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Archive for October 3rd, 2012

Who is Arming Sudan – “commentary on Tubiana’s article by Eric Reeves”

Posted by African Press International on October 3, 2012

“Who is Arming Sudan,” *The London Review of Books* (October 2, 2012), Jérôme Tubiana

(commentary on Tubiana’s article here by Eric Reeves, Smith College Northampton, MA  01063, October 2, 2012)

 For those who hold out a perverse hope that somehow Juba can be implicated
in the arming of the SPLA-North (in South Kordofan and Blue Nile), this superb and highly authoritative account—based on recent research on the ground in the Nuba Mountains—should bring an end to such nonsense. Jérôme Tubiana, a highly seasoned Sudan researcher and former member of the UN Panel of Experts on Darfur, has written for the *London Review of Books* an overview that should prevent further indulgence in an expedient “moral equivalence” by the international community: “Juba arms the northern rebels so we must condemn this when we condemn Khartoum’s support for the Southern ‘Rebel (Renegade) Militia Groups.'”

In fact, the SPLA-North simply has no need for weapons from the South: as Tubiana makes clear, they have already captured far more weaponry and
ammunition than they require to conduct their ongoing rebellion of behalf
of the people of these badly marginalized regions. By contrast, there is
abundant evidence that the Khartoum regime is arming the most destructive
of the politically bankrupt militias of men such as David Yau Yau in
Jongeli, Johnson Olonyi in Upper Nile, and many others.  The UN recently
an unidentified Antonov aircraft—painted “UN white”—was observed
dropping supplies in Jonglei state, specifically in an area where David Yau
Yau is wreaking havoc among civilians by inflaming ethnic tensions.
Moreover, Small Arms Survey has established <>beyond any reasonable doubt that the weaponry and ammunition ending up in the hands of renegade rebel groups in Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei states is virtually all of Chinese manufacture and has made its way to the South from Khartoum.

There is nothing comparable in the actions of Juba and Khartoum—nothing.
And yet it is to establish precisely this expedient equivalence that the Obama administration, the UN, the AU, and the European Union are all guilty.  In turn, such misrepresentation has badly damaged diplomatic efforts by giving Khartoum negotiating leverage that it in no way deserves.

There are various claims—by unnamed “military experts” and “diplomatic
sources”—that have been repeatedly recycled into unthinking journalism
treating this critical issue.  Given the authority of Tubiana’s account,
and the on-the-ground research that lies behind this account, such foolish
and tendentious claims must end.


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Kenya: Ruth Njeri echos Joseph Wambugu’s sentiments – Rain threatens residents in Naivasha

Posted by African Press International on October 3, 2012 Jackson Marwa reporting from Kenya Jackson Marwa reporting from Kenya

By Jackson Marwa, reporting for API from Naivasha, Kenya

Residents of Kihoto Estate in Naivasha in Kenya are now living in fear following a sharp increase in water levels in the nearby Lake Naivasha.

A resident Joseph Wambugu, said that the water levels have increased with a radius of more than 60 meters towards their houses.

 “We are afraid, having being told that starting next week we are going to experience a lot of rain in the country,” he said.

Wambugu argued that it was not raining in the area frequently, yet the lake
keeps on increasing its water levels.

His sentiments were echoed by Ruth Njeri, who said that they had constructed permanent houses and were left with no words but to pray that it does not rain as predicted.

“We bought this plots and there were no signs of the lake to expand. We wonder if our money will go to waste as water floods the area,” lamented

On his part, the area councilor Simon Wanango said that the owners were cautioned about buying the riparian land but they ignored.

“They just ignored the directive and now it’s upon them to carry their own crosses after they were tricked by con men,” he said.

The Meteorological Department is warning that the short rains expected to begin within the next two weeks in the country will be part of the El Nino weather phenomenon.

In the past, such timely forecasts have been ignored, and the consequences were often devastating resulting to flooding, landslides, loss of life and property.



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Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world

Posted by African Press International on October 3, 2012

Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world

KAMPALA,  – Family planning advocates in Uganda have scored some major financial and policy wins this year, but experts remain concerned that inadequate political commitment and poor health services will continue to impede women’s and girls’ access to contraceptives.

At a global family planning summit in July, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni announced that his government would increase its annual expenditure on family planning supplies from US$3.3million to $5million for the next five years. He also pledged to mobilize an additional $5 million from the country’s donors.

“Efforts will be placed on creating an enabling policy environment to allow women to exercise family planning choices, increasing financial investment in health, human resource development and management, increasing commodities and supplies and effective delivery to reduce stock-outs,” Christine Ondoa, Uganda’s Health Minister, told IRIN. “These proposed investments in health and family planning will significantly reduce maternal mortality, child mortality, and… accelerate Uganda’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and middle-income country status.”

With an annual growth rate of 3.4 percent, Uganda has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, and experts say the country’s public services are unable to cope.

In response, the Ministry of Health has laid out a roadmap for providing universal access to family planning, involving the integration of family planning into other health services. The government plans to reduce the ‘unmet need’ for family planning from 40 percent to 10 percent by 2022; women are considered to have an unmet need if they wish to space their children’s births or limit childbearing but are not using contraception.

Although almost all adults in Uganda can name one method of family planning, just 30 percent of married women of reproductive age use any form of contraception, according to the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey.

A need for change

Experts have welcomed the new funding and the government’s apparent enthusiasm, but say the promises must be met with real changes, at both the political and the health facility level.

“The top leadership – political and cultural leaders – in this country have caused confusion. President Yoweri Museveni says he does not see population explosion as a problem. He thinks the problem is under-development. He says a big population is a good market,” said Michale Bayiga lulume, the opposition’s shadow health minister.

“These pronouncements are encouragement for people to produce as many children as possible,” he added.

Improving services

The country’s health services, already overburdened, are struggling to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. The average Ugandan woman will have six children in her lifetime, while an estimated 16 women die in childbirth every day, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health. Experts are concerned that the new policies and funding may encounter hurdles at health centres.

“I think what is weak is the unfriendly environment at the service delivery points. The policy environment is supportive, but service delivery needs to be strengthened through training, monitoring of policy and service delivery,” Robina Biteyi, national coordinator of the Uganda chapter of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, told IRIN.

The need for contraception is particularly high among teenagers – one in four girls will give birth before the age of 19.

“We must increase contraception services to teenagers. It’s only at 11 percent,” said Anne Alan Sizomu, advocacy officer for the development NGO Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung. “They should increase the number of service provides across the country and recruit more personnel to offer these valuable services to women and teenager girls… Let’s aim at those who want and are unable to access.”

Members of parliament also recently rejected an attempt by the Ministry of Finance to subject health commodities – including condoms and other contraceptives – to 18 percent value-added tax and 6 percent withholding tax.

“Why tax family planning commodities? They play a key role in combating HIV and controlling maternal deaths. The government needs to waive taxes on these commodities,” said Chris Baryomunsi, a legislator on health, HIV and social services parliamentary committees, told IRIN.

Gradual change

According to government officials, the uptake of family planning services is increasing, albeit slowly.

“The good news is that more women are accepting modern family planning methods,” Betty Kyaddondo, head of the family health department in Uganda’s Population Secretariat, at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, told IRIN. “There is now a shift from short-term to long-term family planning methods. Women are moving from pills and injectables to implants and IUDs [intrauterine devices].

“We need to bring men on board to support their women in this effort. The women are secretly going for these services because their men don’t support contraceptives,” she added.




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