Ushering us into the new year, RX Radio Presenter Olive Najjuma during The Brunch Talk Show recounted some of the most interesting events that made headlines in the year 2021, many of whose impact couldn't go unnoticed.
The events she named included national politics, the Covid-19 pandemic, sports and international news events that rocked the year 2021.
1.Suspension of the DGF Activities
“On 2nd January 2021, President Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance to halt the activities of the Democratic Governance Facility commonly known as DGF, a donor facility with a $500 billion dollar fund whose operations were stopped without cabinet’s approval.” She added, “One wonders why and when and how the DGF started operating minus cabinet approval.”
The DGF was established in 2011 by the European Union, UK, Denmark, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway. The organization provided financial and technical support to state and non-state actors in areas of democracy, human rights and rule of law.
The President suspended its activities in the country stating that it’s funds ‘were used to fund activities and organizations, designed to subvert the government under the guise of improving governance.’ To date, the DGF has never been reinstated, resulting in the loss of businesses and jobs by the founders and employees of the organizations affiliated to it.
2. Banning Of Facebook
“Uganda goes to the polls every 5 years and that was the case on 14th of January, but a day before the elections, the internet was disconnected nationwide. We couldn't access the internet, send our friends and lovers messages on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or Google,” the Presenter said.
She added that the Government said it was for security purposes and that there were people planning to cause chaos using social media, hence the ban.
Also before the elections, a number of government affiliated accounts were pulled down by Facebook, on allegations that they were trying to make the Government appear more popular. The President in turn directed the UCC to block access to the social media platform in the country.
To this day, Ugandans cannot access the site, making many switch to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that help hide their actual IP addresses to gain access to the site.
3. Presidential And Parliamentary Elections
The third on Olive’s list was the January 2021 elections. “President Museveni contested against several candidates with the main rival being singer turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine. By the time of the elections, President Museveni had been in leadership for 35 years since 1986, that is as old as some people,” she joked.
On January 17th, the Electoral Commission declared President Museveni, who was also the incumbent, as the winner of the January 14th Elections with 58 percent.
“Of course Kyagulanyi declared that he was going to the Supreme Court to challenge the results. But there were a series of wins for NUP especially in the central region. Former Ministers like Amelia Kyambadde and Ruth Nankabirwa were shown out of Parliament's door. It was to a degree hilarious when many outspoken ministers were ousted by newcomers on the political scene, for instance Ruth Nankabirwa was replaced by a 27-year-old Christine Nakimwero and Amelia Kyambadde by Hillary Innocent Kiyaga aka Hilderman, after he made a hit song that garnered votes in 2011 in the same constituency,” she said.
On 9th March Robert Kaygulanyi called for protests against election fraud. At a press conference in Kamwokya, Kyagulanyi assembled an avalanche of files which said he won by 54.19%.
In the same month, Kyagulanyi Sentamu took to the Supreme Court the Presidential petition where he wanted the Chief Justice Owiny Dollo to recuse himself from the petition due to associated bias sensed by Kyagulanyi. When the Chief Judge refuted, the former presidential candidate withdrew the petition.
4. Numerous Kidnaps
Around 24th January, a number of NUP supporters were kidnapped and taken to unknown destinations, causing tension and fear among citizens especially in the central region.
“Many went missing for months and on return, they claimed to have been tortured and inhumanely treated by security personnel. Many others have never returned to date.”
On 13th February, President Museveni admitted that the abductions were done by the army’s special Commando Unit from the AMISOM mission in Somalia. Olive said the President attributed the arrests of individuals as those that were suspected to be terrorists aiming at distorting the country’s peace.
5. Death Of Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli
On March 17th 2021, Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli was announced dead at the age of 61 with reports indicating that he had died from heart complications.
“Unconfirmed reports also claimed that the late president had suffered and died from Covid-19. Magufuli was one of Covid-19’s skeptics who encouraged nationwide prayers, the use of herbs and steaming to counter the virus,” Olive stated.
6. Death Of Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga
Olive went on to add how earlier in April last year, the Catholic fraternity was aggrieved after Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga died mysteriously at his residence in Rubaga. “He was known for his outspokenness against the injustices in the country mostly committed by the government without fear or favor but he died a sudden death. May his soul rest in peace.”
7. Still About Politics
Following the results of the presidential elections that declared President Museveni as the winner, on May 12th he was sworn in for his seventh term. Olive narrated, “At the event, the President said he didn't need lectures on democracy and human rights by the Western governments. He was followed by the swearing in of Members of Parliament who now total to 529 members.”
