Monday, 14 December 2015


As the world watches in awe what’s happening in Burundi, I feel we can do something to help our brothers and sisters who are perishing due to mean and selfish leadership. We have been taught as East African youths, we have been taught of possible risks that could hinder our countries and we have been taught of the conflicts that could affect us as I remember from the peace and security training we underwent. How can we as the youth come together and put what we were taught into practice? How can our East African leaders help us use some of what we were taught in order to help Burundi?
The moment the announcement of President Pierre Nkurunziza running for third term in the 2015 presidential elections was made, the announcement sparked protests by those opposed to Nkurunziza. Since Nkurunzinza got into power in 2005 after the civil war, poverty remained a major problem and according to the World Bank over 60% of Burundians don’t have enough food, the country’s government doesn’t have enough money to fund needed programs and the economy is reliant on coffee.

87 people were killed in a violence that broke out after three military sites were attacked on Friday 11th/12/2015. Eight of the 87 people who were killed were security officers and forty nine people are said to have been captured Said Col Gaspard Baratunza.
 Bodies of men were found on the streets said residents of the capital and accused the police of seeking revenge. The unrest which has hit Burundi since April seems to be worsening. Burundi needs a helping hand, Burundi needs us and Burundi am sure wants us to help. People in Burundi are disappointed and I can say this is a missed opportunity for the East African Community to address this issue. The Militia groups that are said to be from the side of the groups contesting for these elections should be disarmed.  
Remember that the unrest in Burundi can happen anywhere it can happen to anyone how would we want to be helped if it happened to us? Would we be happy if the world just looked on and did nothing to come to our rescue? Burundi may not have Minerals, no Oil but Burundi people have blood, they are human and a single stab they bleed just like anyone else would bleed. Let’s be good neighbors, let’s help Burundi out of this crisis. Joint hands, joint heads can help stop this madness. The Burundi situation was foreseen so it’s sad that we could not control it before it got this far.
It has not been easy for journalists to do their informative job as they end up being killed so local journalists have been silent on the matter due to the fear of being torched.
 Christophe Nkezabahizi a journalist and his whole family were shot dead in the capital. Due to this, people have resulted to taking pictures with their phones and sharing with all social media so that the rest of the people who are not in Burundi can get a glimpse of the situation in Burundi otherwise no one would know as for even now the world knows there is unrest but they don’t really know how serious it is. Friends in Burundi have shared pictures and each time a picture comes in it’s a picture of a dead body either shot, beaten or stabbed and tied up.
Like its close neighbor Rwanda, Burundi has also had a dark past. In Rwanda it wasn’t called genocide but in the 1990’s hundreds of thousands of people died in ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsi.
At least now we can say the violence is not based on ethnicity but it’s so much connected to Africa’s new fever “The third termism” where presidents are defying the constitution by forcefully acquiring a third term without even caring what their citizens want and when things go wrong they watch violence in their comfort zones.
This sickness is sweeping the continent from Congo, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, from Rwanda to Burundi. Fear  in  Burundi has been expressed openly on social media, it’s been whispered to close communities of the capital of what could happen if this violence is not stopped.

 Photo from

Who is Nkurunzinza?
Born in 1964 and he was a rebel leader who later became the president of Burundi since 2005 till now. He is a born again Christian who cycles and plays football.
A former sports teacher, married with five children and his father I said to have been killed in the ethnic violence in 1972. Burundi’s constitutional court backed his argument that his first term in office did not count towards the two term limit as he was elected by Members of parliament.
Now it’s time for the East African heads to show leadership on the Burundi crisis. I personally feel the community has left Burundi out. African leaders are so silent about the situation in Burundi and it’s very sad because the same leaders want to handle their own problems and have warned the international community to stay away but what shows that we can handle our problems if Burundi crisis has only come to the attention of the world through social media? How can we only scream on social media but then sit back and relax when we know people are dying and need our help? How is AU helping in all this? Isn’t the cry loud enough? Is this how we are going to silence guns in Africa? My request to the East African community and East Africa at large is to try and fix the Burundi situation as soon as possible.
The East African youth can highlight what’s happening in Burundi on social media, let’s make the cries of Burundi heard and find solutions through this medium. Let’s get all East Africans know what’s happening in Burundi and that way we can brainstorm on how we can help the situation.
EAC as an institution has not done much to help though Uganda has been leading the negotiations but they have not been effective maybe because Uganda too is currently focused on elections hence not giving Burundi full attention. All I Know is Kenya has recently renewed its ambassador to Burundi, Tanzania is most likely the best country to lead these negotiations but then its undergoing reforms.
What can we the youth do? How are we going to do it? Let’s create awareness of the situation first of all and then from there follow up on what next. I hope many youths can join me on this.

