Police have detained two Moroccans who tried to smuggle migrants into Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta – two hidden in a car and one in a suitcase.
When police checked a car on Monday one person was found hidden in the dashboard and another in the hollowed-out back seat.
The man and woman, thought to be Guineans, received first aid as they had had little air to breathe.
Separately, a young African man was found hidden in a woman’s suitcase.
That incident happened on 30 December and again the man – believed to be from Gabon – required urgent medical attention.
A 22-year-old Moroccan woman had tried to smuggle him into Ceuta, but customs officers ordered her to open the case, which was tied to a trolley.
The incidents coincided with a mass attempt by sub-Saharan Africans to storm the 6m (20ft) border fence separating Ceuta from Morocco.
Fifty Moroccan and five Spanish border guards were injured when 1,100 migrants tried to get over the fence on Sunday.
None managed to get through, but two people were injured scaling the fence and were taken to hospital in Ceuta. One guard lost an eye, officials said.
A similar assault on 9 December involved more than 400 African migrants.
There have been many such attempts by sub-Saharan Africans living illegally in Morocco, who desperately want to reach Europe. Melilla – Spain’s other North African enclave – is similarly targeted by migrants.
The enclaves are Europe’s only land borders in Africa.
Most migrants are intercepted and returned to Morocco, while those who make it over the fences are eventually repatriated or released.
Security forces in The Gambia have shut down two private radio stations, the main press union has said, amid a crisis over President Yaya Jammeh’s refusal to step down.
The closure of Teranga FM and Hilltop Radio was a “slap in the face” for democracy, said Emil Touray, the head of The Gambia Press Union.
This is the first sign of a crackdown on the media since Mr Jammeh refused to accept defeat in the 1 December poll.
He first took power in a coup in 1994.
The Gambian strongman initially conceded to property developer Adama Barrow, but then launched court action to annul the result, saying the poll was marred by irregularities.
The electoral commission said the poll was free and fair.
Both radio stations were closed on Sunday, Reuters news agency reports.
“People will not have access to information in this critical period of our history,” Mr Touray is quoted by Reuters as saying.
Four National Intelligence Agency operatives and a police officer visited the offices of Teranga FM to demand its closure, a staff member told AFP on condition of anonymity.
There has been no official comment from the government.
‘Climate of terror’
Teranga FM manager Alagie Ceesay was arrested in July 2015 on charges of sedition and “publication of false news” – allegations he denied.
The Gambia ranked 145 out of 180 countries in media campaign group Reporters Without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index.
It said there was “a climate of terror around anything remotely to do with journalism”.
The UN and West African regional body Ecowas have urged Mr Jammeh to respect the will of the people and step down when his term ends on 19 January.
Ecowas officials say that neighbouring Senegal’s troops are ready to intervene if Mr Jammeh refuses to hand power to Mr Barrow.
Mr Jammeh said that any deployment would be an “act of war”.
Mr Barrow caused a major upset by defeating Mr Jammeh by 43.3% to 39.6%.
The Gambia has not had a smooth transfer of power since independence from Britain in 1965.
It is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Matthew Kanyamunyu, who is accused of being behind the infamous Lugogo Forest Mall shooting in which a one Keneth Akena was killed, is expected to re-appear before Nakawa Magistrates Court this morning.
Matthew Kanyamunyu, his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari and his brother Joseph Kanyamunyu are accused of murdering child activist Akena on November 12.
The trial on 20th December appeared before court’s grade one magistrate Noah Sajjabi who further remanded them to Luzira Prisons till today pending investigations.
They are appearing before court today hoping that investigations are complete.
Once investigations are complete the trio will be committed to the High Court for trial, since their case is capital in nature and only bailable and triable by the high court.
Prosecution alleges that on November 12, while at Game Stores, Kanyamunyu in company of his girlfriend, allegedly shot Akena whom he accused of scratching his car, and drove him to Norvik hospital where he died from.
His brother Joseph Kanyamunyu is held on condition that the telecom printouts indicated that he was contacted immediately after the incident, which puts him in position to be having some knowledge on the incident.
By Serestino Tusingwire
The High court in Kampala has today ordered Lubaga South MP Paul Kato Lubwama to file his defence in not less than 15 days responding to claims by over 500 voters from his constituency that he lacks the minimum qualifications of an MP.
The voters led by Habib Buwembo were on the 19thDecember 2016 granted permission by High court Judge Margret Oguli-Oumo to file an election petition against Kato Lubwama out of the mandatory 30 days.
In the petition, the voters accuse Kato Lubwama of fraudulently securing nomination and election as Lubaga South MP well knowing that he passed UCE exams which would have been a basis for him to attain a Diploma in Music Dance and Drama from Makerere University.
They now want the High court to nullify his election and order the Electoral Commission to conduct a by-election.
The court’s deputy registrar Alex Ajiji has signed summons ordering Kato Lubwama,Makerere University and the Electoral Commission to file their defences in court within 15 days.
The petition is not yet allocated to a judge for hearing.
By Serestino Tusingwire
A group of tabliq Muslims has sued government seeking compensation for what they call “a violation of their rights” arising from incidents in December 2016 in which security operatives raided two mosques.
Police in late December raided Nakasero and Kiwatule mosques in Kampala as they were conducting investigations on murder of Maj. Suleiman Kiggundu. Scores were arrested and property vandalized.
The group led by the Nakasero mosque publicity Secretary Habib Buwembo, want court to order the police to unconditionally return their property including computers, Islamic literature, money and case files that they claim was confiscated during the raids.
“We have today decided to open up a file against security organs on the injustices that they have caused to the Muslim community.” Buwembo said.
The group wants court to issue an order that any property or document that was picked from the mosque should not be used as an exhibit or anywhere in the court process.
The group filed the application in the High Court which is yet to allocate it to a judge for hearing.
A car bomb attack has killed at least three security forces at a checkpoint near the international airport in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, police say.
Somali police officer Mohamed Hussein said a bomber detonated explosives on a vehicle as security forces were searching cars near the airport on Monday.
Witnesses said heavy gunfire and a second explosion could also be heard after the attack, but no details were available.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, and police have identified no suspects yet, either.
The checkpoint targeted is located a few hundred meters from the main base of the African Union mission in Mogadishu.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab terrorist group is active in Somalia. It has been carrying out acts of terror over the past decade in an attempt to topple the government.
