Friday, 13 July 2012

The Grand Radar Corruption in Tanzania Explained

Book Review: The Shadow World Inside The Global Arms Trade

THE SHADOW WORLD by Andrew Feinstein is the harrowing, behind-the-scenes tale of the global arms trade. Pulling back the curtain on this secretive world, Andrew Feinstein reveals the corruption and the cover-ups behind weapons deals ranging from the largest in history - between the British and Saudi governments - to BAE's controversial transactions in South Africa, Tanzania and eastern Europe, and the revolving-door relationships that characterize the US Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. He exposes in forensic detail both the formal government-to-government trade in arms and the shadow world of illicit weapons dealing - and lays bare the shocking and inextricable links between the two.
The Shadow World is a massive but eminently readable tome with content ranging from a history of the major players in the development of the industry, to a case-by-case study of the role of the trade in Africa – from the vast deals between arms manufacturers and governments, to the impact the trade has in perpetuating and intensifying African conflicts.

The book exposes the filth of corruption in different parts of the world through Western powers particularly Britain. In Tanzania, for instance, the author reveals the dirty deals that surrounded the harrowing purchase of the radar from BAE Systems of Britain. The book reveals how former British PM Tony Blair persuaded former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to buy an old technology radar. This was despite the fact that top officials in the foreign department of Britain were opposed to that move. Clare Short, who at the time of the purchase negotiation, was the Secretary of State for International Development strongly opposed the move cited the economic ineptness of Tanzania to buy the radar. Tanzania at the time had only eight military jets most of which were grounded due to their horrendous old state. Tanzania did not need a military radar system; in any case, it needed a national radar to bolster its tourism sector.

Despite these facts, Tanzania went on to buy £28 million radar system. In a report by The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) cited gross violations in the deal between Tanzania and BAE Systems. The BAE Systems then accused of ICAD of misinterpretation of the deal. The book also exposes the dealings by high ranking Tanzanian government officials in the purchase of the radar. These include among others, former President Mkapa, Andrew Chenge and Idriss Rajab. This is the tale of collusion of grand corruption between Tanzania and Britain.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Over 100 Nigerians Die in Fuel Tanker Tragedy

Shocked? The same people will run if another tanker overturned. pic via bbc
Nicodemus M. Minde 

When will Africans ever learn that no matter how poor you are, running after a spilled tanker can turn tragic? Over 100 Nigerians have lost their lives after running for a tanker that had overturned in Rivers State. Such scenarios are common in countries in Africa. The problem is that people seem not to learn from these horrific tragies. Its time that people learn from such occurences.

The Implications of the Sudan and South Sudan Nationality Laws

By Nicodemus M. Minde
The Ministry of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development of South Sudan has followed on its decision of May 2012 circular to evict Sudanese workers [northerners]. This raises the question about the impact of South Sudan’s independence on the right to a nationality by both states. In January 2011, after years of civil strife, the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for separation from the Republic of Sudan. South Sudan obtained its independence six months later, on 9 July 2011.[1] As part of the process of separation of the two states, people of South Sudanese origin who are habitually resident in what remains the Republic of Sudan are being stripped of their Sudanese nationality and livelihoods. The South Sudan Nationality Act entered into force a month after independence. An amendment to this Act has resulted in a person with one South Sudanese parent and one who remains Sudanese will lose his or her Sudanese nationality. This law has also infringed on the 2005 Interim National Constitution of Sudan (As embodied in the CPA) which provided an inalienable right to anybody born to a Sudanese heritage to enjoy dual nationality. These laws have disregarded the tenets of international law. International law provides that, when part of a state secedes to create a new state or to merge with another state, the nationality of the people resident in the territories affected is attributed to one or other of the two states on the basis of habitual residence. The succession of states also permits individuals to opt for the nationality of either state if they have an appropriate connection to both. The two states have introduced a nationality law based on the ethnic identity contrary to the provisions and dictates of international law.

The move by the South’s Ministry of Labor to render the Sudanese workers (northerners) persona no grata further highlights the need for a redraft of the Nationality Act in both states. The enmity and antipathy between the two states on nationality laws is just a recipe for further tensions. Border tensions have already created conflict fault lines between the two states. This recent developments will further dampen the efforts to build a sustainable positive peace. The South wants their people to get the jobs that the Northerners have. A South Sudanese official was quoted saying that “It is the right of [South Sudanese] nationals to get those [job] positions. There should be no anyway a Sudanese would occupy jobs for South Sudanese.” The South’s position is for the workers to legalize their status as refugees or expatriates.

South Sudan should understand that despite its sovereign status, it owes therewith, its heritage to the larger Sudan. The Republic of Sudan should also be privy to these facts as well. Peace-building between two warring states requires sensible national laws that promote peaceful coexistence. The nationality laws in the two countries should therefore be redrafted and renegotiated.      


[1] See Manby, B. (2012). The Right to a Nationality and the Secession of South Sudan: A Commentary on the Impact of the New Laws. The Open Society for Eastern Africa (OSIEA).

