Sierra Leone: The Temne People and Democracy

By Alpha B Kamara

Before Sierra Leone was colonized in 1787 and freed slaves arriving from England and other groups from Nova Scotia (1792) and Jamaica (1800), the Temnes already practiced a democratic form of government.

The paramount chief, the leader of all the local chiefs in the jurisdiction is chosen through an electoral process that involves representatives of various clan members of the chieftain voting for a leader.

After thorough assessment of the various people vying for the position, which includes right to a chieftaincy house, the clans’ representatives (Gbolies), voted their choice.

“The Temne are divided into numerous independent chiefdoms, each governed by a paramount chief. Chiefdoms are divided into sections governed by subchiefs and containing one or more villages or hamlets. The village in turn is under the authority of a headman, formerly a descendant of the village founder but now an elected official.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica’).

Like in modern Democracy, election processes involves lobbying, information sourcing, campaigning, and disqualification of contestants that fall short of the required standards. within the process, election of section chiefs are also held and go through a ceremonial process guided by traditions. The practice is still ongoing and cherished by the people.

Sudan at critical juncture in path towards democratic transition, Security Council hears

International support for Sudan is critical as the country continues on the path to democratic transition, amid challenges that include political disagreements, economic decline, and the COVID-19 pandemic, UN political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday.

Ambassadors were updated on developments since the signing in October of a milestone peace agreement between the authorities and two armed movements from Darfur, and on the potential drawdown of the UN-African Union force in the province, known as UNAMID

“Sudan is at a critical juncture. It can move forward decisively in its transition, but that progress can still be derailed by the many challenges it faces. It is incumbent on all of us to support Sudan in its efforts to achieve democratic governance, economic prosperity and an inclusive society for all Sudanese”, said Ms. DiCarlo.  

This month will mark two years since the Sudanese Revolution, which led to the overthrow of longstanding leader, Omar Al-Bashir, in April 2019.  A joint military-civilian body, known as the Sovereign Council, is ruling the country until elections can be held. 

Despite progress, Ms. DiCarlo reported political forces in Sudan are increasingly fragmented.  Disagreements have surfaced following the recent establishment of a new body, the Council of Partners for the Transitional Period, while formation of the Transitional Legislative Council has been postponed until 31 December. 

Sudan has also experienced severe economic decline, partly due to a five-month shutdown to prevent coronavirus spread.  As a result, public revenues dropped while spending on emergency health programmes increased, contributing to a growing budget deficit of roughly $250 million each month.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the humanitarian needs, also driven by severe flooding, intercommunal violence and prolonged displacement”, she continued.    

“In recent weeks, over 48,000 people have fled the Ethiopian conflict in the Tigray region and have sought refuge in Sudan. This has put an additional strain on the Sudanese authorities.” 

The UN Political Affairs chief again welcomed the intention by the  United States to rescind Sudan’s designation as a State sponsor of terrorism, which will open up access to critical international financial assistance. 

Sierra Leone:Meet the Next President of SLAJ

By John Baimba Sesay

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (alias De Monk) is the outgoing National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists; Secretary General of the charity All ‘Works’ of Life development association, and President of Development and Economic Journalists Association-Sierra Leone.

Nasralla is a professional Journalist and Sierra Leone’s foremost political cartoonist. He’s publisher of the famous satirical column called Ticha Lemp Lemp, which has now been registered as a newspaper with the Independent Media Commission and will soon hit the newsstands and online.

He is married to Margaret Yeama Nasralla (nee Kromah) with whom he has three children- Andre 12, Nefertiti 7 and Mikayla 2.

Special Achievements

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has consistently won the national cartoon and feature writing awards in Sierra Leone and has managed several newspapers, magazines and online publications. He has won a total of 11 national awards in various categories under the Independent Media Commission annual media awards.

As Secretary General of AWOL, Nasralla has served as the focal point in consistently and successfully organising the National Achievement Awards since 2005, which annually recognizes hardworking individuals and institutions that are making a difference in the lives of ordinary people and contributing towards national development. The aim is to build a new crop of role models to whom the next generation of young Sierra Leoneans can aspire to.

Nasralla is a founding member and first president of Development and Economic Journalists Association (DEJA) and is at an advanced stage of forming the Sierra Leone Cartoonists and Illustrators Association.

He continues to provide hands on mentorship to many young media colleagues and provides technical and moral support to junior journalists across the country in the practice of journalism.

