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Archive for the tag “Chad”

The Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) joins calls to end social media block in Chad (15.03.2019)

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 15, 2019 – The Committee to Protect Journalists this week joined at least 79 rights organizations to urge African Union and United Nations experts to take action to end the government of Chad’s nearly year-long block on social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. The letters, addressed respectively to the African Union Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, emphasized how network disruptions “limit the ability of journalists to report safely and for citizens to access information,” among other consequences.

“We have to circumvent censorship on social networks using virtual private networks [VPNs]….Journalists have to wriggle for hours to post articles online,” Moussa Nguedmbaye, editorial coordinator for the privately owned, N’djaména-based news website Tchad Infos, told CPJ in January 2019. “Social networks are a way to reach the most readers….Before the block on social networks, each article reached four to five thousand readers. With this block we do not even reach two thousand. The blockage really reduced the traffic.”

The letters to the special rapporteurs can be found here: African Union Special Rapporteur Lawrence Murugu Mute and UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye.

 

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Gabon: A Constitutional Coup to divert Power because of the illness of the President

There now been three weeks of illness, sickness and  hospitalization of the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo. Who is the second Generation President of the Republic. Clearly, the severe situation is more dire, as the power-vacuum is visible.

Because this week, this was reported by Le Gabon:

By ruling only on a vacancy of power, the Gabonese Constitution and Article 13 revealed a flaw that the country would have done well. With the vacancy of the power which is well taken into account by the Constitution, the judge François de Paul Adiwa-Antony added a paragraph very useful in the circumstance. “In the event of temporary unavailability of the President of the Republic, certain functions devolved to the latter may be exercised either by the Vice-President of the Republic or by the Prime Minister on special authorization of the Constitutional Court seized by the Prime Minister or a tenth of the deputies, members of the government whenever necessary “. Thus, the Vice-President of the Republic, Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou, was able to preside over the Ministerial Council of this Wednesday, November 14, 2018. The Constitutional Court “as a regulating organ of the functioning of the institutions, authorizes the vice-president of the Republic to convene and preside over a council of ministers which will focus exclusively on the agenda attached to the request of the Prime Minister “in the words of its president. The Gabonese policy is not blocked by the temporary absence of the head of state, but this will not stop the rumors. Only images or a declaration of Ali Bongo can calm the most fertile and the most sorrowful spirits” (Le Gabon – ‘Pas de vacance du pouvoir à Libreville’ 15.11.2018).

So, because of the illness of Ali Bongo and the lack of protocol in the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has ordered an Amendment, which fits the current regime. Where the Vice President or the Prime Minister, can preside over the governing functions, as an interim effort. This leading the Council of Ministers and other functions to secure the running day-to-day government. That has been done without elections or even a democratic gesture.

The President fate is still uncertain, there are outlets proclaiming his death, even today. There was the same two weeks ago in Cameroon. Where the media-house was practically closed by the Cameroonian Authorities after it did so. Therefore, the lingering doubt is in the air.

It does not help that the African Union (AU) comes out with this statement yesterday:

Chairperson Faki is deeply concerned by unfolding developments in Gabon linked to the state of health of President Bongo. Chairperson Faki further calls on all political stakeholders and institutions in Gabon to show the necessary collective leadership during this time in order to preserve unity, peace and stability in the country. Chairperson Faki further reaffirms the African Union’s strong commitment to the full respect of constitutional order in the country. The Chairperson will deploy a fact-finding mission to Libreville in the shortest delay” (African Union – ‘Communiqué on the situation in Gabon’ 17.11.2018).

We can expect Pierre Claver Maganga Moussavou to be in-charge and set-up shop without any elections. As he takes control while Bongo’s uncertain fate in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the amendment and the change this week. Shows that the ones inside the Cabinet and the closest to power was ready to take control. This they by technicalities and not by a popular vote, not even ensuring a clean process. The Gabonaise people have been used as pawns again. Just like they did when the father of the President died and his son took over.

Now the Courts decided and changed the structure without any consideration of the implications and even checking who was most eligible. Again, the regime has taken the power and left the opposition out. They are locking Jean Ping out by any means. Even changing the constitution by Court Orders. Just to ensure the continued rule of the One-Party.

