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Ethiopian Airlines to partner tour firms Ethiopian Airlines to partner tour firms Samson Baranga

Ethiopian Airlines to partner tour firms Featured

Ethiopian Airlines is looking for tour and travel companies to partner in order to boost regional tourism and trade between Uganda and Ethiopia.

Abebe Angessa, the country manager for Ethiopian Airlines in Uganda, said Uganda’s trade and tourism ties with Ethiopia have been the largest contributor to their business, and it is time the airline invested more to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

According to Angessa, promotion of tourism has been minimal as the concentration has been placed on trade and other travels.

“Ethiopians have a lot of disposable income and the country has many historical sites, which Ugandans can visit. The same applies to Uganda where we have a lot of fauna and flora; we are looking for people to work with on this.”

Angessa said: “We have developed special packages for holiday makers. We are ready to enter partnerships with designated tour and travel operators and ticketing agents to exploit this tourism potential.”

Angessa who was addressing the airlines travel agents in Kampala further said if need be, the number of flights from Entebbe to Addis Ababa will increase from three to five every day.

Angessa said tourists can visit special sites such as the place where the biblical covenant is kept, the Nagashi mosque, ancient buildings and churches of the 12th century.

“The sights, the scenery, the culture are already there. Ethiopia’s ancient Orthodox Christianity has gifted the nation with thousands of churches and monasteries,” he said.

Credit. The Observer Uganda

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    As the debate on Raphael Magyezi’s bill to amend Article 102(b) rages, BAKER BATTE LULE looks back at the journey President Museveni has walked to where he is now.

    Some pundits refer to his 31 years in power as a life presidency project. That from the outset, Museveni was never going to let go of the presidency.

    The carrot and stick have been applied at different points to overcome obstacles to this alleged project.

    We start with the first four years after the NRM/A shot its way into office in 1986 when the new government issued Legal Notice No. 1. The notice decreed that the interim government would be in place for only four years, following which a general election would be called in 1989.

    However, in the same year, President Museveni, who was the chairman of the NRA [now UPDF] and National Resistance Council [now parliament], shifted.

    He told his then minister of Justice and attorney general, George Wilson Kanyeihamba, to draft justifications for the extension of the NRC and its executive arm for another five years until a new constitution under which general elections would be held had been written.

    Kanyeihamba, now a retired Supreme court judge, told The Observer recently that there were justifiable reasons for the extension of Museveni’s tenure then. But these reasons no longer exist today, Kanyeihamba says.

    “When the Movement came, they had given themselves four years but that was idealistic. Museveni entrusted me to articulate the views why the NRM should extend for another five years. I did; you don’t have to believe my word, go to the NRM secretariat [and check what I said],” Kanyeihamba said.

    Today, the retired judge finds himself vehemently opposed to his former boss’ determination to lift age limits from the constitution and remove the last thing standing in the way of a potential presidency for life. Kanyeihamba says the issues which necessitated extending Museveni’s tenure 28 years ago have long disappeared.

    “For the president who has served the country for over 30 years making decisions day and night; he is physically and mentally exhausted...,” he said.

    In the then expanded National Resistance Council of 270 members, only one member, Joseph Wasswa Ziritwawula opposed the 1989 extension. He famously walked out, resigning his seat as NRC member representing a Kampala constituency.

    Ziritwawula has long retreated from active politics. However, in an interview with a local daily, the former Kampala mayoral candidate said he would still resign if the same situation played out now.

    “Proclamation No. 1 of 1986, put it that the government would be in power for four years after which they would hold elections. Which they didn’t do,” Ziritwawula said.

    “I was saying that parliament (NRC) could not extend its term. It is like parliament sitting today and deciding to extend its term. That is not its mandate; it’s the mandate of the people. Giving a period for government is a mandate of the whole population; not a mandate of parliament,” he said.

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    The NRC later approved the Uganda Constitutional Commission headed by former Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki to collect people’s views about the new constitution which was debated and promulgated by the Constituent Assembly in 1995. In there, it had article 105 (b) limiting a person eligible for election as president to two five-year terms.

    In the subsequent elections of 1996, a still popular President Museveni defeated his closest rival, the opposition coalition candidate, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere by 75 percent.

    Five years on in 2001, he returned to the people with an election manifesto built around the need to professionalise the armed forces ahead of the transition to full civilian rule.

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  • Constitution should not be tampered with by politicians

    The political mayhem surrounding the presidential age-limit debate forced many people to opt out of the debate and leave the fate of the country in the hands of Members of Parliament.

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    • The power to confer authority on any person or body to make provisions having the force of law.
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    The only way the Constitution can be amended is by first and foremost enacting a law implementing the provision of Chapter Eighteen and making rules under that law providing for procedure for such amendment. The Bill before Parliament was introduced by a private member according to rules, which govern the political work of Parliament, which makes it unconstitutional.
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    These provisions are important and are in line with the idea that the Constitution should not be capriciously and indiscriminately tampered with by politicians.
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  • Religious leaders speak out on presidential age limit

    Having been criticized by some Ugandans for their loud silence on current social and political developments in the country, religious leaders have finally weighed in on the debate on plans to limit the presidential age limit.

    While some are for total rejection, others in support, some clergy have played safe by refusing to comment altogether on plans to amend article 102(b) of the Constitution to lift the presidential age limit currently capped at 75 years.

    The article seals the age of the president at between 35 and 75 years beyond which an individual cannot stand for the highest office.
    Parliament is currently considering an amendment to the constitution on land issues, after the tabling, a month ago.

    However, the discussion of the new bill is as divisive as the debate on the age of the president, an issue yet to be formally brought to parliament.
     
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    Bishop Kisembo says that if the Constitution is amended, the Members of Parliament will have done a disservice to the people of Uganda. Bishop Kisembo also says that the Uganda has able people who can lead the country and should be given an opportunity as well.
     
