Lira land board secretary in trouble over corruption

LIRA– The acting secretary for Lira district land board, Pastor Francis Okello Olwa is in trouble again for illegally processing a land title for Mayor’s Gardens in Lira City and allocating part of the land to a top businessman in the city.

According to a source at Lira City Council, Okello Olwa was processing the title without notifying the council yet the board was suspended by the Lands minister two months ago.

“It raised a lot of queries because the district land board was suspended and secondly the City council didn’t discuss anything pertaining to the processing title for Lira mayor’s garden,” a source who declined to be quoted said.

“We have also learned that part of the land neighboring Shell fuel station was allocated to a businessman in the City,” he added.

Okello Olwa after he was arrested (Photo by Patrick O. Adupa)

Olwa who is a senior pastor at Truth Fountain West in Lira City was arrested in April 2022 while ferrying a heap of land-related documents in his car at night. He was released on police bond pending investigation.

But a few days later, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba, suspended the district land board.

“The purpose of this letter is to suspend the officials of the board to pave way for investigation into the allegation,” she added.

Among those that were supposed to be kicked out as per the minister’s letter were; Okello Olwa, Paul Cankoma (chairperson) and four others.

However, the district Chairperson, Richard Coxson Okello Orik has since turned down the minister`s directive to suspend the board members, saying he had not seen any crime committed by the board, therefore they could not leave office.

A team from State House Anti-corruption Unit, stormed the district and re-arrested Okello Olwa, and whisked him to Kampala.

Samuel Arinatwe, an investigating officer in the case said the suspect hid key documents in relation to fraudulent land transactions but they are still tracing.

“We managed to recover one among the many documents we are still demanding,” he added.

https://thecooperator.news/lira-lc5-turns-down-ministers-letter-to-suspend-land-board/

Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country- wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Lira land board secretary in trouble over corruption appeared first on The Cooperator News.

Mbarara City officers face arrest over Emyooga cash

MBARARA– Mbarara City Resident Commissioner [RCC], Lt Col. James Mwesigye has ordered for the arrest of the Mbarara City Principal Commercial officer, James Agaba, and his deputy, Donanti Mutaahi over the alleged embezzlement of Shs 30 million meant for supporting carpenters under Emyooga programme.

According to Mwesigye, Agaba and Mutaahi connived with the leaders of Mbarara City South Carpenters Association to swindle the funds released by the government to support artisans in the fight against poverty.

During a press conference, Mwesigye revealed that in 2021, the association’s Chairperson Boaz Byamugisha, alongside his treasurer Medard Ngabirano and secretary John Bosco Mwiine connived with the officers to steal the association’s Shs 30mln.

“After loan repayment, none of the members have ever received money during the second phase,” Mwesigye said.

It is from this background that members petitioned the RCC on Monday after their Emyooga projects stalled for a year.

Mwesigye, who is in charge of supervision and monitoring government programs, immediately ordered the arrest of the association leaders.

“After finding out it is the reason we have arrested them and even the commercial officers should be arrested,” RCC directed.

The arrested include; Boaz Byamugisha, John Bosco Mwine and Medard Ngabirano.They are charged with misappropriation of Emyooga funds under Vide Mbarara Gef:09/20222 and Mbarara CPS SDREF:60/09/05/2022.

The RCC has appealed to other Emyooga SACCO beneficiaries in Mbarara City facing similar challenges to report to his office such that culprits can be brought to book.

“We now appeal to other groups who have suffered the same to report either to my office or to my deputies so that we can arrest these thugs,” he said.

Mwesigye said that Emyooga money was given to poor Ugandans to work and embrace the money economy but that not to be eaten by government workers paid to oversee government projects.

Daniel Okyenga, one of the members confirmed that only Shs 12 mln was handed to the association as Agaba and Mutahi pocketed Shs 8mln while the remaining balance was stolen by the association chairman, treasurer and the secretary, all signatories to the association’s account.

“We’ve never seen the people claiming to have been receiving the money yet members who have been attending meetings we have never received a single shilling,” Okyenga said.

