Sunday, February 23, 2014

Uganda: " The darkroom unleashes imagination in pornographic images "

Faith Natunga at Money In Africa opines

Who are we fooling!! Uganda’s “mini-skirt law” and its colonial undertones (Part 2)

                                                                                        Prostitutes in Kampala

The push for a “mini skirt Law,” the regulation in Ugandan Anglican Churches that denies brides the right to wear strapless gowns at church because it is disrespectful to the Church is a clear indication that colonialism has made it’s mark. The Evangelical movement in Africa and the traditional Church Institutions have carried on this colonial ideology of indecency.

It would be interesting to know the role of the religious right particularly in America with regard to financial donations / support, to and for the religious idiots that are taking Uganda and other African nations down a path radically different from the path the rest of the world ( excluding Russia but including the Vatican ) is moving.

The real issue here is the failure of the Ugandan State to control the circulation of Pornographic Media on the streets and probably address the issues that lead young women to expose their bodies for sexual exploitation (one clear issue, the lack of decent employment opportunities).

I am at a loss to know how the Ugandan government could actually control the circulation of Pornographic Media. That you are reading this now and not viewing pornography is astonishing. The world wide web runs on porn is funded by porn. I suppose Uganda could exercise the Venezuelan option, but it would not stop pornography. Actually I also doubt that the lack of employment opportunities has much to do with it. I very much doubt full employment would have any effect other than to increase the size and affluence of the audience.

There is nothing new about prostitution and pornography, and for those religiously inclined, Mary Magdalene is one case in point. This trade has existed for the same reasons to this day; the lack of meaningful employment for women with the responsibility of raising a family, finding shelter and food. However we have to be mindful to that the demands have significantly increased with the high cost of living thus increasing demand for this trade globally.

I agree that there is nothing new about prostitution and pornography, they have been with us since the dawn of humanity and expecting a government to be able to prevent it via legislation is rank stupidity. Uganda will discover that their anti gay legislation will fail for the same reason. If your politicians are stupid enough to be bought by extreme right " Christians " who feel they have the right to kill people because of who they chose to sleep with so be it.

It is also important to note that where there is supply there is demand and we cannot hope to eliminate the pornographic industry in Uganda without addressing the demand (the men that consume it) as this will only drive it underground.

Sort of right; actually where there is demand there is supply a lot of businesses have gone broke getting that around the wrong way. Interestingly a lot of consumption of pornography is by females. 
" Caroline is not alone. While it's accepted that women are watching – and enjoying – porn more and more, it's less recognised that some are also finding it hard to stop. At Quit Porn Addiction, the UK's main porn counselling service, almost one in three clients are women struggling with their own porn use, says founder and counsellor Jason Dean. Two years ago, there were none.While more than six out of 10 women say they view web porn, one study in 2006 by the Internet Filter Review found that 17% of women describe themselves as "addicted"."

Which sort of screws the demand argument up a bit.

This like most legislations lets women carry the heavy penalty of a trade that has existed for centuries. This debate should not be centered on the female anatomy but on the male demand for pornographic images, and the increased regulation and prosecution of men that are involved in the exploitation of women in the sex trade.

Many jurisdictions have legalised prostitution and that is the sensible way to deal with the industry, willing buyers and sellers who are consenting adults. That probably won't happen if you decide to persecute the participants but ironically the church will love you for it. It would seem it is not only the Ugandan Government that is guilty of colonial ideology but indeed the author of this.

It is indeed laughable to see MPs making statements that the Law is void of Western influences, that they are defying the immorality of the West for the modesty of African culture. How quickly they forget their history, or should we assume that is one aspect of the academic arena they skipped. The Anti-pornography Act is as big of a Western concept as the English language and trying to blanket it in a veil of morality and religious values only proves its true origin. The fool here is really the legislatures that believe they are making an anti-Western statement, moving away from the indecent, corrupted and sexualised Western culture.

Oh fuck, you stupid bloody person. Pornography is not illegal in the west unless it is child pornography, something we really don't like. Why don't you stick your stupid immature attitudes where the sun doesn't shine, you could probably make money out of photographing it. As for the " legislatures " are they making an anti-western statement ? Or have they just like the author arrived in a logically impossible place due to a narrow minded approach.  

It is therefore important that even in this post-colonial era with the invisible Western hand we should make sure we legislate with a rational mind, one that is mindful of our past and remains true to our history or else we stand to be judged as hypocrites. The religious movement should be mindful of the opinions they advance in the legislative arena and the influence these have on the authenticity of our African autonomous governance.

I have already judged you as a hypocrite, you have absolutely no right to impose your value judgements on anyone yet like the Church and legislature you bemoan, you have. 

The religious movement in Uganda is actually more influential than earlier perceived as it has now pushed into the legislative arena but we should be assertive and identify its true nature and it’s influences which are at the end of the day not an African perception of morality, but a continuation of a Western Concept of what it means to be a civilised African.

It would seem the " do as I say " lunacy is well established as well.

Hat Tip: Rosebell Kagumire   

Rwanda: " Retrieve the soliloquy, maintain the obituary "

New Times Rwanda reports

Hamitic myth that led to Genocide in Rwanda

                                                                                           Marcel Kabanda

A new book has shed more light on how a 19th Century Hamitic myth, construed by colonialists and imposed on Rwandans, promoted hatred that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
I think constructed by colonialists is probably a bit hard insofar as I very much doubt any of the Rwandan colonists had the wit to come up with such a theory. The Hamitic myth as it relates to Africa was of course an " intellectual " justification for slavery as well as a load of bollocks. 
" According to the Hamitic theory this "Hamitic race" was superior to or more advanced than Negroid populations of Sub-Saharan Africa. In its most extreme form, in the writings of C. G. Seligman, it asserted that all significant achievements in African history were the work of "Hamites" who migrated into central Africa as pastoralists, bringing technologies and civilizing skills with them. In the early twentieth century, theoretical models of Hamitic languages and of Hamitic races were intertwined."

