Monday, 30 June 2008

Oppositions to Ethiopia's bids to full coffee trademark rights brushed off: EIPO
(28 Dec 2007)
No foreign company that had held Ethiopian coffee brand names as its registered trademark will be eligible to be identified with it anymore, nor will such a trademark be issued to any company whatsoever, says EIPO in announcement of the consummation of the fight to put an end to the long-held patent injustices related to global coffee trade.
Ethiopia's moves to get its ownership rights to its coffee brands -- especially to its two specialty coffees namely Harar and Sidamo -- fully ensured in the global coffee trading regime was being challenged in some parts of the world where some companies had already held their trademark with one or the other of such names, says Getachew Mengistie, Director General of the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office.
Getachew said, apart from the issue of precedence in trademark registration, Ethiopia's bids were met with objections in some countries on the claims of 'similarity', he said.
Ethiopia has been taking issue with the objecting companies in the U.S., Japan as well as in Europe, to have managed now at long last to convince all to its side, he said.
resistance to Ethiopia's rightful claims from companies in Japan, Germany and the U.S. has been countered successfully, he added.
The trademarking of Harar and sidamo fine coffees has been ensured in the US, according to Getachew, and the US Patent office has recently published a summoning for any company with a claim-against to submit its complaint as a last procedural step before giving full recognition to Ethiopia's rights.
Currently, agreements have been signed with 60 companies in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America to distribute Ethiopian fine coffees.
No company will trade eligibly with Ethiopian coffee names as its trademark, Ato Getachew announced. "No more stealing of Ethiopia's trademark rights." (ENDS)

Britain's leading Muslim police officer sues Met for discrimination
· Decision follows crisis meeting with Blair · Black police association calls for intervention
Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent
The Guardian,
Friday June 27, 2008
Article history
Sir Ian Blair was last night facing his worst race crisis as commissioner of the Metropolitan police, after it was announced that Britain's most senior Muslim officer would sue the force for racial discrimination and victimisation. The decision was announced after assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the force's number three in command, met with Blair, who had summoned him to crisis talks, with the threat of disciplinary action if he refused to attend.
Blair's attempt to head off the crisis did not work, and after the hour-long meeting, Ghaffur met members of the National Black Police Association (NBPA). Its president and legal adviser, Ali Dizaei, said last night that Ghaffur would sue the force. Dizaei told the Guardian: "No doubt about it, he will sue. He's just had enough."
Ghaffur is not only the most senior Muslim and Asian officer in the country, he is also one of the UK's most senior officers.
Nearly 10 years after the McPherson inquiry found the Met to be "institutionally racist", Ghaffur's accusation of discrimination threatens to undermine the force's claims to have make progress in stamping out racism in its ranks.
He had consulted lawyers for several weeks about taking the Met to an employment tribunal. He believes Blair and his aides have sidelined and undermined him, especially over his role running policing for the London Olympics in 2012.
Dizaei said the government should now intervene. He added: "This is of such significance it should not be left to the police authority [which oversees the Met] to mediate. Senior ministers must get involved because of the risk to confidence in the police."
In a statement, the NBPA, which will represent and support Ghaffur, said: "AC Ghaffur appears to have been treated extremely poorly. We are totally convinced of the legitimacy of this claim and will be fully supporting AC Ghaffur with regard to this matter, together with the 43 local BPAs around the country."
Arriving at the meeting with the commissioner, which was officially about the Olympics, Ghaffur said he had nothing to fear: "I have the great privilege of working with hundreds of police officers in making London safer. These officers work day in and day out and do a brilliant job. It is also a great privilege in doing the work I do with communities and the great amount of work in relation to the Olympics. I intend to continue doing that."
Earlier, Blair had made a public statement at the start of the monthly meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority, to which he answers. He demanded that Ghaffur explain himself in person. He told the MPA: "I hope that this will be resolved satisfactorily between us, but will state here publicly that every member of the Met works to my direction and must meet my reasonable requirements.
"Any other position is impossible. If that does not occur, I will deal with the matter robustly and quickly."
Both sources favouring the commissioner and those close to Ghaffur viewed the commissioner's statement as "bullish". One source said the mood among the upper level of Scotland Yard was "sorrow and regret", and that Blair was trying to assert his authority to stop the situation spiralling further out of control.
The commissioner cannot discipline senior officers, but he has the power to refer senior officers to the MPA for alleged disciplinary offences.
In his statement, Blair praised Ghaffur, and denied he had acted in a racist manner: "I believe I have a long, honourable and occasionally bloodstained record of the championing of diversity, not perfect but always principled and persistent."
Ghaffur is the latest senior ethnic minority officer to decide to sue the Met for discrimination. Dizaei, who is a commander in the Met, received a payout in his case, while the case of Shabir Hussain is still being heard.
The chairman of the MPA, Len Duvall, who believes Ghaffur's employment tribunal action may name him, said: "I have done nothing wrong in the way of racism or otherwise in carrying out my responsibilities in the last four years. It is the same for my actions that have been carried out by the Metropolitan Police Authority. Any claim against myself or the authority will be vigorously contested."

Zimbabwe : what happens next for the country?

Watch the Dialogue presented by Ayoub mzee- MONDAY THE 30TH JUNE 2008 from 10 am -12 noon [UK TIME] ON BEN TV SKY 194 OR

Sunday, 29 June 2008


International Congolese Day
30 June 2008
Demonstration organised by International Congolese Rights.
Monday 30 June 2008, 12-3pm
Opposite Downing Street, London (Nearest tube station: Westminster)

London unions sever all links with Rise Festival
By IRR News Team

A number of London unions have severed all links with the London Mayor's Rise Festival.
The Rise Festival, established following the murder of Stephen Lawrence and organised by the TUC, was known as the Respect anti-racist festival. The idea was taken up by Ken Livingstone, who changed the name from Respect to Rise and held seven annual festivals during his mayoralty.
Unite, the union, has accused the organisation of the event this year as being 'a fiasco from start to finish'. Mayor Boris Johnson's new cultural advisor, Munira Mirza, has, according to the union, 'stripped the festival title of its sub-heading "London United Against Racism" only for the Mayor to say to the BBC that he knew nothing of this decision. Ms Mirza [has] also banned the Cuba Solidarity Campaign from continuing their joint sponsorship of the Latin American stage in partnership with Unite, and from even participating in the event. The unions have decided that this package of measures changes the focus and nature of the Rise Festival to such an extent that it will be just another musical event in Finsbury Park, and therefore that money earmarked for anti-racist campaigning will be better spent in other ways.'
Union comments:
Megan Dobney, (TUC London Regional Secretary): 'Trade unions are greatly offended by the removal of the central anti-racist message as well as by the ban on an organisation supported by the TUC. Trade union negotiation has proved fruitless and SERTUC is therefore left with no alternative but to withdraw.'
Steve Hart, (Unite London Regional Secretary): 'Rise, or Respect as it was known, was launched by the trade unions as a means of involving mainly young people in anti-racism in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence and other racist murders. What is the point of what was explicitly an anti-racist festival if it drops its commitment to anti-racism?'
Matt Wrack, (Fire Brigades Union General Secretary): 'We have supported the Rise Festival as a celebration of London's diverse communities and of anti-racism. It appears that this clear message is now being lost and the FBU no longer feels able to participate. We remain committed to any genuine initiative aimed at combating racism.'

Ayoub mzee had an opportunity to meet Presidential Press Team from East Africa.These guys travel with their heads of state.

What is happening in china? This scene was at the china emabssy on Portland Place -London .Its a Que for visas


With over 200 hundred different meetings, 5000 people, stalls, music, food over 5 days there surely is something for everyone.Tony Benn says: "Marxism, at which I speak at every year, is one of the most important universities of the labour movement. It brings together a vast range of people. It is an honour to be invited, and I am very much looking forward to the discussion and debate that will go on"Book online at or call me for more details on 07958 034 181.Free accommodation and creche availableClick here for audio files from Marxism 2007 include:

Why is Africa poor?, Makola Mayambika
The crisis in Zimbabwe and the way forward
Trade unions and the struggle for democracy in Nigeria, Abiodun Olamosu
Africa, imperialist rivalries & the war on terror, Ken Olende
What’s happening in South Africa ? Trevor Ngwane and Zodwa Madiba
Education: Race, class & exclusion How not to bore the pants off your kids Academies to McQualifications – what’s the market doing to our education system? LGBT:Is Queer politics radical? The roots of LGBT oppressionThe red in the rainbow – the struggle for sexual liberation Imperialism & the struggle for LGBT liberation in the Middle EastScience:War & capitalism – can science be redeemed? Rob OwenThe science & politics of reproduction - John ParringtonCan genetics explain human nature? Steven Rose & Culture much more. See for full timetable and detailsSome of the key speakers include:David Hilliard - Black Panther PartyPaul Gilroy - Author of There Ain't No Black in the Union JackGary Younge - The GuardianNick Davies - The GuardianLarry Elliot - The GuardianHoward Zinn - Historian, activist and celebrated author of A People's History of the United StatesMoazzam Begg - Former Guantanamo prisoner and campaignerIlan Pappe - Israeli historian and peace campaigner, a vocal supporter of Palestinian resistanceSee here for more:

Operation Black Vote & the National Assembly for Wales AM Shadowing Scheme

Unveiling Wales’ Barack Obama Generation
Winner of the 2008 Channel 4 Political Awards, Operation Black Vote’s Welsh Assembly Member (AM) Shadowing Scheme has continued to nurture the next generation of decision-makers and looks set to produce Wales’s first Black and minority ethnic (BME) Parliamentarian.

Run in partnership with the National Assembly for Wales, this unique leadership project has untapped a wealth of BME political talent. Mari Rees, shadowing Lorraine Barrett AM, is poised to make Welsh political history as the first BME MP with her selection as Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Preseli and Pembrokeshire. Shazia Awan, shadowing Angela Burns AM has also trailed a blaze of success as the first Asian female to speak at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference.

