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Monday, 24 September 2012

When utterances of African leaders make God laugh: “Am now 68 years and one of the things I don’t have a budget for is sickness’’. He explained that he no longer shook hands as a precaution against the deadly Ebola virus. Museveni

Museveni explains why he stopped shaking hands

Publish Date: Sep 24, 2012

By Vision Reporter

President Yoweri Museveni has called on Ugandans to be more careful with their health saying most of the diseases in Uganda are preventable and can be managed if people were more sensitized.

“Am now 68 years and one of the things I don’t have a budget for is sickness. This is because am a very determined person and I don’t want a situation where I can’t do anything because am sick,” he said.

The President said unlike flue which is airborne, AIDS is a sickness people hunt for and spread to others.

“AIDS you already know where it is and alcohol. You wonder why people should drink until their cheeks are swollen. If I was drinking alcohol, I would not serve you for all this time. You may wonder why I don’t shake hands but wave,” Museveni said.

He explained that he no longer shook hands as a precaution against the deadly Ebola virus. The recent Ebola outbreak in Kibaale district in Western Uganda killed nineteen.

“When it appeared, I made broadcasts because I take sickness very seriously and told people to stop shaking hands. With Ebola you just shake hands and you get it. Fortunately this was managed and it stopped spreading, many people would have died. The last patient was discharged two weeks ago and the health workers are under quarantine until they are cleared. WHO sets these regulations to manage the disease. The Ministry of Health will announce the end of Ebola on October 4. I want people to learn the same. It is not bad manners if I wave,” he said.

The President warned people living in disaster prone areas near Mount Elgon, saying they risked disasters such as landslides and floods.

“This mountain is a gift from God. If we play around with it, it will turn against us. Some of the cheap politicking by some leaders who tell people to go and get malewa (bamboo) because they have always done so is wrong. When people die those who misled them go into hiding. Let us stop these games. This is very serious. These mountains are very dangerous. They are a great gift to us, to Uganda and to Africa but can be dangerous,” he said.

Museveni said while people need to use part of the mountain for agriculture they must know where to stop and if they don’t God will stop them.

“It is like when you are shaving hair, you don’t feel pain but when you cut deep into the skin you must stop. The wells and springs which come from the mountains are like your veins. The Bagisu circumcise but they know where to stop, they can’t cut off everything, people will die,” he said.

The President who was the chief guest at the groundbreaking ceremony and fundraising for Bulambuli district Headquarters administration offices, later launched the environmental restoration drive in Bulambuli  and cautioned leaders against poor planning saying they can’t do everything at a go.

The district received the mandatory sh100m from government for the district headquarters. The district also wants government to tarmac various roads in the region, provide electricity and build industries.

“The economy of Uganda had collapsed by 1986 and tax collection was very low. Now the economy has been revived and we are collecting more taxes. We started programmes like the UPE and USE which takes a lot of money – about one trillion. We will do infrastructure selectively.  If we say that we do all at once, it’s not possible, that is bad planning. Why don’t you start with something small and work on the headquarters later,” he said.

Museveni said with electricity now in Moroto, government is working on establishing a cement factory at Katikere in Moroto district where there is more limestone than in Tororo and Hima next year and are also planning for a tomato factory in Bulambuli.

He said in November, there will be a budget retreat for NRM Members of parliament so that principles of budgeting are clear to everybody to know why they budget for some things and not others.

This will later be followed by another retreat for District chairpersons and CAOs. He was happy to note that coffee seedlings have been planted widely in the region saying this is the real solution to household incomes. He urged leaders to sensitive the people about household incomes saying even without tarmac, families can still engage in income generating activities.

We will not cut Defence budget, says Museveni

By Emmanuel Gyezaho

Posted  Tuesday, September 25  2012 at  01:00
In Summary
President Museveni yesterday said the government will not slash the Defence ministry budget in the wake of an impasse over additional funding for the health sector. MPs have vowed to block the budget unless additional funding for the health sector is found.

