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Supporters of Tanzania's Chadema main opposition party sing the national anthem during the offical launch of party's election campaign for the October election at Mbagala Zakhem in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 28, 2020. Photo Ericky Boniphace / AFP


Tanzanian police have arrested several members of the country’s main opposition Chadema party, the latest crackdown on a group pushing for constitutional reform in the country.

It followed the detention of Chadema leader Freeman Mbowe on “terrorism” charges that his party have branded a bid by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government to muzzle the opposition.

Police detained nine party members and raided its offices in the northern lakeside town of Musoma to block a planned symposium by the youth wing on constitutional change, Chadema said in a statement on Saturday.

“We strongly condemn this blatant violation of the constitution and rule of law, sowing the seeds of hatred, discrimination and discord within communities,” it added, protesting against the “suppression of democratic rights” by police and other security forces.

Mbowe has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with a number of other senior Chadema officials hours before they were to hold a similar forum on calls for a new constitution.

The 59-year-old has been charged with terrorism financing and conspiracy in a case that the opposition says shows Hassan is continuing the oppressive rule of her late predecessor John Magufuli.

He is due to appear at the High Court again on Monday, although his trial has been held up by legal wrangling, with his defence team most recently challenging the legality of the charge sheet.

Referring to Saturday’s arrests, Longinus Tibishibwamu, police chief in the Mara region of which Musoma is the capital, said the force cannot allow such events to take place.

“The president has instructed that people should now focus on economic development … So such conferences will have to wait,” Tibishibwamu was quoted as saying by local media. - AFP/Al Jazeera

Photo Courtesy 

To compensate victims of its mass corruption, world soccer’s governing body will work with the U.S. in distributing ill-gotten money for the good of the sport.

Six years ago, the world’s most popular game, soccer, saw its governing body, known as FIFA, suffer the biggest scandal the sport had ever seen. Dozens of FIFA officials as well as marketing executives were charged by the United States with various forms of corruption, from bribery to kickbacks, in relation to deals involving the World Cup and other competitions. Two people were convicted, most defendants pleaded guilty, and at least $200 million in ill-gotten gains was confiscated. U.S. prosecutors are still at work.

Now FIFA, which has since tried hard to clean up its worldwide operations, could become known as a leader in a global trend – helping victims of corruption feel whole again through remediation.

This month, FIFA will start working with the U.S. Justice Department to distribute some of that stolen money through a new charity arm and in other ways. The money will support such projects as developing girls’ soccer, or building up clubs in what is called “community restitution.”

The aim is to restore FIFA’s relationship with the billions of fans who enjoy “the beautiful game” and were harmed by the scandal in either direct or indirect ways. “I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place,” said Gianni Infantino, an Italian chosen in 2016 to overhaul FIFA and make it transparent and accountable. 

This type of justice for victims is still rare after successful prosecutions for graft. Typically, governments pocket money clawed back from the criminally corrupt. It is difficult to calculate all the damage inflicted on society from corruption or to pinpoint all its victims. 

Since 1999, as more countries have prosecuted foreign bribery, an estimated $15 billion has been collected in confiscated proceeds, mainly by the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Now the U.S. decision to work with FIFA on remediation “can help us push for the introduction of victims’ compensation as standard practice in foreign bribery and money laundering cases,” according to corruption watchdog Transparency International. One of history’s biggest sports scandal has created a strong precedent for restorative justice in the global fight against corruption. By the Monitor's Editorial Board, Christian Science Monitor

The government has suspended planned mandatory Covid-19 test for all international travellers. Compulsory Covid testing of all in-coming travellers, including citizens, was expected to start today. However, an inter-ministerial committee convened by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja cited unpreparedness and postponed implementation for two weeks.

While the postponement was tagged on readiness of the laboratories and other issues at the airport and testing centre, the government decision to compel travellers with a PCR tests done 72 hours before travel to pay $65 for second test upon arrival in Uganda faced outrage from frequent travellers, tour operators and some legislators.

The people who are against the proposed compulsory Covid test at the airport have criticised the move as perilous and alleged that the mandatory testing at Penial Beach Hotel, Entebbe, is aimed at enriching a few private companies that will be doing the tests. Some members of the inter-ministerial committee have privately criticised mandatory Covid-19 tests as uncalled for and cited lack of preparedness, abuse and delays. 

