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President Salva Kiir free Ugandan journalists

July 30, 2013
Hillary while covering floods in Kasese, Western Uganda a few months ago.

Hillary while covering floods in Kasese, Western Uganda a few months ago.

This is Hillary Ayesiga a Ugandan journalist. I met Hillary in 2007 when we started working for Nation TV Uganda (NTV), a part of the Aga Khan’s Nation Media Group. It was the new station in Uganda, fairly professional- more than most TV stations to the best of my judgement.

Hillary was a colleague for close to two years when i worked at NTV and he is a friend. He’s a hard working journalist. He never shies away from stories.

On Saturday, Hillary was arrested in Juba, South Sudan together with Justin Dralaze, a video journalist that has worked with Reuters for long time until recently. The two had gone to South Sudan to do stories for Feature Story News (FSN), a US-based company.

Justin (with a cap) on assignment with a Photojournalist

Justin (with a cap) on assignment with a Photojournalist


I have known Justin too for more than 7 years,we have survived riots and demonstrations in the land of Museveni where teargas is administered more regularly and with more zeal than immunisation against killer diseases.

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Seen in Moroto-Karamoja Uganda

July 13, 2013

I took a 3 day trip to Karamoja for a meeting last week. This was my second time in the region that most Ugandans know so little about. Most of our images on Karamoja are based on many stereotypes and myths. There’s now relative peace in Karamoja after disarmament process but much of the area still needs a lot support in order to develop- not forgetting making sure Karimojong people benefit from the gold and marble mined in the area.

Not many seem to know where the gold goes. There’s been a constant American soldiers presence in the area for some years that is unexplained. This is a region with great potential and beauty that has been mostly locked out by our governments.

View from Mt.Moroto. It is a great climb and good for viewing the sunset.

View from Mt.Moroto. It is a great climb and good for viewing the sunset.

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UN renews efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict

June 25, 2013

Yesterday, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2106 on sexual violence in conflict unanimously in renewed efforts to prevent and tackle the scourge that has come to characterize many conflicts on the globe.

Over the last four decades, the nature and actors in armed conflicts have changed a lot. Today’s wars kill more civilians than combatants and sexual violence particularly against women has become the norm. Also the use of child soldiers increased even if these acts were in violation of the 1949 Geneva conventions.

In 1999, UN Security Council passed Resolution 1261 that condemned the use of child soldiers. The following year Resolution 1325 was passed addressing issues of women in conflict. The Resolution looked at the gender perspective that included the special needs of women and girls in repatriation, resettlement and post-conflict reconstruction.

A woman attends a prayer session at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu DRC where hundreds of sexual violence victims are treated every month. Rosebell's photo.

A woman attends a prayer session at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu DRC where hundreds of sexual violence victims are treated every month. Rosebell’s photo.

Noticing that resolutions over the decade had not done much to deter increased and systematic use of sexual violence as a war tactic, UN Security Council passed Resolution 1820 (2008) that demanded “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians.” And years to follow more resolutions like 1960 were passed to get parties in conflicts to prevent and/or end sexual violence.

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Africa’s lost monies; What has tax transparency in G8 countries got to do with it?

June 21, 2013

On Tuesday June 18, G8 leaders signed the Lough Erne Declaration in Northern Ireland  – promising greater transparency about company ownership to flush out firms who deliberately avoid paying tax.

In a global push against tax evasion the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia signed the declaration that many campaigners said had more ‘should’ and didn’t promote openness.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the declaration would support nations including the poorest in the world and would help ensure ‘proper tax justice’. The declaration indicated:

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Does G8 move on extractive industries mean anything for African countries?

June 18, 2013

Ahead of the meeting of leaders of world’s major economies the G8, the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the G8 and 15 developing countries have agreed to work together to make sure that “the poorest people benefit from their country’s natural resources, by improving the transparency of their extractive industries and land rights.”

The G8 which includes US, UK, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Germany and France plays a big role in extractives industry in African countries.

Mr Cameron made the announcement during a panel session with African leaders at the Open for Growth on 15 June 2013. Of the 15 countries, 8 developing countries will be focused on improving the extractives sector while 7 are on land rights.

This seeming shift of G8 countries from aid to improving trade may be driven by various factors – increased Chinese penetration in African extractives industry and also the non-sustainability of the aid model for both receiving and donor countries as donor countries have been hit by the economic crisis.

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Push for transparency at G8 alone will not solve land grabs in Africa

June 17, 2013

This week I am working with the IFCampaign at the G8 in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The G8 leaders are discussing trade, taxes and Transparency and a good deal of parternships will be announced regarding G8 countries and role in developing countries. I will be blogging about any initiatives. This is the first in the series of blogs.

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President Obama meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron

In May 2012, a few months before he passed away, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi while attending the World Economic Forum on Africa was asked a question that intrigues most African citizens. Why do African leaders- revolutionaries turn to looting their own countries once in power? The brainy later leader of Ethiopia responded by highlighting foreign corporations’ role in impoverishing Africa. He hinted that African leaders, in their quest to find jobs for an increasing unemployed population, were being held hostage by corporations that come in to invest.

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A father’s day note

June 16, 2013

Happy Day to all moms who work day and night being both father and mother to your children! We live in an interesting world where fathers never turn up when you need a pencil, a school bag, tuition fees or at a school event. They are never anywhere close when you are doing homework each night.

These are the fathers who will fight to be present at your graduation, remind you how they are your father and list all their entitlements on the news of a possible marriage or simply turn up at your door to because now you are somebody.

I have had close friends whose never-ever-present fathers turn up to ask their fiance loads of money a few weeks to their wedding and well those whose fathers only remember them when they hear they have got a job.

There are also those male relatives who are supposedly your father according tradition- because your father passed away at a young age. They never ever supported you but they will force their way to wedding meeting to demand their’rightful’ place.

These are true stories have plagued some peoples lives today.

So such on a day, I thank all fathers who are doing their best to be good fathers and good role models for your children especially daughters! Who believe that your daughter can be as good as your son and show it. You are gems!

When I think of good fathers, I am drawn to The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, first book in the series by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith set up in Botswana. His lead fiction character is Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana. Precious is always talking fondly about her late father Rra Obed Ramotswe who allowed her to inherit his herd of cattle in a culture where women aren’t really allowed this right. Precious describes herself as a “girl who has had a good father.” And this drives her to do great in her career.

To all fathers, I hope your children can proudly say, today or later in life, that they are proud of what you are doing for them! I

Happy Fathers Day from Belfast!

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