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In a rural school somewhere in the Republic, children diligently study despite the obvious difficulties they face.

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Hello Titus (Naikuni), I hope you don’t mind me calling you Titus. I am not being fresh or cheeky, it’s just because I have been flying Kenya Airways for so many years and I always see your welcome message plus photo in every inflight magazine I cannot help, but feel that I know you.

As i said, I have been flying KQ for many years most often to Mombasa and Entebbe, but also to Joburg, London and Dar es Salaam. So I have been racking up those frequent flyer miles, always hoping to hit that free flight reward to Tahiti, well maybe not considering you don’t fly there.

Now last Friday night I had to travel to Uganda and initially was booked on the ‘red eye’ flight, this is the last one of the day and arrives in Entebbe at 11.20pm! Hence the red eyes. It cost $371 return, for a 45 minute flight! My attempt to change this to the 5.50pm flight would have attracted a $150 Penalty, so I stuck to the red eye. I dutifully checked in online in my office because I have the belief that if I do so then I can get to the airport much later and won’t have to queue as I only have to drop my bags. Correct me if I am wrong, Titus, I believe that I am less likely to get bumped off a flight if I already have a boarding pass, this may not be entirely true and I wring my hands in anticipation of such an event.

Now my flight departure time was scheduled for 10.05pm and expected arrival in Entebbe at 11.20pm. Now for the uninitiated, this flight duration of 75 minutes does not make sense. KQ use an all jet fleet to service it’s Entebbe route and these take only 45-50 minutes to get there, there are no stops in between. So the real arrival time should be 10.50pm. Titus you have to agree with me on this, surely.

I arrived at the airport at 8.50pm with my boarding pass in hand and a small suitcase and a clear 45 minutes before the boarding gate was to close and 75 minutes before the flight was to depart. I headed for the baggage drop counter, as I had already check in online and found it in manned. What was even more unsurprising was the one next to it was a Sky Priority baggage drop and it was clogged with passengers who had not checked in online! I joined the queue, number 5 in line and watched the clock as it counted down to the gate closure at 9.35pm.

Titus, finally fed up with the delays I complained a supervisor looking lady and ranted about checking in online and all that rot. She moved from that sky priority baggage drop queue, skipped another regular queue and told me to wait at a third queue, this time a business class one that only had one fellow getting sorted put. Things didn’t get any faster as I thought it would because after clearing the aforementioned fellow, the check in staff told me to wait as they tinkered about with the computer. Another 15 minutes went by and now it was 9.30pm and I was seething. Fortunately the gentleman standing beside me asked what the matter was and I again ranted and raved about how 8 times out of 10 checking in online make no difference, you just do it to be busy. He could tell I was about to cause a scene and he stepped put o the desk and had a word with the lady there…….it turned out he works for KQ.

Suddenly I was ushered to the desk, baggage tagged, dumped and I was on my way……actually sprinting because it was now 8.40pm and the departure gate should have actually closed by then. Mercifully it wasn’t and by 10.05pm all passengers were on board the flight and we were likely to have another miraculous on time departure, if only pigs can fly. Then we sat quietly for the next half an hour and all that was happening was that the flight attendants kept walking up and down, checking and rechecking seat belts. It was a very strange sensation, the silence was eerie, there were no late arriving passengers, no luggage being loaded, nothing we just sat and waited.

Then at 10.30pm, on the dot, we were on our way, resulting in an arrival time of exactly 11.20pm! We were late to depart, but right on time to arrive at Entebbe. I beg to ask the question: what really is the departure time for this flight! I don’t think leaving at 10.30pm was really a delay.

Titus, you are always on TV telling us how you and KQ are reaching for the stars, but how can you do that when you can’t even grabbed the ripe mango in the tree, or handle online check passengers, both are alot easier than reaching for the stars you love to talk about. Is it too much to ask to sort out basic service issues before you charge what you do for a 45 minute flight! It. Ant be that hard, surely.

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Three weekends ago I could not help myself, but attend a historic rugby match. This was the finals of the 10th Bamburi super series. And even more historic was that for once a Ugandan team had made it all the way to the end. Rwenzori (in the black and yellow strip) faced off with the Rhinos in a match that ended 14-25 respectively. The stadium was packed with enthusiastic, but good natured spectators………that’s rugby. And I got to tinker with photography, my new hobby.

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Writing about Lance Spearman and the old African phot comics has elicited a nostalgic response that I had no idea was being kept in Pandora’s box. There is clearly a yearning for ‘old gold’ and this should be celebrated.
With many thanks to Kenney Kimilli, who has kindly scanned some comic covers from the past, I am able post some blasts from the past. The amazing thing is how much these magazines used to cost, 1 shilling!

