Uganda

  1. Tortured Ugandan writer seeks bail on medical grounds

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    The detained Ugandan writer, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, has appeared in court via video link and applied for bail.

    NTV Uganda tweeted a screengrab of his video appearance:

    View more on twitter

    Earlier this month the award-winning author was charged with two counts of offensive communication after making unflattering remarks on Twitter about President Yoweri Museveni and his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, a commander in the army, who the author called "obese".

    Mr Rukirabashaija's lawyers applied for bail on medical grounds and say that he has been tortured.

    The prison authorities say that injuries on Mr Rukirabashaija's body were sustained before he was transferred into their custody.

    His bail hearing is set for next week.

    Human rights organisations and diplomats have been calling for the writer to be released.

    The novelist had been kept in detention by security forces since his arrest in December.

    Mr Rukirabashaija won the PEN Printer International Writer of Courage prize in 2021 for his novel The Greedy Barbarian, which centres on gross corruption in a fictional country.

  2. Tanker drivers play football amid Uganda fuel crisis

    A video of lorry drivers playing football at the Uganda border has prompted hilarity and exasperation as the country experiences a fuel crisis.

    In the short clip, which is being widely shared online, fuel tankers can be seen queuing up along a road as drivers strip down to their vests to pass time kicking around a ball.

    It was first shared two days ago when tweeters said the footage was shot at the Malaba border between Uganda and Kenya.

    View more on twitter

    Queues of trucks as long as 70km (40 miles) have been reported over the last few days.

    The delays have been attributed to the requirement that drivers be tested for Covid-19 at the border, regardless of whether they have a negative PCR test.

    Even though the requirement has since been suspended, it led to a build-up at the Malaba and Busia borders in the east of the country and has also led to an increase in fuel prices.

  3. How Covid has affected Uganda's mountain gorillas

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid has meant tourists have been unable to visit leading to income loss

    Covid has meant tourists have been unable to visit leading to income loss for local communities around the parks where the mountain gorillas live.

  4. Fuel crisis in Uganda over build-up at border

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Petrol station in Uganda
    Image caption: This petrol station in Kampala has run out of fuel

    Uganda is undergoing a fuel crisis following a build-up of fuel transporters at the major border points of Malaba and Busia in the east of the country.

    Queues of waiting trucks, as long as 70km (43 miles), have been reported.

    Truck drivers in the region have been protesting against a requirement by the Ugandan government that they test for Covid-19 at the border points, regardless of whether they presented a negative PCR test or not.

    The directive to test at the border was issued at the start of the month. Uganda later suspended it but there was already a build-up of trucks at the border points.

    The country imports all its fuel and other petroleum products and consumes about 6.5m litres (1.7m gallons) a day.

    Fuel prices have been steadily rising since last year, but a major spike has been seen in the past week.

    In the capital Kampala, some filling stations have been selling only the premium petrol, known as V-power by some distributors, which costs 5,200 Uganda shillings ($1.5: £1.0) per litre at some outlets.

    This is despite a ministry of energy's directive to retailers at the weekend that prices should not exceed 5,000 Uganda shillings.

    By end of last week, fuel was already at 10,000 shillings in some other countryside towns.

    Many outlets have already completely run out of all fuel products.

  5. Uganda to destroy 400,000 unused Covid jabs

    Someone getting vaccinated in Uganda
    Image caption: Vaccine uptake is said to be low in northern Uganda

    Uganda is set to destroy 400,000 unused coronavirus vaccines, which had been supplied for use in the north of the country.

    Most of the unused doses are Moderna and Astrazeneca.

    The batches are thought to now be expired, according to Uganda's online paper, Monitor.

    It comes as the country has reached less than half of its target to vaccinate 22 million people, the same source said.

    "Moderna is ultra-frozen - it has to be thawed. Before use, when it was unutilized in Acholi we took it to western Uganda but couldn't utilise it before 30 days," Uganda's news site Nile Post quotes Health Minister Jane Aceng as saying.

    She attributed the low vaccine uptake to unproven health myths, it continued.

  6. Detained Ugandan writer charged in court

    Patience Atuhaire

    BBC News, Kampala

    Kakwenza Rukirabashaija
    Image caption: Kakwenza Rukirabashaija won the PEN Printer International Writer of Courage prize in 2021

    A Ugandan writer accused of tweeting derogatory statements about the president and his son has been charged in court, weeks after he was arrested.

    Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was charged with two counts of offensive communication and has been sent to prison until 21 January, when he will appear in court again.

    Eron Kiiza, his lawyer, said that the author was limping, and he told the court that his health was failing.

    The lawyer had previously said that his client had been tortured in detention.

