Wednesday, May 24, 2017

President #Trump Meets #Pope Francis at the Vatican 5/24/17

Embracing #technology will help #Uganda achieve Middle Income Status

I had to write and rub the first sentence of this article three times until I decided that it should not be the one I had thought to be in the first place. But the inspiration to write it was driven from the New Vision headline "PENSION FUNDS STOLEN BY HACKERS".
To anyone who has been following events in Uganda, you know very well that in the past it has been ghosts that have been stealing people's money. Therefore the fact that we have elevated our stealing to the level of hackers explains how well we are also embracing technology for good or bad.
It reminds me of one organisation I interfaced with in 2012 while installing a Management Information System (MIS) for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) in Eastern Uganda. This particular SACCO was in the remotest part of Kaberamaido district and I left without installing the system after failing to get the assurance that they will use it. Reason being, one of the founders who has also been Manager since the organisation started is not computer literate. She has therefore stood her ground against any form of computerisation in her organisation since it will render her powerless before the ambitious young men and women working under her.
I spent close to 4 hours explaining to this woman how the computerisation will help her organisation in record keeping and management, reduce the risk of losing vital information, relieve the credit officers to spend more time in the field, enhance their ability to detect fraud and all the goodness of it.

Of course one would ask why she could not enroll for a short course in computers and boy I did. Her answer was, "I am too old to go back to school". She then ended by telling me that they and her organisation was formed, existed and even grown that big without these computers. She doesn't see why we should now inconvenience her with the systems. She even proposed that instead of government giving them a system (because she thought it was government), they should actually give them that money for on-lending to the members.
It is now 5 years since I had this encounter and I was saddened to hear that they closed shop after losing a lot of money in a fraud by some of their employees helped by clients. I would wish to go back to that place close to Lake Bisina and meet this lady not to blame her for collapsing her organisation but thank her for opening my eyes that technology is the way to go. My wish may not come to happen because the road to that place till now has never been fixed!
In my career as an Accountant you would expect me to be having all the International Accounting Standards off head or at least a handbook to guide in my day today activities but do I need them when the Accounting system can do all the work and even give me an interpretation of the results?
That is why we find it laughable when the government appoints retirees to plan for how Uganda shall run in 2040. For a man who worked in the age of type writer with 3 secretaries, 2 accountants, 3 cashiers will find it strange that the same office could now be running more efficiently with 1 person doing the work and the rest automated.
This may explain why it has been difficult to end poverty in Uganda by 2017 as predicted by president Museveni.
A nation that will not embrace technology will not be able to serve its citizens efficiently. A company that will not embrace technology will always lag behind and a person who rejects technology in this age has no place in the future if not even the present.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Letter to #Museveni on EAC Summit comments on #Burundi - @EUAmbSchmidt @USAmbUganda @PNkurunziza

