Opinion: Reminiscing about Maj. Gen. Kazini [and will Museveni launch a “new breed” of military entrepreneurialism in North Kivu?]

This isn’t a far fetched, ancient history and such. Many of the men behind the ills of the past is still lingering around. They are in the chambers of powers, having titles and being called “honourable”. These men used their opportunities in the past to earn fortunes on the misery of others. They created massive networks, supported local militias and forged companies to ensure wealth. These was Generals, High Ranking Officials and Associates of the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

This they did across the Democratic Republic of Congo. These men in question was Gen. Salim Selah, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire and Maj. Gen. James Kazini. They we’re all participating in the plundering, the looting and the illicit resource flight from the DRC to Uganda. They ensured the military presence and their allies could extract, steal and operate illegal businesses to profit out of. That was all done with the blessing of the “High Above” in Kampala.

Today, I started to reminiscing about Maj. Gen. James Kazini, the late General who was killed by his girlfriend in 2009. That was year after the war in the DRC ended. The man who had together with various of factions, barriers to market and usage of force made it possible to enrich himself on the conflict. He together with Gen. Salim Selah secured companies like Victoria Group. Victoria Group even had as one of their shareholders being Gen. Muhoozi Kainerubaga. That’s why this enterprise was supported, all from the top!

The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) used the power they had in the region to exploit the mineral resource and re-export it. Like selling diamonds, gold and coffee as Ugandan, but it origins was from the DRC.

Therefore, knowing all this, as the news of the Cabinet Meeting in Entebbe on Monday this week. Which stated building road-network in the North Kivu Province. I cannot help to think, that it’s not only a wet-dream for road-scandal with tenders, lost funds and ghosts. Also with the history of the UPDF. The history of men like Maj. Gen. Kazini. There could be people willing to profit from the sins of the past again. Especially, profitable mineral resources as cobalt and others, which happens to be in North Kivu.

So, if Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is building the roads in North Kivu. Then, the President and his team will come excuses that the UPDF need a battalion to ensure the safety of contractors and engineers. While, the same army will also configure ways to participate in more military entrepreneurialism in the province. That would be a way to kick-back and make it profitable.

That the UPDF and UNRA would do this wouldn’t be shocking. There is to much resources and possible exploits for them to not grab it. Even if it is a illicit business and illegal. Still, to this day the Ugandan government is exploiting Congolese gold as they are minting it at the Gold Refinery in Entebbe. Which is why, I am thinking there is more plans ahead in North Kivu.

They are not just going there to tarmac some roads and build a bridge or two. No, they are not compensation for the past hurt and looting. No, these men are finding a new way to exploit and profit of the situation. This is the same government that has used Kisoro as a base and supported para-military groups in the DRC. The same government that was a safe-haven for M-23 soldiers. Therefore, I have little trust of the goodwill…

Until proven otherwise. Peace.

Opinion: “Pastor” Kasolo’s prosperity gospel …

Some of you think by only praying, you will go to heaven yet God created all of us in His image. If God created us in his image, why are others rich yet you are poor? God will punish you for embarrassing Him by being poor and you will not go to heaven. Those who think they will only go to heaven by being so prayerful should forget it” – State Minister Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo

I have a feeling the State Minister of Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo should become a pastor. The way his singing a gospel. Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland would be proud of Kasolo utterance lately. Speaking like a flexing preacher.

Kasolo wants so badly to be a TV Pastor, be the likes of Hagin, Copeland and Hinn. That’s his emulating them while speaking of the relaunched SACCOs, NAADs and OWC under the umbrella of Emyooga.

Just to explain where I’m coming from, Harvard Divinity School defines it like this:

The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is a fast-growing theologically conservative movement frequently associated with Pentecostalism, evangelicalism, and charismatic Christianity that emphasizes believers’ abilities to transcend poverty and/or illness through devotion and positive confession. The PG is popular among impoverished communities, where at best it is considered to offer the poor a means of imagining and reaching for better lives (at times accompanied by sound financial advice), and at worst is criticized as predatory and manipulative, particularly when churches or pastors require heavy tithing” (Harvard Divinity School – Glossary Terms – The Prosperity Gospel).

I feel Kasolo does the same thing. His following the PG to the Tee. He should open up a church somewhere and become a pastor when his time as Minister is over. The church can be named the Wealth Creation Church (WCC) or the Emooyga Baptist Chuch (EBC).

He has already started his journey. As his preaching the prosperity gospel. That the poor has to sow their seeds and tithing to the congregation. Maybe that way he can keep relevance and have a career.

Just to prove my point, Hagin Ministries wrote this: Start where you are. Be faithful to obey the Word by paying your tithes and giving offerings. And be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit when He directs you specifically to give. You can’t out-give God. If you sow seeds bountifully in faith and obedience, you will reap an abundant harvest of blessings!” (Hagin – ‘Investing God’s Way’).

