Made in Nigeria Conference Comes Up on 22 June in Lagos

The second edition of a conference targeted at empowering entrepreneurs, who produce goods in Nigeria,  comes up on Thursday,  22 June, 2017 in Lagos.

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The Made-in-Nigeria conference2017 , with first stop at Lagos,  is an international gathering of both local and international Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, converging to rub minds.

The conference conference shall be held  by 9.00 am at NERDC Conference hall, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos state.

Made  In Nigeria goods and products will be showcased, ideas, innovations and opportunities that abound in the non-oil sector will be explored.
Exhibitors, Manufacturers, Farmers, Agro-businessmen and women, Traders, Fashion Designers, Leatherworks dealers, fabricators, Creative Directors, Trainers, Start-up Owners, will have opportunity to ask questions on their businesses.

Uganda: Abuse of Social Media Forcing Govt to Filter Content, Says ICT Minister

Kabarole — The minister for Information and Communications Technology and National Guidance, Mr Frank Tumwebaze has said the increasing public abuse of social media is forcing the hands of government to regulate the use of the platforms.

Speaking at the 51 celebrations of the World’s Communication Day at Virika Parish, Fort Portal Diocese in Fort Portal Municipality on Sunday, Mr Tumwebaze said there is need to filter social media content that the public posts on Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.

“In other countries such as UK, everything that goes on air is first filtered but here in Uganda we have not reached that, but we need to be ambassadors of our information,” Mr Tumwebaze said.

He said some people have taken advantage of such platforms to terrorise the country and warned such users to desist and use the new innovations to transform the country.

Mr Tumwebaze who asked the public to be security conscious of cybercrimes, rallied Ugandans to register their SIM cards before August 30 as his ministry and Uganda Communication Commissions will switch off all subscribers who will fail to register or verify their SIM cards.

He warned that there won’t be any more extension after the three month’s grace period allowed for subscribers to register. Fort Portal Dioceses Bishop Robert Muhirwa, expressed concern on misuse of social media platforms to spread pornographic information to the public and asked the government regulate such content.

“Somebody used my name on Facebook and started asking people for money allegedly for helping needy people, and this is wrong. Government should help us” Bishop Muhirwa said.

To mark the World’s Communications Day, Pope Francis asked the media users to be objective and help their nations through spreading good news since bad news disorganises communities.

Why Day is celebrated

World Communications Day was declared by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration that encourages reflection on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication, including the press, motion pictures, radio, television and the internet, afford the Church to communicate messages of the Gospel.

This year’s World’s Communications Day was celebrated under the theme; “Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

Source : The Monitor(Kampala)

South Africa: Do Not Open Unknown Emails

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Pretoria — South Africans have been warned not to open any unknown emails and to urgently update their security software as a global cyber ransom attack spread on Friday.

Friday’s global cyber-attack has affected more than 200 000 victims in 150 countries and regions, Europol chief Rob Wainwright said on Sunday.

Hackers reportedly used a tool known as Eternal Blue and a malicious software called WannaCry to lock users’ computers and to demand a payment for the decryption.

The global cyber-attack has so far swept across more than 100 countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and China. Cyber security experts said it could be the biggest cyber-attack of its kind ever.

“Many of those victims were businesses, including large corporations. The global reach is unprecedented,” Wainwright said in an interview with Britain’s ITV.

Wainwright said he was concerned that the numbers of those affected would continue to rise when people returned to work on Monday morning.

“We’re in the face of an escalating threat, the numbers are going up,” he said, adding that the current attack was unprecedented.

Wainwright told ITV that the world faced an escalating threat, and there was concern about the level of potential attacks on Monday morning.

Wainwright warned the healthcare sector “in many countries” was particularly vulnerable, but that all organizations should ensure they prioritise cyber security and update their systems.

The virus took control of users’ files, demanding payments.

Russia and Britain were among the worst hit countries.

Dozens of Russian public institutions including the Bank of Russia said on Saturday that they have thwarted a massive cyber-attack and prevented vital data loss.