The cheated groups under the carpentry association include; Bugashe, Nyamityoobora, Ryakishakizi, and Kakoba.

Meanwhile, Mutahi counter accused the RCC of allegedly tarnishing his image in the media.

“Why always rush to the media before investigating the matter. He started with the market but he found we were all innocent yet we all know his dirty actions,” Mutaahi said.

This is the third time that Agaba and Mutaahi have been pinned for being involved in money scandals.

In March 2022, James Agaba was named by State Minister for Cooperatives, Fredrick Ngobi Gume, to be part of the leaders benefiting from Banyankore Kweterana Union property located in Mbarara City.

The local government minister, Raphael Magyezi while in Mbarara City in April 2022 directed the interdiction of Agaba and Mutaahi after their names appeared among the city leaders receiving bribes to allocate stalls to the vendors in the redeveloped central market.

Mbarara City received Shs 1bln where Shs 500mln went to Mbarara City North Division while other 500mln disbursed to Mbarara City South Division.

Emyooga is a presidential initiative that was launched in August 2019 targeting 18 specialized enterprises to transform 68 percent of Ugandan homesteads from substance to market-oriented production.

https://thecooperator.news/ghost-vendors-minister-magyezi-halts-allocation-of-lock-ups-in-new-mbarara-market/

Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Mbarara City officers face arrest over Emyooga cash appeared first on The Cooperator News.

UWA to surround Marchison Falls National Park with electric fence

MASINDI- The Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] plans to construct an additional 100-kilometre electric fence surrounding the wildlife conservation areas of Murchison Falls National Park.

The Executive Director of UWA Sam Mwandha disclosed the latest development in a recent interview with the Cooperator.

Mwandha explained that the development, expected to cost Shs 5 billion, is to prevent the elephants from invading the communities, which has raged on for years causing human deaths, injuries, and destruction of crops and property.

He said the planned erecting of the electric fence will commence in the next financial year under the World Bank-funded Uganda Investing in Forests and Protected Areas for Climate-Smart Development Project.

At least 40 kilometers of trenches have been established in the three districts of Kiryandongo, Oyam and Nwoya while 40km of the electric fence has been constructed in Oyam and Nwoya.

“We have lost lives, crops, and property in the wildlife protected areas but UWA is now implementing an eclectic fence which is seen to have been more effective than other interventions,” he added.

However, he has advised the affected communities to adopt other local strategies of beekeeping along the park and also to venture into tea plantations to keep the elephants at bay in the park.

The Masindi District Chairperson Cosmus Byaruhanga has appealed to UWA to extend such intervention into the district which is persistently invaded by the elephants.

His counterpart Emmanuel Orach of Nwoya District Local Government has commended the development which he says will save more than 85,000 households in the affected areas.

Orach revealed that the revenue share of 672 million the district has recently received from UWA will support tea and coffee production among other projects being prioritised.

https://thecooperator.news/nwoya-farmers-want-government-to-fast-track-the-wildlife-act-amid-persistent-invasion-by-elephants/

Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country- wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post UWA to surround Marchison Falls National Park with electric fence appeared first on The Cooperator News.

Public service vehicle operators to form SACCOs after training

KAMPALA – Operators of public service vehicles (PSV) in Uganda will soon begin to establish Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), having undergone a two-day capacity building training on the formation of SACCOS.

The trade ministry conducted the training held in Kampala where Joseph Lutalo, a senior training officer in the ministry, said cooperatives are easy to form, flexible and that they can be used to address matters that affect members

“New ideas can be generated, members can share concerns, offer support to one another, build on existing skills, create employment and empower others,” Lutalo said, adding that cooperatives grow due to the collective efforts of the many members.

Speaking at Mestil Hotel in Kampala, Lutalo said cooperatives provide an organisational framework that enables members to handle tasks that enhance production and productivity, collective marketing, value addition as well as job creation.

