Uganda. The president since 1986, Yoweri Museveni, who turned 85 this year, showed no signs of wanting to give up power. In February, the ruling party nominated the National Resistance Movement (NRM) as its candidate in the 202 presidential election. The constitutional amendment meant that the previous upper age limit of 75 years was removed. However, three out of seven judges disagreed with the decision. President Museveni has also allowed his son Kainerugaba Muhoozi to rise rapidly in the army. In February, he was promoted for the third time in six years, this time to Lieutenant General, which is the second highest of the army.
The person who in recent years has profiled himself as Museveni’s sharpest critic is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, better known as pop star under the artist name Bobi Wine. He has continued to act opposition despite repeated harassment by the regime and has announced that he plans to run for presidential election in 2021. In April, he was arrested again for a planned concert and put in what was called “preventive house arrest”. He was released after a short week but was arrested again a few days later, this time accused of organizing protests in 2018 against a new tax on social media. After three days he was released to the castle. In August, Kyagulanyi was indicted for annoying, upset and ridiculing President Museveni. The events intended occurred in 2018, when stones were thrown against the president’s car column. However, Museveni was not found in any of the vehicles, but Kyagulanyi and a large number of other persons are accused of lying behind the stone throwing and have been charged with treason. Just days before the new prosecution, Kyagulanyi had gone out with information that one of his supporters, music colleague Michael Kalinda, had died after being abducted and tortured. According to Kyagulanyi, Kalinda shared this fate with dozens of others of his followers.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of UGA in general and in geography as Uganda in particular.
In October, it was forbidden to wear or sell red baskets. The official reason was said that red baskets are state property as they are used in the military. The real reason, however, is that the headgear is associated with Bobi Wine; both he and many of his followers usually wear red baskets.
The regime also tried to silence other critical voices. In August, academic and activist Stella Nyanzi was sentenced to 18 months in prison for harassing President Museveni in a Facebook post. Nyanzi is well known for his fight for the rights of LGBTQ people, whose already vulnerable situation worsened during the year. In December, a court awarded Nyanzi a damages equivalent to US $ 14,000 for the authorities in 2017 preventing her from going abroad, more specifically to a conference in the Netherlands.
In October, Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo talked about a planned tightening of legislation against homosexuals. According to the minister, homosexuality is not a natural occurrence in Uganda and he said he wants it to be punishable, not only to carry out homosexual acts but also to “advocate” homosexuality and “recruit” people. If the planned legislation goes through, the person who is judged to have committed a serious crime must be sentenced to death. Whether that will be so is uncertain. Lokodo was opposed shortly after his statement in a Twitter message written by a government spokesman. However, the fact that it is already fatal for sexually abusive people in Uganda was shown a few days before Lokodo’s play. At that time, LGBT activist Brian Wasswa suffered such a severe abuse in his home that he later died.
At the beginning of December, at least 16 people died in floods in the western part of the country.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Uganda in 2019 was 44,269,483, ranking number 32 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.600% yearly, and the population density was 221.5584 people per km2.