Uganda Elections: Museveni Vs People Power

Unless it’s a surprise, the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for nearly four decades, should win yesterday's presidential election opposing him to 10 other candidates following a campaign marked by several violent incidents including the killing of over 50 civilians, human right abuses, restrictions to access media and people and arrests of his main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobby Wine.

It is hard to tell whether Uganda’s 2021 presidential election and results would be enough free and fair to meet international democratic standards given the numerous controversies and violent incidents that have characterized the electoral campaign. However, it’s clear that President Museveni and his base have increased control over the entire country ahead of the polls. 

Earlier last week, he ordered the suspension of all social media platforms, accusing them of ‘arrogance’ after some of his closest allies witnessed the shut down of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Heavily armed police and army officers were seen patrolling in the streets of Kampala on Tuesday and Wednesday. President Yoweri Museveni’s growing authoritarianism has been visible through the regular blockades and repression of the opposition campaigning activities, attacks on the press, and arrest of activists. Asked by CNN why the army and police are interfering in Bobi Wine’s campaign rallies, the President said that the opposition leader ‘has been violating health measures during the pandemic’. Interestingly, President Museveni himself has been campaigning without respecting the social distancing measures. 

Confronted with several challenges, including high unemployment rates among the youths, rampant corruption, weak institutions, growing dissatisfaction of the people, uncertain political succession, and the economic recession caused by the covid-19 pandemic, President Museveni has opted for violent repression and silencing all opposition’s voices. He has increased the budget of military and security sectors at the expense of social ones and the brutality of security forces is fostering discontent especially among the urban youths and marginalised communities.

Among those, let’s take a look at the affected communities from Western Uganda where the oil exploration and exploitation activities are expected to cause large-scale displacement of communities and pose grave risks to protected environments, water sources, and wetlands. According to a report released last October by partner organisations Friends of the Earth France and Survie, the Tilenga (oil extraction in the heart of a protected natural area) and EACOP (the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, a proposed 1,445-kilometer  pipeline from Hoima, Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania) projects led by the French giant Total are causing massive population displacements in Uganda and Tanzania. Tens of thousands of people are totally or partially deprived of their land, even before receiving any compensation. Testimonies collected in the various Ugandan districts affected by these two projects reveal high levels of school dropouts among children, a situation of famine, loss of livelihoods, and lack of proper and fair compensation. 

Whether Museveni wins the presidential election or not, the newly elected leadership should swiftly prevent Uganda from falling into a prolonged period of uncertainty. Though the country is not in danger of a civil war, the recent incidents and tensions have shown signs of sliding into a political and economic crisis that could eventually threaten Uganda’s stability as well as the entire region.

Ugandans in their diversity aspire not only for a peaceful and prosperous country but also for fairness, democracy, rule of law where every citizen is respected regardless of political affiliations. Officials involved in political and economic crimes should be removed and prosecuted. The controversial Tilenga and EACOP projects due to enrich a handful of politicians and multinationals should stop immediately and people’s rights be restored. Those would be the first signs of real change that Ugandans can achieve through a process of social transformation and democratic transition that bravely address the real issues their society faces.


 

 

 

 

 

 


The 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement and what it means for Tanzania

 

On the 19th of December, after the anniversary, Partnership for Green Future mobilized University students to ensure the youths' voice on climate change from different faiths are given space to advocate for clean energy and a future they can rely on. The main goal of the event was to bring together young people in the climate movement to mark the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement and call on the government to demonstrate real climate leadership to stay within 1.5 by keeping fossil fuels on the ground and not funding their infrastructure.

The event was attended by the students of University of Dar es Salaam, Climate Action Network Tanzania, Climate Science community and TAJPI. Other participants included Dar es Salaam University Student Organization (DARUSO), Association of Students from Geography and Environmental Studies (AGEM), University of Dar es Salaam Association for Wildlife and Conservation (UDAWICOSA), Earth day and Go Green. 

Key moments

    

  • Sports: The event started with sports, basketball and football, which took place at Mabibo Hostel grounds. Sports is considered as a good strategy of mobilization in Tanzania.

   

  • Talent show and short messages: 

After the sports, some of the students showed their talents by singing in different styles focusing on themes  about tackling the effects of climate change and the role of youth in climate action. There was also a performance of various written messages that were displayed and delivered verbally.

The Main Speech: Ms. Rehema Peter, the host of the event, shared information with guests and participants on the real challenges Tanzania is facing due to climate change. "Dar es Salaam has become the hottest city in East Africa and people are still ignorant of the cause". She also raised an alarm about the development of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) which is going to put Tanzania at high risk. She called for University students and other stakeholders to use all channels to advocate for a Fossil Free Tanzania and for the Government to keep fossil fuels in the ground. There was also a special moment to share the message with all the students gathered, and to remind them that they are the voice of change. East Africa Radio from Dar es Salaam covered the event, taking the message of the day to be aired and published, and promised a platform for climate action. Different young people at University were recorded with various messages calling for clear action towards a just recovery ahead of COP 26.

The students emphasized the need to be empowered on issues related to fossil fuels and strategies so as to build a successful climate movement. "We appreciate each and everybody who made this event a success, especially the support from 350 Africa and we cannot wait to change the tide in our beloved country."     


By Rehema Peter, founder of Partnership for Green Future

                                                                    

 


GIFSEP Empowers Environmental Stewards in Secondary Schools in Nigeria

 

“Good habits formed at youth make the difference” - Aristotle. 

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In recognition of this, the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) is undertaking a project targeted at building the capacity of students and teachers to address Climate Change primarily by promoting environmental stewardship through behavioural change and skills in renewable energy and waste management.

The Project whose implementation began in November 2017 targets Senior Secondary Schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigeria. It is being implemented under the supervision of the FCT Secondary Education Board and funded by the United Nations Development Programme's Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme. 

Thus far, activities carried out have included training workshops and school visitations.

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The project has equipped students and teachers through numerous trainings on climate change, renewable energy and waste management to address environmental challenges. Through our support, the students have been able to establish environmental clubs in their schools which now serves as the primary vehicle for taking climate action in their respective schools. The Capacity Building of Students to address climate change project, has received numerous positive commendations from the Secondary Education Board, FCT Schools management, teachers and students and more. Consequently, the project has been able to secure the commitment of teachers to raise a generation of green champions in their schools. Also, the students have pledged to the good environmental stewards.

Only recently, the GIFSEP team visited schools in FCT-Nigeria to officially establish new environmental clubs in Schools while also encouraging pre-existing environmental clubs to continue to take definite climate action. Overall, the students, teachers and the school management show great enthusiasm towards the project and have all committed to be ambassadors of the environment.