Tag Archive | Africa

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

By Abayomi Azikiwe

 

Germany’s colonial role in Africa has been highlighted again as the Tanzania government placed the European state on notice that it will file an official complaint over the atrocities committed during the early 20th century.

This report comes in the aftermath of a similar effort by representatives of the Herero and Nama peoples of the Republic of Namibia, formerly known as South-West Africa under imperialism. Approximately 80% of the population of these two groups died as a result of a German extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha during the anti-colonial revolt of 1904-1907.

In the East African state of Tanzania, the government informed the National Assembly on February 9 that it would pursue an apology along with monetary damages for the crimes carried out in the years of 1905-1907 when an uprising occurred in the southern region of the country. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, who serves as Minister for Defense and National Service, informed the Parliament of its intentions to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop the proper approach to the issues involved.

The Maji Maji War (1905-1907)

Colonial authorities under the direction of Karl Peters, the founder of the German East Africa Company, imposed a draconian system of land theft, forced labour, economic exploitation and unjust taxation. Africans were forced from their traditional societies in order to make way for the European military and administrative apparatus.

Africans were mandated to leave their villages to produce wealth for export to other European nations. The levying of a tax on the people was designed to compel men to work for the colonial firms in the sectors of agricultural commodities, mining and railway construction.

Resentment quickly grew and an uprising erupted in July 1905. It was led by Kinjikitile Ngwale, also known as Bokero. The first wave of Africans attacked German garrisons as well as cotton fields from the Matumbi Hills utilizing traditional weapons and a formula composed of water, castor oil and millet.

Bokero believed that the formula spread over the bodies of the warriors would protect them from the high-powered German weaponry. The uprising was not just limited to the Matumbi and in a matter of weeks other ethnic groups including the Mbunga, Kichi, Ngoni, Ngindo and Pogoro joined in the campaign to eliminate European rule. This anti-colonial movement represented a significant development in that it transcended sectional divisions embarking upon a Pan-African approach to the national liberation struggles that would reach fruition decades later in the mid-to-late 20th century.

According to an entry published by the Black Past website:

“The apex of the rebellion came at Mahenge in August 1905 where several thousand Maji Maji warriors attacked but failed to overrun a German stronghold. On October 21, 1905 the Germans retaliated with an attack on the camp of the unsuspecting Ngoni people who had recently joined the rebellion. The Germans killed hundreds of men, women, and children. This attack marked the beginning of a brutal counteroffensive that left an estimated 75,000 Maji Maji warriors dead by 1907. The Germans also adopted famine as a weapon, purposely destroying the crops of suspected Maji Maji supporters.” (blackpast.com)

Bokero, the spirit medium whose propaganda inspired the war, was captured and executed for treason on August 4, 1905. Nonetheless, the struggle continued for another two years under the renewed and expanded leadership.

Superior military weapons and reinforcements by the German government crushed the uprising by August 1907. Not satisfied with this military defeat of the Africans, the colonial authorities deliberating withheld food from the people leading to widespread deaths from starvation, thirst and disease.

German Colonialism in Africa

With the failure of German imperial ambitions at the conclusion of World War I, the role of this European nation in the rise of colonialism on the continent became obscured. Other imperialist states such as Britain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, the United States and Italy would continue their economic plunder of Africa past the conclusion of the War in 1918 earning enormous wealth for the multi-national corporations and international finance capital.

However, it was in Germany under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck that the gathering known as the Berlin West Africa Conference was held from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885. The aim of the meeting, called for by Portugal, was to bring together the leading European colonial powers and the U.S. to divide the continent in order to facilitate greater cooperation and consequent profit-making for the imperialists.

An article by Elizabeth Heath published in Oxford Reference notes:

“Rivalry between Great Britain and France led Bismarck to intervene, and in late 1884 he called a meeting of European powers in Berlin. In the subsequent meetings, Great Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, and King Leopold II (Belgium) negotiated their claims to African territory, which were then formalized and mapped. During the conference the leaders also agreed to allow free trade among the colonies and established a framework for negotiating future European claims in Africa. Neither the Berlin Conference itself nor the framework for future negotiations provided any say for the peoples of Africa over the partitioning of their homelands.”

Resulting from the imperialist consultations was the German Act of the Berlin Conference. The document sought to guide the Europeans away from conflict in order to guarantee a workable process of super-exploitation of African resources and labor.

Germany was awarded colonial territories not only in East Africa which encompassed modern-day Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania but also Togo and Cameroon in West Africa and Namibia in the sub-continent. Additional settlements in Guinea and the area around Ondo state in Nigeria were attempted without success. Other locations within contemporary Chad, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo were also under the control of German imperialism during various periods between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The collapse of the German imperial state in the years of 1915-1918 prompted the invasion and occupation of their colonies by the military units of the so-called Allied Powers during World War I. By 1919 these territories had been wrested from German colonial domination at the aegis of the League of Nations and soon parceled over to Belgium, France, Portugal, South Africa and Britain.

Reparations Needed to Renew African Development and Unity

African Union (AU) member states are more than justified in demanding official apologies and compensation for the enormous damage done by imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact it was the Atlantic Slave Trade beginning in the 1400s and extending into the 1800s that created the conditions for the rise of colonialism in Africa.

Even today the economic dependency of independent states is rooted in the colonial period of relations with Europe. Although African nations won formal national independence over a period of decades between the 1950s and the 1990s, with the exception of the Western Sahara still under Moroccan occupation inherited from Spain four decades ago, these post-colonial governments are limited by the develop model based upon supplying raw materials, agricultural crops and cheap labor to the industrialized countries.

Consequently, the debt owed to the capitalist financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank remains an impediment to both national reconstruction and continental unification. If the African continent speaks with one voice on this question it will serve as a mechanism for acquiring the necessary resources to break with the imperialist system of resource extraction and labor brokerage.

Africa must build its own internal industries and economic system which serves the interests of the majority of workers, farmers and youth. The enormous wealth of the continent should be harnessed for the benefit of the people.

