UGANDA NEWS BRIEFS – 18 FEBRUARY 2009
Joint Operations Against LRA
Odhiambo to face court – Makubuya (New Vision) http://newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/671834 The Attorney General, Dr. Khiddu Makubuya, on Monday said the Lord‟s Resistance Army (LRA)
second-in-command, Okot Odhiambo, would face the law once he surrenders or is captured.
In a statement yesterday, Makubuya dismissed reports that President Yoweri Museveni had promised
amnesty to the rebel commander, saying it was necessary that the victims of Odhiambo‟s heinous
acts see him face the law.
Makubuya, who is also the justice and constitutional affairs minister, said Odhiambo would be
subjected to what was agreed at the Juba talks.
“Throughout the peace negotiations, the Government made it clear that whatever the outcome of the
peace talks, those responsible for the atrocities in northern Uganda would pay for their actions,” he
The Government‟s unwavering stance against impunity, Makubuya said, was reflected in the Accountability and Reconciliation agreement.
The agreement provides for the application of criminal and civil justice measures against any
individual who is said to have committed crimes or human rights violations in the course of the conflict.
“This position was further fortified in paragraph 7 of the agreement, which provides for the creation of
a special division of the High Court to try implicated individuals,” he said.
Makubuya was reacting to an earlier story in the media, titled “Odhiambo won‟t face world court”.
He said after Uganda referred the situation in the north to the International Criminal Court,
investigations determined that Odhiambo had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“Ugandans will recall that Okot Odhiambo is one of those individuals suspected to be responsible for
some of the gruesome atrocities committed during the conflict,” Makubuya said.
Last month, reports said Amnesty International accused the International Organisation for Migration
(IOM) of being involved in secret amnesty negotiations with Odhiambo.
IOM is an agency that facilitates repatriation globally.
Refugees flee Congo in several directions: UN agency (Reuters)
Thousands of refugees are fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo in several directions as a result
of separate flare-ups of fighting in the vast country, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said
More than 15,000 Congolese have fled to southern Sudan in recent months to escape violence from
Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, who have attacked towns in northeastern Congo
several times since January, UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said.
Some 3,000 Rwandans who had been living in eastern Congo have also left the country in the past
six weeks, fearing being caught in the crossfire of a Rwandan-Congolese offensive against another
rebel group in the region, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FLDR).
And about 47,000 Congolese refugees have crossed into Uganda since fighting against the FLDR
escalated in the North Kivu province last year, with about 180 people a day still trickling in, Redmond
Congo "is sending refugees in several directions," he told a news briefing in Geneva, where the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is based.
Redmond said a recent LRA attack on the northeast Congolese town of Aba caused as many as 100,000 people to flee, with most seeking refuge in southern Sudan or near the border with Congo, where the rebels are continuing to operate.
"It is critical to move all of these refugees away from border areas both for security reasons and to facilitate distribution of aid," Redmond said, stressing that the upcoming rainy season would make key roads in the region impassable.
In the east of the country, thousands more Rwandan civilians are expected to keep crossing into their homeland as a result of escalating violence in their midst. "Most of these people spent almost 15 years in eastern DRC and in many places they integrated with the local Congolese communities," Redmond said.
The UNHCR and other aid agencies are working to distribute clean water and food, build latrines, and help move people to transit centres in response to the multiple demands in Congo, a former Belgian colony with a population of nearly 67 million.
In addition to Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda, the country's other neighbours are Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Central African Republic, and the smaller Congo-Brazzaville.
More than 15,000 Congoleses have fled to southern Sudan since the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) began attacks in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN refugee agency reported Tuesday.
"It is critical to move all of these refugees away from border areas both for security reasons and to facilitate distribution of aid... Access to the refugees will soon become impossible when the seasonal rains begin in April and roads become impassable," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.
Refugees in Lasu in central Sudan said that the DRC town of Aba, with an estimated population of 100,000, had been deserted following an LRA attack.
Many of the 6,000 refugees in Lasu were reported to be in good health but are in need of emergency aid, Redmond said.
Agencies are coordinating assistance, including the provision of clean water and the emergency construction of latrines, he said.
