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Uganda's Museveni calls on African nations to quit the ICC
December 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Yoweri Museveni (C) of Uganda arrives at the 8th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit at Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis President Yoweri Museveni (C) of Uganda arrives at the 8th Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit at Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis[/caption]

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Friday called on African nations to drop out of the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, amid accusations that it unfairly targets Africans.

“I will bring a motion to the African Union’s next session. I want all of us to get out of that court of the West. Let them (Westerners) stay with their court,” he said in Swahili.

Prosecutors dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, but the trial of his deputy William Ruto on similar charges is under way at the Hague-based court.

Museveni, addressing a ceremony to mark Kenya’s 51 years of independence from Britain, criticised the ICC for continuing with Ruto’s case despite an African Union (AU) resolution that no sitting African head of state or deputy should be tried at the court.

“With connivance, they are putting Deputy President Ruto, someone who has been elected by Kenyans, in front of the court there in Europe,” he said. The AU is scheduled to hold its annual summit of heads of state in Ethiopia at the end of January, but has not announced a specific date.

The collapse of the Kenyatta case was a blow to the court, which has secured only two convictions, both against little-known Congolese warlords, and has yet to prove it can hold the powerful to account.

Many Africans accuse the ICC of unfairly targeting their continent. Museveni said he had backed the court before it turned into a tool for “oppressing Africa”. “I supported the court at first because I like discipline. I don’t want people to err without accountability,” he said. “But they have turned it into a vessel for oppressing Africa again so I’m done with that court. I won’t work with them again.”

Uganda has in the past sought the assistance of the ICC in bringing rebel warlord Joseph Kony to account for war crimes in northern Uganda over two decades.

Kenyatta and Ruto also addressed the ceremony in an open-air stadium in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, saying they were confident Ruto and his co-accused would also be vindicated.

“I ask you all to join me in supporting my deputy and his co-accused as they also await their overdue vindication,” Kenyatta said.

*Source Reuters/Yahoo]]>

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Kenya to export 30 MW of electricity to Rwanda via Uganda
December 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

PHOTO©REUTERS PHOTO©REUTERS[/caption] Kenya will sell 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Rwanda in 2015 to cater for the smaller nation’s growing demand for power, Kenya Power said in a statement. Rwanda has a power output capacity of 160 MW that is level with the demand, piling pressure for alternative sources. The power will be transmitted through a new high voltage line linking the two nations via Uganda. The three nations, with a combined population of more than 94 million and all members of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) bloc, are battling to keep up with demand for power as their economies grow. Businesses in the region often complain of unreliable and costly supplies. The three countries in September invited bids for a joint consultant to oversee a feasibility study to connect them by a high voltage power line, part of efforts to deepen their economic integration. The project aims to build a 400 kilovolt (kV) electricity line running from Olkaria, where Kenya is expanding geothermal power production, via Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda. Uganda and Kenya are already connected by older lines. The latest project will add new sections.

 *Source theafricareport

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Uganda: Four firms to build solar power plants
December 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

Elias Biryabarema in Kampala* [caption id="attachment_14701" align="alignleft" width="480"]FILE PHOTO©REUTERS FILE PHOTO©REUTERS[/caption] Uganda said on Wednesday four foreign and domestic firms would build two solar power plants, with a total capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) as it seeks to develop its renewable energy potential. Keen on expanding its small electricity generation capacity to support an industrialisation drive, the east African country is currently pursuing several multi-billion-dollar projects, most of them in hydropower generation. Officials previously said the government was also looking for investors to develop solar energy and other renewable sources of power such as biomass, waste energy, geothermal and wind power. The state-run Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) said the two solar plants would be established in the Soroti and Tororo districts, in Uganda’s eastern region, at a combined cost of $32.5 million. Benon Mutambi, ERA’s chief executive, said the plants were suitable for Uganda because they were quick to implement and could be built close to consumers, reducing transmission losses. “By introducing a new technology to the generation mix, Uganda’s dependency on hydropower is reduced,” he said in the statement. A consortium of Access Power MEA, of the United Arab Emirates, and Spain’s TSK Electronica will invest $17 million in a plant that will generate 10 MW of electricity, it said. A second consortium of Italian firm Building Energy Spa and Uganda’s Simba Telecom Ltd. plans to invest $15.5 million to develop the second plant with a similar capacity. Access Power MEA’s managing director, Stephane Bontemps, said in a statement the project was expected to secure funds next June and start commercial operations by December. Uganda currently generates about 600 MW of electricity, most of it from three hydropower plants on the Nile. ERA estimates electricity demand is growing at 10 percent annually mainly due to economic expansion. *Source theafricareport]]>

