Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Great expectations in Uganda over oil discovery

Uganda is on course to become one of the top 50 oil producers in the world. But will the proceeds change the lives of the country's poorest?

From the Katine Project*, guardian.co.uk
Wednesday 2 December 2009
Great expectations in Uganda over oil discovery
By Richard M Kavuma
When Martin Eceku, 62, from Katine, in north-east Uganda, found out that oil had been discovered on the country's western border, he says the find could reduce transport costs in the region. And if jobs are created in the oil industry, perhaps children from the sub-county could head west for work. He recalls the period of Kenya's post-election violence in early 2008, when fares for the 30-km journey from the health centre in Katine to the nearest town of Soroti town shot up from UShs 2,000 to UShs 10,000.

Eceku, who suffers chronic chest pains, has not made the connection between oil, government revenues and how it has the potential to improve his life, and that of the poor service delivery in much of rural Uganda. This financial year, Katine's budget for developmental activities works out to be around $2.30 for each of the estimated 30,000 residents. The main Tiriri health centre is under-staffed and often suffers shortages of essential medicines.

But it's a connection that is being made many Ugandans.

Economically, these are interesting times for the 30 million people living in Uganda.

In October 2006, Uganda confirmed it had struck oil, after more than 80 yeas of official suspicion.

The president, Yoweri Museveni, who once described himself as "not a very religious person", held a national prayer ceremony where he thanked God "for having created for us a rift valley 25 million years ago", and the successive layers of vegetation that had turned into good quality petroleum. The president also thanked God for giving "us the wisdom and foresight to develop the capacity to discover this oil".

Three years later, on October 9, as Uganda marked 47 years of independence from Britain, Museveni's national address was less about God and more about his certainty about the future.

"No one, in Uganda or internationally, can now doubt the country's steady and deliberate path to a middle-income country status in the near future," he said in Kampala. "This is more so with the reasonable discoveries of oil, which, without any doubt, will accelerate our progression to middle-income country status… With the recent discoveries of oil in western Uganda, the country's prospects for domestic revenue and self-reliance in financing public investments and programmes are much brighter today than any other time in the past."

Museveni's buoyancy is well-founded. Exploration companies have confirmed hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in the Albertine Graben region – some 23,000sq km along Uganda's border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Officials from Tullow Oil, the most dominant of four companies with exploration licenses, recently revealed that their find alone – 800 million barrels – could yield more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day for anywhere between 15 to 30 years. Given that exploration has so far covered only a third of the Albertine Graben area, a senior government geologist recently told the government-owned New Vision newspaper that Uganda's extractable deposits should be in excess of 2 billion barrels.

Uganda currently needs only 11,000 barrels of oil per day, which means there would be a lot of potential to export.

Tullow officials estimate that at present prices, Uganda's oil would be worth some $2bn per year, which amounts to around two-thirds of the country's budget for the current financial year.

And with the Italian oil Eni announcing last week that it is buying a stake in two exploration blocks in the country, predictions are now that Uganda could soon become one of the top 50 oil producers in the world. Click here to read full story.
*What is the Katine project?

The Katine project

The Guardian is tracking Amref's three-year development project, in partnership with Barclays, to improve the lives of the 25,000 people in Katine sub-county in Uganda. We'll explain where donations go, how aid works, and how lives are changed
Contact us: Katine.editor@guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Uganda blames South Sudan officials for President Salva Kiir's plane crash scare

The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has finally returned home several hours after the plane he was traveling in narrowly escaped a crash.

Salva Kiir, Wednesday morning survived a plane crash, as he was returning home to Sudan from Uganda, after one of the tyres of the plane in which he was travelling burst.

Report from Sudan Tribune, Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:51:
Sudan 1st VP safe after plane accident in Uganda
November 25, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese first vice president Salva Kiir survived an accident today that was caused by the rupture in one of the tires on the plane he and his delegations were boarding, Ugandan media reported.

However the foul play was ruled out. The incident brings back bitter memory on the death later SPLM leader John Garang who was killed after his helicopter crashed en route from Uganda.

The pilot managed to steer the plane away from hitting the trees which was almost certain to cause harm to the passengers.

The government of Southern Sudan sent another plane to instead of the Antonov 74 cargo plane.

Kiir was in Uganda to discuss the border tensions with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
- - -

From Bor Globe Network, Wed, November 25, 2009 15:54 by Geof Magga:
Uganda blames South Sudan officials for President’s plane crash scare
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has finally returned home several hours after the plane he was traveling in narrowly escaped a crash.

Salva Kiir, Wednesday morning survived a plane crash, as he was returning home to Sudan from Uganda, after one of the tyres of the plane in which he was travelling burst.

The pilot managed to control the plane and stopped it on the runway.

Salva Kiir yesterday met with Ugandan President, Museveni, over a border dispute. The meeting took place at Moyo town at the boarder of the two countries.

After the plane’s mishap, Salva Kiir was quickly evacuated and rushed back to Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu town where he had spent the night.

Early this afternoon, Kiir and his entourage were escorted under tight security by the Ugandan soldiers back to Gulu Airfield. They took off at 2:30 p.m aboard a Uganda-registered charter plane.

The Antonov plane that was involved in the accident is grounded at Gulu Airfield. Engineers from southern Sudan are expected in Gula to repair the damaged plane.

Uganda says it is in no way responsible for what happened to the plane.

Uganda put the blame on southern Sudan government officials for chartering a plane with worn out tyres for their president.
- - -

From en.afrik.com by Geof Magga, Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - excerpt:
Southern Sudan: No sabotage involved in President’s plane crash
According to one of the Airfield workers, John Okello, who witenessed the accident, the plane developed a mechanical problem as it was taxiing out of the airfield.

Okello said, ’’It is a big Antonov 74 cargo plane. Salva Kiir and other Southern Sudan officials boarded it at around 9.00 am today morning. As it was taxiing out of the airfield one of the tyres burst. The plane swung sideways sevearl times but the pilot later brought it under control. No one was injured."

No Sabotage

The area police commander, Aziku Zata confirmed the incident. Zata said, "It was a mechanical problem. There was no sabotage whatsoever."

He said that another plane from southern Sudan was on its way to Gulu airfield to collect the president and his group.

Southern Sudan is prone to plane crashes due to old planes. The airworthiness of some of the planes operating in the southern Sudanese region have often been questioned.

Last year a minister and several army senoir officers died when a plane crashed 300 kms north of the southern Sudanese city of Juba.
Click into Sudan Tribune's article to view comments.

Gen. Kiir safely returns to Sudan

Daily Monitor - ‎1 hour ago‎
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir who earlier today survived a plane mishap in Gulu, has safely returned home. Gen Kiir, who was in Uganda for a ...

ICC's Outreach Programme is active in Uganda, DR Congo, CAR and Darfur (Sudan)

Currently, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Outreach Programme is active in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur (Sudan).

The programme promotes access to and understanding of judicial proceedings and fosters realistic expectations about the court's work.

This in turn has engendered greater local community participation by addressing their concerns and countering misperceptions.

Full story at Congo Watch, Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - ICC's Outreach Programme is active in Uganda, DR Congo, CAR and Darfur (Sudan).

Cross-posted at Sudan Watch.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ugandan security forces kill senior LRA commander Okello Ukuti in CAR?

From Sudan Tribune by Richard Ruati, Sunday, November 22, 2009:
Ugandan security forces kill senior LRA commander in CAR
November 22, 2009 (Kampala) — The Ugandan security forces in Central Africa Republic have killed a senior LRA rebels Commander near Obo town in CAR, an Army spokesperson has confirmed.

Speaking by telephone hookup from Kampala the UPDF Spokesperson Lt Col Felix Kulayigye told Sudan Tribune that, “Senior LRA Commander Col Okello Ukuti was shot dead around Obo town last Tuesday, he was found alone in hiding.”

Asked whether Col Ukuti was killed with other LRA rebels/bodyguards, Felix said that, “LRA commanders don’t have soldiers or bodyguards anymore, most of their soldiers have been killed by UPDF,” adding that, “many others have surrendered to UPDF of recent.”

He cited the killing of Col Ukuti as a very big blow to the central command of LRA rebels.”

“Col Okello Ukuti commanded the LRA gruesome attacks in Eastern Padeya Region in Northern Uganda,” Felix added.

The lamented that, “the Ugandan Army has intensified attacks on the rebels, blocking their escape to South Sudan and Chad.”