    Mr Rukirabashaija was arrested in December and a court last week ordered that he be released unconditionally but the authorities did not heed the order.

    On Monday, the court ordered that he be presented in court.

    Human rights organisations and diplomats have been calling for Mr Rukirabashaija to be presented in court or released unconditionally.

    The writer won the PEN Printer International Writer of Courage prize in 2021, for his novel “The Greedy Barbarian” which centres on gross corruption in a fictional country.

    Mr Rukirabashaija had previously been arrested and accused of violating coronavirus social distancing rules and promoting sectarianism. At the time he said that he had been tortured.

  7. Uganda prosecutor withdraws case against Bobi Wine

    Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine
    Image caption: Bobi Wine is a fierce critic of President Yoweri Museveni

    The public prosecutor in Uganda has withdrawn a case against opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine.

    The politician had been accused of giving false details about his age while registering for a diploma at Makerere University.

    Bobi Wine has in the past had his academic credentials questioned.

    He ran against Uganda's long-term President Yoweri Museveni in last year's elections and complained of fraud.

    Bobi Wine is a fierce critic of the president.

  8. Uganda schools reopen after almost two years

    A teacher helps pupils wash their hands

    Schools in Uganda have fully reopened this morning, almost two years after the coronavirus pandemic started.

    This has been one of the world's longest closures since the virus forced governments to close learning institutions back in March 2020.

    Students will be promoted to the next class and there will be targeted work to give them a chance to catch up.

    Uganda’s national planning authority projected that at least 30% of all students who were in school before the pandemic may never return.

    Here are some photos of the first day in school taken by the BBC's Patience Atuhaire in Kampala:

    A pupil washes hands
    A pupil gets her temperature checked
    Pupils queue in a school
    Pupils in a classroom

    Read more:

  9. Detained Ugandan novelist's wife sues police chiefs

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Kakwenza Rukirabashaija
    Image caption: Kakwenza Rukirabashaija won Pen International's 2021 International Writer of Courage award

    The wife of Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who was detained after Christmas, has started legal action against the country's police chiefs - demanding that she be able to see him.

    Eva Basima is suing the special forces command chief and police inspector-general.

    She says she has not seen her husband, a critic of veteran President Yoweri Museveni, since he was arrested by heavily armed special forces officers on 28 December at their home.

    On Tuesday, a court ordered the police to release Rukirabashaija unconditionally, but he remains in custody.

    Robert Kyagulanyi, an opposition leader and singer better known by his stage name Bobi Wine, has said the failure to free the author is a crime against humanity.

    The police accuse Rukirabashaija of using social media to “abuse and belittle" the president and his son, army commander Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

    In a tweet he had described the general as "obese" and said "the Musevenis have imposed enormous suffering on this country".

    Rukirabashaija won last year's Pen Pinter Prize's International Writer of Courage award

    He is best known for The Greedy Barbarian, a satirical novel which describes high-level corruption in a fictional country, and Banana Republic: Where Writing is Treasonous, an account of the torture he was subjected to while in detention in 2020.

    Ugandan police routinely disregard court orders and often re-arrest suspects released on bail.

  10. Bobi Wine addresses Museveni in new song

    Ugandan opposition leader and musician Bobi Wine has just released a song entitled Ogenda, a Luganda word that loosely translates as "You will fall".

    The song is made directly for President Yoweri Museveni's ears because he has turned his back on his word to bring democracy to the country, he says.

    Bobi Wine told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that he had to expose the crimes committed under the president's regime hence the graphic images used in the video.

    "The regime in Uganda has invested a whole lot of money to cover up the atrocities," he said.

    Bobi Wine said the media in Uganda is gagged and the only way to expose the rot is through music.

    "Justice can only happen when we expose the crimes, that is why we continue bringing it up, that is the only way we can fight back," he said.

    Here is the full interview:

    Video content

    Video caption: Boby Wine talks about his new song Ogenda
  11. Court orders police to release Ugandan author

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Kakwenza Rukirabashaija
    Image caption: Kakwenza Rukirabashaija won a prestigious prize this year for courageous writing

    A court in Uganda has ordered the police to release a prominent author, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.

    He was arrested last week after criticising President Yoweri Museveni and his son Lt-Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba on social media.

    A lawyer for the writer said he had not yet been released but he expected the authorities to comply with the court ruling.

    Mr Rukirabashaija, who won this year's Pen Pinter Prize's International Writer of Courage award, had been due in court to face the charge of offensive communication.

    It was not clear why he had not been presented in court.

  12. Ugandan author of The Greedy Barbarian detained says lawyer

    Video content

    Video caption: Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been detained, his lawyer has confirmed.

    Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who won a prestigious prize this year for courageous writing, has been detained, his lawyer has confirmed.