President Museveni yesterday said the government will not slash the Defence ministry budget in the wake of an impasse over additional funding for the health sector.

“Nobody can cut… we cannot agree to the cutting of defence. I cannot agree because Defence is underfunded already,” the president said.

The President suggested they were “many other things” that the government is yet to accomplish in its building of the defence sector.

He added that the government would find a way of meeting the financial demands of the health sector.

For close to three weeks now, the Executive has been locked in a budget disagreement with Parliament over a proposal, by the MPs, to re-allocate money from various ministries, including Defence, to save Shs39.2 billion for the recruitment and welfare of health workers.

The MPs argue that the health sector is in dire need of more funding but government says it can only work on a stop-gap measure - to employ 1,000 midwives - as the sector waits for next financial year.

At the media briefing at his country home in Rwakitura, the President also said while Uganda has not signed any new contracts to acquire additional fighter jets, this does not rule out a future acquisition.

“We have not signed any contracts for new jets but if we get new funds in the future, we will continue building our airforce,” he said. “This, however, doesn’t rule out in the future that we may be buying new jets. Building our army is a continuous process.”

Mr Museveni also said that the government will replace the three Mi-24 attack helicopters which crashed on Mt Kenya on August 12. He said money for use in replacing the aircraft has been saved through “some economies”. The President had earlier denied reports that he has hand-picked a Chinese firm as contractor for the Karuma hydro power project.

Museveni calls ministers over budget deadlock

By Yasiin Mugerwa 

Posted  Sunday, September 23  2012 at  01:00

In Summary
Unrest. The president reportedly stormed out of an NRM caucus meeting last week after a section of the meeting heckled him when he said he could not sacrifice the defence budget for anything. Lawmakers want the health sector budget allocation increased.
A deepening budget crisis in Parliament inflamed by a health sector in “shambles”, has forced President Museveni to summon a crisis Cabinet meeting tomorrow to discuss a give-and-take deal that would ease the passing of this year’s budget.

Sources told Sunday Monitor that the discussion in Cabinet will focus on the government option of discussing the politics involved and the implications of rising this year’s Shs11.4 trillion budget by Shs39.2 billion for health sector.

Junior Finance Minister Fred Omach is expected to argue in Cabinet that any attempts to bow to pressure in Parliament would “disorganise” the budget priorities and that this would require the ministry to align the budget afresh, hence delaying its execution.

The Budget Committee of Parliament has since recommended that wasteful areas in some votes be cut by 30 per cent to raise the Shs39.2b needed to motivate and recruit more health workers in the country.

This proposal was rejected by the President after Parliament recommended that defence budget be cut by Shs15 billion. The President on Monday reportedly stormed out of the NRM caucus meeting at State House after he was heckled by defiant NRM members. Trouble started after the President said he couldn’t “sacrifice the defence budget for anything”.

The President has proposed that the budget be approved and the government brings a supplementary request at a later date to address the challenges in the health sector. The president also said government would recruit 1,000 midwives this year and that the health sector will be prioritised next financial year.

“If they don’t listen to us, we are going to pass the budget as recommended by the Budget Committee, but not as Executive wants it,” Wilfred Niwagaba (NRM, Ndorwa East) said, adding: “For us to delay the process, we are only helping the government to see sense in helping the people who are dying in hospitals without doctors and drugs.”

Sunday Monitor understands that there will be an NRM caucus tomorrow to discuss the Cabinet position on the standoff holding the approval of this year’s budget.

The NRM Caucus on Thursday had tasked Ministry of Finance to work with Ministry of Health with a view of finding the required funds through re-allocations within the budget or a supplementary.

On Wednesday President Museveni summoned Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to State House where the President reportedly demanded to know why Parliament was holding the passing of the budget. But Ms Kadaga explained that she had asked the budget committee to harmonise the budget figures with the Executive after members vetoed a budget without the money for health sector.

