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Republicans counter charges of Trump racism at first night of RNC | USA News



The first night of the Republican National Convention leaned into the topic of race, with a diverse lineup of speakers who derided Joe Biden’s past racial gaffes while hailing President Donald Trump’s policies.

The speakers included former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who said calling the US racist had become “fashionable” for Democrats, as well as Senator Tim Scott, the chamber’s only Black Republican. Both sought to rebut accusation of racism against Trump and his administration, while highlighting their personal stories of success to portray the US as a country where any citizen, regardless of background, can triumph. 

Critics have accused the president, whose early foray into politics included touting the unfounded – and widely considered racist – theory that former President Barack Obama had not been born in the US, of stoking racial tensions throughout his three-plus years in office.

Trump has provided regular fuel to those claims, including responding to a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia by saying there were “fine people” on both sides, his condemnation of the words Black Lives Matter as a “hate symbol”, and his administration’s recent crackdowns on racial justice protests across the country in the wake of the police-killing of George Floyd. 

Speakers on Monday, however, sought to portray the Democrats, who have widely embraced the Black Lives Matter movement and enjoy vastly disproportionate support from Black and Latino voters, of selectively using race for political gain and treating minorities as monoliths. Recent polls show registered Black voters favour Biden by an average of about 67 percentage points over Trump.

“In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie,” said Haley. The “proud daughter” of Sikhs who immigrated from India recalled her youth “I was a brown girl, in a Black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship.”

“America is not a racist country,” added Haley, who has been widely criticised for the apparently contradictory statements. 

Meanwhile, Vernon Jones, a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and a rare elected Democratic official who has endorsed Trump, charged that Democrats have not made space in their party for Black “independent thinkers”.

“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave the mental plantation they’ve had us on for decades,” Jones said from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. 

Others took a more personal tact, with Hershel Walker, a Black former American football player, saying of his 37-year friendship with the president: “I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump”.

The night’s most stirring speech – the final in the programme – came from Senator Scott, who recounted how his family “went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime”.

He hailed the Republican Party as one where “voters judged me on the content of my character, not the colour of my skin,” while deriding Biden’s past racial gaffes, praising Trump’s policies on race, and condemning what he characterised as increasing polarisation. 

“We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news: racially, economically and culturally-polarising news,” said Scott.

‘The diversity of America’

Republicans appear to be responding to the expectation that they would be “raked over the coals” when it came to race representation at the convention, said Rina Shah, a former Republican strategist and political adviser who now supports Biden.

“The party, in its current form, does not reflect the diversity of America because party membership and party leadership is largely older and white,” she said.

Shah added the messaging on Monday that focused on wanting to be judged on merit over race “was very successful” and is likely to “resonate with many people”, while noting it came from figures who have pegged their political futures to embracing Trump’s divisive brand of politics. 

The night also embodied an at times awkward balancing act, focusing heavily on the theme of law and order and what Trump has described as the threat of US cities and suburbs being swallowed by violence. Critics said that messaging contains not-so-coded racial undertones.

Also featured were Mark and Patty McCloskey, a white St Louis, Missouri couple who became folk heroes among some conservatives after brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their home.

Lenny McAllister, a Republican strategist who was the party’s candidate for a Pennsylvania congressional seat in 2016, told Al Jazeera that anyone who denies there is still work to do to overcome residual systemic racism in the US is “undervaluing the negative impact that racism has had on America for centuries”.

In the face of an increasingly diverse electorate, he said Republicans will have to find more ways to include minorities if the party wants to survive into the future, adding he personally found the speeches on Monday night “effective”.

“The question becomes, will this resonate with more African Americans, is it resonating with more African Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump four years ago and did not vote for the Republican ticket two years ago,” he said. “That has yet to be seen.”

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City lawyer Ssemakadde summoned by CID over alleged offensive communication




By BigEyeUg Team

Ugandan satirical lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde has been summoned by Uganda Police over alleged offensive communication to the prejudice of Hon. Justice Ssekaana Musa.

According to a statement from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, its conducting inquiries into alleged offensive communication of Ssemakadde.

The self-proclaimed ‘Legal Rebel’ is required to report at the CID headquarters for an interview and statement recording on Monday, February 28, 2022.

The summon further instructs currently Hon. Muhammad Nsereko’s strongest tormentor to particularly show-up to the Officer in Charge of Cyber Crime D/ASP Kayiza Henry at 10AM.

It should be recalled, Ssemakadde recently requested the Chief Registrar to avail him with a record of proceedings of this year’s Judges’ Conference to enable him decide the next course of action.

This sparked-verge from the resolution by the judges as they complained of being cyber bullied by some lawyers.

The judges identified lawyers Male Hassan Mabirizi and Ssemakadde particularly whom they accused of making cyberbullying-like statements on social media against judicial officers.

This comes to life just a day after lawyer Male Mabirizi was sentenced to 18months in jail over contempt of court.

Full statement:

Invitation for an interview and statement recording vide CID headquarters GEF 136/2022. The subject matters refer; The Directorate of Criminal investigations is conducting inquiries into alleged offensive communication to the prejudice of Hon. Justice Ssekaana Musa. You are required to report to CID Headquarters on February 28, 2022 at 1000hrs and you will particularly report to Officer in Charge of Cyber Crime D/ASP Kayiza Henry on telephone number 0714401470 who will guide you on what is required.

We will keep you posted

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FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet




FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.

According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.

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Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News




The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.

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