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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 08th of February 2021

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“Buckle up,” Druckenmiller said in a Wednesday video with Goldman Sachs posted on YouTube.
World Of Finance

“I’ve been doing this as some kind of chief investment officer since 1978 and this is about the wildest cocktail I’ve ever seen in terms of trying to figure out a roadmap.”

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08-JUN-2020 :: Anybody can be decisive during a panic It takes a strong Man to act during a Boom.
World Of Finance

“The businessman bought at ten and was happy to get out at twelve; the mathematician saw his ten rise to eighteen, but didn’t sell because he wanted to double his ten to twenty.”

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Video taken from bridge near Sule Pagoda - the epicentre of protests in downtown Yangon today calling for an end to military rule @FrontierMM
Law & Politics

Video taken from bridge near Sule Pagoda - the epicentre of protests in downtown Yangon today calling for an end to military rule and release of Aung San Suu Kyi - shows tens of thousands marching east along Mahabandoola Road and around the pagoda.

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In the pitch-dark master bedroom, the sleepy lord of the mansion pulls the velvet rope, ordering the terrified ex-WH Chief of Staff to make another emergency run to McDonalds. @BeschlossDC
Law & Politics

So the sun goes down on the swanky Florida resort club, the bats flap their wings, the wolves scream.  In the pitch-dark master bedroom, the sleepy lord of the mansion pulls the velvet rope, ordering the terrified ex-WH Chief of Staff to make another emergency run to McDonalds.

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09-NOV-2020 :: The Spinning Top
Law & Politics

Political decapitation of President Trump by the [not so] ''Sleepy'' Joe Biden and who exits stage left twittering into the wilderness or is it Trump TV?

The demise of the Reality TV Star turned seriously vaudeville with Mr. Giulani mounting the last stand from the Four Seasons Total Landscaping next to Fantasy Island Adult Books across the street from the Delaware Valley Cremation Center.

Some Folks seem convinced that the Prophet of Populism Donald J. Trump is going to lead his 70m Disciples into some major 5th generational chess moves but surely just as likely is an Unfolding psychological breakdown played out in front of our eyes on TV like Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of Salesman

“You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away - a man is not a piece of fruit.”

“If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.”

I’m tired to the death. The flute has faded away. He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb. I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda.

Counterintuitively, The Trump Vladislav Surkov Talking Points which of course always feature George Soros are strangely ineffective and a little like a receding tide.

“My take on Trump is that he is an inevitable creation of this unreal normal world,” Adam Curtis says. 

“Politics has become a pantomime or vaudeville in that it creates waves of anger rather than argument. Maybe people like Trump are successful simply because they fuel that anger, in the echo chambers of the internet.”

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Similar to Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations,” the owner of the master bedroom is still wearing his unused inauguration finery @BeschlossDC
Law & Politics

Similar to Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations,” the owner of the master bedroom is still wearing his unused inauguration finery, and on the ornate 1920s table is the most beautiful piece of chocolate inauguration cake — untouched and uneaten.

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Hunched over in a tiny adjacent room is the sweating butler, who once served as WH Chief of Staff, now forging and signing counterfeit fan letters to boost his boss’s plunging ego. @BeschlossDC
Law & Politics

Hunched over in a tiny adjacent room is the sweating butler, who once served as WH Chief of Staff, now forging and signing counterfeit fan letters to boost his boss’s plunging ego.  In all rooms but the master bedroom, air conditioning has been turned off by the boss to save $$$.

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On the bookshelves of the musty, darkened South Florida bedroom, with black and gold casino blankets nailed over the windows to keep out the sun, are fake Oscars and Emmys @BeschlossDC
Law & Politics

On the bookshelves of the musty, darkened South Florida bedroom, with black and gold casino blankets nailed over the windows to keep out the sun, are fake Oscars and Emmys, right next to the counterfeit Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Versailles complex: political leaders and their palaces @FT
Law & Politics

When Alexei Navalny’s two-hour video about a palace he alleged was Vladimir Putin’s hit 100m views on YouTube, you could see that the Russian president was rattled.

A little more than a week later, oligarch Arkady Rotenberg was wheeled out to take the flak, saying it was his home — the imperial eagles, nautical exclusion zone and security service presence seem to tell another story, though.

Protests, despite widespread arrests, are continuing. The eagles appear to be a copy of those on the Winter Palace in St Petersburg: and look what happened to that.

History suggests that leaders have a blind spot for quite how such opulent vanity projects can irk. 

Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu demolished a swath of Bucharest to build his extravagant Palace of the Parliament but was executed before it was decorated.

Saddam Hussein was alleged to have 100 palaces in Iraq. The scale of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich’s place was given away by the zoo and replica naval galleon.

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s palace in Harare was built to resemble the White House but, of course, bigger and with a bigger pool. 

Former Kazakh ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Ak Orda palace also mimics the US president’s pad, but bigger and with a dome and mirror glass. 

