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Archive for the tag “Kismaayo”

African Union Open-Ended Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on the International Criminal Court Convened its 6th Meeting on the Sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (27.01.2018)

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A Working Paper reveals the political stakes in the Kenya-Somali Illegal Sugar Trade!

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) have had a study into the border trade and sugar exports through Somalia into Kenya. How it is used and how it gets to the market. Clearly, the market for sugar is there in Kenya. As the Sugar Industry is struggling to deliver enough sugar and the state has embargoed imports. Still, the same actors and the same politicians are doing behind closed doors agreements that put the sugar in stores through the porous borders of the Kenyan-Somalian border.

The paper itself paint the picture very well and show the importance of the export, since the magnitude on both economies are affected by it. It is also implicating big names and their organizations. As the politicians has another black-market cartel item to sell to the public. What was striking was that the importers together with local merchants are repacking the sugar into bags of the State Owned Entity (SOE) of Mumias. The Company that has been saved the state after devastating corruption and also lacking investment into the mills. Therefore, the politicians has used this name to trade illegal sugar with name. That they even used the stickers to prove it was of Kenyan quality while selling it to the public.

The quotes I have taken, is what see as important. But its compelling to show the this illegal imports into Kenya affects the politicians and the economy in general. Take a look!

The Amount of Money:

Raw sugar accounts for 10% of total Somali imports rated at US $188 billion (Observatory of Economic Complexity 2016). In other words, sugar importing is enormously lucrative and important for the local economy on both sides of the border. The sugar imported from Somalia is central for covering the production and import deficit in Kenya. Most sugar enters through Kismayu port where it is manually loaded onto trucks and driven to the Kenyan border. There it is re-loaded onto other trucks, four-wheel drive vehicles and even donkey carts to cross the border on the so-called ‘rat routes’ that circumvent the border posts to avoid the payment of bribes, random checks by the Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA), and the occasional confiscation. Based on interviews and observation JFJ estimates that 150,000 tons of illegal sugar entered Kenya from Kismayu in 2014 (JFJ 2015). This amounts to US $400 million worth of annual revenue divided between KDF, Al-Shabaab, local businessmen and politicians, as well as local police and border patrols, including the KRA (though this is not formal revenue) (JFJ 2015)” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 10, 2017).

KRA:

The investigator explained how his unit, in collaboration with the Kenyan Revenue Authorities (KRA) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), had planned the raid of a warehouse in an industrial area of Nairobi. They had found tons of processed Brazilian sugar allegedly smuggled into Kenya via Somalia, and it was now being repackaged from 50 kilo sacks into 500 gram and 1 kilo bags bearing the Kenyan brand Mumias Sugar and with added stickers from KEBS showing that the product meets Kenyan standards of production and quality. The repackaged sugar is – when not confiscated by the authorities – sold to retailers as refined Kenyan sugar at a huge profit. In 2014 a one kilo sugar bag sold for KES 133 in Nairobi supermarkets, and by May 2017 prices had gone up to KES 170 with some supermarkets rationing it to one package per customer” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 12, 2017).

Political Influence:

Like the former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, the Garissa governor Nathif Jama Adam, and the Garissa-born majority speaker of parliament Aden Duale are rumoured to be implicated in the sugar trade (Rawlence 2016: 236). These rumours reach all the way to Nairobi where they can be voiced more freely than in the north. The power of the people implicated by the rumours is more distant in Nairobi, whereas in the northern parts of Kenya the secrecy associated with the rumours points to the importance and power of those involved” (…) “With devolution, local government has become more powerful and more is at stake for locally elected officials due to their increased budget responsibilities and decision-making powers. Concomitantly, local government has become more vulnerable to pressures from local stakeholders like strong businessmen, militias and other state actors. The porous border, the circumvention of border patrols, and the implication of government officials ranging from KDF to KRA means that much of the sugar is not declared to Kenyan customs officials, making Garissa county one of the largest illicit markets in the country. The flow of goods across the border and further into Kenya formally falls under the responsibility of KRA and the national government. Yet the county government is responsible for local revenue collection and enforcement at local markets and car parks, and they also issue licenses for traders. In that sense the warehouses in the region fall under county administration. The latter thus plays an important role in the possibilities for the redistribution of smuggled goods” (DIIS Working Paper, P: 15, 18, 2017).

