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Archive for the tag “UNHCR”

OPM Refugee Scandal: It is verified that it was 352k Ghost Refugees!

Minister Hillary Onek and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda can make any excuses in the books of civil service. Not that they will be true for that matter, because earlier this year. It was revealed that in several of the refugee camps and settlements in the Republic of Uganda. The Government of Uganda had inflated the numbers, so they to could gain international recognition and also monetary gains for the needed people seeking refuge there.

This was ghosting refugees and the ones fleeing wars in Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Where the majority of the refugees comes from. This was a real scandal, that shown how the authorities are using the misfortune of others to eat donor pledges and multi-national organizations supply of foreign currency. To facilitate food, shelter and other needed services for the ones living in the refugee camps and settlements.

Take a look at this:

The Government of Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies, allowing refugees and asylum-seekers to live in gazetted refugee settlements and exercise freedom of movement and settlement within the country. As a routine practice, the government has provided a grace period of two months within which any registered refugee and asylum-seeker who missed the exercise, can approach OPM for verification. Taking this into consideration, the above verification numbers are preliminary. A more detailed analysis will be undertaken after the grace period. The difference between the initial verification target stands at 352,643 individuals. Among those, 255,490 individuals were verified as inactive and closed for the following reasons: a) 158,533 individuals whose whereabouts are unknown as reported by family members; b) 34,174 were reported by their families to have returned to their countries of origin; c) 9,481 were identified to have registered more than once; e) 3,931 were reported deceased; f) 1,489 were closed as they were Ugandan nationals; and (g) a verification exercise by OPM in April 2018 confirmed the urban refugee population to be 55,812” (UNHCR – ‘Joint statement by UNHCR and OPM on preliminary results of refugee verification exercise’ 08.11.2018).

So, the OPM and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) played this game with the lives of refugees and with the donor nations. Hoping to score more funding for non-existing refugees, getting funds and grants for people who never existed. That shows the devastation and extortion of the situation. When the ones in dire need and the ones in camp together with forged numbers are used in a scheme.

That is why the UPM and UNHCR had to do this exercise in the first place, as the lack of trust in the numbers. As they sky-rocketed and ballooned into ridiculous levels.

The OPM Refugee scandal of this years shows the value of oversight and due diligence, as the need to verify the numbers and the stats. That is why there is missing or ghosting over 352,000 people as refugees in Uganda. That shows how corrupt and how the state used the ability of refugees to take money from others.

Therefore, these sort of joint actions should happen often. To secure that the GoU and the OPM isn’t rigging the numbers in their favor. Peace.

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OPM-UNHCR: Verification Exercise since March 2018 proves there is 1m refugees in Uganda!

Since February 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda has been under fire for faking the numbers of refugees in the settlements and camps within the Republic of Uganda. Where they we’re doubling and tripling the numbers of refugees in Kampala and West Nile. These figures and set-backs have clearly sent out a memo to the United Nations Organizations. As they have been active since March 2018.

On the 20th October 2018 this has been done by United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the OPM are now verifying the amounts of refugees. This is significant, since this will establish the real numbers and how many who is really there. The individuals and their fate is more important, than their numbers, but when they have cheated on it to get more donor funding. These numbers become more vital. So, that the donations and the grants to help out these individuals come to the right ones and not being eaten by government officials.

The numbers dropped on the 20th October 2018 are after a verification exercise done in Adjumani District, this being in Bidibidi settlement on the 16th October 2018. They we’re able to target what they estimate 85% of the population there. In Bidibidi verified a total of 203,392. That is not all, but shows to what extent the refugee crisis is.

While in Kampala: “the daily turnout continues to be very low despite additional efforts on mobilization. The verification site remained open on Saturday to allow students and others to be verified over the weekend. However, over the period of six days, only 1,583 individuals were verified, majority being Congolese. In light of the low attendance, the verification team has operated at reduced capacity and the final day has been agreed by OPM-UNHCR as Wednesday 24th October” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).