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The newspapers have been awash with stories of how the political parties have padded their membership list with people who are actually not members, in fact none of these people in question had even been asked if they wanted to be members in the first place. All this has been done in order for the political parties to be able to meet the eligibility criteria required for the next general elections. The law states that a political party must have a certain number of members who are registered voters in all provinces of the country.

The funny thing is that all the news stories are dwelling more on the outrage that the public has felt about being enrolled in one party or another without their permission (this includes a sitting member of parliament) rather than calling the crime what it is………IDENTITY THEFT!

I have always read and heard about identity theft, but always from the perspective that it is a developed world phenomenon. I mean what are you going to do with my identity details? Bureaucracy slows down everything in Africa that surely I will cotton on to an identity thief in no time. Really?

I have been disturbed for years about the Kenyan practice of handing over ones ID card every time you walk through a gate or into a building. The security guards note down your name, ID number and your phone number. In many cases they actually hold onto the card while you do your business wherever. This practice is even more widespread when one considers that hotels, phone companies, supermarkets, banks etc routinely photocopy ID cards and passports for all manner of reasons.

In an environment where there is no data protection act in in existence the public is entirely at the mercy of people who routinely collect this information and do with it as they please. So it is no surprise that thousands of people have found themselves members of political parties no one has ever heard of. Their identities have been stolen and we have lost our innocence. We will mature when this new crime gravitates from the voters list to white collar crime……….I hold my breath!

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The issue of dual citizenship has been of intense interest to east Africans over the last few years and a post on this log on this topic has been possibly the most popular of any I have written. I have contemplated taking up Kenyan citizenship, but was never sure how to go about it, especially with the rules on the issue not quite being in the public domain. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the details of the Ugandan law online and have prepared some highlights below:

The Legal Basis
The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Act, 2009 provides for dual citizenship. Dual citizenship, according to the Act, means the simultaneous possession of two citizenships one of which is Ugandan. A citizen of Uganda of 18 years and above who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of a country other than Uganda may retain the citizenship of Uganda.
A person swho is not a citizen of Uganda may, on acquiring the citizenship of Uganda, retain the citizenship of another country.

However there is a process that must be fulfilled, one does not simply acquire a new citizenship and then sit back:
A citizen of Uganda who desires to acquire the citizenship of another country while retaining his or her citizenship of Uganda shall give notice in writing to National Citizenship and Immigration Board of his or her application for the citizenship of another country. A copy of the application for citizenship of that other country must be submitted.

It is also important to note that tri-nationality is not permitted:
Where the person is a citizen of Uganda and another country, a declaration of renunciation of the citizenship of the third country must be submitted.

Acquisition by a non-citizen of Uganda of Uganda Citizenship while retaining the Citizenship of another country.
A non-Ugandan citizen who wishes to acquire the citizenship of Uganda while retaining the citizenship of another country shall satisfy the following conditions for citizenship:

Satisfy the board that the laws of his or her country of origin permit him or her to hold dual citizenship;
Not be the subject of a deportation order from Uganda territory or any other country;
Not be under a sentence of death or imprisonment exceeding nine months imposed by a competent court, without the option of a fine;
Satisfy the board that he or she has been resident in Uganda for not less than 10 years;
Satisfy the board that he or she has adequate knowledge of any prescribed vernacular language in Uganda or of English or Swahili;
Satisfy the board that he or she has not been in Uganda as a refugee or as a diplomat;
He or she possesses rare skills and capacity for technology transfer;
Be willing to take the oath of allegiance;
Be a person of sound mind.

GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR DUAL CITIZENSHIP:

A person applying for dual citizenship shall, before being registered, satisfy the board that:
He or she is not engaged in espionage against Uganda;
He or she has not served in the voluntary service of the armed forces or security forces of a country hostile to or at war with Uganda;
He or she has not attempted to acquire Ugandan citizenship by fraud, deceit or bribery or by intentional or otherwise deliberate false statements in an application for citizenship;
He or she does not have a criminal record;
The laws of his or her country of origin permit dual citizenship;
He or she is, at the time of application, of or above 18 years of age;
He or she is of sound mind;
Does not hold more than one citizenship;
Is not an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent.

Offices of State which a person holding Dual Citizenship is not qualified to hold

President, Vice President,Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister and other Ministers, Inspector General and the Deputy Inspector General of Government,Technical Heads of Branches of the Armed Forces, Commanding Officers of the Armed Forces Units of at least battalion strength, Officers responsible for heading departments responsible for records, personnel and logistics in all branches of the Armed Forces, Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General of Police, Heads and Deputy Heads of national Security and Intelligence Organisations (ESO, ISO and CMI), Members of the National Citizenship and Immigration Board.