The joint forces of the government and the African Union have managed to push the terrorists out of large parts of southern and central Somalia but they still manage to carry out attacks across the country.
Uganda’s dancehall star Rodney Y who calls himself Owentolomwe became the second singer in a space of one week to lose car.
Car registration number UAW311N (Black Runx) was stolen on Friday night at freedom city along Entebbe road.
“We still looking for the lost car….. The car is said to be in areas like Nyanama, Zaana, Namasuba, Ndeeba, Ndejje, Kikajjo, Bunamwaya, Kabowa, Wankulukuku, KuStar Kigo Lubowa AbaitaAbabiri, Seguku, Makindye, Katwe Kibuye, SalamaRoad, Mengo, Nateete Kabusu, Busega, Bulenga, Masaka Road, Mityana Road,” he wrote on his official Facebook page appealing residents to help him find it.
Freedom City is the very place where Spice Diana’s car was also stolen during Christmas when she was on stage performing.
Rodney Y came to the limelight last year for his hit, Kabako which helped him stage a successful show at Nyondo club where he raised money he bought his now stolen car.
It looks like the thieves are targeting singer’s cars since in 2016 police registered over four cases of car theft belonging to singers.
Uganda’s renowned comedian Herbert Segujja alias Mendo has won an Africa Youth Award in the discovery category.
Mendo is known for mimicking President Yoweri Museveni
Nominations started in November with different comedians from 10 countries.
Uganda was represented by two people, the second one being Vicent Nsubuga.
According to Africa youth awards website, Segujja garnered 8,790 votes followed by Mark Angel from Nigeria with 4,000 votes.
The announcement was made on January 1, 2017 and the award ceremony is slated for January 22, 2017 during the African Head of States Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mendo thanked his fans for voting for him and promised to deliver more for his fans this year.
The Government of the United States of America, through the Department of State, on December 31, 2016, handed over non-lethal equipment to support the Ugandan Military Contingent in Somalia.
The equipment support worth billions of Ugandan shillings included 02 dozers, 04 motor graders, 04 Compact rollers and 04 front-end loaders.
Others are 02 trailer tractors, 02 low bed vehicles, 04 recovery trucks, 02 tele-handlers and an assortment of spare parts.
The site coordinator at the Department of State, Mr James Watters, handed over the equipment on behalf of the Government of USA.
He reiterated US government continued support to AMISOM in the fight against terrorism and commended the good works of the African Union peacekeepers in support of the Federal Government of Somalia.
The Uganda Contingent Commander in AMISOM, Brig Sam Okiding, received the items on behalf of the Government of Uganda at the African Union’s Halane camp in Mogadishu, Somalia.
He appreciated the continued support from the US Government towards the fight against terrorism in Somalia and to the UPDF in particular.
He noted that the machinery donated is enough to establish a ‘Mission Enabling Unit’ that could carry out various infrastructural projects in Somalia to enhance peace and security.
Brig Okiding further observed that:
“These machines will help in the rebuilding and maintenance of the main supply routes used by the AU forces. This will enhance free movement and safe passage, hence facilitating humanitarian activities, governance and Somalia’s recovery process.”
This support comes only a few months after USA again supported the Ugandan forces in Somalia with a donation of several Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that have greatly enhanced AMISOM operations. Other MRAP vehicles were delivered to facilitate training in Peace Support Operation Centre in Nakaseke district.
The US Government is a key contributor to the UPDF in several fields like equipment support and training among others. This has impacted positively in the capacity building and professionalization within the UPDF and significantly contributed to the Ugandan Government’s regional peace endeavors and the fight against terrorism.
By Serestino Tusingwire
Habib Buwembo on Friday 30th December, 2016 formally filed an election petition challenging Kato Lubwama’s academic qualifications.
This came 11 days after court presided over by Justice Oumo-Oguli allowed Buwembo to file a petition despite the fact that it was already past the stipulated time to file election petitions.
Section 60 of the Parliamentary Elections Act, had stood in Buwembo’s way, since it stipulates that an MP’s election can be challenged within 30 days after being gazette, yet Buwembo petitioned months after.
However, Justice Oumo-Oguli, reasoned out that the case was very special because she cited fraud in the way Lubwama was nominated for the election without accurate academic papers.
“Fraud is a serious allegation and it should be taken seriously and carefully. It cannot be just wished away just because of a technicality. Matters pertaining to an MP’s qualification are of great national importance. ” Justice Oumo-Oguli ruled.
Unlike his earlier application where he targeted Lubwama and the Electoral Commission, Buwembo has now added Makerere University to his suit.
He accuses Makerere University of erroneously, illegally and fraudulently admitting Lubwama through the Mature Entry Scheme to study a diploma programme leading to the award of a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama on January 20 1995.
Meanwhile, Lubwama also awaits Justice Margaret Oumo-Oguli’s decision to allow him appeal against her ruling that gave Buwembo the go ahead to sue the MP.
The judge will decide whether Kato should appeal on January 5.
By John V Sserwaniko
Doreen Nyanjura, a leading assistant to Col Kizza Besigye, is grievously ill and has been confined home for the past few days.
Nyanjura (aka FDC Preacher) is also KCCA Lord Councilor representing Makerere University.
Yesterday she confirmed what has been a rumor for some days by disclosing to us that she was recently diagnosed with life-threatening liver and kidney conditions.
“It’s true I was a few days ago diagnosed with very life-threatening complications on my liver and kidney.
The liver was found to have developed a mass which is 45 millimeters thick. I have so far done two scans and they have revealed the same thing.
The second one revealed that whereas my liver was in bad shape, my kidney is even worse and some doctors are saying I’m going to die anytime,” Nyanjura said on phone in an almost resigned voice.
She explained that trouble started on December 23rd.
“I was seated in a salon in Wandegeya as I prepared to travel to the village. Then all of a sudden I felt uneasy.
I was feeling a lot of pain and had breathing difficulties. I went to a clinic in Wandegeya and the doctor said I can’t attend to you without carrying out some investigations because your condition is dire.
“I insisted that he gives me any pain killers to relieve this pain in my rib area. The doctor agreed and I got the drugs and went home.