Written in French by historians Marcel Kabanda (Rwandan) and Jean Pierre Chrétien (French), the book is titled; “Rwanda, racisme et génocide : l’idéologie hamitique,” (Rwanda , racism and Genocide: the Hamitic Ideology).
The “Hamitic Hypothesis” derives from the Bible, where the story of Ham, the son of Noah, who upon finding his father naked and in a drunken stupor allegedly exposed him to his brothers Shem and Japheth.
Ironically Ham escaped any consequences and it was his youngest son who ended up being cursed, from this you can probably draw many conclusions, not least that Noah was a bloody idiot, mind you if you take the existence of Noah seriously then I guess you would probably stupid enough to think slavery was a great idea. 
Researchers say that the racial-based hypothesis was brought to Rwanda by Belgian missionaries who described Tutsis as a foreign race which came from somewhere beyond Rwanda; probably descendents of Europeans.
In all fairness to the Belgian missionaries the " Out of Africa " theory of human expansion hadn't been theorised at that point but that said how on earth they came up with such a batshit crazy idea is beyond me. These guys had to believe in Noah for it to work and if that was the case then logically the Tutsis would already be Christians. I guess it isn't only turkeys who don't vote for an early christmas.
The “Hamitic” myth held that all civilised institutions in central Africa were the result of an invasion by Hamites, variously identified as ‘black Caucasians’ from Europe.
Based on the belief in that myth that every civilisation has to come from Europe, European colonialists somehow attributed the governing Tutsi aristocracy under the King of Rwanda to the European civilisation because their belief in racism did not allow them to see Rwandans as a people capable of organised living.
Again very ironic if one considers 21 century Rwanda which couldn't be more organised if it was a police state. Hang on....
That myth together with a series of discriminatory policies under the colonial Belgian rule in Rwanda and the post-colonial regimes led to the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
Why not use one load of bollocks to justify another load of bollocks ? The Rwandan genocide roots are slightly more complicated than can be explained by a myth. Also we see yet another myth in the making, one that ignores, for racial reasons and isn't that ironic, any non Tutsi victims of the genocide.  
“It is essentially an weapon of massive destruction,” Marcel Kabanda said, shortly after launching the book at Ikirezi bookshop in Kigali on Friday.
“Racism is in itself an arm of massive destruction,” the historian had said earlier in the discussions about his book. 
“Now the challenge is how to dismantle that myth and move on with life as Rwandans”.
Moving on with life as Rwandans is a good idea, I think the Hamitic Myth has already been confined to the dustbin of bloody stupid ideas.

Dr Alice Urusaro Karekezi, of the University of Rwanda’s Centre for Conflict Management, said it was possible to do away with myths by looking at what fuels the perceived differences and address them. 
“It is our own efforts that will deconstruct that myth,” she said. 
Dr Alice Urusaro Karekezi needs to get out of her ivory tower.

Giving an example, she said the government-sponsored One Cow per Poor Family can help demystify the myth that only Tutsis own cows.

Well maybe but I am not so sure based on this story.

" In 2006 she obtained a donation of a cow, which she describes as a gift from God and a miracle.“One day I came back from work in the farm and sat down drinking a Primus beer. As I drunk, I looked at the bottle and said, ‘Oh! God! Why can’t you relieve me from beer? I need milk.’ The next morning local leaders knocked at the door and told me that I had been chosen to receive a cow as part of the One Cow per Family.”

It would seem that there is still a fair amount of mystification at play.
Raising cows is one of the major characteristics which colonialists based on in the 1930s while distributing identity cards to Rwandans with the mention of whether one was Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

I haven't got a clue what the point being made here is, however anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the history of Rwanda would be aware that including ethnic identity on an identification document is a thoroughly bad idea. That it is a practice brought about from the 1930's is not a surprise but I am at a loss to figure out the cow connection. 
One of the participants during the discussions wondered who would be in charge of deconstructing the “Hamitic Myth”, saying it was unclear whether it would be the role of the government or researchers.
Kabanda said it’s going to be everyone’s role to help deconstruct the myth.
And will deconstructing the myth require that someone does research to identify where Rwandans came from?
Dr Raphael Nkaka, a historian and lecturer at the University of Rwanda, said it would be useless. 

And thus ended some promising careers in genealogical anthropology.

" The Genographic Project is an ambitious attempt to help answer fundamental questions about where humankind originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Using the latest genetic and computational technologies to analyze historical patterns in DNA from participants around the world, our team of world-renowned scientists led by Dr. Spencer Wells, seeks to reveal our migratory history and to better understand the connections and differences that make up humankind."
“It’s a pointless question even if people like to ask about it. It’s not the origin that gives vitality, what is important is the evolution,” he said.
Kabanda said that there is no trace of the migratory movements that led to people’s settlement in Rwanda and that no one can say where people living in Rwanda today came from.

Well there might as well not be if one of the countries leading historians can't see the value in analysing DNA to discover the migratory history of mankind. Lets face it Dr Raphael Nkaka by rejecting the science is little different from the morons who came up with the Hamitic theory in the first place.
The conversation was moderated by Dr. Rose Gasibirege who runs the former NUR Kigali Campus and local media owner and journalist Albert Rudatsimburwa.
Rudatsimburwa said that there is a serious need to transmit the message to Rwandans about things that have divided them.

Maybe concentrating on human similarities would have a greater dividend when it come to defeating batshit crazy ideas like ethnic and racial discrimination.

Human genetic variation is the genetic differences both within and among populations. There may be multiple variants of any given gene in the human population (genes), leading to polymorphism. Many genes are not polymorphic, meaning that only a single allele is present in the population: the gene is then said to be fixed. On average, biochemically all humans are 99.9% similar to any other humans.
Dr Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, a clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of Rwanda said that Rwandans will need to craft a new and positive way of living despite what they went through.
“We have to decide what to make of the tragedy that engulfed Rwandans. We need to give a sense to our life,” she said.
Ikirezi bookshop said the book will be available on the local market at Rwf 22,000.