In south Sudan’s town of Nzara a week ago attacks attributed to the LRA killed seven innocent civilians who had converged to take part in the ongoing voter registration. The attack resumed reign of fear among the residents of Western Equatoria State.

Lt Felix further said, “there are less than 100 LRA fighters left, denying the recent media report that, 3,000 LRA fighters that crossed into DRC and he stressed that, the Ugandan Army is close to capture the “big fish, General Joseph Kony who is on the run in the fertile jungles of CAR.

As pressure is mounting on the fugitive rebels, over hundred LRA rebels and their top commanders have surrendered to SPLA, UPDF and Congolese soldiers. In southern Sudan over 60 rebels and their families have surrendered.

Reports emerging from Kampala say 34 rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have surrendered to the UPDF intelligence squad in Faradje in eastern Congo, according to military sources.

"They turned themselves in at 11:00am on Thursday with their commander, Capt. Obale," Brig. James Mugira, the Chief of Military Intelligence, told Saturday Vision in Kampala.

Of the 34, he said, 10 were Ugandans, 2 Sudanese and 22 Congolese. "They returned with 12 sub-machine guns, two walkie-talkies, 11 mobile phones and two solar panels."

This was the last group that surrendered from the Faradje area, according to the army. "That area has now been cleared," said Mugira.

The group’s over-all commander, Col. Charles Arop, turned himself in to the UPDF earlier this month after most of him men had either defected or been killed.

The unit of originally 71 rebels had been operating around the Faradje area since late last year and was responsible for the Christmas massacres that left at least 143 people dead.

Military sources estimate the total number of LRA rebels left in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 80. The rest is in the Central African Republic, together with LRA leader Joseph Kony.

In the past year LRA rebels have abducted close to a thousand children in the regions to use them kill their own people.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the increasingly recent attacks by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and CAR respectively.

As the clock is ticking on man who has brought horror to people he self-proclaims to liberate, the simple question one will ask is: Are the days of Lord’s Resistance Army numbered. (ST)
Further reading

Sudan Watch, November 06, 2009 - Leading LRA rebel commander Charles Arop surrenders to Ugandan army?

Sudan Watch, November 23, 2009 - LRA leader Joseph Kony has instructed his troops to move into Darfur?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Uganda: Cabinet approves new bill on kings

The law includes a clause that not only bars kings and chiefs from engaging in politics but also prohibits politicians from riding on kingdoms.

The kings and chiefs under the Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders pledged loyalty to the sovereign state of Uganda and work as peers.

They asked the Government to increase payment to the traditional leaders, fund their activities, give them budgetary allocations and grant them royalties to natural resources, including oil...

Here is a copy of the full story by New Vision (Uganda) Thursday, November 19, 2009 - via afrika.no - Uganda: Cabinet approves new bill on kings
Kampala (Uganda) — President Yoweri Museveni told cultural leaders yesterday that the Cabinet has approved the draft Bill on traditional leaders. The law includes a clause that not only bars kings and chiefs from engaging in politics but also prohibits politicians from riding on kingdoms, he noted.
He was addressing kings and chiefs at a three-day Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders at Masindi Hotel. Only the Kabaka of Buganda was absent.

"We have enough politicians. Kings should not interfere in politics but also politicians should not interfere with cultural institutions. It's both ways," Museveni said.

Citing outspoken leaders Ken Lukyamuzi, Geoffrey Ekanya and Kabakumba Matsiko, the President said each region had a sufficient stock of strong politicians. "Kings becoming politicians? This would be over-supply."

The President said politicians have enough work to pre-occupy them, such as building roads and fighting corruption, and do not need to get involved in cultural affairs.

Museveni seemed to be preaching to the converted. The traditional leaders, under the chairmanship of the Omukama (king) of Bunyoro, Solomon Solomon Iguru, in a memorandum pledged to distance themselves from politics.

"We call upon the Government to put in place measures to stop the interference of politicians with the affairs of cultural institutions and also to stop cultural leaders meddling in partisan politics or being used as platforms for disgruntled politicians," said the memorandum.

The kings and chiefs under the Forum for Kings and Cultural Leaders pledged loyalty to the sovereign state of Uganda and work as peers.

They asked the Government to increase payment to the traditional leaders, fund their activities, give them budgetary allocations and grant them royalties to natural resources, including oil.


They also asked the Government to implement the regional tier and correct the past historical injustices. "We in particular support the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara to secure justice, including rights to land denied to his subjects in Kibale," the memo said.

The kings also navigated the sticky issue of the restoration and coronation of Prince John Barigye as the king of Ankole.

"We request the Government to reconsider recognition of the Omugabe of Ankole. The kingdom of Ankole having existed for over 600 years is a wealth of cultural assets that we cannot afford to see going to waste and neglect as it is currently happening."

The leaders condemned ritual killings, rampant corruption and high power tariffs. In response, Museveni said he would ask the NRM Caucus to amend the law so that murderers, rapists, defilers and people charged with corruption can only be given bail after 180 days.

"Then the fight against corruption will be easy. Now it's like a game. A person is charged and he applies for bail and he is released."

He promised institutions that missed out on money for bonna bagaggawale that they would be catered for in the next budget, and that support to cultural leaders would increase on a monthly basis. On the Ankole king, Museveni said the traditional institutions were restored only in areas where people cherished them. He said none of the six districts of Ankole made a resolution demanding for Obugabe.

Asked to introduce himself, Banyala head Baker Kimeze caused unease when he thanked Museveni for the way he handled the Kayunga issue.

"Allow me to thank you for the true spirit of statesmanship you exhibited while handling the issue of Kayunga. My people are grateful for the protection given to them when Mengo organised thugs to loot and possibly erase the Banyala," Kimeze said.

Earlier, Bunyoro prime minister Kiiza told the president that all cultural institutions had sent representatives apart from the "notable absence" of the one "who cannot come where the Ssabanyala and Sabaruli are".

Apart from the king of Bunyoro, present were also the kings of Bunyala, Buruli, Jopadhola and Bamasaba, and the Rwot of Lango. The other cultural leaders had sent representatives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UK DFID Uganda: New contract opportunity in Uganda

From the website of UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Framework Arrangement for Governance Advisory Consultancy Services, DFID Uganda

The UK Department for International Development (DFID), as the chair of the development partner Accountability Working Group (AWG) is looking to establish a Framework Arrangement with consultancy firms/individuals to provide efficient and effective governance advisory consultancy services.
LAST UPDATED: 17 NOV 2009

ICC Trust Fund for Victims: Elisabeth Rehn elected to the Board of Directors

From the Finnish Government's Ministry for Foreign Affairs
November 18, 2009 14.24
Elisabeth Rehn elected to the Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims
Elisabeth Rehn has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims within the International Criminal Court. The Board members were elected at the session of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court on 18 November in the Hague.

States Parties have been grouped into geographical areas, each of which has a representative on the Board of the Trust Fund for Victims. Elisabeth Rehn represents the group of Western European countries and Australia, Canada and New Zealand. A distinguished and internationally recognised human rights expert, she has previously served as a Member of the Finnish Parliament, Minister of Defence, Minister of Equality Affairs, a Member of the European Parliament, as UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the former Yugoslavia. In recent years, she has dedicated herself to international tasks. In particular, the impact of war on women and their role in peace building have figured prominently on Rehn’s agenda.

Besides Elisabeth Rehn, the following persons were elected to the five-seat Board of Directors: Betty Kaari Murungi, human rights lawyer from Kenya; Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia; Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez, President of the National Reparation and Reconciliation Commission o Colombia; and Ambassador Bulgaa Altangerel of Mongolia. The Board’s principal task is to guide the Trust Fund’s activities and allocation of resources and to coordinate and oversee assistance projects. The Board reports to the Assembly of States Parties. The new Board will start its three-year term on 1 December 2009.

The Trust Fund for Victims was established in 2002. Its objective is to assist victims of crime and their families in cases being processed by the International Criminal Court. The crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Trust Fund and its mandate are unique when compared against other international tribunals.

The special target groups of the Trust Fund’s assistance efforts are victims of sexual violence, former child soldiers and abducted children, the families of murder victims and victims of other brutal crimes, and victimised villages. The Fund’s assets are mainly used for the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims and for material support. The Fund may also pay victims damages or other reparations by virtue of a decision given by the ICC during a trial. Initiatives for assistance projects come directly from target areas approved by the ICC. At present, a total of 29 projects are under way in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Uganda. The intention is to expand the scope of activities to the Central African Republic and to Sudan/Darfur.

