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Uganda Bans Election Monitoring Group Ahead Of Polls

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Uganda authorities have banned a coalition of more than 60 organizations formed to monitor the country’s 2021 general elections.  The government says it is illegal. Ugandans will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections in January.

Uganda’s national bureau for non-governmental organizations, which regulates the activities of non-profit organizations, says the coalition, the national election Watch-Uganda, was not registered.

The bureau’s head, Stephen Okello, says the group should halt its activities with immediate effect, including issuing of statements.

It also says some of the organizations under the group were neither registered nor had permits to operate in the country.

The Ugandan government has been critical of non-profit organizations, accusing some of them of promoting foreign interests and duplicating government’s work.

Action Aid International Uganda, in a statement on its website, said the group was formed last month to promote electoral integrity, enhance citizen confidence and participation.

In 2017, police raided the offices of at least three such organizations, accusing them of involvement in illicit financial transactions and subversive activities to destabilize the country.

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Tigray’s Humanitarian Crisis Deteriorate

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The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR’s representative in Ethiopia, Ann Encontre says humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state has deteriorated rapidly since the armed conflict broke out in the state earlier this month.

In an online interview, Encontre said with the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, Tigray’s humanitarian aid operations are in trouble.

Encontre pointed out also that the armed conflict has stopped the locals from focusing on the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control which has become another crisis for the state.

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Uganda, South Sudan Forces Meet Over Border Clashes

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South Sudan and Uganda border authorities have met in the northern Ugandan City of Gulu to harmonize border security dispute between the two countries.

South Sudan chief of general staff, General Johnson Okot, who met with Uganda deputy chief of defense forces, Lieutenant-General Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, called on the armies of the two countries to generate a memorandum of understanding in order to advance their pan African interests.

Tensions had been brewing along the border areas of Ngomoro in Lamwo district, and parts of Kitgum and Karamoja region.

An 18-member African Union group set up in 2016 for the delimitation and demarcation of the Uganda-South Sudan border has been unable to do its work because of fighting between groups loyal to South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his vice president Riek Machar.

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Uganda Deploys More Soldiers Amid Protests

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Uganda military has increased deployment of soldiers in the nation`s capital, Kampala, and other major towns to counter protests that broke out following the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.

Early weeks of campaigning have been marked by violence ahead of the country`s January election.

At least 28 persons have been killed across the country during violent protests, live bullets and teargas were fired in Kampala on Thursday, to disperse demonstrators. The police say more than 500 persons have been arrested.

Deputy army spokesperson, Colonel Deo Akiiki says more soldiers will be deployed at all major roads leading into the capital and increased security at sensitive areas such as fuel reservoirs and petrol stations.

A curfew is being enforced with immediate effect. Since Wednesday, groups of young people have set up barricades, burnt tyres and piles of rubbish in the streets of Kampala and other towns. They were met with a violent police response and dispersed with tear gas.

Bobi Wine was arrested at an election rally in the east of the country and accused of violating coronavirus prevention guidelines. He has been arraigned in court after two days in police custody. Several opposition presidential candidates suspended their campaigns, calling for Bobi Wine’s release.

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