to have to live with. For how long, we’re not sure.”

On Friday, Brown signed into law a more-than-$1bn plan to fast-track emergency relief to drought-stricken cities and communities, including food aid and drinking water. The proposal also includes hundreds of millions of dollars to fund long-term projects, involving water recycling, conservation awareness and flood control projects. At the signing, Brown said the plan was part of a wider effort to prepare California for an “uncertain future”.

The legislation followed action by the State Water Resources Control Board(SWRCB) this month to pass what has been described as the most restrictive water conservation measures in state history. The plan limits the number of days residents can water their yards, and requires bars and restaurants to ask customers if they would like a glass of water before serving it.

“We are not seeing the level of stepping up and ringing the alarm bells that the situation warrants,” Felicia Marcus, the chairwoman of the SWRCB, said during the meeting this month. She said the measure was a first step, and that the board may consider even more stringent measures this spring.


But he warned that there is still a lot scientists don’t know about droughts.

“We still don’t know a lot about how droughts develop, how they form, why they form,” AghaKouchak said. “If California wants to stay at the front of this, we have to consider science, and the best science. But it requires support.”

AghaKouchak said investing in “basic research” around water technology, water management and water harvesting could in the long-run improve strategies for responding to extreme weather. He also called for funding research to create better risk-assessment models to improve the predictability of droughts.

While there are conservation and planning policies that lawmakers can take now to conserve water and prepare the state for the next extreme weather event, California’s best hope lies ultimately in the willingness of the global community to confront climate change.

“This drought is not a local California issue,” AghaKouchak said. “This is a global issue. A single policymaker, or even all policymakers in California, alone cannot really do much about global temperature. This requires unprecedented international efforts and a truly global will to address these issues.”


Typhoon Maysak threatens Philippines as seen by current modern advanced Technology:

Luka can no longer move due to effects she says she got from drinking contaminated water


Annah Luka speaks with so much pain and anger. The 75-year-old’s life has never been the same ever since she slid over a wooden bridge and fell into a stream a year ago.

It started with her legs itching like she had been burnt with acid. Later, it began affecting her bones. Today, Luka can’t move on her own without being supported. The resident of Kityedo village in Bwijanga sub county in Masindi district, believes her illness was caused by the stream’s polluted water, a topic that has raised a storm in the area.

The Mugeye-Kaborogota-Nyamasoro-Ntooma stream, as it is popularly known, is allegedly polluted by Smart Start Industries, a factory located upstream in Bikonzi in Bwijanga sub county that distills local brew popularly known as waragi.

The factory discharges its waste into the stream, something that has changed its colour to a foul black stream with a strong stench oozing out of it and covering the villages of Kityedo, Bihanga, Ikoba and Katuugo in Bwijanga sub-county, through which the stream runs.

However, according to Julius Kahiira, the district councilor for Bwijanga sub county, the affected villages could be more because the stream pours into Ntooma valley in Hoima district. Ntooma is one of the tributaries of River Kafu, which pours its water in Lake Kyoga, one of the lakes on River Nile.

“We need a chemist to come and test this water because our people are complaining about so many complications,” Kahiira said.

When The Observer visited Kityedo village, there was a public outcry with several people complaining that the disease rates in their area had risen, and they suspect that pollution is the cause. Jackie Kusiima, one of the residents in the area, said she almost got a miscarriage when she drunk contaminated water and fell sick.

“I almost lost my baby after taking contaminated water. I didn’t know that the pollution has affected all our water sources,” she said.

The stream supports several protected spring wells that provide water to more than 30,000 people.  Among these spring wells is Kyakajumba, which Observer visited.

While the water flowing from the spring looks clean, that coming from the surrounding ground had molasses, confirming that the molasses has accumulated in the surrounding soil in that even if government moved and closed the factory now, the community has to pay the price for years to come.

“Health officers have advised our people to stop using this water [Kyakajumba] but where else can they run to?” Kahiira asked.

The other affected springs include Kabakazi and Mugeye. According to Kahiira, Ikoba health centre III, which has been using Kyakajumba spring, stopped operations. Apart from human health, locals also report that the contamination has affected agriculture in the area due to failed crops and loss of livestock.

“Our goats, pigs and cows are all dying because of that smelly water,” said Norah Driciru, a farmer.

Many local farmers confessed living in fear of eating the crops they grow, especially near the stream. They know that they are planted in polluted soil.

“Our soil is polluted. The yams are all rotten. We are even scared that we may contract cancer. Some people are even complaining of their eyes itching,” said Sam Kabagambe, a local resident, who also alsked government to revoke the company’s license.

For youthful Grace Mugisa, it is how the pollution has killed his childhood memories of the stream that makes him sad.

“As children, we used to fetch water from that stream because it was the only source of water. Now, our parents live in fear that our young siblings may stray into the stream,” Mugisa said.

Public outcry had successfully managed to have the factory temporarily closed in 2013, after they complained that there was no Environment Impact Assessment done. However, the factory reopened last year when it secured a Nema certificate dated June 18, 2014.

The certificate, which is valid for a period of five years, a period presumed to cover both the construction and operational phases of the factory, is granted on condition that the factory complies with a number of conditions.

Among them is the requirement to construct a modern waste-water treatment plant to treat all the waste water/effluent discharged from the distilling plant, and undertake regular analyses to ensure compliance with the recommended national standards.

In fact, the certificate emphasizes that before commencement of the operation phase, the factory should ensure that the waste-water/effluent plant is installed. That has not been done, according to William Nsimira, the district environment officer.

“There is direct open discharge without treatment of the factory waste into the stream,” he said.

Nsimira, who recommends an environment audit to gauge the impact the factory on the environment, says the environmental impact assessment was rushed.

