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The West’s never ending quest to ‘de-radicalise’ dissent | Kenya



An investigation by Declassified UK has revealed that for more than 15 years, US and UK security agencies have been waging a covert war in Kenya, arming and training a secret Kenyan paramilitary team that has committed atrocities against Kenyan civilians and violated Kenyan laws under the guise of fighting terrorism. While the report does important work in documenting this, the collaboration between Kenya and the West and its brutality is hardly news. Reports of Kenyan agencies working with their Western counterparts to disappear, rendition, torture and murder local terror suspects are legion, and have appeared regularly in Kenyan and international press for decades.

However, the Declassified UK report does bring to mind startling similarities between the way the global war on terror is waged today and the British effort to put down what came to be known as the Mau Mau uprising in colonial Kenya nearly 70 years ago. At the time, a peasant movement, focused mainly in the country’s central highlands, had taken up arms and formed the Kenya Land and Freedom Army with the express aim of kicking out the colonial settlers and recovering the land they had lost. Their violence, which targeted white Europeans and their African collaborators, reflected the brutality employed by the British in their half-century occupation of the country.

In their response, the British sought to paint the rebellion as a reflection of the innate savagery and primitivity of Black Africans and to deny the fighters in the forests had any legitimate grievances or practical visions of the future. The press, both in Kenya and in Western capitals, was inundated with propaganda generated by the Colonial Office in London. “All we heard was how savage Mau Mau was,” Caroline Elkins, author of the influential book on colonial atrocities during that period, British Gulag, quotes John Nottingham, then a young colonial officer, as saying. “Just completely atavistic, and somehow had to be gotten rid of, regardless of how this was done.” As painted by the British, the conflict pitted the peaceful, progressive and enlightened forces of white colonialism against the dark, evil, foul and secretive filth of the degraded Mau Mau. The very name, Mau Mau, was an attempt to associate the movement with the idea of savagery. It did not originate with the fighters. 

In fact, they actively rejected it. In a 1953 Charter, introducing the movement, Dedan Kimathi, the leader, declared: “We reject being called [Mau Mau or] terrorists for demanding our people’s rights. [It is derogatory]. We are the Kenya Land [and] Freedom Army.” Kenyan politician Josiah Mwangi “JM” Kariuki, who was interned in prison camps from 1953 to 1960 for channelling resources to the fighters, and eventually murdered by the state agents of independent Kenya, later wrote: “The world knows [the KLFA] by a title of abuse and ridicule with which it was described by one of its bitterest opponents.”

Compare this with the descriptions of those today fighting against Western domination of Middle Eastern societies as anachronistic, long-bearded, cave-dwelling atavists defined by their brutality rather than by the aims they espouse. There is an entrenched resistance to the idea that those who espouse a violent overthrow of the current world order can either have legitimate reasons for doing so or espouse rational alternatives to their exploitation. This resistance manifests in the tendency to employ simplistic, binary views of conflict and the zero-sum, with-us-or-against-us rhetoric pioneered by the George W Bush administration.

It is also evident in the idea of “radicalisation” which seeks to paint a resort to violence as a form of mental illness or the result of brainwashing. In the 1950s, the British efforts against the KLFA focused on the secret oathing ceremonies that the fighters used to recruit their members. According to Elkins, the colonial establishment attributed their colonial subjects’ anger to “the so-called spell of the Mau Mau oath rather than an outgrowth of legitimate complaints rooted in individual circumstances”. Confessing the oath came to be regarded as the sin qua non of effective rehabilitation (or, as we would say today, “de-radicalisation”). To achieve this, the British established a horrendous system of camps referred to as “the Pipeline” where those suspected of taking the oath were interred and subjected to unspeakable tortures to get them to confess. Tens of thousands died and many more were left scarred and destitute. One and a half million people were forced from their homes and put in concentration camps where many starved. All this was justified by the rubric of fighting Mau Mau terror.

Today, the talk of “de-radicalisation” similarly denies the legitimacy of grievances. The anger many feel at Western policies and aggressions towards their countries and societies are easily dismissed and rather than focus on the oppressive policies, de-radicalisation frames the actions of the victims as the problem. For example, decades of massacres and brutalities committed by the Kenyan government against the majority Muslim regions of the coast and the northeast of the country are seldom cited as the cause of widespread disaffection in these areas. Rather the blame is easily laid at the feet of “radical” preachers whose words, like those of the Mau Mau, are said to have the effect of casting magical spells on simple-minded populations. 

To recognise the legitimacy of grievances is not to defend the tactics of terror (though it will inevitably be portrayed as such by some). Rather, the resort to such violence should be understood within its full context, and that context includes recognition of the violence of oppression that incites it. Further, while the brutality of the British and their local allies did effectively break the KLFA, the cost of doing so has continued to be paid till today in the suppression of public memory both in Kenya and in the UK, and in the terror the Kenyan state exhibits towards its population and the consequent violence it perpetrates against them. Similarly, the brutal tactics used by the West and its allies may enjoy short-term success. But this will come at the long-term expense of entrenched instability, hostility, fear and conflict.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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