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Archive for the tag “Civil Society Organizations”

UNDP: Decision on SECU Case No. SECU0002 – On Bidco connection to UN Global Compact (13.03.2017)

Ugandan farmers praise UN report citing flaws with Bidco (22.11.2016)

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The report acknowledges that a partnership with Bidco “could adversely damage UNDP’s reputation and the communities it seeks to help”

KAMPALA, Uganda, November 22, 2016Embattled Ugandan farmers fighting threats and land grabbing by Bidco have praised a draft report by U.N. investigators that calls into question the company’s business practices.

The report is the result of a complaint by the Bugala Farmers Association to the U.N.’s Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU).

The report can be found on the following link: APO.af/cWkh3e

In the complaint, the farmers stated that the United Nations had not performed sufficient due diligence on Bidco before inviting it to join Business Call to Action, which is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The farmers provided evidence that Bidco has engaged in human rights, labour and environmental violations in the Kalangala District of Bugala Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda, where Bidco has grabbed land from smallholder farmers and cut down over 18,000 acres of rainforest to make way for a large-scale palm oil business.

The U.N. investigators found fault with the decision to invite Bidco into partnership with UNDP: “After the fieldwork and additional research, SECU concluded that the processes employed by UNDP for admission of Bidco were not consistent with UNDP policies.”

The report acknowledges that a partnership with Bidco “could adversely damage UNDP’s reputation and the communities it seeks to help”, and Bidco’s activities “may be considered risky”.

Kenya-based Bidco has tried to distance itself from the allegations of land grabbing and environmental destruction in Uganda, but the UNDP investigators found there is a clear link between the company’s corporate structure, overseen by CEO Vimal Shah, and operations in Uganda.

The investigators also determined that Bidco’s claim of not being involved in land acquisition in Uganda is not accurate. Bidco “knew of, relied on, and encouraged the purchase (of land) by the government.” Bidco Uganda also was “engaged in decisions and discussions related to the purchase,” the report says.

John Muyisa, a representative of the Bugala Farmers Association, commended the work of the U.N. investigators, who visited remote Kalangala District as part of their research.

“We are very pleased that the United Nations has performed an objective evaluation of its internal processes and determined that it is risky to partner with Bidco. The United Nations is a globally admired organisation, and it is absolutely correct that, as the report says, ‘Communities should be empowered’ and not be trodden upon by predator corporations like Bidco.”

In light of the report’s findings, the Bugala Farmers Association has called on the United Nations to terminate its partnership with Bidco.

Any member of the public can comment on the U.N. draft report until 7 December. The report can be found on the following link: APO.af/cWkh3e

Barclays and Standard Chartered picketed in London over Bidco business (23.08.2016)

Bidco Protest

Members of Prince Charles’ Banking Environment Initiative fail to cut ties with companies that deforest in Africa.

KAMPALA, Uganda, August 23, 2016 – East African protesters have taken to the streets of London to demonstrate against banks that do business with Bidco Africa, highlighting the connection between global financial institutions, The Prince of Wales and widespread deforestation in Africa.

Barclays and Standard Chartered saw their London headquarters picketed due to their funding of Nairobi-based Bidco, a company that cuts down thousands of acres of pristine rainforest in Uganda, and engages in human rights and tax violations in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Bidco Truth Coalition (No2Bidco.org), an activist alliance, has revealed that the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), based at Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, is failing in its mission to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.

The BEI’s nine member banks are Barclays, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Lloyds, Northern Trust, RBS, Santander and Westpac.

By signing up to BEI’s ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact, the nine banks have committed to only direct capital towards sustainable business models and achieve zero net deforestation among their client Companies.

Under BEI guidelines, member banks must drop clients that don’t measure up to socially and environmentally responsible policies.

Bidco Africa, which has engaged in multiple human rights, labour, tax and environmental violations, has publically stated that it does business with Barclays, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank.