“As soon the drugs were done, the pain came back and this time it was more severe. I went for CT scans which confirmed the doctor’s fears,” said Nyanjura.
Her usual cheerfulness was remarkably absent.
“Right now I’m on some medication and more tests have been ordered but I remain very weak and can’t stand for two minutes. I must be seated down all the time otherwise I will fall down if I try to stand up without being supported.” She downplayed wild claims by her diehard defiance supporters on the Makerere defiance social media platforms that she was poisoned.
“I’m a leader Jonnie and I can’t just make conclusions. Let’s wait for more investigation results so that we speak authoritatively on what exactly caused this condition,” she said.
Strictly ruling out any foul play until reasonable evidence emerges pointing to that, Nyanjura explained how the whole thing started.
“I was brutally arrested on October 30th at Doctor’s [Besigye] home in Kasangati as I commanded by colleagues uniting under ‘Women in Command.’ KB [Besigye] had just returned from abroad and we vowed to guard his home as FDC women to ensure the police don’t return to put him under house arrest.
“We were successful for one day. The following day the aliens [this is how she contemptuously always refers to police] deployed and as commander, I had to be arrested because we wouldn’t allow them to detain doctor without a fight.
They brutally carried me away as soon as journalists left. It was late in the evening. They took me to Kasangati police station where I was beaten badly but two ladies as a bulky male police officer stood on my belly.
It was real torture and they said ‘we shall beat you until you denounce your claim that Besigye is the people’s president.’ My youths at Makerere mounted a social media campaign and they relocated me to Kawempe police station where the torture continued behind those thick walls.
They released me at 9.30pm after a crowd of campusers raided the station. The officer on duty tore the statement I had made because I insisted it must include my revelation that I was tortured.
Since that day I haven’t been well to be frank with you but I thought it was the usual thing and I would be okay.
First was a sight problem which I was treated for and ordered to wear spects. This was followed by severe headache which has now graduated into these complications of the liver and kidney.
But more medical investigations will reveal the actual cause as I go for more tests,” said Nyanjura also called the iron lady. As Makerere Councilor, she has led many student demonstrations against police and government.
The foiled demo by defiance activists aimed at forcing Makerere’s re-opening was perhaps her last major widely publicized demonstration.
Nyanjura, who is also FDC NEC member, is always with Ingrid Turinawe whom she fondly calls “Commander land forces.” The two are like-minded and Ingrid is politically her role model and mentor.
A number of FDC top bosses have over the years succumbed to liver complications including Vincent Kimera, Sam Njuba and Suleiman Kiggundu.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has accused the West African regional bloc ECOWAS of declaring a war against his country amid an ensuing political crisis there.
In a New Year’s speech broadcast on state TV, the Gambian president pledged to defend his country against what he called any foreign aggression.
Jammeh called the mediation by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as an insult to the Gambia’s constitution.
“Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression … My government will never opt for such confrontation but defending our sovereignty is a sacred duty for all patriotic Gambians,” the president said, adding, “It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, the president questioned the role of the regional body as a genuine mediator. “ECOWAS has also disqualified (itself) to provide mediation services as a genuine mediator has to be neutral and impartial and win the trust and confidence of the parties to the conflict.”
Jammeh had initially accepted the results of the December 1 election, in which opposition leader Adama Barrow was declared the winner, but reversed his position more than a week later and called for a revote.
His refusal to accept the results prompted political upheaval in the country, bringing pressure from the international community on him to accept the result and step down.
Leaders from ECOWAS have traveled to the Gambia in an attempt to strike a deal with the president to make him leave power.Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh (C) receives a delegation of ECOWAS leaders in the capital, Banjul, December 13, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
ECOWAS has said that Jammeh must step down next month and vowed “to take all necessary action to enforce the results” of the election.
The Gambian military has already been deployed to civilian sites, such as the election commission headquarters, in a show of force by Jammeh.
Barrow says Jammeh lacks the constitutional authority to call for a new vote or to invalidate the election.
Several countries, the United Nations Security Council and international organizations have also called for a peaceful transition of power.
Jammeh seized power in a military coup in 1994 and has been in power ever since. He has long been under fire by human rights groups, who accuse him of torturing, imprisoning, or even sometimes killing his opponents.
By John V Sserwaniko
In the early 2000s, as I was growing up in secondary school, Dr. PK Semogerere and his DP dominated the opposition space.
Growing up in a political family, I daily read newspapers and followed these things with keen interest.
All one had to do then to become a political hero for opposition supporters was appear on Peter Bakaluba Mukasa’s Radio Simba Oluntindo program and say all the nasty things about Yoweri Museveni.
Alternatively you spoke at a DP rally at City Square (this used to be the venue) and say nasty things about Museveni.
Simba fm, that greatly revolutionarized radio news reporting, occasionally did live reporting of some popular speakers.
That is how Nsubuga Nsambu (RIP) became a house hold name and an opposition hero even when he was from CP perceived by many to be a small party.
Whoever appeared on a radio talk show eloquently criticizing Museveni and became the hero for opposition voters regardless of how small your party was.
That is how Saddam Gayira (now of PPP) and Hussein Kyanjo became opposition heroes. Kyanjo of the small Jeema party went on to become Makindye West MP beating Mukasa Mbidde whose DP numerically dominated Makindye.
For speaking so eloquently on Mambo Bado of the later years, Nambooze was accepted as a hero by disgruntled Ugandans even before she joined DP.
Many others deployed demagoguery and got opposition votes including Ken Lukyamuzi and Rubaga North’s Wasswa Lule.
Even taking Museveni or government to court was considered heroic those days.
That is how the Erias Lukwagos, Joseph Balikuddembe and others got their initial political capital.Erias Lukwago
Those were the standards of those years. A few got arrested and released shortly after or summoned to CID to face Chris Bakiza (he was very famous those days) and chanting crowds came to see them outside CID headquarters.
This partly is how Sebaana Kizito got the momentum with which he thumped NRM to become Mayor after Sebaggala got problems after 1998 Mayoral elections.
Sebaggala had somehow militarized these things relying mostly on UYD militants; Mike Mabikke, Godfrey Ntale (RIP), Keneth Kakande, Joseph Mujuzi, Moses Katabu etc. He always had militant processions but there was never teargas to confront them.
Police simply came took him away and grumbling supporters dispersed on their own.
