Monday, September 30, 2013

Pres. Obama comments on budget showdown with Congress

Good people,

Peoples’ Government should not face a shut-down by all means. There are serious consequences if a country is forced to default.

Obamacare (the affordable care act) is definitely Unrelated to the Budget issues, and sabotaging an economy is also a crime. There is no reason why politicians would want to compromise over something that is going to put interest of the country into jeopardy of being undermined on the face of the world....

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

 Pres. Obama comments on budget showdown with Congress

Obama on shutdown showdown
Monday, 30 Sep 2013 | 1:01 PM ET

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks about the possible government shutdown during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.

Obama tells Netanyahu he has 'clear eyes' on Iran

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama promised Benjamin Netanyahu Monday he would enter talks with Iran with clear eyes and demand verifiable actions, following the Israeli leader's warnings about "sweet talk" from Tehran.
AFP23 mins ago

President Obama expects to speak to Congressional leaders today. President Obama says he is "open and eager" to have a negotiation around a long-time budget.

President Barack Obama says he's "not at all" resigned to a government shutdown. He says he expects to speak to congressional leaders during the day and in ensuing days to address budget and debt impasses.

The president addressed the looming shutdown after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Democratic-controlled Senate was expected Monday to reject the House of Representative's latest short-term spending proposal because it contains a one-year delay on the nation's health care law. The two chambers are trying to reach an agreement to avert a shutdown looming at midnight.
The spending fight is a prelude to a bigger confrontation over the nation's credit limit,

Shut-Down Showdown: Republicans Mauling Each Other as Obama Fights Back (2/3)
Published on Sep 29, 2013
The Criminal Psychopaths in Washington & Why America's Police Are More Dangerous Than Criminals:


Obama Makes Historic Call to Iran, Talks Shutdown Showdown

Published on Sep 27, 2013
The president's phone call to Iran president is first direct contact for countries since 1979.

Biden pens Obamacare op-ed for Iowa paper

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2013 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden smiles while hosting a reception at the Naval Observatory in Washington. Biden is set to deliver the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign's annual dinner next month. Biden will be speaking to an influential group of gay and lesbian activists who were among President Barack Obama's most loyal supporters during the 2012 campaign. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

In a move that should stir even more speculation about his plans for 2016, Vice President Joe Biden penned an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on Sunday, extolling the virtues of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in the state where the race for the White House will begin with the Iowa caucuses.

Biden praised Obama for taking up the health care issue "in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression."

"I still remember the turmoil and uncertainty of those early days — and the president’s determination to act swiftly to stop the hemorrhaging," Biden wrote. "I remember something else especially clearly: President Obama’s insistence that we fix America’s broken health care system."
There were dissenting voices back then, even inside the administration — people who thought we couldn’t risk the politics of a prolonged congressional battle in the midst of a harsh recession. We should save it for another time. After all, presidents back nearly 100 years had tried and failed to provide national health coverage. But President Obama refused to wait in the face of what he saw as a genuine emergency for the middle class.

He reminded the skeptics that trouble for the middle class had started long before the economic crisis, and would continue long after economic recovery unless we did something about our health care system. He reminded them of the stories he’d heard when he ran for president — of folks seeing their premiums rising while their wages stagnated, of insurance companies refusing to cover children born with chronic diseases, of cancer patients hitting their lifetime limits in the first weeks of chemotherapy.

In 2010, because of his perseverance, we passed the Affordable Care Act.
Biden touted the results of Obamacare so far, and what will happen starting Tuesday.

"As of Oct. 1, tens of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it — or have been denied access to it — will finally be able to buy a health care plan they can afford," the vice president wrote. "Here in Iowa, an average 27-year-old making $25,000 could get covered for just $96. A family of four making $50,000 a year could get covered for as little as $103 a month."
Biden added: "The president never yielded during the health care debate. He never forgot why we ran, who we’d come to serve, and mostly, the security and dignity that we could provide the middle class if we were willing to fight. And so we did. We fought to bring affordable health care to all Americans, and because of the president’s insistence — and persistence — we are delivering."

The 70-year-old hasn't ruled out a third run for president in 2016.

Earlier this month, Biden traveled to Iowa to speak at Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry, a political tradition where, as ABC News noted, a young Sen. Barack Obama made his Iowa debut in 2006.

And last week, Biden held a private fundraiser for Iowa congressional candidate Jim Mowrer in Washington.


Shut down a $15M daily hit on Md. economy, state estimate finds

  • Gov. Martin O'Malley shakes hands with President Obama in Prince George's County on Thursday.
Gov. Martin O'Malley shakes hands with President Obama… (Getty Images )
September 26, 2013|By John Fritze and Erin Cox | The Baltimore Sun
Maryland's economy would take a $15 million hit each day of a federal government shut down -- and the state would lose $5 million a day in revenue -- according to a memo drafted by Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration.
Because of the high concentration of federal workers in Maryland, state budget officials project a two-week furlough period would amount to $51 million in lost income and sales tax revenue. Those estimates generally assume federal workers would not be paid retroactively as they have been after past shutdowns.

"The state income tax impact would be mitigated if federal workers receive retroactive pay after the shutdown ends; however, it is unlikely that most of the sales tax receipts would be recaptured," the memo states.
Lawmakers in Congress must pass a stop-gap spending bill by Monday night to avoid shutting down the federal government when it begins the new fiscal year on Tuesday -- but the effort to do so has been complicated by a debate over the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
House Republican leaders have floated the idea of a temporary spending bill that would avoid the immediate deadline and instead kick the health care debate into mid-October, when Congress must negotiate to raise the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to vote this weekend on a bill that would keep the government running without stripping money for Obamacare.
Maryland is home to 300,000 federal workers.


Maryland shows Obamacare can be affordable

Our view: With some of the lowest projected insurance rates in the nation, Maryland leads the way in creating a vibrant health insurance exchange

July 29, 2013
Maryland regulators have released the details of the rates they have approved for the nine companies that want to sell policies on the state's new health insurance exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act, and the average rates for individuals buying coverage are expected to jump by as much as 25 percent. Another horror story about the train wreck of Obamacare? Hardly. That figure represents an apples-to-oranges comparison that says little about what health care will cost for any particular individual or family once the exchange starts selling policies this fall. The truth is that Maryland appears to have some of the lowest projected rates in the nation — a tribute to a well-regulated state health care system and officials who are determined to see the Affordable Care Act succeed, not fail.

There are several reasons why the 25 percent increase figure is misleading. The first is a bit technical but important. That average refers not to the average increase for any individual who buys a policy now versus post-Obamacare. It refers to the average cost of all the policies sold by a particular carrier. Because the Affordable Care Act eliminates exclusions for pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on benefits, it is expected, at least in the early stages, to attract a disproportionate share of older and sicker patients into the insurance exchange. Thus, at least in the short term, a larger share of the policies purchased on the exchange may be more costly than is now the case. The better a state does at encouraging younger, healthier people to buy into the insurance pool — as required by law — the more those figures will eventually even out. But in the meantime, it's important to understand that if you buy a policy from Aetna now, it won't necessarily be 25 percent more expensive in the fall.
In fact, the amount you pay out of pocket for your health care costs may well be lower under Obamacare, even if your premiums go up. That's because the insurance policies allowed in the health care exchange all must meet certain minimum qualifications in terms of their benefits and covered services. Most preventive care under the Affordable Care Act will be included in the price of insurance premiums, without deductibles or co-pays. People who previously bought low-rate, high deductible, low-benefit plans may find that they will now not only get a more comprehensive set of services but also pay less in the end, even if their premiums go up.
And that's not counting the fact that most — state officials estimate three-fourths — of the people buying coverage on the exchange will be eligible for federal subsidies. Those credits are available on a sliding scale for people earning up to four times the federal poverty level, or about $94,000 for a family of four.
Finally, it's important to consider that if a consumer thinks the rate he or she is paying is too high, the exchange makes it easy to shop around. Maryland and other states are busy creating web portals that allow consumers to compare prices and services for health insurance the way they now shop for airline tickets on sites like Expedia. And there is a significant variation in the projected costs from one company to another. According to the Maryland Insurance Administration rates for a basic, "bronze" level plan for a 25-year-old non-smoker range from $124 a month (BlueChoice) to $237 (All Savers). The premium for a higher-quality "silver" plan for a 50-year-old non-smoker would range from $267 a month (Coventry) to $470 (All Savers).

The rates announced on Friday represent significant reductions from the initial proposals made by the nine companies seeking to do business on the exchange. Regulators found fault with a number of assumptions the insurers made with regard to the workings of Obamacare, with projected administrative expenses and with the expected customer population for the exchange. They reduced the proposed rates by at least 20 percent for four of the nine insurers. One analyst for the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation fretted that Maryland's approved rates may actually be too low to foster a healthy competition among insurers. Maryland's rates are either the lowest or close to it among the states that have published their projected premiums so far.
As tempting as it is to look for a single, bottom-line number to say whether health insurance will be more or less expensive under Obamacare, the truth is that such a comparison is ultimately imperfect, if not meaningless, because of the changes in the way the health insurance marketplace will be structured. Some people will doubtless wind up paying more and others less, but for a different set of services than before. The real questions about Obamacare are whether more people will have coverage, whether people will be healthier, and whether the nation's out-of-control rise in health care costs can be checked. It will take years to get definitive answers, but the signs from Maryland and other states that have embraced the reforms are encouraging.

