Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Gates and AGRA has Failed

 Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa  (AGRA) was started in 2006, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, to double yields and incomes for 30 million smallholder farm households while halving food insecurity by 2020.

There are no signs of significant productivity and income boosts from promoted commercial seeds and agrochemicals in AGRA’s 13 focus countries. Meanwhile, the number of undernourished in these nations increased by 30%. Since AGRA was launched, yields have barely risen, while rural poverty remains endemic, and would have increased more if not for out-migration.

The Indian farmer protests highlight the problematic legacy of its Green Revolution (GR) in frustrating progress to sustainable food security. Many studies have already punctured some myths of India’s GR. Looking back, its flaws and their dire consequences should have warned policymakers of the likely disappointing results of the GR in Africa.

Hagiographic accounts of the GR cite ‘high‐yielding’ and ‘fast-growing’ dwarf wheat and rice spreading through Asia, particularly India, saving lives, modernising agriculture, and ‘freeing’ labour for better off-farm employment. Many recent historical studies challenge key claims of this supposed success, including allegedly widespread yield improvements and even the number of lives actually saved by increased food production. Environmental degradation and other public health threats due to the toxic chemicals used are now widely recognized. Meanwhile, water management has become increasingly challenging and unreliable due to global warming and other factors. Half a century later, the technology fetishizing, even deifying AGRA initiative seemed oblivious of Asian lessons as if there is nothing to learn from actual experiences, research and analyses.

AGRA has ignored many crucial features of India’s GR. Importantly, the post-colonial Indian government had quickly developed capacities to promote economic development. Few African countries have such ‘developmental’ capacities, let alone comparable capabilities. Their already modest government capacities were decimated from the 1980s by structural adjustment programmes demanded by international financial institutions and bilateral ‘donors’.

India’s ten-point Intensive Agricultural Development Programme was more than just about seed, fertilizer and pesticide inputs. Its GR also provided credit, assured prices, improved marketing, extension services, village-level planning, analysis and evaluation. These and other crucial elements are missing or not developed appropriately in recent AGRA initiatives. Sponsors of the ersatz GR in Africa have largely ignored such requirements. Instead, the technophile AGRA initiative has been enamoured with novel technical innovations while not sufficiently appreciating indigenous and other ‘old’ knowledge, science and technology, or even basic infrastructure. The Asian GR relied crucially on improving cultivation conditions, including better water management. There has been little such investment by AGRA or others, even when the crop promoted requires such improvements.

Africa’s GR has reproduced many of India’s problems:

    • As in India, overall staple crop productivity has not grown significantly faster despite costly investments in GR technologies. These poor productivity growth rates have remained well below population growth rates.

    • Moderate success in one priority crop (e.g., wheat in Punjab, India, or maize in Africa) has typically been at the expense of sustained productivity growth for other crops.

    • Crop and dietary diversity has been reduced, adversely affecting cultivation sustainability, nutrition, health and wellbeing.

    • Subsidies and other incentives have meant more land devoted to priority crops, not just intensification, with adverse land use and nutrition impacts.

    • Higher input costs often exceed additional earnings from modest yield increases using new seeds and agrochemicals, increasing farmer debt.
AGRA and other African Green Revolution proponents have had 14 years, plus billions of dollars, to show that input-intensive agriculture can raise productivity, net incomes and food security. They have failed.

Monday, April 19, 2021

France and Genocide

 France “bears significant responsibility” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 because it remained “unwavering in its support” of its allies even though officials knew the slaughter was being prepared. France has long been accused of not doing enough to halt the genocide although there is no evidence that French officials or personnel had directly participated in the killing of Tutsis.

The 600-page report, by the US law firm Levy Firestone Muse, labels France a “collaborator” of the extremist Hutu regime that orchestrated the murders of about 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority. France led Operation Turquoise, a military-humanitarian intervention launched under a UN mandate between June and August 1994. Its critics believe that it was in reality aimed at supporting the genocidal Hutu government.

The new report alleges that in the years before the genocide, “French officials armed, advised, trained, equipped, and protected the Rwandan government, heedless of the Habyarimana regime’s commitment to the dehumanisation and, ultimately, the destruction and death of Tutsi in Rwanda.”

