Let’s go barter: Museveni govt cited in African migrants for Arms deal with Israel

For some time, secrecy had surrounded a racist deal made by an openly racist Israeli government towards African immigrants and some leaders of African countries.
When I first saw this report I thought, what an all-new low we are hitting in assisting trade in humans and promoting racism! I hoped that my president still had some moral bit left especially on an issue that concerned discrimination and dehumanization of Africans. But i was wrong!

A gag order on a secret agreement between governments of Israel and Uganda to deport African immigrants to Uganda was lifted.
Most immigrants in Israel are from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan.

sudan ref

This deal between President Museveni, and Israel will see Uganda take in tens of thousands of African migrants or in some cases serve as a transit station.
Israeli Interior Minister said that they had obtained consent from Museveni government which a foreign ministry official was quick to refute . I say it is Museveni because there’s almost no respect for other aspects of government by Museveni.

Gideon Sa’ar doesn’t even conceal his racist language!

“In the first stage we will focus on raising awareness within the population of infiltrators while helping them with the logistics of their departure including their airfare and dealing with possession they accumulated.”

Continue reading “Let’s go barter: Museveni govt cited in African migrants for Arms deal with Israel”

UN renews efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict

Yesterday, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2106 on sexual violence in conflict unanimously in renewed efforts to prevent and tackle the scourge that has come to characterize many conflicts on the globe.

Over the last four decades, the nature and actors in armed conflicts have changed a lot. Today’s wars kill more civilians than combatants and sexual violence particularly against women has become the norm. Also the use of child soldiers increased even if these acts were in violation of the 1949 Geneva conventions.

In 1999, UN Security Council passed Resolution 1261 that condemned the use of child soldiers. The following year Resolution 1325 was passed addressing issues of women in conflict. The Resolution looked at the gender perspective that included the special needs of women and girls in repatriation, resettlement and post-conflict reconstruction.

A woman attends a prayer session at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu DRC where hundreds of sexual violence victims are treated every month. Rosebell's photo.
A woman attends a prayer session at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu DRC where hundreds of sexual violence victims are treated every month. Rosebell’s photo.

Noticing that resolutions over the decade had not done much to deter increased and systematic use of sexual violence as a war tactic, UN Security Council passed Resolution 1820 (2008) that demanded “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians.” And years to follow more resolutions like 1960 were passed to get parties in conflicts to prevent and/or end sexual violence.

Continue reading “UN renews efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict”

Does G8 move on extractive industries mean anything for African countries?

Ahead of the meeting of leaders of world’s major economies the G8, the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the G8 and 15 developing countries have agreed to work together to make sure that “the poorest people benefit from their country’s natural resources, by improving the transparency of their extractive industries and land rights.”

The G8 which includes US, UK, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Germany and France plays a big role in extractives industry in African countries.

Mr Cameron made the announcement during a panel session with African leaders at the Open for Growth on 15 June 2013. Of the 15 countries, 8 developing countries will be focused on improving the extractives sector while 7 are on land rights.

This seeming shift of G8 countries from aid to improving trade may be driven by various factors – increased Chinese penetration in African extractives industry and also the non-sustainability of the aid model for both receiving and donor countries as donor countries have been hit by the economic crisis.

Continue reading “Does G8 move on extractive industries mean anything for African countries?”

Young Global Leader honor

I am honored to have been selected as a 2013 Young Global Leader (YGL). This honour is bestowed by the World Economic Forum each year to recognize the most distinguished leaders under the age of 40, nominated from around the world.

photo via Dritte
photo via

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a “dynamic, diverse, global community of the world’s most outstanding, next-generation leaders, who commit a portion of their time to jointly share a better future and thereby improve the state of the world.”

“Young Global Leaders represent the future of leadership, coming from all regions of the world and representing business, government, civil society, arts and culture, academia and media, as well as social entrepreneurs.”

Set up as an independent, not-for-profit foundation under the supervision of the Swiss government, The Forum of Young Global Leaders works as an integral part of the World Economic Forum platform to engage young leaders into deep interaction with other stakeholders of global society. YGLs are fully involved in virtually all meetings, research and initiatives  of the World Economic Forum, representing the views and interests of their generation

Among many roles of the Young Global leaders program is to catalyse the next generation of leaders through personal experiences that enable YGLs to build knowledge and engender a better understanding of global challenges and trends, risks and opportunities.

Also happy to see Ola Orekunrin, Founder The Flying Doctors Nigeria, Marieme Jamme Founder SpotOne Global Solutions Senegal on the list.

