Uncategorized

Writing for African Feminism

Today I wrote my first post for AfricanFeminism, a great initiative by my friend Billene Seyoum. AfricanFeminism (AF) is a collaborative writing project between African authors/writers with the long-term ambition of bringing on board at least one feminist voice from throughout the continent. It’s an online feminist platform that encourages open discussion and dialogue on feminist issues throughout the continent.

Billene started out with EthiopianFeminist back in 2011 after her move back to Addis Ababa.  Billene and I spent a year in graduate school in Costa Rica at the UN mandated University for Peace in 2010. She has been a great inspiration and Africa has and needs many more women like her. Information sharing and collaborations on the continent among storytellers is very key to our own understanding of our interconnected lives, struggles and achievements. Follow AF for stories from writers from various countries as we try to tell stories of women through different prisms.

My first post is on Ugandan women creating online spaces to have an impact on national discourse and debates. It is derived from a recently concluded second annual Uganda Social Media Conference which I worked on with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Read more here

Follow Billene on Twitter @BilleneSeyoum

 

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Uncategorized

Africa must invest in women farmers in post conflict communities

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 Sub-Saharan Africa, women make up 50 percent of the agricultural labor force, but manage plots that are roughly 20-30 percent less productive. And land rights remain a sticky issue in northern Uganda for all but specific challenges remain for women.

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.

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Uganda, Uncategorized

Social Media Shutdowns and the rise of a securocratic Uganda

The Media Institute of Southern Africa’s (MISA) flagship publication, So This Is Democracy?: State of Media Freedom in southern Africa was 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.

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Uncategorized

Male survivors of rape in northern Uganda and Ongwen trial

Photo by K. Burns [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A few nights ago I came across this article from Acholitimes about a male survivor of rape from northern Uganda.

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Uncategorized

No substantial evidence in my thoughts tonight

 

Katureebe yatutoneka

But someone will ask where is the wound

Are you blind? And even if you were, the air would have whispered to you

If you aren’t blind, can’t you see it on the streets of Kampala?

Don’t you listen to the radios? Did you hear that person telling us

‘At least you are bleeding in peace’

But if I put many questions someone will say no evidence

Katureebe yatutoneka,

Not in that intentional, malicious kind of way

But open wounds don’t get into these details of intent

For there’s no substantial evidence to support any of this.

All the wound cares about is the pain reintroduced

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Elections, Uganda, Uncategorized

Tensions high, heavy police and military deployement ahead Uganda vote declaration

Photo by NTVUganda

Which way Uganda?

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.

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Elections, Politics, Uganda, Women

Worrying war rhetoric ahead of Feb 18 Uganda vote

kayi

Kale Kayihura addressing police officers via RedPepper Twitter

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.

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