Uganda News Roundup: June 17, 2024

Uganda Investment Authority Refund Scandal

The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) is embroiled in controversy as Executive Director Dr. Robert Mukiza agrees to refund UGX 545 million in illegally awarded honoraria. This decision follows a directive from State Minister of Privatization and Investment Hon. Evelyn Anite, who condemned the payments made to UIA staff and the Project Management Team of the Kampala Industrial Park Development (KLDP) project. Dr. Mukiza and other high-ranking officials received significant sums, sparking public outrage over corruption and misuse of funds.

Human Traffickers arrested in Kawempe, Kampala

Police in Kawempe, on the outskirts of Uganda’s capital Kampala have arrested two suspects, Mbeiza Esther and Birungi Jenipher, on allegations of human trafficking. Nine victims, all young women, were rescued. The suspects operated under the guise of ‘Empowered Consumerism Company/Dream Visionaries International,’ recruiting victims with promises of employment, only to exploit them for selling herbal products. The victims paid application fees and were required to recruit others, exposing a disturbing trafficking scheme in Kampala.

MPs Summoned Over Corruption Allegations

In a significant anti-corruption move, 30 Members of Uganda’s Parliament have been summoned to the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) headquarters in Kibuli, Kampala. These legislators are accused of corruption, specifically in influencing budget processes through kickbacks. This follows the recent detention and charging of three MPs caught soliciting bribes. President Museveni has emphasized his commitment to fighting corruption, presenting this as a crucial step towards transparency and accountability in Uganda’s political landscape.

Budget opportunities highlighted

Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Ramathan Ggoobi outlined budget opportunities in the UGX 72 trillion Budget for the Financial Year 2024/25 at the 2024 Post Budget Dialogue. He urged private sector players to leverage funds allocated for wealth creation, commercial agriculture, and youth skilling. Ggoobi emphasized initiatives like the Parish Development Model and the capitalization of the Uganda Development Bank to support economic growth. The budget also prioritizes education, health, and infrastructure, aiming to foster sustainable development.

Regional News Highlights

Kenya: The government has launched an ambitious plan to modernize Nairobi’s public transportation system, aiming to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the city.

Tanzania: President Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced a new economic partnership with China, expected to boost Tanzania’s infrastructure and trade sectors.

Rwanda: Kigali is hosting the Africa CEO Forum, bringing together business leaders and policymakers to discuss investment opportunities and economic development across the continent.

South Sudan: The government has initiated peace talks with opposition groups in a bid to end ongoing conflicts and foster national unity and development. This signifies a move towards a lasting peace deal as parties involved in the Nairobi Mediation process made the first positive step, signing the Declaration of Commitment to the outcome on Thursday in Nairobi known as the Tumaini (Hope) Initiative.

The government and two opposition groups participating in the process committed themselves to whatever outcome that would be agreed upon by the participants.

Tumaini Initiative also incorporates all the previous agreements that had been signed since 2020 when the negotiations between the government of President Salva Kiir were initiated by the Sant’ Egidio Catholic Community in Rome Italy. It marked the beginning of mediation proper.

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