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Archive for the month “March, 2019”

NRM plans to get activated online: A Company of paid Social Media Activists!

That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything.”Noam Chomsky

The National Resistance Movement is steadily preparing for 2021. By every initiated move, they are trying to make it feel relevant and have a message to sell. It is not enough to have the Uganda Media Centre, Uganda Broadcasting Company, New Vision Media House, Government Citizen Interaction Centre or even the Ministry of ICT, whose all trying to peddle the message and image of the NRM.

Still, these are not enough. That is why the NRM have gotten a NRM Social Media Activists (SOMA). If this wasn’t enough, the NRM had already hired about 59 people for a Social Media Task Force run by Duncan Abigaba. Where one part of the team had specialists serving various of social media sites, while the same task force had hired 14 people to run the program on Twitter. This was leaked in August 2018. So, the team has been in play a while, but who knows how operative or even successful it is.

Yesterday, there is a new revelation. Not with a significant new change, but certainly a continuation of the building a digital task force and spin machine for the world wide web. Where they hope to spin enough and overlook enough to get the people to catch their bait. Either by the hook or by the crook. That is just what the NRM does.

The news yesterday, was that the NRM plans to hire a 100 Social Media Activists for all the republics regions, to represent all of them and spread the message. This is certainly a progression to the ones working for Abigaba who was hired last year for his Task Force. These will maybe fall in under his mission and umbrella. To ensure, that the NRM are acting correctly and getting the right image online.

We can clearly see t that Bosco, Mr. Sunday, Yoseri or Yoweri Kaguta Museveni are active online. Even if he has proclaimed there is only rumours and waste of time on Social Media. He himself is there and claimed to be biggest, most followed Ugandan on Twitter. Surely, there is a lot of paid bots on his followers page. Trust me on that one.

However, this is just a sign of the Don Wanyama’s, the Andrew Mwenda’s and whatnot of direct supporters, even Morrison Rwakakamba or whoever else spreading the words of old man with the hat. They will be now repeated a lot more and the self praise will hit levels that not even Soft Power and Sarah Kagingo would manage. That is what the NRM is preparing. They need the loyalists, the ones praising every move the His Excellency is doing. That is just the way it is.

If this is continued of the Task Force of last year, if it is hiring the ones in NRM SOMA. Surely, they will sooner or later, kick and scream because the NRM cannot manage to pay their salaries. They are there for a payday, not because they believe in the vision of the old man. They are not volunteers, but paid activists. Just like the ones paid to demonstrate before too. Staged nightmares waiting to appear. Peace.

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RSA: The African National Congress Denounces the Fake News Front Page Propaganda Published today by the Sunday Times and City Press, and says Hands Off Our SG! (31.03.2019)

Ethiopia: Is there a brewing Internal-Conflict with a fake Messiah at the steering-wheel?

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve. This is true even of the pious brethren who carry the gospel to foreign parts.”H.L. Mencken

It looked so hopeful, when Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali took over a year ago. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) coalition government, which have had sole control from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the other parties been controlled and manoeuvred on their behest. Therefore, people where hopeful when a Oromo leader would take the wheel. However, things has gotten worse. Some things has changed for the better, but there are many worrying signs on the horizons. The sun is setting and the next day looks tense.

The Prime Minister wasn’t taken over something finished, something that was strong. He came in the midst of a oppressive regime, using the army against civilians and using draconian laws to keep people under their wings. The EPRDF have arrested so many because of their political affiliation or their activism. Now, the EPRDF is struggling with the newly released former political opposition and legality of Queero, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). As the Oromo youth have gone house-to-house, the army and others has done direct assaults and killed within the Ogaden region. Like there been violence happening between other ethnic groups to in other parts of Ethiopia. While the government let it happen and doesn’t stop it.

That is why the situation is getting worse. The Internally Displaced People in about 800 sites in the Federal Republic.