Riding on his 1999 missive, Besigye challenged Museveni in 2001; almost coming from nowhere.
He was alien to many young opposition diehards. His speeches were militant and found a lot of favor with the opposition base that had been building starting with PK Semo in 1996.
The first teargas incident was in the nomination week for the 2001 elections. Sebaggala supporters, who without police interference had months earlier beaten up Francis Bwengye & Co who had forcefully occupied DP headquarters, stormed UNEB Ntinda offices protesting EC’s refusal to nominate their man on grounds of inadequate academic qualifications.
Led by Church Ambrose Bukenya of the DP headquarters, the Seyas (as he fondly called them) matched through town up to Ntinda were police dispersed them with teargas.
This was days before a frustrated Sebaggala ordered his supporters to back Besigye who was marketed as credible by PK Semo having closely worked with him in Museveni cabinet years earlier.Al Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala
This is one reason the Bwengyes were against Semo accusing him of killing DP.
Why was he backing Besigye when the DPs like Bwengye were available to overcome academic hurdles Seya faced? It were these angry Church Ambrose rioters that Seya handed over to Besigye (the Hajji Alagidde slogan) at a ceremony at Pope Memorial Center near my parents’ home in Mengo.
Besigye, as we know, fled in August 2001 after numerous confrontations with security agencies commanded by CMI boss Noble Mayombo.
These militant youths-who in the campaigns climbed electricity poles to pin his posters & countered Mutale’s KAP operatives-retreated to their DP while KB was away.
They are what Seya used to mount pressure that forced Semo out in 2005. The thing is KB had used the 2001 campaigns to set new standards of opposition politics so high that the DP boys wouldn’t accept Semo anymore.
Seya made them think he would be as militant and principled as KB. As we know he cracked and joined NRM.
The very militants that used to sing his name attacked him several times at public functions and became almost homeless after Semo was in 2005 replaced by Sebaana who turned out worse than his predecessor.
Mabikke tried to fill the gap but his militant views weren’t tolerated in Sebaana’s DP.
He quit and founded his SDP which also couldn’t match KB’s militant approach.
The original DP youths turned against Besigye after failing to match his standards.
Claiming Seya, Mabikke & Co were money-minded, some DPs like Erias Lukwago, Betty Nambooze (eventually joined DP), Muwanga Kivumbi and others flocked with KB without denouncing their DP membership.Michael Mabikke
In the meantime Besigye, who triumphantly returned from South Africa in October 2005 and bitterly ran against Museveni in 2006, had built his own support base.
His charisma was such that he was now able to do without DP and its militant youths who had embraced him 5 years earlier.
Muwanga Kivumbi had cultivated his own constituency under his pressure group against life presidency as term limits were being lifted in 2005.
These were youths from the Ugandan population-and not just DP. Many of these too sheltered under KB’s candidature in 2006.Muwanga Kivumbi
Examples include Ibrahim Kasozi (now Makindye East MP). Kasozi had been Kivumbi’s deputy in poplar resistance.
In 2006 Kasozi and others formed the militant ring that sheltered KB as he was showered with teargas in that year’s chaotic procession from Busega to CPS where he was locked up ahead of the rape charges.
That (November 2005) is the day Kampala tasted unprecedented teargas. That day’s events clearly indicated the struggle, going into the 2006 campaigns, wasn’t going to be for the faint-hearted.
Having seen they couldn’t manage such confrontation, many DPs turned against Besigye openly criticizing him as a Museveni proxy.
This is the argument they made to justify why Sebaana, who was then Kampala Mayor, had to be a candidate. Whereas Sebaana performed dismally getting less than 80,000 votes with many of his aides trailing in lower elections, those defiant DPs (Lukwago, Namboze & others) who flocked with KB won easily.
That is how Seya, who many in DP had written off after he refused to concede defeat by Sebaana at Namboole, politically resurrected and was overwhelmingly elected as Kampala Mayor in 2006 thumping Peter Sematimba.
Seya jumped on the Besigye crowd and castigated other DPs for not backing KB.
His protégés like Mabikke did the same to retain the Makindye East MP Seat. Ofcourse Seya in 2007 fell out with Kampalans who accused him of selling out to Museveni the day he got a lift in his Cygnus after the ground breaking of Aya Hotel in Nakasero.
Mind you Seya first stood for presidency in 2006 against KB, Museveni and others but tactifuly pulled out on seeing Besigye had no candidate for Mayorship and DP’s Takuba was being rejected.
In absence of a strong opposition candidate, Sematimba was obviously going to win.
After the 2007 betrayal, Seya was resented and wherever he went militant youths who used to be his Seyas chased him like chicken thief. As they did this, they saluted KB for being consistent just like Semo had assured them in 2001.
THE STREET RIOTS
In eyes of his fans, KB had always been a militant but escalated after the 2006 elections and Presidential petition.
Reporters asked him now what next since Court hasn’t nullified Museveni. “I’m now going to the court Mr. Museveni went to in 1980,” is all he said. Days later he threatened Tsunami implying relentless street riots similar to what Muwanga Kivumbi pioneered in 2005 with his pressure group popular resistance against life presidency. Besigye started his street Tsunami way before we heard of the Arab Spring.
The topical issue after his 2007 Tsunami declaration was the continued detention of PRA suspects, including his brother Musasizi, even after getting court bail.
Shortly after the Supreme Court refusal to nullify elections, there was a morning opposition rally at Nakivubo. It was organized by Nabillah Nagayi, who had benefited from the Besigye 2006 momentum to become Kampala woman MP.
Ogenga Latigo who had just become LoP and many other FDC MPs attended this rally. Speeches were made condemning Museveni for re-arresting PRA suspects despite court granting them bail. Besigye was the last speaker.
He declared he was walking to Luzira to forcefully release PRA suspects and urged those able to accompany him.
He started his journey on foot and by the time he reached Steers Jinja road, he had a huge crowd besides him. Police unleashed teargas and images of a tearful Besigye graced newspapers the next day.
He was finally subdued and blocked at Jinja road/BAT opposite UMI and briefly detained at CPS. To me, that is the day defiance was born. Besigye defiantly kept returning to the street and FDC national chairman Suleiman Kiggundu was always besides him.
The police response also increasingly became radicalized. KB and Kiggundu would be arrested like chicken thieves.