The bulk of the funds used for assistance come as voluntary donations from states. Donations can also be made, for instance, by corporations, private individuals and organisations. The Court may also order that fines or other assets obtained be transferred to the Trust Fund. Finland has consistently supported the Trust Fund’s activities. In terms of the total contribution, Finland is one of the Fund’s biggest donors.

Additional information: Legislative Counsellor Sari Mäkelä, Unit for Public International Law, mobile tel. +358 40 739 2853, First Secretary Miia Aro-Sanchez, Embassy of Finland in the Hague, tel. +31 70 3110143
Crossposted on Sudan Watch and Congo Watch.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moments before dying, LRA leader's mother said: "Tell Joseph Kony to make peace"

Commentary by Peter Eichstaedt from his blog post - The good, the bad, the ugly - Saturday, November 14, 2009. Excerpts:
This past week, Norah Anek, the 86-year-old mother of Joseph Kony, the leader of the militia-cult Lord's Resistance Army, passed away. She was buried not far from where she gave birth to Kony in the town of Adek, about an hour's drive southeast of Gulu in northern Uganda.

According to the nurse who was present at her death, "Moments before dying she said, 'Tell Joseph Kony to make peace,'"

She earlier had said that Kony's problem, the thing that drives him, was that he is possesed by evil spirits.

One can only hope that she was able to find some peace, having been saddled with the unenviable fame of having given birth to perhaps one the world's most notorious and deadly cult leaders.

Norah Anek's explanation for her son's behavior, possession by spirits, contains a nugget of wisdom that apparently cannot be grasped by those who continue to think and advocate appeasement as a way to deal with Kony and his vicious militia.

The latest of these statements surfaced on November 6, titled, "Elements of a New Strategy to Disarm the LRA," written by François Grignon, Africa Program Director of the International Crisis Group.

[...]

As I wrote in First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, I was in Nabanga, South Sudan, in July 2006 when the first convoy of supplies was delivered to Kony and his LRA.

The gesture had doubtful merit even back then. Feed Kony as long as he stayed at the peace talks? It worked for a while, but it wasn't long before Kony and the LRA were back to killing, looting and abducting, even as food supplies were being delivered.

This aiding and abetting of an indicted war criminal, which was illegal, reached a depressing height in the spring of 2008 when Kony rounded up some 500 abductees from the Central African Republic, the DR Congo, and South Sudan. Yet, it continued.

It was done while Kony's opportunistic cheerleader, David Matsanga, proclaimed that Kony was going to sign the negotiated peace deal, which he did not, in April or May, and then again at the end of November.

The UN, meanwhile, was actively attempting to keep it all quiet because they were afraid that Kony would abandon the peace talks because of the logical outrage that would be generated. This was immoral.

The December 14 attack on Kony's camps in Garamba National Park failed, we all know.

It is clear that the LRA's capacity to intercept information about the pending attack, flee from it, and then go on an extended killing rampage had been enabled by the international community's "feed the lion" approach.

[...]

Kony, afterall, is an Africa problem, not one that needs to be dealt with by either the US or any European countries. Where are the leaders of the DR Congo and South Sudan? Why should the US have to call them up and hand them a pot of money so they will do their jobs?

Where are the African leaders who are so quick to condemn western nations who dole out aid with strings attached, such as insuring that aid money is spend for the purpose it was intended. Why do they shrink into the shadows when there is work to be done?

The citizens of the DRC and South Sudan are dying at the hands of the LRA. Why does the US or EU need to bribe these leaders into action?

[...] 

Forget more peace talks. Kony has more than humiliated the international community already with his lies, with his looting and killing.

Kony's mother had it right when she said her son was possessed. She knew, unlike some people, that we're not dealing with a rational person. Kony needs to be treated like the psychopathic killer that he is.

Maybe just once, finally, countries in the region (with EU and US support) can do the right thing: find and capture Kony, send him to The Hague, and end the madness.

See Grigin's posting at: http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6381&l=1
--
Posted By Peter Eichstaedt to Peter Eichstaedt at 11/14/2009 07:41:00 AM

NEW PUBLICATION: Peace and Security Council Report - November 2009

Here is a copy of an email received
From: Security Council Report
Subject: Peace & Security Council Report
12 November 2009

Readers of Security Council Report may be interested to know of the recent launch in Addis Ababa of a similar publication designed to provide monthly information about the work of the AU Peace and Security Council. It is called the "Peace and Security Council Report" (To access the November 2009 edition you can click here).

Peace and Security Council Report is produced and published by the Addis Ababa office of the Institute for Security Studies of South Africa. Security Council Report has assisted ISS with the development of this concept and it is pleased that ISS has taken SCR's Monthly Forecast as a model. We are pleased to have been able to help.

You are able to subscribe to regularly receive the Peace and Securty Council Report by clicking here.

Further details may be obtained from the programme directly at:
Peace and Security Council Report Programme
Institute for Security Studies
PO Box 2329
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251-11-372-11-54
Fax: +251-11-372-59-54

_______________________________________________

Security Council Report
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
885 Second Avenue at 48th Street, 31st Floor
New York NY 10017

Tel: 212.759.9429 • Fax: 212.759.4038

contact@securitycouncilreport.org
www.securitycouncilreport.org
Cross-posted to Ethiopia Watch and Congo Watch and Sudan Watch and Here is a copy of an email received
From: Security Council Report
Subject: Peace & Security Council Report
12 November 2009

Readers of Security Council Report may be interested to know of the recent launch in Addis Ababa of a similar publication designed to provide monthly information about the work of the AU Peace and Security Council. It is called the "Peace and Security Council Report" (To access the November 2009 edition you can click here).

Peace and Security Council Report is produced and published by the Addis Ababa office of the Institute for Security Studies of South Africa. Security Council Report has assisted ISS with the development of this concept and it is pleased that ISS has taken SCR's Monthly Forecast as a model. We are pleased to have been able to help.

You are able to subscribe to regularly receive the Peace and Securty Council Report by clicking here.

Further details may be obtained from the programme directly at:
Peace and Security Council Report Programme
Institute for Security Studies
PO Box 2329
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251-11-372-11-54
Fax: +251-11-372-59-54

_______________________________________________

Security Council Report
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
885 Second Avenue at 48th Street, 31st Floor
New York NY 10017

Tel: 212.759.9429 • Fax: 212.759.4038

contact@securitycouncilreport.org
www.securitycouncilreport.org
Cross-posted to Ethiopia Watch and Congo Watch and Sudan Watch and Kenya Watch.

Friday, November 13, 2009

IMPORTANT NEWS: Some Sudanese living abroad may vote in elections - Ten arrested for impersonating registration officials in Rumbek, Southern Sudan

Report by Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, November 12, 2009:
Some Sudanese Living Abroad May Vote in Elections
(Nairobi) - Sudanese living in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Malaysia will now be able to register for the elections scheduled for 2010.

The National Election Commission had earlier exempted some countries from participating in the voter registration exercise which started on November 1.

The Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya, Majok Guandong, told Sudan Radio Service in Nairobi on Thursday that he had received a circular from the NEC instructing him to start the voter registration. exercise in Kenya.

[Majok Guandong]: “Yes it is true, the news came yesterday morning (Wednesday) that the NEC has allowed us to establish voter registration centers in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Malaysia. So since yesterday we have been informing the Sudanese who are residing here, starting from tomorrow (Friday). The registration process will start at the Embassy and the GOSS liaison office. This is good news, because it is a constitutional right for the Sudanese to vote in the elections.”

Majok Guandong said that the registration period will be extended to compensate for the late start. He emphasized that the exercise will take 30 days, as required by NEC.

[Guandong]: “If we start tomorrow (Friday), we will be counting the days we have missed since the official start day, because it should be 30 days as scheduled. Secondly, all the documents are available at the Sudanese Embassy, and all Sudanese have the right. Since 1997, more than 5000 Sudanese have managed to get official documents, the passport, identity cards etc. The process is still on. So they have the right, if they need any official documents, there is no problem at all.”

Earlier, the deputy chairman of the NEC, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, told Sudan Radio Service that NEC was only concentrating on the countries with large Sudanese populations.

