You all must have heard the news by now if not fell it. The City is on a lockdown of sorts, movement is allowed but staying at home is generally what has been suggested. To ensure this is enabled, public transport has been postponed for at least two weeks whilst private cars are not allowed to carry any more than three people, including the driver.
But this is also a time to be cautious as a video of Uganda looting a fruit truck in downtown surfaces. The truck emerging from a place that looks like the mini-price area is quickly thronged by a gang of youth who each run off with as many pineapples as they can. That said, here is a summary of what the president said, for those who might have missed it.
- ALL to all Public transport for passenger movement has been suspended for 14days and these include taxis, Costa’s, minibusses, buses, passenger trains, boda-boda motorcycles, tuk-tuks (tri-cycles).
- All these are allowed to move but only if they are delivering cargo, food, and essential commodities and not passengers.
- Should you choose to drive your private car, make sure not to carry more than three (3) people that is including the driver?
- District administration has also been advised to mobilize boda-boda riders who can deliver cargo and foodstuff thereby reducing human movement and shared means of transport.
- Any and all non-security government vehicles within districts to be parked at the district headquarters, and also to directly be handled by the District Health Office. This will come in handy should numbers escalate in a particular district.
- Ambulances, Security forces, some government vehicles carrying out essential duties, and garbage trucks will also be allowed to move.
- Within the city, specific companies will be identified to conduct the boda-boda delivery service of goods, also to minimize movement.
- In all parts of the country, trading in non-essential items has been suspended for at least 14days.
- Markets will remain open, on condition that they only sell the much-needed foodstuff, with emphasis on local food.
- Government offices have been advised to work out a list of essential personnel that must remain on duty.
- Supermarkets have been advised to control numbers, but encouraging deliveries, as opposed to the human traffic seeking out, said premises.
The president addressed the nation on the Coronavirus pandemic and announced the drastic measures Uganda was taking. Though it doesn’t have a single confirmed case of the virus yet, Uganda will clearly do everything in its power to keep it that way. At the risk of bringing everything to a screeching halt, the president announced a 32 day of no large gatherings; this will spread to schools, churches, and even weddings. But here are the 13 points as clearly listed by the President’s press team.
- Schools, tertiary institutions to close for one month starting Friday, 20th March.
- Religious gatherings, churches, mosques, open prayers were suspended for a month with immediate effect.
- Political and cultural public meetings, rallies, conferences, elections were suspended for 32 days with immediate effect.
- No outbound travel by Ugandans to or through Category One countries (those severely affected by pandemic) for 32 days. These are; Italy, France, South Korea, China, USA, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Norway Austria, Malaysia, Pakistan and San Marino.
- Foreigners can leave but not return in the 32 days.
- Ugandans coming back from abroad, including category one countries, will be quarantined at their cost.
- Non-agricultural workplaces, factories, hotels, taxi parks, etc will continue operating but with SoPs, put out by the ministry of health, eg compulsory sanitary points, temperature monitors, etc.
- Uganda-style weddings that bring together the pentagon of groups will be postponed for 32 days from today. If couples are in a hurry, do a scientific wedding with core members. Not more than 10 people.
- Burials won’t be banned but recommend should be done by relatives who are nearby. Mourning is done later. If the deceased died of Coronavirus, State will take over burial.
- Crop people, cattle keepers, and fishermen. These should observe proper hygiene practices. Fishermen should be studied closely because they live in concentrated landing sites. Monthly (open-air) markets are suspended for 32 days.
- Public transport. Taxis, bodas, buses, etc. Advice: Don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also, transport operators are given mandatory soap. In event of an outbreak in a given locality, public transport will be suspended.
- Stop merrymaking, discos, bars, music shows, and concerts. Drunkards speak with saliva coming out of their mouths. Suspended for 32 days.
- The virus spreads by sneezing, coughing. Observe hygiene. Close your mouth, etc. Stop touching surfaces, wash your hands, don’t shake hands, hugging; also do online transactions.
Do a balanced diet. Eat vitamin C, oranges, lemons, etc.
Yesterday Thursday the 12th day of March, Kenya, a country that borders Uganda to the east got its much-dreaded first coronavirus case. Speaking to the press, Mutahi Kagwe, Kenya’s health minister said the patient had been diagnosed at the government’s national influenza center laboratory after traveling home via London on March 5.