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng had on August 20 announced that all travellers arriving in Uganda, including citizens would be subjected to a mandatory PCR Covid test before they are cleared to enter the country. The decision to tighten rules sought to stop abuse and importation of deadly variants into the country.

Uganda has so far registered at least five Covid-19 variants, including the delta, and now seeks to contain the spread as the country struggles to vaccinate citizens. 

Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, yesterday confirmed the postponement of mandatory testing.

“It [implementation of mandatory testing] has been deferred by two weeks because of the readiness of the laboratories and other issues. The inter-ministerial committee led by the Prime minister will visit the airport and testing site,’’ Mr Ainebyoona said without giving more details.

Dr Charles Ayume, the head of the Parliamentary Health Committee, told this newspaper that they will visit the testing centre next week to assess its capacity and also address issues of how the companies were selected.

“We don’t want people who have travelled for 12 hours to come and start standing in a three-hour queue to get tested. They will get frustrated. And when the facilities that are testing get overwhelmed, they will start compromising on quality. Quality will go down,” Dr Ayume clarified.

Currently, travellers spend around four hours to get their results, according to Test and Fly, one of the laboratories that provide Covid testing at the Airport. The mandatory testing will also be done in the 53 entry points of the country.

Dr Ayume, however, explained that the planned mandatory testing is an important initiative that should be implemented due to a looming threat of third wave of the pandemic.

“Carrying a negative Covid-19 test certificate doesn’t guarantee that you are not infected. You could be still incubating depending on when you did the test. We are trying to prepare for or prevent third wave,” he said.

Ms Margaret Muhanga, the State minister for Primary Healthcare, said earlier that the implementation would be important in curbing importation of new variants of the coronavirus.

The Kween County MP, Mr Abdi Fadhil Chemaswet, previously asked the ministry to review the “high” cost of mandatory Covid-19 PCR test by private laboratories.

“The private laboratories at Entebbe Airport are charging $65 to conduct the test; they are taken to some beach not even at the airport,” Mr Chemaswet said.

Ms Anna Merrifield, the European Union Deputy Head of Delegation, in a tweet on August 21, said “testing on departure, testing on arrival, testing on departure is draining and ultimately only benefits the private labs which are making a fortune.”

Like Mr Chemaswet, Ms Merrifield said the $65 is “very expensive in comparison to average earnings” in the country.

“How long will we be testing for, also people who are 2 x vaccinated [fully vaccinated], or recovered and could test positive for months? If you want to revive tourism, this won’t work,” she added.

The mandatory Covidd-19 means the private laboratories will experience a sharp increase in profits through the diagnosis. Previously, the laboratories were benefitting through testing all travellers before they leave the country.

For instance in June, the government statistics indicate that up to 40,137 people who left the country through Entebbe International Airport. This means at the rate of $65 per test, the laboratories amassed $2,608,905 (9.2b).

That same month, 29,209 arrivals were registered at the airport. This means that once mandatory testing starts for those arriving, the private laboratories will earn $1,898,585 (Shs6.7b) for the tests.

But Ms Muhanga said earlier that a serious traveller cannot complain about $65 for the Covid-19 test.

“Someone who has paid for an air ticket and can stay in a hotel where they will be paying $300 per night, but is not willing to pay $65 for Covid test is an unserious traveller,” the minister said.  “Vaccination doesn’t mean you don’t have Covid-19. Even people who are fully vaccinated are getting infected. Vaccination only protects you from falling sick. We have to do this to prevent importation of new variants of the coronavirus,” she added.

Dr Henry Kyobe, the national incident manager for Covid-19, said the ministry has a clear criteria for selecting laboratories and that there are plans to increase the number of laboratories testing at the entry points.

The Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) said the directive of mandatory testing will have devastating effects on the tourism sector which has been disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Nancy Okwong, the AUTO spokesperson, said the mandatory testing is an inconvenience that would cause a decline in the number of tourists.

“Much as we recognise that it is important to have certainty regarding the status of our clients. The so many levels of [Covid] testing are quite a hindrance to us having tourists and clients coming to the country.”

