The Independent (Kampala)

7 January 2013

Uganda: 2012 - Crashed Hopes, and Runaway Wins

2012 was truly a year of lows; such as the crash of the UPDF choppers in Kenya, the unending tales of corruption in high places, and the spate of virulent attacks of Ebola and Marburg. But it is also a year when Uganda was lifted high when an unknown runner, Steven Kiprotich scooped the coveted Olympic Marathon crown and the nation joined together to celebrate 50 years of independence. We bring you a summary.

The year 2012 started with inflationary pressure easing and headline inflation maintained a declining trend from 30.4 % in October, to 29% in November to 27% in December to 25.7% in January 2012. The Governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said the sticky prices for goods and services would lead to a gradual inflation decline in 2012.

Bicycle scandal

Jan.1: Mohinder Singh Chal, one of the directors of Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel) is found dead in the Bukoto Flats in Kampala. He was a prime suspects in the so-called "LC Bicycle Scandal" in which their firm received Shs 4.7 billion from the government to supply 70,000 Local Council bicycles but failed to deliver.

Jan. 4: Embattled Uganda Peoples Congress President, Olara Otunnu drops David Pulkol, John Odit and others from cabinet.

Archbishop Orombi

Jan 8: The Archbishop Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi reaffirms his retirement two years before his ten year tenure that ends in January 2014.

Jan. 11: Kampala City traders strike over high commercial bank rates.

Jan. 17: Buganda Katikkiro Eng. John Baptist Walusimbi officially unveils Richard Ssemakookiro, the newly born prince and the mysterious identity of the mother leads to leads to several claims.

KCCA reforms

Jan. 31: Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) ends two decades of the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA) era after taking over management of city parks and promising to reform the city public transport sector.

Feb. 1: Power tariffs rise by 47% as the government proposes to scrap subsidies of about Shs 600 billion to increase money to sustain the electricity sector. On the same day, teachers reject government offer of 15% pay rise as a mockery. The union demanded 100% salary increment.

Feb. 11: Whitney Elizabeth Houston, 48 dies in Beverley Hilton hotel. The 'I will always love you' star enjoyed seven consecutive number one singles in the US, surpassing the Beatles.

Feb. 17: Syda Bbumba, Kidhu Makubuya resign over compensating Hassan Basajjabalaba Sh. 142 billion following cancelled city markets deals.

Feb. 21: Tullow oil sells 67% stake to CNOOC Ltd and Total to pave way for commercial oil production in Uganda.

Kony 2012 video hits world

In March the Invisible Children created a 30 minutes video film to promote its "Stop Kony" move to make Ugandan cult and militia leader, indicted war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive Joseph Kony globally known in order to have him arrested by the end of 2012. The video made by California-based film-maker Jason Russell was viewed by tens of millions of people, promoted on Twitter and YouTube. Thus far the campaign resulted in a resolution by the United States Senate and contributed to the decision to send troops by the African Union to battle the rebel leader.

Pioneer buses hits city routes

March. 12: Pioneer Easy Buses takes control of the transport sector on some routes in the city amid purported protest by a section of taxi drivers. The 96 buses started operation on nine routs as early as 5:00am and charged a flat fee of Sh800, a fee that was seen by most commuters as affordable.

America trains UPDF

March. 15: it was made public that American army officers were to train their Ugandan counterparts with the intention to fight Al-shabaab and rebel leader Joseph Kony. About 30 US Marines were in Uganda conducting this specialised training after arriving in the country on Feb. 3.

Museveni's impeachment

March 14: Several opposition MPs launch an unprecedented petition seeking to impeach President Yoweri Museveni arguing he had committed 'economic' crimes. President Museveni's spokesman Tamale Mirundi describes the MPs as an 'impotent lot'. Among the crimes, they accused the president for reportedly withdrawing Shs 1.7trillion from Bank of Uganda to buy fighter jets and other military hardware.

Ariongo stoned to death

March 21: Assistant Inspector of Police John Bosco Ariongo, 48, was stoned to death in a scuffle as the police dispersed a crowed that was following the then Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Dr. Kiiza Besigye and Kampala city Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago in down town Kampala. Police said Besigye, Lukwago and other suspects were to face murder charges following the incident.

Telecom costs up

Following MTN's decision to sell off its tower sites earlier in December 2011, other telecom companies like Warid and Orange announced similar plans to outsource the towers to cut costs and remain competitive in an industry that had witnessed endless price wars. MTN had in December sold about 1, 000 tower sites for about US$175million to American Tower Corporation, a USA based company.

Parliament recognised

April 1: Parliament of Uganda was declared best public sector employer for the year 2011 by the Federation of Uganda Employers beating other 42 companies in the competition. Parliament was recognised for its outstanding human resource management.

Protests banned

April 4: Government banned the opposition pressure group, Activists for Change (A4C) rendering their activities illegal. The tough decision was taken by the cabinet and executed by the Attorney General arguing the group was threatening the peace of the country.

Kakoma dies

April 8: Prof. George Kakoma, 89, the composer of the Uganda National Anthem breathed his last at Kololo, a Kampala suburb. He had earlier been discharged from a private hospital after he suffered a stroke.

Opposition women expose bras

April 23: About 20 women from the FDC walked to the Central Police Station (CPS) in Kampala exposing their bras, protesting the mishandling of their leader, Ingrid Turinawe, by the police.

Mulyagoja named new IGG

April 12: The president nominated High Court Judge Iren Mulyagonja Kakooza as new Inspector General of Government to take on a 'top' but challenging office involving prosecuting public officials over corruption.

