Dr Mungherera has been suffering the agony of the poverty of the medical fraternity that is in Uganda: 

February 8, 2017

Written by BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI

Dr Margaret Mungherera, the former president of the World Medical Association, died of cancer last week. As a tribute to one of the world's most respected and outspoken health rights activists, we republish this feature about Mungherera by BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI first published by The Observer in January 2014.


When Ugandan psychiatrist Margaret Mungherera was voted unopposed as president-elect of the prestigious World Medical Association (WMA) – the event conjured up bitter memories when she was refused to practice medicine in Britain 28 years ago.

Mungherera had travelled to the UK to pursue a diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1984, after completing her internship at Mulago hospital a year before.

In 1980 the General Medical Council in the UK had banned doctors from a number of countries, Uganda inclusive, from working in England for various reasons, including the insecurity in Uganda then, and an alleged decline in standards here. Hence while Mungherera’s classmates from India, Nigeria and Ghana were allowed to practice, Ugandans were rejected as unworthy.

“For us personally as doctors we felt sort of downgraded and humiliated. It meant that if you could not work in England, then you could not work in Germany, France or Europe,” Mungherera says.

She recalls that even when they were admitted, they were told they could not touch patients, meaning that it was going to be a theoretical course.

“It was OK that we were not allowed into courses that were clinical at the time. It must have been up until the 1990s when we struggled and we were recognized again.”


Mungherera’s highest personal recognition came in October 2012, when she was voted WMA president-elect for 2013-2014 at the association’s annual General Assembly in Bangkok, Thailand. A year later, in Fortaleza, Brazil, she was installed as president at the WMA general assembly.

WMA, acting on behalf of patients and physicians, endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care, ethics, education and health-related human rights for all people.

“When I was taking up this post, the people who actually looked for me were from the British Medical Association. I also had doctors from the American, German and South African Medical Associations who actually rallied and convinced me to take up this challenge. And so when I was declared unopposed at the meeting in Bangkok last year, the first thing that came into my mind was how I felt that afternoon when I was not allowed to register in the UK,” Mungherera says, remarking what a “wonderful thing” it is that the British now think a Ugandan can lead.

Mungherera is only the third woman to head the 66-year-old association, after Dr P. Kincaid-Smith from Australia (1994-5) and Dr Kati Myllymaki from Finland (2002-3). And she is the second African president, after South Africa’s Bernard Mandell (1996-7). She sees this as more evidence to a gender-imbalanced world – that women can ably lead.

“As president, I am going to be the ambassador of the association. I will be the mouthpiece and spokesperson. I will represent WMA at the United Nations and World Health Organisation meetings and other bodies that have a relationship with the association. I will also be visiting national member associations especially where health workers have challenges. If, for example, they have unfairly detained a health worker or where rights of health workers are being violated,” she says.

Mungherera has been a medical doctor for over 30 years and a psychiatrist for 20 years. She specializes in forensic psychiatry at Mulago teaching and referral hospital. She also has responsibilities as the clinical head, directorate of Medical Services (departments of Internal Medicine and Psychiatry). In addition, she is a senior consultant psychiatrist at Mulago hospital, in charge of psychiatry emergency services.

Mungherera is a founding member of the Association of Uganda Women Medical Doctors and was the first woman to be elected honorary president of the Uganda Medical Association (UMA) since its formation in 1963. She is also its longest-serving president – 1998-2005 and again from 2010 to-date. As WMA boss, she hopes to tackle the challenges of delivering quality healthcare to millions around the world. And she articulates the problem clearly.

“I think the main challenge is that there is a human resource crisis all over the world whether you are talking about high, middle or low-income countries. The most affected areas are the low and middle-income countries. In terms of migration there is a lot of internal and external migration. People are migrating from the South to the North. People are even migrating within their countries from rural to urban areas. So, there is a lot of inequality in terms of distribution of health workers,” she says.

“I also think that the profession has low numbers but also there is a shortage of skills. The skills that are necessary now are to do with the new diseases that have emerged. For example, we as doctors should no longer keep sitting in our clinics; we should be out there doing advocacy, public awareness and health promotions.

“The diseases have changed; we should be talking about lifestyle, more than infections. [Of] course infections are important but lifestyle is a very important issue now. The other challenge as new diseases and epidemics emerge, there is reduced resources for health care. In most countries health care resources are going down,” she added.



Dr Mungherera supervising work at Mulago hospital in 2014

To address these challenges, Mungherera suggests that governments should show more commitment and increase funding for the sector. And the private sector, too, should be more involved in providing solutions.

“For example, a lot of governments have signed the Abuja Declaration, which requires all countries to allocate at least 15 per cent of their national budgets to health. It is not happening in any of the low-income countries and even some middle income countries.”

Mungherera also stresses that research has to be the pillar of efficient healthcare systems.

“We need to be providing services that are based on evidence. So, in many of these countries there is very little money for research. And a lot of research is done by institutions elsewhere. A lot of research is not being translated into policy and action; so, there is a lot of wastage of resources for research. We need to get more money but also target the money to where it is needed to influence policy and action.”


UP TO THE TASK

According the former WMA president, Dr Cecil Wilson, there is no doubt Mungherera will make a great president.

“In talking with Dr Mungherera about her vision for the WMA, what comes through loud and clear is a dedication to bringing the disparate member organisations of the WMA together,” Wilson wrote in his blog posted on the WMA website.

The principal medical officer in charge of mental health at the Ugandan ministry of Health, Dr Sheila Ndyanabangi, describes Mungherera as a charismatic, driven, outspoken, and truly emancipated woman.

“She has fought for the medical profession and the rights for women, men, children and health workers. She was a pioneer in starting health services for after-rape victims,” Ndyanabangi told The Observer. “Therefore, I think she has a lot to offer in coming up with new approaches in empowering health workers in general but also the medical doctors to fulfill their potential in as far as they can contribute to the wellbeing of the population.”

A particular area of concern for Mungherera is the delivery of psychiatric services in Africa, which are hindered by challenges such as the stigma associated with mental illness.

“Stigma also leads to limited resources provided by families, communities and governments. And our services are still rudimentary if you compare them with those in the West. We need to do more work with traditional healers because we know they have a role to play. We need [to] train, educate, and reorient them on what our different roles should be.”