During the Ebola outbreak in his country between 2014 and 2016, Nasralla served as Head of Field Reporting on Ebola: an experiment mentoring program by SLAJ which saw a senior journalist traveling with young inexperienced reporters, to regions that were declaring 42 days Ebola-free, and guiding them to report objectively. The pilot program was a huge success.

Nasralla flanked by other journalists in Freetown while he negotiates the release of four journalists detained in Pademba Prisons

Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has worked extensively with NGOs, CSOs, MDAs and UN Agencies in developing and producing IEC Materials on a wide range of awareness raising campaigns and has facilitated several workshops to develop concepts for IEC materials and cartoon depictions.


Ahmed Sahid Nasralla was born in 1975 in Fadugu, Kabala, Koinadugu District, Northern Sierra Leone where he started his primary education at the District Education Committee School (DEC). When he was in Class 3 the family relocated to Magburaka, Tonkolili District, and he continued his primary schooling at the Tonkolili District Education Committee School (TDEC) where he sat to the Selective Entrance examination in Class 7.

The family further relocated to Freetown, where he started his secondary education at the St. Edward’s Secondary School at Kingtom, Freetown. He also attended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School at Kissy Dock Yard, Freetown where he sat to his O’levels and came out with Division 1. He did his Lower Six and Upper Six Forms at the Albert Academy (UMC) at Berry Street, Freetown, before he was admitted at Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, to study journalism.

Nasralla was among the first batch of graduates in 2005/2006 of the Mass Communication program at FBC with a BA (Hons) First Class, after securing his Certificate and Diploma (with Distinction) in the same field.

Journalism career

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla joined SLAJ in 2001 while working as a reporter at the For di People (FDP) newspaper. At FDP he rose through the ranks to become Acting Editor, and started his satirical column Ticha Lemp Lemp, before resigning while studying journalism at FBC.

After FDP, Nasralla started syndicating his Ticha Lemp Lemp column with various newspapers including Independent Observer, The Exclusive and Concord Times.

In 2007 Sierra Leone’s football icon Mohamed Kallon contracted Nasralla to set up and manage Kalleone Sports & Entertainment newspaper; the footballer’s platform to promote sports and the entertainment industry in his country.

In 2011 Nasralla was appointed as Communications Director of the newly established Africa Young Voices Media Empire (AYV) and later became Managing Director of the fast-growing media company.

In 2014, Nasralla resigned from AYV to start his own media and arts production company called De Monk Arts & Media Production.

Other key services

In 2010/2011, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla served as Public Relations Officer of the Golden Jubliee National Planning Committee charged with the responsibility of organising Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations.

In 2016 Nasralla served as Communications Consultant for the World Bank Sierra Leone office on a short term contract.

Special Qualities

Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla has a charismatic personality; humble but firm. He is a good team player, dedicated, committed and result-oriented.


Mr. Ahmed Sahid Nasralla is a political human being, with Sierra Leone being his political party and the media serving as his constituency.  He is running for the SLAJ’s Presidency to make the Association much greater, responsive and relevant to the needs and aspirations of all journalists and for the peace and development of our beloved country.

Vote Mr. Ahmed Nasralla who eventually will bridge the gap between the young and old in this beautiful profession.

Statement by the President of the Commission on the electoral process in Madagascar

The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes note of the proclamation, December 27, 2018, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), provisional results of the second round of the presidential election in Madagascar, which took place on December 19, 2018.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, commends the Congolese Government for its swift and effective response

The President of the Commission congratulates the Acting President of the Republic of Madagascar, the Prime Minister and the Government, the High Constitutional Court (HCC), the CENI and its dismemberments, the defense and security forces, the organizations of society civil society and religious, as well as all other stakeholders, for their contribution to the success of the electoral process.He praises the maturity and civility of the Malagasy people, who once again demonstrated their deep commitment to peace, stability and democracy.

The President of the Commission calls on the two presidential candidates and their supporters to refrain from any act likely to disrupt the current process or cause unrest, pending the official announcement of the final results by the HCC. They must be fully aware of their historic responsibilities to the Malagasy people, as well as to Africa and the international community as a whole. He urges them to scrupulously respect the prerogatives of the CENI and the HCC with regard to the proclamation of the results. In case of disputes related to the conduct of the vote, they must make exclusive use of the legal channels provided for this purpose.