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We can negotiate Museveni’s peaceful exit, says Besigye
December 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_14575" align="alignleft" width="595"]Dr Kizza Besigye Dr Kizza Besigye[/caption] Leading political activist, Dr Kizza Besigye, this week said the Opposition would be open to the idea of a negotiated transition if President Museveni seeks amnesty from the possibility of being prosecuted as a pre-condition for leaving power. The former FDC president told Daily Monitor in an exclusive interview that for the sake of peace and development, the Opposition and other democratic forces will be willing to talk about such matters. “In principle, there is nothing wrong with our country granting amnesty of any kind if it will help engender peace and stability. If Mr Museveni and his colleagues choose to have a negotiated transition, such matters can be discussed,” he said on Wednesday. “Where no negotiated transition takes place and the NRM regime falls (as it will), then most likely, the law would take its natural course regarding any suspected offenders within the fallen regime.” To-date, no evidence of the President’s suspected crimes has been presented in any court although sections of the Opposition and the Diaspora have, on occasion, spoken about alleged war crimes and unspecified economic crimes, including alleged corruption. Under Uganda’s law, a president enjoys certain levels of immunity from legal process while still in office. Asked whether former PM Amama Mbabazi can be compared to former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, who at the time when President Moi was talked into leaving power became a compromise candidate, Dr Besigye said the two aren’t comparable. . “You seek to compare unlike situations. H.E. Mwai Kibaki was leading an opposition party in 2002 when he became a ‘compromise’ candidate. He had contested against president Arap Moi twice — 1992 and 1997. Mr Mbabazi is still the Secretary General of the ruling NRM and has not indicated that he intends to change that,” Dr Besigye said.

Below is the full interview
Do you consider this FDC Delegates’ Conference to be a defining moment for the party? I understand the conference is supposed to consider some constitutional amendments ahead of fresh grassroot elections of the party. I am not aware of any controversial matters that are supposed to be dealt with at the conference. Looking back at the vision of FDC at its formation and the current FDC, what do you feel? FDC was formed with a vision of realising a democratic, peaceful, prosperous and unified Uganda adhering to principles of equity, freedom, social justice and reconciliation. FDC, actually, emerged out of an intense struggle for democratic governance. While that struggle remains ongoing and critical, the party has also espoused clear policies that would transform the country in all spheres. My sense is that the greatest majority of FDC members and leaders maintain focus on the founding vision. Do you consider your retirement as FDC party president to have, in any way, been the cause of the bickering in the party? The party seems to have lost its way during transition… There are as many differing political views and opinions in a political party as there are members! A political party only helps to aggregate these opinions into a coherent general trend. The process of aggregation involves debate, critiquing, and disagreement. This normal and healthy process is what some, in the public and sections of the media, characterise as bickering. The test for any party leadership is to ensure that the processes in the party are above board, all-inclusive and democratically mediated. This is what my successor needs to keep an eye on. Change of leadership in our party is one of the flagship principles and virtues. It ensures predictability of change and hence preparation for such a change. Being rather novel, some hiccups would be expected, but to suggest that the party has lost its way would be unjustified. I think that severe criticism will help the party to continue checking itself so that the wrong path is avoided. What do you think the party should do at Namboole to repair the image caused by internal [contradictions] and the high rate of haemorrhage of its senior members? A national delegates’ conference is not the forum for resolving any conflicts that may exist. On the contrary, it can exacerbate them! If any contradictions can’t be resolved using smaller party organs, the party needs to create a separate space for dialogue among feuding sections. “Elders” of the party such as FDC Envoys could play a useful role is such conflict resolution processes. I also think that FDC should improve its public relations management. I consider that a lot of what you call a “damaged image” is a result of media spin, misinformation and misrepresentations. The term of office of all leaders (other than party president) expired in 2013. Some leaders have been concerned that it has taken a very long time to rectify that and that’s why some opted to step down from their duties. This cannot be presented as a “high rate of haemorrhage of senior members”! Given the view of one faction in FDC that the party has lost direction, how can this be remedied? As I pointed out earlier, I don’t subscribe to the view that FDC has lost direction. Some members are expressing strong concerns. I think that such concerns should be dealt with urgently, exhaustively and in an inclusive manner. Is FDC ready to form the next government and if so, why? NRM had far less managerial competencies in 1986 than what FDC has. FDC has the competencies to takeover and govern effectively. However, I am of the strong view that any government that succeeds the NRM regime should be a “transitional government” that takes on the critical role of building the foundations of a stable democratic society. Such foundations include reviewing the Constitution and laws to make them just, resolve outstanding controversies and bring them in conformity with a free and democratic society, establish independent, competent and efficient state institutions that will promote and ensure democratic governance and accountability and to organising free and fair elections. This is what was supposed to be done during the 4- (later on 10- ) year NRM transitional period. Such a transition should involve all the major political stakeholders in a government of national unity. Assuming that FDC took over power, what are the first three things you think FDC should do? Implementing the transitional imperatives outlined earlier and, investing in agriculture, social services and infrastructure. Would you consider granting total amnesty to President Museveni for all crimes he’s alleged to have committed in order for him to give way for another leader? In principle, there is nothing wrong with our country granting amnesty of any kind if it’ll help engender peace and stability. If Mr Museveni and his colleagues choose to have a negotiated transition, such matters can be discussed. What would be the alternative to such an amnesty for Mr Museveni? Where no negotiated transition takes place and the NRM regime falls (as it will), then, most likely, the law would take its natural course regarding any suspected offenders within the fallen regime. There is quiet talk about elements of the opposition and NRM joining hands to form a transitional government, in the interest of peace and development. What do you say about this? I am not aware of any such initiative yet, but it would be a welcome one. Can Mr Amama Mbabazi be compared to former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki at the time when president Moi was leaving power? Can he be a compromise candidate? You seek to compare unlike situations. HE Mwai Kibaki was leading an opposition party in 2002 when he became a “compromise” candidate. He had contested against president Arap Moi twice- 1992 and 1997. Hon Mbabazi is still the secretary general of the ruling NRM and has not indicated that he intends to change that. *Source monitor

