Uganda

Uganda politician sentenced to eight years

Catherine Byaruhanga

BBC Africa, Kampala

Uganda’s military court martial has sentenced a ruling party leader to eight years in prison for the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

As well as being a successful politician, Abdullah Kitatta also ran an association of motorbike taxi riders known as BodaBoda 2010.

He was considered one of the most influential people in the capital, Kampala, but BodaBoda2010 was accused of human rights abuses in 2018.

The group was allegedly an unofficial militia of the police, and used to beat up protesters – including a group of primary school students.

When he was arrested, Mr Kitatta was found in possession of a gold-plated gun, a pistol, a sub-machine gun and several rounds of ammunition.

For years, he was considered almost untouchable by the law, despite his ruthless reputation.

Mr Kitatta was seen as the protege of the former head of police, General Kale Kayihura, who is also being tried before the court martial.

President Yoweri Museveni has complained that the police were infiltrated by criminals, leading to a spike in crime.

Mr Kitatta’s lawyer says his client will be appealing his sentence because he has done a lot of work for the government in power.

Uganda journalists take industry regulator to court

Russell Padmore

Business correspondent, BBC News

A journalist masks her mouth in protest
AFP

Journalists at 13 media companies in Uganda, who were ordered to be suspended by the regulator, will challenge the order in court on Wednesday.

The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) told broadcast companies to take action against dozens of managers, programme heads and producers, over allegations they contravened broadcasting standards in coverage of events involving Bobi Wine, a prominent critic of the government.

The case is being seen as a test of the freedom of the media industry in Uganda.

Dozens of journalists have been reassigned temporary duties for a month, but not suspended, pending the outcome of the legal challenge.

During a meeting last week with broadcasters the executive director of the UCC, Godfrey Mutabazi, agreed the journalists could step aside during an investigation into whether the "character of that individual" was "embedded in the content brought on air."

The Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) wants the court to restrain the regulator from directing the immediate suspension of staff.

The UJA also wants an injunction restraining the UCC from seeking recordings of live news bulletins broadcast on the 29th of April.

The media clampdown has provoked allegations of censorship of criticism of the government.

It's also reported that media owners accused the regulator of encouraging Ugandans to turn to foreign broadcasters, like the BBC, Al Jazeera or CNN for accurate reporting of events.

Uganda investigating killings at army base in Somalia

Uganda soldiers
AFP
Uganda has 5,000 troops in Somalia

Uganda's army is investigating an incident where one of its soldiers serving in Somalia killed his supervisor, and reportedly two other colleagues as well, before turning the gun on himself, local Daily Monitor reports.

The Saturday incident happened at the main base of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

Uganda army spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said that only two soldiers had been killed and investigations will determine the soldier's motive.

“The motive isn’t yet known. We want to know whether he was insane or not,” Brig Karemire told the paper.

The identities of the deceased have not yet been released.

Such incidents among UPDF soldiers are uncommon when on mission outside the country or at home, the paper reports.

Uganda has 5,000 soldiers serving in the 10,000 strong Amisom force whose mandate is to shore up the UN-recognised government as well as conduct offensive operations against militant Islamist group al-Shabab.

Uganda 'restricting freedom of expression'

Diplomats from Europe, the US and other countries have criticised the Ugandan authorities' decision to suspend dozens of journalists on allegations that they had breached minimum broadcasting standards.

Uganda's media regulator ordered 13 TV and radio stations to suspend 39 staff - including some senior editors.

The move was widely seen as a punishment for stations that had broadcast this week's arrest of musician turned opposition MP Bobi Wine.

He has been released on bail.

In a joint statement, the diplomats urged the Ugandan government to respect the rule of law and allow all Ugandans, regardless of their political affiliation, to exercise their basic democratic rights.

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Bobi Wine being arrestes
AFP
Bobi Wine was arrested on 22 April

Uganda's pop star MP freed on bail

The Ugandan pop star and opposition MP Bobi Wine has been freed on bail after two days in prison.

Magistrate Esther Nahirya, who gave her decision after the MP testified via video link, told him he would be returned to jail if he engaged in unlawful demonstrations while free.

Bobi Wine - whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi - was arrested on Monday for organising a protest against a tax on the use of social media.

During his hearing earlier today, the MP told Buganda Road Court he was being persecuted "under the guise of prosecution".

Correspondents say his popularity could make him President Museveni's biggest challenger in the 2021 elections.

Uganda's pop star MP defiant at bail hearing

Bobi Wine was arrested over a social media tax protest

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Ugandan musician-turned-MP Bobi Wine has testified at his bail hearing via video link from the prison where he is currently being held, after being charged with "disobedience of statutory duty".

He had been arrested on Monday for organising a protest against a tax on the use of social media.

Bobi Wine - who real name is Robert Kyagulanyi - has told Buganda Road Court:

It is not me on trial, it is the court itself on trial.

If standing for what is right is going to hand me my freedom, I will thank God for it. If standing for what is right is going to keep me in this prison then I will thank God even louder.

After all, I have a lot of work to do, even here in prison."

American tourist Kimberly Endicott recounts Ugandan safari kidnapping
Kimberly Endicott and her driver were held hostage for five days after they were abducted at gunpoint.
Uganda Airlines to return to the skies after 18 years
The new Bombardier jets landed in Uganda bearing the national colours and symbol of the crane.

Bobi Wine under 'preventative' house arrest

BBC World Service

Police in Uganda say they have placed the opposition politician Bobi Wine under "preventative arrest" in his house in the capital, Kampala.

A police spokesman said the singer planned to disrupt public order and officers would stay put outside his home until further notice.

The MP, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was taken into police custody on Monday when one of his concerts was cancelled and his supporters teargassed.

He said he was "under siege" but urged his supporters to exercise their right to demonstrate.

Bobi Wine has vowed to continue his campaign until President Yoweri Museveni is out of office.

He has been posting updates to his social pages, including this musical performance:

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Ugandans on Twitter welcome new jets

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has received two Bombardier CRJ900 jets from Canada at Old Entebbe Airport.

The coming of the new planes, with the words Ugandan Airlines on the sides of the aircraft, marks the official comeback of the East African country's national carrier that was grounded in 2001.

Privately owned newspaper Daily Monitor reported that the Bombardier CRJ900 recently took to the skies for the first test flight at Canada's Montreal Mirabel International Airport and that an eight-minute video clip was uploaded on YouTube showing the test flight, exciting Ugandans.

And as guests cheered and danced when the planes landed this morning, some Ugandans on Twitter reacted to the news:

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But some people poked fun at the ceremony:

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