French authorities also pursued “France’s own interests, in particular the reinforcement and expansion of France’s power and influence in Africa”, and in April and May 1994, at the height of the genocide, French officials “did nothing to stop” the massacres, says the report.

“The cover-up continues even to the present,” the report added, saying French authorities refused to cooperate with their inquiry or turn over critical documents pertinent to their investigation.

France ‘did nothing to stop’ Rwanda genocide, report claims | Rwanda | The Guardian

Kenya and Covid-19 Regulations

Blanket containment measures imposed by Kenya’s government to control the coronavirus pandemic have denied poor slum dwellers access to sufficient nutritious food and livelihoods, according to early findings from an ongoing evidence-based study to assess the impact of COVID-19 on dietary patterns among households in Nairobi’s informal settlements. So far, the government has turned to policies such as curfews, social distancing and closure of eateries, bars, churches to contain the spread of the virus. As of today, Apr. 19, Kenya has reported over 151,000 COVID-19 cases.  

The study noted that urban slum and non-slum households are impacted differently by the COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore differentiated policies and solutions are needed to address food security, nutrition and the livelihoods of these two consumer groups.

The researchers, led by scientists from the Alliance of Biodiversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), are now calling on the Kenyan government to consider the unique challenges that people living in urban slums face before imposing blanket measures to curb the spread of the disease. 

“Through this study, we have seen that about 90 percent of households in the slums reported dire food insecurity situations, and are not able to eat the kinds of foods they prefer such as indigenous vegetables and animal sourced foods like milk and eggs, which had been more affordable and accessible before the pandemic,” Dr. Christine Chege, the lead researcher on the project, told IPS. The Alliance provides research-based solutions to harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives in a climate crisis.

The study found that more than 40 percent of slum households lack employment and their average monthly household income is $78.

  • Scientists collected primary data from 2,465 households in the Kibera and Mathare slums, as well as from middle-income residents within Nairobi city.
  • Household dietary diversity scores were calculated based on 7-day food consumption recalls.

 the current measures to restrict spread of the virus has had a direct negative impact on livelihoods of tens of thousands of urban slum dwellers across the country.

Generally, slum dwellers live in crowded single-roomed, shanties where a number of households share bathrooms, sinks, and water points. There is little or no space for children to play and social distancing is impossible. 

They also do not have personal means of transport and so many have to use crowded public transport, which includes the use of motor bikes that sometimes carry up to three passengers on a single bike.

For these communities sanitisers remain a luxury. And some people use one disposable mask for more than a week — not for protection against COVID-19 infection, but to avoid the wrath of law enforcers who are reportedly using it as an excuse to distort money, particularly from the poor.

One respondent from Kibera slum told researchers that she was on antiretroviral therapy for HIV but she was not able to eat a balanced diet, as advised by her medic.

These are just some of the reasons why slum dwellers, according to the study, need differentiated containment measures that will not completely deny them access to food and livelihoods.

While the findings note that non-slum households may benefit from a decrease or cap on rising food prices to improve their food security and nutrition, for slum dwellers the solution is different and perhaps more complicated.

Researchers instead recommend strategies and interventions to assist slum dwellers in earning an income as a solution, first giving them economic empowerment in order to access nutritious foods.

“Once they are empowered economically, a second intervention would be towards lowering food prices,” said Chege.

According to Joram Kabach of Twiga Foods, a company that currently supplies fresh fruits and vegetables from over 20,800 farmers across this East African nation straight to more than 30,000 small-scale vendors via mobile technology, there is need for the government to partner with the private sector to bridge the gap between food and nutrition security for slum dwellers, and containment measures for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic period, we observed a sharp increase in our daily turnover from Sh13 million ($18,200) to Sh35 million ($318,200),” said Kabach.

“This means that in line with the government guidelines for social distancing, traders opted to stay away from congested market places and prioritised more secure digital platforms, where orders are made via mobile phones and products delivered at doorsteps with much reduced human interactions,” he told IPS.