There are several other issues like this from OCHA:

The lives of 8 million food insecure people will be at risk if food assistance does not reach them in time. Additionally, the number people in need of emergency food assistance activities will continue to grow” (OCHA – ‘Ethiopia: If funding remains insufficient, most life-saving operations will cease beyond March’ 07.03.2019).

So there are millions who are struggling to eat, there millions struggling with a place to stay and has been forcefully evicted from their homes. This has escalated under the time of EPRDF and Prime Minister Abiy. That is well known, as the EU have offered assistance because of this.

As stated here from the EU:

Ethiopia is undergoing sweeping reforms, but the winds of democracy and new-found freedoms have also fanned ethnic tensions, very often boiling over into an all-out conflict. In 2018, conflict resulted in an exponential increase in the number of internally displaced to more than 3 million people, one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world. EU Humanitarian Aid, once focused on helping refugees and Ethiopians uprooted by drought and food shortages, is now increasingly needed to help Ethiopians displaced by violence in hundreds of sites across the country” (European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations – ‘Helping people displaced by ethnic violence in Ethiopia’ 28.03.2019).

Even though the state will make everything look like a golden era:

A discussion forum reviewing the one-year journey of reforms held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) hall today. The event, which is a continuation of the political party forums of the past few months, explored the political, economic, foreign relations, justice and security sector changes undertaken during the past one year. During the discussion, it was indicated that 45,000 people have benefited from the amnesty law at the federal level. Moreover, over 100,000 prisoners were released at a national level following the reform initiative” (FanaBC – ‘Forum Reviews Ethiopia’s One-Year Journey Of Reforms’ 30.03.2019).

As that was happening, the same state saluting itself, did this:

A press conference called by Ethiopian journalist and activist Eskinder Nega in Addis Ababa blocked by police. The police officers were unable to give reasons, but told people to disperse, later they said the order came from high up” (ECADF – ‘Ethiopian government blocked activists press conference’ 30.03.2019).

So, even though surely, Prime Minister Abiy has done a lot of good. His still showed lack of progress, concerning the ethnic violence, the lack of food insecurity and the issues of the state. Which is supposed to help all citizens. There are regions and groups taking advantage of their new role in government. This being Oromo whose using force in the Ogaden, where the Somali are attacked and killed. That has been reported and this sorts of violence have grown during his term. Therefore, there has to be a striking need to address and settle this, before it boils over.

We can see, there other worrying signs too. There are lack of coherent and strong message from the Addis Ababa. Who are busy playing international peacemaker, while internally brewing chaos. Where the TPLF are toying with the other groups. Where there are questionable actions, as the state isn’t issuing needed reforms to make peace with all of them whose been hurt. This is happening, as the state is preparing for new elections in 2020. That will surely be shambolic as in the past. As the EPRDF plans to totally control it and force people to vote for them. Something else, would be a revolution. That revolution would not be televised.

Even the hardcore Tigrai is tired of him after a year, as stated here:

Now the masters of Abiy Ahmed are not sure if they picked the right person to lead their silent coup in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian population is disappointedly aware about the true identity and intent of Abiy Ahmed in Ethiopia. A massive tide against Abiy Ahmed is gathering in every corner of Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed Ali is stuck between a rock and hard place so he is changing his tactics on dealing with the people of Tigrai and the Tigrai state government. Mind you the strategy of Abiy Ahmed and his masters is still the same, it is to systematically weaken and destroy TPLF and Tigrai, but their tactics so far backfired and their plan is in disarray. The new plan is to appear gentle and friendly towards TPLF and Tigrai instead of the harsh treatment they used until now. At the same time they are planning to manipulate any political differences among Tigraians and use them to create gaps between Tegaru” (Tigrai Online – ‘Abiy Ahmed Ali and his masters are changing tactics towards Tigrai’ 26.03.2019).

We can see that the PM is losing ground. That his in trouble. His not trusted by the ones whose the major benefactor of the coalition. Neither, trusted by others either. His seen as puppet from both sides. While playing big-time abroad in Somalia and with Eritrea. We have to see how this goes. But there are many question left unturned.