While officiating at the function, the state minister for transport, Fred Byamukama, said formation of Saccos comes with many advantages such as business sustainability, adding that taxi operators, bus operators and boda boda riders will easily form Saccos since they already have associations.

Byamukama urged the public service vehicle operators to use the improved road network to take their services to all regions of Uganda.

Byamukama further said that through the cooperatives, PSV operators would be in position to monitor operations and discipline their respective crews.

“Through the Saccos, PSV operators will be in position to get government financial help,” he said, adding that this is better than bank loans that come with high interest rates.

Transport ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Waiswa Bageya, said formation of Saccos is a blessing to the transport industry while Winstone Katushabe, Commissioner for transport regulations and safety in the ministry, said formation of Saccos will help tackle unfair competition, which he said, would result in reduced transport fares.

As the private players embark on creating Saccos in the transport sector, Uganda Transport Cooperative Union (UTCU) has not recovered from its collapse that happened during the years when Uganda faced instabilities, with many of UTCU’s vehicles seized by the previous military regimes.

Formed in 1973, UTCU, had grown from 17 trucks to more than 500 in 1985, but by 2017, the once popular union had only three trucks.

https://thecooperator.news/commissioner-of-transport-rallies-taxi-operators-to-form-a-national-association/

Buy your copy of theCooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Public service vehicle operators to form SACCOs after training appeared first on The Cooperator News.

Ramadan: Lira Pakistani community donate to the vulnerable     

LIRA – The Pakistani Association in the Lango sub-region have given food staff and sanitary materials to 250 members of the Muslim community, vulnerable people and inmates in Lira City as they observe the holy month of Ramadan.

According to the Association’s President, Sardar Muhammad Nawaz Ateeq, the vulnerable groups were identified from Ngetta, Kirombe, Kakooge and Anai including inmates from Lira and Erute government prisons.

He said, they have earmarked Shs50m to support Muslims, vulnerable people and inmates during this Ramadan.

“We shall continue supporting them until the end of Ramadan,” Ateeq said while handing over items worth Shs 9m to Muslim leaders and the head of the vulnerable group Umar Kasule on April 10, 2022.

The package includes beans, rice, posho, cooking oil, sugar, salt and toothpaste among others according to Ateeq. Lira main, Iddi Amin, Taqwa and Lira primary school mosques also benefitted.

Besides this, Ateeq said they are also offering daily food staff to Muslims to break the fast as they continue to fast and honor the holy month of Ramadan.

Handing over the food items on Saturday, Ateeq said, every year in the month of Ramadan they plan for needy people and share the little they invested.

He called upon other investors, the business community, and well-wishers to join hands to help the needy people in the City.

He added that they have also repaired 13 boreholes in Otuke, five in Oyam and 16 in Dokolo district. “All these are returns of what we earn from the community.”

Yusufu Balinda, Imam of Lira Primary School mosque commended the Pakistan Association for the support.

“When you are a Muslim and you do such a thing to help the needy, automatically you get insurance from Allah to protect your wealth,” he said.

The Mayor Lira City West division, Mike Ogwal Achonga called upon the Indian community also to join the charity to help the vulnerable.

https://thecooperator.news/lira-city-based-asian-investors-defrauded-of-shs-9b/

Buy your copy of theCooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Ramadan: Lira Pakistani community donate to the vulnerable appeared first on The Cooperator News.

Benefiting from gov’t programmes: Bunyoro musicians advised to unite

MASINDI – Musicians in Bunyoro sub-region under their umbrella organisation, Allied Association of Bunyoro Entertainment Professionals [ABEP] have been urged to unite if they are to benefit from government programmes.

The musicians were advised by Paul Mugume, the Secretary ABEP while meeting the musicians at Lado Hotel in Masindi town on Saturday. The meeting was to help them get organised such that they are able to reap from their talents.

Mugume noted that many stakeholders including government are willing to support the musicians both financially and materially but they are not organised in groups.

Government has launched income-generating programmes like Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM) that Musicians can join in groups to benefit from.