How Obamacare will help the uninsured and unemployed

Woman struggles under $1,000 monthly medical bills

June 30, 2012|Dan Rodricks
On Thursday, the day the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, a 47-year-old Baltimore woman went to the drugstore, and pulled out her debit card to pay for a prescription refill. But she didn't have enough money in the account to cover the $425 charge.
So she asked the pharmacist and staff for a favor.
"I asked them to break up the prescription to give me one-third," says the woman, who would not allow her name to be published because she didn't want to disclose her medical conditions. "This was just for three of the five life-saving medications I take."

There's a reason why Ann could only afford a third of some of the drugs her doctor prescribes, and it can be summed up in five words: "I have no health insurance."
Ann is unemployed, having lost her job as an art teacher a year ago. She says her unemployment income is "too large to qualify me for state health benefits," which is hard to believe, but we'll come back to that.
"I pay $1,000 in health care costs per month," she says. "I do not use the emergency room. I do not see doctors except for a non-discounted $75 per month fee for prescription refills every two months. I pay full price for eyeglasses and dental care."
She lays all this out — a set of facts undoubtedly familiar to a few million uninsured, single American adults — and, in light of last week's Supreme Court decision, Ann asks, with incredulity, this question:
"I now have to pay a tax on top of my out-of-pocket health care costs?"
She alludes to the Supreme Court ruling that the individual mandate in the nation's new health care law is constitutional on tax law grounds. Barring Mitt Romney's election and a Republican-led repeal of the law, the Internal Revenue Service will soon be able to impose a tax penalty of either $695 a year or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater, on anyone who doesn't secure health insurance.
Ann got alarmed when she heard this.
She's already out-of-pocket $12,000 a year for medical expenses, and the IRS is going to hit her with a tax penalty, too?
I told Ann to sit tight while I got her some answers.
She's probably not the only uninsured American who thinks they're going to be penalized for not being able to afford health insurance.
But the worthy goal of the Affordable Care Act is to get more people insured — up to 30 million more — by either expanding the Medicaid program for the poor or by making private insurance more affordable to the middle class. Part of that $12,000 Ann pays now toward medical expenses will go toward securing insurance — and she'll save a lot of money during the course of a year. Once insured, she won't have to pay the tax penalty, either.
I called Kathy Westcoat, president of HealthCare Access Maryland, the Baltimore-based nonprofit that helps people like Ann navigate the health delivery system. There are a lot of Marylanders who either don't know what benefits are available to them or, unemployed for the first time in their working lives, have too much pride to ask for help (or to allow their full names to be published in a newspaper.)

First question for Westcoat: Could an unemployed woman with $12,000 a year in annual medical expenses really be ineligible for public health care benefits, even after the expansion of Medicaid in Maryland a few years ago?
"It sounds crazy," says Westcoat, "but it's often true. The state has a program, Primary Adult Care, for single adults between 19 and 64. PAC has some good benefits — free primary care doctor visits, free or low-cost prescription drugs — but it's very limited. You can't see a specialist, for instance; it's not good for people with chronic diseases."
And it's not available for any able-bodied person who has more than $1,050 a month in income. So, single Maryland adults who lose their jobs and collect more than, say, $260 a week in unemployment benefits can't get into PAC. The best they can do is pick up some temporary help with medical bills through charity.
Westcoat offered Ann some relief from an emergency prescription fund supported by HealthCare Access donors.
"We can help her with her prescriptions for a month or two," she says.
But what about Obamacare?
What happens to Ann when the law takes effect? Will someone in her shoes be better off?
"It depends on her income level," says Westcoat, "but if she's a single adult and makes $15,000 a year or less, she gets into Medicaid, starting in 2014. But if she makes more than that and doesn't have insurance, she can get into a health insurance exchange, and receive a subsidy. ... She'll be able to buy health insurance at a fraction of what she's paying now in medical bills."
And she won't have to worry about paying a tax penalty for not having insurance.
It's nonsense to even think about repealing a law that would make all that happen.


House Republicans Push Obamacare Delay as Shutdown Nears

Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, walks to the House Chamber for a procedural vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 2013.

The U.S. government lurched toward a partial shutdown Oct. 1 as House Republicans planned to attach a delay of Obamacare to a bill to keep the government open and Senate Democrats said they will reject the proposal.

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah speak at a news conference in Washington following the Senate's 54-44 vote to finance the government through Nov. 15 after removing language to choke off funding for the health care law. (Source: Bloomberg)
Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican from California, talks about congressional negotiations over the budget, President Barack Obama's health-care law and prospects for a government shutdown. He speaks with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, listens during a news conference following a vote in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27, 2013.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, listens during a news conference following a vote in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27, 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
The House is poised to vote tonight in Washington to delay portions of Obamacare for a year and repeal a medical device tax as part of a plan to extend government funding through Dec. 15. That’s a position party leaders resisted two weeks ago, until a few dozen Tea Party-backed lawmakers pulled them to the hard-line stance.
“Republicans have tried and failed to defund or delay the health care law more than 40 times, and they know this demand is reckless and irresponsible,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said in a statement today. “Any member of the Republican Party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown.”
The developments dramatically raise the likelihood of a shutdown. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and the policy divide is wide, because congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama say they won’t accept any of the conditions Republicans are uniting around.
“The American people don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want Obamacare,” House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders said in a statement today. “We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”

Military Pay

House Republicans plan to pass a separate bill to ensure that U.S. troops, along with some civilians and contractors who work for the military, are paid if the government shuts down. The House began debating the spending issue just before 8 p.m. Washington time, with a final vote set for later tonight.
Budget brinkmanship has become routine in Washington, particularly since Republicans gained control of the House in the 2010 election. A last-minute deal before Oct. 1 is still achievable, and one possible move is for both chambers to pass a short-term funding measure -- for a few days to a week -- to keep the government open and leave more time for debate.
The House Republican leadership doesn’t expect to pass a clean spending bill or have enough Republicans who would want to do that, according to a leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss party strategy.

Government Contribution

The House probably will amend the spending bill one more time. A likely option would eliminate the government’s contribution to the health insurance of members of Congress and staff, as a way of testing Democrats’ willingness to make any change to the health law, the aide said.
Right now, there is no desire or plan for a one-week extension of funding, the aide said.
Many Senate Democrats oppose the medical device tax, and a repeal garnered a 79-20 vote earlier this year. That doesn’t mean they want to attach it to the spending bill. The leading Senate advocate, Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, rejected the idea this week.
“We continue to be willing to debate these issues in a calm and rational atmosphere,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement today that called the Republican plan “pointless.” He added, “The American people will not be extorted by Tea Party anarchists.”
The Senate yesterday passed a bill that would fund the government through Nov. 15, omitting Republican language to choke off funds for the 2010 health-care law.

Senate Response

Reid yesterday warned that House revisions to the spending bill would lead to a shutdown. A Senate Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was unlikely the Senate would return before Sept. 30 to consider the House plan.
The Senate could reject the House’s amendments and send the bill without the Obamacare-delay provisions back to the House with hours remaining before a shutdown.
“Let’s keep this government running,” Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, who is up for re-election in 2014, said yesterday. “Look at the markets the last few days. The shenanigans they’re playing are causing the markets to falter and that’s bad for the economy and bad for jobs.”
Concerns that the budget impasse will hurt economic growth helped push the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its first weekly decline since August. The index fell 0.4 percent to 1,691.75 yesterday, and dropped 1.1 percent for the week. The rate on 10-year Treasury notes fell three basis points to 2.62 percent yesterday.

Economic Growth

A shutdown could reduce fourth-quarter economic growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points, depending on its duration, according to economists. The biggest effect would come from the output lost from furloughed workers.
Even if Congress resolves the spending fight, lawmakers would immediately move to the next fiscal dispute over raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. Unless Congress acts, the U.S. won’t have enough money to pay all of its bills at some point between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
House Republicans have voted more than 40 times to delay, defund or repeal all or part of the 2010 health-care law, which is designed to expand coverage to at least 30 million people. Some of the narrower proposals became law. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in June 2012.

Sharp Turn

Today’s move marks a sharp turn for Boehner and Republican leaders, who earlier this month tried to pass a plan that would have let the Senate strip out anti-Obamacare language and send the spending bill directly to Obama.
Tea Party-backed lawmakers rejected that approach, forcing Republican leaders to tie government funding to provisions aimed at stifling the health law.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, opposed the Republican plan in absentia; she’s celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary.
The proposal under consideration today would delay the individual mandate along with many taxes and fees from the health law. It’s based on a proposal from Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican.
“It’s exactly what we asked for and we got it,” said Republican Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
Republicans, torn by internal strategic and policy disputes, are choosing to make their stand against the health law. The first insurance exchanges open Oct. 1 and other portions of the law already have taken effect.

