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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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UN peacekeeping mission to resume operations in Mali month after suspension

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Barely a month after the Malian junta suspended operations of UN peacekeeping troops on its soil, a spokesperson of the mission has confirmed that mission will resume again on Monday.

Malian authorities in a statement in July suspended all rotations of the military and police contingents of the United Nations Mission in Mali (UNMIS). The suspension was in continuation of its position of severing foreign relations, the suspension includes UN mission that are already scheduled.

The spokesperson said the mission and Malian authorities had agreed on a streamlined rotation procedure and that the mission’s request to resume rotations on Monday had been accepted.

Mali’s foreign ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain strained. On Friday, Germany said it was suspending its military reconnaissance mission, which provides intelligence to MINUSMA, after Malian authorities withheld a flight clearance

Mali under the current Junta of Colonel Goita has been on a thread of breaking diplomatic relations with allies.

It started by breaking defense alliance with the French, the junta also quit the anti-jihadist force, G-5 force but has enjoyed good relationship with Russia.

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15 African migrants found dead in the Libyan-Sudan border desert

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At least 15 African migrants were found dead on Saturday in the desert on the Libyan borders with Sudan, with authorities saying the tragedy involved migrants seeking a better life in Europe while perilous journeys through the deserts and the Mediterranean Sea.

The discovery of the victims was made by the Libyan Department for Combating Irregular Migration, in the southeastern city of Kufra, which said the migrants were on their way from Sudan to Libya when their vehicle broke down due to lack of fuel.

The agency, in a statement, said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert.

It added that there were women and children among the migrants, but did not elaborate on how many they were.

It also did not reveal causes of the migrants’ death, but said they did not have enough food and water.

“All the migrants were Sudanese, from a country in turmoil for years. The migrants likely attempted to reach western Libya in efforts to board trafficking boats to Europe,” the department said on its Facebook page.

In June, the Libya authorities had also discovered bodies of 20 migrants in the sprawling Kufra desert who they said died of thirst after their vehicle broke down close to the border with Chad.

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