President Erdogan’s 1,000-room Ak Saray Palace in Ankara is bigger than Versailles.

Much is usually made of the contents of these palaces: the garish furnishings and gold toilets, the crystal balustrades, the huge portraits of the dear leaders on white stallions. 

But style is personal. There is no reason we should mock dictators for their taste (albeit it’s odd that they all seem to have the same taste).

Instead, we might look to why they seek to build these behemoths in the first place. In their almost invariably neoclassical style, slightly Frenchified, always looking to Versailles (without, somehow, recalling how that ended) — they are a response to uncertainty and anxiety, to a lack of being rooted in legitimacy.

Their scale exerts a presence on the landscape, an image of power extending into infinity, an attempt to inscribe their status into time and space. They tend to resemble hotels, which are grander than even the biggest houses.

The games rooms and aqua-discos, the casinos, theatres, strip clubs and ice-hockey rinks (which all appear in Putin’s alleged palace) are conjured up to fill the empty space. 

But there are few friends with whom to play poker or watch a pole dancer with because dictators live an isolated existence, paranoid and lonely.

For dictators, there is no separation between home and work, everything is work and that work is the creation of an image and intimidation. 

Former President Trump’s property branding is an extension of this neediness. His impeccable dictator-chic taste has often been noted: the pseudo-Versailles fittings and so on. His anti-democratic inclinations were foretold in his interiors.

If the exteriors are French classical, the interiors are catalogues of kitsch; a cornucopia of inlaid side tables and ornate sofas, exotic animal sculptures, the huge TVs and chandeliers and acres of marble (Ceausescu’s palace had, allegedly, 1m sq ft of marble and 3,500 tons of crystal)

The palace becomes a feat of consumption, sometimes overwhelming the nation’s finances.

To fill the rooms takes dozens of flunkies scrolling the web to find appropriate fittings. The project becomes one of sheer accumulation. 

Approbation tends to fall on the gilded and monogrammed furniture, the pools and the menageries, but sometimes it is the most banal fittings that reveal the most: protesters brandishing gold-sprayed toilet brushes (referring to the €700 models Navalny picked out in his video) in the streets hit where it hurts — the average Russian wage is just over €500 a month.

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My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Law & Politics

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Nothing beside remains. 

Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare. 

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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'Escape Mutations' May Drive New COVID Resurgence MedScape

Viruses change all the time. As they copy themselves and jump from host to host, they make mistakes in this copying process, called mutations. 

Sometimes those mutations give the virus important advantages that help it dominate other forms of the virus.

This new flavor, or variant, of the coronavirus found in Manaus — called P.1 — had 17 key changes, compared to the original.

One of these, the N501Y mutation, is also present in the variant first identified in the U.K., which has made the virus more contagious and caused another surge in cases there. It seems to help the virus bind more easily to doors on our cells called ACE2 receptors.

The other big change was the E484K mutation, which swaps a negatively charged amino acid for a positively charged one. That change makes it more difficult for our antibodies — which tend to prefer negatively charged targets — to latch on, like changing the polarization of a magnet.

"It effectively destroys the binding site," says John Moore, the Weill Cornell Medical College professor.

"This is likely to make it difficult for antibodies elicited by the old variant to bind to the new variant," says Penny Moore, PhD, who studies virus-host dynamics at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa.

Antibodies are y-shaped proteins that are created by the immune system to find and hunt down foreign invaders. They are custom-built in response to each specific threat the body encounters.

When a person makes antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, either because they’ve been vaccinated or have already caught the virus, the body makes an army of these soldiers. 

After the invader is driven off, some of these antibodies, and the body’s memory of how to make them, remain so they can quickly be re-created if they are ever needed again.

E484K is called an escape mutation because it helps the virus escape this standing army. With this mutation, the virus can slip past our immune defenses and make us sick.

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Transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, B.1.1.7, Headline: we estimate VOC is 43–82% more transmissible than preexisting variants. @_nickdavies

We've updated our preprint on the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, aka B.1.1.7, with new statistical and modelling methods. Headline: we estimate VOC is 43–82% more transmissible than preexisting variants. 

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They fancied themselves free, wrote Camus, ―and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.

In this respect, our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words, they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences.

A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away.

But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they have taken no precautions

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Countries w/ fastest avg COVID-19 case growth rate (daily/total) @jmlukens

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: 4.07%

Saint Lucia: 4.01%

Thailand: 3.70%

Antigua & Barbuda: 3.53%

Cuba: 3.35%

Vietnam: 2.56%

Zambia: 2.28%

Mozambique: 2.19%

Timor-Leste: 2.16%

Malaysia: 2.04%

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Variants v. vaccines: like the rabbit and the turtle. @tomaspueyo

We all know the vaccines, like the turtle, will win the race in the end.

Unfortunately, for a good part of the race, the variants, like the rabbit, will be winning.

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There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.