That is about $32 US dollars which is a lot of money in a Rwandan context

" The median net hourly wage of the total sample is 450 Rwandan francs (RWF); 26% of workers earn less than 150 francs per hour, another 24% earn between 150 and 450 francs, 29% earn between 450 and 1350 francs and the remaining 21% earn more than 1350 francs per hour."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Africa: Around the African blogs

I will attempt to update on the African Blogs that have caught my attention on a weekly basis. I am of course bound to miss a huge number so feel free to suggest any you think might be worth future inclusion.  

                                                               Photo Visit Virunga

Rosebell Kagumire blogs  on clean water in Uganda and the UN Millennium goals.

" The failure of such handouts to deliver sanitation solutions has highlighted at this unclogging blockages conference in Kampala. One participant told us how NGOs had built latrines for people in Kampala slums but majority were using these latrines to keep their animals."

Alex Engwete Blogs on DR Congo politics an the maneuvering in Kinshasa.

So forget the antics of drama-queen Kamerhe! The most interesting thing to watch these days is the deadly no-holds-barred power struggle being played out within Kabila's Majorité Présidentielle (MP).

On Thursday, January 30, 2014 this bloody fratricidal power struggle that was being waged behind closed doors broke out in the open at the Grand Hotel in Kinshasa. But prior to that date, there was the ever widening rift between Prime Minister Matata Ponyo--hated within the MP for allegedly effectively plugging money leaks--and Deputy PM and Budget Minister Daniel Mukoko Samba.

Rising Continent - Lions on the move - blogs on whether simplistic interpretations of African events are racist.

“Why is the media coverage, for example, of conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic important to countries in the West that do not appear to be involved in them? Anup Shah, author and owner of the Global Issues website, offers some answers to that question. Shah points out that simplistic views, at worst, are racist, whether intentional or not, and at best, offer no platform on how to move forward.”

Lesley on Africa blogs On the Ugandan Military deployment in South Sudan 

Within days of the outbreak of the violence in mid-December, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) deployed to South Sudan at the government’s invitation. The UPDF’s mission at the outset was ostensibly to evacuate the over 200,000 stranded Ugandan nationals and to secure strategic installations in Juba. However, several weeks into the operation, President Yoweri Museveni disclosed that the UPDF was also involved in combat operations alongside government forces.

Virunga Mountains Blog Is unique in the Great Lakes Blogosphere. 

" The democratic Republic of Congo is very diverse and its not easy to tell or describe how Congolese look like-though, a stereo-type has been imposed on them by ignorant people. It can be very hard for some of us that have been living in diaspora for long to keep up with the culture. But we do try when we can."

Ann Garrison blogs  Also blogs on the Ugandan military in South Sudan.

The Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army in Opposition has said that they expect no progress in peace talks regarding the civil war in South Sudan unless Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni withdraws his army from South Sudan, which is there to back up President Kiir's faction of the army, not only with troops but also with artillery and helicopter gunships." 

The Clowns of the Congo Congo DRC News ( M23 ) don't blog
This Account Has Been Suspended  ( Not unusual and no great loss )

The Timbuktu Chronicles blog On Business, highly recommended.

" ...To start out his small operation, Mupuya figured out he needed a capital of 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($14). He raised the first $11 from selling 70 kilos of used plastic bottles he'd collected over one week. Mupuya then borrowed the remaining $3 from his school teacher and embarked on his entrepreneurial journey producing paper bags on a small scale. Since then, the business has grown extensively and today, at the age of 21, Mupuya is the owner of Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), the first registered Ugandan company to make paper bags."

WomanStyles blogs on Bim Fernandez who I have never heard of.

“I play a mean guitar and I’d really like to be like Courtney Love.”
One thing she shares with the rock-star widow of Kurt Cobain is wealth.
Her first single, Let’s Take it Naked, came out only last week but her riches are already up there with the superstars.
Home is a fabulous Manhattan apartment with a Picasso above her bed and a valuable first edition of Alice in Wonderland on the coffee table."

Visit Virunga is not a blog, but the fantastic Gorilla DC blog is undergoing maintenance, that said the great new is that the Park is again open for business. I will update with the blog details but go visit the new site.   

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DR Congo: RIP Germain Muliwano Kennedy- Journalist.

Radio France International reports:

Congolese journalists targeted by Ugandan rebels

The three journalists affected during the clashes. Germain Muliwano Kennedy is right, with a bandage on head. Photo: Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro.

The Congolese journalist Germain Muliwawo Kennedy died Saturday, Feb. 15, following a clash between the Congolese army and Ugandan rebels of the ADF-Nalu, North Kivu, while on assignment with two colleagues, who were seriously injured them. Germain Muliwawoa Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the head and died of his injuries Sunday morning. One of his colleagues reports.

According to a journalist present at the time of the attack, on Saturday afternoon, a 
FARDC truck (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) was ambushed by rebels of the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces - National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) at Semuliki, not far from the Ugandan border.

The ADF-Nalu is a movement born during the 1990s, merging two opposing 
organizations opposing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Initially consisting of Muslim missionaries from the Tabliq movement, the group became an Islamist movement, which Kinshasa is convinced is supported by Somali Shebab Islamists. They are accused of looting, extortion and kidnappings. The United States has ranked them on the list of terrorist organizations from 2001, while the International Crisis Group considers "a terrorist organization belonging to the Islamist nebula East Africa."

"The rebels had made it their ambition to increase insecurity in the region"

Kudra Maliro Al-Hadji is a journalism student and works including the Radio-TV Muungano.

Germain had gone to report for the Radio-TV Muungano on Saturday and to film the hunt for rebels of the ADF-Nalu by the FARDC. But he was caught in a scuffle and was killed according to a FARDC captain with whom I talked, after there were were violent clashes and the rebels shot tremendously.

