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Thousands to commemorate MLK’s dream in DC civil rights march | News



Months of widespread protests and unrest over the police killings of Black Americans will culminate this Friday with a national march on Washington, DC that commemorates a historic 1963 civil rights march.

Tens of thousands are expected to gather at the Lincoln Memorial in the United States capital to take part in the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March demanding equality and policing reforms. The march will coincide with the 57th anniversary of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

“We’re at a time when anti-racism and this fight against police brutality is at the forefront,” said Lopez Matthews, a historian and digital librarian at Howard University in Washington, DC. “It’s a perfect time to have another march to bring attention to these issues.”

Reverend Al Sharpton announced the march during the funeral of George Floyd, a Black man who died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death galvanised months of nationwide protests against police brutality and demands for racial justice in the country.

Protests erupted after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by a policeman multiple times in the back at close range as he opened his car door in Kenosha, Wisconsin [Stephen Maturen/Reuters] 

The march also comes in the midst of fresh outrage and renewed protests after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by a policeman multiple times in the back at close range as he opened his car door in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Blake’s father will speak on Friday.

Two people were killed during protests in Kenosha on Tuesday night, allegedly by a young white man who was caught on smartphone video opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle. The shooting left a third person wounded.

“We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” US President Donald Trump said on Twitter, adding that he would be dispatching federal forces to quell the protests in Kenosha. 

Friday’s event is also taking place during a fraught election year. Trump, who is running for a second term in office on a law and order platform, is trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in most opinion polls ahead of the November 3 election. 

Biden accused Trump of “rooting” for violence. “What’s he doing? he’s pouring more gasoline on the fire,” Biden told MSNBC on Thursday.

Persistent problems

Over the past 57 years, observers and activists say, conditions for Black Americans have improved, in part because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race.

But inequality, systemic racism and police brutality continue, said Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief at digital magazine The Root, and these have proven difficult to overcome.

March on Washington

Dr Martin Luther King Jr, with arms raised, marching along Constitution Avenue with other civil rights protestors carrying placards, from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963 [File: AP Photo]

“A lot of the same problems still exist,” Belton told Al Jazeera. “That’s why we need to keep talking about them, that’s why we need to keep marching, that’s why we need to keep organising.”

“Yes, some things have changed in many ways, and in many cases for the better,” she added, “but the reality is a lot these issues are very persistent, because they are woven into the fabric of American society.”

In June, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban police use of chokeholds and end qualified immunity for officers, among other reforms.

And in July, Democratic senators reintroduced legislation that would restore a provision of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, named after the late civil rights icon John Lewis, but that was gutted by the US Supreme Court in 2013. The law required states with a history of voter suppression to seek federal clearance before changing voting regulations.

Both measures are awaiting action in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Coronavirus pandemic

Unlike the 1963 march, when more than 200,000 people participated, Friday’s rally comes during an outbreak of COVID-19, a disease that has infected more than 5.8 million Americans, leav180,000 dead – the highest number of cases and deaths in the world.

With cases still rising in many parts of the country, organisers said they expect about 50,000 participants after shuttle buses from coronavirus hot spots were cancelled. The in-person march will require people to wear masks and organisers said that hand sanitising stations and temperature checks would be conducted.

Civil rights groups organising the event, the NAACP and the National Action Network, have encouraged people to join the march virtually, or participate in satellite rallies in Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas, where outdoor large screens will livestream the Washington rally.

Washington march

Black Lives Matter demonstrators marching towards the White House during racial inequality protests in downtown Washington, DC, the US [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Natalie Hopkinson, assistant professor in Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies, said a smaller crowd could potentially affect the impact of the rally, but it will not undermine the sense of urgency around addressing racial justice and inequality in the country.

“The numbers do make a difference and that is what made the George Floyd protests really powerful,” Hopkinson said, “But we’re having a moral reckoning right now, and the march is going to be part of that, it’s all on the same continuum of getting justice for Black people, which has been elusive.”

And yet, while the struggle for equality has in essence remained the same since the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Hopkinson says, the methodology as well as the optics have changed.