‘A Jerk’

“Harry Reid has been a jerk, and I think he’s done nothing but unify the Republican House, saying ‘Look, we’re going to do what’s right,’” said Representative David Schweikert, an Arizona Republican.
At the White House, Obama accused House Republicans of “political grandstanding” that has hurt economic growth. He urged Congress to work together to pass a spending plan and then adopt legislation to increase the nation’s borrowing authority.
“Do not shut down the government. Do not shut down the economy,” Obama said yesterday. “Pass a budget on time. Pay our bills on time. Refocus on the everyday concerns of the American people.”
Republicans have been infuriated by Obama’s unwillingness to negotiate, pointing to his conversation yesterday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“It’s really interesting that the Democrats are willing to negotiate with Iran,” said Representative Richard Hudson, a North Carolina Republican. “But they won’t negotiate with us.”
In a government shutdown, essential operations and programs financed with permanent streams of money would continue, meaning that Social Security checks would be delivered and military personnel would still work. National parks, Internal Revenue Service call centers and passport offices are among the federal facilities that could close.
The bill is H.J. Res. 59. The troop funding bill is H.R. 3210.
To contact the reporters on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at; Richard Rubin in Washington at; Kathleen Hunter in Washington at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at


Harry Reid throws down gauntlet on budget: ‘This is it’

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
With three days to go before the federal government is due to run out of money, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, right, accompanied by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, after the Senate passed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running, but stripped of the defund “Obamacare” language, as crafted by House Republicans.

Click to enlarge photo
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., center, accompanied by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, to express their frustration after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of the defund "Obamacare" language as crafted by House Republicans.

The continuing resolution to fund the government and keep Obamacare intact is on its way back to the House, where representatives will be faced with a do-or-die decision.

If the House, led by Republicans who have declared themselves determined to defund the health care law, votes for the Senate-passed bill, Congress will avert a government shutdown.

If they change the bill significantly and send it back to the Senate, there will likely not be enough time left to reach an agreement before the budget runs out Sept. 30.

“This is it,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Friday, standing in front of a digital clock ticking down the days, hours, minutes and seconds left until the shutdown deadline. “They need to accept what we just passed.”

Republicans and Democrats are still bitterly divided over the contents of the budget, and especially the provisions involving Obamacare.

Republicans have waged their budget fight primarily on the question of defunding Obamacare.

Not a single Republican senator voted in favor of the Senate budget, which the party had declared anathema because it did not strip fiscal 2014 funding from the provisions intended to help implement the health care law. It passed 54-44.

Most Republicans voted in favor of procedural motions setting up the vote, despite threats from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., that such votes were essentially selling out their cause.

A vote for the procedural motions translated as “then you are willing to fund Obamacare,” Cruz warned his colleagues earlier this week.

Most Republicans chose to ignore him. The final procedural vote Cruz had warned against ended up 79-19, more than enough to give Democrats the opportunity to then pass the Senate-favored budget resolution by a simple majority.

But not all of those who sided with Cruz credited his reasoning for having swayed their vote.

Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller voted against all four measures the Senate considered Friday, both procedural and substantive.

He cited the short-term nature of the bill — not Obamacare — as his reason for doing so.

“For years, Congress has depended on short-term bills just like the one the Senate voted on today rather than doing its job,” Heller said in a statement released after the vote. “Washington, D.C. insists on moving from crisis to crisis without ever really finding the solutions America deserves.”

Heller went on to talk up his No Budget, No Pay Act, which would withhold lawmakers’ pay for any period Congress is expecting the government to operate under a continuing resolution and not a formal budget.

Heller reintroduced No Budget, No Pay as an amendment to the continuing resolution on Tuesday. But two weeks ago, he had already admitted on the Vegas PBS program “Nevada Week in Review” that he was unlikely to vote for any measure that left funding for Obamacare intact.

The House is expected to resume consideration of the budget on Saturday.



Uganda: Lango Chief "Ready to Offer" Kony Land to Resettle

Uganda: Lango Chief 'Ready to Offer' Kony Land to Resettle

Tears of repentance flowed endlessly and hearts remained filled with forgiving thoughts as hundreds of Langi and other fellow countrymen Friday concluded three days of prayers for repentance, forgiveness and thanksgiving.
Held at the Mayor's Gardens in Lira starting Wednesday through to Friday, the prayers dubbed Lango Convocation ended with the extension of forgiveness to the LRA leader, Joseph Kony by the Lango Paramount Chief, Yosam Odur.
Odur said he has forgiven the rebel leader for his campaign of rape, abductions, conscripting young children into rebel ranks and killing of the people of Lango. He also pledged to give Kony part of his land where he can come and settle if he could embrace peace by ending his war and crimes against humanity.
Kony was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005 but has evaded capture. He was forced out of Uganda in 2006 after 20 years of war in northern Uganda during which hundreds of people were killed, orphaned and displaced.
His group, once reported to be crumbling in strength, is believed to be now operating in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or Central African Republic (CAR) or South Sudan.
"The people of Lango and Acholi are well known for our forgiving nature and struggle for peace in the country but [we] were disorganized by the LRA war that targeted innocent people," said Chief Odur.
"Now am calling upon Joseph Kony to stop fighting and am even ready to offer him land for settlement." The prayers that saw Odur forgive Kony were organized by Lango religious leaders to give people of Lango and other tribes in Uganda time to repent to God for the wrongs committed by the country's forefathers since independence.
Hundreds of Christians, cultural leaders and politician from around the country attended the three days of prayer. The gathering also provided an opportunity for intertribal forgiveness for past mistakes under previous regimes.

Uganda: President Accused of Abusing Army, Misusing Funds

Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Uganda: President Accused of Abusing Army, Misusing Funds

Photo: New Vision/File
Uganda forces (file photo): The president has allegedly been accused of killing army soldiers and misusing its for funds for his election campaigns.
The exiled Coordinator of Uganda's Intelligence Services has called for the removal of President Yoweri Museveni from the High Command of the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF).
General David Sejusa said Mr. Museveni has abused the army, killed its officers and stolen money intended for the army which he has instead used to rig elections.
He said the UPDF is a people's army, not Mr. Museveni's, and must therefore reclaim its place in society.
"He abuses the system, he abuses the institution of the army, he doesn't follow the law, he subverts the workings of the institution and, when he's criticized about it, he turns around to those people who say that he should change he and depicts them in the bad light, and they are the ones who should leave the institution, not the one who subverts the institution. Things have got to put into their proper perspective. He who is causing a problem must be void, not the other way around," he said.
Sejusa fled Uganda in April after writing a letter alleging that there was a scheme to assassinate senior government and military officials perceived to be against an alleged plot to have Mr. Museveni's son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, succeed his father as president.
The government has since denied the existence of such a plan, and the army has said it will charge Sejusa with treason for "failing to protect classified documents."
Sejusa said President Museveni cannot charge anyone with treason when he himself has abrogated the constitution.
"Why should Mr. President remove people from the High Command illegally and he himself thinks he cannot be challenged for breaking the law? The president who does not respect the law, or who cannot respect the constitution, cannot take refuge in the law. If you want the law to protect you, you must not abuse the law. So, Mr. Museveni, in order for him to invoke the protection of the law, he must follow the constitution of Uganda," Sejusa said.
Sejusa said the UPDF must liberate itself as an army. He accused President Museveni of involving the army in prolonged fighting with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels for profit and political survival.
"We came to power in 1986. Since that time, we've been fighting the insurgency in the country for 27 years. Because of Mr. Museveni's mistakes, he couldn't win this war. This conflict now has been externalized, and you cannot have an army fighting for 27 years without rest. So, (Mr. Museveni) he's been using this conflict for political survival, and I'm saying enough is enough."
Sejusa, who is also a member of Uganda's parliament, left the country after requesting for leave under the pretext he was traveling on "official security assignment." He has since applied for an extension of his leave.
He said, while the speaker of parliament is currently looking into his request for an extension, he has also asked his lawyer to look into the legality of what happens if someone leaves parliament because his life is being threatened.
"My contention, which I told my lawyer, is I didn't leave Uganda willingly. I'm not sitting out of the country because I want to. Therefore, I need the lawyer to look at this aspect. What happens when someone is absent from parliament, not out of his own free will, but because a regime is hunting him down," Sejusa said.
Sejusa said his request is not so much about being in parliament, but rather the principle behind it, the rule of law and about institutionalizing the rule, not personalizing the rule.

The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: I'm On High Command for Life

In a new letter, exiled Gen David Sejusa makes the case for why he can't be ejected from Parliament and the army's high command, almost a month after he asked for an extension to his official leave from the House.
In his letter, channelled through his lawyer Joseph Luzige at the weekend, Sejusa, one of the 10 army representatives in the 9th Parliament, attempts to knock down individual objections to his membership to Parliament and the army after his falling out with the establishment.
"... so Mr President, you can posture with those intended actions against me, like dismissals, court martials, treason trials, abuses, lies... etc, but the people of Uganda who own that UPDF high command, will deal with all the abusers in good time. So, yes [I am] a member of the UPDF high command by law. Unless he goes to Parliament to change it, he [Museveni] has no power to sack me. Can Museveni take away my citizenship? No, he can't! And can he remove me from the high command, no, he can't... ," Sejusa said.
This latest challenge comes as Speaker Rebecca Kadaga awaits the army's opinion on Sejusa's status in the army before she decides whether to extend his official leave from Parliament for a second time.
About leaving Parliament, Sejusa accused Museveni of personalizing state power, adding that anyone who pointed out government excesses was branded a traitor.
"If I am to leave Parliament, the law must be followed to the letter... So, I will not leave Parliament because that dictator wants it so. Uganda is ours. That Parliament belongs to the people of Uganda and not Mr Museveni... ," Sejusa wrote.
His latest missive comes as senior army officers, notably army chief Gen Katumba Wamala and army MP Gen Elly Tumwine suggested that Sejusa's stance was likely to endanger his status in the UPDF.
Sejusa is also unbothered that some people have referred to him as a renegade. "What is in a name? Remember I was once called a bandit and worse. They [names] really mean nothing within the actual context of fighting for freedom. Thus on whether I'm a renegade or whatever, history will be the judge... ," he said.
In an interview a fortnight ago, the UPDF spokesman, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said the army was still consulting and would soon reply to Speaker Kadaga, on Sejusa's status in the army. In the meantime, Ankunda said, Sejusa remained an army officer and MP.
Sejusa has been in the spotlight since April, after he penned a dossier, in which he demanded an investigation into a rumoured plot to kill top army and government officials opposed to the alleged presidential ambitions of Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Muhoozi is President Museveni's son and the commander of the elite Special Forces Command.
The government and the army have denied that there is any plan to groom him for the presidency. Speaking about his job as coordinator of intelligence services, Sejusa accused Ugandan security of "ransacking" his offices as if they were personal property.
"So, you destroy the offices with armed thugs, then you turn around and say [I] am still coordinator, of what, Mr President?" he said.
However, Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi laughed at Sejusa's charge of ransacking his offices.
"How can a woman who ran away from marriage because of misconduct go through her auntie and advise on what should be done in her former husband's home?" Tamale said.
"In the first place, why did Sejusa run away and choose to go through third parties persons to air his views? Being idle now, he should resort on writing a book and tell us even how he arrested some politicians, caned then before producing them into courts of laws."

