Angola hosts meeting of CPLP ministers

The Council of Ministers of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) is meeting on Monday in Luanda to consider the role of seas and oceans in the international projection and economic cooperation in the organization.

The XVI extraordinary meeting is focused on cooperation among the members of the community and foresees the revision of the internal staff regulations (ISR).

Speaking at the event, the outgoing chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the CPLP, Téte António, highlighted the growth of the organization in terms of strategic cooperation plans and the expansion of community actions in various areas.

Téte António also pointed out that there are structural reforms to be made that pass through dialogue between the member states of the community.

The minister reiterated that the agenda of the Angolan presidency elected economic cooperation as a priority for action, in order to adapt the statute of the CPLP to this new paradigm.

According to Téte António, the statute was revised to regulate the membership and improve cooperation with associated observers.

Angola took over the rotating presidency of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) during the organization's 13th Conference of Heads of State and Government, held in Luanda in 2021.

Angola defends as an agenda, among other projects, the strengthening of mobility among member states and a special attention to the economic sector.

Source: Angola Press News Agency (APNA)

Uganda ‘very satisfied’ with defense ties with Russia – president

Uganda values its military ties with Russia, the president of the East African country, Yoweri Museveni, told the Russian news outlet TASS in an interview published on Saturday. He also commended the Soviet Union for its assistance in Africa’s fight against colonialism.

Museveni highlighted Uganda's cooperation with Russia in the defense sector, noting that the country purchases weapons and various technologies from Moscow.

“Today, we are very satisfied with our cooperation with the Russian Federation. We cooperate in the sphere of defense, and we buy high-quality weapons and technologies from Russia,” the Ugandan leader stated.

He stated that, notwithstanding a brief hiatus during the turbulent period following the collapse of the Soviet Union, relations between Russia and Uganda have always been excellent.

“We only had a short break after [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev. It was an unstable period in Russia, and we did not cooperate then. So we had a very good relationship with the Soviet Union, and now we have a very good relationship with Russia,” Museveni stressed.

The Ugandan president also confirmed that he “will definitely come to St. Petersburg in July” to attend the Russia-Africa summit, adding that “in this issue, the political will is of crucial importance. It is not an issue of needs, but an issue of ideology. As long as you profess the ideology of equality and brotherhood, the other things are simply details.”

The second Russia-Africa summit is set to take place in St. Petersburg over July 26-29. The first rendition of the event was held in Sochi in October 2019 and was dubbed ‘For Peace, Security, and Development’.

Museveni met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 2019 summit in Sochi during which the two discussed a number of areas of mutual interest. Putin highlighted several joint economic projects in Uganda, including a cotton processing plant that operates with Russian capital and a trading house in Kampala that supplies Russian-made consumer goods. His Ugandan counterpart emphasized his country’s intention to strengthen defense and security by purchasing more Russian equipment, aircraft, and tanks.

Source: Russia Today

East Africa’s LGBTQ community under siege

Eric Ndawula identifies as gay in Uganda. That comes at a high cost in a country that now wants to introduce even more draconian laws to punish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.

Ndawula has been shunned by his family because of his sexual orientation. He has also faced arrests and evictions.

"We were raided by a mob who wanted to attack us and kill us. But when we called the police to our assistance, we were instead arrested," he told DW.

Ndawula said he and others were then subjected to forced anal examinations by authorities.

"At the end of the day, we became suspects of carnal knowledge against the order of nature, even though we called the police for support from a mob that was going to lynch us," he said.

The situation for the LGBTQ community in Uganda, where same-sex relations have been outlawed since the colonial era, is expected to get much worse.

New legislation was passed by the country's lawmakers on Tuesday and now awaits the consent of President Yoweri Museveni. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill provides for prison terms of up to 10 years in prison. As lawmakers debated the draft law on March 21, there was little sign of opposition.

Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric spiking

Asuman Balasalirwa, the lawmaker who put forward the controversial bill, told DW that it had widespread support.

