A Ugandan pop star-turned-lawmaker who opposes the longtime president was charged with treason in a civilian court on Thursday, minutes after a military court dropped weapons charges.
The new charge was bound to bring fresh outrage from Ugandans and global musicians after Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, alleged he had been severely beaten while in detention. The government denies it.
Ssentamu has emerged as an influential critic of President Yoweri Museveni, especially among youth, after winning a parliament seat last year.
The 36-year-old Ssentamu had been charged last week with illegal possession of firearms for his alleged role in an incident in which Museveni’s motorcade was pelted with stones.
A military court freed him on Thursday but minutes later the lawmaker was re-arrested by police and taken to a magistrate’s court.
Ssentamu limped during his appearance in military court and appeared to cry as he rubbed his eyes. A colleague wrapped the national flag about his shoulders. He sat in the dock in magistrate’s court, with his lawyers saying he is unable to stand on his own.
Attorneys for Ssentamu asked the magistrate to order his remand to a health facility. The magistrate ruled that Ssentamu should be allowed access to his own physicians. He was remanded until August 30.
The lawmaker had been arrested with four other opposition lawmakers, three of whom also face treason charges. A fifth legislator has been hospitalised with injures allegedly sustained during detention.
Ssentamu’s appearance on Thursday was the first time he had been seen in public since his detention. He clenched his fists and greeted supporters.
In recent days Uganda’s government has faced mounting pressure at home and abroad to free him. Security forces have violently put down street protests demanding his release.
Ssentamu’s arrest came after he was campaigning in an election to choose a lawmaker in the northwestern town of Arua.
Museveni also was in Arua at the time, campaigning for a rival candidate who eventually lost. While the president was departing, authorities said, his motorcade was pelted with stones by people associated with Ssentamu and the candidate he backed, Kassiano Wadri.
Ssentamu’s driver was shot and killed, allegedly by security forces.
In a statement late Wednesday, Museveni accused “unprincipled politicians” of luring youth into rioting. Responding to calls on social media to #FreeBobiWine, the president said he had no power to release Ssentamu. “Let us therefore wait for the courts and see what they decide.”
Museveni, a US ally on regional security, took power by force in 1986 and has since been elected five times. Although he has campaigned on his record of establishing peace and stability, some worry that those gains are being eroded the longer he stays in power.
The 74-year-old Museveni is now able to seek re-election in 2021 because parliament passed legislation last year removing a clause in the constitution that had prevented anyone over 75 from holding the presidency. Ssentamu publicly opposed that decision.
New Law To Criminalize Activities Of Opposition Political Parties in Tanzania
At least ten opposition parties in Tanzania have said proposed amendments to a law governing political parties in the country would criminalise their activities.
Critics have accused President John Magufuli, of increasingly cracking down on dissent with restrictions on the political opposition, the media, bloggers and non-governmental organisations. His government denies the accusations.
Chairman of one of the 10 parties Hashim Rungwe, said at a news conference in the capital Dar es salaam, the proposed amendments would curtail constitutional freedoms.
He says the proposed bill is against the constitution and political parties were not involved from initial stages and their views were not considered.
Rungwe, says, the bill is full of criminal punishments for minor infringements which make political activities crimes.”
Among its provisions, the new law would ban parties from functioning as “activist” groups. It would give sweeping powers to a government official to suspend or fire a party member for a range of reasons, and also gives the official influence over internal party elections.
The government says the law, is needed to force parties to adhere to the country’s constitution.
Kenya Unveils New Currency Coins
In Kenya, new currency coins that replace the images of presidents with animals has been unveiled.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said while presiding over the roll out in the capital Nairobi, the features on the new 1, 5,10 and 20 shillings coins embrace Kenya’s historical and cultural heritage.
Central Bank officials, say the new-look coins, featuring a lion, elephant, hippo and giraffe, will serve as a means of passing knowledge, conserving culture, and promoting Kenya’s global uniqueness. Authorities also say the coins have features that are more appealing to visually impaired people.
Kenyan constitution, that came into effect eight years ago, prohibits the use of a person’s portrait on the country’s currencies.
Somali Lawmakers Drop Impeachment Motion Against President Mohamed
Somali legislators have dropped an impeachment motion against President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Close to a hundred members of parliament had submitted on Sunday a vote of no confidence on the president. They said he secretly signed agreements that touched on the use of Somali ports and economic and security cooperation with other countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea.
He was also accused of violating Somalia’s federalism law, and the rules and regulations of parliament. The impeachment process could not be initiated because of a lack of support and required number of signatures.
A parliamentary clerk issued a statement saying 14 legislators had withdrawn their names from the 92 who supported the move. They said their names were wrongly used, and they did not support the motion.
- Kidnappers In Ondo State Kill One Of Their Victims December 11, 2018
- ASUU And Nigerian Government Reach Partial Agreement December 11, 2018
- SSANU To Embark On 3-Day Nationwide Protest December 11, 2018
- INEC Confident Of Conducting Free And Credible Elections Without New Electoral Act December 11, 2018
- Oil Communities In Bayelsa Accuse Oil Firms Of Intimidation December 11, 2018
African News7 days ago
U.S. Assistant Secretary For Africa, Tibor Nagy Visits Eritrea
African News5 days ago
12 Health Workers In DR Congo Die Of Ebola
African News7 days ago
Swahili Fashion Week Showcases Hottest Designs In East Africa
African News17 hours ago
China Encourages Ethiopia To Develop Coffee Industry
African News2 days ago
South Africa Suspends Diplomatic Ties With Rwanda
African News2 days ago
2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo
African News7 days ago
15 Migrants Die On The Coast Of Libya After Days Without Food Or Water
Sports News6 days ago
Morocco And Spain To Place Joint Bid For 2030 FIFA World Cup