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Archive for the tag “Government of Rwanda”

What do Mobutu and Museveni have in common after thirty years in power? Massive looting of their state reserves!

Museveni: My critics always forget to mention that I was democratically elected, the others were not. Everyone in Uganda can challenge me, everyone can vote, the elections are free. Not many countries have achieved what we did. One third of the seats in parliament are reserved for women, five seats for youth, five for workers, five for the disabled and 10 for the army. How many democracies with such a record do you know?” (Koelbl & Puhl, 2016).

Just as the knowledge of the all the state businesses and properties of President Museveni that he has amassed over the 31 years in power in Uganda. It reminds more and more of the state of affairs under President Mobutu. Mobutu Sese Seko was a dictator that President Museveni was proud to ouster and reinstate President Laurent Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). So that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni knows about Mobutu’s fatal fall, is certainly known.

President Museveni has gotten rid of other dictators before the fall of Mobutu, he even knew or had knowledge of the death of the plane of Juvenal Habyarimana, the plane who got shot down in April 1994, as his fellow comrade General Paul Kagame of Rwandan Patriotic Front was on the way to overthrow the current regime there. Also that the President Museveni together with President Milton Obote overthrew President Idi Amin in the late 1970s. So the current President Museveni has been involved in lots of armed change of power, he is even rumored and not verified if he had knowledge of the death of John Garang of SPLA and the South Sudan.

Still, the man who has used force and taken weapons to change history and his own fate, again and again, also to get puppets in states around. Have certainly thought of the demise of the men he got rid off. So when the stories of the last year of Mobutu sounds like this:

Mobutu’s Wealth:

For 32 years President Mobutu has treated Zaire like a toy and used its rich mineral reserves like his own private bank account. He plundered its mines, insisting their entire annual profits be transferred to personal accounts overseas” (…) ““We had to be close to the regime to do business,” admitted Mohammed Abdul, a Lebanese businessman yesterday as he fortified his shop for an expected pre-Kabila pillage by Zaire’s ruthless and brutal army. The Lebanese are hated by Zaireans who believe they colluded with President Mobutu to plunder the country’s diamonds” (Kinshasa, 1997).

Swiss assets:

The decision by the Swiss Federal Council came a day after judicial and police authorities seized his luxurious villa at Savigny near the lakeside resort of Lausanne. The 30-room mansion is estimated to have a market value of more than $5 million” (…) “After three decades of plundering the mineral wealth of his country, Mobutu is believed to have accumulated an enormous fortune. There have been persistent reports that he has stashed as much as $4 billion in Switzerland, but a government review of the country’s 400 banks last week said that none reported having accounts in his name” (Drozdiak, 1997).

Just as you think the dictator of Democratic Republic of Congo would be different than the current one in Uganda, your terribly wrong and President Museveni tries to keep it hidden, the way he is using the state reserves on himself and build his wealth. Just like President Mobutu was trying to move the money to the Swiss accounts, President Museveni has his own way.

A look into Museveni:

The way the Museveni family is paid royalties, or rent, by escrow accounts for their ownership of the title deeds of the Stanbic Bank business name in Uganda (what was once the Uganda Commercial Bank, Uganda’s largest banking group) is the way it is paid for their ownership of other apparently South African or foreign-owned businesses in Uganda” (…) “These sources say that it is Stanbic Bank that is used to finance businesses like Roofings Ltd, Speke Resort Munyonyo, the J&M Hotel along the Kampala-Entebbe highway, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba’s hotel and Kampala International University, all of which actually belong to the Museveni family” (The London Evening Post, 2012).

This is just the business side of it, it could be worse by now and they could own more pieces of all the businesses that are bailed out or even getting tax breaks by the government, because who knows the true deeds or royalties going to accounts owned by the royal Ugandan Museveni family. So the next says more about the value of the Museveni family and their estates.

Museveni’s wealth includes ranches in Rwakitura and Kisozi Uganda which accommodates over 2,000 healthy cows which produce thousands of liters of milk daily. The Uganda president makes at least Ush 100 million per month from his farm” (…) “Apart from livestock farming, Museveni has interests in real estate, hotel industry as well as transport industry. He has also invested heavily in the banking industry” (…) “The longest serving president of Uganda is estimated to be worth $ 700 million” (Venasnews, 2016).

