Museveni Arrives for 4-Day India-Africa Summit

President Museveni arrives in India for the India - Africa Forum Summit yesterday. He was received at Indira Gandhi International Airport by India's minister for Rural Development Sudarahan Bhagat (L.)

Former legislator and human rights activist Miria Matembe has lashed out at the police for being instruments of brutality instead of building systems to protect the people.

She was speaking during a dialogue on press freedom at Metropole Hotel in Kampala where the police was represented by the Deputy Press and Public Relations, for sale SSP Polly Namaye and Commissioner Simon Kuteesa.

Matembe condemned the institution for being unapologetic for the recent inhumane arrest of opposition activist Fatuma Naigaga earlier this month.

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“The law demands that the police use commensurate force toward the resistance but officers continue to use too much force on the public. I feel irritated when I see these officers defending the indefensible things, store ” she said.

“The things we see happening in the NRM primaries make it seem like getting power is a do-or-die thing. Our society has been eroded of values. Civil society, media and police have all been politicized.”

In her very bitter remarks, she confronted SSP Namaye to explain why her (Matembe) request together with other women to peacefully demonstrate against the Fatuma incident was rejected by police.

“We took a letter to the IGP, Office of the Prime Minister, President’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs but Kayihura refused us.  Instead they resorted to playing blame games amongst themselves,” charged the tough activist.

“Where are we as women going to express our anger? Things are not good at all and they must change.”

Responsible journalism

On her part, Namaye urged journalists to be ethical and professional the same way they demand police to be.

She said that police as an institution shouldn’t be demonized in general as a result of individuals who act irresponsibly.

“I am surprised that people complain about police searches in this era where terrorism poses the biggest threat. A search is a search irrespective of where it’s done because some people’s motives can’t be underestimated,” said Namaye.

The officer was critical of journalists who don’t invest time in seeking comments from police and end up publishing unbalanced facts.

Hon. Jack Wamanga Wamai, the MP for Mbale Municipality also castigated the police for being silent about violence by Kakooza Mutale’s Kiboko Squad and criminal acts perpetrated by crime preventers.

“Police used to be trained in Nsambya but now they are trained in Kabamba together with the army. If a government has been in power for 30 years why should you stop citizens from accessing information?” said the legislator.

He attributed police brutality to the lack of individual judgment by police officers since they act on state instruction.
A suspected wildlife trafficker was yesterday afternoon arrested at Kobil Kamwokya, purchase a Kampala suburb for illegal possession of 10 pairs of Hippo ivory. Wildlife enforcers backed by a team of Police arrested the man identified as John Asiku from Arua North of Uganda.

The suspect, police says, resides in Nakulabye and has been in the business for many years as middleman, who connects the hunters from Congo (DRC) to the ready market in Kampala.

According to Natural Resource Conservation Network [NRCN] which trapped Asiku, before his arrest he had spent over three weeks moving around with the products in a small polythene bag fixed inside a small bag.

“The ten pairs acted as samples picked from 80kgs which we were targeting and which he had promised to deliver the next day if we paid for the samples at $400,” said NRCN spokesperson Laban Muhindo.

Wildlife trafficking is reportedly the main cause of population decline in wildlife species, experts say.  New developments on the continent such as the rise in terrorism have shifted attention to ivory trafficking which has been linked to funding terrorism and is attracting a lot of attention, shifting the spotlight away from the trafficking of other wildlife species.

Whereas Hippos are severely poached for bush meat trade and other specialized illicit trade as was recently discovered.

“The illicit trade in special Hippo parts is adding even more pressure on the populations of hippos and other wildlife products that have been illegally hunted over the years for meat,” said Muhindo.

Hippo meat, poachers believe, can fetch bigger revenues because of the share size of the animals. A mature hippo can weigh over one tone providing enough incentives to poachers and traffickers alike.

Uganda is party to the global convention protecting endangered species internationally. The black market for hippo ivory is still vibrant despite the ban on ivory trade brought by Uganda’s weak laws which attract criminals.

How the hippo ivory trade booms in Uganda remains as mysterious, but it is believed that most criminal gangs are shifting their operational base to Kampala. Sources also blame the law against poaching. They say the law is weak and that corruption is rampant among wildlife officials who work in favor of the gangs.

In neighboring Kenya, the law has been revised, with stiff punitive penalties that have made wildlife trade more expensive.

This, according to observers, has driven most traffickers to Uganda, where penalties sanctioned by the Wildlife Act, are still weak. Currently, the Uganda Wildlife Act is being reviewed; “Proposing a fine of not less than sh15m if someone does not have a permit and not less than five years imprisonment.”

President Museveni has arrived in the Indian capital New Delhi on a four day working visit during which he will attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit at the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Mahendra Modi.

The President was met on arrival at Indira Ghandhi International Airport by the Indian Minister for Rural Development Hon. Sudarahan Bhagat, treat Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Sam Kutesa, diagnosis Uganda’s High Commissioner to India Ms. Elizabeth Paula Napeyok and Uganda’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Amb. Mule Katende, Military Attache’ in India Brig. Johnson Etyang and other senior Foreign Service officials from both countries.

The four-day summit is being held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex under the theme “Reinvigorated Partnership – Shared Vision.”

India held the 1st India-Africa Forum Summit in April 2008 here in New Delhi and the second was held in the Ethiopian capita Addis Ababa in 2011.

President Museveni has personally attended and addressed the two previous Summits.

This year’s Summit that has attracted a record number of African Heads of State and governments is also held to celebrate the ages long close partnership between Africa and India, a partnership anchored on mutual respect, equality, as well mutual benefit, all aimed at developing a new paradigm of cooperation in the development of respective countries and people.

The Summit is further expected to strengthen trade and investment ties between African countries and India.

During his stay in New Delhi, President Museveni will, among other engagements, hold official talks with the Indian Prime Minister; address the Heads of State Summit as well as the Uganda-India Investors’ Forum.


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