Therefore, the total estimate with all this exercises since March 2018 to 20th October 2018. Which states: “The ongoing verification of refugees in Uganda that started on 1st March 2018, verified a total of 17,428 individuals last week bringing the total as of 20th October 2018 to 1,088,415” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).

So the are margins of error are still there. But the real crunched numbers are there. As the UNCHR wants the truth, as they are trying to collect funding for the operations of the settlements. Since the Ugandan government also wants to secure the donations too. This is all part of that and validate the need for the refugees. The scandal could block the support and trust in the agencies and the rampant forgery of numbers earlier in the year. This exercise was needed to build trust. Now the accuracy is more likely there. They might still try to find a way to inflate it, but it will be harder. Because the base-numbers through the verification makes it harder.

This was needed because of the lie, the lie of the numbers. These are now shattered. Now, the reality is there. It is still a million refugees and they need help. Both in the present, but also for building their future. That perspective is needed. This is people who fled burning villages, militias and armies fighting each other. They need space and trust to grow and rebuild. These people are trying to build a home. That is what should be focus and giving them hope in a dire situation. They are not just numbers.

Even if this story has been about the baseline numbers of refugees in the republic. That is because of the OPM inflated numbers to cheat donors funds. To earn money on their tragedy. That shall not be forgotten. But in the same manner. We need to discuss, how we can give this people hope for a better tomorrow. Peace.

South Sudan: Points of Framework Agreement (25.06.2018)

Refugee Scandal: The OPM doubled the refugee numbers in Imvepi, West Nile!

If you ever think there was a big business adding ghosts. The Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda has made that their bread- and butter. They are known for this, but the UNHCR and other partners are making it sound like a “mistake”. Because they know if the Republic has more refugees, it would be easier to ask for more and more donations, bigger donations and even huge to cover the need for shelter, food and education of the refugees. Especially in our time, when the Western Hemisphere is doing whatever they can to stop the flow of migrants going their way. The European Union and their partners rather pay Uganda to keep the settlements, than get them moving to the Mediterranean to a better future. That is why I am not shocked that the OPM inflated the numbers and made the amounts sound bigger, it means they could collect more donations and get more hurry for funds to cover expenses of the Republic.

However, government and the UNHCR are insisting that the discrepancies do not appear deliberate but were occasioned by circumstances imposed by the mass influx and complex movements of refugees in the country. In Imvepi Refugee Settlement in West Nile for example, 53,856 refugees were verified using the Biometric Information Management System (BIMS) against 127,325 which had been registered under the government’s Refugee Information Management System (RIMS), representing a 58 per cent drop, according to figures by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). During a June 7 “coordination meeting” chaired by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, whose minutes this newspaper has seen, OPM officials resolved to pursue the culprits in the scam and discuss how to manage the information flow to avoid potential backfire about the scandal. “OPM should initiate a report that will give a comprehensive brief about those issues and solutions as so far taken to solve the problem. The brief should be pre-emptive of the criticism that may be likely to come from other agencies concerning these discrepancies,” the minutes read in part” (Kafeero, 2018).

This is one report of the UNHCR and OPM working together after the inflated number and OPM Refugee scandal hit the headlines a while ago. Not that anyone should be shocked, the monetary gains for faking the numbers are huge and to pay for ghosts are cheap. That is how you go from a Toyota Prado to a Ford Expedition, even by luck a Land Rover Discovery. The politician can be flagged down in the most beautiful SUV with tinted windows in the village. That will be worth it for cheating someone who doesn’t care anyway.

That is why this is not shocking. What is seriously foolish, is that UNHCR are white-washing the problem. As they are accepting the initial numbers, which was forged to secure more funding, but calling it a mistake. While the OPM want to solve it now, as it makes them look greedy, which they are. They are trying to directly eat of the plate of the refugees and eat the donor aid for the ones fleeing crisis to stay in safety in Uganda. That is why the OPM shouldn’t just make a report, but come clean on all their numbers. As this is just one Refugee Settlement in West Nile. Who knows what sort of numbers they have forged and fixed to get more donations. Because, I don’t trust the OPM. They are in the business of inflating and making the government look good, while applying for funds from donors.