Use of Travel Documents by Dual National
A citizen who holds the citizenship of another country in addition to the citizenship of Uganda shall:
Be issued with a Ugandan passport or travel documents;
Be permitted to remain in Uganda without limitation if the person enters Uganda on a Ugandan passport;
Leave Uganda on the same passport that the person used to enter the country; and
A citizen of Uganda who is also a citizen of any other country shall while in Uganda be subject to the laws of Uganda as any other citizen.
A dual citizen commits an offence when a Ugandan passport is used by the person interchangeably with the passport of another country to deceive an Immigration Officer.

TERMINATION OF DUAL CITIZENSHIP
The board may terminate a dual national of his or her Ugandan citizenship if:
1. Upon any of the grounds specified in sections above
2. If that person acquires a third citizenship.
Where a person ceases to be a citizen of Uganda, he or she shall be regarded as a citizen or national of the country, of which he or she was a citizen or national before becoming a Ugandan citizen.

Consequences of Loss of Ugandan Citizenship
Where a person ceases to be a Ugandan citizen, he or she shall cease to enjoy the rights of a Ugandan citizen except rights to property acquired legally while the person was a citizen.
Where a person ceases to be a Ugandan citizen, he or she shall not thereby be discharged from any obligation, duty or liability in respect of any act done or committed before he or she ceased to be a citizen of Uganda.

Re-acquisition of Ugandan Citizenship by a Ugandan
A person who was a citizen of Uganda by birth and who on acquiring the citizenship of another country renounced his or her Ugandan citizenship, may apply to the board in the prescribed manner to re-acquire his or her former Ugandan citizenship.
The board may allow a former Ugandan citizen to re-acquire his or her Ugandan citizenship if it is satisfied that the grounds for the loss of his or her Ugandan citizenship are of no adverse effect to the public order and security of Uganda.
A person who re-acquires Ugandan citizenship under this section shall be required to take the oath of allegiance.

Fees Schedule:

By people who were formally Ugandans (in Diaspora) US $400
Dual citizenship – foreigners US $500
Dual citizenship – Ugandan in Diaspora US $400

Reference:

Source: The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Act, 2009
Date of Assent: 15th July 2009

Date of Commencement: 21st August 2009

For the time being, applicants are advised to contact the Board directly on the following address:

The Chairperson,
National Citizenship and Immigration Board,
Ministry of Internal Affairs,
Plot 75 Jinja Road,
P. O. Box 7191,
Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256-414-258355
Fax: +256-414-343088
E-mail: info@mia.go.ug
Website: http://www.mia.go.ug

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Last week the UPDF capture Major General Caesar Achellam, the number three in the Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony’s vehicle of terror and misery. This man is a “big fish”, were the words of the Ugandan army’s chief spokesman. He went on to say that this man did not Get to that position by digging potatoes.

What that really means is that for the last fifteen years this man has overseen the destruction of villages, rape of women, sexual enslavement of prepubescent girls, abduction of villagers of all ages and murder…….mass murder! Of this there is no doubt. So one wonders why there is a scramble to offer him amnesty for his crimes!

In Uganda there is a constitutionally constituted ‘Amnesty Commission’ that regulates the provision of mercy to armed rebel groups. However it’s modus operandi is not very well known to the public, All one hears is that ex rebel so and so has been granted amnesty from prosecution. This is no South African style ‘truth and reconciliation’ process whereby purveyors of evil have to publicly confesses there deeds and then apologise to their victims and request them for their mercy.

Those who have already benefited from a well meaning, but warped process include several of Joseph kony’s henchmen and Maj. gen. Caesar Achellam is set to go down this path as well. The legal officer from the Amnesty Commission has already been quoted to say that he is eligible for amnesty if he only applies for it! The army has made it clear that if he cooperates and spills the beans on the LRA and the devil incarnate who leads it then amnesty from prosecution is a foregone conclusion.

A frequent fact that keeps be thrown about this man is that he is not one of the 5 LRA commanders who have been indicted by the ICC. It’s almost like this exonerates the man of his deeds.
Yet where is the justice in this for the victims of this murderous cohort, no one seems to have ever been punished for all the mayhem they have poured on the people of Acholi for two decades. Achellam did not surrender, he was captured. Achellam has not apologized, he even went so far as to say at a press conference that during his warfare training days he was told there is no such thing as saying sorry!

So why would Norbert Mao, MP for Gulu and the bishop of Gulu diocese all call for his amnesty? It boggles my mind. Have we followed the path of forgiveness too far, is it not time to take the road less travelled and charge this man in a court of law. He should be tried and and his conviction followed by punishment that fits the crime. Being the personification of evil, Maj.Gen. Achellam will have very few suitable punishments to choose from! Enough with the ‘let bygones be bygones’.

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