The aim of the country’s only AM Shadowing Scheme is to help change the face of Welsh politics by addressing the deficit of BME political representation and ensuring that minority communities engage with the Assembly in all areas and at all levels of regional governance.

The unique cross party initiative has enabled nine individuals from BME communities across Wales to shadow high level AMs. For the past six months participants have gained invaluable insights into the roles and responsibilities of an AM. As Community Ambassadors, they have played vital roles helping to raise awareness amongst BME communities about our democratic institutions as BME communities on the whole are up to three times as likely to be unregistered to vote as the white community.

Rt. Hon Lord Dafydd Elis -Thomas PC AM, Presiding Officer for the National Assembly
for Wales will be joined by Assembly Members, Shadows and local dignitaries at a Graduation Ceremony to recognise the contributions and achievements which Shadows, Assembly Members and the Assembly have made in improving diversity within Welsh politics

‘Wales’ Barack Obama Generation’ will take place on Wednesday 2nd July 2008 at the Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff, CF10 5AL from 5.30pm – 7.30pm.

Participants on the 2007/8 Welsh AM Shadowing Scheme
Elizabeth Musa
Helen Mary Jones AM
Omar Ali
Dr Dai Lloyd AM
Mashahid Ali
Leanne Wood AM
Abdool Rahman Khodabocus
Bethan Jenkins AM

Humie Webbe
Joyce Watson AM
Mari Rees
Lorraine Barrett AM
Ayman Abalmageed
Christine Chapman AM

Shazia Awan
Angela Burns AM

Tarig Sanousi
Kirsty Williams AM

Saturday, 28 June 2008

President Museveni on Thursday evening handed over the chairmanship of the East African Community (EAC) to his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame. This was at the ninth EAC Heads of Summit in Kigali.
Mr Museveni, quoting Luganda proverbs in his speech, amused delegates when he said, “You do not just let power go just like that. You must have the instruments of power and it is my pleasure now to hand over instruments of power to His Excellency Paul Kagame.”
Rwanda’s attainment of the chair of the EAC is a landmark in the history of the EAC. The country will be the first to attain the chair only after a year of joining the bloc.
Rwanda together with Burundi only joined the EAC in June last year. The two countries are also due to join the EAC Customs Union by 2009.Mr Kagame’s first assignment as the chairmanship of the regional body was to receive the report of the Council of EAC Ministers from November 2006 to February 2008.
The report was presented by Eriya Kategaya the Chairperson of the council. In his report Mr Kategaya said that the period under review was focusing mainly on the continued implementation of the Customs Union, the integration of Rwanda and Burundi in the community, negotiation of the common market protocol, laying of a foundation for the Monetary Union and the negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).
During the summit the new chair, Mr Kagame also presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the judges that make up the new Court of Justice.
[minitor correspondence -kigali]


Dr Sulaiman Kiggundu[RIP], 61, died last Friday in South Africa's Donald Gordon Hospital, where he succumbed to cancer of the colon and high blood pressure. There will be a a funeral service at durning hall -forest gate , east london

when 28th /6/2008 time: 2pm .You are all welcom





Mkurugenzi wa Idara ya Habari Maelezo,Kassim Mpenda,akiwanyesha jana waandishi wa habari picha Mpya ya Rais Kikwete iliyopo kushoto itakayotumika Rasmi kitaifa na kulia ni ya Zamani ambayo haitatumika Tena.kwa mengi zaidi bofya Hapa [Ref. haki ngowi]

46664 Concert: Hyde Park, London
About the Event
Many of the world’s most powerful and instantly recognisable figures and a concert audience numbering 46 664 will pay their tributes to one of the world’s most loved leaders, Nelson Mandela, as he turns 90 later this year.
Mr Mandela will arrive in London in June to take part in a series of events to mark his birthday: a very rare occasion since he is now finally “retired from retirement”. The 46664 concert has an exciting line-up of artists and will take place in Hyde Park, London, on June 27.