In that regard, he observed that the government could cushion slum dwellers by offering them food vouchers, which can be redeemed from structured vendors who belong to structured platforms such as Twiga Foods. The company is also participating in the ongoing study.

Kenya's Poor Need Different Lockdown Restrictions to Survive, Scientists Urge | Inter Press Service (ipsnews.net)

Friday, April 16, 2021

South Africa - Profiting from misery


 Faced with the world’s worst contemporary humanitarian crisis in Yemen,  South Africa has abandoned this commitment to human rights in exchange for the chance to profit from weapons deals. In so doing, it has become complicit in war crimes in Yemen. All indications are that South Africa’s arms trade regulator, the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), continues to approve permits to export weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, despite the extensive public evidence of war crimes committed by those states. South Africa is one of the numerous states profiting from the conflict in Yemen.

South Africa has repeatedly expressed concern about the humanitarian suffering in Yemen. At international forums, South African officials have urged all parties to respect international law and to find a solution to the conflict. Yet, at the same time, the South African state has hypocritically given the green light to arms companies to sell weapons to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two of the main parties accused of committing war crimes in Yemen.

 South Africa’s complicity in war crimes in Yemen, reveals that since the war in Yemen began, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have become the key market for South African weapons. In 2013, a little more than 3 percent of South African weapons exports went to these two states. In 2015 and 2016, this was up to 42.1 and 48.9 percent, respectively. Since the war in Yemen broke out, South African weapons worth more than 8 billion rands ($550m) have been sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen and Amnesty International have identified many of these South African weapons in Yemen. These include drones, surveillance equipment, armoured vehicles, and most notoriously, 120mm mortar bombs, whose remnants were discovered at the site of an attack on civilians in the Yemeni city of Hodeidah. Two independent investigations, one of them by the UN experts group on Yemen, found it most likely that these mortars were manufactured by South African arms firm Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM). RDM is a joint venture between German arms company Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH (which holds a 51 percent stake) and South African state-owned arms company Denel (with 49 percent). RDM not only sells weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but has also established a munitions factory in Saudi Arabia in 2016. The factory specialises in, among other things, the production of 120mm mortar bombs.

In addition to the 120mm mortar remnants found at the site of an attack in Hodeidah, that have been identified as likely produced by South Africa’s RDM, Rheinmetall’s Italian subsidiary has also been implicated in supplying weapons used in civilian attacks in Yemen. Remnants of bombs used in an air attack by the Saudi-UAE coalition on Deir al-Hajari in northwest Yemen in 2016 were identified as being manufactured by RWM Italia – a Rheinmetall subsidiary in Italy. That attack killed a family of six, including a pregnant woman and her four young children.

Germany, another top supplier of weapons to the conflict in Yemen, was among the first to put a ban in place. In March 2018, a new coalition government in Germany imposed a ban on the export of any weapons from Germany to Saudi Arabia and other countries “directly involved” in the Yemen civil war. Despite the ban, Rheinmetall subsidiaries around the world including RDM in South Africa, have continued to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia. Activists have raised concerns that this is part of a pattern of “offshoring”, whereby Rheinmetall and other European arms companies use subsidiaries in other parts of the world to sidestep domestic bans. By 2019, Rheinmetall had direct or indirect holdings in a staggering 156 companies and offices or production facilities in 129 locations across 32 countries. This places Rheinmetall in a prime position to do precisely this.

South Africa has a choice to make. Will it continue to ignore the evidence of war crimes and attacks on civilians in Yemen? If it chooses to do so, companies like Rheinmetall will continue to use South Africa for exports despite domestic restrictions on sales to countries with dubious human rights records.

For the suffering in Yemen to end, corporations in South Africa too must stop profiteering from this unjust war.

South Africa is putting profit before Yemeni lives | Weapons News | Al Jazeera

Nigeria's Inflation

Food inflation rose to 22.95% in March, caused by wide-ranging price increases across items such as cereals, yam, meat, fish and fruits. Those soaring costs have been in part blamed on a worsening conflict between farmers and herders in Nigeria’s agriculture belt that Buhari has struggled to quash.  A weakening currency and higher fuel prices have also contributed to rising food prices.