One Saturday in 2006 KB appeared on CBS’ Saturday political program and declared he was going to City Square for a rally with or without police permission. Police heavily deployed to stop him but the man from Rukungiri still turned up and got brutally arrested along with elderly Dr. Kiggundu who was publicly molested by guys fit to be his grandsons.
Similar confrontations became so many such molestations ceased to make news. Museveni subsequently used Seya-led KCC to justify the banning of political meetings at City Square after seeing Besigye’s relentless intentions to use it for his Tsunami.
THE NEW POLITICS
This was unprecedented in opposition. To match KB’s standards, the DPs rode on the Kayira issue and organized a few street riots.
They also joined Beatrice Anywar to organize the Mabira demo majority of whose “Commanders” were DP youths uncomfortable working with KB. Because there was an open invitation, KB participated in the Mabira demo and DP for sometime enjoyed media publicity.
However, the attitude in DP changed after it was claimed some of the DP Commanders on both Mabira and Kayira issue were moles planted by then very powerful Gen David Sejusa.
That is how the DP militant cells evaporated and the Sebaana leadership was also critical of street riots yet to many frustrated opposition supporters it was the way to go.
Confrontational politics then gradually became a monopoly of the FDC under Besigye as Party President. DP leaders resorted to weekly press conferences which couldn’t get much publicity.
Supporters started pressurizing party leaders with “we don’t see you.” Instead of adjusting, the DP leaders felt KB was inadvertently causing them problems and that is how the enmity intensified.
When ex-Buganda Katikkiro Mulwanyamuli joined opposition politics and went to KB, many in DP felt their party should naturally have been his home given his background.
DP fans felt he shunned DP because its leaders were generally in oblivion and invisible in news media. Yet to gain the required visibility it was no longer enough to eloquently attack Museveni at news conferences or radio talk shows. Besigye had clearly demystified all that because of the very high standards his riots and confrontations with police had set.
The contemporary situation requires that for any opposition leader to get publicity and be seen to make news, they must do what Besigye is doing if not more. The dilemma is this means taking physical risks, an experience too painful for many to even ponder. This to me is the reason many DP leaders, for instance, hate KB.
It’s not because they have eaten Museveni’s money as they are often falsely accused. It’s because he has set the bar so high many can simply not fit in. This is the reason why many of the elected opposition leaders are either openly part of KB’s defiance or don’t openly criticize his modus operandi. The likes of Latif Sebaggala, Medard Segona, Mathias Mpuuga and a few others fall in the latter category.
We have the Nabillah Nagayis who strategically acquiesce to KB’s approach at election time and only dissent publicly after getting elected back to office. The bitter truth is Besigye’s modus operandi is the new way to do opposition politics in this country.
It has nothing to do with structures which even NRM (that has been winning disputed elections) doesn’t have. Granted FDC might be devoid of structures as critics have consistently been saying but even NRM isn’t any better yet it continues winning elections.
In fact FDC, financially constrained as it is, arguably has more visible structures than NRM’s. And we must stress NRM has been winning for many other reasons and not because it has better structures parse. As an active political reporter I know, with certainty, that this is something many senior NRM leaders privately admit.
This takes me to what I consider defective arguments by MP Abdul Katuntu, Andrew Mwenda and others regarding Uganda’s very anomalous political situation. Katuntu says FDC hasn’t won elections because it has KB’s defiance instead of structures. To him KB’s defiance is the reason over 35% of the eligible electors didn’t vote in 2016.
Mwenda improves on Katuntu’s argument by implying Museveni won’t fall until opposition gets a candidate better than KB. He says the two inadvertently are mutual political allies depending on each other for political survival and continued relevancy.Andrew Mwenda
The following is what I take away from Mwenda and Katuntu’s views. Besigye’s bad politics, as Mwenda calls it, isn’t sufficient to explain why so many have been staying away.
In 2006 we had Miria Obote and Sebaana Kizito whose brand of politics was the exact opposite of Besigye’s belligerent politics as Mwenda calls it.
The 35% or so that resented KB’s approach would find alternative in Miria or Sebaana or even the more youthful and eloquent Abed Bwanika.
They don’t have to vote Besigye. That they didn’t go for either of the trio is proof there is something Mwenda and Katuntu aren’t saying. In 2011 we had the very charismatic Norbert Mao, a man of peace and actively opposed to Besigye’s belligerency.
The 35% or so abstaining voters still didn’t vote him. He is way much younger than the Besigye & Museveni tired NRA war generation.
Better still we had Jaberi Bidandi Ssali a man of great experience whose approach is the direct opposite to KB’s.
The Mwendas, Katuntus need to tell us why the abstaining 35% didn’t find this ex-Museveni strategist good enough.
He wasn’t vindictive and neither did threaten to detain Museveni on becoming President. In 2016 we had someone way far more experienced than Besigye in Amama Mbabazi.
He had support of DP leadership and even Otunnu’s UPC but still the 35%, who Mwenda says despise both Museveni and KB, didn’t vote for him. By the way Bwanika, who was running for 3rd time, was still there but the 35% still didn’t find him good enough.
To me, this is indicative Mwenda’s argument isn’t defect-free. Its instructive Ugandans must look beyond what Mwenda has been saying and find the answers to our political dilemma.
Hon Katuntu says it’s his strategy that works and gives the example of his Bugweri County where he says most elected leaders are FDC but doesn’t explain absence of multiplier or spillover effect in nearby Constituencies within the same Iganga district.Abdu Katuntu
He has been deploying this winning strategy for over 15 years but his FDC colleagues in nearby constituencies haven’t been able to apply the same and thump NRM! It’s also true as he says that it’s his strategy (he says not defiance) that has delivered so much for FDC in Bugweri but one may also say its KB’s approach (and not Katuntu’s) that has been delivering against NRM in Rukungiri, Kampala or even Semujju Nganda’s Wakiso district.
Nabillah in Kampala has been winning since 2006 basically because at poll time she tactifuly embraces Besigye’s modus operandi and not because she built party structures parse.
Kawempe South’s Mubarak Munyagwa will say the same as will Besigye’s allies in Nansana Municipality, KCCA, Mbale, Masaka and other townships.