Kintu Musoke considered suicide in Makindye jail
Kintu Musoke considered I refused to pray because it’s not God who took me there
In the fifth part of our series on politicians who have endured imprisonment on account of their political association [or suspicion], MICHAEL MUBANGIZI talks to former Prime Minister KINTU MUSOKE
I was born to Yafeesi Kintu and Eseza Nassiwa on May 8, 1938 at Bakijurura, Kalungu in Masaka district.I am a sixth born in a family of 13 siblings, seven boys and six girls.Yafeesi and Eseza were devout Anglicans bordering on Puritanism so much so that we never ate anything without saying the grace. They never allowed manual work in our house on Sundays.
I studied at Kabungo NAC-Native Anglican Church-School, two miles away from my home, Rakai Primary School and Bwere Primary School in what is now Mpigi district.I joined the then prestigious Kings’ College Buddo for my secondary education in 1951.
Musoke the young man on his graduation in the 1960’s
At Buddo, I was one of the few students who couldn’t afford shoes and who had no clothes except school uniform. Buddo was exclusively for the Baganda genteel, sons of those who had collaborated with colonialists and had in return portioned to themselves public land and became landed aristocrats. Mixing with them was a privilege for me, son of a peasant.
About that time in 1952, the Uganda National Congress (UNC) was born by Ignatius Musaazi. People like Ssenteza Kajubi, Abu Mayanja [RIP], Paul Muwanga, Elisha Kironde, Yekosofati Engur, Otema Alimadi and J.W. Kiwanuka led it.The Kabaka of Buganda was sent into exile by the then governor (Sir Andrew Cohen) in 1953. The two incidents sharpened my political outlook. I realised there were two governments in Uganda; the kingdom and colonial governments.
And we were to fight the foreign one to transform our society. But I had become politically conscious at 10 years during the 1949 Buganda riots. My uncle Simeon Kintu was arrested in those riots and sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
I was admitted to Makerere University for a general degree course. I wanted a degree in political science, so I refused to join Makerere because we couldn’t agree on the course.
Political science was my inclination. I saw politics as an opportunity to serve. That is why I joined politics. For journalism, I enjoyed writing for causes. I thought I would make a contribution to society through writing and exposing social evils.
I got a scholarship from the Government of India in 1959 to do Political Science, Philosophy and Journalism. It afforded me the opportunity of encounter with Africans from other parts of Africa - like Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar and South Africa.It was a great experience.
I made many friends, like Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika. For the first time I recognised how small my tribe Buganda and (country) Uganda were, in comparison to the rest of Africa.
We were taken to our respective colleges. Delhi was the constituent university made up of about 20 constituent colleges. I completed my degree and diploma in journalism around 1963.
When I returned to Uganda, I joined people like the late Paul Muwanga and Bidandi Ssali to start African Pilot, a newspaper which represented the leftist wing of the UPC. I was a very aggressive activist outside the party structures. The party became divided between Kakonge and the Obote group.
Kakonge led our group that comprised Kirunda [Kivejinja], Bidandi Ssali, Wadada Musani, Wadada Nabudere and so many others. The Obote group included Grace Ibingira and Balaki Kirya.
We differed on what is the purpose of a political party; is it a caucus around an individual or an organ for transforming society?
We were for transforming society, but the other group was for benefiting from their positions.In a meeting in 1964/5, a resolution expelling about 10 or 12 of us; like Bidandi Ssali, Kirunda Kivejinja and Nabudere from UPC because of our strong political views was passed.
We saw it as part of the struggle.
The arrestWhen Idi Amin came to power, political activities were suspended. We all kept a low profile. Then came the September 1972 invasion of Uganda exiles from Tanzania. When the invasion aborted, a few leaders were arrested. I suspect the State Research [Bureau] operatives must have had the names of people who would be their contacts. I suspect my name could have been one of them. I just suspect.
Kwame Nkrumah (centre) greets a journalist as Kintu Musoke (R) looks on during the Pan Africanist conference in Ghana, 1963
So one day, very early in the morning at 7.00a.m., I was still asleep at my home in Ntinda. My wife came and told me that there were people who wanted me. I jokingly said, “You go and check, these days there are people who abduct people.” As she went back, they had already entered. She said “no, they have already come in.” They were three people in dark glasses and jackets. I asked them, “what do you want?”They said, “we want you”. I said, “for what?” “Itwe kitu kidogo,” they answered in Kiswahili, meaning there is something small they were inquiring about. I said “who are you?” They produced their State Research [Bureau] cards.
I was dressed in a gown. I told them, “let me first dress up.” They said, “as you are dressing up, we want to search your house.” I did not have a clue what they wanted. I said “go ahead.”
They searched my house, then went out [afterwards].My car was parked outside my house. Stealing was not as bad as it is now. You could park outside and it spends a night there. But when I went out, I discovered there were cars blocking my car in front, behind and side-ways. I had my keys. I had thought I was going to drive myself. I gave them to my wife, and told her, “tell my friends that army people have taken me”. And we went.
Inside State Research
They took me to Nakasero State Research [Bureau headquarters]. They put me in a room smeared with blood on the walls, made me to sit on the chair and started beating me.
This was around the time other leaders like Benedict Kiwanuka, Ali Kisekka, who was a journalist and many others, were taken. I knew my time had come. They asked me questions I have forgotten. Some were about these leaders and politicians.At Nakasero, I saw somebody whose face I knew - Mustafa Umal. He was a journalist. He had joined State Research (which was headed by Farouk Minawa).
Kintu Musoke today
I said, “since I am going to die, let me die having told somebody who knows me that he saw me.” So I called out Mr. Mustafa. I shouted his name.
These people who were interrogating us asked me whether I knew him. I said I knew him. A few hours later, he (Mustafa) got me out of the State Research into a car and took me to my new house which was being built in Lungujja and searched it. I had told them I had a new house.
While there, Mustafa asked me, “my friend Kintu, why did you get involved in these things?” I asked, “which things?” He said it’s very bad. He did not elaborate.
He started signing papers here and there, then we came out, drove towards Namirembe-Nateete road. I saw Mustafa getting worried. I suspect he wanted to tell me that they were going to kill me because he started getting agitated and uneasy. We stopped. Then he said, “let’s go back to State Research offices on Lumumba Avenue.”
Mustafa asked other people to go away. I later learnt that they had gone back to my home. I think Mustafa wanted to give me time to save my life. We remained two in their mess. The other was their prison.
He asked me, “you man, the situation is very bad. Don’t you have any people who can help?” I mentioned a few names of ministers in Amin’s government I knew - like Wanume Kibedi who was minister of Foreign Affairs and [Prof. Edward] Rugumayo (Minister of Education).
He said, “you contact them.” Then he asked, “do you know anyone who can tell them?” I told him my friends Bidandi Ssali, Kivejinja and others.
He asked, “can’t you have contact with them?” I gave him their telephone numbers. So on the way to Makindye, we drove past Clock Tower. I had an office at SAPOBA bookshop at Katwe, where Bidandi and Kirunda were.
When we reached the Clock Tower, Mustafa told his askaris, “let’s go and search this man’s office here.” I think he was trying to find out if my friends (Bidandi and Kirunda) had done something to my rescue. He went and told Bidandi the situation was very bad.
Beaten in MakindyeThen we continued to Makindye where we reached at 5:00p.m. that very day. I was beaten up and pushed into cell one where I found about 20 people.
I was there on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday afternoon, they brought 45 more people, mainly Langi and Acholi who had been OC prisons or OC police in upcountry centres. Some had stars. We spent Friday night and the whole of Saturday [together].
There was nothing like mattresses and blankets. Posho was prepared but there were no plates. The authorities prepared food and just came and said, “you come for food.” It was up to you to look for a plate.
Wherever we were out working in the compound, we would pick cans for tinned meat. If you found one, you cleaned it up in preparation for lunch. If you did not prepare it, you had no plate, so you did not eat. It was not a dinner party, Shauriyako or cocktail. It was prison.
Some people who had been there [for long] had some plates, so you would go and may be share with them. Or they had these tins out of which soldiers had eaten meat. It was one meal a day, only lunch. There was no tea, we had not gone to a feast.
Admiring flies, birdsIf you are a prisoner, you even admire a fly or a bird that flies from one wall to another. For you as a prisoner, you have no freedom, you lose everything.
Wherever we sat on a veranda outside our rooms, you would admire a bird which could fly from one tree to another. We had lost not only freedoms, but we were expecting death.In the cell next to us was Alex Ojera who had been minister of Information and Picho Ali, who had been a party activist from Tanzania. They had been arrested and exposed on TV by Amin. They had been put in chains.
Kalimuzo killed One Sunday morning (on the sixth day) as we were seated outside waiting to have tea or some thing, they brought in Frank Kalimuzo.
Kalimuzo was taken straight to cell C where killings took place. He never came to our cell or the cell where the ministers were.
He wasn’t handcuffed, he was in his usual dress code, I don’t remember exactly. We had no contact, no greeting, no talking. But those of us who knew him saw him being taken in Cell C, a murder and slaughter house.
He knew me. I knew him, he was a famous person. He was the first colonial-trained DC (District Commissioner) and had risen from DC to Permanent Secretary and later Vice Chancellor of Makerere University.Later on at about 3:00p.m., these 45 people were taken to cell C where Kalimuzo was and [where] these other ministers [had been taken].
Then some of our prisoners were taken to cell C to kill other prisoners. They battered them on the head to death using gun buts, hammers and clubs. Then another group [of fellow prisoners] was taken to throw bodies on a lorry. We in the last group went to wash the floor.
The bodies were taken away. Kalimuzo, Picho Ali, Alex Ojera were among those killed.There must have been other killings. We were not supposed to know. These (the Kalimuzo group) we knew because people were taken from our cell [to kill them]. There were other cells.
Refusing to pray
Life in Makindye was characterised by spilling of blood and intimidation. I differed with fellow inmates. For them they used to say, wafungwa, wafungwa, ni saa ya kuomba mungu. (Prisoners, prisoners, time to worship the lord).
Then I told them, “my friends, leave me alone. I never prayed to God to come here [in Makindye], so I will not pray to get out.”
I didn’t know for God’s sake why I was there. I had committed no crime. Wherever they prayed, I stayed, hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. I don’t believe in the efficacy of prayer.
Never wish anybody to be in prison. And our prison was different. There was no justice delivered. There was no warrant of arrest, none of us was taken to court. We just kept there. Those who died, died, those [of us] who were able to come out, came out.
A Sudanese man [Brig. Hussein] Malera was in charge of Makindye. He was a military man. He helped Amin come to power and was given the position as a reward.
Luckily, I never fell sick the whole time I was there but others did and were taken away to some place we did not know.
No leisure
You are hopeless to ask me about leisure, there was nothing, we were there to die. If we did not get any interventions, we were there waiting to die.
In fact, the conversation between us (inmates) who became friendly to each other was “please, if you ever get out of here, go to such and such place and tell my people that you saw me.” There was no hope for life.
When you have seen 50 of your friends killed and are were waiting for your turn…! We did not want any leisure. It was not there and we did not wish for it because it was useless.
Planning suicide
We were not allowed any visitors. I did not get any visitors. There was no routine activity in prison but we used to clean the barracks. We had a leader of the cell who used to choose people to go and work.
We worked in the officers’ houses, preparing roofs. Soldiers drank every night and threw bottles all over the place. It was our role to go and pick up the bottles. We also went to the army mess in Mengo to pick drinks for the soldiers.
This is where, knowing that 45 of our colleagues had been killed, I decided to commit suicide rather than being hammered to death in Makindye, dying like a fly or mice. I would rather die that way.
I wanted to die at a place where I knew some people along the road, so that I would be known to be dead. So we came out to go to the army shop in Mengo. When we were going there through Kabakanjagala, I walked to the back of the lorry ready to jump off and die.
I was just about to jump off when something deep inside told me, “don’t”. And I heeded that call. But I had decided to jump off and die when I got to a house of somebody I knew so that people knew I’d died there. I never planned escape, my plan was suicide.
Families of the deceased were never told of death of their dear ones. They did not want anybody to know what was going on there. I think you are imagining things, that this was a simple thing.
This was a holocaust, it was a secret killing.
Miraculous releaseMy detention took about a month or two. I left prison miraculously. One night, at about 11:00p.m., I heard a knock at the door. The man who had been in charge opened and came to the room. He asked whether there was a man called Kintu Musoke in the cell.
I was nearest to him, I said “yes.” He said, “where is he?” I hesitated. In my mind, I said, does it matter if I die one minute now or one minute later? I stood up. My friends knew I was finished.
Instead of saying, “come,” he went out. I suspect there was somebody inquiring about me and he had come to ascertain whether I was still alive.
The following day in the morning, I had been taken to clean a room of another prisoner, a muzungu in another cell.As I was there cleaning under the bed, a man came. He had been at the cell, I was not there, so they directed him to where I was.
He said, “Kintu Musoke?” I was under the bed sweeping. I said to myself, “should I respond?” Then I said, “does it matter whether I die now or some five minutes later?”
I said, “here I am.” He said, “you come.” I followed him, thinking we were going to our cell. He led the way, the way we had come in (on being arrested). We went to Malera’s office. He made me sit down. Another man came in and put a letter on the table and went out. The man who had brought me also went out without reading the letter, leaving me in the room.
I got hold of the letter and read it. It was from State Research. It was saying, “Please send a man Kintu Musoke. He is there [in Makindye]. It was alleged he was involved in wrong activities, now it has been proved, send him here (at State Research).” I put down the letter.
I knew this was a hoax, a way of removing me from Makindye to take me to a place and kill me. I was led into a car with three other people who were all armed, and we drove out.
In the car, I was seated in the middle of those guards.From Makindye, at a road which turns to Lukuli, these men started conversing in the Nubian language which I didn’t understand.
Then later on, one got into English. “People are very bad, now if this man had been killed for nothing. People are very bad,” he was saying.
I cooled down. I remember the whole town decorated with flags. I think it was independence celebrations in October or something.
We went via Clock Tower to Nakasero. Vehicles parked outside, so we got out where I had entered earlier. They took me through a long corridor into a room. One man came with a few pieces of paper from Malera’s office.He asked me, “have you been to Makindye?” I said “yes.” “For how long?” I said I don’t remember. “Were you tortured?” I said no. He said “you go”, and then went outside.
I was not hearing the word “go”. I turned, passed through a corridor leading to the outside. I walked near All Saints Church. I was still wearing the same clothes I wore when I was arrested, full of blood stains.
As I walked, there came a vehicle, I saw somebody I knew. He was outside the car. He said, “Kintu, what’s wrong with you?”
I said I have been there (State Research). He said, “you mean you have been there and you have come out?” I said yes. “Then you are lucky.”
He put me in his Volks Wagen and drove through the city. It must have been about 11 o’clock. At home [in Ntinda], I found my sister. They started calling people and were very happy.
My father had known about my arrest before. When time passed, he assumed I was dead. He had come from Masaka that day to ascertain the truth. And I had just been released about two hours earlier.
He was a prayerful man, so he prayed. Then he said that I must go and tell people to disband. They were keeping the way. I did not publicise my arrest, I did not even publicise my release.
We were not charged, never told why we were arrested. And when you were freed, you were never told why you were freed because there were no courts.
Our prison conditions were different from the regular prison. Ours was a barracks, a death centre. There were no rights, no right to life. We had no right whatsoever.
Pressure to flee
After my release, my family and colleagues pressured me to leave the country, but I refused, however big the problem. Insecurity was part of the struggle and the struggle had to continue. By who? The people. So I had a cause to stay.The conviction that I developed while a student, to fight for freedom and change society by active participation at whatever level, kept me going in prison.
I was innocent, standing for a cause and this is the cause I still stand on till now. I went back to my work at SAPOBA. I told my friends what had happened. I think people who played an important role in my release were Wanume Kibedi and Prof. Edward Rugumayo who were part of the Amin government.
I went and met Rugumayo. I told him that if you people in government can’t do anything to change it, please quit, because it’s devilish.
I also went and met Kibedi, narrated to him the whole story. I told him that if he couldn’t do anything to change the situation, he should quit. It was an evil system.Luckily, two months or so later, Rugumayo and Kibedi quit. That was my first act.
Fighting Amin
From my imprisonment, I learnt that if you are fighting for justice and liberation, you should never relent.Detention strengthened my resolve to continue to struggle in whatever capacity.
From what I saw in Makindye, I swore that the Amin regime was an evil regime and that if I ever got an opportunity to fight it, even if it was the devil fighting Amin, I would join the devil to fight his system.
Indeed it came when Tanzania offered to help us. When Amin attacked Kagera in 1978, groups started forming and Paul Muwanga invited me to Dar-es-Salaam. I went and joined his Kikosi Maalum. Our work (those of us who were to come to Uganda) was to commit acts of sabotage to draw the international community to the problem in Uganda and as much we did.
I had no best friend in prison. I did not go there to make friends. There is no comparison between the (political) environment then and now because the two are totally different. Theirs was an evil system and it did not deserve to be in existence.
Looking back, I don’t have any regrets. My arrest led me to struggle against the regime; how could I regret? I would have regretted it if I had died but it enhanced my resolve to fight for freedom at whatever cost.
And my involvement in politics has been because I don’t want to be oppressed. I fight for justice.
[tHE OBSERVER mcmubs@ugandaobserver.COM]

