Uganda

  1. Meet the Ugandan making mosquito-repelling soap

    Joan Nalubega
    Image caption: Joan Nalubega says many people have given up on mosquito nets

    A Ugandan entrepreneur who's now in the running for a "business hero" award has told the BBC her struggle with malaria as a child sparked her business idea.

    Joan Nalubega, who grew up in an orphanage, has developed an organic soap that repels mosquitoes.

    "In 2016 I realised that the interventions that people use locally are the same interventions that had been in use for decades," she told BBC Focus on Africa.

    Ms Nalubega also saw that malaria cases were still on the rise in rural Uganda despite government campaigns.

    "A lot of people have tried to do what the governments are telling them, gotten mosquito nets and sleep in them but then because they still get malaria they have given up on them," she said.

    Ms Nalubega says the soap she developed can be used every day.

    It is available in shops and hospitals and has been subsidised for poor communities.

    Her invention has seen her reach the final list of the Jack Ma Foundation award for African entrepreneurs that helps start-ups to grow their ventures.

  2. Uganda arrests travellers with fake Covid-19 test documents

    Patricia Oyella

    BBC News, Kampala

    A Ugandan health officer takes samples for testing the COVID-19

    Police in Uganda have arrested 25 travellers suspected of presenting forged Covid-19 test certificates.

    Some 23 travellers were arrested on Sunday while checking in at Entebbe International airport near the capital, Kampala, while two others were apprehended on arrival.

    The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson, Vianney Luggya, said the suspects are being held by aviation police. They will face charges of forgery and uttering of false documents.

    Uganda reopened its international borders on 1 October - six months after they were closed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    It now requires departing travellers to present negative test results taken 120 hours before leaving.

    Arriving passengers have to present certificates of test results taken within 72 hours before their flight.

    The East Africa country has so far confirmed 10,590 coronavirus cases and 97 deaths from about half a million tests carried out.

    About eight facilities are accredited to run Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests but they are costly. Some facilities charge as much as $126 (£97) for each test.

  3. Uganda's Bobi Wine denies reports of his arrest

    Robert Kyagulanyi (C) aka Bobi Wine arrives to the headquarters of his new political party National Unity Platform (NUP) as he is nominated as president of the party
    Image caption: Bobi Wine (C) is running for president in the January 2021 elections

    Ugandan opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has denied reports that he was arrested during a police raid at his party's offices.

    His lawyer, Anthony Wameli, had been quoted by AFP news agency as saying that the politician was arrested alongside other party officials on Wednesday.

    Bobi Wine has told the BBC that he left the offices soon after the police arrived and was now at home.

    The party office was raided by dozens of armed soldiers and police officers.

    Bobi Wine, who is running for the presidency, said documents to secure his nomination went missing during the raid.

    The elections will be held in January 2021.

    Police said the raid was not political but an operation on "misuse" of "uniforms and accoutrements that are gazetted".

    Read more:

  4. Uganda reopens schools for final year students

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Ugandan students in school
    Image caption: Learners are maintaining social distance in classrooms

    Schools in Uganda have reopened for final year students, seven months after all education institutions in the country were closed as a coronavirus preventive measure.

    Final year students in higher education institutions are also resuming face-to-face learning.

    The schools are required to put in place hand-washing and temperature checking facilities, and also ensure that the students maintain physical distance while in class and around the schools.

    But many schools across the country have not met these standards and will remain closed.

    On Thursday schoolchildren could be seen walking to schools early morning. Temperature checks, hand-washing, as well as recording of next of kin and residential area details were being carried out at the school premises the BBC visited.

    Some of the children said that while they might be safe at school, they use public transport and therefore worried about being infected by travellers who don't adhere to Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

    The country has so far confirmed 10,096 cases but the rate of infection has been steadily rising, averaging about 1,000 new cases a week.

    But if this phase of reopening schools goes smoothly then the education sector is expected to fully reopen in early 2021.

  5. Bobi Wine: Police stole my presidential nomination papers

    Catherine Byaruhanga

    BBC News, Kampala

    Bobi Wine
    Image caption: Bobi Wine says six million signatures in support of him have gone missing

    The Ugandan politician and musician, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has told the BBC that documents needed to secure his nomination to run for president are missing from his offices following a raid by security forces on Wednesday afternoon.

