Somalia: The FGS is fishing for khat

BREAKING Ethiopia & Somalia sign a trade agreement that would see Mogadishu export fish to Addis . Ethiopia in return will import Khat. Somalia’s Minister of Fisheries Bidhan & Addis envoy Abdifatah Hassan signed the deal on Sunday” (Dalsan TV, 20.06.2021).

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have secured a deal to trade fish, which seems like a good deal. However, it falls flat when it gets Khat in return. If you don’t know what Khat is, I will take a paragraph from the U.S. Department of Justice – National Drug Intelligence Center, which describes it as:

Khat (Catha edulis) is a flowering shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The term khat refers to the leaves and young shoots of Catha edulis. The plant has been widely used since the thirteenth century as a recreational drug by the indigenous people of East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Middle East. Individuals chew khat leaves because of their stimulant and euphoric effects, which are similar to, but less intense than, those resulting from the abuse of cocaine or methamphetamine” (U.S. Department of Justice – Khat – Fast Fact, 01.01.2011).

Should we be worried? That this will ensure the continued usage and destroy people’s lives? That they get sedated and gets the side-effects of its usage. This shows the priorities of the state. As they value the ability to trade and buy khat. Than do other things the state should do.

They are importing a substance, which is harmful and dangerous. Yes, it has been used in the region historically. Still, the state is directly supporting it. They are letting the Ethiopian traders earn fortunes on fish in Ethiopia. While selling narcotic leaves. That says a lot. Both governments are legitimizing this trade.

This trade has been going on for years. There been informal trading between Somali merchants and Ethiopian and Kenyan counterparts. This is making it formal and legalizing it. They are trading fish for khat. Which in itself is a trade-off and an exchange of goods. However, that doesn’t make it look good for the administration in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu is accepting and is willing to buy khat for its public. They are willing to sell and contribute to the usage of it. That should worry people. Because, of the side-effects and the dangers of the usage. That’s what the Ministry of Health and the addiction of it.

We should worry about the youths and older generations who is chewing khat. They will be used and become damaged by this. The state is clearly wanting this effect and they are promoting it.

So, now the government is fishing for khat. That says it all about their priorities and what they are willing to do. They are no issues and does this for cheap popularity. Nevertheless, the state should worry about the long-term effects and how this can destroy livelihoods. As people will get addicted to it and hurt communities. That is clearly what this government will do.

They save the fishermen to make people addicted to khat. That is such a fairytale of doom. Peace.

Opinion: The U.S. Supreme Court will not help the cocoa-farmers of West Africa

The recent judgement at the Supreme Court on the 17th June 2021, which was a case against Nestle and Cargill in concern with the child labour, slave labour and other horrific workload of the cocoa producing farmers in West Africa who supplies the needed cocoa for the production of these multi-national corporation and big-businesses world wide.

Both Nestle and Cargill is huge corporation who has massive profits. They earn money every seconds and is so big that their reach is substantial everywhere. That is why this case was significant. Not that it was a shocking result. Because, it is only showing the true values of the United States and that the Corporations are mattering more than people. The U.S. was built on slave trade and on slavery. Therefore, having court validating it in 2021 isn’t that absurd.

The U.S. Supreme Court shows that it doesn’t value lives or human rights.. They are justifying child labour and child slavery on the plantations, the farms in West Africa. The U.S. Courts rather defend the big corporations, than finding remedies or means to shield the weak. The ones who suffer so they the judges can drink their hot chocolate and eat their Lion bars after finishing the trial.

Well, we are in 2021 and the farmers of Ivory Coast, Ghana and elsewhere are far from saved. The Western African nations better start legislation, programs and use their means to stop this. The U.S. Courts will not save them. The U.S. will only come with stern recommendations and plea to the United Nations to ratify international laws. However, the U.S. will not impose international laws on U.S. based corporations or on company directives taken by U.S. nationals. No, they will only dwell on that if it appears to hurt a farmer in Alabama.

This sort of judgement only shows that the U.S. will not come to save the world. They are only coming with their corporations to earn profits and indulge on the natural resources of others. The capacity of Ivory Coast and Ghana is how they can counter this. Nigeria and Cameroon should decide this. If these nations was wise. They would form an alliance, a collective effort and ensure they trade on their demands and needs. Not only having to comply every single corporation or their entities. As they will only try to get it for the least price and sell it to the customer by as much as they can.