“We need to educate the masses about the common causes of mental illness and how they can recognize mental problems. We also need to integrate mental care into primary healthcare so that every health worker can recognize the form of condition and to give some sort of treatment and know when and where to refer.”

Mungherera notes that immunization is not the responsibility of the health sector only but a multi-sectoral issue that calls for adequate funds for social mobilization.

“If we do not put enough money and effort in social mobilization, we are not going to get the results we want as far as immunization is concerned.”

Mungherera observes that the medical sector in East Africa is developing with the input from the private sector but more resources are required to gain higher growth.

“Things would move faster if we had more resources and especially the human resource. However, in the last 20 years a lot has changed in the way we manage and prevent diseases, and the number of skilled professions has increased. With more resources we can actually get where we can say it is of good standard,” she adds.

Mungherera has expertise in training health professionals and community health workers (CHWs), mental health and forensic medicine research, human rights advocacy, non-profit organizational governance and development.

In 2000, Mungherera initiated discussions between national medical associations in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, a move that culminated in the formation of the Federation of East African Medical and Dental Associations.

A significant achievement of the federation has been to bring together for the first time national medical associations to work with their regulatory bodies in the Eastern African region (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and later Rwanda and Burundi) to strategise and plan for a joint effort to promote standards in training of doctors, regulation, continuing professional development, cross-border disease surveillance and emergency response.

President Yoweri Museveni appointed Mungherera a member of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Global Fund for HIV/Aids, TB and Malaria (2004-2005) and member, Public Universities Visitation Committee (2005-2006).

Mungherera, who was born on October 25, 1957, has five siblings, including four medical doctors. She is married to Richard Mushanga, a retired banker, and she has an adult step-son and four grandaughters.


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Of late these are the modern African medical professionals who seem to have suffered the fool concerning the self inflicted poverty of the country of Uganda. The country of Uganda cannot be struggling to own and use only one cancer treatment machine out of about 50 modern British style hospitals flourishing nationwide. It is a disgrace.


A MEDICAL LETTER FOR AMAMA MBABAZI

January 6, 2017

Written by MOSES KHISA

Mr Amama Mbabazzi


Dear Ndugu Amama,

Greetings! I had hoped to speak with you in Kampala just before Christmas day, but the vicissitudes of life and the messiness of our city made it a little difficult. Before long, I was back to base in Chicago.

One of your aides intimated that you had recently asked about me. And coincidentally, one of the ardent readers of this column, Samuel, not too long ago wanted to know if I knew what you are up to lately. I promised him I would put the question to you directly. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to.

Meanwhile, I was meaning to write you a line on the email when news broke through with a bang: you are in talks with Uganda’s chief fighter, Ssabalwanyi General Museveni, through your daughter Rachel.

Rachel came very close to fully confirming this development, telling the Daily Monitor newspaper: “Yes, I have met the president on several occasions. However, it is bad manners to disclose what one discusses with one’s elders.”

This news has attracted indignation, at least on social media.







The two brothers running the affairs of the country of Uganda.


Ugandans who are sick and tired of Museveni’s decadent rule are resolutely hostile to any rationale for meeting with and talking to a man you so diligently served.

I have a different view, though. The issue shouldn’t be about meeting or not meeting, it’s about why you have to meet and talk. You sure should meet Mr Museveni and speak to him candidly.

I don’t wish to sound presumptuous, but if you may permit me, I should like to remind you something you know all too well. Museveni has a knack for humiliating those who oppose him, chiding anyone who disagrees with him, discrediting and assaulting whoever threatens his grip on power.










NRM swimming in cash money.


I suspect that you are a man who prides in his honour and integrity. The last thing you want to do is crawl back to the Ssabalwanyi begging for favours and access to state largesse. The late Eriya Kategaya went through that ignominy and must have died a depressed man.

At any rate, you should savour a meeting with Museveni and tell him more forcefully what you have told him in the past: that his time is up. Tell him it is in his best interest to work out an exit plan before it becomes inevitable to depart disgracefully. Impress upon him not to wait for 2021 because he should have already left, anyway.

Tell him that harkening back to the Constitution is hollow. The Constitution was long abrogated, otherwise, we wouldn’t have flagrant disregard of court decisions, abuse of court processes, and illegal use of force especially at the behest of a partisan head of the Uganda Police Force. So, there is no constitutional order to talk about.

As you know, with your explicit involvement and enthusiastic participation, the infant 1995 Constitution received a severe knockdown in 2005. It was damned beyond redemption. The country will need a new Constitution once the current system is set aside, one way or the other, in the near future.

That said, Ndugu, I should like to propose that you use the opportunity of meeting your old comrade to persuade him that he is out of touch with the real problems of Uganda. He needs to clear the way and create the space for a new leadership that can reimagine a new Uganda and forge a better future.

The illusion that it is him to save our country and the mass of our compatriots from intractable socioeconomic and political problems has driven the country to a cliffhanger. The insecurity borne of a dubious long stay in power has bred blatant nepotism and a bloated personal security apparatus, weighing heavily on the national budget.

Remind General Museveni that the longer he has clung on, the more he has set up the country for a dangerous end to his rule, something that seems to have attracted disquiet from right inside his family environs, if the ramblings of one of his sons-in-law is to be taken at face value.

The writing is right on the wall. Remind him that there are many historical lessons to look to if at all he is in doubt as to how the course of history can sometimes unfold following its own laws and in total disregard of human ingenuity and logic.

Uganda is not at all inoculated against the kinds of tragic events we have seen in other countries where rulers cling onto power, effectively undermining and undoing whatever progress in place and leaving behind ruins when finally forced out.

I understand that General Museveni is not particularly keen on taking advice, never mind the over 100 advisors. But if you can impress upon him the urgency of his exit from power, you will have done a great service to the nation, arguably more important than what you did as a government official for three decades.

The next time I am in town, I will be sure to seek you out about receipt of, and reaction to, this letter. I hope you will still be holding your own in opposing life presidency and family rule in Uganda.

I thank you!

moses.khisa@

gmail.com

The author teaches  political science at Northwestern University/Evanston, Chicago-USA.


Nb


The message this writer is making has already been made through  the recent expansive General Election of 2016. Mr Mbabazi has a very sick wife and with the advice of his strong daughters, there is not enough money in the family to treat their mother of cancer all over the world's medical hospitals.

Embeera y’eddwaaliro ly’e Kawolo y’eraga Banna

yuganda bwe batafa ku byabwe

May 31, 2014

Eddwaaliro ly’e Kawolo bwe lifaanana.