This here is evidence of cartels, illegal trade that is benefiting the political elites in Kenya and in Somalia. They are both having knowledge of it and its undermining the embargoes and also the activity itself. Since the politicians are the ones that has put in the provisions and the laws to stop imports to secure the local sugar industry.

This paper shows how much money that is involved. It is big business and the cartels are earning fortunes on lie, where they take foreign cheap sugar and trade it as Kenyan sugar with stickers of authenticity of KEBS. That is clearly a violation in itself, but combined with the illegal sugar, they are even using sophisticated methods to trade it to the public. To make the sugar seem like Kenya, when it isn’t.

That this money is shared by many different part of government officials was implicated int the trade from Kenya Defense Force Officials, Kenya Revenue Authority Officials, Border Patrol, Politicians and even Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabab. So the Kenyan are sending military to Somali to fight Al-Shabab, but at the same time giving them revenue with illegal sugar trade. That is a striking a fact considering the use of military to secure safety for Kenyans. Therefore, the cartels are also making sure the reason they are fighting inside Somalia are funded by the stakes into the illegal sugar industry. That should put some alarm bells on. That the politicians are playing with matches and should know that this cartel plus funding of Al-Shabab might hurt them in the long-run. Instead of being just a profitable business.

This is eye-opening and also a tale of corruption and sugar-cartels using the porous borders between the republics in favor of those dealing illegal sugar and selling it on the Kenyan market. Certainly, this sort of thing will implicate bigger names, than the ones mentioned in the paper. If investigated and looked through. You could certainly also find many bigger names who has created massive wealth within short amount of time. Peace.

Reference:

Rasmussen, Jacob – ‘SWEET SECRETS: SUGAR SMUGGLING AND STATE FORMATION IN THE KENYA–SOMALIA BORDERLANDS’ (December 2017) – DIIS Working Paper 2017:11

Somali Special Forces Strike Destroys Alshabab Training Base in Middle Juba (12.06.2017)

MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 12, 2017 -President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s statement on the dawn strike on Alshabab training base near Sakow.

“Earlier today, I authorized our special forces with the support of our international partners to conduct a strike against an al-Shabaab training camp near Sakow, Middle Juba region. This was a successful strike which destroyed a key al-Shabaab command and supply hub. This will ultimately disrupt the enemy’s ability to conduct new attacks within Somalia.”

“I said when I took office that security will be top priority for my administration. This strike will enhance security and reduce the threats of Alshabab.”

“We have long suffered at the hands of Alshabab which is supported by global terror networks. We and our international partners will take every possible precaution to protect our civilian population from harm during these operations while targeting terrorists.”

“All of us know somebody from our youth, our village, our families, who has been killed or injured by the senseless violence of al-Shabaab. I have personally met the families and the victims of several Alshabab attacks. For those who have suffered under al-Shabaab, and for the rest of Somalia, I want you to know that we are committed to defeating al-Shabaab and uniting our people.”

“To the members of al-Shabaab, I tell you that we are bringing the fight to you. If you, however take advantage of my amnesty offer and denounce violence, we will integrate you into our reform program. You have no future with the terrorists, but you can still be a part of Somalia’s future; a peaceful and prosperous future.”

President Farmaajo: “We will pursue them, and we will defeat Alshabab terrorists” (09.06.2017)

The president has termed the fallen soldiers as the true martyrs, as they died protecting their people and their country.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 9, 2017 – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has sent his condolences to the families and the people of Puntland following today’s ambush on a military camp in Af-Urur, near Galgala Mountains.

The president has termed the fallen soldiers as the true martyrs, as they died protecting their people and their country.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a number of our gallant soldiers in today’s attack in Af-Urur, Puntland. They fought hard and bravely for their country, to keep their people safe during this holy month of Ramadan. We will forever remember them, they are the real martyrs.”

The president assured the citizenry that his administration would not show mercy in dealing with Alshabab terrorists who have no regard for the sanctity of life and the holy month of Ramadan.

This once again proves that the enemy we are facing is dangerous, is bent on causing harm to the peace loving people of this country and must be fought with by all means. We must show no mercy in dealing with Alshabab.”

President Farmaajo promised Alshabab would be pursued and would pay for today’s attack.