The LRA, which has been accused of committing atrocities including mutilations and the recruitment of child soldiers in its long fight in northern Uganda, has moved into southern Sudan and north-east DRC, where Congolese, Ugandan and Sudanese forces have launched a joint operation to oust them and force them to accept a peace agreement.
Karamoja / Eastern Uganda
Karimojong women tortured, raped (New Vision)
ABOUT 100 men suspected to be Iteso from Katakwi district on Friday attacked a Karimojong settlement in Moroto district and raped women.
The attackers, suspected to have come from Olilim village in Ngariam sub-county, raided the settlement at Nabwal in Iriiri sub-county in the afternoon.
The UPDF officer in-charge of Iriiri army detachment, Lt. Hillary Opio, said 22 women were tortured, adding that eight of them, including breast-feeding mothers, were raped.
The victims told a team of district officials led by the resident district commissioner, Nahman Ojwee, that the attackers were accompanied by four armed men dressed in uniforms similar to those of the UPDF.
The victims said the men, who were helping the women to set up temporary shelters, took off when
they saw the invaders.
There are about 630 households in the area.
“The invaders removed our necklaces, bangles and waist beads before raping us,” Sabina Naru, 48,
Lucia Angolere, a breast-feeding mother, said the men first checked the sex of their children.
“If my child was a male, it would not have survived. They ordered me to lie down and spread my legs
apart before three men raped me,” she said.
The area LC3 chairman, John Ogwel, said the invaders arrived from the bushes west of the
He appealed to the army to arrest the armed men, saying they could be indisciplined soldiers.
The Karimojong, trying to settle in the green belt, were victims of famine in Lokopo, Lopeei and
Matany in Bokora county.
The settlement is located on the borderline of Katakwi and Moroto districts, which is a centre of
conflict between the Iteso and Karimojong.
The Karimojong say their boundary is about 40km into Katakwi.
Police officers desert Karamoja (Daily Monitor)
Sixty-six of 1,200 police officers who were deployed in Karamoja region under the Re-Establishing
Law and Order in Karamoja (Reloka) programme have deserted, a police commissioner has said.
The coordinator of Reloka, Mr Grace Turyagumanawe said police officers who are deployed in
Karamoja see it as a demotion and find different means to get out.
“Since Karamoja is a hard- to-reach region, police personnel attitude towards the region is negative.
They feel it is a punishment to work in Karamoja. Sixty-six officers have been declared as deserters,”
Mr Turyagumanawe said on Friday at Moroto Municipality.
He said he has arrested some of the deserters in Kabale and Kasese districts but the Director of
Public Prosecution (DDP) has failed to prosecute them.
“When we take their files to the DPP, he says that since they came back, they didn‟t have an intention
to desert and he dismisses the case,” he said.
Mr Turyagumanawe said some of the officers have personally talked to him asking him to help them
leave Karamoja while others connive with officers in Police‟s human resource department to redeploy
Police officers operating in the region face enormous challenges ranging from logistics, housing,
transport and basic necessities.
District leaders have asked the government to consider giving police officers operating in Karamoja
region hardship allowance to motivate them as per the Peace, Recovery, Development Programme of
the Northern and North Eastern Uganda (PRDP) recommendations.
The leaders led by Abim District chairman Norman Ochero said such allowances will give the officers
morale to operate in the region.
1.4 million children immunised against polio (New Vision)
ABOUT of 1.4 million children in 23 districts have been immunised against polio.
The two sub-national immunisation days were in the first week of February. The campaign targeted
children below five years.
“Our target was to reach at least 80% of the children in the 25 risky districts. So far we have
immunised 1.4 million children, which is 90% coverage,” said Dr. Possy Mugyenyi, the programme
manager of the Uganda National Expanded Programme on Immunisation (UNEPI).
Uganda has been free of the wild polio virus since 1996. In September last year, however, the World
Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed two cases of the virus in Southern Sudan and Kivu in the DR
Due to the free movement of people between Uganda, Congo and Sudan, there was a possibility of
Mugyenyi said refugees in the bordering districts were also
The sh800m campaign was carried out by the health ministry in partnership with WHO. It targeted
Wakiso and Kampala, districts in the west, south western, West Nile and parts of the Acholi region.
