MinBane

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Archive for the tag “Natural Resources”

President Museveni letter to PM Ruhakana Rugunda – “Re: Existence of a “Sugar Board” in Kampala” (19.08.2018)

Amuru Land Grab – Apaa Village Evictions: A long process of failure from the state!

That the Northern Uganda have been in deep end of the stick in many eyes is evident, by how lax the state has been to take care of their needs and their rights. That can now be proven by the forceful evictions from land in Apaa Village in Amuru District/Adjumani District. Where the previously have been attempts to make a giant farm for an investor called Bruce Martin and also become sugar cane plantations and factory for Kakira Sugar Factory owned by the Madhvani Group, this goes all the way back to 2006. Therefore, the plans to evict these people has been slow process from the state.

Now in 2018, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have evicted dozens upon dozens of the local residents from their lands. As the purge on the village and the area continues, this has been in the making, but the ones losing their lands get nothing, but lose their homes and their livelihoods at the same time. The government authorities have torched the houses and left nothing behind, as they are continuing to evict people. Their lives are no meaningless, as they have to flee their land and are living on the United Nations Compound in Gulu, while awaiting their future, as the state, UWA and the Uganda People’s Defence Force have been evicting them over the last two months. Surely, the hurt is felt and real.

Who can wonder if the state is finalizing the agreement with Madhvani Group to deliver his second sugar factory and also sugar plantation in the area or they are making a game drive from Bruce Martin. However, this is still grabbing the land without any forewarning and also taking their livelihoods without any compensation for the hurt.

The District Land Board and Area Land Board cannot been informed or care to inform the people, as the army and UWA have been busy evicting people with force. They are just pawns on the chess-set, and the authorities in Kampala let it happen. The leadership from afar are accepting it and have gazetted the land and taken the land. Therefore, the people who has settled in Apaa have to flee or be evicted from the land, without any justice or law helping them out. No compensation and nothing left for them.

This sort of play has to stop; I am sure the State House is fully aware and let it happen, as they are getting their cut of the transaction of the land for whatever purposes it has. Its been planned for years, but doesn’t make it better, when they could have had solutions back-in-the-day as the government knew this would come. They were already in talks with both Kakira and with Martin. They knew perfectly well, what was up. There is even a third scenario where the land is sold to someone else named Linton Brimblecombe.

Clearly someone forgot the memo and left it stranded. They just evicting people in the favour of one lucky bastard who capture all lands, without paying the needed ones who was actually living their and done so for generations. This is a violation of the trust between the citizens and the government. Because someone accepted the trade of the land people where living on and had rights too.

The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better, all of the Acholi deserves better. They are being misused and taken for granted by the government. They are just pawns on the chess-set. No value, the first one in the battle-line to take out so the ones of value can be put into play. That is how it looks from the outside.

This have been planned for decades and now it happens.

Amuru Land Grab: What is ours, is OURS; What is their’s, is OURS; and Whatever is your’s, is still OURS. Peace.

Kakira Sugar Limited addressing farmers strike (02.07.2018)

Mzee complains today about waste, however he haven’t rehabilitated sugar industry or revamped pharmaceutical industry either!

“In this regard, we need to learn and apply lessons from emerging economies such as India, whose total healthcare industry revenue is expected to increase from US$ 110 billion in 2016 to US$ 372 billion in 2022 in response to deliberate investments in telemedicine, manufacturing of medicines and health technologies, medical tourism, health workforce training and risk pooling/health insurance, among others. In order to achieve this, we need to plan in a harmonized way. In Uganda, for instance, we, indeed, have a nascent pharmaceutical industry producing Aids/HIV, Malaria, Hepatitis-B, pharmaceuticals, etc. drugs. These are, however, still using imported pharmaceutical grade starch and imported pharmaceutical grade sugar. The pharmaceutical grade starch and sugar are crucial for making tablets and syrups for children’s medicines. Yet, the starch is from maize and cassava and the pharmaceutical grade sugar is from sugar. I am told the drugs would be 20% cheaper. Moreover, apart from helping in the pharmaceutical industry, more refined sugar is also needed in the soft drinks industry. Uganda is squandering US$34 million per year importing refined sugar for the soft drinks, about US$ 20 million for importing the pharmaceutical grade starches not including the other raw materials, US$ 77million for taking patients to India etc. Africa is incredibly rich but wasteful” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE JOINT EAC HEADS OF STATE RETREAT ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND HEALTH FINANCING AND DEVELOPMENT, 22.02.2018).