"[T]he database was accessible until Sept. 12, 2019, when it became unreachable from outside the institute." @R_H_Ebright


which we will discover is precisely when the Pandemic began 

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What is the intermediate host species of SARS-CoV-2? Future Medicine

At the genome-wide level, SARS-CoV-2 is similar to the coronavirus’s two known predecessors found in circulation in humans to date: SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV (79.5 and 50% sequence identity respectively) [1]. 

The SARS- CoV-2 spike protein, however, exhibits 10–20-times higher affinity for target cell angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in humans [1]. The importance of these differences arises from SARS-CoV-2’s infection pathway.

RaTG13, identified in 2016 and the most likely contender identified thus far, is a bat coronavirus which shares 96% of its genome with SARS-CoV-2 [2,3]. 

Two primary factors, however, have led the scientific community to conclude that humans were initially infected by a virus that circulates in a second intermediate host species.

First, estimated mutation rates deduced from observations in humans suggests RaTG13 shared a common ancestor with SARS-CoV-2 between 25 and 65 years ago [2]. 

This timeline is incongruent with SARS-CoV-2’s emergence approximately 1 year ago and low genetic diversity observed across the initial viral sequences obtained from humans [2].

Second, there are differences in the genetic sequences encoding the spike protein, which the virus relies on to enter human cells and accounts for many of SARS-CoV-2’s unique pathophysiologic properties, including increased infectivity versus RaTG13 [1,2]. 

It is widely accepted that a bat with RaTG13 infected another species and that animal subsequently infected humans with SARS-CoV-2, as we know it today. 

Researchers have, therefore, continued searching for the progenitor species that infected humans: a coronavirus with similar binding affinities for human ACE2 and a viral genome that shows a greater degree of similarity to SARS-CoV-2 [3]. 

A coronavirus in pangolins, for example, was found to have a receptor-binding domain in its S1 spike that was almost an identical match to that of SARS-CoV-2 but with greater differences at the genome-wide level, ruling it out as the progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 [2,3].

The use of chimeras is significant given that Bayesian phylogenetic and phylodynamic data integration would require the common ancestor of the entire virus population to have existed earlier than the MRCA of the virus sample in order for timing estimates to be accurately made [4]. 

This point is underscored by the fact that RNA viruses with narrow host ranges, including SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, evolve quickly after blind serial passage in vitro and in vivo, a process relied upon to promote adaptation to new host species and also required for the development of animal models

If we are to re-evaluate our assumptions in modeling the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2, we must also consider single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and their impact on presumed rates of evolution. 

SNVs are acquired in RNA viruses, including coronaviruses, at a rate 103–107-times greater per nucleotide copied than DNA viruses [10,11]. 

During replication SNVs are purged or retained resulting in the formation of quasi-species with greater fitness than that of the parent or ‘master’ sequence [11]. 

This increase in fitness is accounted for by the acquisition of mutations across SNVs, which result in selection, competition and genetic drift acting upon the entire viral ‘swarm’ [11]. 

Frequently present in recombinant coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13, quasi-species allow for either the evolution of the ‘master’ consensus sequence or the entirety of its mutant spectrum [10,11,15]. 

The optional duality of these simultaneous processes and corresponding outcomes allows for either stasis or rapid evolution in the observed consensus sequence (10-4 substitutions per site per year versus 10-1–10-2 substitutions per site per year) [10,11]. 

It follows, therefore, that the calculation of the nonsynonymous to synonymous (dN/dS) substitution rate ratio of RNA in the phylogenetic analysis should account for these factors, where appropriate [15]. 

Moreover, SNVs serve as a reminder that observed stasis does not necessarily equal a mutation rate lower than the RNA genome replication rate, nor does rapid evolution imply higher-than-average mutation rates [10,11]. 

The interplay of the phenomena discussed thus far, namely the effect of environmental and host factors in combination with the cellular and subcellular processes taking place dependent on the virus being studied, are best illustrated in MA15, a mouse-adapted strain of SARS-CoV. 

On initial infection with SARS-CoV-1, wild-type mice were found not to express the same SARS-CoV infection phenotypes seen in humans [12–14]. 

Following 15 passages of SARS-CoV in the respiratory tract of young BALB/c mice, the mice developed disease phenotypes similar to humans [12]. 

The development of the MA15 mouse model, therefore, demonstrates both the results of immune senescence and the amplification of pathogen phenotype in the process of developing relevant animal models.

In summary, to fully understand the origins of SARS-CoV-2 we must adjust our operating assumptions. 

First and foremost, the scope of hosts must include those where serial passage has taken place or is likely to occur, even if they are not naturally occurring as is the case of knockout mice with human ACE2 receptors. 

Second, we must explore the effect of both host types on the corresponding processes occurring at cellular and subcellular levels in viruses and environmental factors including population size and fitness of the animal hosts themselves.

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01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow

 “There's always more to it. This is what history consists of. It is the sum total of the things they aren't telling us.”