The countrywide voter registration exercise is scheduled to finish at the end of November.
- - -

Report by Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, November 12, 2009:
Ten Arrested for Impersonating Registration Officials in Rumbek
(Rumbek) - Ten people posing as registration officers have been arrested in Rumbek, Lakes state.

The 10 are under police custody as investigations are going on. They are being held for registering voters, collecting people’s identification and convincing people not to register at the official registration centers set up by the state High Elections Commission.

Our correspondent in Rumbek, Mageng Wade, sent this report.

[Mageng Wade]: “These people said that they were being sent and given money by the NCP to come and register people locally in order to prevent them from registering for the elections next year. So that is the agenda behind the registration of people in their houses.”

Rumbek Central county commissioner Abraham Akol Bol also spoke to Sudan Radio Service.

[Abraham Akol] “They have been arrested by the police and they are now under police investigation and we have not yet received information from the police whether this group belongs to a political party. They were trying to register people and were telling them not to go to the registration centers because they had already been registered. They also took ID cards from the citizens, those who tried to register but the culprits were found by police and they are now under investigation.”

The deputy governor of Lakes state, David Ngok, said that the people are trying to sabotage both the voter registration exercise and the elections.

[David Ngok]: “If there are some people who are trying to sabotage the voter registration process then they are also sabotaging the elections. We will not tolerate this as the government because this is government policy and it’s part of the CPA and the constitution so we will not allow them to do it.”

The deputy governor of Lakes state, David Ngok, spoke to Sudan Radio Service on Thursday
Click on 'Election' label (here below at Sudan Watch) to read news report Nov. 10, 2009, entitled "SSDF to sue NEC for denying Sudanese in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia a chance to register as voters in the general elections"

Cross-posted to Sudan Watch and Kenya Watch and Ethiopia Watch and Egypt Watch and Congo Watch.
- - -

UPDATE: From Sudan Tribune by Ngor Arol Garang, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009:
National election board accepts additional countries for Sudanese Diasporas
November 12, 2009 (MALAKAL) — The National Election Commission (NEC) of Sudan today confirmed acceptance of additional countries to the previous list for registration and voting to enable Sudanese abroad to participate in the upcoming elections next year.

Following the publication of a list of countries comprised mostly the Golf countries where the members of the Sudanese Diaspora are from northern Sudan, the SPLM asked to take in consideration African countries where Southerners reside massively.

The initial list includes Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, the UK, Belgium (for all Western Europe) and Washington, New York, Los Angles for the USA.

"We have allocated more registration and voting centers in Africa and Asia, said Abel Alier, NEC chairman at Malakal airport as he was en route to Khartoum after inspecting southern states voter registration centers.

Countries newly agreed upon for inclusion by the two parties in Africa includes Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa as well as and Malaysia, he said adding discussions are underway to add other neighboring countries.

Therefore, as commission, "we request Sudanese people residing in those countries to immediately establish contacts with the Sudanese embassies and other designated offices for registration," he emphasized.

Asked why being selective with countries hosting number of Sudanese people abroad to participate in the ongoing voter registration, he said, national election commission gets approval of countries to be included in the registration process from the presidency.

"The Presidency is the highest authority which decides on issues pertaining to country affairs such as voter registration," he commented expressing wishes all Sudanese people abroad open registration centers.

However, he was quick to say the Commission tries its best to ensure inclusion of more centers so that every Sudanese participates in the upcoming elections.

He said constitution allows participation of legally registered citizens to elect their leaders in the upcoming April 2010 elections.

"If you are not registered, it will be hard to vote for the person one sees as leader," he said adding voter registration remains opened to the last day of November 2009.

Alier also requested local authorities to give logistical supports to voter registration teams. He also acknowledged assistance being rendered by United Nation Mission in Sudan in transportation of voter registration materials and teams in where government supports is required.

"UNMIS is greatly supporting registration process in water zones and areas without good roads mostly in the southern part of the country and transitional areas," he stressed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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33 minutes ago from Facebook
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November 11, 2009

Britain's Veterans have given so much.  Now, you can give back.

SSDF to sue NEC for denying Sudanese in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia a chance to register as voters in the general elections

From Sudan Radio Service, Tuesday, 10 November 2009:
SSDF to Sue NEC over Foreign Voters
(Khartoum) - The South Sudan Democratic Front Party says it will mobilize other political parties in southern Sudan to sue the National Elections Commission for denying Sudanese in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia a chance to register as voters in the general elections.

In an interview with Sudan Radio Service in Khartoum on Monday, the Chairman of SSDF Party, David de Chand, said it is against the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the National Elections Act to deny Sudanese living abroad a chance to exercise their rights to vote.

[David de Chand]: “Nowhere it is mentioned in the CPA that those in Nairobi, Kenya or Uganda and Ethiopia should not be allowed to vote. I think the right to vote is a democratic right guaranteed to every citizen by the constitution and it is an unalienable right to all people. We the political party leaders would also go to the NEC to challenge such a statement and they will have to prove to us beyond reasonable doubt. If not, we can file a case before the Constitutional Court to challenge such a statement. Why should southern Sudanese refugees in Kenya, Uganda and in Ethiopia be denied their legitimate right to be registered?”

De Chand said that if the National Elections Commission fears that non-Sudanese may register to vote as southern Sudanese, it should allow the United Nations to undertake the exercise abroad.

He urged southern Sudanese to register to vote in the elections next year because it is a step towards the possibility of self-determination offered by the 2011 referendum.
Cross-posted to Sudan Watch and Kenya Watch and Ethiopia Watch

Friday, November 06, 2009

Leading LRA rebel commander Charles Arop surrenders to Ugandan army?

Report from Sudan Tribune by Richard Ruati Friday 6 November 2009:
Leading LRA rebel commander surrenders to Ugandan army
November 5, 2009 (KAMPALA) — Lt Col Charles Arop, a leading Ugandan LRA rebels (the Army of the Lord’s Resistance), has decided to surrender himself to the Ugandan army. Arop is responsible for a bloodbath perpetrated on Christmas Day last year in Faradje in the DRC during which at least 143 people have died.

He was left with only one rebel fighter, so he had little choice," a spokesman of the UPDF, LT Col Felix Kulayigye has said on Thursday. The Army spokesperson spoke to Sudan Tribune via telephone hookup from Kampala. Not a long time ago, Arop commanded an army of 100 rebel fighters, most of them having been decimated after actions from the UPDF.

Kulayigye revealed that “the surrender of Arop took place near Faradje, adding that his surrender is very significant given the fact he was Commander within Kony units, however this has degenerated and declined the commanding chain of LRA.”

He added that, “the surrender of Arop is fortunately making the arrest of Kony the next target of UPDF.”

Asked whether how many Kony fighters are still in the jungles, he said at moment the Ugandan Army doesn’t know, however Kony is believed to be in isolation in Central Africa Republic.”

Lt Col Felix dismissed future peace negotiations with LRA, saying that, “the only options left for Kony are to capture or kill him, except if Kony signs the negotiated agreement.

He dismissed the media reports that, “the Operation Light Thunder is a failure,” he tabled the rescue of 450 abductees and the capture of 20 LRA officers as a success, he also said there are no LRA rebels in DR Congo anymore.

Speaking to local journalist of Yambio FM in Western Equatoria, Lt Col Charles Arop said that, he was arrested in 1994 from Northern Uganda; he has been the immediate operation commander of Joseph Kony.

Arop appealed to his former LRA colleagues those still close to Joseph Kony to put down their guns and come out of the jungles, he directed his appeal mainly to his former closed commanders like Dominic Okello and Smart, that by the mercy of God they should come back home “the children of Acholi have finished in the bush.”

He advised the remaining LRA soldiers in the bush not to fear to hand themselves in to the UPDF.

He further appealed to Joseph Kony himself to come out open, as the war has claimed the lives of innocent civilians and displaced many others.

The Ugandan Army spokesperson said that, Arop may decide to remain as civilian or politician, however if at all he committed any crime against humanity, legal actions shall be taken against him by a competent law institution.

He also revealed that, since the Light Thunder Operations started last December only 12 Ugandans armies have lost their lives. The Ugandan army hunts down LRA fighters in the DRC, Central African Republic and Southern Sudan. Since the attacks of the army on the LRA at the end of last year, this movement has dispersed in small units.
Cross-posted to Congo Watch and Sudan Watch

FOCA: China, Africa hold summit to reinforce bilateral trade

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao can expect a warm welcome from Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and finance and foreign ministers from 50 countries when the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCA) starts in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday.

