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Traders To Strike As Al Shabaab Declare Jihad On Kenya

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approved geneva;”>Traders, no rx Government Fail To Agree On Loan Rates

Efforts by a parliamentary committee and government officials to dissuade traders from closing their shops tomorrow over the high interest rates on loans failed yesterday when the parties disagreed on the way forward.

The traders also plan to withdraw their savings from banks and suspend depositing of money on their accounts for three days. Governor Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile was heckled when he asked traders to exercise patience, insisting that all will be sorted when inflation falls.

Lawmakers on the National Economy Committee initiated the one-day meeting to help generate what they called practical solutions to ongoing economic problems and the high lending rates banks levy. However, traders emerged out of the meeting vowing to carry on with the planned strike due tomorrow.

Daily Monitor reports the eight-hour-long consultation was dubbed the stakeholders’ meeting and attracted MPs, ministers, bankers, Kacita, manufacturers, teachers and the private sector, among others.

The consortium of Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) officials, teachers and manufacturers insisted on urgent government intervention, prompting Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to propose another meeting scheduled for today afternoon.

“Today’s meeting was inconsequential and the status quo remains. There have not been any solutions reached and come Wednesday, we are withdrawing our money from the banks and closing shops for three days,” said Kacita chairperson Evarest Kayondo. He added: “All we want now are solutions and not the ministers’ and bankers’ lengthy explanations.”

‘I will not contest against Museveni again’ – Besigye

Besigye vowed that the opposition will continue to fight to remove President Museveni from power.

The outgoing Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president Dr. Kizza Besigye has said he will not contest against President Yoweri Museveni again.

The retired colonel’s decision comes against a background of three unsuccessful consecutive attempts (2001, 2006 and 2011) to beat his closest rival Museveni for the country’s top job.

Besigye also ruled out the use of armed force to oust the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and its leader Museveni from power, with a belief that armed force could capture power but could later stray away from its original mission of liberation.

“I have said it before that I cannot stand for president when Mr. Museveni is the sitting head of state because he is a dictator. If we are to have elections in 2016, I will not stand as long as Museveni is in power,” Besigye, once a personal physician of Museveni during the 1980-86 guerilla war, stressed.

“All we shall do as the opposition is to fight to dislodge President Museveni’s dictatorial regime. We can achieve this not as FDC party but as a broad force of the opposition,” he was firm.

Besigye made these remarks on Monday while addressing the party weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Najjanakumbi, Kampala.

“We are pushing for the masses to cause change by themselves in order to change the state of their own affairs,” he said.

‘No dialogue’

Besigye, who made headlines in both local and international media for clashing with security forces during last year’s walk-to-work protests, also distanced himself from any engagement in peace talks with Museveni. In fact, he said he had not been contacted by anybody

Al-Shabaab propaganda video declares Jihad against Kenya

Al-Shabaab has released a propaganda video declaring war against Kenya, Daily Nation reports.

The video was released by Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali, the self-proclaimed de facto leader of Kenyan Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia.

Sheikh Ali in the video recording entitled: If they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them, says war or Jihad should now be waged in Kenya in response to the military operation in Somalia.

“Kenya has declared war against Somalia and Jihad should now be waged inside Kenya which is legally a war zone,” Sheikh Ali says in the video.

The video which was initially posted on YouTube but has since been withdrawn can still be viewed on other social media networks.

He says the war Kenya is fighting in Somalia is not against Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab or terrorists but the terms are being used to camouflage the truth.

The report of the UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group indicates that Sheikh Ali, a former chairman of Muslim Youth Centre in Pumwani, Nairobi, was central in the recruitment of non-Somalis in Nairobi to join Al- Shabaab fighters in Somalia.

The report says Al-Shabaab “has extensive funding, recruiting and training networks within Kenya” and has “established connections with jihadist groups across the continent.

Turabi’s Party Releases Documents Containing Coup Plan In Sudan

The Popular Congress Party (PCP) led by Islamist figure Hassan al-Turabi has released the documents which the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) alleged to contain plans for a coup against the Sudanese government.

The documents seen by Sudan Tribune spoke of the possible scenarios that the country could witness which included an army coup as a possibility.

But the PCP says in its analysis that this is “somewhat unlikely” due to precedents in the history of Sudan and military movements in other parts of the Arab world that were driven by political parties albeit behind the scenes.

The party says that all Sudanese political parties were negatively impacted by the military coups that took place in the past even if they have initially supported it. Therefore, the document points out that they would be reluctant to favor a new one.

Furthermore, the Sudanese army’s lack of discipline and the spread of corruption and partisanship within its ranks make political parties suspicious of any role the military would play in an upcoming change.

Should the army take over in a coup it might feel tempted to continue ruling without handing over the power to a civilian administration through democratic elections. This would be compounded by the mistrust felt by military leaders towards the traditional political figures.

To prevent such a scenario the regime will seek to pacify the political and military opposition along with temporary fixes. On top of that it may undertake security and propaganda measures to slow down change.

Sh755bn spending cuts to hurt development projects

The government plans to cut spending by Sh755 billion this financial year in an ambitious austerity move that would hurt some development projects.

The move is expected to reduce the widening budget deficit caused by low aid inflows from donors, partly due to Eurozone credit problems, Finance and Economic Affairs minister Mustafa Mkulo said in a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.

“About Sh157 billion would be cut from domestically financed development projects,” Mr Mkulo said in a letter of intent to Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, in December.

“A number of construction and rehabilitation projects have been identified that can be slowed without incurring penalties.” Savings in the recurrent budget would amount to Sh203 billion.

Borrowing from commercial and foreign sources would also be scaled to $575 million from the planned $822 million, cutting the loan by $247 million (Sh395 billion).

Unveiling the 2011/12 budget in June last year, Mr Mkulo said the nation planned to spend Sh13.52 trillion ($8.7 billion) during the fiscal year, up from Sh11.6 trillion the previous year.

The government had initially planned to spend Sh8.6 trillion shillings on recurrent expenditure and Sh4.92 trillion shillings on development projects.

Spending on development projects include construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports, ports, water works and power lines.

Cuts in these projects will have a negative effect on the growth of the economy, job creation and government revenue in the long run, experts say.

There is an ongoing debate on whether or not the government should take austerity measures. A section of senior officials in the government are against cutting spending on development projects.

Central Bank governor Benno Ndulu said last week that spending on development projects should be sustained or even increased to reduce inflation and spur economic growth.

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