“A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. ”

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It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later.

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19. 

It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later. 

There is no natural Pathway for the Evolution of COVID19.

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The latest NIH grant was for project 2R01AI110964-06 (July 2019- June 2021.) The objectives of that project include: @gdemaneuf

3.  [--]. We will use S protein sequence data, infectious clone technology, in vitro and in vivo infection experiments and analysis of receptor binding [--]

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.2035

Dollar Index 91.004

Japan Yen 105.51

Swiss Franc 0.8996

Pound 1.3727

Aussie 0.7674

India Rupee 72.87

South Korea Won 1119.315

Brazil Real 5.3727

Egypt Pound 15.6665

South Africa Rand 14.878

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10-JUN-2019 :: The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating

As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal.

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Untangling Post-Election Uganda @AfricaACSS

Sharp losses by the long-ruling NRM party reveal a shifting political landscape in Uganda, reflecting the will of a younger and more energized electorate looking for change.

Uganda’s 2021 presidential election yielded more confusion than clarity following a violent runup, an internet shutdown, and a host of voting irregularities. 

What is clear is that popular support for the long-ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has diminished dramatically.

Officially, Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner of the January 14 election with 53 percent of the first-round vote. 

This outcome would extend Museveni’s 35-year rule for a sixth term.

This result is widely seen as implausible, however. Museveni’s NRM lost seats to the leading opposition party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), by a lopsided margin throughout much of the country in parliamentary and local government elections

This includes 25 out of 30 cabinet ministers losing their parliamentary seats. The margins may increase further if the several dozen petitions before the lower courts are resolved in the NUP’s favor. Opposition parties had held just 57 of 426 seats in Uganda’s unicameral parliament previously.

Determining the actual tally of the vote has been elusive. A day before the vote, the internet was shut down, raising questions about how results from the 34,344 polling stations would be transmitted. 

With biometric equipment failing due to the disruption, the EC directed its staff to “put the machines aside” and resort to manual counting. 

The EC has subsequently failed to display the Declaration of Results (DR) forms from each polling station as required by law, instead announcing results by region. 

EC Chairman Simon Byabakama explained the decision by saying, “A presidential election has only one constituency, the whole country.”

The electoral environment leading up to the vote was also marked by intimidation and violence. Over 50 people were killed during protests over the arrest of Museveni’s main opponent and NUP leader, 38-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu, a.k.a. Bobi Wine. He was shot at by security forces, arrested multiple times, and prevented from holding rallies.

After polls closed, security forces prevented Wine from leaving his house or receiving visitors for 11 days, until a High Court ruling deemed the siege illegal. 

In the period since the election, over 200 officials of his NUP party were incarcerated, many in military facilities. Video footage of soldiers abducting civilians, breaking up rallies, and even taking over the administration of voting stations have filled social media.

Many opposition monitors have gone into hiding as security forces mounted searches for DR forms to confiscate. The forms, which polling agents of all parties are legally entitled to retain for verification purposes, are key to substantiating the official results.

 A week after the vote, the EC pulled down the official results from its website following growing signs of irregularities.

Making Sense of the Electoral Results

A key element of reconstructing the electoral totals will be the findings of parallel vote counts.

Given the partial results and the disrupted nature of the election and post-election environment, ascertaining an accurate picture of the results is challenging. 

Lawyers affiliated with the Uganda Law Society provided documentation to the EC on December 9 and January 5, detailing systemic irregularities. 

The Presidents of the Law Societies of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar collected additional evidence. They accused the Uganda government of violating the democracy clauses of the East African Community Treaty and have threatened to take the government to court. 

On February 1, the NUP petitioned the Supreme Court to nullify the election due to the irregularities and the institutionalized bias of the electoral process.

Media reports have helped fill gaps in the narrative. While reporting was initially muted because of the internet shutdown, once communications were restored, incidents of ballot stuffing, pre-marked ballots, forgeries, bribery, and inflated voter rolls were revealed, generating further public outcry. 

Opposition candidates are demanding a comprehensive, internationally supervised audit of the presidential elections and public display of all DR forms as required by the Electoral Code.

A key element of reconstructing the electoral totals will be the findings of parallel vote counts. Two separate software apps, Open Vote Africa and U-Vote, enabled domestic monitors, voters, and party agents to transmit unaltered DR forms to secure servers for independent compilation and tallying. 

These apps were publicized by Ugandan media  as part of an intensive awareness-raising campaign so that citizens could independently report their votes to defend against potentially incongruent official results. 

This parallel vote count organized across Uganda’s polling stations thus represents a paper trail that may validate or shed light on inconsistencies in the official results. 

This documentation, along with the irregularities noted in the previously filed petitions, are expected to be considered by the Supreme Court.

The Ugandan bench has tended to use the criterion of ‘overwhelming evidence of disparities in tallies’ when considering electoral petitions rather than weighing the electoral process as a whole. 