Nandala Mafabi will tell you it was the Besigye approach that enabled him paint Sironko district blue in 2011 and not party structures parse. In Ntungamo Municipality, as we all saw, Gerald Karuhanga deployed more than just good structures to prevail over Yona Musinguzi who seemed to have entire security apparatus behind him.
It’s also true there are many in FDC who share Katuntu’s view on the Besigye approach and one may ask how come FDC hasn’t been winning elections in their areas.
The party is certainly not full of Defiance adherents only. Katuntu has previously implied defiance adherents are a minority in the party. Question then becomes what have all the others opposed to defiance been able to accomplish.
Do they need permission from KB to be able to do what they believe is right and best way to take their party forward? And besides why doesn’t Andrew Mwenda start a party to offer that missing 3rd force alternative since, to him, both Museveni & Besigye aren’t good enough to appeal to the 35% or so that have been abstaining from voting? He certainly doesn’t need anybody’s permission to do so.
The writer is a Red Pepper political journalist
By Serestino Tusingwire
Makerere university students are expected to report for studies today with normal lectures set to resume immediately.
The university was closed for two months after President Museveni issued a directive on 1st November, 2016 to have the institution closed to guarantee the safety of persons and property.
The president’s directive followed a sit down strike by lecturers over failure by the university to clear their incentives that had accumulated for eight months to a tune of Shs28billion.
However, on the 19th of December lecturers resolved to suspend their strike, with management setting the 2nd of January as the reporting date for students.
On 24th December, the president agreed to open the university to allow students complete their first semester.
Speaking to journalists last week, the vice chancellor Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu said the university is functioning and lecturers are ready to commence teaching today.
He has urged students to clear their tuition as soon as possible to avoid missing exams.
According to the program issued by the university management, classes resume today the 2nd of January 2017, and by the 16th of this month students are expected to clear tuition.
However, the university guild president Roy Ssemboga said this is impossible since students and parents incurred unplanned cost due to the closure of the university.
He urged the management to let students sit for exams and they clear later.
Ssemboga also asked the management to play its role to ensure that the list of students graduating in February is released early enough to help students prepare well enough.
Exams will start on the 30th of January, while the graduation is slated to run from the 21st to 24th of February
China has announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017.
Conservation groups hailed the decision as “historic” and a “game-changer” for the future of elephants.
The move follows a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in South Africa in October.
China has the biggest ivory market in the world – some estimates suggest 70% of the world’s trade ends up there.
Ivory can reach $1,100 (£850) per kilogram in China.‘Great leadership’
China’s State Council announced the details of the ban on Friday.
The commercial processing and sale of ivory will stop by 31 March, and all registered traders will then be phased out, bringing a full halt to the market by the end of the year.
Conservation group WWF welcomed the latest news, calling it a “historic announcement… signalling an end to the world’s primary legal ivory market and a major boost to international efforts to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in Africa”.
Elly Pepper, deputy director of wildlife trade for the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised China for its “great leadership” on the issue.
“Setting such an aggressive timeline to close – once and for all – the largest domestic ivory market in the world is globally significant.
“It’s a game changer and could be the pivotal turning point that brings elephants back from the brink of extinction,” she said.
While the international market in ivory has been closed since 1989, legal domestic markets have continued in many countries around the world.
A surge in the killing of elephants over the past seven years has seen populations across Africa shrink by a third, according to the recently published Great Elephant Census.
China had backed the Cites resolution in October, surprising participants with the strength of its support for a ban.
Some delegates said Beijing had wanted an even stronger resolution.
The ringleader of the Nigeria-based Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group has urged the militants to beef up extreme violence against people, denying recent claims by the government that the group has been crushed.
In a video posted on YouTube purportedly by Boko Haram on Friday, a man, standing in front of almost a dozen armed men and a couple of pickup trucks in an undisclosed location, identified himself as Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the terror group, and read a statement, calling on his fellow militants to “kill, slaughter and abduct all the infidels… and detonate bombs everywhere.”
“I am here, well and alive,” he said, rejecting the Nigerian government’s earlier reports that he had been fatally wounded in anti-terror air raids.
He also denied that the army had ultimately defeated terrorists after it captured Boko Haram’s last major stronghold. “The battle is just beginning.”
“You should not be telling lies to the people,” he said, referring to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who announced on Christmas Eve that the Takfiri group had been defeated and driven away from its last known bastion deep inside the thick Sambisa Forest in the northeastern volatile state of Borno.
President Buhari, who came to power in 2015, under the motto of crushing Boko Haram, also said the terrorists were on the run and no longer had a place to hide.
The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has pledged allegiance to Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group operating mostly in Iraq and Syria. Back in early August, Daesh reportedly terminated Shekau’s seven-year-long leadership by replacing him with Abu Musab al-Barnawi, a former spokesman for Boko Haram.
Shortly after the announcement, Shekau released an audio message saying, “People should know we are still around,” apparently defying Daesh and the decision to oust him.This video grab image, created on August 14, 2016, from a video released by Boko Haram, shows a militant at an undisclosed location standing in front of schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok, Nigeria, in April 2014. (Via AFP)
Boko Haram terrorists started their reign of terror in 2009 with the aim of toppling the Nigerian government. In their heyday in early 2015, they managed to control an area in the country’s northeast as vast as Belgium, but they lost most of that territory over the last year as the Nigerian government, along with troops from some affected neighboring countries such as Chad and Cameroon, launched a joint military campaign to eradicate the group.
Boko Haram terrorists have so far killed more than 20,000 people and forced over 2.7 million others from their homes.Source: http://www.presstv.com/
Burundi’s Environment Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru has been shot dead by unknown assailants in the capital Bujumbura, police said.
Niyonkuru, 54, the country’s water, environment and planning minister, was “killed by a criminal with a gun on his way home to Rohero, around 00:45,” according to a tweet sent by police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye. He added that a woman had been arrested following the “assassination”.
The murder, the first of a serving government minister since Burundi sank into turmoil over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term in 2015, comes after months of relative calm.
Also on Twitter, Nkurunziza offered his condolences “to the family and all Burundians” vowing the crime would be punished.
At least 500 people have been killed and 300,000 have fled the country since unrest began in April 2015.
At least 39 people, including 16 foreigners, have died in an attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey’s interior minister has said.
Suleyman Soylu also revealed police were still hunting for the “terrorist” who attacked the Reina nightclub at about 01:30 local time (22:30 GMT).
