The Chronicles

Serving Your Right to Know the Truth

  • First civilian FERWAFA boss since 1994

    Since 1994, the country’s football governing body has always been headed by one of the top military brass, until recently when the monotony was broken. For the first time, a civilian, Celestin Ntagungira aka Abega, took over as the president of FERWAFA. Abega replaced Brig. Gen. Jean Bosco Kazura who resigned toward the end of last year amid claims of mismanagement and a host of Amavubi underperformance. To football fans, that came as a surprise. Political influence in sports in most countries around the world has always resulted in poor performance, yet such political connection necessary to open doors for policy and financial support. Yet, if the sport is left to real sportsmen and women, fans cannot be blamed when they raise their ante and demand the success of their teams in the playing field. Was Abega the right man for the job? True. Abega, 45, married with three children has been around football and football administration for long. In1997 he became a CAF/FIFA international referee overseeing many matches internationally Being around the sport since the early 1990’s, having experience in national and international refereeing, being acknowledgeable about local administrative problems and being aware of CAF/FIFA rules qualifies Celestin Ntagungira to head FERWAFA. Through his intimate knowledge of the game, we believe he can lead to a turnaround of the country’s soccer.

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  • Cut on fuel prices offers glimmer of hope

    While government announced price cuts on fuel, figures released by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), show that inflation is still on the rise.

    The drop in fuel prices also comes as a glimmer of hope, a week after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the country’s inflation could rise higher if structural reforms are not stepped up.

    Despite many Rwandan farmers enjoying a bumper harvest last year thanks to structural reforms and large investments in agriculture, consumers were still paying high prices because of slightly higher transportation costs as revealed in NISR’s Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    This prompted government last week to seal the price of petrol in Kigali not exceed Rwf940 per litre, down from Rwf1000, with the price of diesel reducing too.

    According to the CPI released recently, food, transport and energy prices went up in different towns in Rwanda by end of year pushing the year-on-year urban inflation to 8.34 percent from 7.39 percent in November.

    “Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices, which have a 35.38 percent, weighing on the urban index, were up 11.22 percent over the same month a year before, and down by 0.53 percent from November,” the NISR said.

    The index has also shown that housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels index was up 6.81 percent year-on-year, while the transport index rose 9.12 percent.

    Despite the rise in figures, Rwanda has had a better run than other countries in East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, where inflation is in double-digits. However, the IMF has warned that despite the economy being poised for high growth in 2011, inflation could rise, with elevated risks in 2012.

    “While strong agricultural output and exports are driving high real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, aggregate demand pressures are also building up and have already pushed up core inflation,” Naoyuki Shinohara, IMF’s Deputy Managing Director said recently in the statement.

    “The (Rwandan) authorities have begun to tighten monetary policy in late 2011 to contain inflation. However, further tightening may be needed in 2012 to prevent the erosion of recent gains in macroeconomic stability.Growth is expected to slow in 2012, although risks from an uncertain global economy and further price shocks could bring lower growth and higher inflation. Structural reforms efforts will have to be stepped up to boost growth prospects,” he added.

    As a move to curb inflationary pressures, government last week announced cuts on fuel prices honouring the 2011-12 budget pledge to cut taxes on fuel this fiscal year, to help ease inflationary pressures.

    A statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry released last week said starting 16th January, pump prices would be slashed by Rwf60 per litre. According to the ministry, the price of petrol in Kigali must not exceed Rwf940 per litre, down from Rwf1,000, with the price of diesel reducing by the same fraction, also down to Rwf940.

    “The reduction was made possible mainly due to the government’s decision to, once again, reduce taxes on fuel products with effect from January 16, 2012,” the statement said.

    Though some skeptics believe the price cut will have some marginal effect on the economy, others are optimistic it is good for consumer sentiment. Experts believe the fuel cuts are a good signal for any market economy where reduction in global crude oil prices should be followed by a corresponding reduction in prices of fuel in the domestic market.

    Ministry officials have explained to The Chronicles that with a relatively strong franc and lower prices of international crude oil in future, revellers, consumers and transporters could benefit from further fuel cuts.

    The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency boss Regis Gatarayiha was quoted in the press saying that following the fuel price cuts, the regulatory body was set to review transport fares.

    “We are reviewing the fares along with transport companies and we are doing (this) very fast as we expect to announce the findings very soon.”

    Lower fuel prices and a controlled inflation could boost Rwanda’s economy which central bank had projected late last month that it could expand to 7.6 percent by the end of 2012 after a registered growth of 8.8 percent in 2011.

    Governor Claver Gatete also said that the country’s inflation if all economic trends remained constant is likely to come to 7.5 percent in 2012 after benefiting from single-digit inflation and a more stable currency than most of the struggling East African neighbors.

    These projections though NBR cautioned would depend on a number of factors, some of which include the prevailing euro zone debt crisis, higher oil prices and a weaker dollar IMF said would only be achieved if appropriate structural reforms are put in place.

    “In light of significant risks in the global economic environment that could adversely impact Rwanda’s exports and international reserves, the central bank should avoid any further encumbering of the central bank’s foreign assets as collateral for loans to finance the government’s strategic investments,” IMF said.