Unlike King, who wore a suit and tie, spoke about reconciliation and called for nonviolence, this summer’s protests were held by outraged, young activists – many donning shorts and T-shirts and prone to chants such as “F*** Trump.” 

“That’s very significant because it’s a signal that it’s not about respectability politics, you don’t have to be respectable to have human rights,” Hopkinson said.

This summer’s protests around the country were organised and energised by the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 Black-led organisations of young activists formed after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed Black man shot dead by a white police officer.

Defund the police 2This summer’s protests around the country were organised and energised by the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 Black-led organisations of young activists [AP Photo/Ragan Clark]

The movement is demanding more radical changes than the legacy civil rights groups organising Friday’s march. They have been pushing for the passage of the BREATHE Act, which would divest funds away from police departments and prisons in favour of investments in healthcare, education, housing and other social services in Black communities. 

The movement is scheduled to hold its virtual Black National Convention on Friday evening, when organisers will unveil a new political agenda intended to further build on the momentum of this summer’s protests.

‘History is like a wave’

Friday’s march, meanwhile, seeks “to restore and recommit to the dream Dr Martin Luther King, Jr defined” that year, according to a press release, as well as “call for police accountability and reform, and to mobilize voters ahead of the November elections”.

In 1963, King lamented “the unspeakable horrors of police brutality” and said he dreamt that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.

Martin Luther King

Dr Martin Luther King Jr, addressing marchers during his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on August 28, 1963 [AP Photo]6

King was assassinated in 1968.

Expected to participate in Friday’s march are Martin Luther King III, a son of the late civil rights icon, attorney Benjamin Crump and the relatives of Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor – victims of police killings.

Following a commemorative rally, participants in Washington will end the day with a march to the Martin Luther King, Jr memorial.

Steven Cleveland, creator of the documentary “A King in Paradise”, which explores King’s activism and life, said the original march, much like the upcoming one, was meant to be an inspirational moment in Black history – rather than a practical one that would deliver immediate political results.

But King, as a leader, Cleveland says, had the rare ability to both inspire people and deliver policy changes, exemplified by his success in helping pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“It is one of the keys to MLK’s greatness,” Cleveland told Al Jazeera. “He was the person to both be aspirational and practical. He delivered, using his aspirational talent.”

And the dream that King famously described that day, of racial equality and freedom, acknowledged that some progress had been made, but that there was a long way to go – and it was going to take time.

“History is like a wave, with moments of progress and regression,” Cleveland said. “History is not linear, history is over time gaining a little bit of ground until we reach a place where we move past the oppressive nature of systemic racism, piece by piece, bit by bit.”

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Year of the Overcomer-Prophet Elvis Mbonye



The eagerly awaited first fellowship of controversial Prophet Elvis Mbonye left viewers shocked as he declined to issue his now famous prophecies citing a refusal to settle for the new normal. In an on online service watched by thousands, the Prophet said him prophesying would “ be a concession to gathering online, rather than physically” further stating that it is not the will of God that church should meet online!

The Covid-19 SOPs given by the government and Ministry of Health have heavily impacted gatherings and as a result, ministries with large congregations have resorted to online services. The prophet however insists that this is a ploy to diminish the influence of the Kingdom of God.

He however proceeded to give the Prophetic Word of the year , saying “This is the year of the Overcomers” amidst cheers from those present. He also stated that this would not be a “gloomy” year, probably meaning that this would be a good year. Given that many of his prophecies have actually come to pass, should we pay more attention to him? We eagerly await the prophecies this year.

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Kabuleta blasts Media over “COFIT” reporting in new rant.



Presidential hopeful Joseph Kiiza Kabuleta has expressed dissatisfaction with the media over what he says was”alarmist reporting” over the Covid-19 pandemic which he calls “COFIT” a term we believe is a wordplay between covid and profit, a view held by many that claims that the disease was exaggerated to maximize funding and corruption. Kabuleta has come to be known for his straight shooting style and admirable command of facts and policy, even being touted as the “smartest candidate” in the is the full statement:


By Joseph Kabuleta

“Don’t look at where you fell, but where you slipped”

We know where the media fell. They fell when they were caught in the crossfire between opposition politicians and trigger-happy security hitmen; when they were unfairly targeted as they went about their noble duty of covering this explosive elective season. Sadly, some journalists are nursing wounds; others weren’t so lucky.
But it’s important for us to understand where they slipped.