With Moussavou there will be continuation of the dictatorship and no imminent change. Just another French supported puppet to secure the French Businesses and Corporations, while the Gabonese are struggling. This is the deep reality, that Paris and Libreville are seeing. This done by a mere Court Order and not ushered change by the public. If they stand up against the regime. They are usually thrown behind bars. Therefore, the regime are pushing through and not giving way.

This is a constitutional coup by Moussavou and the ones in inner-circle. Who have awaited their turn. They are barring others from power, as they are feasting on the opportunity. Since Bongo is in the hospital in Saudi Arabia. Where his fate is still uncertain. Peace.

Chinese Investments in Africa: It is not a free-lunch, the tab has to be paid!

African leaders should not turn the continent into a giant collector of donations and loans from wealthy nations—they must find other plausible means to help established their economic security so as to minimize poverty. This incoherent blunder on the mainland must be scrutinized.”Duop Chak Wuol

As The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is scheduled to happen on the 2nd and 3rd December 2018, there is time to remember how the Chinese is operating on the African Continent. The Chinese isn’t coming with empty giving hands of donations or even charity. They come with intent of interests and needs of resources from the continent, by offering loans, serving and building through state owned enterprises (SOE) in various of countries, whether it is roads, ports or railroads are built by Chinese Companies, by Chinese Workers and often on Chinese loans. Therefore, they might end up as Chinese owned enterprises, whose vital for transportation and export of needed minerals and whatnot from the continent.

Instead of coming with loans and direct-aid with strings like Western Powers has done over the last few decades, the Chinese are coming with friendly loans, but the Heads of State should know that the Chinese doesn’t play. They want value for money and expect a return, if it doesn’t they might snatch the new crown-jewel or anticipate to get perks from the state. If that is some sort of trade-off or licenses to extract mineral resources or even minor taxation like toll-roads, where the piece of cash will be sent to Beijing and not the capitol of the country where the road is built. That is how these people operate. They are not in it to play or be giving, but gain advantage and have the upper-hand.

This can be shown by what the State Media in China writes in Xinhua Net wrote today and what a CARI report on the same funds are saying. The Chinese portray the funding as investments on the Continent, as the funds are most likely pushed as loans, which burdens the states and that they have to repay. Loans are not given, but issued because of lack of direct funds to build those infrastructure and investments done. So, what I am saying isn’t mere speculation, but a narrative that has to sink in.

Chinese Investments:

China’s investments into Africa surged by more than 100 times from 2000 to 2017. In the past three years, annual Chinese direct investment into Africa was about 3 billion dollars on average. By the end of 2017, China’s investments of all kinds into Africa totaled 100 billion dollars, covering almost every country on the continent” (Li Xia – ‘Facts & Figures: China-Africa ties: cooperation for shared future’ 02.09.2018 link: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-09/02/c_137438845.htm).

Chinese Loans:

From 2000 to 2017, the Chinese government, banks and contractors extended US $136 billion in loans to African governments and their state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Angola is the top recipient of Chinese loans, with $42.2 billion disbursed over 17 years. Chinese loan finance is varied. Some government loans qualify as “official development aid.” But other Chinese loans are export credits, suppliers’ credits, or commercial, not concessional in nature. China is not Africa’s largest “donor”” (China Africa Research Initiative – ‘DATA: CHINESE LOANS TO AFRICA’ Version 1.1 August 2018).

They might try to conceal the reality, just like make-up is used on the face to fade the age or even marks that shows stress or pimples. However, the Chinese cannot be able to lie about their intent. They would not offer these sums of cash, without expecting a turnover or even profits. The Chinese wouldn’t allow all these billions of US Dollars spent on these nations to be spoiled and lost on the streets of Lome, Harare, Addis Ababa or Nairobi. They anticipate a return on the loans, either straight cash or getting pieces of the built infrastructure to advance the value of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

That the Heads of State in Africa should be concerned as they are getting in debt traps, instead of being in cycle of positive growth, they are getting new loans to pay the old ones. They are using the same creditor to secure new loans on top of the old-debt. That is how it will continue, until a point where they cannot pay the defaulted debt and the Chinese would then come to snatch something of value to recoup the failing debt. Because they don’t want to write-off the big money without having anything in return. That is what the Chinese has done in Sri Lanka and might start elsewhere. There might be soon more control of port in Djibouti or railroad of Kenya, even the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway line too. As they want their value of money.