Source*

Related Topics:

Namibian Indigenous Groups Sue Germany for Genocide*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

Somali Man Takes Legal Action against US, Germany Over Father’s Drone Killing*

Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder*

You’re not a ‘Hitler’ if you Kill Ten Million Africans*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

African Trees Kill Both Malaria Mosquitoes and the Parasite*

African Trees Kill Both Malaria Mosquitoes and the Parasite*

Malaria is one of the world’s most serious infectious diseases and affects more than 200 million people each year. Scientists at the University of Oslo have examined the bark from two African trees and found substances that can kill both the mosquitoes that transmit malaria, and the parasite itself.

Traditional healers in West Africa have for many years used extracts from the bark of two trees in the citrus family (Rutaceae) to treat malaria, which is a widespread disease in the region and kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year. Researchers at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo in Norway have now shown that bark from the trees contains substances that not only kill the malaria parasite, but also the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides of the plant kingdom family Rutaceae

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides of the plant kingdom family Rutaceae

 

“This project started in 2011, when we were approached by the entomologist Bertin Mikolo fra Marien Ngouabi University (link is external) in the Republic of Congo’s capital Brazzaville. He had learned that local traditional healers were using extracts from the bark of a tropical tree to kill malaria mosquitoes and other insects, and he had demonstrated that the extracts could kill weevils and cockroaches. Now, he wanted Norwegian assistance to investigate whether the bark also contained substances that could kill malaria mosquitoes,” professor emeritus Karl Egil Malterud explains.

Malaria is a disease caused by tiny parasites of the genus Plasmodium, which spend part of their life cycles in the blood vessels of humans and other mammals. The parasite is transmitted between humans during bites from mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles.

Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)

Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)


Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii)

Found several important substances

To make a long story short: The scientists found several interesting substances both in the so-called Olon tree (Zanthoxylum heitzii) that is found from Cameroon to Congo, and in a related tree from Mali. The most interesting and active compounds were found in the Olon tree, but also the bark of Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides from Mali contains active substances.

“We produced extracts from the bark of the Olon tree and found that it contained at least one compound that kills the mosquitoes that transmit the malarial parasite. But the bark also contains another substance that kills the parasite itself,” says Associate Professor Helle Wangensteen. She has been the leader of this project.

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides

 

The mosquitoes died — like flies

More than 30 species of the mosquito genus Anopheles kan infect humans with the malaria parasite. This is the species Anopheles Stephensi. Foto: Jim Gathany, Wikispecies/Centers for Disease Control. The scientists have been working with both water-based and alcohol-based extracts from the bark of the two trees, and it turns out that the extracts with alcohol contains more of the active substances. The substance that kills the mosquito is called pellitorine and was found in the bark of both trees, Malterud explains.

“The Master student Nastaran Moussavi managed to isolate pellitorine and several other substances in extracts from the bark of the Olon tree. Later, she travelled to the French research institute IRD in Montpellier(link is external), in order to study their insecticidal effects. IRD has experts in cultivating the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae for scientific studies. Moussavi applied substances from the bark of the Olon tree to the neck of the mosquitoes, in order to investigate if the substances had toxic effects,” Wangensteen explains.

“This caused the mosquitos to die, literally as flies! The experiments showed that pellitorine is toxic to mosquitoes,” Malterud adds.

“We also found that a mixture of four main substances from the bark of the Olon tree had a higher toxicity than pellitorine alone, even if the other ingredients were not toxic separately. This suggests that there is a synergistic effect between the ingredients, says Wangensteen.

Kills even the parasite

At this point, Malterud and Wangensteen suspected that the Olon tree contained even more compounds with interesting effects. Then postdoc Ingvild Austarheim contacted the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne(link is external) in Australia, because they have a laboratory with experts on studying the malaria parasite. The scientists in Melbourne were interested in testing the new potential drugs, and it soon turned out that one of the ingredients was very effective in killing the parasite.

“But this was not the same compound that killed the mosquitoes! The parasite-killing compound is called dihydronitidine and is a relatively simple alkaloid,” says Wangensteen.

The Norwegian scientists had now shown that the bark of the Olon tree from Congo contains at least two interesting compounds: Pellitorine that kills malaria mosquitoes, and dihydronitidin that kills the malaria parasite. The researchers then went on to test the bark from Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides, which is related to the Olon tree and is native to Mali. Professor emerita Berit Smestad Paulsen from the School of Pharmacy has cooperated for several years with healers from Mali, and they knew that the bark of this tree had been used in the treatment of malaria patients.

“We found pellitorine also in the bark from this tree, in addition to several other interesting substances that have effects on the malaria parasite. But the effects were smaller than the ones we found in the extracts from the Olon tree,” Wangensteen explains.

Both pellitorine and dihydronitidine are chemical substances that were previously known from other plants. However, the powerful effects against malaria mosquitoes and the parasites were little known before the Norwegian scientists started their work.

Why isn’t the industry interested?

The scientists have published their findings continually, and you might expect that the international pharmaceutical industry would react with interest. Malaria infects ca. 200 million people every year, and there are major resistance problems with the drugs that are already on the market. There is an urgent need for new drugs — but the scientists have so far not been contacted.

“I can imagine several reasons why we haven’t heard anything. One reason might be, to put it slightly maliciously, that the international pharmaceutical industry doesn’t always seem very interested in diseases that are mostly a problem in the “Third World.” The second possible reason is that these findings have been published in scientific journals, which makes it more difficult to obtain patent protection for active substances,” Malterud suggests.

“The third reason may be that the Convention on Biological Diversity(link is external) (CBD), which Norway and most other nations have ratified, stipulates that the rights to the commercial exploitation of biological material resides in the country of origin,” he adds.

New knowledge transferred to West Africa

The pharmaceutical industry must always carry out extensive and expensive clinical trials before a new medicine can be approved, but there are so far no plans for such actions when it comes to the compounds found in the bark of the two African trees. That doesn’t stop Helle Wangensteen and Karl Egil Malterud from believing that their research can be used for the benefit of malaria-stricken patients in West Africa.

“In the short term, it is realistic to imagine that our colleagues in Congo may communicate the new knowledge to the traditional healers in the region. It could be useful for them to know that the bark from the Olon tree contains active compounds that have effects against both malaria-transmitting mosquitoes and the parasite itself,” Malterud comments.