"If you went to my constituency of Bugiri Municipality and ask the people whether they are with me on this issue, they will tell you we are behind our MP," he told DW.

Angel Maxine, a transgender woman and leading advocate for LGBTQ rights in Ghana, has been monitoring Uganda's bid to criminalize homosexuality and identifying as LGBTQ.

"For me, I call it the reincarnation of colonialism. That is how the whole picture of what is happening in Africa looks to me. For me, it makes no sense," she told DW.

The lawmaker Balasalirwa has been lashing out at the LGBTQ community.

"Why are they invading our schools? Why are they invading our children? They are just being provocative. So, you want to invade our children and we look on? You want to invade our schools and we look on?" he said in a DW interview.

In 2014, Uganda's courts nullified draft anti-LGBTQ legislation on grounds that the parliament had not followed procedure. Balasalirwa's bill was similar to what was tabled in parliament at the time.

Politician talks of 'castration' in Tanzania

In Ghana, an anti-LGBTQ bill is awaiting debate in parliament. Maxine is one of many activists who are openly opposing it.

"Criminalizing other human beings, telling other human beings how to live their lives, telling other human beings that it's like this there's no fluidity, you can't be yourself. You can't, If you do, you are going to prison. It affects the mental health of the human being,” Maxine says.

Ndawula and Maxine agree that legislation to criminalize the LGBTQ community reinforces the homophobia and hate people like themselves experience.

The righs of the LGBTQ community has come under increasing threat in Tanzania too. Same-sex relationships are illegal and convictions can lead to lengthy prison terms. Leading politicians are now calling for even harsher punishment.

On March 19, Mary Chatanda, the head of the women's wing of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party called for the castration of homosexual men.

"We ask the government to make stiff penalties to offences related to same-sex activities. Such people should be castrated if found guilty," Chatanda said. She was speaking at a public gathering to mark President Samia Suluhu Hassan's second year in office.

Kenya bans books with LGBTQ themes

According to Maxine, anti-LGBTQ statements are meant to intimidate the LGBTQ community.

"Castrating somebody won't change their feelings. Castrating somebody won't change who they are," Maxine told DW.

"If I am a trans woman and I still have my penis and you castrate me, you are affirming me of who I am because you still can't change my feelings of who I want to be with or who I love or how I want to be myself or how I want you. You can't change the feelings of a human being."

Last month, the Kenyan government intensified its restrictions on imported books with LGBT themes after public outcry. Parents and religious leaders in the country had demanded an audit of such books.

In late February, a Supreme Court that gave an LGBTQ and intersex rights group the green light to register as a non-governmental organization sparked an outcry.

Even President William Ruto criticized the ruling, saying homosexuality remained unacceptable in Kenya.

Ugandan president lashes out at West for promoting LGBTQ rights in Africa

Western countries should stop “wasting the time of humanity” by trying to impose their beliefs and practices, including homosexuality, on other people, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said.

The president of the East African country made the comments in a parliamentary address on March 16, as lawmakers prepared to vote on an anti-LGBTQ bill.

Although homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, a bill introduced in early March and set to be debated this week, with a vote as early as Tuesday, proposes harsher penalties for promoting LGBTQ rights and activities.

Museveni said that Western threats of sanctions against African countries that oppose homosexuality are hypocritical. “Europeans and other groups marry cousins and near relatives. Here, marrying in one’s clan is taboo. Should we impose sanctions on them for marrying relatives? This is not our job,” he stated.

The US cut off aid to Uganda in 2014 and canceled a military exercise in response to a law that imposes prison terms up to life for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes homosexual sex with a minor or while HIV-positive. Projects affected by the cuts include funding for a $2.4 million Ugandan community policing program, which was stopped following a police raid on a US-funded health program at Makerere University, Reuters reported.

Uganda is not the only African country known for its anti-LGBTQ policies. A bill called ‘The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’ was introduced in Ghana’s parliament in August 2021.

