Wednesday 30 September 2020

The Double Standards of Islam: When poor Muslims are buried immediately while the Rich are buried after several weeks: Muslim clerics call for immediate burial of Seya: ‘Born again’ Desire Luzinda mourns her close friend Al-Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala

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 Former Kampala Mayor Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, aka Seya, died of cardiac arrest at Kampala International Hospital

Muslim clerics call for immediate burial of Seya

Thursday October 01 2020

 By Shabibah Nakirigya

Muslim clerics have called for immediate burial of the former Kampala Mayor Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala saying that following the will of the dead to delay burial arrangements contradicts the Islamic teaching. 

Ssebaggala was pronounced dead at International Hospital Kampala (IHK) on Saturday morning, where he had been admitted for three weeks after having an accident in the bathroom. It was reportedly discovered that he (Ntege Ssebaggala) had got an intestinal obstruction.

The family later announced that according to the will the deceased, he asked to be buried after three days. This, however, is in contravention with the Islamic teaching, and can only be viable in certain situations, for instance where there is a war and people are not safe and running for their lives.

Speaking to the media at Kibuli Mosque on Wednesday, Supreme Mufti, Sheilkh Silimani Kasule Ndirangwa, said Muslims should stop being misled by their wealth because they all serve one God (Allah) whether rich or poor.

Sheikh Ndirangwa condemned the act of keeping the body for long and called for immediate burial arguing that what they are doing is totally unacceptable in the Islamic faith.
“People should seek for advice from the cleric so that they get to know what the religion teaches and how it is done instead of making mistakes which are contrary,” he said. 

“We should follow the religion because Hajji Ssebaggala is already dead, we should not wait for the children because we do not know how long it will take them to return and bury their father,’’ he said. 
The Deputy supreme Mufti of the Kibuli faction, Hajji Muhamood Kibaate said that according to the Islamic teaching when one has died, he or she is supposed to be buried immediately unless otherwise but taking more than eight days is very wrong.

“Let’s follow the religion because the late was a Muslim and he did his will without any guidance from the  sheikh that’s why he made all these mistakes without knowing even three days were not allowed because he died like any other,” he said. 

 Hajji Kibaate stated that according to Islam reason which can delay the burial include: when the person has died from a broad and when there is need of postmortem before burial by the family members or security body for investigation processes. 

“Even though the family will insist on the will of the dead, we still want to be on record that what they are doing is wrong and against the Islamic teaching Sharia,” he said.
Our efforts to reach the family of the late Ssebaggala were futile as the phone number for the Kawempe North MP and brother to the deceased, Mr Latif Ssebaggala, who speaks on behalf of the family was off.

Hajji Ssebaggala, is expected to be buried on Sunday this week according to family members in charge of the burial arrangements.

Speaking to the media last Sunday at their home in Kisaasi, a Kampala City suburb, Mr Muhammed Ssebaggala, the deceased’s brother, said they decided to bury him one week after his demise because his children have to be present.


Desire Luzinda mourns her close friend Al-Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala

By Michael Nampala,  27 Sep 2020 04:16 PM EAT

"You will forever be in our hearts...RIP" Desire Luzinda captioned a pic of the Former Kampala Mayor Al Hajj Nasser Ntege Ssebagala who breathed his last at Kampala International Hospital.

Desire Luzinda and Seya as he was commonly referred to were very close, he could not be spared every time she performed at an event, she had to go for him.

 You will forever be in our hearts...RIP


In one of the pics, the two were moving hand in hand as they attended one of the celebrity prayer services at Pastor Wilson Bugembe's church.

The former Kampala Mayor will be buried on October 4, 2020. At the time of his death, he was planning to bounce back in politics to contest for the post of Lord Mayor with the strategy of 'Chinalizing Uganda', but that was not possible following his death.

 Desire Luzinda and the former Kampala Mayor

It should be recalled that three weeks back, he suffered a back problem after a bathroom fall accident.

Nasser Ntege Sebaggala was the Mayor of Kampala from 2006 to 2011. He was an independent presidential candidate in the 2006 general election before dropping out and joining the Kampala mayoral race.

 He was preceded by the late John Ssebaana Kizito and succeeded by the current Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.

 Desire Luzinda and Al Hajj Nasser Sebaggala during a church service

When foolish scientists are oblivious to the fact that the Blood of Jesus has healed thousands of people of HIV: First man cured of HIV dies of cancer: On really!!!