“We can also contribute with new insights on how these substances can be used. For example, we discovered that water-based extracts contain relatively little of the active substances, whereas alcoholic extracts contain much higher concentrations. Perhaps it would be possible to spray the puddles where the mosquitoes hatch with a locally produced solution containing pellitorine,” he adds.

All in all, the scientists at the School of Pharmacy tested more than ten compounds from the two African trees. In addition to the already mentioned compounds, it turned out that also the alkaloid heitziquinone, which was not previously known, has activity against the malaria parasite.

Why do plants produce drugs?

At least 30% of the active ingredients in modern medicines are derived from ingredients found in plants. Why do plants produce compounds that are effective against human diseases?

“We don’t know the answer to that question, but we can’t imagine that the Olon tree has any interest in killing mosquitoes or malaria parasites. But maybe the substances have an effect also on insects that for instance might feed on the trees,” Malterud suggests.

“The primary function of many natural products found in plants is not known to science, but it’s obvious that the plants use a lot of energy to produce these compounds. Therefore, it is hardly a coincidence that they are produced,” adds Wangensteen.

The research on substances from the bark of two African trees was supported by the programme Functional Genomics (FUGE) in the Research Council of Norway, which had a commitment to bio-prospecting. Nastaran Moussavi’s expenses for the work in Montpellier were funded by a grant from the Norwegian Pharmaceutical Society.

Source*

Related Topics:

Zika Epicentre in Same Area GM Mosquitoes were Released in 2015*

GM Mosquitos Causing Dengue Fever*

This Sri Lankan Newspaper REPELS Mosquitoes

Can the Smarter Mosquito Outwit the GM Mosquito!?

GM Mosquitoes: Programming Nature

The French Patent an African Indigenous Plant (anti-cancerous)*

Fighting Malaria with Nature

Genetic Engineering to Clash with Evolution, Naturally*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

How France Loots its Former Colonies*

Mali, Al Qaeda & the Rothschilds

French Grab for Mali’s Gold*

When the Sahara was Green*

When the Sahara was Green*

Researchers Peter deMenocal and Jessica Tierney examine a core of marine sediments taken off the coast of West Africa. The two used that and other marine cores to figure out the Sahara’s climate 25,000 years into the past. (Photo: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Researchers Peter deMenocal and Jessica Tierney examine a core of marine sediments taken off the coast of West Africa. The two used that and other marine cores to figure out the Sahara’s climate 25,000 years into the past. (Photo: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

A UA-led team has identified the climate pattern that generated a “Green Sahara” from 5,000 to 11,000 years ago. The region had 10 times the rainfall it does today.

The Sahara Desert extends eastward from the Atlantic Ocean some 3,000 miles to the Nile River and the Red Sea, and southward from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Mediterranean shores more than 1,000 miles to the savannah called the Sahel. More than 16 times the size of France, the Sahara Desert blankets nearly all of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Niger; the southern half of Tunisia; and the northern parts of Mali, Chad and Sudan. Image credit: NASA’s MODIS instrument (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

The Sahara Desert extends eastward from the Atlantic Ocean some 3,000 miles to the Nile River and the Red Sea, and southward from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Mediterranean shores more than 1,000 miles to the savannah called the Sahel. More than 16 times the size of France, the Sahara Desert blankets nearly all of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Niger; the southern half of Tunisia; and the northern parts of Mali, Chad and Sudan. Image credit: NASA’s MODIS instrument (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

The Sahara Desert extends eastward from the Atlantic Ocean some 3,000 miles to the Nile River and the Red Sea, and southward from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Mediterranean shores more than 1,000 miles to the savannah called the Sahel. More than 16 times the size of France, the Sahara Desert blankets nearly all of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Niger; the southern half of Tunisia; and the northern parts of Mali, Chad and Sudan. Image credit: NASA’s MODIS instrument (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer)

By Mari N. Jensen

Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the 6,000-year “Green Sahara” period have been pinpointed by analyzing marine sediments, according to new research led by a UA geoscientist.

What is now the Sahara Desert was the home to ‘hunter-gatherers’ who made their living off the animals and plants that lived in the region’s savannahs and wooded grasslands 5,000 to 11,000 years ago.

“It was 10 times as wet as today,” said lead author Jessica Tierney of the University of Arizona. Annual rainfall in the Sahara now ranges from about 4 inches to less than 1 inch (100 to 35 mm).

Although other research had already identified the existence of the Green Sahara period, Tierney and her colleagues are the first to compile a continuous record of the region’s rainfall going 25,000 years into the past.

The team’s paper, “Rainfall regimes of the Green Sahara,” was scheduled for publication in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday.

The multi-corer device being lowered into the ocean takes eight one-foot cores from the seafloor. Scientists analyze such cores for clues to the climate of the past several thousand years. (Photo: Peter deMenocal)

The multi-corer device being lowered into the ocean takes eight one-foot cores from the seafloor. Scientists analyze such cores for clues to the climate of the past several thousand years. (Photo: Peter deMenocal)

Archaeological evidence shows humans occupied much of the Sahara during the wet period, but left for about a thousand years around 8,000 years ago — the middle of the Green Sahara period.

Other investigators have suggested the Sahara became drier at the time people left, but the evidence was not conclusive, said Tierney, a UA associate professor of geosciences.

Her team’s continuous rainfall record shows a thousand-year period about 8,000 years ago when the Sahara became drier. That drier period coincides with when people left, she said.

“It looks like this thousand-year dry period caused people to leave,” Tierney said.

“What’s interesting is the people who came back after the dry period were different — most raised cattle. That dry period separates two different cultures. Our record provides a climate context for this change in occupation and lifestyle in the western Sahara.”

Tierney and her colleagues also used their rainfall record to suggest ways current climate models can better replicate the Sahara’s ancient climate and therefore improve projections of future climate.

Tierney’s co-authors are Francesco Pausata of Stockholm University in Sweden and Peter deMenocal of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Swedish Research Council funded the research.

Researchers had long known the Sahara was much greener in the past, but how much of the Sahara was wetter and how much wetter was not well understood, Tierney said. Although scientists can learn about past climate by examining ancient lake sediments, in the Sahara the lakes dried up long ago and their sediments have blown away.