Nigerians, who already spend more than half their earnings on food, have had to cut down. Just over 50% of all households reported reduced consumption between July and December last year due to the twin pressures of falling wages and rising food costs

 ‘I can’t simply afford to give my children what they really need in terms of food,’ said Feyintola Bolaji, a mother of three.

Not long after Nigeria revealed that one in three people in the continent’s largest economy were unemployed,  it announced that food inflation has accelerated at the highest pace in 15 years, compounding the misery of many households. Rising inflation has adversely affected the profitability of producers and is a major contributor to the low export penetration of made-in-Nigeria goods in the international market

 The coronavirus pandemic has robbed 70% of Nigerians of some form of income, 

More than half the population lives on less than $2 a day as  food insecurity worsens in the country.

The situation has also been exacerbated by import restrictions on certain staples, such as rice, that have remained in place despite Buhari reopening Nigeria’s land borders in December following a 16-month shutdown in an attempt to end rampant smuggling.

“There is an urgent need for government to intentionally ensure price stability before the situation becomes deplorable,” the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria said in a statement.

 Food prices will remain elevated until the security crisis, which has prevented farmers from returning to their land, is resolved, said Cheta Nwanze, a lead partner with SBM Intelligence, a Nigerian research firm. That’s “unless the government does the sensible thing and allows food imports to happen,” he said.

‘It is really bad’: Nigerians go hungry as food inflation soars | Food News | Al Jazeera

Why France Controls Mali

 As long as Mali is exploited by outsiders, as long as poverty and inequality will continue to exist, leading to insurrections, rebellions and military coups, instability will persist.

The French war in Mali receives little media coverage outside the limited scope of French-speaking media, which has successfully branded this war as one against Islamic militants.

In 1892, France colonized that once-thriving African kingdom, exploiting its resources and reordering its territories as a way to weaken its population and to break down its social structures.

The formal end of French colonialism of Mali in 1960 was merely the end of a chapter, but definitely not the story itself. France remained present in Mali, in the Sahel and throughout Africa, defending its interests, exploiting the ample resources and working jointly with corrupt elites to maintain its dominance.

On March 2012  Captain Amadou Sanogo overthrew the nominally democratic government of Amadou Toumani Touré. He used the flimsy excuse of protesting Bamako’s failure to rein in the militancy of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) in the north. Sanogo’s pretense was quite clever, though, as it fit neatly into a grand narrative designed by various Western governments, lead among them France and the United States, who saw Islamic militancy as the greatest danger facing many parts of Africa, especially in the Sahel.

Sanogo’s coup angered African governments, but was somehow accommodated by Western powers. In the following months, northern militants managed to seize much of the impoverished northern regions, continuing their march towards Bamako itself. On December 20, 2012, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2085, which authorized the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali. Armed with what was understood to be a UN mandate, France launched its war in Mali, under the title of ‘Operation Serval’.

On July 15, 2014, France declared that ‘Operation Serval’ was successfully accomplished. Yet, almost immediately, on August 1, 2014, it declared another military mission, this time an open-ended war, ‘Operation Barkhane’ and included Paris’ own ‘coalition of the willing’, dubbed ‘G5 Sahel’. All former French colonies, the new coalition consisted of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

 According to Deutsche Welle, “The security situation has worsened, not only (in the) the north but (in) central Mali as well”, the German news agency recently reported, conveying a sense of chaos, with farmers fleeing their land and with “self-defense militias” carrying out their own operations to satisfy “their own agendas”, and so on.

 Even with a heavy French military presence, instability continued to plague Mali. The latest coup in the country took place in August 2020. Worse still, the various Tuareg forces, which have long challenged the foreign exploitation of the country, are now unifying under a single banner. The future of Mali is hardly promising.

So what was the point of the intervention? Certainly not to ‘restore democracy’ or ‘stabilize’ the country.

In a recent article,  Karen Jayes elaborates. “France’s interests in the region are primarily economic. Their military actions protect their access to oil and uranium in the region.”