So when you see how the Museveni family has become as wealth and rich as President Mobutu did. Mobutu had after his 30 years of dictatorship stashed away US$ 4 Billion into Swiss Bank Accounts, what is more uncertain is the total value of the 30 years President Museveni rule in Uganda. What is right now and known is the businesses that the President is involved in or having ownership in. Secondly is the knowledge of estates, as well as ranches in Uganda with livestock that the President owns. Therefore, the extended wealth of secret bank accounts and not revealed businesses could show the true value of the Museveni family.

With the knowledge of this and the sudden departure that President Museveni together with President Kagame, as they forced the dictator away in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I don’t think there will be an intervention on President Museveni from one of the neighbors. Still, the world can see the dictator protocol is kept by Museveni as he himself have crafted ways of emptying the state coffers. Therefore, that the riches, the estates and the value of Museveni have risen over the three decades in power isn’t strange. What is more worrying is how he has been able to keep is wealth and ownership.

That President Museveni wishes to look like a hardworking rancher and that he works for his fortune. The yields are coming from hard-work and dedication. At the same time the ownership in banking industry and in other parts of the economy shows how much control the family and the President does have. The private industries and companies are run or ordered directly from the State House.

So that President Museveni said this in 1997 as he overthrew Mobutu is now insane:

Mr. Museveni’s ideology is simple. For too long, he says, African politicians have hoodwinked the common people, manipulating tribal sentiments to stay in power and steal millions of dollars in foreign aid and taxes. A former Marxist, he sees the true struggle on the continent as one between corrupt leaders and the dirt-poor people they exploit” (McKinley Jr., 1997).

So he said for to long African Politician played the commoners, using the sentiments of tribe on their populations and using this tools to stay in power, while doing so taking an emptying the state reserves and donor funding to themselves. Therefore, 20 years since he stood for this and said these words, he has now done the same.

President Museveni of today would assassinate himself or overthrow himself… since he is now the Mobutu of Uganda, he has the character of the men he overthrew in past. He should be worried, because the ghosts of the past and the reckless leadership will follow him and that is why he trust the guns more than people. Since his own insincere political game might catch up with him.

On some levels now, there aren’t much difference between President Mobutu and President Museveni. Peace.

Reference:

Drozdiak, William – ‘Swiss Freeze Mobutu’s Assets; Reports Put Worth at $4 Billion’ (18.05.1997) link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/africa/zaire/swiss.htm

McKinley Jr., James – ‘Uganda Leader Stands Tall in New African Order’ (15.06.1997) link:http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/15/world/uganda-leader-stands-tall-in-new-african-order.html

Kinshasa, Mary Braid – ‘Mobutu takes the money and runs to a safe haven’ (16.05.1997) link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/mobutu-takes-the-money-and-runs-to-a-safe-haven-1261945.html

Koelbl, Susanne & Puhl, Jan – ‘’This Is Our Continent, Not Yours’ (10.06.2016) link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-ugandan-president-yoweri-museveni-a-1096932.html

The London Evening Post – ‘Revealed: How the Museveni family owns Uganda’ (03.01.2012) link: http://www.thelondoneveningpost.com/comments/revealed-how-the-museveni-family-owns-uganda/2/

Venasnews – ‘Yoweri Museveni Salary and Wealth’ (27.06.2016) link: https://venasnews.com/yoweri-museveni-salary-and-wealth/

Rwanda 1994: Gen. Paul Kagame letter of 10. August 1994 (Confidentiel)

EU’s new regulation plans to scrap imports of conflict minerals by 2021!

The people back home wouldn’t buy a ring if they knew it cost someone else their hand”Maddy Brown (Blood Diamond, 2006).

The European Union are acting out of care and thinking of transparency for the industrial imports and mineral exporters. This is happening just a little month after the United States opened up their legislation for importing more from conflict zones. While the European Union plans to close the gate from areas and from sources that export Conflict minerals.

So the EU laws are becoming more stricter than the United States, even if the law they have enacted in the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, will be effective from 2021. So it is 4 years until it has giant effect and gives time to refinery and importers to change behavior. Something that is necessary, as well as the public have to grow concern of the affects of buying conflict minerals. Even as the conflict minerals still come into the market of Europe and into the refineries so the consumers doesn’t know and cannot follow where their products who contain minerals comes from war-zones.

That the European Union takes this serious and acts upon this Nobel, and proves that they does not want to support militias and guerrillas that keeps control of mineral rich areas and their exports to supply weapons and continue warfare in for instance the African Great Lakes Region. Take a look!

Background of new rule:

This Regulation, by controlling trade in minerals from conflict areas, is one of the ways of eliminating the financing of armed groups. The Union’s foreign and development policy action also contributes to fighting local corruption, to the strengthening of borders and to providing training for local populations and their representatives in order to help them highlight abuses” (EU, P: 8, 2017).

Conflict Minerals from Great Lakes Region:

The Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should regularly review their financial assistance to and political commitments with regard to conflict-affected and high-risk areas where tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold are mined, in particular in the African Great Lakes Region, in order to ensure policy coherence, and in order to incentivise and strengthen the respect for good governance, the rule of law and ethical mining” (EU, P: 16, 2017).

Trade of Minerals funds armed conflicts:

Preventing the profits from the trade in minerals and metals being used to fund armed conflict through due diligence and transparency will promote good governance and sustainable economic development. Therefore, this Regulation incidentally covers areas falling within the Union policy in the field of development cooperation in addition to the predominant area covered which falls under the common commercial policy of the Union” (EU, P:17, 2017).

Important Article:

Article 3: Compliance of Union importers with supply chain due diligence obligations

1. Union importers of minerals or metals shall comply with the supply chain due diligence obligations set out in this Regulation and shall keep documentation demonstrating their respective compliance with those obligations, including the results of the independent third-party audits” (EU, P: 23, 2017).

Date of Application:

Articles 1(5), 3(1), 3(2), Articles 4 to 7, Articles 8(6), 8(7), 10(3), 11(1), 11(2), 11(3), 11(4), Articles 12 and 13, Article 16(3), and Article 17 shall apply from 1 January 2021” (EU, P: 51, 2017).

What the statements on the law:

The Commission will consider making additional legislative proposals targeted at EU companies with products containing tin, tantalum, and tungsten and gold in their supply chain should it conclude that the aggregate efforts of the EU market on the responsible global supply chain of minerals are insufficient to leverage responsible supply behaviour in producer countries, or should it assess that the buy-in of downstream operators that have in place supply chain due diligence systems in line with the OECD guidance is insufficient” (…) “In the exercise of its empowerment to adopt delegated acts pursuant to Article 1(5), the Commission will take due account of the objectives of this Regulation, notably as set out in recitals (1), (7), (10) and (17). In doing so, the Commission will, in particular, consider the specific risks associated with the operation of upstream gold supply chains in conflict affected and high-risk areas and taking into account the position of Union micro and small enterprises importing gold in the EU” (…) “In response to the request of the European Parliament for specific guidelines, the Commission is willing to develop performance indicators specific to the responsible sourcing of conflict minerals. By means of such guidelines, relevant companies with more than 500 employees that are required to disclose non-financial information in conformity with Directive 2014/95/EU would be encouraged to disclose specific information in relation to products containing tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold” (EU, P: 57-58, 2017).

The European Union is doing something positive with this. That they show effort and care for the imports and what affects the export has locally, so if the minerals export is shady, the export will cease. So if the due diligence regulation works and the industry complies, the effect can be enormous. The consumer will also know that there are not supporting by third party purchase to pay for ammunition rebels, warlords or guerrillas in far away lands. This should all be seen as step of making a better world and honorable society. Where the money is where the mouth is! Peace.

Reference:

Council of the European Union – ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting up a Union system for supply chain due diligence self-certification of responsible importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – Outcome of the European Parliament’s first reading (Strasbourg, 13 to 16 March 2017) – (20.03.2017).

Opinion: Suddenly President Kagame doesn’t want Rwanda to be dependent on the West!

For Africa as we wait to see what unfolds and adjust, we should be learning the lesson that we should not be entirely dependent. We will wake up to the reality there are things we should be doing for ourselves. You have made it appear that your situations are perfect and you want others to emulate you. Then you are surprised by what unfolds. It is what you have been hitting us with that is coming back to bite you. I did not change the constitution. If you want to know the truth you will find it is the people who did, not me. My satisfaction lies in the truth that we have not been involved in harming our people. What we are doing is to develop our country. If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one else will. As long as Rwandans are happy, we will keep doing what needs to be done. We will be listening to what others say but we will not be distracted from what needs to be done.”

-President Paul Kagame speaks to Gerard Baker, editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal, at the closing session of Invest in Africa conference.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the long lingering Executive of Rwanda has compelled his words against dependency of the West. Surely, he has had this in mind for while in his own haven, as the Rwandan government has been a donor friendly. Therefore, that he claims now to take a stand against them shows the sudden change of attitude. However, it is sudden donors and programs that have stopped coming Kagame’s way, therefore the Rwandan government have started to run a giant tab of external debt instead of donor aid grants. Like look at some quotes from companies that establish the economic output and the financial flow of nations, like Deloitte and KPMG!

Rising debt:

“According to BMI, total external debt levels in the country have been rising steadily in recent years, from 16.1% of GDP in 2010 to an estimated 30.5% of GDP in 2015. Debt levels for 2016 and total external debt are forecast to amount to 35.2% of GDP and will be composed mostly of government debt” (Deloitte, P: 4, 2016).

Failing Foreign Aid, therefore rising debt:

“The primary headwind to the Rwandan economy in the 2016-2025 period will be the impact on debt as a result of falling foreign aid. Despite prudent fiscal policies to date, increases in debt levels will follow from the fall in foreign aid, since Rwanda is now deemed fit to transition from grant-based financing to loan-based financing by the IMF” (Deloitte, P: 5,2016).  “The government has been compelled to adopt a more prudent fiscal policy stance in an attempt to reduce the country’s dependence on donor support and increase fiscal autonomy. Recent external headwinds have encouraged the government to ease demand for imports by reassessing its infrastructure investment programme. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on economic growth. That being said, the benefits of lower donor dependence and improved macroeconomic stability should outweigh the costs related to lower growth over the short term. Turning to external balances, Rwanda’s wide merchandise trade deficit is expected to maintain a shortfall in the overall current account going forward” (KPMG, P: 4, 2016).

“Aid harmonization has been improved and progress continues to be registered in the implementation of the Paris and Busan commitments especially the use of national budget and procurement systems. The Bank was the 6th largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) provider to Rwanda in 2013/14, accounting for 9.4% of total ODA26. The World Bank and EU invest in agriculture and energy whereas the leading bilateral DPs focus, among other things, on human development and social protection (Annex 8a). Annex 8b summarizes the progress made in implementing selected indicators as captured by the Donor Performance Assessment Framework. Use of the sector budget support (SBS) instrument has increased the share of Bank support disbursed using country systems. Under the DPCG, the Bank actively participates in activities to enhance the implementation of EDPRS II such as the 2014/15 assessment of SWGs” (AfDB, P: 9, 2016).

So if you look at the financial policies of the republic of Rwanda, some of it is not really chosen as the donors funds that has been suspended or stopped might be for several of reasons. That might be that if they accept the funds they have to follow a spectre of policies and interferes with the power that Kagame wish to achieve. The RPF and Kagame has total control of Rwanda, the export and the import, also owns dozens of the businesses. So the Rwandan government had to switch their economy with more loans, instead of donor aid. The loans are coming in through external debt as the external donor funds and grants have dwindled.

Therefore, the excuse of suddenly wanting to be independent is more a need, than a wish. If it was a wish earlier, than the AGOA or USAID to the RPF would have stopped decades ago. That should be common knowledge of the relationship between Paul Kagame and Bill Clinton. It is not that it is positive that the Rwandan Government want’s less aid is a healthy stance. Still, the excuse isn’t eaten by me.

The reality is that the increased debt instead of donor grants will hurt the economy, as the levied interest rates and other cost will hurt the economy. It isn’t healthy to be dependent of the aid either, but the reasons now seem more to reactionary than real intent. I am sure Paul Kagame would love funds from Belgium and France to build hospitals and clinics in rural regions of Rwanda. So, suddenly the West isn’t good enough, especially when they are questioning his reasons for staying in power and not having any successors while his regime is keeping a close lid on the opposition. Therefore, the economy and independent from the world becomes more important because then he needs to less show of transparency and accountability. Peace.

Reference:

AfDB – ‘RWANDA BANK GROUP COUNTRY STRATEGY PAPER 2017 – 2021 (October, 2016).

Deloitte – ‘Rwanda Economic Outlook 2016 The Story Behind the Numbers’ (June 2016)

KPMG – ‘Economic Snapshot H2, 2016 – Rwanda’ (15.10.2016) link:

https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/za/pdf/2016/10/KPMG-Rwanda-2016-Snapshot.pdf

RDC: L’ACAJ recommande à Thambwe Mwamba d mettre fin aux grossiers judiciaires ctre les opposants emblematiq dt Katumbi (27.12.2016)

rdc-acaj-27-12-2016-p1rdc-acaj-27-12-2016-p2rdc-acaj-27-12-2016-p3

RDC: G-7 Communique – “En levant l’immunité du Prés. G. Kyungu en pleine négociation, le pouvoir continue à s’engluer dans sa funeste logique d’affrontements” (27.12.2016)

g7-27-12-2016

RDC: Declaration des Organisations Non-Gouvernementales des Droits de l’Homme relative a la manifestation du 19 decembre 2016 et aux comportements des forces de l’ordre et de securite de la Republique Democratique du Congo (27.12.2016)

rdc-ngo-27-12-2016-p1rdc-ngo-27-12-2016-p2rdc-ngo-27-12-2016-p3rdc-ngo-27-12-2016-p4

Opinion: Polarization will be the key protocol to follow in 2017!

History Immigration

No matter if it is local politics, if it international or trade, the most important backbone to policies in the next year will be polarization. That is not Polar Bears dancing on the dwindling ice, if so the U.S. TV station would have better ratings. No, this is the importance of local and national industries, while stressing ignorance towards immigration and imports to add more GDP value and also stop inflation. A balance that is hard to carry as the trust in local currency and local production doesn’t change overnight. That has to happen with steady policies and ability to trade products and create market for the ones that we’re in the past produced far away.

Definition of polarization

1:  the action of polarizing or state of being or becoming polarized: as

a (1) :  the action or process of affecting radiation and especially light so that the vibrations of the wave assume a definite form (2) :  the state of radiation affected by this process

b :  an increase in the resistance of an electrolytic cell often caused by the deposition of gas on one or both electrodes” (…) “2 a :  division into two opposites b :  concentration about opposing extremes of groups or interests formerly ranged on a continuum” (Merriam-Webster – Polarization, link: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polarization).

We are dividing ourselves while the world is into more conflicts that need assistance and securities to secure peace. There internal conflicts in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Where the conflict is bloody, where people are detained for the political affiliation, where innocent dies in the streets and where guns are imported to silence the ones who is not succumbing to the regimes who hold power.

We are living in a time where opposition victors doesn’t get into power, because the leaders of old are not allowing and keeping power by the gun, are using the police force and army to monitor the opposition and even rigs the election to secure the “validation” of their rule. This has happen in many Republics and Nations this year and proves that progress of governance and accountability is dying, like innocence and justice is impartial and only for the elites. The rest of us just have to be lucky to see just systems and laws for the common folk.

Like Adama Barrow is the President-Elect in Gambia, Jean Ping should have become the President in Gabon, Dr. Kizza Besigye in Uganda and Moise Katumbi should have risen to power in DRC if there we’re any justice and transition of Power in the Republic. But the big-man and long ruling Presidents of these nations doesn’t give-in or leave office. They continue to stay without any fear or without any mercy as the monarchs they acts of. Instead keep polarising the political elites and societies with paying the elites and silencing the ones who stand in their path. Also, by forging alliances with nations to make sure justice doesn’t prevail in their path.

While these tragedies are appearing in front of our eyes in our times, the borders and the helping hands are not appearing, the funds and allocations of necessary funds to the refugee camps, the direct food aid and agents of humanitarian actions are not sufficient. The reality of these missing steps should boggle our mind and should freeze our hearts out, as the news of burning convoys into Aleppo, lack of food into refugee camps in Adjumani in Uganda and the lacking rations of food in refugee camps in Tanzania. These should all be a reminder of the fate we have put our world in. The steps of lost grace and mercy on the weakest of humanity, where hospitals and humanitarians are put in the lines of bullets and grenades in between the battlefield as the soldiers fight for keeping merciless tyrants to stay in power.

While the superpowers are claiming the fight for justice, the innocent dies, the towns are battlefields and turns into dust, the graves are not cleared and the lives are lost in vain. This while UN cannot impose arms-embargoes or create a possible cease-fire to get civilians into safety, this while Italian and Greece authorities are working and trying to find ways to impose fleeing civilians on Turkey, because the rich European states fears that fleeing civilians could be terrorists. The humanity and just behaviour is dying while the states are flogging their responsibility to the ones in need.

We can question ourselves if this is right, if we can sleep knowing the indebtedness we have in riches. In the time of peace in our states, where we have possible houses and shelter for the ones fleeing possible genocides and acts against humanity; Europe impose stricter rules on immigration and Brexit proves the fear of Polish and other ethnic groups as they want to secure their borders as key argument to stop being an EU Member State.

We can wonder why the world has come to this that polarization of between ourselves the ones who see the innocent die and the ones who want to keep their own by any means. That the own nationals are going against each other and seeing it as only fit, instead of thinking for instance for a hot minute, what if the war came to our shores and to our homes, wouldn’t we flee? Wouldn’t we do what we could to leave our wealth, our riches to save our own?

Why shouldn’t the Syrians and all other who are in conflicts leave grenades, tanks and bombs, would we live on the streets with daily shooting and killing if we had an option to flee? Would we stay and risk everyday our lives to get a loaf of bread? I doubt that. We would travel to safety and to places where we could resettle and rehash the future of ourselves and our kids. If not we would be risking ourselves and the future of our kin. That is because it’s natural.

Still, the Europeans and citizens of fellow states don’t see it this way with fear-mongering politics and internal polarization of demagoguery, which is out of proportion. This will continue as these conflicts leads to more hurt and damage of lives, where more shelter and more merciless killings to stay in power, where more rigging of elections and more police-states are controlling the civil society. Where the states are more totalitarian and the power controlled by a little elite, while the average citizens are struggling, they will seek fortunes other places instead of in their birth-nations. Just as we would do if our destiny we’re in the limbo, if our homes were shacks and our sockets could electrocute us.

So the world of 2017, will be inflicted with the unfinished business of past, like all years has been, with as much uncertainty as the start of 2016, but with new issues and new struggles, with new people behind bars because of political affiliation, more families lost loved ones because of demonstrations, more people fleeing as the machetes and burning villages for land-grabbing, foreign investors taking land while locals cannot get deeds, as the central government are getting needed funds to supply the army with equipment and salaries, civil servants are left behind with reunification and it is happening so many places. Nobody confess nobody impose on it or even sanction this. We should question the economic challenges and the way they allocate funds, especially when many of these states get based government loans from the IMF and World Bank to basically could function; together with the reasonable taxation they can be able get from their citizens.

We shouldn’t silent on the merciless acts of men, we shouldn’t be ignorant of the world of oppression and fear, as the grand masters of our times are destroying and depleting lands for fortunes, as the multi-national companies see only profits and not see the populations they are forcing into unjust working conditions to trade resources into high profits abroad. These acts shouldn’t be forgotten, as industries and the trade are made for the international companies to gain and not all locals, therefore the polarization are created in these, create more havoc and even more injustice, as the unfair world we live in doesn’t give hands to ones in need. The rich can get it all, while the poor is lucky if they have enough for a jerry-can to buy water. That isn’t justice, that isn’t right when others are only drinking imported expensive French Water.         

We should questions the systems and revise them for more balanced between the rich and poor, for more functioning United Nations, for more diplomatic efforts and for stronger laws that cannot make Presidents into Emperors! The reality is that 2017 will start where 2016 and that is not in positive looks into the future, because the powers we have, the armies and police are targeting fellow citizens who deserves better. We all deserve better and we all should know better. Peace.

Accountability for killings of protesters vital, Zeid says, as DRC crisis continues (23.12.2016)

telema

GENEVA (23 December 2016) – Reports that dozens of people have been killed by police and soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the past few days are deeply troubling and point to growing instability in the country, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Friday.

Over the past week, the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC (UNJHRO) has documented at least 40 killings of civilians in Kinshasa, Lumbumbashi, Boma and Matadi, mainly of people protesting against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the official end of his mandate on 19 December. Some 107 people have been injured or ill-treated and there have been at least 460 arrests.

“Such high casualty figures suggest a serious disregard by the various police, defence and security forces of the need to exercise restraint in policing demonstrations. Not only are soldiers participating in law enforcement operations, but all the forces involved are heavily armed and using live ammunition,” Zeid said.

The High Commissioner recalled that law enforcement officials, including the military acting in that capacity, must never use firearms except against someone representing an imminent threat to life or of serious injury and only when less extreme means are insufficient.

“The failure by the DRC authorities and the security forces, to abide by their international obligations to guarantee people’s right to freedoms of expression and of association and assembly is to be deplored,” he stressed.

The violence of the past few days has not been limited to Kinshasa, Lumbumbashi and the east but has also been reported in several regions, which indicates that the political crisis is leading to wider destabilisation, Zeid noted.

“Violent repression of dissenting voices and a heavy-handed and irresponsible response to demonstrations risk provoking violence in return by demonstrators and possibly even tipping the constitutional crisis over the president’s future into further conflict across the country,” the High Commissioner warned.

The High Commissioner noted that to date no one has been held accountable for the deaths of 54 people in Kinshasa in September when the defence and security forces used excessive force against demonstrators calling for constitutional deadlines to be respected and for President Kabila to step down at the end of his second and final mandate.

“Such impunity for past violence appears to have fostered a belief among security personnel that they can open fire against demonstrators without being held accountable for their actions,” Zeid said.

The High Commissioner reiterated calls by, among others, the National Episcopal Conference (CENCO) which has been trying to mediate an accord between the opposition and the ruling party, for an independent and transparent inquiry into the recent violence.

“It is essential that all those, at whatever level, who are responsible for human rights violations are held accountable. Without such a credible response from the government, the risk is that violent situations or ongoing conflict, including between communities over resources, could degenerate further,” Zeid said.

Among the violations documented by UNJHRO:

  • On 20 December, 13 civilians were killed in Kinshasa by defence and security forces and another two people were killed on 22 December. Eleven of these killings are attributable to the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC, including six by the Military Police (MP) and one by the Republican Guard (RG). Two policemen were killed by protesters. In addition, at least 12 people were injured by defence and security forces, and at least 150 people were arrested.
  • On 20 December in Lubumbashi, at least eight men and two children were killed and at least 60 civilians were injured by the security forces. During demonstrations in Lumbumbashi on 20 December, at least 130 people were arrested. A further 145 people, including 23 minors, were arrested in their houses during search operations on 21 and 22 December
  • In Matadi, on 20 December, at least three men were killed by officers from the National Police (PNC). Five people were injured by PNC officers and FARDC soldiers, and the police arrested at least 26 people.
  • On 20 December, in Boma, 12 civilians, including three women, were killed and 12 others were wounded by PNC officers and FARDC soldiers.
  • Between 17 and 22 December, at least 102 people were arbitrarily arrested in Goma, including 24 activists from the Lucha youth movement, a journalist and 10 members of opposition political parties.
  • Eight Lucha activists were also arrested in Mbuji-Mayi by agents from the National Information Agency (ANR) on 21 December.
  • In Oicha, at least 30 people, including 16 women, were arrested by PNC officers on 19 December.

ENDS

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