Follow by Email

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ask President Kagame Questions on Youtube

President Kagame takes your questions on Youtube's Worldview. You can send in your questions either by video or text.

Besigye Flown to Kenya for Treatment

Reports from the international press indicate that Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye was flown to Nairobi, Kenya for emergency treatment. 

Dr. Besigye was yesterday roughed up by security forces in Uganda's capital, Kampala. The opposition leader has lately been in the headlines over the Walk-to-Work campaign, a campaign mooted to protest over the rising cost of living in the East African country. 

According to Reuters, 

"Dr Besigye left his house in an ambulance (at 5.30 pm, local time) ago en route to the airport from where he will fly to Nairobi for medical treatment," said Anne Mugisha, deputy foreign secretary of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change party.

Dr. Besigye is expected to received treatment on his eyes which were injured after having been sprayed using pepper in Kampala.

Obama Releases Birth Certificate



President Barack Obama said Wednesday he was bemused over conspiracy theories over his birthplace, and said the media's obsession with the "sideshow" issue was a distraction in a "serious time."

"We don't have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said, adding that he was puzzled that the controversy fanned by conservative pundits and some of his political foes had rumbled on for two-and-a-half years.
Obama spoke in an extraordinary political moment after the White House released a long form copy of his birth certificate, showing he was born in Hawaii in August 1961.

Riots Errupt in Uganda



Sporadic clashes between security forces and demonstrators have erupted across Kampala and its suburbs as rioters protest what they say was the inhumane and violent manner in which opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye was arrested yesterday and the rising cost of living. 

Gunshots are said to be ringing from different neighborhoods across the city. People who had come into the city centre for work or business are fleeing back home as police and the military take over streets with armoured vehicles. The city centre is deserted. Heavily armed units from the Special Forces Group otherwise referred to as the  (Presidential Guard) are patrolling the streets. Risdel Kasasira is a journalist with the daily monitor newspaper based in Kampala. He described the situation in Kampala.

First Son Lt. Col. Kainerugaba Muhoozi, the commander of the Special Forces Group, is said to have taken command of operations at Kisekka Market in downtown Kampala, one of the bloody scenes. One person has been confirmed dead and several have been injured and taken to various city hospitals. In Mbale town, some 300km east of the capital, military and police personnel are said to be firing live ammunition and tear gas as they engage demonstrators. Shops have been locked, demonstrators are fighting back with stones and bonfires have been lit in some streets.

Protests against rising fuel and commodity prices are in a fifth week while Dr. Besigye has been arrested four times and later released in the past three weeks. 

Latest videos from Kampala

Countries Form Pan-African Anti-Graft Body

Now the fight against corruption is set to be tightened this year as all countries in Africa are set to form an association with the common goal of preventing and combating corruption.

Speaking exclusively to Contact FM this Friday, Rwanda’s Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara revealed that the idea to form this association stemmed from Burundi, the country that was ranked among the most corrupt countries in last year’s corruption perception index, done by transparency international.

According to Tito, formation of such an association is very important in Africa as it will not only be helping to ease the handling of cross border corruption cases but countries will also learn from each other.

Meanwhile media reports from Burundi indicate the date for the next meeting for the East African Association of Anti-corruption has been set and it will be on the 19th of June. However the number of countries that will be in attendance is not yet confirmed.

Varsity Restaurant to Continue Operating

The student restaurant on the National University of Rwanda campus was threatening to close its doors on the 1st of May because of outstanding debts owed by the students.
 
The problem arose because of the decision by the Ministry of Education to scrap living allowances for many of the students who subsequently were unable to pay for their meals. The restaurant owners, thinking that a solution to the allowances was going to be found soon after the start of the new academic year, decided to allow students to eat on credit but 3 months later, the money still hasn’t come.
 
Fortunately for the students, the University itself has agreed to settle the debt in the mean time and the restaurant will not get shut on Monday.

Ildebrand further revealed that he has been in contact with the director general of the Student Financing Agency of Rwanda, Emma RUBAGUMYA, who has told him that the definitive list of students benefiting from the allowance should be out on Friday evening and he is hoping that the money will come through in the next two weeks.

Migration to Digital Transmission Steps Unveilled

2012 is the target that has been set for the migration from analogue to digital broadcast technology. The steps to be taken towards this shift are detailed in the broadcasting policy approved by cabinet last week. Now the approval of the policy follows a deadline of 2015, set by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for all member-states to switch off all analogue signals. Rwanda wants to beat this target. 
 
The Minister in the President’s Office in charge of ICT, Dr Ignace Gatare, during a press conference on Thursday detailed the components with regard to the broadcasting policy. These components include: infrastructure development, content production, policy and regulation and awareness campaigns. Gatare pointed out where the process has reached at the moment.

With regard to an institutional framework, this policy calls for the harmonization of institutions dealing with regulating infrastructure and content to be merged to form a single media regulator. According to Gatare, this merger will make the process of regulation easier and more transparent. There are still many challenges to deal with such as accessibility to television sets, awareness on what this move really entails as well as investment promotion-challenges that Gatare says have already been factored in.  
 
Gatare however added that out of the four main components, there is one that is very challenging that will spill well past the target as it  needs more time to be worked on.

Gatare adds that the development of content would be critical for the adoption and success of digitization. The objectives of this digitization process are to meet international standards and to modernise the media sector, now media practitioners are left to provide quality content but it’s all good news for the consumer since digitization translates to a better signal, quality, diversity of choice  and best of all a lot of interactivity.

William Marries Kate


Wedding fever has reached epidemic levels as crowds gather at Westminster Abbey in London where the future King of England, Prince William, will marry Kate Middleton in a ceremony that will draw an estimated 2 billion TV viewers worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered along the flag-lined streets of London to catch a glimpse of cavalrymen that will carry senior royal figures from the service. Some 8,000 reporters and support staff are in London to capture the occasion in words and images. 
 
Die-hard fans camped out across the street from the abbey to ensure a front-row view of the royal couple and their guests, who started arriving at the Westminster abbey this morning. Among the early arrivals out of some 1,900 guests were soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria, Elton John, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and comic actor Rowan Atkinson, star of the film "Mr. Bean." Royalty from around the world, diplomats, politicians and friends of the couple are also attending.
 
Friday’s ceremony has been planned like a military operation. More than 1,500 soldiers, sailors and air crew will be on duty to line the couple’s procession route between the abbey and Buckingham Palace, just under a mile (1.6 kilometers) away.

An additional 5,000 uniformed and undercover police will be on alert for threats, meanwhile, three protesters who were planning on staging mock executions outside Westminster Abbey this morning have been arrested by police.

Karugarama in France

The Minister of Justice who is also the Attorney General Tharcisse Karugarama since Wednesday is on an official visit to France where he is expected to hold talks with his French counterpart Michel Mercier in a bid to strengthen judicial cooperation between the two countries.

Judge Caught in the Act of Receiving a Bribe

A judge was caught red handed receiving a bribe of 100,000 RWF. We spoke to the police spokesperson Superintendent Theo Badege who told Contact FM that Judge Maombi Lilian was caught on Wednesday afternoon.

The money is believed to have been given to the judge so that she could hand down a favorable judgment on the case. This judgment was supposed to be handed today. So what happens to this case? The job of the accused judge and where does this act leave the credibility of the courts in general? 

Kariwabo Charles is the spokesperson of the Courts…. 
 
…The case is in hands of court, it’s not for a certain judge! If the judge who was supposed to give a verdict on that case is absent, the case will be restarted and taken up by another judge.But this doesn’t tarnish the image of courts but shows how serious we are to eliminate two or three judges who receive bribes out of the 500 we have. We will follow them until we have a clean record…” 

Kariwabo Charles the spokesperson of the Courts. Statistics indicate that in two years, 6 judges including court clerks have been arrested for taking bribes.

Global Food Prices Up 36%

Global food prices have risen by 36 percent in the past year, according to figures released last week by the World Bank. The Bank hosted its spring meetings in Washington, where it called on policymakers to focus on food security. 

