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Wau could provide “model” for return home of South Sudan’s displaced people (13.09.2017)

The number of displaced people living in the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (POC) site has fallen from 38,000 to 32,500 over the last two months.

JUBA, South Sudan, September 13, 2017 – The return of displaced people to their homes in Wau in north-western South Sudan could provide a “model” for other parts of the country, the Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has said.

David Shearer, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, was speaking on a visit to Wau town.

The number of displaced people living in the UNMISS Protection of Civilians (POC) site has fallen from 38,000 to 32,500 over the last two months. Many of those people have returned home to cultivate their land.

“The security situation has improved in recent weeks,” Mr Shearer said. “I am pleased to see that the local authorities, the police and National Security have worked to improve the security environment.”

David Shearer met with the Wau Governor and security officials about cooperation with the UN, humanitarian agencies and importantly the displaced people themselves, to create the enabling conditions to assist people to leave the camps and go home.

“This collaboration could represent a new model for the return of displaced people,” he said.

“It is important that people return to their homes voluntarily,” Mr Shearer added, “and for that to happen they need to feel safe and confident about their future.”

UNMISS has recommended launching night peacekeeping patrols to residential neighbourhoods to provide additional security and boost confidence, a proposal that the State authorities are considering.

“UNMISS and our humanitarian partners both have a role to play in the eventual return of displaced people,” added Mr Shearer. “UNMISS can help by providing a greater sense of security and humanitarian agencies can offer more services outside the protection camps so those people will have more incentives to leave and restart their lives at home.”

In April this year the alleged ambush and killing of a government SPLA General in Wau led to clashes in the town resulting in the deaths of around 30 civilians.

The Special Representative visited the neighbourhood of Lokoloko on the outskirts of Wau where some residents have returned to their houses and started growing food on a small scale.

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South Sudan: ICRC condems killing of staff member (09.09.2017)

South Sudan: “Why a technocratic transitional government in South Sudan” – Dr. Lam Akol

The World needs Rambo right now!

John Rambo: “[alternate line from Director’s Cut] You’re not going anywhere. And there isn’t one of us that doesn’t want to be someplace else. But this is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something. Your call” (John Ramo, 2008).

The world is spinning in circle and things are continuing sometimes without any change. But the situations are still uncertain. There are fleeing civilians from the Democratic Republic of Congo, continues civil-war inside South Sudan, oppression in Burundi and Rwanda. Grand issues in regions of Somalia as AMISOM fiercely goes after Al-Shabaab. The continued civil-war infused with control from Saudi Arabia and United States in Yemen. The war inside Syria with the fleeing refugees from there. The international complications this all assess. The massive amounts of people who are inflicted in this conflicts.

This is also the issues created by and their national alliances, like Syria are also in hot-bed with Russia, United States, Turkey and Iran. The same can be said with the international implications to the stalemate between Qatar and the rest of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). That the Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and so on are all blocking, so many nations has cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar.

With all the conflicts and bigger diplomatic spats, the world needs Rambo’s. Especially considering that the deaths where it doesn’t counts is showed when it comes to mud-slides in Sierra Leone. The importance of Hurricane Harry, which is credible storm in Texas, but the world should have cared of the 500 deaths in Western Africa.

That the world is significant fragile is with the President Trump and the nuclear codes, the vicious attacks of both representatives and international leaders like Merkel and President Kim Jung-Un. The threats between North Korea and United States are clearly flaring up the tensions in South-East Asia, as the rockets keep shooting-up and testing.

Therefore, with this we need Rambo, someone to come in with confidence. Rambo needs to come into the problems and sort them out. So that the diplomatic disputes gets sorted out, as his spring fears into the ones who are in the same room. If Rambo came with his weapons and his rhetoric, maybe Trump wouldn’t such and ass. Maybe Putin would try out other tricks, than actually using methods of deception. As so many other world leaders would seek peace instead of wars and refugees. Rambo could come in and make a change.

