East Africa’s Anxiety Week

The deadly virus which was first detected in Mexico earlier this year and has claimed over 5,000 lives worldwide is causing serious havoc and pandemonium in Tanzania. Swine flu cases in Mbulu District rose so sharply that they scared even the already infected people into escaping from hospitals.
The floods that hit Gisenyi in  2007. This is nothing compared to El Nino
The floods that hit Gisenyi in 2007. This is nothing compared to El Nino

The deadly virus which was first detected in Mexico earlier this year and has claimed over 5,000 lives worldwide is causing serious havoc and pandemonium in Tanzania. Swine flu cases in Mbulu District rose so sharply that they scared even the already infected people into escaping from hospitals.

It’s reported that within one month, swine flu cases in Tanzania have risen from a moderate 35 to 245, a record in itself. On top of that, it also spread to the other areas like Kainam, Masieda, Daudi and Sanu.

Quarantined patients were overcome by anxiety and started fearing their fellow sick comrades that they decided to escape from the medical centers in the hope of avoiding infection, which they clearly had already got.

We can only pity the people who are living in the homes that these people escaped to.

It’s risky business when you are trapped in a deoxygenated hole for hours while you are looking for wealth generating gems. Well, it wasn’t hours but days for ten miners in Nyakabingo, Shyorongi District Rwanda who were trying to clear a mine shaft for explosion before the mine caved in and trapped them.

Seven of the miners were rescued on Sunday the 25th after the mine had caved in the previous day whereas the other three had to wait till Monday for redemption. They were all lucky to have escaped death narrowly.

Unfortunately, in a disturbing scenario of lightening striking the same place twice, three other miners working in Rutungo mines in Rulindo District lost their lives when a wall collapsed and crushed them.

Despite the rising demand in mine exports, miners’ lives are always at risk if the working conditions are not fully secured and guaranteed safe.

This is a duty I hope will be performed by the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), whose Director is Dr. Michael Biryabarema.

To some football fanatics, the term El Nino is used to refer to a person who scores lots of goals, but to Kenyans, it doesn’t change a single bit from the original infamous evil floods.

Kenya has been badly devastated by El Nino floods. On Wednesday last week, the rains damaged 500 meters of the Mombasa-Lamu highway and drowned the Kinagoni Bridge thereby cutting off three districts from Mombasa the Capital, a devastation which left the people living in Lamu and the Tana Delta at risk of not receiving any food supplies from the capital.

Worse still, thousands of people were left homeless when their homes were completely submerged. If these rains continued for just three days, God only knows what could have happened.

Uganda, the country that exports the invisible good to Rwanda has its major national university, Makerere swallowed in darkness after electricity was cut off due to failure in the payment of outstanding electricity bills by the university.

Power company UMEME decided to take action on Wednesday last week after it was confirmed that Makerere could not be able to pay the debt of 16 billion Ugandan shillings.

Makerere readily admits that power bills are not at the apex of the list of priorities yet to be considered because on top of other domestic debts, the university hasn’t even paid the 499 million shillings in form of wages to part-time lecturers.

Considering this is happening when it’s barely a month remaining for exams to commence, the new vice chancellor Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba has no time at all for grace periods. His actions are already under tight scrutiny.

Political parties in Uganda are very fertile ground for amusement. With the way politicians leave and join NRM in a very consistent rate makes me doubt if this is simply coincidence.

John Butime a former FDC national vice-chairman announced his return to the NRM ruling party during an NRM meeting in Fort Portal on Wednesday last week. When he handed over his FDC card to Amama Mbabazi the NRM chairman, the meeting got lost in jubilation and celebration.

After Betty Kamya formed her own party and bad mouthed FDC her mother party, after Eriya Kategaya seemingly saw the light to join FDC then later claiming to have been blind and re-signing with NRM, FDC can still claim to be strong with influential figures such as Salam Musumba, Mugisha Muntu and the newly signed hard talker Miriam Matembe, only if these big shots don’t decide to also switch clubs sooner or later.

East African traders are waiting with deep anxiety to see what transpires with the move to create a single regional economy for East Africa.

Policy maker from the five member states are meeting in Arusha Tanzania to work out a final draft of the protocol for the establishing of a common market, a feat which will grant member citizens free movement across national borders without travel documents like visas or passports.

Further more, not only will traders be granted freedom to work and settle in any of the bloc, but this common market will also mean that goods and services operating within the member states will be exempted from many taxes and duties that have been used by governments to protect locals from external competition.

On paper, this move is already proving way too advantageous. Many analysts are debating that if this move works successfully, East Africa could as well see itself drive towards a political integration that it definitely is in desperate need of.

mugishaivan@yahoo.com

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