Instead of lake sediments, Tierney and her colleagues used cores of marine sediments taken off the coast of West Africa at four different sites. Because the cores were taken over a north-south distance of about 800 miles (1,300 km) — from offshore Cape Ghir, Morocco, to the northwestern corner of Mauritania — the cores revealed both the ancient rainfall patterns and the areal extent of the Green Sahara.

In terrestrial plants, the chemical composition of a leaf’s wax changes depending on how dry or wet the climate was when the plant was growing. Leaf wax also washes into the ocean and can be preserved in the marine sediments that are laid down year after year.

“The waxes record the climate conditions on land,” Tierney said.

By analyzing the leaf wax from ancient marine sediments, the team determined the region’s past rainfall patterns and also gathered clues about what types of plants were growing.

The team also wanted to know whether the conditions on land interacted with the atmosphere to affect climate, because most of the current climate models don’t simulate the Green Sahara period well, she said.

The amount of solar radiation the Earth receives during the Northern Hemisphere summer depends on where the Earth’s “wobble,” known as precession, is in its 23,000-year cycle.

At the beginning of the Green Sahara, the Northern Hemisphere was closer to the sun during summer. Warmer summers strengthened the West African monsoon and delivered more rain. Toward the end of the Green Sahara, the Northern Hemisphere was farther from the sun and the West African monsoon was weaker.

There’s a feedback between vegetation, dust and rainfall, Tierney said. Right now the Sahara Desert is the planet’s biggest source of dust — but a vegetated Sahara would produce much less dust.

Co-author Francesco Pausata added additional factors — more vegetation and less dust — to a climate model. His changes improved how well the model replicated the amount of rainfall during the Green Sahara and dry periods.

“Getting a better handle on the important influence of the vegetation and dust feedback will help us simulate future climate change in the Sahara and Sahel,” Tierney said.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Sahara and the Amazon, a Tale of Interdependence*

Rare Snow Falls on the Sand Dunes of Algeria*

The Igbo’s Traditional View on the Sanctity of Life*

Hidden Human History*

Biblical Garden of Eden Discovered in Iraq’s Marshes?*

Rujm el-Hirri: The Stonehenge of Syria

Looted Palmyra Treasures Discovered in Geneva Warehouse*

Olmecs: The People behind the Long Count were not Mayans*

Secret History of the British People*

The Genocide of the Peoples of Europe*

Erasing a People from History: Australian Pygmies*

Last Member of 65,000-year-old Tribe Dies*

The End of Times and ‘The Lost Book of Enki’: Sumeria

Egyptian Hieroglyphs in Australia Prove the Ancient World Was Connected*

A 200,000 Year-Old City in Southern Africa pre-Dates Sumer*

DNA study Proves Indigenous Australians Date Back 50,000 yrs*

DNA Testing Proves Genealogy of indigenous Americans is One of the Most Unique in the World*

Should a Country Like France Be Indicting African Leaders?

Should a Country Like France Be Indicting African Leaders?

By Torinmo Salau

France is a major corrupting influence in Africa

Teodorin Obiang, vice-president of Equatorial Guinea, is on trial in France for plundering the nation’s treasury to fund his aristocrat lifestyle. Obiang, who is also the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of corruption, money laundering and embezzlement. Obiang stayed away, but his lawyer requested that the trial be suspended on the grounds that his client had not been given enough time to prepare his defense in a complex case, having been summoned to trial just three weeks ago.

“We’re not talking about a moped theft charge,” said Emmanuel Marsigny, his lawyer, in Paris.

Lawyer William Bourdon, who represents Transparency International, which helped bring the case, accused the defense of trying to paralyse the judicial system through a series of “opportunistic” and “malicious” manoeuvres. Obiang’s trial came after two non-governmental organisations targeting corruption and an association of Congolese citizens living abroad launched a lawsuit in France nearly 10 years ago. The lawsuit was launched against leaders in nearly a half-dozen African countries, including the late Gabon president Omar Bongo, charging them with using state funds during or after their tenures to buy properties and luxury goods in France.

Obiang allegedly bought up to 15 cars in France for 5.7 million euros (currently $6 million) and once splashed nearly 20 million euros at an art auction. However, Swiss authorities opened a preliminary investigation last year, and the U.S. filed claims in 2011 against his U.S.-held assets worth more than $70 million, alleging they were the proceeds of corruption.

But can France hold African leaders to account, because the nation has had its own share of corruption scandals involving high-ranking public officials, the defence and public works are said to be the most affected by corruption? Transparency International concluded in its annual report for 2011 that France does not do enough to stop corruption.

 “There will be no lasting progress in the fight against corruption in France with an increase in vigilance and citizen engagement. For a start they need to stop voting for elected officials convicted of dishonest conduct,” Daniel Lebègue, president of the agency’s French section told French daily Le Figaro.

Teodorin Nguema Obiang is famous for his love of fancy cars and his playboy lifestyle.

 

Political corruption studies include the presidential campaign 2007 finance investigation in the value of 150,000 euros from Liliane Bettencourt to Nicolas Sarkozy.  Jacques Chirac was accused of using public funds for his election campaign in Paris in the 1990s. On 15 December 2011, Chirac was found guilty and given a suspended sentence of two years. He was convicted of diverting public funds, abuse of trust and illegal conflict of interest.

Bribery investigations from South Africa to France are ongoing, including bribery claims of Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin and Jean-Marie Le Pen bribery claim from Gabon ex-president Omar Bongo. Alstom has been under investigation in France and Switzerland for allegedly making improper payments of US$200 million for contracts for Brazil’s Itá hydroelectric plant, for São Paulo’s subway expansion and for other major works in Venezuela, Singapore, and Indonesia. The Mexican government has penalised Alstom and in 2007 the European Commission’s antitrust authority fined Alstom €65 million for price fixing with competitors.

Since the disclosure of budget minister Jéröme Cahuzac and his secret hidden bank account in Switzerland, many others have been implicated. “The most common public corruption is among local and not national authorities in France. The council members and mayors are in closer proximity to local business people,” Jacques Terray, the Vice President of Transparency International in France, told The Local at the time.