Germain was a colleague and a friend. He was someone who deeply loved his work as a journalist, it was a passion for him. And I can tell you he was not afraid to work in dangerous conditions: he is one of the few reporters who had the courage to go to Goma in November 2012, when  M-23 took city ​​. He always said: 'I will die doing my job. And this is what happened ...

He was my editor at Radio-TV Muungano where I began my training as a journalist in 2010. I am indebted to him, he taught me everything patiently. When I arrived, I was a beginner, I did not even know how to write an article, today I am presenting reports and writing for newspapers. All this is thanks to him. I owe him a lot and I will not forget.

As soon as I heard the news of the attack, I went there, and I took a photo of Germain and our two colleagues. They are still in the hospital, one was wounded in the hand. They suffer but they will survive.

In May 2013, I myself was on assignment with the FARDC. Soldiers had captured some rebel ADF-Nalu militants and I was able to conduct an interview. This was rare because obviously, they are impossible to approach. They are extremely shy, any journalist who tried to go to their camp risked being slaughtered on the spot. The rebels had explained that ADF-Nalu had no safe place in Uganda, that's why they moved into the DRC,  where they seek to traffic minerals. He also told us that their goal was to "kidnap helpful people" [ADF-Nalu is particularly suspected of having kidnapped three priests Mbau in 2012, which is has been no news, Ed] and to negotiate ransoms increase instability and climate of tension in the region.

As regular readers will suspect Charly Kasereka made me aware of this story a couple of days ago via Facebook, I unfortunately haven't had time to turn it it into readable English until today. I am sure Charly would be a friend of Germain and Charly doesn't run from dangerous assignments himself, as another Congolese " blogger-journo " Alex Engwete explains.

" Blogger-journo Chaly Kasereka of the blog Actu du Kivu has finally resurfaced in the aftermath of the 12-day occupation of Goma by the M23 outfit of pillagers and mass murderers.

I first saw Kasereka at around midday Tuesday, December 4, commenting on the French news channel France24 on the events at Kibumba--where he was an embed with FARDC troops--and Goma.

Having seen action on the theater of military operation, Kasereka is arguably the first genuine Congolese war reporter."

We owe a great debt to guys like Charly and Germain who risk their lives to keep us informed. RIP Germain. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

DR Congo: FDLR - " A son of a swastika of '45 parading a peroxide standard "

Chimpreports reports

FDLR Threaten To Kill Tutsi Civilians In DRC
                    FDLR Soldiers  genocidal killers whom if not already dead I can only hope soon attain that condition.

As the United Nations Intervention Brigade and DRC government troops come under intense pressure to make good on their mandate by attacking FDLR, the militia whose leadership and ideology led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has vowed to kill Tutsis in DRC. 

I have argued that no one can set the timetable for FARDC, MONUSCO and it's Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade other than those organisation themselves when it come to neutralising the FDLR, I was it would seem wrong. This is an FDLR suicide note and one I suggest the actors involved respect, FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade should look at this as a request for voluntary euthanasia and  kill these bastards as soon and as violently as possible. 

In a statement seen by Chimpreports on Sunday, the FDLR which recently joined forces with PS Imberakuri to form what is now known as ‘FPLC’, warned the international community especially the UN, European Union, the African Union and regional organizations “against the loss of life that this unnecessary war will cause again to the poor Congolese population as well as to the Rwandan refugees present on our territory.”

Killing off the FDLR and remaining Interahamwe fools is not unnecessary it would seem, I had hoped that was the case after reading the December 30, 2013 declaration of cessation of hostilities issued by the FDLR but as I blogged my skepticism was well placed. 

I am guessing that MONUSCO has also been dropping leaflets from the air, there is no postal service in the territory that the FDLR control. The consequence of fighting have been disastrous for M23 and the ADF are being decimated in their scrap with FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade. I am skeptical about the sincerity of the FDLR but keeping the faith with a genocidal ideology of hatred is insane and many if not most of the perpetrators must be getting on or dead. I don't imagine recruitment is that easy."

‘General’ Gad Ngabo further warned in the statement that an attack on their bases would lead to “mourning in the many families and thus revive the wounds of broken hearts.”

The FDLR bases that will certainly be attacked, it is interesting this faux 'general' seems oblivious to the effects of  " mourning in the many families and thus revive the wounds of broken hearts.” that will be caused by his resumption of genocide against the Tutsi community.

The United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Congo (MONUSCO) has reportedly been preparing to attack FDLR.

It would be very surprising if it wasn't planning to attack the FDLR, given that these apologists for members of humanity have been deemed worthy of elimination by the UN and that is part of the MONUSCO and Intervention Brigade mandate from the Security Council.

However, observers say this may not be possible as FDLR supported the UN Brigade and DRC forces in neutralising the M23 rebels in 2013.

Then those observers are fools. Eliminating M23 has been completed, the ADF ( Ugandan Muslim rebels ) are being eliminated having surprisingly managed to make themselves a more urgent problem than the FDLR. In mid January I blogged on the prioritisation:  

The FDLR were I would have said a far more significant target but the scale of activities and sheer brutality of the ADF has made it urgent that this mess be cleaned up first."

Further more the FDLR have never supported the Intervention Brigade or the MONUSCO. There has been criminal cooperation with corrupt FARDC elements but that seems to have come to a halt.

The UN has in previous publications explained serious crimes committed by the Hutu FDLR against the Tutsi population in DRC.

In November last year, UN Security Council said FDLR as “a group under UN sanctions whose leaders and members include perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda have continued to promote and commit ethnically – based and other killings in Rwanda and the DRC…”

The FDLR it is clear remain unreconstructed genociders, this threat against the civilian Tutsi community in the Eastern DR Congo proves in the twenty years since they murdered 800,000 civilians in the Rwandan Genocide nothing has changed, other than they have had a further 20 years of robbing, raping and killing Congolese civilians.