There are plenty more of hardships, needed efforts and finding peace between dozens of communities. As the state are having more and more people displaced. More and more people lacking food, while the state is trying to look as striving. This is a miss match of ideals and the image the state tries to portray for the world to see. We have to question this, I don’t have the answers. But certainly, the EPRDF have figure this out. They cannot live on PR Stunts and fancy speeches amidst of the internal conflicts and the lack of systems, which is not taking care of their own. Therefore, the EPRDF is waiting for the international community to sponsor and aid these people, by the default of the state is left behind. Peace.

UN Refugee Agency airlifts relief support to survivors of Cyclone Idai (31.03.2019)

31 March 2019, Harare – the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) handed over to Government today some 80 MT relief items, including family tents, plastic tarpaulins, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, solar lamps and kitchen sets to support 10,000 Zimbabweans affected by cyclone Idai.

“The devastating cyclone has left people in dire need of humanitarian support,” said UNHCR Country Representative Robert Tibagwa while handing over the airlifted relief items at Robert Mugabe International Airport. “UNHCR supplies will help provide shelter and basic items to survivors, including women and children, as they have lost everything.”

UNHCR is part of humanitarian team working in close collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and other humanitarian partners to ensure people receive the required assistance and are protected from risks and dangers. UNHCR has also deployed a team of emergency experts to support relief efforts.

In Zimbabwe, it has been reported that Tropical Cyclone Idai has displaced an estimated 90,000 people in nine districts mainly in the eastern highlands part of the country. The cyclone has reportedly killed over 200, with some 300 still missing and has affected 270,000 people. Vulnerable people, including women and children, are at risk and in need of relief and recovery support. About 95 per cent of the infrastructure, including schools, roads and bridges have been damaged in Chimanimani districts.

Zimbabwe hosts some 20,000 refugees and asylum-seekers mainly in Tongogara Refugee Camp where some 1060 houses were damaged by Cyclone Idai affecting some 5,300 people. The water and sanitary infrastructure was severely affected leading to a shortage of clean drinking water.

UNHCR is grateful to its corporate partner International Humanitarian City (IHC) which has donated the aid flight.

The airlift is part of UNHCR efforts to provide aid to thousands of people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. A plane carrying UNHCR relief items arrived in Maputo, Mozambique last week. Another flight is on its way to Malawi today (Sunday).

Mozambique: Cyclone Idai & Floods – Flash Update No. 14, 30 March 2019 (30.03.2019)

Malawi: Situation Update, 30 March 2019 (30.03.2019)

Cameroon: Ministry of Public of Works – Press Release on the state of Wouri Bridge in Douala (29.03.2019)

Total Disconnect: A New Sim-Card Registration Drive by the UCC!

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”Edmund Burke

The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) must be a idle force of civil servants, a big bunch of lazy people who has very little to do or even trying to make up work. Because yesterday, a breaking news, which shouldn’t be breaking news is happening again.

The UCC and the Telecom Companies have had several of drives and issues with their SIM-Cards over the last few years. As the companies was even suspended from trading SIM-Cards for a while. That is what has happen. However, it is no returning. The UCC and National Resistance Movement (NRM) likes to toy around with the public and the Telecoms as they are fountains of funds, apparently.

In this spectrum, lets build a timeline before yesterday. The first deadline for registration of SIM-Cards was on 21st April 2017. Second deadline was on the 19th May 2017, but that wasn’t enough either. Because of that, it was postponed to the 22nd May 2017. Alas, that was not the finalization. The registration run continued until 30th August 2017. This was the final one of that SIM-Card Registration drive. 

The issues in the last go around was between National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) with the National ID Number (NIN) activation on the SIM-Cards, as well as the technical difficulties with the UCC and the Telecoms. Therefore, as the OTT Tax is in play, the state should know, whose is who and know who pays the tax or not. The SIM-Cards should be registered in some sort of system already.