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Ugandan designers seek cut of Africa fashion market
November 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Amy Fallon* [caption id="attachment_14390" align="alignleft" width="300"]Models present creations made of bark cloth material by fashion designer Jose Hendo during the first fashion week show held in Kampala, on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Amy Fallon) Models present creations made of bark cloth material by fashion designer Jose Hendo during the first fashion week show held in Kampala, on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Amy Fallon)[/caption]

Mention African style and the fashion crowd thinks Lagos, or Johannesburg. But Uganda’s emerging designers — using a mix of local craft and global savvy — are hoping to give them a run for their money.

Fashion in the east African nation may be viewed as frivolous by many, with the industry under resourced and local designers facing fierce competition from cheaper secondhand clothes and Chinese imports.

But tickets for Kampala’s first ever Fashion Week earlier this month sold out swiftly, with models strutting the catwalk showing everything from sequined hot pants to accessories made from cow horn, to a dress made from the country’s unique bark cloth.

“In so many ways anything to do with being artistic is a struggle here, people don’t take it seriously,” said Ugandan-born designer Jose Hendo, now based in Britain, who showcased her work in Africa for the first time at the show.

It follows similar successful recent fashion weeks in Burundi and Rwanda, while Kenya’s opens this week in Nairobi, as east Africa moves to boost its stake among the continent’s designers.

The show had international backing, with the same production crew — LDJ Productions — who provide technical support for New York fashion week helping out in Kampala.

LDJ Productions CEO Laurie De Jong, whose team have also helped Mumbai, Miami, Toronto and Los Angeles get fashion weeks off the ground, said New York’s version was now one of the city’s top three revenue-producing events.

De Jong said Uganda’s talented designers and others working in the industry could offer the country a “huge, huge economic boost” if supported more.

The Kampala Fashion Week show featured 10 Ugandan women and menswear designers, many self-taught, and marked a comeback for Natasha Karugire, the daughter of President Yoweri Museveni.

“My prayer and hope is that Ugandans will all wear our own clothes and that the second hand clothes market will fizzle out of our society,” said Karugire, whose label J&kainembabazi sent out bright, floral dresses with traditional beading at the collar.

– ‘Big earner’ –

Hendo’s collection for the show featured jackets, trousers, coats, headpieces and other accessories made out of the bark cloth from local trees, mixed with cotton, silk and denim.

The award-winning ethical designer came up with the idea of using bark cloth after a 2001 trip to Uganda with her family.

[caption id="attachment_14391" align="alignright" width="219"]A model presents a creation by fashion designer Kwesh during the first fashion week show held in Kampala, on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Amy Fallon) A model presents a creation by fashion designer Kwesh during the first fashion week show held in Kampala, on November 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Amy Fallon)[/caption]

“I spoke to my mother and realised there’s so much to it, it is not just about making tourist souvenirs,” said Hendo, who has developed far more complex designs than the ubiquitous bark cloth hats and place mats usually on sale.

“What is exciting is that it is organic, the process of making it has never changed in 600 years.”

In Uganda’s royal kingdom Buganda, bark cloth is worn for coronations and other important cultural ceremonies. Making it is an ancient craft, listed on UNESCO “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Hendo is now selling her creations in Uganda and Britain, where she has three shops.

Kampala’s show ended with Ugandan model Stacie Aamito strutting the runway in Hendo’s breathtaking “fairy dress”, featuring a bodice made from bark.

Aamito, 21, had a “humble” upbringing in northern Uganda, before winning the African franchise of the “Next Top Model” reality TV show earlier this year. The beauty is now signed to an elite agency in New York, where she lives.

But she said her family had been doubtful of her career choice at first, telling her that “‘you need to be a lawyer, you need to study and be something, because if you’re a model you’re not anything’,” she told AFP. “Most people do not take fashion seriously” in Uganda, she said, but insisted the trade could “definitely be a big earner” for the nation. – Ankole cow horn – Kampala Fashion Week founder Gloria Wavammuno, 29, said her tailor aunts, who lived during the era of dictator Idi Amin — a time of “very long skirts and no trousers” — were supporting their families through the local trade.

“One of my aunts is sending her children to very good schools, two of them have gone to college in America and Canada,” she said.

Some designers travel to China to source their fabrics but Wavammuno wants to support the local sector. Wavammuno, who interned for British men’s designer Ozwald Boateng and has participated in fashion weeks in New York and Paris, showed off her jackets, raincoats and “woolly things” made from “furniture materials for sofas and curtains.”