The Council strongly condemned the continuing violence and abuses of human rights by FDLR and other armed groups “including summary executions, sexual and gender based violence and large scale recruitment and use of children,” said Liu Jieyi of China, on behalf of the 15-member body.

All of which are crimes against humanity.

It is thought the FDLR intend to use the threat of attacking Tutsi civilians in DRC as leverage in their quest for a power–sharing deal with the Rwanda government.

Something that will never happen. The idea that the perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide could ever be trusted in a governmental capacity is laughable. The only way out for these killers is unconditional surrender the leadership being sent to the Hague and rank and file members undergoing rehabilitation and reintegration into Rwandan society. The alternative is death and quite frankly it is in my opinion the FDLR deserve the latter, I hope they are stupid enough to avail themselves of that option.

The FDLR announced in their Declaration of 30 December 2013 they officially laid down their arms and demanded negotiations with the Government of Rwanda.

Kigali has consistently maintained its position that it would not talk to the terrorists and has urged fighters to renounce the genocide ideology.

The FDLR are in no position to demand anything it also seems to have escaped them that they are on Congolese territory and Kinshasa is the sovereign power not Kigali. Kigali is correct to spurn talks with terrorist groups, it is a shame that both Kampala and Kigali failed to recognise that when M23 was making similar batshit crazy demands on Kinshasa.

Several FDLR fighters who have in recent years crossed to Rwanda have undergone rehabilitation courses to enable them discard the extremist ideology.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame last year emphasized that a sustainable solution to the political turbulence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must include the neutralization of the FDLR.

Kagame told Russell Feingold, the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo at his Urugwiro Village office that the genocidal militia must be firmly dealt with “as a matter of priority.”

Kagame needs to tread very carefully on this issue. He has won the war against the FDLR already, there is just the battle to come and the timing for that is as it should be, with the forces tasked with the destruction of the FDLR. 

Regional leaders remain split on how to deal with the aftermath of the defeat of M23 rebels in Eastern Congo who had provided a buffer zone to Rwanda against attacks by FDLR.

Really ? Maybe I should have blogged this. 
" The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, announced an amnesty on Wednesday for former members of the defeated M23 rebel army.

The amnesty covers "acts of insurgency, acts of war and political offences" committed in the DR Congo up to December 20, 2013, when the bill was approved by the government." 

Rwanda believes that FDLR should be crashed if the militia is not willing to surrender and demobilize.

I suspect that should be crushed and if so I agree.

However, Tanzania wants to see Uganda and Rwanda talk to ADF and FDLR terrorist groups, a suggestion scorned by the Kampala and Kigali.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has a legitimate interest in this issue having provided troops to the Intervention Brigade but is he serious ? Does he think the Great Lakes region will benefit from having Muslim militants intent on bring Jihad to Uganda or genocidal thugs returning to power in Rwanda ? I don't say it lightly but Kikwete should shut the fuck up. The ADF and FDLR are deserving of the fate they have selected.
Uganda and Rwanda are also not willing to see the two terrorist groups rearm and recruit new combatants across their borders.

I think both Uganda and Rwanda would love to get the ADF and FDLR across their respective borders and they would not be doing any recruitment if that was to happen. As it stands if any of the leadership of these militias are taken alive that is what should happen to them. In short surrender now and face the justice of the ICC with the added benefit of living. Or fight and die at the hands of FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade. If they survive then it would seem reasonable to repatriate them to Uganda and Rwanda, they having spurned the ICC option.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

DR Congo " On waves of silver I dreamed of gold 'Till I lost the peace that dreaming gives "

The Cameroon Tribune reports

FCFA 193 Billion Lost To DRC Gold Smuggling

                                                                               DR Congo conflict gold

A UN report for 2013 says corruption enabled gold to be shipped to Illegally Neighbouring countries.

The latest United Nations report Assessing the gold smuggling racket in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, says 400 million U.S. Dollars (about FCFA 193 billion) Was Lost by the country in back in 2013 as the mineral WAS smuggled to East African countries.

The FCFA are Central and West African currencies that are pegged to Euro incidentally not in use in the DR Congo.

According To the East African Review, businessmen teamed up with soldiers and politicians to steal DRC minerals, shipping them out via Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania, with the money used in financing eastern DRC's recurring wars.

The Rift Valley Institute   (RVI ) make some interesting observations on the functioning of FARDC ( Congolese Army ) when it comes to matters economic.

“ Subordinates are obliged to pay regular amounts to superiors, often referred to as rapportage (‘bringing in’)—or, as many Congolese soldiers put it, ‘feeding the horse so the horse feeds you’. Rapportage works as an instrument of control: those failing to submit sufficient revenues are sent to so-called ‘drier zones’, with fewer opportunities to make money. The relationship between commander and subordinate is not one of unrestrained predation, but entails a kind of reciprocity. Just as subordinates are expected to deliver to their superiors, so they too are supposed to provide something in return: protection, advice, mitigation of punishments, promotion, leave, and training.”

The 276-page report by the UN Group of Experts on the DRC armed conflict says, corruption, poor quality of life for Citizens, illegal mineral exploitation and interference from Neighbouring countries, remain major sources of instability in the DRC.

Of course it isn't just gold or for that matter FARDC, again from the RVI:

" Opportunities for profiteering extend far beyond minerals: militias have exploited and traded charcoal, hardwoods, cannabis, fish, and wild animals. In addition, almost all armed groups depend heavily on illegal taxation, usually obtained at road-blocks and markets, and through food collections in villages. Some groups—like the FDLR and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group largely operating in the Ruwenzori borderlands—also cultivate food crops on a large scale, trade consumer items, and have extensive investments in urban areas, owning shops, motor-cycles, and pharmacies. These activities require collaborators within the state and business sectors, evidence of armed groups’ broader social underpinnings."