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Democratic Republic of the Congo: As the M23 gains ground, the situation in North Kivu is becoming increasingly dangerous for civilians

By the Institute of Security Studies
In April 2012 the former Congres National pour la Defense du Peuple (CNDP) rebels started defecting from the Congolese army. They had been integrated into the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) under the 2009 peace deal The subsequent clashes between the mutineers and the FARDC have caused over 200 000 civilians to flee the region.

Last weekend, however, the situation started changing dramatically, with the mutinous group, now known as the M23 taking control of numerous strategic towns, including Bunagana, Rutshuru, Ntamungenga and Rubare, which is 10km from the provincial capital Goma. An estimated 600 FARDC troops fled to neighbouring Uganda. Although the leader of the battalion that fled described the move as a tactical withdrawal, the soldiers left their weapons behind and these have now been captured by the M23.

These latest developments are reminiscent of the events in 2008, when the CNDP came very close to taking control of Goma. While the M23 leader, Col. Sultani Makenga is calling for negotiations with DRC President Laurent Kabila to discuss better treatment of troops in the FARDC, it is doubtful whether the M23 will once again be integrated into the army.

Kinshasa is extremely concerned about the possibility that rebels could take over Goma. Indications are that the confrontation could be deadly, and also contribute to the fragility of the region and the country as a whole.  Plans are also underway to send more troops to Goma to dissuade rebels from attempting attacks on the town.

The fact that the M23 has said that it would evacuate all the towns it has taken, except for Bunagana, indicates that the group is increasingly interested in gaining control over mineral trade in the region, as Bunagana is a strategic mineral transit town on the border with Uganda.

It has to be remembered that the former CNDP members, who make up a large component of the M23, were interested in protecting the Banyamulenge population (Tutsi Congolese who migrated to the DRC in the 1880's); fighting the former Hutu rebels of the Forces Democratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) and gaining what they could in the process. If the M23 manages to take control of Goma, it will effectively be controlling the North Kivu, and would thus be better able to protect the Banyamulenge and keep the FDLR weak.

It is of great concern that while the M23 is interested in protecting certain parts of the population, its members are also notorious human rights abusers. Their leaders, Bosco Ntaganda and Sultani Makenga have both been involved in various massacres, rape and recruitment of child soldiers.

Having the M23 in control of Eastern DRC may be in the interest of Rwanda, and of the Tutsi population in the East, but for the rest of the civilian population, it will mean that their lives will become more insecure than ever before.

Unfortunately the United Nations peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians, even if force is required, have not been very successful in enforcing their mandate. Thus, it has now become critical for President Kabila and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda to discuss the situation. So far, the mutiny has only been discussed by the military and by foreign ministers of the two countries, but given Rwanda's alleged involvement in supplying weapons and recruits for the M23, this situation requires urgent discussion at the highest level.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Land Destroyer: The Libyan Election Farce

Land Destroyer: The Libyan Election Farce: All candidates are neo-imperial candidates - Wall Street proxy Jibril of "National Forces Alliance" presumed winner. by Tony Cartalucci ...

Lubanga given a 14 year jail term

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in jail for recruiting and using child soldiers in his rebel army in 2002 and 2003. The trial has taken exactly 10 years!
See the k=link for more info.

"Free, free, totally free"-Hugo Chavez on his Cancer

By Press TV
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has declared that he has overcome his illness, dismissing allegations that any physical ailment will affect his campaigning for the country's upcoming elections.

"Free, free, totally free," Chavez told reporters at a four-hour press conference on Monday when asked if he was still afflicted with cancer. 

“Thanks to God, I am here and every day I feel [I am] in [a] better physical condition, and I really don't think this expression 'physical restrictions'... will be a factor in the campaign," he told the conference.

Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, launched his re-election bid for the October 7 presidential polls on June 11.

Since June 2011, the Venezuelan president has undergone surgeries in Cuba to remove cancerous tumors from his pelvic region.

He also promised to resume his presidential campaigning from Thursday, saying "Now is when I'm stepping into the action. Our offensive begins right now."
"Chavez is back in the street, the Bolivarian hurricane!" he said, referring to Simon Bolivar, the country’s independence hero.

Opinion polls show Chavez, who is seeking his third term in office, leading his 39-year-old rival Henrique Capriles.

ICC Trials for Kenyan Case to Commence on April 10

The Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued scheduling orders setting the dates for the commencement of the trials in the two Kenyan cases, The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang and The Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, respectively on 10 and 11 April 2013, establishing a time table for the various procedural steps required to be undertaken before the opening of the trials to guarantee the fairness of the procedures.

Monday, 9 July 2012

"US is Backing Gangs in Syria"-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says Washington plays a role in the turmoil in Syria by supporting the armed gangs to destabilize the country. Assad says that the United States is “part of the conflict,” and that “they offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to… destabilize Syria.”
“As long as you offer any kind of support to terrorists, you are partner. Whether you send them armaments or money or public support, political support in the United Nations, anywhere,” Assad said.
“The president should not run away from challenge and we have a national challenge now in Syria,” Assad said.