They were teamed with sandals, handbags and collars created from Uganda’s famous giant Ankole cow horn and fish, sheep and cow leather.

Designers are hopeful, even though Wavammuno admits Uganda’s fashion industry is starved of resources.

“Our fashion school doesn’t even have a seamstress,’ she said. “It doesn’t even have machines.”

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Joseph Kony's rebels sell ivory, minerals: report
November 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA* [caption id="attachment_14293" align="alignleft" width="586"]In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, Pool, File) In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists’ questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, Pool, File)[/caption]

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Warlord Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group is increasingly trafficking in ivory and minerals to obtain weapons and other supplies to be used in the jungles of central Africa, watchdog groups said in a report released Wednesday.

The rebels’ illegal trade in ivory, diamonds and gold may be linked to the group’s efforts to improve relations with other armed groups such as Central African Republic’s Seleka militia, said the report by Enough Project, Invisible Children and The Resolve.

Kony’s LRA comprises a few hundred fighters who are being hunted down by African Union troops as well as U.S. advisers. The Ugandan-led African forces are operating in South Sudan, Central African Republic, and occasionally Congo. But they are not authorized to cross into a disputed enclave known as Kafia Kingi, Sudanese military-controlled territory where Kony himself is widely thought to be hiding.

The rebel group transports most of the illicit ivory and minerals to Kafia Kingi, although some are traded locally with the Seleka and local civilians, according to the report, which cites the accounts of recent LRA defectors as well as some soldiers tasked with hunting down the rebels.

“Though other armed groups have a far more substantial stake in eastern (Central African Republic’s) illicit mineral trade, the LRA’s involvement in gold and diamond trafficking could help the group resupply and rebuild,” the report says. “The actual trade takes place in remote areas and among a handful of people.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity but has evaded capture over the years by taking advantage of porous borders across the region.

Uganda’s military says the group has recently changed tactics amid intensified military pressure, with the rebels increasingly splintering into small groups as they try to evade capture. Many, including some senior LRA commanders, have recently defected and report that the group is no longer the fighting force it once was.

*Source AP/Yahoo]]>

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Ton of ivory stolen from Uganda government vaults: report
November 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Over a ton of elephant ivory seized from poachers in Uganda and worth over a million dollars has itself been stolen from government strongrooms, reports said (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace) Over a ton of elephant ivory seized from poachers in Uganda and worth over a million dollars has itself been stolen from government strongrooms, reports said (AFP Photo/Anthony Wallace)[/caption]

Kampala (AFP) – Over a ton of elephant ivory seized from poachers in Uganda and worth over a million dollars has itself been stolen from government strongrooms, reports said Monday.

President Yoweri Museveni has ordered investigation into the ivory stolen from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) armoury, with staff feared to be working with the very traffickers they are meant to stop to steal and sell on the confiscated tusks, the government-owned New Vision newspaper said.

“We have started the initial investigation,” said Ali Munira from the country’s top anti-corruption body, the Inspectorate General of Government, according to the newspaper.

The government’s UWA has admitted that 1,335 kilogrammes (2,943 pounds) of ivory is missing from supposedly secure stockpiles, which officials estimated to be valued at some 1.1 million dollars (880,000 euros).

“Our intelligence unit staff, while on routine checkup, discovered some irregularities in the management of the store where confiscated ivory is kept,” UWA said in a statement.

Investigations have begun “verifying the physical stocks against the records,” it added. Poaching has risen sharply across Africa in recent years fuelled by rising demand in Asia for ivory and rhino horn, coveted as a traditional medicine and a status symbol. Some corrupt officials are believed to have taken the ivory claiming to use it to ensnare potential traffickers, but then later selling it themselves. The World Wildlife Fund has identified Uganda as a key transit country for the illegal trade. The United States ambassador to Uganda last week raised his concern at the missing ivory at a tourist industry summit. “We hope there will be an investigation and that the culprits will be identified and prosecuted to demonstrate commitment to wildlife protection,” Scott DeLisi said. UWA chief Raymond Engena said the agency “remains committed to the fight again illegal wildlife trade and poaching,” and vowed to “punish and prosecute any culprits engaged in illegal trade.”

But campaigners said the lost ivory was a deeply worrying sign.

“The question is, if UWA management is involved, then how can we be sure that wildlife in Uganda is in safe hands?” Achilles Byaruhanga, head of the conservation group Nature Uganda, told AFP.