    One of the requirements for candidates is to hand in signatures of support from 100 registered voters from at least two-thirds of Uganda’s districts. Bobi Wine says his team had already collected six million signatures but that these are now missing.

    “Museveni’s government is trying to block me from nominating as a presidential candidate. From questioning my academic credentials, to questioning my age - now they are making every effort to frustrate my nomination and I want to believe that is why they took the signatures away.”

    "We’re not giving up, we have immediately communicated to our branches to ensure they start collecting the signatures immediately and hopefully by Friday we’re going to have the required signatures,” he said

    The MP was speaking to the BBC after fleeing his offices when dozens of armed soldiers and police arrived to carry out a search.

    He also said 23 million Ugandan shillings ($6,200; £4,800) were taken. He says this money was raised to help pay the electoral fees for party members who wish to stand for parliament.

    The police have not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment on Bobi Wine’s allegations. Earlier they denied that the raid was political.

    Uganda’s Electoral Commission had given the aspirants an administrative deadline of Friday to hand in the nomination forms.

    A spokesperson for the commission says he can’t comment on Bobi Wine’s alleged missing documents but says the deadline can be extended for candidates if they raise the issue with the commission officially.

  6. Uganda security forces raid Bobi Wine's party office

    Catherine Byaruhanga

    BBC News, Kampala

    The party offices of Ugandan presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, are being raided by dozens of armed soldiers and police officers.

    Documents are reportedly being taken from the premises as well as red military-style berets and overalls.

    Uganda police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, told the BBC: "We are carrying out operations on misuse of some of the uniforms and accoutrements that are gazetted".

    Local television station NTV Uganda has tweeted a video of the raid:

    View more on twitter

    In September last year, the government designated the red beret worn by Bobi Wine and his supporters as military uniform – meaning anyone deemed to be possessing or wearing them illegally could be prosecuted.

    Mr Enanga said the operation was ongoing and that officers would search other premises as well as the offices of the National Unity Platform party.

    Bobi Wine has said state operatives are targeting him and his party as they prepare to challenge President Yoweri Museveni in the general election in early 2021.

    But the police spokesperson insists the operation is not politically motivated.

  7. Uganda's leader Museveni adopts childhood name

    Uganda's President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni
    Image caption: The president will now be reffered to as Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni

    Uganda’s President, known publicly as Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has officially changed his names, to include his childhood name, Tibuhaburwa.

    The name, which is in his Runyankore mother tongue, can be translated as "he who cannot take advice or be guided/corrected".

    The name change has drawn speculation and jokes from Ugandans online, some wondering what the job of his advisers is.

    The president signed a declaration as required by the Registration of Persons Act, to be formally known as Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni.

    Though the name has been referred to in different instances over his 34-year rule, he has never used it publicly.

    According to the deed poll document dated 6 October, the president says that the name has always been on his academic papers.

    But it is believed that the move follows a requirement from the Electoral Commission, for 2021 election candidates to ensure that names on their nomination documents match those on their academic records.

    The electoral body announced recently that candidates whose names on the papers submitted are not the same as those on their academic papers will not be nominated.

    In 2017, a court ruling annulled an MPs election victory based on the fact that he had interchanged his names on different official documents.

  8. 'I'm a hustler, a ghetto child' - Eddy Kenzo

    DJ Edu

    This Is Africa

    Eddy Kenzo

    For someone who spent most of his childhood on the street, Uganda's Eddy Kenzo has what could be considered a surprisingly upbeat attitude to life.

    Quote Message: Me, I’m here to promote the good vibe. I’m here to show people what kind of life we go through and the happy side of it, not only the sad story all the time."

    Kenzo’s mother passed away when he was just three years old. For the next 13 years he and his brother lived a hand-to-mouth existence.

    "The only thing I could do was look for something to eat. You go and you start washing dishes. From there you start lifting things from taxis, helping people in different ways. Then I became a porter on some buildings. Life was just like that."

    Like many youngsters, Kenzo dreamed of becoming a footballer. But a natural instinct to entertain led him in a different direction.

    Quote Message: I used to sing, dance for people – music was my thing during the street times. I would entertain people, always happy."

