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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid