Derwood woman links students, adults to schools in Uganda

Derwood woman links students, adults to schools in Uganda


Derwood woman links students, adults to schools in Ugandaby Melissa J. Brachfeld | Staff Writer


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Charles E. Shoemaker/The Gazette
Anita Mpambara-Cox of Derwood is linking county schoolchildren and others with schools in Uganda through her nonprofit Mpambara-Cox Foundation.



It was a chance encounter in her son’s classroom that led a Derwood woman to start a nonprofit organization that works to feed children in Uganda and provide them with school supplies.
Anita Mpambara-Cox, 39, was giving a spelling test to a classmate of her son Miles during a volunteer visit to Candlewood Elementary School in Derwood last year when she noticed the boy was getting most of the words wrong. When she asked him why, he said he was hungry and wanted to go to lunch.
“So I asked him if he had breakfast that morning and he said no because he didn’t want what his mother was serving,” Mpambara-Cox said. “He wanted to go to McDonald’s.”
On the way home, she said she could not stop thinking about the boy. Mpambara-Cox was born in Uganda and has lived in several other countries in Africa and in South America. She has witnessed hunger and poverty and began to wonder how that Candlewood student would feel if he met a boy his age in Uganda who did not have enough food to eat, she said.
“If he found out from that boy that it was a privilege to have breakfast in Uganda — it’s a privilege to have breakfast anywhere in rural Africa — how would he feel,” she said.
She thought that if that child and others could have interaction with Ugandan children through letters and correspondence, they would realize what they have is an “enormous privilege,” said Mpambara-Cox, who spent 11 years working for the U.S. State Department.
She immediately got to work creating the Mpambara-Cox Foundation, a nonprofit organization that connects children in America with children in Uganda through pen pal correspondence and also provides school supplies and funding for food.
One year later, the foundation is celebrating its first anniversary and has formed partnerships with Sequoyah Elementary School in Derwood and Journey’s Crossing, a nondenominational Christian church in Gaithersburg.
In March, she shipped more than 400 backpacks filled with school supplies and other items and 16 containers of books to Bushuro and Kengoma primary schools in Kabale, Uganda. She visited both schools and 19 others in rural Uganda last May.
Bobbi Jasper, principal of Sequoyah, said her students have shared letters and pictures with the students in Uganda and collected 106 backpacks before winter vacation. The exchange has given Sequoyah students a better understanding of the world, she said.
“I think in the long run this is as much a gift to our children as it is to the kids at Bushuro,” she said.
Kristen Wilkinson, children’s director for Journey’s Crossing, said students and adult members of the congregation also enjoy working with the foundation.
“I think the foundation is doing a beautiful job of connecting schools and churches in Maryland to schools in Uganda,” she said. “It’s really helping to make a difference and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Along with writing letters and collecting backpacks, Journey’s Crossing also has provided funds to build a well at Kengoma Primary School and is participating in the foundation’s 10:30 Porridge Program, which provides students with one cup of porridge during recess each day, Wilkinson said.
Twelve members of the church plan to visit the school in August.
Mpambara-Cox, who lost her government contracting job in February and now devotes herself to the foundation full time, said her dream is to expand the school-to-school program to other states and other African countries. But for now, she said she is proud of what the foundation has accomplished.
“The exchange has been so rich,” she said. “It’s really exceeded all of my expectations.”
To learn more about the Mpambara-Cox Foundation, e-mail Anita Mpambara-Cox at, call 240-477-4738 or visit



Wives of policemen sexually starved
By Madinah Tebajjukira
Thursday, 23rd April, 2009


MPs on the parliamentary committee probing Police conduct, promotion, training and welfare during a tour of Naguru Barracks yesterday

SOME wives of Police officers at Naguru barracks yesterday complained to parliamentarians that they are sexually starved due to accommodation congestion.

The wives, who preferred anonymity, said they cannot make love in the presence of their children with whom they share single-roomed houses, commonly called ‘maama ingiya pole,

An angry mother of four explained that she and her husband only have sex during the school holidays, when the children have gone to the village.

“Honourable members, you are all parents. But in situations like this, how do you make love when the children are almost under your bed?” she asked in Luganda.
“I am sexually starved. I am a human being like any other person, and I am not certain about the future of my marriage.”

The revelations came during a tour by MPs on the special parliamentary committee probing Police conduct, promotion, training and welfare.

The complaints about deprivation of sex were mainly raised in Naguru barracks, which has a population of over 15,000. During the impromptu tour, the MPs discovered that Naguru had some of the most congested and dilapidated barracks in the city.

Another housewife in her early 30s said she is in a marriage where she does not enjoy her conjugal rights. She told the MPs that she can only engage in sex with her husband quietly in order not to awaken the children.

