Friday, August 29, 2014

Africa: " Count the hours 'til dawn and bring out your dead "

The World Health Organization ( WHO ) advises

WHO issues roadmap to scale up international response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa

                                                            Colorised transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of ebola virus 

The aim is to stop ongoing Ebola transmission worldwide within 6–9 months, while rapidly managing the consequences of any further international spread. It also recognizes the need to address, in parallel, the outbreak’s broader socioeconomic impact.

It responds to the urgent need to dramatically scale up the international response. Nearly 40% of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks.

Interestingly this report gilds the lily but the roadmap pulls no punches. 

" This Roadmap assumes that in many areas of intense transmission the actual number of cases may 
be 2-4 fold higher than that currently reported. It acknowledges that the aggregate case load of EVD 

could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency. "

The roadmap was informed by comments received from a large number of partners, including health officials in the affected countries, the African Union, development banks, other UN agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and countries providing direct financial support.

It will serve as a framework for updating detailed operational plans. Priority is being given to needs for treatment and management centres, social mobilization, and safe burials. These plans will be based on site-specific data that are being set out in regular situation reports, which will begin this week.

It should be a useful tool. But its utility will be compromised I would suggest to the point of being useless if the scale of underreporting continues. The count to date is cases have risen to 3,069, with 1,552 deaths, that may of course be just the tip of the iceberg. 

The situation reports map the hotspots and hot zones, present epidemiological data showing how the outbreak is evolving over time, and communicate what is known about the location of treatment facilities and laboratories, together with data needed to support other elements of the roadmap.

The New York Times points out one logistical problem:

" Mr. Aylward, picking out details of the road map, said it would take at least 750 international and 12,000 local health workers. 

“That is very difficult in the current environment,” he added, alluding to fears arising from the high number of medical workers — 250 as of Monday — who had contracted the disease. Recruiting international staff may be harder than finding local personnel, he added, debunking the notion that locals were running away from the crisis.

Health workers were getting infected because they were exhausted from working extraordinary hours, Mr. Aylward said. "

The roadmap covers the health dimensions of the international response. These dimensions include key potential bottlenecks requiring international coordination, such as the supply of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, and body bags.

The WHO roadmap will be complemented by the development of a separate UN-wide operational platform that brings in the skills and capacities of other agencies, including assets in the areas of logistics and transportation. The UN-wide platform aims to facilitate the delivery of essential services, such as food and other provisions, water supply and sanitation, and primary health care.

This situation was entirely predictable ( and predicted ) yet only now is the International Community starting to get a grip on it. Obviously it will get worse before it starts to improve but now is the critical time. If we screw up now the consequences will be horrendous.

" That is very good news isolation is the key to beating this. If it gets to a major city or population area well it doesn't bear thinking about. But one day it will. "

Resource flows to implement the roadmap will be tracked separately, with support from the World Bank.

As I observed nearly two years ago $2 million was chicken feed, I have no idea what this epidemic will cost but it is irrelevant, the lowest price tag I have seen is in the region of half a billion dollars and I very much doubt it will be that low. 

"If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened," he said, adding that an estimated $US2 million had to be urgently found to pay for measures to tackle the disease.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

DR Congo: " Hey you, you've survived. Now you've arrived "

Esther Nsapu blogs at Rafika, this has been translated by the Rafika translation service from French and then been cleaned up a bit by me. All errors are mine. I have avoided making any comments.

Kitchanga: the vulnerable populations living through farming activities

We are in Masisi territory specifically in the Kibumbu marsh 85 km from Goma; before me dozens of vulnerable people are carrying out work on community fields, repair farms and deserted schools. Others are working on storage facilities or in community granaries. Here men and women work together regardless of language or tribes.

The WFP ( World Food Programme ) is supporting developments 
in collaboration with PADEC Food Programme, a local NGO is implementing a program called " Living for Travai " for over 48,000 vulnerable households among them Internally Displaced Persons ( IDP ), returnees and householders to combat food insecurity in Kitchanga part of the Masisi territory. 

Kitchanga Marsh operation has arranged small plots of eight hectares per household. Each household operates its plot free for a period of 5 years.

The objective of this project is to restore livelihoods as well as the social and economic reintegration of vulnerable people, says Mr. Djaounsede from the WFP.