“We are the ones who have denied ourselves opportunities because we do not want to get together. Instead, we are in cheap fights which won’t take us anywhere. We need to get together and tap into different government programs,” he noted.

He added that musicians in Bunyoro have failed help each other because of envy and lack of information and yet they have good music.

“We decided to start this association after seeing that the region was lagging behind musically. We want to use this opportunity to bring on board different actors who can help us grow like musicians from other regions. We are missing opportunities because everyone is doing his or her own business individually and yet no one is willing to support individuals. People who are organised are the ones who are supported,” he said.

According to Mugume, they also need to partner with Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom to ensure that it supports Bunyoro’s music and also to promote culture.

Female musicians decried sexual harassment from some producers and radio presenters which they said is a very big challenge to them as ladies in the industry.

Others complained of stereotypes from some community members, explaining that some of them are termed as lumpens, something that demotivates them.

But Frank Ainebyoona, the Association’s Treasurer noted that all the challenges can be solved if there’s unity for a purpose.

“We are being despised because we have no voice and also, we have not branded ourselves. Do music as a business don’t sing because you’re supposed to sing. If you are organised the community will respect you,” he advised.

He added that the challenge most musicians face is inadequate information about what they’re doing; adding that as an Association they want to first put much emphasis on sensitisation and nurturing.

“As an Association, we are going to work together to ensure that we do things which will yield positive fruits to musicians,” he said.

“We want to ensure that musicians from the region produce quality music. We want them to use their talents as a business. We are also going to be lobbying for them to always perform whenever there are big events on top of helping them acquire loans to do other side businesses. We are also going to lobby for a classic studios among other things” explained Ainebyoona.

The musicians were also advised to always be honest, be accountable, have a vision, and also managements to run their activities.

The Association which was formed in November last year is working with musicians in the eight districts of Bunyoro and a city.

Among other issues they’re looking at is ensuring favourable policies are put in place with the help of the Kingdom whereby at least 80 percent of the music from the region will be played on the local radio stations as a way of promoting the musicians in the region.

The Association has also started a process of developing a website where all songs of musicians from the region will be uploaded as a way of marketing them both locally and internationally.

https://thecooperator.news/masindi-teachers-sacco-share-capital-increase-to-shs56m/

Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our country- wide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Benefiting from gov’t programmes: Bunyoro musicians advised to unite appeared first on The Cooperator News.

Mbarara market vendors want allocation of stalls halted

MBARARA – Fracas erupted in Mbarara City on Thursday as market vendors demonstrated, accusing their leaders of delayed and poor allocation of the stalls and kiosks available in the newly constructed Mbarara Central Market. They now want the allocation of the stalls stopped to create room for identifying the right people to take up the stalls.

Rosette Asasira, one of the vendors running a boutique in Mbarara Central market for the last 18 years told this reporter that she is among the vendors missing out on the list of over 1000 vendors to be resettled in the market.

“I joined Mbarara central market since 2004, I am the tenant for the council, my landlord is the council, we made an agreement with it that after construction, we would reallocate to our facility but surprisingly with all the official documents I have been tossed from the market yet some of the traders who were not vendors, but with duplicated papers have already gotten over four kiosks in our market,” Asasira said.

Asasira alleged that new stalls and shops are being occupied by tycoons who can afford rental space in arcades and malls.

She accused the market chairperson Muhammad Nyombi of conniving with the city council leadership to sell new spaces to already established business people in Mbarara town.

Shakila Mutesi, also a vendor dealing in the fruit business, said she was surprised when the stalls allocation committee asked her to present a document in order to be resettled in the new market.

“I have been in the central market for over 5 years, my name appeared on the vendors’ list which was pinned yesterday but when I went for the ruffle exercise, I was asked to present the papers which we were not given at all,” Mutesi cried.

She appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to intervene in the matter.

“We are now desperate because we don’t have where to operate from. So we are appealing to the president to intervene before the matter worsens,” Mutesi said.

The market chairman Nyombi when asked about the accusations labeled against him, denied participating in the allocation of the kiosks and stalls in the market.

