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MORNING INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING: Brigadier’s Wife Dies in Road Accident; Rwanda-Tanzania Railway Ignites Debate in Uganda

This is the 9th edition of ChimpReports’ new Morning Intelligence Briefing.

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Today’s weather update

UPDF Brigadier’s Wife Dies in Road Accident

The wife of a high ranking UPDF officer has died in a road accident.

Ms Docus Adyeri Kakuru, the wife of Brigadier Sam Kakuru perished in a motor accident along Mbarara -Masaka Road on Sunday.

Army spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said in a brief statement: “The UPDF fraternity regrets to announce the passing on after a motor accident along Mbarara -Masaka Road of Mrs Kakuru, wife to Brig Sam Kakuru.”

He said the incident occurred as Kakuru’s family was returning from the burial of late Lt Col Chris Mwesigwa.

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Brig Kakuru is the UPDF Deputy Chief of Personnel and Administration

The cause of the accident is yet to be established.

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Quote of the Day: 

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. —Napoleon Hill”

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Rwanda, Tanzania Railway Construction Plan Ignites Debate in Uganda

Kagame with Magufuli in Tanzania on Sunday

The governments of Rwanda and Tanzania on Sunday announced a joint partnership to construct a Standard Gauge Railway line from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali.

The 400 km Standard Gauge Railway which will be jointly financed by both countries is part of efforts to connect Rwanda to Dar es Salaam port, according to Rwanda’s Infrastructure Ministry.

Constructions works are expected to commence in 2018 since feasibility studies have been completed, said President John Pombe Magufuli at a press conference with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.

The news has since triggered a heated social media debate with analysts wondering where this latest development leaves Uganda.

Rwanda was expected to tap the railway line from its border with Uganda.

However, Uganda is yet to commence construction due to delayed funds from the Chinese Exim Bank.

Uganda is currently developing four Standard Gauge Railway routes which are Eastern route: Malaba-Kampala; Northern route: Tororo-Nimule and another line to Arua; Western route – Kampala-Mirama Hills and South Western route – Kampala-Mpondwe on border with DRC.

According to the plan, each of the other countries should then pick their respective lines to their own capital just like Uganda is doing from Malaba.

Officials say these are expensive ventures, making it very hard to do all routes at once.

This explains why Uganda has prioritized the Eastern route but plans are underway for the rest.

According to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) report of 2016, only 194,000 tones passed through Mombasa-Kampala to Kigali.

Uganda SGR project coordinator Kasingye Kyamugambi says Uganda and Kenya are working out a joint mechanism of securing funds from China.

Museveni and President Uhuru Kenyatta met on December 19 and agreed to fast track SGR.

“We (Ugandan officials) are supposed to go to China together with our Kenyan counterparts,” Kyamugambi told ChimpReports.

Many have been wondering when Uganda would commence construction of the railway line from Malaba.

An official said Kenya is at 40 percent of works on Nairobi-Naivasha route enroute to Kisumu-Malaba.

Uganda and Kenya have since agreed on key timelines for completion based on assessment of the engineering and related works it will take.

Uganda further contends that it would not make business sense to start work on the railway line before the railway line from Kenya reaches Malaba.

Officials say they must avoid downtime after such a huge investment moreover on borrowed money.

Should Uganda have started on Malaba-Kampala route as Kenya was working on Mombasa-Nairobi or should Uganda start now simply because Kenya is on Nairobi-Naivasha route?

“May be yes, just to show we are serious and make the public happy, but practically and logically, not. It wouldn’t make sense to complete our route, and sit waiting for Kenya to reach us for the viability to be achieved – while repaying the loan,” said an official briefed on the SGR development plans.

“That is the same reason why Rwanda can only start working on its Mirama Hills-Kigali route when we are working on Kampala-Mirama. This explains the phasing and synchronized timeliness.”

‘ADF building Ties with ISIS’

Museveni with defence chiefs in a group photo at State House Entebbe

The rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is said to be building an alliance with jihadist groups including ISIS and Al Qaeda.

This was revealed during a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Forces (CDFs) and Military Intelligence (CMIs) of the Six East African Community partner states Armed Forces.

In attendance also were CDFs and CMIs of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Chaired by President Yoweri Museveni as Chairman of the East African Community, the meeting which took place at State House Entebbe, reviewed the security situation in the region with special focus on ADF terrorists.

Army spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said in a statement to ChimpReports, “The meeting agreed that the ADF is now a threat to the region and therefore requires a coordinated regional approach to tackle it.”

Karemire said the ADF is “now also reported to be in alliance with elements of The Alshabaab as well as the ISIS.”

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is a Salafi jihadist militant group and former unrecognized proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Wahhabi, and heterodox doctrine of Sunni Islam.

ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre.

This group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many individual countries. ISIL is widely known for its videos of beheadings and other types of executions.

UPDF this past December carried out artillery and aerial bombardments of ADF camps in Beni, North Kivu, DRC.

The Congolese forces on Saturday announced a wide ranging military offensive against ADF militants in Beni region.

The Chiefs are in Uganda at the invitation of their counterpart, the UPDF CDF Gen David Muhoozi.

The Defence Chiefs commended current efforts by the Congolese Armed Forces supported by MONUSCO and UPDF to wipe out the terrorists in Eastern DRC.

The ongoing offensive was therefore fully supported and should be sustained.

Karemire said the meeting further urged the countries that have not deployed their officers to the Joint Follow up mechanism in Kasese to do so without further delay.

“Such deployment as envisaged will enhance the exchange of Intelligence. It may be recalled that Uganda already deployed its officers in 2016 when the centre was opened under the auspices of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR),” said Karemire.

The meeting also recognised the absolute necessity to bilaterally and multilaterally engage more and build a secure environment conducive for the socioeconomic development of the region.

The meeting was also attended by Senior UPDF Commanders among others.

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