The patient, a 27-year-old Kenyan is now believed to be stable but will not be released into the public until she is well. “She cannot be released … until she gets negative,” the Minister is quoted by Aljazeera. “Kenya has suspended all public gatherings, sporting events, open-air religious meetings, and “all events that are of a huge public nature”. While the school system will go on, the minister said that inter-school events have since been suspended.
In the meantime, Aljazeera reports that the Kenyan government has traced most of the people she has been in contact with, including fellow passengers on the flight home, and a government response team will monitor their temperatures for the next two weeks.Read More
The week started on a rather disturbing note. A video of Chinese nationals suspected to be having the Coronavirus here in Uganda made rounds. So news of the Coronavirus allegedly reaching Uganda went wild and for a while couldn’t be quelled. A one Gillian Nantume, a reporter with NTV made things worse.
NTV reported thus: “Over 500 people in Uganda, who presented flu-like symptoms, which are a major characteristic of the coronavirus, have been quarantined. There are three stages of an epidemic and currently, Uganda is at the first stage – of the prevention stage. A social media video released on Sunday claimed that Chinese nationals, who had contracted the virus, had been taken to Entebbe Hospital but the Ministry confirmed on Monday that there are no infections recorded yet. Screening at major border points is being done.”
However, Emmanuel Ainebyona, a senior communications officer at the health ministry refuted any such numbers. He quickly shared an official communication by the Health Minister, Jane Ruth Achieng. “Uganda has NO confirmed case of #Coronavirus Disease (#COVID19) after Results from the samples obtained from the four foreign nationals; 1 French and 3 Chinese who were under isolation at Entebbe Referral Hospital tested negative for Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19),” the Minister wrote.
Note that the virus, now at a 3000 death toll and a mammoth 80.000 infection, with a footprint across over 50 countries, is yet to have its grip on the African continent. Though countries like Egypt, Algeria, and Nigeria have reported a case each, officials maintain everything is under control. Here in Uganda, the health ministry says it’s prepared to deal with the deadly virus should it set foot here. The worry many citizens have is the booming Uganda-China relationship, a country worst hit by the virus, will Uganda manage to steer clear of this virus?Read More
Uganda’s lan Munyani in action .(pic by the Rubby Union )
For Rugby lovers, telling the whole story is no doubt pertinent, but for those passionate about marketing destination Uganda, this tournament presents a grave opportunity. The news of Uganda’s impressive show in Uruguay is worth the detail, and a report by the African Press Organisation brought with it said details. From the inaugural first March against Jamaica to the last against Zimbabwe; here is the account, match for the match!
Uganda got off to a nightmare start during the second leg of the World Rugby Challenger series in Uruguay when they lost 2 pool games to drop to the 9th place quarter-final but showed great mental strength to win all their games on day 2 to finish 9th in Uruguay. Uganda kicked off their day against Jamaica and barely had possession the entire game. Jamaica scored one try in the first half but missed the conversion to go into the halftime break 5 points ahead.
The second half started pretty much as the first with Jamaica holding onto possession but without anything to show for it. That all changed after Philip Wokorach received a yellow card midway the second half for a late shoulder charge and Jamaica capitalized on their numerical advantage to score an unconverted try and held on to keep Uganda scoreless and ran out 10-00 winners.
Uganda met Brazil in their second game and drew first blood after Ian Munyani plucked the ball out of the air as a Brazilian desperately tried to juggle an offload and sprinted for the try line before being hauled down barely a meter short. The ball was recycled to Pius Ogena who powered over and Philip Wokorach made good with the conversion. Brazil struck back with an unconverted try in the 4th minute but Michael Wokorach scored 2 minutes later after a strong 30-meter run.
Philip Wokorach added another 2 points to take the score to 14-05 and a last-ditch try-saving tackle by Solomon Okia ensured that Uganda went into halftime 9 points clear. A beautiful break by Aaron Ofoyrwoth off the base of the scrum to run 80 meters had Uganda breathing more easily and despite Brazil scoring a converted try in the last minute of the game, it ended at 19-12 and Uganda bagged their first win in Uruguay.