Experts say that for many developing countries, that means supporting the interests of small farmers. Just this week, the World Bank Rwanda country office released a report titled “Sowing the seeds for High economic Development in Rwanda 2010” that pointed that this year, agricultural growth is expected to be modest, slightly lower than the 4.6 percent registered last year against a record high of 7.7 percent in 2009.

The World Bank estimates are however a bit different from central bank's projections, where agriculture grew by five percent in the first quarter of this year with robust growth projected in the next season.

Water Crisis Looming at CHUK

Water shortage at the Central University Teaching Hospital (CHUK) now for two days running could lead to an outbreak of various water borne diseases. 

Sources affiliated to the hospital Thursday revealed that the hospital has gone without water for two days running. 
There are fears that the problem could persist if the matter is not treated with at most urgency.

We interviewed members of the public and these were some of the responses

"… we are in serious need of water, it has been lacking since morning. And this is not the first time this is happening, it happens frequently. Sometimes we even go without water from morning till noon, then it comes for a short time then it goes again till evening. Lack of water is a big challenge for us, as you know in a hospital premises you can get infected with other diseases as it’s an area that its infested with germs. You can imagine a patient going for a whole day without bathing; the children too need to be washed to avoid getting infected with other diseases. Lack of water is a very embarrassing problem; the hospital looks dirty and smelly as there is no water to even wash the toilets or the bathrooms where patients take their bath. Like me am supposed to drink five liters of water per day, however I the hospital cannot even provide one liter for me to drink. We are so dehydrated and you know the various conditions people are hospitalized with, requires us to shower regularly." 
 
Grievances of some of the patients hospitalized at the CHUK hospital, speaking to our reporters who paid a visit to the hospital’s premises Thursday.
 

The situation however remains wanting for the hospitalized patients if the problem will not be dealt with. This is not the first time Contact FM is highlighting such a story on water shortage in Kigali hospitals, last year we also highlighted a story on the same situation at the Kibagabaga hospital, where patients were being brought for water from their homes. 

Efforts to speak with relevant official on the matter remained futile. 

Minister to Issue Guidelines on Workplace Safety in Rwanda

The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi says he will soon release a Ministerial Decree aimed at reducing the number of accidents at the workplace and illnesses resulting from working in an unsafe environment. 
This decree will stipulate guidelines to be followed at the workplace and protective gear that all employees working in high risk places will be required to wear. 

The National Social Security Fund of Rwanda, however says the number of accidents and illnesses resulting from work reduced by over 10% between 2002 and 2009. Murekezi says that once this decree comes into effect, it will help reduce these incidences further. 

The Minister also thanked institutions that have facilities in place to protect their workers such as Bralirwa. Rwanda this Sunday joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Labour day. 
 

Police to Extend Traffic Services to Rest of the Country

The National Police of Rwanda Thursday announced that it is set to introduce the services rendered at the traffic inspection center to other parts of the country. The Police further said that apart from inspecting public vehicles, they will also start inspecting privately owned vehicles. 

While launching the third phase of vehicle inspection in the country, inspector general of police Emanuel Gasana said the units will be set up in the busy centers in every district. 

Also speaking during the launching ceremony, Rwanda’s infrastructure minister Vincent Karega said that his ministry will assist in the setting up of these centers countrywide. 

Once launched, the centers will not only save on the time spent while waiting in long queues for vehicles to be inspected, but it will also assist drivers to save on the fuel used while coming to Kigali for the inspection.

You Can Cut Trees in Your Compound Without a Permit

It is now official, you are allowed to cut trees that are in your own compound for everyday household use and no permission should be sought for that. The Ministry of Forestry and Mines has pointed out that this has been a concern by many residents and thus the need to provide some clarity on the matter.  

Christophe Bazivamo, the Minister of Forestry and Mines said the public will continue to be informed about the laws and guidelines with regard to the protection of forests. 

BAZIVAMO says " People need to understand what laws stipulate and the complementary role that the officials of the forest management authorities play; In my opinion, it’s necessary to talk about the issue because it’s a question that is often asked. People ask why a resident is prevented from cutting down a tree in his own compound to get firewood for a daily household use, without requesting for permission. Nobody has to demand an authorization to cut a tree for a household use; the authorization should be sought when a resident wants to cut down a vast forest for a commercial purpose. This is in order to avoid de-forestation which destroys the environment.” 