“After failing to find a solution to the poor accommodation in the barracks for years, we resorted to performing sex very quietly, which makes it boring. How can you enjoy a meal when none of you is saying a word?” she asked.

Guided by Sgt Twinomujuni Odomaro, the MPs discovered that four constables share a unipot and sleep on mats without any mattress.

One of the constables told the MPs that when they want to make love with their girlfriends, they negotiate amongst themselves and allocate time to each other. Some constables who got married resorted to constructing their own mud-and-wattle houses in order to have privacy, he added.

The MPs found one constable in the barracks building his own house while two others were digging a pit-latrine.

“I am tired of sharing the kibati (unipot). I want to marry but I can’t marry in a shared unipot,” James Ekeram, a probation constable, told the MPs.

The MPs also found two families sharing one room which they had demarcated with curtains.
“Originally, there were three families here, but one family has relocated to a new hut they constructed,” Odomaro said.

Some houses in Naguru were so rundown that the roofs, made of iron sheets, were partly gone.

Odomaro explained that new unipots had been set up at the barracks to cater for the new constables who had completed the training in 2007 but they were not enough.

In Ntinda barracks, the next stop on the MPs’ tour, Police constables were found housed in a structure with walls made of iron sheets.

Corporal William Tumutungu, who has served in the force for 22 years, said it was impossible for the Government to fight corruption in the Police without improving their remuneration and welfare.

At Nsambya barracks, home to about 10,000 people, the MPs found the Police dogs better accommodated than the staff. The compound at the dog’s wing was partly tarmacked and partly covered with well-kept grass. The houses for the constables, in contrast, had sewage flowing and were packed one-roomed hovels.

The MPs received a hostile reception from the constables present, who accused them of criticising them while not doing anything to improve their plight.

“You are just looking at the way we handle you during arrests. But when you don’t feed your dog, what do you expect it to do?” one of them, Bosco Winyi, asked.

Another policeman heckled the visitors, saying their monthly salary was just enough to pay for the MPs’ breakfast. They complained that Parliament had not increased the Police budget to cater for new houses. Police constables, corporals and sergeants are paid between sh154,000 to sh200,000 a month.

After the tour, the MPs promised that they would highlight the problem of accommodation in their report to Parliament. Some were so shocked that they suggested seeking audience with President Museveni over the matter.

“We discovered two families in one room, one with four children and the other with nine children. This is serious and something urgent has to be done,” Peter Nyombi, the committee’s chairperson, told journalists.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said while the force gives priority to accommodation, it faces constraints of inadequate funding.

The number of Police officers in the country doubled in the last three years to handle the growing number of cases, from 18,000 to 37,000.

Source-New Vision



Uganda passes dual citizenship bill


Henry Mukasa
and Catherine Bekunda
Sunday, 17th May, 2009



PARLIAMENT has finally passed a law that provides for dual citizenship. The new law, however, prohibits holders of dual citizenship from serving in key political and security offices.

The new legislation, the 2008 Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendment) Bill, only awaits the President’s signature to become operational.

If signed, it would be welcomed by Ugandans in the Diaspora who have been asking for dual citizenship for years.

At the fore-front of this request were the Ugandan North American Association and the Gwanga Mujje group, which organise annual conventions in the US.

Former internal minister Ruhakana Rugunda last year assured Ugandans in the Diaspora that the law would be enacted.

“The dual citizenship and permanent resident status are meant to re-establish full citizenship of Ugandans living abroad and facilitate their entry and exit from the country by removing immigration barriers,” Rugunda told a meeting in Merryland in the US.

On Thursday, the defence and internal affairs committee presented a report to Parliament after which the MPs passed the law with amendments.

“Many of our people in the Diaspora have lost citizenship due to lack of an enabling law providing for dual citizenship. This Bill intends to give such people opportunity to regain Ugandan citizenship,” Mathias Kasamba, the committee’s chairman, noted.

“The legislation will also give citizenship to none-Ugandan nationals who are making enormous contribution to our nation, and would wish to attain Ugandan citizenship.”

Positions which people with dual citizenship cannot hold include the Presidency, the Prime Minister, ministers, the Inspector General of Government, the head of the armed forces or commanding officers.

They can also not head the Police, any of the intelligence organisations or departments responsible for records, personnel and logistics in all branches of the armed forces. Matsiko Kabakumba, the former government chief whip, said the Bill was a response to the public outcry for dual citizenship.
“A citizen of Uganda of 18 years and above who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of a country other than Uganda may retain citizenship of Uganda,” the new law states.

However, there are a number of requirements to become a Ugandan citizen. Applicants must not be engaged in espionage against Uganda or have served in the armed forces of countries at war or hostile to Uganda. They need to have a clean criminal record and should not be bankrupt.