They need to consider to do something. As the U.S. is no caring. They don’t value the farmers, their plight or the work environment. They only care about the corporations and their responsibilities. Which is clearly not stop child labour or child slavery. The U.S. Supreme Court couldn’t care less.

That is why the West African nations, the Cocoa Producing Republics needs to take the matters into their own hands. Make legislation forcing the ones buying cocoa to comply with just means. Pay the farmers a decent price, ensure their ability run their farms after certain standards and not allow child labour/slavery. That should be easy to and the elites of the Republic’s would help to benefit thousands of farmers across the region. They would get better paid, safer workplaces and their children get educated, instead of toiling around working for a unforgiving international corporation who doesn’t see them or doesn’t value their work.

That is the gist of this. These rich international corporations have all the money of the world. They have the possibility to make a difference. They might even get some of their products registered as “fair trade” and other certifications. However, they are still not stopping the ancient practices of having kids working on the fields. They are not using their profits or their wealth to make a difference.

No, they rather live in mansions and enjoy the perks of the world without any concern of how they made this money. That’s what they do and the sweet taste of chocolate is feeding their pockets, but they cannot even give the poor, the ones in need or secure the future for the kids of the farmers. Because, the only thing these greedy guts see, is the bottom-line and their ends. Peace.

East Africa Law Society: Public Statement on the Ban of Maize Imports from the Republic of Tanzania and Uganda into the Republic of Kenya (09.03.2021)

Kenya: Agriculture and Food Authority cease imports of UNGA from Uganda and Tanzania

Today, the Agriculture and Food Authority wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Customs, Pamela Ahago. There it stated that it “stopped any further imports of the maize into Kenya with immediate effect”. It also said the reason why: “conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports to Kenya”. The last is: “Test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed higher levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits”.

When you read that it makes sense. You might wonder, what is mycotoxins? Well, it is: “Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices” (…) “The effects of some food-borne mycotoxins are acute with symptoms of severe illness appearing quickly after consumption of food products contaminated with mycotoxins. Other mycotoxins occurring in food have been linked to long-term effects on health, including the induction of cancers and immune deficiency” (World Health Organization (WHO) – ‘Mycotoxins’ 09.05.2016).

We can be sure that the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities will react to this. As they will not accept this and will be scorn. The Kenyan Authority is right in doing this. Especially with the concern of food safety and food for human consumption should be key priority. Therefore, to cease or suspend imports of Maize makes sense.

What is also striking is the amount of maize that is exported to the Kenya market from the neighbours, which a report in 2020 said: “Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than three quarters of the total grain sold across borders in the period in East Africa. The latest Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) East Africa Cross Border Trade report shows that 58 and 39 per cent of the imports came from Uganda and Tanzania, respectively” (Kevin Rotich – ‘Tanzania, Uganda supply majority of Kenya’s maize imports’ 03.08.2020).

The main importers of maize to Kenya comes from these two. That means the main imports has stopped and the ones who exports it to the Republic. This also means the Kenyans are losing their main sources of White Maize. Maize is staple in the ugali and therefore a vital commodity.

The UNGA is a important aspect and has been subsidized by the government in the past too. We cannot know if the Maize cartels will earn from this. Just like the previous stockpiling exercises in 2017 and 2018. UNGA have been questioned and how the state have treated it.

In June in 2017 CS Willy Bett said this: “Since we started the subsidised programme, we have witnessed more Kenyans preferring unga, thus the high demand for maize flour,” (Ngotho, Agatha – ‘Kenyans eating more ugali to blame for unga shortage – CS’ (20.06.2017) link: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/20/kenyans-eating-more-ugali-to-blame-for-unga-shortage-cs_c1582605?platform=hootsuite).

It might come something similar happening now. As the state is directly losing its key trading partners who exports it to them. It is not like the Kenyans will stop eating UNGA. That is not happening. So, the need for maize flour will persist and we have to wonder where they will import it from now. Peace.

Brexit: The Tories knew shellfish exports would be troublesome

Deepdock director James Wilson said that the consequences of this are that when the UK leaves the EU, we become a third country, and so are no longer considered to be immediately compliant with single-market requirements. The single-market issue – part of the suite of so-called non-tariff barriers to future trade – is likely to be the largest disruptive influence on the flow of trade from the UK into the EU” (…) “He said they had been concerned since the referendum result, and had engaged with the UK and Welsh governments throughout this period. They had expressed concern to the Welsh government, DEFRA and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) many times, but had been told, “It will be fine.” The administrations finally acknowledged that there was a problem more than a week after the original 29 March Brexit deadline. “We were floored by the news,” said James Wilson” (Tim Oliver – ‘EU mussel exports threat’ 20.05.2019, Fishing News).

The Conservative Party and Her Majesties Government in London seems baffled. They seems rattled and shocked that the Brexit has consequences. It seems like they thought it would be easier and less hurdles. However, with the Withdrawal Agreement and Trade Agreement in place. They are out of the Single Market with the European Union (EU) and that affects trading between the UK and the EU.

Now, that the fish is rotting from the head. We are now just over a month into the new game-changer. The lovely days of being a Third Country. The effects and touches of being outside is happening. The businesses are being touched and the exporters are feeling a whiff of new paperwork to issue before sending cargo across borders. The UK exporting businesses has been hit and non other then the fisheries.

The Fisheries which was so important. One part of the fisheries are the fish-farms and the ones selling shellfish or mussels. These are being transported fresh or frozen from rural areas across the UK to the European Union (EU). That was being done for years, but things changed when the UK turned into a “third country” as there are new obstacles for this industry as a whole. When you go into “Online Trade Tariff” on GOV.UK you can check the various of mussels, but there is no export measure between the markets in place of 8th February 2021.

That is why its really outrageous that Tories think they could be selfish and not follow their trading partners standards, which is pre-fixed with their agreement. That seems lost on the likes of George Eustice and the Tories who blames the EU for having regulations for “Third Country” nations. Alas, a worry that they was warned about from the producers, which they told “it will be fine”. Which by today is proven it is not.

Paul Armstrong reports: “A leaked email to the website Politics Home showed that The European Commission last month wrote to the UK shellfish industry informing it that un-purified oysters, mussels, clams, cockles and scallops caught in those waters were banned from the EU indefinitely since the UK left the Brexit transition period on New Year’s Eve” (…) “Martin Laity director of Sailor’s Creek Shellfish in Flushing says the news sounds the death knell for his business and the 52 fishermen and women he had to lay off over at the beginning of the year because of Brexit” (Paul Armstrong – ‘Oyster fisherman Fal Estuary EU shellfish ban’ 07.02.2021, Failmouth Packet).

The businesses is already hurting and its proven to be so. The EU isn’t selfish… but the UK wasn’t ready for the boundaries of the shellfish. The UK should have been prepared for the obstacles and the issues with becoming a “third country”. They are not apart of the single market anymore and has to comply to other rules. That is the reality of it all.

The UK is now a fish out of water. It is really struggling to comprehend the new reality and thinking they are special. However, the UK have to follow the regulations and standards, which is now operative from 1st January 2021. It seems like they thought things would be like before. Nevertheless, they had the warnings… but they didn’t listen to the industry itself.

The Tories knew and they was getting words from the industry. Still they didn’t comply or consider the implications of the Brexit. Now its a reality … and the shellfish is rotting in the port. Because of the arrogance of Whitehall and the Tories itself. Who knew that this could happen, but now want to through a hissy fit at the European Commission for not preparing properly for the shellfish industry. That is why they in a sea of trouble…. Peace.

Brexit: Scottish seafood exporters hit by ‘perfect storm’ of Brexit disruption (07.01.2021)

UN Expert Report says that DRC gold smuggling increased during COVID-19 lockdown to Burundi and Rwanda…

Yet again there are exploits of conflicts and the resources. The latest UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) establishes this fact. This isn’t a shocking revelation, as this has persisted for so long. The illicit and trade of minerals in the DRC to the neighbours have been going on for years. Where the militias and other “rebel” outfits have exploited the porous borders.

What was striking was a few of the sentences and that this of business continues. That the ones enriching themselves continues in haste. Producing, exporting and trading illicit gold. This is being exploited and extracted in the DRC. Later illegally exported to Burundi and Rwanda. We know this also happens to Uganda in the report. However, they have not stated the scale there. As we know the Gold Refinery in Entebbe for illegal gold exports.

Here is excerpts from the Report:

Three mining authorities confirmed that cross-border gold smuggling between South Kivu (see S/2020/482, annex 45) and Burundi and Rwanda had increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Two authorities explained that this was because, while gold production continued, border closures reduced the value of dollars hand-carried into the Democratic Republic of the Congo for illicit gold transactions. According to official mining data, 30.6 kg of gold were officially exported from South Kivu between January and October 2020, while official gold production was 7.1557 kg between January and September 2020 according to mining authority data” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 19, 2020).

