Saturday, February 25, 2006

Uganda's Museveni wins election

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been re-elected for a third term by a clear margin, official figures show.

Mr Museveni won 59% of the vote while main rival Kizza Besigye took 37%, the Electoral Commission said. Dr Besigye, who alleges fraud, rejected the result.

Full report (BBC) 25 Feb 2006.

Friday, February 24, 2006

South Sudanese in "LRA Triangle" flee Ugandan LRA rebels

Coalition for Darfur points us to a Sapa-AFP report 24 Feb 2006 that claims deadly raids by the LRA have forced scores of villagers in southern Sudan to flee their homes to spend nights in the bush fearing abductions and killings, a German humanitarian group has said. Excerpt:

The insurgents have been carrying out raids in vast southern Sudan belt called the "LRA Triangle" which lies between Rasola town near the DR Congo border, the region's capital Juba and Lokukei town near the Ugandan border.

"The threat imposed by the LRA forces the local population to leave the village during the night to hide in the bush," said Klaus Stieglitz, the deputy director of Sign of Hope.

Last week, LRA fighters attacked villages around Rajef, 12 kilometres south of Juba and brutally hacked to death three people, including a 70-year-old man and looted cassava farmland, the group said.

"It is a shame that these people nearly feel like animals. They are in fact deprived of their human dignity," he said after touring villagers around Rejaf and Nimule outposts in southern Sudan, where the group delivered humanitarian support.

In areas outlying Nimule, about 150 kilometres southeast of Juba, the insurgents have abducted at least 92 people, including children, and villagers believe that most of them are still held by the ruthless insurgents, they said.

"The villagers told us they can identify the attackers as the LRA because of the ethnic Acholi accent in their language," Stieglitz told a press conference in Nairobi. Sapa-AFP

Ugandans begin presidential vote - Feb 23, 2006

CNN report Feb 23, 2006:

Ugandans have turned out to vote in the nation's first multi-party presidential elections in 25 years.

The biggest challenger to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has held power for 20 years, is Kiiza Besigye, 49, of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

Though polls had Museveni in the lead, it was not clear whether he would get the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Thousands of international observers are on hand to monitor the voting.

Nearly 50,000 forces oversaw security at polling places around the country, where 10.5 million people are registered to vote.

Observers said voters waited patiently in long lines before they got their chance to vote.

Afterward, their thumbs were dipped in indelible ink to ensure they did not try to vote again.

Polling stations were slated to close at 7 p.m.

vert.uganda.ballots.ap.jpg

Photo: Workers prepare ballot boxes in Kampala on Wednesday.

Backed by a handful of fighters, Museveni wrested power in a 1986 coup, inheriting a country in ruins, wracked by sectarian strife and in economic free fall after former leader Idi Amin expelled its Asian business community.

Museveni set about restoring stability and reviving the country's economy. In the process, he became a darling of governments and international institutions.

U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each visited Uganda and came away praising his leadership, particularly in helping the country combat AIDS.

Even after 20 years in the job, there is more to do, he said. "I don't think what we have done is enough," he told CNN. "I think it's simply a beginning."

But his critics contend that he should step aside before his taste for power becomes an addiction.

Besigye, Museveni's one-time friend and former personal physician, accuses the incumbent of condoning corruption, and described him to CNN as "somebody who abandoned the cause."

-- CNN Correspondent Jeff Koinange contributed to this story.

Uganda's first lady leads the way

As the Ugandan president and his challengers prepare for a showdown at the polls on Thursday, the country's first lady is also running for election after a campaign which has seen women politicians making remarkable progress. Janet Museveni (57) is making her first foray into politics by running as a parliamentary candidate in rural Ruhama in western Uganda.

On a continent where men have dominated post-independence politics, the past year has seen the beginnings of a gender shift. As well as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, there is Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, South Africa's Deputy Prime Minister, who joins two other prominent female leaders in Southern Africa: Zimbabwe's Deputy President, Joyce Mujuru, and Mozambique's Prime Minister, Luisa Diogo.

Critics say Uganda's first lady has an unfair advantage: not many candidates have the president campaigning on their behalf the weekend before an election.

Full story at Mail & Guardian 23 Feb 2006.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

South Sudan's Salva Kiir says Sudanese army supports Ugandan LRA

Copy of African News Dimension report Feb 21, 2006:

Sudanese first-vice-president and president of southern Sudan government Lt. Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit said, for the first time, he believes that Sudanese army support Ugandan rebel Lord's resistance Army.