Monday, 22 June 2015


By Salma Ali Nassir
Death leaves a headache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. These are the words of Rosemary Nankabirwa’s fun. An NTV Uganda news anchor who recently succumbed to death after losing the battle to Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cancer.
Cancer is a malignant growth or tumor resulting from the division of abnormal cells.
 Adrenal cortical cancer will be my concentration today as it is a very rare cancer. According to Doctor David Mukunya of Mulago hospital one person out of one hundred thousand people die of Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cancer hence making it a very rare case. This is good because it means being a rare disease very few have to die from this particular disease but again we should not relax because we could just be one in the hundred to avoid this we should do a screening at least once a year.
What is Adrenal cortical Carcinoma cancer?


Adrenal cortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare disease. It is caused by a cancerous growth in the adrenal cortex, which is the outer layer of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands lie on top of the kidneys. They play an important role in the endocrine system, which is the system that makes and regulates hormones. ACC is also known as adrenocortical carcinoma.
The adrenal cortex makes hormones that regulate metabolism and blood pressure. It also produces cortisol and the male hormones known as androgen's. ACC may trigger excessive production of these hormones.
Normally people take their time to go for screening. Some people even don’t see the importance of screening probably because they think cancer is for “the rich”. It has become a common disease and it’s scarier than any other disease we could think of. AIDS was feared but cancer is deadly.
“Cancer to me is currently the number one killer disease especially for women it can’t even be compared to HIV and AIDS. My mum has just completed her radiotherapy but I can tell it’s the most painful experience anyone can go through. She is currently improving and she will have to go back for review in June to assess that’s when we shall know where she stands.  In the beginning taking her for radiotherapy was not easy because she didn’t like the whole idea but slowly we managed to convince her. It’s not easy especially if you see how weak she gets after the treatment, we need prayers”. Margaret Hiire talks about how she feels about cancer.
Types of Adrenal Cortical Carcinomas
There are two types of adrenal cortical carcinomas.
Functioning tumors increase the production of adrenal hormones. With this type of tumor, large amounts of cortisol, testosterone, and aldosterone are usually found in the body. (Aldosterone is a hormone that regulates blood pressure.)
Nonfunctioning tumors do not increase the adrenal glands’ hormone production.
Most tumors on the adrenal glands are not cancerous. Only 5 to 10 percent of adrenal tumors are malignant.
Doctor Mukunya further explains that to diagnose this type of cancer, ACC, your doctor will perform a physical exam. You may also need lab tests to check your hormone levels. This could require collecting your saliva, blood, and urine.
Your doctor might also want to use imaging tests to look for a tumor on your adrenal glands. These tests could include:
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • computed tomography (CT) scan
  • positron emission tomography (PET) scan
If a tumor is found, a small piece of tissue might be taken for study. This is called a biopsy. A biopsy allows your doctor to see if tumor cells are cancerous or benign. Most adrenal tumors are non-cancerous.
Young women should go for clinical examination every three years. Women who are 40-50 years should do a mammography which is an x ray of the breast it’s free at the Uganda Cancer institute. Much as we have free examination people don’t show up for the clinical examination mainly because most Africans are reluctant towards their health because we have all the necessary equipment to detect these problems early but very few show up.
Speaking to a young woman Samantha, She said something’s are better not checked for because the moment you realize you have the disease then it will kill you more so leaving it to eat you without your knowledge is much better than living a life of knowing it will end tomorrow.
People who are more at risk with this kind of cancer are mostly females, children under the age of 5,
Elder women between the ages of 40 and 50, people who have a hereditary disease that affect the adrenal glands, people who have another form of cancer that is aggressive ACC is a rare cancer. Just because you have one or more risk factors does not mean you will get ACC.
Symptoms of Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cancer
The symptoms of a functioning tumor depend on what hormones it is producing.
Testosterone and other androgens:
 Increased facial and body hair, particularly in females, deepened voice in females and
Estrogen, early signs of puberty in children enlarged breast tissue in males
Weight gain
High blood pressure
High blood sugar and pressure
Muscle weakness in the legs
Bruising in the body
Excessive weight gain in chest and abdomen
Both functioning and non functioning tumors can cause abdominal pain if they become enlarged. Non functioning tumors may not produce any hormonal changes or cause specific symptoms

BE AWARE: Cushing’s syndrome is a condition caused by cortisol producing adrenal tumors. Although ACC can cause Cushing’s, most of the tumors that cause it are benign. If you have Cushing’s it does not mean you have cancer.
Everyone should ensure they go for screening form young to old because cancer is real, it’s killing you may just not know which one you have unless you go for screening.