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

zimbabwe elections

------------This dead alien-like being found in a small town in Thailand was claimed to be born from a cowand seems at first to be a severe case of birth malformation defect. A closer examination however reveal that the alien being resembles too much of a human baby with its front legs looking more like hands than feet. In the form of a ritual, the local residents pour baby powder onto the dead body and burnt incense in their belief of cleansing the area of evil and hopeful that it will be reincarnated peacefully.[haki ngowi]

Global pressure to replace Mugabe grows
Published: June 23 2008 23:26
The withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai, from the Zimbabwean presidential election has galvanised the international community to try to find ways of punishing Robert Mugabe’s regime.
But while there was plenty of anger yesterday in Washington, London and Brussels – and even some African capitals – it was far from clear what kind of pressure could effectively be applied.
Gideon Rachman: Paths out of Zimbabwe’s dead end - Jun-23
Editorial Comment: A sham election and a brutal tyrant - Jun-23
UN rules fair election impossible in Zimbabwe - Jun-24
International reaction - Jun-23
Zimbabwe faces political stalemate - Jun-22
FT Alphaville: the mad market of Zim - Jun-23
Britain, the US and the European Union united in saying that they would no longer recognise Mr Mugabe’s government as legitimate.
As reports emerged of fresh violence in Harare, some African leaders also stiffened their rhetoric. But officials from Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) feared it was unlikely that African states would go as far as withdrawing recognition from Mr Mugabe if he claims victory in Friday’s poll.
In some of the toughest words on Zimbabwe yet from an African leader, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president and current chairman of the Southern African Development Community, described the situation in Zimbabwe as “a matter of serious embarrassment to all of us”.
He said it would be “scandalous for the SADC to remain silent”.
Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general and now among a group of African elders vying for a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, said the “victor emerging from such a flawed process will have no legitimacy to govern Zimbabwe”.
The response from the African Union, however, was more muted. Jean Ping, the AU’s top diplomat, said Mr Tsvangirai’s withdrawal and “increasing acts of violence” were a “matter of grave concern”.
Senior MDC figures say they will begin pushing in coming days for international backing for the creation of a transitional government – possibly headed by an AU leader – to sit for a limited period while organising fresh elections, stabilising the economy and alleviating food shortages.

That would, however, require Mr Mugabe to stand down – an outcome that, the ageing autocrat said last week, only God could bring about.
It would also require a transformation in the regional mediation efforts led by South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki.
Mukoni Ratshitanga, Mr Mbeki’s spokesman, was still holding out hope for South Africa’s policy of quiet diplomacy. “We will continue to engage the Zimbabwean political leadership – both parties – to find a solution,” he said.
There is also the question of what, if anything, Zimbabwe’s neighbours could do, even if they determined to loosen the Mugabe grip on power. They have eschewed sanctions in the past – unlike the US and European Union – and would, in any case, have difficulty making economic measures bite in a country already in financial ruin.
Britain yesterday said that there was scope for a new raft of sanctions against Zimbabwe that carefully targeted the leading figures in the Mugabe regime and were more global in scope than those previously introduced.
In a briefing for journalists, Lord Malloch Brown, the minister for Africa in Gordon Brown’s government, said sanctions could be imposed against the financial assets of members of Mr Mugabe’s administration; against their ability to travel without risk of arrest on human rights grounds; or against the foreign studies of children of the members of Mugabe’s inner circle.
He added that these sanctions could also be extended to force British companies to cut links with Zimbabwe.
While sanctions had been previously introduced by the EU and US, there was more that could be done by Asia and Africa, Lord Malloch Brown added.
“Our objectives are to get in every forum possible a recognition that today President Mugabe no longer remains the proper rightful leader of the country,” he told reporters.
The crisis in Zimbabwe may well be raised at a string of international events over the next few days, such as the Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Japan and the African Union summit in Sharm El-Sheik.
Lord Malloch Brown said that he would be waiting to see what action is taken by SADC. “The moral prestige of SADC has been challenged as has that of the AU and it will be interesting to see what they come up with.”
Reporting by Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, William Wallis and James Blitz in London

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The Office of Public Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam
invites you to:
a presentation in the Fulbright Reflections Series. U.S. Fulbright Scholar Dr. Sheryl Feinstein will be discussing “Reaching the Village: Water and HIV/AIDS” on June 23, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
Fifty percent of the people living in Tanzania do not have access to clean water, which contributes to over half of the diseases found in Tanzania; from either water shortage or contamination. Dr. Sheryl Feinstein conducted research in a village in Iringa that had adopted SODIS, a simple and inexpensive way to attain clean water. In the village, preliminary findings show that National Exam pass scores increased dramatically and diarrhea decreased.
She also conducted research to determine protective and at-risk factors in the lives of adolescent females in Iringa, in regards to HIV/AIDS. Poverty, a weak education system, gender inequality, limited medical resources, cultural practices and a poor infrastructure formed an unhealthy union; spreading HIV/AIDS in the region. Many girls had internal protective factors in place, but had a difficult time sustaining a positive identity when the majority of society’s systems were toxic. Dr. Feinstein discusses her preliminary findings in this presentation.
Dr. Feinstein was a Fulbright Scholar 2007-08 at Tumaini University Iringa College, teaching Educational Psychology, Evaluation Measurement Statistics and Research Methodology in the Education Department. Her research has focused on how HIV/AIDS, corporal punishment, bullying, and access to clean, safe water has affected adolescents and young adults in Iringa. She was also the Chairperson for the taskforce to start a research journal entitled “East African Research Journal” – a journal for multidisciplinary academicians in East Africa to be able to publish their own research findings. Dr. Feinstein is an Associate Professor in the Education Department in Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the United States.
To attend the presentation, please email with your full name and contact phone number by Friday, June 20 as there is limited seating. You may also register by calling 022 2668001 ext. 4186, 4192 or 4172.
For more information about the Fulbright Program in Tanzania, please visit
With best wishes,
Fulbright Program
Office of Public Affairs, American Embassy
686 Old Bagamoyo Rd., Msasani
Box 9123, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Voice: +255 22 2668001
Fax: +255 22 2668251
Fellowship Programs:

From SAFETY FIRST – A coalition to decriminalise sex work and prioritise safety.
Tel: 07811 964 171

Wednesday 25 June 2008: New Zealand marks five years
of successful decriminalisation of prostitution.

On the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act (PRA), the NZ government has published a detailed evaluation report which confirms the positive impact of decriminalisation on sex workers’ rights and safety.

The PRA decriminalised prostitution of persons over 18 on grounds of "sex workers' human rights, protection from exploitation and promotion of occupational health and safety". The PRA statutory five year review has concluded that:

“The PRA has been in force for five years. During that time, the sex industry has not increased in size, and many of the social evils predicted by some who opposed the decriminalisation of the sex industry have not been experienced. On the whole, the PRA has been effective in achieving its purpose, and the Committee is confident that the vast majority of people involved in the sex industry are better off under the PRA than they were previously.”

On Wednesday, Catherine Healy, founding member and national co-ordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective, together with politicians, campaigners, researchers and sex workers, will tell the story of New Zealand prostitution law reform. Going All the Way invite. Ms Healy was a keynote speaker at the 16 January House of Commons public meeting, a high point in the successful campaign to force the UK government to drop anti prostitution clauses in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

Findings of the PRA report:
· There has been no rise in numbers of women working, including of young people who feel able to contact agencies for help.
· Sex workers are more likely to report incidents of violence to the police and other agencies. This was particularly true for the street workers.
· There has been a change of attitude by members of the police. Some individual officers and some police districts, have gone out of their way to work with the sex industry, with Christchurch being the obvious example. However, stigmatisation still plays a key role in the non-reporting of incidents. This is the inevitable result of years of the sex industry operating illegally, with the police seen as posing a threat rather than offering protection.
· Judges have ruled that sex workers are entitled to expect the same protection under the law as anyone else.
· Attacks are cleared up more quickly as women are more likely to come forward with information without fear of arrest, making all women safer.
· Women find it easier to leave prostitution as convictions have been cleared from their records.
· It is easier for sex workers to refuse to have sex with a client.
· Brothel owners are more supportive and less coercive to employees.

Why haven’t the tragic murders of five young women in Ipswich spurred the UK government into looking seriously at what has taken place in New Zealand? Instead it is pursuing repressive policies which are driving sex workers further underground increasing women’s vulnerability to violence.

While the authorities in Ipswich claim to have succeeded to get rid of the red light area, sex workers tell us that their decreased visibility has not increased their safety – they have moved to other areas or are working secretly indoors.