If someone is sitting by the roadside sipping on his brew and he sees a gang of people sprinting past him, as if for their lives, it’s understandable if he impulsively joins without asking questions. But if after nine months he is still sprinting, and has still not asked any questions, then there’s something terribly wrong with him.

When we first went into lockdown in March, it was probably the best course of action because we didn’t know the full extent of the Cofit threat. But in the first 90 days, it was clear to all and sundry that it was never going to rank among Uganda’s top health challenges. And that’s not my opinion.

The Daily Monitor on July 15th quoted Dr Baterana Byarugaba, the Mulago Hospital Executive Director, describing the Cofit strain in the country as a mild form of flu which does not require hospital admission since it can be treated at home or in lower health facilities.
“l told Ugandans right from the beginning that the type of coronavirus we expect in Uganda is the mild one. It can be treated at health centre II, III, IV or the district hospital,” the top Medic said.

I read the story with glorious delight supposing that finally common sense, (or should I say science sense) would inform our decisions as a nation. But it’s difficult to know where science stops and politics starts. It’s become clear over the months that Cofit is not just a virus that causes respiratory problems, it’s a lot more than that; it’s a weapon in the hands of politicians that gives them power beyond their wildest dreams. In America, for instance, Democrat Congressman Jim Clyburn said Cofit is a “tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our (leftist) vision” while actress and activist Jane Fonda said that Cofit was “God’s gift to the left.”

Our media could have taken the side of poor Ugandans by showing the immense suffering and death from preventable sicknesses that resulted from the harsh Cofit measures; they could have highlighted the plight of businesses permanently closed and workers rendered redundant and sent back to villages. They could have wondered why truck drivers were testing negative in Kenya and positive in Uganda, or wondered why Cofit deaths only started after Prophet Museveni showed us a macabre lineup of coffins in his address, or why every celebrity who dies since then is ruled as Cofit (no autopsy required)

They could have told us that according to Worldometer, Cofit has a 0.28% mortality rate (or a 99.72 survival rate) and that it doesn’t rank anywhere in the Top 10 of Uganda’s health challenges; they could have told us that a child dies of malaria every two minutes (and Uganda accounts for 3% of the world’s malaria fatalities), which means that more Ugandans die from mosquitoes in ten days than Cofit has (allegedly) killed in the nine months it’s been on our lips.

Ugandans (especially of my age) have lived through real pandemics. As a young man growing up in the early 90s, nobody had to remind me that AIDS was real. Goodness me, I knew it was! And I didn’t need police to force me to wear protection, I knew the consequences. The fact that we are constantly being reminded that ‘Cofit is real’ tells a story of its own.

The media could have asked why Uganda, with one of the lowest Cofit cases or deaths, still holds on to a 9:00pm curfew when Kenya moved to 11:00pm in September, as did South Africa and several countries. The media could have told us that Malawi, Burundi, Tanzania and, recently, Ghana all held successful elections with full blown campaigns in 2020, and we aren’t hearing people dropping dead from Cofit in any of those countries. May be they should have tried to find out if people are dropping dead in Tanzania which altogether ignored all Cofit measures and went on to acquire middle-income status while Ugandans were still in lockdown.

They could have told us about the asymptomatic Cofit patients who were filmed dancing the night away in hospital wards, or of people suffering from other diseases who dare not go to hospital because they fear to be given a fake Cofit label and held for two weeks against their will.

The media could have told us that Cofit deaths across the world have been grossly inflated. Minnesota lawmakers say Cofit deaths could have been inflated by 40% after examining death certificates (according to The Washington Examiner) while Fox News reported that in Colorado 45% of Cofit corpses “were also found to have bullet wounds”.

They could have told us that 22 European countries, all of which had tens of thousands of Cofit deaths, opened their schools in the fall, and there has not been any reported spikes in cases as a result. They could have told us that more people have been killed by security men enforcing Cofit measures than by the virus itself.