Ever-eager for raw materials and markets to sell its products, China has said the new meeting will lay down a “road map” to further boost cooperation between 2010 and 2012.

Direct Chinese investment in Africa leapt from $491 million in 2003 to $7.8 billion in 2008. Trade between the two has increased tenfold since the start of the decade.

Last year, China-Africa trade reached $106.8 billion - a rise of 45 percent in one year and on a par with with the United States, which estimated its two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa at $104 billion for 2008.

Chinese imports from Africa last year were worth $56 billion, dominated by oil ($39 billion) and raw materials.

Its $56 billion of exports in 2008 consisted mainly of machinery, electrical goods, cars, motorbikes and bicycles.

FOCAC is held every three years and this will be the fourth since it started in 2000.

Source: AFP report via Saudi GazetteFriday 06 November 2009. Copy:
China, Africa hold summit to reinforce bilateral trade
CAIRO - Leaders from China and Africa start a three day summit on Sunday that will again throw the spotlight on Beijing’s strategic sweep for energy, minerals and political influence in the continent.

China has over the past decade paid for dams, power stations, football stadiums across Africa and scooped up copper, oil and other fuel for its breakneck economic expansion from Algeria to Zimbabwe.

It has invested billions of dollars while raising eyebrows in the United States and its allies by pursuing the hunt for oil and other resources in Sudan, Somalia and other nations that the West has shunned.

Many African leaders praise China however for not preaching about rights and corruption. So despite neo-colonialist qualms, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao can expect a warm welcome from Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and finance and foreign ministers from 50 countries when the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation starts in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday.

FOCAC is held every three years and this will be the fourth since it started in 2000.

Ever-eager for raw materials and markets to sell its products, China has said the new meeting will lay down a “road map” to further boost cooperation between 2010 and 2012.

Direct Chinese investment in Africa leapt from $491 million in 2003 to $7.8 billion in 2008. Trade between the two has increased tenfold since the start of the decade.

Last year, China-Africa trade reached $106.8 billion - a rise of 45 percent in one year and on a par with with the United States, which estimated its two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa at $104 billion for 2008.

Chinese imports from Africa last year were worth $56 billion, dominated by oil ($39 billion) and raw materials.

Its $56 billion of exports in 2008 consisted mainly of machinery, electrical goods, cars, motorbikes and bicycles.

Some in the West have accuse China of worsening repression and human rights abuses in Africa by supporting countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe.

US intelligence director Dennis Blair told a Congress committee in March that US agencies are keeping close tabs on China’s expanding influence in Africa, especially in oil-producing countries like Nigeria.
Cross-posted to:
China Tibet Watch
Congo Watch
Egypt Watch
Ethiopia Watch
Kenya Watch
Niger Watch
Sudan Watch
Africa Oil Watch

AGI: Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative

AGI:  Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative

From The Office of Tony Blair
November 05, 2009
Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative to create development through good governance becomes charity
The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative has become a registered UK charity after creating a unique 'hands-on' approach to development and poverty eradication over the past eighteen months.

The Charity Commission approved the application from this relatively new organisation, which is underpinned by the belief that good governance and sustainable development are key to poverty eradication in the long term.

Tony Blair, founder of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), said:

"I'm extremely proud of our excellent project teams who are working in partnership with the governments of Rwanda and Sierra Leone to reduce poverty and develop new opportunities for growth.

"It is a privilege to work with leaders as talented and as committed to their people as President Koroma and President Kagame who represent a new generation of leaders in Africa with a commitment to building a new future for their people.

"The developed world needs to keep up its commitment to Africa expressed at the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles. But lasting change in Africa will only come in the end from African solutions. By building the capacity to create sustainable long-term development through good governance and providing high level advice, we have already started to help deliver that change.

"And it won't stop here. Whilst developing our work in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, we want to launch new projects with other countries, sharing our knowledge, experience and expertise. We want more countries to develop sustainably, paving the way to a prosperous future.

"This work has reinforced my optimism about Africa's future, as well as my conviction that governance and growth are the key ingredients to effectively reduce poverty across the continent."

Commenting on Tony Blair and the work of the Africa Governance Initiative, Ernest Koroma, President of Sierra Leone, said:

"Mr. Blair has demonstrated an enduring commitment to Sierra Leone and its people. The work comes at a critical stage in Sierra Leone's development. I believe together we have an opportunity to ensure that Sierra Leone puts in place the policies, people and institutions to achieve real and lasting change."

Commenting on the work of AGI, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said:

"What I would like people to know is that the type of partnership we have with Tony Blair is totally different from the type of consultancy people are used to. We work in very strong partnerships whereby not only gaps are filled where they exist, but there's also the notion of transfer of skills, mentoring, actually doing things that are measurable such that over a period of time, we will be able to know what kind of impact was made."
Cross-posted to:
China Tibet Watch
Congo Watch
Egypt Watch
Ethiopia Watch
Kenya Watch
Niger Watch
Sudan Watch
Africa Oil Watch

Monday, November 02, 2009

Al-Shabab: Somali group with Al-Qaeda ties threatens Israel, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya

A militant Islamic group associated with al Qaeda has threatened to attack Israel, far from its normal base of operations in Somalia. CNN writes that Al-Shabab, which is fighting to control the east African country, accused Israel of “starting to destroy” the Al Aqsa mosque, where standoffs have recently been taking place between Israeli police and Palestinians.

The mosque is part of the complex that Jews called the Temple Mount and Muslims call Haram al-Sharif. The group also threatened other African nations on Friday, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.

Source: Afrik.com Monday 2 November 2009 - Somalia: Somali group with Al-Qaeda ties threatens Israel, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya

Uganda tightens security following Al-Shabab threat

Ugandan forces say they are keeping a close eye on the Somali community in Kampala, following threats by Somalia's al-Shabab militants to attack the Ugandan capital. A nationwide registration drive has begun in Uganda, aimed at keeping track of Somali refugees and new arrivals.

Full report from Voice of America
By Alisha Ryu (Nairobi) 27 October 2009
Uganda Tightens Security Following Al-Shabab Threat
Abu Mansur al-Amriki

This still image provided by SITE, an organization which monitors Islamist websites, from a video entitled 'At Your Service Osama' released 20 Sep 2009, shows Abu Mansur al-Amriki (R) teaching mujahedeen small unit tactics

The Ugandan government has reportedly deployed elite security forces, including the country's paramilitary anti-terrorism unit, in and around the suburb of Kisenyi, home for many Somalis living in Kampala.

Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem says the government's military intelligence service agents are also on the lookout for suspects and guarding potential targets throughout the capital.

"Amongst the communities, they might be able to live and mix in," he said. "So, our intelligence services are working around the clock to determine whether the threats are real, practical in Uganda."

The heightened security is in response to threats made on Friday by al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group that is fighting to overthrow Somalia's U.N.-backed government in Mogadishu.

Troops from Uganda and Burundi make up the roughly 5,000-member peacekeeping force in Somalia known as AMISOM.  The troops are responsible for protecting the government and key sites in Mogadishu from insurgent attacks. Al-Shabab vowed to destroy the capitals of Uganda and Burundi in revenge for more than two dozen civilian deaths last week, allegedly caused by AMISOM troops indiscriminately targeting insurgents in Mogadishu.

Somali leaders and clan elders in Kampala say they are taking al-Shabab's threat seriously and they have volunteered to help authorities identify people who may pose a security threat.

A senior Somali community leader, Abdullahi Hassan Roble, tells VOA that many people in his community of about 8,000 are deeply concerned that an al-Shabab attack on Ugandan soil will bring years of unwanted attention and harassment.

"We do not want this problem to happen here in Uganda," he explained. "We are very worried about it. So, we support the government and work with the government. [If] we see those people, we [will] report them."

With the help of Ugandan security agencies, community leaders have begun registering all Somali visitors and refugees in Kampala and elsewhere. Identity cards are also being issued, and Roble warns those moving about the country without identity cards may be arrested and detained.

Al-Shabab has already issued several threats against Uganda's neighbor, Kenya. The latest was issued earlier this month amid reports that the Kenyan government was recruiting soldiers to fight on the side of the Somali government.