For hours after the attack the authorities had said nothing about the whereabouts of the assailant.
Another 69 people were being treated in hospital, the minister added.
“The search for the terrorist continues… I hope (the attacker) will be captured quickly, God willing,” Mr Soylu said.
The Turkish authorities have imposed a media blackout on coverage of the attack, but it does not extend to official statements.
Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin earlier revealed a police officer had died in the attack.
One attacker was involved, the governor said, while CNN Turk reported he was dressed in a Santa Claus costume.
“A terrorist with a long-range weapon … brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Mr Sahin told reporters at the scene of the upmarket Reina nightclub in the the Ortakoy area on the banks of Bosphorus.
The club was popular not only with Turks, but with foreigners as well, according to the BBC’s Selin Girit in Istanbul.
She added some eyewitnesses spoke of there being not one but two attackers.
There were reportedly as many as 700 people in the nightclub at the time of the attack, some of whom have jumped into the water to escape.
Dogan news agency reported that some witnesses claimed the attackers were “speaking Arabic” while Turkish television channel NTV said special force police officers were searching the nightclub.
US President Barack Obama, who is on holiday in Hawaii, was among the first international leaders to make a statement after being briefed by his team.
“The president expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.
The Turkish government has ordered a temporary media blackout in the wake of the attack, citing security and public order concerns.
This is not the first time such an order has been made.
Istanbul was already on high alert with some 17,000 police officers on duty in the city, following a string of terror attacks in recent months.
Many were carried out by so-called Islamic State (IS) or Kurdish militants.
Less than a fortnight ago, the Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was shot dead by off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas as he gave a speech in the capital Ankara in December.
After the shooting, the killer shouted the murder was in revenge for Russian involvement in the conflict in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
I greet all of you the people of Uganda and congratulate you on finishing the year 2016 and wish you a prosperous 2017. I extend condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in the year that is just ended.
During this year of 2016, we had successful general and local government elections. I congratulate Ugandans for voting their leaders peacefully. I also congratulate leaders who were elected. I call upon them to stay in touch with their communities as they will achieve alot when they work together.
At the beginning of this term of office, 2016-2021, I issued 23 guidelines/directives to government and so far in six months, the following have been achieved
Finalized a plan for re-establishing the National Carrier (Uganda Airlines). This will reduce on the financial “haemorrhage” (donation) to other airlines by Ugandans and those travelling to Uganda.
Investment Climate Advisory and Management ─ Ministry of Finance has allocated Shs. 410 million to generating the statistical data for investors who wish to invest in the country. Availability of ready information will quicken decision making by investors.
Construction of more than 100 water schemes across the country in some of the following areas: Bukwo GFS; Bukedea, Parombo, Akoro, Olirim II, Bududa II, Bukwo II, Shuuku-Matsyoro GFS, Ogili GFS, Kiboga, Ruti/Rugando, Loro, Padibe, Pabbo, Rwashamaire TC, Nyamunuka TC, Amudat, Bibia/Elegu, Ovujo, Oyam, Nyahuka, Kasagama and Kaliiro, etc.
Provision of Water for Production: Expansion of Mubuku, Kibiimba and Doha schemes, completion of Kaharo gravity water scheme in Kabale. The following are planned: Andibo dam in Nebbi district, Rwengaaju irrigation scheme in Kabarole district, Ongole dam in Katakwi, Mabira dam in Mbarara, Olweny irrigation scheme in Lira district and Leyedam in Kole district and a number of small min-irrigation schemes will soon be under way to mitigate the current pattern of rainfall and stop depending on nature but use irrigation system. In order not to continue being dependent on nature, we are going to start with more irrigation schemes around mountain Rwenzori, Mt. Elgon and the Agoro hills. These are easier because we use gravity on account of the good gradient and just channel the water to the required points. With regard to the low-lands, we are encouraging the manufacture within country or, at least, assembling within country of affordable solar-powered water pumps. I call upon individuals who have means to equip their farms with these pumps at their cost. Uganda Development Bank (UDB) should look into the possibility of using the money we give them to fund such acquisitions with low interest loans; may be 12% per annum or there about. Using government money, we shall slowly start equipping villages with communal solar-powered water pumps. We have, indeed, already started. There are already solar powered water pumps at Kandago in Rukiga, Nyadri in Maracha, Kololo in Adjumani, Inomo in Apac, Kabira in Rakai, Kibenyeya in Hoima, etc. These will be scaled up from being only water for consumption to irrigation this coming financial year (2017/18). 130 new water irrigation schemes are planned for FY 2017/18, across the country.
This is in order to immunize ourselves against the erraticness of the rains. This effort of irrigation, must, however, go hand in hand with the wetlands preservation and restoration as well as protecting all our fresh water bodies (Lakes and rivers). Where will, then, the water come from if we do not protect the water bodies?
Granting Oil Production Licenses:
Eight (8) production licenses were granted in August and these include: Mputa-Nzizi-Waraga, Kasamene-Wairindi, Kogogole-Ngara, Nsoga, Ngege fields operated by Tullow, Gunya, Ngiri, Jobi-Rii operated by Total.
Introduction of biometric registration of all small scale miners;
Allocating location licenses to small scale miners;
Expand the licensing regime that will streamline the small scale miners and the heavy investors in the mineral sector.
Government is in talks with the financiers of Bujagali to bring down the cost of power to affordable rates for industries. The other dams do not have that problem. The power from Nalubaale power station is now at 1.04US Cents, since the loan for constructing Nalubaale power station has been fully paid back. That of Bujagali is at 11US cents.
Right now, we, actually, have a surplus of electricity and we are building more dams as you know. Our plan is to build more and more dams, not only on all the sites on the Nile River (Ayago-840MW, Oriang-392MW, Uhuru-400MW, Kiba- 300MW etc.) but also to develop over 40 mini-hydro dams, already identified across the country. Some of them are already under construction. These are: Nyagak III 5.4MW, Nyamwamba 9MW, Muvumba 5.4MW, Achwa/Agago 83MW, etc.
With abundant and cheaper power, our pace of industrialization will pick up. We are going to provide electricity at the cost of 5 American cents per unit to manufacturers. More electricity and better network of roads will mean faster industrialization. As projected by the National Planning Authority (NPA), the middle income status will be attained by 2020.
