Opinion: The Rise of the Cassava Republic

If there is no bread, eat muwogo (cassava). Africans confuse themselves. You are complaining there will be no bread, if there is no bread, eat cassava. I do not eat bread myself” – President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni (01.05.2022)

Eh! Are you hungry? We don’t eat bread around here. No matter if cooking oil prices is skyrocketing, if other commodities are going up. The fuel has already gone up and so has so much other things of late. So, when the President says people should eat Cassava instead of Bread. That is being said with the backdrop of rising wheat prices, as consequences of the Ukraine war.

It is not like this is only on cooking oil and wheat. No, this is on fuel, soap and sugar. Reported by Ssekandi: “According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the price of cooking oil increased by 21 % between December 2021 and February 2022, and the annual rise was 77.6 %. In February, a laundry-soap bar cost 20 % more than in December and almost 50 % more than one year earlier. The petrol price surged by 15.3 % in three months and by 34 % in 12 months” (Ronald Ssegujja Ssekandi – ‘Ugandan government sees inflation as external shock’ 02.05.2022, D+C – Development and Cooperation).

So, this is a real issue. This is starting to look like the inflation of 2011 and how things became to costly. Which was creating strikes and the activist organizations of Activists for Change (A4C). The famous “walk to work” and that could happen again. As the prices are too high and the salaries are too low. If not to low… they are not co-existing with the realities on the ground. The gig economy isn’t ensuring a safety-net or a real adjustment of salaries in comparison of the rising prices.

The way the President spoke by it was damage control, because his government and institutions could do something about it. The state could insert trade-incentives and erase barriers to the market. The state could for time being suspend certain taxes and even value added taxes (VAT) in such a manner, that the prices would drop a little. However, that is of no concern. The same is with the expensive imports and whatnot. The landlocked republic needs imports, as it is not self-sufficient on a lot of commodities.

Yes, food wise there are alternatives and the farmers can sustain a lot. The massive production of plantain, cassava and millet can patch the hurt. However, that is not what everyone eats on the regular. That’s why imported rice and other things comes into play. Even maize-flour is imported and we can just imagine the rising prices on that as well. Not to talk about the beans and meat prices in all of this.

The President is just trying to get away from the problem, as it arises and he has seemingly very few tools at his disposal or any sort of coffers to clear the windfall. The cassava is only to patch the hurt, but will not salvage anything. It is only the fruits of his labour and how he has not set forward or had any clues how to govern. He only knows get-quick-rich schemes and Ponzi-schemes looking like micro-financing policies. This was bound to fall and you cannot spend money you don’t have and not have any sort of collateral or assets to trade with. That’s why his encircled by his own financial policies and cannot catch up. The spiralling debt, the lack of domestic revenue and the short-sighted government programmes only deprecates the state and gives it less incentive to move forward.

That’s why this is a real Cassava republic. Where it’s soon to expensive to fry it in the pan. Either the gas, the charcoal or the cassava itself is too expensive. While, the bread is only for the elites anyway. Lord have mercy, the damage we do upon ourselves. The heir is also rising to the throne, but he will have no clue what to do. Except for torturing, extra judicial killings and spreading false-hood on social media. Peace.

President Museveni’s 2022 Labour Day was all about micro-finance and cassava…

Before our time, no government was giving money to the people to get out of poverty. Getting out of poverty was everyone’s private business. If you wanted to get out of poverty that was your own private issue. But we (NRM) have been giving money [to citizens ] since the time of Entandikwa, then prosperity for all… But all this time, the responsibility was being taken by government officials. That was where the confusion started from” – President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni (01.05.2022).

It is just like President Museveni wants to sound like he invented everything. He speaks like no government have ever had social security nets or unemployment programs. Yes, he claims to be the first one, but there been plenty of governments who has made this happen. FDR in the United States did it through various of programs in the New Deals in the 1930s and several other nations has used socialist programs to get people out of poverty through various of social security schemes. This here is a fraud and a fake. A manner of which you take credit and say you invented the Micro-Financing schemes and the first to do it. That is really foolish, but that is the Ugandan President of 2022. Micro-Financing and Micro-Credit was introduced in the 1990s in Uganda, but it was already a thing from the 1970s. So, it wasn’t only done in Uganda, but done so in Bangladesh and elsewhere before Museveni came into power.