Well, they could have…but they didn’t. And that’s where they slipped.

Instead they chose to go down the path of alarmist reporting and in so doing became, inadvertently or otherwise, enablers of Uganda’s trillion-shilling Cofit enterprise. Like Squealer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the media used flowery language to drum up fear by keeping people’s eyes transfixed on swelling numbers while the thieves carried their loot and stashed it away, and loan money was distributed among family members or used in regime prolongation.

The recent joint television news bulletin, and the adverts that followed, were the peak of hysterical reporting. “Zuukuka Tusaanawo” (wake up, we are perishing) screamed an advert featuring top media personalities. What a load of……(fill in appropriate word).

Remember, all the tyranny we have witnessed in this season has been done in the name of Cofit, and such sensationalist reporting justifies it; it gives dictators like Museveni the perfect pseudo-moralistic cover to unleash their most despotic fantasies while actually pretending that it’s for the good of the people. Unfortunately, the terror has now spread to the very media people whose hyperbole enabled it in the first place. There is such a thing as the law of cause and consequence, after all.

Instead of the media walking out of pressers and threatening to boycott government functions, let them threaten to stop all Cofit reporting. Museveni himself would come running with chocolate in hand.

If the president extended curfew by just two hours, for instance, he will have put as many as 200,000 Ugandans back to work especially in the hotel, restaurant and entertainment industries; but he doesn’t care, and sadly neither do many middleclass Ugandans who suppose that it’s their moral obligation as responsible citizens of the Global Village to fret over Cofit just because their ‘fellow citizens’ in Europe and America are doing so. Of course they can afford to do that because their corporate jobs have, for the most part, insulated them from the devastation of the government-instituted Cofit measures. They can enjoy working at home, beer in hand, as they listen to CNN and BBC and still expect the full complement of their salaries at the month end, and that makes them feel every bit like ‘their brothers’ overseas.

Such aspirational conformists are more likely to be offended by my stance on Cofit because they haven’t traversed crook and creek of this country and seen the damage reigned on this fragile society; not by the virus, but by the measures supposedly instituted to mitigate it.

You see, perhaps the most enduring damage this regime has done to our society is creating a three-part hierarchy of class and needs. At the zenith are a handful of connected ‘1986 generation’ and their families who feel entitled to all power and wealth. Beneath is a small (and shrinking) middleclass, and at the bottom of the pyramid is a mass of peasants. Every society, to various degrees, is ordered in the same fashion, but what makes Uganda unique is that the megalomaniacs at the top don’t give a nickel about the plight of the middleclass and the middleclass in turn don’t care a bit about the quandary of the peasant. The charlatans at the top will impose punitive taxes on the middleclass, then dip into NSSF coffers at a whim to share out their savings, and no one can stop them.

And the middleclass Ugandan, armed with his medical insurance, and safe in the knowledge that his wife is unlikely to die in child birth (20 Ugandans do EVERY DAY), and his children are very unlikely to die of malaria (20 do EVERY DAY), or from malnutrition (thousands do every year), will go around trumpeting Cofit because it’s more relevant to his status than malnutrition or malaria.

I could just as easily go down that path. I could also close my eyes to mothers failing to get breast milk because they can only afford half a meal a day (black tea with a piece of cassava), and the malnourished babies that emerge as a result; I could close my eyes to the teenage girls that were given out in marriage because schools closed, or those given out to meet family needs; I could ignore the fact that our president is opening 5-star markets in cities which have 1-star referral hospitals; I could also choose to look the other way and enjoy my middleclass lifestyle, but as an aspiring leader, I cannot.

As a leader, my aspiration is to remove the privileged/entitled class, to expand the middleclass (and their income), and to shrink the peasantry; but mostly to blur the lines that separate each category.
It doesn’t bode well for our country if the average Corporate Ugandan knows more about racism in America than about extreme poverty in Teso or Busoga because that disqualifies him/her from the solution to those local problems.

And finally, I have come to the realization that the biggest pandemic afflicting our country is poverty and the virus that causes it is called M7-1986. Vaccination against it is January 14

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge



Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.



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