But is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy in Africa?

Is it continuing Francafrique, the term coined to describe the country’s relationship with its former African colonies, in which it supported unpopular African politicians in order to advance and protect its economic interests?

After independence, France still needed Africa’s natural resources, particularly its oil – and Africa needed French investment.

This dependence allowed France to position itself as the guardian of its former colonies. In the decades following independence, France supported the lavish lifestyles of African dictators while their people endured extreme poverty. African leaders, well aware of France’s need for their countries’ resources, adopted the same manipulation tactics once used on them. So, after supporting a the Biafra war in Nigeria, overthrowing several presidents, collapsing Guinea’s economy and bribing leaders to support its interests, France started to lose the control that it once exercised in Africa.

Protests against France escalated to violence in several countries. Although France’s control over its former colonies had weakened, the colonies still needed French investors – and this reliance allows some networks to persist today.

Source*

Related Topics:

France is Broke, but Still Reaping from the Colonial Tax!*

Colonial France out for Niger’s Uranium*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

Hiding Africa’s Looted Funds and the Silence of Western Media*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

African Court Sentences Former Chadian Military Dictator to Life in Prison for Crimes against Humanity*

Six Countries that Grew Filthy Rich from Enslaving Black People*

How France Loots its Former Colonies*

The French Patent an African Indigenous Plant (anti-cancerous)*

French Troops with U.K., U.S. Support Engaged In War on Libya*

The Rise of the French Right and the CFA Franc

The U.S. Elite Troops Partner with African Forces but Pursue U.S. Aims*

The U.S. Elite Troops Partner with African Forces but Pursue U.S. Aims*

By Nick Turse

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Africa participants share ideas during the SOCAFRICA Commander’s Conference held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany from November 16-20. (Photo: US Army Africa)

 

Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about borders. Neither does the Islamic State or Boko Haram. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc thinks the same way.

“[T]errorists, criminals, and non-state actors aren’t bound by arbitrary borders,” the commander of Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) told an interviewer early this fall.

“That said, everything we do is not organized around recognizing traditional borders. In fact, our whole command philosophy is about enabling cross-border solutions, implementing multi-national, collective actions and empowering African partner nations to work across borders to solve problems using a regional approach.”

A SOCAFRICA planning document obtained by TomDispatch offers a window onto the scope of these “multi-national, collective actions” carried out by America’s most elite troops in Africa. The declassified but heavily redacted secret report, covering the years 2012-2017 and acquired via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), details nearly 20 programs and activities — from training exercises to security cooperation engagements — utilized by SOCAFRICA across the continent. This wide array of low-profile missions, in addition to named operations and quasi-wars, attests to the growing influence and sprawling nature of U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) in Africa.

How U.S. military engagement will proceed under the Trump administration remains to be seen. The president-elect has said or tweeted little about Africa in recent years (aside from long trading in baseless claims that the current president was born there). Given his choice for national security adviser, Michael Flynn — a former director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command who believes that the United States is in a “world war” with Islamic militants — there is good reason to believe that Special Operations Command Africa will continue its border-busting missions across that continent. That, in turn, means that Africa is likely to remain crucial to America’s nameless global war on terror.

Publicly, the command claims that it conducts its operations to “promote regional stability and prosperity,” while Bolduc emphasizes that its missions are geared toward serving the needs of African allies. The FOIA files make clear, however, that U.S. interests are the command’s principal and primary concern — a policy in keeping with the America First mindset and mandate of incoming commander-in-chief Donald J. Trump — and that support to “partner nations” is prioritized to suit American, not African, needs and policy goals.

Shades of Gray

Bolduc is fond of saying that his troops — Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, among others — operate in the “gray zone,” or what he calls “the spectrum of conflict between war and peace.” Another of his favoured stock phrases is: “In Africa, we are not the kinetic solution” — that is, not pulling triggers and dropping bombs. He also regularly takes pains to say that “we are not at war in Africa — but our African partners certainly are.”

That is not entirely true. 

Earlier this month, in fact, a White House report made it clear, for instance, that “the United States is currently using military force” in Somalia. At about the same moment, the New York Times revealed an imminent Obama administration plan to deem al-Shabab “to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials,” strengthening President-elect Donald Trump’s authority to carry out missions there in 2017 and beyond.

As part of its long-fought shadow war against al-Shabab militants, the U.S. has carried out commando raids and drone assassinations there (with the latter markedly increasing in 2015-2016). On December 5th, President Obama issued his latest biannual “war powers” letter to Congress which noted that the military had not only “conducted strikes in defense of U.S. forces” there, but also in defense of local allied troops. The president also acknowledged that U.S. personnel “occasionally accompany regional forces, including Somali and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, during counterterrorism operations.”

Obama’s war powers letter also mentioned American deployments in Cameroon, Djibouti, and Niger, efforts aimed at countering Joseph Kony’s murderous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa, a long-running mission by military observers in Egypt, and a continuing deployment of forces supporting “the security of U.S. citizens and property” in rapidly deteriorating South Sudan.

The president offered only two sentences on U.S. military activities in Libya, although a long-running special ops and drone campaign there has been joined by a full-scale American air war, dubbed Operation Odyssey Lightning, against Islamic State militants, especially those in the city of Sirte. Since August 1st, in fact, the United States has carried out nearly 500 air strikes in Libya, according to figures supplied by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Odyssey Lightning is, in fact, no outlier. While the “primary named operations” involving America’s elite forces in Africa have been redacted from the declassified secret files in TomDispatch’s possession, a November 2015 briefing by Bolduc, obtained via a separate FOIA request, reveals that his command was then involved in seven such operations on the continent. These likely included at least some of the following:

Enduring Freedom-Horn of Africa, Octave Shield, and/or Juniper Garret, all aimed at East Africa; New Normal, an effort to secure U.S. embassies and assets around the continent;

Juniper Micron, a U.S.-backed French and African mission to stabilize Mali (following a 2012 coup there by a U.S.-trained officer and the chaos that followed);

Observant Compass, the long-running effort to decimate the Lord’s Resistance Army (which recently retired AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez derided as expensive and strategically unimportant);

Juniper Shield, a wide-ranging effort (formerly known as Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara) aimed at Algeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal.