The highest turn-up was in Amuru district where 54,990 children were immunised, representing 129%
of the target. Other districts that surpassed the 100% target included Buliisa, Nebbi, Kabale, Isingiro,
Koboko, Kitgum, Kibaale, Rukungiri, Gulu, Kanungu and Kabarole.
Kampala, Adjumani, Moyo and Wakiso failed to reach the 80% target.
“Adjumani (56%) and Moyo (43%) have problems with the population figures.
Wakiso (51%), Kampala and Mbarara delayed to access funds from the district accounts. Mugyenyi
said the campaign in Mbarara and Kampala would be re-done in the weekend of February 21-22.
The next national campaign will be in April. All children will be given the measles vaccine, vitamin A
and de-worming tablets. The second round of polio vaccination will also be given in 25 districts.
Make HIV testing free and universal (New Vision - EDITORIAL)
Over, 1,000 couples in Kampala turned up for HIV testing ahead of Valentine‟s Day celebrations.
The reason they were able to test in such large numbers in a single day is that the test was made
available and free.
Their turn-up is an indication that many people would like to know their status but are often limited by
access and costs. To-date a majority of Ugandans do not know their HIV status yet HIV counselling
and testing has been proved to be a major tool in preventing HIV spread.
When people know they are HIV-negative they become more determined to protect their status. On
the other hand those who test positive can be helped to live longer as starting treatment early is
important in sustaining ones life.
Counselling and testing, therefore, is a vital life-saving service that should be made freely available,
not just on special days like Valentines, but all year-round and throughout the country.
The findings of the Modes of Transmission study conducted last year indicate that incidence of HIV is
rising, especially among married couples aged 30 – 40. Whereas the ABC strategy encompassing
abstaining from, sex, being faithful or using a condom reduced HIV infection rates from the late 1980s,
the resurgence is an indication that new weapons are needed against the epidemic.
Strategies like free, universal voluntary counseling and testing should be promoted in addition to ABC.
At the moment, most Ugandans need to travel tens of kilometres to find the nearest facility where they
can receive HIV counseling and testing.
This is absurd. The services should be made available at the sub-county health centres countrywide
and free of charge. Most Ugandans are peasants who live in rural areas and many would rather not
take a test than spend a few thousand shillings transporting themselves to the testing facilities.
We should not continue with a situation where thousands of people want to know their HIV status but
are unable to take a test.
Apac receives sh10m to fight tuberculosis (New Vision)
http://newvision.co.ug/D/8/16/671778 APAC district has received over sh10m from the Global Fund to fight tuberculosis.
The district health officer, Dr. Matthew Emer, on Monday said the money would be used to sensitise
the masses about the disease.
“We plan to conduct advocacy meetings at sub-county and district levels to create awareness on
tuberculosis. We also plan to initiate and conduct school health talks on tuberculosis and facilitate
community volunteers in the campaign against the disease,” Emer said.
He said they would give financial support to drama groups that performed shows on the disease.
Emer said though tuberculosis was linked to HIV/AIDS, the disease was curable.
Govt to expand 15 USE schools (Daily Monitor)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has extended a grant worth $17.1 million (about Shs33.3billion)
to the government to facilitate expansions of 15 rural secondary schools that have a large Universal
Secondary Education (USE) enrollment.
The funding is a supplement to $21.3million (Shs41.5b), the bank injected in the sector last year
under AfDB Education III project. The money facilitated construction of 25 modern „Seed‟ secondary
AfDB official, Benedict Kanu said the bank offered the funds to support increase and equitable
participation of citizens in coherent post-primary education.
“The bank observed the high enrollment in public secondary schools after the introduction of USE,
with the first two years virtually taking all the space meant for Senior one to four.
In order to address the shortfall, the bank has agreed to fund another phase,” Mr Kanu said on Friday. Ministry of Education and Sports Permanent Secretary Francis Lubanga said the money would aid in
expanding 12 rural secondary schools and three Business, Technical and Vocational Education and
Training (BTVET) institutions.
“Each school will get two laboratories, a library, a girls‟ dormitory, text books, pit latrines, computers
and solar power systems,” Mr Lubanga said.
