September 2012
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Month September 2012

The Secretary-General’s message Mini-Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Kampala 7-8 September 2012

MESSAGE TO Mini-Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region
Kampala, 7-8 September 2012

Delivered by Mr. Abou Moussa, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA)

I am pleased to send greetings to this important summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the third such meeting to focus on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the past two months.

I thank President Museveni for his stewardship in convening today’s gathering. I also deeply appreciate the efforts of Roger Meece, my Special Representative and head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). And I commend you, as leaders of the region, for your concerted efforts to find a way forward to resolve the situation.

I remain deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian conditions in eastern DRC, resulting from the activities of the 23 March (M23) mutineers, as well as other national and foreign armed groups. The humanitarian situation remains dire, with over 226,000 people displaced in North Kivu alone in the past several months while over 57,000 Congolese have crossed into Rwanda and Uganda. The worsening security and humanitarian conditions continue to pose a threat to stability in the wider Great Lakes region.

While there has been a lull in military activities by the M23 in North Kivu since July, the situation remains very fragile, and I call for the group’s immediate and complete cessation of all destabilizing activities. I once again condemn the violence and serious human rights violations committed by the M23, as well as other armed groups, against civilians, which need to be thoroughly investigated by relevant institutions and the perpetrators held accountable.

I am deeply concerned at the continuing reports of external support to the M23, and call for an end to all such support without delay. Military deterrence alone will not resolve the current crisis. I strongly encourage continued and strengthened high-level dialogue at the bilateral and regional level aimed at finding a durable solution including through addressing the underlying causes of the conflict.

This Summit takes place at a critical juncture. I hope that further progress will be made in developing a roadmap of initiatives to address the situation in eastern DRC and look forward to the outcomes. The United Nations stands ready to provide support, as appropriate, in cooperation with the African Union and regional and international partners.

Building on your discussions, I intend to convene, on 27 September in New York, a High-Level meeting on the situation in eastern DRC in the margins of the General Assembly. This event would provide a platform for further dialogue aimed at reinforcing regional efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the crisis in eastern DRC.

In this connection, the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, will be visiting the region from 9 to 15 September in preparation for the High-Level Meeting. I look forward to the participation of the ICGLR Member States and international partners at the meeting.

I wish you great success at today’s important meeting and look forward to building on the results.

Irene Mwakesi
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre(UNIC)Nairobi
P.O. Box 67578 – 00200, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel : +254-20-7623677
Fax: +254-20-7624349
Mobile: +254-719-867906

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Ssemujju Nganda: UNAA conference shows who is ‘eating’ Uganda


On Friday, lunchtime, I arrived in the US city of Philadelphia to attend the annual Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) conference. I was part of a four-member delegation dispatched from Kampala by the Leader of Opposition, Nathan Nandala-Mafabi, to represent our side at this conference.

Leader of delegation was Philip Wafula Oguttu and the other members were: Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka municipality) and Judith Franca Akello (Woman MP, Agago).
All four of us are members of the shadow cabinet.

There were two dozen MPs at this conference sponsored by different interests. The Speaker of Parliament also led a delegation. It appears Parliament was overrepresented. Of course some MPs like Gerald Karuhanga and Gilbert Olanya sponsored themselves.

In Philadelphia, I found a different picture of UNAA and the conference as it had been painted by Dr Muniini K. Mulera in his column in Daily Monitor. Although UNAA is 24 years old, it looked like an infant outfit trying to assemble itself.

There wasn’t even a clear picture of what we came to attend. Was it a conference where papers would be presented or one big social event where people who have not seen one another meet to talk about everything?

We kept asking ourselves these questions. Wafula Oguttu, my boss at The Monitor for five years, kept asking whether it was worthwhile spending taxpayers’ money on this conference/big party. We went out to have our names registered, but we were told to wait because the team was still assembling computers.

Marriott hotel and the Pennsylvania Convention Centre where this event took place offered magnificent accommodation and hall, respectively. And Philadelphia, the first capital of the US, is a beautiful city.

In the end, each one of us tried to extract whichever value there was in this conference. Dr Muniini Mulera played MC and we were treated to some Miss UNAA of sorts which ended up being a mere imitation as just four girls participated and there was a time when Dr Mulera had to go backstage when no girl was showing up.

I eventually drew my own conclusions about UNAA. I may be wrong, but that is how I saw it. Before the opening ceremony, there was a session on Investment. The speakers at this session were: Jennifer Musisi (Executive Director KCCA), Allen Kagina (Commissioner General URA), Henry Ngabirano (Executive Director Coffee Development Authority), Kenneth Kitariko (of African Alliance) and the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, who was drafted in later.

As you may know, I never fear to speak about tribalism. So, I asked my colleagues if the lineup of speakers taught them about public jobs distribution in Uganda. The lineup included Musisi who by the way is more Western Uganda these days than Central.

I later learnt Patrick Bitature was also meant to speak at this investment session. The Ugandan diplomats at the opening ceremony completed the picture. There was Perez Kamunanwire (Ambassador to the US) and Adonia Ayebare (Acting Ambassador to the UN).

Even Oguttu who rarely speaks about the Banyankore dominance of our society, wondered if there is no Musamya anywhere who can either be a CEO or a diplomat. Of course not all these people are Banyankore, but they are all from the West.

When I met a Muganda who drove me to Boston to attend Ttabamiruka (annual Baganda conference) and declared the UNAA “Banyankore Kweterana”, it didn’t surprise me.

Because our boss Mafabi had also asked us to attend Ttabamiruka, we left for Boston. It was an experience driving through four states; New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. I have never appreciated the US, but the drive convinced me about what good leadership and focus can do.

The road network in the cities and outside is amazing. At the pace we are on, Uganda needs five hundred years to get to where the US was at the start! Of course Museveni featured prominently in all our discussions and how he was now preparing his son to succeed him.

I became the defender of Museveni because people who have stayed away for too long have an exaggerated negative view of the man. For them anyone from Western Uganda is a Munyarwanda. Some even think Col Kizza Besigye and Museveni are the same.

What I told them is that it might be impossible for Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba to succeed his father. The reason is simple; Museveni has been Mr Fixer throughout his regime. Even in the military, Museveni has not allowed Muhoozi to fix anything. Instead, Muhoozi has been himself fixed. For anyone to successfully take over, you need to be the fixer. Muhoozi is neither a fixer of the military nor of politics.

The author is Kyadondo East MP.


USAID Awards $50 million for Health Care Improvements in Northern Uganda

USAID Awards $50 Million to Plan International to Improve Health Care in Northern Uganda

The United States Agency for International Development has announced a five-year, $50 million grant to Plan International and its partners to improve health systems in northern Uganda.

The grant will be used to launch a community-led initiative to increase the availability of quality health services in fifteen Ugandan districts and strengthen systems for the effective and sustainable delivery of such services. Primary partners in the initiative include IntraHealth International, Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the Communication for Development Foundation Uganda, the AIDS Support Organisation, the Uganda Health Marketing Group, and Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.

While the majority of Ugandans displaced by the two-decade-long uprising led by Joseph Kony’s guerrilla group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, have returned to their homes, many in the country’s northern region remain without access to quality healthcare services. The new initiative is designed to create a community-owned system that responds to the unique needs of this population.

“The award reflects USAID’s commitment to Uganda,” said Plan International USA president and CEO Tessie San Martin, “and its trust in [our ability] to improve the quality of and access to health care for marginalized groups — such as women and girls, children, and people living with HIV and AIDS — in some of the most remote and hard-to-reach communities of northern Uganda.”

Hon. Ssemuju:Is the UNAA annual convention Worth Tax Payers’ Money?

My brother Hon. Ibrahim Semuju Nganda,

Assalaam alaikum:

Thank you for attending the UNAA annual convention which according to your account was for a few hours of the 3 day event. I’m glad you took time to pen your observations and have made some outstanding observations on this organization cherished by many in North America. I would like to respond to some of your assertions listed below.

1. – UNAA looked like an infant outfit trying to assemble itself

2. – Is it worthwhile spending taxpayers money on this conference/big party

3. – Ethnicity of speakers at the business forum (Jennifer Musisi who by the way is more Western Uganda these days than Central and Diplomats Perez Kamunanwire (Ambassador to the US) and Adonia Ayebare (Acting Ambassador to the UN) which in yours and your friends view makes UNAA “Banyankore Kweterana.

1. UNAA looked like an infant outfit trying to assemble itself.

I’m not sure you have taken time to read/learn about UNAA’s history. This organization started at a humble thanks giving gathering in some one’s house in Atlanta Georgia. In the past 24 years UNAA has provided Ugandans in North America an annual opportunity to meet, network, have fun and discuss issues that touch them. In order to appreciate the importance of these happenings it would be a lot better to speak to one who met an old friend with whom they sat PLE and had not met again for over 20 years until UNAA offered them the chance to do so. You may want to talk to one who found a spouse and is leading a happy family life. You may need to speak to one who enhanced his or her business through a contact made or a one who was saved from home vultures by meeting a formidable Ugandan company to handle his/her business (which could be banking, building a house, taking care of an elderly parent etc). You may also have found out that UNAA helped to demystify the misconceptions on dual citizenship which hitherto was seen by many as a ploy to have citizens of some neighboring country/ies legalized. Of course even UNAA members are still asking for more and UNAA leadership is cognizant of that in view of the current restructuring. I can assure you that this volunteer organization strives to achieve all this mostly from the membership, minimal sponsorships and mostly personal contributions from willing members. It is therefore unfortunate to use lenses of a couple of hours to determine the growth or stagnation of a 24 year old organization.