The central bank’s security and information protection division, responsible for monitoring computer attacks in the credit and financial sphere, has registered massive spread of malicious programs, but no instances of compromise were detected, said the Bank of Russia, quoted by Sputnik, a major media outlet in Russia

The Russian Interior Ministry and Health Ministry also said earlier in the day that they have “repelled” such attacks as the virus was promptly detected and localized, according to Russian news agencies.

Britain’s official emergency committee, known as Cobra, met in London on Saturday afternoon to discuss the cyber-attack that has caused widespread disruption to the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

Around 45 NHS organisations in England and Scotland, including hospitals, family doctor surgeries, and health services, were hit in the cyber-attack which prevented doctors, nurses and staff from accessing vital patient information.

However, Wainwright said Europol was working on the basis that the cyber-attack was carried out by criminals rather than terrorists, but noted that “remarkably few” payments had been made so far.

“Most people are not paying this, so there are not a lot of money being made with this by criminal organisations so far,” he said. – Xinhua/Sputnik

Source : S.A news

Uganda: Councillor Ssegirinya Holds ‘Salt’ Prayers to Curse Middle East Employers

Jocular Kawempe North Kampala Capital City Authority councillor Muhammad Ssegirinya has today perfected the ‘bush prayers’, a tradition started by his comrade-in-comical politics Mubarak Munyagwa (FDC, Kawempe South MP).

In an early morning video, Mr Ssegirinya is seen in the company of other individuals wearing the traditional Muslim men head gear, absorbed in prayers cursing tormentors of Uganda’s overseas labourers.

Mr Munyagwa controversially made the infamous “edduwa ya Kamulali,” translated to mean the hot pepper supplication, where he burnt the choking plant, praying amid the fuming smoke.

His student Mr Ssegirinya has instead replaced pepper with salt, asking God to descend his wrath on the Arab employers whom he accuses of torturing Ugandan employees.

Recently, Mr Ssegirinya claimed to have travelled to the United Arab Emirates, where he commiserated with Ugandans he said are under-going extreme abuse and exploitation.

When Mr Munyagwa said his hot pepper sprayer last year, it earned him a shouting match with the Kibuli based Muslim establishment spokesperson Sheikh Nooh Muzaata.

Mr Ssegirinya organized his controversial prayer to coincide with the International Labour day celebrations, which he said was unnecessary to celebrate in Uganda given what he termed as the suffering endured by Uganda’s workers in Middle East.

Dr Abdulhafiz Walusimbi, a Sharia expert at the Islamic University in Uganda dismissed Mr Ssegirinya’s duwa as having no legal basis in Islam.

“Such kinds of duwa are not acceptable in Islam because the Prophet Muhammad’s way of supplication was very normal, this salt duwa has no legal basis in Islam,” he said.

He added that the method employed by the cheeky politician is “intimidating but illegal.”

The acting chairperson of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), Ms Lillian Keene Mugerwa, recently told the Parliamentary Committee on Gender that up to 65,000 Ugandans are doing odd jobs in the Middle East.

This is 15,000 higher than the number that was working there one year ago.

Most of them are working as either cleaners, waiters/waitresses, drivers, tailors, construction and factory workers or security guards.

“Their annual contribution in the form of remittances is $400,000,” said Ms Mugerwa.

Unemployment

Due to unemployment in Uganda, some of the Ugandans now working in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, sold family property to finance their travel to the Middle East.

Many Ugandans have been made to believe that the ‘returns’ there would be higher than they would ever make in Uganda.

In January 2016, the government banned the export of maids. The ban came on the heels of reports that many Ugandan workers were being mistreated by their Saudi Arabian employers.

According to Action Aid (2012), six in every 10 Ugandans are unemployed. Some lack the skills employers need. In other cases, the economy is not expanding as fast as the labour force.

Kenya: President Kenyatta Orders 18pc Minimum Wage Increase

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered an 18 percent increase in the minimum wage. He said he appreciates concerns by employers on ballooning wage bills and asked Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed to hold a meeting with them to discuss non-labour factors that impact production.

