CW 3/2021: Between Departure and Standstill
Press Review 16 January 2021 to 22 January 2021

Uganda following the elections

Uganda’s incumbent Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of the 2021 presidential elections on Saturday. Officially, he won 58.6% of the votes, securing his sixth term in office. The leader’s party, the National Resistance Movement also retained a majority in parliament. However, Bobi Wine, who came second with 34.8% of the votes and whose National Unity Platform (NUP) is now the strongest opposition party in parliament, spoke of widespread electoral fraud. In the meantime, the NUP has filed a complaint against the official result with the country’s Supreme Court. The International community has reacted to the government with heavy criticism, particularly to the treatment of Wine, whose house was surrounded by police and military following the election and who has been under house arrest since Saturday. The European Union called on Museveni’s government to immediately lift Wine’s house arrest and to launch an investigation into security forces who assaulted voters. US Ambassador Brown’s attempt to get into Wines’ house was stopped by the security forces present on Monday, earning her accusations from the Ugandan side that the US was trying to undermine the outcome of the election. Wine’s lawyer was also unable to get through to him. Meanwhile, Bobi Wine has filed a complaint with the United Nations against his house arrest. He called on the international community to scrutinise the conduct of the election, to work for the release of political prisoners and to initiate sanctions against President Museveni.  The presence of military and security forces remains high in large parts of the country, even a week after the election.


Nationwide protests erupt in Tunisia

Beginning over the weekend, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Tunisia demonstrating against the government, despite a curfew. Numerous cities in the North African country have been affected by protests and riots. Local media reports state that there have been several nights in a row of clashes with the police. According to official figures, more than 600 people were arrested, most of them between 15 and 25 years of age. Human rights organisations now estimate more than 1000 arrests. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, groups of young people set fire to tyres and rubbish bins and threw stones at police officers. In response to the unrest, the army has been deployed to support the police and protect government buildings. The reasons for the increasing unrest and protests are manifold. A week ago was the tenth anniversary of the Tunisian revolution and the fall of the autocratic president Ben Ali. Following this however, the much-expected political reforms in the post-Arab Spring era could not be implemented. Instead, the country, which is one of the six reform partners in the framework of the Marshall Plan with Africa, is suffering from a deep economic crisis and is on the verge of bankruptcy. The majority of the protesters complain mainly about the lack of public services in the country. Additionally, youth unemployment is reported to be at 30%, which has been further exacerbated by the Corona pandemic. On social media, various parties are calling for a protest on Saturday against the violent police action.


In other news

African countries have a long tradition of oral storytelling. African Echoes, an audio book app developed by a Ghanaian tech entrepreneur, aims to keep this tradition alive by allowing African storytellers to record and submit their stories using voice notes. These are evaluated by the company and then recorded in different languages in the studio. To reach rural areas, the stories can be shared via Bluetooth with people who do not have internet access. The app aims to raise awareness of African stories both on the continent and beyond it.

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