Sunday March 20 2011

7 DAYS: Museveni heads Gaddafi talks team, Sematimba ‘retires’ after poll defeat

By Jacobs O. Seaman

His boisterous visits to Uganda was capped when he promoted First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to the rank of Lt. Colonel from 2nd Lieutenant and advised Gen. Museveni to stay in power like a real revolutionary. He also buoyed the NRA revolution with military supplies and add his influence in Tooro to these... Now you know why President Museveni was AU’s ideal choice to lead a team of African leaders to crisis-hit Libya for talks.

Mr Museveni will head the team that includes South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Congo’s Denis Nguesso, Amadou Touré of Mali and Mohamed Abdel Aziz of Mauritania. But if a revolutionary can be asked to talk to another of his kind whom the world is anxious to see leave power, just what should we expect from the Museveni-Gaddafi talk?

Well, many will be hard-pressed to believe Foreign Affair’s Sam Kuteesa has already divulged enough of the mission when he said “it is revolutionary to be democratic”. Whatever it comes to, let’s hope Gaddafi will not snap up and call them another bunch of “mad dogs” sent by Western powers to undermine his greatness.

But while Gaddafi has refused to quit, Peter Sematimba proved he is not a revolutionary when he conceded defeat to Kampala mayor-elect Erias Lukwago and announced he is quitting politics all together. He said he would work with Lukwago for the good of Kampala.

I wonder if Singh Katongole even heard Sematimba after turning courts into his pillow, from the Magistrate’s Court to High Court and now the Court of Appeal. Sematimba could have been gracious in defeat but not the police force that on Wednesday teargassed Lukwago’s victory procession at Wandegeya. Oh, they did not end there; CID chief Edward Ochom wants to grill the Lord Mayor-elect, saying he lied about pre-ticked ballots.

Inflation hits Cranes preps, pumps run dry

Ugandans might have been happy to see Mike Ezra in jail, but now they could be in wishes as fingers are crossed over the fix in which the Cranes have found themselves. Fufa is on its knees begging the government to bail the team so they can fly to Guinea Bissau for a Nations Cup qualifier.

But with inflation worsening, soon the Federation will recommend cost-cutting on professionals. But if the worse comes to worst, at least, let the fuel pumps resume emitting gas for this economy, as most filling stations in the country run dry during the week, forcing fuel prices and transport fares to shoot.

It is such economic drains that see women in Koboko endure nights at water points because the town has no piped water and only those who are willing to pay Shs800 per 20-litre jerrycan from vendors have some slack they call ‘living’.

Amid all this, the cruelty of life forces us to quote: “I was angry because my husband refused to provide for the children. The children had no food and were crying so I thought dying with them was the best option,” said 26-year-old woman in Kayunga District who on Wednesday drowned her three children in River Nile.

But in a country where mob justice thrives like bees on flowers, she must be lucky to be alive after failing to drown herself. Yet the mention of bees just reminds me that the honey-making insects are choking as pollutants fill the air.

Low-performing ministries named

Environment, agriculture and education ministries are some of the low-performing government wheels, VP Gilbert Bukenya said on Thursday. Mr Bukenya said the ministries should speed up their efforts because Ugandans need their services urgently.

Yes, finally Namirembe Bitamazire can know that the Cabinet is not rating her scorecard highly, especially with poor management of free education programmes. But at least the education ministry can wear some smile if pitted alongside her counterpart in water and environment.

With wetlands in and around Kampala being reclaimed at the speed of Super Lady Susan Muwonge in motor sport, surely this ministry feeding Ugandans on too much air, at a time when the agriculture docket is being blamed for failing in its mandate and leaving more nationals in hunger.

Also in the news...
lEarthquake shakes part of Uganda
lPrincipal judge, deputy chief justice swear in.
lParliament halts lay-off of 250 NSSF employees.

Faces in the news

Dr James Nsaba Buturo this week stepped down from the ethics ministry. He had already lost his seat in Parliament in the February polls, but it is his parting shot at gays that mirrored his helm at the ministry. While he urged Ugandans not to allow the Western ‘perversion’, US legislators led by Congressman Frank Barney are pushing for aid cut to Uganda over “mistreatment of sexual minority groups”.

After failing to find a successor to Henry Muloki who died in 2008, clan heads in Busoga are now mooting for the abolition of kingship in the sub-region, saying it is the cause of disunity in the kingdom. The clan heads are rooting for chiefs instead. But kingdom premier Wilson Muwereza said kingship in Busoga will stay however long it takes to replace Muloki. He accused the clan heads of selfish agendas.

Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi is recently in a serious business mode as far as his docket is concerned. Last week, he suspended ministers who were affected by the Constitutional Court ruling, and this week, he said he will start cracking the whip on all ministries, government departments and agencies which have failed to comply with performance reporting. How I wish he had been like this all these last five years!