Kenya and Uganda Have Become Major Exporters of gold since the two countries-have the infrastructure to transporting illegal minerals to   international markets. An Estimated 20 million people in DRC, Uganda and Rwanda, and Kenya to Some extent, depend on the illegal mining of DRC minerals as Their only source of livelihood.

Lets not forget coltan or Rwanda. 

" According to the United States Geographic Survey, Rwanda produced more than 25% of the world’s coltan in 2011, more than what their coltan deposits should be able to provide. Rwandan coltan mining relies on mines in the DRC, some of which are in conflict areas and some of which are not. Of the ten large Rwandan mining companies, only four have taken any measures to verify that their product is not conflict-sourced. Rwanda has also been implicated multiple times in Congolese coltan smuggling by the UN, along with Burundi and Uganda. However, Uganda and Burundi do not report having a coltan industry, so those claims are even more difficult for the UN to verify. It is believed that about half of all Rwandan coltan comes from conflict regions in the DRC."

Charges of gold smuggling against Uganda are not new. Some high-ranking military ounce Officials Were Accused by a UN Panel of involvement in smuggling Congolese minerals and other natural resources. HOWEVER, Uganda says it now HAS mineral processing protocol with the Congolese government and dealings with Congolese gold dealers are above board.

But it isn't the official Congolese gold dealers who are the problem.

CAR: " And so as I patrol in the valley of the shadow of the tricolour "

DW ( Germany ) reports  

Chad's role behind the scenes in the Central African Republic

A bloody conflict is threatening to tear the Central African Republic (CAR) apart. The African Union has sent troops, the EU wants to follow suit - but it is Chad which is pulling the strings militarily and politically.

The Central African Republic's northern neighbor, Chad, is a military heavyweight in the region. Under the leadership of President Idriss Deby Itno, it is a driving force behind key decisions in the current crisis. For example, on the question of the president: CAR's interim president Michel Djotodia was invited to attend a summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the Chadian capital N'Djamena in January 2014. He then resigned following pressure put on him by President Deby. This was not the first time Chad had decided on the rise and fall of a Central African president. Deby has always considered CAR to be Chad's backyard, says Helga Dickow, an expert on Central Africa at the Arnold Bergstresser Institute at Freiburg University. In the 1990s, former president Ange-Felix Patasse came to power with Chadian support, she said in an interview with DW. "And Djotodia's predecessor, Bozize, was basically only head of government with Deby's approval."

I think there is far more to it than that. There can be little doubt the Seleka Alliance is a movement under the control of Chad.  

" Numerous interviewees identified the ex-Séléka perpetrators as being Chadian nationals. Witnesses consistently reported that ex- Séléka wearing the armbands of Chadian FOMAC went from house to house searching for anti-Balaka, and shot and killed civilians, including children, women, elderly and disabled civilians.

The mission received multiple testimonies of collusion between some Chadian FOMAC elements and ex-Séléka forces. For example, a credible source reported that, on 5 December, in District 4, at around 3 pm, several witnesses had seen ex-Séléka, jointly with Chadian FOMAC, going door-to-door looking for anti-Balaka and indiscriminately killing at least 11 people, including elderly women, sick persons, and persons with mental disabilities, who had been unable to flee in the morning."  

The better question is why did Chad topple Bozize ? One also has to question now the role of France in the fall of Bangui to the Seleka. Abandoning the CAR to the depredations of the Seleka bandits with I admit the benefit of hindsight was a bloody silly move, France surely could see the the colonial ambitions of Deby.     

Military might

Chad also has a very strong military presence in CAR. A large part of the 5,500- strong military mission of the African Union (MISCA) was provided by Chad. In December 2013, the intervention force was tasked with bringing stability to the country. In addition to MISCA, there are also some 1,600 French soldiers in the Central African Republic

It would also have to be said that the Chad peacekeepers are doing a bloody awful job, they are clearly not trusted by the other African National armies contributing to the AU forces.  

" Lieutenant-Colonel Pontien Hakizimana, head of the Burundian contingent in MISCA, told AFP his men were disarming former rebels when Chadian troops from MISCA threw a grenade and opened fire on them, prompting some Burundian elements to return fire, wounding three Chadians."

The result of this was supposed to be the removal from the south of the Chad forces to the north of the country, something that although ordered by the command of  MISCA did not happen. 
" Chadian troops are to be pulled out of the Central African Republic's capital, Bangui, after clashes with demonstrators and Burundian soldiers. The Chadians, who are the largest contingent of the African peacekeeping force, Misca, will be redeployed to the north.

Chad is widely believed to be have been behind the Seleka rebellion and having troops from there is not all that smart. The feeling in the Christian community is that the peace keepers from Chad are actually protecting Muslim and particularly Seleka interests.

"The whole Chadian contingent will be sent to secure the north in the next few days," Misca spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ndong Toutoune told the AFP news agency."

The alliance between the Chadian and French armies is not new. Chad had already shown itself to be an experienced and important ally during the French intervention in Mali. Since that joint operation, France has now "sided with Deby," says Dickow. "France is now basically supporting a dictator who was previously not socially acceptable. He is now back in the fold of international politics."

I think France has made a major error, I have little doubt that Deby is planning to engage in a bit of thieving of the considerable resources of the CAR, however his Seleka thugs have overplayed his hand and it would seem that the CAR might well be heading towards a homogeneous Christian state. 

However, in the Central African Republic, the population took a skeptical view of the foreign troops. There have been accusations that Chad "supported Seleka rebels and even trained some of them," Dickow told DW.

"The Chadian troops in CAR have reached a size that is uncontrollable,” says Acheikh Ibn-Oumar, a Chadian opposition politician and former ambassador to the United Nations.

"Chadian troops have been crossing the almost one thousand kilometer-long (620 miles) border with CAR, saying they are trying to control it," he told DW.