“We promise that Alshabab won’t get away with this. As of now, our troops are in hot pursuit of the enemy; they will pay for today’s attack. I am confident our forces would defeat this abhorrent enemy.”

President Farmaajo spoke on the phone with the president of Puntland and assured him that the Federal Government would stand by the administration and people of the region.

Somalia: Dadaab Youth Statement on the Murder of the Slain Minister, Abas Siraji (05.05.2017)

Opinion: We need to give Trump a can of Pepsi and do it quickly!

We need someone to give Donald J. Trump a few cans of Pepsi, if not some tranquilizer, since he soon not only dropping bombs overseas like now. Soon he will create more wars than President George W. Bush did. There is enough tensions as it is and the other leaders plays on it. Like they are oblivious of the fact.

It is not like President Kim Jung-Un doesn’t know about his state and their nature in the world. That they doesn’t only have to show force and continue to oppress their citizens to keep control. The extension of fancy weapons and long-ranging missiles should worry, as the dictator of North Korea isn’t as “diplomatic” as his forefathers. Kim Jung-Un has been known to slaughter his family to prove strength. Therefore, the carrier or naval combat ship from the United States in the seas outside of Pyongyang isn’t creating a good situation. So can someone please send the Chinese negotiator with a few cans of Pepsi, and the

Not that the Trump Administration care, as they wants to send signals, like they wanted to send to Bashar Al-Assad with a few bombs over an airfield, lie the warlord and President, a third Generation dictator get scared of few missiles over his airspace. When he has deserters, ISIS and other rebel forces within his grasp, as well as the Syrian government forces has the grand support of Russia. So, the Syrian army will have Russian airplanes and armory that can keep up with any if needed be. It would be better to send Rex Tillerson with a six-pack of Pepsi Cans and talks to stakeholders, to see if they could get a peaceful grin. Even President Putin would enjoy a ice-cold Pepsi and shake hands with Foreign Secretary of hte United States.

Just like Trump thinks he solved the ISIS issues with dropping the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) in Afghanistan, as the Fox and Friends called it “that what we call freedom”. I don’t know if the great people of Kansas or Ohio would feel at peace if someone was dropping bombs on them. Still, the United States feels they have done President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai a giant favor. Not like this one bomb get rid of Taliban or ISIS, even other local warlords, as there are only two districts that are seen as peaceful in Afghanistan. Wonder if the Americans and Trump feels they have done themselves worthy to share. The MOAB doesn’t create an atmosphere to make naan-bread or anything else. Certainly if they send a delegation with cans of Pepsi, that create more peace than the MOAB ever will do. Blowing up a few possible structures does not build lasting peace.

You can wonder if the Trump administration has any clear plan of securing a sustainable peace in Yemen, as he had order mission inside the Yemen Republic. Still, this was not successful and killed dozens of innocent civilians. Not that Trump will say he was wrong sanctioning it, as this was his Benghazi moment, the moment he has attacked the President Barrack Obama and then Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton for. So the killings and lose of military personnell for nearly nothing should worry Trump, but it doesn’t because he is either playing golf, eating food or watching Fox. Such a gentleman who orders with thinking what effects it may cause, So he should himself drink a can of Pepsi and think of his acts. Not like there are any clear policy of how to find a solution, maybe the best to trust the Pepsi to give guidance to Trump.

Than, you have the long-going conflict in Somalia, the Federation where there has been in conflicts for decades. The Americans have been involved through co-operative missions and trainings of AMISOM, Kenyan Defence Forces and even the Ethiopian when they entered Mogadishu a few years back. Still, the clear-cut involvement has been from afar and covert-operation. Therefore that President Trump tries and thinks of sending a mandated soldiers, boots on the ground, shows his involvement, but how many and for how long is not known. It is like a myth and wonder if it will be as though true as the mission in Yemen. Or a proof of a military planned intervention in Somalia, which is needed. Since Al-Shabaab isn’t something dying down, neither is piracy, since the Federation need structural change and institutionalization where the state grows strong. This cannot be solved with a peaceful sugarful soda called the Pepsi. It needs something more.

