Government is effective July 1 set to elevate Fort Portal, Mbarara, Hoima, Lira, Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Jinja and Entebbe municipalities to cities, supposedly to promote regional development.
The Vision 2040 recommendation to create the new cities is to decongest Kampala, the commissioner in-charge of Urban Planning, Mr Justin Niwagaba, said last week.
According to the Local Government Act, a municipality must have a population of at least 500,000, have facilities, institutions, developments and an enabling environment that attract people to work, invest and stay there.
The private sector must also offer services to support the growing city and its population, among others.
According to Mr Niwagaba, Arua, Mbarara, Gulu and Mbale will be regional cities while others will be strategic cities; Fort Portal (tourism), Jinja (industrial), Lira (industrial) and Hoima (oil).
Nakasongola and Moroto have been differed because their planning requires a different model where basic amenities must be put in place in order to attract dwellers.
Fort Portal tourism city
A fortnight ago, Kabarole District Council approved the proposed Fort Portal tourism city after resolving to annex other lower administrative units as it gears up for the long awaited city status.
Parts of the district annexed to the proposed tourism city include Karago Town Council and Ibaale Parish from Busoro and Karambi sub-counties.
Others include Kiko, Mugusu and Kasenda town councils and Kasenda, Ruteete, Mugusu and Karagura sub-counties. These are endowed with tourism sites such as crater lakes.
The proposed city will have two divisions; one will cover the present East and South divisions, Ibaale Parish, Rubigo Parish and Karambi Sub-county, while the other will cover the present West Division, Karago Town Council, Bukuuku Sub-county and Butebe Parish.
Currently, Fort Portal has West, East and South divisions, covering about 40 square kilometers against the required 120 square kilometers, according to the mayor, the Rev Kintu Muhanga. The 2014 national census put the town population at 54,275.
The urban authority in 2016 launched a campaign of planting one million trees with the aim of creating a forest city by 2025.
Credit: Daily Monitor
Security agencies have sealed off the Uganda-DR Congo border in Queen Elizabeth National Park in the hunt for four armed men who kidnapped an American tourist and her Ugandan guide.
Mr Kimbley Sue Endecott, 35, and the guide, Mr Jean Paul, were kidnapped at gunpoint at around 7pm on Tuesday during an evening drive on Edward track between Katoke gate and Wilderness Camp in Kanungu District.
The kidnappers are demanding $500,000 (about Shs1.8b) as ransom. The suspects left two other elderly tourists, Mr Julius Martin and his wife Barbel, in the tour van unharmed but took away the car keys.
Joint security teams comprising the army, Counter Terrorism and Tourism Police were by yesterday evening searching the area, which spans 30 square kilometres to the Uganda- DR Congo border in the hope of finding the missing tourists and capturing their kidnappers.
Deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye said they suspect the kidnappers are still in Uganda.
“We want to inform the public and all visitors in the country that the joint security teams have cut off all exit areas on the border between Uganda and the DRC in search for the victims,” Ms Namaye said.
Queen Elizabeth National Park covers 2,056 square kilometres and has been secure for both foreign and local tourists.
Ms Namaye said in the Tuesday incident, the kidnappers called on of the victims’ mobile phone, demanding ransom. Police have ruled out giving them ransom. The kidnap could hurt the tourist visits to Uganda and the country’s foreign earnings. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, which contributes half of the total revenues from the country’s national parks, is 18km from the scene of the Tuesday incident.
Kanungu Resident District Commissioner Shafique Ssekandi said Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola and other UPDF field commanders had joined the hunt for the kidnappers and the search for the victims.
“We are all in the national park and we hope to be successful. We have enough security personnel in the park but the criminals normally use the porous border entries to cross and wreak havoc,” Mr Ssekandi said.
The chairperson of Kigezi tourism cluster, Mr Ivan Mbabazi Batuma, called for increased security in the park to ensure safety of tourists and tour operators.
He said attacks in the area have become rampant.
On January 7, Congolese militia kidnapped a resident of Munyaga Cell, Western Ward in Butogota Town Council, Kanungu District, and demanded ransom of Shs2m.
According to Mr Elly Maate, the area police spokesperson, the victim was released after his relatives paid Shs1.5m as ransom.
Mr Nelson Natukunda, the chairperson of Kihiihi Sub-county where the Tuesday incident happened, said there is a need for the government to intensify border deployment to stop DR Congo militias from crossing into Uganda, especially in Queen Elizabeth National Park, where they have continuously committed several crimes against Ugandans.