The proposed legislation aims to restrict LGBTQ communities and ‘activities’ while also promoting ‘legitimate’ sexual rights and Ghanaian family values. It increases punishment for cross-dressing, public displays of affection, and other behaviors and also makes advocating for LGBTQ rights on social media or other online platforms illegal.

In Nigeria, Sudan, and Mauritania, the death penalty can be imposed for sexual relations between people of the same sex.

Source: Russia Today

AU Commission chief calls for increased women participation in tech space

ADDIS ABABA - Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday called for increased women and girls' participation in the technology space.

Faki made the remarks on the occasion of this year's International Women's Day (IWD) celebrations.

The AU commemorates the day under the theme "DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality - 20 Years of Maputo Protocol."

He said the theme is aligned with several AU priorities to maximize electronic and information technology dividends for women as a means to contribute to women's sustainable development, through increased women and girls' equal and effective participation in the technology space.

"Women, especially young women, should be at the core of this digital transformation," Faki said.

He underscored that "unless we zoom in on the contributions of women in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), in a world where innovation is currency, our development agenda will be compromised."

He said this year's edition of the IWD came as the African continent marks the 20th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, popularly known as the Maputo Protocol.

"But the road remains long and much remains to be done," Faki said.

He said the phenomenon made it clear that innovation and technology are key accelerators for development on the African continent, and more particularly through the pioneering contributions past and present, made by women in this field.

"It is therefore my wish that we look at critical ways to bridge the gender digital divide and make women, particularly young women and girls, as a priority constituency in this developmental sector of the future to achieve gender equality in Africa and beyond," Faki said.

Source: New Vision

Angel SS takes climate change projects to community

The sleepy town of Angal in Nebbi district turned into a beehive of activity last Saturday as students of Angal Secondary School cleaned up the messy sprouting urban area in Nyaravur sub-county.

The school, with an enrolment of over 1,500 students, descended on the trading center early in the morning, picking and burning all forms of litter — from plastic waste to fallen leaves — and opening up clogged drainage channels.

Angal Secondary School is one of the beneficiaries of the Green Schools Initiative being implemented by New Vision in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with funding from the Swedish Embassy.

Project by the school

The school has lined up several interventions to mitigate the effects of climate change, including community engagement and sensitization on proper waste management practices, tree planting, and debating competitions on climate and environment-related topics.

Julius Byaruhanga, the coordinator of the green club at the school, says while they cannot plant more trees due to the current dry spell, the students are going to the surrounding communities to create awareness on climate change.

Taking the initiative to the community

The Saturday cleaning exercise in Angal Town Council was one of the community sensitization drives by the school.

Byaruhanga says their intervention in the community was driven by the need to have a clean and green environment, and he is hopeful that the community, through its local structure, will own the initiative.

"Ours was to raise awareness and sensitize them to the dangers of improper garbage disposal, and we hope that through our intervention, they will be able to learn and replicate the same at their business premises and homesteads," Byaruhanga says.

Ban of polythene bags

To lead by example, Byaruhanga says the school has banned the use of polythene bags on the school compound by adopting it as one of the school's rules and regulations.

“Every student is checked at the gate by the teachers on duty and the school guards to ensure that no one enters with a polythene bag (kavera). We are happy that the students are coping well by opting for alternatives like the use of buckets to keep their items such as sugar.

“This has left our compound clean and free from Kavera because, over the years, the school has lost many animals that consumed polythene bags poorly disposed of by the students. Any student found with kaveri on the school compound is compelled to clean the whole compound as a punishment for breaking the rule,” he says.

Sustainability plan

Byaruhanga says despite the project being time-bound, they have a long-term plan beyond the scope of the project because it has been in the strategic plan of the school.

“We are going to strengthen the green team to ensure the sustainability of the project. We plan to take up the projects the school had initiated, and we are also encouraging all the students and teachers to join the club. We also encourage every teacher to at least talk about climate change during their lessons, and through this, the gospel of climate change mitigation will spread,” Byaruhanga says.