“After consultation with key stakeholders, I have directed that the minimum wage be increased by 18 per cent. In addition, we have increased the non-taxable bonuses and overtime to Sh100,000,” he said at the 51st Labour Day celebrations.

President Kenyatta also told workers seeking jobs overseas to only use approved agencies.

Kenyans Stare At Bleak Future As Job Cuts Loom

As Kenyans marked the 128th international Labour Day, the country’s employment outlook continued to be bleak amid economic uncertainties.

A wave of job losses across sectors including banking, construction, media, agriculture and tourism has caused concerns, with an unpredictable future.

As the country lost its job creation momentum for the first time in four years — managing 832,900 in the formal and informal sectors in 2016 from 841,600 a year earlier — the government maintains a freeze on hiring.

AUSTERITY MEASURES

A December 2016 memo from Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced cost-cutting measures as it narrowed down to hiring only for essential services such as security, health and education, in the public service.

The 2017 Economic Survey shows that 747,300 of the new jobs, or 89.7 per cent, were in the informal sector, from 713,600 in 2015.

The rest, 85,600, were white collar jobs — meaning the formal employment market lags far behind the number of graduates, with more than 500,000 leaving college yearly.

JOB CUTS

The gap means Kenya’s projected working age growth by nine million in the next decade will present a big headache.

Kenyans continue to stare at looming job cuts, even as the latest data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the economy grew at 5.8 per cent.

The private sector, which accounted for 67.2 per cent of the new formal jobs last year, expects to see more job cuts.

A recent Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) study found that a fifth of Nairobi-based firms plan staff cuts in the next six months, citing an unfavourable business climate.

Banks, microfinance institutions and transport companies foresee staff cuts arising from information technology (IT) disruption and completion of the standard gauge railway.

Other sectors expect a slowdown in growth linked to political uncertainty and harsh weather, which has depressed agriculture, the report says.

RETRENCHMENT

The worst hit in the wave of layoffs that characterised the better part of last year were banks.

The sackings, blamed on a tough economic climate, spilled into 2017.

KCB Group recently unveiled an early retirement scheme in a bid to save Sh2 billion per annum in staff costs.

The bank, whose staff count dropped by 223 last year, had carried out personnel cuts, spending Sh186 million in compensation to the affected employees.

Last October, Sidian Bank announced it was retrenching 108 workers under a voluntary retirement plan to trim its payroll.

Less than a week earlier, Family Bank had made a similar announcement, also citing costs.

The year saw more than 10 major firms implement or announce massive job cuts.

They include Kenya Airways, which started it off by sending home 600 staff, and Coca-Cola, which laid off 80 workers in July.

Airtel had started the year with an announcement to shed off 60 staff members.

INVESTORS HESITANT

The multibillion-shilling railway builder China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) shocked many when its 109 workers, based at a manufacturing factory in Kathekani, Kibwezi East Sub-County in Makueni County, were paid their monthly dues and told to leave in July.

Come this year, regional lender Bank of Africa Group closed 12 branches around the country, declaring an unknown number of its 520-strong workforce redundant.

The Sharia-compliant First Community Bank (FCB) laid off a third of its workforce — 106.

Ecobank’s decision to close nine of its 29 outlets also came with human capital consequences.

This being an election year, the situation is likely to get worse as most investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude because of political uncertainty ahead of the August 8 General Election.

Source : The Nation Nairobi

Zimbabwe: U.S. Dollar Disappears From Banking System

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Transactional activity in Zimbabwe in recent weeks indicates a slow disappearance of the United States dollar, which is being replaced by bond notes.

The bond notes were introduced last year under the $200 million export incentive to supplement dwindling dollar supplies due to weak exports.

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A survey by Standardbusiness in the central business district last week showed that banks were giving out less and less dollars, which are now available only from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

An FBC Bank depositor said the institution was dispensing money depending on the currency they had at the time.

“Sometimes we are given our withdrawals only in bond notes,” the depositor said.

