Museveni’s wealth creation and the rampant mysterious fire outbreaks
For over one decade ago, Uganda’s military dictator has been duping Ugandans by masquerading around with poverty alleviation schemes. That way he has been able to steal public funds while at the same time achieving his much cherished deliberate impoverishment schemes.
The private sector is a key engine of economic growth. The informal sector in urban settings is a significant proportion of the population and has the potential to drive job creation and revenue collection. Urban market structures increase trade between rural and urban areas by serving as wholesaling centers for intra-urban trade and cross border trade especially for agricultural products.
Markets sustain 80% of the women in Uganda who are involved in agricultural production and trading activities. Urban market structures have been victims of brutal law enforcement measures of regulatory authorities. They have not been spared by political infighting, land grabbing, and management conflicts which account for most of the fire incidents.
Museveni appointed two market vendors, Kayongo and Winnie Atwine as his Presidential Advisors on Markets but the situation has instead worsened. Winnie Atwine (pictured above) is a Rwandese from Kayonza in Kibungo province of Rwanda but with another home in Mbarara town and Naalya in Kampala. She used to be a second-hand bedsheets vendor in Owino market for many years while she acted as an informer to DMI and later CMI in the mid 1990s.
Winnie Atwine later took to full time political mobilisation for the regime among market vendors and the greater Rwandese community. With her ‘advice’, market vendors in Kampala are facing total elimination from business through closures, evictions, high dues, high rent, brutality by law enforcement, mysterious fires, unprecedented relocations, and other vices just because they are perceived as opposition leaning.
In 2005 Museveni appointed his most trusted cadre, Gen. Kalekyezi to head the Police whose main duty is to protect life and property. Instead Gen. Kalekyezi’s tenure came with a new phenomenon in Uganda; mysterious fire outbreaks that have persistently claimed lives and destroyed property worth trillions of impoverished Ugandans earnings.
The March 2006 fire at Kabarole Islamic Primary School that claimed the lives of 13 pupils was the curtain riser. These fires came to the fore in 2008 when a number of schools suffered rampant fire out breaks. Between April and June 2008, 27 fire outbreaks were registered around the country more especially in and around Kampala. Notable among these was Buddo Junior Academy whose fire outbreak in one of the dormitories left 19 children burnt to ashes in April 2008.
In July 2008, Rose Sseninde (M.P)’s motion for parliament to set up a committee to inquire into the rampant fires in schools was defeated. Then Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda argued that the regime had the capacity to resolve the problem through the Police and intelligence organs. He disclosed that the regime had brought in experts from different organs to boost joint investigations under IGP Kalekyezi. Rose Sseninde suggested that schools should be equipped with fire fighting equipment. Rose Sseninde is now the Personal Assistant to Minister of Education who is MUSEVENI’S wife and hopefully she will implement that proposal.
The fires persisted as revealed by Police statistics thus; between April 2008 and March 2009 76 fire incidents were reported in schools. Between January and March 2009 seven schools and six markets suffered fire outbreaks. The schools were Kibibi Secondary School in Mpigi, Masaka Islamic School and Kakungulu Memorial School in Masaka, Maracha Secondary School in Aria that was burnt twice, Kingsway Secondary School in Wakiso, Pariet Preparatory School in Kampala, and Kikonda Primary School in Kabwoya, Hoima.
In 2009 the regime set up an investigations committee but like has always been the case with other probe committees, its findings have never been made public. Instead in December 2010 the police report revealed that since the beginning of that year alone 563 cases of fire outbreaks had been reported in the central region. The report by the Police Fire Transport Officer, Simon Peter Musoke revealed that of these, 12 had involved schools.
In January 2010 Police reported a decline in fire outbreaks thus from 715 in 2008 to 685 in 2009. The Police Fire Safety Officer, Damali Nadumba further disclosed that 35 people had lost their lives while 33 others had been seriously injured as a result of such fire outbreaks.
In a Police report of June 2015 by the Fire Protection Officer, Geoffrey Okobo it was revealed that 904 incidents of fire outbreaks in the whole country had occurred during the previous year alone. The report went on to reveal that between January and March of 2015, 409 incidents had taken place. He further revealed the loss thus; “We estimate that Ugandans are losing over 30b shillings per year because most fires break out in business premises such as factories and shops.”
The scourge shifted and concentrated on Markets which provide a means of income to the majority of urban dwellers.
– In 2006 Kitintale Market in Kampala was gutted by fire.
– In July 2007 Mbarara central market was gutted by fire for the second time.
– In February 2008 Mbarara central market was gutted by fire again.
– In February 2008 Mpanga market in Fort Portal Municipality was
destroyed by fire.
– In September 2008 fire destroyed Mpanga market in Fort Portal Municipality.
– In March 2009 part of Uganda’s biggest market of Owino was gutted by fire that spread from the adjacent Park Yard Market.
– In February 2009 fire destroyed Owino market affecting 25,000 people mostly female vendors.