By David Gakunzi
22 May 2017
Letter to Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on Burundi.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda.
Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
I have just listened to and listened carefully to your speech in Arusha at the recent EAC Summit. The passage on Burundi took me aback: "Burundi is one of us and no action should be taken against her without our input. Our house is our house. With the European Union we have a concern: the European Union has unilaterally imposed sanctions against Burundi when it is one of our members ".  Strange: the impression of hearing a ghost, the impression of hearing the voice of Idi Amin Dada. The same point, the same nationalist demagogue: "Europe! Europe! "Europe accused! Will the Freedom fighter in you eventually be slaughtered by the spirit of the marshal?
The Julius Nyerere, to whom you often refer, would he have seen the way you see the world today?  Would not Idi Amin still be here, enthroned as the head of Uganda?  But you see, Nyerere was human; Nyerere did not say: leave Idi Amin alone; Leave this whole business alone, it is between us people of East Africa; Nyerere said: no, we can not accept barbarism in our borders; No, we can not accept that a tyrant continues to murder, to kill his own people in broad daylight, before our eyes as we remain indifferent.
Nyerere stood up and took his responsibilities. He mobilized the whole world, and Idi Amin was overthrown and, in the wake of it, you came to power. Thanks to the precious and decisive help of the young Rwandese who were exiled in Uganda and the logistical help of a certain Bagaza, then in Bujumbura.
Since that time, you regularly refer to the Mwalimu in your long and insufferable speeches to tell the truth but usually quite the reverse, of what Nyerere would have said or done. As a reminder, in case your memory is now failing, Mwalimu was the champion of sanctions against the apartheid regime; Mwalimu was the apostle of the sanctions against the government of Lagos during the massacre of the Biafra; Mwalimu was the champion of the adoption of the sanctions inflicted on Burundi during the 90's ...
But you, yes, you, what do you say today? Completely the opposite. "That Europe, by sanctioning Burundi, has allowed itself to punish your child, without having consulted you beforehand (a crime against your supreme majesty)." To listen to you, therefore, before the European Union, in accordance with its own principles and values, decided to no longer grant the money of its taxpayers to the regime of the killers of Bujumbura whose hands are dripping with blood Until the end of the nails, it would have been necessary for Europe to hasten to come and see you and beg you to grant her permission to remain faithful and consistent with her own values! What about such remarks?
Let them, in Mwalimu's favorite expression, refer to nonsense; And that they are simply not worthy of the freedom fighter you were in your youth.Mr. Museveni, we are talking of Burundi, and you know very well of many destroyed human lives, tortured youth, raped women, segregation, hate and divisions.  The horrors. Crimes against humanity. Acts of genocide. All these may not be very much in your eyes and likely will probably not stop you choose that they stop.  This is African drama which makes no sense and is so inhumane, irresponsible with total contempt for life.  You trivialize life, allow violence, crush people and destroy lives with no care.
My father, Chief Barnabé Ntunguka, a descendant of Mbibe, the founder of Unaru (African National Union of Ruanda-Urundi), was the first to say, the language of equality before the law, the word Independence in Burundi. And Ntunguka paid the high price: harassment, confiscation of his property, taking away of his land and livestock, imprisoned multiple times... But you see, the colonialists never took his life. Under Nkurunziza, his fate would have been quite different: he would have been assassinated immediately and thrown somewhere in a mass grave.  
Kenyatta in Kenya, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Mandela in South Africa, Neto in Angola, Toivo Ya Toivo in Namibia, all were also imprisoned by the colonial powers, and all were released alive. And what do we see today under our famous liberators who commit unfathomable inhumanities? A sad spectacle: the new Kenyatta and Kaunda daily chased, beaten, tortured, murdered. What happened to us? Have we lost sense of the sacredness of human life? The tragic truth in front of us? Mandela like prisoners in many African countries no longer spend twenty-seven years in jail.  Many are assassinated on the first day of their arrest.
Mr Museveni, the old man who you have become speaks today as all the tyrants of the continent speak when they are asked to account for the respect for the lives of their fellow citizens: "Human rights? Democracy? A case of the Wazungus; A matter of whites! Let us solve our own problems. "Sorry, we are not your" own problems "; Sorry our lives are not your properties. And we are really tired of this argument served in okra sauce: national sovereignty, national sovereignty, respect for national sovereignty!
And especially not from your mouth: because when it comes to going to plunder the mineral resources of your neighbors, there is no national sovereignty, It suddenly just becomes faint and evaporates! Borders are crossed, pillage without shame. But when it comes to helping victims who have been persecuted, to all those who are threatened in their tranquility, in their right to existence, in their freedoms, there, then, the argument: national sovereignty gets lifted high as though it was a flag to greet people with! Mr. Yoweri Museveni, you did not, personally, commit any monstrosity in Burundi; You are not the author of the murderer of Nepo and all the others, torture, public calls for rape of women, disappearances, thousands of young people thrown into jails, Of the 500,000 Burundian refugees condemned to exile, but you are responsible.
You have been and still are deeply involved. Because you knew. You know, since that day in January 2015, when Mrs. Zuma, then President of the African Union Commission, came to see you urgently in Kampala, to warn you, to beg you to use your influence with your boyfriend and fowl Nkurunziza in order to prevent the  looming crisis on the horizon in Bujumbura. You then said nothing worthwhile, or anything useful. What do you hope, then, by your silence, by your passivity, by your ultimate support for the power of Bujumbura?  What did you and what do you expect to change? 
Yes, I know that it is more important in your eyes to save the bid for Bechir and Nkurunziza in the name of Pan Africanism than to protect the lives of these young Africans who you consider too free and too uncontrollable.  Do you not think the world does not know what your interest is in all this?  What did you say, at the time when Charles Taylor was slaughtering Liberians? That the mistake committed by the International Community in Liberia was - not to have delayed rescuing the victims - but not letting Charles Taylor win clearly and frankly! And it seems to be  your position lately and you will remember when Yaya Jameh recently tried to hijack the democracy of Gambians.  
As Gaddafi, up to the last minute Idi Amin, you made yourself the ultimate advocate for the tyrant of Banjul, in the name of respect for the national sovereignty of The Gambia! No, Mr. Museveni, your house is not our house. The Africa dreamed of by the Mwalimu and Mandela was not this tormented, tortured house under the rule of the Bechir, the Taylor, the Jameh, and the Nkurunziza. The Africa for which they sacrificed their youth for was not this land burnt by terror, hunger and thirst, rejecting corpses in the dust reddened with blood by intermittent seasons nor by the desire for unlimited power from the weak.
The relief of the afflicted, the healing of the sick, the return of those who are far away, health to those who are close, education as a universal right, shared prosperity, the same law for all, joy and freedom, A flourishing democracy, the equality of men and women; these were the dreams of our past leaders. So Not yet Uhuru? True question posed by Odinga which is still worth saying.
For how can we be free when directed by such disastrous men, men with hearts so cold, without compassion, guided by the sole desire to possess, little boys with cold hearts, inanimate who fear freedom and who are not Bearers of a single political project except to die in power? It is not to you that I shall learn it: no tyranny is eternal; One can lock up, crush a free brain, crush it but no one can destroy the living thought and desire for freedom.
Yes, however long the night is, the day always ends up appearing on the horizon.  One thing for certain: we will not accept, we will never accept that democracy be demolished in Burundi and our lives be battered, trampled and crushed. And no doubt: we will find in us the strength to remain standing, and we will one day save ourselves.  And educated by your example, we will try not to become the next Freedoms fighters clinging to power, locked up in the ivory tower of their past exploits and finishing their reign in their old age having abdicated all consciousness and the founding values from their youth years when they started fighting.
The original letter is in French in the link above.  This translation into English was done by Martha Leah Nangalama who is not a professional translator.  

