Three weeks ago I was in Lira, northern Uganda working on what justice means for women in a post conflict community. When we think of justice, agriculture might not be the immediate thing that comes to mind but here we were here listening to women who a decade after the conflict ended are unable to feed their families.
In Uganda women more than men at 76 percent versus 62 percent work in farming. For women in post conflict communities productivity is limited due to various reasons and trauma as we heard was one of them. A lot of women and men who experienced violence over the 20 year LRA were sent home at the end of the conflict to go back to till lands with no support.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa’s (MISA) flagship publication, So This Is Democracy?: State of Media Freedom in southern Africawas an insightful read this week. The report notes that African governments are increasingly exploiting the “national security” discourse to introduce regressive interventions and that somehow we are in a new area of “contestation between the state and advocates for freedom of expression and access to information and media freedom.”
More and more governments are moving to regulate the internet, but worse are those governments like Uganda who are seeing blanket internet interruption and social media shutdowns a card to be used every few months.
Half way into 2016, Ugandans have so far dealt two social media shutdowns in the country where the President Yoweri Museveni won a controversial re-election to extend his rule beyond 30 years. Today the ability to bypass a cyber wall has become an essential skill to have as a Ugandan.
On Thursday 18, many Ugandans woke up enthusiastic, ready to put months of campaigns behind them and choose a new president and a parliament. The voting was scheduled to begin at 7:00 am and end at 4:00 pm. So at dawn, many set out to line up and cast their vote in an election recent opinion polls had projected to be the closest since President Yoweri Museveni took over power in 1986.
But before the poll opening hour, most of Uganda was locked out of Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp in a move the government regulatory body and the Ugandan Army Spokesperson came to defend as a response to ‘security threat.’ Over 7 million people use Internet daily in Uganda and WhatsApp is the fastest way of sharing information, cheaply around the country. Cutting these channels off sparked alarms on the intentions of state security and the Electoral Commission. Also Mobile Money services were taken down, leaving some Ugandans stranded as this is the quickest way many Ugandans send and receive money from relatives.
Uganda is set hold presidential and general elections on February 18. Eight candidates are vying for the seat but the campaign is more of a three-horse race between incumbent President Museveni, leading opposition figure and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Kizza Besigye and former Prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. The last four elections conducted during President Yoweri Museveni’s 30 years in power have all been marred with irregularities and violent incidents.
Less than a month to the vote, an increasing climate of fear hovers over the country. The Uganda Police has recruited about 11 million crime preventers whom critics say are more or less a standby government militia to be used in case things don’t go well for the regime. Besigye’s party FDC says it has 10 persons per village ready to guard their vote and he continues a message of defiance that is not fully explained. Amama Mbabazi at rallies has emphasized that his go-forward team is ready to defend the vote.
The Bandiagara plateau in Central Mali has been hit by repeated droughts. Climate change is making the weather unpredictable, resulting in poor harvests and increased malnutrition (Photo: Irina Mosel/ODI, Creative Commons via Flickr
For the next two weeks, world leaders, business leaders and civil society are in Paris at the COP21. Uganda is one of of the ‘least developed countries’. It is one of the most vulnerable to climate change yet like many LDCs emits least.
The Least Developed Countries have contributed little to the global tally of greenhouse gas emissions, but many have submitted plans ahead of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21), detailing their intended actions on climate change (INDCs).
Between November 30 – December 11, the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) to the UNFCCC will be held in Paris. A new climate protocol to succeed the Kyoto Protocol is to be reached by world governments.
African governments, negotiators, civil society met in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe between 27-30 October at the 5th annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-V) to work on various positions ahead of the Paris talks. The CCDA is hosted the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), African union Commission (AUC) and AfDB and this year was under the theme “Africa, Climate Change and Sustainable development: What is at stake at Paris and beyond?”.
There was a charge that lack of political strategies pause a hurdle for African countries to achieve fair deals from UNFCCC talks. Many speakers also cautioned that even if African countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) or post-2020 national climate action plans where governments will pledge their contribution to curbing down Green House Gas emissions with mitigation targets, they shouldn’t lose the sight of adaptation. Continue reading “Africa needs a clear political strategy to get a better deal out of Paris Climate Talks”→
Above: Lt. General Jonathan Rono, the Force Commander of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the AMISOM Ugandan Contingent Commander Brigadier Sam Kavuma visit AMISOM front-line troops at the Janaale base in Lower Shaballe region, Somalia on September 05 2015. AMISOM Photo
First diplomatic sources reported over 50 soldiers had died and then Somali military sources said 37. More than 48 hours after the attack on September 03, Uganda’s army spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda tweeted that the estimates of more than 50 was a lie.Finally he told the nation that only 10 Ugandan soldiers had died in Somalia.