Construction will start in May 2009 and end in April 2010. While commissioning the 25 „Seed‟ schools
constructed under AfDB Education III project phase one at Kabei SS in Bukwo district, the Education
Minister, Ms Geraldine Bitamazire, said the move would address the deficit of government secondary
“Access to secondary education is among key government policy strategies set to modernise this
nation. And adding 25 schools to the list of those to provide USE programme marks a critical turning
point in the provision of education,” Ms Bitamazire said.
The model schools consist of four classrooms, an administration block and multipurpose science
laboratories among other facilities.
Since the government introduced USE in 2007, about 236,408 students have enrolled into Senior One.
However, the enrollment levels have not been matching with classrooms construction in these schools.
To abate this, double-shift has since been introduced.
Ministry reduces O’level subjects (New Vision) http://newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/671830 THE revised O‟level curriculum with 18 subjects, down from 42 starts this academic year with Senior
One, the education minister, Namirembe Bitamazire has said.
The move, she said, is intended to enhance focus.
“A circular to that effect has been sent to all head teachers.”
“The subjects had been clustered into core ones and others from which the students can select,” she
said while responding to questions raised by the Parliamentary committee on social services.
The deputy director of the National Curriculum Development Centre, Grace Baguma, explained that
the subjects are being repackaged.
She revealed that the ministry had retained English, mathematics, geography, history, chemistry,
biology, physics, physical education music, and religious education.
Others are business education, home economics, Literature in English, technical education, fine art,
computer studies, agriculture, foreign and local languages
She added that relevant content in 10 of the dropped subjects would be absorbed into the remaining
The 10 include general science, health science, political education, type writing, short hand, office
practice, power and energy, electricity and electronics and Kiswahili.
Regarding the recent results of national examinations, Bitamazire said there was no “exceptionally high performance by the O‟ level candidates in 2008 and that there were no “massive‟ failures in the
Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) as reported.
“The failure rate in the 2008 PLE was 19.2% compared to 13.5% in 2007 representing an increase of
5.7%,” she said.
The minister advised PLE failures to repeat Primary Seven since it is a requirement for Universal
Secondary Education (USE) and technical admissions.
“A supplementary budget would be raised for their UPE capitation grant and examination fee.”
She said the performance indicated that of the 17,021 candidates who obtained division one, 8,382
were private candidates representing 49% of all those who scored division one.
The 45,504 private candidates who sat represent 9.8% of the total number of candidates.
According to a summary of performance in private schools provided by the minister, Kampala district
had the highest number of candidates passing in division one with 2,607 followed by Wakiso with
New curriculum for Senior Ones (Daily Monitor)
The government yesterday announced a new curriculum for O‟level students, seeking to overhaul the entire programme of study in the country.
The Education Minister, Ms Namirembe Bitamazire, told the parliamentary Social Services Committee that the new curriculum will start this academic year as part of a wider effort to refurbish the quality of education.
“The new reduced curriculum at O‟level will start this academic year with students entering Senior One. A circular to that effect has been sent to all head teachers,” Ms Bitamazire said.
Although Ms Bitamazire said she would soon issue the details, a curriculum review in secondary schools dossier compiled by the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) dated January 27-28, shows that the government has eliminated some subjects and categorised others into clusters.
The subjects that have been suspended include those whose content had overlaps or was outdated. These are Political Education, Health Science, General Science, Short hand, Typewriting, Building Construction, Electricity and Electronics, Power and Energy.
An official from the Ministry of Education, who declined to be named because Ms Bitamazire is yet to release the new curriculum details told Daily Monitor yesterday that under the new agenda, a school will be expected to choose electives from each category, depending on the availability of resources.
Asked about the implication of the new curriculum, the source said, “Students in S.1-S.2, will study 14
subjects while at S.3-S.4, the minimum subjects will be eight and maximum 10.”
Although the director of the NCDC, Ms Connie Kateeba, had earlier said a complete new secondary schools‟ curriculum would be ready by 2013, the minister told the committee that the new O‟level curriculum starts immediately.
Languages (French, German, Latin, Kiswahili, Luganda and Arabic)
Values/Aesthetic (Music, Religious Education, Literature in English)
Skills (Fine Art, Agriculture, Computer Studies and Technical Drawing)
Business Education (Accounts, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Education)
Home Economics Education (Home Management, Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textile)
Is the World Bank scare back in Uganda? (New Vision – OPINION)
By James Tumusiime
Stakeholders in Uganda‟s book industry are currently reeling in shock from the news that the Ministry of Education and Sports was armtwisted by negotiators from the World Bank to change a 15-year-old book policy that had made Uganda the model for Africa in education.