The President of the Commission reaffirms the commitment of the African Union to continue its action of accompaniment of the actors and the Malagasy people, with a view to the completion of the electoral process, as well as to support them in the domains of the governance and the socio-economic development. To this end, the African Union will continue to work in close coordination with the Southern African Development Community, the United Nations, the International Organization of La Francophonie, the Indian Ocean Commission and the European Union, as well as with other bilateral and multilateral partners in Madagascar. The President of the Commission welcomes the remarkable work done by the International Support Group in Madagascar (GIS-M) to facilitate the harmonization of the efforts of the various international actors,

The President of the Commission reiterates the importance attached to the success of this presidential election as a decisive qualitative step for the consolidation of democracy in Madagascar. It calls on the Malagasy people and all the institutions of the country to spare no effort to protect this new achievement in national unity, stability, security and peace.

Elections the world over are beleaguered with accusations of fraud and illegitimacy – Says E.B. Koroma

Statement by H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma at the High – Level Meeting on Mitigating Disruptive Applications of Information, Communication and Technology on the Electoral process in Africa at the Olusegun Obasanjo Library in Abeokuta, Nigeria, 18-19th December, 2018.

Mr. Chairman, our esteemed host – His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo and his staff – Excellences, distinguished representatives of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me at the outset commend President Obasanjo for convening this High – Level Meeting on such an important contemporary subject.

The use of ICTs in elections, their inherent impact on the integrity of elections results, and by extension, on the peace and stability of our societies, is a subject that should continue to exercise our minds. Standing at the threshold of elections here in Nigeria, one of Africa’s major and burgeoning democracies, this discussion couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Elections the world over are beleaguered with accusations of fraud and illegitimacy, threatening peace, security and democracy itself. The general consensus has been that no one except election officials knows what happens to your vote once you cast it. It’s therefore not surprising that voter apathy is increasing in many parts of the world, owing to the perception or the reality that their votes don’t count. 

In this context, the advent of the ‘Information Superhighway’ was widely seen as a panacea to the monster of electoral manipulations and the disputes that characterised them. The promise was that, using technology, we will be able to make elections transparent, without compromising voter privacy, and have a way to ascertain that the elections results are accurate.  
Without doubt, when appropriate and safe technology is introduced especially to large platforms, with millions of participants, there is an increased financial burden placed on early adopters. But eventually, technology could drastically reduce the costs of our elections and free up taxpayer money to be spent on improving the quality of our education or health care systems or rebuilding our infrastructure.

Secure technology could also significantly increase voter turnout, with a whole new wave of voters feeling encouraged to conveniently cast their votes online from anywhere in the world.
True to this new reality of the ‘Information Age’, most electoral management bodies (EMBs) in Africa, as around the world, have taken on board several technological initiatives ranging from the use of basic office automation tools such as word processing and spreadsheets; to more sophisticated data processing tools: including database management systems, biometrics voter registration and identification, optical scanning, block chain and geographic information systems.

In Sierra Leone for instance, the adoption of technology has gone a long way to improve the elections management process thereby drastically reducing the ugly and incendiary incidents of electoral malpractices of ballot stuffing, result sheet mutilation, over voting, alteration of result sheets, hijacking of ballot boxes. In other places, the development of e-collation support platform has also significantly reduced the incidence of result manipulation at collation centres.

In other words, in ideal situations, a new elections management system based on technology could cut costs, increase voter turnout, make voting more convenient and accessible, ensure elections are honest, and reassure voters that their voices were heard.

Sadly, we are discovering that certain types of technology can be extremely vulnerable to hackers or manipulators, with the potential to unfairly influence the outcome of elections – it is like when you find the answer to a question; they change the question. ICT specialists agree that the crudest tool for election interference is to undermine data integrity; by ensuring that some people are unable to vote; or if they did vote at all, their votes don’t count; or by simply knocking off the internet the websites of elections commissions or opponents.

They could also inundate the sites with junk traffic and keep them offline or sluggish at critical moments during the elections; or essentially bombard them with malware to infect computers – essentially overwhelming the servers that host the sites.

There is also the very dangerous practice of ‘Spoofing Results’. We are told that in 2014, a hacker operation compromised the website of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, changed the election results; and then set to declare the winner of their choice. It is reported that the Commission officials spotted the attack less than an hour before the faked results were to be released, and prevented the fraudulent version from being made public. Imagine the impact that would have had on the stability of that country if the faked results were to have been made public.