In this environment, it is not easy for poor families to rebuild their lives after a natural disaster or armed conflict. Many of them are displaced persons from Kahira, Nyabiondo, Pinga, Walikale, Bugini, Rutchuru, Bibwe and other places.

" I am from Bibwe, and I am a mother of 7 children. Through this project live to work , I can provide for my family; I managed to get a plot of land and I started to grow sprouts and sweet potatoes ". Says Ms. Ndondoli who is cultivating the marsh.

Since 2013, vulnerable families have regained their independence because this project, it has allowed many displaced returned and to improve their standard of living. 

For Mr Simon Bitahwa of PADEC the WFP in conjunction with the Programme for Community Support has assisted PADEC developments since 2013. More than 800 vulnerable households have benefitted from the development of acres of the Marsh for vegetable production and this has built social cohesion between conflict-torn communities. From the second year, each household operates its land independently.

The role of this project is to provide food and allow the displaced to have enough to eat and to devote their energies full time to the implementation this programme.

It is worth noting that the activities of " work for food " is taking place in areas affected by armed groups such as the North and South Kivu, Provinces Orientale, Katanga and Equateur but problems continue to arise in conflict zones, those of insecurity and access to land.

DR Congo: " You've finished playing hangman, you've cast the fateful dice"

The Security Council  has announced


                                                            FDLR criminals

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Mark Lyall Grant ( United Kingdom):

On 7 August, the members of the Security Council heard briefings by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Head of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, the outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson, and the Minister for Defence of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, in his capacity as representative of the Chair of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). The members of the Security Council welcomed the nomination of Said Djinnit as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region.

So the only thing worth noting from that is that Said Djinnit is / is to be / might be / the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General. Somewhat at odds with his bio. in Wikipedia.

" Said Djinnit (Arabic: سعيد جينيت‎) (born June 7, 1954) is an Algerian diplomat who has been Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region in Africa since 2014. Previously he served as the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA)."

On the whole I think Wikipedia is more likely to be correct than Mark Lyall Grant, who either clearly can't read or has the ability to alter the decisions of the UN Secretary General from this blog July 20.  

" To continue building on her work, the UN Secretary General recently announced the appointment of Said Djinnit, former Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa, to succeed Robinson. Ambassador Djinnit's appointment is a reassuring and welcomed sign of the UN's sustained commitment to the Great Lakes."

This blog has long argued for Security Council reform, this whilst minor is yet another example of an organisation that is out of all touch with reality. 

The members of the Security Council welcomed the progress against armed groups, including the military defeat of the 23 March Movement (M23), the signing of the Nairobi Declarations by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government and M23, and the significant weakening of the Allied Democratic Forces—National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU), but regretted that no significant progress was made towards the neutralization of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR). They noted the initial efforts made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government and the Governments of the region towards fulfilling the commitments made under the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework, including the development of national and regional benchmarks. The members of the Security Council welcomed the efforts of regional organizations, in particular the role of the ICGLR, including that of President José Eduardo dos Santos as Chair, as subsequently demonstrated by the holding of two Heads of State and Government Mini-Summits in Luanda ( Angola) on 25 March and on 14 August.

For fucks sake M23 were defeated last year. The Nairobi Declarations signed by the Congolese Government were not the same declarations that were signed by M23 and for some reason Mark Lyall Grant seems unaware that there was in fact a third declaration signed in Nairobi. All had different text and all are totally meaningless.

" So we have three documents; according to the United Nations, Banda and Museveni signed one set, we appear to have photographic evidence to back this up.

Then we have Bertrand Bisimwa signing something that that says M23 is finished as a military force, something I would have thought was fairly self evident. At the same time the government of the DR Congo is signing a third set of papers that seem to bear no relationship with the previous two sets of documents and making matters even worse this is all just speculation on my part as I have not been able to track down the text of any of the documents."

As for the weakening of the Ugandan rebels ADF that is progress. Bloody slow progress but progress. The FDLR, my gut feeling is that they will not comply with the six month time frame to disarm. If MONUSCO and its component part the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade want to maintain credibility they should be preparing a devastating response to be visited on the FDLR the day they go over the deadline. Genocidal killers deserve no respect. In the interests of avoiding unnecessary deaths, the FDLR have had ample time to demobilise.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their support for the swift neutralization of FDLR, as a top priority in bringing stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region. They recalled that leaders and members of FDLR were among the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and recalled that FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions, operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which has continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They expressed deep concern regarding the sustained domestic and regional threat posed by FDLR, including recent reports of continued human rights abuses by members of FDLR and continued recruiting and training of combatants, including children, and stressed the importance of disarming and ending the threat caused by this illegal armed group.