Bidco owns an oil palm plantation that has deforested 18,000 acres of rainforest in Uganda. Bidco has also grabbed land from over 100 smallholder farmers.

The environmental impact of the palm oil project has led activists to call on the UN Global Compact to eject Bidco from its roster of members.

In 2004, the World Bank pulled out of Bidco’s Uganda project, citing violations of the World Bank’s anti-deforestation policies.

But BEI has remained silent, and Barclays, Standard Chartered and other banks continue to do business with Bidco Africa.

The Bidco Truth Coalition calls on BEI, its patron, The Prince of Wales, and BEI’s nine member banks to publically state that they will no longer do business with Bidco and other companies that destroy the environment.

Wasn’t it supposed to be Civilian Authority is and always above Police Authority; What happen to justice for all?

Clark Kent, Superman Comic

It’s not my way to utter these words, but I feel I need it, not because I am right man; I am far from being the right man to address it. As I was raised in peace, lived in peace and endured peace. Still, feeling the sorrow of the lost in Juba, the extra judicial killings in Kenya, and the unarmed African American citizens killed across the United States, while an armed former Afghan Veteran kills 5 Police officers. The scores are so uneven, the justice is not prevailing and the cases are staggering. The Police brutalities in dozen countries like Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia; the Police are detaining without charges, torturing and battling the citizens as they are vicious armed criminals.

All of these killings, all of these Police Officers acting on behalf of oppressive states, the others are systemic inaccuracies blended with the ignorance and racial bias. The state of affairs is different in the United States, compared to the other Nations, but the systems are still brutally attack the civilians like they are cows ready for slaughter. Instead of fearing the public they are harassing it silence. The tormented and the families who lose their loved ones, the ones that are bystanders and just happen to be by a Political Rally or pass by a Demonstrations in a town; gets shot, get killed and even detained as they are vile creatures instead of a human being.

Nairobi 16.05.2016 Police P1

Nairobi, Kenya, 2016

The color of skin, the creed, political affiliation or faith should not be the factor if you’re waking safe down street or taking a public transport… Instead they are law-abiding citizens who even comply and do their duties to demonstrate, to act upon the fate of affairs, conduct meetings and rallies, the cost is detained at police post, taken away from their homes on conspiracy and even killed. These matters are happening to often in 2016.

The leaders of these reactions to the Government, the leaders who are addressing the civil concerns of the state, are prosecuted, detained and even monitored by the Security forces of the states, as they are worse criminals then rebels or terrorists. They are addressed in speeches by the leading fractions and the MPs connected to the ruling regime as personal vermin, people who fronts sectarian violence and creates the problem. Even if the state security forces are the ones that makes issues in peaceful affairs and puts gasoline on the fire. Not that all demonstrators are peaceful or correct, but that does not give the Police rights to shot live bullet, water-canons and tear-gas at any given movement of crowds against uneven and unrighteous cause.

The killings, the brutality, the sincere atrocities, the blatant ignorance, the little fear of the ruling regime, the masters of violence, the killers and Police Officers are guarded by the ruling regimes. As they are co-conspirators with the ones that systemically control the state ordered violence and want to shut down the spirit of any organized demonstrations, movements that are positive for democratic change or even just question the legitimacy of the ruling regime. This does not comes to mind in the United States, there it is more racial biased approached as the human and gun-laws are yet again proof of misguided regulations as the loss of life in small-fire arms shootings are staggering. Still, the Senate and Congress are not able to sustain and make amendments that can stop the guns from coming to hands of people who have a unsteady mind and unsound health condition to pull the trigger at innocent citizens. While the Police Officers are nearly hunting on the innocent and creating an atmosphere, where your guilty until proven innocent, which is not any ideal approach.  

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Uganda, 2016

We can all wonder when this power-struggles, when the bullets, when the tear-gas, when the water-canons and when the ignorant violence, when the killings will stop and to what extent does it has to happen, before the hash-tags, before the blazing guns and blistering barnacles!