Bazivamo added that about 24% of the land area is covered with forests and that’s why his ministry is tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding them from people or entities that do not attach importance to them. 

Uganda Protests Enter Week 5

As unrest in Uganda over rising fuel and commodity prices enters a fifth week, analysts say next week’s proposed talks between the government and the opposition are doomed to fail. 

The government confirmed this Wednesday that President Yoweri Museveni had called a meeting with his political opponents under the auspicies of the inter-party forum.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BNR Decries Lack of Access to Finance

Access to finance still remains one of the major challenges affecting farming, agro processing and export development in the country-The World Bank Rwanda country office has said.
In its first economic update launched Tuesday at the World Bank Country office, the bank said that the agricultural sector continues to suffer from insufficient access to finance and insufficient investment capital for farming.
This is despite the central bank coming up with an accommodative monetary policy in 2010 that was expected to see a growth in credit to the markets.
Central Bank Governor Francois Kanimba said that the economic crisis in 2009 increased risks in the financial markets; something that explains the delay by some of the financial institutions to react to different economic stimuli implemented by central banks and governments.
However according to World Bank’s senior economist Brigit Hansl, it is also financial literacy on a basic level on the part of the farmers that has to be developed first in order to allow them to even have more access to finance.

The report targets policy makers, business leaders and other market participants and the community of analysts engaged in Rwanda’s economy. The next update will be out on the spring of 2012.

Erlinder Banned From ICTR Case

Peter Erlinder, the American lawyer representing some of the Rwandan genocide suspects on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has been thrown out by the Appeals Chamber for repeatedly disregarding the tribunal directives.
The ruling, made on April 21 at The Hague in the Netherlands ordered that the controversial American professor be immediately replaced as the lead counsel for Aloys Ntabakuze after he had been served with several summons to appear in his client’s appeal’s case which he didn’t respond to.
Erlinder, who was last year arrested in Rwanda for denying the 1994 genocide against Tutsi had claimed he feared travelling to Arusha for his personal safety as well as his medical condition.
In an exclusive interview with Contact FM, Roland Amoussouga, the ICTR spokesman confirmed Erlinder’s ban.

Trial of FDLR Leaders Commences in Germany

The trial of FDLR leaders, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, who are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on Congolese territory, will begin on May 4th in Germany.
Murwanashyaka is the president of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and Musoni its vice president.

For, Luneno Jason, president of the north Kivu civil society group, the trial of the FDLR leaders will have had a negative effect on the group, still active in his region, although considerably weakened. 
 
He added that efforts were still being made to bring to justice other FDLR members who are still at large. The president of the South Kivu civil society, Cyprien  Biringirwa  , is less optimistic about the impact the trial will have on activities by the FDLR on the ground and calls for the complete eradication of the group that was blacklisted, by the UN, as a terrorist entity.

In June 2002, Germany introduced a new International Penal Code to deal with the crime of genocide and other crimes against humanity and terrorism. Under this law, German prosecutors can try a civilian for commanding responsibility over atrocities committed outside Germany.

Germans Prosecutors arrested Murwanashyaka, 47, and Musoni, 49, in November 2009 and indicted them in December 2010 for 26 crimes against humanity and 39 war crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwandan Ex-combatants to be Trained by JICA

Rwanda demobilization and reintegration commission and the Japan international co-operation agency today officially launched the project of skills training and job obtainment support to ex-combatants and other people with disabilities.
The project targets 1,500 people and it already started in march and will run through to march 2014. This is the second phase of this project, the first phase was implemented btwn the years 2005 and 2008 with follow up activities taking place in the year 2009. 72 percent of those trainees have had success stories.