I heard Filbert calling me a chief worker. I’m not a worker; I’m a bourgeois. I’m part of the middle class. You can’t call middle-class a worker. That’s not an ideological definition. Of course I work, but I work as a member of the middle class” (Museveni, 01.05.2022).

This is maybe the first time he doesn’t call himself a farmer or a son of peasant. I’m shocked and in awe. His one of the richest people on the continent and still he describes himself as “middle-class”. Like we are supposed to believe he only earns the millions of shillings he gets through his salary.

We need a workforce of very many workers. There is a way for that. The Parish Development Model should kickstart us to have about 60 million workers” (Museveni, 01.05.2022).

Uganda is estimated to have around 48 million citizens by 1st July 2022 based on projections of United Nations data. Out of this about 30% of these are adolescents, meaning a third of the population isn’t eligible for full-time work since they are not of age to do so. Because adolescence is from 10 years to 19 years old. This is based on data from UNFPA from a few years ago. Still, this all shows that the President have clearly the wrong memo about 60 million workers in Uganda. That means everyone from toddlers to the elderly… will work on the field or become a part of the rampant gig-economy.

Part I:

We want everyone in the Parish who has access to land to join a Parish Development SACCO. It doesn’t matter if they have money to not. They should just prove that they have land to do agriculture” (Museveni, 01.05.2022).

Part II:

If you have agricultural land, do not work only for the stomach. You should also work for the pocket” (Museveni, 01.05.2022).

It is really weird the way this is said on labour day. As the micro-finance scheme is so vital in it. The sort of amplified SACCO and NAADs called Parish Development Model (PDM). Where every farmer has to be part of it and register to have access. So, just like in the Soviets every farmer should be part of a scheme and earn from it. Which is very ironic, as he asks of everyone to work for their pockets. That is initially wanting everyone to be profit driven and incentive by currency. Not be content with having enough food or shelter, but supposed to also strive for surplus funds. However, if it was that easy. His government would have made it happen over the last 35 years or so. It is really tragic that all of the schemes since launching in the 1990s are not working and they continue to relaunch them in new names. Just like they did with the PDM, Emyooga and Operation Wealth Creation. It’s all the same gig, built on the same foundation, but changing its name and partly how it’s operating. Nevertheless, it doesn’t come to anything and is only a money-pit. As its not giving incentives or the ability to create natural growth. That’s why we are seeing this sort of talk and it’s the failure of the President who continues to beg people to think of profits and not of leisure.

Last quote:

If there is no bread eat cassava. Africans really confuse themselves, they are worried about shortage of wheat supply caused by Russian Ukraine War. If there is no wheat, please eat cassava. Myself I don’t eat bread” (Museveni, 01.05.2022).

Do you ever wonder, if someone lives in a bubble and doesn’t see what people are seeing? Because, this man thinks this is splendid advice. The sort of talk that only shows his isn’t concerned and doesn’t feel the plights of the commoner. No, he is beyond that and telling the peasants to be happy with what they have and not strive for more. Which is ironic, as he has spoken of people wishing of wealth, think of their pocket, but they got to settle on cassava.

This shows how out of touch the President is and it’s not shocking as his ticking closer to 40 years in power. The President has lived in his bubble for all of these years and with more and more yes-men. People are just complying and not giving him any good advice. He orders, directs and tell how everyone is supposed to move. This speech was no difference. That is very obvious. As he believes in this 1990s mechanism and thinks the PDM will make a difference, which will be far from the truth. If the PDM would work, the Emyooga, the PDM and all the Micro-Finance institutions would have ushered in a new era already. However, it haven’t and that’s because the Republic and the nation isn’t built for it. The markets, the people and the structure isn’t ready for it. This is just a fact and it’s been proven time, and time again.