Then, there is the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ referred to as ‘Targeted Leaks’. We are told that intelligence agencies and the cybersecurity community are almost unanimous that hackers stole and leaked Democratic targets in the 2016 US elections and most effectively, shared with WikiLeaks, which then strategically release them out during key weeks of the campaign.Without doubt, the disruptive impact of these rogue applications represents a far more sophisticated attempt to influence democratic processes and the techniques vary from place to place. Here in Africa – where the shift from military coups to the use of technology to effect regime change is gaining momentum- allegations of supply of pre-programmed or substandard equipment have been rife. This poses a serious challenge to the great progress we have made in the continent regarding elections management. 

I listened to President Goodluck Jonathan last month, at his book launch in Abuja, recounting his ordeal of how his voting was disrupted by technology in the last elections here in Nigeria. Many of my compatriots back in Sierra Leone also reported similar disruptions during our March 2018 elections right from the verification to the polling day; either by having someone else’s photograph against their details on their voter card, or their photographs against someone else’s details, or their names not showing up in the centres they registered and where they were required to vote. These disruptions may appear as ‘minor’ technical hitches but they could undermine confidence to the extent that, at some point in our case, both the public and leaders demanded a recount of the results.

Either way, the new trend clearly shows that hackers or vested interests have perfected their trade from mere information and propaganda attacks to techniques designed to more directly manipulate electoral processes and outcomes. The danger is that, if this awkward trend is not mitigated, voters will become frustrated and lose confidence in our democratic systems. It is therefore no longer acceptable to say that the people are able to participate in elections while their votes decide nothing- yet those with vested interest decide everything using rogue ICT applications.

So how do we mitigate these disruptive applications? There are several measures being employed to curb the malaise one of which is what is now being referred to as ‘disrupting the disruptive: i,e: “blocking and filtering”. But Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me attempt to start from the beginning by emphasizing that technology is just a tool; not an end in itself. For example, if technology is being considered for vote counting, the guiding principles that apply to vote counting should also apply to the technology.

Procurement and deployment of electoral technology must also be timely, transparent and inclusive to ensure a buy –in from all stakeholders. It is therefore advisable to organize a consultation process with the users or their representatives to ensure that their needs are met and that they are satisfied that the new system is acceptable and reliable.

Demonstrable security levels are one way of ensuring that election IT systems are transparent and trustworthy. It therefore follows that computer systems used for elections include high levels of security. Unauthorised persons must be prevented from accessing, altering or downloading sensitive electoral data.  

Coming back to the concept of disrupting the disruptive through blocking and filtering – this is basically a range of technical measures to partially or totally restrict the flow of data on the internet. Critics of this technique may argue that it interferes with the freedom to seek, receive, and impart ideas and information and so a form of control. But the literature on blocking and filtering practices around the world sheds light on both their shared features and distinctive elements; as well as highlight the different contexts in which they occur. For instance, it is recorded that some countries implement ‘judicial orders’ demanding that “intermediaries such as local internet access providers and app stores administrators “block” user access to certain social media applications, because the applications allegedly either provide an illegal service or failed to comply with a court order”. In Brazil, this practice is regarded as “regulatory disruption”. Worthy of note however is the established fact that this scenario is not entirely exclusive to Brazil.

The literature indicates that in many countries, “blocking access to internet applications, services, and content is part of state policies to mitigate ‘disruptive’ applications of information, communication and technology: they are temporary and are usually implemented for national security reasons in regions and periods of rising political tensions and during “emergency situations”, or in child and copyrighted protection”.
In Germany, for instance, we are told that “the penal code prohibits the use and dissemination of Nazi and Holocaust denial materials, implicating a responsibility to eradicate this content from the web.

In France, internet connection providers, following notification, must block websites that contain materials that incite terrorism. In the United States, the practice of “domain seizure” is used as a method to impede access to websites that disseminate content in violation of copyright law and that provide illegal services, such as sales of drugs and smuggled goods. In the same country, internet service providers receive thousands of take-down notices daily under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Across Europe, search engines must consider requests for search results to be de-indexed following the recognition of the so-called “right to be forgotten” after the 2014 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union”.

What is good for the goose, they say, is also good for the gander. If such blocking and filtering practices are good for those reasons; they should also be good for the purpose of protecting the integrity of elections and their outcome.
Not surprising, in our backyard in Africa, there are instances of internet shutdowns or throttling of internet applications have been reportedly implemented during elections, to ‘frustrate online and offline political movements’ as was in Ugandan during the February 2016 presidential elections. Other examples, within the past two years include shutdowns in Chad, the Congo, Gambia, Gabon. 