More than 35,000 elephants are killed across Africa every year for their tusks.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Uganda beats Kenya in race for home-made hybrid vehicle
November 14, 2014 | 0 Comments


Uganda has beaten Kenya by producing the first hybrid vehicle in East Africa.
[caption id="attachment_14127" align="alignleft" width="600"]The Ugandan hybrid KIIRA EV SMART. PHOTO | COURTESY The Ugandan hybrid KIIRA EV SMART. PHOTO | COURTESY[/caption] The vehicle, Kiira EV SMART, which the manufacturers say will be the region’s first sedan hybrid electronic vehicle, has been developed at Kiira Motors Corporation.
Ironically, Uganda will be launching the car at Kenyatta International Convention Centre on Thursday, confirming that Nairobi is the regional financial hub.
“The reason why we are having a high profile launch is to attract investors from East African region.
“We are looking for collaboration because it’s an expensive venture. We are looking at $300 million assembly line in Jinja.
“This vehicle is a prototype and we expect to go to mass production by 2018,” managing director, Africa Ltd Miriam Mukasa said.
Ms Mukasa is coordinating the launch, to be attended by Uganda’s High Commissioner to Kenya Angelina Wapakhabulo, among other senior officers.
The unveiling will be followed by a test drive at the KICC grounds.
Ms Mukasa estimated the cost of the vehicle at $30,000 (Sh2.6 million) when it is released into the market.
A hybrid electronic vehicle combines internal combustion engine propulsion system with electronic propulsion with the objective of better and economical use of fuel and performance.
Its braking system turns the heat produced into energy that charges the battery unlike the conventional brakes.
The most popular hybrid vehicle is Toyota Prius released into the market by Japan in 1997 and by June 2013 had sold more than three million units.
The launch of the hybrid vehicle comes weeks after Kenya announced the entry of its first vehicle into the market known as Mobius at Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers based in Thika Town.
The Sh950,000 car is said to be the cheapest new vehicle in the country, which the manufacturers said was similar to the price of a seven-year-old sedan vehicle, not designed to operate on degraded roads and rough terrain, or carry the heavy load common with travellers in the region.
The car has a capacity of eight passengers and a load capacity of 625 kilogrammes and a maximum speed of 160 kilometres per hour on a five-speed manual gearbox.
The manufacturer of Mobius appointed former Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph as its marketing adviser, underwriting its intention to make a strong presence in the market.
Mr Joseph is among a team of eight advisers including former car designers of top firms like Ford and General Motors.
The others are a former top Ford executive Alain Batty, who is in charge of sales, and Greg Bellopatrick, an engineering expert, who served as chief engineer at General Motors in the past.
The design expert is Patrick Le Quement, a former automotive designer at Ford and Volkswagen-Audi Group.

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Oil and Gas: Uganda to sign licences with Total and Tullow Oil
November 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

Joe Brock in Johannesburg* uganda480x255xxUganda will sign oil production licences with France’s Total and Britain’s Tullow Oil by the end of the year as it seeks to start commercial production by 2018, the energy minister said on Thursday. Uganda found commercial deposits of oil in 2006 but production has been delayed in part because of wrangling over the government’s plan to build a refinery. Alongside Tullow and Total, China’s CNOOC has a stake and won a licence in 2012. “One oil company already has a licence. The other two oil companies, by the end of this year, we should have provided the production licences,” Energy Minister Irene Muloni told Reuters. Tullow had no comment on the minister’s remarks. Uganda also planned to hold a new exploration licensing round in the first quarter of next year with only 40 percent of its Albertine oil basin having been explored, Muloni said. The landlocked east African country was planning to build an oil refinery and a pipeline in the next three years to use crude production available in 2018, she said. Ugandan output could reach 200,000 barrels per day (bpd). A consortium led by Russia’s RT-Global Resources and another by South Korea’s SK Energy are competing as final bidders to develop the refinery, which will have an initial capacity of 30,000 bpd, Muloni said. She said a winner would be announced by the end of the year. The government had wanted to build a refinery with capacity to process 120,000 bpd. It later agreed to scale that back, and now aims to grow from the initial capacity to 60,000 bpd. The lead investor is expected to take up a 60 percent stake, while the remainder will be split equally among Uganda and other interested east African countries. Investor interest in Uganda’s hydrocarbons potential has been growing since it found commercial reserves. Recoverable reserves are estimated at 1.4 billion barrels. Government geologists put total reserves at 6.5 billion barrels. A drop in oil prices of more than 25 percent since July to below $85 a barrel has rattled high-cost producers and raised concerns that projects around the world could be threatened. Muloni said projects in Uganda would be profitable at around $80 a barrel but all its planned oil ventures would go ahead regardless of swings in prices, an opinion shared by many industry experts. “It’s a pity the prices are nose-diving. It’s a concern for everyone but we will continue with our arrangements,” she said. East Africa has been a focus of oil and gas exploration after substantial crude deposits were also found in Kenya, and vast gas reserves discovered in Tanzania and Mozambique. *Source theafricareport]]>

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AfDB Reaffirms its Support to Geothermal Development in East Africa
November 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