In an interview with the BBC Arabic service, Kiir reiterated an accusation already advanced by many southern responsible. He further said that Ugandan rebels receive support in the suburb of the Southern Sudan capital Juba.

Last December, the responsible of the SPLM intelligence service, Edward Lino, had accused in an interview with the Sudanese al-Sahafa the Sudanese army of supporting the Ugandan rebel LRA.

But, Kiir added he has no prove on the implication of the Sudanese army.

Sudanese Defence Minister Lt-Gen Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein denied last year receiving any official complaint from the SPLM regarding the involvement of elements of the Sudanese army in supporting the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army militias.

Sudan's Salva Kiir, had said Saturday on 4 October 2005 that he would hand Kony over to the International Criminal Court. But Kiir said he did not know Kony's whereabouts. The Sudanese government had provided bases for the LRA south of Juba, but after it began to withdraw its support the LRA began raiding and looting Sudanese villages for food, and killing Sudanese civilians.

On 13 October 2005, the ICC unsealed arrest warrants it issued three months earlier for five LRA commanders, including the leader, Joseph Kony.

While Sudan and the International Criminal Court (ICC) differ over Darfur, Khartoum is cooperating in the case of Joseph Kony, one of five top Lord's Resistance Army members named in a sealed indictment compiled by prosecutors of the permanent war crimes court. Warrants for their arrests have been distributed to Uganda, Congo and Sudan.

Sudan once backed the LRA, even as Uganda supported the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Army in its civil war with the Sudanese government. But Sudan and Uganda normalized relations in 2001, Sudan's southern civil war ended in January and the SPLM joined a national unity government. Ugandan troops have since been allowed to operate in some parts of southern Sudan against the LRA.

Human rights groups say the Lord's Resistance Army has over the years abducted more than 30,000 children, forcing them to become fighters, porters or concubines. The rebels have killed thousands of civilians and forced more than a million to flee their homes, but appears to have no clear political agenda and little contact with the outside world. Source: Sudan Tribune

Monday, February 20, 2006

Kiva: Loans that change lives, become a lender to a small business in Africa

Kiva website states it provides a new, sponsor a business option for individuals to connect with small enterprises in developing countries through flexible loans and invites readers to become a lender to a small business in Africa and be reimbursed for the loan.

Sounds like a good initiative. Not sure how it all works. According to the website, Kiva is experiencing a huge outpouring of support and cannot list businesses fast enough. Excerpt:
"Latest journal from Peace Poultry Tororo, Uganda , January 3, 2006: This business has received loan money worth $300. The money has already been put in business to increase the stock."
Source: Trey's blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

For one night, all across America: Global Night Commute with Invisible Children

On April 29, 2006 you can join Invisible Children in standing up for these children, by laying down for one night. Just like the children of Uganda, we are going to night commute. In cities across America we will have a central location for you to walk, ride, or skate to, and sleep for one night.

Read more at Global Youth Fund: ACTION: Global Night Commute with Invisible Children.

Acholi king to work for peace? Acholi king, S. Sudan Marchar discuss LRA's eradication

Feb 17, 2006 Juba Post/ST reports Acholi king David Onek Achana has held consultations with southern Sudan vice President Riek Machar to find a resolution to the ongoing Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) crisis:
Acholi people living in a region known as Acholiland in northern Uganda and in Magwe County, Eastern Equatoria in southern Sudan.

According to Onek "The problem of the LRA will not be resolved unless the Sudanese Acholi and Ugandan Acholi tribes unite themselves and work hand in hand to eradicate the LRA from Acholi land."

The king, who is a Ugandan, continued by saying that with the government support the people can eradicate the LRA from the area: "The Sudanese and Ugandan governments will eradicate the LRA from their land".

"I met with the Ugandan president to try to resolve this problem before coming here to meet the vice president of southern Sudan", the king added.
Further reading:

April 8, 2004 Acholi history and photos at Endangered species: live on the edge by Richard M Kavuma Daily Monitor - Acholi are part of the Luo-speaking Nilotics peoples who moved into Uganda from southern Sudan between 1400 - 1800 AD. Their kin include the Alur of Nebbi district and Jopadhola of Tororo in Uganda and the Luo of Kenya. Moving in small clans, the Nilotics wandered around Uganda, trying to find pastures for their cattle and goats.