Challenges

Teopista Nangabi, the agriculture teacher and one of the teachers spearheading the green school project at Angal Secondary School, says the challenges they faced at the project's initiation included less teacher involvement in green club activities such as tree planting.

She said they also had a challenge with termites that destroy the planted trees.

Impact of the project

Nangabi says despite the project taking a short time, there has already been a reduction in the use of kavera and plastic bottles since they were banned from the school.

“Students’ ownership of the project has improved the cleanliness of our school compound because the students have taken the changes and interventions positively." They abide by the rules set by the school administration and green club. “

"Besides, more students are joining the green club,” Nangabi says. The school, through community engagement, is being appreciated by the area residents after cleaning up around the town council. The community is ready to own and sustain the example set by the students and teachers.

Project embraced

Glory Munguriek Opentho, a 14-year-old Senior Two student who participated in the cleaning exercise, says it is important for them and those around them to stay in a safe and clean environment.

Munguriek says she joined the school’s green club last year, and since then, her vision for the climate and environment has never been the same.

Stephen Yoacel, a Senior Three student, says the surrounding areas at the trading center had been littered with plastic waste and polythene bags, even at the homesteads, which is why they took the initiative to clean the place.

He says the green club has introduced them to several climate-friendly concepts, such as tree planting and garbage management.

Yoacel pledged to transfer the knowledge to his community members during the holidays. Marcel Vanity Maditrwoth, 15, urged students who have not yet joined the club to do so because it will not only benefit the school but also the individual student and their families.

Fred Rwotongeyo, another green club coordinator at the school, says the school is now cleaner and greener because of the club.

He challenged the school administration to institute more rules and regulations regarding environmental conservation and climate change mitigation, apart from banning the use of polythene bags on the school compound.

Sh10m for tree planting

Wilfred Okethwengu, the school’s deputy headteacher, says the school has drafted a five-year strategic development plan for environmental conservation and climate change mitigation by acquiring land to plant its trees that will be used as wood fuel for cooking at the school.

“As a school, we have always budgeted between Sh1 million and Sh2 million every academic year for environmental conservation. This year, the school has allocated about Sh10 million to acquire land for planting our woodlot, and this is going to last for the next five years," Okethwengu said.

Community ready

Zabibu Okethi, 57, a resident of Oluka village in Nyaravur sub-county, who joined the students in cleaning the trading centre, was full of joy and pledged to replicate it at her home.

“Surely, this area is very dirty and it is not different at our homesteads where kavera and plastic bottles are littered all over the compound. I have learnt today and surely I will try to emulate it,” Okethi said.

According to David Ocan, a health worker in Angal, the community should pick up where the students left off because they were educated on the dangers of polluting the environment.

Doing weekly cleaning

Benjamin Owachgiu, the LC1 chairperson of Centre West cell in Angal town council, was overwhelmed by the gesture shown by the students in mitigating climate change, calling it timely.

“There was a lot of unwanted waste in the trading centre, which polluted the environment. So what they have done should teach us a lesson as a community. Right now, the environment is quite different from what it was before their intervention and we shall replicate what they have done,” Owachgiu said.

He pledged to ensure weekly cleaning exercises in the trading centre, and ensuring that dustbins are mobilised and placed in all the strategic locations.

School backs project

Wilfred Okethwengu, the deputy headteacher, says ever since they were enrolled for the Green Schools Initiative, they have been actively involved in environment related activities because the project is what everyone wants to look at, given the dangerous impact of climate change.

“We are grateful that since the start of this term, we have been receiving New Vision papers, which are in line with promoting the green school and turning the community into a green world. Although we have started engaging the community in adopting climate and environment friendly activities such as collecting garbage, we plan to expand our spectrum to other communities such as hospitals and primary schools. "We are looking at engaging the community to, shortly, own the projects piloted by the school because they are already feeling the dangers of unfriendly environmental activities,” Okethwengu says.