There are just to many lives, to many hurt and to many questions, to many unsolved mysterious, too much blood and to many tears. There are something sinister and something uncertain as the attempt to sustain power by any means, the profits, the structure of society, the fabric of our existence, the approach the viciousness and vile attempt of resigning to the fact the only way we can solve the fear of each is with guns and ammunition. There must be other ways of dialogue than with John Wayne, Al Capone and Giles de Rais. There are too many men and woman who have lost their life, too many who have been taken away from their loved ones and too many to mention.

While the laymen are prosecuted and the civilians are too, the men in charge are walking away, the men and woman who protect the manufactures, the military, the Police Commanders and the Executives are just free-men and can do as they please, as the violence, the killings are reappearing as the sun is setting and making sure it has the energy for another day.

The men and woman who are in charge, the men and woman are taken away; we’re supposed to be living in the same society, under the same laws and under the same regulations; where justice and freedom should prevail, where men and woman are equal, where there isn’t fear and isn’t unbalanced treatment between State Security Organizations and the Civilians. As long as there are unbalance, as long as there are inaccurate procedure and executives are not handling it peacefully, if they are giving way to impunity and injustice, their rule will be remembered for the justifications of these vile attempts of self-justice, these atrocities under their leadership and reason for the loss of these lives.

Burundi Report Police

Burundi, 2015

The deaths, the murders and senseless killings proves the arrogance of leadership, the certainty that guns can create power, that the guns can solve matters and prove justified to settle either political framework or even power-struggle, the fear and amassed causes the personal bias, the blatant accurate shootings and killings are vicious. The men and woman deserves more than becoming a hash-tag. The terrorist killings in Turkey, Paris, Brussels, Beni, San Bernadino and all the others, deserves more than the hot-minute of fame, change of status on Facebook and blended Profile Picture, they deserve more credit and remembrances, as all the souls of the lost got vanished by brutal force in matters of hours.

The continued civil, political and armed unrest in Libya, Syria and Yemen, the skirmished between Eritrea and Ethiopia; proves the hostile environment other places, the Somalian forces are both fighting in their own territory, but also going against their oppressors on their domain  to retaliate. While the Burundian are detaining school-kids for painting slurs on the President Nkurunziza’s pictures and killing opposition, being violent and answering the men and woman who demonstrated against the 3rd Term President of the Burundian Government. President Magufuli have detained a man for writing hostile words on WhatsApp and charged and detained MP for calling him a ‘dictator’, as the President proves that he is similar to his counterparts in the rest of the East Africa. This is not vile crimes, but proves how far the government uses their security forces to control their citizens and their will to speak. I am sure in one of these countries, they would detain me in second, to silence my train of thoughts.

The 2016, have been and is bloody, as the boats of immigrants from the civil wars are drowning in the Mediterranean sea as they cross in tiny boats by smugglers to safety in Greece or Italy; as the safe heaven are supposed to get them safe from the spoils of war and power struggle between government forces, militias and armed opposition forces, as the death-toll and weak government structure that we’re centralized under one big-man is fractioned and dwindling away as the Civil Society Organizations, International Organizations and Multi-National Dialogue and stakeholders doesn’t have the capacity or the will to take charge of the unrest and uncertainty.

We have to question; will our government deal with the matter at hand? Will the government who are in charge take approaches for dialogue, for talks and creating a space where the safety and the justice have a place in the society, where the force of the state is not killing and not abundantly forcing themselves with violence on the civilians. The system of oppressive behavior and the crisis of leadership as the problems in the states, the dissolved the assertiveness of people, as the men and woman are torn, the parties are polarized and the peace has crashed; the tensions between the sovereign power and the self-righteous state officials that aggravate the public, it is not right for the leaders to use their internal squabble for power create havoc that birth more violence between two parties. That is not in the parties that one part is the state, the other is peaceful protesters, which is a different scenario, than when both are armed and kill each other to secure power and rule indefinably.