Overall, EMBs should overcome the challenge of delay in the final collation of results by fully implementing the use of electronic collation within the necessary time and legal frameworks to ensure early and comprehensive release of results. This will minimise the risk of hacking into the system and tempering with the results.Given the reality of death and migration, electronic electoral registers ought to be updated, and verification and corrections carried out as early as possible. This will also help in issues of uncollected voters’ cards, inaccurate, as well as multiple registrations.In addition, enough time should be allocated to ICT-based activities e.g.: voter verification; issuance of voter cards and printing of registers done on the eleventh hour are prone to avoidable mistakes which might generate unnecessary tension and problems. 

The human factor is also very critical; no matter the cutting-edge technology deployed, if the personnel and other EMB actors are unprofessionally and ethically croaked, the outcome will always be suspect.  ICT staff of National Elections Commissions should be exposed to certification courses, better conditions of service, and when they are found to collude in manipulating outcomes; the sanctions should be effective deterrents. Training both at home and oversea will reduce the cost of outsourcing ICT-related tasks to consultants. It will also minimize security risks relating to foreign interference. This is where home grown African financial support to elections bodies becomes imperative. Open initiatives supported by OSIWA should not be limited to the openness and accountability of governments; but as a matter of fact, they should be extended to the openness and accountability of the processes that elect such governments.

I thank you for your attention.

Why Bobi Wine represents such a big threat to Museveni


The ground is shifting under the feet of Uganda’s ruling party, the National Resistance Movement. Shutterstock

Richard Vokes Associate professor, University of Western Australia
SamSam Wilkins PhD Student in Politics, University of Oxford
Disclosure statement: Richard Vokes is at the University of Western Australia. He has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Wenner Gren (USA), The Royal Society of New Zealand, the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the British Library and the Australian Research Council. He is President of the Australian Anthropological Society, and Editor of the Journal of Eastern African Studies.
Sam Wilkins has received funding from the University of Oxford and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. He is affiliated with the University of Melbourne.
Partners: University of Western Australia provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU. University of Oxford University of Oxford provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

Over the past fortnight, Uganda has been convulsed by the fallout from the arrest of opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi – better known as Afro-beat pop superstar Bobi Wine. His arrest, along with others opposed to the government, led to violent street protests in the capital Kampala and other urban centres.

The current upheavals began in mid-August when President Yoweri Museveni, Bobi Wine, and other opposition MPs descended on the north-western town of Arua to campaign in a by-election.

After several hours of raucous campaigning on all sides, the president’s motorcade was attacked with stones as it left the town, allegedly by Bobi Wine’s supporters. Museveni reached his helicopter unharmed. But his security detail returned to Arua and unleashed a wave of violence against the crowds still gathered there.

In the ensuing melee Bobi Wine, five other opposition MPs, two journalists and at least 28 other people were arrested. Bobi Wine’s driver – Yasiin Kawuma – was shot dead. Over the following days, other opposition figures were also arrested.

Almost immediately after news broke of the arrests and Kawuma’s death, street protests erupted in Kampala. These initially centred on the poor neighbourhood of Kamwokya (where Bobi Wine’s studio is located) and Kyadondo East (his constituency), but quickly spread. The unrest worsened as news emerged that Bobi Wine and the other arrested MPs had been badly mistreated in custody. When he finally appeared in court 10 days later he could barely walk.

The growing protests drew a sharp response from the security services. The violence left dozens of people hospitalised, and at least two dead. Journalists writing about the affair have been threatened.

The arrest and intimidation of opposition figures isn’t new in Museveni’s Uganda. Even so, the speed and severity of the security forces’ response was shocking. Their initial reaction was bad enough. But the subsequent escalation and the treason case against Bobi Wine suggests there’s more to the story than trigger happy soldiers.

And there is. Bobi Wine has been released on bail. This may draw a line under recent events — for now. But Museveni’s problems have only just begun, and run deep. He’s facing an increasingly agitated younger voter base, an erosion of the National Resistance Movement’s political model, and the growing prominence of social media in Uganda’s political life. All these factors will only grow over time.

Changing voter profile

In its first two decades of rule, the National Resistance Movement effectively operated as a single party under the “movement system”: all candidates were forced to stand as individuals rather than members of national political parties.

This legacy endures. The “individual” culture of local politics has continued since the National Resistance Movement became a political party in 2005. Its key constituents are rural voters who engage in politics mainly on local issues. They are also old enough to remember the horrific civil war that preceded Museveni’s tenure.