“It has many loopholes because first of all where the factory is located is a residential area,” Nsimira noted.


Rising public concern about the impacts of pollution forced Kahiira to move a motion in the district council on May 29 on environment degradation in Bwijanga sub-county.

“Mr Speaker, I want to register a public outcry on behalf of the community living in Bikonzi, Kityedo and Ikoba villages and more so, to people living along Mugeye-Nyamasoro-Ntooma stream,” reads his motion.

“The management of the waragi factory has continued to dump their factory (molasses) refuse into the said stream for long. Efforts to stop them in writing were made by the district environment officer Masindi but didn’t yield results. Officials from NEMA office in Kampala visited the site and promised to avail us an impact assessment report but to-date we have never seen it.”


When contacted, the factory proprietor David Byensi narrowed the entire issue to witch-hunt.

“The person bringing up all this is Fox Kayebwa [the sub county NRM chairperson]. He is using

Kahiira to fight me because I sunk a water pump in [a piece of] land that he was interested in,” Byensi said.

“All they are doing is to fight but they won’t succeed. My waste is treated as recommended by Nema. Yes, it smells and has that colour but it is ok. It happens with all factories. It is the same with Kinyara [sugar factory]. Why aren’t people complaining about Kinyara?”

When The Observer stealthily visited the factory in Bikozi, there was heavy spillage and massive leakages, with the residue spilling into the road. Charles Wamala, the programme manager Masindi District NGO Forum, says Byensi has been previously advised by one of his workers that they could ask for permission from Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to pour the molasses waste on the murrum roads. The molasses is sticky and can help to reduce the dust.

However, Byensi told The Observer that it is an expensive venture that would require trucks to transport the molasses. Byensi, instead, proposes that if he gets funds, he would rather buy a digestor to turn the waste into fertilizers. Edward Mbiheebwa, the executive director of Masindi District NGO Forum, says enough is enough.
“This has really reached a climax,” Mbiheebwa said.
“We are going to mobilize the locals to decide a way forward.”

Yose Ombedra, the coordinator for natural resources for Community Development and Conservation Agency, said the impact of the factory’s disposal had the papyrus around Kitama giving way, creating a sort of a lake.

“The community believes the roots of the papyrus had been weakened by the molasses because it has never happened before that the papyrus would give way,” he said.

Ombedra further noted that Smart Start Industries’ case is a tip of an iceberg. There are so many other small scale distillers polluting wetlands in Bunyoro sub-region.  He gave the example of Kiha-Kachukura wetland, which has been heavily degraded by these distillers that it is starting to dry up.

“These breweries are compromising the quality of water, but also they are cutting down trees for brewing firewood,” he noted.

The major driver for breweries setting up base is Kinyara sugar limited, which has also had a great impact on forests and wetland degradation in the sub region. The local breweries buy molasses from Kinyara sugar limited.

As people look for arable land for sugarcane growing, it’s fragile areas such as wetlands and forests that are sacrificed.

“This [August] used to be a rainy season but it is like January and February [it is dry]. Most of this evidence is real and affecting the local people,” Nsimira, the district environment officer, said.

According to Nema’s publicist Naome Karekaho, nothing has come to the attention of the authority.

“Environment management is decentralized. At every local government, there is an environment officer. If it was debated at the district level, we expect them to have taken action, or reported, which they haven’t done,” Karekaho said.

“No report has come to us, but now that it has come to our attention, we will take it up.”

Story sourced with support from PANOS Eastern Africa


In Uganda, Kampala international city service pipes are being laid under roads to avoid expensive resident compesation:

                                      NWSC staff lay a pipe on Kaya Road in Bunga, a Kampala suburb




By Stephen Otage

Posted  Tuesday, August 4  2015


Kampala, UGANDA

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has resorted to digging up public roads in Makindye Division to lay huge water pipes connecting to the new reservoir at Namasuba hill to avoid a huge compensation bill.
Mr Johnson Amayo, the NWSC deputy managing director in charge of technical services, told journalists last Friday that encroachers on road reserves where the pipes are supposed to be laid, had demanded a lot of money that would make the project more expensive.
“The money they are asking for is more than the cost of the pipes. With proper physical planning, utility services are provided on road reserves but people have built high end properties and after doing an economic analysis, we found that we cannot afford,” Mr Amayo told journalists during the tour of the Namasuba transmission and storage works.
When contacted, Mr Peter Kauju, the KCCA publicist, said the city authority encourages people who dig up road sections to use modern technology so that they don’t destroy the road.
“We encourage them to create ducts so that all cables and pipes to be laid underground, pass through this duct,” he said.
The Namasuba reservoir will supply water to the greater Kampala Metropolitan area.


One understands that this mountain is the closest place to space on planet Earth:


                                       Provided by Webedia SAS: Emerging from the clouds Ecuador's

                                      Chimborazo peak.


Depending on how you look at it, this highest mountain on Earth when one thinks of it in terms of sea level, at 6,268m it doesn't come close to Everest's gargantuan 8,848m.

Rather than being a perfect sphere, our planet is in fact squashed. This means that those mountains closest to the equator can gain as much as several kilometres when measuring their height. Using these calculations, Chimborazo becomes the world's highest peak and even Kilimanjaro - normally found well outside the top 150 tallest mountains - comes in seventh. Everest and the rest of the Himalayas are nowhere to be seen.

The other great advantage to Chimborazo is its accessability. Both in terms of difficulty and expense, climbing this mountain is well within the dreams of amateurs. At 6,286m, the biggest problem climbers face is altitude. Most spend time acclimatising in Quito before making the ascent, often climbing the 5,750m to neighbouring Cayambe to see whether they are up to the challenge.