It’s official: the Air Uganda line on my bank statement says I’m coming back. I’ll be in Kampala July 4 and 5, and in those two days I’m hoping to make up for the three and half years I’ve spent away from one of my favorite places in the world.
Blogren, perchance we can assemble a UBHH?
Congratulations to @jssozi, @RosebellK, @maureenagena, and @echwalu on taking steps to provide Ugandan perspectives on the LRA. Wishing the team had more northern Ugandan voices, particularly given the complex relationship between southern Uganda (where most of these bloggers are from) and northern Uganda in the context of the LRA conflict.
I posted about this yesterday, but I just put together a longer piece for Global Voices in which I’ve tried to give a bit more context for the protests:
As opposition politicians and others angry over rising fuel and food prices in Uganda continue to stage walk to work protests against the current regime, the government is asking Internet service providers (ISPs) to shut down access to Facebook and Twitter.
According to the World Bank, a lengthy drought and a spike in fuel prices are wreaking havoc across East Africa. In Uganda, Timothy Hatcher at aaralinuga describes the situation:
Inflation has pretty much doubled over the past month to 11.1 percent, and fuel prices have risen by over 50 percent; prices are approaching $7.00 per gallon. Major impact: prices of some staple foods have tripled since December.
Angela Kintu explains how higher prices are affecting families:
…this protest is about reality, frustration and desperate times. I am buying a litre of Ugandan made and grown cooking oil for sh6,500 [$2.73]. I am paying sh3,600 [$1.51] for a litre of fuel. A tomato has gone up to sh300 [$0.12] at the very least. I don’t know about you, but that is breaking my budget. No one is paying me any more money for my work – in fact, I am chasing debtors left, right and centre. In one short week, Easter and school holidays will be upon me. Three short weeks after that, I must rustle up school fees and requirements.
These economic issues have provided a foothold for opposition leaders who have struggled to garner support since losing the February 2011 presidential election to long-time incumbent Yoweri Museveni.
Read the full post: Uganda: Government Attempts to Block Facebook, Twitter as Protests Continue
Twitter’s abuzz with news of the #walk2work protests staged by Ugandan opposition leaders Kizza Besigye and Norbert Mao on Monday. Ndesanjo Macha’s round up of tweets provides an excellent overview; my latest Global Voices post continues the story:
Rather than backing down after the arrest of two Ugandan opposition leaders for staging a “Walk to Work” protest against high fuel and food prices on Monday, Ugandan activists have responded by announcing a hunger strike and planning more demonstrations.
Read the full post: Uganda: #walk2work Arrests Spur Hunger Strike, Future Protests
Unfortunately, the cautious optimism surrounding Uganda’s elections on Friday seems to be more “optimism that Kampala won’t break out in riots” rather than “optimism that corruption might not prevail.” Ndesanjo Macha has an excellent roundup of Ugandans on Twitter at GV; my post on the elections is also up:
Ugandans go to the polls on Friday for the country’s second round of multiparty elections since current president Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986. The mood among both Ugandans on Twitter and the blogosphere is apprehensive.
Read the full post»