AFDB's Donald Kaberuka AFDB’s Donald Kaberuka[/caption] Arusha, Tanzania, 31st October 2014 – Over the course of the 5th African Rift Valley Geothermal Conference (ARGeo C-5), the African Development Bank (AfDB) has clearly reaffirmed its on-going support to the development of geothermal power in the East Africa Rift Valley region. The ARGeo conference seeks to further regional cooperation in the development and utilization of geothermal resources in East Africa. It brought together approximately 400 policy, technical and development experts to network and interface with both local and international geothermal companies to explore how to reduce project lead times, leverage financing and effectively manage geothermal power plants. Speaking during the conference, Thierno Bah, a Principal Energy Specialist at the AfDB, said: ”The AfDB is very heartened to witness the significant progress achieved so far in the development of the geothermal resource in this part of Africa. The Bank has worked hard to mobilize various instruments and sources of financing, including the Partial Risk Garantee instrument as well as highly concessional financing from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), to support geothermal growth and it is encourgaing to see the results of our work beginning to emerge.” In addition to acting as a key sponsor of the event, the AfDB actively participated in the conference and had the opportunity to address the delegates. Bank representatives highlighted the AfDB’s previous experience in bringing geothermal projects to fruition and detailed future possibilities for the development of goethermal power in the region.  In addition, representatives of the AfDB held productive meetings with a number of  bilateral partners to explore the potential for future collaboration. Throughout the course of the conference, delegates were able to learn more about the internatoinal experience of geothermal development, reservoir engineering, geographical information systems in geothermal develpoment, drilling, business development and financing. The conference also saw the launch of the African Rift Geothermal Inventory Database (AGID). This database will serve as a repository of information on the geothermal projects underway in the Rift Valley region, including project progress, funding, human resources capacity and equipment available or needed. During the ministerial-level closing session of the conference, representatives from countries including Tanzania, Eritrea, Malawi and Mozambique highlighted the significance of energy development in Africa and, in particular, the key role that geothermal will play in supporting further growth. Eritrea’s Ambassador to Kenya,  Beyene Russom, announced that ARGeo C-6 will take place in Asmara, in 2016.]]>

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State House war over Museveni social media accounts explodes
October 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_13489" align="alignleft" width="460"]Ms Sarah Kagingo, Ms Mary Amajo, Ms Linda Nabusayi, Ms Lucy Nakyobe, Mr Tamale Mirundi and Maj Edith Nakalema Ms Sarah Kagingo, Ms Mary Amajo, Ms Linda Nabusayi, Ms Lucy Nakyobe, Mr Tamale Mirundi and Maj Edith Nakalema[/caption] Kampala. What was initially an in-house war in State House’s Presidential Press Unit (PPU) has become public, sucking in the President, who finds himself at the centre of a conflict over his Facebook account and Twitter handle. The explosion of the intrigue pits Ms Sarah Kagingo, the special presidential assistant for communication, against Ms Linda Nabusayi, the deputy presidential press secretary. Ms Kagingo has been running Mr Museveni’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, presidential press secretary Tamale Mirundi said yesterday: “Recently, changes were made at State House and everybody was informed of the changes.” The responsibility of updating the President’s social media platforms, he added, “is no longer under Sarah Kagingo. Linda Nabusayi took over.” But Ms Kagingo insists she still runs the show. “Well, I await official communication, a termination letter,” she said. When contacted, State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe declined to answer all questions put to her by this reporter, consistently replying, “I have no comment.” In an interview with The Observer newspaper last week, Ms Nakyobe said: “Kagingo was overwhelmed and she needed someone (Nabusayi) to help her.” The standoff hit its climax on Monday when Ms Kagingo announced on her private Facebook page that the President’s Twitter and Facebook accounts had been hacked by saboteurs and all tweets and updates were invalid. Minutes later a tweet from @YoweriMuseveni read: “I am still in charge of my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Forgive@SarahKagingo.” A parallel Twitter account @YoweriKMuseveni has since been opened with Ms Kagingo claiming she has been locked out and denied access as the administrator of the original account @YoweriMuseveni which boasts of more than 68,000 followers. The last two weeks have seen public anger increase on the new Twitter account, with followers openly decrying the standard of English in particular, and the presidential language in general. Ms Kagingo said: “I sought to immortalise the President’s ideas through online platforms but this seems to have made some people unhappy. He is a self-selling brand but if I have been sabotaged, it is okay, public offices are not person to holder.” Efforts to contact Ms Nabusayi for a comment were futile as she did not answer nor return repeated phone calls and reply messages but Mr Mirundi insisted: “Whether she does what or what (sic), Kagingo is no longer in charge, it is now Nabusayi.” The spillover of the intrigue in the press unit, inside sources who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, revealed, “is the culmination of a protracted fight over money and power among State House cliques.” Ms Nabusayi, sources reveal, has the blessing of President Museveni’s private secretary, Maj Edith Nakalema and Ms Nakyobe. “When Nabusayi came, Mirundi lost control of the administrative and financial roles in the unit. He now has no choice but side with the Nakalema-Nakyobe-Nabusayi clique which runs the show in State House,” our source revealed. On the other hand, Ms Kagingo is seen as close and loyal to principal private secretary Mary Amajo, “who is seen as hostile to the Nakalema clique and hated for being overly principled.” Recently, PPU photographers reportedly received express orders from Maj Nakalema and Ms Nakyobe, “to strictly send photographs to only Nabusayi or be fired”. In one of the meetings early this year, Mr Museveni asked the PPU top leadership how much it would cost them to run his online communication. After long silence, a member suggested Shs400m but as the President wrote it down, Ms Kagingo said: “Your excellency, about Shs4m is enough. There aren’t many costs.” Neither Ms Nakyobe nor Mr Mirundi accepted to comment on these particular issues.