List of 2013 Young Global Leader http://www3.weforum.org/docs/YGL13/WEF_YGL13_Honourees.pdf

I look forward to engaging with community and the never ending learning experiences.

Meeting one of the ‘most influential Arabs’.

On Friday 16, I was honored to attend a public lecture in a small library in Amsterdam where Abdel Bari Atwan, named by  Middle East Magazine as one of the 50 most ‘most influential Arabs’, was speaking on the eve of the one year commemoration of the Arab Spring.

Atwan in Amsterdam on Dec 16. Rosebell's photo

Atwan is editor-in chief of the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. He discussed the Arab spring and the future of the Middle East and North Africa beyond the ‘revolution’.

Some of my favorite quotes from the meeting:

“We Arab people were suffered double humiliation. That brought about by imperialism and another by own very own corrupt government.”

I found this quote very meaningful for not only the Arab world but also of Africa. All year long many people have been watching closely to see if there will be a sort of African spring. And every time some friends asked me when is the African Spring, I replied, we won’t have a spring, ours will be the African Harmattan! None the less there has been inspiration from the north of the continent spreading south. In many ways our realities are close to those of the MENA countries and we can only wait and see what changes and how long will they take on the African continent. Just like Atwan said “whoever knew or predicted that the Arab people would depose four dictators in just one year?”

I have very passionate Yemeni friends and Atwan said he respected the struggle of Yemen, knowing how many guns are in the hands of so many people that the country has not moved to a civil war. He applauded the choice of non-violence of the people of Yemen even when they had access to arms. And he told us a famous saying about the difficulty of ruling Yemen with its tribes system that i loved.

“Riding a lion is smoother than ruling Yemen”

Then came Atwan’s passionate talk on the events in Libya and how he disagreed with the NATO military intervention. Even though he was glad that the killing of Muammar Gaddafi has been called a crime against humanity, he decried the west for allowing impunity of rebels turned government of NTC.

I was interested in the fact the the ICC had backed off the Libya case and of recent the prosecutor had indicated that Libya’s new rulers were capable of prosecuting Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. Personally i found this ridiculous, how could the killers of his father offer him a fair trial in a country has no justice system. Having spent the earlier week hearing people decry the ICC being an African court, here i was with a situation which clearly an outside court could have done better.

When I asked Atwan about this he went beyond the case of Saif to talk about his recent trip to Tripoli and how many African countries and the were silent about crimes being committed about African people, both Libyans and immigrants.

There are at least 7000 black people in Libya being tortured and living in the most inhumane conditions all these atrocities being presided over by the new regime.Yet we see no human rights papers about them. Nothing from western governments who supposed intervened on human rights grounds. I will not be surprised if we soon hear that Saif has been executed. The West is keeping a blind eye to crimes committed by rebels because of they always put their interests above anything else.

And that was from a Palestinian man who lived in as a refugee in Jordan, managed to study in Egypt and later run one of the most respected Arab media outlets from London since 1989.

Atwan said for the future of the entire region, one must not put their eyes off Egypt. He said is Egypt becomes more islamist, chances are that most of the other countries will follow suit.


Iran: when a society is humiliated

“People can tolerate hardship, people can tolerate dictatorship but when they reach a point that they feel humiliated that’s when they can force change.”

This week I attended a lecture by a great Iranian whose name I will not mention for security reasons. The discussion was about Iran and the green movement. If you don’t know already, in June President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (call him ‘ahmad in a jacket’ if you want to get his name right quickly like me) won what Ugandans would call another Kisanja (term) during the disputed presidential elections. Before the elections people had been generally free to canvass for votes and many Iranians believed even if he didn’t go, their vote for reform would be recognised. Ahmadinejad claimed a two-thirds majority and the protests against the election followed where many people were arrested some killed. Currently over 500 Iranians from all walks of life are still locked up in jails for taking part in the protest but this has not crashed the movement for change.

map of iran
Map of Iran from PBS.ORG



















So from this lecture I got you what I thought was important quotes and highlights of the Iranian green movement.

First, it has been non-violent. It has no structured leadership for this would make it easy for the dictatorship to target the leaders and therefore somehow significantly crash the movement.

It has been embraced by Iranians from all walks of life. “It is not a student uprising neither is it about workers.”

Only 20 percent of the population are in favour of the current Islamic establishment but you can’t mistaken this movement to be about religion.

It has taken advantage of the new media age to use outlets like twitter, facebook and others to make their voices heard by the rest of the world.

The professor indicated that he was glad this movement is not happening overnight.

“The movement is now less visible than it was in the first two weeks after the elections. I am happy the reform is going on gradually, we don’t need it to be immediate because that will be violent thus taking us 30 years back.”