    "Why should a single leader rule this country for three decades? There are many people out there who can also be presidents. My prayer is that our beloved constitution should be respected," Kisembo said.
     
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    "Today we have been at All Saints Cathedral Boro-Boro in Lira Town witnessing a peaceful handover of power from Bishop John Charles Odurkami relinquishing authority over the Diocese and handing it to the Rt. Rev Dr Alfred Olwa. This is a big lesson to us in offices that time should come and we see peaceful transition of power. However good we are, we should leave and others continue for the good of our offices and institutions. No need to change the constitution or age limit."  
     
    Last week, while speaking at Fort Portal Diocese headquarters in Virika, the Bishop Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, Dr Robert Muhirwa, expressed the same views.
     
    Bishop Muhirwa warned legislators against amending the Constitution, noting that such a move would breed dictatorship in the country. Speaking in Runyoro-Rutooro, Muhirwa also reminded the MPs that they swore an oath to protect the Constitution, therefore it should be respected.
     
    The bishop warned that changing the Constitution could plunge the country into turmoil leading to death of innocent people.
     
    Sheikh Habibu Mande, the Rwenzori Region Khadi, however, sounded cagey when URN sought his comment. He said that there is nothing wrong with amending the Constitution as long as it benefits the country.

    On whether the presidential age limit should be lifted, Mande says that he will first seek permission from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council before speaking to the media on the issue.
     
    Rt. Rev. Giuseppe Filippi of Kotido Diocese says the matter requires a referendum, arguing that every country has a right to determine how it should be governed including changing the Constitution.
     
    He however notes that there must be big support from the public.

    "Uganda needs a referendum on this matter to get a clear view of the people. However, in some countries like Brazil and Venezuela where minority selfish people tempered with the Constitution, people reacted in a bad way," Bishop Filippi noted.
     
    His counterpart from Moroto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Damiano Guzzetti, highlights what he calls a lot of efforts for transformation in the last 30 years.

    "I came to Uganda in August the same year President Museveni took over power. I have seen so many government initiatives targeting community transformation but somehow not successful due to poor implementation. I can have a brand new car and hire a driver but it depends on the skills of the driver to deliver me to my destiny," Bishop Damiano said.
     
    Both bishops, Filippi and Guzzetti are missionary priests from Italy.
     
    Some of the bishops say they need a higher authority to speak on the matter. Bishop Joseph Abura of the Anglican Diocese of Karamoja declined to speak openly saying the matter is delicate and requires consultation with the Province of Church of Uganda or the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

    He however underscored the achievements of ruling NRM government in the region as a key milestone to progress in the entire country.
     
    Bishop Abura revealed that the issue of the presidential age limit was brought in the agenda of the last House of Bishops meeting in July but was differed since it had not been brought to parliament.
     
    "We couldn't discuss it there because it is just being fronted by the media and activists. If government initiates the process through parliament we shall then talk about it. It's not good to speculate," Bishop Abura notes.
     
    Other religious leaders who say they need permission from a higher authority to speak include Kasana-Luweero Bishop Paul Ssemogerere. Known for being vocal on political issues, Bishop Ssemogerere this time asked for time to consult the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU).
     
    However, Bishop James Nasak of Northern Karamoja Diocese voiced his opposition to any moves to amend the constitution saying it sets a dangerous precedent for the country.
     
    The cleric notes that much as President Museveni could be a tolerant leader, rules must be observed by all parties for democracy to thrive. He adds that amending the constitution often is not solution for the country.

    "How are we going to test the different abilities and different skills of the young people coming up? [Lifting the age limit is] One way of limiting and blocking off some of the talents that God is bringing up in the country especially of young people", said Bishop Nasaka.

    "You serve for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years because there is no limit. Another regime will come with different in different times, with authority and also begin to suppress people but we’ll have to live with it because there is no term limit and there is no age limit.  I mean, we must limit ourselves that is why rules are there. Even in football, there are rules of the game so that there is control . I mean if the church is regulating its own leadership why not in politics?".
     
    Sheikh Auni Aramazan, the district Kadhi for Karamoja, however, says the presidential age limit should be removed. Citing Karamoja sub-region, the Kadhi notes that it's only through President Museveni that Karamoja is peaceful and accessible.

    "According to the religious views on the present age limit amendment is; it can be possible  if the country is peaceful and you have somebody who can maintain it. It can be amended beyond 75 years, it just like a driver when you are driving, how do you bring somebody who doesn’t know how to drive. It can cause accidents. For me there can be amendment what where after is peace", Sheikh Aramazan said.
     
    In Masaka region, Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese told URN he cannot talk about the age limit debate saying he doesn't understand it.

    "Please, don't ask me about two things; age limit debate and the constitution amendment bill on land. I don't understand them. I need to first study them and clearly understand them," Bishop Kaggwa noted.
     
    Sheikh Shaibu Ndugga and Sheikh Bulhan Bagunduuse both Masaka district Kadhis loyal to Kibuli and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council respectively, declined to speak share their views about the ongoing debate.
     
    While Sheikh Ndugga explained that it is not yet time to talk about age limit, Sheikh Bagunduuse simply said he has nothing to say.

    Last week IRCU issued a statement on land issues but remained silent on the age limit debate. Joshua Kitakule, the IRCU secretary general, when reached last week on position of the council on age limit debate, he replied that they are yet to issue any statement because the matter is still in speculation.
     
    "We always guide on issues or bills that have been gazetted or formalized and currently the age limit bill has not been gazetted, so we cannot base on speculation."

    President Museveni, who has been in power since January 1986, will be 75 in 2019. If the constitutional provision remains as it is, he will be ineligible to contest in 2021.

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