Hong Kong suffocated Uganda of possession in Chile and did the same in Uruguay but made better use of their possession this time. Hong Kong scored 2 converted tries within the first 3 minutes of the game and after Philip Wokorach got a yellow card for slapping the ball forward, Hong Kong ran in 2 more converted tries to take the game out of Uganda’s reach at halftime. Uganda had a good start to the second half after a Hong Kong player was sin-binned for preventing Uganda from taking a quick tap, Uganda made use of their extra player and a strong run from Nobert Okeny and a great offload to Michael Wokorach released him to score. Unfortunately, Aaron Ofoyrwoth received a yellow card for a high tackle and Hong Kong scored 2 more unconverted tries before Nobert Okeny pulled back a try in the corner on the hooter and Philip Wokorach nailed a beautiful touchline conversion to make the final score slightly more respectable at 38-12.
Pius Ogen on trackle (pic by Rugby union )
Uganda finished day 1 third in their pool and dropped to the 9th place quarter-final where they met Paraguay. In order to finish in the overall top 8 and qualify for the World Series qualifier tournament. Uganda had to finish 9th in Uruguay and hope for other results from other teams to go their way. Uganda showed their intent against Paraguay and despite a late second-half yellow card to Michael Wokorach for a high tackle, Uganda ran in 8 tries with Aaron Ofoyrwoth scoring 2 while Pius Ogena, William Nkore, Desire Ayera, Michael Wokorach, Isaac Massanganzira, and Levis Ocen bagging one each. William Nkore converted the first try and Philip Wokorach converting the remaining 7 for a 100% conversion rate. Paraguay managed one try and one conversion in the first half but did not threaten Uganda beyond that so the final score was 56-07 to book a date with Papua New Guinea in the 9th place semifinal.
The 9th place semifinal was a tight affair with PNG scoring and converting in the first 2 minutes.
Uganda struck back straight away through a Pius Ogena break from deep in the Ugandan half and Philip Wokorach added the extras to tie the game. Solomon Okia danced out of a couple of tackles to add a try in the 5th minute and Philip Wokorach also got over the whitewash after the halftime hooter to take the score to 17-07. PNG came out of the blocks faster in the second half and took advantage of lax Ugandan defending to score 2 tries, one of which was converted, to go into a narrow 2 point lead. Isaac Massanganzira, lurking on the wing, was the beneficiary of a long pass from Aaron Ofoyrwoth to score with 3 minutes left on the clock for Uganda to regain the lead and they hung on to win 22-19.
The 9th place final between Uganda and Zimbabwe was a fantastic comeback story with Uganda getting on the score sheet first after Pius Ogena smuggled himself over the try line in the corner despite the close attention of 2 Zimbabweans in the opening minutes of the game. Zimbabwe scored a try of their own shortly after to tie the game. Uganda lost Isaac Massanganzira to the sin bin after a tip tackle and combined Uganda’s woes at receiving the kickoffs this proved costly.
Solomon Okia to a nice finish !(picture by Rugby union
Zimbabwe scored 2 converted tries and looked to be running away with the game with the score at 19-05 at halftime. Solomon Okia took advantage of the extra space on pitch as a Zimbabwe player sat in the sin bin and started Uganda’s comeback in the second half after he rounded the defense line and showed a clean pair of heels to score a try under the posts that was duly converted by Philip Wokorach. Zimbabwe responded a minute later with an unconverted try but Uganda was not done yet and Michael Wokorach and Philip Wokorach both ran 60 meters to score and Philip Wokorach converted both tries to edge Zimbabwe 26-24 and finish in 9th place. Uganda and Zimbabwe tied at 19 series points after both legs with Uganda finishing 7th overall and Zimbabwe 8th overall for both teams to qualify for the World Series qualifiers.Read More
About a week after Athlete Joshua Cheptegei breaks a world record, fellow Ugandan Athlete, Juliet Chekwel took the Zurich Marathon by storm. Now its 36th year, the marathon dubbed Zurich Maratón de Sevilla is a World Athletics Gold Label road race that attracts a string of athletes the world over. To beat fellow marathoners present in yesterday’s marathon (23rd-Feb), Chekwel clocked in at an amazing 2:23:13.