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  • Mystery surrounds syringe, gloves found inside woman’s vagina

    The Rwanda Medical Council and the Police are investigating a case involving a woman who claimed she was stitched with three gloves, a syringe and cotton in her uterus

    after under going cesarean operation as she was giving birth.

    On the morning of April 1, 2008, Zawadi Murekatete, 20, a Congolese refugee at Gihembe Refugee Camp, went into labour. She was rushed to the camp’s health centre but was immediately transferred to Byumba Hospital since she had to undergo cesarean which the camp health centre could not perform.

    In an interview with The Chronicles, Murekatete said that she underwent operation and gave birth to a healthy baby but doctors instructed her not to move until when she was told to do so. Narrating her ordeal, she said; “When I left the theatre, my stomach started swelling immediately; I was feeling a lot of pain. The following day I went to the toilet, the stitches went loose and my stomach slit open; blood, puss and some liquid started flowing out of me.”

    She was rushed to the theatre where she was re-stitched but her stomach kept swelling and she had to undergo another operation on April 5. “I was discharged but I kept seeing puss in my urine. I consulted the doctors at the camp’s health centre who referred me back to Byumba Hospital,” she laments.

    According to Murekatete, a certain doctor whose name is yet to be identified, refused to admit her and claimed that she was in good health. “At one point, the same doctor referred me to a psychiatrist saying that I am suffering from trauma. I decided to go back to the camp where I remained under the care of medics of the camp’s health centre,” she added.

    Murekatete lived with pain for three years until January 5, 2012, when a piece of cotton dropped out of her as she was urinating. Due to the bad health situation she was in, camp doctors decided to transfer her to Kigali Teaching Hospital (CHUK) without authorization from Byumba Hospital, the district hospital. According to Dr Martin Nyundo, the Medical Director at CHUK, the woman was admitted without Byumba authorisation because she was having a verification to have treatment under the UNHCR health insurance from the camp. Nyundo told The Chronicles, "In normal government hospital procedures we treat those patients from the districts that have been transferred to us by the particular district hospitals. But for her case she was just like any other private patients we receive or those on other private insurances with whom we partner and UNHCR is part”

    Murekatete claims that the three gloves, a syringe and cotton were intentionally left in her uterus by doctors from Byumba hospital. However according to Dr Nyundo, it is medically impossible for an individual to be inhabited by external agents within the uterus for such a long period of time. He says, "As far as human anatomy is concerned, it is impossible to habit these materials for that long and besides even if they had been left within the uterus it is unconceivable how they might have travelled to the vagina from where they were disposed off. The canal from the vagina to the uterus (cervix) is such a small slit through which only micro materials can maneuver not such complex material as gloves and the rest" However, Byumba Hospital denied being responsible of the shocking professional irresponsibility or malice. “There is no way a doctor would do that, also, it is important to note that a person would not live for three years with such items in her uterus,” said Dr Fred Muhairwe the head of Byumba Hospital.

    Speaking to The Chronicles, the Director-General of CHUK, Dr. Theobald Hategekimana confirmed that indeed the items were extracted from the woman’s insides. “The pieces were found in her vagina not the uterus, also Murekatete had a severe infection in her womb which we are also treating,” says Hategekimana.

    The Director-General in charge of Communication at the Rwanda Biomedical Center, Mr. Arthur Asiimwe told The Chronicles that the Minister of Health Dr. Agnes Binagwaho established a committee to investigate the matter. The committee was headed by Dr. Eugene Ngonga together with other medical officials from within Rwanda and other countries to look into the issue.

    In a telephone interview with The Chronicles, Mr. Asiimwe says that so far, the technical investigation into the matter have been included and there is no link between the doctors involved in Murekatete' operations and the external agents found in Murekatete. He notes, "The medical investigation report has been concluded and it is clear that there is no link between the materials and the operations that Murekatete underwent". He adds, “It is most likely the materials were inserted from the outside into the woman's vagina not during the operation". Dr Ngoga also claims that “There is no connection from where these items were found and the uterus; also the types of gloves that were found in her vagina are not used in the theatre”. He adds that the gloves found in Murekatete were examining gloves while those used in the theatre are surgical gloves.

    Dr. Ngoga also pointed out that during cesarean; a surgeon does not need a syringe – which clears the surgeon from being responsible. However according to a doctor at CHUK who closely followed the case, Murekatete said she was undergoing her normal menstrual periods which according to him is an impossibility if the materials had been in the vagina for such a long period of time”. The doctor who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter adds, "She could have seen these materials during her periods"

    Asked if Murekatete will be able to give birth again, Dr Ngoga says that during the treatment at CHUK, it was discovered that one of her fallopian tubes was damaged. Fallopian tubes are the two long, thin tubes that connect to a woman's uterus (one on each side). In a woman's body the tube allows passage of the egg from the ovary to the uterus.

    “She still can give birth with one remaining fallopian tube,” says Ngoga. Also interested in the matter however, the police spokesperson Theos Badege told The Chronicles that investigations are still ongoing. He said, "The investigations are still ongoing and nothing important can be published at present". Badege promises that the police will soon be publishing the findings of who is responsible, when and how the materials found their way into Murekatete's vagina.

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