Jan 20, 2005 Weekly Observer Acholi king to work for peace - Normally you would expect a mammoth crowd to throng the coronation of a king. But only about 2,000 people attended the coronation of David Onen Achana II, the "Lawiirwot" of Acholi at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu on January 15, 2005.

Feb 18, 2006 Sudan Vision - Sudanese President al-Bashir directs the evacuation of LRA from South Sudan within one month.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Besigye treason trial postponed until after Uganda elections

February 16, 2006 [JURIST] Leading Thursday's international brief, the civilian criminal trial of Ugandan opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye and his 22 co-defendants has been postponed until after the upcoming national elections in Uganda. Full story.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Uganda: Sudan's SPLA Harassing Ugandan Voters?

THE opposition Uganda Peoples Congress has accused soldiers of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, of interfering in Uganda's electoral process by intimidating candidates and supporters of opposition political parties.

The party's national chairman, Mr Patrick Rubaihayo, told journalists in Kampala yesterday that the fighters are present in several parts of Koboko, Adjumani and Moyo districts.

He said they are allegedly intimidating residents into supporting NRM flag bearer and President Yoweri Museveni.

"We are concerned. Why are these soldiers moving all over these districts campaigning for Museveni? To make matters worse, they are wearing SPLA uniform and heavily armed," Rubaihayo said.

He added; "The other time Rebecca Garang was here campaigning for Museveni and that was legal. But when a country like Rwanda is merely suspected of supporting Besigye, it is illegal, this is double standards on the part of the government."

Museveni has supported the SPLA since he took over power in 1986.

Full story (AllAfrica) 15 Feb 2006.

Two die in Uganda poll shooting

Two people have died after gun shots were fired into a crowd of Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye's supporters in the capital, Kampala.

Police say a state security agent fired after the crowd attacked his car.

Full report (BBC) 15 Feb 2006.

Uganda: Profile of main opposition leader Kiiza Besigye

Kiiza Besigye, a former colonel in the Ugandan army, is the presidential candidate for the country's largest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

Widely regarded as incumbent President Yoweri Museveni's main challenger in upcoming elections on 23 February 2006, this is Besigye's second stab at the presidency. He lost to Museveni in 2001.

Uganda's opposition leader Besigye

Photo: Opposition leader, Kiiza Besigye, and his wife Winnie Byanyima at a campaign rally. (Courtesy Vincent Mayanja/IRIN)

See full report and profile at IRIN 15 Feb 2006.

Uganda: Profile of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

With general elections scheduled for 23 February, Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni faces the toughest challenge of his 20-year presidency.

Donors - who for years hailed him as part of a "new breed" of African leaders - have become increasingly impatient with his handling of corruption and the slow progress of political transition in the country. Most recently, he came under heavy international criticism for the November arrest of his strongest opponent, Kiiza Besigye.

Museveni’s failure to defeat the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has fought to overthrow his government for 20 years, has also put into question his commitment to ending the war, which has displaced some 1.7 million people in northern Uganda - close to 90 percent of the region's population.

Uganda's leader Museveni

Photo: Museveni addressing the crowd. (Courtesy IRIN)

See full report and profile at IRIN 15 Feb 2006.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

British Prime Minister Blair urges African govts to progress in governance

In his message that coincided with his visit to South Africa, Prime Minister Blair stated that there was need for African governments to ensure transparency in their operations.

Full report from The Post via AllAfrica 14 Feb 2006.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Uganda: Army kills two Kony aides in southern Sudan

Feb 13, 2006 report by New Vision at AllAfrica says the UPDF has attacked one of LRA leader Joseph Kony's bases in southern Sudan, killed two of his aides, captured three fighters and recovered three guns.

Uganda to market instant coffee in Sudan

See full story at Andnetwork.com. The article explains Uganda's coffee is attractive mostly because it is produced using traditional farming practices, which in general meet organic farming standards.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

1996-1999: Uganda backed Sudan's SPLM/A so Khartoum armed Uganda's LRA

The Uganda embassy in the Sudan has described as outrageous Hassan Al Turabi's defence of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan New Vision reported. Via Andnetwork.com 12 February 2006:

Turabi a former Speaker of the Sudanese Assembly at the time when Sudan supported the LRA between 1996 and 1999, said in an interview with the UK's The Telegraph newspaper recently that Kony does not kill or abduct children.

