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Controversy is shrouding Kampala Capital City Authority's (KCCA) move to disburse over Shs 99 million for the payment volunteers under the Seven Hills Group for the month of August.

The funds have been sent to accounts of division community Saccos, which provide cleaning, landscaping and engineering services in Kampala. In correspondences seen by our reporter, Ivan Kiirya, the supervisor treasury at KCCA notifies the town clerks in divisions and other KCCA officials informing them about the transfer of funds for Seven Hills Initiative.

"Below are funds sent to the Sacco division accounts to take care of the casuals for Seven Hills for further management," the email sent on September 28 reads in part.

According to the disbursement list, over Shs 23.6 million has been sent to Makindye division, Shs 11.56 million to Rubaga, Shs 25.6 million to Kawempe, Shs 14.69 million to Nakawa and Shs 23.7 million to the Central Division Community Cooperative Savings and Credit Society Limited.

There is no government policy on volunteering with government agencies and KCCA has not communicated any contractual agreement it has with Seven Hills hence attracting questions among division leaders.

The Lubaga Division town clerk, Thomas Ssentongo has since written back saying that "contractual terms and obligations have to be discussed so that all of us are on the same page."

In the same breath, the Nakawa division town clerk, Denis Omodi also wrote back to Kiirya on October 5 asking for a copy of the contract agreement between KCCA and seven Hills that warrant the payment.

"The 7 Hill group MUST be registered as members of the Nakawa causal workers Sacco in order for us to pay them," he said.

He also notes that for Seven Hills to be paid through the Sacco account, they must present themselves for verification and come along with their bank account number, NSSF number, two passport photos and original National IDs.

"As Nakawa, I propose that as we await the agreement, a comprehensive list be shared showing the Seven Hills beneficiaries, their NIN and the amount due to each," wrote Omodi.

A source who preferred told URN that they are suspicious of the intention behind the disbursement of money to the Sacco accounts. The source says some members of Seven Hills have been receiving daily allowances ranging between Shs 6,000 and Shs 10,000 given to them directly by their supervisors and now wonders why KCCA wants to pay them through Sacco accounts.

“It is as if they want to trap Saccos that they hired seven Hills. These people are not members of Saccos and Saccos can’t be responsible for them. KCCA just sent money to the accounts without talking to leaders in Saccos, they have not told them how many people they are supposed to pay and how much. This is like a trap,” said the source.

Asked to explain under what arrangement the volunteers were being paid, KCCA deputy spokesperson, Robert Kalumba said the group was helping with keeping the city clean and that’s why they decided to pay them.

“They have been working. Are you saying they should not be paid?” said Kalumba, before adding that they were making arrangements to formalize their operations with the group.

Kalumba couldn’t however explain why the money was paid through accounts of Saccos, how many people were to be paid and how much. Until September 15, it is the community Saccos that have been providing cleaning, landscaping and engineering services in Kampala.

The Saccos in each of the five divisions of Kampala have a membership of over 3,000 workers recruited under a reservation scheme targeting elderly people especially women, single mothers and people living with HIV.

When their contracts expired, KCCA embarked on an evaluation exercise to assess the performance of their casual workers. Earlier last week Daniel NuweAbine, who has been acting KCCA spokesperson, said findings of the evaluation process shall inform whether KCCA extends the contracts of division Saccos and hence the reservation scheme.

Nevertheless Saccos' casual labourers have continued to work since this is not the first time there are lapses in their contracts. For instance, in 2018 and 2019, the Saccos had no written contract with KCCA but they worked and were paid.

KCCA spends at least one billion shillings in salaries on casual labourers and by the time funds were sent members of Saccos had already received their August salary and are waiting for September. The salary usually comes mid of the next month.

What is Seven Hills

Seven Hills surfaced in March 2021 at a time KCCA launched the smart city campaign, an initiative intended to drive community engagement in cleaning the city. They desilted drainages in Kampala before expanding to sweeping the streets.

It was marketed as a volunteer youth group uniting former criminal gang members who decided to engage in activities beneficial to their communities. They soon started recruiting other members from the community who are not former criminals. Its membership is currently over 500 per division.

The group has since publicly expressed interest in securing a contract to offer cleaning services in Kampala. Some of the group’s supervisors that URN previously interacted with accused the Saccos of failing at their job and that they (Seven Hill) were committed to scooping the contract.

Since their arrival, there have been reports of clashes between the Seven Hills and Sacco members on the streets. The Saccos (who had a running contract) accuse Seven Hills of deploying in areas where they also have people to work to force them off the streets while boosting their powers.

In August 2021, as contracts of Saccos neared expiry, the tension escalated with Seven Hills members being accused of provoking and sometimes beating members of Community Saccos who had been holding the contract. Videos of them pushing SACCOs members into drainage channels emerged but they denied any wrongdoing. By URN, The Observer

Hosea Macharinyang cruises to victory in the senior men's 12-kilometre race during the national cross-country trials at the Ngong racecourse in this undated file photo.  File | Nation Media Group/Photo Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • Confirming the incident, West Pokot Sub County Commissioner Kennedy Lunalo said family members found the body of the athlete hanging by a rope inside a store used for keeping livestock feeds on Saturday
  • He is suspected to have been suffering from mental illness for some time
  • Lunalo said the body has been moved to the mortuary at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital awaiting post-mortem

The lifeless body of veteran cross country runner Hosea Mwok Macharinyang has been found hanging by a rope in a store at the family home in Murkwijit village, West Pokot County.  