The budget deadlock has increased the pressure on government to fix a “dilapidated” healthcare system and wobbled the centre of power in a rising political contest that has unsettled the relationship between Legislature and Executive.
The government failure to provide Shs260b to health sector has infuriated lawmakers who are now accusing the government of being “insensitive” to health of Ugandans. The government has blocked the proposed Budget Committee recommendations to cut Shs39.2b from wasteful expenditures.

Asked what will happen in the event that the government refuses to adjust the Shs11.4 trillion budget to take care of health sector, the former Shadow Finance Minister, Mr Oduman Okello, said the government would operate without a budget.
“The budget will not be passed and the service delivery will definitely be curtailed, but who is to blame?”
Nicholas Opio, an independent legal analyst, said the power of Parliament is admittedly limited to approval.
It is useful to distinguish between approval and allocation. The duty of allocation is the preserve of the Executive but the allocation is subject to the approval of Parliament.
In arriving at approvals, Article 155 (4) requires that an appropriate committee of the house provides recommendations to parliament - the recommendation then provides a basis for approval or non-approval of the budget by the house.

Russia says Uganda to buy six more jets


Posted  Sunday, September 23  2012 at  01:00

In Summary
Secret deal? Supplier makes details of the deal public although army denies existence of such a project.
Uganda has started negotiations with Russian state arms export company over a possibility of purchasing six more fighter jets, nine months after sealing similar transaction with the same arms company, a Russian international state news agency, Rianovosti, claims.

However the army spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye said yesterday that he is not aware of the developments save for the rumours being peddled by a website. “Stop wasting your time, I am not aware about this move.”

Speaking on Friday at an arms exhibition in South Africa, the company’s Deputy Director Alexander Mikheyev, disclosed to the Russian International News Agency that Uganda has contacted them with a view to purchase six more Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter jets to add to its earlier half a dozen collection it bought early this year.

“Uganda signed its first contract to buy six Su-30MK2 fighters this year, he said.” Now, we are talking about an option, the Ugandans expressed interest in buying another six aircraft of this type,” Rianovosti quoted Mr Mikheyev as saying.

The government in April also first denied reports that it had bought six new fighter jets from Rosoboronexport, valued at about Shs654 billion.

The deal turned out to be controversial when investigation found that government took $740 million (about Shs1.7 trillion) worth of taxpayers’ money from Bank of Uganda to buy the fighter jets and other military hardware from an unknown country.

In the same conference, Mr Mikheyev also said that his company, Rosoboronexport, has also signed a contract to sell six Mi-17 helicopters to Ghana.

Other deals
The Russian arms exporter is also discussing with a number of countries for the creation of post-sale maintenance centres for Russian-made helicopters sold to these countries.

A team of Rosoboronexport officials is currently in South Africa as part of the Russian delegation attending Africa Aerospace and Defence arms show in Pretoria (September 19-23).

Russia is expected to be one of the largest exhibitors at the event, along with Germany and the US. The company said in a press statement that Russia will present several full-scale weapon systems together for the first time at the international arms exhibition Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012.

“The exhibition in the Republic of South Africa is the largest one on the continent, and it plays an extremely important role in strengthening our positions in Africa. We have planned a very tight schedule of meetings at this exhibition on many issues concerning air defence, air, land and sea systems. And we expect it to be very fruitful”, says the deputy director general of Rosoboronexport.

The Rosoboronexport delegation expects that visitors to the exhibition will pay special attention to advanced Russian-made defence products.
In the air systems segment are the Mi-17 and Mi-35 type helicopters, MiG-29M/M2 and Su-30MK2 fighters as well as the new Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft.

The statement further states that the military technical cooperation of Russia with African states was given fresh momentum by visits of the President of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa in September 2006, to Egypt, Angola, Namibia and Nigeria in July 2009. Russia also was visited by Presidents of Angola in October 2006, of Uganda in August 2009, of Namibia in May 2010, of the Republic of South Africa in August 2010, and of Equatorial Guinea in June 2011.