#UK #TheresaMay raises #terror threat level to "Critical" - an attack may be imminent

British Prime Minister PM has just raised the terror threat level from severe to critical meaning that further attacks may be imminent.

She has called on military units to support armed police following an emergency meeting (#COBRA).

This increased threat level sparks from the Manchester Arena attack on May 22, 2017 which left 22 dead and 120 severely injured.

Members of the armed forces are also to be deployed across the country.

More details to follow.

#Ugandan university gets closed due to student strike over $110 fee for ID

Great Lakes Regional University in Kanungu district has been closed over a violent students strike. The campus, affiliated to Nkumba University, was founded by Dr Hamlet Kabushenga, the former Kinkizi East member of parliament.

It was closed this afternoon after angry students stormed the administration block and attempted to vandalise it. The students accused their administrators of mistreating them and failing to address their grievances, singling out, a requirement of Shs 400,000 to cover the cost of each identity card as despicable.

The continuing students were joined by the class of 2015 and 2016 alumni who have reportedly been asked to pay Shs 600,000 each before they can be given their academic transcripts. All 375 students who completed in 2015 and 34 who completed in 2016 academic years have not yet received their academic transcripts.

Nelson Kyomukama Atuheire one of the alumni said the charges are uncalled for since all students cleared with the school before their final exams. Brian Orishaba, one of the concerned continuing students also contested the payment of Shs 400,000 to cover the cost of identity cards.  Orishaba criticizes the university for failing to consider the financial constraints students and parents endure.

Ambrose Niwagaba, the university guild president says that the students plan to drag the university administration to court since the strike has failed to yield any impact.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the rowdy students who were armed with stones and clubs aiming at the administration block demanding for an explanation on the exorbitant charges.