Confirming the incident, West Pokot Sub County Commissioner Kennedy Lunalo said family members found the body of the athlete hanging by a rope inside a store used for keeping livestock feeds on Saturday. 

“The area assistant chief and the officer in charge of Murkwijit Police Post arrived at the scene and confirmed the incident. No suicide note was found with him,” Lunalo said.

Family members and neighbours were in shock following the discovery of the body which was dangling from a rope tied to the neck.

Macharinyang specialised in the 10,000 meters races, and cross country running. He represented Kenya in five editions of the World Cross Country Championships, winning the team title with Kenya three times from 2006 to 2008.

He is suspected to have been suffering from mental illness for some time. Two mobile phones were recovered from the pockets of the athletes, who had spent the whole day herding cattle in the fields.

Lunalo said the body has been moved to the mortuary at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital awaiting post-mortem.

Lunalo said that investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the death . By Oscar Kaikai, Daily Nation

 

 

Six international human rights groups – Amnesty International, the Burundi Human Rights Initiative, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights Watch, Protection International Africa and TRIAL International – condemned the decision of the Court of Appeal of Ngozi on 29 September to uphold the conviction and five-year prison sentence of Burundian lawyer Tony Germain Nkina following an unfair trial.

“Tony Germain Nkina’s trial was a travesty of justice,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. - Amnesty International

A U.S. agent removes handcuffs from Rwanda genocide suspect Oswald Rurangwa after he is flown by U.S. authorities to Kigali on Oct. 7, 2021, for transfer to Rwandan police custody. Photo Assumpta Kagoyi/VOA Central Africa Service

 

An alleged participant in the 1994 Rwandan genocide faces a possible 30 years in prison after U.S. officials deported him to Kigali, where he was taken into custody after his arrival Thursday.

Oswald Rurangwa, 59, escorted by U.S. security officials, was deported to Rwanda on a private jet. U.S. Embassy officials received him at Kigali International Airport and immediately handed him over to Rwandan security staff. Rurangwa was handcuffed and led into a waiting Rwanda Investigation Bureau van.

Speaking to reporters at the airport, Rwanda Prosecution Authority spokesman Faustin Nkusi said Rurangwa was the head of Interahamwe militia in the Gisozi sector, a suburb of Kigali, during the genocide.

"He participated in many acts of the genocide, including planning meetings, joining mobs of attackers, and killing. He committed genocide crimes, complicity to genocide, inciting people to commit genocide, murder and extermination as a crime against humanity," Nkusi said.

"We issued an arrest warrant against him in 2008, but this coincided with the Gacaca [court] ruling that had already been handed down to him. So, the U.S. judicial authorities deported him to serve his sentence here," he added.

In 2007, a Gacaca, or Rwandan community court, tried Rurangwa in absentia, finding him guilty of genocide and sentencing him to 30 years behind bars.

U.S. attorney Charles Kambanda, who is familiar with the case and knowledgeable about legal affairs in Central Africa, said the U.S. had a different rationale for deporting Rurangwa.

"Oswald Rurangwa was sent to Rwanda purely on account of immigration fraud,” the New York state-based attorney told the VOA Central Africa Service. "This means he was deported, not extradited. ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] handed him over."

According to the prosecution, Rurangwa fled Rwanda in 1994 for the Kibumba refugee camp in what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. He later moved to another camp, Kayindu, before applying for asylum in the United States in 1996.

Nkusi said Rwandan law permits Rurangwa to have his case retried.

"You have seen that he has been assigned an attorney," Nkusi said, adding that Rurangwa would be informed of the earlier ruling and given a copy of his sentence. "He will also be informed about his right [of appeal] because even though he was sentenced in absentia, he has the right to have the case retried."

Rurangwa was being taken to Mageragere prison, Nkusi said. - Assumpta Kaboyi/Geoffrey Mutagoma, Voice of America

 

JUBA, South Sudan -- South Sudan has ordered the freezing of bank accounts of five members of a coalition of activists calling for political change.

The People’s Coalition for Civil Action, formed in July, has called for President Salva Kiir and his rival deputy Riek Machar to step down, accusing them of failing the people of South Sudan for a decade of war and fragile peace.

In a letter seen by The Associated Press, the director-general of the government’s banking supervision division on Wednesday directed all commercial banks operating in South Sudan to block accounts belong to the five activists “with immediate effect.”

The statement didn’t give reasons for the order. The Central Bank of South Sudan confirmed the letter. A government spokesman could not be reached.

The order freezes the accounts of Abraham Awolich, former executive director of the Sudd Institute; Rajab Mohandis, executive director for the Organization for Responsive Governance; Wani Michael, former executive director of the Okay Africa Foundation; Jame David Kolok, executive director of the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance and Kuel Aguer Kuel.

Awolich, a co-founder of the coalition, said they would not be deterred by the government’s order, which he called “a war against civil society in South Sudan.”

“This action is an attempt by the government to weaken the members and the PCCA as an organization,” he told the AP, adding that the action has raised the coalition’s profile.

Michael in a social media post called it “unfortunate.”

South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is struggling to recover from a five-year civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Former rivals Kiir and Machar now lead a government accused by watchdogs of falling behind on implementation of the peace deal. - DENG MACHOL, Associated Press / ABC News

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