“There used to be days when I received my withdrawals in United States dollars or bond notes while other times it was in both denominations.

“But, most of the time now we are receiving bond notes and very rarely in US dollars.”

Stanbic Bank was giving out $100 in bond notes inside the bank and another $50 in US$ from ATMs, making a total of $150 daily withdrawals.

Cabs was also giving depositors according to the available currency at that particular time.

“It depends on the branch but money is given out based on what the bank has on the particular day,” a Cabs Bank depositor who identified herself as Julia said.

The dollar has also become elusive in supermarkets where customers used to get them through the cashback facility

In an interview with our sister paper, Zimbabwe Independent, RBZ governor John Mangudya confirmed the scarcity of dollars saying banks were holding on to the currency to facilitate foreign payments.

“Each bond note in the economy represents a proportion of up to 5% of the foreign currency earned on exports generated by the economy. It stands to reason therefore that banks are retaining the bulk of foreign exchange for foreign payments,” he said.

“Bond notes will continue to circulate in the economy alongside other currencies in the multiple currency system.”

According to RBZ statistics, $94 million of bond notes are in circulation against an aggregate value of the export incentive of $107 million.

In a recent monetary policy statement, Mangudya said RBZ was putting in place a redistributable measure that mitigated against skewed concentration of bond notes within the banking sector by limiting the maximum amount of bond notes that each bank should hold at any given point in time in relation to its level and type of transactions

“This measure is necessary to ensure that bond notes are distributed proportionately according to the customer base or customer profile of each banking institution,” he said.

He said the move would ensure that bond notes continued to trade at parity with the US$ and to reflect the fact that they were supported by the $200 million offshore facility.

Source : The Standard

Uganda: Labour Exports to Middle East Up By 15, 000

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Kampala — Up to 65, 000 Ugandans are doing odd jobs in the Middle East, the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA) says.

This is 15, 000 higher than the number that was working there one year ago.

Most are working as either cleaners, waiters/waitresses, drivers, tailors, construction and factory workers or security guards.

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“Their annual contribution in the form of remittances is $400, 000,” the acting chairperson of the UAERA, Lillian Keene Mugerwa, told the House Committee on Gender, on Wednesday.

The committee had summoned the 63-member association to brief the committee on its business.

“Due to unemployment in Uganda, some of the Ugandans now working in countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, sold family property to finance their flights to the Middle East,” she said.

“Many were made to believe that the ‘returns’ there would be higher than they would ever make in Uganda.”

The government in January 2016 banned the export of maids.

The ban came on the heels of reports that many were being mistreated by their Saudi Arabian employers.

Ms Mugerwa, who was accompanied by the Managing Director of Middle East Consultants Gordon Mugyenyi, the MD of Magrib Agencies Ltd Catherine Ocen Ssabwe and the General Manager of Horeb Services Ezra Mugisha, urged the government to lift the ban on the export of maids.

They said the ban is not serving the purpose.

“The ban was put into place without taking into account the fact the majority of the workers that were complaining [of mistreatment] had been deployed by [human] traffickers,” Ms Mugerwa said.

“The few licensed companies…stopped. But as we stopped, the traffickers continued to export people to Saudi Arabia. When Saudi Arabia stopped the influx, the traffickers are now taking maids to Oman.”

Serere Member of Parliament, Patrick Okabe, concurred with the recruitment agencies and said the ban should be lifted.

“If we maintain the ban, people will find alternatives,” Mr Okabe said.

Ms Beatrice Anywar, the vice chairperson of the Gender committee called on government should address the reasons that drive Ugandans abroad.

According to Action Aid (2012), six in every ten Ugandans are unemployed.

Some lack the skills employers need.

In other cases, the economy is not expanding as fast as the labour force.

Source : The Monitor

Rwanda: New Minerals Found as Govt Steps Up Exploration

Rwanda has far more natural resources than previously thought, an official familiar with the country’s mineral exploration programme has said.

