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On trail of dangerous rebel mission
Long-awaited Uganda's largest ferry finally takes shape
Transport woes for residents of Lolwe and Sigulu sub-counties in Namayingo District will soon be history when Uganda’s largest ferry starts floating on Lake Victoria.
This is because the construction of Sigulu Ferry at Masese Landing Site, Walukuba-Masese Division in Jinja Municipality, is in advanced stages.
The long awaited MV Sigulu, a government undertaking, is meant to serve residents of Lolwe and Sigulu sub-counties in Namayingo District.
Uganda National Roads Authority says about 95 per cent of construction works are complete.
“MV Sigulu ferry now under construction at Masese, Jinja. Progress at 95 percent. UNRA executive director [Ms Allen Kagina] inspects ongoing works,” said UNRA's media relations manager, Mr Allan Sempebwa, on Wednesday.
JGH Marine A/S, a Danish firm contracted to build the ferry, started construction in September 2018.
The vessel is going to be Uganda's largest ferry with a capacity of 300 passengers when complete, according to Mr Sempebwa.
Mr James Ouma Wandera, the district secretary for health and education, said expectant mothers had been making a 20km boat expedition to Kenya to give birth and immunise their children.
“They sail to Kenya and back at Shs30,000 and after giving birth, make another trip to immunise the child,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ms Kagina and a team of technical staff have started a four-day inspection of road projects in eastern Uganda.
Credit: Daily Monitor
Three party leaders battle it out in South Africa election
Polls have opened in South Africa with the leaders of the three main parties vying for votes in a race that could test the ruling ANC's long-held dominance.
Here is a look at the three:
The shrewd president
Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of the ruling ANC party, took the country's reins last year after a dramatic and varied career intertwined with the birth of modern South Africa.
He was a pioneering young trade union leader, an anti-apartheid activist, and a Nelson Mandela protege who led talks to end white-minority rule and helped write the new constitution.
When Mandela walked out of jail in 1990,
But after missing out on becoming Mandela's successor as president, Ramaphosa instead became a hugely wealthy businessman through stakes in McDonalds, Coca-Cola, mining and telecommunications, and developing a taste for breeding rare cattle.
In 2012, his image was badly tarnished when police killed 34 striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine, operated by London-listed Lonmin, where he was then a non-executive director.
Ramaphosa had called for a crackdown on the strikers, whom he accused of "dastardly criminal" behaviour.
He returned to politics to become Jacob Zuma's vice president in 2014, often drawing criticism for failing to speak out against corruption and government mismanagement.
Renowned for his patience and strategic thinking, Ramaphosa narrowly beat off pro-Zuma rivals to take over the leadership of the ANC in 2017 and then claim the presidency when Zuma was forced out last year.
Ramaphosa's support base crosses South Africa's racial and class divides, but he still faces strong opposition from factions within the ANC.
"This is a decisive moment in our country, in the history of South Africa, this is a moment when... we choose hope over despair," he told supporters at the ANC's final campaign rally.
Born in Johannesburg's Soweto township, Ramaphosa took up activism while studying law in the 1970s, and spent 11 months in solitary confinement in 1974.
Source: Daily Monitor
Cannabis investors’ right to run out of patience, says government
Investors waiting for clearance to venture into large scale planting of cannabis, also known as marijuana are right to get angry with the government for taking long to institute legal framework to regulate the intoxicating but high-value medicinal crop, the State Minister for Agriculture has said.
Mr Christopher Kibanzanga says several investors and medical research institutions have expressed frustration over delays to grant them licences to grow marijuana for medical purposes.
The products harnessed from cannabis, according to the minister are of high value and marketable. He believes that if the fortunes of the high value crop are properly tapped it can easily transform the fortunes of a country in general.
At the same time, he warned that it has the potential to turn a country into a chaotic State as evidenced in some South American and South-Central Asia countries that are grappling with the drug problem.
Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. In Uganda, there are restrictions against planting or using the cannabis substance although the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 2015 allows cultivation, production and exportation of medical marijuana and obligates the minister to issue written consent to that effect only—medical marijuana.
“We are aware that Investors are becoming impatient and they have a right to do so,” Mr Kibanzanga told Daily Monitor in an interview on the sidelines of ASERECA Council of Patron Ministers Summit that ended over the weekend with a study trip to Nakasongola District, Central Uganda.
“Some of them are investors from Israel, United States of America, Canada and others are from research institutions, all writing to me over the matter—growing of marijuana. They need the situation sorted out before they can legally and meaningfully engage in the business,” he said.
He continued: “But this involves a process which comes with complexities. We need to benchmark with other countries and see how they have done it. So it’s not going to be easy. This process could take us 1-2 years.
“We need to train our police officers on how to deal with this crop and related products in addition to improving our capacities in several other areas so I call upon our friends (investors) not to put a lot of pressure on us because we don’t want to turn this country into Afghanistan, Colombia or Cambodia where there are challenges to regulate this kind of situation.”
It emerged in the interview that investors are looking to countries in East and Central Africa to grow cannabis because according to Mr Kabanzanga it can be grown easily and cheaply in this part of the world.
Government, although in uncoordinated manner, has driven its point home. Health Minister, Dr Jane Aceng and State Minister for Investment Ms Evelyn Anite Kajik have all put to a stop the activities of the investors involved in the business until the legal framework to allow operations are in place.
And to lift the ban according to Mr Kibanzanga, it will take coordination of the three ministry—health, internal affairs and agriculture.
He said: It’s not the ministry of agriculture to lift the ban. We shall only lift the ban with our colleagues at internal Affairs and ministry of Health. Discussions are ongoing but it will take time because we are mindful of the cost that this kind of product can have on our country.”
Daily Monitor understands that Cabinet paper regarding the matter has been submitted and a decision was taken that law must be amended to allow industry players to go about their investments. Ministry of agriculture is the leading sector in this process. And when it comes to processing of the crop into a drug then National Drug Authority (NDA) and the ministry of health will take over. And implementation of the regulations and laws thereafter will be enforced by the ministry of Internal Affairs.
1. Industrial Hemp (U) Ltd
2. Together Pharma Ltd
Applied pending licence
3. Natgro Phama (U) Ltd
4. Medraw (U) SMC Ltd
5. Urban Properties (U) Ltd
6. Prime Ranchers
7. Silver Seeds (U) Ltd
8. Dave and Dave Group
9. Seven Blades
10. Cannops Africa
11. Quest Worths International Group
12. Premier Hemp
13.Sativa Agro-tech Ltd
14. Zeus Agro Ltd
15. Owesia U Ltd