But the government seems spellbound by Swedish legislation to criminalise clients. It was pushed through in Sweden in 1999 by feminist politicians without any consultation with sex workers who say it has driven the sex industry underground and women into danger. In Scotland, assaults on sex workers have soared since clients have been criminalised. There used to be about eight reported a month to one outreach project, now it's around three a night. The Scotsman 18 April 2008.

Members of the Safety First Coalition and the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective are available for interview.

SF is co-ordinated by the English Collective of Prostitutes. It includes the Royal College of Nursing, bereaved families, Ipswich residents, church people, doctors, probation officers, anti-rape and anti-poverty campaigners, trade unionists, prison and drug reformers and sex worker projects.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

On King David, Solomon and Museveni
Gawaya Tegulle
Flipping through the life of King David the son of Jesse, I realised his biography could well have been that of a certain Yoweri Museveni the son of Kaguta. Let’s begin with their childhood– David looking after sheep in the pastures of Bethlehem; Museveni looking after cows in the pastures of Ankole.Only God (and maybe Prophet Samuel) knew of David’s leadership abilities at first; full recognition came after his unlikely victory over Goliath. Same with Museveni; he had more security guards than supporters at his presidential campaigns in 1980. People only took him seriously when he defeated a bigger and better-equipped army in 1986. Both began fighting as young men and waged civil war, resisting bad leadership; David fighting Saul and Museveni fighting Amin in 1971.Like David who never really stopped fighting through his reign, Museveni has always been at war in and out of the country. David had a problem uniting a divided Israel- Hebron and Jerusalem only came together after seven years; Museveni is still struggling uniting the north to the rest of the country. Both are not peacetime leaders; but fellows that experienced tough times and God used the stamina developed during years on the battlefield to steer the nation through turbulence.Just like David, Museveni has been a tool in God’s hand, instrumental in turning around the nation from decline and setting the stage for a period of enlightenment and growth. Problem is, from this point, David and Museveni stray light years away from each other.In 1 Chronicles 22, we see that David, aware that his time was up (when he exceeded 60 years of age like somebody we know), began setting the stage for someone else to take over. In contrast, Museveni is preparing to stay on and on.And David did something Museveni cannot- he started preparation for the biggest project of the day (building the Temple), well aware he would never enjoy it, and began mobilising his leaders to welcome and support the new King (Solomon). The ministry of David shows God’s perfect will is that soldiers should only liberate, not rule.They should set the stage, but never be actors; lay the foundation, but not finish the house to live in it. As great leaders, they look beyond the immediate and plan for the generations of tomorrow. They are happy to set up things they will never enjoy– buy presidential jets they’ve no plans to fly in and build state houses they won’t reside in.Liberators never say that without them their countries cannot survive – David simply built strong institutions that Solomon would use to govern Israel. Liberators are aware that real prosperity cannot be during their time, but in future, under peacetime leaders. So they don’t indulge in panic investment and land bonanzas. Peace and prosperity come during the reign of peacetime leaders– not liberators. That’s why in Solomon’s time there was so much gold in Israel that silver was useless– not even toilets were decorated with silver. Most of President Museveni’s fundamental mistakes stem from inability to recognise his true place in history – that of a liberator rather than a ruler. So he’s literally killing himself trying to do everything possible to get Uganda to prosperity. On one hand he’s shipping in ‘investors’, half of whom are just embarrassing him consistently, and now he’s harassing the media and opposition, accusing them of derailing his development programmes.You see, Davids always mess the country up trying to be Solomons. Only one thing you hope shouldn’t be similar about the two men: David reigned over Israel 40 years. Tel: 256-782-285999

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Tanzania wins it

The 2008 UK finalists with HRH The Prince of Wales.

Wangari Maathai, Angello Ndyaguma of Fruits of the Nile, Uganda and Awards host Anna Ford
Wangari Maathai, John Mtitu and Reuben Mtitu of Kisangani Smith Group, Tanzania and Awards host Anna Ford
Reuben Mtitu (left) and John Mtitu from Kisingani Smith Group with HRH The Prince of Wales

Tanzanian blacksmiths’ tree-saving stoves win international green energy prize

London, 21.00 hrs: Tonight at a ceremony in London, the world’s leading green energy prize awarded £20,000 to the Kisingani Smith Group (KSG), a pioneering sustainable energy project working in Njombe near the Southern highlands of Tanzania . The Ashden Awards prize was presented to Reuben Patrick Mtitu, Chair and Director of KSG, by Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Wangari Maathai.

The Kisingani Blacksmiths have trained 120 young people to build efficient stoves that burn sawdust from local timber businesses and improved wood stoves – 3,500 have been sold since 2005. Locals can pay back the stove’s cost in a few months and save on charcoal and wood. Alongside this work KSG has planted over 100 hectares of fuel wood plantation and 24 hectares of restored indigenous forest. Many trainees have gone on to set up clean stove enterprises in other areas.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder and chair of the Ashden Awards said:

“We are delighted to be recognising the extraordinary work of KSG, whose members have not benefited from higher education, or extensive external support. They have simply used their practical abilities and commitment to make a difference – giving skills and income-generation potential to young people, and developing and selling effective wood-saving stoves, using designs which could be followed by any blacksmith.”

Accepting the report on behalf of KSG, John and Reuben Mtitu said:

“Our Ashden Award is not just an acknowledgement of KSG, but a support to help us invest and scale up our scheme, and ensure its sustainability. Our plan is to produce 40,000 more stoves by 2012.”

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Ashden Awards, personally congratulated this year’s Ashden Awards winners at a separate meeting. A Clarence House spokesperson said:

"The Prince of Wales was deeply encouraged to learn of the solutions demonstrated by the Ashden Awards that can reduce our dependency on a carbon economy. His Royal Highness was particularly impressed by the local sustainable energy initiatives recognised and promoted by the Awards, which not only meet the needs of communities, but tackle climate change and further sustainable development."

Friday, 20 June 2008

Did you know London is for Londoners?
Joseph Ochieno
Last week I had reason to catch a train from London Waterloo. Since I could not locate my destination on screen, I went to information desk. “The next train to Windsor and Eton Riverside will depart at 18.58 hours from platform 19,” I was told.
Platform 19 was at the other end, near the former Euro-Express terminal. Within minutes and on time, we were off to the shires and so I now had time to make a useful call to Kampala.
“How is London?” asked the other side, to which I responded to their amusement, “London is for Londoners”. I recently developed this habit of responding to make a point. In the 1990s, I used to amuse friends and colleagues that I was only a ‘tourist on transit’ in London. It always took some explaining on my part.
I recall around the same time when there used to be huge public demonstrations against the then British Conservative government shortly before they enacted “Asylum and Immigration Act 1996”. This legislation was intended to restrict refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants (read non- Europeans).
I told the then Shadow Home Secretary Jack Straw, that the best way to deal with these ‘problems’ was to address root causes from source. Stop creating, supporting and entrenching usually corrupt, nepotistic one party or one party cum-military regimes like Uganda’s.
Robert Mugabe had not yet said anything about millions of landless Africans so Zimbabwe was still a darling. I noticed that the train had slowed down as we approached Twickenham. The driver announced that it was due to congestion along the connecting lines to Reading.
Just around then came a call from my good friend Tony, who is visiting London. Amongst other things he told me that news breaking had it that a plane had crashed in Kenya, killing two ministers.
Worse, another plane had crashed at Khartoum airport with more fatalities feared. I went into sombre and prayer mode. Another round of wasted lives in Africa. Back in London, prior to turning on the television, my hand led me to Walter Rodney’s book, “How Europe underdeveloped Africa”.
Rodney suggests that Africa was easily colonised for amongst others because “inadequate economic capacity, as well as certain political weaknesses namely, the incompleteness of the establishment of nation states which left the continent divided and the low level of consciousness concerning the world at large”.
While Africa slept, the world had “been transformed into a single system by the expansion of capitalist relations”, he adds. How else could we explain the never ending tragic stories, I thought to myself. Only the previous day, the big news from Africa was about famine in Ethiopia, except that it was unlike Zimbabwe where the famine was blamed on poor Mugabe for being a “failed rain maker”.
Our own Museveni was part of the evening news, telling the BBC that Mugabe had messed up because he failed to create enough jobs for the youths, hence the claim for their ancestral land from white settlers!
Anyhow, when challenged as to why he changed the Constitution in order to rule for life, he likened himself to Israel’s Shimon Peres who has been around and recycled since the creation of the Jewish State in 1948. So long as one is elected, he said, like the elections which took place in Luwero in 1981.
Looking away, I noticed a gift from an ANC friend. Reading through, I stumbled on Thabo Mbeki’s inauguration speech as president on June 16, 1999.
“As Africans, we are the children of the abyss, who have sustained a backward march for half a millennium. We have been a source for human slaves. Our countries were turned into the patrimony of colonial powers. We have been victim to our own African predators.”
How else could we be so much defined by tragedy and decline while others are so precise, on time and ever moving forward?
I shall reflect from London, home and elsewhere, but wherever you maybe, come with me in order to build our own London for posterity.
Mr Ochieno is UPC’s special presidential envoy to the United Kingdom and Ireland

Enterprising Solutions to Poverty in Africa – working in partnership to promote ethical trade

On behalf of His Excellency Mr Joseph Muchemi, Phillip Angell and all at Africa Now, we are looking forward to welcoming you to Africa Now’s evening reception on Thursday. To briefly refresh your memory, details of the event are as follows:

6 for 6:30pm on Thursday 19 June
Held at the Kenya High Commission, 45 Portland Place , London W1B 1AS
Light refreshments will be served

A map of the location can be found by clicking on the link below.

The evening will provide you with an opportunity to find out more about the work of Africa Now and in particular, how we work in partnership to bridge the gap between smallholder producers and markets.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

June 2008

Africa. Journal of the International African Institute

African countries initiative

The International African Institute and Edinburgh University Press are pleased to jointly announce that their flagship journal Africa. Journal of the International African Institute
is henceforth to be available free of charge, in electronic format, to libraries and non-profit research and educational institutions in Africa.