The revelation comes days after the Government established a fully-fledged statutory body to oversee and coordinate all the exploration and mining-related activities in the country: the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

Dr Emmanuel Munyangabe, who the Cabinet on February 3 appointed as the Chief Operations Officer of the new body, told The New Times last week that an ongoing airborne geophysics survey has found deposits of several new minerals in different parts of Rwanda, including rare earth elements, gemstones, cobalt, iron and lithium.

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Rare earth elements are essential in developing high-tech devises in the areas of communication, defence, alternative energy, among others.

The ongoing exercise, which started in October last year and is set to be completed later this month, also established that Rwanda is endowed with more deposits of traditional minerals like gold than previously thought, Munyangabe said.

In January, President Paul Kagame said there were new indications that Rwanda could be rich with previously unknown deposits of minerals and assured citizens all the country’s resources will be exploited in the best interest of the people – brushing aside the narrative of resource curse.

Munyangabe was until February 3 the head of geology and mining department at Rwanda Natural resources Authority (RNRA).

The department has since morphed into the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, with the Cabinet naming former Rwanda Development Board chief executive Francis Gatare as the new body’s chief executive.

In the latest reforms, the other departments under the former RNRA (land, and water and forestry) will remain under the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“The newly established board will build on what has been ongoing under the previous framework, in the areas of exploration, licensing, inspection and regulation,” Munyangabe said last week.

The restructuring will also see the new body inherit some of the staff from its predecessor department, he added.

“The whole idea is to optimise the resources that we’ve always known to have as a country and new finds,” the official said. “The public has probably seen an aircraft flying over their home with a loop hanging low, these are airborne geophysical surveys that we will continue to conduct until later this month.”

He added: “There are new finds, including resources that we previously had no idea existed in Rwanda, while in other cases we found extensions of existing mineral deposits like gold… the next steps will include to conduct further surveys and analyses to determine the exact components and quantities of the deposits.”

No oil exploration deal

The official also said that renewed efforts will be put into prospecting for petroleum and gas around Lake Kivu, one of the numerous lakes that form the East African rift valley, with geological surveys in recent years in neighbouring countries showing that the rift is endowed with huge oil reserves.

Lake Kivu is already home to methane gas deposits and exploitation is underway, with a power plant having been inaugurated there last year.

The newly established Board, Munyangabe said, will sustain the momentum in ongoing surveys. “We believe we will have completed the geophysical, geological and geochemical analyses by July this year and that will give us a clear picture of the mining and underground resources that Rwanda has.”

“There’s a commitment to diversify the country’s resources”.

Rwanda’s principal minerals have been known to be tantalum (coltan), wolfram and cassiterite and gold – nonetheless the country has not been known to be resource-rich, which partly informed the Government’s efforts to invest in human resource.

Last year, the country generated $160 million (about Rwf134 billion) from the mineral sector.

However, Munyangabe dismissed recent media reports that a local investment company, Ngali Holdings – through its subsidiary Ngali Mining – had won the tender to renew oil exploration, saying “no company is in talks with the government regarding oil exploration at the moment.”

“Once a decision has been taken and a company identified it will be communicated to the public,” he said.

Homegrown skills

Meanwhile, Munyangabe said the Government plans to step up efforts to process its minerals locally, with a casseterite-processing plant set to open in Karuruma, Gasabo District this year. “We are looking for more experts to work with in this effort.”

Digne Rwabuhungu, the dean of the School of Mining and Geology at the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, welcomed the government’s decision to set up an autonomous body in charge of the mining sector and to have its chief executive as a Cabinet minister.

“It will allow for the country’s vision to easily permeate through the sector,” he told The New Times last week.

He added: “Now that the top leadership has been put in place, what remains is to see how the Board sets up a technical team to implement the institution’s mandate… there is quite a lot to streamline within the sector, for instance, every company that is involved with mining should be supervised closely to ensure that the environment is protected and other standards observed.”

He also called for a deliberate policy to consistently promote homegrown skills in the sector, by among others, including the component of skills transfer in exploration or mining deals that involve foreign firms.