Amama Mbabazi was know for his shady deals and Rugunda have followed suit. Therefore, the Office itself is doing business- as usual, That business lying out of their teeth, while acting like nothing bad is happening behind closed doors. Peace.

Reference:

Kafeero, Stephen – ‘Government, UN probe finds inflated refugee figures’ (26.05.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-UN-probe-finds-inflated-refugee-figures/688334-4629122-15pwjiuz/index.html

Communique of the 32nd Extra-ordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on South Sudan (21.06.2018)

South Sudan: The War-Lords wasn’t ready to speak about Peace!

In South Sudan the prolonged civil war is continuing and with the fresh dialogue between the parties didn’t help. Some had hope that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Government (SPLM-IG) or the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit. He has been ruling and with an iron fist. While the main opposition leader and rebel Dr. Riek Machar are running the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). There is also a coalition of other rebels and opposition, who is the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) of 8 political parties/militias, some of them are run by big men like Dr. Lam Akol (National Democratic Movement – NDM) and Gen. Thomas C. Swaka (National Salvation Front – NAS).

Therefore, the knowledge of delegations from SSOA, TGoNU and SPLM/A-IO in the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) that has failed as even the house-arrested Machar couldn’t mend the fences or the idea of peaceful progress. That means the army and militias will continue to fight until they got supremacy.

Some people had hope as Ethiopian Government hosted this 32nd Extra-Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa and the shared arrangement to work on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” for all the stakeholders in the conflict as IGAD prepared for the dialogue this week. Still, that did not make it easier. They have the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) &Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM). All of these are interfering and monitoring the Republic. This combined with all the NGOs and Bilateral Organizations who support as well. Therefore, the international community is involved in the process. They are bookkeeping and securing needed services in the midst of the civil war, even footing the bills for it all. So the TGoNU can continue their fighting against their opposition.

This combined with various agreements that has not been kept, cease fire violations and such. These War-Lords really has no plan of quitting. They are preoccupied with the continued conflict and the looting of the Republic. There major resources being squandered away, not only seen by the Sentry in their reports, but the Kenyan bloggers are looking into the money laundering and estates owned by the War-Lords from South Sudan. Clearly, they are preoccupied with earning money on the toils and tears created by the conflict. That is why they are afraid of their future if the conflict ends. The guns are speaking their language. Even as the people are still lingering in refugee camps abroad and the Republic has no solution. The leadership isn’t hungry for peace, it is hungry to overcome its advisory.

At this point as the years lingers and the leaders continue to eat of the poverty, the famine and civil-wars, even as the state is bankrupt, creating higher bank-notes and the international community is footing the bills for development and needed supplies in refugee camps. This is clearly not the intention. But that is the sad reality as the innocent are dying and is afraid. The own leadership are holding this on. They are violating agreements or stifling it. If they are not getting their way, they are picking up guns or sending tanks to their yards. That is what happen in 2016, when the 2015 Agreement was starting to be established. However, that only lasted months before the new fresh conflict we are seeing today. Since then, there has been more deflections and more creations of new outfits who wants both Machar and Kiir to step down. However, none of them seems to fit the bill.

The state of affairs is sad. The people deserve peace, but War-Lords are busy finding ways to outsmart the enemies. Instead of dialogue and building real bridges, they are instead blowing them up hoping no-one finds out.

The people of South Sudan deserves better, but the leadership is busy killing each other and trying only to use ammunition to do so. They are not interested in talking. They know the trigger and is ready to aim. Peace.

SPLM/A-IO: On the Reckless Statement of Juba Spokesman – Michael Makuel Lueth (22.06.2018)

SPLM/A-IO: On the Face-to-Face Between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhuorangun (21.06.2018)

SSOA delegation Meets Dr. Riek Machar in Addis Ababa (20.06.2018)

South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) Press Statement on Dr. Riek Machar attending Peace Talks in Addis Ababa (20.06.2018)

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