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Ugandan Police Charge 126 Arrested During Bobi Wine’s Campaign

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Fred Enanga, the spokesman of the Uganda Police Force (UGF), says the 126 people arrested during a campaign by the presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP), Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, will face a six-count charge.

The 126 were arrested last week in Kalangala District where Bobi Wine, 38, had gone to campaign.

The charges against them include the assault of police officers, incitement to violence, malicious damage to property, negligent acts likely to spread an infectious disease and inconsiderate use of a public road, among others.

Enanga said 99 of the suspects, who include members of Wine’s private security team, will appear at Masaka Magistrate’s Court on Monday; 25 others will be charged at Kalangala Chief Magistrate’s Court on the same charges after the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) sanctioned their files.

Among the suspects is Wine’s singing partner, Ali Bukeni alias Nubian Li, and Mr Eddy Ssebufu aka Eddie Mutwe (Bobi Wine’s personal bodyguard).

The police spokesman said that they have registered several cases of defaced rival camps posters and intimidation of voters, particularly the young ones, women and the elderly.

“If you combine all these it can lead to acts of lawlessness and anarchy. Police will not allow such acts to continue. Those who are planning to harass voters on polling day will face the consequences. In some of the footage we have obtained, there are those warning women and elderly if they know they belong to rival camps. Therefore, as the joint security force, we continue to review this footage with the intention of apprehending the culprits,” he said.

Uganda holds its elections on January 14, 2020 to elect the President and the Parliament. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, is seeking re-election but former reggae singer Bobi Wine has emerged a strong contender for the post.

Already, Uganda has witnessed pre-election violence, the worst in the East African country in decades. More than 50 people were shot dead by security forces in over two days of protests that followed Wine’s arrest in November; days later police fired live bullets into Wine’s car during one of his campaigns.

Over the weekend, Wine -who has been detained three times in two months – described his country’s bitter and violent presidential election campaign as “a war and a battlefield”.

He said “… this campaign is crazy,” before adding “… every day, we are met with heavily armed military officers. It’s always teargas and grenades, live bullets and beatings.

“I am afraid and concerned every day. I fear for my life and the lives of my comrades in the struggle. The regime is after our lives. It’s after hurting and incapacitating us. Every day we live is as if it’s the last one.”

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AfCFTA

AU Member States Adopt Digital COVID-19 Certificates

The new digital application will assist travelers to comply with Covid-19 travel protocols and share vital information to end double testing across the continent.

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From the month of January, all member states of the African Union (AU) will start using digital Covid-19 certificates as one way of eliminating travel restrictions that were occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new digital Covid-19 certificates will assist travellers to comply with Covid-19 travel protocols and share vital information to end double testing across the continent.

The application is from Econet Wireless and PanaBios and has been certified by AU and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

The application will also share information concerning the latest travel restrictions and entry requirements which are applicable to the entire stretch of a passengers’ journey across the African continent.

This new innovation is coming at a time when the African Union is working closely with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to reduce the number of non-trade barriers in the wake of implementation of African free trade.

The AU has already sent a notice to all its member states on the digital Covid-19 certificates for the simplified health-related immigration processing for travellers and port officials, to ensure that the African continent continues to control and possibly reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The application powers the Trusted Travel Portal, which contains information about the latest travel restrictions and entry requirements. This is a database of authorised laboratories and vaccination compliance material.

Several African countries are now experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with a surge in cases reported daily. This has led to countries placing strict movement restriction within the countries.

Some African countries have begun assessing different COVID-19 vaccines available so as to commence procurement.

South Africa tops the continents chart of COVID-19 cases with a total of 1.37m positive reported cases so far. Of this number, 1.16m have recovered and sadly, 38,854 people have so far died of COVID-19 related cases.

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Health

COVID-19: Zimbabwe’s First Lady Calls for Prayers, Fasting

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The Zimbabwean First Lady has invited women in the country to join her for three days of prayer and fasting over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Auxillia Mnangagwa stated she would fast and pray from Thursday till Saturday for Zimbabwe to be “spared from further calamity”.

She urged women to ensure their families observe Covid-19 safety guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading further.

“We need a plan at the household level for regularly using any means at our disposal to clean and sanitise our homes, to ensure that everyone in the home knows the importance of having a mask and masking up properly, more importantly to organise sharp, safe errands for our requirements to get going whilst enforcing the family to stay at home,” she said in a statement.

Zimbabwe has lost 879 people to coronavirus, including top government officials with the most recent death being that of Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo.

On Wednesday, January 20, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Sibusiso Moyo, died after contracting COVID-19.

Moyo, a former army general who announced the military coup that led to the removal of the late long-serving leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Moyo died at a local hospital early on Wednesday,.

Moyo was one of several generals who, after helping plot the coup, were rewarded with senior positions in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet and the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Another cabinet minister, retired general and agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, died of the virus in July 2020.

Zimbabwe has suffered a surge in COVID-19 infections, with more than half of the 28,675 total cases and 825 deaths being recorded since New Year’s Day.

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North Africa

Armed Men Attempt to Storm Governor’s House in Darfur, Sudan

The governor said in a statement that the attempted attack sought to create “instability and chaos” in the province.

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A provincial governor in Sudan’s restive Darfur region was attacked last night. Armed men opened fire overnight, trying to storm his residence but were repelled by guards, officials said.

The attempted attack on West Darfur Gov. Mohammed Abdalla al-Douma’s residence in the provincial capital of El Geneina, heightened tensions in the restive region where tribal violence has led to the death of about 230 people since last week. No injuries or damage were however reported in last night’s attempted attack.

The governor said in a statement that the attempted attack sought to create “instability and chaos” in the province. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, and the governor’s report did not say who the attackers were.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, a military official said that the attackers opened fire on the heavily fortified residence, prompting the guards to return fire. The exchange lasted for over an hour.

Earlier in the week, officials from the Sudanese capital of Khartoum visited to the governor in Genena to discuss the tribal clashes.

The fighting between members of the Arab Rizeigat tribe and the non-Arab Massalit tribe resulted from a fistfight on Friday in a Genena camp for displaced people. Some 160 people on both sides, including women and children have died as a result of the clash.

At least 90,000 people have also been displaced as a result of the fighting.  The displaced persons have now taken shelter in schools and government buildings and nearby villages, according to the United Nations.

A 24-hour curfew in all of the provinces in the Western Darfur region has been imposed by authorities, and the military and police have been authorized to use “all necessary force” to regain order.

Security reinforcements have also been deployed by the central government in Khartoum.

On Monday, clashes between the Rizeigat and non-Arab Falata tribe in South Darfur province, killed around 70 people, according to Gov. Mousa Mahdi. The clashes were sparked by the killing of a shepherd in al-Twaiyel village, 85 kilometers south of Nyala, the provincial capital.

While visiting the village on Tuesday, Mahdi vowed to bring to justice those who instigated the violence.

The latest violent clashes in Darfur region poses a challenge to Sudan’s transitional government which has been struggling to end civil war in the country’s far-flung areas.

It also is a major test to the government’s ability to protect civilians following the end of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force’s mandate in Darfur this month.

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