Social media dispute
Some PPU members, our sources say, insisted State House should hire a private public relations firm to manage Mr Museveni’s social media platforms, a move Ms Kagingo is seen as a stumbling block to. *Source mobile.monitor

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Pioneer American ambassadors and their reports on Obote, Amin
October 26, 2014 | 1 Comments

[caption id="attachment_13324" align="alignleft" width="595"]White diplomats carry Ugandan president Idi Amin in Kampala in the 1970s. Ambassador Robert V. Keeley says he became the courier of the several telegrams by Amin to US president Nixon. Right is former president Milton Obote. FILE PHOTO White diplomats carry Ugandan president Idi Amin in Kampala in the 1970s. Ambassador Robert V. Keeley says he became the courier of the several telegrams by Amin to US president Nixon. Right is former president Milton Obote. FILE PHOTO[/caption] Have you ever wondered why the American Embassy in Uganda has CD02 as its registration plate? Besides Britain, America was the second foreign country to pick interest in Uganda. Different American ambassadors have been accredited to Uganda; during their tour of duty, they had different impressions of the political, social and economic situation in Uganda. AS the wave of independence rocked the African boat, America, having not been a coloniser, wanted to have a presence in the new independent Africa. In 1957, they established their presence in Uganda with a consul office which was upgraded to embassy status in 1962 when Uganda became independent. Stephen Low was the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), deputising Peter Hopper. Low’s first observation of Uganda was a mixture of both scepticism and optimism. “It is a fascinating country, distinguished from Tanzania and Kenya by the fact that non-natives were not permitted to own land. As a result, there are fewer racial problems than in the other two countries. On the other hand, in many ways, it is less developed than the other two – wealthier because of coffee, but less developed,” he said, adding that having come before independence, the British seemed not happy to have another power in their courtyard.

