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Gender-based violence has gone online in Africa



75 per cent of women interviewed reported suffering from mental stress and anxiety due to their experiences of online violence

If you are reading The Observer here, you are online. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us into our homes and onto our phones; people around the world are quickly getting with the program and moving their businesses and personal lives online.

The world wide web (www) has been described as a utopia to solve all kinds of problems, but unfortunately, some big problems from the real world are moving online too, including gender-based violence (GBV).

One in three Ugandan women who use the internet have experienced gender-based harassment online, according to a new report released by on the internet experiences of women in African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal and South Africa. Pollicy is a technology consulting and development firm working towards improving government service delivery through improved civic engagement and participation. 

The report offers some stark examples of how a continuum of violence blurs the lines between online and offline, as some violence could begin online and continue offline or vice-versa. Pollicy reports that the most common type of online gender-based violence experienced in Uganda is sexual harassment, accounting for 42 per cent of respondents, followed by offensive name-calling (24 per cent) and stalking (17 per cent).

The report released this week, surveyed 3,306 women across five African countries through focus groups and in-depth interviews. Its aim was to gather a strong dataset about women’s experiences online, which often go unrecorded and thus are not dealt with by legal authorities nor the social media platforms on which they occur.

The results indicate that online gender-based violence is a real issue for many women in Uganda and across Africa.

🔹 75 per cent of women interviewed reported suffering from mental stress and anxiety due to their experiences of online violence.

🔹 72.9 per cent of online gender-based violence (OGBV) in Uganda took place on Facebook, followed by 38.1 per cent on WhatsApp and 4.7 per cent on Instagram.

🔹 66 per cent of women responded by blocking or deleting the perpetrator; 20 per cent ignored the perpetrator and 14 per cent deleted or deactivated their own accounts. Only 12 per cent reported the abuse to the website or online platform.

🔹 50 per cent of Ugandan victims who reported the experience to the social media platform had no resolution.

🔹 90 per cent of the respondents who experienced online violence either did not know the identity of the perpetrator or found them to be a stranger.

🔹 95 per cent of Ugandan women were not aware of any policies or laws in place to protect women against online gender-based violence in Uganda.

One in three of the women online in Uganda have experienced some kind of gender-based violence online and yet almost none of them know of any policies or laws they can turn to for protection.

This is what the report reveals, and it paints a picture of helplessness and confusion for many people facing abuse such as stalking, hacking accounts, leaking nudes and other types of gender-based violence that women face online.

The general public tends to downplay violence against women online and the authorities do not always take action against perpetrators. The situation can be made worse by victim-blaming and law enforcement that are not adequately trained to handle the situation.

A significant proportion (29.2 per cent) of respondents to Pollicy’s survey did not know where to turn for information about online safety and security. 13.4 per cent said that they would research the information on Google and another 14.6 per cent said that they might go to local authorities such as the police.

The report notes that Uganda does have laws it could activate to manage this problem, such as the Data Protection and Privacy Act and perhaps the Computer Misuse Act.

However, Pollicy recommended training law enforcement personnel on gender-sensitive digital safety so they are able to address complaints of online gender-based violence and to provide timely technical assistance, counselling, and support to women who do choose to report.

Neema Iyer, founder of Pollicy, said that the main aim of the study is to inform evidence-based policy to push for solutions that create digital equality.

“We want to understand how online gender-based violence manifests across Africa, and how technology companies, which are often based out of Africa, respond to this violence. When thinking of our afrofeminist future, we need to think of an internet where both the developers and users understand the intersectionality of the lived experience of an African woman.” Neema said. 

The website includes a bot that walks you through an interactive storytelling of the study findings. Pollicy, in partnership with Internews, also conducted a comparative analysis of the legal frameworks in the five countries, which shows that the laws are not working to protect women.

The full report is now available at:

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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