Some policy analysts have also warned that mandatory testing might deter people from flying to the country unless for essential reasons and spark off counter measures by other countries. By Tonny AbetDaily Monitor

A prominent Ugandan academic arrested on accusations of spying for regional rival Rwanda has been released following an intervention by President Yoweri Museveni, a businessman familiar with the case said on Saturday.

Lawrence Muganga, 45, vice-chancellor of the private Victoria University, was arrested on Thursday by joint security forces for suspected “espionage and illegal stay”, according to a military spokeswoman.

Video from university security cameras posted online showed Muganga being taken in broad daylight from his Kampala office by armed plain clothes men and uniformed soldiers and put into a van known as a “drone”, which is associated with abductions of government opponents.

Frank Gashumba, a friend of Muganga and one of Uganda’s most prominent businessmen, told AFP that the academic had been freed on Friday after he (Gashumba) raised the case with Museveni. There was no immediate confirmation from the government of his release.

Gashumba said Muganga, who is of Rwandan ethnicity, was taken to Uganda’s military intelligence agency headquarters where he was questioned about alleged spying for Kigali.

Gashumba told AFP he secured a meeting with Museveni who he said was “shocked” by Muganga’s arrest and ordered his immediate release and the dropping of all charges.

“I want to thank each and everyone out there for your peace, your support, your activism,” Muganga said after his release, according to a video posted on Gashumba’s Facebook page. Capital News


Photo The Tower Post


The Criminal Investigations Directorate has raised concern over the increasing cases of Ugandans hiring victims of transnational trafficking as domestic workers.

Charles Twine, the spokesperson of the directorate says that security forces are launching operations against traffickers, and that any person who has hired victims of transnational trafficking as domestic workers will not be spared. He cited trafficking incidents of Burundian nationals to Uganda, and Ugandans who are trafficked to Kenya.

Twine was addressing a briefing, jointly with Agnes Igoye, the Deputy Coordinator of the Anti-Human Trafficking Department in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Igoye and Twine who have been following up on separate transnational trafficking incidents say Uganda has increasingly become a transit route for majorly girls and women trafficked from Burundi.

A number of women have been trafficked from Burundi on the promise of taking them for jobs in the Arab world but end up being held incommunicado in the areas of Kabalagala, Kansanga, Bweyogerere, Kyengera and Kireka, all on the outskirts of Kampala.

“The key trends have been the issue of citizens of Burundi especially women trafficked in the pretext of getting them jobs in Saudi Arabia. The recruitment is usually done on a promise to take them to Saudi Arabia for work. They end up taking them to Kenya. We shall arrest whoever transports them, keeps them or hires these victims of transnational trafficking as domestic workers,” Igoye warns.

So far, some of the members of the racket of traffickers identified as Charles Kamuli and one Ramsey, have been arrested. Twine explains that traffickers have caused problems for several people who have ended up being arrested in other countries, charged and convicted on crimes they have no idea about.

Twine names some of the people who have fallen victims of transnational traffickers and ended up in cells of Kenya as Rashida Kabubi, Kamada Ssengendo, Sadat Lukyamuzi, Josephine Nadyofe, Florence Nanyonga, Zaina Namilimu, Susan Birungi and Lydia Semyalo.

“We need to work together to end human trafficking. People were arrested, charged and jailed for forging documents and stamps in Kenya yet they were also victims of trafficking. The good news is that we have arrested Charles Kamuli one of the traffickers,” Twine said.

Security has also established that people trafficking girls and women from neighbouring countries are also using forged documents of recognized and licensed Ugandan labour export companies.

Ronnie Mukundane, the spokesperson of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), calls upon the police to intensify operations against transnational traffickers. He adds that none of the UAERA members has a branch in any of the neighbouring countries since the government only clears Ugandans to go for external employment.

“The government doesn’t clear a person who is not a Ugandan and our companies cannot engage in that. They could be taking them for sexual exploitation. All people who travel through licensed companies have been cleared by the government. By the time you are cleared, the government takes full responsibility,” Mukundane said.

CID data shows that the number of people trafficked transnationally shot up in 2020. The figures increased to 666 people compared to those trafficked transnationally in 2019. Statistics add that eight of the transnational trafficking victims were raped. - URN/The Tower Post

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