A 2015 briefing document by SOCAFRICA’s parent unit, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), also lists an ongoing “gray zone” conflict in Uganda.

On any given day, between 1,500 and 1,700 American special operators and support personnel are deployed somewhere on the continent. Over the course of a year they conduct missions in more than 20 countries. According to Bolduc’s November 2015 briefing, Special Operations Command Africa carries out 78 separate “mission sets.” These include activities that range from enhancing “partner capability and capacity” to the sharing of intelligence.

Mission Creep

Most of what Bolduc’s troops do involves working alongside and mentoring local allies. SOCAFRICA’s showcase effort, for instance, is Flintlock, an annual training exercise in Northwest Africa involving elite American, European, and African forces, which provides the command with a plethora of publicity. More than 1,700 military personnel from 30-plus nations took part in Flintlock 2016. Next year, according to Bolduc, the exercise is expected “to grow to include SOF from more countries, [as well as] more interagency partners.”

While the information has been redacted, the SOCAFRICA strategic planning document — produced in 2012 and scheduled to be fully declassified in 2037 — indicates the existence of one or more other training exercises. Bolduc recently mentioned two: Silent Warrior and Epic Guardian. In the past, the command has also taken part in exercises like Silver Eagle 10 and Eastern Piper 12. (U.S. Africa Command did not respond to requests for comment on these exercises or other questions related to this article.)

Such exercises are, however, just a small part of the SOCAFRICA story. Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) missions are a larger one. Officially authorized to enable U.S. special operators to

“practice skills needed to conduct a variety of missions, including foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, and counterterrorism,”

JCETs actually serve as a backdoor method of expanding U.S/ military influence and contacts in Africa, since they allow for “incidental-training benefits” to “accrue to the foreign friendly forces at no cost.” As a result, JCETs play an important role in forging and sustaining military relationships across the continent. Just how many of these missions the U.S. conducts in Africa is apparently unknown — even to the military commands involved. As TomDispatch reported earlier this year, according to SOCOM, the U.S/ conducted 19 JCETs in 2012, 20 in 2013, and 20, again, in 2014. AFRICOM, however, claims that there were nine JCETs in 2012, 18 in 2013, and 26 in 2014.

Whatever the true number, JCETs are a crucial cog in the SOCAFRICA machine.

“During a JCET, exercise or training event, a special forces unit might train a partner force in a particular tactical skill and can quickly ascertain if the training audience has adopted the capability,” explained Brigadier General Bolduc.

“Trainers can objectively measure competency, then exercise… that particular skill until it becomes a routine.”

In addition, SOCAFRICA also utilizes a confusing tangle of State Department and Pentagon programs and activities, aimed at local allies that operate under a crazy quilt of funding schemes, monikers, and acronyms. These include deployments of Mobile Training Teams, Joint Planning Advisory Teams, Joint Military Education Teams, Civil Military Support Elements, as well as Military Information Support Teams that engage in what once was called psychological operations, or psyops — that is, programs designed to “inform and influence foreign target audiences as appropriately authorized.”

Special Operations Command Africa also utilizes an almost mind-numbing panoply of “security cooperation programs” and other training activities including Section 1207(n) (also known as the Transitional Authorities for East Africa and Yemen, which provides equipment, training, and other aid to the militaries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen “to conduct counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda affiliates, and al-Shabab” and “enhance the capacity of national military forces participating in the African Union Mission in Somalia”); the Global Security Contingency Fund (designed to enhance the “capabilities of a country’s national military forces, and other national security forces that conduct border and maritime security, internal defense, and counterterrorism operations”); the Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (or PREACT, designed to build counter-terror capacities and foster military and law enforcement efforts in East African countries, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda); and, among others, the Trans-Sahel Counterterrorism Partnership, the Global Peace Operations Initiative, the Special Operations to Combat Terrorism, the Combatting Terrorism Fellowship, and another known as Counter-Narcotic Terrorism.

Like Africa’s terror groups and Bolduc’s special ops troops, the almost 20 initiatives utilized by SOCAFRICA — a sprawling mass of programs that overlie and intersect with each other — have a border-busting quality to them. What they don’t have is clear records of success. A 2013 RAND Corporation analysis called such capacity-building programs “a tangled web, with holes, overlaps, and confusions.” A 2014 RAND study analyzing U.S security cooperation (SC) found that there “was no statistically significant correlation between SC and change in countries’ fragility in Africa or the Middle East.” A 2016 RAND report on “defense institution building” in Africa noted a “poor understanding of partner interests” by the U.S. military.

“We’re supporting African military professionalization and capability-building efforts, we’re supporting development and governance via civil affairs and military information support operations teams,” Bolduc insisted publicly. “[A]ll programs must be useful to the partner nation (not the foreign agenda) and necessary to advance the partner nations’ capabilities. If they don’t pass this simple test… we need to focus on programs that do meet the African partner nation’s needs.”

The 2012 SOCAFRICA strategic planning document obtained by TomDispatch reveals, however, that Special Operations Command Africa’s primary aim is not fostering African development, governance, or military professionalization. “SOCAFRICA’s foremost objective is the prevention of an attack against America or American interests,” according to the declassified secret report. In other words, a “foreign agenda,” not the needs of African partner nations, is what’s driving the elite force’s border-busting missions.

American Aims vs. African Needs

Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw cautioned that because SOCAFRICA and AFRICOM have both changed commanders since the 2012 document was issued, it was likely out of date.

“I recommend you contact SOCAFRICA,” he advised.

That command failed to respond to multiple requests for information or comment. There are, however, no indications that it has actually altered its “foremost objective,” while Bolduc’s public comments suggest that the US military’s engagement in the region is going strong.

“Our partners and [forward deployed U.S. personnel] recognize the arbitrary nature of borders and understand the only way to combat modern-day threats like ISIS, AQIM [al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], Boko Haram, and myriad others is to leverage the capabilities of SOF professionals working in concert,” said Bolduc. “Borders may be notional and don’t protect a country from the spread of violent extremism… but neither do oceans, mountains… or distance.”