Broken Down Ambulance



Dodgy mud and wattle

Latrine in Jinja City

Broken down bathroom

Mu 2012, abayimbi

ba Ganda Boys okuli Dennis Mugagga ne Daniel Ssewagudde baatonera eddwaaliro ly’e Kawolo ebikozesebwa ebibalirirwamu doola 15,000. Bazzeemu okukola ekintu kye kimu bwe bawadde eddaaliro lino ekyuma ekibikka abaana, kompyuta n’okulirongoosa, wamu n’okutonera essomero lya Lugazi Community Primary kompyuta. John Weeraga yasisinkanye Dennis Mugagga n’ayogera ku bukulu bwa Bannayuganda okwagala ebyabwe.

Mmwe musobodde mutya okusigalawo wadde mweyubula okuva ku Da Twinz okudda ku Ganda Boys?

Twatendekebwa bulungi. E Namasagali twalina Fr. Grimes eyatuwa entandikwa, n’atulaga vizoni ennyimba zaffe kwe zisobola okuvuganyiza e Bulaaya naddala mu by’okuzina n’okukuba ebivuga.

Twatuuka ekiseera ne tumanya nti tusaanye okweyubula, singa twakomawo nga Da Twinz, wano wanditumize.

Naye twamanya kye tuli, myuziki wa Uganda ky’ali ne kye tuyinza okuguza Abazungu. Jjuuzi twabadde ku siteegi ne bakafulu mu kuyimba nga 65 ku siteegi y’emu, nga bo batukubira ebivuga (orchestrar) ng’eno bwe tuyimba. Bo Bazungu ffe tuli Bannayuganda!

Bonna baabadde n’obuyigirize obusinga ku bwadokita. Naye ggwe bw’oba n’obukkakkamu, n’okkiriza ky’oli. N’omanya nti bo balina kye bamanyi, naye naawe by’oyimba tebabimanyi olwo ojja kumalako.

Ffe ne tuyimba ‘Agawalaggana mu nkoola’, nabo ne bakuba ebivuga byabwe okusinziira ku bwe tuyimba, ne tuzina, abawagizi ne banyumirwa oluyimba! Kino abayimbi ba Uganda kye batannayiga, baagala kufaanana nga Bazungu sso ng’ebyabwe tebabisobola.

Naye ebibiina ebimu nga Eagles bisasika?

ABO baali basobola okukwatagana ne beeyubula, ne bafuna abawagizi abaggya ebweru ne mu Uganda.

Eno ye ambyulensi y’eddwaaliro.

Bandizuddewo engeri y’okumanya muyimbi ki mu bo akaddiye, bayinza kumuggyawo oba kumuyubula batya ne bayingizaawo n’abaana abato? Abazungu bakikola nnyo, oyo akaddiye talwana na mwana muto ng’ayiiya ennyimba ezijja okubaswaza wabula asigala ayimba ennyimba ze n’abato ne bayimba ezaabwe.

Singa aba Eagles baatuukirira Moses Matovu owa Afrigo oba abantu abalala abaludde mu nsiike eno bandibadde babawabula.

Kiki kye mufunye mu kweyubula kwe mukoze?

Kye nsinze okusanyukira kwe kuba nti bwe tuyimba, oli n’asituka n’agamba nti nze eddwaaliro ly’e Kawolo ndiwadde ekyuma kino, ndiwadde kompyuta abasawo basobole okuwuliziganya ne bannaabwe e Bulaaya. Kino nze kimmala, kubanga n’ebintu bye tuyimba ebisinga si byaffe.

Mwasinziira ku ki okulonda eddwaaliro ly’e Kawolo okuliwa obuyambi?

Eddwaaliro bbi nnyo, liri ku luguudo lunene okubeera obubenje buli kiseera naye tebalina bitanda, amazzi tebalina, lirina ebizibu bingi.

Naye mwanamugimu ava ku ngozi, kitange Dr. Charles L. Mugagga yakulirako eddwaaliro lino okumala ebbanga mu myaka gya 1980, ate maama Sr. Alice Mugagga naye yakulirako ekitongole ky’abakazi abazaala mu ddwaaliro lino ate nga nange nnalirabako nga likola.

Condoms block Masaka munici
pality sewerage plant

Publish Date: Feb 21, 2015

By Francis Emorut
 
Sewerage pipes that are always blocked by condoms at the Masaka sewerage plant.  


MASAKA,BUGANDA, UGANDA -

Condoms flushed from the toilets of lodges in Masaka town and also dumped in the sewerage plant threaten the municipality's sewerage system functioning.


The National Water Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) sewerage plant that was built in 1952 has been intruded by town dwellers who dump condoms and polythene bags into it.


"The condoms and dead animals like dogs and cats and are being dumped into the sewerage plant and they cause blockage, making workers to constantly unblock the manholes," Joseph Mugenyi the area manager NWSC Masaka told MPs of Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and officials from Uganda Water Network (UWASNET) on Friday.


The group of legislators was on a field tour to assess the implementation of WASH programme in the district.


Mugenyi said his workers have a mighty task to prevent the municipality from being enveloped in filth if the sewerage overflows.


"The workers keep monitoring and unblocking the manhole whenever they have been blocked by condoms to prevent the sewerage from overflowing. Otherwise, the whole town would be full of stench," he said.


The water area manager said plans are underway to fence the sewerage plant to prevent residents of the town from dumping waste into it.



A team of MPs inspected the plant on Friday. 

Workers always unblock the sewerage pipes. 


The sewerage plant was built 63 years ago. 

Condoms and dead animals are usually dumped in the sewerage plant. (Photo credit: Francis Emorut)

The vice chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on WASH Ephraim Biraaro emphasized the need to sensitize the municipal dwellers on the dangers of flushing condoms into their toilet systems or dumping them in the sewerage plant.


He appealed to the district leaders to sensitize the masses on the proper way of condom disposal.


Biraaro also called for the implementation of the polythene bag law which banned its manufacture.


Ngora Woman MP Jacline Amongin, who is also the chairperson of Parliamentary Forum on WASH, called for more funding for water, sanitation and hygiene.


She asked the district authorities to prioritise sanitation and hygiene.


The MPs were also shown new technologies of water source and harvesting in Kalungu.


