Africa

Uganda’s popstar opposition MP Bobi Wine freed on bail

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Wine is facing charges of "unlawful procession" for staging a protest over Uganda's controversial social media tax last year. The pop star MP pleaded not guilty to the charges during a court appearance via digital video link from the Luzira prison. "I'm confident because indeed it's not me on trial; it's the court itself on trial. I have not committed any crime," Wine said in court."I'm only here because I disagree with the political leadership of this country and in particular President Museveni. But my spirit is confident because I'm here not because I've stolen public funds or killed somebody," he added.In July 2018, the lawmaker joined hands with activists and thousands of Ugandans in a demonstration against an unpopular tax that would see citizens pay a levy of 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.05) daily to use sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. The tax pushes the cost of internet access further out of reach for millions of low-income and unemployed Ugandans, the World Wide Web Foundation said.The number of internet subscriptions in the country dropped by more than 2.5 million following the introduction of the tax, according to the Uganda Communications Commission. Wine, 36, has been in a standoff with authorities in Uganda since April when police surrounded his home a day after canceling his nationwide shows because they said they failed to meet required safety standards.The singer was removed from his car by police and escorted to his home while heading to a briefing he had called to address the concert cancellation and "police brutality."Bobi Wine: The 'Ghetto President' versus the strongman PresidentPolice in Uganda said the lawmaker had repeatedly shown a disregard for the law after he was arrested last week."He faces additional charges of holding an illegal assembly and procession, after he was accused of organizing his supporters to escort him along the way," the police said in a statement.Uganda Communications Commission on Wednesday issued an order for the suspension of journalists and news managers in 13 radio and TV stations over the live coverage of news events.The regulatory body in a statement on its website claimed the stations' contents did not meet "minimum broadcasting standards," but local media reported the order came after the stations aired Wine's arrest on television.Amnesty Read More – Source

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