Uganda cabinet and army reshuffle — May 24, 2013

The Ugandan government, through the state-owned newspaper, The New Visionannounced President Museveni’s cabinet reshuffle this morning, described as “minor” changes. There are reports of new appointments in the army as well, but these have yet to be published. Is the timing of the reshuffle related to the ongoing tension regarding Gen. David Sejusa’s (aka Tinyefuza) letter? That’s an open question.

Notable changes include:

Gen. Aronda Nyakairima – Minister of Internal Affairs (replacing Hillary Onek)
Ruhakana Rugunda – Minister of Health (replacing Christine Ondoa)
John Nasasira — Minister of ICT (replacing Ruhakana Rugunda)

Other important posts including Prime Minister, Min. of Defence, Education, Energy, Finance, Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Local Government remain unchanged.

Full cabinet list here.

Full permanent secretaries list here.

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UPDATE: Press release from UPDF spokesman Paddy Ankunda details army reshuffle (New Vision).

PRESS RELEASE

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda and Commander in Chief of  the UPDF has made the following promotions and changes within UPDF.

1.    Gen Aronda Nyakairima formerly the Chief of Defence Forces has been appointed Minister of Internal Affairs.

2.    Lt Gen Edward Katumba Wamala formerly Commander of Land Forces has been promoted to General and appointed the Chief of Defence Forces.

3.    Lt Gen Ivan Koreta formerly Deputy Chief of Defence Forces has been appointed Ambassador of Station to be announced later.

4.    Maj Gen Charles Angina formerly Chief of Staff of Land Forces has been promoted to Lt Gen and appointed Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.

5.    Maj Gen Fred Mugisha formerly the Joint Chief of Staff is appointed Head of the National Counter Terrorism Centre to be set up.

6.    Brig Wilson Mbadi formerly the 4Division Commander is promoted to Maj Gen and appointed Joint Chief of Staff.

7.    Brig David Muhoozi formerly Commander Air Defence Division is promoted to Maj Gen and appointed Commander Land Forces.

8.    Brig Samuel Turyagyenda, Commander Airforce is promoted to Maj Gen.

9.    Brig Leopold Kyanda formerly Chief of Personnel and Administration is appointed Chief of Staff Land Forces.

10.    Col Emmanuel Kanyesigye formerly 5Division Operations Officer transferred to 4Division as Division Commander.

We congratulate the Officers upon their well deserved promotions and appointments and wish them success in their new assignments.

PADDY ANKUNDA psc
Lt Col
DEF/UPDF SPOKESMAN

Tracking violence in Nigeria

nigeria_violence

On Tuesday, Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states, Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Raids by the Nigerian army have started in Borno, targeting Boko Haram. Boko Haram has killed over 1000 people since launching their insurgency in 2009, but as the figure above shows, the Nigerian army has been complicit in many killings as well. The Council on Foreign Relations has a security tracker for Nigeria with more information here.

wear sunscreen!

Many moons ago on this day, I was giving my poor mother a terrible time. I guess it was pretty cozy in there. I think birthdays should really be a celebration of mothers more than their babies (love you, mom!). After all, they did the hard work! We just cried and wondered what in the world we had gotten ourselves into (out of).

Anyway, a few days ago, I stumbled across the column-turned-song that went viral sixteen (yeeesh) years ago, before there was such a thing as a viral video. Today seems as good a time as any to re-post/re-live it.

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Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

By Mary Schmich

Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who’d rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there’s no reason we can’t entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Angelina Jolie’s choice, our challenge

Today the New York Times published a very personal and, for many people, unexpected op-ed by actress, director, and humanitarian Angelina Jolie. Ms. Jolie, a carrier of the gene BRAC1 with a mutation that significantly increases breast cancer risk, recounts her decision and experience undergoing a preventive double mastectomy — the surgical removal of both of her breasts. There should be no shame in undergoing such a procedure. Still, Ms. Jolie feels compelled to note: “On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman.” This is a real concern for many women.

The more we talk about women’s health and the unique health experiences women face, the better. The same goes for men. Our bodies are often imbued with such greater expectations than their basic purpose, to allow us to live our lives. We make judgments about each other based on shape and size, and spend countless, wasted hours making these judgments about ourselves.

I applaud Ms. Jolie for her contribution to this important conversation. It also raises important issues for women’s health beyond the New York Times readership. Ms. Jolie writes,

For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.

I wish this were more true than it is. For many women around the world, there are not many options. Ms. Jolie is well aware of this, and I believe she will be one among many fighting to change the status quo. In the meantime, there are sobering facts to face at home in Uganda.

  • Breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer among women in Uganda, behind cervical cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma (the latter of which are largely preventable).
  • There are two mammography units in Uganda.
  • The vast majority of Ugandan women present at late stages in the cancer’s progression, at which point there is little chance of survival.
  • The estimated budget of the Uganda Cancer Institute is approximately Ushs 5.5 billion, just over US$2 millon (Sector Budget Framework Paper). The State House budget is 36 times that, over Ushs 200 billion.
  • The cost of testing for BRAC1 and BRAC2, as Ms. Jolie notes, is US$3,000 in the United States, and completely inaccessible for almost all women in Uganda.

In comparative terms, Uganda has relatively low rates of breast cancer. But it’s hard to know how accurate these figures are due to poor surveillance and diagnosis in much of the developing world.

Citation: Bray, Freddie, Peter McCarron, and D. Maxwell Parkin. "The changing global patterns of female breast cancer incidence and mortality." childhood 4 (2004): 5.
Citation: Bray, Freddie, Peter McCarron, and D. Maxwell Parkin. “The changing global patterns of female breast cancer incidence and mortality.” childhood 4 (2004): 5.

on writing

Fidget, type, delete, stand up, sit down, walk aimlessly, sing, talk to myself, stare out the window. Repeat. Sometimes words flow. Other times they stick stubbornly amidst cobwebbed clutter. Writing, though exhausting, is important for me not just because it is the primary means through which I share my work with others, but also because it is a process through which I discover, generate, clarify, and organize ideas. But oh, is it hard. Lynn Hunt has a fabulous essay on this exact subject, an excerpt of which is below. It’s always good to know we are not alone in our self-made battles.

Everyone who has written at any substantial length, whether prose or poetry, knows that the process of writing itself leads to previously unthought thoughts. Or to be more precise, writing crystallizes previously half-formulated or unformulated thoughts, gives them form, and extends chains of thoughts in new directions. Neuroscience has shown that 95 percent of brain activity is unconscious. My guess about what happens is that by physically writing—whether by hand, by computer, or by voice activation (though I have no experience of the latter)—you set a process literally into motion, a kind of shifting series of triangulations between fingers, blank pages or screens, letters and words, eyes, synapses or other “neural instantiations,” not to mention guts and bladders. By writing, in other words, you are literally firing up your brain and therefore stirring up your conscious thoughts and something new emerges. You are not, or at least not always, transcribing something already present in your conscious thoughts. Is it any wonder that your neck gets stiff?

Full essay here. h/t @alleneli

Now, back to writing.

Who supports foreign aid in Uganda?

A new paper by Harris, Milner, Findley, and Nielson finds that while the Ugandan public generally prefers foreign aid to government programs, Ugandan elites (LCs and MPs) prefer government programs:

We examine the differences in behavioral and attitudinal responses between mass and elite recipients. We generally find that citizens strongly prefer foreign aid over government programs, and elites in most contexts express a preference for government programs over foreign aid. The results for masses are stronger than for the elites, but we interpret this as evidence that citizens see aid as an escape from clientelism, whereas elites may perceive more avenues for the capture of aid resources.

 

Full paper here.