In reality, however, oceans and distance have kept most Americans safe from terrorist organizations like AQIM and Boko Haram. The same cannot be said for those who live in the nations menaced by these groups. In Africa, terrorist organizations and attacks have spiked alongside the increase in U.S. Special Operations missions there. In 2006, the percentage of forward-stationed special operators on the continent hovered at 1% of total globally deployed SOF forces. By 2014, that number had hit 10% — a jump of 900% in less than a decade. During that same span, according to information from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, terror incidents in Africa increased precipitously — from just over 100 per year to nearly 2,400 annually. During the same period, the number of transnational terrorist organizations and illicit groups operating on the continent jumped from one to, according to Bolduc’s reckoning, nearly 50.

Correlation may not equal causation, but SOCAFRICA’s efforts have coincided with significantly worsening terrorist violence and the growth and spread of terror groups. And it shouldn’t be a surprise. While Bolduc publicly talks up the needs of African nations, his border-busting commandos operate under a distinctive America-first mandate and a mindset firmly in keeping with that of the incoming commander-in-chief.

My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else. It has to be first,”

Donald Trump said earlier this year in a major foreign policy speech. Kicking off his victory tour earlier this month, the president-elect echoed this theme.

“From now on, it’s going to be America first. Okay? America first. We’re going to put ourselves first,” he told a crowd in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In Africa, the most elite troops soon to be under his command have, in fact, been operating this way for years.

“[W]e will prioritize and focus our operational efforts in those areas where the threat[s] to United States interests are most grave,” says the formerly secret SOCAFRICA document.

“Protecting America, Americans, and American interests is our overarching objective and must be reflected in everything we do.”

Source*

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Why Apartheid Still Exists in South Africa*

Ethiopia Kicks Out U.S. Killer Drone Base*

Obama Just Expanded the Global War on Terror to Somalia*

The Foreign Fighters of Boko Haram, and El Shebaab*

After Only 6 Months Daesh Defeat in Sirte, Libya*

Monsanto, U.S. and Gates Pressure Kenya to Reverse GMO Ban*

5 Million Nigerians Urge Government to Reject Monsanto Crops*

French Draft Resolution on Syria Reflects its Longing for its Colonial History in Africa*

U.S. Military is Building a $100mn Drone Base in Africa*

French Terrorists Dispatched to Sub-Saharan Africa*

E.U. Bullies its Way through an Reciprocal Trade Access in Africa*

Hiding Africa’s Looted Funds and the Silence of Western Media*

Canada’s Role in the Colonization of Nigeria and in the Destruction of Libya*

Rothschild Billion Dollar Money Laundering Plot in Africa*

“U.S. Destroyed Libya to re-colonize Africa”*

New Colonial Carve-up of Africa? British firms vying for £1trn Natural Resources*

The Case for Reparations to Africa: Britain Apology is Cheap*

Thousands of Africans Rise Up Against Bill Gates*

Embedding Transnational Agribusiness and GMO’s into African Agriculture*

WATCH: THE UTILIZATION OF WESTERN NGOS FOR THE THEFT OF AFRICA’S VAST RESOURCES

BP, Trafigura and Vitol Export Dirty Oil to Africa to Kill People*

African Woman Schools U.N. Delegate on Why Pushing Abortion is ‘neo-colonialism’*

Gates Foundation Gives Tulane U Millions to Curb African Population*

160 Global Groups Call for Moratorium on New Genetic Extinction Technology at U.N. Convention*

Nigerian Fuel Subsidy, Price Increase by IMF Modulation*

Egypt’s after Nubian Land*

Egypt’s after Nubian Land*

Government has drawn Nubians’ ire after it decided to sell lands in southern Egypt in auction as part of agricultural mega-project

Nubians staged sit-in for two weeks in response to government policies (Hisham Abdel Hamed / MEE)

 

By Leena ElDeeb

After two meetings that lasted for seven hours on Wednesday between representatives of the Egyptian government and the Nubian Return Caravan (NRC), Nubian activists decided to suspend a sit-in and give the government one month to fulfil its promises.

Nubian advocates and officials discussed demands raised by protesters decrying government policies toward Nubian land.

The meetings were attended by about 30 NRC advocates, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal and Nubian MP Yassin Abdel-Sabour.

Mohamed Azmy, president of the Nubian Union, said the recent protests began in response to the government putting Nubian land up for sale.

This was the first case of selling Nubian land in an upfront manner. Most of the past deals were cases of usufruct and what not,” he told MEE.

“But this time it was a loud and clear trade, so it was a dangerous signal for us. If this land is sold, the rest of the land will follow, so we had to take a stand.”

Nubians are an indigenous African people in southern Egypt. They have complained of displacement by state-sponsored projects for many decades. They also say they struggle with cultural marginalisation and colour discrimination.

The government drew Nubians’ ire when it decided to sell land in southern Egypt in an auction as part of a plan known as the One Million and a Half Acres. The government wants to reclaim land to narrow the gap between supply and demand for food produce, thereby reducing imports.

Nubian activists staged a sit-in in the Toshka and Forkund areas of the southern Aswan governorate.

What do Nubians want?

NRC representatives have presented five demands to Ismail and Abdel-Aal.

  • First, they requested a halt in “distribution of pamphlets” – a form of pre-sale documentation – setting out conditions for the sale of 110,000 acres from the Nubian village of Forkund at Toshka, until the village is removed from the project. The trade is part of the previously mentioned state-owned project to reclaim deserted lands
  • Second, they demanded ownership of the Nubian residence at the stream of the Aswan reservoir and its ramps, and dedicated lands for each Nubian village, with a specific timeline
  • Third, they included a draft bill to establish an authority for the development, reconstruction and resettlement of the people of Nubia during the current legislative term
  • Fourth, they called on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to establish a technical committee to nominate Nubians to review all plans and investment projects within the south of the High Dam area and specify their scopes beyond the limits of the Nubian villages. The duties of this committee would be over once the bill of establishing a resettlement authority is issued
  • Finally, they demanded that the 2014 presidential decree 444, which declared former Nubian villages a military zone, be adjusted

What does the government think?

The prime minister promised the NRC that the authorities would form a committee from the ministers’ council, which would include MP Abdel-Sabour, in addition to a group of coordinators from the NRC. The committee would look at the maps and updates for the Forkund area to divide its borders in preparation for removing it from the project as demanded.