The applicant must also be above 18 years, be of sound mind, and hold only one other citizenship from a country which permits dual citizenship. In addition, non-Ugandans must prove that they are not being deported from any country and are not under a death sentence or imprisonment exceeding nine months.

They must also have been resident in Uganda for over 20 years, and for 24 months running just before the application. The applicants must know at least one prescribed Ugandan language, English or Swahili.

Additionally, the applicants should possess “substantial amounts of money lawfully acquired and be willing to take the oath of allegiance”.

Okello Okello (UPC) said he was not convinced that the country stands to gain from dual citizenship. “I don’t believe one has to be a citizen to invest in a country. The big known investments here are by non-citizens,” he observed.

Charles Angiro (Independent) expressed concern that Uganda would see an influx of citizenship-seeking foreigners. “One million Chinese or a quarter of Rwandan nationals may apply for Ugandan citizenship arguing that they helped liberate Uganda in the Luwero triangle war,” he noted.

Beatrice Anywar (FDC) argued that Ugandans living abroad should come back proudly as Ugandans without any conditions.

“In the North, where we have had war, people left the country for different reasons. That means they are at the mercy of those making the law.”

Alex Ndezi (NRM) warned against “monetising” citizenship.

Source-New Vision

Uganda Police women cite sexual abuse
By Eddie Ssejjoba


Women Police officers sob before Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura at the Kibuli Police Training School playground on Friday





Sunday, 12th April, 2009
WOMEN Police officers have complained that they are sexually harassed by their male bosses in order to be deployed or promoted.

Some of the women officers said they had been denied promotions for rejecting sexual advances from their superiors, with some stuck at the same rank for over 27 years.

The officers disclosed their plight during a meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura, at the Kibuli Police Training School playground on Friday.

The women officers were from the Kampala metropolitan area that covers Kampala, Wakiso and Mpigi districts.

Some of the female officers sobbed as their colleagues narrated the ordeal they had gone through under their brutal male bosses.

The complaints included poor personal and general conditions in the force.

Many cited sexual harassment, victimisation over simple mistakes, poor housing and living conditions, failure by their supervisors to recognise their plight especially when pregnant, lack of uniforms, missing salaries and failure to be promoted.

They said bosses refuse to deploy them for ‘juicy’ assignments after disagreements with them.

Some said they had been deliberately undeployed for years for small mistakes, while others had discovered malicious reports in their confidential files.

At least 45 women aired out their complaints as the Police chief, who braved the scorching sun, jotted down notes.

He overruled the police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, who had suggested that some of the complaints were too personal and needed to be communicated in privacy.

Detective Nora Asiimwe said many of her colleagues were sexually abused and contracted the HIV virus.

“Due to sexual harassment, many of our colleagues get infected with HIV/Aids and can’t be admitted for refresher courses. They end up getting frustrated, which has discouraged many other young women from joining the force,” she said.

She also reported that pregnant officers are maliciously assigned duties that require physically fit personnel.

More tears flowed as Sgt. Shellie Namita Onega of the police band narrated that her bosses forced her to pay for a music instrument she accidentally broke while on duty and that since 2007, she has neither been deployed nor transferred.

“I have been victimised for no good reason. I’m not deployed yet I’m a single mother with five orphans to look after. I have never been promoted for the 27 years I have served the force,” she said.

Another police woman, Lokisa Sande, also wondered why she had never been promoted yet she had served for over 35 years.

Catherine Nampindi, who is attached to the Police Standards Unit, said although Kayihura had directed that she is promoted after serving for 12 years, her name was again deleted from the list of candidates.

Kayihura had ordered her promotion following her petition last year. Nampindi joined the force in 1994 with a diploma.

Baker Isabirye, in charge of the family protection unit at Wandegeya, said she had been victimised for filing a case against the former Mukono Police commander, James Aurien, over defiling her housegirl.

Aurien is currently facing charges of murdering his wife.

“I discovered several blackmail letters in my file,” she said, adding that she had not been promoted for 15 years. She said many male Police officers above the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police commit serious offences but are not prosecuted.

ASP Womagye, attached to Mpigi police station, said her boss declared her a “deserter” on her return from a military training course at Kyankwanzi last year.

“We are being sexually harassed, oppressed, marginalised and demoralised, especially by those ‘God Fathers’ at the headquarters and our immediate supervisors,” Nalongo Leila Dralo said.

Some said they had been forced to share rooms in the barracks with men.

The Police women said following up their missing salaries was a nightmare and wondered how the force would attract educated women when those serving were being subjected to inhuman treatment.

Another police woman confessed it was her first time to speak to the Police chief, saying she had been scared by others that Kayihura would never listen to any complaint.

“This is an Easter gift to allow us to express ourselves without the presence of our bosses who have oppressed us for a long time,” another said.