Source: New Vision

Iron sheets saga: Bugisu leaders unhappy with Kitutu

KAMPALA - Since New Vision first broke the story about how the iron sheets meant for the vulnerable in Karamoja found their way to Namisindwa district allegedly under the watch of the region’s minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu, there have been mixed reactions among leaders and locals across the country.

For Bugisu leaders, the incident was demeaning to the region (Bugisu) and, therefore, set a bad example to the young generation.

Appearing on one of the local radio stations in Mbale city on Saturday, March 4, 2023, Opposition chief whip John Nambeshe, who is also Manjiya County Member of Parliament, said the minister depicts ‘a bad image’ for the region.

“Since this saga started unfolding, I have tried to convince myself that it is not true, but I have eventually failed. The minister receives a big salary, which is collected from us in form of taxes. I think she would have considered the plight of our brothers in Karamoja,” Nambeshe said on Saturday.

Not picking calls

Meanwhile, a section of leaders in Bugisu blames Kitutu for allegedly not picking her calls which they suspect that is triggered by fear of criticism.

According to John Musila (Bubulo East), the minister has disassociated herself from fellow leaders in the region something he said makes it difficult to advise or guide her.

“The minister does not pick my calls. I don’t know whether she picks for other leaders. It becomes so hard to defend her without knowing her side of the story,” Musila said in a phone interview.

On Friday, March 3, 2023, Kitutu apologised while she appeared before the parliamentary committee for inquiries.

Last month, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) suspended the distribution of iron sheets across the country after theft and abuse in the process of distribution were detected, leading to the arrest of close relatives of Kitutu.

Source: New Vision

‘Corruption frustrating efforts to restore wetlands’

Officials from the water ministry and other government agencies including National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) have decried what they call the high level of corruption among local leaders. They say as a result of corruption, efforts to restore wetlands and other water sources have been frustrated.

They add that despite President Yoweri Museveni giving a directive to wetland encroachers to vacate immediately, the efforts by the implementers have hit a dead end due to corruption and lack of political will among the local leaders.

The outcry was made on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, during the launch of the Water and Environment Week which will be celebrated under the theme: Water and Environment for Climate-Resilient Development. The launch was at the water and environment regional offices in Mbarara city.

Capt. John Bosco Bamuturaki, the chairperson R. Rwizi Catchment Committee operating under the water ministry, said the Government put environmental structures at all levels in local councils, “but we have found a major challenge of corruption among leaders who promise cover-ups in case there is an attempt to be evicted”.

Bamuturaki, said most of the structures that have been erected near the wetlands and other sources of water, especially on R. Rwizi have approved plans an indicator that, “these people connive with some officials in the local leadership”.

NEMA southwestern region manager Jeconius Musingwire said for the last six years, they have tried to recover a number of wetlands such as Nyakambu swamp in Buhweju district, Kakigani and Kongoro swamps in Rwampara district, but “have suffered a challenge of lack of political will and corruption”.

“Every time we go and chase away people from the wetlands, in a few days, they come back because they are promised a backup from local leadership right away from LC1s. Because some of these people sit in councils and know that we don’t have enough manpower to keep enforcement on ground due to limited budget,” Musingwire said.

He added that during one of the exercises of erecting mark stones on the buffer zones of River Rwizi, “we were with all the local leaders, but as we moved along erecting mark stones, I found myself alone with a few officials from the ministry all others political leaders abandoned the exercise”.

About the water and environment week

Water ministry manager for Mbarara region Eng. Enock Mwanje said the water and environment week activities will last for six days highlighting the role of inclusiveness in water and environment systems for climate-resilient communities and ecosystems.

“We shall emphasise identifying legal policies and institutional approaches for enhancing water and environment security for climate resilient development and exploring opportunities for developing and strengthening capacity for multisectoral partnership," Mwanje said.