To these voters removing the president from power is a perilous, even traumatic idea. Ethnographic research we carried out in southern Uganda during the 2016 presidential election campaigns confirms this. It shows that most of Museveni’s voters aren’t simply coerced or bought off – they don’t want him replaced.

There is little reason to think that the old system is collapsing. Rather the problem for Museveni is that the number of those whose interests and identities it does not cater for is increasing.

This group includes younger voters. They have no memory of the war, have a relatively good education that has led them to want more than the agricultural livelihood of their parents, and stubbornly engage with politics on a national rather than local scale.

They’re not interested in replacing a local MP. They want a new president.

These voters have never been a key constituency for Museveni. Previously their political threat could be dismissed – there weren’t many of them, they were organisationally weak and concentrated in a few urban centres.

But the ground is shifting under the National Resistance Movement’s feet.

Young voters are now scattered across the country, including in the towns of Museveni’s rural southern heartland. The advent of social media makes it easier for them to network and communicate with each other. They can also get around more easily.

Most significantly, their numbers are rising fast. Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world. Just over 48% of its population is 14 years and younger while one in five (21.16%) of the total population are aged between 15 and 24. Only 2% of the population is 65 years or older.

So the 36-year-old Bobi Wine is not a threat because he is saying something that no opposition leader has said before. It’s because he has, with considerable skill, positioned himself as a champion of this growing demographic.

Building a movement

Museveni likes to portray his opponents as either divisive tribalists or young hooligans – and worse. Bobi Wine is none of these, as proved by the erudite public letters he traded with Museveni after his 2017 election. He has built a wide platform defined by youth more than ethnicity, class, region or religion.

And, critically, a string of recent by-elections across the country (including Arua) have shown that this brand transcends his local constituency.

It’s no coincidence that Bobi Wine’s most recent run-in with the law actually happened five weeks earlier during a protest in Kampala against Uganda’s controversial new “social media tax” (during which the authorities accused him of inciting a riot).

In the period leading up to the Arua by-election Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp all saw a marked uptick in posts about Bobi Wine and his emerging constituency.

Social media has also played a central role after Arua. Images of Bobi Wine and the other opposition MPs’ alleged mistreatment in custody were circulated widely, exacerbating the popular unrest.

News of the general tumult also spread via social media to the Ugandan diaspora, resulting in rallies being held in Berlin, London, Washington DC, and elsewhere.

It was once possible to discuss opposition to Museveni in regional and ethnic terms. But, increasingly, opposition is a generational story. Whether the enduring face of this new politics is Bobi Wine or someone else, Ugandan politics is clearly changing.

The article was first published by The Conversation. Published courtesy of The Conversation

Regional tension looms over Sierra Leone

By John Bangura

The violence perpetrated by supporters of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) against supporters of the All Peoples Congress (APC) in Kenema has put the country on edge.


Reports say Makeni and Magburaka, the Northern districts headquarter towns of Bombali and Tonkolili, are presently under curfew as police are desperately putting measures to protect SLPP supporters and people from the east from mob attacks.

On Thursday 4th April 2018, supporters of the SLPP went on the rampage in Kenema, burning down houses of APC supporters and attacking police personnel. In Freetown, SLPP supporters destroyed the market stalls of traders who are mostly Northerners.

A police officer is reported dead.

Mohamed Turay, a resident of Makeni, said the action by supporters of the SLPP in Kenema isn’t the first one, claiming that it is a common practice in Kenema.

“People from the North are always targeted during elections and during riots,” he said, adding that they want to send a message to the SLPP that they will not sit down while their people residing in the east of the country are constantly targeted and their houses burnt.

The Office of the President on Thursday appealed to all those engaged in intimidation and disorderly conduct to desist forthwith.

Augustine Andrew, a teacher, and resident in Freetown said the violence by supporters of the SLPP is broadening the tribal and regional divide in the country and that with what has just happened the new president has so much to do to bridge the gap.

“Every sector in the country is divided. The media, civil society, and even the public sector,” he noted.

Few practicing journalists are imploring the SLPP to restrain supporters from carrying out actions that may derail national cohesion and development.

According to Martha Kargbo, a talk show host in Freetown, she has received several complaints of some people of being threatened for their jobs, also claiming members of the SLPP are instructing affiliate media institutions not to cover or air anything about opposition parties, a failure which will lead to dismissal or demotion of the officials of the media institutions.