Al-Shabab, which began about six years ago as a homegrown radical Islamist movement, has been growing in power and influence in recent years. The group has claimed responsibility for carrying out numerous car and roadside bombings, as well as assassinations throughout Somalia.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Northern Uganda: Dispute and warnings over DDT-spraying

Email received today, addressed to Uganda Watch:
DDT: Government puts the people in Northern Uganda on dangerous health risks

Dear Sirs,

I'm a science journalist of ugandan origin based in Cologne, Germany. I have a PhD in Genetics and worked for six years at the University Hospital in Cologne.

Please inform the people of Uganda that the government puts people in Northern Uganda on dangerous health risks - especially the children.

Quote:

“I would like to assure organics farmers in Apac that DDT is not bad as some people might think, and it is going to be sprayed inside the house but not in the field.” he said. The farmers however said they will not allow their houses to be sprayed with the DDT because of its toxicity and economic effects on their products.”

The director of the Research Triangle Institute Dr. John Bahana said this program of indoor residual spraying will cover districts like Apac, Oyam, Kitgum, Pader, Gulu and Amuru.

Source:

Lango farmers oppose minister in dispute over DDT-spraying

(adungu, News and backgrounds by young radio journalists in Northern Uganda)

http://www.adungu.org/?p=70#more-70


I wrote a commentary to this article which was deleted less than two hours later. I don’t know why.

Here is my commentary:

The farmers in Apac are right. DDT is harmful.

Researchers led by the University of Pretoria in South Africa studied 3,310 boys born to women from the Limpopo Province, where DDT spraying was carried out in high-risk areas between 1995 and 2003 to control malaria. The two-year study included 2,396 boys whose mothers had been exposed to DDT and 914 whose mothers had not.

The study compared boys born to women in the 109 villages that were sprayed, with those born to women from the 97 villages that were not.

Women who lived in villages sprayed with DDT to reduce malaria gave birth to 33 per cent more baby boys with urogenital birth defects (UGBD) between 2004 and 2006 than women in unsprayed villages, according to research published online by the UK-based urology journal BJUI.

And women who stayed at home in sprayed villages, rather than being a student or working, had 41 per cent more baby boys with UGBDs, such as missing testicles or problems with their urethra or penis.

Science Daily, October 23, 2009

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023093221.htm


Journal reference:

Bornman et al. DDT and urogenital malformations in newborn boys in a malarial area.
BJU International, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2009.09003.x


Best Regards,

Joe Otim Dramiga
[end of email]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

African leaders meet in Uganda to sign treaty on the plight of 17 million refugees and displaced Africans

The Convention on the Protection and Assistance of the Displaced People in Africa is the first of its kind aimed at internally displaced people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On Wednesday, the AU executive council adopted the draft convention which calls for the prevention of forced displacement, protection of refugees and the internally displaced and helping victims of conflicts and natural disasters.

Under the convention, the draft of which was seen by AFP, countries will be required to provide special assistance for IDPs with special needs, including the elderly.

From AFP by Emmanuel Goujon, 22 October 2009:
African leaders to sign treaty on refugee plight
KAMPALA — African leaders gathered on Thursday in the Ugandan capital for a two-day summit aimed at agreeing a treaty on improving the plight of the continent's 17 million refugees and displaced.
The Convention on the Protection and Assistance of the Displaced People in Africa is the first of its kind aimed at internally displaced people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"The summit is aimed at pursuing durable solutions to the root causes and challenges of Africa's 17 million IDPs and refugees," Ugandan Minister for Refugees Tarsis Kabwegyere said ahead of the meeting.

Political upheaval, conflicts and natural disasters have left Africa with the world's highest number of refugees and displaced.
"Internal displacement is one of the most daunting humanitarian challenges of our day, and no one would deny that Africa is the hardest-hit continent in terms of numbers of IDPs," ICRC chief Jakob Kellenberger said in a statement.

Somalia's long-running conflict, instability in DR Congo's eastern region and recent political violence in Kenya as well as other hotspots such as northern Uganda and south Sudan have caused massive population displacements.

Around a third of Somalia's 10 million people are in need of relief aid due to a prolonged drought that has plunged the Horn of Africa country into its worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years.

Close to a sixth of the population is displaced.

Even as the summit got under way, at least 17 civilians died in an exchange of mortar and artillery fire in Mogadishu, the latest in a string of such incidents that have sent tens of thousands fleeing the city in recent months.

African Union political affairs commissioner Julia Dolly Joiner called for political and economic stability for the continent's trouble spots.

"Improvements in governance, rapid economic development and more appropriate food security strategies are among the actions that will ensure that the root causes are addressed," she said.

On Wednesday, the AU executive council adopted the draft convention which calls for the prevention of forced displacement, protection of refugees and the internally displaced and helping victims of conflicts and natural disasters.

Under the convention, the draft of which was seen by AFP, countries will be required to provide special assistance for IDPs with special needs, including the elderly.

Leaders at the Kampala summit will also set up an action plan to implement the resolution which emerges from the meeting.
Last year, the 53-member bloc resolved to bolster the protection of refugees and displaced people, a move that was lauded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as historic.

"But some African countries are reluctant to ratify the convention which would be restrictive and have legal consequences," an African diplomat told AFP.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Operation Natural Fire 10: Oct. 16-25 joint military exercise in N. Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops

Here is some news of operation Natural Fire 10, a joint military excercise in northern Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops, from Peter Eichstaedt's blog:

Boots on the ground
By Peter Eichstaedt, October 12, 2009
"... There's an interesting article in The East African, written by Keven Kelley, about the joint military exercise in northern Uganda involving about 450 U.S. troops.

According to Kelley's article, total troops will be about 1,000, with Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi each sending 150 soldiers to join 450 US military personnel in Kitgum for the October 16-25 event.

Labeled as operation Natural Fire 10, it is reportedly the U.S.'s largest African exercise this year. While this is clearly an exercise loaded with significance, it is the not the first such military exercise. Such joint maneuvers began across Africa in 1998, hence the name Natural Fire 10 -- this being the tenth.

The US Army describes it as “a regularly scheduled training exercise, which offers an opportunity for East African partner nations and the US military to work together to increase regional capabilities to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies.”

What is most interesting is the location: northern Uganda. It is a message not only to Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, but also Sudan.

That message being, of course, that a multi-national force of 1,000 -- an effective number for a fighting force anywhere in the world -- can be assembled in this strategic location with relative ease.

Such a force would be a huge problem for someone like Kony, should he think about a return to northern Uganda. It shows that Uganda has allies who are willing not only to donate moral support and money in the fight against Kony and his maniacal militia, but are willing to put boots on the ground.

This is an acknowledgement that Kony is much more than Uganda's problem, and has become a regional nightmare. Though Kony's precise whereabouts are not known, the latest information is that he has been operating in the remote eastern regions of the Central African Republic. Uganda's army has permission from the CAR to chase Kony and has been doing so with their typically limited results.

The biggest regional concern, however, is not the CAR, but widely-rumored support that Kony once again is getting from Sudan as we slowly but surely approach the coming election cycle in Sudan and South Sudan.

Since Sudan has effectively backed off its offensive in Darfur, this has freed up personnel and resources for coming confrontations in South Sudan, which is fully expected to vote for independence in 2011 -- an eventuality that Sudan does not want.

Preparing for an expected battle, South Sudan has been arming itself as we know from the famous shipment of weapons that was temporarily delayed off the coast of Somalia by Somali pirates last year. Feisty publications such as Jane's have been following the progress of the weaponry to Juba, South Sudan.

However, should Kony be added to the mix in any pending chaos in South Sudan, the Sudan People's Liberation Army will need some help. What better than an integrated, multi-national force from regional powers, aided and equipped by the U.S.?

There are strategic advantages for the U.S., of course, which has rarely had a good relationship with Sudan, ever since the militant and fundamentalist Islamic takeover of the government a couple decades ago.

We hardly need to mention Sudan's hosting of Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s or the U.S.'s condemnation of Sudan's so-called war in Darfur which the U.S. has labeled a genocide.

The U.S. quietly has been supporting South Sudan's drive for independence, knowing that a staunch ally in Sudan's back yard will give the U.S. a firm foothold in the region and first-hand chance to keep an eye on Sudan.

Among other things, the U.S. very much wants to see the expected revenues from South Sudan's vast and untapped oil reserves to fill the pockets of an ally, rather than antagonistic Sudan.