Lawmaker Hatwib Katoto warned that if the district authorities don't take action the municipality would experience an outbreak of cholera.


The Oil rich African country of Nigeria has started to borrow money to pay salaries as Interna

tional price of oil tumbles

By Agencies

Posted  Thursday, May 7  2015

 

NIGERIA, Lagos A cash shortage caused by low oil prices has forced Nigeria to borrow heavily through the early part of 2015, with the government struggling to pay public workers, officials said yesterday.

“We have serious challenges. Things have been tough since the beginning of the year and they are likely to remain so till the end of the year,” said Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Nigeria, Africa’s top economy and largest oil producer, has been hammered by the 50 per cent fall in oil prices, with crude sales accounting for more than 70 per cent of government revenue.

“As it stands today, most states of the federation have not been able to pay salaries and even the federal government has not paid (April) salary and that is very worrisome,” said Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha.

Nb

It seems that Third World countries have a long way to learn how to handle their economies with a bit of caution. It is bad indeed to put ones  eggs in one basket.

Kabaka akyusizza ennyimba y'ekitiibwa kya Buganda

By Dickson Kulumba

Added 31st January 2017


KABAKA Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II asiimye era n'akakasa ennyimba enaagobererwanga mu kuyimba Ekitiibwa kya Buganda ng'eyawuddwamu ebiti bisatu.


Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II ng'awuubira Obuganda. EKIF: DICKSON KULUMBA


Ennyimba esooka; ebitundu by'oluyimba luno ebitaano byakumalibwangayo ku mikolo okuli okujjukira Amatikkira ga Kabaka, okuggulawo olukiiko lwa Buganda n'okukuza Amazaalibwa ga Kabaka.

Bino byayanjuddwa Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga bwe yabadde alambulira Obuganda ebigenda mu maaso nga yasinzidde mu Lukiiko lwa Buganda olwatudde ku Mmande ya wiiki eno January 30, 2017 e Bulange - Mmengo.

Mayiga yagambye nti ennyimba eyookubiri mwe muli emikolo okuyimbirwa ebitundu bisatu: ekisooka, ekyokuna n'ekyokutaano nga gyegyo Kabaka gy'alabikako ng'oggyeeko egimenyeddwa waggulu.

Ate ennyimba eyookusatu y'enaaberanga ku mikolo emirala gyonna egya Buganda nga gya kuyimbirwangako ebitundu bibiri nga gitandika; Ekisooka (Okuva edda n'edda…) n'ekyokuna (Nze nnaayimba ntya ne sitenda….) ate mu kuggalawo, ekitundu ekisembayo ( Katonda omulungi ow'ekisa…), kiyimbibwenga.

Mu ngeri y'emu, Mayiga yagambye nti omwaka guno Obwakabaka bugenda kuteeka amaanyi mu bulimu bw'emmwanyi mu ηηombo etuumiddwa  'EMMWANYI TERIMBA'.

" Omwaka guno tuluubirira okusimba endokwa obukadde butaano.


Nb

Ffe nga Abaganda abanyumirwa okuyimbira ensi nyaffe oluyimba tujja kusigala nga tuyimba nga bwetusobodde ebitundu byonna ebyoluyimba lwe ggwanga lyaffe Buganda. Kumikolo egiwera wano e Buganda a baganda banaffe Abakungu nga ne Bakatikkiro, Abalangira, Nabambejja mwobatadde batono ddala abayimba oluyimba lweggwanga mubantu bebakulembera. Balinga ne Queen wa Bungereza atayimba nako oluyimba olweggwanga lye erya Bungereza. Asirika be che baserikale be nebamuyimbira ko!



 EKIKA

 

 

NKIMA

 

Onomulaba Ebitumbwe

 

 

Bwobeera ggwe bwakwatula

 

 

Okyakyankya

 

 

Talya nkima-takombako

 

 

Talya dduma

 

 

Senya enku- Twokye enyama

 

 

Mugema bwafa

Kudda mulala

 

 

Tweddira nkima

 

Kabbiro-kamukukulu

 

 

 

Part of Nsambya Police barracks

 

A number of landlords have secured court orders to evict government institutions and repossess their properties, The Observer has learnt.

 

The impending evictions follow government’s failure to pay ground rent arrears totaling billions of shillings to the landowners. The institutions that face eviction include public universities, hospitals, Uganda Prisons, Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, schools and farm institutes, among others.

 

The embattled landlords include Kampala archdiocese, which is demanding more than $74m (Shs 218bn) over the land currently housing Nsambya police barracks. Leaders of the Catholic Church have been meeting President Museveni over the debt, especially after learning that government planned to give away the land to investors.

 

During their most recent meeting, church leaders told Museveni that they needed the money to prepare for Pope Francis’ anticipated visit to the country. Other units facing evictions include Buwama and Mityana police stations.

 

“The pre-colonial governments and first post-colonial governments entered into contractual agreements with privately- registered landlords, and took over their land due to its strategic location for the establishment of infrastructure for government institutions,” an official at the Lands ministry told The Observer this week.


CABINET PROBE

 

To address this looming quagmire, government recently set up a cabinet subcommittee chaired by the minister for Local Government, Adolf Mwesige. Other officials on the subcommittee are Bright Rwamirama, the state minister for Animal Industry; Daudi Migereko, the minister for Lands; and Henry Banyenzaki, the minister of state for Economic Monitoring in the President’s office, and a representative from the Uganda Land Commission.

 

On Wednesday, President Museveni told cabinet that government needed to move fast and avert what would amount to a crisis.  He said there was need to renegotiate some of the agreements government signed with the owners of land, occupied by the affected public institutions. The matter was not concluded, our sources said, and was pushed to the next meeting scheduled for March 4.

 

Sources added that the Mwesige-led committee is expected to advise government on how it can avert the eviction. Migereko told The Observer yesterday that government had taken on short and medium-term strategies to address the problem.

 

“The problem has not been attended to for a long time but government has now realized that it is a serious issue and all efforts are being made to find a long-lasting solution,” the minister said.

 

“It [eviction] is an area of concern. Matters are still in cabinet. Cabinet is going to come out with a clear sustainable solution of land for government programmes and departments,” he said by telephone.

 

Auditor General John Muwanga recently accused district land boards and accounting officers of various government departments and agencies of failing to protect land under their control.

 

The auditor general said government officials were conniving with unscrupulous people to steal government land. Similar claims were made last year by Idah Nantaba, the minister of state for Lands, who accused some officials at the ministry of conniving with the mafias to grab government land.

