I am in Rwanda to attend a dialogue between journalists and government on the state of media freedom in Rwanda. The subject of press freedom in Rwanda evokes strong passions especially given that democracy in Africa has been constructed like a religion. Debate ignores critical reforms in the economic and administrative fields that actually create a more enduring structural basis for democracy.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
With the nominations for LC5 candidates done, Sunday Vision reported that the ruling NRM has candidates in all the 112 districts; FDC has candidates in only 40 districts, UPC 27 and DP 13. The combined opposition has candidates in only 80 districts. Meanwhile, there are 118 independents (largely NRM) running in 112 districts. NRM's independents constitute the largest opposition party in our country.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
On October 24th, I went to Entebbe Airport to catch a South African Airways flight via Johannesburg to Namibia. Airline officials said I needed a transit visa through South Africa. I explained that I was not going to enter the country, only to change flights in the airport. â€œYou still need a transit visa. These are new rules,â€ a lady told me. Frustrated, I went to Kenya Airways and booked a ticket via Nairobi to Lusaka from whence I could catch Namibian Airlines to Windhoek, Namibia.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
On Wednesday last week, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) published results of its National Household Survey which showed that the proportion of people living in poverty has declined from 31 to 23%. It was good news for President Yoweri Museveni who had just been nominated as presidential candidate. Now he can build his campaign on this performance legitimacy.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
With nominations for parliamentary candidates finished, independents (largely malcontents who lost in the NRM primaries) are now the largest political party in the contest albeit a non-organised and unconscious one. By November 30, out of the 238 directly contestable seats, independents had fielded 269 candidates (in 95 of the 112 districts). The NRM had a candidate in every constituency; FDC in 170, UPC in 162, DP in 150 and the PPP in 33. This is an impressive show of performance on the part of opposition parties. But it also shows their core weakness in the short term, a subject I will return to later.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Last week, I finished reading Bob Woodwardâ€™s new book, Obamaâ€™s Wars, an inside account of Obamaâ€™s approach to the war in Afghanistan. Then on Sunday night, I watched a two-hour documentary on National Geographic titled Inside Talibanistan, an interesting tale of the complexity of fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Both the book and the documentary demonstrate the pitfalls a foreign power, however powerful and well intentioned, encounters in trying to fight a local insurgency and help rebuild a state.