Talks on Monetary Union Held in Mwanza Tanzania

Senior officials among them Central Bank governors from East African Community partner states have been meeting in Mwanza Tanzania since Monday in yet another negotiation round moving closer to the much anticipated East African Community Monetary Union.
This meeting, the second of its kind according to organizers is aimed at considering the structure of the proposed East African Community Monetary Union Protocol.
According to the timetable of the East African Community integration process, the EAC monetary union is supposed to be effective by 2012 although experts have warned that this deadline may not be met due to the complexity of some of the processes towards the common currency for the region. Among the challenges, how to deal with the issue of the micro-convergence criteria
The first meeting was held in mid January 2011 in Arusha, Tanzania and another in late February in Burundi.

Troops in Rehearsal for Royal Wedding

Hundreds of troops Wednesday paraded through the empty streets of London in a dawn rehearsal for their ceremonial role during the much anticipated royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
And ahead of this day, our reporter Hamza Ndangiza spoke with Britain’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ben Llewellyn-Jones on the importance of the Royal Wedding in Britain.
Remember that prince William chose Kenya as the country where he would propose to his wife to be Kate Middleton and there has been speculation that the couple may return there on honey moon after Friday’s wedding.

Besigye Arraigned in Court

Uganda’s opposition leader Kizza Besigye was Wednesday arraigned at the Nakasongola magistrate’s court under heavily armed security.
Hand-cuffed to another individual by the left arm, Besigye stepped out of the truck that ferried him from the prison at around 11: 00 am Ugandan time.
Among other things Besigye is facing charges of holding an unlawful assembly with intent to breach peace and cause violence, he is also charged with disobeying the law by participating and leading the walk to work demonstrations over escalating inflation.
Justine Atukwasa, the grade one magistrate at Nabweru Court, outside Kampala last week declined to hear his bail application, saying she was busy and also cited the fact that the state investigations are still ongoing.

As all eyes are on Kampala, to see if Besigye will be handed bail, Besigye’s followers and other opposition leaders are reported as plotting another walk to work.

AU Holds Peace and Security Meeting

African Union officials attending the one day meeting of peace and security Tuesday called for an urgent heads of state meeting to discuss effective ways of responding to continental crises.
Speaking at the opening of the one-day session Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo warned that African countries risk being left out of conflict resolution processes if they don’t take a lead when crises break out.
Most of the speakers at the session also said that it is already evident that non-African countries; Britain, France and USA, have ignored the role of African countries in taking part in finding peace in troubled countries, such as the ongoing Libyan crisis.

S. Sudan's Opposition Slams Draft Constitution

South Sudan's opposition on Tuesday slammed a proposed interim constitution as "dictatorial," concentrating power in the hands of the ruling party and pushing back post-independence elections.

The draft constitution also lays claim to the disputed Abyei region, the site of repeated clashes since a referendum planned for January on whether the oil-producing area should join the north or the south was shelved.

Instead of holding elections after independence as originally planned, the draft, which was handed to southern president Salva Kiir in a ceremony last week, also proposes the "tenure of the office of the president of the republic of south Sudan shall be four years, commencing from July 9, 2011."

If passed by parliament -- in which Kiir's SPLM holds an overwhelming majority -- it will be enacted following the south's formal independence on July 9. But the opposition said they feared it could create a legal loophole at the end of that term

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cervical Cancer Campaign Begins Tuesday

The countrywide comprehensive cervical cancer prevention campaign is being launched today and it will see girls between the ages of 11 and 15 being vaccinated and women being screened for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women.
When it’s not detected early the precancerous condition grows and later develops into the cervical cancer and spreads to the bladder, the lungs, intestines or the liver. In Rwanda alone, apart from breast cancer, cervical cancer is reported as the top most killer disease among women.
Cervical cancer is caused by the human pappiloma virus, a virus that is spread through sexual intercourse. Other risk factors that also cause cervical cancer include having sexual intercourse at an early age as well as engaging sex with multiple partners and the taking of oral contraceptives.
One of the ways of preventing cervical cancer is through administering the HPV vaccine to young girls who are not yet sexually active. According to research, the right age to vaccinate girls is 12 years. Stephen Rulisa, a gynecologist dealing with gynecological cancers says that it’s also particularly important for women to constantly go for tests.