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First man cured of HIV dies of cancer

Wednesday September 30 2020


The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown -known as the "Berlin Patient" - has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday. 

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California. 

"On behalf of all its members... the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends," said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman. 

"We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible."

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed "the Berlin Patient" at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

"I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS," he told AFP in 2012. "It's very wonderful, being cured of HIV."

- 'Champion' 

Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer -- dubbed "the London Patient" -- was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure. 

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment. 

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment. 

Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a "champion and advocate" of a cure for HIV.

"It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control," she said.



Tuesday 29 September 2020

When the IMF and World Bank cajole neo-liberal Uganda to submit to Global Structural adjustments: Uganda debt reaches crisis levels as Uganda Debt Net work Boss Pleads for Debt Cancellation


 Mr Patrick Tumwebaze

Towards A New World Order? The Global Debt Crisis and the Privatization of the State: Has the Pandemic Been Used to Precipitate the World into a Spiral of Mass Unemployment, Bankruptcy and Despair?


Cancel debt for economy  to recover, says UDN boss

Tuesday September 29 2020

In April, the World Bank’s Development Committee and G20 Finance Ministers endorsed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative  following the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s call   to grant debt-service suspension to the poorest countries to help them manage the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The executive director of Uganda Debt Network, Mr Patrick Tumwebaze told Prosper Magazine’s Ismail Musa Ladu, in an interview that this move is only a drop in the ocean. 

What is the rationale for current call for total debt cancellation?   
We appreciate that the previous escalating debt burden situation for low income countries, including Uganda resulted into debt relief programmes such as the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in Financial Year 1995/96 and the Gleneagles- Scotland’s Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in Financial Year 2005/2006. 

However, development discourse of Low Income Countries (LICs), social protection strategies and economic outlook are faced with a myriad of challenges, given the global context of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) and the full debt situation. 
For this reason, it is proper to call for two-fold approach. First, we are calling for total debt cancellation as opposed to just debt service suspension of outstanding debt owed to the G20 countries, IMF, World Bank Group, regional banks as well as bilateral creditors under Paris Club and Private external creditors under London Club and China.

Secondly, we would want to see a 10-year action of no-interest on new debts by Uganda; and low income countries. The two-fold approaches would consign the LICs into more public expenditure investments tagged to protecting the rights and social protection of the citizens, economic recovery, improved healthcare and others. 

We implore the IMF, World Bank and G20 (world’s richest countries) during 2020 to coordinate a broad global participation of all global actors to this two-fold approach to revive low income economies such as Uganda.
Are those the only reasons why Uganda is facing another debt burden?  
There are several reasons. According to the World Bank and IMF projections, for every five shillings we generate as revenue, one shilling is paid to interest on debt. That means the population is being deprived of resources that would have been spent on service delivery. 

We are heading into a point where we shall be borrowing just to pay debt - meaning, we shall be digging a pit to cover another pit. We don’t want to be in such a situation.


In the recent past, the country has faced calamities such as floods, floating islands, desert locusts, landslides and mudslides, Covid-19 and other infectious diseases as Ebola, Yellow fever and Marburg. Such calamities have compounded the pre-existing economic and healthcare conditions. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted into increased borrowing. So far, about 16 loans have been acquired for Covid-19 and other interventions in the economy just between January and August 2020. Those loans exclude the grants and supplementary budgets at the end of FY 2019/20. 

With Covid-19 alone, Uganda’s poverty levels between January and August 2020 been elevated from 21 per cent to a projection of 25 per cent, with over 2.6 million people likely to slip into poverty by December 2020. 

This will add onto the 8 million poor people at pre-Covid-19 time; thus, totaling up to nearly 11 million people in 2020 alone. This figure could be higher if vulnerability numbers (due to job loss, reduced salaries and wages, excess production capacity of firms) were to be included. 

The above is generally presented across the low income countries while increasing inequalities and social unrest that oftentimes affects the vulnerable poor, especially the youth and women, across the six East African Community states and Africa at large.

We have also seen some investment in infrastructure. Does it explain the debt situation?  
You are right. This is as a result of a global requirement which compels us into investing in income generating projects and in this case, I am talking about roads, electricity among other infrastructure projects. Research has shown that for every one dollar invested, it generates $0.8 (Shs2,960) in economic activity. That is very dangerous. It shows that up to 60 per cent of what you invested is wasteful expenditure. 