Africa was first published in 1928, and is in its 78th volume. It is the leading UK-based and international African studies journal that publishes on the whole of Africa, and in all disciplines of the humanities, social sciences and environmental sciences. With a core orientation towards ethnographically rich, historically informed knowledge garnered through field work, it was and remains the central platform and reference point for Africanist field studies worldwide, witnessing more recent shifts to a greater diversity of approaches and interdisciplinarity.

This development comes at a time where electronic publishing and dissemination is offering opportunities to break with conventional models of research dissemination. Yet the African continent suffers lack of visibility for research output, and a chronic lack of financial resources in higher education and research institutions, including for journals subscriptions. Research seldom crosses borders within the continent, and there is a North-South divide in access to scholarly research and publication outlets.

By opening the journal up to institutions in Africa, the institute is fulfilling its historic mission and highest priority to promote access to African research and publication internationally. We hope to widen our readership in the continent, and encourage more contributions from African scholars. The IAI and journal editors are delighted that Edinburgh University Press, a wholly owned subsidiary of the university, committed to the furthering of knowledge, learning and education, and promoting cultural and intellectual debate of the highest standards, is supporting the initiative through its newly launched EUP Journals Online platform (

A list of qualifying countries is appended.

For further details of how to subscribe, please see

Further information for librarians is at
or email

How librarians can apply
To find out if your institution will qualify for this offer, please contact the Edinburgh University Press subscriptions department on +44 131 650 6207 or

For further information, please contact:

Edinburgh University Press
Sarah Edwards, Head of Journals,

International African Institute
Stephanie Kitchen, Chair, Publications Committee,

Journal editorial office
Editor, Karin Barber,


Qualifying countries
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Congo, Dem. Rep.
Congo, Rep.
Côte d'Ivoire
Egypt, Arab Rep.
Gambia, The
São Tomé and Principe
Sierra Leone
South Africa

To all Comedy Lovers
Tharmm Equest Limited presents the Prestige Unity Comedy Special on Saturday 26th July at Catford Broadway Theatre featuring: The first Prestige Unity Comedy Challenge :- Jamaican comedians v Nigerian comedians. Featuring the best of Jamaican comedy and Nigerian comedy. Representing Jamaica - Mr. Cee and Teddy Bear and Representing Nigeria - Tunde Ednut and Victor Daniels, sponsored by BEN TV.So bring out your colours, flags, T-Shirts, whistles and come and enjoy a night of pure comedic fun Nigeria v Jamaica with the winning team on the night receiving the Prestige Unity Comedy Trophy 2008 Pass this on, tell your friends , represent your side, who will win, the people will decide Tickets available direct from the Catford Broadway Theatre from Wednesday 18th June - price £12.50 Contact Broadway Theatre on 020 8690 0002 or for more information contact Tharmm Equest on 07852 568 651

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

citizenship review

Ayoub Mzee with Lord goldsmith QC a former Attorney General of England and Wales. On 22 June 2007, Goldsmith announced his resignation which took effect on 27 June 2007, the same day that prime minister, Tony Blair, stepped down. His successor is Patricia Scotland, Baroness Scotland of Asthal. Lord Goldsmith was the longest serving Labour Attorney General.

"It is easy to imagine that British citizenship should denote a strong connection with membership of the community in the UK; that British citizenship denotes a strong commitment to, and connection with, this country. However, that is not historically the case.
In effect, the history of legislation on citizenship and nationality has led to a complex scheme lacking coherence or any clear and self-contained statement of the rights and responsibilities of citizens" Lord Goldsmith
In his report,he discusses measures to address that and makes a range of proposals that touch every stage of an individual's life. His recommendations are intended to promote the meaning and significance of citizenship within modern Britain.