Though great strides are being made to prevent cervical cancer, there still challenges to be addressed in the process.
Rulisa says one of the biggest challenges they face is that of not having proper equipments in screening and testing of cancer.

The first three years of the national prevention programme will see two partners, Merck provide over 2 million doses of Gardasil to the government at no cost while Qiagen will provide 250,000 HPV screening tests alongside all necessary equipment and training at no cost.

Rwanda Introduces Mines' Safety Certification

Following a recent series of high profile mining accidents such as the one in Chile which saw 33 miners stuck underground for over two months in 2010 or the one in November of the same year where 29 minors died in New Zealand, the Rwandan ministry of forestry and mines is taking measures to ensure the efficiency of the mining industry here in Rwanda.
Mining is one of the top sources of government revenue and following the American congress legislation on "conflict minerals" signed into law last year demanding that minerals sold must be certified, Rwanda has had to also put in place this certification process.

One of the ways to ensure that the mining sector is properly overseen is by issuing certificates to mining companies, which the US has imposed since last year as the Minister of Forestry and Mines, Christopher Bazivamo, explains. 

For Bazivamo, this certification process is not only necessary to comply with the US legislation but is also good for all parties involved in mining in Rwanda.

EACJ Could Become Appellate Court, Says Sezibera

Now a day after Dr. Richard Sezibera assumed office at the East African Community’s Secretariat, how he will deal with the issue of making the organs of the community effective and relevant is what remains to be seen. Currently there are seven institutions and organs that were put in place under article 9 of the treaty forming the East African Community to spearhead the integration process. 

The organs and institutions include ; The Summit of Heads of state; the Council of Ministers; the Co-ordination Committee; Sectoral Committees; the East African Court of Justice; the East African Legislative Assembly and the EAC Secretariat.

Now some of these organs and institutions have acording to analysts not performed their duties. For instance many would have thought that the East African Court of justice would have been able to even take up the Kenyan case on the post election violence of 2007-2008.

The case is now actively being heard by the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The East African Community Secretary General however says that some of these institutions have their hands tied and therefore cannot be able to carry out certain tasks.
The reality Sezibeera says is that the treaty Sezibera only gives definite functions to this court to deal with matters of East African Community agenda ; just matters that deal with the treaty and its protocols. So the question is, doesn't this render the institution toothless when it comes to dealing with other fundamental cases involving member states ?

There has however been a debate about whether the East African Court of Justice should become the comunity’s court of appeal but there still hasn't been a concrete deliberation on this. The new secretary General is of the idea that the business community and citizens of the East African community put their leaders to task and push the organs of the community to implement the protocols and other agreements arrived at.

Kenyan Employers Stay Put Despite Strike Threat

Kenyan employers are not prepared to give in to demands for 60% minimum wage increase. The chairman of the Kenya private sector alliance Patrick Obath says the demand is simply impossible under the current economic situation.

The workers Union-COTU has warned of a major industrial strike if the government does not honour its demand and announce the wage increase on labor day next week. COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli says their wages are way too low in the face of increasing cost of living.

Babies Get Vaccine Against AIDS

The first Kenyan infants to take part in an Aids vaccine trial have been vaccinated and are being observed to see how their immune systems respond to a new formula that has excited the global science community.
Doctors at the Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative (Kavi) are conducting a study on the vaccine that is billed to have the most advanced vaccine design ever tested.Forty infants have so far been involved in the Aids vaccine trials, which started two months ago, and the results of the trials are expected in June 2012.

Of those vaccinated so far, 20 received the Aids vaccine plus other vaccines normally administered to infants, while another 20 in the control group received the usual vaccines without the Aids vaccine.

The infants, the youngest volunteers to an HIV vaccine trial in the country, will provide crucial data on whether the Aids vaccine, if proved effective, produces better results when given to a person at infant stage. The babies will also provide data on the vaccine’s safety in newborns.