According to World Bank, Uganda loses about $300 million (Shs1.1 trillion) in wasteful expenditure annually. When you consider this with the dwindling revenue streams we are experiencing, you see that we are headed for disaster. 

Do we need debts, given their resultant challenges?
Even the biggest economies borrow. USA owes China about $14 trillion. In Uganda, we have a budget of about Shs45 trillion for 2021/22. We are only able to raise about 40 per cent of that through locally mobilised revenue. Remember more than half of that locally mobilised revenue is supposed to pay debt. So we don’t have enough revenue yet we have a budget to execute. Therefore, due to the pressure to deliver services, we have to borrow.

To what extent has corruption undermined many debt relief gains?
According to World Bank estimates, about 60 per cent of funds we get in loans are wasted. We did a research that we are yet to publish and we found that 40 per cent of the loans for mostly roads were behind schedule.

 This is because of mainly corruption and issues around delay of counter funding by government. Despite all that, including wanting transparency and accountability from many of the respective governments and State machinery especially in Africa in addition to abuse of public resources by people who ought to know better, we believe debt cancellation remains most viable move for economic recovery over the short-term, medium-term and long-term.

How about the government overzealous appetite to borrow? Isn’t that a red flag? 
Government need to tame its appetite to borrow. When we closed 2019, the debt levels according to the Finance Ministry were about Shs48 trillion. But our budget is now about Shs45 trillion, meaning the debt we have so far incurred has since surpassed our budget.

I am also afraid that by close of the year, we may surpass the 50 per cent threshold because currently, we are in about 46 per cent. As a country, we are treading on a slippery ground. This is complicated by the fact that most of our locally generated revenue goes to just debt servicing and not repaying the debt. If we include the domestic debt situation in the equation, then I fear the reading may not be nice.

However, the best alternative is to put the borrowed money into ventures that generate more money. This involves investing in productive sectors rather than consumptive ones.

 We have also seen that the government now increasingly turning to commercial loans from private lenders as opposed to concessionary loans. This is a dangerous road to take. It is very difficult to convince say China and private lenders to drop their demands because they are purely profit making organisations. But we shall keep trying until we reach a consensus that is right and beneficial to low income countries like Uganda.  

Any challenges as you call for total debt cancellation? 
The size of public debt seems elusive. As we call for the debt cancellation, there is need for computation of the full-scale of the debt burden. Uganda’s public debt stock value, for instance varies from the figures of Bank of Uganda, Ministry of Finance or even global economic ranking entities like Fitch, Moody’s and Multilateral Financial Institutions like IMF. 
We implore the government to not only harmonise its debt stock figures but also be more transparent about the debt burden.

Uganda debt nears crisis level

Wednesday September 02 2020

The government yesterday said Uganda’s public debt is projected to hit 47.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is Shs150.267 trillion in the Financial Year 2020/2021 because of increased borrowing and expenditure to counteract the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.

Experts say the projected rise in public debt implies that the country is not collecting enough domestic taxes to meet the ever increasing government expenditure, and that it also puts a lot of pressure on the government to service the debt.

Speaking during the fourth Economic Growth Forum in Kampala, the commissioner for macroeconomic department at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Dr Albert Musisi, said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected government’s fiscal position, with domestic revenues far below target while spending needs increased.

“Widening of fiscal deficit declined from 4.9 per cent in FY 2018/2019 to 7.2 per cent in FY 2019/2020 and 9.8 per cent in FY 2020/2021. Increase in the debt GDP ratio, from 35.4 per cent in FY 2018/2019 to 40.2 per cent in FY 2019/2020. (Debt threshold is 50 per cent of GDP),” he said.

Dr Musisi said revenue collections declined significantly especially in the third quarter of Financial Year 2019/2020 due to the pandemic and lockdown policies.

Despite the projected increase in public debt over the years, he expressed optimism that Uganda’s public debt level is still sustainable since it is below 50 per cent threshold.


On May 1, 2019 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Uganda remains at low risk of debt distress, even though debt metrics have deteriorated and one in five Ugandan shillings collected in revenue will be spent on interest in FY2019/2020.

Dr Musisi said the debt is still needed to boost the aggregate demand in the economy. Aggregate demand is the total demand for goods and services within a particular market at a given time.