Uganda: Kenyan Attackers Linked to Kampala

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Are these the faces behind Westgate mall attack?

In Summary

  • Robow - established the first militant Islamist training camp in Somalia in 1996 and reportedly left in 2000 to train with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  • Godane - held meetings in Somalia to come up with strategies on how to execute attacks in Kenya, leaked NIS report says.
  • Iman - is said to have been controversial since his days at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, where he graduated with a degree in engineering.
  • Samantha - British media claim she was involved in the Westgate terrorist attack.
  • Sandheere - is believed to have been the one who escorted the terrorists who attacked the Westgate Mall.

Sheikh Mukhtar Robow alias Abu Mansur
Al-Shabaab deputy leader
A leaked NIS report says Muktar Sheikh Robow and Dahir Aweys arrived in Hela Marer area, Gedo region, from Ufuro area in the Bay region, Somalia, on March 22.
They held a meeting with 50 other leaders where they discussed the mode of training for their operatives as well as plan on how to carry out attacks on vital installations in Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Mombasa and Nairobi.
The FBI has put a $5 million bounty on Robow.
Robow, the deputy leader of al-Shabaab, is also a former spokesman for the group.
He was one of the founders of the terror group. He is from Baidoa in the Bay region of Somalia, where his Rahanweyn clan holds overwhelming influence.
Robow established the first militant Islamist training camp in Somalia, al-Hudda, in Huddur in 1996. He reportedly left Somalia in 2000 to train with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He returned to Somalia after the Taliban fell from power. In 2003, he helped create al-Shabaab from the remnants of al Ittihad al Islami.
Ahmed Abdi Godane, alias, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr
Al-Shabaab founder and overall commander
A leaked National Security Intelligence (NIS) report says that early this year Godane held meetings in Somalia to come up with strategies on how to execute attacks in Kenya. The FBI has put a $7 million bounty on him.
Godane, who was born in northern Somalia, now known as Somaliland, has been leading al-Shabaab since 2008.
He studied accounting in Pakistan and while there he occasionally travelled to Afghanistan where he came into contact with al-Qaeda, led by the late Osama bin Laden.
When he returned home he founded the northern wing of Somalia’s al-Ittihad al-Islami (Islamic Union), which was established by Somali Mujahiddins returning from Afghanistan. He was to later start recruiting and indoctrinating the militia who were later to start attacks against Western interests in Somalia, including kidnapping and killing of Western nationals.
Godane was to later join the Council of Islamic Courts before teaming up with Aden Hashi Farah to form al-Shabaab when they split from CIC.
Sheikh Ahmed Iman Ali
According to a leaked National Security Intelligence report, Iman — who was appointed by Al-Shabaab as its de facto leader of Kenyan fighters in Somalia — was among the masterminds of the Westgate attack.
“Al-Shabaab remains focused on conducting attacks through individuals that have not been arrested before. The masterminds of the intended attacks are Kenyans, who are in middle and senior management levels of the terror group.
Among them; Maalim Abass Guyo, Ahmed Iman Ali and Jan Mohamed Khan alias Abu Musab Al Mombasa,” the NIS report says.
Last year, Iman released a video declaring war against Kenya on behalf of Al-Shabaab.
Interviews with those who know Sheikh Iman, a former chairman of Muslim Youth Centre (MYC) in Pumwani, Nairobi, say he has been controversial since his days at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, where he graduated with a degree in engineering.
Born either in 1973 or 1974, Iman presents security agents with something new in the fight against terrorism.
Those who know him say he was a charming preacher with a fanatical following among various Kenyan communities.
Samantha Lewthwaite a.k.a. “White Widow”
The British media has claimed she was involved in the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall.
There is no evidence so far to link her to the attack but police and security forces say Samantha Lewthwaite— the widow of one of the four suicide bombers who devastated London in July 2005 — was involved in the Kenya attack, let alone being a “mastermind,” as the British papers have claimed.
The International Police (Interpol) has issued a red-alert calling for arrest.
She is wanted by Kenya “on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011” as part of a suspected plot to bomb cities along the Kenyan coast at Christmas.
Abu Sandheere
He is believed to have been the one who escorted the terrorists who attacked Westgate Shopping Mall.
He is suspected to be a 50-year-old Kenyan man who is an associate of the late Al-Qaeda leader Fazul Abdullah. Sandheere, whose parents were a Maasai and a European, is thought to have escaped moments after the assault started on Saturday.
“He escorted the attackers to the mall and then left as people were fleeing. He then travelled to the border and crossed to Somalia,” said an intelligence source.
According to counter-terrorism sources, the man seconded to Al-Shabaab by the Al-Qaeda network arrived in Somalia on Friday after days of avoiding the tight security that had been mounted across the country to stop suspected terrorists from escaping.
Sandheere, said to be the regional Al-Qaeda man in charge of intelligence, logistics and special operations, escaped from Westgate with two other unidentified terrorists. He is also described as being “extremely sharp”.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Assault mastermind said to be a Kenyan, 50, associated with ex-Qaeda leader Fazul 

The alleged mastermind of the 1998 twin bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam Fazul Abdullah has reportedly been killed by Somalia government forces in Mogadishu. AFRICA REVIEW | FILE

In Summary

  • The reports describe the man as tall and light-skinned with perforated ears lobes. He is also described as being “extremely sharp”.

By Nation ReporterMore by this Author
The mastermind of the Westgate shopping mall terrorist attack is suspected to be a 50-year-old Kenyan man who is an associate of the late Al-Qaeda leader Fazul Abdullah, the Sunday Nation has established.
Abu Sandheere, whose parents were a Maasai and a European, is thought to have escaped moments after the assault started on Saturday.
“He escorted the attackers to the mall and then left as people were fleeing. He then travelled to the border and crossed to Somalia,” said an intelligence source.
According to counter-terrorism sources, the man seconded to Al-Shabaab by the Al-Qaeda network arrived in Somalia on Friday after days of avoiding the tight security that had been mounted across the country to stop suspected terrorists from escaping.
Sandheere, said to be the regional Al-Qaeda man in charge of intelligence, logistics and special operations, escaped from Westgate with two other unidentified terrorists.
The reports describe the man as tall and light-skinned with perforated ears lobes. He is also described as being “extremely sharp”.
According to the sources, Al-Shabaab values the man and only declared the Nairobi mission accomplished when he arrived in Somalia on Friday.
“Al-Shabaab values him a lot. They were keeping their fingers crossed until he returned to base,” the sources said.
Kenyan security agencies also say Sandheere is well educated, having studied at an institution only identified as Al-Azhar.
We could not independently establish whether he studied at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, or Al-Azar, which is also a religious site in the city. The head of Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is an Egyptian.
Al-Shabaab “formally” joined Al-Qaeda in February last year after cooperating since 2008.
Sandheere arrived in Somalia with Fazul just after the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi.
Fazul was later killed at a roadblock in Mogadishu by government forces after years of evading Kenyan and Somali security forces.
There has been speculation that Fazul’s death was part of a power struggle that now leaves Abu Godane as the undisputed Al-Shabaab leader.
“He arrived in Somalia with Fazul. He is also a skilled trainer of terrorists, the trainer of the Al-Khidma within Al-Shabaab. He is very important to the group,” said the sources.
The planning of the attack reportedly started nine months ago when the terrorists hired a shop at the Westgate Mall.
They are said to have then brought in ammunition, automatic guns and grenades that they used for the attack and siege which lasted for 72 hours.
According to the intelligence reports, Al-Qaeda facilitated the attack to unite the warring factions in Al-Shabaab under Godane. There have been recent reports of fighting in the group that has claimed casualties, mostly foreign fighters.
Separately, an intelligence counter-terrorism brief seen by Sunday Nation says a highly trained Al-Shabaab assassination squad of 20 could be on the loose in the country. The squad, known as “head breakers” or Mandax Jibshe in Somali, has a specific mandate to locate and assassinate individuals in Nairobi and Mombasa.
The report says the killer squad could have crossed the Kenya-Somali border between September 5-10.
According to counter-terrorism reports, the squad is led by Salaad Hassan and Khadar Abdi Abubakar and its members are trained in use of small arms.
The squad members are said to have entered Kenya disguised as refugees and registered at Hagadera refugee camp where they were helped by a Mr Ahmed Bishar and an Amniyat (Al-Shabaab intelligence network) which operates both in Kenya and Somalia.
The squad is said to have received forged refugee documents in early September in preparation for their entry into the refugee camp in Kenya and later to their intended destinations in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Their suspected entry into Kenya has resulted in increased activities by the Amniyats in Northern Kenya, where it believed their activities are aimed at giving them cover.
According to the situation reports, the spies also run the supply line of explosives and other weapons used by terror cells in Nairobi and Mombasa.
“Al-Shabaab spies and Amniyat operatives have continued to pour into the country, especially in the North Eastern region and facilitating terror activities to the extent of engaging and controlling economic activities, some of which are illegal, “says the report.
The squad is backed by Al-Shabaab cells in the country — young men who joined the terror group to fight in Somalia but only to be displaced after the Kenya Defence Forces liberated Jubaland during Operation Linda Nchi.


