US Says Sudan Rebels Can Oust Bashir; Mutebile Off The Hook
It's Wednesday. These are the latest hot stories making headlines across East Africa.
Rwanda Has 4th Fastest Internet In Africa
Rwanda has been ranked fourth in Africa with high speed internet, after Ghana, Kenya and Angola in that order, according to Ookla NetIndex latest global internet speed report which was released on Monday.
The performance places Rwanda at 103rd position in the world with an average speed of 3.03 Megabits per second (Mbps).
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Antoine Sebera, the Acting Chief Executive Officer Broadband Systems Corporation Ltd (BSC), said that the report was correct because the country offers high internet download speed.
“We have plans to increase the speed in the coming years. Soon we shall again increase the amount of capacity on our international links provided on the submarine cables. This will lead the users to access international websites and content at a much higher speed,” he said.
Lithuania ranks first in the world with 31.67 Mbps followed by South Korea 30.59 Mbps and Latvia in third position with 27.42 Mbps.
According to the report, the ranking is made by measurements on millions of test results from speedtest.net which is based on the rolling mean through put in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles.
Speedtest.net is a free broadband connection analysis software.
Sebera mentioned that speedtest.net is a good tool and reference for measuring broadband speed.
Users can test their Internet speed against hundreds of geographically dispersed servers around the world.
Ookla NetIndex is the global leader in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications.
The company’s software and methodologies set the broadband industry standards for accuracy, ease of use and the subsequent development of statistical data.
Gov’ts Revises Youth Fund Access Conditions
Government has revised some of the stringent conditions that were set for the youth to access the sh25b youth Enterprise Venture capital fund, New Vision reports.
Parliament recently tasked the finance ministry to explain why the youth fund has been tagged with stringent conditions, which the legislators said would hinder the intended beneficiaries from accessing the money.
Appearing before the Parliament’s committee on gender, labour and social development on Tuesday, finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka said government had revisited some of the stringent conditions to enable all intended beneficiaries access the funds.
The minister said they had scrapped off a condition that requires beneficiaries to present their O’ level certificates of education before accessing the money.
“We have decided to soften some of the terms to make the fund more accessible by the youth,” Kiwanuka said.
She noted that the ministry was in consultations with the banks responsible for handling the loans to consider giving out loans of up to sh10m to a group of two people rather than the five that was proposed in the earlier terms and conditions.
She added that government had also revised the age bracket for accessing the youth fund from 25 to between 18 and 35 to enable all the youth access funds.
Kiwanuka explained that a toll free hotline and customer care center had been established by the responsible banks to help the youth address their complaints regarding the youth.
She said banks will be monitoring all the youth groups that will have got the loans by giving quarterly reports on loans highlighting who has borrowed, how much and how their loans would be progressing.
Parliament exonerates Mutebile
Parliament yesterday controversially cleared Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile of any responsibility in the inflated payments to businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba, reports Daily Monitor.
Although the MPs spent seven hours condemning the actions of the veteran banker, the decision changed when Wakiso District MP Rosemary Sseninde proposed that the House votes on the matter by show of hands instead of voices of ayes and nays as had been preferred by the Deputy Speaker, Mr Jacob Oulanyah.
Although 125 MPs are supposed to vote for Parliament to have a quorum, the total number of voters were 122 and Mr Oulanyah proceeded to declare that the Governor is not culpable.
“The motion is lost and the recommendations stand rejected,” he said. “That is the decision.”
Mr Oulanyah dropped his earlier guidance that the House should respect the Constitution which provides for the President as the only person who can decide on the fate of the Governor.
From the vote, 38 members voted in support of the motion and 79 members opposed it. Five members abstained.
In challenge of the Deputy Speaker’s ruling, a cross section of opposition MPs moved out in protest.
“I want to thank Hon Sseninde who proposed that we should vote by show of hands and indeed we have done so,” said the Leader of Opposition, Mr Nandala Mafabi.
During the debate, Parliament downplayed a report by the Cabinet sub-committee that government had plotted to save Mr Mutebile, saying the report recognised the faults and mistakes made by the Governor, its recommendations were insincere to the people of Uganda and aims at promoting a selective approach to the fight against corruption.
“The conclusion of this report clearly shows that there was loss caused by the Bank Governor. In the revolutionary struggle we said shame is a revolutionary sentiment,” said Gen Elly Tumwiine [UPDF]. “We should have one focus against corruption. We should maintain the momentum that whoever is found wanting faces the same punishment. Let all those involved be investigated by institutions and government and be exonerated by courts.”
However, Gen Tumwiine abstained when it came to voting.
In his report to Parliament, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, the Defence Minister, who also chaired the Cabinet Sub-committee, said although Mr Mutebile made mistakes in handling the tax payer’s money, he acted in good faith and was basing on directions of the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General who misled him.
