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.
Proposal For UN To Study Climate Technologies Rejected
A push to launch a high-level study of potentially risky technological fixes to curb climate change was abandoned at a UN Environmental conference in Nairobi late last week. Countries, including the United states, had raised objections.
Switzerland’s Environmental Ambassador Franz Xavier Perrez, said that was a huge disappointment. His country had proposed the UN assessment with the backing of eleven other governments.
“Geo-engineering” technologies are gaining prominence, and they aim to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, or block some of the Sun’s warmth to cool the earth.
Supporters say these technologies could help fend off some of the worst impact of runaway climate change, including worsening storms and heatwaves. Opponents, on the other hand, argue the emerging technologies pose huge potential risks to people and nature and could undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Tanzania: Stiegler’s Gorge Hydro-Electric Project To Produce Thousands Of Jobs
Tanzanian government is optimistic that the implementation of Stiegler’s Gorge hydro-electric power station would produce thousands of jobs. It is also expected to generate more than two thousand mega-watts.
Energy Minister, Dr. Medard Kalemani, told the parliamentary committee on energy and minerals that five thousand Tanzanians would be employed as temporary workers, and four hundred others would be employed under permanent contracts.
Kalemani said the implementation of the project would not only uplift the livelihoods of Mloka villagers in Rufiji district in cost region, and of Kisaki villagers in Morogoro region, it would also enable the supply of electricity to 37 villages in Kibiti and Chalinze. He said twelve villages will be connected to electricity under Tanzania Rural Energy Agency program.
African Court Doubles Its Judicial Productivity
President of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, Justice Sylvain Ore, has said the pan African organ, based in Arusha, has doubled its judicial productivity, and is optimistic it will even do better this year.
Commenting on the on-going reforms at the African Union, initiated under the guidance of the immediate past chairperson, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Justice Ore wanted the court to be a model for internal reforms and an efficiency icon for the rest of the institutions and citizens of the continent.
The African court was established by the African Charter and began operations in two thousand six in Addis Ababa. It moved to its permanent seat in Arusha a year later. It has finalized 48 cases with a hundred thirty-five cases pending.
So far, 30 countries have ratified the protocol establishing the court, but only nine countries—Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Tunisia, and hosts Tanzania—have made the declaration to allow individuals and NGOs to access the court directly.
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