Seems like the 1980s World Bank loans to restart Kakira Sugar Works hasn’t done enough, since the Ugandan state did right after the National Resistance Army takeover of the state. They went into an arrangement with the World Bank getting loans for the company, to restart. That deal was done 8th March 1988. As the documents said back in 198:

“Uganda currently imports US$15-20 million worth of sugar annually, which ranks second only to petroleum imports. Import substitution through restoration of domestic production capacity is therefore a high priority and eminently justified given the considerable comparative advantage Uganda enjoys as a result of its landlocked situation. Conditions for sugar production at Kakira are highly favorable. Cane growing benefits from excellent soils, good rainfall distribution (requiring only limited sunplementary irrigation) and relatively low levels of inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. The project brings back to the Kakira complex the original owners who have a demonstrated ability to manage sugar operations at Kakira and elsewhere” (SUGAR REHABILITATION PROJECT, 08.03.1988).

Therefore, what the President said today, the Sugar Rehabilitation Project, which was done to stop the heavy imports of sugar and for consumption, has clearly not worked as projected. Since his own state is squandering their resources and not even following the loans to make the project work. That is my take on it. The president of 32 years has clearly mismanaged this and not finished his job. Since he hasn’t been able to rehabilitate the industry.

When it comes to pharmaceutical industry there massive challenges, not just the sugar starch for medicine coverage of the pills. Nevertheless, the whole arrangement, since the technology to operate these machines are imported, as well is the parts. Not only the sugar starch, but also the ingredients are imported too, than you have few companies who has automated manufactures, which makes hard to make medicine on a larger scale. It is also high operation cost, because of use of back-up generators because of blackouts and shortfall of electricity. Because of this, it is expensive to have cold storage of the medicine and have a storage for the final products.

So the Idea from Museveni that it is simple, it is the whole system around it, that makes it more profitable to import ready made medicine, than actually produce it. Even if the added value of production would be there, but with the circumstances put by United Nations Industrial Development Organization, seemingly it is from 2009. However, the state of affairs hasn’t changed that much.

We can really estimate, that the adjustment and the needed organization to pull forward both industries during the years of NRM hasn’t been totally fruitful. If so, why would he complain about the imports of sugar and medicine, when he hasn’t been able to make it function with his 32 years of reign? Someone who has 3 decades, should have the ability and time to find the information, finalize plans and execute as seen fit. That is if he cared about the industries in question and their possible engines for growth and riches of Africa. Nevertheless, he hasn’t cared and haven’t used the time wisely. He has used the time bitching and not acting. That is just the way things is and it isn’t becoming better either.

He could have made sure that the pharmaceutical industry had energy, had the sufficient organization behind it to make the medicine, not only import and assemble certain medicine, he could have made sure the sugar industry was profitable and had the equipment to make the refined sugar used in the pharmaceutical industry. However, both is a lost cause, because it takes money and time. Both, is something he doesn’t have, since the narrative isn’t making him wealthy.

Alas, he we are at the status quo, with a President running for life and complaining about waste. When he has wasted 32 years and not made effort to change it. It is all talk and no fire. Peace.

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)

A look into the rising Sugar prices in Uganda!

I commissioned a state-of-the-art ethanol distillery at Kakira Sugar Factory in Jinja today (Museveni, 23rd January 2017)

There are various of reasons for the rising prices of Sugar and processed sugar in Uganda. This isn’t the first time or last cycle of inflation on the prices of this common commodity. Sugar is common in Uganda for concept of having in it in the chai or the milk tea. To sweeten the milk and the black tea the Ugandans drink. Therefore, the Ugandans are needing and using lots of it on daily basis. It isn’t a luxurious goods, but a daily usage, for ordinary use. It has become staple and is staple together with matooke, cassava, rice and maize flour. This is all seemed as basic for the Ugandan people. Sugar is something very important. Therefore, the rising prices says something is out balance.

