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Gov’t to seek supplementary budget for livestock vaccination.



The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Frank Tumwebaze has said that government is considering a policy reversal on vaccination of livestock, to allow farmers purchase vaccines.

The Minister made this revelation while presenting a statement on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) during the plenary sitting on Thursday, 01 February 2024.

Tumwebaze said that whereas the current policy requires government to avail vaccines to farmers as a public good, the budget for procuring vaccines has been insufficient covering only 1.1 per cent of the susceptible domestic animal population, contrary to the recommended 80 per cent.

“Our total susceptible animal herd that requires FMD vaccination as per current estimates is 44 million. This therefore, requires an annual vaccine stock of 88 million doses for the bi-annual vaccination requirement at a cost of USD$2 per dose. The financial implication for this translates into USD$176m,” said Tumwebaze.

He added that government has been studying the financial implication and notes the financial stress it would impose on the national budget if the requirement for bi-annual mass vaccination is to be achieved.

“Accordingly, a Cabinet Paper is scheduled for discussion on Monday, 05 February 2024 to consider a number of policy options including cost sharing since the cost per dose is affordable by most livestock farmers,” he said.

In the interim, Tumwebaze said that last year, MAAIF repurposed some of its development budget and managed to avail 2.6 million doses to the 94 districts through the district veterinary officers.

“Under the same arrangement, we have ordered for 2.3 million doses expected in a few months to come,” he said adding that, “another challenge associated with procuring of FMD vaccines is that they cannot be bought off-shelf since they are biologicals with a short shelf life. You order and they manufacture for you. This explains the delay in their supply chain”.

Tumwebaze added that MAAIF will present a supplementary request to procure 10 million doses to cover all the affected and high risk districts as well as equip and support DVOs with disease surveillance tools and resources.

He also said that that the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has started on the process of formulating and developing a FMD vaccine and are due for evaluation and scrutiny by the National Drug Authority.

“When the evaluation of the candidate vaccines comes out successful, NARO will be authorised to carry out trials for determination of efficacy and safety. If this level is also successful, government will further support NARO to produce for mass roll out as is happening with anti-tick vaccines,” said Tumwebaze.

The minister said it is planned that quarantine restrictions stay in place till the country receives FMD vaccines, distribution and vaccinations are done together with laboratory testing.

“This will ensure that the animals are protected; FMD will be controlled and prospects of animals, and animal products trade will be realised. However, with continued surveillance, the quarantine can be lifted earlier depending on how quickly the disease is contained in an area,” he said.

Members of Parliament welcomed both the proposal of policy reversal and request for supplementary to procure more vaccines.

Wilson Kajwengye (NRM, Nyabushozi County) said that farmers can afford the vaccines, adding that government should focus on regulating importation of the vaccines.

“Let the vaccines be sufficiently available and government regulates safe keeping and vaccination exercise,” he said.

Jovanice Twinobusingye (NRM, Kiruhura District) called on her counterparts to approve the supplementary, once it is presented saying that there is an urgent need for mass vaccination.

“I am happy that the minister asked for supplementary budget and I recommend that the House gives that immediately,” she said.

Abed Bwanika (NUP, Kimaanya-Kabonera) also expressed his support for a supplementary saying that it is important for government to avail vaccines.

Maj Gen. Sam Kavuma (UPDF) however, was concerned about the long processes in approval of the supplementary budget, as well as policy reversal.

“As we go through that process, people are in quarantine, not selling milk and cows, what do we do? By the time we conclude this long process, will our animals still be on quarantine,” he asked.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa gave the minister up to Thursday, 08 February 2024 to update Parliament on Cabinet’s position on policy reversal and that of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on supplementary request.

FMD is a highly contagious disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and wild animals such as buffaloes, deers and antelopes. Currently, 36 districts across the country are affected by FMD and under quarantine.

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Presidential system to be adopted by Osun.




The Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, OSSIEC, Hashim Abioye has once again reiterated that the presidential system of government will be adopted for the local government election in the state.

The Osun State House of Assembly in 2022 passed the OSSIEC Law, 2022 which readopted the presidential system.

The OSSIEC chairman also stated that the basis for the adoption of the system was premised on the Electoral Act, 2022 which was passed by the National Assembly.

In his words, “OSSIEC Law, 2022 stipulated the presidential system for the local government poll in Osun State.

“That is what we will adopt for the local government election in Osun in 2025. The Electoral Act, 2022 will be complied with in totality. OSSIEC will not go against it.”

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Benon and Vamposs share rehearsal teaser videos




The much-awaited fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions is about to drop, and oh boy, it’s going to be a musical rollercoaster like no other!

The teaser videos that have been circulated on social media have left fans tapping their feet in anticipation as the dynamic duo, Benon and Vamposs, gear up to deliver a heart-warming episode.

The teaser gives us a sneak peek into the rehearsals where Benon, with his signature smile, promises fans, “just be ready for surprises, and I think people should expect a premium Benon & Vamposs.”

These two maestros have been instrumental in shaping the Ugandan music scene, and now they’re back to spill the beans on their journey, success, and maybe a bit of their infamous banter.

“The creative process has been hectic; we still have the chemistry, and I think it’s something that comes from performing together for a long time and the many years we have crafted our art…,” reveals Benon in the teaser.

But it’s not all serious. Vamposs can be heard poking fun at Benon’s love life, adding a dash of humour to the mix. “I don’t see where you even got this love that you are writing about except lying to this crowd,” he jokes.

On a more sombre note, Vamposs shares, “We have a lot of different stories. We are working with the band to see how mellow we can get. It’s not going to be all that rough,” hinting at a different stage presence which will be more intimate in comparison to their usual vibrant performances.

Music lovers should save the date; Sunday, March 3. The fifth episode of Tusker Malt Conversessions featuring Benon & Vamposs will be live on the Tusker Malt and Swangz Avenue YouTube channel at 6 pm. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the magic, the music, and the memories.

You can also catch up on previous episodes featuring the likes of Kenneth Mugabi, Lilian Mbabazi, The Mith, and Juliana both YouTube pages.

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Ronald Mayinja reveals the inspiration behind his classic song “Necklace”




Renowned Ugandan singer Ronald Mayinja has shared the story behind his popular song “Necklace.” Born in 1976 in Benja-Gomba, Ronald Mayinja has produced numerous hit songs throughout his career.

Necklace, in particular, has remained one of the favourites among fans, especially those in love. At a press conference for his upcoming concert Old is Gold Mayinja at 49, the singer disclosed that the inspiration for the song came from his girlfriend Julie.

Julie, who attended boarding school while Mayinja was in day school, sparked his fears of losing her to someone else. He penned down “Necklace” as a request for her to entrust her necklace to him to cherish in her absence.

However, after receiving advice from Mariam Ndagire, Mayinja decided to make the song more relatable by expanding its meaning beyond his personal experience.

He hence created a song that resonated with anyone who has ever been in a long-distance relationship or felt the ache of missing someone they love.

He crafted lyrics that painted a vivid picture of two souls yearning for each other’s presence, using the metaphor of a necklace to symbolize the connection they shared.

Over the years, “Necklace” has remained a timeless classic in Ugandan music. Its universal theme and emotional resonance have allowed it to transcend time and continue to touch the hearts of listeners, regardless of age or background.

Mayinja’s decision to expand the song’s scope and make it relatable to a wider audience proved to be a stroke of genius, cementing his status as a celebrated veteran musician in Uganda.

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