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Archive for the category “Africa”

South Sudan Civil Society Forum: High-Level Revitalization Forum could have achieved more than it did (20.02.2018)

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees steps up support for Uganda’s refugee programme (20.02.2018)

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites.

GENEVA, Switzerland, February 20, 2018/APO Group/ —

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today new measures to support the government of Uganda’s refugee programme, including through a major biometric data verification exercise.
“We are taking extremely seriously recent developments in Uganda. The refugee programme in this country is of critical importance, given the scale of the emergency and the role model played by Uganda in welcoming and receiving so many people seeking international protection,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo.

“On 1 March, in support of the Ugandan government, we together with our partners are launching a massive biometric verification exercise of all refugees in Uganda. This nation-wide re-enrolment and verification process will be key to help the government in fixing discrepancies in refugee data,” added Okoth-Obbo.

UNHCR has already deployed staff, with partner emergency teams, to start the exercise. In total, more than 400 staff will register refugees.

The data verification exercise is scheduled to be completed by September 2018 – including introduction of biometric checks at food distribution sites. The tried and tested UNHCR biometric system has already been used in 48 countries across the world and helped register some 4.4 million refugees.

In parallel, UNHCR’s independent Inspector General’s Office is rigorously pursuing its own oversight and due diligence measures, including investigations of several serious allegations received in 2017 on fuel embezzlement, one allegation of sexual exploitation and abuse, irregular tendering of water trucking, and fraud in procurement and food distribution.

Uganda initiated a probe in January after reports received by UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) alleged corruption and grave misconduct by government officials involved in refugee assistance.

“Let me be crystal clear: the allegations reported so far are not focused on UNHCR. Our investigations aim at supporting the recently launched probe by the Ugandan prime minister to fight corruption and grave misconduct by its officials,” said UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

“At UNHCR, we have zero tolerance for misconduct, abuse and exploitation. Every possible report or allegation is thoroughly assessed,” stressed Okoth-Obbo.

Allegations concerning other UN agencies or implementing partners have been referred to the respective organizations for internal investigation, and those concerning government staff or entities have been referred to authorities in Uganda. UNHCR is closely monitoring the outcomes of these investigations and is closely cooperating with the Ugandan authorities and other partners.

UNHCR is also strengthening its monitoring and oversight to prevent a reoccurrence of the events, including the deployment of more senior staff to help put in place additional safeguards.

These new measures are being implemented as the current Representative is reaching the end of his term and a more senior replacement is about to arrive.

“Throughout his time in Uganda, Mr Bornwell Kantande has demonstrated deep commitment, steering the UNHCR operation in a particularly challenging environment characterized by multiple refugee influxes, with Uganda now hosting the largest number of refugees of any country in Africa. After almost three years as Representative, he will shortly move to a new assignment and in the meantime continues to enjoy my full support and trust,” said UN High Commissionner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Uganda provides protection to well over one million refugees, keeping an open-door policy for people fleeing conflict and persecution.

“We need a strong and collective response which aims at strengthening the refugee programmes in Uganda, while drawing lessons from the current situation,” concluded UNHCR’s Okoth-Obbo.

Rwanda: FDU-Inkingi – “Rwanda, A Country On The Brink: Orphans Taunted, Window’ Property Extorted” (19.02.2018)

Minister Kasaija are borrowing more money, because of a shortfall he say!

Uganda is your country. When you’re writing a story, ask yourself if it is going to build or destroy Uganda. Is it going to bring peace or anarchy?” (…) “I’m advising my good friends of New Vision that for the good of your country, do not publish stories that are not true. My telephone number is known by everyone, call me. If I can’t respond then wait, because I’m also a busy man but I’ll respond. Let me repeat, for the good of your country, please don’t publish false stories” – Matia Kasaija, Minster of Finance.

I know, some people get touchy when stories comes out. Out of the woodworks suddenly the questions arise and people are thinking? Why? Why does the state borrow even more funds, is it needed even? How come the State, who is already borrowing heavy sums of money from all sort of bilateral, multi-national banking institutions suddenly need to borrow money from domestic sources. That question should be asked and need to questioned. Since the reality of the matter, isn’t what it is used to, since this government cannot even explain where the PTA Loans went. It is amazing how things are going, that the State can take up loans like this after already no accountability on the previous ones. The same minister is already questioned for the loans done with PTA loans, who knows what else that has gone missing, as the GAVI and CHOGM Funds of the past suddenly vanished into thin air, hard not imagine that this could happen again.

“Yesterday, Monday 19th February 2018 the New Vision Newspaper front page lead headline stated that Government is borrowing UShs. 700 Billion to pay salaries for public servants. I would like to inform the General Public that this story was an exaggeration of the proposed borrowing that I laid before Parliament. We borrow to a large extent to finance capital development and production. In my letter dated 9th February 2018; I submitted a proposal to Parliament seeking authority from the House, in accordance with the requirements of Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, to borrow additional Ushs 736 Billion from the domestic financial market to finance the Budget for FY 2017/18” (Uganda Media Centre, 2018).

This money will go to “development and production”. We can wonder where that is, if it is the bills of Gen. Salim Selah hotels as the seedlings delivered by, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is lack-lustre at best. Who knows where all the pooled monies for NAADS are going, but clearly not all of it is not going to micro-economic benefits for the society.