“With the market vendors’ registration and resettlement guide, I don’t appear anywhere because it clearly states that the vendors shall form the majority on the allocation committee, each enterprise section of the market represented by 2 persons (male and female) who are popularly elected on the committee, excluding the Chairperson of the Vendor’s Association,” Nyombi said.

Nyombi instead blamed the allocation committee for betraying their vendors.

“I don’t appear anywhere in the allocation process, vendors should instead accuse their leaders representing them on the allocation committee who have disappointed them but not me the chairman,” Nyombi said.

He however said the matter can be resolved. “It’s not yet too late there is still a chance to get a facility in the new market if they address their issues to the rightful leaders. So if there is any complaint related to the facility, it should be addressed to the allocations committee not the chairman,” he said, confirming that there are many vendors who are missing on the list and that they could be kicked out of the new market.

According to Lydia Karungi, a Senior Community Development Officer in the Ministry of Local government in charge of relocation, the relocation exercise is going to be concluded by the close of this week.

Karungi said she was worried a big number of vendors could be left out.

“By the look of things, a total of about 350 vendors could miss because the space is getting finished yet an overwhelming number is still complaining. She said the allocation will end on Monday but that she will brief the public on the matter.

When contacted, Lt Col. James Mwesigye, the Resident City Commissioner (RCC) Mbarara, said that the market saga was caused by the vendors’ leadership and city leaders who sold some of the lockups and stalls to business people who were not vendors before.

“There are three sections of people in the market saga which include vendors who originally occupied the old market, then those who were registered later to get space, and those who sold their space. And the worst part of it is the vendors’ chairman would sign to confirm the sale and the commercial officer would stamp that some vendors are now claiming to be the landlords for the council’s land where the new market is seated,” Mwesigye said.

He has however constituted an appeals committee to look into issues of the complainants and verify ghost vendors who are claiming to have already got space in the redeveloped central market.

“We thought that vendors themselves, would easily identify their colleagues who were operating within the old market but after verification, vendors have continued complaining. So we have formed the appeals committee where the DISO and my deputy are going to verify the list which council based on to allocate the stalls and kiosks so as to establish the truth of the matter,” Mwesigye said.

“We request patience and discipline, we don’t want people to demonstrate, what matters is to get the real people occupying the market; when to occupy is not the problem, we only want to see things moving on well,” he said.

However, some of the aggrieved vendors insisted that the allocation of stalls and lockups in the redeveloped market be halted until the court case is disposed of.

Joy Night Mpiirwe, Chairperson of the aggrieved Kiosk Owners said they were allocated land to construct Kiosks by the then Mbarara Municipal Council in 1989 and were fully given the powers as bonafide occupants on the same land.

Raphael Magyezi, the Minister for Local Government while commissioning the redeveloped market day ago confirmed that it belongs to Mbarara City Council but not the Kiosk Owners Association.

The wrangle between the then Mbarara Municipality and traders over the ownership of Mbarara central market started in 2014 affecting plans to redevelop it in 2010 under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement Project (MATIP) funded by USD 84.2 million (about Shs284b) loan sourced from the African Development Bank (ADB) and USD 9.52 million (about Shs32b) contributed by the government to alleviate poverty and improvement of agricultural trade.

Kiosk owners successfully petitioned the High Court Mbarara and placed a caveat on the land, which delayed the construction until 2018 when it commenced.

The said market accommodates 1151 vendors housing different facilities that include; lockups (552), stalls (256), pitches (167), food court, restaurant, daycare, installed CCTV cameras, fire fighting system, modern toilets, showers, Police post, children’s care centre, an office block, and water harvesting tanks among others.

https://thecooperator.news/minister-magezi-commissions-new-mbarara-central-market-rcc-warns-ghost-vendors/

Buy your copy of thecooperator magazine from one of our countrywide vending points or an e-copy on emag.thecooperator.news

The post Mbarara market vendors want allocation of stalls halted appeared first on The Cooperator News.