 

Indeed, one of the mandates of the cabinet subcommittee will be to scrutinize reports that some of the people claiming to be owners of the land may in fact be “mafias” out to get land titles, which are later used to grab government land under unclear circumstances.

 

Rwamirama told us this week that they will reverse any decisions made by the Uganda Land Commission that gave land to private individuals under dubious circumstances. 

During Wednesday’s cabinet meeting at State House Entebbe, Migereko is reported to have tabled documents that showed that the alleged mafias are indeed private landlords who want to take back their land from government.


RE-ENTERED

 

The Observer has learnt that government has already lost the Mukono district farm institute (DFI) land at Ntaawo, which was re-entered by Church of Uganda. The church has also secured court orders to re-enter part of the land on which Makerere University’s college of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security stands because government failed to pay more than Shs 333m in ground rent arrears.

 

An unnamed private landlord has also secured a court order to re-enter his land occupied by Mityana police station.The Observer has also seen documents indicating that government, through similar court orders, has lost part of Kawanda agricultural research station land at Ssenge in Wakiso district and Njeru stock farm, which was retaken by the Ham Mukasa family.

 

On May 9, 2014, in an attempt to avert the repossessions, Migereko wrote to Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka and Attorney General Peter Nyombi and urged them to intervene.

 

Without any responses from government, the landlords ran to courts and secured orders to repossess their land. Migereko has reportedly blocked the re-entries, forcing the landlords back to court to commit the commissioner for Land registration Sarah Kulata to civil prison for contempt of court.


sadabkk@

observer.ug

 

 

After 500 million years of working the African lands, the continental soils must be undergoing key changes:

This is the opinion of a soil scientist:

A farmer in Amuru district, Uganda, uses a tractor to till his garden. PHOTO BY TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

13 July, 2018

 By Ismail Musa Ladu

 

Do you test your soil before planting?

Is the crop you’re planting perfectly suited to the quality of soils in your field?

And did you know that it is important to understand the nature and quality of the soils before planting?   

If your responses to the aforementioned questions are in affirmative then you are doing the right thing.

But if your answers are in negatives then you need to change and you need to do it quickly.

This is because good soils make fine gardens and the quality of soil determines the yields a farmer gets, as long as all other factors remain constant.

Importantly perhaps, after more than 500 million years of working the land, a cross-section of scientists now believe that Uganda’s fields have already entered the final stages of weathering.

This means that the soils fertility of the land is not the same anymore. The situation has been worsened by bad farming practices, swamp degradation and over working the land among other factors.

And this calls for proper and professional way of farming before things gets any worse or out of control.

But first, the farmers and those involved in agricultural value chain must undergo a mindset shift. And this must begin now.     

“… to adopt profit oriented farming fundamentally takes a shift in mind set, behaviour change, adoption of  new technologies, market structures, business skills that can promote  sustainable soil fertility, business growth, trade and investment, the Country Coordinator, AgriProFocus Uganda, Ms Lucy Asiimwe Twinamasiko said in a statement issued ahead of a consultative meeting that happened last week at Bugolobi in Kampala.

More than 500 years of working the soil

The statement further quoted her as saying: “Although In Uganda, farmers continue to boast of rich soils, farmers could be headed for hard times if they don’t adopt good soil management practices,” Ms Twinamasiko said in a statement issued late last week by Ms Gloria Kyomugisha, the AgriProFocus Uganda communications officer.

It is for this reason (alarming soil fertility degradation) that the  AgriProFocus Uganda Network in Collaboration with SoilCares are having a consultative meeting in Kampala tomorrow to explore the possibility of establishing a soil care community  practice.

The invitational consultative meeting on a Soil Care community of practice 2018 focuses on sharing expert knowledge, experiences and technological solutions related to soil fertility management in Uganda.

Importantly perhaps, stakeholders involved such as the farmers, including the government must realize that after working the land for over five centuries, it is time proper methods of farming is observed to the letter and the illusion that the soils are still as virgin as it were centuries ago should be discarded.  

“Uganda is blessed with a wide diversity of natural resources: soil, climate, water and vegetation, enabling it to grow a large number of adapted crops. However, most soils in Uganda are older than 500 million years and are in their final stage of weathering,” Dr Christy van Beek, Director SoilCares Foundation, Chief Agronomist SoilCares said in the statement.

Worth knowing…

The predominant minerals in the soils are quartz and kaolinite that don’t directly supply nutrients to soils. The soils are acidic and infertile with low cation exchange capacity (CEC).

Over the years, food production has been characterised by subsistence farming. A subsistence production system usually focuses on a maximizing short-term profit, consuming natural stocks of plant nutrients. Such a farming system has resulted in soil fertility degradation through nutrient mining.

The community of practice to be established, would further look into what is needed to tackle the soil challenges efficiently and effectively.

The consultations that will happen tomorrow will therefore provide an overview of the soil fertility situation in Uganda from National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).

With the meeting aimed at raising awareness about soil fertility, SoilCares, a major stakeholder, will offer highlights on their latest technology used in soil testing.

The technology emphasizes how crucial soil testing is for increasing agricultural production, getting farmers to know how best to treat their soil, so that in turn it can give the maximum yield they need.

Target audience:

The consultative meeting that happened last week brought together development partners, farmer representatives, knowledge institutes, Cooperatives, Government officials and individual farmers and organisations to build a long term soil care community.

 

 

 

 

 

 The Government of Uganda after allowing  human settlement on the famous Mabira forests, is to use tax payer's money to buy off these settlements: 

 

Driving. Motorists drive through Mabira forest

Driving. Motorists drive through Mabira forest in Buikwe District at the weekend. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI 

By Derrick Wandera and Paul Tajuba

Kampala. The National Forestry Authority (NFA) is in advanced stages of buying off 16 villages within Mabira Rain Forest, Buikwe District, to manage encroachment on the largest natural forest in the country.
The NFA director of natural forests management, Mr Levi Etwodu, said acquiring the 2,700 hectares of land currently occupied by the residents will make forestry management easier. There are 16 villages in Mabira forest whose residents legally own land in the more than 300 square kilometre piece since it was gazetted in the 1930s.