2. Is it worthwhile spending taxpayers money on this conference/big party?

UNAA announces the annual conventions and requests all interested persons to attend. These can be from any part of the world and all are welcome for as long as they espouse UNAA objectives and are willing to register. We have had delegates from Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa most of whom come from our motherland Uganda. The reasons to attend vary just like your case where the Leader of the Opposition (LOP) nominated and perhaps sponsored your attendance. The fact that 4 MP’s were commissioned by the LOP as opposed to the other’s is really not UNAA’s problem to be fair. But for argument’s sake please look at the ratio of opposition MP’s to those of the party in government sitting in parliament with you. Not to mention other opposition leaders who are not MP’s like Hon. Nobert Mao and Hon. Mugisha Muntu.

This convention has for so long been the only consistent Diaspora forum that has offered an organized means of interaction between home and abroad. This takes into account the leadership, community and personal interactions. It is not surprising therefore that government of Uganda picked an interest in order to meet and interact with Diasporans as a way of tapping their input but also an avenue of promoting government programs and agenda. It is worthwhile to mention that the opposition too has always taken advantage of the same and UNAA has been honored with the presence of opposition leadership at all times including 2001 when Dr. Kizza Besigye was the Chief Guest. Although Ugandans in North America cannot claim to be the only or even major contributors, but remittances from the Ugandan Diaspora have always come up as one of the reasons for this interest. It is also a fact that Ugandans in the Diaspora have some influence on voters back home and thus this effort is also seen as a ‘nipping of the bud’.

3. Ethnicity of speakers at the business forum (Jennifer Musisi who by the way is more Western Uganda these days than Central and Diplomats Perez Kamunanwire (Ambassador to the US) and Adonia Ayebare (Acting Ambassador to the UN) which in yours and your friends view makes UNAA “Banyankore Kweterana.

Of all your assertions this to me is the most unfortunate. A friend of mine has an email signature that reads like, “in a foreign land your countryman is your kin”. When problems arise amongst us we act as Ugandans, brothers, sisters and kinsmen. When brothers and sisters pass on without insurance, fundraising efforts are made not because of so and so’s tribe but mostly because so and so is Ugandan and thus his/her repatriation is our collective responsibility. Hon. Semuju, that is the world we live in and spirit of Ugandans in North America and please do not re define it or antagonize it.

But for arguments sake please look at the UNAA leadership and if you genuinely analyze the names thereon inform the readers if really UNAA is a reflection of Banyakore kwetarana? Ask for and you will certainly receive a list of the delegates at UNAA Philadelphia 2012 and check out the names to see if really what you are publishing is not disingenuous? Hon. Semuju, I once in a while listen to your radio podcasts online and can say I am kind of used to the political stretches and spins but never imagined it would come this far when you refer to Ms. Musisi as a westerner. Did you even stop to imagine the woman just buried her own mother in your own Kyaddondo East constituency where I doubt you have a family cemetery yourself? I hate to mention this but have you bothered to check out the past UNAA Presidents? Of the nine since 1990, 6 are from Buganda including the incumbent Mr. Francis Senoga and incidentally his Vice-President Ms. Brenda Kalema.

I pray and hope that you are not falling prey to the mis information concerning UNAA that has been happening since UNAA New York and culminated into the blocking of HRH the Nabagereka of Buganda at UNAA Washington DC 2010. You remind me of another inadequately informed (on UNAA affairs) MP, Hon. Betty Namboze (who I admire by the way) when asked the difference Tabamiruka and UNAA on CBS ‘Kiriza oba Ggaana’ of Thursday 30th August 2012, said that UNAA had turned into a government organ and when they meet they always resolve to keep NRM in power. In her words she said; “buli lwebatuula bayise ebiteeso NRM ebeewo”.

My brother, I do not know who you have spoken with and what shaped that kind of analysis because it is certainly not a result of the few hours you spent in Philadelphia. I ask you to get the facts and avoid making a foolery among folks especially in the Diaspora.

Abbas Muluubya

UNAA member since 2003

Denver Colorado.

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