Strained US-British relations “Relations between us and the British were sometimes a little strained. At one point, the British Chief Secretary, second to the Governor, called me to his office in Entebbe and said he understood that I had been quoted as being in favour of early Ugandan independence. I remember him shaking a bony finger in my face saying, ‘Young man, this country is not going to be independent for at least 25 years,’ and added, ‘We are not going to make any concessions by bringing Ugandans into government until they fully merit it.” Despite that, Low says there were good social interracial interactions. “There was a fair amount of interracial socialising, we were having square dances at the house which allowed us to make some good friends among both the African and the British community,” he said. According to Low, the Americans spotted talented and bright Ugandans as soon as they set foot in Uganda and ensured these people got chance to better training. “We began our exchange programme, sending some of them to the United States. I picked Milton Obote and sent him to the United States as one of the first recipients of the ‘Leader Grants’ from Uganda,” the DCM said. From Low’s perspective, the British did not prepare Ugandans for leadership towards independence. “Sir Andrew Cohen was a very political Labourite, but his successor governor Crawford, was a little old-fashioned and seemed to slow things down as much as possible. They really didn’t do nearly enough to prepare the Africans for the responsibilities they were going to have to assume very soon. That was unfortunate,” he said.
Robert V. Keeley Ambassador Robert V. Keeley was the Deputy Head of Mission from 1971 until 1973, soon after the 1971 coup. “My bad luck was that in January 1971 Idi Amin took over Uganda. I picked up The New York Times and read that some guy named Idi Amin had become the President of Uganda. I was briefed that tribalism, a major problem throughout African, was probably more severe and savage in Uganda than anywhere else, including Nigeria,” he said. According to Ambassador Keeley, the British, the Americans and the Israelis welcomed Amin’s coup because they were not happy with some of Obote’s policies. “The British, the Americans, and the Israelis were, if not delirious, at least quite happy because they were very unhappy with Milton Obote; the major players in Uganda were deploring the tribal favouritism and persecution—that was being practiced by Obote. He had established more or less a one party system; he had dictated an increasingly leftist economic policy, with socialism and nationalisation of private property. Amin’s coup was initially seen as a welcomed change.” The new change was, however, a blow to the plans of establishing a Jewish settlement in Uganda. By 1971, there were many Jews working in Uganda with Israel construction companies, and the idea of setting up a settlement had been mooted earlier on. “Many African countries like Arab states had broken their relations with Israel. Uganda had a different attitude, it was a place the Israelis were more welcomed. At one point; some elements of the Zionist movement had considered the idea of establishing a homeland for the Jews in Uganda. It was seriously considered also by the British, but was later rejected. There may have been a sentimental connection of some kind for the Israelis with Uganda, which might have been their home if matters had worked out differently from the way they did,” he said. Surprisingly, much as the Americans were happy with the coup, they never had many interests in Uganda, according to Low. “We didn’t have major interests in Uganda; we were still playing second fiddle to the British. We were major purchasers of coffee from there, and had a large number of American missionaries working there and as conditions deteriorated; their well-being emerged as a more serious interest on our part. But we didn’t have any major interests,” he said. Keeley says Amin was not recognising many of these missionaries from different religious groups. “Amin finally targeted the missionaries for his failures. Many represented evangelical churches with odd names that meant nothing to Amin. Many missionaries are difficult to deal with. They believe they are doing ‘God’s work’ and couldn’t worry about temporal matters,” Low said. Ambassador Keeley became the courier of the several telegrams by Amin to US president Nixon during the Watergate scandal. “I had encounters with Amin every two weeks because of his penchant for sending nasty messages to president Nixon. I would duly send them with my comments. I would then receive an instruction to call on Amin to complain. I would then get an appointment and before I could complain about his last message, he would give me a new one, worse than the previous one. I would take it, because that was the only thing I could do, and then complain about the previous letter.” At the end of January, 1973, after the Vietnam ceasefire agreement, messages from world leaders poured into the White House congratulating Nixon. One message deploring Kissinger’s efforts came from Idi Amin. He told Nixon that it served him right to be defeated by ‘those small, yellow people who carried spears against your mighty military machine’. “Sometimes Amin would change his tune and send Nixon a ‘Get Well’ message; once he bid him ‘a speedy recovery from Watergate,’ which was about the worst message he could have sent– Nixon didn’t need to be reminded of that problem. When pressure on Nixon to resign increased, Amin sent him a message saying he shouldn’t resign, he should show his bravery and courage by staring down his opponents. He wrote that message while I was outside his office waiting to see him,” Keeley said. The last straw in the America-Uganda relations came in 1973 with the simmering war in the Middle East, when he threatened to deal with the Americans if they got involved on the side of the Israelis. The State Department took the matter very seriously; the last thing they wanted was to have some of its diplomats put behind barbed wire by Idi Amin. “When the war started, Amin kicked out our six Marine security guards: calling them American ‘military force’ in Uganda, giving them 24 hours to get out. This was the last straw, we were ordered to close the embassy and leave the country. I was literally given 48 hours to do that,” said Keeley.
Thomas P. Melady The time Keeley was the Deputy Chief of Mission, Thomas P. Melady was the ambassador but he found himself back in America earlier than anticipated, leaving Keeley to hold the fort. But the times Melady was in Uganda, he had his own encounters with Amin. “It took me several days to meet Amin at the Command House, where he went into a long tirade about the Jews, then grabbed me by the necktie, and asked, ‘Mr Ambassador, how many Jews do you have on your staff?’ I said, ‘Your Excellency, my government doesn’t allow me to reveal the racial, ethnic, of my staff people.’ He said, ‘I know you have CIA on your staff. We don’t like Jews, we don’t like CIA,” said Melady. “In February 1973, the situation got worse and there were worse things, and there was some fear about my own security. The American ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel, was kidnapped by the Black September group who were headquartered in Uganda as Amin protected them.” When ambassador Melady left Uganda, he and his wife co-authored a book Idi Amin Dada: Hitler in Africa. When it was reviewed by the BBC, Amin threatened to go for the authors wherever they may be. After almost seven years without a mission in Kampala, the American embassy was reopened in 1979 with the full ambassador, Gordon R. Beyer, coming back in 1980. Having come during the times of the military commission, he recorded having asked the American government to help towards the 1980 election by providing the ballot boxes.
Olcott H. Deming
Olcott H. Deming was the first American Ambassador to Uganda having come to Uganda in 1962 as a Counsel General and became a full ambassador in 1963. In his dispatches, he referred to Obote as a brilliant fellow who was faced with tribal problems. “He is from the Lango tribe in the north, while the King of Buganda, Frederick Mutesa II, also the president, is from the south. When I presented my credentials, I presented them to the President not to the Prime Minister; this situation caused strong tension from the beginning,” he said. According to Deming, less than two years after independence, the relationship between Obote and the Baganda became strained. “Relations with the Kabaka and the people deteriorated badly and a struggle for power began. Obote had a deep hatred for the Buganda people who had been favoured by the British during the protectorate period. The people of Buganda were withholding their cooperation from the central government, showing their loyalty to the Kabaka, this infuriated Obote,” Deming said. Deming observed that Obote was determined to get Uganda out of the East African Federation against America’s wish. “When I told him of America’s position, he said: ‘Is your government trying to bribe me?’ I said, ‘No, we are talking about steps which we think would be helpful to all the three countries.’ Obote replied, ‘I am not interested in strengthening the federation, before long there will be only one representative at the United Nations for the East African Federation; and he will not come from Uganda.” After the 1966 crisis, Deming’s tour of duty expired and he left Uganda, which he said was worse off than when he had found it due to political instability.
Scott DeLisi, Current US Ambassador to Uganda Background: Ambassador Scott DeLisi presented his credentials on July 18, 2012, as the US Ambassador to Uganda. Education. Ambassador DeLisi is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, earned the degree of Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School, and is an alumnus of the Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Work experience. He is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with 33 years of service as a diplomat. He served as Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, from March 2010 to July 2012, and previously as Ambassador to the State of Eritrea and as Deputy Chief of Mission of the American Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana. Ambassador DeLisi has also served as the Director of Career Development and Assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Human Resources and as the Director for Entry-Level Programs in the same bureau. *Source

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