The world and conflicts are complex, they cannot be solved with some bullets or missiles, it is a quick fix and even just for show, though the dead and the damaged property isn’t coming back. The local problems would still be there, unless the Trump Administration plans to bomb the world into a million pieces and hope the ones left behind after the blow, will praise his wisdom. Doubt it will be fanfare after the blood and death. Like the erratic and uncertain plans of Trump doesn’t help the local governments or the stakeholders, who doesn’t know what to believe. If they will strike with reliable force or be symbolic. Or as the whole public career of Trump be shambolic with a swagger of a buffoon.
Well, we can alway drink an ice cold Pepsi and hope we make sense of the of the world we live in, but not expect Trump understands it, because he supposed to be such a genius mind. The liability of the free-world lays in his hands and his guns are soon pointed at dozen nationalities all over the world. If the war-zones created or made worse will hit home close to Washington D.C. or even knock down the Twinkie (Trump) Tower in New York. That is yet to know, but if there will be issues around the decisions made by the United States government. If it will be short-term or long-term, play for the gallery or even just barbaric moments of horrific deaths, is not yet to know. For now we don’t know the endgame of a military interventions under Trump. What we do know is that he likes to play high and risk without knowing the possible return.  We can hope he soons chill down with a can of Pepsi and starts to listen to advice. Peace.  

Communiqué of the Consultative Meeting of IGAD Member States on the Current Drought Situation in the Region (31.03.2017)

IGAD: Nairobi Declaration on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and Reintegration of Returnees in Somalia (25.03.2017)

 

CERF approves $22 million loan to further scale up FAO action to prevent famine in Somalia (21.03.2017)

The funds will allow for increased livelihoods support to rural communities affected by repeated drought.

ROME, Italy, March 21, 2017 -FAO is further scaling up its  activities in drought affected regions of Somalia thanks to a $22 million loan approved this week by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which complements the loans already provided by FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities.

This effort is part of the international response to prevent another famine in Somalia five years after the previous one devastated the country. FAO’s action aims to increase rural livelihood support and restore food production, while ensuring that families meet their immediate food and water needs.

Across Somalia, 6.2 million people will face acute food insecurity through June 2017. Of these, nearly 3 million people are in Phases 3 (crisis) and 4 (emergency) of the five-phase International Phase Classification for Food Security (IPC). This represents more than a two-fold  increase compared to six months ago. Phase 5 is famine.

The head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said he was releasing the loan from CERF to FAO “as part of the efforts to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia.”

“More than 2.9 million people are at risk of famine and many will predictably die from hunger if we do not act now. CERF is one of the fastest ways to enable urgent response to people most in need. FAO is a key partner in ensuring that crucial support to livelihoods is reaching affected people. The loan will bridge a crucial gap and allow FAO to immediately save lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders until additional funds from donors are received,” O’Brien said.

“CERF has long been a supporter of FAO’s interventions to save and protect livelihoods and thus lives in crisis contexts. Livelihoods are people’s best defence against famine and this $22 million loan is critical to FAO’s famine prevention and drought response in Somalia, enabling the Organization to provide much-needed, rapid support to vulnerable rural households,” said FAO Deputy Director-General for Programmes, Daniel Gustafson.

Saving livelihoods, saving lives

Most of the 6.2 million people facing  acute food insecurity live in Somalia’s  rural areas where hunger levels have spiked primarily due to losses in crop and livestock production and other sources of food and income caused by repeated droughts.

Early warnings are loud and clear: In a worst-case scenario where the traditionally, main rainy season, the  Gu (April-June), will perform very poorly, purchasing power may further decline to levels seen in 2010/2011, and humanitarian assistance would not be able to reach populations in need, people may  suffer/face famine.

FAO’s work

FAO is scaling up the implementation of its Famine Prevention and Drought Response Plan, which combines lifesaving interventions with emergency livelihood support to address the distinct needs of rural people at risk across Somalia – a twin track approach that provides immediate assistance while offering livelihood support and income opportunities to reduce their dependency on humanitarian aid.

Measures implemented under the Response Plan include providing cash (cash-for-work and unconditional cash transfers), meeting immediate food and water needs; providing agriculture and fisheries based livelihood support in combination with cash (“Cash+”), and saving livestock assets and related food and income.

The loan from CERF complements FAO’s own funding mechanism, the Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, and will help kick start operations supported by the Governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Statement of IGAD Council of Ministers’ Consultation on the Current Situation in the Region (17.03.2017)

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