Source: New Vision

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED MURDER OF HUSBAND/FATHER RESPECTIVELY IN AMURU

The Territorial Police in Amuru, has in custody, a mother and daughter for the alleged murder of her husband and father respectively, on the 24.02.2023 around 8pm at Labongo village, Pagak Parish, Amuru district. The victim had advised her daughter, who had a conflict with her husband and returned home, against entering a new relation ship with another man. This angered her daughter, who attacked and assaulted hir. She was joined by her mother, Laduu Santa, a 50-year-old, house wife and they pushed the victim, Nyeko Augustine aged 66, to the ground, where he fell and hit his head on the ground.

The victim died and they locked his body in the house, which was recovered the following day of 25.02.2023 at around midday by Wokolanya Patrick, and a report made at police.

Both Amony Concy, aged 28 and her mother Laduu Santa, aged 50, were arrested and charged with murder. We strongly condemn such acts of inter-familiar violence and urge families to always engage the LCs, police and respected members of the community, to address their differences.

Source: Uganda Police Force

President officiates at 12th annual Ministry of defence thanksgiving

President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander-in-chief of the Defense Forces has said that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces has overtime registered a number of successes and grown from strength to strength because God has always been on their side for, they were at all times fighting for the right cause.

The President made the remarks at Kololo Airstrip where he was the chief guest at the 12th Annual Ministry of Defense and Uganda People’s Defense Forces thanksgiving service.

This year’s thanks giving service that ran under the theme “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends” was held in commemoration of the sacrifices of the FRONASA fighters.

Addressing the congregation of government officials, army officers, veterans and families of the living and fallen soldiers among others, the President said that he has personally seen successes registered by the army right from the day of the liberation wars that he attributes to God’s intervention.

Sighting the 6th of February 1981 attack on Kabamba barracks by the NRA, the President said that although they faced many challenges such as the breakdown of one of their vehicles, God managed to get them a solution through a well-wisher and went on to carry on the mission successfully.

He added that right from the time of the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) in the 1970’s to the NRA times in the 1980’s, God would at different times in difficult circumstances help them to succeed because they were always focused on the correct and right aims of Uganda and the people.

The President therefore commended the Ministry of Defense and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces for sparing a day to recognize and thank God for the guidance and protection he has given them in service of their country.

He also said that by praying together as a force the UPDF was rightly healing the old vices of tribalism and religious sectarianism and uniting together as a national force that carries national identity.

On the army welfare the President said that focus should be put on ensuring free education for the army children, strengthening of the army SACCO and the financial army of the spouses of the soldiers so as to reduce pressure on the soldiers who are still receiving relatively low salaries.

The First lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni attributed the successes of the Ugandan armed forces from the 1970’s to God’s protection, guidance and mercy.

“Just like David in the bible, the success of the revolutionary forces came from God and God’s favor was always with them and I pray that the UPDF build on that foundation of service beyond self” she said.

Mr. Vincent Sempijja the Minister of Defense said that the army through programs such as operation wealth creation, emyooga fund and the parish development model will continue to play a big role and contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the country. He added that the government is committed to supporting the programs aimed at the betterment of the lives of veterans, their families and the orphans of the fallen soldiers.

The Chief of Defense Forces General Wilson Mbusa Mbadi commended the sacrifices the officers and men of the UPDF have paid in defense of Uganda and the region to an extent of some paying the ultimate price of death on the battlefield. He said that to address the welfare of the army, the UPDF is working on the housing needs of the force, improving on the educational institutions to guarantee free and quality primary and secondary education for children of the soldiers and also are planning to have an army university.

Dr. Sheldon Mwesigwa the Bishop of Ankole diocese who was a guest speaker at the thanksgiving service commended the UPDF for sparing time to thank God for the guidance and protection he has given them in the service of their country. He commended the army for the involvement in community service and for exhibiting excellent discipline whenever they are called for duty.

Source: State House of Uganda