If the vaccine, known as Modified Vaccine Ankara (MVA), is proved to be effective in subsequent clinical trials, it is going to be given to all children after birth, the same way infants are given anti-tuberculosis vaccines at birth

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sezibera's Work Cut Out at EAC

Dr. Richard Sezibera, the medical doctor picked to head the East African Community, has assumed office today.
The new EAC secretary General takes office with a heavy dose of pending agenda to deal with. Dr. Sezibera, who replaced Juma Mwapachu, is expected to preside over a high-level regional symposium in Arusha from Wednesday that has been called to assess the progress made so far in the integration process. 

His appointment may have ended months of debate over the region’s top civil service job in a tussle that according to media reports seemed like a tussle between Rwanda and Kenya, but it is what awaits the Rwanda Health Minister that is drawing more focus. 

Picking the tab from Mwapachu — a man who will be remembered for spearheading the establishment of the EAC Customs Union and the Common Market — Dr Sezibera will have his job cut out and he seems to know really well what lies ahead as challenges. 
 
However Dr. Sezibera who was speaking exclusively on Contact FM's Crossfire this past Sunday, said that there was need for concerted effort in all partner states and organs of the East African community in implementing all the protocols agreed upon.
Dr Sezibera will oversee the next facets of integration — the Monetary Union and the ultimate Political Federation. 

Ingabire's Trial Set for May 15th

Leader of the yet to be registered FDU- FDU/INKINGI party has a date set for her trial. The High Court sitting in Kimihurura has set 15th May 2011 as the date to hear the case involving Ingabire. 

The High Court has blamed Ingabire Umuhoza Victoire for stalling her own trial after she delayed to respond to charges submitted in court by Prosecution. Ingabire, together with Major Vital Uwumuremyi were arrested on October 14 last year on charges of plotting to form a terrorist group, CDF as an armed wing of FDU/INKINGI and threatening state security. 

She denies all the charges saying her trial is a political one because of her opposition to the government. In January, Prosecution said it was ready to charge her in court and would therefore not ask for her prolonged provisional detention leaving court to set a date for her trial which has not been forthcoming.
 
Meanwhile in other news from the courts, the Catholic church has once again come under heavy criticism from some sections of the church for failing to take action against Athanase Seromba and Emmanuel Rukundo, two of its priests who were tried and convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for participating in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.

World Marks Malaria Day Monday

Today is the World Malaria day- a day set aside to commemorate global efforts to control malaria. The theme of the fourth World Malaria Day - Achieving Progress and Impact - heralds the international community's renewed efforts make progress towards zero malaria deaths by 2015.

Reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, agreed by every United Nations Member State. Rwanda is noted as among the top countries in Africa, that is making big strides in eliminating the spread of malaria. Statistics from the health information system of 2010, deaths caused by malaria dropped by 5.2 to 7.8% compared to 2009s which recorded 13% of malaria caused deaths. In 2010 alone, Rwanda recorded a total of 600 malaria caused deaths, and these were only the reported ones. 

Though a big number compared to the tiny Rwandan population, Akpaka Kalu of the World Health Organization lauds the fact that the Rwandan government is taking stringent measures in completely eliminating malaria. However Akpaka noted the challenges that are still being faced.

Kalu Akpaka of the World Health Organization in Kenya, is also the leader of a team of external experts who were in the country in March to review Rwanda’s malaria control program, which is part of the pre-elimination exercise against Malaria in Rwanda. Rwanda was found to be in the fourth phase of the pre-elimination exercise.

Foreigners Behind Besigye, UG Declares

Uganda's government has accused veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye of working covertly with some Western diplomats to topple the government by instigating mass uprising, Uganda's Daily Monitor reported Monday, citing the deputy principal private secretary to the Ugandan president.

Intelligence agencies have information that Besigye, the main challenger to President Yoweri Museveni during polls held Feb. 18, obtained funds for regime change, the privately-owned daily quoted Kintu Nyango as saying.

"What Besigye wants is to mimic what happened at Tahrir Square (in Egypt)--he wants to come and sit at the City Square and, using a rented crowd and hoodlums, cause fracas," he was quoted as saying.

Besigye was arrested last week and remanded in prison for leading protests against high food and fuel prices. At least five people have been killed in a crackdown against the protests, which have steadily been spreading from the capital to several towns in other areas.