8. Gen. Katumba Wamala’s Attempted Assasination
She also recounted how on June 1st, Gen Katumba Wamala’s car was shot at near his home in Kisaasi, instantly killing his daughter and driver. The failed assasination of the General was attached to the Allied Democratic Forces ADF by President Museveni.
9. Women Representation in Parliament
“On 8th June, the President appointed a number of women as Cabinet Ministers in his 7th term, uplifting the girl child after he named Jessica Alupo as the Vice President, and Robinah Nabbanja as the Prime Minister.” According to Olive, this created a positive image of the potential of women and girls in the country that would now have female role models to look up to.
10. Covid-19 Delta Variant In The Country
“Later in June, the country was thrown into panic after we registered several cases of the deadly Delta variant killing and hospitalizing sums. To avoid further catastrophe, the President announced a 42-day lockdown prohibiting public transport, reinstating the 7pm curfew and school closure. The larger economy was once again hit,” she said.
However, Despite the tumultuous political events of 2021, Olive recognized that there were some memorable occasions here and there. “Officials such as General Wilson Mbadi were named new Chief of Defence Forces and Muhoozi Kainerugaba, also the first son, the astute Commander for Land Forces.
Other significant events that happened during the year included the death of the Deputy Inspector General of Police Paul Lokech and the three people who died in bomb blast killed by ADF suicide bombers. The Congo-based terrorists also killed one person in an attack in a Komamboga pork joint.
Three Ugandan athletes won Gold Medals at the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. Those who won got to meet the President and were rewarded with cars and monthly salaries.
“President Museveni in August handed over vehicles to Joshua Cheptegei who won a Gold medal in the Men’s 5000 meters and Silver in the 10,000 meters race. Peruth Chemutai who won Gold in the Women’s 10,000 meters and Jacob Kiplimo who won Bronze in the 10,000 meters final were also rewarded.”
President Museveni told the winners that they will receive a monthly salary of Shs 5 million for Gold, Shs.3 million for Silver and Shs.1 million for Bronze.
“I pray that they get this money because Inzikuru was given a house but because it was built in a road reserve, the roads authority wanted to demolish it to extend the road. I am hoping that these get their monthly stipends and cars,” Olive said.
On the International scene, the death of George Floyd sparked a wave of protests after the Police Officer Derrick Chauvin arrested and knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, suffocating and killing him instantly.
“The jury unanimously found Chauvin guilty of all charges he faced including manslaughter, third and second degree murder. This was after concluding that the police officer killed the 46-year-old as he pinned him to the ground so he couldn’t breathe, so finally justice was served,” she said.
She also narrated that On December 29th, Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of helping the late financier Jeffrey Einstein in sexually abusing teenage girls.
“The 60 year old socialite was accused of recruiting and grooming 4 teenagers between the years 1994-2004 for her former boyfriend Einstein. The latter killed himself while in a Manhattan jail cell as he awaited trial on sex abuse charges of his own. Maxwell now faces 65 years in jail but her lawyers vowed to appeal as her sentencing date is yet to be announced,” Olive recounted.
In a similar line of events she said that on 28th September 2021, R.Kelly was convicted of leading a decade long sex-crime ring. “The New York jury found the star singer guilty of charges including the most serious, racketeering. He now faces life imprisonment for grooming teenagers and women before sexually abusing them.”
Additionally on 13th November, a US judge ended a conservatorship that had controlled Britney Spears’ life and money since 2008. “The singer broke down as she told court that she felt abused and exploited by the arrangement which meant all her life and personal decisions had to be made by her father from managing her estate and decisions regarding whether she could have children or not. The singer said she had been forced to use birth control against her will but fortunately for her, the year ended with her in charge of her life.”
“In international sports, Lewis Hamilton, the British race legend was knighted by the Prince of Wales at a Windsor Castle ceremony in recognition of his motorsport career. He received the title Sir Lewis Hamilton becoming the fourth F1 driver to be knighted but the first to receive the honor while still competing. He was also made a member of the order of the British Empire in 2009 by Queen Elizabeth II,” Olive narrated.
These, as collected by Olive, stood out among the various events that happened in 2021. “A lot happened in 2021 and a lot will happen in 2022, and I hope that you will be here on the Brunch Talk to go through the events of 2022. But for now I am going to wish you an awesome fabolous, successful 2022!"
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.