    Today, the 30-year-old has no such concerns. A bona fide superstar, his songs are known across the world. He recently appeared on a Times Square billboard in New York promoting his latest song.

    It's a reworking of the classic track Missounwa, with Ivorian legend Monique Séka that was recorded during an unintentional five-month lockdown in Ivory Coast caused by coronavirus travel restrictions.

    "I tried my level best to keep myself busy, trying to work out, keep in the house, keep social distancing, because in the beginning I was so scared about Covid."

    From life on the street to being confined indoors by coronavirus, things have certainly changed for Eddy Kenzo. But he says his tough upbringing will stay with him forever.

    "Me, I’m a hustler, I’m a ghetto child," he tells the BBC, adding:

    Quote Message: It is my dream that we can have more and more people from humble beginnings to make it big, even bigger than me. That's my prayer every day."

    You can hear the full interview on This Is Africa this Saturday, on BBC World Service radio, and partner stations across Africa.

  9. Video content

    Video caption: The Kenyan school helping to rebuild communities along a violent border

    In a community torn apart by violence, this Kenyan school is bringing students together from opposite sides of the divide.

  10. Millions feared lost in Uganda mobile money hacking

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    Mobile money booth in Uganda.
    Image caption: Telecom giant MTN has described the incident as unprecedented

    More than a million dollars may have been stolen by cyber criminals who attacked Uganda's mobile digital payment system over the weekend, although that has not been confirmed by the telecom companies or banks.

    Stanbic Bank and the mobile operators MTN and Airtel have admitted there was an “incident.”

    More than 20 million people using mobile payment platforms have been affected since Saturday.

    Telecom giant MTN has described the hacking - which targeted the company that moves the money Pegasus Technologies - as "unprecedented" because of the scale and magnitude of the crime.

    The mobile digital payment system could be out of commission for a month as investigations continue.

    Internet use has also been disrupted because owners of mobile devices use money transfers to pay for data.

    Mobile transactions are worth more than $7bn (£5.4bn) a year in Uganda.

  11. Ugandan judge injured in road accident

    A Ugandan judge was injured in a road accident on Monday morning while travelling to a court in the western part of the country, according to the Uganda Red Cross.

    The Daily Monitor newspaper has identified the judge as Paul Gadenya. He was previously the chief registrar of the judiciary.

    The newspaper quotes a police spokesperson as saying the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

    A hospital official is quoted as saying the judge was in a life-threatening condition and will be air-lifted to the capital, Kampala, for further treatment.

    The Uganda Red Cross has tweeted photos of the wreckage of the judge's car:

    View more on twitter
  12. Uganda to discharge Covid-19 patients without testing

    A medic washes his hands at the border of Uganda and South Sudan
    Image caption: Covid-19 patients had complained over long wait for negative test results

    Uganda's health ministry has revised its protocol for discharging Covid-19 patients that will see asymptomatic patients leave hospitals without a retest.

    Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said patients who have been in isolation for 10 days will be discharged without testing if they do not show symptoms.

    "If PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction test] is positive at day 10, a repeat after five days will be done and discharged if PCR is negative. If PCR is still positive at day 15, discharge at day 20 without further PCR testing will be done," she said.

    This will reduce the number of days that patients wait to be discharged after the first test.

    Previously patients could only be discharged after having two negative tests. But some patients had complained about the time spent waiting for the confirmatory test despite not showing symptoms.

    Uganda has to date confirmed 8,287 coronavirus cases including 4,430 recoveries and 75 deaths.

  13. Coronavirus: Uganda reopens borders for passengers

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Uganda Airlines at Entebbe Airport
    Image caption: The national carrier Uganda Airlines has resumed regional flights

    Uganda has reopened its international borders for the first time since March when they were closed as a control measure against the coronavirus pandemic.

    The East African country closed its borders to passenger travel even before it registered its first case of Covid-19, but continued to allow both land and air cargo.

    The national carrier, Uganda Airlines, on Thursday morning ran its regional flights to Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia, as scheduled.

    Other international airlines have also been landing and taking off.

    The civil aviation authority has advised out-bound travellers to be at the airport at least four hours before scheduled departure.

    Immigration officials at the airport are encouraging passengers to use self-service booths where available to minimise contact.

    Passengers coming into Uganda will be required to present a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of their departure.