As I said above if the FDLR think they can play games with the world it is time they reflected upon the fallacy of that position and if they do so from the perspective of watching the grass grow above them so be it.

The members of the Security Council took note of ongoing ICGLR and Southern African Development Community (SADC) diplomatic efforts to harmonize views and approaches on the neutralisation and unconditional disarmament of FDLR. They further took note of the six-month timeframe for the voluntary surrender of FDLR from 2 July and the review of progress after three months, as set out by the joint ICGLR-SADC meeting of Ministers of Defence on 2 July. They expressed concern about reports by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo that FDLR has interpreted this six-month timeframe as a call to stall previously scheduled demobilizations. They noted that the disarmament process should be concluded swiftly, have a clearly defined end state and be supported by credible military action. Meanwhile, they encouraged the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government, in coordination with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), to actively pursue military action against those leaders and members of FDLR who do not engage in the demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses. They underlined MONUSCO’s mandate to neutralize all armed groups, in line with resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014), and further underlined their support for an effective disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement programme, paying a particular attention to women and children, as part of the demobilization process.

That is a Security Council authorisation for MONUSCO to neutralise kill the bastards. They deserve it.

The members of the Security Council took note of the technical missions carried out by the Democratic Republic of the Congo Government-led delegations to Uganda and Rwanda in April and July, respectively, to assess and process amnesty requests for former M23 combatants, in preparation for the repatriation of those eligible for reintegration, and underlined the need to fast-track and conclude their return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in accordance with an agreed timetable. In this regard, they encouraged the parties to speed up the implementation of the Kampala Dialogue/Nairobi Declarations in order to ensure the permanent demobilization of M23.

What fucking dreamland are the Security Council living in ? Security Council President Mark Lyall Grant is a bloody fool. M23 have not gone away and will not go away " ...the permanent demobilization of M23." As I said we need Security Council reform. Mark Lyall Grant is an idiot.
The members of the Security Council called for the full and swift implementation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s national commitments under the Peace and Security Council Framework, including the restoration of State authority and the wider governance, economic and security sector reforms needed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to consolidate the progress made so far. They noted in this context the particular importance of security sector reform, including the establishment of a rapid reaction force. They stressed that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo bears primary responsibility for security, protection of civilians, national reconciliation, peacebuilding and development in the country.

Nothing unreasonable there, other than how ? Easy let's repatriate to the DR Congo all the receipts of all the wealth stolen from them... yup billions upon billions of dollars. America you are fucked and the UK with you your economies just failed due to debt failure.

Or we could do what we are doing now and a lot more... not just leave the DR Congo to spend another century in hell.

The members of the Security Council commended the work of Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kobler and outgoing Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Robinson, and underlined the continuing crucial role of MONUSCO in protecting civilians and promoting peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They stressed the importance of the troop-contributing countries’ role in the implementation of the Mission’s full mandate, including the neutralization of all armed groups through its Intervention Brigade, in support of the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, either unilaterally or jointly with the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC), and in cooperation with the whole of MONUSCO. They further emphasized the importance for MONUSCO to support and work with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to arrest and bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They also stressed the need to continue to increase the effectiveness of the Mission, and looked forward to the outcome of the forthcoming Strategic Review of MONUSCO and the wider United Nations presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Gobbledygook at its best.

The members of the Security Council encouraged the United Nations, the African Union, ICGLR, SADC and other relevant international and regional organizations to continue to work together to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Governments of the region towards the full implementation of the national and regional commitments under the Peace and Security Council Framework.

New Zealand is running for a seat on the Security Council and I think we might get it. I hope we don't. The last thing the world needs right now is us.

Monday, August 25, 2014

DR Congo: " Earth rim walker seeks his meals Prepare the funeral pyres "

Jeune Afrique reports. ( Translated from French by Jeune Afrique's web translation service and cleaned up by me. All errors are mine ).

DRC: hemorrhagic fever of unknown origin "under control"

                                                              Ebola DR Congo  File photo

The Congolese Minister of Health, Dr. Felix Kabange Numbi, announced Friday that the hemorrhagic fever of unknown origin that has thirteen deaths since August 11 in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo was "under control."