The embassy, in a recent press statement, strongly condemned Turabi's utterances saying it was a futile and shameless attempt by Turabi to whitewash the horrible blood-tinted image of the LRA.

Uganda backed the rebels Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), so Khartoum retaliated by arming the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a fanatical cult ravaging northern Uganda. It used Sudan's weapons to abduct at least 20,000 children.

Asked by the Telegraph on its edition of 30 January [Man who harboured bin Laden is lodestar for terrorists] whether he had approved of arming them, Turabi said: "It's natural. In all wars people do the same. If there's a state of war between you and the other side, then you arm the other side's opposition don't you?"

Turabi acquitted the LRA of murdering child captives. "They don't kill them by the way, they don't murder," he said. Source: Sudan Tribune

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Why Africa Should Matter

UK blogger Bobby points out Why Africa Should Matter. Bobby is starting a PhD in molecular imaging this year and follows the news on Uganda as his partner is hoping to go there next year.

Crackdown on journalists and dirty tricks necessary to rig Ugandan election

American blogger P. Scott Cummins in Seattle Washington says a coherent policy is needed on Northern Uganda and:
"...Why not simply expand the charge of the U.S. Special Envoy, Ambassador Robert Zoellick, to encompass both Northern Uganda and the related lawlessness in Eastern Congo? ... He is the right person for the job of connecting the dots which inter-connect crisis points in all three countries. ... As the pre-election tension ramps up, it is time for everyone in Uganda to be mindful of appropriate levels of personal security. When one studies history, it is clear that tyrants - from Josef Stalin to Saddam Hussein - require crisis in order to smokescreen their activities. That lesson has not been lost on tyrants in Africa.

Peace Corps Volunteer Rachel in Uganda...

Rachel in Uganda... is a new blog where you can read all about what Rachel is doing as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Portrait of Uganda's rebel prophet, painted by wives

Full story at Mail & Guardian Online 10 Feb 2006 by Beatrice Debut, Gulu, Uganda.
"He said that one day he would be alone without any children and wives, with only 300 fighters, and these things are happening," Margaret says. - Sapa-AFP

Monday, February 06, 2006

Kony flees Southern Sudan into DR Congo

Oil: Could Uganda Be On The Verge of Unearthing Greasy Dollars?

Note interview at allAfrica.com.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Northern Uganda's Invisible Children - Movie - Trailer

See the powerful flash movie trailer of "Invisible Children."

Thanks to Soldier Child blog for linking to a trailer of the Invisible Children documentary. Read Invisible Children [film & photo essay] by UK grad student Jennifer of Soldier Child and don't miss her link to LA Times Photo Journal on the Northern Ugandan crisis, it is very informative if you are new to the atrocities in Northern Uganda and what is happening to the invisible children, also known as the "night commuters".

Africa Community Technical Services (ACTS) needs volunteer workers in Uganda

Melanie, a new blogger for Global Youth Fund who currently works for Africa Community Technical Services (ACTS) a Christian technical mission in Uganda, says:

ACTS volunteers assist rural communities in achieving their development goals in cooperation with the local church and other grass roots organizations.

ACTS currently is looking for a number of volunteer positions to be filled including: Engineer, Slow Sand Filter Instructor, Agroforestry Extention Worker/Trainer, Supervisor/Management Trainer and Swimming Instructors.

If you would like more information on these; check out the wesite at: http://www.acts.ca

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Terrorists living off the refugees

Strategy Page says of Uganda that the LRA frequently raid the IDP camps for supplies and slaves. Same can be said for all the gun weilding thugs in Sudan. It's organised crime. Anarchy reins. Getting away with looting, raping and murder provides grist to their mill. No one is stopping them. It's an easy living, what else can they do?

Kitgum, Uganda: new JRS education and training project

Note, JRS Dispatches No. 186 31 January 2006 - among the pilot NGOs is JRS Kitgum, in northern Uganda.
The programme of study also includes a heavy emphasis on life skills development. Topics such as coping with change, conflict, criticism, leadership and team-work skills, stress and time management, goal setting, problem solving and cultivation of positive self-image and positive thinking are taught. Attention to these skills and holistic development of students will be critical, especially for young people who have been severely affected by displacement and rebel LRA violence in northern Uganda.

The community college initiative will represent a major component of JRS' proposed activities in Kitgum, due to begin in February-March 2006.

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