Section80 Lamar

Is this what we want to remember 2016 for the civil unrest, the civil wars, the civil casualties after the violence and state organized shut-down of the public disobedience…? The disobedience and the demonstrations should be able to happen without any reactions that create a problem for the state or the state goes in a turn it into a battleground. There are so many questions, so much we miss and so many political and structures that needs to be reformed, so many leaders who need a bit of humility, the humility of Police Officers, the humility of the Executives and the leadership of the States. It’s complicated, it’s all very HiiiPower. We have to ask and we cannot let this go, we cannot let these men and woman just die for so little, as a hashtag and a little social media drops. There are just too, we have to question the powers to be and what they are doing to stop this. We cannot be silent, accept it and let it go. This is just too much. I know I am not the right man, I am the wrong man, but I had to say my peace, I just couldn’t let this one be. Hope you start to think, question and wonder why we let them get away with it. Peace.  

Kenya: Invitation to Attend a Breakfest meeting between the NGos Co-Ordination Board and Country Directors & HR Managers of International NGOs regarding the Isuuance of Work Permits to Expatriates working in the Charity Sector (22.06.2016)

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Press Statement: Coalition of activists chart Bidco abuses on new platform No2Bidco.org (31.05.2016)

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Bidco Truth Coalition unites groups to demand accountability for Bidco

KAMPALA, Uganda, May 31, 2016 –  The Bidco Truth Coalition, an online activist organisation, has launched No2Bidco.org, a platform dedicated to charting the human rights and environmental violations of Bidco Africa, the Kenya-based edible oil producer headed by CEO Vimal Shah.

No2Bidco.org includes a catalogue of Bidco’s violations, including illegal labour practices in Kenya, deforestation in Uganda and tax evasion across East Africa. The platform also provides visitors with the ability to add their voices to a global campaign of petitions and letter-writing to reveal Bidco’s business practices.

No2Bidco.org’s central archive of independent reports about Bidco provides activists, businesses, governments and NGOs unfiltered access to information free from Bidco’s influence on the media.

No2Bidco.org includes a catalogue of Bidco’s violations, including illegal labour practices in Kenya, deforestation in Uganda and tax evasion across East Africa

The platform’s anchor organisation is the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), the respected Uganda-based Friends of the Earth affiliate. Other organisations include the Bugala Farmers Association, a Ugandan group of more than 100 farmers who lost their land to Bidco; Citizens for Tax Compliance, a Kenya-based group that advocates corporate tax compliance; the Association of Non-aligned Bidco Workers.

Founded in 1997, NAPE has been instrumental in giving a voice to farmers displaced by Bidco’s deforestation on Uganda’s pristine Ssese Islands. NAPE and its dedicated staff have a history of exposing corporations and governments that collude to earn vast sums of money at the expense of poor individuals.

The Bugala Farmers Association, which has successfully challenged Bidco in court for more than a year over its members’ loss of land, recently submitted a petition to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for partnering with Bidco. As a result, UNDP has launched an investigation into its partnership with Bidco.

The Association of Non-aligned Bidco Labourers is a group in Kenya and Uganda that gives informal representation to aggrieved casual workers at Bidco’s factories. Most workers supported have been terminated illegally, experienced abuse by Bidco management or been injured at the workplace.

The Bidco Truth Coalition invites other like-minded organisations to join the No2Bidco.org platform to demand change at Bidco and accountability for those who support the company.