When push comes to shove in the next year or two, the current joint military exercise taking place just 30 miles from the South Sudan border shows how that support could take a very dramatic step."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tullow Oil: Oil Discovery In The Ngara-1 Exploration Well

AUGUST 4, 2009 LONDON (Dow Jones)--
Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), an oil and gas company, said Tuesday that the Ngara-1 exploration well, which is located in the Butiaba region of Uganda Block 2, has encountered over 8 metres of net oil pay.

MAIN FACTS:

-Located one kilometre from the crest of the structure, the well was drilled to a total depth of 741 metres and has been successfully logged and sampled.

-Good quality basal sands were encountered with over 8 metres of net oil pay in a 17 metre gross reservoir interval with additional potential up-dip.

-The Ngara-1 well is located 3 km south of the Ngege-1 discovery and de-risks two adjacent traps within the Ngara fault block.

-Consideration will be given to these and other prospects as part of the next Block 2 drilling campaign which is expected to commence early in 2010.

-The well is now being suspended as a future oil producer. The Ngara-1 well and the other discoveries made in Uganda will form part of the detailed basin development plan which the integrated project team is currently working on.

-Preparations are now under way to commence a new drilling programme with partner, Heritage Oil PLC (HOIL.LN), in Block 1 in the fourth quarter of this year. We are also looking forward to the results from the Ngassa-2 well which remains on track to reach Total Depth in August

-By London Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; Contact Ian Walker; +44 (0)20 7842 9296; ian.walker@dowjones.com
Further reading:

Sudan Govt: ready to cooperate with Uganda over oil production - LRA's Kony not in Darfur

Sudan is ready to resolve outstanding border disputes with Uganda. Uganda has discovered huge oil reserves in the Albertine rift. The Albertine rift stretches from southern Sudan through the lake Albert valley to southwest Uganda. The northern part of Albertine rift has been unstable for many years due to the rebel insurgency of Lord’s Resistance Army. The Sudanese government has denied reports that Joseph Kony, the LRA’s leader, had sought refuge in Darfur.

Excerpt from Sudan Watch, September 28, 2009: Would it make sense for the oil wells in Southern Sudan to be connected to Uganda?
It might make sense if you had a central hub for distribution in Uganda and have other countries linked to that central hub. That would be a cost-effective way of doing it. It would be great to have the cooperation between all the countries in the region through a central hub. That is one option. That would require the various governments talking to each other and putting together a central hub. If that is the way the governments want to go, we will work with that.
Report from Dow Jones Newswires, October 1, 2009:
Sudan Govt: Ready To Cooperate With Uganda Over Oil Production
KAMPALA, Uganda (Dow Jones) – The Sudanese government is ready to offer maximum cooperation to Uganda as the latter moves closer to start oil production in the Albertine rift, a diplomatic official said late Wednesday.

Ali Hussein Award, Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda, said in remarks broadcasted live on the national television that Sudan was ready to share its expertise in oil production with Uganda, which has discovered huge oil reserves in the Albertine rift.

“The Sudanese government is ready to cooperate with Uganda in developing its oil sector, including establishing a refinery,” he said.

Hussein said Sudan is also ready to resolve outstanding border disputes with Uganda along the common border to ensure peace and stability.

The Albertine rift stretches from southern Sudan through the lake Albert valley to southwest Uganda.

The northern part of Albertine rift has been unstable for many years due to the rebel insurgency of Lord’s Resistance Army.

The Sudanese government has also denied reports that Joseph Kony, the LRA’s leader, had sought refugee in Darfur, seeking protection from the Sudanese army.

France-based Total SA (TOT), which operates in Sudan, has expressed interest in investing in Uganda’s downstream oil sector, according to sources.

Total’s potential production in southern Sudan could be tied to the Ugandan oil pipeline project, which is expected to connect the Albertine rift to the Kenyan port of Mombasa about 1,300 kilometers away.

Total officials declined to confirm the company's interest in Ugandan
Oil exploration companies already operating in Uganda include U.K.-based Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), Heritage Oil PLC (HOIL.LN), Tower Resources PLC (TRP.LN) and Dominium Ltd
-By Nicholas Bariyo, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires ; +256 75 262 4615; bariyonic@yahoo.co.uk
Cross-posted from Sudan Watch.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Uganda's Oil to Bring in $2 Billion Per Year (Tullow Oil)

SO far 800 million barrels of oil have been confirmed in Uganda, with an estimated total value of $50b. Ibrahim Kasita and Els De Temmerman interviewed Aidan Heavey, founder and chief executive officer of Tullow Oil, about the challenges and opportunities of the oil find for Uganda and East Africa.

From Trading Markets.com, Monday, September 28, 2009:
Uganda's Oil to Bring in $2 Billion Per Year
Kampala, Sep 28, 2009 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- TUOIF -- SO far 800 million barrels of oil have been confirmed in Uganda, with an estimated total value of $50b. Ibrahim Kasita and Els De Temmerman interviewed Aidan Heavey, founder and chief executive officer of Tullow Oil, about the challenges and opportunities of the oil find for Uganda and East Africa.
You have just completed drilling the Ngassa-2 well on the shores of Lake Albert. How much oil do you estimate is under the lake?

Ngassa-2 is a huge structure. It runs out for about 150km2. We just drilled from the shoreline into the top of the structure and that gives an indication of what is there. We don't know exactly how much is there. It needs extra wells drilled out into the lake to establish the exact amount. But the range we are looking at is 100 million to 400 million barrels. That is only on the Ugandan side of the lake.

So there could be as much oil on the Congolese side?

We have no information at all on Congo in terms of seismic data or what the prospects are.

But from your experience, when there is oil on one side of the lake, is there also oil on the other side?


Absolutely. there should be oil on the Congo side.

What is the total oil discovered so far in Uganda?

There are 800 million barrels in what we call the discovered cash category. The potential, what we think is going to be found in the next few years, is about two billion barrels, which is quite a sizeable amount of oil from one small area.

You have been talking with the Kinshasa government about getting the concession for the other side of Lake Albert as well. How far are those discussions?

We have an agreement with the Congolese government, which we signed some years ago. It is just waiting to be ratified by the President (Joseph Kabila). That is taking quite a long time.

Working into the lake is a very complicated and expensive exploration programme. It is important that we operate on the Congo side because we have a culture of being very strict on environmental and social issues. It is important that whoever is working on the other side of the lake has the same culture. If things go wrong, it would reflect on us.

So we want to make sure that if we are getting involved in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we do it right.

You said the agreement was signed some years ago. Why the delay?

Our experience on the Ugandan side has proven that there is a lot of oil in the area. Once you take the risk out of something, like we did by spending money, a lot of other companies try to muscle in and get involved after the risks have been taken away.

Is that happening in Congo?

It is.

Do you think the agreement will be ratified soon?

It should. We now have the experience and we know the geology. It is a very sensitive area, both from an environmental and social point of view. It is important that all the communities on either side of the lake are treated exactly the same. From an environmental point of view. the last thing you want is pollution of such a beautiful area. If you had an oil spill in the lake, it would be a disaster for the villagers.

You said Uganda has a potential of two billion barrels. How much does that represent in monetary terms?


Of what we have discovered so far, the impact on Uganda would be about $2b a year in revenue.

For how many years?

Probably 20 to 30 years. The country now has an asset worth nearly $50b. But that is only part of the story. To develop the oil industry and get it moving, you need a huge service industry. This will generate an enormous amount of revenue and jobs. It will be transformational to the whole area.

What kind of jobs?

Jobs in the oil field itself, jobs in service companies, maintenance companies and all the support services. We reckon that when the oil production starts, there will be at least 10,000 jobs in the support industry. Oil production generates a whole industrial sector by itself, which can become a regional service sector.

The initial success in Uganda is going to trigger further exploration which invariably will lead to further discoveries and keep up the production programme for decades. It is like chapter one of a book. If the geology behaves like it does elsewhere, the reserves will be replaced by subsequent finds that will occur throughout the decades ahead.

How much have you so far invested in Uganda?

We have invested about $500m. It sounds like a huge risk but the first investment is drilling exploration wells. When you succeed, you de-risk and you drill more and more wells. We accelerated the programme over the last four years to find out as quickly as possible what the basin had. That is why we spent a lot of money in the last two years. It has been a huge investment.

You had some challenges drilling under Lake Albert. Ngassa-1 had to be abandoned. What was the problem?