Fresh from beating Linet Toroitiche’s record in Humberg last year, the 29-year-old Chekwel had only made her debut in this year’s marathon in Spain and has gone to qualify for the Tokyo-Japan Olympics. Note that the long-distance runner is also the 2015 10.000Meters Rubin Italy record holder.
According to the World Athletics body, both men’s and women’s races had strong depth as seven men finished inside 2:07 and 14 broke the 2:08 barrier, while seven women went sub-2:28, confirming the new course is conducive to fast times. Speaking of the race in detail, they further state that in the final two kilometers, Chekwel was impressive. That she finished strongly to cross the line in 2:23:13, while Ethiopia’s Gada Bontu was second in 2:23:39.
Top 10 (Compiled by World Athletics)
1 Juliet Chekwel (UGA) 2:23:13
2 Gada Bontu (ETH) 2:23:39
3 Sifan Melaku (ETH) 2:23:49
4 Josephine Chepkoech (KEN) 2:24:14
5 Purity Changwony (KEN) 2:24:30
6 Gladys Tejeda (PER) 2:27:07
7 Beji Bekelu (ETH) 2:27:50
8 Melkam Gizaw (ETH) 2:28:05
9 Anja Scherl (GER) 2:28:25
10 Marcela Gómez (ARG) 2:28:58
As Uganda battles a bellicose swarm of plant-scavenging locusts, questions must surely be asked. Sadly, on a very disturbing note, that is, the actual topic that ought to be taking centre, remains mostly shelved. Shall we finally see the real discussion happening in Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and South Sudan? Could it maybe gain more prominence through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a body that brings most of these countries together? “But why not just talk killing locusts?” you might be wondering.
In the thick of this, an interview with Richard Munang, the United Nations Environment Programme expert on climate and Africa, on the organisation’s site stood out. He blamed climate change for the locust invasion. “During quiet periods—known as recessions—desert locusts are usually restricted to the semi-arid and arid deserts of Africa, the Near East and South-West Asia that receive less than 200 mm of rain annually. In normal conditions, locust numbers decrease either by natural mortality or through migration,” he said. But something happened, he calls it the Indian Ocean dipole, it brought rain, lots of it, and now the locusts are here. What is the Indian Ocean Dipole anyway?
The Indian Ocean dipole
To climate enthusiasts, the Indian Ocean dipole is no strange discourse, but not to the ordinary man. In attempts to explain the extreme weather conditions that have since led to flooding and drought, the BBC explored the topic more. It refers to it as the difference in sea-surface temperatures in opposite parts of the Indian Ocean. They further explain that temperatures in the eastern part of the ocean oscillate between warm and cold compared with the western part, cycling through phases referred to as “positive”, “neutral” and “negative”.
Last year, the dipole’s positive phase brought with it warmer sea temperatures in the western Indian Ocean region, and more rains in the east. This they say explains why the Eastern part of Africa had lots of rain while South East Asia and Australia battled excruciatingly hot sun that would later fuel raving bush fires in Australia.
The UN’s Munang was onto something here, right? He maintains that while studies have linked a hotter climate to more damaging locust swarms, wet weather is also known to favour multiplication of locusts. The Horn of Africa has received heavy rainfall from October to December 2019 with up to 400% above normal rainfall amount recorded, this is not a good thing. “These abnormal rains were caused by the Indian Ocean dipole, a phenomenon accentuated by climate change,” he confirms. Sadly, researchers say the effects of the dipole could get worse because of this very climate change.
Speaking to the UK’s The Guardian, Caroline Ummenhofer, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who has been a key figure in efforts to understand the importance of the dipole, said unique factors were at play in the Indian Ocean compared with other tropical regions.
While ocean currents and winds in the Atlantic and Pacific can disperse heating water, the large Asian landmass to the north of the Indian Ocean makes it particularly susceptible to retaining heat. “It’s quite different to the tropical Atlantic and tropical Pacific events. There you have steady easterly trade winds. In the Indian Ocean that’s not the case,” Ummenhofer said. Like Munang, she also believes it boils down to climate change. So what exactly is climate change?
The National Geographical channel simply defines climate change as a long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns, a thing researchers argue is only getting worse if not treated with urgency. But also, two words are thrown around every time Climate is discussed, that is global warming.