That is a huge statement but I am inclined to believe it given that the DR Congo has some experience at dealing with this.

The situation "is under control at Boende, especially in the area down to Lokolia. Until now the disease has been contained in areas Lokolia and Watsikengo" he told reporters on returning back from these regions in the province of Ecuador. He recalled that 13 people - including a pregnant woman, five health workers and a baby a month old - had died since August 11 after suffering a hemorrhagic fever "of unknown origin" which, after three or four days, causes in patients vomiting and diarrhea with "black blood."

It can take up to 20 days to present after infection according to some reports I have seen. That  is a large margin for error.

" Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Typically, vomiting, diarrhea and rash follow, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally."

Lokolia and Watsikengo, thirty miles apart, are the epicenters of the disease. The minister said the fever transmission risk remain low because of the natural barriers to reaching these very remote areas, transport is by plane, road, boat and motorcycle. About 80 people who had contact with the deceased patients were tracked from their homes in Boende Moke, Lokolia, Watsikengo and Lokula. Of the 80 contacts, "there are eleven who presented with fever and diarrhea and they were already isolated," said the minister.

The infrastructure in the DR Congo is poor and that is the reason that previous outbreaks have been contained relativity easily but it certainly isn't grounds for complacency something that all to often seems to be the standard governmental response of Kinshasa.

Some people who live between Goma in DRC and Gisenyi in Rwanda confirm these control measures but judge them as fairly rudimentary.

The authorities have established commissions of patient monitoring, hygiene, sanitation and safe burials. Laser thermometers, protective gear (masks, hats, gloves ...) and sanitation equipment were distributed. Free health care has been authorised to limit contamination, residents are aware to greet with the elbow.

Better I would think to avoid any physical contact including elbows.

Too early to talk of "hemorrhagic fever"

On Friday morning, an official of the World Health Organization (WHO) which has sent experts to the affected area during the minister's visit and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has personnel on-site, felt that it was still too early to speak of "hemorrhagic fever". We just have the 8 samples taken in the province of Ecuador that were deposited at the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), announced the Minister of Health. "We hope that in seven to eight days to come, we will have the diagnosis," said he added.

It isn't too early at all Radio NZ News confirmed two cases in the DR Congo less than an hour ago. I can't ( unusual ) open their web page at the moment. The fucking insane American Republican Christian right  AKA The Stupid People are criticising the Obama administration over repatriation of 22 US citizens with Ebola. I doubt the figure and as far as I am aware it is only two people at this stage. I actually agree with the halfwits that it is a bad move but I suspect legally by virtue of American citizenship they have an absolute right to return. My reasoning is significantly different, the resources expended on returning said Americans would have been far better utilised in containing the outbreak.  I guess we still place a higher value on the lives of white Americans than we do on black Africans.

The then unknown disease that was discovered in the DRC in 1976 epidemic has caused since the beginning of the year in West Africa at least 1,350 deaths, including 576 in Liberia, 396 Guinea and 374 in Sierra Leone, according to a latest report of WHO, dated 18 August. In late July, the DRC increased its alert threshold including tougher screening of passengers coming from affected countries and prepositioned personnel for protection and diagnostics.

The news reports are assuring the world that it difficult to catch Ebola despite the figures above. They are all reporting that it is not an airborne disease, Ebola is a virus and like all viruses it can and will mutate. It may combine with other viruses. It may have become capable of airborne transmission, we don't know and " don't know " mean just that.

"If we are told that [the unconfirmed hemorrhagic fever in Ecuador] is Ebola, we will not be late because we will have already set up facilities that will allow us to contain the disease," said the minister. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in the Congolese province of Ecuador. Since then, the DRC has experienced several deadly epidemics. I the last outbreak 36 was officially death count between August and November 2012 in the Northeast.

Watch this space.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rwanda: The batshit crazy country.

Jeune Afrique reports ( I have used Jeune Afrique's  translation service and cleaned up the copy ).

Rwanda: Media told to apologize for accusing Ingabire of witchcraft 

                                                               Ingabire with her British lawyer Iain Edwards

The Rwandan media regulatory authority has ordered three newspapers to publish an apology and offer a right of reply for accusing Ingabire of witchcraft. Ingabire is imprisoned for "terrorism."