Similar incident. A similar incident last happened 20 years ago in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park when armed Hutu militia killed eight tourists and four Ugandans. The suspects were later arrested, prosecuted and convicted.
January 7. Congolese militia kidnapped a resident of Munyaga Cell, Western Ward in Butogota Town Council, Kanungu District, and demanded ransom of Shs2m.The victim was released after his relatives paid Shs1.5m as ransom.
As from: Daily Monitor
Mr Douglas Ojok aka Erick Odong, also threatened to kill his mother, Mary Akello, 50, on March 29 at their home in Kyebando-Kisalosalo, a Kampala suburb.
Mr Ojok pleaded guilty before City Hall Court Magistrate, Ms Beatrice Khainza. He was charged with two counts of threatening violence and insulting the modesty of a woman.
Court adjourned the case to April 9 for sentencing.
Mr Ojok and his mother had been living together, but on the day of the incident, the former returned home late drunk.
His mother then interrogated him on why he was overdrinking instead of looking for a job.
Ojok started insulting his mother calling her a prostitute and hurling other insults. He later entered the house and picked a knife and threatened to stab her unless she left the home.
The mother reported the matter to police and Ojok was arrested.
Suspected kidnappers of US tourist Kimbley Sue Endicott have been arrested. Endicott and a Ugandan tour guide Jean Paul Mirenge Remezo were kidnapped by four gunmen, who hijacked their safari vehicle from Queen Elizabeth National Park on April 2.
The gunmen had demanded a ransom of $500,000 (about Shs1.8b) using Ms Sue and Mirenge’s cell phones.
Police said the two were rescued from the Democratic Republic of Congo by a joint effort involving the Uganda police force, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and sister security agencies.
Reports indicate that the US military also provided support to Ugandan security forces to accomplish the mission. The support included intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets and liaison officers, according to US news outlets.
Ms Sue was handed over to the US Embassy in Kampala by Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola on Monday.
Two of the four gunmen have reportedly been apprehended. The two were only identified as Hakim and Kwarishiima. Sources said the suspects were flown from Kanungu District in western Uganda where they were tracked using a device which was placed in the ransom money they received before setting Ms Sue and Mirenge free.
"The joint security team actively investigating the kidnapping incident and successful recovery of an American tourist Ms. Kimberly Sue Endicott and a Senior Tour Guide, Jean Paul Mirenge- Remezo, has made some arrests of suspects, on suspicion of being involved in their kidnap," police tweeted on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga confirmed to URN that there were some arrests made in regard to the kidnap. He, however, declined to divulge details.
"I can confirm that there were some arrests but I am yet to get details. I will brief you when I get the information," Enanga said.
US President Donald Trump on Monday tasked the Ugandan government to hunt the kidnappers and bring them to book.
“Uganda must find the kidnappers of the American tourist and guide before people will feel safe in going there. Bring them to justice openly and quickly,” President Trump tweeted.
The kidnap cast a shadow on Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of the most visited tourist attractions which is home to lions, hippos, crocodiles and various types of antelopes.
Credit: Daily Monitor Uganda
A Zimbabwe court Monday convicted leading opposition figure Tendai Biti of an election crime and fined him for announcing his own results for presidential polls last July, which he claimed he won.
Biti, a respected former finance minister, proclaimed his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) the victor of the contested July 30 poll which sparked anti-government protests that were put down by soldiers.
Six people were killed in the violence.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa ordered Biti to pay $200 -- the price of a full tank of petrol -- or go to prison for a week. He was also handed a jail term of six months, which was suspended for five years.
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa, who was in court, said the conviction "casts a very dark shadow on our politics".
Zimbabwe was thrown into chaos following the elections, the first in the country's history not to feature former president Robert Mugabe following his resignation in the wake of a brief military takeover in November 2017.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa had promised not to repeat the rigging and intimidation that characterised previous votes, but delays in announcing results enraged the opposition and led to street demonstrations.
Mnangagwa, Mugabe's successor at the head of ruling party ZANU-PF, was later declared the winner according to the official results, but the MDC claims the election was rigged.
Biti fled the country for neighbouring Zambia at the height of the poll tensions but was returned to Zimbabwe despite seeking asylum, sparking an international incident.
The international community has urged Mnangagwa to guarantee the safety of Biti, who was the internationally-respected finance minister in Zimbabwe's 2009-2013 power-sharing government.
Biti's lawyer Doug Coltart described Monday's conviction as a "travesty, and said it remained "open to challenge."
Source: Daily Monitor