Kayihura said he would not tolerate such acts in the force and vowed to dismiss any officer who demands sexual favours from his juniors. “Anybody who demands sexual favours from any woman officer will be dismissed.”

He promised to investigate all the cases presented to him for appropriate action.

Source-New Vision

Blind Ugandan boxer taking the sport by storm


KAMPALA (AFP) — His name stirs amazement in coaches, while trainers gush over his skill and competitors quake in fear. Bashir Ramathan is an intimidating boxer — even though he is blind.
Ramathan, 36, lost his sight in 1995 but refused to let that stop him from resuming his boxing career, three years ago.
Peers call him “the German” — a reference to Germany’s tenacity on the football field, mirroring Ramathan’s in the ring.
“I was told by my parents I could do everything,” Ramathan says, as he jumps rope outside of the East Coast Boxing Club, a dusty, concrete facility that opened last year.
“Most people were surprised. They say, ‘How can this one play?'”
The thumping sounds of fists hitting punching bags echo from inside the gym. Boxers dance around each other, brightly-coloured gloves flying. Their feet, some in sneakers and some bare, skid across the floor.
Ramathan bobs and weaves among the athletes, playfully sparring with them. Both he and his opponents are blindfolded in matches, putting them on a more equal level. But he admits he had a difficult time adjusting to his disability.
“It forced me to become strong,” he says.
So did a string of other misfortunes.
His mother died the year before he lost his eyesight. The year after, his grandmother died.
Then, unable to cope with his blindness, his wife left him the following year, taking their daughter with her.
“I had to learn how to be alone,” Ramathan says, leaning against a wall with cracked paint.
Doctors told Ramathan his optic nerves had become paralysed and that he would never see again. So he adapted.
He learned how to do simple household tasks and run errands by himself. And he started to train again for the sport he began as a child.
Every morning, he takes a two-kilometre (one-mile), hour-long jog with a guide who runs alongside to prevent Ramathan from hurting himself. He then heads to the gym for weight-lifting and training.
“You find other blind people sad at home. I say to them, you have to move. If you stay like that, you could bring more sickness on your body,” Ramathan says.
Wrapping protective gauze around his hands, he explains how he has fought in over 15 matches since he resumed boxing. He is undefeated, he boasts.
Behind him, headgear and gloves clutter wooden benches. Massive punching bags hang from an exposed roof, as sunlight beams on a circle of boxers exercising.
One of the boxers, 25-year old Robert Sembooze, says he was wary of entering the ring with Ramathan for a blindfolded match.
“Boxers fear to compete against him blindfolded because Bashir can sense faster than others and is very sharp,” Semboze says.
“If there were more blind boxers, he could be a champion.”
Others praise Ramathan’s agile movements and fine-tuned reflexes.
Ramathan admits boxing is more difficult without sight, but says he has learned how to “see” with his ears.
In matches, he listens for the breathing and the footsteps of the other boxer to guide his own actions. When the floor is too padded to allow noise, a coach stands outside of the ring to shout directions to both blindfolded boxers.
His coach, Hassan Khalia, 45, attributes Ramathan’s skill to his talent for listening. Khalia says that he now uses words, instead of demonstrations, to practice moves with the boxer.
“Before he became blind he was a boxer — I knew being blind would not hurt him,” he says. “He’s still one of the best.”
Walking to the bench press, Ramathan laughs when told of other boxers’ trepidation about fighting him.
“They’ve realised that I am tough. They thought they could just box me around.”
He aspires to be a contestant in this year’s Paralympics, but lacks a sponsor. A builder before he became blind, he says he has been forced to rely on his mosque for sustenance.
Boxing is what helps him forget his disability.
“There are no differences here, we are all the same,” he says, gesturing around the lively club.
“Boxing makes me feel more and more normal.”
Three hurt as fight breaks out at church
one of the Faithful delivering missiles(stones) for the ‘good fight’
Three worshippers sustained serious injuries after a fight broke out at a Church in Kiambu district’s Limuru area Sunday.
The clash pitted faithful of Murengeti PCEA Church against a group from the nearby Ngarariga parish.
The confrontation, in which the faithful pelted stones at each other, was occasioned by the posting of a new pastor and excommunication of two church elders.
One group supports the move while the other opposes it, saying it was done in disregard of the Church’s doctrine.
Armed Administration Police officers rushed to the church compound and separated the combatants.
Unlike other Sundays, no services were conducted as a result of the chaos.
The group from Murengeti closed the gate to the church to deny the other group entry.
Fighting broke out when the Ngarariga faction tried to force its way in.
Mr Njiriri Mukoma and Mr Thiru Kariuki suffered head injuries from flying stones. An elder, Mr Peter Ndung’u, was hurt when his arm was pierced by a sharp object.



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