The balance have now been lost a year after the election. The prices of goods and food was also rising in 2011, therefore, the Republic had the Walk 2 Work demonstrations. These was demonstrations against the rising food prices, which also meant the sugar at that time went up. The same is happening now. With also on alternative exception, that the producers are not only creating sugar for consumption anymore, but ethanol and bio-fuel. Therefore, the produce and profits are going to export bio-fuel and other products, instead of the sugar that the consumers in Uganda uses. This also is an explanation for the rising prices, as well the added exports to Kenya, where the producers gain more selling it there. Than in Uganda, take a look!

In April 2017 USMA commented:

Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) says the increase in sugar prices has been prompted by the increase in cost of production and the deprecating shillings against major currencies. The Association’s Chairperson, Jim Kabeho says sugar millers were forced to announce what he called a paltry 4 percent increase on each 50-kilogram bag on ex-factory price. The increase according to Kabeho saw a 50-kilogram bag of sugar trading at one hundred and eighty five thousand shillings up from one hundred and seventy thousand shillings” (…) “Meanwhile a source at the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives who asked for anonymity says the Ministry suspects that the big players like Kakira could have decided not sell its sugar to the market so as to increase production at the ethanol its ethanol plant. The sources says sugar mills with ethanol plants are finally making money on sugar through on co-generation of power, alcohol and ethanol” (URN, 2017).

In April in Masindi:

Masindi district leaders have risen up against the Masindi district Resident Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma over stopping sugar cane buyers from buying cane from Masindi district. Last week, Nyakahuma launched an operation of impounding trucks of all sugar cane buyers who buy sugar cane from Kinyara sugar limited out growers and over five trucks loaded with cane were impounded by police” (…) “Byaruhanga added that that is a sign indicating that Kinyara sugar Factory has no capacity to crush the available sugar cane adding that since Uganda has a liberalized economy let everyone come and buy the abundant cane available instead of leaving the farmers suffer with the monopoly of Kinyara sugar factory. Amanyire Joshua the former mayor Masindi municipality said that if Kinyara is saying that sugar cane buyers are poachers, Kinyara sugar factory is a smuggler because it is also doing the same. Mary Mujumura the deputy speaker Masindi district blamed Byaruhanga Moses the presidential advisor on political affairs for failing to advise the president on political issues saying that he is not supposed to enter into business matters” (Gucwaki, 2017).

In May 2017:

From last year’s average of Shs 3,000 per kilo of sugar, the price shot to Shs 4,000 early this year and is now hovering over Shs 5,500. A kilo of Kinyara sugar is the cheapest at Shs 5000, while Kakira sugar is selling at 6,000 a kilo. On the shelves, Kakira sugar and Lugazi sugar are scarce compared to Kinyara sugar, which is in plenty. Many dealers have now started hoarding sugar in order to benefit from anticipated price hike in the short term” (URN, 2017).

In May 2017 – Stanbic Statement:

The only category to buck that trend was wholesale & retail, where staff costs rose and employment fell. Average purchasing costs also rose in April, reflecting increased prices for animal feed, food stuffs, raw materials and sugar. Higher cost burdens were passed on to clients, leading to a further increase in output charges” (Stanbic Bank, 2017).

President Museveni praises Kakira Millers:

I would like to thank the Madhvani Group, despite the disappointment by Idi Amin. The family pioneered the production of sugar in Uganda. By 1972 they were producing 70,000 tons but today they have almost tripled the production to 180,000 tons,” he said. The President was today commissioning a state of the art ethanol distillery at Kakira Sugar Limited in Jinja district. The US$36 million facility, which is the largest in the East African Region, will be producing 20 million litres of ethanol annually” (…) “President Museveni pledged to address the issues to regulate the sugar industry but urged the Madhvanis to partner with farmers with large chunks of land for production of sugar-cane, as the cane is not a high value crop. He said people with small land holdings should be left to do intensive farming like the growing of fruits that give high returns. Turning to the issue of prices payable to sugar-cane out-growers, President Museveni advised the buyers and out-growers to sit together and agree on the prices taking into consideration the market prices globally” (Uganda Media Centre, 2017).

Government statement on the 11th May:

Speaking to 256BN on condition of anonymity a government official monitoring the situation said the manufacturers have not increased the factory price, but he conceded that the situation is worrying. “At the factory prices are stable. Why is it that the prices at the retail gate are high. This means that there are some distributors who are using the hiding strategy in order to rob Ugandans. As Government we shall continue monitoring the situation until we come up with the solution” the official said. Affordability of sugar is considered a key barometer of an ordinary person’s well-being and its pricing can take on political dimensions when people cannot have sugar with their tea” (256BusinessNews, 2017).

Putting the price in pespective:

Kakensa Media reported this today: “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).

This is all proof of a systemic malpractice, where both export, together with lacking yields because of drought and also the production of ethanol and bio-fuel. All of this collected together are reasons for the rising prices of sugar. The sugar price goes up because the use of cane for other things than millers producers sugar for consumption, but for other export products. This is all making sure even as the Republic of Uganda has in the past produces to much, it now doesn’t. Since it elaborately uses the sugarcane for other products.

That has made the Madhvani Group rich and their exports of sugarcane products are clearly selling. Now even their basic milled sugar are sold more expensive on the Ugandan market. There are also proven problems by other millers, who either has to much cane like Kinyara Sugar Factor in Masindi. Which is ironical problem, as the Kakira and Lugazi sugar is empty on the shelves, while the sugarcane hoarding Kinyara are still in the shops. But Kakira which is produced by Madhvani Group, we can now understand, since they have bigger operation and is blessed by the President for their industrial production of ethanol and bio-fuel.

Therefore, the are more reasons than just shopkeepers not getting enough stocks. That the rising prices are not only that there is lacking production. It is the system of export and production. Where the cane isn’t only becoming milled sugar for consumption, but for all the expensive industrial exports like bio-fuel and ethanol. This is all good business, but also bad for consumers and citizens who are accustom with decent prices for their sugar. That is not the fact anymore, as the business and millers has found new profitable ways. So that the surplus sugarcane and also the other gains massive profits. This is all good business for the owners of the sugar-millers and sugar industry. The one who feels the pitch is the consumer and the citizens. Who see scarcity of sugar inside the shops and also the inflation of prices on the sugar. Peace.

Reference:

256BusinessNews – ‘Government to issue statement on sugar’ (11.05.2017) link:http://256businessnews.com/government-to-issue-statement-on-sugar/

Gucwaki, Yosam – ‘MASINDI RDC IN TROUBLE OVER STOPPING SUGAR CANE BUYERS’ (28.04.2017) link: http://mknewslink.com/2017/04/28/masindi-rdc-trouble-stopping-sugar-cane-buyers/

Stanbic Bank Uganda – ‘Ugandan economic growth continues at start of second quarter’ (04.05.2017) link: https://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/PressRelease.mvc/143ca2b8e3d84c79b96aed4885b7337e

URN – ‘Sugar manufacturer’s association explains price hikes’ (14.04.2017) link: https://dispatch.ug/2017/04/14/sugar-manufacturers-association-explains-price-hikes/

URN – ‘Uganda: Sugar Crisis On for Another 2 Years – Manufacturers’ (09.05.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201705100129.html

Uganda Media Centre – ‘President Praises Madhvani Group’ (05.05.2017) link: https://mediacentre.go.ug/news/president-praises-madhvani-group

RDC: “Les députés nationaux de l’Ituri membres du PPRD suspendent leurs cotisations & s’en prennent à Amb. Henri Mova” (26.12.2016)

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Communique de la Septieme Reunion de haut niveau du Mecanisme Regional de suivi de l’Accord-cadre pour la paix, la Securite et la Cooperation pour la Republique Democratique du Congo et la Region (26.10.2016)

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OHCHR Report 2016: Proven Human Rights Violations in the DRC!

11-24-monusco-drc

The newest report from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) together with United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) dropped a report about Human Rights violations this October. These shows the violations of human rights, killings and rapes that have happen over a certain time period.  The reports themselves say enough about the extent of how the Government and their Security Organizations does, plus the guerrilla warfare and the results of that in the DRC.