– In March 2009 Napier Market in Jinja town was destroyed by fire.
– On 10th March 2009 a Timber and furniture mart in Bwaise in Kampala was destroyed by fire.
– On 11th March 2009 fire gutted Kasokoso market.
– In March 2010 amidst heightened tension between the regime and Buganda Kingdom, Kasubi Tombs were gutted by fire. As MUSEVENI was visiting the place, his guards shot dead three people.
– In April 2010 the infamous timber and furniture stalls at Kubiri on Bombo road were destroyed by fire.
– In May 2010 Nyapier Market in Jinja was again destroyed by fire.
– In August 2010, Kiseka Market was gutted by fire destroying 40 shops.
– In August 2010 fire destroyed a community market at Nyantungo in Kyenjojo.
– In September 2010 Arua district central market was destroyed by fire.
– In September 2010 fire destroyed Nakaloke Market in Mbale.
– In December 2010 Police Chief Gen. Kalekyezi had told the press that “We are aware that criminals want to burn the two markets (Owino and Kiseka). We got to know about planned arson attack through intelligence gathering. So, we aren’t sitting to wait for it to happen. We have deployed our covert and overt officers in both markets.”
– In March 2011 fire gutted Ceretreno trading centre in Layibi Division, Gulu destroying 50m shillings worth of merchandize and property.
– In April 2011 Kafumbe Mukasa market vendor’s store was gutted by fire.
– In July 2011 Park Yard Market in Kampala was gutted by fire. Just 8 months after another fatal fire incident at the same market.
– In August 2011 Owino Market was devastatingly burnt down again amidst wrangling over land ownership.
– In October 2011 Nyapier Market in Jinja was destroyed by fire for the third time.
– In November 2011 fire destroyed Lorry Park Yard market in Mbale.
– In Jan 2012 Nyapier Market in Jinja was destroyed by fire for the fourth time leaving 500 vendors stranded.
– In March 2012 fire destroyed Mbale Municipality Main Market.
– In April 2012 fire destroyed several timber workshops in Bwaise leaving over 200 dealers affected. This was the third time after the July 2011 and January 2012 fire outbreak incidents on the same premises.
– In March 2013 six timber stores in Ndeeba in Kampala were gutted by fire that destroyed timber, furniture and machines.
– In March 2013 fire destroyed Gulu Municipality central market leaving 167 vendors stranded.
– In April 2013 for the third time in three years’ fire destroyed Owino Market in Kampala.
– In August 2013 Rwebikoona market in Mbarara Municipality was gutted by fire.
– In December 2013 Park Yard Market was destroyed by fire that left 8 people injured.
– In January 2014 Kalerwe Market in Kampala was gutted by fire. This was the third time in a short period.
– In March 2014 fire destroyed Gulu Municipality main market.
– In June 2014 Busega Market in Kampala was destroyed by fire.
– In July 2014 Bank of Uganda caught fire.
– In February 2015 Owino market was again gutted by fire.
– In June 2016 fire gutted a furniture workshop in Mityana destroying millions worth of property.
– In October 2016 fire destroyed Napier Market in Jinja.
– In November 2016 fire gutted a carpentry workshop in Lira Municipality leaving 400m worth of furniture and machines destroyed.
– In December 2016 fire destroyed Kame valley market in Mukono.
– In January 2017 Uni Foods Ltd – a fish processing factory in Jinja was destroyed by fire.
– In January 2017 fire destroyed Kitporo Market in Entebbe.
– In January 2017 fire destroyed Kyegegwa central market.
– In February 2017 Nakiwogo Market in Entebbe was destroyed by fire. This happened barely two after the New Kitooro market fire.
– In February 2017 50 shops were destroyed by fire at Elegy main market in Atiak at the Uganda/Sudan border.
– In March 2017 fire destroyed Awadri market in Adjuman town.
With the following incidents covering late 2016 and March 2017 it looks like the rampant mysterious fires are re-emerging. The lull could have been due to the February 2016 election process.
– In April 2016 a dormitory at Mbarara High School was gutted by fire.
– In June 2016 Nsambya Police Barracks was gutted by fire which preceded the violent eviction.
– In September 2016 Victoria Nile Primary School in Jinja was gutted by fire.
– In October 2016 St. Peters’ Secondary School Nsambya was gutted by fire. 12 students were fatally injured.
– In November 2016 Rima Nursery and boarding primary School in Lira was gutted by fire.
– In November 2016 the Omusinga’s Palace in Kasese was set ablaze after the army and police killed more that 100 people inside the same place.
In December 2016 45 homesteads were destroyed by fire in Okidi A & B, Atiak S/county, Amuru district. The area is a center of land grabbing by regime cohorts.
– In December 2016 fire razed Opidi village in Toroma leaving 30 residents homeless.
– In December 2016 Casablanca Bar and restaurant in Kabalagala, Kampala was destroyed by fire.
– In January 2017 the administration block at Lira Hospital was gutted by fire.