The nice talk of Bono, the ethical codes of United Nations has not worked. The non-peaceful atmosphere is steady in too many places, to many deaths should be examined and not die without any consideration. Rambo could have helped, made sure the council and the world forums would actually not talk, but act. The crisis in South Sudan, DRC, Burundi, Syria, Yemen, Middle East and so on.

The world needs Rambo, the world needs a hero who can actually give a damn, not just make the world a place for multi-national companies who rob the resources and would not care for kids working for militias, so the world can cobalt for the smart-phones production. Rambo needs to come and make change, he might not be perfect. But something has to change. Someone has step-in, Rambo needs to come and significantly change in the world. Times change, but Rambo might sort it out!

Murdock: Rambo, you can feel totally safe because we have the most advanced weapons in the world available to us.

Rambo: I’ve always believed that the mind is the best weapon.

Murdock: Times change.

Rambo: For some people” (Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1985).

South Sudan’s leaders bear ‘direct responsibility’ for conflict, UN Security Council told (25.08.2017)

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the conflict, fighting and instability have persisted.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, August 25, 2017 – A senior United Nations peacekeeping official today called on the leaders of South Sudan to show genuine political will to achieve sustainable peace in the strife-riven country, stressing that those whose long-time rivalry sparked the ongoing conflict can be the ones to resolve it.

“The conflict in South Sudan is a man-made conflict for which the leaders of South Sudan bear a direct responsibility,” Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping El-Ghassim Wane told the Security Council. “But the same leaders can also bring the country back from the impending abyss.”

He noted that the dire economic situation and continued conflict in the country have combined to create a dangerous and precarious situation for its citizens, and all that is needed is genuine political will to halt military operations, peacefully negotiate and make the necessary compromises.

“I would also urge the Security Council to pronounce itself in this regard. It is critical that the leaders of South Sudan hear the international community’s unified demand of what is expected of them,” he stated.

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the signing of the South Sudan Peace Agreement between warring parties – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing then First Vice-President Riek Machar.

South Sudan, the world youngest country, which gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the conflict, fighting and instability have persisted.

According to Festus Mogae, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), “little meaningful progress” has been achieved in the implementation of the agreement, Mr. Wane said.

“More than ever before there is a critical need for continued and close coordination” between Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the African Union, the UN and the larger international community to leverage collective influence to bring an end to the suffering of the civilian population and help put South Sudan on a more positive trajectory, he stated.

IGAD comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

Security situation remains cause for ‘very serious concern’

Mr. Wane said the security situation in South Sudan remains a cause for “very serious” concern. The expected ceasefire remains elusive as military operations continued during the reporting period, mostly in Upper Nile.

In July, 136 access incidents were reported by the humanitarian community – the highest number recorded in any one month since December 2013.

Incidents of looting also spiked during July, with 15 incidents reported across the country. Of particular concern were the six major looting incidents of warehouses and trucks in transit leading to the loss of 670 metric tons of food meant for vulnerable communities in Eastern Equatoria, Lakes, Upper Nile and Warrap.

In meetings between UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and South Sudan’s key government officials earlier this month, President Salva Kiir and his cabinet members expressed reservations on the inclusion of some personalities such as Riek Machar in any dialogue process, Mr. Wane said.

But there was, however, an acknowledgement that sizeable communities cannot be left out of a process just because they were led by or that they supported a particular individual, he added.

While the National Dialogue has made some progress, it continues to be criticized for its lack of inclusivity.

Briefing the Council via videoconference, Nicholas Haysom, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Sudan and South Sudan, also expressed concern about the security situation and the trajectory and depth of the crisis.

Calling for a “clear commitment” to an inclusive and credible peace process, he described several recent international and regional support efforts – including Uganda’s initiative to reunify factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Kenya’s initiative to host opposition parties – which had achieved varying levels of success.