However, Ismail said that the Egyptian Countryside company, which is responsible for selling the lands to investors, has not allocated any land yet within the borders of Egypt: what has been put up for sale was just for the opening of the project.

Abdel-Aal promised to discuss the bill for establishing an authority for development, reconstruction and resettlement. He didn’t specify a timeline, according to the statement posted by the NRC, but promised to submit the bill soon.

Article 236 grants Nubians the right to return to their villages (Hisham Abdel Hamed / MEE)

However, Abdel-Aal said presidential decree 444 was not presented before parliament, describing it as a sovereign decision that cannot be altered as a matter of national security.

As for the rest of the demands, government officials promised to consider and present them to both the governor of Aswan and the president.

Egypt’s rush for land

On Monday, the leftist Bread and Liberty Party hosted a number of Nubian researchers and politicians in a seminar entitled The Nubian Case, Between the Diaspora and the Return.

Mohamed ElHawary, a member of the party’s economic and legal committee, described Egypt’s rulers as “land brokers”.

He said Nubian land is being targeted because areas around urban centres such as Cairo and Alexandria are already being fought over by the so-called estate or industrial developers.

“The state sees Nubian land as unwanted land, so they can do what they wish with it,” he said. “They’re selling an acre for EGP50 ($2.80), and with instalments up to 10 years.” The fair price per acre, according to ElHawary, is 4,000 to 5,000 Egyptian pounds.

What the presidential decrees mean

Article 236 of the Egyptian constitution holds the government responsible for setting up a plan that would ensure the return of Nubians to villages they were displaced from by state-sponsored projects.

But two presidential decrees signed after the constitution was passed have complicated these efforts. Decree 444, issued by Sisi in 2014, took more than 110 square kilometers of Nubian land – the equivalent of 16 villages – and labelled them as military zones where habitation is forbidden.

In August, the president signed another decree that moved 922 acres of state-owned land to the private New Toshka development project. It was later discovered that the transfer paved the way to selling Nubian land.

Azmy told MEE that about 400 protesters escalated their opposition into a sit-in at Forkund.

Dr Saker Abdel-Nour, a Nubian rural sociologist at L’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in France, said Nubians have been mobilising since 2009, but article 236 motivated them still further.

“They waited until there is a parliament to transform this constitutional article to law. The constitution has no operational format without a legal framework, so it transforms into legal procedure and therefore becomes a plan on the ground,” he told MEE.

Fatma Emam, an independent Nubian researcher, said Nubians were disappointed that the parliament did not move to implement article 236, and that lawmakers failed to challenge the presidential decrees.

“This article was and still is imprisoned in the drawers of the state, [from 2013] until now,” she told MEE.

Rami Yehia, the political coordinator of the Coalition of the Nubian Return, said the displacement of Nubians robbed them of political influence.

“For starters, there is no such thing as a Nubian representative, the term is politically incorrect,” he told MEE, explaining that new demographic realities do not allow Nubians to elect their own candidates.

Yehia added that even Nubian MPs are not voted in exclusively by Nubians.

Nubian MPs have been able to connect activists to the government, he continued, but other than that they are too few in numbers to stand against the majority in the parliament.

“On another note, we were displaced by a presidential decree, why don’t we return with a presidential decree?” Yehia said.

Source*

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Zimbabwe to Start Issuing Bond Notes Today*

Zimbabwe to Start Issuing Bond Notes Today*

“This is historic folks… not just the bond/currency reissue in Zimbabwe … but that an American blue blood newspaper covered it. It really means that Africa as a continent has been freed from slavery and oppression courtesy of the white race… just incredible times we live in…”

By Elita Chikwati

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is expected to introduce bond notes onto the market today with the majority of people expressing optimism that the new measure will be the panacea to cash shortages afflicting the economy. However, some people were of the opinion that there has not been adequate awareness campaigns and felt some unscrupulous people might dupe the public.

Authorities view the bond notes as a way of putting an end to cash hoarding and the externalisation of foreign currency, mainly the U.S. dollar.  The RBZ will release bond notes worth $10 million onto the market starting today with the withdrawal limits set at $50 per day and $150 weekly.

The notes are in $2 and $5 denominations and will be pegged at 1:1 against the U.S. dollar. A new $1 bond coin has also been introduced. The $2 bond note is green and has images of balancing rocks on one side and the independence flame on the other.

The purple $5 bond note has balancing rocks and three giraffes. Security features on both notes include a Zimbabwe bird watermark, see-through perfect register, tactile marks for the visually — impaired, security thread, alpha — numeric lettering and optically variable ink.

Most people from the informal sector yesterday welcomed the bond notes and said this was going to ease cash shortages being experienced and boost their businesses. Some farmers have also welcomed the introduction of the bond notes, especially tobacco growers who expect a five percent export incentive.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union President Mr Wonder Chabikwa, said farmers expected the money this week. “We are waiting for the money and we hope it will be made available to farmers this week. This will motivate tobacco growers and some may increase hectarage as the planting window is still open.

“Farmers can use the money to buy fertilisers and chemicals and this may encourage more plantings,” he said. Mr Chabikwa said while the introduction of bond notes should ease cash shortages, farmers were businesspeople and should not be treated as individuals.

He raised concern over the withdrawal limit, which he said may present some challenges to farmers, especially when they want to withdraw wages for casual labour.

“I hope the RBZ will have a special consideration for farmers. We cannot pay our workers using plastic money especially causal workers. There should be special considerations where farmers can access more cash when necessary,” he said.

Mr Chabikwa raised concern over the short period of awareness of the security features of the bond notes, which he said might affect some farmers in remote areas.

“We have not seen the bond notes. Most farmers are in remote areas and rely on radio and cannot easily access newspapers. We are afraid some unscrupulous dealers may bring counterfeit notes and dupe farmers.

“We appeal to the RBZ and banks to bring posters of the new notes and coin at schools, clinics and shops in farming areas so that we familiarise ourselves with them to avoid being duped,” he said. He did not expect farmers to experience challenges when buying inputs since major agro dealers had point of sale machines.

Source*

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