– In January 2017 the Ministry of Health Headquarters was gutted by fire.
– In January 2017 Kyambura Game Lodge in Kasese was destroyed by fire.
– In February 2017 fire destroyed Kalagala Junior School in Luweero claiming one life.
– In March 2017 fire destroyed a dormitory of Mayuge Primary School.
– In April 2017 fire destroyed Nsangi Secondary School dormitory in Wakiso.
This is just a sample of the tens of thousands of incidents that Ugandans have now learnt to live with. Most intriguing is the fact that the Police which is supposed to protect lives and property has not been of help to Ugandans. Even Owino market which is located just one Km away from a police station and had suffered repeated fire outbreaks, was not been responded to swiftly. Museveni believes in violence and presiding over a terror-stricken population thus the rampant fire outbreaks suits into his designs.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO.
UGANDA: Behind Museveni’s abolishing of govt university scholarships
CHANGE OF GUARDS – The Museveni regime recently decreed the scrapping of government scholarship for university students. The state offers scholarships to about 12,000 students at its 9 public universities. Of these, 6,296 are from the oldest and biggest university, Makerere. Two months ago, the regime issued another decree scrapping provision of meals by private companies. In 2014 the regime scrapped provision of meals to students but instead it paid students 4,000/= (slightly less than one and a half US dollar) daily for meals provided by private companies that were contracted to run restaurants at the 9 halls of residence. In 2013 it had scrapped the provision of meals to private students.
In 2014 the regime enacted a Higher Education Students Financial Board (HESFB) to provide loans and scholarships to Ugandan students pursuing higher education with the objective of increasing equitable access to higher education. It was to cover tuition, functional fees, research fees and aid and appliances to students with physical disabilities. Repayment with interest is within one year after completing the course. Centenary Bank partnered with the government on the loan scheme whereby it was to process the application forms on behalf of HESFB, advance funds to students accounts and remit funds to institutions.
Initially it targeted students who qualified to pursue science courses but could not afford the cost of higher education at 18 chartered institutions and 33 other tertiary institutions. Later the scheme was extended to a few students pursuing selected arts courses but the number of beneficiaries has steadily remained at 1,200 students per year.
Government sponsors about 4,000 new students who join public universities ever year. Of these, 164 placements go to students with disabilities and districts generate 896 under the district quota system. Out of a total number of 87,102 students at public universities, the government sponsors 11,537. Makerere University alone takes 7,149 followed by Kyambogo’s 2,456 and MUBS with 1,172 out of the 87,102 students who are attending public universities.
Of the universities in Uganda, Makerere excels as the vanguard of university politics in the country. With almost half of the total number of university students, it has the biggest number of students in the country. Of these, almost half are sponsored by government. During the struggle for independence, Makerere University students played a key role. In 1976 Makerere University students attempted to overthrow the Iddi Amin regime. During the controversial 1980 elections, Makerere students and Lecturers were actively involved in shaping the politics of the time. It also actively served as a recruitment centre for Museveni’s Bush War. Since Museveni took over power he has been fighting tooth and nail to suppress the political stamina of Makerere. As early as 2007 the then Minister of Education Namirembe Bitamazire told Parliament that government intended to scrap funding of students’ welfare.
He immediately embarked on political indoctrination through his so-called Cadre Development Courses dubbed Mchaka Mchaka for university students and lecturers. Later all Senior Six graduates were required to attend a two months Mchaka Mchaka course before joining the university. The reasoning was that the course would promote patriotism and basic military skills. Then came the Patriotic Clubs in secondary schools. And the most recent Crime Preventers scheme that witnessed university students being hoarded into the police training school.
Unfortunately, despite all the above manipulative schemes, both the students and lecturers have remained focused in asserting for their rights. They are viewed by the regime as opposition leaning in both form and content. Strikes have remained a major problem by both students and staff with dire consequences including deaths and arbitrary closures. On top of Museveni’s historical mission to destroy education in the country, he has been scheming to suppress the mobility capacity of university students. By scrapping meals, he thought he had dealt with students’ major cause of grievance. By encouraging off campus accommodation he thought he had dealt a blow to the students’ mobility capacity during strikes. With the disappointing results, he is now moving to scrap government sponsorship.
In his estimates, he believes that by subjecting all eligible students to a Students Loan Scheme he will be able to buy total loyalty and submission. The children of the regime political entrepreneurs and passive elites will not qualify for the student loans; moreover, they don’t get involved in strikes. It is the “hungry” and underprivileged children of the deprived and impoverished Ugandans that strike thus being targeted. That way, students will treat the sponsorship not as a right but a privilege that can be withdrawn if he/she “misbehaves”. He will go ahead to take control of all admissions to higher institutions of learning and government will be able to not only discontinue such “misbehaving” students but to declare them ineligible for admission at any such institution. That will be the end of students’ activism and Gen. Muhoozi will reign over a “disciplined” higher institutions of learning.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND THE PROBLEM OF UGANDA IS MUSEVENISM.