We decided to seek out the Oxford Dictionary for this one: Global warming is a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth’s atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide. But what does this even mean?
According to America’s National Resource Defence Council (NRDC), over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Which is basically a longer phrase for global warming. The Science Journal explains that global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants and greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface.
Normally, this radiation would escape into space—but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. Or what NRDC refers to as the greenhouse effect. One of the biggest causes of pollution researchers argue is the making of electricity, industry and transportation. Made even worse by the intense deforestation, as the trees that help absorb some of this carbon dioxide have dwindled. So what needs to be done?
Right this minute, the UN worries the insects will devour crops meant for humans to eat. If East Africa alone has a mammoth 19 million people estimated to be starving, imagine the damage in years to come? These locusts can travel up to 150 kilometres (93 miles) in 24 hours and an adult insect eats its own body weight in food each day. The UN fears the number of insects could multiply 500 times by June this year. Imagine that!
In fact, whilst speaking to the Associated Press, Keith Cressman, a senior locust forecasting officer with the FAO said that in a few weeks the young locusts will shed their skin. “It takes a few days to warm up their wings,” he said. Some test flights follow and they’re on the move. The locusts at that stage are bright pink and in their most voracious state, like “very hungry teenagers,” Cressman said.
While the UN’s environmental arm acknowledges that climate change is a global phenomenon, it reckons that Africa stands out for its vulnerability. This is driven primarily by the prevailing low levels of socioeconomic development and the fact that a large chunk of her population relies on Agriculture. Wondering how this can be stopped, here’s a start: Plant a tree, dispose of all the harsh gas-emitting devices like the old cars and electrical appliances.Read More
When news of desert locusts combing through neighboring Kenya reached, it was their next destination that worried many. Said to be traveling over 100 kilometers each day, the plant scavenging swarm of locusts was headed for Uganda. And yesterday, on Sunday, 9th-February-2020, they made their grand entrance through the North Eastern Karamoja region. As is the norm these days, the news started trickling in through Social Media.
In fact, a post by one Gloria Apio, a field officer with the Agriculture Ministry garnered attention. Armed with pictures of said locusts, Apio quite vividly helped narrate the locusts’ route for all to take note of.
Apio spoke thusly:
“Colleagues let me take this opportunity to thank Everyone ; the Project Manager ZOA, The Project Officer livelihood ZOA, the PAS, the Agric Officer Loroo , the Vermin Control Officer, the Disco, and all of you colleagues and informants, who participated in different ways in the field exercise that enabled us to confirm the presence of locusts in Kosike , Loburin , Amudat Sub-county.
Findings; According to the in-charge of Kosike Health center III, Ms. Christine, there were three swarms that came in at 11:00 am; one flew over and went while two landed on the compound of Kosike Health Centre. The swarms according to eyewitnesses were big and the moment they landed, the compound turned yellow. By the time we got there around 4:30 pm, the swarms had left and headed towards Cholol River, and Acerer, but we managed to grab a few remnants as below.
The MAAIF team that was coming in from Moroto met a swarm around Acerer on the Nakapiripirt- Moroto highway and collected samples too. This other swarm was heading towards Nabilatuk.”
Speaking to Nile Post, Moses Kizige, the State Minister for Karamoja said, “A swarm estimated to be about 3,000 has landed in Amudat this afternoon.” On a good note, the government’s preparation for the invasion of the locust (a short-horned cousin of the Ugandan delicacy, grasshoppers), was evident.
The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rwanda said that the procurement of choppers for spraying the locusts is ongoing, and that the armed forces and Agriculture field officers were in place to help reduce the damage. He added that a whole $3M had been released to battle the locusts that have been on a plough into East Africa.Read More
In what could pass for a subtle rant, government mouthpiece, Ofwono Opondo voiced his concerns at what he termed ‘flip-flopping” by Ugandan ministers on the Murchison Falls issue. He echoed many of Ugandan’s cries on the issue surround falls being reduced to a dam. The indecision, the sneaky feel of the discussion therein; all of it begs the notion that everything about these events is wrong. Below is what he opined through the government media arm, whereof he is head:
Ofwono Opondo speaks out
In the last three months, Cabinet has vacillated with statements over the possibility of permitting the development of hydro-power dams on Uhuru and Murchison Falls (devil’s cauldron) along River Nile three times. That vacillation is causing anxiety and suspicion that perhaps the government is acting under pressure from a dubious hand, up to no good, and the public is spoiling for a big fight.