The hurried nature of signing the memorandum for the Post-Primary Education and Training Project has raised fundamental questions about the intentions of those pushing for the much discredited policy that was rejected by most African countries including our neighbours Kenya, Tanzania and more recently Rwanda. Given the well-known harmful effects of the proposed policy to the education sector, the outcry from schools will no doubt force the Government in future to retreat from this new position. But the damage will have been done.
Education consumes a big share of the national budget because of its importance to the future of this country. It is therefore, in the interest of readers to understand why stakeholders in the book industry are up in arms against the
sudden change of policy.
In 1989, a review mission of World Bank-supported projects in the education sector in Uganda noted that the investment of over $35m had not achieved the intended objectives, especially in providing books and reading materials to schools. It noted that the „winner take all‟ method used in procuring books had destroyed the local book industry and availed sub-standard books that were generally shunned by users.
It was on the basis of that report that the book industry players in the country put up a spirited campaign to convince government and donors to come up with a more cost-effective book policy that would ensure sustainability, transparency and equitability. This campaign was music to the ears of most donors in education, and soon, a tripartite conference in Lweza in 1993 between Government, donors and publishers, hammered out a policy that ensured value for money for all those with a stake in text-book provision.
The policy was embraced by all, including teachers, parents and pupils, who, for the first time, were given the opportunity to choose the books they wanted to read.
The new policy which coincided with the liberalisation of Uganda‟s economy in the early 1990s saw a spectacular increase in the number of investors in the book industry, both locals and multinationals. Since then, many books have been published, and the Ugandan book policy has become a model for the rest of Africa. Many donors including the World Bank have championed it all over Africa and the rest of the third world countries.
In 1997 the World Bank as the largest multi-lateral donor to education hosted a conference in Washington bringing together stakeholders from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe, to review the various policy options in textbook provision. The Uganda Government was represented by the then Commissioner for Education Fagil Manday, and myself as a publisher.
The delegates roundly condemned the World Bank Policy of “winner take all” in text book procurement and blamed it for destroying the book industries of third world countries and keeping book provisions on the footing of “emergency funding” which encouraged corruption and only
benefited a few multinational companies while destroying local capacity.
The Bank owned up, and in turn set up the African Publishing Initiative in the World Bank Office of the Publisher to work with stakeholders in promoting publishing and reading on the African continent. To show its commitment to the new policies, the Bank, in consultation with other stakeholders, developed and published “Guidelines for Textbooks and Reading Materials procurement”.
In the preamble, it admitted that: “Many book provision efforts over the last 25 years, some with the Bank support, have been unable to maintain the service over the longer term, which is needed if educational impact is to be sustained”.
The guidelines go on to emphasise the need for sustainable policies that integrate textbook publishing with general publishing and involve teachers in writing and selection of books, very much in line with what the existing Ugandan policy was doing. For that matter, the document identified the policies of Uganda, Jordan, Mexico and Tanzania as models that ought to be emulated.
These policies have indeed been adopted by most third world countries and have resulted in vibrant book industries in those countries including East and Southern Africa. The latest convert is Rwanda which has turned its back on the „one book‟ policy and opted for multiple choice.
It is for this reason that all investors in the book industry and all those in the book value chain feel a deep sense of betrayal at the revocation of a successful policy, especially having held extensive consultations with the officials of the Ministry of Education and Sports, in which both parties were in
agreement that Uganda‟s education sector can best be served by the existing policy that allows schools to choose their books and gives users a choice.
The hurried negotiations and approval of the new policy that allows only one book per subject for the
whole country is reminiscent of the days gone by where the World Bank „forced‟ unpalatable policies and projects down the throats of reluctant politicians and bureaucrats. The country‟s leadership has
consistently condemned that method of work and we are wondering why this new move should be an
The World Bank has of recent tried to shade the image of an arm twister and to present itself as an
innocent victim of poorly informed government bureaucrats that are unable to identify their priorities
properly. Could this one be of those cases?