Drawing on the precedents of recent elections in Kenya and Malawi, where fraudulent votes were rejected by the courts, the opposition legal team hopes to persuade judges to also consider the hostile electoral environment. 

Despite the unlevel playing field, the evidence currently in the public domain undermines the credibility of the EC’s claim of a clear-cut Museveni victory.

Tectonic Shifts in Uganda’s Political Landscape

The implications from the NRM’s losses are still sinking in. The NRM has suffered its worst electoral defeat since it came to power despite the widespread irregularities. 

For the first time, Museveni lost his traditional stronghold of Central Uganda (Buganda), which is the most populous region and the core of Ugandan politics, economy, and culture. 

It is sometimes described in the local vernacular as the “mawuggwe” (lungs) of the NRM, without which it cannot breathe. 

For the first time, the NRM also lost Busoga, the economic center of Eastern Uganda. Both regions, which account for 60 percent of the electorate, voted NUP. 

NRM invested heavily in keeping Buganda and Busoga on board, directing the largest share of capital and labor-intensive projects to these regions. Their shift away from Museveni suggests that deeper underlying grievances are at play.

The NUP, which was initially written off as having no appeal outside the informal settlements of the so-called “Bayaaye” (“rebellious hoodlums”), also gained total control of Greater Kampala and its suburbs

Combined with the sweeping of Buganda and Busoga, the NUP has gained control of local governments where three quarters of Uganda’s population, 80 percent of the economy, 90 percent of the middle class, and critical NRM rural strongholds are located.

NUP also took full control of the rural bastion of Luweero, the NRM’s “mecca” where the NRM’s guerrilla war was based. It is sometimes called the “omutima” (heart) of the NRM, without which it loses its soul.

Over half of the NRM lawmakers that voted to lift age limits that allowed Museveni to run for a sixth term lost their seats in what some pundits are calling an “NUP Tsunami.” 

The NUP is poised to go from not being represented in Parliament to becoming Uganda’s new official opposition, or—depending on the results of the many petitions before the courts—the majority. 

In either case, the NUP will have control of numerous powerful parliamentary committees, as well as be represented in the Pan-African and East African Parliaments.

Several factors explain these shifting dynamics. First, although the NUP was formed less than a year ago, its social origins lie in the People Power Movement that was born in informal settlements and appeals to Uganda’s most dynamic demographic: 78 percent of the population are under 35—including 8 million between the ages of 18 and 30

Meanwhile, youth unemployment is estimated to be near 70 percent. 

Second, Museveni’s longevity has triggered widespread discontent, including among the middle class and his traditional strongholds. 

Third, the NRM’s escalating tactics of repression and violence over the past decade have alienated previously loyal constituencies and chipped away at the regime’s support base over time.

These shifts in Uganda’s politics were put in stark terms by Museveni’s former Principal Private Secretary and NRM heavyweight Amelia Kyambadde, who said, “The truth is we have overstayed; that is why some of us lost. The people are simply tired.”

What Next? Uganda presidential challenger Bobi Wine being arrested

Museveni’s failure to respect term limits is at the heart of Uganda’s growing instability. It has loosened constitutional guardrails, damaged checks and balances, entrenched patronage networks, undermined military professionalism, and instilled a culture of violence and repression predicated on winning elections at all costs.

This determination to cling to power has blocked internal challengers and created factions within the NRM. 

The growing politicization of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces and its institutional roots as the armed wing of the ruling party mean that soldiers will likely continue to be drawn into these power struggles, heightening the risk of more instability.

Reformers are pushing an alternative vision to achieve the democratic society laid out in Uganda’s 1995 Constitution, which many Ugandans, notably the youth, are championing. 

The grievances they mobilize around were initially confined to the poor neighborhoods, where a new political consciousness seeking to take Uganda in a different direction has crystallized.

Gradually, however, the forces championing this vision have expanded to tap into the generalized fatigue with the status quo. 

Indeed, many believe that had all the votes been fairly counted, the NRM’s losses would have been much greater.

Even with the current tallies, the NRM is on the defensive, and will need to reach out to the opposition and civil society leaders if it is to govern effectively. 

The NRM, thus, faces stark choices in the wake of these realities: continue its current path and risk more instability or steer Uganda back toward a democratic trajectory.

Navigating the crisis will hinge on regaining a measure of public trust. This can be advanced by a judicial petition that is seen as fair and free from executive interference, an independent audit of the election results, and accountability for the violence committed against opposition supporters. 

The NRM will also be under pressure to enact previous rulings by the Supreme Court mandating reforms aimed at creating an inclusive and equitable political process. 

The NRM will also be expected to demonstrate that it is willing to ensure a peaceful transition of power as called for in Uganda’s Constitution, including the reintroduction of term limits.

The NUP and its allies remain committed to exhausting legal and constitutional avenues even though the party has little confidence in the judiciary, which is tightly controlled by the NRM. 