Two aspects are worth noting here, first it is no surprise that the media organisation felt they had carte blanche to make such fucking ridiculous accusations. Victoire Ingabire has been the victim of an incredible miscarriage of justice and one that could only have been orchestrated by Kagame. The second and from this blogs perspective far more important aspect is that the Rwandan Media Commission has had the balls to go into bat for Ingabire. Kagame has not yet managed to strangle all independent thought from non governmental officials.  

A website, and Umusingi newspaper had published a photograph of Ms. Ingabire carrying a child in her arms, accusing her of trying to cast a spell, according to information relayed by Radio One in its press release.

Which I would suggest speaks volumes for the state of the media in Rwanda again something that can be laid at the feet of Kagame.

The picture was taken on March 8 during the celebrations of the International Women's Day in Kigali prison where Ingabire, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "conspiracy against the government by terrorism and war" and for " minimizing the genocide " of 1994 in Rwanda has been incarcerated since 2010. These media " have not submitted facts " to support their accusations and " admitted defaming Ingabire," said Fred Muvunyi Friday, President of the of the Rwandan Media Commission.

It will be interesting to see if there are any further developments in this story. I suspect not, this ruling will probably get overturned by some sort of insane defence as " freedom of speech ". I can't imagine Kigali allowing Ingabire a platform to speak to the Rwandan people on this or any issue. David Farrar of Kiwiblog made an interesting observation on free speech on his blog.

" Some people here are fucking idiots. Free speech is not speech free of consequences."

Although unrelated to this issue Farrar is spot on the media in this case are fucking idiots and even if they avoid the sanction of the RMC they will discover there are consequences, journalists without credibility are a waste of space.


"The articles published by the media and reported on air by Radio One in its press review are defamatory of 
Victoire Ingabire ", said the RMC in its decision.

I think deformation would have to be proved in court and that will never happen for Ingabire in Rwanda.

They were ordered to write a letter of apology to Ms. Ingabire, to apologize to their readers or listeners admitting their mistake and to publish or read an on-air response from Ingabire.

As I said above I would be very surprised if Kagali allowed that to happen.

Victoire Ingabire, 45, is president of the Unified Democratic Forces (UDF) opposition party, not legally recognized. She was arrested in October 2010, two months after a presidential poll in which she could not participate as she had intended, against President Paul Kagame, who was re-elected. Rwandan justice has asserted Ingabire has links with the Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the sworn enemy of the Kigali authorities who accused the FDLR of being led by former executives of the Hutu regime responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

I have no doubt at all the FDLR leadership are amongst those responsible for the 1994 genocide. There is no evidence whatsoever to link Ingabire to those genocidal bastards. Ingabire is a prisoner of conscience and a worthy successor to the mantle of Madiba.

DR Congo: " Lurker at the threshold, he cares not for the brave, he cares not for the brave "

Charly Kasereka blogs. ( Translated  via a translation service and cleaned up by me. All mistakes are mine alone, I have refained from any comments ). 

Far from the virus, Goma implements safeguards to block Ebola.

      Charley Kasereka at Hygiene Service fever control, Congolese and Rwandan barrier  (Pacheko Kavundama Photo)
The local media have launched a campaign to educate residents about the ebola risk. The provincial Ministry of Health, WHO ( World Health Organisation ) and MSF ( Doctors Without Borders ) have  already announced measures to prevent the Ebola virus reaching Goma.  "The virus has not yet arrived in Goma " insisted Mutete Mundenge the provincial health minister in North Kivu on Wednesday at a press conference.

After a suspected case was discovered and quarantined in Kigali, Rwanda . Goma has the right to be afraid.
Since this virus has swept across West Africa in Goma and around the world everyone talks about "Ebola". In Goma, I talked with those who say to me:

" For myself, no longer the collective helmet for the bike! "

Others say to me: "As if Goma ever misses such occasions
!." This time the authorities are preparing for any eventuality.

All doors are locked against the arrival of the virus in Goma. The virus nor even a suspect cases have been reported in the city. "Prevention is better than cure" they say. At the Rwanda-Congo border and Goma airport, hygiene teams have already set up. An infrared temperature sensor, new technology has come to Goma.

Already at the Goma border gangs of workers have begun hygiene
controls to prevent against Ebola's arrival. Some people who live between Goma in DRC and Gisenyi in Rwanda confirm these control measures but judge them as fairly rudimentary.