The writer is the chairman of the National Book Trust of Uganda
Justice & Human Rights
Human rights activists oppose 90-day detention proposal (Daily Monitor)
Human rights groups have opposed a government proposal to detain suspects for 90 days before
they can be produced in court.
The proposal was last week tabled before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee by the
Defence Minister, Dr Crispus Kiyonga.
The Constitution currently states that individuals cannot be detained beyond 48 hours without being
produced in courts of law, although on a number of times, security agencies have flouted the rule.
Human rights advocates say keeping suspects for long periods without trial, only violates their rights
and is against domestic and international laws.
Addressing journalists in Kampala yesterday, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative executive
director Livingstone Sewanyana said the government has no justification to have detention periods
extended beyond 48 hours.
“When they are detained for such long periods, they are usually subjected to inhuman and cruel treatment as has been the case in the safe houses,‟‟ Mr Sewanyana said.
“You need to address the root causes of terrorism like lack of democratic governance and
discrimination of people. We can‟t deal with terrorism when we put in place measures that still further terrorism,‟‟ he added.
Mr Sewanyana said the mechanism that the government is proposing for a three-month detention will
only keep a big distance between Police and the public.
“If you detain suspects for such long periods, people will not cooperate with Police in investigations.
What we need here is a pro-people Police,‟‟ he said.
Mr Ndifuna Mohammed, from the Human Rights Network said extending the pre-trial detention period
to 90 days only legitimises the incompetence of the Police and other security officials in investigating
North to get four remand homes (New Vision)
THE Government is to construct four remand homes in northern and north-eastern Uganda, a
financial specialist in the Judicial Service Commission, Maxwell Akora, has said.
“The courts of law had been releasing the juvenile offenders due to lack of suitable remand homes.
The Government plans to put in place remand homes to ensure juveniles are reformed for the
betterment of the country,” Akora said.
He said Lira, Gulu, Soroti and Arua districts would each have a home.
Akora broke the news during a consultative meeting at Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Government through the Justice, Law and Order Sector is constructing more prisons to reduce congestion.
They are being built in Gulu, Apac, Mbarara, Nakasongola, Mpigi and Ntungamo districts and are expected to handle over 2,000 inmates.
The assistant commissioner of Prisons in charge of enterprises, David Nsalasata, said the Government would improve the living standards of inmates by putting in place basic requirements.
He cautioned prison officials against abusing the rights of prisoners.
“Handle them in a humane manner. They are here for correction and reform and they should not be tortured or ill-treated. They can be better citizens if they are treated with care,” Nsalasata said.
The Gulu resident district commissioner, Walter Ochora, urged staff to maintain prisons for the benefit of the citizens.
Ochora lauded the Government for establishing more prisons.
Activists appeal to govt over rising child labour (New Vision)
The Government should protect children from exploitation, an activist has said.
Lillian Keene Mugerwa, the executive director of the Platform for Labour Action, said over 1.76 million children were exposed to child labour countrywide.
She was speaking at a ceremony to award certificates to 50 children who completed a three-day training on child peer education in Makindye, Kampala on Saturday.
“Five percent of them are doing domestic work,” she said.
“The programme empowers children to reach out to their peers in situations of exploitation, because they can talk to their colleagues about most subjects including child labour, human rights and HIV/AIDS.”
Mugerwa said the programme was flexible because it was rooted in the the community. The children got information on HIV/AIDS, leadership, mentoring and communication skills.
Mugerwa said PLA had many projects in Katwe, Makindye and Kibuye because they had high incidence of exploitation.
She said many of the children were school drop-outs.
Agriculture & Livelihoods
Agriculturalists pledge to fight cassava viruses (Daily Monitor)
http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/features/Agriculturalists_pledge_to_fight_cassava_viruses_80026.shtml For a long time, little attention has been paid to cassava growing as an economic activity in the Great Lakes region. Though cassava is one of the major staple foods in the region, less research has been done on amplifying the root crop‟s production as well as controlling diseases that affect it.
These cassava diseases such as Cassava Brown Streak disease (CBSD) and Cassava Mosaic disease (CMD) spread like bush fires, threatening the region‟s cassava. Prior to 2004, CMD was a single largest threat to cassava crop trailed by CBSD that had never been recorded at high incidence