There is a need for a new direction and aims, which will improve people’s lives, as these short-term incentives only takes a few people that far and when the cash is low. They are back to nothing and with a loan to pay-off in their name. That’s why this is going nowhere and fast. It doesn’t matter how many times the President says people should work for their pockets. When there is few too little jobs, low salaries and rising prices, running inflations and lack of development in general. That’s all the fault of the President and his government who hasn’t served the community and citizens.

Nevertheless, the President will never take any accountability and he will blame everyone else. Now people should chew cassava, join a SACCO and think about their pockets. However, it isn’t that easy and when you cannot get your produce to the market or even have an ability to earn. Why should you or even be concerned with the pleas of the old man?

Well… he just wants to be right, but at this his wrong. His doing the same trick, as he promised in the 1990s and think it can work in 2020s. Well… the old man is late and he should reconfigure and find tricks that fits the vibrant markets of this era and not continue with the schemes of the Structural Adjustment Programs. Peace.

South Sudan: “Subject: Appointment of Party’s General Secretary and Executive Secretaries of South Sudan United Movement” (07.10.2017)

SPLM Leaders Former Political Detainees (FDs) letter to IGAD: “Visit of IGAD Foreign Ministers Delegation on the ARCSS Pre-Revitialization Consultation Forum” (07.10.2017)

President receives special message from South Sudan’s Salva Kiir (03.10.2017)

President Museveni and General Ajong discussed UPDF – SPLA security cooperation and training.

KAMPALA, Uganda, October 3, 2017 – President Yoweri Museveni has today met a delegation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), led by General James Ajong Mawut who is the Chief of Defense Forces of Republic of South Sudan.

During the meeting which took place this afternoon at the State Lodge in Mbale Municipality, Eastern Uganda, General Ajong conveyed a special message and a letter of appreciation from President Salva Kiir of South Sudan to President Museveni, commending him for the continued support and solidarity with the government of South Sudan.

President Museveni and General Ajong discussed UPDF – SPLA security cooperation and training.

Uganda and South Sudan have long standing economic and security interests. Uganda is also host to over one million refugees fleeing from the instability in South Sudan.

Opinion: CSO’s Paper to IGAD HLRF is revealing!

There were many insights and deep stuff in the CSO Report to IGAD, which has been written and submitted to Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has put their stakeholders, and their pride into trying to forge a peace, even after the peace agreement of 2015 has been shot into tatters recently. The IGAD are clearly on a mission to sustain their place and their negotiations with the parties in South Sudan. As the conflict and battles within becomes more dire, when the consequences of not doing it, is more life in danger and a more uncertain future for the republic. Clearly, all parties knows what at stake, as the IGAD have proven not to be to impartial, as well as the foreign intervention from Uganda, has been in favor of the SPLM-IG, clearly, there are many more obstacles to fix before the due date of the newly proposed peace mediation. That is why the paper from the CSO is revealing, especially, the part if IGAD fail, which I think it will do, as long as people are sidestepping the SPLM-IO and the newly created militias and opposition forces. Look at their take if the IGAD fails, which is such a dossier.

“IGAD faces a daunting task in securing a political settlement through the HLRF process. Not only must it contend with the fracturing of armed groups and the proliferation of new political formations, but divisions among IGAD member states themselves undermine the diplomatic leverage that mediators have at their disposal. From the very start of the conflict, it has been clear that the four frontline states of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda are essential to the solution of the conflict in South Sudan. Only they can offer the incentives and disincentives that are needed to bring the various factions together behind the terms of a political settlement. To date, the vested interests of some political elites in the region have prevented IGAD from mounting a united response. The next few months will show whether the situation in South Sudan has reached a point at which it poses such a serious threat to regional peace and stability that the region is forced to respond accordingly, or whether IGAD’s ability to respond will once again be undermined by narrowly defined state or personal interests” (CSO Paper, September 2017).