Copeland for instance wrote this: I lost a job and went broke” they’ll say. “That was when the Holy Spirit was finally able to teach me to put God fist in my life. That proves poverty can sometimes be a BLESSING of the LORD”. Such statements sound spiritual, but they are plain wrong. Going broke is never a BLESSING. It’s a curse” (Kenneth Copeland – ‘Project Eden – Filling the earth with the glory of God’, September 2011).

When seeing how Hagin and Copeland writes. It is similar to what Kasolo was saying. The PG Teaching isn’t new, but when a State Minister uses the same language. You know your selling tricks and schemes. When your using the tricks of false prophets. What sort of policy are you selling?

This is snake-oil salesmanship. Kasolo must be so proud.

So when are you becoming a Pastor or a PG Preacher? That is your next career, I suppose. Peace.

Opinion: “Poverty is your choice” is that the new NRM slogan?

During the tenure of the NRM government, poverty is by choice. For anyone to remain poor is their choice. How can you say you are still poor yet there are many initiatives introduced by government to alleviate poverty. If you had a restaurant on top of your current job, you would not be so much affected by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown. That is the mindset we are talking about. It is your choice” – State Minister on Microfinance Haruna Kasolo (14.07.2020).

Sometime someone says something really outrageous and insane. State Minister Kasolo is one of them. As he launched the Emyooga, the same Operation Wealth Creation, SACCOs and NAADs poverty alleviation tool the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have used for ages without any results.

It is like changing name on the same thing, but expecting different results. Buying the same sort of players with the same skills and expecting to win the league. You got to pick better, more talented and experienced ones to win a league. However, the NRM just switches a name, relaunching it and calling it the winning formula.

That is why for a government ruling the Republic since 1986. A government that has promised to be middle income country for ages. A party and President promising wealth, jobs and a new industrial revolution. Have certainly not achieved that. When poverty is a choice. The inconvenient, gig-economy and hand-to-mouth. The lack of institutions and policies to change this.

However, blaming it on the citizens, the peasants and the ones suffering in it. That is such a Noble approach. While spreading the news of Emyooga. The bastard child of OWC, the SACCOS and NAADs. The newest Presidential Directive to dodge poverty. If the previous ones didn’t work. Don’t expect the same tools going to work in 2020.

The Minister can lie to himself. Like he made a choice and dodged the bullet. He bought the bulletproof vest and got away from the suffering. No, he just joined the ruling regime and drank their Kool-Aid.

Instead of inspiring people. The Minister demeaned them. Insulted them and calling them lazy. That they are idle and its their fault they don’t have money. Not like its a robust economy or exponential growth in the near future. That overnight the NRM will create the Shangri-la and the Singapore of Africa. No, that is disturbing the eating, kickbacks and general looting of the Movement. This is why the State Minister has to blame someone.

The ones his blaming is the average citizen, the peasant and the ones who are struggling to get by. That is disgraceful. Therefore, is the up-coming slogan for the NRM: “Poverty is your choice”. It is maybe not as clinging as Steady Progress, but it cannot be true. When a minister tells that living poorly is choice. No one is choosing that, but that is the reality they are living in. Not by will, but by default. Everyone wants to live with comfort and safety. Not wonder if they are eating the next day. How foolish is the Minister?

His a fool with a title. Peace.

Opinion: Emyooga is renaming the same-old government scheme…

I got pennies for my thoughts, now I’m rich”50 Cent on ‘Patiently Waiting’ (2003)

This Get Rich or Die Tryin’ fix of the government isn’t working. They have not learned the skill from the G-Unit front-man 50 Cent nor anyone else. This is just following a boring pattern. That the government launches a new Presidential Initiative before the campaign season is also predictable.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) has so many schemes going on. They have used so many different types ways to get people out of poverty. You need a separate dictionary to remember them all. It is a own lingo for government officials and the likes.

The Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) was launched in 1992 in the Republic. The second started with Entandikwa in 1995. When that ended in 2002, they launched National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). In 2004 they launched Rural Micro Finance Project. In the meantime there been launches of Micro Finances schemes for the public from donors and NGOs. In 2013 there was two new schemes, it was the Youth Livelihood Programme and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

So, in June 2019 the President finally promised the magic bullet to end poverty. Now in July 2020 the Presidential Initiative Emyooga, which is a mix of OWC and Job Creation. They are now launching it and doing so ahead of elections. Seemingly, the Office of President through its Residential District Commanders (RDCs), the Office of the Minister of State in charge Microfinance and the Microfinance Support Centre Ltd (MSC). Therefore, we know the Presidents involvement in it. Since they are using these means like OWC. We just know Gen. Salim Selah is part of this too. It wouldn’t be in this Republic if he wasn’t involved in it.