The flip-flopping first began when it emerged that a South African company, Bonang Power and Energy Limited had applied to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) to be granted permission to conduct a feasibility study in order to build a hydropower dam on Uhuru Falls just five hundred meters adjacent to Murchison Falls.
Murchison Falls is the lucrative, and panoramic escapement at which point river Nile gushes its waters with a huge force one hundred forty-three feet down through a seven-meter narrow canyon. Both are located within the expansive Murchison Falls Game Park, currently the biggest tourist attraction for its varied wildlife, game, birds, Sir Samuel Baker trail, river Nile and multiple Falls along its way through to South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, and into the Red Sea.
Following the public disclosure by ERA as required by law, many Ugandans and other interested parties especially concerned with the environment and tourism expressed strong and widespread opposition to any idea that the site should be sacrificed for a power dam. Indeed ERA conducted its evaluations and issued an outright rejection because, among other things, Bonang didn’t submit legal documents showing its legal status in Uganda, shareholders, share capital, or company directors. The technical evaluation showed that massive water would be diverted upstream of Murchison Falls. At that time ministers promptly came out to assuage public anger that no such development would be considered.
While Cabinet is free to review its decisions, this shift coming after a promise and ERA evaluation, ought to be explained to persuade a suspicious and angry public, considering that Uhuru is so near Murchison Falls. It appears that after the rejection, Bonang went back to some godfather, and hence this reconsideration hoping that the Energy minister can order ERA via cabinet to review its earlier findings.
Yes, a feasibility study is a scientific method to assess a project’s environmental, social, cultural, and economic impact, viability, and sustainability. However, the flip-flop by ministers leaves gaps. And looking back to similar projects like the botched Naguru Housing Estate, Shimon Demonstration School, and most recently the Lubowa Specialised Hospital, ministers and all concerned government agencies ought to come clean and ensure that effective and credible due diligence is exercised and investors are not left to ride rough shoulders as if they are doing Ugandans favors.
The joint statement issued this week by Energy minister Irene Muloni and that of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, Ephraim Kamuntu leaves more holes gaping than offering a thorough, consistent, coordinated, and persuasive explanation why the change. The statement doesn’t disclose when and why the investor has suddenly shifted interests from Murchison to Uhuru waterfalls. This lack of thoroughness is fueling more suspicion that ministers are responding more to investor pressure than measured considerations.
Secondly, from their own admission in providing the coordinates of the two waterfalls which they say are only five hundred meters apart, it is not hard to see the near impossibility for a large scale construction leaving Murchison waterfalls unscathed as they seem to suggest. And we don’t have to conduct a scientific study to establish that because the construction of Bujagali, Isimba, and the one ongoing at Karuma, for hydropower dams are all available and self-evident to instruct any mind.
Obviously, there shouldn’t be any contention whether Uganda still needs more power dams and energy to power its industrialization and socio-economic transformation. With only a twenty-five percent reach of electricity to Ugandans, we are still too short and need more electricity generation and distribution from multiple sources. As the government through ERA clears Bonang to conduct the study, we must mobilize Ugandans with multifaceted expertise to challenge any findings and where possible use the courts to thwart this dangerous adventure.
But as Muloni submitted in her statement this week, there are other potential sites already identified like Kiba (400MW) Oriang (392MW), and Ayago (840MW) that are non-controversial as Uhuru and Murchison whose development could be undertaken first instead of raising the hubris government is most unlikely to win at this point.