The PAC recommended that the Govornor be found liable.
Dr Kiyonga also presented minutes of the bank meetings that gave the Governor the directive to issue out of the money contrary to the PAC, and Attorney General’s reports which noted that the Governor had refused to provide the minutes saying that they never existed.
Mutebile has over the last two weeks been at the centre of controversy over inflated payments to Mr Basajjabalaba that has so far caused the resignation of former ministers for Gender, Syda Bbumba and General Duties Kiddhu Makubuya.
To counteract Mr Kiyonga’s claims, Mr Kassiano Wadri, the PAC chairperson, said the Governor was on record saying he never had minutes and advised Mr Kiyonga to desist from being used to fight other people’s wars.
Reserve Force Join Fight Against Al-Shabaab
At least 1,700 UPDF reserve forces have been recalled from different parts of the country for refresher training at Singo Military Training School in preparation for deployment in Somalia, reports Daily Monitor.
The reservists will be deployed to reinforce the two Ugandan battle groups as they prepare to launch an offensive against al-Shabaab outside Mogadishu, the Somalia capital city, military sources said.
The Ugandan contingent commander in Somalia, Brig. Paul Lokech, was also quoted by the UPDF Magazine, Tarehe Sita, in an interview recently that part of the reserve force would soon land in Mogadishu.“Fighting this type of warfare needs more boots on ground. Part of our reservists are going to come here to augment our strength as we roll out to the country side,” he said.
The expected deployment is in fulfillment of the UN resolution passed last month to increase the African Union forces in Somalia from 12,000 to 17,731.
However, some of the reservists are complaining that they were unfairly left out during the vetting process.
“We were called to assemble in different divisions before we were transported to Kakiri. After passing the tests, we were taken to Singo for training but after two months, some of us were told to go back home under unclear circumstances,” Cpl. Hanington Mugwanya, said yesterday.
Cpl. Mugwanya said at least 500 reservists were given Shs10,000 and told to go home after two months training in Singo.
But the army spokesperson, Col. Felix Kulayigye, said there was no anomalies in the exercise. “When we invite you for re-engagement and you don’t pass the tests, what do you expect us do?” he asked.
Washington Deludes Sudan’s Rebels They Can Topple The Regime - Nafie
Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) addressed severe criticism against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N) and the United States (US) administration stressing the latter deluded the former that it could achieve regime change in the country.
According to Nafie Ali Nafie, presidential assistant and NCP’s deputy chairman, Washington persuaded the rebel SPLM-N that it can make Kadugli "Sudan’s Benghazi" and transform the South Kordofan’s town to make it the capital for rebels who will overthrow the regime.
He further said that Washington pledged to provide the SPLM-N rebels with the necessary support if they capture Kadugli.
Speaking in the suburb of Lamab, located south of the capital Khartoum, on Sunday evening Nafie also alleged that US administration pushed the rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to join a rebel alliance led by the SPLM-N.
Washington told JEM rebels "You can not do something, even if you come together with the opposition parties," and encouraged it to work with the other armed groups, Nafie further stressed.
The pact of Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Malik Agar was inked on 11 November 2011, by the SPLM-N, JEM and two factions of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-AW and SPLM-MM). In August 2011 JEM had refused to sign the text because the founding text refers to a secular state.
The deputy NCP leader who recently gave up his tasks in the party to dedicate his time for mobilisation, told the crowd that the opposition parties are considered as weak by Washington but however it asked them to play the agitators in order to support the military action of rebel groups against the regime.
Kenya Ethnic Bastions On Campus Exposed
Public universities in Kenya have become ethnic bastions, reveals a report by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission presented to Parliament on Tuesday.
The Big Five ethnic groups in Kenya dominate the work forces of the centres of higher education, the report shows.
Although the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kalenjin, Luo and Kamba, make up 66 per cent of the country’s population, they take up 93 per cent of the jobs at Masinde Muliro University, 89.8 per cent at Moi University, 87.3 per cent at Egerton University, 86 per cent at Jomo Kenyatta University, 82.3 per cent at the University of Nairobi and 81.7 per cent at Kenyatta University.
Out of 15 institutions surveyed, 10 had the majority of their staff coming from the same ethnic community as the vice-chancellor or principal.
The report does not cover Maseno University, where the vice-chancellor requested more time to provide the data since he had just assumed his appointment.
While presenting the report to the MPs, NCIC chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said the audit would be used, alongside that of the civil service and that of parastatals (to be released next week), to develop a policy on inclusive employment in the country.
“Ethnic diversity is a resource that has been mismanaged in the past and must be resolved now to enable greater cohesion in the country,” Dr Kibunjia said.
The Committee on Equal Opportunities chairman Mohammed Affey said the report was important and would be used to shape various policies and laws in the country that ensure that all Kenyans are included in all public affairs.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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