UNDP to Investigate Rights Violations at BIDCO (Youtube-Clip)

The United Nations development program has deployed a team of experts to Kalangala district to investigate allegations of human rights violation by BIDCO Palm Oil Company. This follows the farmers’ petition to UNDP in November 2015 upon learning that the oil firm had been requisitioning for money from the UNDP for expositions. Now the investigative team says money will not be advanced till further notice” (NBS TV Uganda, 2016)

Don Museveni says “I would never accept these foreigners to give me orders about Uganda”; Time to cut the direct donor assistance to the government budget of Uganda and after that let Don Museveni eat alone!

museveni and his gun

“I wouldn’t ask these foreigners, but I would never accept these foreigners to give me orders about Uganda. Or about anything in the world! They got their own countries to run. Let them go and run them. Uganda is ours. Nobody gives us orders here” – President Museveni at Kololo Independence Grounds Speech while celebrating the “Double Victory” on 9th April 2016.

Now that it is not long ago he told the world that Uganda was his playground and he could shot and kill opposition because they had no place in his country. From the same man and leader comes this. Let me ask the international community to react to violent behavior and the aggression this President shows his own county.

The racketeering of the NRM and their Executive has to stop at one point. That can happen when the funds dry up and the ammunition does come with the next boat. The American should stop with their alliance and their UPDF trainings. The Americans should do as they did with the MCC in Tanzania; suspend the projects and direct-donor aid to budget funding of the Ugandan Government.

Total rig Uganda

The French should stop supporting the Government projects in Northern Uganda and cut their loans as they have promised to effect directly the RDC and the other loyal cronies of Northern Uganda. This does so the Capos of the Don get their monies and keeps eating. While the Japanese should stop supporting infrastructure projects together with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, while the CNOOC should terminate their contract with the Uganda Government. Total Oil firm of the French should suspend their operation until the government accept their blood-money. The Same with Heritage Oil for Britain so the UK Gov. should disband their direct government support and take away the incentive from UK to Uganda. The Norwegian Government should suspend the Oil for Development Program that have been a steady program since 2006. Because if you hurt it where it could become most important, then the Don Museveni might listen.

The European Union should to hurt the Foreign Exchange rate suspend the import of Robusta Coffee beans from Uganda, as the export of this is a major factor in the economic trade in the land-lock country. “A total of 271,941 bags of coffee valued at US$ 25.12 million were exported in February 2016 -Source UCDA report”. If you want to hit where it hurts, then you take away the foreign exchange and the foreign exports. This here could really hurt the government that does not want to have any interference or questions about their rule.

If the Donors and giving aid, would suspend or cut the services for the Peacekeepers, the same reaction that the Dutch did with the Burundian Peacekeepers in the AMISOM in Somalia. The same could be done by the American Government and EU as they are the major benefactors for the economic spending ground and facilitators for it.

Muhoozi Museveni

It is not like I am for neo-colonialism, but when a totalitarian and gangster like Don Museveni complains about the US Mission questioning his oppressive behavior and European Union saying their opinion on the display of character showed during the Election and announcement of the results. Then it seems like he does not need any-more international legitimacy for his rule. Only their money and aid when it comes in handy too fuel money to a private plane, refurnishing the State Houses, buying new cars and more estates. Especially considering in FY 2013/2014 the donor assistance of the total budget was 21 % of it. Therefore the USAID, World Bank, IMF, DFID, European Commission, Irish Aid, NORAD and the other contributors should suspend that for the coming financial year of FY 2016/2017. To not hurt the citizens do this instead!

They should support the IDP camps and refugee camps in the Ugandan country through United Nations programs and organizations, build stronger relationship with NGOs in Uganda and forge good governance programs instead of supporting a government who is carrying out rigged election and embezzlement of government funds and international aid. Therefore progressive use of the tax-payers money from the Western Hemisphere, and if that is not working then, use it instead on local infrastructure projects to their own tax-payers.