I am reminded of the Muslim demands when the French troops first arrived for an independent Muslim Nation in the North of the country. 
" On Tuesday the crowds making their way down the deserted city streets were holding signs that said: "We say No to France!" and "Hollande = Liar." Other signs had a hand drawn map of this nation located at the heart of Africa, but showed it split into two, with a Muslim homeland penciled in in the country's north."
Splitting the CAR into separate Christian and Muslim nations is I suspect the objective of the Chadian troops and why they are enabling the Seleka Alliance to carry on the slaughter of the Christian community. "

Brice Kevin Kapayen, a human rights activist and member of the CAR transitional parliament, confirmed that Seleka supporters had entered CAR. "They are armed. The question is: who gave them arms?" The spokesman of the Chadian government has denied any involvement. "But he is not here. He is not in Bangui to see what is happening. We have evidence for everything we are saying," said Kapayen.

Chad is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. In negotiations, Chad argued against sending a UN peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic. "They want to find an African solution," says Helga Dickow.

There is an irony that the African solution that Chad seems to be proposing could have with a few subtle alterations have been written in Rwanda. Balkanisation is not a solution for either the DR Congo or the CAR, furthermore it is not an African solution.
The oil factor

Chad has built up its military strength thanks to its oil revenue, says Dickow, and this makes the country appear stable and powerful. However this appearance is deceptive. President Deby is looking for a way to secure the southern borders. He wants to make himself militarily impregnable as he did before in the Darfur conflict when rebels from Sudan threatened his hold on power. "The other crisis region which could be a gathering point for rebels who could rise up against N'Djamena is the border region between CAR and southern Chad," Dickow said.

She sees another reason why this border is of interest for Deby. In southern Chad and in the north of the Central African Republic are oil wells. "Any trouble in this border region would also jeopardize oil production in Chad."

Not if the north was to become a client state or even a southern province of Chad.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Rwanda: " The heralds of the holocaust, Uzis on a street corner "

New Times Rwanda reports

Controversial ICTR judge acquits top Genocidaires

                                                                                  Judge Theodor Meron.

Former head of the Rwandan gendarmerie Gen. Augustin Ndindiliyimana walked away from the latest judgement of the appeal bench in Arusha yesterday, Tuesday, having been acquitted of all charges against him.
Augustin Ndindiliyimana seems to have been more of a moderate and that appears to be what has brought about this acquittal it is interseting to note that Paul Rusesabagina   (Hotel Rwanda)  in his biography observes: 

" Ndindiliyimana was more of a moderate who did not seem to entirely approve of the genocide. He also notes that Ndindiliyimana was responsible for dismantling a potentially disastrous roadblock in front of the Hôtel des Mille Collines."

Sorry but  "....who did not seem to entirely approve of the genocide." doesn't sound like a very good defense in my opinion.

The 65-minute ruling also decided on the acquittal and immediate release of former army major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and a downgrading of the sentence of Captain Innocent Sagahutu from 20 to 15 years.
Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu acquittal and the reduction in prison sentence is more than odd, it would seem that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda appeals bench has lost all touch with reality. Or to put it another way Judge Theodor Meron  has. I would have to say that having a clearly senile Judge in charge of the tribunal has resulted in justice being denied to the victims of the atrocities of 1994.  

" The ICTR indictment alleges that between 1990 and 1994, Nzuwonemeye and other officers conspired to exterminate the Tutsi civilians and political opponents, and helped to train interahamwe and militia groups who committed the genocide.

After Habyarimana's death and the start of the genocide, members of the Reconnaissance Battalion commanded by Nzuwonemeye's subordinate, Innocent Sagahutu, "tracked down, arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed" Rwandan Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. They also took into custody ten Belgian peacekeepers from UNAMIR who had been guarding her house, who were later killed. They were accompanied in this by members of the Presidential Guard commanded by Major Protais Mpiranya.
During the same operation, the Rwandan Army soldiers took into custody ten Belgian peacekeepers from UNAMIR who had been guarding her house. They were taken back to Camp Kigali, a FAR encampment, were they were "attacked and beaten" by members of RECCE under Sagahutu's command. They were later killed."

Prosecutor Hassan Jallow and trial judges looked shocked and, in some cases, bewildered, by the result.

Bewildered is indeed the operative word here, but I am surprised that they were shocked. Meron has form, as head of the International Tribunal for Yugoslavia he came up with some shockingly bad judgments overturning precedents from WW I I.

" Over the last eight months, a series of surprise rulings at the international war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sparked extraordinary controversy in the staid world of international law.

Critics say the decisions weakened World War II-era precedents that hold commanders responsible for war crimes. Supporters say their impact is being exaggerated and the judge associated with them is being unfairly maligned."

And that seems to be the crux of the incomprehensible decisions that have been made by the same Judge in these Rwandan cases. This isn't a principle that applies only to the law it is common throughout society, if some goes wrong on your watch you are accountable. Lets be really clear though, genocide is not merely something going wrong, it is the most heinous crime possible and these " soldiers " and I use that word with great reservations, have not been punished.    

A notable absentee from the judgement who had been scheduled to appear was former head of the Rwandan armed forces (FAR) General Augustin Bizimungu.

Originally, the four accused had been tried together as part of the case termed ‘military 2.’
On Friday, February 7, the Appeal bench decided at the final moment that it was ‘severing’ the Bizimungu case from that of the others while it considered ‘the absence of legal findings in the trial judgement in relation to Bizimungu’s conviction for genocide’, for which he had received a 30 year sentence at the ICTR on  May 17, 2011.
The packed public gallery listened attentively as the head of the appeal bench, 83-year-old Presiding Judge Theodor Meron read out the controversial decision.

" ...83-year-old Presiding Judge Theodor Meron ...", 800,000 people died and now we have denied them justice, great age does not always mean great wisdom.

Ndindiliyimana had been sentenced at his original trial for crimes of genocide, extermination and murder but given a sentence of ‘time already served in detention’ that amounted to 11 years and released.