The Independent (Kampala)

Uganda: Kenyan Attackers Linked to Kampala


Ahmed Abdi Godane, the man believed to be the mastermind of the July 2010 Kampala bombing has been linked to the Sept.21 attack on a popular shopping mall in Kenya.
The Kenyan attack is said to bear the radicalised fingerprint of the 36-year old Godane aka Abu Zubeir or 'the emir of al-Shabaab' who is said to be among the most brutal among the leaders of the Somali militants.
Over 60 civilians were killed when armed terrorists brandishing heavy automatic weapons attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Analysts show that Godane has links with the global terrorist group, Al Qaeda. It is the most bloody terrorist attack in the region after the 1998 twin attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the 2010 attacks in Kampala.
Al-Shabaab suicide bombers hit Kampala on July 11, 2010 killing 74 people watching the World Cup final at two different venues were killed.
Following that attack, the U.S. placed a US$7-million bounty on the elusive Godane for his alleged role in the attack.
Since the Nairobi attack security around major installations and public facilities in Kampala has been strengthened. Security chiefs have also been huddled in strategy meeting to avert a possible attack.
The main reason the Islamist gun men attacked the Westgate Mall, killing over 60 people, they said, was to revenge on Kenya for its onslaught on them in Somalia. They chose to strike now because they claimed they aimed for a time when Kenyan authorities least expected them.
Security on high alert:
The Uganda Army Spokesperson, Paddy Ankunda told The Independent that the fact that the terrorists attacked Kenya, which like Uganda also has troops in Somalia means that Uganda has to be on high alert too.
"I mean two years ago," Ankunda noted, "we experienced a terrible attack to, so this is very dangerous to us too and we are on high alert, we are not leaving anything to chance."
More than Kenya, with about 6,700 troops, the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), is the main contributor of forces in Somalia and has been responsible for most of the thorough campaigns against the terrorist group in Somalia. It is no doubt that such credentials put Uganda on the terrorists' radar.
Ankunda, however, noted that terrorist threats are mainly an internal security issue and that the Police is the lead organ. "But the army comes in to assist when the situation is intense," the UPDF spokesperson added. Ankunda cautioned that people, who are in the habit of expecting full proof security, need to realise that security starts with them.
"People have to be vigilant," he said.
Sheikh Abulaziz Abu Muscab, the al-Shabaab military operations spokesman boasted on the international TV station, Aljazeera, that they had ensured they attacked Kenyans when they were least expecting it.
"Our aim is to attack our enemy when they least expect us to attack," the terrorists spokesperson reportedly said.
The militant's spokesperson also said they had attacked the Westgate shopping mall because it brought together tourists, diplomats and Kenya's decision-makers.
The biggest worry now is that although Ugandan security operatives are combing public places including shopping malls like the one that was attacked in Nairobi, the terrorists might wait until normalcy returns. Unfortunately for most of Ugandans, normalcy is laxity.

Information which has gained prominence since the Nairobi attack claims the man behind it, Godane, is anxious to take the al-Shabaab jihad beyond Somalia because his hold on the local group is shaky.
Divisions in al-Shabaab:
Analysts say that in a region where clans play an important mobilising role, Godane who is from the northern Isaaq clan is sitting on a throne of straw because most of his fighters belong to a different clan, the Rahanweyn of southern Somalia.
Godane is said to belong to the most radical fringe of the al-Shabaab. Some information circulated widely alleges that one month after the Kampala attack, the slain leader of Al Qaeda Osama bin Laden, wrote to Godane cautioning him to go slow on his attacks.
Bin Laden advised the young, aspiring global jihadist not to harm too many Muslim civilians in his attacks on Amisom, the African security mission in Somalia, suggesting he should "review this matter".
"Remain devout, patient and persistent in upholding high moral values ... towards the community".
The letter dated August 7, 2010 was allegedly found in the former al-Qaeda leader's compound after his death. The Independent has no way of verifying these claims. The declassified document was among 17 published by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, the US military academy.
Osama bin Laden reportedly rejected a request for a formal alliance between al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab because he considered Godane to be too "radical and hot-headed".
Just this June, Somali websites that cover the activities of al-Shabaab were awash with stories of how Godane committed a bloody purge in the top ranks and consolidated his grip on the group.
In a single clash in Barawe, a coastal city in the south of Somalia, fighters loyal to Godane reportedly killed two co-founders of Al-Shabaab, including his former deputy and longtime friend, Ibrahim Al-Afghani, and chased away Hassan Dahir Aweys and Mukhtar Robow, the former spokesman for the terror group.
Al-Afghani, Aweys and Robow had reportedly complained about Godane's authoritarian tendencies and the heavy-handed approach in dealing with foreign jihadists.
The conflict erupted after Godane on April 26 reportedly attempted to kill an American jihadist and Alabama native called Omar Hammami who had publicly criticised Al-Shabaab.
Robow, the man Godane kicked out is from the Rahanweyn clan and had been a major leader of Al-Shabaab since its formation a decade ago.
According to a major report on Godane in the UK newspaper, the Guardian, his attacks on foreign fighters such as Omar Hammami could also make it difficult for al-Shabaab to attract global fighters.
The Nairobi attack followed insistent al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu, including one on a UN compound.
However, while publicly these attacks can be viewed as an al-Shabaab show of force, security experts say they are in fact a sign of a weakening group that can only attack soft targets and kill civilians.
Information Minister, Namayanja Rose Nsereko, condemned the attack that she described as "barbaric, primitive and cowardly".
She said it was a "misguided act of desperation designed by evil elements to divide the people of Kenya and break the country's resolve and to support the Global anti-terrorism fight and the on-going UN stabilization Mission in Somalia".
If this is why the terrorists hit Nairobi and why they chose this time, then Uganda is no doubt in the line of fire, experts say.

Security experts warn:
David Pulkol, the former Director-General of Uganda's External Security Organisation (ESO), says that given that this enemy is more complex, Uganda's security authorities need to be "thoroughly and consistently preparing for them".
"This enemy operates in what is called the sleeper cell system, they camp in an area, do their homework, they are not in a hurry and strike when they are ready" Pulkol told The Independent, "This makes them tricky to deal with."
Pulkol adds that in order to deal with this enemy, those in security and intelligence need to focus on deeper penetration in terms of intelligence gathering, building networks and tracking them.
"We also need to assess the likely methods of these enemies and our intelligence needs to follow them consistently and persistently to avoid surprises because once they carry out the attack," Pulkol says, "then at the level of intelligence, you have failed."
But even after the attack, Pulkol says, the security players need to be ready with skills on how to counter them.
"Who have we trained for these kinds of operations, what are the enemy's likely targets, do we have their architectural drawings, how are we ready to work with other institutions to neutralise such attacks?" Pulkol asks giving pointers for security authorities.
"We have trained officers who can carry out these operations like the Black Mambas but are they doing rehearsals on how to rescue hostages in case a school, a market, parliament, a mall or any other public place is attacked?" Pulkol asks.
He says that although the UPDF is picking very important skills to address things, the Uganda security needs to draw lessons from the Nairobi attacks.
The former spy chief adds that this attack shows that the enemy's psychology and methods have changed as they are now using things like hostage taking, home-made explosives and knives. For the Ugandan security officers to measure up, Pulkol calls for reinforcement in the counter-measures of the terrorists' new techniques.
Despite the 2010 twin attacks, security in Kampala is often only beefed up whenever there are intelligence reports about a likely terror attack. Yet ever since Uganda made the move to send troops to Somalia, the country is constantly under the terrorists' radar.
With the Nairobi attack, the terrorists have even taken their game a notch higher. For most of the time, security has been relying on intelligence tracking movements of likely bombers and bombs. At public places and functions guards are always looking out for bombs and other explosives.
However, in the Kenyan attack, which has been described as highly organised, explosives were secondary. The machine gun wielding militants attacked a shopping mall, besieged it and started killing people.
U.S intelligence experts reportedly said the attack on the Westgate Mall might be an indication that the group is now focussing on regional attacks after losing power and territory in Somalia.
Given that shopping malls litre Kampala, her suburbs and even upcountry towns, the list of likely targets is endless. And unlike with bombs, guns are much easier to transfer and wars in Southern Sudan and DR Congo have increased the proliferation of guns. The terrorists can easily acquire them.
That is why the latest attack in Nairobi means that the Ugandan security has to work even harder and be more sophisticated.
Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura, has moved to beef up security in public places. In his drive, he told reporters, police was going to take over the security of many of these places.
He noted that the Nairobi attack signalled what threat terrorists were and cautioned those who take security alerts for granted.
Going forward, Kayihura has also noted that owners of buildings will have to put in place the requisite security measures or face the wrath of the law. Owners of security companies, he noted, will lose their licences if their guards are not well trained.
But the real test for Kayihura and all Ugandans is in how long these measures and the vigilance drive can be sustained because the terrorists will always look out for and celebrate even the slightest indication of laxity.


Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Kenya Advocates Negotiated Handover for Kismayo

7 August 2013


Photo: Stuart Price/UN Multimedia
Relative peace at Lido Beach in Mogadishu.
The Kenyan government says it is ready to withdraw troops from Kismayo but the handover of Kismayo airport and seaport to the Somali federal government should include Somali regional authorities, Kenya's The People reported Wednesday (August 7th).
"We are ready to exit Kismayo and this must be done in an orderly manner to avoid compromising security gains achieved," Defence Principal Secretary Monica Juma said. "The chief of [the Kenya Defence Forces] will meet soon to discuss on the modalities of handing over Kismayo to Somalis."
A negotiated handover between the federal government and regional administrations would prevent feelings of discrimination and inequality, Juma and Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanji Kibicho said Tuesday, according to Kenya's Daily Nation.
The two officials warned that failure to incorporate regional administrations could cause "serious deterioration of the security situation". | December 2nd, 2010

U.S. diplomatic dispatched that are leaked and now posted on confirms Ethiopian Review’s report that Ethiopia’s despot Meles Zenawi was hired by U.S. Government to invade Somalia in 2006. The proxy war was spearheaded by U.S. head for African affairs Jendayi Frazer who conducted the disastrous invasion over the objection of her own colleagues in the State Department and the Pentagon. The 2006 invasion of Somalia succeeded in eliminating the benign Islamist group UIC, but it also led to the birth the al Queda-affiliated al Shabab. In short, al Shabab is the creation of Jendayi Frazer and Meles Zenawi. Al Shabab is now being financed by Saudi sheiks and it is purchasing its weapons from Woyanne and Uganda officers, as reported here by French journalist Alain Lallemand for LeMonde newspaper. Over 20,000 Somalis were slaughtered and over 2 million were made homeless as a result of Jendayi Frazer’s adventure and Meles Zenawi’s prostitution.

Elias Kifle

The following is from

WikiLeaked Cable Confirms U.S.’ Secret Somalia Op

2 December 2010

It was an off-hand compliment during a January 2007 dinner meeting between Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, plus staff, and then-U.S. Central Commander boss General John Abizaid. But Al Nayhan’s jocular praise, as reported in WikiLeaks’ trove of leaked diplomatic cables, is a rare admission that the United States played a central role in the disastrous December 2006


Woyanne [the ruling party in Ethiopia] invasion of Somalia, a move that ultimately emboldened the very Islamic extremists the U.S. and


Woyanne had hoped to squash.

“The Somalia job was fantastic,” Al Nahyan interjected between discussions of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the prince’s desire to buy Reaper drones for his air force. At the time of Al Nahyan’s comment, the dust was just settling from Ethiopia’s Blitzkrieg-style assault toward Mogadishu. Some 50,000


Woyanne troops, supported by T-55 tanks, Hind helicopters and Su-27 jet fighters, had cut a bloody swath through the lightly-armed forces of the Islamic Courts Union, an alliance of mostly nationalist Islamic fighters that prior to the invasion had controlled much of Somalia.

The Somali attack had surprised outside observers.


Woyanne and Somalia had been rivals a long time, but no one had expected such brutal fighting, and so suddenly. It was fairly obvious that Ethiopia had received significant help — even urging — for its invasion. For one,


Woyanne air force did not appear capable of coordinated air strikes in support of on-the-move ground troops; it seemed likely that the Su-27s were piloted by Russian or Ukrainian mercenaries — a time-honored tradition in Africa. What’s more,


Woyanne’s army didn’t possess the intelligence or logistical skill for long-range operations. Those, not coincidentally, are particular American strengths.

Washington certainly had a motive to get involved in Somalia. There was growing concern in the White House and the Pentagon that Somalia’s Islamists might ally themselves with Al Qaeda and turn to international terrorism. Already with two escalating wars on its own plate, the U.S. was in no position to openly lead its own large-scale attack on Somalia. It’d have been far simpler to simply sponsor somebody else to do the dirty work. Enter


Woyanne. [Ethiopia has nothing to do with the invasion of Somalia.]

In early January following the invasion, USA Today’s Barbara Slavin reported on Washington’s extensive behind-the-scenes support for


Woyanne troops. “The ties include intelligence sharing, arms aid and training,” Slavin noted. A couple days later, The Washington Post’s Pauline Jelinek, citing anonymous sources, described U.S. Special Forces accompanying


Woyanne troops. CBS news revealed that U.S. Air Force gunships were active over southern Somalia during the Ethiopian blitz. Through all the reporting, U.S. officials remained vague or silent on the subject of Washington’s involvement. All the same, evidence was mounting that the U.S. had played a leading role in the


Woyanne invasion. Journalists only strongly suspected it, but Abu Dhabi prince Al Nayhan apparently knew it for certain, if his praise of “the Somalia job” was any indication.

Three years later, it’s clear the


Woyanne invasion was a bad idea. The attack rallied Somalis of all stripes and politics against the invaders, ultimately boosting support for fringe Islamic groups that now had a clear enemy in the


Woyannes and their suspected American puppet-masters. Violence mounted as the


Woyannes settled in for a bloody, two-year occupation.

When the


Woyannes withdrew in 2009, the Islamists rushed to fill the vacuum. A year later, the Al Shabab Islamic group, successor to the Islamic Courts, conducted its first international terror attack. Last month, a Somali-born American teen plotted to explode a bomb in Portland. Today, U.S. Special Forces continue to target terrorists in Somalia. There are arguably more of them than ever, thanks in part to the botched


Woyanne invasion. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes and


Woyanne’s entry in 2006 was not a really good idea,” U.S. diplomat Donald Yamamoto said in March.

Ethiopia: WikiLeaks Reveals

Details of U.S. Dialogue With Meles

6 December 2010


Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told top visiting American officials before elections in May this year that he would “crush… with our full force”opposition leaders who “violated the laws of Ethiopia,” according to a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

The cable, sent to Washington from the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, reported Meles as telling a U.S. delegation in January that such leaders would suffer the fate of the jailed opposition leader, Birtukan Midekssa. They would “vegetate like Birtukan in jail forever,” he reportedly said.

Birtukan, who was jailed in 2005 following that year’s elections, then jailed again in 2008, was released in October this year after Meles had been returned to power in an election criticised by the U.S., European Union and rights groups.


Meles also told the U.S. delegation, which included Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, that while Ethiopia welcomed foreign funding of charities, it would not allow donations from abroad for political activity.

The cable said Meles had said “those Ethiopians who want to engage in political activity should organize and fund themselves.” Civil society organization leaders who received foreign funding were accountable to the sources of their funding rather than to their organizations.

Replying, the delegation told Meles the May elections “would be closely watched in the U.S.” and urged him “to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa.”


The cable said Carson “stressed the importance of putting Ethiopia’s democracy on an upward and positive trajectory, and not letting it atrophy or slide backward, using the suffrage and civil rights movements in the U.S. as an illustration of challenges the U.S. has faced as it improved its own democratic system.”

The full text of the cable, as published by WikiLeaks, follows:



E.O. 12958 DECL: 02/01/2020



Classified By: Under Secretary Maria Otero for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

¶1. (SBU) January 31, 2010; 4:15 p.m.; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

¶2. (SBU) Participants:

U.S. Under Secretary Otero Assistant Secretary Carson NSC Senior Director for African Affairs Michelle Gavin PolOff Skye Justice (notetaker)

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Special Assistant Gebretensae Gebremichael



¶3. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero his government placed no restrictions on its citizens’democratic and civil rights, only the right of foreign entities to fund them. Foreign funding of civil society organizations (CSOs) is antithetical to democratization, he said, as it makes civil society leaders accountable to foreign entities rather than their own members, turning the concept of democratic accountability on its head. Democracy in Ethiopia must develop organically, and Ethiopians must organize and fund themselves and defend their own rights. Meles assured U/S Otero that Ethiopia’s upcoming elections will be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, and elaborated steps his government has taken to ensure this. While opposition groups may resort to violence in an attempt to discredit the election, the GoE will enforce the recently enacted Electoral Code of Conduct and its existing election laws without regard to party affiliation. Meles said he has warned opposition leaders that the international community will not be able to save them should they violate Ethiopian law, but rather if they do so they will face the same fate as opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa, who will “vegetate in jail forever.” The U.S. delegation noted that Ethiopia’s forthcoming elections would be closely watched in the U.S., and urged Meles to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa.