Peace Agreement between TFG and ARS on Somalia
· On Monday this week [9th June], Somalia ’s Transitional Federal Government and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, signed an agreement in Djibouti to end the crisis in Somalia . In the week and a half of discussions, the two sides did not sit down together, or hold face-to-face talks. They both attended a workshop under the facilitation of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia , Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. There were extensive discussions on humanitarian issues, on reconciliation and justice, the deployment of peacekeeping forces in Somalia , and the cessation of hostilities. Both parties had the opportunity to present the way they saw developments in Somalia , and the way forward. On Monday, they finally signed an agreement to a “cessation of armed confrontation”, and which requests the UN to authorize and deploy an international stabilization force within a hundred and twenty days, the period within which Ethiopia will withdraw its forces. The ARS agreed to cease all acts of armed violence and disassociate itself from any groups which do not adhere to the Agreement. A Joint Security Committee is to be set up as well as a High Level Committee, chaired by the UN, to follow up on issues relating to political cooperation, both within 15 days. Both parties are now expected to travel to Saudi Arabia over the weekend for prayers and to further underline their commitment to the Agreement.
The peace agreement reached between the ARS and TFG is a positive development. It will reinforce the reconciliation process at local and regional levels inside Somalia . It will also facilitate the strengthening of institutions of governance. It is, indeed, a major achievement as it creates a framework on which Somalis can work, TFG and ARS alike, for the furtherance of building peace and governance. Ethiopia welcomes the outcome of this agreement and will do all that is necessary to assist in the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement. Under the Agreement, Ethiopia is expected to withdraw its forces within 120 days during which time the UN is requested to deploy its forces. In fact, Ethiopia has already made it clear to the TFG that it will do this, and indeed will withdraw its forces earlier than the stipulated four months if conditions permit. Indeed the view in Ethiopia is that it should not even have to bear this burden for as long as 120 days. Sources close to the peace process have indicated that since any UN deployment will inevitably take time there may be indications that some Muslim countries may be prepared to supply part of the stabilization force indicated in the Agreement more immediately. Somali Prime Minister Nur ‘Adde’ is now in Turkey .
The real challenge now is whether the ARS can deliver on the ground. The ARS committed itself to desist from all acts of armed confrontation under the agreement. However, it is unclear how much authority the ARS has over Al-Shabaab or over such figures as Sheikh Hassan Turki, Sheikh Muktar Robow and others who are apparently bent on continuing terrorist activities. This will have a direct impact on the cessation of hostilities to which the parties committed themselves. Any terrorist act by Al-Shabaab might be construed as a violation of the agreement. Equally, any measures taken by the TFG to deal with terrorist activities on the ground might also be seen as a violation. The cessation of hostilities clearly demands genuine commitment from all sides. It needs to be handled in good faith to ensure a lasting peace in Somalia . The Agreement has already been widely welcomed by the international community, and by the Somali people, civil society groups and others who have carried the brunt of the conflicts on the ground. There have been numerous calls on all parties to respect in full the spirit of the agreement. At the same time, the faction of the ARS led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, and based in Asmara , has continued to reject the peace accord. Sheikh Aweys claimed the aim of the meeting was to derail “the holy war” in Somalia . Sheikh Aweys continues to act as a mouthpiece for Eritrea ’s President Issayas Aferwerki who appears bent on continuing his policy of destabilizing the Horn of Africa, as recent events along the Eritrea-Djibouti border indicate.
Meanwhile, President Abdallahi Yusuf is in Addis Ababa attending the IGAD Summit. The President is expected to brief the Summit on the details of the Peace Agreement with the ARS, the current situation in Somalia , and what the TFG will be doing in its endeavor to bring peace and stability in the country. While in Addis Ababa , President Abdullahi will be holding bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Meles and is expected to hold similar meetings with other IGAD Heads of State and IGAD partners.
Fighting on the Djibouti-Eritrea border
· Fighting broke out at Ras Doumeira on the Eritrea-Djibouti border on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday. According to a statement by the Djibouti Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eritrean armed forces, which have been occupying parts of Djibouti territory at Ras Doumeira for weeks, attacked Djibouti positions on Tuesday morning and again in the evening and overnight. The Ministry described this action as “pure provocation” and said that Eritrea was “fully responsible for this regrettable situation”. The Ministerial statement recalled that Djibouti had made a number of diplomatic efforts to solve the problem through the African Union, the Arab League and the UN as well as friendly countries and to change the position of the Eritrean Government. An AU Peace and Security Council mission has been in Djibouti this week to assess the situation. President Ismail Omar Guellah was in Qatar at the beginning of the week to talk to the Emir of Qatar. Eritrean aggression figured largely in the talks during President Ismail’s three day visit. Qatar is a close ally of Eritrea and President Issayas stopped off there on May 23 on his way back to Eritrea from a working visit to Iran . Eritrea had made no reference to the fighting, or to its invasion of Djibouti . A brief Eritrean Foreign Ministry statement on Wednesday claimed the Djibouti Government was involved in a “totally unwarranted anti-Eritrean hostile campaign.” It reiterated that the Eritrean Government would under no circumstances get involved in acts of hostilities designed to undermine good neighborliness.
Details of the fighting remain sketchy, though it appears that Eritrean troops in pursuit of a deserter opened fire on Djibouti positions. Another attack took place on Tuesday evening, and Djibouti forces responded. According to Djibouti military sources, Eritrean officers were demanding the return of 30 Eritrean deserters. There appear to have been dozens of casualties on both sides. Both sides have been building up their forces in recent weeks, and Djibouti now has nearly three quarters of its 11,000 person army in the area. There have been reports that Eritrea has as many as 50,000 troops in southern Eritrea , close to the border area, and across the border in Ras Doumeira. The United States has issued a statement condemning Eritrea ’s “military aggression”, and calling on both sides to cease all military operations immediately and reduce tensions by withdrawing troops from the border area. It called on both sides to resolve border issues in accordance with international law and for Eritrea to accept offers of third party mediation. The US has some 1,800 troops in Djibouti as part of the anti-terrorist Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa . The French Foreign Ministry has also indicated it was highly concerned about the clashes. France , which has nearly 3,000 troops as well as naval and air units stationed in Djibouti , has a mutual defense pact with Djibouti . The last time this was activated was in the mid 1990s when Eritrea made a previous effort to seize Ras Doumeira and advance its border thirty kilometers south.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued today, the UN Security Council condemned Eritrea ’s military actions against Djibouti . It calls on both parties to commit themselves to a ceasefire, and urges both parties, particularly Eritrea , to show maximum restraint and withdraw forces to the status-quo ante. The Security Council also calls on both countries, particularly Eritrea , to cooperate with diplomatic efforts to resolve the matter peacefully and in a manner consistent with international law. It also welcomes the efforts of the African Union, the Arab League and those states which have offered their assistance, and calls upon Eritrea in particular to engage fully in efforts to resolve the crisis.
EPAs raise the temperature at the ACP-EU Council meetings this week
· The 33rd African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) – European Union (EU) Joint Council Meeting, opened by Prime Minister Meles this week, was held from June 11 to 13 here in Addis Ababa . It was preceded earlier in the week by the 87th ACP Council Meeting opened by Ato Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Ethiopia , a founding member of the ACP group, set up at the signing of the Georgetown agreement in 1975, is hosting the ACP-EU Ministerial Councils.
In his opening address to the Joint Council, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that the quality of the EU-Africa partnership had to be measured by its contribution to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and he emphasized that Africa had been making significant progress in achieving these. He noted that Europe was Africa ’s most important trading partner and biggest source of grant assistance. Africa, he added, was the source of illegal migration to Europe and therefore “we are joined at the hip and we can only sink or swim together.” Referring to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which are intended to govern the future trading relationship between Africa and Europe, the Prime Minister acknowledged that Africa ’s trading relationship has to be compatible with the WTO rules. Nevertheless, he expressed his concern that “while the progress made so far with respect to the EPA negotiations may be compatible with the WTO rules, they are not adequately compatible with our development needs.” He went on to urge the Joint Council to address these concerns in a spirit of understanding of each other’s interests and in a spirit of accommodation.
Addressing the ACP Ministerial Council, Ato Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, also spoke about the Economic Partnership Agreements. He thought that in the absence of financial and technical support and assurance to cover the adjustment costs that would inevitably follow trade liberalization, it was unlikely that ACP countries which have yet to sign EPAs would do so in the next few months. So far only 35 ACP countries out of 78 have initialed the agreements, although the deadline was 31 December last year 2007. The European partners have made it clear that there will be no additional funding to deal with EPA related adjustment costs. They have merely advised the ACP countries to use funds from already existing mechanisms. Minister Sufian argued that ACP’s needed a sufficient transition period and that implementation of the EPAs needs to be related to a given set of development indicators rather than related to an arbitrary time frame. The EPAs currently require ACP countries to liberalize their trade by 80% within 15 years. Minister Sufian pointed out that EPAs, in their current form would require LDCs, such as Ethiopia , to commit even more than is required under WTO regulations. He noted that special and deferential treatments provided to LDCs and land-locked countries under WTO rules are not available under EPAs.
Negotiations over EPAs were launched in 2002 following the WTO’s criticism of EU unilateral preferential schemes for ACP countries. WTO said these were illegal as they discriminated against non-ACP developing countries in Latin America and Asia . WTO gave Europe and ACP countries until December 2007 to produce replacement arrangements compatible with WTO rules. The negotiations however, have been controversial. The most serious concern has been the obstacle EPAs present to regional integration. EPAs have rearranged existing regional blocks into six negotiating regions and these have cut across Africa ’s Regional Economic Councils. SADC for example, has 13 members split between different EPA negotiating blocks. The ACP Ministerial Council also discussed the new European Development Fund. The 10th EDF will provide the EU cooperation program to the ACP countries from 2008 to 2013. Out of the total budget allocated under the 10th EDF for all the 78 ACP countries, 24 billion Euros, Ethiopia ’s share will be 644 million Euros.
IGAD Foreign Ministers meet; Summit starts tomorrow
· The 27th IGAD Council of Ministers Session has taken place this week in Addis Ababa , today and yesterday [12th and 13th]. The Ministerial Session will be followed by the IGAD Heads of State and Government summit tomorrow, June 14. The Council of Foreign Ministers, under Ethiopia ’s chairmanship, took note of the progress in implementing the CPA in Sudan and in the national reconciliation effort in Somalia as encouraging. In both cases, however, the parties were urged to work to overcome challenges that aggravated political differences. Failure to do so could lead to conflicts which hindered regional integration.
After discussing the current situation regarding the border confrontation between Eritrea and Djibouti , the council recommended it as an issue for deliberation by the Heads of State. The Council suggested a declaration to be passed on current food crises and called upon member states to put a concerted effort into solve the continuing escalation of prices. It was decided that Kenya , Sudan and the Secretariat should engage Eritrea during the forthcoming African Union Summit in Egypt in order to convince it to continue its full membership of IGAD. The Council recommended the Summit to reassess the role of the International Partners Forum in order to upgrade its commitment and assistance in line with the new mission of IGAD and to also expand IGAD's partnership with countries such as China , India , Japan , Turkey and Russia . The Council also deliberated on the EU-Horn of Africa initiative. This was embraced by IGAD in 2005, but differences have emerged on the way forward. The Council is of the view that the EU Commission should recognize IGAD as a regional economic community. It also underlined the need for the initiative to come out with new budget lines and a new basket fund to avoid compromising already committed funds. The Council also endorsed the candidature of Engineer Mahboub Mohamed for the post of Executive Secretary of IGAD and recommended its appointment by the Summit .
Most importantly, the Council of Foreign Ministers considered and adopted Ethiopia 's proposal to further enhance IGAD's role as a Regional Economic Community (REC). The Council has instructed the Secretariat to undertake an inventory of all existing projects on regional integration, identify gaps and develop an appropriate scenario for regional integration. The study will be presented at an Extraordinary Session of Council on regional integration to be held before the end of the year. The proposal was made by Foreign Minister Seyoum in his opening speech to the Council. Minister Seyoum noted that IGAD, both as a region and an organization, was at a cross-roads. It was making insufficient progress while new and ongoing conflicts were undermining the region's development efforts. The current global food and energy crises had slowed regional economic growth to the point where some countries have had to switch funding away from development. These interrelated challenges demand urgent action to avoid both food insecurity and instability. If IGAD member states were to take advantage of globalization and to avoid the marginalization of the region, member states must accelerate the integration of the IGAD region as one of the building blocks of the African Union at the continental level. Minister Seyoum pointed out that IGAD was currently one of the weakest links in the process of economic integration on the continent. He wondered whether member states had the necessary political will to make IGAD a vehicle for real regional integration. He called for member states to carry out real soul-searching, and said that they must as a matter of urgency address this challenge. IGAD should set up an appropriate forum to discuss these issues. He suggested a ministerial 'brainstorming' session be convened to consider ways and means of ensuring action. He called for the IGAD secretariat to prepare a background paper urgently, highlighting the major impediments to IGAD's effectiveness. The Minister welcomed the signing of the agreement between the Transitional Federal Government and Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia on Monday, which he said gave the region grounds for hope for a real break-through for peace and national reconciliation in Somalia . He said the recent set back in Abyei was a source of concern to the whole region, and called on the signatories of the CPA, the government of Sudan and the SPLM, to persevere in their commitment. He assured them that IGAD stood ready to assist them as they move forward to achieve the objectives laid down in the CPA. Minister Seyoum emphasized that the prevalence of peace is the central prerequisite for economic development and for the well-being of peoples of the region. IGAD, he said, should not take lightly the deliberate attempt being made by Eritrea to derail Djibouti 's very promising and successful economic development, or Eritrea ’s efforts to obstruct IGAD's effort to put the crisis between Eritrea and Ethiopia behind them.