Provincial Medical Inspector of Orientale Province, Jean-Marc Mambidi Kolodoro who has led the fight against Ebola since 1997, calls on the government to impose preventive measures. 

Handwashing, chlorinated water, people should avoid crowds and avoid hugs when they greet each other: " We must avoid crowds, physical greetings, use chlorinated water to wash our hands There are the concrete steps it takes. Use them. They will be the reason if we are lucky that we will avoid this disease that has a death rate of 90%.  That's our problem. " he stated on Radio 1 Kivu Goma on Thursday.

The DRC is the country where the virus was first detected in 1976 in the eastern province near the "Ebola" river. Ebola was named for the river passing near the town of Yambuku, in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo , then called Zaire . It was at the hospital in this town that the first case of Ebola hemorrhagic fever was identified in September 1976, the first epidemic was then and it infected 318 people killing 280.

In Goma, the provincial capital, the Ministry of Health and its partners are preparing a contingency plan with provision for any suspect cases that could be discovered.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DR Congo: " Venomous verbs of ruthless candour plagiarise assassins fervour "

Congo DRC News alleges I have translated this from French using Google Translate and then attempted to clean up the result ( against what most people would call good
judgement ). 
Congo DRC News is an M23 Facebook page. 

All translation mistakes are mine. 

Official Statement of Management of the Movement of March 23. 

We are totally distressed, dismayed, frustrated after new reports of 
summary execution of prisoners of war by the department military Intelligence 
DRC in Kinshasa. 

These are serious allegations. The problem is that they are being made by Bertrand Bisiimwa who is the head of what remains of M23. To call the management of M23 pathological lairs would be being generous.

The executions occurred between the months of July and August 2014. Those executed were soldiers from the National Congress for the Defense of the People, Acronym CNDP, which were integrated into the Government Army to seal the Peace Agreement signed March 23, 2009 between the CNDP and the DRC Government. They were part of the hundred military personnel who were arrested in Goma, Masisi and Beni between May 2012 and August 2013 for the suspicion of belonging to the Movement of March 23. 

The CNDP was the predecessor organisation to M23. The M23 acronym comes from the failure of the integration of the CNDP in the Congolese army ( FARDC ). I don't think it would be unreasonable for the Government of the DR Congo to hold suspicions about former CNDP rebels having connections with M23. Acting on those suspicions without proof and one must assume without judicial process would fall into the category of war crimes. The question remains did it actually happen ?

There are soldiers whose situation remains unknown. They were sent to Kinshasa and kept in different jails with no accessible services under the jurisdiction of FARDC Military Intelligence and subjected to atrocious torture and constant degrading treatment seriously damaging their health.

None of those fitting this category appear to be named. The dead can wait if there are soldiers fitting this designation they should be named, that they haven't been makes me very suspicious. 

Ten of them were summarily executed between the months of 
July and August 2014, They are

1 Basanganira Donatien 
2 Mahoro Faustin 
3 Nzirasanaho Emmanuel 
4 Hakizimana Richard 
6 Kivamussa Simpenzwe, 
7 Hakizimana Fidel 
8 Bonane, 
9 Aliete Ndibindela, 
10 Molisho Safari. 

Under international criminal law, the execution of prisoners War is described as
war crime. Nations committing war crimes are liable to appropriate jurisdictions. 

I have had to clean up this a lot to make any sense of it. I assume the point Bisiimwa is trying to make is that the DR Congo government may be accountable to the Hague for these executions if they happened, or they happened without due process. 

Therefore, we are strongly concerned about the fate of other Prisoners of war on the list submitted to the Government for release. Their fate remains unanswered, eight months after signing. ( Nairobi agreement )

As for the " signing "

" So we have three documents; according to the United Nations, Banda and Museveni signed one set, we appear to have photographic evidence to back this up. Then we have Bertrand Bisimwa signing something that that says M23 is finished as a military force, something I would have thought was fairly self evident.  At the same time the government of the DR Congo is signing a third set of papers that seem to bear no relationship with the previous two sets of documents and making matters even worse this is all just speculation on my part as I have not been able to track down the text of any of the documents."

We have as far as I can see no mutually agreed document signed by M23 and Kinshasa. Those who are alleged to have been executed do not fall into the prisoners of war category they according to this article are former CNDP members who had joined the Congolese Army. The failure of Bisiimwa to distinguish again adds huge credibility questions to this report.