Mali’s wealth of natural resources is central to France’s economy. “An incredible 75 percent of France’s electric power is generated by nuclear plants that are mostly fueled by uranium extracted on Mali’s border region of Kidal,” in the northern parts of the country. Therefore, it is unsurprising that France was ready to go to war as soon as militants proclaimed the Kidal region to be part of their independent nation-state of Azawad in April 2012.

The Clandestine War on Africa: France’s Endgame in Mali - CounterPunch.org

Atrocities in Tigray Continue

 Sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war in Ethiopia's Tigray region, where girls as young as 8 are being targeted and some women have reported being gang-raped over several days, U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said. "There is no doubt that sexual violence is being used in this conflict as a weapon of war," Lowcock said, adding the majority of rapes were committed by men in uniform. 

"Nearly a quarter of reports received by one agency involve gang rape, with multiple men assaulting the victim; in some cases, women have been repeatedly raped over a period of days. Girls as young as eight are being targeted,"

He told the U.N. Security Council that the humanitarian crisis in Tigray had deteriorated over the past month and the United Nations had not seen any proof that Eritrean soldiers - accused of massacres and killings - have withdrawn.

"To be very clear: the conflict is not over and things are not improving," Lowcock said.

Lowcock said humanitarian access in Tigray remained a "huge problem" and that he had received a report earlier on Thursday that 150 people had died from hunger.

"This should alarm us all. It is a sign of what lies ahead if more action is not taken. Starvation as a weapon of war is a violation," Lowcock said.

Dr. Fasika Amdeselassie, the top public health official for the government-appointed interim administration in Tigray, told Reuters that at least 829 cases of sexual assault had been reported at five hospitals since the conflict began.

“Women are being kept in sexual slavery,” Fasika told Reuters.

Doctors at five public hospitals told Reuters that most of the rape victims described their attackers as either Ethiopian government soldiers or Eritrean troops. It was more common for women to report sexual violence by Eritrean soldiers, the doctors said.

Since November, fighting between federal government troops and Tigray's former ruling party has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the mountainous region of about 5 million. The Eritreans have been helping the central government troops.

Sexual violence being used as weapon of war in Ethiopia's Tigray, U.N. says | Reuters

Thursday, April 15, 2021

‘We cannot drink oil’


Activists have accused French and Chinese oil firms of ignoring huge environmental risks after the signing of an agreement by Uganda, Tanzania and the oil companies Total and CNOOC for the construction of a £2.5bn oil pipeline, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP.)  A letter signed by 38 civil society organisations across both east African countries said the parties had failed to address environmental concerns over the pipeline and had steamrollered over court and parliamentary processes. 260 African and international organisations sent an open letter to 25 commercial banks urging them not to finance the construction of the EACOP.

 It would be the world’s longest electrically heated pipeline, which will move crude oil from fields near Lake Albert in western Uganda 900 miles to Tanzania’s Indian Ocean seaport of Tanga. Uganda’s crude oil is highly viscous, so it must be heated to be kept liquid enough to flow. Uganda discovered reserves of crude near Lake Albert on its border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2006, and the landlocked country wants a pipeline to transport oil to international markets.

Diana Nabiruma, of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), told the Guardian: “It is concerning that major agreements are being signed and the companies are being given the go-ahead to award contracts and start developing the Lake Albert oil project. The oil projects pose major environmental risks. Resources, some shared with countries such as the DRC, Tanzania and Kenya, including Lake Albert as well as Lake Victoria and rivers, are at risk of oil pollution.” She pointed out that “The resources support the fisheries, tourism and other economic activities. They are also important for food and water security. They therefore must be conserved.” Nabiruma accused the two east African governments of racing to sign deals before their citizens had been told how any risks would be “avoided, minimised or mitigated”.

The #StopEACOP alliance campaign condemned the decision to build the pipeline, which it says will displace 12,000 families and would be a huge environmental risk at a time of climate emergency, when the world needs to move away from fossil fuels.