¶4. (C) Meles said the GoE is not enthusiastic about Kenya’s Jubaland initiative, but is sharing intelligence with Kenya and hoping for success. In the event the initiative is not successful, the GoE has plans in place to limit the destabilizing impacts on Ethiopia. On climate change, Meles said the GoE fully supports the Copenhagen accord, but is disappointed with signs the U.S. may not support his proposed panel to monitor international financial contributions under the accord. Meles made no substantive comment on inquiries regarding the liberalization of banking and telecommunications in Ethiopia. End summary.
Foreign Funding of CSOs Antithetical to Democratization
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¶5. (C) Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told U/S Otero the development of a strong democracy and civil society is the only way Ethiopia can ensure peace and unity among an ethnically and religiously divided population. He noted that the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE) commitment to democracy is directly related to stability, adding that for Ethiopia, “democratization is a matter of survival.” Responding to U/S Otero’s concern that Ethiopia’s recently-enacted CSO law threatened the role of civil society, Meles said while the GoE welcomes foreign funding of charities, those Ethiopians who want to engage in political activity should organize and fund themselves. The leaders of CSOs that receive foreign funding are not accountable to their organizations, he said, but rather to the sources of their funding, turning the concept of democratic accountability on its head. Meles asserted that Ethiopians were not too poor to organize themselves and establish their own democratic traditions, recalling that within his lifetime illiterate peasants and poor students had overthrown an ancient imperial dynasty.
¶6. (C) Meles said his country’s inability to develop a strong democracy was not due to insufficient understanding of democratic principles, but rather because Ethiopians had not
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internalized those principles. Ethiopia should follow the example of the U.S. and European countries, he said, where democracy developed organically and citizens had a stake in its establishment. When people are committed to democracy and forced to make sacrifices for it, Meles said, “they won’t let any leader take it away from them.” But “when they are spoon-fed democracy, they will give it up when their source of funding and encouragement is removed.” Referencing his own struggle against the Derg regime, Meles said he and his compatriots received no foreign funding, but were willing to sacrifice and die for their cause, and Ethiopians today must take ownership of their democratic development, be willing to sacrifice for it, and defend their own rights.
¶7. (C) Meles drew a clear distinction between Ethiopians’ democratic and civil rights on the one hand, and the right of foreign entities to fund those rights on the other. There is no restriction on Ethiopians’ rights, he asserted, merely on foreign funding, adding that the U.S. has similar laws. U/S Otero countered that while the U.S. does not allow foreign funding of political campaigns, there is no restriction on foreign funding of NGOs. Ms. Gavin noted the examples of foreign support for the abolitionist movement in the U.S. and for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa as positive examples of foreign engagement of civil society, and expressed that aside from the issue of foreign funding, the ability of local organizations to legally register, operate, and contribute to democratic discourse was of tantamount importance.
GoE Will Hold Free and Fair Elections, Despite Opposition
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¶8. (C) Meles assured U/S Otero that Ethiopia’s upcoming electoral process will be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful. The GoE has learned from the violence that followed the 2005 elections, he said, and taken action to ensure that violence is not repeated. Meles said the recently signed Electoral Code of Conduct (CoC) was not done for the benefit of political parties, but for the Ethiopian people. The people will ultimately judge political actors, he said, and they must have parameters agreed to by the parties by which they will judge those actors. After the CoC was passed, Meles noted, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) gathered over 1,300 of its senior leaders to discuss party strategy and train all leaders on the CoC. The EPRDF knows violations of the CoC by its members will hurt the party and provide a rallying cry for the opposition. This message will flow down to all EPRDF members, he said, so that they know what is expected of them, and know both the courts and the party will hold them accountable to the CoC.
¶9. (C) Meles told U/S Otero he feared a repeat of the 2005 violence, and that many opposition members were not interested in peaceful elections, but would rather discredit the electoral process. As such, the EPRDF cannot give them any excuse to resort to violence. Meles noted that in addition to opposition political parties, the GoE had intelligence that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki were all directly or indirectly involved in plots to discredit the elections. The EPRDF, he said, would “let them be” to show the population that even though their opponents’ goal is not peace, the EPRDF will abide by the law.
¶10. (C) Meles recalled that in 2005, he had told opposition leaders in the presence of the diplomatic corps that they should not believe foreign allies would protect them if they violated the laws of Ethiopia. Opposition leaders were right to believe the diplomatic corps would try to protect them, he said, as evidenced by the statement they issued demanding the release of opposition politicians upon their arrest in 2005. Today, Meles said, foreign embassies are inadvertently conveying the same message, that they will protest the jailing of opposition leaders and potentially take action against Ethiopia to secure their release. However, the GoE has made clear to both opposition and EPRDF leaders that nothing can protect them except the laws and constitution of Ethiopia, and the GoE will clamp down on anyone who violates those laws. “We will crush them with our full force,” Meles said, and “they will vegetate like Birtukan (Midekssa) in jail forever.”
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¶11. (C) In an extended discussion in response to Meles’ comments, U/S Otero, A/S Carson, and Ms. Gavin noted that Ethiopia’s forthcoming elections would be closely watched in the U.S. and that the GoE’s treatment of the opposition would be subject to public criticism by the Ethiopian diaspora and U.S. political figures. The U.S. delegation urged Meles to exercise wise judgment and leadership, give the opposition more political space, and consider the release of Birtukan Midekssa. A/S Carson stressed the importance of putting Ethiopia’s democracy on an upward and positive trajectory, and not letting it atrophy or slide backward, using the suffrage and civil rights movements in the U.S. as an illustration of challenges the U.S. has faced as it improved its own democratic system. (Note: Three quarters of the nearly two-hour meeting focused on democracy. End note.)
Ethiopia Not Enthusiastic About Jubaland Initiative
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¶12. (C) Meles said he had been briefed extensively regarding Kenya’s Jubaland initiative. Because Ethiopia had previously intervened in Somalia without seeking Kenyan approval, he said, the GoE would not presume to analyze the Kenyans’ chances for success in their own intervention. The GoE is sharing intelligence with Kenya, but Meles expressed a lack of confidence in Kenya’s capacity to pull off a tactical success, which he feared could have negative regional impacts. The GoE is therefore working to minimize the likelihood of a spillover effect in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State. Noting that Ethiopia might have underestimated Kenya, Meles said, “We are not enthusiastic, but we are hoping for success.”
GoE Prepared to Move Forward from Copenhagen
¶13. (C) U/S Otero urged Meles to sign the Copenhagen accord on climate change and explained that it is a point of departure for further discussion and movement forward on the topic. She noted that while the agreement has its limitations, it has the international community moving in the right direction. Meles responded that the GoE supported the accord in Copenhagen and would support it at the AU Summit. However, he expressed his disappointment that despite President Obama’s personal assurance to him that finances committed in Copenhagen would be made available, he had received word from contacts at the UN that the U.S. was not supportive of Ethiopia’s proposal for a panel to monitor financial pledges regarding climate change. Ms. Gavin assured the Prime Minister that she would look into his concerns.
No Promises on Liberalizing Telecoms, Banking
¶14. (C) U/S Otero and A/S Carson encouraged Meles to hasten steps to liberalize the telecommunications and banking industries in Ethiopia, and highlighted both the micro- and macroeconomic benefits of liberalization. Meles offered no substantive response to A/S Carson’s query whether any progress had been made toward liberalizing or otherwise improving telecommunications, joking that Americans’ concept of time was much faster than Ethiopians’. In response to U/S Otero’s recognition of the important role of private banks in microfinance projects that directly benefit the poor, and assurance that private and state-owned banks could thrive side-by-side, Meles said he would be happy to discuss the issue in the future.
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Corruption in Mozambique - Wikileaks

