Video courtesy of NTV (Kenya)
Tensions persist in Uganda as president Yoweri Mussevini continues to respond to the “walk-to-work” demonstrations with a heavy hand. Reports indicate that at least two people died and another 120 were injured during today’s unrest. Yesterday, cameras also caught police tear gassing and beating opposition politician Kizza Bisegye.
In a speech delivered earlier this week, Museveni admitted some violence on the part of security forces. However, he ultimately declared, “But police has acted professionally. They have controlled rioters not to loot other peoples’ property. I am satisfied police have stopped looting which is part of the aim for the organizers of these riots."
I am increasingly concerned about the Ugandan government’s culture of repression and fear that the violence will continue to escalate.
Since Ivory Coast has prematurely disappeared from the western press, I also want to call attention to a comment I received from Hank Cohen, former U.S. assistant secretary for Africa, regarding the Burkina Faso strongman and ECOWAS mediator Blaise Compaore. Cohen believes that Compaore, now facing unrest in his country, has much to gain from his involvement in Ivory Coast over the last two decades:
The real winner in the Côte d’Ivoire drama is Blaise Compaore, the President of Burkina Faso. He has been behind every destabilizing action since Houphouet died in 1993.
1. Advised then P.M. Ouattara not to implement constitution that required President of the National Assembly to assume Presidency. Ouattara failed, Bédié became President and Ouattara was fired.
2. Masterminded coup against Bédié in 1999. Interim President Gueye double-crossed Blaise by failing to give presidency to Ouattara. Instead, Gbagbo won the election while Ouattara was not allowed to run.
3. Masterminded attempted overthrow of Gbagbo by "New Forces" in 2002, thereby splitting country in two.
4. Fully funded and armed "New Forces" in the north leading to military victory over Gbagbo’s forces in 2011.
Considering the former assistant secretary’s comments, it seems Ouattara may indeed owe something to his northern neighbor.