It is kind of rich that in 2020 they are relaunching the OWC in a suit calling it Emyooga. They are dropping billions of shillings on, as it was fitted into the Monetary Policy Papers for the National Budget of 2020/21.

We know this is a campaign thing. To booster a failing a project of the state. The OWC have already struggled. There been reports of failures with the OWC. The same with service delivery of SACCOs, NAADs and too.

The Emyooga will follow the same procedure as the other ones. A big show for the launch. Promise of funds, eradicate poverty and the nation to a middle income country. However, the lie is that these schemes makes the middle-men rich. A way to eat of the state and not users. The ones getting the tenders, the ones skimming the funds. It always goes that way. Also, makes for good publicity. Even if there is little to no proven results.

That is why, I’m skeptical today. Seen this before, heard the narratives before. This is just buying time. Not building things that are sustainable. A short term money infused into an area. Before leaving to the next. Without any consideration of the windfall, of the moment it runs out or what to do after the short-term spending.

That is why, so many of these schemes haven’t worked. There been no long-term plan and if they had. There was no real implementation or will to do so. Because, if they did, it would have costed and would have possibly delivered more. However, that wasn’t in the interest of the state nor its stakeholders. Since they need new schemes and new methods to get a kick-back or a pay-off for their duties. Peace.

UN Report: 95% of Ugandan Gold Exports with other Origin [AGR registered in Seychelles]

gold is gold, and they simply need gold” – Gold Smugglers (UN, 2020, P: 19).

The newest UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was just recently published. This article here will focus on the gold smuggling operation and the amount of smuggled gold to Uganda from the DRC. This report really states the amount and the way the Ugandan exporters are trading the gold from there. The direct connection between these Republics are clear. This has been stated before, but not to these levels.

If your thinking this sort of business is clean and done after protocol. Then this report will shatter and break the glass. This report is explaining and showing more intelligence on how its done. We can easily see that the Ugandan authorities and the Entebbe Gold Refinery are only having its ability to be trading and minting the gold on the basis of gold smuggling from the DRC.

Just look:

The Group estimated, using information published by the Ugandan authorities, that over 95 per cent of gold exports from Uganda were of non-Ugandan origin for 2019” (UN, 2020, P: 20).

The next part is a proof of a way of illegal export and gold smuggling. Where there is one company operating doing so and how they are registered. While other bodies are claiming they are fraud. This shows what sort of ways the traders, smugglers and exporters are doing to be able to deal with the gold. What is really striking is the way the supposed fraudulent corporation are using all sorts of means to operate. They are even using bank accounts for other companies, which in the end might be a sign of illegal activity. As they are keeping everything of the books.

Vaya Forex Bureau forgery:

The Group found however that during the reporting period, sanctioned entity Uganda Commercial Impex (UCI) Ltd (CDe.009) retained an active business registration according to publicly available Uganda Registration Service Bureau information. The Group also noted that, according to an official ICGLR gold export certificate, Vaya Forex Bureau in Uganda acted as an intermediary in an official gold export (see para. 87 of this report). Incorporated in 2007, the two shareholders of Vaya Forex Bureau were Vaya Kiran Rajendra and Vaya Vipal Kumar Maganlal, family members of Rajendra “Raju” Vaya, owner of sanctioned entity of Machanga Ltd (CDe.007) (see S/2015/19, annex 63). The Group wrote to Vaya Forex Bureau but did not receive a response by the time of writing this report. Finally, the Group noted that, according to publicly available Uganda Registration Service Bureau information, Sameer Bhimji was a signatory on the bank accounts of The Bullion Refinery Ltd (see S/2018/1133, para. 97) until 23 April 2019” (UN, 2020, P: 72).

AGR told the Group that “a so called Vaya Forex Bureau” was unknown to the company and did not hold an account with AGR. The company further stated that they considered that the ICGLR document may be a “forgery” or “fraud” and that the company had already been the target of several such attacks. The company further committed to preventing forgery or fraud, and to reporting such activities to relevant Ugandan authorities and to relevant authorities abroad, as well as “instituting criminal and civil proceedings against the perpetrators”” (UN, 2020, P: 101).

What is more interesting is that the AGR in Entebbe has switched owners and is also registered in the Seychelles. What is known about the Seychelles in this manner is that they usually is confidential and tax-exempt to a degree. This means the AGR is run most likely in a tax-haven by its owners. While they are earning their profits. That is how I crack this one down. They wouldn’t have registered the company there after selling its stakes. If there wasn’t any benefits in doing so. Right?