Statements of Nairobi. 
It is the same with respect to members Movement of 23 March who returned to the country in response to the many  messages initiated by DR Congo. Despite the Government  commitment to the amnesty. those who returned have been arrested in their homes by the security services and placed in detention without any judicial process. 

As far as I am aware the Congolese Government hasn't encouraged any of the M23 rebels to return. Bisiimwa's credibility as usual is stretched beyond breaking point. The Nairobi agreement is meaningless. M23 have in effect accepted an unconditional surrender and unconditional means just that.

In the city of Goma, we were able to identify 19 cases including 14 at the Central Prison Munzenze: NDAMWENGE BYENDA Daniel KAMBALE MBUSA Felix KAKULE TASI Mark Rwamanywa HABIPFURA, BIAITU FESTO, SEMPEZWE on, SENGIYUMVA Samuel BAHATI Bahari Roger Kalimunda Gerard Kazimoto Desire hamuli RWAMAKUBA Kaigo, Bonane BINEY, BAKUNZI Steve KAYEMBE Ally; 5 to Dungeon the National Agency for Information, ANR acronym Kabasha Olivier Bwira Eugene, Murhula Patrick jeanjacques PRINCE Andrew and SIBOMANA. 

I think we in New Zealand can assume our future head of state is not in gaol in Goma.

We recall that about 100 prisoners of war from CNDP, beneficiaries of the Amnesty agreement of 2009 that the DRC government had asserted to have released and transported in planes to the East are so far still missing. The subject was discussed at the talks in Kampala without agreement. Kinshasa has been criticized for not having delivered the prisoners to the Leadership of the CNDP as stipulated in the agreement.

Five years is a long time.

We denounce and condemn these acts of murder. We just to request from the 
ICGLR and SADC international inquiry to get to some light on this issue 
with similar facts have always legitimized specifications movements 

Allegations without evidence sums this up. M23 need to provide some hard evidence. I think it reasonable that should the DR Congo government face ICC action over these allegations of war crimes then the M23 should also be held to account for the many Crimes Against Humanity that they are accused of.

Made in Kampala, August 17, 2014 
The President of the Movement of March 23.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DR Congo: " A companion in my madness in the mirror the one with the silvery hair "

Charly Kasereka reports at France 24.  I have translated from French into English using a translation service and then cleaned up the copy. Any mistakes are mine. I have not commented other than at the conclusion of the article.

The mentally ill, ghosts of the city of Goma
                                       A person with a mental disorder in the streets of Goma. Photo Charly Kasereka.

There has been no recent count there but experts agree that people with mental disorders are more likely to roam the streets of Goma. Men and women, but also children all denied even rudimentary care in a city ravaged by war.

They are close to markets, at a street corner sitting behind a low wall, eating what they can find on their way. Some have traveled the same areas for years, sometimes barefoot. Others, traumatized by war, are joining the ranks of those left behind after the last armed conflict that ended in autumn of 2013.

Charly Kasereka, photojournalist and blogger in Goma went to meet several of them.

"Looking at them, I wondered how they managed to survive. They spend all their time in the same corner, day and night. I photographed a little boy on the shoulders of a man visibly affected by mental disorder. It is the child who told me that it was his father. After his episodes occurred, he was kicked out by his wife. Looking at them, I wondered how they managed to survive.

There is also an old gentleman who lugs around piles of garbage bags. He picks constantly rocks on the ground. He told me he wanted to throw them all to the bottom of Lake Kivu in the hope that one day the body of water disappears. This one  I had already met in 2012, but others arrived with the recent events. Some are former soldiers, two of them that I met repeatedly are particularly aggressive.

For Anicet Murwani Kibweke, center coordinator for Tulizo Letu, the only psychiatric facility in  Goma, some factors have been instrumental in increasing incidence of mental illness which he has observed in Goma in recent years. He cites the natural disasters that the city experienced, extreme poverty, but also the suffering of war that pushes people into the abuse of psychoactive substances like hemp or corn alcohol, which has long-term destructive effects.

                                            Young living in the street in Goma smoke hemp. Photo Alain Wandimoyi.

Victims of local beliefs

Most often, those who find themselves on the street have been abandoned by their families. This is particularly true of children, when they show the first signs of trouble are treated as witches and ostracized from society says Fakage Baganda specialist psychosocial issues in Goma for the CIF Health.