    Those who present a negative test will not be required to go into isolation.

    But if someone arrives without a test certificate, a sample will be taken and they will be made to quarantine at their own cost as they await results.

    The country experienced a rise in coronavirus cases in September, averaging about 1,000 new cases per week. Total cases are at over 8,000.

    Although the government has been working to increase the number of beds and the capacity of isolation centres across the country, health workers who have spoken to the BBC worry that resources might be stretched if cases continue to rise.

  14. Court rules against reinstating Uganda election age limit

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Yoweri Museveni
    Image caption: The ruling means President Yoweri Museveni is free to stand in the next election

    The East African Court of Justice has dismissed a case which challenged the Constitutional Amendment Bill, removing the age limit to contesting the presidency in Uganda.

    This means President Yoweri Museveni is allowed to stand for re-election.

    Ugandan lawyer Male Mabirizi had petitioned the country’s Supreme Court, which upheld the amendment, after which he took matters to the regional court.

    The change in the constitution removed the requirement for anyone wishing to stand for the presidency to be aged between 35 and 75 years.

    Mr Mabirizi had also challenged the process by which the law was passed by parliament in 2017, which was marred by punch-ups on the floor of the house, and an invasion by the military special forces.

    The regional court in Arusha, Tanzania, has ruled that the process through which the bill was passed did not violate the East African Community treaty.

    If the court had ruled in favour of the petitioner, it would have left President Museveni’s candidature for the 2021 elections in the balance.

  15. Court to rule on Museveni's eligibility in Uganda's polls

    Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni
    Image caption: President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 34 years

    The East African Court of Justice will on Wednesday rule on a challenge to a decision by Uganda's supreme court to uphold a constitutional amendment that removed the age limit for presidential candidates.

    The 2017 amendment eliminated the requirement that candidates vying for the presidency be under 75 years old.

    It allowed President Yoweri Museveni, who is over 75 years old, to run for another five-year term in the January 2021 general elections. He has been in power since 1986.

    Lawyer Male Mabirizi went to the East African Court, based in neighbouring Tanzania, to challenge the supreme court's verdict. He wants the clause on an age limit for presidential candidates reinstated.

    He said in court papers that the constitutional amendment was done "through violence and deployment of military police in and outside parliament", the Daily Monitor newspaper reports.

  16. East African states integration plan is too ambitious

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    Uganda - Rwanda border post

    The legislative assembly of the East African Community (EAC) wants to speed up the integration of the region's economies.

    The body has launched a plan to complete the process within five years, but based on continual arguments between countries over trade issues the time scale may be too ambitious.

    The EAC is made up of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

    Economic integration in East Africa will be supported by four pillars: the customs union and common market, which are being implemented despite a few problems, plus a monetary union and a political federation.

    The speaker of the EAC assembly, Martin Ngoga, says in the next five years all the legal requirements for the four pillars will be in place, as well as a mechanism to ensure that directives issued by the heads of state summits are implemented.

    The plan sets out to move quickly towards a monetary union and create a close political union.

    The unified financial system would mean a regional central bank and the adoption of a single currency, which seems almost impossible in the next year, because of the economic chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Add to that the overcoming of any political divisions between the EAC member countries.

    The regular arguments over trade between the nations in East Africa also highlight the challenges the EAC faces to integrate the region's economies within five years.

    Disputes over exports of sugar in the region, or the current dispute between Tanzania and Uganda over charges for road freight transporters using the port of Dar es Salaam, undermine the kind of harmony needed to integrate the economies in East Africa.

  17. Uganda denies selling conflict gold from DR Congo

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    A vendor in Dubai's gold souk
    Image caption: Gold accounted for about half of all Uganda's exports in July - and its biggest market is the UAE

    A human rights group has accused Uganda of channelling gold mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo that funds conflict, but the authorities insist that refiners are not processing metal from illicit sources.

    Ugandan gold exports have more than doubled in one year, fuelling the concerns. Its biggest market is the United Arab Emirates, having overtaken countries of the East African Community.

    The campaign group Impact, which is based in Canada, says the authorities in Rwanda and Uganda need to clamp down on smuggling of Congolese gold across their borders.

    It claims just a small fraction of the 15 to 22 tonnes mined in DR Congo every year is officially recorded and exported.