The Group noted that, as was also the case in 2019 (see S/2020/482, annex 16), as of October 2020 official recorded gold production for South Kivu was far lower than the volume of gold exported. Total gold production as of September 2020 was 7155.7 grams, while exports were 30.6 kilograms for the year up to October 2020. Following the COVID-19 border closures, only two gold trading comptoirs – Etablissement Namukaya and Etablissement ML – exported gold in the second half of 2020 until the time of drafting this report. Bukavu-based gold trading house Mines Propres SARL suspended its operations in South Kivu as of February 2020, but confirmed to the Group that construction of Congo Gold Raffinerie (see S/2020/482, annex 25) continued in its place (Karim Somji, an associate of Congo Gold Raffinerie also owns Mines Propres SARL” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 186, 2020).

This here story isn’t a new, but it shows a pattern. Where there is more production than recorded. More gold produced than what is initially registered. This here is proof of the illicit trade, as the records itself states.

The Est. Namukaya is even mentioned an export to Kampala to Muzira Bravia Ltd. A company the UN Group of Experts couldn’t find in a registry. Therefore, that is easy an front and not the true company who imported this gold. That could easily be another concealment.

However, all this here just shows that its big business to trade gold illegally and illicit trade of conflict minerals. Where the DRC is not getting reported wealth out of their resources. While the militias and others are profiting on the mines. That is reality of this. Peace.

Brexit: Boris thinks bullying Brussels gives him the result he wants…

Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has signed a revised Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and has a deadline of 31st December 2020 to end the transition period between the European Union and United Kingdom. That is all making sense.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier and the European Council have put out a statement on the 15th October 2020. Where they put forward the guidelines, yet again. While the Tories, David Frost and PM Johnson thinks they can move the goal-post in the final stages of the negotiations.

The UK are now asking for the trade agreements in line with Canada and Australia. This will not put forward the statutes, articles in the WA and the troubles of Internal Market Bill. The Tories are still playing the game of “what we want, we will get and forget old agreements”.

The funny thing about this. That the agreement made between UK and EU isn’t an old age agreement from a far forgotten past. No, it was made by the same government in negotiations with the EU. The European Council and EU 27 Member States has agreed upon this. Therefore, it is a significant deal, which settles the foundation of the relations between the two parties.

Alas, Boris wants to alter that now. Just mere 10 weeks ahead. While there are two more scheduled meetings and talks. The Prime Minister is putting forward talks of trenches and going to the barricades. As he knows his just playing for his base. The PM is doing this charade and mockery of a public display. He should know, that when you agreed upon certain things. It is a bit late to back-track just mere months ahead of deadline.

The Prime Minister Johnson is now trying to pull the pix-and-mix Brexit and the Red-White-Blue Brexit of Theresa May. This is 2020 and the Tories are still not sure what sort of Brexit it wants. It wants the best of both worlds. It wants to be a non-member, but also doesn’t want to honour the agreement it has already signed. That is showing what sort of disgusting leadership is in London.

London wants to bully Brussels. Brussels, the EU Commission and EU27 have been clear. There is no vindication for the Tories. It is just like a entitled brat wanting more candy, when the store is already closed a few hours ago. The parent have to give the kid a lesson and explain why its not possible.

The PM have to accept this and understand this. The only ones losing on this sort of public play. Is the British public and all citizens of UK. They are pawns by the leadership in Whitehall and Downing Street 10. Who are playing with their futures just to look good. While not making sure the best interests are made with the EU.

Instead, over Christmas an uncertain future is ahead, the UK is sailing alone and with possible “no-deal”. Which is affect all parts of society, most likely a higher inflation and hitting businesses in the midst of recession and a global pandemic. That is what the Tories are willing to do.

Just to look good on Prime Time TV and feed the Brexiteers in their homes. Who doesn’t see the damage it does, until it hits home. Peace.

Brexit: Statement by Michel Barnier following Round 9 of negotiations for a new partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom (02.10.2020)

Opinion: US-China relations sours even more…

It is like the United States own failures is used as an option to hurt Chinese Business interests. This is not only the sanctions and stopping of Huawei trading in the United States. The US has sanctioned 24 entities yesterday for their connections to the Chinese Military. Also on the same day, the US Commerce did also put sanctions on 9 companies connected to the oppression of Uighur in Xinjiang province.