Another proof of the UN misfiring Lt. Gen. Ondieki as leader of the UNMISS in South Sudan after Juba July 2016 skirmishes!

As time is going and the revelation from all the actors of July 2016 comes forward, the reality of what happen in Juba, South Sudan will be more fruitful, than in the past. It is over a year ago. There has been heads rolling and the Lt. Gen. Ondieki got fired for his mismanagement. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) approach to the flaring battles between SPLM/A-IG and the SPLM/A-IO. This done by the two parties who was starting the walk of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). The fallout and the battles, that has lead to the now civil-war, shows how the lacking focus and problems of the action from the peacekeepers. These peacekeepers didn’t react, but deserted more from the conflict. They didn’t stand ground, but fled the scene.

Therefore, the newly revealed part of unreleased report are clearly showing that the Kenyans reactions to the sacking was justified. Since the previous reports on the days of flaring violence showed it was done recklessly. The violence and looting was done, because other battalions didn’t follow procedure, it was not all up to the leadership of Lt. Gen. Ondieki. Just take a look!

From an unreleased UN Report:

On the uniformed side, the Force did not operate under a unified command, resulting in multiple and sometimes conflicting orders to the four troop contingents from China, Ethiopia, Nepal and India, and ultimately underusing the more than 1,800 infantry troops at UN House. The Force Commander appointed the Chinese Battalion Commander as the Incident Commander, commanding all the forces at the UN House in addition to his own battalion. Furthermore, the Force Commander ordered the Incident Commander to retain an explicit and ultimately confusing command link to Sector South headquarters in Tomping, which was physically cut off from the UN House for the duration of the fighting” (…) “This confused arrangement, in combination with the lack of leadership on the ground, contributed to incidents of poor performance among the military and police contingents at UN House. This included at least two instances in which the Chinese battalion abandoned some of its defensive positions at POC [Protection of Civilians site] 1 on 10 and 11 July. The Nepalese Formed Police Unit’s performance to stop looting by some IDPs inside UN House and control the crowd was inadequate.” (Brautigam, 2017).

Wrongful sacking of Ondieki:

Lieut-Gen Ondieki had no direct control of deployment or response of the troops who were in the areas, according the UNMISS commanding framework. According to the rules of engagement, Lieut-Gen Ondieki could only send an order to the lead commanders who were in Juba, but they did not accept it. Therefore, Ban Ki-moon’s dismissal of Lieut- Gen Ondieki is not only an error in judgment, it is also unjust discrimination and a gross violation of his rights” (International Policy Group, P: 23 ,2016).

So the November 2016 Report is now more justified, as the leaked report on how the other peaceful-contingents didn’t follow procedures themselves. That a year later, the Chinese battalion abandoned their positions, therefore, the leadership under Lt. Gen. Ondieki was not all to blame. When other people moved without securing the PoC site like the UN House. These was ambushed and looted by the armies for stockpiles of needed supplies.

We can now wonder, who else also left their position and for what reasons, since this is just two paragraphs. The rest of the UN report might reveal even more, but with the knowledge that is out. The seemingly unfair treatment of Lt. Gen. Ondieki, especially when they acted on their own. Peace.

Reference:

Brautigam, Deborah – ‘UN Report confirms Chinese troops abandoned posts in South Sudan during 2016 fighting’ (21.08.2017) link: http://www.defencenewsindia.com/un-report-confirms-chinese-troops-abandoned-posts-in-south-sudan-during-2016-fighting/

International Policy Group – ‘Children of a lesser God – Report of the investigation into the power politics behind the removal of the Kenyan Force Commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – November 2016

Syrian Opposition HNC Press Statement condemning the Russian Ambassador in Geneva (15.07.2017)

UNSC: Letter dated 11 July 2017 from the Permanent Representatives of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America to the United Nation Addressed to the President of the Security Council – Concerning the White Helmets in Syria (11.07.2017)

First Responsible and Conflict-Free Artisanal Gold Supply Chain Operational in Eastern Congo (17.05.2017)

The Just Gold project is the first to successfully trace conflict-free and legal artisanal gold from mine site to export applying regional and international standards.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 17, 2017 –  Partnership Africa Canada (PACweb.org) today announced the Just Gold project has successfully implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Just Gold project began as a pilot in Ituri Province in 2015. Today’s announcement is a milestone for the project—moving it from the pilot stage—having proven a successful chain of custody from mine site to exporter.