Nonetheless, it has used the electoral process to expose the NRM’s undemocratic behavior, document irregularities, and articulate alternatives.

With its new mandate, the NUP can continue to apply pressure on the NRM, force concessions, and expand constitutionalism. 

High on its legislative agenda is the reform of Uganda’s security services based on instructions issued by the Supreme Court after the 2016 elections that were never implemented. 

This will be key given that the public increasingly views the security services as a tool of coercion rather than a means of protection. 

Reforms would need to reverse the corrosive effect of growing politicization on the professionalization of the security services, particularly the military.

Post-election Uganda, in short, will need to navigate treacherous unchartered waters. To do so effectively will require a new governance model that recognizes the need for dialogue and accommodation.

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Turning to Africa The Spinning Top

Democracy from Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Cameroon has been shredded.

We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point

“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''

Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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10 NOV 14 : African youth demographic {many characterise this as a 'demographic dividend"} - which for Beautiful Blaise turned into a demographic terminator

Martin Aglo, a law student from Benin, told Reuters: “After the Arab Spring, this is the Black Spring”.We need to ask ourselves; how many people can incumbent shoot stone cold dead in such a situation – 100, 1,000, 10,000?

This is another point: there is a threshold beyond which the incumbent can’t go. Where that threshold lies will be discovered in the throes of the event.

The Event is no longer over the Horizon.

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Hospitals, no medication, dem loot / Ghetto youths no job, dem loot / No water to drink in townships, dem loot / Dem loot, dem loot, dem look, Lord have mercy. @daddyhope @thecontinent_

The song has taken on a life of its own on social media with the #DemLootChallenge, with Zimbabweans videoing themselves dancing to the song or making their own versions.

“It’s the power of music as a tool and medium to deliver messages that relate to people and livelihood,” said music critic Benjamin Nyandoro, explaining the song’s impact.

“We feel [ruling party] Zanu-PF is the biggest threat to economic socio- economic and political advancement in the country. Zanu-PF is the biggest sanction against the will of the majority of Zimbabweans,” said Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe spokesperson Marvelous Kumalo.

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The pandemic could undercut Africa’s precarious progress @TheEconomist H/T @tradingroomke

Africans need jabs and loans, sharpish

In the years before covid-19 sub-Saharan Africans were not only the world’s youngest people, with a median age of less than 20, they were also some of the most optimistic.

Just 12% of Japanese told pollsters they thought their lives would improve over the following 15 years, compared with 78% of Kenyans. Nigerians and Senegalese were even more upbeat.

The pandemic has made it harder to be sunny. When covid-19 first struck, a lot of pundits thought Africans might be spared the worst, because so many are young or work on the land (and would thus be little affected by lockdowns). 

Yet it now looks as if the virus will leave more lasting scars in Africa than elsewhere. 

Whereas rich countries can hope for a rapid economic rebound as they vaccinate their people, Africa is years away from jabbing enough to achieve general immunity. 

The imf predicts it will be the slowest-growing large region this year. 

Repeated waves of infection will also disrupt the schooling of millions, putting at risk the educational and demographic trends that are among Africa’s best reasons to be hopeful.

Optimism about Africa began before the pandemic, with a long commodities boom in the years to 2014, which fuelled rapid economic growth. 

The share of Africans who were extremely poor declined from 56% in 2003 to 40% in 2018. And many more children started attending school. 

In Ethiopia, for instance, almost all children were enrolled in primary school by the time of the pandemic, up from 65% in 2003. 

Better-educated children earn more as adults. If female, they also go on to have smaller families and devote more effort to educating each child. 

Africa’s demographic transition promised future prosperity.

When the first wave of covid-19 hit, Africa seemed to weather it well. Sub-Saharan gdp fell by 2.6% in 2020, compared with 3.5% for the world. 

Of the 24 countries that posted any growth at all, 11 were in sub-Saharan Africa. Its official covid-19 statistics look good, too: with 14% of the global population, it has about 3% of recorded cases and deaths

Alas, those statistics are surely misleading. Few African countries have tested enough to have any real sense of how many cases they have suffered. And few record more than a fraction of deaths. 

If South Africa, which tests a lot, is any guide, cases and deaths in the rest of Africa are much higher than reported.

The greatest harm is likely to come not from the immediate impact of the pandemic, but rather from its lingering effects on economies, households and societies (see article). 

Start with Africa’s economies. Before the pandemic, growth was already slowing. Because the region’s population is growing by 2.7% a year, about twice the pace of Asia’s, Africa needs at least as much economic expansion merely to stand still. Yet gdp has lagged behind population growth since 2016.

What is more, governments entered the crisis with strained balance-sheets. By the end of 2019, public debt was 62% of gdp; in 2020 it rose to 70%. 

Rich countries can borrow cheaply and pay citizens to stay at home: on average they have spent more than 7% of gdp cushioning the shock of covid-19. 

African governments have spent only 3% of gdp, and even that was a burden. 