He said there was a shortfall in domestic revenue in the second quarter of the FY 2019/2020 and that in the third, a shortfall of Shs589.66b was registered.

He added that in the fourth quarter, the shortfall was Shs1.777 trillion, and that the total shortfall in the FY 2019/2020 was close to Shs3.3 trillion.
Dr Musisi said the shortfall in domestic revenue means there is a need for borrowing to boost and meet increased government expenditure.

He further stated that due to Covid-19 pandemic, Uganda has a decline in Foreign Direct Investment by 40 per cent which is $278 million, in the second half of 2019/2020 compared to the same period in 2018/2019.

“Decline in tourism receipts by 62 per cent which translates to $365m in the second half of FY 2019/2020 compared to the same period in 20198/2019. However, decline in remittance is much lower than earlier projected. Remittance fell by 11 per cent ($64 million) in the second half of 2019/2020 compared to the same period in 2018/2019,” he said.

In the short term, Dr Musisi said, there is a need to increase domestic revenue collection and improve efficiency in public expenditure, reverse the trend in the debt level and the fiscal deficit should return to the EAC level of 3 per cent.

In the medium term, Dr Musisi said, Uganda’s economy is expected to recover and grow at 6 to 7per cent.
The Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, said there is need for debt relief for developing countries following the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Therefore, the objective of this year’s conference is to identify actionable policy interventions to mitigate the negative impacts of the Coivid-19 as well as recommend medium term strategies to support economic resilience and recovery,” he said.

Mr Muhakanizi said before this shock, Uganda had registered a significant economic growth rebound since 2016, pointing out that in FY 2019/2020, growth was 6.8 per cent.

He said this followed government adopting a number of policy interventions suggested in the first three Economic Growth Forums to address some of the key development challenges that threatened the country’s long-term growth trajectory.

“The interventions included raising agricultural productivity; spurring a process of structural transformation, raising public savings and investment; and addressing labour force skills deficit, among others,”Mr Muhakanizi said.

He added: “However, with the onset of Covid-19, economic growth is estimated to have fallen drastically to 3.1 per cent in FY2019/2020 and is projected to remain at the level in FY2020/2021.”

The Secretary to the Treasury said they have identified three key policy solutions: assessing the global and domestic impact of Covid-19 on enterprises and future prospects, understanding the impact of Covid-19 on enterprises and households, government’s policy response and identifying medium term strategies for key growth sectors.

The commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Mr John Musinguzi Rukoki, told Daily Monitor that the projected increase in public debt to 47.5 of the GDP means Uganda is not collecting enough domestic revenue.

“If the projected level happens that means we are below the threshold of 50 per cent by just 2.5 per cent. The level at which we are borrowing is three times the level we should be borrowing,” he said.

He added: “Our mission at URA is to collect enough domestic revenue (taxes), which is better for us than the debt. It may take some time for us to collect enough domestically but we have to do it to avoid a rise in public debt.”

Mr Musinguzi said they are using domestic revenue mobilisation strategy to increase the level of domestic tax collection.

The National Planning Authority (NPA) executive director, Dr Joseph Muvawala, said the problem is not the increase in debt levels to GDP but the capacity to pay it and what the money being borrowed is used for.

“The issue is your capacity to pay back the debt not the rise in debt. The USA has debt which is more than 100 per cent of the GDP but they have the capacity. Right now there is no choice about borrowing because the government needs the money to boost the aggregate demand.”

The former Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Dr Louis Kasekende said the impact of Covid-19 will be severe on Uganda’s economy since many sectors of the economy have been affected.

“However, based on what the Ministry of Finance has said that there is recovery which has been registered in June and July which is good for us, we still need to boost the aggregate demand in the economy. This can only happen when the government increases spending in the productive sectors,” he said.

The senior research fellow at Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), Corti Paul Lakuma said the increase in debt level means Uganda has borrowed some money to combat the impact of Covid-19 which will have to be paid in the future.

“However, some of the debts that have been borrowed from the IMF and the World Bank are concessional loans which attracts no interest rates unlike the non-concessional loans,” he said.

Mr Lakuma said there is some money that has been realigned in the World Bank and the IMF for debt relief which is good for developing countries like Uganda.


How about the Grace of God : WHO: 4 reasons why Africans are dying less from Covid-19

 Africa has registered less Covid-19 deaths than other regions

WHO: 4 reasons why Africans are dying less from Covid-19