The prejudice that exists in our society means the mentally ill are viewed with contempt. Most ignore them but others throw stones when they become aggressive. Regularly, there are mentally ill people tied to trees because passersby could think of nothing better to control them. They remain there until a good soul comes and releases them.

Many do not realize that no one is immune to such diseases and especially in an area that has seen much violence. These disorders can occur just after the violence but also manifest much later.

Convinced that their relatives are possed by a demonic spirit, families prefer to turn to pastors or priests, thinking they can exorcise the sick. Thus, people with mental disorders are sometimes sequestered in prayer rooms, an action that only delays the recovery of the patient, the doctor 
Anicet Murwani Kibweke is concerned

To counter these reactions and bring patients modern medicine, our center in Goma decided to work with a parish. We have educated the priest to help convince families: he explains, that it is important to continue to pray but in parallel, it is essential that the patient takes medication.

                                                                        A patient wanders the streets of Goma.

The cost barrier to treatment

In 2013, Anicet Murwani Kibweke said they followed nearly 6,000 people through the Center for Mental Health Tulizo Letu or "quiet place" patients who had received medication. Meanwhile, nearly 700 mental patients were hospitalised for periods ranging from several weeks to several months.

We were helped by the organisation Fracarita based in Belgium. They provide us medicines but for the rest, we rely on the payment from family caregivers. Now, when a patient receives several successive treatments, the family pays first but does not take long. The first consultation costs a significant $ 6.50 [€ 5] payment. Then the family must pay $ 1 [0.75 euros] per visit, plus medicine. So we do what we can to continue despite the problems but inevitably there is a lack of resources and this is contributing to relapse of patients.

The doctor recalls that the family structure is also an essential element for the success of treatment.

It is requires that the patient be supported because when released, the family must take over. So, when some are collected in the street by residents or the police bring them in, we do everything we can to reconnect with relatives of the patients. Care of patients living in the street, without any connection to their loved ones are more difficult to treat relates the specialist.

Lawlessness: difficult to fight against discrimination

Professionals agree that the current Congolese legislation does not ensure the protection of persons with mental disorders when they are victims of violence, or deal with them appropriately when they are the perpetrators. For the patients who manifest aggressively from the disease and who are not treated often have no ability to avoid committing acts of violence.

No specific treatments exist. We draw on medical ethics and the Belgian and French experiences, particularly in terms of criminal responsibility of the mentally ill, said Dr. Sala.

When a patient has committed a crime, doctors work with the police in the investigation which may help to establish that the patient was not aware at the time of his act. It is then for the magistrate to determine liability.But this system is obviously not enough. We need legislation that would protect the patient, the victim, and also the medical staff.

In 2011, the World Health Organization recorded 44 psychiatrists and 10 psychologists in the Congolese population of 68 million.

Think about that last statistic. That is less than one mental healthcare professional per million people. When you bitch about the foreign aid, reparations for stolen wealth remember it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Zealand: " With the jester on the sidelines in a cast "

Keeping Stock blogs .

David Cunliffe has a bit of a dilemma here. Labour has clearly selected a candidate for Rangitata who has extreme views about the Prime Minister, which he is not shy in putting into the public domain. That in itself is a recipe for catastrophe.

But by pledging a campaign focusing on policies rather than personalities, David Cunliffe has painted himself into a corner here. Either he throws the Sledge Pledge out the window and endorses a candidate with clear anti-Semitic views, or he is forced to order that the candidate be deselected. Whichever path he chooses, it's yet another distraction Labour could do without.

Yesterday Labour's Big Red Positive Bus was rolled out in downtown Auckland. Today however, a wheel has fallen of the Bus of Positivity.

FOOTNOTE: If you don't get the anti-Semitism here, this may help you.

If Gibson is still a Labour candidate when the sun that will soon rise over NZ set's again I will be astonished.  It matters not, tonight Labour lost the election. There is no way I will cast a party vote for a party that fields such  a candidate. Keeping Stock further reports in the comments 

"Quite so QH - he's apologised for the "Shylock" reference, claiming ignorance of Shylock being derogatory and anti-Semitic. But interestingly, he hasn't apologised for any of the rest of his angry rant.

David Cunliffe has every right to be incandescent with anger; Steve Gibson has taken the gloss of Labour's campaign launch yesterday."

"...claiming ignorance of Shylock being derogatory..."   

Yes well one of course look at the ... sorry is this clown really  the candidate ? "