Moments later, Bernard Akarambuzi, the academic registrar displayed a notice from the office of the vice chancellor ordering the closure of the university until further notice. The notice also ordered students to have vacated the university premises by 6pm.

Dr George Tumwesigye, the university vice chancellor confirms that closure of the university saying that the administration will first sit to determine when the students will report back. He however declined to comment on the accusations by continuing students and alumni.

Joab Wabwire, the Kanungu District Police Commander says that police was forced to disperse rowdy students after realizing that they wanted to cause damage on the university structures. He adds that police will maintain security at the university.


Deutsche Welle journalist released from #DRCongo jail - #Burundi

Antediteste Niragira has been freed by authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, five days after he was detained. The journalist had been covering the refugee crisis on the DRC-Burundi border.
Germany's international broadcaster, DW, on Monday confirmed the release of its correspondent, Antediteste Niragira, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in a press statement.
DW said the journalist was freed from prison hours earlier and taken to the Congolese-Burundian border.
Niragira was arrested on May 17 as he was preparing to report on the conditions of a refugee camp in the DRC town of Kavimvira. The transit center houses Burundian refugees who have fled violence at home.
Congolese intelligence agents accused him of spying, and authorities later refused to provide further information on their accusations.
In a telephone interview with DW's Africa desk on Monday, a spokesman for the Burundian national police, Pierre Nkurikiye, confirmed: "Antediteste Niragira is in good hands."
Asked what that means, he answered: "He is in good hands and tomorrow we will issue a press statement."
Lawyer confirmed release
Earlier, a lawyer commissioned by DW in the DRC had informed the broadcaster that Niragira had been released from prison and taken to the Congolese-Burundian border.
Ahead of the release, DW had denounced the spying accusations against Niragira, calling them "outrageous and baseless."
DW spokesperson Christoph Jumpelt thanked all other international organizations who had been assisting in the efforts to secure Niragira's freedom.
He added: "We are very concerned that the Burundian authorities are not letting our correspondent reunite with his family. After all he had to endure unjustly in the DRC, I cannot understand why the Burundian police are retaining him."

#Uganda govt shuts down all telephones to TEST #SimCard - @KagutaMuseveni @StateHouseUg @FrankTumwebazeK

THE COUNTRY IS RUN BY A BUNCH OF THUGS, IDIOTS AND IMBECILES. HOW DO YOU TAKE DOWN ALL COMMUNICATION TO TEST?  MATAKO!  How outrageous can they treat the masses! Then they wonder why investors pack up and exit the country.  I condemn this stupidity in the strongest voice for wasting investors' money, people's time, costing Telecos money and inconveniencing an entire country simply because you are incapable of foregoing nepotism and hiring qualified people to do the right jobs.
Let us hear from all the IT specialists of Ugandan origin about how we could have done this switch or registration in hours half asleep.  I also make give no apologies for my strong language and harsh words. STOP hiring school drop outs!
.... Martha Leah Nangalama
The Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa has said the registered SIM cards were switched off in the process of testing the system and the government is not going to apologize to the affected.
Nankabirwa told journalists during a briefing at her office at Parliament that the government has been patient for so long and criminals have been taking the advantage to steal, kill and terrorize the innocent citizens.
“The SIM card registration and switching off non-compliant subscribers has been long overdue. The innocent citizens have on the other side been suffering the wrath of criminals capitalizing on loopholes in the system,” Nankabirwa said.
Telecom companies on Friday last week started switching off the cards not registered using the unique National Identification Number (NIN) which is in the national identity cards. The companies acted on the directives of the Uganda Communications Commission.
Thousands of subscribers, who duly registered and got clearance notifications, have however complained of being switched off by their respective telecom companies.
According to the Government Chief Whip, switching off of the registered subscribers was not a mistake but a deliberate testing of the system.
“The government was serious when we made the extension to 19th May. In the process of testing the system some of the registered customers have also been switched off,” she said.
Nankabirwa added that the government has done nothing wrong and none of the registered switched off subscribers should expect apology.
“There is nothing to warrant apology from the government. Those who were switched off should only wait to be put back on the system.”
President Yoweri Museveni who chaired a special NRM caucus meeting on Monday evening, announced on his official social media account that the registration process has been extended for 3 months.