“It’s a protest that is affecting the core of government. The election was not the only issue. For the last 30 years nobody questioned the legitimacy of government but we see it now.”

On leadership: We know what we don’t want but we don’t know what we want. All factions are together but if you asked what kind of political system they want, there will be a difference, that’s why it’s good the movement is gradual. It gives a chance to get in touch with ordinary people and build awareness.

To foreigners: “the biggest help you can give us is do nothing. The US has been giving money for democracy promotion but Iran has money, that’s not what we want.”

His remarks on the impact of a non-violent all encampassing movement are very true becuase for places like uganda where a rebel leader (current president Museveni) took over power by force promising a fundamental change, they have largely returned to the same old corruption and political manupilation of the citizenry.

I was moved to write about this lectured because of the opening quote. Many Ugandans long for reform but there’s the inability for people to come together to demand for this. Thiss left thinking may be we haven’t yet felt the humiliation. And if that’s so when we will feel it?

Exporting presidential term limits removal ideas to Costa Rica?

It’s now two weeks since I set foot in this beautiful country Costa Rica for my studies. I can’t say much about the country and the people only that Me gusta todo aquí.

But even before a month elapses I read the news that Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is seeking to join the Latin America-Africa syndrome of calling for a new constitution that expand executive powers and get rid of “unnecessary checks” on the president’s authority.

With less than 9 months left in office, Arias can’t run for re-election but his brother and current minister of the presidency — a primer minister of sorts — has openly said he’s interested in running for president in 2014. A new constitution with expanded executive powers would fit him just fine.

That’s all I can pick from the media. And when I told a friend about my worries for this latin American country that has been a island in an ocean of countries facing conflicts, he suspected I might be the one who has exported this idea to Costa Rica. Being Ugandan where we successfully saw the amendment of the constitution to open the lid on presidential terms, my friend suggested I might be the very good Arias advisor.

Costa Rica has not had an army in the last 60 years and it is seen as one of the most progressive countries on South America. But I told my friend I never was part of the group that masterminded the imposition of the whole idea of life presidency on the Ugandan society as if they society never saw enough during the self proclaimed life president Idi Amin. What hurts more today however is  that those defending the decision to put our country’s leadership future in uncertainty want to justify. They justified it then by saying we had a good and able leader and therefore if we gave him one more term he would leave and we would have gained so much from him in those five years. But alas! There’s a new tactics and reasons, that his lubimbi will end when his 75. One Ugandan saying goes, “Owahinga ahorobi nawe ayinuka” which means that even the one who ploughs the softest soil still retires.

I hope Costa Rica doesn’t commit the same sin that my country did and might pay dearly for in future.

Slavery Memorial Day, We can’t forget

Today August 23rd is a a Slavery Memorial Day, many set this day aside to remember the horrendous inhumane acts that saw Africa and Africans robbed of their dignity for centuries. Even though slavery was abolished, its consequences are still faced by many today. Like someone said at UPEACE, if history is not remembered it may happen again. I also think on such a day, we should support people that are working hard to eliminate modern day slavery. Slavery is still practiced in many parts of the world and it goes on with little attention. In many African countries like Niger, Chad, Mali the estimates of enslaved people go beyond 20 million. In many African settings many practice child labour. In Uganda, some people shameless employ 12 year olds to watch over and cook for their children who are almost their age.  In Uganda, slavery-like acts may not necessarily be brought upon these children forcefully but poverty and economic inequality force many to be victims.

I looked up for discussions on this subject today being the day for remembrance and didn’t find much. I found this blog post on slavery commemorations discussion in the UK.

Below are pictures from Goree Island off the Senegalese coast where most slaves were kept and shipped off. I visited the island March this year and everything on the island has a moving slavery related story behind it.

A view of the Island of Goree is 2 kilometres from Dakar main harbour. Rosebell Kagumire photo
A view of the Island of Goree 2 kilometres from Dakar main harbour. Rosebell Kagumire photo
A writting on a wall in one of the slave cells. A slave had to be 60 kg. Rosebell Kagumire photo
A writting on a wall in one of the slave cells. A slave had to be more than 60 kg. Rosebell Kagumire photo
A cell for children
A cell for children
My guide standing at the door of no-return facing the Atlantic. Rosebell Kagumire photo
My guide standing at the door of no-return facing the Atlantic. Rosebell Kagumire photo
From the museum on the island. some shackles, guns and other things used by slave traders
From the museum on the island. some shackles, guns and other things used by slave traders
Rosebell Kagumire
The statute of freedom signifying the end of slavery. Rosebell Kagumire photo.
The statute of freedom signifying the end of slavery. Rosebell Kagumire photo.