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Ruling party leaders want social media platforms indefinitely closed.



Internet shutdown roams in Uganda as ruling party leaders want social media platforms indefinitely closed.

Kampala, 07th/03/2016; The Social Media honeymoon is heading to a forced end. Leaders of the ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) are calling for an indefinite shutdown of the Internet, accusing Netizen of social media misuse.

On 18th February 2016, Uganda went to the polls but the exercise received criticism from observers including the European Union for irregularities and the outcome has been contested and criticized by citizens on social media. Since then, citizens are expressing their frustrations on social media accusing the Independent Electoral Commission of rigging for the incumbent president Museveni.

On the election eve, the Internet Service Providers on order of the government blocked Facebook, Twitter and WatsApp in the alleged attempt to fight terrorism.

There seems to be a drastic change in the use of social media platforms since they were unblocked, from socializing to expressing opinions or thoughts on governance issues which change seem to anger the regime.

Justin Kasule Lumumba (right) who on most occasions been part of the social media controvery

Justin Kasule Lumumba (right) who on most occasions been part of the social media controversy

On 29th February 2016, the NRM secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba on her Facebook page warned Netizen against misuse of social media. “…Very soon I will be cooperating with authorities about some of the posts that I think are of a criminal nature and are threatening to my well being, I am a mother and I have people that will miss me if anything happened to me. I’m not saying I’m threatened or scared of or by your posts but in life we all have frustrations but taking them out on other people is not a good practice and its illegal to, most especially if we make threats towards people’s lives or insult them…”

The newly elected Member of Parliament for Burahya County Margaret Muhanga Mugisa on her Facebook page, she published on 06th February stated that “I pray that social media is closed again and forever. It’s getting out of hand…when people wake up and all they do is abuse and post derogatory stuff about people they don’t even know…”

Well as there could be mistakes made by social media users, the Unwanted Witness is concerned about avenues being proposed by members of the ruling party to address such issues.

“Shutting down the Internet will be a point in the wrong direction but solutions to post election issues must be found by all participants. But also, we must have a dialogue on the best way to regulate social media to avoid curtailing citizens’ freedoms and rights, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Unwanted Witness Chief Executive Officer said

The NRM party enjoys majority members in the Parliament of Uganda whose interests can easily be passed into law.

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Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels



The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.

From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.

The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.

In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.

The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to

  • fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
  • avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
  • strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.


Download the statement:

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The Corporate Capture of African Agriculture



Produced by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in partnership with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Biowatch South Africa, and PELUM Tanzania. This episode will expose the alarming reality of how multinational corporations are influencing Africa’s agricultural future.

In many African communities, women have traditionally held control over agriculture. This episode lays bare the danger posed by the potential loss of this power to corporate interests, a situation which could precipitate widespread hunger. Women are highlighted as the stalwarts preserving the rich traditions of African farming, and their displacement from this role is likened to an existential threat.

The episode shines a spotlight on AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), launched in 2006, primarily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was envisioned as a mechanism to halve hunger in 20 African nations and double the income and yields of over 30 million small-scale farmers by 2020. However, instead of delivering on its promises, it appears that hunger has actually escalated by 30% in these countries.

We dissect the underlying flaws in AGRA’s model, arguing that AGRA’s narrative, epitomizes the failure of the so-called “Green Revolution.” The approach emphasizes a narrow concept of productivity, focused on yield enhancement for a limited number of grain types. This methodology overlooks centuries-old farming practices, wisdom and resilience strategies that African farmers have depended on.

Governments, absorbed by this narrative, have established laws and policies that champion this skewed vision of agricultural productivity, promoting the use of “approved” seeds, which must meet strict formal criteria. Traditional farmers’ seeds are ignored and sidelined, leading to a distorted perspective of what truly constitutes a seed.

The focus on profit over people leads to an emphasis on high-value crops, such as maize. The involvement of foreign entities and their seeds bring with them an increasing dependency on these external factors, essentially eroding the sovereignty of the African nations over their seed stock. This state of affairs is likened to a form of neo-colonialism.

Our collective knowledge about seeds, cultivated over centuries, risks being entirely wiped out, and farmers are effectively being marginised. They’re reduced to mere consumers, alienated from the intimate understanding and respect for the seeds they cultivate. This episode urges the empowerment of farmers as a crucial step to breaking free from the corporate dominance over African agriculture.

This episode is a rallying cry to protect these seeds, our traditions, and our sovereignty. When all else fails, our traditional systems, currently sidelined, will be our beacon of hope and our means of survival.

Watch the clip on our YouTube channel and become part of the struggle to resist the corporate takeover of African food systems.

Source: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

Watch the full video here: The Corporate Capture of African Agriculture

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Innovative Finance from Canada projects positive impact on local communities.



In this video Witness Radio Uganda and GRAIN express pessimism on why development finance from Canada may not be different from other financiers.

Witness Radio Uganda’s Team Leader Jeff Wokulira Ssebagala and GRAIN’s researcher Devlin Kuyek share views on the adverse effects of harmful financing and developments world Wide in an interview with the Co-founder of the Blended Finance Critique Susan Spronk, a Canadian based coalition of civil society organizations, unions and academics that condemns the operations of Blended Finance in Canadian Aid.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Blended finance is the strategic use of development finance for the mobilization of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. The Canadian government is widely promoting blended financing as a form of privatization to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

But civil societies such as Susan’s urge it (blended finance) undermines Canada’s ability to meet its commitments to the established goals of Official Development Assistance (ODA), namely poverty reduction, a central focus of the SDGs.

Watch the full video here


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