Without being sentimental, the thunderous devil’s cauldron, together with Uhuru, and their Delta areas where the tower of giraffes, antelopes, lions, warthogs, bushbucks, buffalo gangs, school of hippos, bask of crocodiles and over 450 bird species co-exist in the dense forest cover is an amazing natural place. It’s inconceivable that while other countries are building artificial tourism sites, we in Uganda seek to destroy ours more so when there are other alternatives for hydropower dams. Like the government was forced to abandon its plans to give away Mabira forest to the Mehta group in 2011 for sugarcane growing, l believe that with joint, steadfast, and coordinated well-informed efforts, the renewed assault on Uhuru and Murchison Falls too ought to fail.Read More
Time check: 8:00 PM. Location: Nsambya. You dear folks can call this, time for Malwa aka Ajono. Or what you fancy people will call a millet, maize, or sorghum brew, it sits okay. A group of men leisurely amble into a reed enclosure that is slightly thrown out of the barracks. Inside the enclosure sits a group of about
18 men and women around a pot of frothy local brew, commonly referred to as Malwa.
One of the men, a chap whose potbelly was slapped with hyperbole, seems to run things here. When I enter, he is saying something about a Sacco the group should start.
He speaks with authority because he is the chairman for the week. A chairman voted to orchestrate the activity that ensues at the joint every week. But still, he looks special. His words seem more calculated than most of the questions he is receiving. The way he carries himself exudes elegance. It says he is studied. And before he mentions that he works for a big corporate company, your imagination has already put that question out of the way for you.
Yet, tonight, none of those things matter. He is having his finest drink. Heck, as he caresses his lengthy straw, occasionally thrusting it in and out the Malwa pot to mix up the concoction of hot water and other ingredients of the fermented millet, one question seems to linger in his head; “Can life get any better than this?”
Back in his village in Gogonya, his gramps is seated with village elders around a bigger version of the Malwa pot, Ndombolo Ya Solo, the Lingala classic is blaring from the stereo. Hot water is brewing from a nearby fireplace as his gramps waxes lyrical about his success in the city.
He is among a group of men who choose to remain true to their cultures. A breed that maintains a deaf ear to the noisy train of civilization and the trivialities that drive the cyber era. The districts of Soroti, Kumi, Kaberamaido, and Katakwi which make up the Teso region are believed to be the only ones where the local brew referred to indigenously as Ajon, is celebrated. But they are not. The districts surrounding it like Mbale, Pallisa, Budaka, Bududa, et al, according to Okiring Jameson, a teacher in Soroti, are also ardent consumers of the beverage.
Yet because all those districts have relatives who chase dreams in the dusty city that Kampala is, the nostalgia kicks and as such, many are minting off it.
The joints in Kampala.
Kampala is littered with many Malwa joints. So much that a lucky lot of entrepreneurs have registered their success through selling the local brew to the very demanding market.
The most famous area for Malwa joints in Kampala is Nsambya. According to a regular at one of the joints there, the place above the Nsambya barracks on Ggaba road has withered the storms of the investor-scheme-money-induced evacuations, certainly because the people that make those decisions deem the place special and regardless of the meals it might put on their tables, they are skeptical about evacuating tones of good memories fwaaa.
Kitintale is also famed for hosting a number of corporates in their Malwa joints. A place called Kataza in Kitintale, however, stands out. Certainly, because according to Jackie Nandudu, a local and constant customer to one of the joints, it is the one place where people have garnered fortunes over brewing the beverage.
According to Sam Ogunum, a seasoned brewer of the Malwa beverage on Limoto Village, Pallisa, the preparation of Malwa for the Itesots is not the same way other regions of the country prepare it. “We, the Itesots use a combination of millet and sorghum, while the Langi use a similar formula that they are yet to muster, while the people in the west use strictly millet’” relays Sam Okuda.
“Millet kernels are soaked in warm water until they sprout, with the goal to increase the content of maltose in the grain. The millet is then dried out to arrest the germination process. The malted grain is then pulverized and mixed with water. This mixture is commonly known as wort. The wort is later boiled in order to remove any potential bacterial threat. Once the boiling process is complete and the wort cools down yeast is added. The mixture is then allowed to ferment. The entire process takes five days,” adds Sam.
There is, however, a mushrooming habit that the urban Malwa joints are adding to the formulae. According to Joyce Akidi, a brewer at a Malwa joint in Nsambya, other intoxicants are added to meet the expectations of the urban breed of consumers. “Some urge us to add vodka to enhance the alcohol levels in the beverage. While some want so badly for their friends to get intoxicated so they insist that we add weed. Some Malwa joints do it on purpose, while others do it on request,” relayed Akidi.Read More