Protests erupted in the Ugandan capital on Friday after police detained two lawmakers at the international airport as they prepared to travel abroad for medical care, witnesses said.
People demonstrated in different parts of Kampala, burning tires and piling rocks and other barricades in the middle of the roads. Police said the protests were limited and had been contained.
The lawmakers, Robert Kyagulanyi and Francis Zaake, say they were tortured by security forces while in detention in August. The case led to protests against President Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni has won praise in the West for his support against militant Islam in the region, but many Ugandans regard the 73-year-old as out of touch with his people, nearly 80 percent of whom are under the age of 30.
Kyagulanyi has been charged with treason over his alleged role in the stoning of Museveni’s convoy this month, but a court had granted him access to private doctors, citing his health.
Kyagulanyi’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam told Reuters last week that his client had been left unable to stand after being beaten while in detention. When he appeared in court a day after his lawyer spoke, he was unable to walk without help.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo dismissed the lawyer’s comments last week as rubbish.
Kyagulanyi, 35, is a musician who entered politics after winning a parliamentary by-election last year. He goes by the stage name “Bobi Wine” and has emerged as a formidable threat to Museveni’s 32-year rule, winning popular support through his music and strong criticism of the government.
Amsterdam told Reuters on Friday that Kyagulanyi had said he had been tortured again while being transported from the airport to a hospital in Kampala. “He was beaten…he was groaning in pain, they kept telling him to shut up,” Amsterdam said, quoting what his client had told him.
Police spokesman Emilian Kayima called the allegations “fake news”.
Friday’s demonstrations were most intense in Kamwokya, a suburb of Kampala where Kyagulanyi has a recording studio, according to Dick Nvule, a local radio reporter.
“Protesters blocked the roads using garbage cans and burning tires. Motorists have to get alternative routes to the city center. Soldiers and riot police are still clearing the roads,” Nvule told Reuters.
The two parliamentarians were among a group of five lawmakers who were detained on Aug. 13 in the northwestern town of Arua and accused of throwing stones at the presidential convoy during campaigning for a parliamentary seat.
Zaake, the other lawmaker, has not been charged but has been in hospital in Kampala. Images posted on social media show him lying on a bed, eyes closed, with multiple bruises on his hand and other body areas.
In July, the constitution was amended to remove the presidential age limit of 75 years, meaning Museveni can run again for president in 2021 — the year the country hopes to begin oil production.
EU Rejects Bid To Unfreeze Mubarak’s Assets
Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak’s bid for EU to unfreeze his assets in Europe was rejected on Wednesday. The freeze was placed on his assets after his ouster in the 2011 revolution.
European union member countries imposed the sanctions in March 2011 based on lawsuits filed against Mubarak and his family in Egypt for alleged embezzlement of state funds.
After those countries – grouped in the European council – renewed the sanctions in 2017 and 2018, Mubarak asked the EU’s general court to annul them.
After Mubarak’s ouster, Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took power in 2012 before the military toppled him in 2013 following mass protests against Morsi’s rule.
Former military chief Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi became president later that year.
Thousands Of Voting Machines And Ballot Boxes Destroyed In DRC Electoral Commission Fire
Thousand of voting machines and ballot boxes were destroyed when an electoral commission building in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa was razed in a fire. The machines and ballot boxes were to be used in the presidential elections ten days away.
The electoral commission says this would not hamper the election process, but that it is looking into the cause and extent of the fire. It says machines from other parts of the country would be brought in to replace the ones consumed in the fire.
Presidential adviser Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi blames the fire on those he called criminals. He said most of the equipment meant for the polls in Kinshasa, the capital was destroyed in the fire. More than 15 percent of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s population lives in the capital.
Meanwhile, the UK is now advising its citizens against “all but essential travel” to any part of DR Congo. It has also urged non-essential diplomatic staff to leave the country by next Monday.
Ghana To Transport Essential Medical Supplies To Rural Areas By Drones
Ghana Medical Association is reacting negatively to a government decision to transport blood and essential medical supplies to rural areas in the country by unmanned drones. The service has been contracted to an American company.
Deputy minister of information Pius Enam Hadzide said he was shocked by the GMA reaction over what he says would improve health services.
The Ghana Medical Association says the use of drones violates the country’s primary health care policy. It also said it would be counter-productive as it would cause more doctors and nurses to be unemployed in the administration of the drugs.
The drone goes into effect next year. It was approved by parliament by a majority of a hundred and two to fifty-eight.
Rwanda already uses drones for the same purpose.
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