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    Internet Access Granted! Social Media Still Blocked, But Who Will Pay For The Losses – Ugandans Demand Answers From Gov’t…

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    Internet in Uganda is now finally accessible, and the shutdown has ended. The shutdown that had entered its fifth day was suspended just today before midday.

    Social media access will however remain blocked. And one can only acquire such services if aided with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

    The internet was abruptly shut down on Wednesday night January 13th with just hours to go to polling stations for last Thursday’s general elections.

    That was shortly after Facebook had apparently suspended hundreds of pro-government Ugandan accounts.

    President Yoweri Museveni, while commenting about Facebook’s drastic decision, said there was no way anyone would come to Uganda and decide what was good or bad for Ugandans.

    Until yesterday, the Prime Minister of Uganda Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda could not commit to a date when the internet shutdown would finally be lifted. The only thing he was certain of was that the government was reviewing the security situation before restoring the internet.

    Government offered no prior notice on the intended shutdown and it remained uncertain when the shutdown would be lifted, until at around midday.

    Before the country was hit with a complete internet shutdown, there was an earlier attempt by government to block Google Play Store and Apple’s App store, and a ban on all social media platforms.

    According to government, the rationale for a complete internet shutdown was to deter spread of misinformation and anticipated internal and external influences on Uganda’s electoral process, which is reasonably understandable.

    Ugandans are however bitter with the government’s mode of execution. Citizens demand a clear explanation about the manner in which the internet shutdown was effected; they feel it leaves much to be desired on the question of accountability of government to the Ugandan people and the validity of government’s rationale for this shutdown.

    ‘Netizen’ Ugandans are bothered that if at all a complete internet shutdown was necessary and whether or not it was effected in a proper manner, the most important issue is that who will be held accountable for the adverse impact of this shutdown? People are counting losses!

    Leading telecommunication Networks MTN Uganda and Airtel on their part justifiably stated that they suspended access to social media platforms for their customers in Uganda as a response to a directive issued by the government through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

    The internet shutdown has clearly affected businesses, professionals and people in employment in their day today work.

    Ugandans are now angry that the government should not assume the good will of the people of Uganda without any sense of accountability economically, more so given the current state that the country is just recovering from the COVID-19 hard blow that left many businesses without life.

    It should be noted that the government is already getting a backlash from within, after the Ministry of Health blaming the internet shut down for frustrating its efforts to update Ugandans about the number of infections, recoveries and deaths as a result of COVID-19.

    Officials  from the Ministry contend that they last issued updates about COVID-19 on January 13th  before the internet was shut down and ever since then Ugandans have been kept in the darkness about the efforts to fight the pandemic, which is likely to bring about disastrous  repercussions.

     

     

    By Baron Kironde

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    Angels Of Death Strike, Take Two Of Uganda’s VIPs In 2023 Opener

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    Two of Uganda’s Very Important Persons have Monday died.

    National Unity Platform’s parliamentary flag bearer in the last year’s Omoro County by-elections, Simon Toolit Aketcha is dead.

    Toolit, died on Monday morning.

    The news of his death was confirmed by Omoro county MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    “It is a dark day in Omoro! We have lost one of our gallant sons and former MP, Hon. Simon Toolit Akecha! Hon. Toolit was the MP for Omoro County between 2006 & 2011 and was a candidate in recent by-elections. May his soul rest in eternal peace!” OJok tweeted.

    Toolit put up stiff political resistance against the late Jacob Oulanyah before also competing against his son Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    Toolit will be remembered as a candidate to have competed against the Oulanyah’s while holding the flag for two different parties for under ten years.

    In 2016, Toolit, then a candidate of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) contested against NRM’s Jacob Oulanyah and polled 6,823 votes against the latter’s 8,218 votes.

    In the same manner, Uganda’s high commissioner to Kenya and Seychelles, Dr Hassan Galiwango, has died.

    Galiwango died Monday morning at Nairobi Hospital where he had been admitted.

    The late was the husband to Mbale City Woman Member of Parliament, Connie Nakayeze Galiwango.

    President Museveni appointed Galiwango as the high commissioner to Kenya in October 2020.

    Galiwango was also the former long serving director of finance and administration at the NRM secretariat at the time of his ambassadorial appointment. Ms Medina Naham, the NRM party chairperson of Koboko District, replaced him at the secretariat.

    The cause of his death is yet to be communicated by the government.

    Last year, Bank of Uganda governor prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah and Gen. Elly Tumwine among other VIPs died.

     

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    Five Dead As Bomb Goes Off In Church Near DRC, Uganda Border 

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    A bomb killed at least five people on Sunday after detonating in a church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said.

    Details of the attack remain hazy, but military spokesman Antony Mualushayi said the “terrorist act” happened in a Pentecostal church in North Kivu province’s Kasindi, a town on the border with Uganda.

    Mualushayi later told reporters that at least five bodies had been taken to the morgue following the blast, in what he called a provisional death toll.

    Joel Kitausa, a local civil society figure, put the death toll at eight and said 27 other people had been wounded.

    AFP was unable to independently confirm the toll.

    It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Mualushayi said that one suspect — a Kenyan — had been arrested.

    The DRC’s communications ministry said on social media that the attack was apparently carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group.

    The ADF — which the Islamic State group claims as its affiliate in Central Africa — is active in the Kasindi area.

    It has been accused of slaughtering thousands of Congolese civilians and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda.

    The ADF has planted bombs in towns in North Kivu in the past.

    Since 2021 a joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation has been targeting the ADF in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.

    Over 120 armed groups roam mineral-rich eastern DRC, many of which are the legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the 21st century.

    Source: AFP

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    Nepal Crash: Dozens Killed As Plane Crashes Near Pokhara Airport

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    Dozens of people have been killed after a plane with 72 people on board crashed near an airport in central Nepal.

    The Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara crashed on landing before catching fire.

    Videos posted on social media show an aircraft flying low over a populated area before banking sharply.

    At least 68 people are confirmed to have died, officials said. Several critically injured survivors were taken to hospital, unconfirmed reports said.

    Local resident Deeveta Kal told the BBC how she rushed to the crash site after seeing the aircraft plunge from the sky shortly after 11:00am local time (05:15 GMT).

    “By the time I was there the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time,” she said.

    “The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home,” Deevta Kal added. “There was a small space right beside the Seti River and the flight hit the ground in that small space.”

    The flight set out with 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.

    According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, the 15-year-old twin-engine ATR 72 stopped transmitting position data at 05:05 GMT and the last signal from the aircraft was received at 05:12.

    Hundreds of Nepalese soldiers were involved in the operation at the crash site in the gorge of the Seti, just one and a half kilometres from the airport.

    The search operation has been suspended for the day, officials say.

    Video taken where the plane came down showed thick billowing black smoke and burning debris.

    “We expect to recover more bodies,” an army spokesman told Reuters, saying the plane “has broken into pieces”.

    Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet and urged state agencies to work on rescue operations. A panel to investigate the cause of the crash has been set up.

    Of the passengers, 53 are said to be Nepalese. There were five Indian, four Russians and two Koreans on the plane. There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France among others.

    Aviation accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, often due to its remote runways and sudden weather changes that can make for hazardous conditions.

    A Tara Air plane crashed in May 2022 in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang, killing 22 people.

    In early 2018, 51 people were killed when a US-Bangla flight travelling from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.

    The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from its airspace over concerns about training and maintenance standards in the country’s aviation industry.

    Source: BBC

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