The reports are vivid and direct from political prisoners to rape incidence… the words themselves of what they did to the civilians there. Take a look!

Initiatives and public advocacy conducted by the Congolese authorities, with the support of the international community, have resulted in the conviction of State agents for sexual violence in conflict in at least 231 cases, during the period under review. Also, according to information made available to the UNJHRO, at least 447 soldiers of the Congolese National Army (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo – FARDC) and 155 agents of the Congolese National Police (Police nationale congolaise – PNC) have been convicted for acts constituting human rights violations during the period under analysis. Despite the remarkable efforts made and considering the structural and financial difficulties facing the judicial system, this is a very low number compared to the 4,032 human rights violations committed by State agents. This, in addition to other factors, also shows that lack of effective prosecution contributes to the commission of other violations” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: iv, 2016).

Conflict Areas of Congo:

“During the reporting period, the six provinces affected by the conflict in eastern DRC, namely Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu, Haut-Uélé, Bas-Uélé and Tshopo provinces registered the highest numbers of 5 human rights violations and abuses, which were mainly committed by combatants of more than 30 different armed groups. Between 1 January 2014 and end of March 2016, among the armed groups, the combatants of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) committed the largest number of abuses (685), followed by the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI) (662) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (424). These abuses were mainly committed during attacks launched on villages, in a bid to control territories rich in natural resources or in reprisal against some individuals suspected of cooperating with parties to the conflict” (…) “. State actors have also committed human rights violations in eastern DRC, in particular FARDC soldiers and PNC agents. These State actors, mainly FARDC soldiers, committed human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law during military operations against armed groups” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:4-5, 2016).

Political Prisoners:

“In the current electoral context, concern has been expressed in relation to actions taken by the judiciary and viewed as Government interference in the justice system. For example, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders expressed concern about “the arbitrary detention of three human rights defenders, Mr Fred Bauma Winga, Mr Christopher Ngoy Mutamba and Mr Yves Makwambala, which seem to be related to their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities” as well as “allegations of illegal obtaining of evidence, procedural flaws and unfair trials”. The Special Rapporteur further “voiced his concern at the difficult situation in which human rights defenders exercise their right to freedom of association, of peaceful assembly, of opinion and expression, in the DRC” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P:9, 2016).

Prions:

“Weaknesses in the penitentiary system have been raised on multiple occasions during 2015 Etats généraux de la justice, and identified as a major obstacle to the fight against impunity. The UNJHRO has documented the escape of 2,604 people from detention centres in 2014 and 201526. Mass escapes take place on a regular basis throughout the countr” (…) “One illustrating example is the mass escape of 18 October 2014 of 326 out of the 433 detainees (130 condemned persons and 196 people in preventive detention) from the prison of Butembo, North Kivu province, following an attack on the prison by four men armed with AK-47 trying to free nine detained soldiers who turned out to be absent from the prison. To this day, only about a hundred of those escaped persons have been found” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 10, 2016).

ADF Violence:

“From 1 October to 31 December 2014, at least 237 people – including 65 women and 35 children – were killed by suspected ADF combatants. At least 47 civilians were wounded, 20 were abducted and two were victims of sexual violence. During this period, suspected ADF elements have attacked at least 35 villages, using machetes, hammers and knives, amongst others, and carrying out summary executions of civilians. During the same period, the UNJHRO also documented the destruction and looting of houses. From 28 February 2016 to March 2016, civilians were targeted by suspected ADF combatants in several villages on both sides of the border between North Kivu and Ituri, in Bambuka-Kisiski (Beni territory, North Kivu province) and Bandavilemba (Irumu territory, Ituri province)” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 12, 2016).

FARDC rape in Goma 2012:

In November 2012, after the capture of Goma by the M23 armed group, FARDC soldiers withdrew to Minova, in South Kivu province, where they committed mass rapes and other human rights violations during a period of 10 days. On 5 May 2014, the Military Operational Court of North Kivu delivered its verdict on this case and sentenced 26 FARDC soldiers to prison terms ranging from three years to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Thirteen other soldiers have meanwhile been acquitted” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P 14, 2016).