“We need to promote local skills especially among the youth,” he said.

The School of Mining and Geology will hold its maiden graduation in about two years time.

Source : The New Times

Uganda: Court Orders Facebook to Delete TVO’s ‘Defamatory’ Posts Against Lawyer Muwema

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The High Court in Ireland has accepted global social media giant Facebook’s plea to conceal self-styled social media activist Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO)’s identity arguing that revealing it to one of Uganda’s senior lawyers, Mr Fred Muwema would put his life in danger and expose him to harassment from the government.

The decision contained in a landmark judgment delivered on Wednesday is the result of a protracted legal battle between Mr Muwema and Facebook after the outspoken lawyer sued the social media powerhouse following TVO’s controversial claims that he had pocketed Shs900 million delivered by former information and national guidance minister Jim Muhwezi to stage manage a break in at his chambers in Kololo so the state could tamper with critical evidence of his client and former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi who contested President Museveni’s February 2016 election.

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In the decision, Mr Justice Binchy holds, “It is somewhat difficult for the court to make an assessment as to the extent of the danger that would be posed to TVO if his identity is revealed. It is fair to say however that there is consistency in the reports of Freedom House and US Department of State Human Rights Report on Uganda as well as Amnesty International all of which express concern about the freedom of expression and assembly.” Seeking to balance the need to hand over TVO to Mr Muwema “so he can protect his good name” by way of a defamation suit, the court took to protecting the safety of TVO given the history of Uganda’s human rights transgressions.

The judge however, in the last paragraph of the 26 page judgment clarified this was on condition that Facebook asks TVO to pull down the defamatory content 14 days from the delivery of the judgment lest Mr Muwema makes a fresh application to the court to have his identity revealed.

“I will do so on a conditional basis, the defendant has the means to communicate with TVO. TVO should be notified that unless the offending postings are removed within 14 days from the date of delivery of this judgment, then the plaintiff will be entitled to renew his application for Norwich Pharmacal relief which will be duly granted. The defendant should notify TVO forthwith,” he held.

A Norwich Pharmacal order is a court directive for the disclosure of documents or information.

In an earlier order in a supplementary decision delivered by the court on July 29, 2016, the subject of a written judgment dated August 23, 2016, the judge denied Mr Muwema some orders that would have had the effect of taking down TVO’s postings concerning him but ordered Facebook to reveal his identity so the lawyer could sue him from Uganda for defamation.

It is against this backdrop that Facebook moved fast and protested the order on December 21, laying evidence of gross human rights violations by Uganda and previous requests by Uganda Communications Commission to Facebook to hand over TVO to the Ugandan state.

Mr Jack Gilbert, the lead litigation counsel of Facebook in an August 19 affidavit asserted, “In my role, I receive hundreds of legal claims each year which comprise dozens of Norwich Pharmacal relief or basic subscriber information. Because Facebook is not a publisher, its general position is that any complaints regarding content should be directed to the relevant user that posted the content.”

In this particular case however, the judge noted, Facebook did not oppose the order to have its subscriber’s identity revealed only to turn around and raise the issue of TVO’s safety later.

Mr Muwema had told the court in his affidavit that whereas Uganda has challenges with human rights, “it is alarmist to paint a picture of unmitigated violations of human rights and lawlessness in Uganda.”

His affidavit was however replied by human rights lawyer and former secretary general of the Uganda Law Society Mr Nicholas Opiyo who on January 18 swore, “I know that Uganda Police have been looking for TVO for a very long time and when they arrest anyone on suspicion of being TVO, they are subjected to extreme abuse of rights and violation of court orders.” He added, “I have observed the use of trumped up charges to intimidate those critical of the person of the president. Kizza Besigye, his biggest political rival has been charged over 100 times on trumped up charges. He spends most of his time traversing the country answering a litany of charges.” It is this affidavit that the court used to guide itself in the decision. Facebook now has 14 days to ensure TVO deletes the defamatory content against Mr Muwema or else the court will allow his application for revelation of his identity.

Source : The Monitor