Here is the information about AGR:

The Group established that, on 9 February 2018, African Gold Refinery Ltd sold its shares to AGR International Ltd, a company registered in the Seychelles at Global Gateway, 8 rue de la Perle, Providence, Mahe, Seychelles (see screenshot below). The Group wrote to the authorities of the Seychelles, who confirmed that AGR International Ltd was registered in the Seychelles at the address listed in the Uganda Registration Services Bureau documents” (UN, 2020, P: 107).

We already know the AGR has connections to the President and his family. Therefore, the move of liabilities to Seychelles is to safeguard the profits in a tax-haven. There is no other way to see it. This is so the future state will be in more trouble to follow the money and also get the accounts frozen by authorities.

This is it for today. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Measures to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 (20.03.2020)

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for February 2020 (13.02.2020)

UN Experts Report says NDC-R finance itself on illegal gold trade to Uganda and Burundi

Again, there is illegal gold trade to the neighbour republics of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This time its the NDC-R whose trading illegal gold to Uganda and Burundi. That means the militia is funnelling funds by illegal mining and trading. Also, that the Ugandan and Burundian authorities are earning fortunes on the soldiers of fortunes in the province of North Kivu.

However, this is not really new that militias and that there is illegal gold trade in the Great Lakes region from the DRC. What was new now, is that athe NDC-R is involved in this. There been other groups in the past and shown that the African Gold Refinery (AGR) of Entebbe, the refinery owned by Gen. Salim Selah, the half-brother of the President Museveni have been involved in this trade. Also, selling the gold to the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, what is in this months report. Shows, another pattern, but says what militia who does it. Which is an interesting tale, as the illegal trade is boosting the NDC-R and their capabilities to cause havoc in the province.

NDC-R:

The Group has found that the armed group Nduma défense du Congo-Rénové (NDC-R) has remained active in North Kivu and has continued to recruit and expand. NDC-R engaged in fighting with the Collectif des mouvements pour le changement (CMC) comprised of Nyatura factions, the Alliance des patriotes pour un Congo libre et souverain (APCLS) and FDLR-FOCA in Masisi and Rutshuru territories” (Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, P: 6, 20.12.2019).

Financing of the militia:

A senior NDC-R combatant with first-hand knowledge of the matter and three NDC-R members recounted that gold sales brokered by close relatives of Guidon, who sold to gold buying houses in Goma, also generated cash for the movement. Sales were cash-based and were not usually documented. The Group is aware of two occasions on which senior NDC-R ex-combatants sold gold to buyers in Uganda and one on which they did so in Burundi” (Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, P: 10, 20.12.2019).

This is a worrying sign. Not that its new, but this shows how the NDC-R is financed. Through illicit financing through illegal gold-mining and illegal gold trade. There been trade between Butembo/Goma and over to Entebbe through back-channels. If the NDC-R does this, that wouldn’t be shocking either. Not that the UN Experts Report is specific about this matter.

However, it again reveals more details and reports about one specific group. Which is interesting for the world to know. That it happens to be a group, which has FDLR-FOCA fighters is even more special. Since, there been reports of meetings and supporting arms to them over the last few years. Therefore, the revelation of NDC-R connection with FDLR-FOCA opens more questions, than what it answers. Peace.

Opinion: Rukutana MP as an Minister is another scandal in the making…

Mwesigwa Rukutana, the Rushenyi County MP since 2001, who now has gone from being the Deputy Attorney General to be appointed yesterday as the Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations. His been within the upper-echelon since the 1980s, as he was a Minister of Lands between 1986-88. Therefore, his a man whose served in various position during the era of National Resistance Movement (NRM). So, that his returning from the Office of the Attorney General isn’t shocking.

Rukutana was implicated in the CHOGM Money Scandal, Land Commission Scandal, Commissioning the “Presidential Handshake Report”, Green-lightening the “Coffee-Scandal” of Salim Selah and so-on.

Rukutana is one of the most corrupt gentlemen in the Cabinet now. He would be close to Amama Mbabazi of historically corrupt gentlemen. Surely, Jim Muhwezi, Sam Kuteesa and Salim Selah would be part of the top 10. But, Mwesigwa Rukutuna would join them. His now in-charge of labour and surely will find some ways to find kick-backs to pocket. If he doesn’t he isn’t real to himself nor his mission in life, which is to eat.

Now, even just months ago since he was kicked of a land probe after “misconduct”. And you know something is up with the guy too, when he advices the state not to Audit the Uganda Telecommunication Company (UTL).

Therefore, his something else, his an corrupt soul, who know has more power. Since, his gone from being the Deputy Attorney General to become a minister again. Surely, there will land scandals in the foreseeing future. As his been entangled in plenty and there are more to come.

We would be shocked if he wasn’t rocked by more scandals in the future, especially now that he hold yet another office in the Republic. Peace.

Bank of Uganda: Monetary Policy Statement for December 2019 (09.12.2019)