That means the US has put their mission and blocks certain companies. Also ensures that these corporations or entities less traction in International trading. Just as the US Department of Commerce put it: “The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced it will add 24 governmental and commercial organizations to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The entities, based in China, Hong Kong, and the Cayman Islands, represent a significant risk of supporting procurement of items for military end-use in China” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Also, the other piece from them state this: “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). This action will supplement BIS’s first tranche of Entity List designations in October 2019 involving 28 parties engaged in the XUAR repression campaign in Xinjiang” (Commerce.gov, 22.05.2020).

Yes, the actions of China and Chinese government in concern to the Uighur people is outrageous and morally wrong. No question in my mind. The activity and the destruction of them as a minority is wrong. However, in my mind, this is using them as en excuse for US selfish reasons. This is insincere. Because, its not like the US will open the arms for immigrants fleeing similar situations elsewhere. The US is building walls and closing its borders for asylum seekers fleeing situations like the Uighurs. So, the US is using this an argument, but not a legit one from this administration.

This administration cannot even make good lies. They are so open on their motives. This is direct trade-war and efforts as a scapegoat in the midst of the tragic COVID-19 Pandemic. The US needs a scapegoat and righteously so is it fitting to blame Beijing and China. Instead of looking at own inaction and lack of concern to what happen.

The US has also already put tariffs on Chinese production and products already. Therefore, this is a continuation. However, by every step and every action. The US is losing leverage and they are also paying the price. They need to go elsewhere for trading similar things. If not pay more, as they are stopping certain parts of imports from there.

The Chinese are doing their wrongs too. Nevertheless, the Foreign Affairs wrote this yesterday, which state it perfectly: We urge the US side to abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological bias, follow the trend of the times, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, harming China’s interests or undermining China-US relations, and work with China to bring bilateral relations back onto the right track” (Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2020).

This here says it all. Yes, the relations is based on both parties gives and takes. However, right now, the reality is that the one aiming and hitting one party. Is the US whose shooting down and tracing their targeted companies or entities. Just like last years tariffs and such, which has also slowed things down. The US is doing this and the Chinese has retaliated. This will continue. Just like the Chinese banned certain journalists and media houses within the Republic. That is all natural in the sense of the relations between them.

This is all hostile. There is not function or care. The US President says everything is China’s fault. While he hasn’t carried water for happen within his own borders. Therefore, that isn’t a fair assessment. It is an easy victimhood in this pandemic. Yes, the origin was from China. They didn’t do enough and do it correctly. Still, the US didn’t care about the warning signs either or did what they should have done. That is the 20/20 hindsight, which deems both parties wrong in the sense of acting in accordingly to the danger of COVID-19.

However, this is about the trade war. Where for every step the US is attacking and targeting companies of Chinese origin. They have to release proof of these allegations now. Especially, the list of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Where the Commerce Secretary says these companies are connected with this. If so, I would like to see proof and leaked documentation of sensitive intelligence. To actually prove the allegations. If not, the US is just using their power and means to kick the Chinese. Because, it is useful to have an enemy in this troubling time.

The Chinese is far from perfect and their reign within the One-Party state isn’t peaceful nor democratically anything to aspire too. Nevertheless, the US isn’t that great on this either. Especially, the way Trump Administration is just another epitome of baroque king-pin from the Big-Apple and Trump tower in New York. That is why these measures has to be explained to be believable.

The US cannot con the world anymore. They could in the past, but not now. This US-China Trade-War is only proving what sort of hostile force it is. Instead of finding diplomatic measures or even doing the hard work of talks between the parties. It is easier to sanction and block someone, than actually do the work. That is how it seems. They are using excuses and arguments of legit reasons to do something. But, a very important but, they are not proving the reasons for doing so.

If these companies are what they claim. Prove it and show it. Unless, they hare having a smokescreen and another visionary moment similar to the Iraqi WMDs in the early 2000s. Well, I’m looking forward to see that.

Until then, this is a propaganda victory for the Trump Administration with no hold in reality. Since, they are just blocking someone without any proof. They could say whatever and argue for it. Still, a man like me wants reasons for it.

Unless, they are just finding fitting measures to pressure Beijing, but that is not something they can do too long. Because, Washington D.C. doesn’t have that much leverage. Since, for every step they do. There is less of a reason for the Chinese to serve or even work in association with the US anyway. Peace.