He had been appointed as head of the gendarmerie in September 1992, holding the position until July 1994.  He looked calm and impassive as step by step the appeal bench found that the original trial judges had ‘erred’ in their findings.

In fact, the word ‘erred’ was to be used time and again to describe the previous trial judgement.

I think that the nature of these errors need to be spelt out in far greater detail.  

According to the appeal judges, Ndindiliyimana had ceded control of most of the gendarmerie to the Rwandan army (FAR) on April 7, 1994 and extremist and rogue elements had ‘infiltrated’ the police thus downplaying his authority and ability to control their actions. At his trial it was shown that gendarmes had been guarding Ndindiliyimana’s residence at the request of his wife. Some of these had later taken part in the massacre of Tutsi at Kansi Parish for which Ndindiliyimana was originally held responsible by not preventing or punishing them as their superior.

Following orders is not a defense, but failing to give orders when you are in a position to do so is a defense. This is bollocks, no commander would be foolish enough to give orders to commit crimes against humanity therefor it would seem logical the only possible defense is to give orders that prohibit explicitly the committing of such crimes. Abdication of responsibility as a defense is an obscenity.  

Meron’s appeal bench decided that this was an error and Ndindiliyimana lacked ‘the ability to prevent or punish them and no reasonable trial finding could find the gendarmes had participated’ at the parish. A similar decision was taken to account for his responsibility for killings by Ndindiliyimana’s gendarmes at St André College in Kigali.

Just for the record St Andre College: 

" A number of those who escaped the massacre in the Nyamirambo church hid in the nearby Collège Saint André. There, a similar siege occurred following another broadcast by RTLM. By 11 April, an estimated 100 people were hiding in the school. According to witness testimony, RTLM targeted the school on 11 or 12 April, claiming it was harbouring RPF [Front patriotique rwandais] accomplices. In apparent response to the RTLM broadcast, on the evening of 13 April, the RPF rescued about 40 of the people hiding there. On 14 or 15 April, militias stormed the premises and killed all those remaining."

François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye surprisingly did not attend the court with no reason given for his absence and was represented by his counsel. He had been Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion within the Rwandan army from 1993.

At his trial in 2011 he was convicted of genocide and murder as a crime against humanity and sentenced to 20 years. Meron, reading the appeal bench decision with just an occasional pause for a sip of water, again decided there had been numerous ‘errors’ by the original trial judges.

Why does the sipping of water remind me so much of this ?

" Pilate washes his hands to show that he was not responsible for the execution of Jesus and reluctantly sends him to his death."

Meron like Pilate and indeed the accused it would seem, feel that abdicating responsibility is acceptable. It wasn't, it isn't and it never will be.

Most notably this had been in the actions of troops under Nzuwonemeye’s control who had taken part in the murder of then prime minister Agathe Uwilingyimana.

However, the appeal court ruled that Nzuwonemeye could not have known that some of his men placed 100 metres away to stop Uwilingiyimana escaping to give a radio broadcast would take part on their own initiative in the brutal killing. Equally, Sagahutu, who was the second in command of the reconnaissance battalion, was also cleared of any responsibility in this killing.

Both army officers had originally been convicted for the murder of members of the Belgian Unamir force, also on April 7, at Camp Kigali.

Meron announced that the appeal bench was clearing Nzuwonemeye of being responsible as a superior officer for the death of the peacekeepers.

It did though find with the original trial decision that Sagahutu had aided and abetted the killing, allowing a mobile grenade launcher to be taken from his office for this purpose, though it was unclear if it was used to murder the last of the Belgians who were putting up some resistance.

A soldier takes a soldiers chance, the Belgian peacekeepers died with honour, that is enough and Meron's  stupidity will never detract from that. It is also far more than can be said for these Genocidaires. 
Ndindiliyimana has been living for the past two years in a safe house in Arusha with others the ICTR has either acquitted or released. His attempt, as with many of the other former accused, to get a residency permit for Belgium has been refused. The defence now hopes that this acquittal will enable him to travel to Europe to rejoin his family.

Belgium should issue indictments for murder, that these men, responsible for the deaths of the Belgium peacekeepers could think that Belgium would want them beggars all belief.

Sagahutu, who sported a long greying beard for the judgement, was taken back to the UN detention facilities. However, as he has been in custody since being transferred back from Denmark where he was arrested in February 2000, he has only a year left of his reduced punishment to serve, and it is likely he may be set free far sooner given the ICTR decision to release convicted prisoners after serving three quarters of sentences and he has already applied for early release.

This is not justice, we have failed the 800,000 victims of the Rwandan genocide. 

Given the nature of Meron’s appeal judgements in this case and other military ones at the ICTR and ICTY in the Hague, there is every prospect that General Bizimungu will also find his sentence substantially reduced or even dismissed when he appears in the coming months to hear his own verdict.

Genocide survivor and director at the National Commission for the fight against genocide (CNLG), Dr Diogene Bideri, reacted to yesterday’s verdicts with shock and a sense that once again the ICTR has let down victims of the 1994 horror.

Bideri said: “I cannot really find a word to express what I see happening at the ICTR and what I see as a systematic attempt by Judge Meron, working to a political agenda, that has downplayed what actually happened here and which we Rwandans all know the truth about.

I agree. I disagree with just about everything the current Kigali regime stands for and does but I hope Kagame raises pure hell over this travesty, he would have my total support.

“There is great indignation at the trivialization such a judgement gives, and it is something we cannot accept even though we are just meant to sit back and keep silent.”

Bideri pointed to a number of other highly controversial decisions taken by the appeal bench under Meron in Arusha and at the ICTY in the Hague that have led to high profile military and political figures being acquitted after receiving hefty original sentences with the trial judges being held to be ‘in error’ in their understanding or application of the law.

The world is not short of jurists, why have the victims of 1994 been delivered into the hands of this incompetent ? We the world failed them in life and now we have failed them in death.