“We are already budgeting to make sure we restore part of Mabira forest, which is currently being occupied by a number of villagers. Most of these villages are experiencing population increase and this means when they outgrow their current space, they will soon start encroaching on the forest land,” Mr Etwodu said at a public dialogue last week.
A 2017 Ministry of Water and Environment sector review report indicates that “4,755 hectares of Mabira were mapped as degraded or understocked and 1,500 hectares of these are under restoration.”

The development comes after NTV and Daily Monitor featured a story highlighting encroachment on the forest that acts as home to several bird, animal, and tree species and also catchment for Lake Victoria and River Nile. Despite such uses, there have been reports of people cutting down trees in the forest for charcoal burning, firewood and agriculture.
In 2007, government attempted to parcel out part of the forest to the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL), sparking off protests which claimed three lives across the country, forcing the government to abandon the move.

In a recent tour of Mabira forest, one of the 506 central reserves managed by the NFA, State minister for Environment Mary Gorretti Kitutu, said: “We have a proposal that we compensate these people and they surrender this land such that we manage a closed forest.”
Mr Livingstone Ddumba, a herbalist who depends on the forest, said: “If we leave the forest, who will protect it? It is us who have protected this forest; we actually fought to stop Mehta from being given this forest to grow to sugarcane.”

Mr Denis Kavuma, the general manager of Uganda Timber Growers’ Association (UTGA), said people have the advantage of the grants given by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation to continue with the growing of trees.
“There is a role that can be played by everyone including the media in conserving forests in the country. So far a number of farmers have benefited from the grants of FAO to farmers to grow trees, let us take advantage of this as we continue with the sensitisation,” he said.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

 

 

 

 

 

Egypt still wants revision of the Nile Treaty to safeguard its interest on the East African water source:

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (Right)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (Right) and Rwandan President Paul Kagame inspect a guard of honour after Al-Sisi’s arrival at Kigali International Airport on August 15, for a two-day visit. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | AFP

 

 

21August, 2017

 

By The EastAfrican

 

Egypt is trying to convince countries to adopt its renegotiated position on the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) ahead of this month’s Council of Waters Ministers’ meeting of the riparian states.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi visited Tanzania and Rwanda last week, as part of a four-state-tour that also took him to Chad and Gabon, in a diplomatic move to convince them to adopt its position and proposed agreement.

Tanzania and Rwanda recently ratified the Nile Basin Common Framework Agreement that Egypt opposes, as it lobbies for its own renegotiated and updated CFA that, it says, addresses its concerns.

While in Tanzania, President John Magufuli expressed his country’s understanding of the importance of the River Nile to Egypt as its main source of fresh water, but failed to make a commitment in support of Egypt’s position.

“I believe that the Nile Basin countries will reach an agreement that all parties would accept. We have agreed to continue negotiations over this issue,” President Magufuli said during a joint press conference with President Al-Sisi.

The Egyptian leader admitted that they could not reach an agreement during the meeting, but both agreed on further negotiations over how best to handle the Nile Basin issue.

“We will offer our support to the Nile Basin countries so that all parties achieve the maximum benefit from the Nile without harming Egypt’s water interests, and taking into consideration Egyptian concerns in this regard as a matter of life or death,” President Al-Sisi said in a statement.

 

Egypt’s position

 

In Rwanda, where President Al-Sisi held talks with President Paul Kagame, one diplomat confirmed that the Egyptian leader’s visit was aimed at cementing Egypt’s position on the sharing of Nile resources.

The two presidents did not take questions from journalists in Kigali but read out statements.

A statement released by Egypt’s Presidency indicated that Al-Sisi pledged support for Nile Basin countries in return for favourable sharing terms of the Nile waters, which he said are a matter of life and death for his people.

“The President asserted Egypt’s support for the Nile Basin countries with Egyptian technical experts to achieve development in these countries, stressing Egypt’s keenness to achieving the maximum benefit from the Nile for all Nile Basin countries without harming Egypt’s water interests, and taking into consideration Egyptian concerns in this regard as a death and life matter,” the statement read.

President Kagame said Rwanda was happy to co-operate with Egypt on matters concerning the Nile and trade.

“Egypt and Rwanda do not share a border but we have many common interests on which our friendship is based. This includes our shared responsibility to care for the River Nile which sustains life for tens of millions of Africans as it makes its way to the Mediterranean,” he said.

“We are happy to cooperate with you and all the countries in the region in pursuit of this crucial objective that we share,” President Kagame said during a state banquet held in honour of Mr Al-Sisi.

 

No common ground

 

In an interview with The EastAfrican, Innocent Ntabana, the executive director of the Nile Basin Initiative, said a Council of Water Ministers’ meeting, where the Egyptian proposals will be discussed in detail, is planned for later this month.

At the June summit in Kampala, Egypt pushed for the regional countries to replace the Entebbe Agreement with a new CFA, but most members were reluctant to accept it.

During the meeting, the heads of states, who include President Al-Sisi, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, failed to strike common ground on the matter.

Egypt has objected to the CFA, which was adopted in 2010 and has been signed by six upstream countries — Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, and Burundi — though they are yet to fully ratify it.

Instead, the North African country has proposed its own terms to ensure maximum utilisation of Nile resources, while maintaining a colonial agreement that gives it a lion’s share of the Nile.

Cairo had the backing of Khartoum but the recent fallout between Sudan and Egypt over alleged political interference and territorial disputes have left it on its own.

Egypt is seeking to have an alternative agreement signed by the heads of states, which will accommodate a number of principles governing the management of the Nile water.

This new agreement, which it failed to push through at the Entebbe talks in June will also set up the main lines of co-operation and decision-making mechanisms in relation to any project on the river.

Cairo’s main drive is that, as much as the 2010 Entebbe agreement was binding, it is yet to be final, as not all signatory countries have ratified it.

The Nile Basin countries dispute Egypt’s historic share of the Nile water. There are plans to set up the Nile Basin Commission to enforce demands of equitable utilisation of the Nile waters.

 

Nile Basin Initiative

 

Born almost two decades ago in Dar es Salaam, following the signing of the minutes of the meeting by nine of the Nile ministers of water resources in attendance, the NBI sought to foster co-operation and sustainable development of the Nile for the benefit of all the inhabitants of those countries.

However in 2010, major differences occurred amongst countries over water security, championed by Egypt and Sudan. This created an impasse.

In 2010, it was Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda that signed the Co-operative Framework Agreement (CFA) and were a year later to be joined by Kenya and Burundi.