American Embassy, Mozambique
15 August 2012

2009 US embassy cable explains how Frelimo elite controls economy in that country

Cable from the American Embassy Maputo, Mozambique, to the Secretary of State Washington, July 17 2009
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Todd Chapman for reasons 1.4(b+d)
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Five years ago, President Guebuza was elected into office on a platform of promoting human rights and democracy while fighting poverty, corruption, and crime. In the run-up to the October 28 national elections, a series of reports on Governance and Corruption in Mozambique from the United Kingdom (DFID), Dutch Embassy, the Mozambique-based Center for Public Integrity (CIP), NEPAD, and USAID detail significant donor and civil society concerns about the transparency of President Guebuza and his government, the ruling FRELIMO party, and elites within the Government of Mozambique (GRM).
2. (S) Taking advantage of the absence of a conflict of interest law in Mozambique, political elite are involved in influence trafficking leading to involvement in corrupt practices. In recent months, corruption has become a more frequent topic of discussion among diplomats, Mozambican intellectuals and a few brave journalists, specifically in the areas of misuse of public funds, misuse of public influence, conflicts of interest, and narco-trafficking (reftel).
Consensus descriptions of Mozambique detail a growing trend in generalized and endemic corruption perpetrated by the highest levels of Mozambican government, and also broad-based corruption among employees of the state, particularly members of the police and customs. This environment of widespread corruption, combined with porous borders, and poorly governed maritime and land borders provides an excellent opportunity for increased illicit activity and the harboring of undesirable elements in Mozambique. END SUMMARY.
3. (C) President Guebuza was elected into office on a platform of promoting human rights and democracy while fighting poverty, corruption, and crime. In the run-up to the October 28 national elections, a series of reports on Governance and Corruption in Mozambique from the United Kingdom (DFID), Dutch Embassy, the Mozambique-based Center for Public Integrity (CIP), NEPAD, and USAID ( assessment 2009.pdf) detail significant donor and civil society concerns about the transparency of President Guebuza and his government, the ruling FRELIMO party, and elites within the Government of Mozambique (GRM).
These reports on corruption in Mozambique describe weak accountability and ineffective checks of executive power, political and administrative corruption, and FRELIMO control over political competition, all of which allow for growth in corrupt practices.
4. (S) Given FRELIMO's comfort with exploiting state resources, and the absence of a conflict of interest law, it has become second nature for Party members, including the President, a career politician who now ranks as the richest Mozambican, to use their political influence to dominate business in the country. In June, Mozambique analyst Joseph Hanlon and CIP Director Marcelo Mosse presented a paper on corruption in Mozambique's elite to the UNU-WIDER Conference in Helsinki. (Note: While Hanlon and Mosse provide information about the extent of the business interests of Guebuza and other senior FRELIMO members, they do not mention ties to narco-trafficking (reftel) and their conclusion that current corruption is fostering competition in the business community and therefore engendering development seems misguided. End Note).
The Hanlon and Moss paper confirms that FRELIMO has a close relationship with the country's leading business confederation, CTA, whose President Salimo Abdula, is also the President of Intelec Holdings Ltd, an investment vehicle for President Guebuza. Intelec holds shares in a variety of the country's most profitable businesses, most recently purchasing an undisclosed stake in cellular phone company Vodacom's Mozambican operations and installing Abdula as the CEO.
5. (C) Guebuza and his family members also exercise their political influence through other investment vehicles including Cornelder de Mocambique, Insitec, and Focus 21. A FRELIMO front company, SPI, holds a minority position in Kudumba Investments Lda, the company that has a 20-year concession to provide scanning services for all of Mozambique's land and airports. With mandatory fees charged on all in-bound and out-bound cargo, the company has become a rent-seeking organization.
Perhaps more importantly, Customs officers choose which inbound shipments to inspect, and which to allow to pass through Mozambican ports unchecked, thus allowing control over growing volumes of illicit trade, especially narcotics (reftel). Businessmen across the country voice their frustrations over the control that a "FRELIMO inner circle of oligarchs" holds over investments in Mozambique.
Several reports confirm that a handful of families linked to FRELIMO elite, including former President Joaquim Chissano as well as Graca Machel (widow of founder of Mozambique Samora Machel and current wife of Nelson Mandela), control most major business deals in the country, resulting in a situation where political and business elites are synonymous.
6. (C) With FRELIMO controlling all government entities, including the judicial branch, political will to combat corruption has been lacking. Last year's arrest of former Interior Minister Almerinho Manhenje on charges of diverting $8.8 million in state funds appeared to mark the Guebuza Administration's most serious attempt at prosecuting a senior official.
However, in early 2009, 48 of the 49 counts against Manhenje were dropped, and the arrest seems to be more the result of intra-FRELIMO squabbling between the camps of President Guebuza and former President Joaquim Chissano rather the reflection of growing political will to prosecute corruption at the highest levels.
Despite Guebuza's statements about a "zero tolerance" stance on corruption, efforts by the GRM to establish state mechanisms to monitor corrupt practices have been modest. In June 2007 a law was passed establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit (GIFim), and in September 2008 the government nominated a GIFim Director.
As of July 2009, he neither had a staff nor an office. An Anti-Corruption Unit (GCCC) was established in 2003, but flawed Anti-Corruption laws dating from 2002 limit proactive investigation tools such as electronic surveillance, and have not been amended, rendering the GCCC impotent.
7. (C) Pervasive petty corruption, particularly requests for bribes from public officials, causes damage to public perceptions of FRELIMO and the state, undermining attempts at good governance and raising transactional costs. Police roadblocks have simply become opportunities for revenue generation. As an experiment, Poloff drove a non-diplomatic plated vehicle and was stopped six times in the course of a five-mile journey in Maputo and was asked for bribes that totaled in excess of US$80. Perhaps most troubling is that criminal elements within Mozambique with international connections have realized that officials, from street cops to political elites, can be purchased.
8. (C) It is clear that FRELIMO has further consolidated its already strong grip on power over the past five years, led by President Guebuza who has personally enriched himself and ruling party elite as the Mozambican economy continues to grow. One FRELIMO insider, however, labeled Guebuza's form or corruption as "not the kind that hurts people, because he is not taking money directly from government coffers. Rather, he just wants his share of every deal."
Hanlon and Mosse argue as well that elite involvement in investment continues the country along a development track. Unfortunately, this atmosphere of widespread and endemic corruption could generate comparisons between Mozambique and a Zimbabwean-style of governance led by exploitative political elites that stay in power through corruption which funds a patronage system (septel).
While President Guebuza campaigned five years ago on a platform of fighting poverty, corruption, and crime, it appears that these were simply campaign promises. Most observers predict Guebuza's reelection, though the appearance of new opposition party Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) could change the equation somewhat.
Should Guebuza win by a significant margin, the political will to fight corruption by a second-term president not (currently) able to run for re-election is unlikely to follow the October elections. Most troublesome is that Mozambique's environment of widespread corruption, combined with porous borders, and relatively ungoverned spaces, raises concerns that international organized crime will continue to build its platform in the country for illicit activity. AMANI
Source: Wikileaks
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WikiLeaks: Mozambique cables provoke backlash

By Katie Glaeser, CNN
December 17, 2010 4:16 p.m. EST

Several current and former officials in Mozambique have come under attack in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
  • Leaked cables have unnamed sources furious
  • Cables deal with alleged bribery, drug trafficking in Mozambique
  • U.S. State Department refuses comment on cables supposedly written by ex-charge d'affaires
(CNN) -- The U.S. diplomatic cables obtained and released by WikiLeaks frequently rely on unnamed sources for delicate information. But one such source -- a businessman in Mozambique -- has furiously denied making remarks about high-level corruption attributed to him by a U.S. diplomat.
A cable dated January 2010 sent by then Charge d'Affaires Todd Chapman at the U.S. Embassy covered allegations about officials enabling drug trafficking by accepting bribes. They were based on a source who said he had "personally seen" one senior official [who is named in the cable] "receiving pay-offs quite openly."
But now that source insists such words never left his mouth.
"I feel I have been used. This is all Todd Chapman's own agenda. He obviously imagined I would never read what he had written," the source told the state-run Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (AIM).
Several current and former officials came under attack in the cable in question. Chapman wrote that his source had told him the country's ruling party, FRELIMO, "brazenly squeezes the business community for kickbacks."
The source also supposedly called the country's president a "vicious scorpion who will sting you," and said FRELIMO and an alleged drug lord had their own clearing agent at a port.

In an interview with AIM, Chapman's source admits meeting him in 2009 but says he only told the diplomat of problems he was having with his business. When asked about other things, the source said, "I just told him I didn't know. I only knew what I read in the papers."

A similar case surfaced in a leaked cable from Peru. In March 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Lima sent a dispatch insinuating that a regional Army commander, General Paul da Silva, was involved in drug trafficking. The source's name was redacted, but he suggested the general was coordinating drug shipments with another man who was later arrested for smuggling drugs hidden in consignments of frozen fish. Da Silva, now the head of Peru's military, strongly denied the allegation and has threatened to bring legal action against the ambassador who wrote the cable.

The wife of Zimbabwe's president has sued a Zimbabwean newspaper for $15 million following its publication of allegations contained in a leaked cable that she was linked to and profited from illegal diamond sales in the southern African country.

The accusations in the Mozambique cable echo comments in several others from the country between July 2009 and January of this year. There are reports of officials routinely taking payoffs to turn a blind eye to drug shipments. One summary says bluntly: "Mozambique has been called the second most active narcotics transit point in Africa."

The State Department would not comment on the leaked cables that were supposedly authored by Chapman. A profile on the networking website LinkedIn lists Chapman as now working at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.

In a cable from November 2009, Chapman writes, "The decrease in drug-related arrests at Maputo International Airport is not attributable to improved interdiction efforts but rather increased police and customs involvement in drug smuggling. A high level law enforcement official admits most police drug seizures are not reported to his office because traffickers and police make on-the-spot arrangements to allow the drugs to continue to flow."

Several attempts by CNN seeking comment from Mozambique's government were unsuccessful, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation released a statement denying the accusations. "This information does not have any support base and undermines the image, prestige and good name of the Mozambican state and its leaders," said the statement reported by Radio Mozambique.

Chapman said one prominent businessman, Mohamed Bashir Suleman, was "described by multiple contacts as the largest narcotrafficker in Mozambique" with contacts at senior levels of the government. Suleman is also a donor to the ruling party.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama identified Suleman under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the U.S. Treasury Department subsequently sanctioned businesses he owned, calling him a "large-scale narcotics trafficker." Suleman strenuously denied the allegations in a news conference, saying he had never been involved with drugs. As for his relationship with FRELIMO, he said: "I am a member of the party, and I gave financial support for the good of the country and the good of the party." He denied receiving any favors from the ruling party and said all of his goods passed through port scanners.

A cable from July 2009 said a source within FRELIMO had described a customs official as "the King of Corruption." Six months later, Chapman wrote that same official had purchased real estate "valued at well beyond what his government salary should be able to afford." The official's office told CNN he was on vacation and wouldn't be available for comment until later this month.

Chapman contended that of the more than ten drug seizures during 2009, none had led to prosecutions as of January 2010. He said a senior law enforcement officer admitted most seizures aren't made public because officials ask for bribes and keep the drugs for resale.

Chapman also said police told Embassy officers they weren't willing "to go after 'big fish' narcotraffickers because of their ties to senior officials."

Not every official is accused of living a double standard. "Mozambique's Tax Authority (AT) has garnered a reputation for honesty and transparency," Chapman wrote in July 2009. "Mozambique most certainly is not yet a thoroughly-corrupted narco-state," he says. But, "money laundering, related government corruption (possibly even official support), and ties to South Asia mean that the problem has the potential to get much worse."

Transparency International, which monitors corruption worldwide, said in a 2009 report that "the end of hostilities provided increased corruption opportunities, through the development of a market economy in the context of a weak state."

CNN's Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.