Tuesday, February 07, 2017

The Congo peace accord backstory

Awhile back, the Catholic bishops in the Congo backed a peace accord.

 StrategyPage has a summary on the story and what is going on there.


 February 6, 2017: Many Congolese are not convinced the president Kabila will ever comply with the December 31, 2016 agreement brokered by the Catholic Church. That deal (“the December accord”) was made between the political opposition and several senior members of Kabila’s government. However, Kabila himself was not personally a party to the agreement. The agreement stipulated that Kabila could remain in power until national elections are held near the end of 2017.... 

so why does he want to stay in power? follow the money:

Kabila and his family are wealthy and that fortune could be lost or severely depleted if a reform-minded new government decides to recover billions stolen by corrupt politicians. The Kabila clan has extensive mineral interests (including gold, cobalt, diamonds and copper). Many of these family interests are in Katanga province. Corruption in the government Kabila controls has made his family and associates wealthier. It’s an old and wretched story. (Austin Bay)

 read the whole thing.

AlJ has an article on the M23 rebels.


International human rights groups say M23 fighters have been responsible for widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and the forced recruitment of children. In March 2013, following infighting between two M23 factions, Ntaganda turned himself in to the United States embassy in Rwanda and was extradited to The Hague.
Why the rebellion?The rebels say they started their rebellion because they were not happy with the pay and conditions in the Congolese army. But Congolese government officials and analysts say the mutiny began when the government came under pressure to arrest Ntaganda and hand him over to the ICC.
Given the fact that M23 is a ragtag army, and the vast 1136km distance between Goma and Kinshasa, it is highly unlikely that the rebels can topple the government. But they have continued to fight, sometimes emerging victorious after battles with poorly trained and ill-equipped soldiers. Many say the rebellion is fuelled by the presence of vast mineral resources in eastern DR Congo, claiming the rebels want to win control of them.
again follow the money.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Pedophilia scandal.

The UK Telegraph story of a friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury who is a pedophile. And a murderer.

A previous court case in Zimbabwe was dropped because of irregularities

A lot of our ric criminals get off this way in the Philippines.

I believe Jesus called this a wolf in sheep's clothing, and advised the millstone treatment for such people. (the old fashioned equivalent of the Mafia's cement sshoe treatment)

Sickening.

famine news

I am sending money to a friend in Zimbabwe to help her family (mainly to pay school fees for her nephews and nieces) and I haven't heard from here in several months. I hope she is well: She has high blood pressure and has had a stroke, and the last email said she is having problems getting to a computer or using her cellphone to text me that she received her money. I can't send much: I am on social security, but every little bit helps.

The money crisis there is bad: They had uberiflation which got in the news a couple years ago, but later allowed people to use SARands or US dollars, which did help: I can now send her US dollars by Western Union and know she is getting the amount I sent her, not the amount that was legal by official government exchange, which was much lower than the money was worth.

now, if you know history, the lack of money in hand has caused frustration  and even hardship, so the latest item (VOA) says that the gov't is trying to have the rural folks use debit cards etc. instead of coins.

Zimbabwe has a fairly high standard of education, and when politics and financial collapse occurred (due to Mugabe's socialist policies, but also because of sanctions because Mugabe stole the land from White farmers to distribute to locals, and later to his friends. Of course the white farmers got the land from the people, but never mind).

So the educated skedaddled to get jobs elsewhere: in the UK but mainly in South Africa, often as illegal immigrants, who work to try to support the families back home.

Hollywood teds to blame Trump, but these problems are nothing new, and Hollywood has indeed had films/tv shows that examine the issues under the guise of Science Fiction.  If you saw the sciFi movie District 9, well, that started as a short film satire against the dislike of immigrants. So under Trumpie, will the US be District 9, or Alien Nation, which is about assimilating refugees from outer space?

Well, anyway, this year the rains didn't come again so hunger again is a problem in rural areas. Not getting a lot of publicity in the US MSM. Get Religion links to this story about famine in rural Kenya, which will break your heart.

The point is that governments are trying to cope, but not doing a good enough job. The Red Cross is there, as are many from the "faith communities", but Muslim and Christian, which are on the front line of assistance.

And the article ends with a plea for improving the ability to farm:


Meanwhile, Matolo and other many faith leaders in East Africa continue to stress better farming methods, the use of quality seeds and increased water harvesting. “When I see the people starving, I feel desperate. I also feel disappointed that many of the promises by government officials to deliver water have not been honored,” said Matolo. “If these people can get water for irrigation, the area will become the country’s bread basket. They are doing it in Israel, which is a desert. Here, the soils are very fertile and the people are not lazy.”
The US has responded by increasing aid: Trump just sent 4 million more, on top of the 131 million already sent there since June 2015, which the UN, US and other agencies will use to feed people and work on the infrastructure. (safe water and sanitation).

Relief net has a long article about the various aid agencies helping countries in East and South Africa during this drought.

Aid agencies are often used since money to local governments might just get diverted. China has helped in Zimbabwe when western aid was cut over "human rights" abuses etc. but of course, lots of their money got diverted to keep the Mugabe regime in power.

and they mention that in Zimbabwe, the corn and other crops are being destroyed by the FallArmy worm.  This will need pesticides, and GM crops might help control it.

 CNN Report here.

sigh.

There are huge back stories about why not: From the countries emphasizing modernization in cities instead of farming, to the NGO's that too often oppose GM crops and the green revolution (and influence local governments to ban these modern crops), or NGO's who were more worried about animals than humans, to political instability and tribal politics, where one tribe got the money and the others were neglected. Indeed, in parts of Africa, a lot of the religious conflict is tribal conflict and/or traditional rivalry between farmers and herders.

Zimbabwe doesn't have a lot of religious conflicts, although there is a low grade one between between the Matabele (a warrior tribe and Zulu offshoot) and the Mashona (pacifistic farmers).

These famines are not new: as I said in an earlier post, they had a major one when I was there in the 1970's, and another in the 1990's. Sigh.

but one thing that is often left out of these stories (which in the western press alas often follow the  "westerners aid poor African" meme): that the Diaspora is supporting their families.

This HuffPost story is about remittances sent back from those who migrated to work elsewhere and are sending money home.

According to a report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 2013, remittances sent to the world’s poorest countries including 33 African countries have increased to US $27 billion in 2011 from US $3.5 billion in 1990.

South African mining is a big source of these remittances, but then there are a lot of other stories out there about undocumented educated workers who do menial jobs to support their families.

This is the back story of all those Africans trying to sneak into Europe, or my previous post about Africans in China.

There are an estimated 400 thousand illegal black immigrants in the US: Some from Haiti or the West Indies, but many from Africa.

these immigrants have faces, and families. So do we gather them up and send them back, or work to integrate them? District 9 or Alien Nation? Anyone? Anyone?






Sunday, September 18, 2016

China takes over

UKTelegraph reports that the farms confiscated from white farmers has been given to Chinese nationals

my sarcastic quote: Better to give it to someone who knows how to farm than to one of the cronies who will let the land lie fallow.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Zimbabwe activism

One change in the last ten years is that now rural Zimbabweans have cellphones.

Globalvoices has an article on netcitizen activism

Mawarire, wrapped in a Zimbabwean flag, posted a video on YouTube and Facebook, asking:
This flag, this beautiful flag, they tell me that the green is for the vegetation and the crops. I don't see any crops in my country. The yellow is for all the minerals… I don't know how much is left. I don't know who they sold it to and how much they got for it. They tell me that the black is for the majority people like me and yet for some reason I don't feel like I am a part of it.

read the whole thing...

Friday, June 03, 2016

 
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