We are drilling in a sensitive environmental area. So you have to plan a well that is not going to interfere with the local environment. The Ngassa well had to be designed so that its footprint would be tiny. We had to make sure that there was no environmental impact on the lake. It is also an earthquake-prone area. There is a fault just past the shore line. The first time we tried, we drilled through that fault and that proved too problematic. So at the second location, we were successful and got to the bottom of the lake. Working in such areas is much more expensive than in other parts of the world.

Question: Which other countries in Africa do you operate in?

Answer: We operate in 16 African countries. Ghana and Uganda have been the two biggest investment areas in the last few years. But we also have major operations in Mauritania, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Namibia, Tanzania and Madagascar.

Compared to those countries, is Uganda's oil discovery important?

The discoveries here, when on production, will put Uganda in the top 50 oil producers in the world. In Ghana we found one billion barrels in one single location.

The potential in the Ghanaian basin is probably five billion. It will be bigger than Gabon and Equatorial Guinea; and it is getting close to Angola. The difference is that in Ghana, all the oil is offshore, in deep water. Tankers will come up and take the crude oil that will be sold at the international market. But they also have a lot of gas. We are now in the process of piping the gas to the shoreline. It is going to be processed in Ghana and used for power generation.

Uganda is landlocked. President Museveni wants to refine the oil to meet the needs of Uganda and the region. Is a refinery cost-effective?


We are at the stage of evaluating all the options with the Government. Part of that evaluation is to look at the fields. There are a number of different fields, with different depth and quality. A huge amount of work needs to be done to evaluate how these fields can best be developed and how to get the most value out of them. One option is a refinery. There are different types of refineries, with different costs involved.

The different types of crude oil that you put in, gives you different quality of products that come out. There is also the environmental impact of a refinery. The bigger the refinery, the bigger the environmental impact. The idea of Uganda having a refinery absolutely makes common sense. The only issue is the size and type of refinery. But it is early days. The great thing in Uganda is that this, hopefully, will be the first time oil exploitation will be done properly: proper studies, proper evaluation and the right systems put in place.

There seems to be more oil than Uganda and the region need. So some oil will need to be exported.

There is a huge amount of oil. That will require for some of the oil to be exported outside the Ugandan market. If you put a refinery, you will have to export some of the refined products. There are different types of refined products, such as diesel, heavy fuel oil, paraffin, petrol, jet fuel and by-products.

You have to find a market for those products. To get it there, it requires transport and transport costs. If you want to export all the products from one refinery, you would require six to seven pipelines. All these things have to be analysed so that people understand what exactly the implications are.

Would it not make more business sense for the Congolese government to team up with Uganda so that they share the cost?


We have discovered enough oil for Uganda to go alone. Congo is not needed right now to produce the oil from Lake Albert. But from a regional point of view, it makes sense that the oil is produced through one system because it is more cost-effective. For reasons of better planning, from an environmental point of view, it all makes more sense.

Can Uganda afford a refinery of its own?

To find out the cost of a refinery, you have to look at the type of products you need. What sort of fuels are needed locally? The most fuels people need are diesel, heavy fuel oil for power generation, and kerosene.

But they are only some of the by-products of the refinery. What do you do with all the rest? However, I am reluctant for Tullow Oil to talk about this. Our role is to go in, take licences in particular areas and find oil. We need to establish how much oil there is, how we can develop it, how we can produce it efficiently, safely and without any environmental impact, making sure that local and social issues are addressed. We give all the options.

In Uganda today, there is a lot of guess work. People throw in all kind of ideas: whether it should be exported, refined or partly refined. But to date, there has been no proper evaluation of whether a refinery will work, whether a pipeline will work, where the pipeline will go. These studies need to be done first.

Would it make sense for the oil wells in Southern Sudan to be connected to Uganda?

It might make sense if you had a central hub for distribution in Uganda and have other countries linked to that central hub. That would be a cost-effective way of doing it. It would be great to have the cooperation between all the countries in the region through a central hub. That is one option. That would require the various governments talking to each other and putting together a central hub. If that is the way the governments want to go, we will work with that.

In most countries in Africa, oil has proven to be a curse.

Don't forget that oil was found in Africa back in the 1970s and 1980s. In those days, there were very little controls and regulations. Most of the contracts were in favour of the foreign companies. There was little regulation in relation to transparency, environmental and social issues. Quite frankly, some of the things that happened in the past were a disgrace.

The oil companies have a lot to answer for. Nigeria is a classic example. The oil companies got it wrong. And there was greed, as simple as that. They cut corners. They did not do a proper job locally. The world has changed a lot. Today, oil companies have to be transparent. They have to consider environmental and social issues. The terms now are very much in favour of the governments.

The system of regulations has changed dramatically. From Tullow's point of view, we started off with a small project in Senegal and we got very much involved with the local communities and the government. We view the business as a family business - not just the Tullow staff but also the local communities and the government. We work very closely with them. We are involved in two huge projects, in Uganda and Ghana.

It is important for us and our reputation that these prove to be the opposite of what people think; that these are examples of how it should be done. The NGOs talk about the curse of oil. But oil is a commodity, just like bananas. It is absolute nonsense to talk about the curse of oil. Why not talk about the curse of bananas or the curse of aid? Basically, what the NGOs are saying is: the government cannot handle the revenue that is been given to it.

Could you give an example in Africa where the oil revenue has been used to benefit all the people?

Look at countries that have discovered oil recently. Ghana will have its own gas infrastructure in place. The government has already planned how the revenue is going to be spent. I constantly hear people talk about the curse of oil. Nobody talks about the successes of oil. Everybody knows about Nigeria. But there are other countries where it is working quite well, such as Ivory Coast, Gabon or Ghana. There is a completely different environment for oil production in Africa today.

For oil revenues to be used well, there is need for transparency. Can you be transparent about your contract in Uganda?

The contracts companies have are on the stock exchanges and have become public knowledge. You have public information on every contract, and ours is not different. The deals have been published. There are IMF reports about it. Actually, the contracts here in Uganda are the best in the world for the Government.

In what sense?

Only one country in sub-Saharan Africa has better terms than Uganda and that is Angola. For every 10 barrels of oil, the government gets eight, which is 80%. It is unprecedented for a new country in the business. In Ghana, it is 60%.

The oil in Uganda is waxy. Exporting it is expensive since the pipeline has to be heated. Would it then be cheaper to transport refined oil?

You can move waxy oil. The technology is there. It is just a little more expensive. Even removing the wax during the refinery process will cost money. The solutions are there. It is just money.

The area we are working in is 1,200km from a port. We have terms that are very much in favour of the government. It is expensive to work with waxy crude. But we still pay 100% of all the costs. All the risk money is provided by us. The economics are quite tough. Our business is exploration first. And after we have spent the exploration money, we have to get the banks in to help finance the development stage. It is a big challenge.

So you need to get involved in what happens with the oil afterwards because you need your money back.

You need the money back and you need to have the commercial side. It needs to be evaluated properly. You may have a long wish list but unless you can finance it, it is useless. You have to look at what is technically possible and what is financeable. At the end of the day, everything boils down to money. When you are looking for money to develop the oil, it is easier in places like Ghana.

You have offshore oil, fixed costs, ships come up, take the crude oil and you get paid there and then. It is easy for banks to finance. Our $3b project in Ghana will be on stream next year and we got $2b from the banks six months ago, at a time when all the banks were in turmoil.

When you have a difficult project like in Uganda, you have to make sure everything is done properly. In order to borrow money, it has to be a contract that is commercial. And in the current climate, the big financial institutions insist on transparency and all the documentation being available.

Uganda should consider what is technically and financially possible but also what is politically possible, such as where to build the pipeline.

Every project has political angles and needs political stability. To get money from the banks, we have to make sure the projects we are involved in are as attractive as possible. There is goodwill in place between the governments in the region to treat this as one regional project. They discussed it many times at the level of heads of State.

So oil could be a factor of regional stability? Kenya, for example, might not easily go to war over a tiny island if huge economic interests are at stake?


This could be a great regional project. It could be a project that brings stability to the whole area. But again, it has to be done properly. We found the oil; that is the easy bit. The next bit it to develop it.

The technical solutions are there, whether the oil is waxy or not. The big problem is: how do you finance it? how do you get money from the banks? And that depends on the stability of the project, including the political stability.
See Wikipedia info on Lake Albert and map of Rivers and lakes of Uganda