Musenyi:

“From 20 to 22 September 2015, FARDC soldiers assigned to 33071st Battalion under the leadership of Colonel Jules Dhenyo Beker reportedly committed several human rights violations in Musenyi village, in the vicinity of Maibano, Kalehe territory, South Kivu province, during an operation to track down Rayia Mutomboki chief Mweke Atobaibwa. Civilians were arrested and taken to a school used by the military operation’s leadership. A 16-week old baby reportedly died following a beating. Nineteen women were raped (or gang-raped in some cases), 31 people were subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatments and arbitrary arrests while 78 others were subjected to looting and/or extortions. The next day, a high ranking FARDC official reportedly visited the scene of the incident and ordered the population not to report what had happened” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 32, 2016).

Kavumu:

“Since May 2013, at least 20 children under 12 and thirty children aged between 12 and 17 have reportedly been abducted, raped and subjected to genital mutilations in Kavumu, 35 km from Bukavu, in the groupement of Bugorhe, Kabare territory, South Kivu province. The victims were reportedly abducted in their sleep without any witness and returned home or near their residence after being raped or mutilated. According to judicial authorities, these crimes were reportedly perpetrated in the context of initiation rituals and fetishist practices. Reportedly, these rapes and abductions also sought to terrorize the local population. On 17 March 2016, in Kavumu, a human rights defender who had spoken out on cases of rape against children in Kavumu and denounced the implication of a local leader, as well as the inaction of judicial authorities, was summarily executed by armed men wearing PNC uniforms.” (OHCHR/MONUSCO, P: 33, 2016).

For the ones that hasn’t followed the nation, the FARDC and the Guerrillas in the DRC will this be eye-opening, for others this is old news. Still, the reports prove certain aspects of life in regions and parts of DRC… This is more to show the dirty and nitty gritty that too many civilians and people of the DRC have lived through. This is what you can call a stern warning that people should care about the senseless violence against humanity in the DRC. Peace.

Reference:

OHCA/MONUSCO – ‘Accountability for Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the DRC: Achievements, Challenges and Way forward’ (1 January 2014 – 31 March 2016) – October 2016

Press Release: African Countries Launch AFR100 to Restore 100 Million Hectares of Land (05.12.2015)

Green-Economies-Africa-rpt

Commitments from 10 countries announced at the Global Landscapes Forum

PARIS (December 6, 2015)—African countries launched AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a pan-African, country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares (386 thousand square miles) of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030. The AFR100 target of 100 million hectares has been endorsed by the African Union. So far 10 African countries have agreed to join AFR100 and committed at least 31.7 million hectares of land for forest landscape restoration. AFR100 partners are earmarking more than USD $1 billion in development finance and more than $540 million in private sector impact investment to support restoration activities.

The announcement was made during the Global Landscapes Forum at the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, where forest landscape restoration is a key ingredient of the global movement to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Commitments made through AFR100 build on significant climate pledges made by many African countries to support a binding global climate agreement.

“Restoring our landscapes brings prosperity, security and opportunity,” said Dr. Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources in Rwanda. “With forest landscape restoration we’ve seen agricultural yields rise and farmers in our rural communities diversify their livelihoods and improve their well-being. Forest landscape restoration is not just an environmental strategy, it is an economic and social development strategy as well.”

For the first time, AFR100 brings together political leadership with an ambitious package of financial and technical resources to support a large-scale forest landscape restoration effort across Africa. Nine financial partners and 10 technical assistance providers have pledged support, led by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and World Resources Institute (WRI).

“The scale of these new restoration commitments is unprecedented,” said Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Green Belt Movement and daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai. “I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring. Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins. ”

Countries that have agreed to join the AFR100 initiative include:

• Democratic Republic of Congo | 8 million hectares
• Ethiopia | 15 million hectares
• Kenya | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Liberia | 1 million hectares
• Madagascar | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Malawi | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Niger | 3.2 million hectares
• Rwanda | 2 million hectares
• Togo | Committed, but finalizing hectare target
• Uganda | 2.5 million hectares

AFR100 builds on the climate commitments made by African countries. So far, 13 of the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted by African countries include restoration, conservation of standing forests, or “climate-smart” agriculture. According to WRI analysis, following through on the commitments would cumulatively reduce emissions by 1.2 Gt CO2eq over the next 10 years, or 36 percent of Africa’s annual emissions and 0.25 percent of global emissions.

