UGANDA: IRIN News Briefs [19991027]

UGANDA: IRIN News Briefs [19991027]

UGANDA: IRIN News Briefs, Wednesday 27 October


Britain says aid flows dependent on referendum process Uganda given British "benchmarks of fairness" Museveni meets US officials on Sudan Kasese cholera outbreak on the wane Business activity reflects improved security in Karamoja Anger in Gulu at effects of child abduction Drought-related malnutrition less than feared Reasonable prospects for second harvest

Britain says aid flows dependent on referendum process

The British High Commissioner to Uganda, Michael Cook, has reiterated that unfairness in the running of next year's referendum on multi-party politics would be grounds, among others, for Britain to reconsider its aid to Uganda. In a letter to the independent 'Monitor' newspaper, he said a flawed referendum process and failure to resolutely tackle other issues such as corruption and increased military expenditure "would have negative implications for future levels of our assistance to Uganda and our relations".

Uganda given British "benchmarks of fairness"

Cook told IRIN on Tuesday that Britain had given the Ugandan government "a set of benchmarks" by which the fairness of the referendum would be assessed, but that he could not comment further until they were published in Uganda next week. He disagreed with "rump political parties" and opposition elements calling for a boycott because they considered the referendum itself undemocratic. "The referendum is allowed for in the constitution, which is widely accepted ... We think a boycott is not a very helpful gesture," he said. Ugandans would be better advised to engage with even a flawed referendum process in order to move the process of democratisation forward, he added.

Museveni meets US officials on Sudan

President Yoweri Museveni on Monday met US Special Envoy on Sudan Affairs Harry Johnstone and State Department adviser John Prendergast to exchange views on advancing peace in Sudan and the surrounding region, news agencies reported on Tuesday. A Ugandan official was quoted as saying Uganda had lately been trying to improve relations with Sudan, and that it would continue its efforts. Relations have been soured by Sudan's alleged support of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, and by Uganda of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

Kasese cholera outbreak on the wane

The ministry of health has reported continuing cases of cholera in Kasese, Arua, Bundibugyo and Kampala, a UN humanitarian update stated on Sunday. However, a serious epidemic which accounted for 248 cases in two weeks in Kasese in late September had been brought under control by a combined team from the ministry, ICRC, MSF-France and the Kasese District Cholera Task Force. Fewer than 10 cases per week were now being reported. The total number of reported cases from the start of the year was now 4,397, with 200 deaths and a case fatality rate of 4.5 percent, the report added.

Business activity reflects improved security in Karamoja

Commercial transport has returned to some areas of Karamoja district and livestock markets are again reported to be operational, reflecting a "slightly improved" security situation in the area, a UN report from Kampala stated on Sunday. Virtually all commercial activity in the area had previously been halted by violent clashes within Karamoja clans, and between the Karamoja and the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), which left hundreds of civilians dead in August and September.

Anger in Gulu over child abduction

Community members in Gulu expressed anger and frustration at the effects on children of forced conscription, abductions and killings during a seminar in Paicho organised by the Gulu Support Children Organisation (GUSCO), the independent 'Monitor' newspaper reported on Monday. Gulu local leaders noted that child soldiers who were forcefully recruited, whether by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) or as homeguards, often lost their families' love, while parents lamented that many of those abducted were maimed and badly educated.

A UN report put the number of abducted children in Gulu district as of the end of September at 2,717. The 'Monitor' reported that Paicho was the worst affected sub-county in the district, with at least 600 children abducted. GUSCO planned to hold 36 seminars in the district to highlight the effects of war on children, the report added. Deputy Speaker Edward Ssekandi told parliament on Monday that Sudan had last week pledged to support Uganda in ensuring that children abducted by Joseph Kony's LRA were released.

Drought-related malnutrition less than feared

A humanitarian assessment mission in mid- to late-September, the results of which have recently been released, has found that farmers and pastoralists in Uganda have been using traditional and non-traditional strategies to cope with the drought-related shortfall in the first harvest.In none of the districts assessed were people experiencing above normal levels of malnutrition. A government assessment in July raised serious concern regarding the food security of 700,000 drought-affected people.

Reasonable prospects for second harvest

Preliminary findings from the inter-agency food needs assessment in September indicated that second season rains were well established in affected areas and, provided these were well distributed, "the harvest in most areas will be only a little below average", according to a UN humanitarian update.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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