EuroOK

Especially when a specialized report on Donor Aid to Ugandan Government says this:

Budget support has not helped much in relation to cross sectoral dialogue. Some improvement was realized in education sector as dialogue with Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Public Service improved. But this has not happened for the health sector” (…)”The power relations between bilaterals and Global Health Initiatives including PEPFER, Global Fund, GAVI, Stop Malaria etc shifted in favour of the latter who had no experience in the development of the budget support process and completely ignored to an apparent ineffectiveness” (…)”Budget support resulted in a greater commitment and quality of dialogue on PFM issues, especially after 2007 with the launch of FINMAP and JBSF. The influence of performance measures on sector dialogue declined from 2011/12, as the link with releases became less clear” (Joint Evaluation of Budget Support to Uganda – Final Report – 2015, P: 132).

This here proves the values of the Donor-Funding and the Budget Support from the International community to the Ugandan Government and the NRM-Regime. The NRM mafia under Don Museveni who says that the Ugandan authority do not want to have internal interference and foreign people questioning his playground. Therefore the authority and the Don want to rest things into peace he lets the people end up resting in peace. As he takes the Army and Police to detain the ones it needs and use draconian laws to oppress his own people.

NRM Oyee! 09.04.2016

Therefore with also the fraudulent election to keep the NRM mafia in order and also silence the opposition; as it even did yesterday the 9th March 2016 with the Military Police taking over the Nakivubo Settlement Primary School so the “Victory Celebration” that was supposed to be held there with Lord Mayor Lukwago and FDC Leader Besigye. This happen while the Crime Preventers, NRM Diehards and the new MPs we’re celebrating at Kololo Independence Grounds while costing the 1, 5 billion shillings. The racket also carries to pay their own and let the kingpin eat the money alone. As he has done since 1986 and the donor have continued to fund the budget support and give Don Museveni money to do his bidding.

Therefore I ask the governments to question if they want to deliver more money the NRM Mafia who uses monies to the army and police, squander away State House money on funding his campaign and also rumors of AMISOM contingent. There are certain numbers on his spending on military is staggering over the years. In between 2011 and end of term 2016 the taxpayers and donor-funding the total Shs. 6.617 trillion to the Army, Police and Intelligence Agencies. Of this in MPS in February 2015 into the portfolio of sophisticated military equipment there was the extended use of Shs. 470 billion, alone that year.

Bundibugyo 28.02.2016

So with that knowledge and knowing the international donors should consider some reactions as he does not accept any interference not internal and not external. The Playground might be for the moment him, the Don Museveni has spoken of killing demonstrating citizens and opposition. The harassment of the ones that question the power of the kingpin!

That is when the international donors in the powers of US Mission in Kampala and their Amb. Malac recently; and also when the European Union does state the fact that the election was not free and fair. Therefore the Don Museveni feels betrayed as this has been loyal men who have given money to his government and not question his power or rule. Because they needed him to do their dirty-laundry and also have a steady ally in the East Africa; as the US have a relationship with Ethiopia and also Kenya, but have a longer engagement with the Ugandan Government, and now accepting the harassment of opposition as a price for some form of stability.

UGDebate2016 P8 Amama

While the other donor-funding is not questioning other than expressing some have cut funding over the $12 Million that was going to Northern Uganda Development Fund (NUDF) in the 2012, that went lost to through the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. Also the Anti-Gay Bill had their reactions from UK, Norway and Dutch who cut parts of their aid. So now it is the time again, as the oppression, election fraud and the man who want to be the Don and acts like the Don of Uganda. The Godfather of Uganda has spoken. He does not want to be inference. So since he does not wish to have interference the international donors and bilateral organizations should offer him a hand with that.

The International donors and bilateral organizations should certainly suspend their direct budget support to the Ugandan Government. As they don’t wish to have any interference and can handle it all on their own. The money should instead spend on the Multi-National Organizations working in Uganda, as the OCHA, UNICEF and WFP as they will submit and carry out quick resolved matters in Internal Displaced Camps and around the borders through their projects. Since that will not have any other government questioning their actions, then the other governments should not help to fund their actions. Simple rhetorical assessment that banish the 20 % power of the funds that Don Museveni has at his disposal and use; when outsiders are such a pain, then the pain should leave Don Museveni alone and not support him.