Four and a half million need emergency food aid
· The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) has now issued a revised figure of 4.6 million people needing emergency food assistance. The Early Warning Working Group, chaired by the DPPA and made up of major donors, UN Agencies, USAID and other NGOs, launched a revised appeal on Thursday for this level of aid. The previous estimates were that 3.4 million people were in need of assistance. Latest figures are that total food requirements stand at 391,651 MT for the next six months (June to November), at a cost of 325 million dollars for both food and non-food requirements. The non-food sectors, including health and water, will require 38 million dollars. The total food requirement for estimated beneficiaries now stands at 510,000 MT, and of this 118,000 MT are available or have been pledged. The figures and requirements will be updated as the impact of the recent Belg and coming Gu seasons are assessed. The most seriously affected regions are in Oromiya, where serious food security, health and livestock problems have been identified in nine woredas, the SNNPR region, where a number of particular hotspots have been identified following a DPPA mission, and the Somali Regional State . There is also need of emergency food assistance in Amhara, Tigray and Afar regional states following poor Belg rains, though the effects of the late onset of Belg rains has been minimized in many areas by the efforts of government and partners including FAO, CARE and Save the Children US.
Of particular concern has been the numbers of children suffering from severe malnutrition. After UNICEF suggested up to six million children under 5 years of age might need preventive health and nutrition intervention, there were exaggerated suggestions in the international media that all of these were suffering from acute malnutrition. While there is still some uncertainty about numbers of severely malnourished children, the current estimates are around 75,000. Mr. John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has noted that “a rapid scaling up of resources especially food and nutritional supplies is needed to make increased life-saving aid a reality. In addition as elsewhere, the rising global costs of fuel and basic staples are posing hardship for Ethiopia ’s people, especially the poorest.” A number of governments have pledged extra assistance in response to the situation. In addition to £5 million pounds announced earlier, the UK pledged another £10 million; USAID pledged 70 million dollars for emergency food assistance, and the Government of Norway donated 20 million birr for drought affected regions. UN Agencies have also been active in assistance. Between January and May this year, the World Food Program distributed 65,000 MT of food aid to over 2 million people.
The Government-led Logistic Crisis Committee is being reactivated to serve as a forum to facilitate quick and timely delivery of humanitarian responses by all parties. The Government has also made it clear it is giving priority to trucks transporting emergency relief commodities from Djibouti and will facilitate secondary transport arrangements. Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, Minister of Health is now heading the Government team to provide an accurate assessment of the situation in the drought affected regions. The ministries of Health, Water Resources, Information and the Federal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency are represented, and they are beginning their work in the SNNP Region. A UN team is also leaving for Awassa in the SNNPR. Following suggestions by UNOCHA, and international NGOs, the Government is looking into holding weekly government media briefings to provide updated and reliable information on the humanitarian situation in various parts of the country.
A Memorandum of Understanding with South Sudan
· The adjacent regional states in Ethiopia, (Gambella, Beni Shangul Gumuz and Southern Nation, Nationalities and People Regional States), and Southern Sudan (Upper Nile, Jongeli and Eastern Equatorial States) held their first consultative meeting in Addis Ababa from 7-8 June 2008. The Ethiopian delegation was led by the Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tekeda Alemu. The Southern Sudanese delegation was led by Dr. Barnabas Benjamin, Minister for Regional Cooperation of the Government of Southern Sudan. The meeting was opened by Ethiopia ’s Foreign Minister, Ato Seyoum Mesfin, and representatives from other federal ministries relevant to border development and security issues were present. The meeting discussed a wealth of issues including the development of cross border trade cooperation, infrastructure, river transport, air transport, investment, customs, agriculture, finance and banking, education, security, migration, health and capacity building. There were also discussions on problems facing peoples living along the joint border of Ethiopia and Southern Sudan . Both countries have established mechanisms of border development cooperation to promote and foster cooperation in border areas. It was agreed to hold regular consultative meetings at different levels, to help connect the adjacent states by road, to cooperate in regulating social problems related to trans-border human movement, health and education. The meeting concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Human Rights Watch’s latest report: a political agenda
· It should be no secret that Ethiopia regards Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports on Ethiopia with concern. HRW has demonstrated, over several years, clear evidence of deliberate bias and numerous errors of fact. Ethiopia has raised questions about HRW’s coverage a number of times. It has had no satisfactory response, nor indeed any response at all. HRW’s latest report - Collective Punishment: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the Ogaden Area of Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State – demonstrates exactly why Ethiopia has consistently complained about HRW’s aims and intentions: the display of a political rather than a human rights focus, the seemingly deliberate lack of balance, the extensive lack of background knowledge and of present circumstances as well as numerous inaccuracies, and the failure to investigate the interests and affiliations of its entirely external sources.
The report limits its comments on the ONLF to five pages compared to sixty on alleged Ethiopian abuses. It mentions only one or two specific ONLF incidents out of the hundreds of possibilities available, many well-documented and many actually claimed by the ONLF. HRW chooses rather to quote the ONLF’s denial of responsibility for grenade attacks in May last year. It even suggests, directly following ONLF propaganda as does much HRW information, these may have been linked to regional government disputes.
Despite this imbalance HRW claims to produce a balanced report, to comment on human rights abuses by all sides. On the evidence of this report, and earlier reports, this is simply nonsense. There is no balance and no attempt at balance. This indeed is the central difficulty of this report. HRW accepts all ONLF claims unquestioningly, and assumes that all Ethiopian statements are false. HRW has a long history here of misleading, inaccurate and one-sided comment, and this report continues this approach. It starts with the assertion that Ethiopia has failed to investigate claims of abuse or hold anyone responsible. This is not true. Equally, the claim that : “Ethiopian authorities …stepped up their forced recruitment of local militia forces, many of whom are sent to fight against the ONLF without military training, resulting in large casualty rates,” is no more than ONLF propaganda, as HRW very well knows. HRW could easily have found this out had it bothered to probe just a little into its sources in Kenya or the US . The claim that satellite imagery can prove that Ethiopian troops burnt villages is farcical, and illustrates a typical HRW technique. All satellite photographs can prove is that a village has been burnt. They cannot show who burnt the village, why it was done, or how it was done. HRW extrapolates from the single point that a village has been burnt to build an un-provable superstructure of exaggeration Satellite imagery adds nothing to Human Rights Watch allegations and is, of course, valueless in assessing whether the ONLF, villagers or Ethiopian troops or anybody else might have burnt a village or whether the destruction happened by accident or design. In fact, in this specific case, the way satellite imagery is being used, in an attempt to add a veneer of respectability to unfounded HRW allegations, merely abuses science. It cannot, and does not provide any proof of anything. This is why the view that all this might have been motivated by geo-political considerations cannot be ruled out.
The report shows no knowledge or understanding of Somali Regional State politics, of the ONLF, or of the Ogadeen clan. There is no need for Ethiopia to recruit “local militia forces”. There are plenty of Ogadeen clan militias which are opposed to the ONLF. They do not need to be recruited or armed by the Regional Government. They are quite prepared to defend themselves against the ONLF, whose efforts to intimidate and pressurize local populations in the zones in which they operate, are well documented. ONLF actions include the killing of clan elders and of villagers, the burning of villages, the destruction of property and animals as well as assassinations of local Ogadeen government officials and regional government supporters, and the bombing of markets and public meetings. It is hardly surprising that ONLF support is very limited.
It is difficult in fact to accept that HRW is prepared to evaluate evidence seriously. HRW, for example, knows perfectly well that to claim that “some foreign journalists who have attempted to conduct independent investigations have been arrested” is a travesty of the truth. One group of three journalists, from the New York Times, were detained and expelled after traveling for two weeks with the ONLF after the killing at Obole. As was very clear from the articles written by Jeffery Gettleman subsequently, “independent” and “investigation” were scarcely applicable words. He clearly made no efforts to query ONLF claims, nor any attempt to probe their allegations. He is content to parrot the ONLF line, indeed his articles might have been written by the ONLF.
The report claims Ethiopia was responsible for a food blockade as part of an effort to cut off economic support to the ONLF. Several, and obvious, points might be made. Much of the cross-border trade and much of the food relief operations are carried out by non-Ogadeen traders and vehicles. These, as the report briefly notes, were a ‘regular target’ of the ONLF. In a remarkably restrained reference to the literally hundreds of landmines that have been planted and the hundreds of human and vehicular casualties, the report merely notes that “[the ONLF] has at times …used landmines in a manner that indiscriminately harmed civilians”. In fact, hundreds of vehicles have been destroyed (and drivers killed) by ONLF attacks and by land mines over the years.
The effect of ONLF actions on cross border traffic and on food distribution was far greater than any Ethiopian military activity, though certainly the necessity of controlling cross-border arms supplies (coming from Eritrea via Al-Shabaab and the ARS in Somalia), and of providing military convoys and checking the roads for land mines all made for considerable delays last year. None of this gets into HRW’s view of events in the region. The report in fact consistently, and deliberately, plays down the activities of the ONLF and the support it has received from Eritrea in the last year which has been largely responsible for the sudden expansion of terrorist activity. It is hard to believe it is mere coincidence that the ONLF issued another of their invented military communiqués this week to coincide with HRW’s report, and with Eritrea ’s current cross-border incursions into Djibouti territory.
HRW’s claim that NGOs were stopped from entering the region last September is not true. Not even MSF, despite its claims to the contrary, was refused entry. It withdrew from the region of its own volition citing security issues. When attempting to return, it was stopped at a military checkpoint and asked, politely, to clear its movements with the local administration as Fiq, to which it was trying to go, was considered dangerous for foreigners. To elevate this into the claim that NGOs were being refused entry into the region is inaccurate, and dishonest.
Many of these points have been made to HRW at various times. It has taken no notice of them. Inevitably, Ethiopia finds it difficult to cooperate with an organization which has so very clearly demonstrated its lack of integrity, its bias and above all its political rather than its human rights agenda. HRW’s report is not only seriously flawed and obviously biased; it also appears to have a political dimension. The failure to record even the admitted abuses of the ONLF, let alone investigate the many allegations against its activities, suggests it is more interested in what amounts to a vendetta against the Government of Ethiopia. In fact, in its recommendations it makes it clear that what it is after is for the US , and other donors, to change their policies towards Ethiopia . The point is underlined by HRW’s naïvely ignorant comment that western governments are fearful that a “robust stance on human rights” will strengthen Ethiopia ’s ties to China . HRW accuses the US and the UK governments for “one-sided” comments on the Ogaden because they concentrated more on criticizing the ONLF than the Ethiopian government. Ironically it has itself done precisely this, producing a continuous series of one-sided and inaccurate comments, criticizing the Ethiopian government but not the ONLF.
We would return to a question we have posed to HRW before. Why are you so determined to attack and criticize the Ethiopian government alone, even to the extent of accepting clearly perjured and invented claims from a terrorist organization while refusing to accept clear evidence of human rights abuse by that same organization? You have done this over the Somali Regional State; you have done exactly the same with reference to the fighting in Mogadishu, refusing to accept impeccable evidence of Al-Shabaab terrorism, while accepting without demur any and all claims, however improbable or exaggerated, about the activities of Ethiopian troops or TFG security forces. The deliberateness with which HRW does this amounts to nothing less than a campaign. Indeed, it is hard to acquit HRW of malice. There seems to be little other credible explanation apart from the possibility that its researchers have allowed themselves to be bamboozled by those who wish to ensure they have sufficient grounds to be accepted as refugees.
As we have frequently said: Ethiopia is very aware of its shortcomings in terms of human rights. Nobody is trying to sweep human rights abuses under the carpet as HRW claims. Ethiopia has, and will continue, to investigate allegations as and when they are made as the reports of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission makes clear. We would ask, not for the first time – has HRW bothered to access these? Police in the Somali Regional State always investigate claims of rape or other abuses when they are made. They always will do, if they are brought to their attention. However, allegations made by un-named members of an armed terrorist movement who are living in the US or outside the country, are difficult to investigate. We are trying hard to improve. This is why we have signed up to international human rights conventions. This is why we set up a Human Rights Commission and an Ombudsman's Office. This is why these organizations have to report to Parliament every nine months. This is why we have been carrying out extensive human rights training of police and military officers. We have to say that unbalanced, politically motivated attacks in the guise of human rights reports, using unsubstantiated allegations obviously drawn from ONLF propaganda, do not help.