Shortfall is clearly there and the weak economy, that has been juiced up and run like a drunk seaman. That is why as the last end of bottle of beer is there and the need to go down to the bar and buy more brew on credit. That is the ordeal of the day. It is not a narration by Morgan Freeman and a beautiful tale of forgiveness and hope. No, it is a tragic day of even more debt, this time internally and used by the state. Since they are embezzling and taking away funds from the public. This will create more pressure for liquidity in the banks who borrows to the state, as this is taking from their own reserves to bailout the state. Eventually, the state has to find other funds to pay back the banks.

It doesn’t take a wise to understand, that adding more debt, while growing debt and also paying interests is a vicious cycle. They are recycling loans and adding more interests and more debt to be repaid in due time. We can just pound on that and wonder why the state hasn’t made a budget that is within the reach of the economy, but the government isn’t like that. They are spending money like there are no tomorrow. Having one beer, another one and another one. Now it’s drunk and don’t want to lose the edge, the steam and the good feeling of tipsy. The state doesn’t want to get the hangover and deal with the cure. They just want to shug more bottles and hope no one notice. Peace.

Reference:

Uganda Media Centre – ‘Statement on the proposed government borrowing of UGX 700 billion #UGCabinetResolutions’ (20.02.2018) link: https://ugandamediacentreblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/statement-on-the-proposed-government-borrowing-of-ugx-700-billion-ugcabinetresolutions/

Burundi: CNARED-Giriteka – “Communique de Presse” (13.02.2018)

South Sudan: SPLM/A-IO – “The Status of the Ongoing IGAD led – High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF)” (19.02.2018)

RDC: Communique de la Coordonnatrice Humanitaire en Republique Democratique du Congo suite a la Mort de Deux Travailleurs Humanitaires au Nord-Kivu (19.02.2018)

Opinion: Does the EU know how the EPRDF/TPLF uses the force during a State of Emergency? – Doesn’t look like it.

Just as the State of Emergency is setting effect. The Amhara Region has started their new protests against the regime. They are now having city wide demonstration and stay home one, where people stayed home instead of going out or opening shops in Gonder and Bahir Dar. That is the proof of the word of mouth and tiredness of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF ) and also the dominant party of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Those are the ones who most likely put the force in the State of the Emergency at the “Council of Ministers” during the weekend. After the Prime Minister resigned.

So its a setback and proves the lack of proper mentality or even understanding the tiredness, that the European Union, doesn’t see the hour of need, the strength of the public will and the demonstrations in Amhara and Oromia. That they could offer moral support, if any. Since, they are supposed to be on the barricades for democracy and for human rights. Instead, they are now limiting their statement and making less progress. In the view of stability over the democracy and over justice for the Ethiopian people and the groups who has been neglected by the EPRDF.

European Union Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ray in a statement today said this:

The announced reinstatement of the State of Emergency risks undermining this very objective. It is therefore of the outmost importance that it should be as limited in time as possible and respectful of human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably those enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution. Violence should also be avoided. As a committed partner of Ethiopia and of the Ethiopian people, the EU will continue to encourage all actors to work constructively towards a democratic and stable Ethiopia” (EEAS – Catherine Ray – ‘ Statement on the situation in Ethiopia’ 19.02.2018).

The Oromo Party in the coalition the Oromo People’s Democratic Organizatino (OPDO) has today elected new leadership. They have elected or selected Ahmed Abiye, instead of the one everyone though would win and might become PM, that being Lemma Megersa. So, this also changes the battle and the question of who will be appointed the next PM. That can be the saving grace or create even more hostile atmosphere. Since the TPLF might put enough stones on the scale to crash the whole regime. There are even reported that Lemma Mergesa are today put under house-arrest. That is from credible sources within the EPRDF and TPLF. This could be reason for why Abiye became the new leader of OPDO.

While in the party of the former PM, there has been election where now Defense Minister and the one who announced the State of Emergency Siraj Fegessa has become the party chairman of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Therefore, he might be a front-runner to, unless the TPLF are weighing the scale to get someone from the regions, which the EPDRF has used force in. That being the Amhara and Oromia regions, that the state has used the army, detained and killed.

That is why, its like the EU are looking the other way, asking the EPDRF to act nicely, when they have a reputation and has a history of open violence, actual takeover and invasions of armies into the public sphere and against civilians to quell the uprisings of the citizens there. It is like the EU doesn’t want to know about the destruction and the killings in the provinces. Like please be nice, but not hurt the Ethiopians, the Amhara people or the Oromo people either.

Today as the EU wrote about peace and non-violence, there are report in the midst of the stay-home demonstrations as Col. Demeke Zewde came home to Gonder, the Aghazi Squad shot live bullets at the crowds. Clearly, the TPLF and EPRDF are continuing their oppression and has no plans of doing otherwise.

We can wonder if the EU gets it, but don’t expect it too. They are now showing compliance and not understanding the situation and the dire need for change. That the society and the state, needs a new leadership who actually listens not only to the protesting regions, but the whole amount of citizens. Not only the Tigray and their hunger for power. If Brussels cannot understand that, then they are blindly looking the other way.

It’s a terrible look if the EU is serious about human rights, working for democratic institutions and actually caring about more than stability. They should support the rising uprising, the defiance of the state and the protest, which has lasted for years. Because their tolerance of oppression is over. It is just the TPLF and EPRDF who cannot muster change, since they want it by any means. Peace.

South Sudan – SPLM/A-IO: “SPLM/A (IO) leaders in the US Condemn the mockery of Justice in the case of James Gatdet Dak, Call on IGAD and the international community to immediatly intervene” (19.02.2018)

RDC – CENCO: “Declaration de la Conference Episcopale Nationale du Congo – A l’issue de l’Assemblee Pleniere Extraordinaire du 15 au 17 Fevier 2018” (17.02.2018)

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