May 13: Ugandan forces captured a senior commander of Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, Caesar Acellam, after a brief fight with rebels near the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

May 19: The world was taken by surprise when an excited Ugandan orphan Lydia Amito, broke royal protocol and hugged the Queen of England at Windsor Castle.

Terror looms

June 1: The nation woke up to news of a suspected al Shabaab terrorist who had sneaked into the country aboard a Kaliita Bus from Nairobi with the help of the driver and the conductor.

The police terrorism boss John Ndugutse said the suspects are Ahmed Khaled Adreas, Martin Muller and Emrah Erdogan aka Imran AL-Kurdy aka Salahaddin AL-Kurdy.

June 4: Police was able to arrest one of the terror suspects only identified as Hussein the boss of al Shabaab and Al Qaeda cells in Uganda from his hideout in Luwafu, in Makindye suburbs.

Ziwa is EALA speaker

June 6: Margaret Nantongo Zziwa became the first female speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly defeating Uganda's official candidate Dora Byamukama with 33 votes.

Nodding Disease

June 8: nodding disease, a mysterious ailment was discovered to be stalking the brains and nervous systems of thousands of children in northern Uganda. The disease which is dated years back caused mental retardation and set off sudden seizures in its victims.

June 13: Museveni officially opened the Centenary Bank's ultra-modern Mapeera House complex in Kampala.

The 19-floor building cost Shs 100 billion and is the most modern bank headquarters in Uganda.

June 15: Maria Kiwanuka read her second budget under the theme: "Priorities for Renewed Economic Growth and Development".

She said that Uganda's economy has slightly fallen but more growth is expected in the next financial year.

Kiwanuka said 75% of the Ugandan budget 2012-2013 will be financed by local sources while 25% of the budget will be financed by development partners of the country.

Bududa mudslide kills again

June 26: massive landslides triggered by torrential rains destroyed villages, and killed at least 30 people leaving 100 missing, in Bududa. In March 2010, over 100 people were buried alive in mudslides in Bududa. In August 2011, another 23 were killed in the area.

Districts hit 130

July 6: Local Government minister, Adolf Mwesige, tables before Parliament a proposal to create 25 new districts which would take the number to over 130 from 112 in the country. Later in the month, MPs block the move until government shows relevance for them.

July 16: Classes all across the country are disrupted as a two-day strike called by the Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU) takes effect as the teachers press on for a pay rise.

July 21: The Usuk County Independent MP, Michael Oromait, suddenly passes away at Katakwi Health Centre IV shortly after he was admitted there.

Aug. 9: Another important shrine of the Buganda Kingdom called Bwanika, which is used for coronation of the Kabaka in Nagalabi near Buddo in Wakiso District, is destroyed by fire in a suspected arson attack.

Kiprotich wins Olympic gold

Aug. 12: Stephen Kiprotich not only shocks Uganda but the entire world as he wins Uganda's first Olympic gold in 40 years at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Aug. 13: Tragedy strikes Uganda as Somalia-bound combat helicopters of the Uganda Air Force crash in the jungles of Mountain Kenya killing up to seven officers, including four pilots.

Aug. 15: President Museveni announces his first Cabinet reshuffle almost one year into his new term. The reshuffle throws in many youthful faces.

Aug. 28: Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu is appointed the new Vice Chancellor of Makerere University. The appointment ends several months of an acrimonious search process.

Aug. 29: Justice Joseph Nyamihana Mulenga succumbs to Cancer at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala at the age of 73.

Sept. 5: Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime once again urges commercial banks to cut their lending rates in line with the declining trend of the CBR.

Sept. 13: Proscovia Alengot Oramait becomes the youngest Member of Parliament in Africa after Usuk by elections beating eight candidates.

Sept. 13: The US ambassador was killed after in Libya in a riot over a movie mocking Islam

Sept. 14: Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) starts demolishing illegal structures but hits a snag when it ventures into Centenary Park. It demolished the New Taxi Park.

Sept. 18: Kenya blocks Ugandan goods over new tax which saw 2000 vehicles and 600 containers stuck in Mombasa.

Sept. 19: East African Community Beneficiaries Association (EACBA) National Secretary, Peter Ssajjabi and the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Jimmy Lwamafa, are interrogated by CID at Kibuli Police Training School over allegedly creating over 500 ghost pensioners and siphoning over Shs 150 billion.

Sept. 27: The government announces that it doubling doctors monthly pay up to Shs 2.5 for beginners.

Oct. 7: Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) ushers in the first ever carnival with several activities preceded the major celebrations of Uganda's golden jubilee.

Oct. 8: The football fraternity is once again left in the cold after the national team, the Cranes fail to beat Zambia and qualify for the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in 2013.

Oct. 8: President Museveni sacks two top air force officers over their role in the August helicopter disaster.

Oct. 9: Uganda marks 50 years of Independence at a lavish celebration at the Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala attended by several regional presidents and the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward.

Oct. 11: Ugandan Muslims denied visas to Mecca by Saudi Embassy because of an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever Ebola in the south west part of the country.

Oct. 23: An outbreak of the hemorrhagic Marburg fever is confirmed in Kabale.

Oct. 27: Donors announce aid cuts over the corruption scandal in the Office of the Prime Minister in which over Shs 50 billion is feared to have been swindled.

Oct. 31: Kayunga Woman MP Aidah Nantaba is successfully vetted to become junior Lands minister after a protracted confrontation with members of the Parliamentary Vetting Committee over her alleged immoral behavior and lack of requisite academic qualifications.

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