Fully 46 introduced social-welfare grants, but they did not stop 32m people falling into extreme poverty. 

To avoid debt crises, many African governments may curtail spending on infrastructure, too. This will stymie growth. Without better ports, roads and power supplies, Africa will reap fewer benefits from a continental free-trade deal that came into effect last month.

Africa is at the back of the queue for vaccines, alas. The Economist Intelligence Unit, our sister organisation, predicts the region will struggle to obtain enough doses to reach herd immunity before 2024. 

As much of the rest of the world gets back to work, travel and play, Africa could find that covid-19 is, in effect, endemic. 

The travellers and tourists who help generate almost 9% of gdp will stay away. 

Lockdowns and curfews will choke markets and bars. Most worrying, schools could close again.

Sub-Saharan classrooms have been fully or partly shut for 23 weeks, above the global average. 

Since half of Africans are without electricity, never mind laptops and Wi-Fi, remote learning is tricky. 

Modelling by the World Bank suggests that the classes already forgone will cost close to $500bn in future earnings, or almost $7,000 per child. 

This is a huge sum in a part of the world where the average gdp per person is less than $1,600 a year.

To make matters worse, many children—mostly girls—will never go back to their books. Many will become child labourers or brides. 

In one coastal area of Kenya, for example, only 388 of the 946 schoolgirls who got pregnant during the school shutdown last year have resumed their studies. 

It is too soon to know how many girls will stay away for good, but if large numbers do, Africa’s demographic transition may be at risk. 

In general those with no schooling go on to have six or more children each. This falls to about four for women who finish primary school and two for secondary school.

Two things need to happen urgently to mitigate Africa’s covid-induced calamity. First, people must be vaccinated more quickly than on current plans. 

Many African governments, wary of the cost, have been slow to order vaccines. 

Yet the returns to spending on vaccination are likely to be far higher than on just about anything else. The approval of new vaccines promises to help ease global shortages. 

Rich countries, which have ordered more than they need, should donate excess stocks and money to covax, the global programme for pooling the purchase and allocation of vaccines.

Even if vaccines come soon, African treasuries will still need help to avoid drawn-out debt crises and growth-choking cuts to spending. 

Lenders such as the World Bank and imf should offer more cheap loans, and support proposals by the African Development Bank and others to woo more private capital.

Africa’s cries for help—whether in the form of jabs or loans—risk being lost amid the tumult of a truly global crisis. 

But the fragility of African economies and societies is a reason to act swiftly. It is also in outsiders’ interest to help. So long as the virus is rampant somewhere, it can mutate and spread anywhere.■

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Turning To Africa Spinning Top

The real challenge is the Economic Emergency.

The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projects economic activity in the region to decline by 3.0% in 2020 and recover by 3.1% in 2021. @IMFNews

The IMF is so bright eyed and bushy tailed and I want some of whatever Pills they are popping.

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CoViD19-ΛFЯICΛ: Confirmed: 3 656 793 (+ 13742) Actives: 394 919 (-1693) @NCoVAfrica

Confirmed: 3 656 793 (+ 13742)

Actives: 394 919 (-1693)

Deaths: 94 743 (+ 527)

Recoveries: 3 164 653 (+ 14908)


Active Cases 24.054% below Record high Print of 520,000 in January 

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If for South Africa you used excess deaths instead of reported COVID-19 deaths we would move from 779 per million to 2200 per million. @lrossouw

This pattern is likely to be present in many poor countries but not measurable due to lack of adequatedeath registration which SA has.

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The country where Covid-19 doesn’t exist @thecontinent_

Officially, Tanzania is the only country in the world that has no active cases of Covid-19. 

Even in New Zealand, the tiny, remote island nation which has set the gold standard for how to respond to the pandemic, there were nine new infections this week.

But Tanzania has not recorded a single new case of the virus since May 2020.

“Tanzania is Covid-free,” says the president.

The virus “cannot survive in the body of Christ,” he said.

Tanzania’s caseload remains frozen on 509 cases and 21 deaths in its 58-million population, as it was on May 9 last year. 

Meanwhile neighbouring Kenya, population 52-million, is on 101,000 cases and 1,769 deaths.

“There is corona,” said the headline of a Catholic church newspaper last month. In a statement, the Catholic secretariat of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference has urged believers to sanitise, wear face masks and avoid large gatherings. “We are not an island,” it said.

The discrepancy between the official narrative and the situation on the ground is most evident in hospitals in Dar es Salaam, where doctors and nurses are dealing with an influx of patients showing Covid-like symptoms.

Over the course of three days this week, The Continent visited four of the biggest hospitals in the city

All were trying to take the basic precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the virus – hand-washing booths have been set up, face masks are mandatory, and hand-shaking is forbidden – although compliance from visiting families is low.

And there are many visiting families, because beds in the intensive care units are full of patients on oxygen.

There were 19 “unofficial” Covid patients at the Aga Khan Hospital when The Continent was there; 11 at Hindu Mandal Hospital; and six at Rabininsia Hospital. 