“If the HLRF process fails, the IGAD region must accept that it is unable to resolve the crisis in South Sudan and hand over responsibility for the mediation effort to the AU. The four frontline states can still engage in the context of an AU-led mediation, but they should not be able to dominate the process and use it as a forum to promote their own narrowly defined interests. The AU should start preparing itself now by developing a political strategy for a possible AU-led mediation effort. This strategy should go beyond any eminent personalities that may be appointed to lead the process to consider how the AU approach would differ from that of IGAD. In addition, IGAD and the AU should make clear to the warring parties that if they fail to agree on a political settlement in the context of the HLRF, IGAD and the AU will request that punitive measures be imposed on parties who undermine the process. Such punitive measures are long past due and are the only means to communicate to the leadership on all sides of the political divide that the African region will no longer allow the people of South Sudan and the region to be held hostage to their leaders’ pursuit of power” (CSO Paper, September 2017).

It is really telling how they are explaining in these passages, the reality of the daunting task ahead, as the SPLM/A and SPLM-IO are the key component to the crisis and stalemate, but this in effect has created many more enemies of both. The former SPLM/A and SPLM-IO who has become their own parties and their militias, are within all reason making the road-map for peace more hectic. As there isn’t just two leaders who wants to be supreme. But a dozens who wants to topple them both, by all means and with full force. This should not overshadow the need for diplomatic and negotiations between SPLM/A and SPLM-IO, neither stop the SPLM/A reunification project, even how flawed both has been.

The marginalized and silenced parts of the discussions, the rebellions against both parties, should be looked at if the IGAD HLRF Process is a honest one. If the IGAD approach should bear fruits, the SPLM-IO ghost is haunting the process and the dialogue. As well as all the former generals who has created their own outfits, who needs to included, unless they want to create a new fragile peace. That could blow up any second after the ink has run dry. Peace.

Reference:

CIVIL SOCIETY OPTIONS PAPER ON THE IGAD HIGH-LEVEL REVITALIZATION FORUM (September 2017)

 

Communiqué of the 720th meeting of the PSC, at the ministerial level, on the situation in South Sudan (20.09.2017)

WHO and partners respond to flood crises in the former Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile States of South Sudan (19.09.2017)

As part of the health cluster response, WHO delivered lifesaving medical supplies to the communities affected by the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 19, 2017 – The World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and partners are scaling up the emergency response in the flood affected areas of Aweil West and Aweil North Counties of former Norther Bahr el Ghazal State, and Maban County of former Upper Nile State.

As part of the health cluster response, WHO delivered lifesaving medical supplies to the communities affected by the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. The lifesaving health supplies will benefit 10 000 people living in areas deeply affected by the heavy rainfall in parts Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile States of South Sudan for the next three months.

The supplies include 10 basic unit kits and 10 pneumonia kits for management of common illness. The supplies were deployed along with Medical Mobile Team (MMT) to support other health partners in management of common illnesses to reduce excess mortality and morbidity and build the capacity of partners in early case detection of outbreak prone diseases.“Building the capacity of partners, increasing human resource and medical supplies are vital in such acute emergencies since it increases access to quality health care services to the affected population” said Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i to South Sudan.

According to the State Ministry of Health, it is estimated that over 119 000 people have been affected due to flooding triggered by the heavy rainfall in 11 payams of Aweil North and Aweil West of former Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. More flooding also caused some deaths and injuries and has deeply affected the daily lives of over 650 households in eight villages of Bunj payam, Maban County, Upper Nile State.

The risk of water-borne disease in the wake of the floods is real; a cholera epidemic has already affected thousands of people, causing over 355 reported deaths said Dr Allan Mpairwe, WHO Health Security and Emergency Officer. We have to act very fast to avoid the spread of water-borne diseases and the transmission of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, Dr Mpairwe underscored.
The floods have also destroyed roads, schools, homes, crops and vegetables all over the affected areas. This means the situation will get worse, with more people needing temporary housing and urgent humanitarian help.

WHO will continue to strengthen its humanitarian support in coordination with the Ministry of Health and partners to save the lives of the vulnerable community, Mr Liyosi added.

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.

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

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