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ICC Moves Trial of Former C.A.R Militia Leaders to February 16

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Alfred Yékatom, right, and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has adjourned the trial of two former militia leaders, Alfred Yékatom and Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, in the Central African Republic (CAR) to February 16.

The trials had initially been schdeuled to start on Thursday.

The duo, who were both former alleged leaders of the anti-Balaka militia, are facing a joint 53 counts of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ngaïssona, who faces 32 counts and Yékatom, 21 counts, are the highest ranking anti-balaka leaders to face trial, and the first at the ICC.

The anti-balaka rebels are Christian militias who engaged in brutal tit-for-tat attacks with the Muslim Seleka following a coup in 2012, leaving civilians caught in the middle.

The Muslim Seleka rebels had ousted the Central African Republic president, François Bozizé, and seized power through a campaign of violence and terror in 2012. In late 2013, Christian and animist militias known as anti-balaka began to organize counterattacks against the Seleka.

Thousands died in the clashes and the United Nations (UN) said more than a million people were forced to flee their homes.

Yékatom and Ngaïssona will be tried jointly for alleged crimes which include intentionally directing an attack against civilian population.

Ngaïssona, the self-declared political coordinator of anti-Balaka forces, has previously denied all the charges. In this role, the ICC says he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Yékatom, known as “Rombhot”, on November 11, 2018. Yekatom, a member of CAR parliament at the time was arrested on November 17, 2018 by CAR authorities and transferred to the ICC.

The ICC says Yekatom commanded a group of about 3,000 members operating within the anti-balaka movement.

Less than a month later, on December 7, 2018, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Ngaïssona and he was arrested in France December 12, 2018 and transferred to the ICC on January 23, 2019.

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East Africa Politics News

Uganda’s Bobi Wine in Trouble over Armoured SUV

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Ugandan Revenue Authority (URA) and the National Unity Party (NUP) presidential candidate in the January 14, 2021 election, Bobi Wine, are headed for a collision over an alleged bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser in his possession.

The URA, which is recalling the vehicle, says the details of the bullet-proof had been misrepresented and thus undervalued.

However, Bobi Wine, a former reggae artiste whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has refused to hand over the vehicle, saying the recall has no constitutional backing.

Quoting section 236 (d) of the EAC Customs Management Act, the 38-year-old said though the URA has the powers to examine goods, it does not have automatic powers to reexamine goods which were in its “custody (warehouse), were examined, assessed for tax, the tax fully paid and the goods released to the owner/taxpayer.”

The vehicle was originally imported and registered in Kenya last year and then re-imported to Uganda through the Busia border.

In a post on 21 February, Kyagulanyi said that the Toyota Land Cruiser had been donated to him by his friends and supporters in Uganda and abroad.

News Central reports that Bobi Wine lost the presidential to incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni. After the Constitutional Cout confirmed Museveni for a 6th term in office, Wine had challenged the results but withdrew the lawsuit citing judges bias.

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Uganda’s President Museveni, Chinese Diplomats in Bilateral Discussions

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has met with visiting senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Entebbe to discuss promoting bilateral relations between the two countries.

Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee pointed out that China-Uganda relations have developed smoothly in the last few years.

China supports Uganda in its pursuit of a development path suited to its national conditions and stands ready to work with Uganda to further deepen political mutual trust and enhance the complementarity of development strategies.

China plans to expand practical cooperation within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as well as pushing the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height.

China has declared readiness to continue to cooperate with Uganda in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and jointly promote the building of a community of common health for mankind.

Museveni stressed that Uganda abides by the one-China principle, opposes foreign interference in China’s internal affairs, and is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in international and regional affairs.

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Uganda: Bobi Wine Withdraws Election Results Petition

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Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a.k.a Bobi Wine, has withdrawn his challenging the results of Uganda’s January 14 presidential election from the Supreme Court, citing judges bias.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, who is seen as the leader of the opposition in Uganda, said he is dropping his case because the courts are filled with “yes-men” appointed by President Yoweri Museveni and he did not expect a fair decision from the panel of nine judges.

Recall that Bobi Wine had gone to the supreme court after losing the Ugandan poll to Museveni. The 76-year-old, who has been in power since 1986, won a 6th term with 58% of the vote while Wine had 35%.

Bobi Wine, who was four years old when Museveni grabbed power, called those results fraudulent, citing cases of soldiers allegedly stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people, chasing voters away from polling stations and asked the court to overturn the results.

The musician turned politician says that he will now take the matter to the court of public opinion, using non-violent means.

Recall that Bobi Wine had initially said he did not wish to launch a legal challenge because a courtroom loss would validate Museveni’s victory.

Museveni won previous legal challenges to his election victories, and analysts had predicted the judges were still unlikely to rule against him.

More than 50 people were killed in violence ahead of the election.

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