Figures were not available from Muhimbili Hospital. Numbers have been increasing sharply in the last two weeks, the hospitals said.

This includes diagnoses. Doctors are forbidden from writing Covid-19 on patient records or death certificates.

Instead, they write “acute pneumonia”.

We tell some very few people, especially close relatives, the cause of death, if it is Covid-19. But it is not allowed. You lose your job and the government may impound your medical registration certificate. It is so dangerous now – we are all fearful,” said one doctor at the Aga Khan Hospital.

“The situation is dire because the sick are being turned away and there are not enough medical oxygen masks and very few ventilators available,” said Maria Tsehai, a civil society activist.

Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary Mabula Mchembe said that the reports of patients requiring oxygen in hospital do not prove the presence of Covid-19. “Not everyone with respiratory system challenges or being on oxygen has Coronavirus,” he said.

Last week, at a gathering in his home village in Chato, in the northern Geita region, President Magufuli said that Covid-19 vaccines were “inappropriate”, and that their efficacy had not been proven. 

“If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, then vaccinations for Aids would have been brought, tuberculosis would be a thing of the past, vaccines for malaria and cancer would have been found,” he said.

At a graveyard in the Dar es Salaam suburb of Wazo Hill, a sheikh is conducting a burial ceremony. The Continent did not get his name. “We are tired of burying our loved ones, please take care of yourselves and protect others,” he said. “Corona is real.”

Another one: A prominent radio station, Radio One, has a regular daily programme that airs death announcements. It is usually 10 minutes long. For the past month, the station has allocated 50 minutes to these announcements each day

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Pandemics had the capacity to overtake “the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration”

Merkel pronounced “You cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation...the limits of Populism are being laid bare.”

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Ministry of Health Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that a new case of Ebola has been detected in Butembo North Kivu Province, where a previous outbreak was declared over in June 2020 @WHOAFRO

The Butembo branch of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) confirmed Ebola in samples taken from a patient with Ebola-like symptoms who had sought treatment at a local health centre. The woman was the wife of an Ebola survivor. She has since died. 

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The first known emergence of Ebola Zaire—the hottest subtype of Ebola virus— happened in September, 1976, when the virus erupted simultaneously in fifty-five villages near the Ebola River.

Ebola Zaire is a slate-wiper in humans. It killed eighty- eight per cent of the people it infected. Apart from rabies and the human immunodeficiency virus, H.I.V., which causes aids, this was the highest rate of mortality that has been recorded for a human virus. 

Ebola was spread mainly among family members, through contact with bodily fluids and blood. Many of the people in Africa who came down with Ebola had handled Ebola-infected cadavers. It seems that one of Ebola’s paths wends to the living from the dead.

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The recession in Kenya fits with the broader trend of Africa entering its first recession in 25 years, according to the @WorldBank @__TomCollins

The downturn in economic activity is expected to cost the continent at least $115bn in output losses and to push 40m people into poverty, reversing at least five years of progress in that regard.

Kenya’s restaurant and accommodation sector shrank 83.2% in Q2 and 57.9% in Q3 while the education sector dipped 56% in Q2 and 42% in Q3.

Kenya’s last recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth by the KNBS – was in 2002 during the transfer of power from former president Daniel arap Moi to Mwai Kibaki.

The economy last contracted in Q3 2008 due to a mix of the global financial crisis and the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

However, the economy is expected to “rebound strongly in 2021”, according to a statement by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

The recovery will be supported by “education, manufacturing, resilient exports, agriculture” and the government’s economic recovery plan, the bank says.

Aly-Khan Satchu, CEO of Nairobi-based investment advisory firm Rich Management, says that agriculture has been a “silver bullet” for Kenya’s economy, saving it from an “asymmetric downside spiral”.

The agricultural sector grew by 1.3% more than in 2019, backed by increases in tea production and exports of fruit and sugar.

Satchu, however, believes that the estimated growth of 6.9% by the World Bank in 2021 is “seriously wide of the mark” due to a tourism sector that will not recover even with the vaccine.

Kenya’s debt to GDP ratio, which rose from 61.9% at the end of 2019 to 69.2% in August 2020, is also expected to put the brakes on economic recovery.

Rest of east African countries demonstrate resilience

Meanwhile, economies of other countries in the region – Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania – have remained resilient amidst coronavirus pandemic.

Latest statistics from the finance ministry shows that Uganda’s economy grew by 2.9 % in FY 2019/20, which is lower than 6.8 % recorded in FY 2018/19.

It is also projected that in the FY 2020/21 economic growth will be in the range of 2% to 3% and is expected to improve further to between 4 % and 5 % in FY 2021/22.

Rwanda’s economy is projected to contract 0.2% this year but will recover next year to grow 5.7%, the International Monetary Fund.  The east African nation’s economy grew 9.4% in the previous year.

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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February 2021

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