They might be all smiles and photo-ops in Beijing these days, the smiles and added loans to dozens of countries. The added “investments” and deals struck, but the Chinese will not do so without getting something in return. To think otherwise, is to be naive and think they don’t have an agenda by doing it.

There is nothing like a free-lunch and the people will learn that, the Heads of State will not directly pay the debt, but the states will do so. Maybe not in this decade or next 5 years, but sooner or later. The bill for the coffee and biscuit will come. Than it is all eaten, but tab still has to be cleared. Peace.

DRC: A Report published today says Getler’s Mineral Royalties daily is the double of Messi’s salary!

Again, the investor and mineral licensing powerhouse in the Democratic Republic Congo, Dan Gertler is even more under fire after the revelations of his illicit trade during the recent years. Now, the formula and the amount of cash he gets from the foreign mineral extraction companies are paying for their passage to him. This as the deals between Getler and Kinshasa authorities are left in the dark. Whatever deal they have, certainly Getler is earning fortunes without doing more, than being connected to the Joseph Kabila government.

This report shows important facts and also bring certainties of the assumed fortunes made by Gertler, even as he is sanctioned and his corporations. Clearly, the mineral extraction is profitable in the midst of insecurity and civilian despair in the republic. While the businesses and the affiliates are eating, the public are fleeing militias and the army itself. The state is not serving the public, but the companies and the persons who has secret deals with the government. It is vicious and the international community let them, even as it is sanctioned, the acts are still appearing and has the ability to earn on it.

Based on a number of assumptions, Resource Matters estimates the royalties to the Gertler-affiliated companies can be expected to amount to about $110 million for 2018 and nearly $100 million for 2019. This means that Gertler risks losing about $270,000 in revenue from Glencore’s operations per day. That is nearly twice as much as the world’s best paid soccer player, Lionel Messi, makes at Barcelona” (Resource Matters, P: 6, 2018).

Glencore therefore has to balance the risk of increased pressure in Congo versus the risk of ending up on the U.S. sanctions list. This means that the royalty payments constitute a significant risk, whether they stop or continue. Investors should be able to know how Glencore will deal with this going forward. U.K anti-corruption organization Global Witness has repeatedly lamented the opacity of Glencore’s royalty payments to Gertler’s companies and called for better disclosure” (Resource Matters, P: 8, 2018).

This conclusion was somewhat hasty. Gertler’s gold companies do not explicitly feature on the sanctions list, but that in itself does not matter. Under the U.S. Treasury’s so-called 50%-rule, any company owned at least 50% by a sanctioned entity is considered, per se, sanctioned because it is deemed to be “blocked property” of the sanctioned person. Both Moku Goldmines and Société Minière de Moku-Beverendi are at least 50% owned by Fleurette, a sanctioned entity, and should be considered sanctioned, too. In addition, the fact that no payments are made to Gertler does not shield Randgold from the risk of being sanctioned. The U.S. Treasury could qualify Randgold’s exploration activities at Moku-Beverendi as ‘material support’ to a sanctioned entity and impose sanctions on Randgold” (Resource Matters, P: 9, 2018).

Gertler might be in hot-water and the Kabila government might have decisions to make concerning their alliance. Still, the trades and contracts has been made, if the Kabila government suspend and revoke it, they might have to pay a settlement. While wait for a new company or middle-man to secure a grand deal for the licensing. We can question if the loyalty will be there, as long as the sanctions might hit the companies who works with Gertler. Because, they do not want to lose the profitable and secure delivery of the cobalt and other minerals in the Republic.

Surely, Getler don’t want to miss his winning ways and his double earnings of Messi. He want it and doesn’t care about how. Getler just continue to score and get contracts, which makes his giant fortune. It is by the blessing of his connections in Kinshasa. Peace.

Reference:

Resource Matters – ‘The Global Magnitsky – Effect How will U.S. sanctions against Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler affect the DR Congo’s extractive sector?” (February 2018).

Gabon: Minister de l’Eau et de l’Energie – Communique de Presse (16.02.2018)

Tchad: Communique de presse conjoint (07.02.2018)

Tchad: Portant Suspension des activites des Partis Politique rassembles au sein de regroupments: ADO, COPRAT, CCPPOD et CPOMO (06.02.2018)

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