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What We’re Watching: Uganda’s generational election, Indian farm reform paused

Electoral merchandise of Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine. Reuters

Is it Wine o'clock in Uganda yet? Ugandans go to the polls on Thursday in a presidential election pitting current leader Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, against opposition chief Bobi Wine, a former pop star turned politician. The campaign period has been, in Wine's words, "a war and a battlefield" — authorities have arrested and assaulted him and shot at protesters who support him. The vote will occur amid a social media blackout that the government imposed after Facebook removed the accounts of some pro-Museveni activists, and the integrity of the vote has already been questioned by the EU and US. Museveni, one of Africa's longest serving leaders, is popular in the countryside, where he is lauded for having brought stability, growth, and subsidies. Wine is more popular among young and predominantly urban Ugandans who want change — Museveni has held power since before 80 percent of Ugandans were even born. Tensions are extremely high ahead of the vote, and the possibility of post-election violence is real.


Indian farming law on hold: After six weeks of mass protests against the government, India's top court has temporarily suspended the implementation of three controversial agricultural laws that farmers say pose a threat to their livelihoods. It's a temporary reprieve for Indian farmers, who worry that allowing them to sell their crops more freely — instead of at fixed prices to government buyers — puts them at the mercy of big corporations that can drive down prices and put them out of business. The suspension is also good news for the government, which was starting to suffer a serious popular backlash against the reform in a country where the agriculture sector employs a whopping 600 million people and accounts for 16 percent of GDP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, normally impervious to the political fallout of pushing controversial policies, this time met stiff resistance from farmers, who occupied highways on the outskirts of the capital and refused to budge in their demands to annul the laws. Moving forward, it's unclear if the pause will do more than briefly calm tensions if both sides remain entrenched in their positions.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

World Bank President David Malpass was as horrified at what he saw during the January 6th pro-Trump riots on the Capitol as millions of other Americans. But he was concerned for another reason as well: "From the standpoint of world development, it distracts attention at a time when we need to help countries actually develop and get beyond COVID and get back to growth path." He joined Ian Bremmer to talk about how the civil unrest on Washington was distracting from the urgent development work of the World Bank during a pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

14,000: Cash-strapped Venezuela has sent enough oxygen to fill 14,000 individual canisters to its more prosperous neighbor Brazil, which is suffering a shortage of oxygen supplies for COVID patients in hard-hit Amazonas state. In response, right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolás Maduro should be dispatching emergency supplies to needy Venezuelans.

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Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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