The CFA has since been ratified by Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania but it requires a total of six instruments of ratification to enter into force. To date, Sudan and Egypt continue to reject the CFA.

Kampala is the current chair of the Nile Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the NBI, which has Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia with Eritrea having an observer status.

 

Nb

Unless this Egyptian leader recommends these African dictators to keep their countries as green as possible, the cropping desert of the Sahara will soon be all over the continent of Africa in 50 or 100 years. Unfortunately, for Egypt by then, not a drop of water will be coming to this ancient country.

 

How the United States of America spends its tax payer's money in Uganda:

 

Vaccination. A health worker gives an oral Polio vaccine to a child in Masaka District during a recent Mass immunisation exercise. Uganda’s health sector is the biggest beneficiary of US aid.

 

PHOTO BY MARTINS E. SSEKWEYAMA

The United States of America has between October last year and September this year availed $840.4 million (Shs2.9 trillion) for health, justice, education, stability and ensuring the prosperity of Ugandans. This is contained in the 55-page “Report to the Ugandan people”, that the US Embassy in Kampala released this week.

Uganda’s health sector is the biggest beneficiary of US aid spend, with approximately $488.3 million or Shs1.7 trillion pumped in between October last year and September this year. This support makes the US the largest single provider of health assistance to Uganda.

By dedicating much of their support to the health sector, the US government says their aim is to reduce the threats of infectious diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, to improve the health of mothers and newborn children.

The report notes that US funded programmes in the sector are providing life-saving medicines, empowering girls, saving mothers, and allowing Ugandans to live longer, more productive lives.

The US classifies Uganda’s stability as very important to its work in the country and this perhaps explains why it is the second largest funded priority. In the last financial year, the US government spent $279.6 million or Shs951.2 billion in assistance to guarantee a stable Uganda.

Some of the resources were, according to the report, spent on efforts to professionalise Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). For example, the US provided training in human rights and peacekeeping methods to more than 5,000 UPDF soldiers.

Other areas “to ensure stability” that the US invested in over the year included programmes that promote peaceful dialogue as a means of avoiding conflict and violence. Through legal aid programmes, the US has, for example, helped families to peacefully resolve land disputes and other conflicts, especially in northern Uganda which was ravaged by more than two decades of civil war.

The number of refugees entering to Uganda increases every year. During the period under review, the US government contributed $126.5 million or 453.8 billion to assist refugees in Uganda and vulnerable populations in Karamoja sub-region. That figure is likely to increase in the next financial year.

In fostering the Global Health Security Agenda, the US says it has supported Uganda to develop world-class capabilities to detect and control infectious disease outbreaks such as ebola, yellow fever, and cholera. This too, is part of US support for a stable Uganda.

Health officials are supported with tools and equipped with skills to respond in the case of a health emergency.

With assistance from CDC, USAID, and other US government partners, the US government says it is helping to improve Uganda’s preparedness and emergency management capacity by establishing Uganda’s Public Health Emergency Operation Center and training workers to detect diseases before they spread.

The US government, according to report, invests in activities aimed at making Ugandans wealthier. The US spent $47.5m (Shs 161.7b) in support of such activities. In the report, the US government says $68.8 million worth of coffee was sold by farmers associated with one of its flagship economic programmes, the Feed the Future programme in the financial year 2015/2016.

The assistance, the report notes, seeks to generate a stronger economic climate, reduce poverty, and expand trade and investment opportunities. The activities include efforts to add value to the production chains of maize, coffee, and beans, as well as training programmes and microfinance projects for entrepreneurs.

“We encourage increased trade between Uganda and the United States through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which helps domestic exporters take advantage of trade preferences and provide greater access to US markets,” the report notes.

The US also funds conservation activities which are helping to combat illegal trafficking and environmental destruction, in an effort to protect Uganda’s abundant natural biodiversity.

With one of the youngest populations in the world, the US is supporting efforts in the country to build what it terms as an inclusive, educated, and empowered Uganda through funding of $14.7million (Shs50 billion).

“US-funded programmes in Uganda aim to ensure all voices, especially those of women and youth, are fully represented in all aspects of life and development. The activities we support seek to ensure that every Ugandan benefits from the country’s economic growth, receives a quality education, and has the opportunity to contribute to society,” the report further notes.

Efforts by the US government to promote a more just and democratic Uganda receive the least funding of the five priority areas the US government funds. It is, however, significant given that some of the development partners find this sector unappealing. The US government, according to the report dedicates $10.3 million (Shs 35 billion).

The programmes facilitated aim at building “the capacity of civil society actors to advocate on behalf of their fellow Ugandans, especially those who traditionally face neglect or discrimination – such as women, LGBT individuals, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with disabilities.”

By training judges and others activists to protect human rights, the US government says it aims at supporting efforts to increase government transparency, and combat corruption.

 

US versus CHINA:

 

US ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac

 

 

In her foreword to the report, Deborah Malac says: “The objective of our (aid) programmes is simple: we want to help Ugandans create a healthy, prosperous and stable country with just and democratic governance, which will in turn produce an inclusive, educated, and empowered population,” she says.

From Ms Malac’s statement, one can quickly decipher the key difference between the approaches of the US and China, the country that is pushing the US hardest in the race to dominate and influence the world, as far as their aid priorities are concerned.

China has on the other hand mostly invested in brick and mortar, with the Asian giant bankrolling giant projects like Isimba and Karuma dams, roads, and the planned construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. China is also funding the expansion of Entebbe airport, and has built the President’s Office building and a hospital in Naguru, among other projects.

The European Union, the other giant donor to Uganda, has on the other hand focused on transport infrastructure, food security and agriculture, value chains and green economy, and good governance.

To understand the differences in approaches to aid between the US, EU and China, one may need to look deeper into those donor countries. The US and the EU countries are democracies for which human rights and governance issues matter more than they do to China, a monolithic state that has been controlled by the Communist party for almost 80 years.

China, therefore, is primarily keen to create and maintain good relations with developing countries like Uganda, with which they may then trade in their quest to access raw materials and eventually markets.

The US and EU, even when they too have over the centuries, since the ages of slavery and colonial rule, sought to control the poorer countries to access raw materials and eventually get markets, now find themselves pressured by pro-democracy lobbies within their backyards to push the dictates of human rights and good governances in other countries.