Vanessa Nakate, founder of the Rise Up climate movement in Uganda, said: “There is no reason for Total to engage in oil exploration and the construction of the east Africa crude oil pipeline because this means fuelling the destruction of the planet and worsening the already existing climate disasters in the most affected areas. “There is no future in the fossil fuel industry and we cannot drink oil. We demand Total to rise up for the people and the planet.”

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A million hungry in Mozambique

The World Food Programme (WFP) said that 950,000 people were now hungry in northern Mozambique  where a worsening conflict has driven hundreds of thousands from their homes,

“Families and individuals have had to abandon their belongings and livelihoods and flee for safety … adding to an already desperate situation in northern Mozambique,” said Tomson Phiri, a WFP spokesman.

Nearly a million people facing severe hunger in Mozambique | Humanitarian Crises News | Al Jazeera

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Millions face hunger in Somalia

 Save the Children says locust swarms, extreme weather and below average rainfall mean millions of people in Somalia will not have enough food.

Crop and vegetable production is expected to drop by up to 80% this season. Income from livestock sales, a mainstay of the Somali economy, is projected to fall by up to 55%.

Mothers are desperately trying to scrape together just one meal a day for their children. Some of them are already malnourished.

Projections say that this year, poor families in southern Somalia will only be able to source 15% of their food from their crops. In other difficult times, their crops have provided about half their food.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Kleptocracy of Congo-Brazzaville

  Congo-Brazzaville, a country of 5.5 million is not a democracy despite regular elections. First elected in 1979, President Sassou has been in power for 36 of the 61 years has been independent from France.

The economy is stagnant. Civil servants go months without wages and pensions. Hospitals go months without basic medicine. Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index ranks Congo-Brazzaville among the world’s top 20 most corrupt countries. The democracy watchdog Freedom House, which scores countries on their political and civic freedoms, lists Sassou’s Congo as “not free”. The UN’s Human Development Index positions the country at 149 out of 189, two points above Assad's Syria. 

 In last month’s presidential election it brought no surprises. After 36 years in power, Sassou was awarded 88% of the vote with a turnout of more than 67%. Accusations of vote irregularities, including ballot box stuffing, were widespread. His closest rival, who had urged for a “vote for change” died of Covid on the day of the vote.

 Most likely, the African Union, the US, the EU, the UK and former colonial power France will simply turn a blind eye to yet another disputed election result while Congolese are dying from extreme poverty. Sassou rules with an iron fist. During the 2021 campaign, Sassou ordered internet services to be shut down for almost a week, including on election day. The interior minister, Raymond Zéphirin Mboulou, not the electoral commission, announced his victory. Many of Sassou’s most vocal opponents, including his former challenger Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko and his former minister André Okombi Salissa, have either been jailed, exiled or are dead. Not long before the March 2021 election, human rights defender Alexandre Ibacka Dzabana was arbitrarily arrested by Sassou’s intelligence officers. He is still detained in Brazzaville where he has been denied access to his lawyer and family. Yet there is barely any indignation from outside the country.

 It is an oil-rich country. Congo-Brazzaville is Africa’s sixth-biggest oil producer, earning huge revenues. However, amid Sassou’s kleptocracy, the country remains paradoxically poor, with nearly half the population living below the poverty line.

The theft is a family affair. 

His daughter Julienne Sassou Nguesso and her husband, Guy Johnson, have been charged with corruption and money laundering in France. 

Global Witness alleged in April 2019 that his other daughter Claudia Sassou Nguesso, who is an MP and the president’s head of communications, received almost $20m (£15m) of apparently stolen state funds and used it to buy a luxury flat in Trump Tower, New York.

His son, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, also an elected member of the Congolese parliament, is being groomed to succeed his father. He also allegedly took more than $50m from the Congolese treasury funds for his personal gain, according to a Global Witness.

In 2019, Sassou announced the discovery of new oil deposits which would increase the republic’s daily production from 350,000 barrels a day to 980,000, tripling Congo’s revenues from the oil and natural gas sector. Perhaps this is why power has not changed hands by the ballot box, and serious reforms have not been enacted, while the international community sees nothing, hears nothing and does nothing.

Sassou rules like an emperor while Congolese die from extreme poverty | Congo-Brazzaville | The Guardian