That was the issue of 2017. Now the UCC is revising this and reissuing the same sort of activity. For whatever reason they have. As they now did on the 29th March 2019. Why it is weird, is that the Telecoms had new guidelines selling the SIM-Cards from beginning of August 2017. Therefore, the need shouldn’t be there?

However, this is the latest: “The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed all telecom companies to verify the identity of their subscribers who hold multiple phone SIM cards” (91.2 Crooze FM, 29.03.2019).

Didn’t the new guidelines of August 2017 set the status clear of the ownership of the SIM-Cards, even if they have dozens of phones. The new guidelines from two years ago should have been proper and established the ownership. Especially, since all the SIM-Cards needs the NIN have to be registered now. Alas, that is apparently not the case.

How, bad can you do a job? Or how lazy are you, since you have to repeat it again? After reviewing and revising it, two years ago and tanking the Telecom Industry, because in the last go-around the state blocked the sale of the SIM-Cards. Therefore, expect something similar in this circus too. Expect it going back and fourth. Suddenly, the President will come with an final order combined with the Minister of ICT Frank Tumwebaze.

That is just how these things goes. The State House has to have a finale say, before the stamp of approval. Than, this saga might be close to end, before it returns to years later with a new modification. Peace.

FEWS NET warns of worrying levels of possible malnutrition in Kaabong and Kotido districts!

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network published their March Update on Uganda on the 29th March 2019. What is says is very troublesome. Especially the main message. They not yet declaring famine in the region of Karamoja, but however, they are stating the warning signs as the lean season is hitting the region. Especially two districts are in troubling times.

This I will show with the statement from FEWS NET themselves and their classification. Even if it is only on level IPC 3, the famine is IPC 5 and IPC 4 is a Crisis. So, the region is close to danger and should get quick attention. To ensure, that the districts in question have the needs. The Ministry for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Refugees, should together with other agencies ensure the needs are met for the rising food prices. The FEWS NET is worried about the March to May, as they are thinking it could terrible levels. Even if forecast seems better between June to September 2019.

Here is the warning from FEWS NET. Take a look.

IPC 3:

Households either:

– Have food consumption gaps which are reflected by high or above-usual acute malnutrition;

OR

– Are marginally able to meet minimum food needs but only by depleting essential livelihood assets or through crisis-coping strategies” (FEWSNET – ‘ Integrated Phase Classification’).

In Karamoja, household food gaps continue to widen as the lean season progresses, driven by limited income earning opportunities and rising food prices. Sorghum retail prices in Karamoja reference markets remained above the 2018 average in February, but below the five-year average. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes prevail, mostly in Kotido and Kaabong. In bimodal areas, favorable staple food prices continue to sustain household food access despite below-average income from agricultural labor and seasonal declines in household food stocks, maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Although prices are seasonally increasing, they remain below the 2018 average and near to below the five-year average” (FEWSNET – ‘Uganda Key Message Update, March 2019’ 29.03.2019).

This here should a warning, because the FEWS Net are usually right on the money. They have been in other instances elsewhere. Where their projections and their forecast has hit right on the money. The State House, the Ministry as mentioned and other agencies should start working in the region. Especially in Kotido and Kaabong district. As there it will be the most dire. That is if they even care about the possible heartache and lack of resources that is there. They need to shelter and supply with needed goods to secure the food security.

Surely, they will await it to come to levels of IPC 4 or IPC 5, when the districts are already in a crisis or in a famine. Because, acting before the first warning sign is to much to ask. To patch the hurt early, should be a main focus. But don’t count on it. Especially with the handlers and the politicians eagerly eating in Kampala, but forgetting the life up-country. Peace.

IGAD: Kampala Declaration on Jobs, Livelihoods and Self-Reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities in the IGAD Region 28th March 2019, Kampala, Uganda (28.03.2019)

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