Newspapers Same Scandal Uganda

So the Donors and Bilateral organizations should cut their aid and give less power to Don Museveni and his NRM Mafia who spends and eats alone; while his government does not have money to build health care, roads, schools or the other necessities in the Ugandan Society. But not with Foreign tax-payers money, when they get used on the expensive cars, lavish lifestyle, foreign health care and private planes for the Godfather. There is time to take action as the gangster will act as Don and not as a Statesman. Henceforth, when a player does not want question, but accept your money and not accountable for them; and when the player squander the money and expect to get away with it. Then the Player should lose the ability to get the money from you. The Don Museveni have already had long enough time to deliver and used enough of donor-funds without showing progress. Time to cross out the donor-funding to direct budget support; then Don Museveni does not need to be questioned. As the international community will not have put a stake and being stakeholders for certain parts of the budget. But when they step away, then Don Museveni can be the kingpin and the gangster he want to be in military fatigue and do as he want in his playground, without opposition who should just stay home; and also without foreigners questioning him. Then he can rule alone with the capos, underbosses and then be grand Don Museveni. Peace.  

Kasrils joins call for Zuma to step down (Youtube-Clip)

“JOHANNESBURG, 7 April 2016 – ANC stalwart Ronnie Kasrils is the latest to call for President Jacob Zuma to step down. The former minister of intelligence says Zuma and the entire ANC leadership have become a liability” (eNCA, 2016).

Press Statement: “Some African leaders to blame for conflicts” – Obasanjo

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 21, 2016 – Some of Africa’s leaders are responsible for instability on the continent because they have failed to manage diversity in their societies, the former Nigerian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has said. By the same token, he noted, outside interference in Africa has been responsible for conflicts, citing the NATO air strikes in Libya in 2011 that led to the removal from power of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

“The repercussions are now being felt in Mali, Nigeria and the Sahel,” Gen. Obasanjo told a press conference on the upcoming Tana High-Level forum on Security in Africa (TanaForum.org) in Ethiopia. Asked whether African leaders were to blame for the conflicts on the continent, he said: “Yes and no.”

He said leaders were failing their people because they had not been able to prevent marginalisation in their societies, prevent injustice, reduce unemployment, reduce poverty, and that they had not embraced democracy and good governance.

The theme of this year’s Forum is Africa in the Global Security Agenda.

This is apt, given the continuing fallout from the NATO intervention in Libya, for which US President Barack Obama recently criticised the British and French governments for getting rid of Gaddafi without having plans in place for effective “follow-up”.

On the issue of African peacekeeping operations, he agreed that the lack of funding from African Union member states was a major setback for peace and security on the continent.

He said that when he was head of state, he was in charge of a high-level panel to search for alternative sources of funding for the AU, but this came to nothing.

He noted that when the AU was looking for funds to counter the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, member states failed to provide the money. “The AU eventually had to turn to the private sector and it was able to raise $40 million,” said Gen. Obasanjo, who is Chairman of the Tana Forum.

He was critical of AU member states for not contributing to the AU’s general budget, adding, “I think this is down to the lack of political will.”

Gen. Obasanjo noted that Ebola and migration from Africa had security implications not just for the continent “because we now live in a global community whereby if something happens in Africa, it affects the rest of the world”.

This was why Africa had to take a serious look at its security infrastructure, what Africans could do themselves to deal with these issues, and what should be the continent’s role in formulating security policies globally.

The Deputy Chairman of the Forum, Professor Andreas Eshete of Ethiopia, said that Africa had to have not only a stronger voice in the global security architecture but also for its perspectives to be taken into account and incorporated into the global security agenda.

The 5th Tana High-Level Forum will take place on 16-17 April 2016 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. More than 150 participants are expected to attend, including current and former Heads of State and Government, high-ranking government officials, academics, civil society representatives, experts and policymakers from the AU, UN and other international institutions.

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