News / Africa

Uganda Protests Against High Prices Continue

Multimedia

Audio
Douglas Mpuga

Protests against soaring fuel and food prices in Uganda are entering their fourth week. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets across the country in a “walk to work” campaign that began small but gained momentum when Ugandan security forces responded with violence.

What began as a series of peaceful demonstrations have turned increasingly bloody, with clashes between police and demonstrators leaving at least five dead, more than 100 injured and 700 in jail.

The government's use of police force against the protesters has already prompted local and international criticism of President Yoweri Museveni's actions.

The government says the demonstrations are illegal and are intended to disrupt the peace. It says they will not be tolerated.

The most prominent protester, opposition leader Kizza Besigye, has been arrested four times in the past three weeks. In one incident he was shot with a rubber bullet. Police have also used a gun and a hammer to smash the windows of his car. On one occasion they doused him with pepper spray and dragged him into custody. He was flown to Kenya for specialized hospital treatment.

This week hundreds of lawyers went on a three-day strike to protest against the violent crackdown.

“The government should take responsibility for the chaos and disruption that has taken place,” said Fred Golooba Mutebi, a political scientist and senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Uganda.

If the government had reacted differently, he said, perhaps the protests would have stopped within a few days, “But the government’s decision to act in the savage way that it did only added fuel to what figuratively would have been a small fire.”

Mutebi speculated that President Museveni may feel he has a personal feud with Besigye and the analyst wondered if that could have something to do with the violence. “I didn’t see the security forces or even Museveni himself react as viciously towards other opposition leaders as they did towards Besigye.”

He said the demonstrators do not start the violence, which he said breaks out only when protesters are attacked by the police.

Now that lawyers have joined in the protests with a three-day strike, Mutebi said it is becoming a bigger issue about the conduct of the government itself – what he calls its tendency to abuse the law, use violence against unarmed civilians, and try to manipulate the judiciary.

“What we see is the beginning of coming together of a wide range of groups and forces against the Museveni government,” Mutebi said.

Citing Uganda’s history, Mutebi added, “It took a coalition of several forces to bring down the Idi Amin government, as it did for the [Milton] Obote government, and we are probably witnessing the beginning of a process that will pit the Museveni government against a much wider front of opposition forces.”

Although it is difficult to predict how long that will take, “it seems we have reached that territory now,” he said.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid