CW 49/2020: Conflict and Cooperation
Press Review 28 November 2020 to 4 December 2020

Ugandan opposition candidate Bobi Wine under pressure

The political climate in Uganda continues to heat up about a month before the upcoming presidential elections: After Ugandan presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, and his campaign team were attacked by Ugandan security forces, the latter announced that he would temporarily suspend his election campaign. On Tuesday, the opposition candidate announced on Twitter that his vehicle had come under fire and several of his staff had been wounded, some of them seriously. After a meeting with the Ugandan election commission, which focused on the repeated violent treatment of Wine and his supporters by the state apparatus, Wine resumed his rallies on Thursday, this time wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. Wine, who has transformed himself from a celebrated musician to a politician and is supported in particular by Ugandan youth, was last arrested during an election campaign event two weeks ago. His arrest and the violent suppression of demonstrators by forces loyal to the regime were followed by broader popular protests, with 54 people losing their lives as a result. Wine was subsequently charged with violating the pandemic restrictions on mass gatherings. He was released on bail, however. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni defended the actions of the police and army in a national speech last Sunday. The harsh stanceof the long-term ruler indicates that he considers Wine a serious threat to his re-election in January.


Mozambique and Tanzania agree to cooperate against extremism

Representatives of the police authorities from Tanzania and Mozambique have agreed on cross-border cooperation. Together they want to take stronger action against extremist violence. The police chiefs met last weekend in the city of Mtwara in southeastern Tanzania, where they signed a declaration of intent to combat unrest. In addition to joint cross-border operations, the agreement provides for increased cooperation in the exchange of information and data and the extradition of over 500 prisoners from Tanzania to Mozambique. The agreement comes one month after a deadly attack by Mozambican jihadists in Tanzania. At least 20 people died in a Tanzanian village. For about three years, a conflict between the government and Islamist insurgents has been smouldering in northern Mozambique on the border with Tanzania. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, around 2,300 people fell victim to the unrest in the province of Cabo Delgado during this period. The Prime Minister of Mozambique, Carlos Agostinho, in turn, stated last week that 500,000 people have already been driven from their homes. Since 2017 the Islamist Al-Shabaab militia has been gaining increasing control over the province and part of the coast. They come from a decade-old religious grouping that practices a form of radical Islam and Sharia law and rejects any form of cooperation with the government. Since 2015, Al-Shabaab has become increasingly radicalized in Mozambique, and since 2017 there have been repeated fights with government troops. The militia has no connection to its Somali namesake.


On another note

Alpha Ramazani’s thirty-square-meter Book Express bookstore in Kinshasa, which opened in 2019, is considered a speciality in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since many international book publishers do not find the demand in the DRC worthwhile enough for direct delivery, Ramazani travels personally to Brussels to supply his customers with literary novelties. Ramazani describes the transport process as laborious but profitable, as the books are sold for almost the same prices as in Europe. His bestsellers are books on political theory, but the children’s books that Ramazani brings back from Europe are also in great demand.

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