“After almost two years of testing the Just Gold project with an aim to develop a chain of custody and due diligence system for artisanal gold in DRC, we are excited to share news of our success,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“The Just Gold project can now move from a period of testing to implementation and ensuring we have a long-term, sustainable and viable solution for traceable, legal and conflict-free exports of artisanal gold from Congo,” said Lebert.  “We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with key actors and to deepening our collaboration with the DRC Government.”

The Just Gold project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and offered Juts Gold project equipment, in return for which any gold produced must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

“Proving that artisanal gold in eastern Congo can be conflict-free, legal and traceable is a major step in responsible sourcing efforts in the Great Lakes region. The government of Democratic Republic of Congo is taking major strides in complying with regional standards and demonstrating how the implementation the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains can contribute to progressive improvements in the sector, supporting artisanal gold men and women miners to enter international markets,” said Lebert.

Partnership Africa Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Minister of Mines Martin Kabwelulu on September 2016, outlining support for the organization’s activities to strengthen natural resource governance. Specifically, the Ministry of Mines recognized the Just Gold project as a system of traceability and encouraged its implementation. Partnership Africa Canada has provided technical support to the Ministry since 2011.

Current activities in DRC include the Just Gold project, capacity building to implement both the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance applicable to high-value minerals, as well as support to civil society for monitoring and reporting on supply chain integrity.

Partnership Africa Canada has also undertaken research and analysis of the artisanal gold supply chain to understand women’s roles in the sector. Through sensitization and outreach, the Just Gold project improves awareness of women’s rights, and their right to access, control and benefit of resources. The project also supports and fosters women’s leadership opportunities through skills-building and training.

Partnership Africa Canada’s work in DRC developed from its engagement as a technical partner to the ICGLR, providing capacity-building to implement the six tools developed by the ICGLR’s Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources.

Funding for the Just Gold project and Partnership Africa Canada’s work in the Great Lakes region is provided by Global Affairs Canada. Additional funding for the Just Gold project is provided by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

Looking into the inflation of 1987 as the Sugar prices are rising in today’s Uganda!

We have had a wonderful collaboration with IMF since 1987. We have managed to control inflation. By controlling inflation, we have succeeded in preserving the people’s earnings” – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (State House, 2017).

Well, there been many who has set similarities with the inflation and price shocks of the year 1987. The Republic of Uganda has been through their mess before. The government of Uganda and the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A) had just taken power in 1986. This was a year after the coup d‘etat, which brought the NRA into power. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni in collaboration with International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had agreements and Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), which promoted deregulation and less state control of the economy. This was also put forward to settle inflation and the deficit that the state had.

So, because some has put similarities between 1987 and 2017, as the prices has gone from about 3,000 Uganda Shillings (UGX) in 2016 and 7,000 Uganda Shillings (UGX) in 2017. There is clearly that there was problems in 1987, but whole another level. The Sugar Industry wasn’t established, the economy of Uganda needed export of coffee and this was the sole benefit of foreign currency into the economy.

Inflation in Uganda is running as high as 200 percent, and low prices to farmers serve as a disincentive to agricultural production in a country of rich soil and mild equatorial climate” (…) “At the center of the debate is the issue of devaluation. In its first year in office, the Government revalued the currency from 5,000 to 1,400 shillings to the dollar, saying that the move would make imports cheaper. But exports have become increasingly expensive. Devaluation Debated. Some hard-line nationalists in Government insist that the cost of devaluation would be devastating. The cost of such imports as sugar, cooking oil and soap would increase significantly, they say, making the average Ugandan even worse off than he is now” (Rule, 1987).

In 1987 the Uganda shilling was demonetizated during the currency reform and a currency conversion tax at a rate of 30% was imposed to further reduce excessive liquidity in the economy. There was an immediate drop in average inflation from 360.7% in May to about 200% cent in June. However, with the possible fears of complex and drastic currency reform, the premium shot up, representing essentially a portfolio shift to foreign currency, and possible capital flight, and suppressed inflation. The intended aim of the conversion tax, apart from reducing excessive liquidity, was to lend money raised through this tax to the government. This was to finance the budget deficit over a short period, rather than financing it through printing more money. Nonetheless, inflation shot up again within three months mainly due to renewed monetary financing of increased government expenditure, domestic credit expansion by commercial banks to meet coffee financing requirements and financing of the newly launched rural farmers scheme” (Barungi, P: 10-11, 1997)

Prices for sugar and vegetable oil (both imported goods) increased rapidly in the early part of the year, falling between May and August — replicating the pattern of the premium between the parallel and the official exchange rate. The subsequent fall in sugar prices and stability of cooking oil prices were due to greater official imports. Inflationary pressures on food prices have been aggravated by supply shortages on account of severe transportation problems” (World Bank; P: 36, 1988).

In October 1986, Mulema was replaced by Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, who has a medical background Kiyonga has a difficult task. The government’s finances are shaky at best. In an attempt to enable Ugandan citizens to purchase imported consumer goods, the government fixes their prices below world prices. This, of course, puts considerable pressure on the government’s finances: for example, in July 1986 the government imported $4.8 million worth of sugar to sell at subsidized prices” (Warnock & Conway, 1999).

Perspective from Kakensa: “Today sugar costs 7000/- per kilo. When Museveni came to power in 1986 each kilo was at 4/-(four shillings). Immediately he came to power he said Ugandan shilling had lost value, in 1987 all money was changed, not only changed but two zeros were cut off to give it value on addition to the 30% levied on each shilling. This means on every 100 shillings, you got 70cents. Those who had 100,000/- got 700/-” (Kakensa Media, 12.05.2017).

We can see there was certain aspects, but the sugar industry now is different. The Sugar factories are now real and the business are now in full affect. While, in 1987 the state needed coffee exports to get funding and foreign currency. The sugar was imported and was put on fixed prices. The inflation back then was because of the crashing economy after the bush-war and the effects of it. The Sugar prices now are rising for different reasons. These reasons are the yields of sugar-cane, the hoarding of sugar and the export of surplus sugar. Also, the production of ethanol and bio-fuel. That was not the situation and context in the past.

Still, history is repeating itself, since the NRM, let the prices run as crazy in the past. The price has gone up a 100% in a years time. Which, means the prices who doubled from 3000 to 7000 Uganda Shillings. This is not a stable and the ones who get hurt is the consumer and Ugandan citizens. Peace.

Reference:

Barungi, Barbara Mbire – ‘EXCHANGE RATE POLICY AND INFLATION: THE CASE OF UGANDA’ (March 1997).

Rule, Sheila – ‘UGANDA, AT PEACE, IS FACING ECONOMIC BATTLES’ (28.01.2017) link:http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/28/world/uganda-at-peace-is-facing-economic-battles.html

State House Uganda – ‘President commends Uganda – IMF collaboration since 1987’ (27.01.2017) link: http://statehouse.go.ug/media/news/2017/01/27/president-commends-uganda-%E2%80%93-imf-collaboration-1987

Warnock, Frank & Conway, Patrick – ‘Post-Conflict Recovery in Uganda’ (1999)

World Bank – ‘Report No. 7439-UG: Uganda – Towards Stabilization and Economic Recovery’ (29.09.1988)

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