I have told you before, how Uganda was bleeding on account of unnecessary and excessive importing (buying-kugula) and very little selling (kutuunda). What are called “rich people” in Uganda, specialize, not in building factories or hotels, but, in building shopping arcades that specialize in selling to our people all sorts of imported goods. As a consequence of this, Uganda donates to China US$ 875 million per year, to India US$1.154 billion per year, to EU US$637 million per year, to USA US$ 89 million per year, to South Africa US$ 257 million per year, to UAE US$406 million per year, etc. Yet our own exports to China are only US$54.7 million per year, to India only 24.8 million per year, to South Africa only US$4.7 million per year, to UAE only US$62.6 million per year. It is only to the EU that we export US$433 million per year and to the COMESA-EAC that we exported goods and services worth of US$2 billion (in 2015). In this hemorrhage, textiles take US$888 million per year, cars US$568.7 million per year, leather goods US$0.22 million per year,alcohol and beverages took US$ 68 million (2015),foods and food extracts took US$612 million (2015). This is not only hemorrhage of money but also of jobs. Building up our textile industry, which we have already started on in modest ways, would not only save the US$888 million in imports but would also create for us a total of 45,000 jobs from about25- 30 factories,each the size of Nytil, fully operational.As a result, KACITA group was sent to Ethiopia by me to study and came back converted. They are now ready to work with government in establishing factories for exports instead of imports.
Industrialization is, therefore, both an instrument of liberation and a means of achieving prosperity. Additionally, using our comparative advantages, we would also export to other countries, thereby earning even more money and creating even more jobs. We cannot blame our importers. Until recently, the basics that are needed to support manufacturing were not in place. Today some of them are: electricity, better roads, a more educated workforce, etc. It is time to, therefore, launch a massive effort for industrialization
Fast tracking of Standard Gauge Railway to reduce the cost of transport. As you know, we are working with our relatives in Kenya to modernize the railway by building the Standard Gauge Railway.
This will bring the cost of transport for a 32 metric tonnes container to Mombasa from US dollars 3500 by road, to US dollars 1650 by railway and it will only take one day compared to the present railway which takes 21 days. It will also save our roads from damage caused by the huge lorries carrying what should be ferried by the train.
This is all to do with manufacturing. As I repeatedly tell you, manufacturing is one of the four sectors that comprise our economy. The other three are: agriculture, services and ICT. Peace, electricity and improved road network are stimulating the process of manufacturing. The same stimuli influence services to some extent. Agriculture is, of course, linked to industry through agro-processing.
However, the biggest challenge we have in agriculture is cultural and historical. According to the census of both 2001 and 2014, about 68% of our homesteads are still in subsistence agriculture (only working for food but not working for money). Only 32% of the homesteads are in the money economy. Through Operation Wealth Creation, we are determined to change this. Coffee, fruit and/or tea seedlings are being given to all the homesteads with land of two acres and above. Our ideal model, as you know, is four acres.
Two acres, however, can also do something. In some areas, they grow cocoa. Each home must have, at least, one acre of food crops especially, drought resistant crops (cassava, bananas, Irish potatoes, rice etc). As far as coffee is concerned, a tissue culture laboratory is going to be built at Kituuza so that we can multiply high quality, disease-free seedlings industrially and quickly.
OWC has been stopped from being everywhere and ending up being nowhere.
We are concentrating on, initially, the four cash-crops ─ coffee, cocoa, fruits and tea. As time goes on, we shall get them to distribute chicken, dairy cattle and pigs. The homesteads with one acre or less, will be helped with poultry for eggs, mushroom growing, onions, pigs and zero-grazing dairy cattle. Every homestead must be involved in money making. We cannot accept spectators in this effort. Maintaining 68% of our homesteads in pre-capitalist modes of production is a wrong form of conservation. Let us conserve other assets such as wetlands, forests, national parks, etc., but not under development.
The services sector is growing very well spurred on by peace and better roads. It is growing at the rate of 5.3% per annum. Especially for tourism, what is nowlacking is publicity.
The Tourism Board will aggressively inform the world about our unique climate as well as flora and fauna. Services money is easy money for us, especially tourism.
The ICT sector has been facilitated by the building of the ICT backbone and the undersea cables to Kenya and Tanzania. This has lowered the cost of internet bandwidth from US$1,200 per month to US$ 300 per month and is expected to reduce further to US$150 per month within the next 12 months.
Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) should, therefore, use this new capacity to attract new investors in this sector.
With our brothers and sisters in Africa, through EAC and COMESA, we have already built regional markets for our producers. They can export to the region. We have also negotiated for external markets such as AGOA, EBA, the access to the Chinese and the Indian markets, etc.
All these efforts will translate into more jobs for our youth. Uganda already has 3,100 factories and 3,475 tourism related companies and assets. The two are already employing about 1.1 million people.
This has been achieved in spite of the bottlenecks of lack of electricity and high transport costs in the past. Now that we are addressing the issues of electricity and transport costs, our progress will be faster.
Uganda has been at peace for the first time in 500 years, for many years now. Uganda will remain at peace. Nobody has the capacity to disturb this, however hard they might try. Therefore, my dear Ugandans, I can confidently tell you that the future is bright.
If we love one another, celebrate our diversity, resist division and stay united, we will achieve greatness. Let us all join hands and declare the New Year to be our year of prosperity. The year of building on the strong foundation we have laid to secure Uganda’s future.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year Two Thousand and Seventeen.
Auckland in New Zealand has become the first major world city to welcome 2017.
Fireworks erupted from the 328m (1,080ft) tall Sky Tower in the city centre.
Polynesia and Pacific islands including Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati entered 2017 at 10:00 GMT.
Many cities around the world have stepped up security for New Year’s Eve celebrations, after a year in which attackers drove lorries into crowds in Berlin and Nice.
In Paris, Madrid and New York, concrete barriers and heavy goods vehicles will be used to block off central squares where crowds gather to celebrate.
And the countdown will be one second delayed everywhere.
A “leap second” will be added to the countdown to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation. This is required because standard time lags behind atomic clocks.
Last year, celebrations in Europe were also overshadowed by security arrangements. In Paris and Brussels, cities that saw major terrorist attacks in 2015, official celebrations were cancelled.