“Restoration is really Africa’s gift to the world,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute. “As the world forges a climate agreement in Paris, African countries— which bear the least historic responsibility for climate change– are showing leadership with ambitious pledges to restore land. These countries are well on their way to meet the goal of restoring 100 million hectares of land, which will help sequester carbon and bring economic benefits to low-income, rural communities. These African leaders are turning their words into action and making a real contribution to respond to the global threat of climate change.”

AFR100 recognizes the benefits that forests and trees can provide in African landscapes: improved soil fertility and food security, greater availability and quality of water resources, reduced desertification, increased biodiversity, green jobs, economic growth, and increased capacity for climate change resilience and mitigation. Forest landscape restoration has the potential to improve livelihoods, especially for women. For example, 20 years ago, women in southern Niger spent an average of 2.5 hours daily collecting firewood, which was scarce in the degraded landscape. Now they prune on-farm trees saving two hours a day, time that can be spent on other income generating activities.

Commitments announced through AFR100 also support the Bonn Challenge, a global target to bring 150 million hectares of land into restoration by 2020 adopted in Germany in 2011, the New York Declaration on Forests that extends that challenge to 350 million hectares by 2030, and the African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI), an initiative to promote integrated landscape management with the goal of adapting to and mitigating climate change. With these new partners, the Bonn Challenge process has surpassed the 100 m hectare mark, on track to meet its goal well ahead of the 2020 target date.

AFR100 builds on a strong tradition of successful forest landscape restoration in Africa. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, local communities have already restored over 1 million hectares, making the land more drought-resistant. In Niger, farmers have increased the number of on-farm trees across 5 million hectares of agricultural landscapes, improving food security for 2.5 million people. AFR100 will provide a forum for countries and communities to share knowledge and resources to achieve restoration at a greater scale.

“We know that restoration works for Africa. We’ve seen it work in countries as diverse as Malawi, Ethiopia, and Mali,” said Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD and former Prime Minister of Niger. “But we need to scale up restoration across the whole continent- more than 700 million hectares of land in Africa have potential for restoration. AFR100 provides a platform to work together more effectively to accelerate the achievement of restoration successes to benefit tens of millions of people who are currently searching for ways to adapt to climate change and improve their well-being.”

AFR100 will help to translate ambitious commitments into action with support from private sector investors, foundations, development banks, and bilateral and multilateral funders. AFR100 will leverage a variety of financing, including grants, equity investments, loans, risk management guarantees and funds for specific interventions.

So far, AFR100 partners have set forth over USD $1 billion of development financing:

  • World Bank: USD $1 billion in investment in 14 African countries by 2030, as part of the Africa Climate Business Plan to support Africa’s climate resilient and low carbon development
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is providing support for the development of the AFR100 initiative

Impact investors have already earmarked USD $546.5 million for restoration under AFR100:

  • Ecoplanet Bamboo: USD $175 million by 2020
  • Sustainable Forest Investments – Netherlands: USD $150m by 2030
  • Terra Global Capital: USD $100 million by 2030
  • Green World Ventures: USD $65 million by 2020
  • Moringa Partnership: USD $56.5 million by 2030
  • NatureVest (impact investment arm of the Nature Conservancy)
  • Permian Global

Through AFR100, we expect to trigger one of the largest investments in forest landscape restoration the world has ever seen,” said H.E. Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany. “This investment is vital for empowering local communities to scale up the inspiring restoration successes we’ve seen in Africa over the last decade.”

In addition to new financing, a coalition of organizations will provide technical assistance on a wide range of activities, including the mapping of restoration opportunities, securing further financing, and implementing restoration efforts on the ground. Partners include World Resources Institute (WRI), Clinton Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), Kijani, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD Agency), The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The Greenbelt Movement.

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