The absence of such lobbies in China allows the Chinese government the lee-way that its rivals don’t have – to remain unconcerned with the internal politics of its client states like Uganda. The Americans and Europeans, even when their governments have had interests to pursue within poor countries like Uganda that may run counter to pursuing human rights and good governance, will always at least pay lip to the cause.

Ms Malac says her government believes by channelling America’s aid to Ugandans in the five areas identified above, Ugandans will “live up to their full potential” and “this is the future that all Ugandans – regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political beliefs – deserve.”

The mantra of America’s aid, as captured in the report, is to invest in human development as opposed to investing in physical things as China favours.

Uganda, however, gets a lot more aid from China, its biggest bilateral donor which, according to the ministry of Finance, had lent to Uganda $1.099 billion (Shs3.8 trillion) as of June 2017, while the US does not feature in the top 15 countries that Uganda owes money.

The pressure to stay young and fit in Africa is forcing the ruling elites in Uganda to change their Date of Birth as a legitimate procedure:

 

Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma during a recent court session. Last year, The Observer reported that deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma had sworn an affidavit to amend his age reflecting that he is four years younger than his current officially known age. File photo

KAMPALA.

The government through the Public Service ministry has warned public servants applying to change their age to stop it, insisting that such applications will not be accepted. The warning follows an influx of public officials applying to change their dates of birth for unknown reasons.

The Public Service ministry permanent secretary, Ms Catherine Musingwire, in a letter dated February 6, revealed that her ministry had received numerous requests from public servants who want to change their dates of birth.

The letter was addressed to all permanent secretaries, chief administrative officers, town clerks and copied to the Office of the President, Cabinet secretary and head of Public Service, Mr John Mitala.

“The ministry of Public Service has of recent received many requests from public officers for change of their dates of birth. The requests follow the biometric verification of public officers and matching of their data with the national identification registrar,” the letter reads in part.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to inform you that the ministry will uphold the dates of birth declared upon appointment,” the letter warns.

In 2013, Parliament rejected a plan mooted by a section of MPs who wanted to raise the retirement age for public officers to 75 years.

The plan prompted fears from the Opposition that its architects led by former Bufumbira East MP, Mr Eddie Kwizera harbour a “sinister” agenda to perpetuate President Museveni’s grip on power.

The plan also came under attack from civil society activists who, at the time, accused its backers of contemplating treason. Mr Kwizera, a former State House employee wanted to table a private member’s Bill or a motion to amend the 1995 Constitution to raise the retirement age from 60 years.

Last year, The Observer reported that deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma had sworn an affidavit to amend his age reflecting that he is four years younger than his current officially known age.

Kavuma’s case

Justice Kavuma was born on September 29, 1948, meaning he is supposed to retire September 29 this year after turning 70, the mandatory retirement age. The judiciary later insisted that Justice Kavuma’s name was in December last year forwarded to the JSC in preparation for his successor.

Ethics minister Fr Simon Lokodo said attempts by public officers to change their age in order to stay in public service longer defeats logic and asked them to drop the idea.

“It is irresponsible for a public servant to turn around trying to amend age to stay in service longer,” Fr Lokodo said.

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It looks like the President of Uganda is the one leading his African civil servants to play games with their employment terms of  references. Sounds absurd for an African employee to set the terms of employment other than the African employer.

 

 

 

The Environmental Aspects on the Continent of Africa

 

 

 

Environmentally damaged wetlands right in the middle of Africa

on Lake Victoria, Uganda

 

The timber industry in Uganda is very much involved in illegal lumbering: 

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 10 2016

Impounded timber being loaded on a National Forestry Authority truck in Kagombe Central Forest Reserve recently. Both political and technical leaders in Bunyoro sub-region say illegal lumbering denies them prospective revenue.

PHOTO BY EPHRAIM KASOZI

By Ephraim Kasozi & Jalira Namyalo:

UGANDA, MUBENDE. District local government leaders in Bunyoro sub-region have decried the illegal cutting down of forests saying the move has caused them loss of revenue.

Both political and technical leaders say that despite having forests in their areas, illegal lumbering and charcoal burning have denied them prospective revenue through taxation and issuing of licenses to the dealers.

Mr Francis Kibuuka Amooti, the chairperson Mubende District, described lumbering as one of the major economic activities in the area which would be generating up to 70 per cent of their revenue to support local government works but they get less than 10 per cent.

“We used to earn from timber dealing and charcoal burning but the fight against illegal harvesters has weakened. We have now registered a big revenue shortfall in the rather lucrative business,” he said.

“We used to earn more than Shs40 million from forest products per month but currently it is less than Shs10 million,” Mr Kibuuka said; adding the district now relies on petty collections such as sale of agricultural produce and markets to facilitate day to day operations and meeting payments for the councilors’ allowances.

Mr Swaibu Balekye, the chairman of Kasule Sub-county in Kyegegwa District, attributed the loss of revenue to technical people in the district whom he accused of abuse of their offices leading to financial loss to their employers.

He said: “My district is not gaining from timber trade because we are not taxing timber in Kyegegwa. They said that timber harvested with power saws is illegal and dealing in it amounts to smuggling which has made the local governments to lose millions in revenue which would in turn support community growth and development.”

The leaders from Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kabarole, Kagadi and Kibaale were speaking at the orientation workshop for local government leaders hosted by the Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE) on their roles in forest governance.

A report by the National Forestry Authority indicates that the country’s forest cover reduced from 4,933,271 hectares in 1990 to 1,835,147 in 2015.

“Forest degradation has far-reaching cost implications to the economy.

For instance when kerosene is substituted for charcoal in urban households, it would result in an increase in the national import bill by $180m (Shs622 billion) annually,” reads the report, in part.

Mr Sam Nyakoojo, the JESE coordinator, said the forum was started to coordinate the flow and share of information about timber and charcoal trade in Bunyoro to stop illegal trade in forest products.

“We have mobilised local leaders, technocrats and other stake holders to discuss and come up with a joint plan and strengthen good information flow to stop depletion of natural resources specifically forests in the region. And to create revenue collection points which will increase districts’ income that would support their development,” Mr Nyakoojo explained.

Contribution

Statistics. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics for 2009, the forestry sector contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by current economic activity prices was estimated at Shs1,038 billion, of which Shs418 billion was monetary and Shs 619 billion was non-monetary. Based on those statistics, the percentage share of GDP to the forest sector was 3.5 per cent.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com