|Africa News Digest
Exponential Increase in Angola's Marburg Fever Cases
The increase of Marburg fever cases in Angola is exponential, while the World Health Organization (WHO) admits that surveillance may not have "reached the efficiency needed to interrupt chains of transmission." A plotting of officially acknowledged cases from October 2004 through May 2005, on a grid with a logarithmic y-axis (number of cases), against time on the x-axis, is linear; that is, the growth in cases has been, and continues to be, exponential. The plot was posted May 27 on Recombinomics.com.
The WHO update #20 of May 27 states: "This week, staff from the mobile surveillance teams were able to visit and look for signs of illness in more than half of the 100 persons known to have had close contact with a Marburg patient. New cases are, however, continuing to occur with no known link to a previous case, suggesting that the surveillance system has not yet reached the efficiency needed to interrupt chains of transmission."
The total number of officially reported Marburg fever cases jumped to 399, with 335 reported deaths, as of May 26. The same figures as of May 18 were 345 cases and 319 deaths.
Is Uganda's Museveni About To Be Dumped?
Is Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni about to be dumped? That appears to be the signal from an extended, two-and-a-half hour seminar June 2 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., to an overflow crowd, which included representatives of the leading think tanks and an unusually large number of retired ambassadors to Africa. Needless to say, the presentations by Johnnie Carson, a former ambassador to several African nations and now senior vice president of the National Defense University, and Joel Barkan, an East African specialist, provoked a great deal of commotion with this 180-degree reversal of the previous "undying" love and support for Museveni by the United States, United Kingdom, and the International Monetary Fund.
Uganda's ambassador to Washington, Edith Ssempala, was almost apoplectic, and could not compose herself sufficiently after listening to the presentations, to even give a coherent response when she had the opportunity, and had the audience laughing at her. The remarks by the speakers kept to the theme alluded to in the title of the seminar: "Uganda: An African 'Success' Past Its Prime." After praising the accomplishments (sic) of Museveni in his first ten years of power, they detailed the reasons for his downfall in the last ten years, and why it was time for him to go. They spoke of Uganda as a success story now becoming a problem case. Or, Uganda as a former failed state, which now risks squandering its legacy.
Most of the charges they presented against Museveni have been provided to readers of Executive Intelligence Review in numerous articles over many years, albeit with less detail. These included "grand corruption" by Museveni and his family; the failure of the economy in recent years; his failure to deal with the Lord's Resistance Army in the North; and Uganda's stealing of gold and diamonds from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The two main reasons, according to speakers, why Museveni should leave now, after he has already "peaked," are: his resistance to a multi-party political system, instead of his one party rule; and his attempt to overturn key stipulations in the constitution limiting Presidents to only two terms, so he can run for President again in the March 2006 elections.
The obvious questions to ask are: What does this mean for U.S. foreign policy towards Uganda, after decades of unwavering support? This question was asked, but no one could answer it. Barkan accused the State Department of being in denial. He said, "State won't face it; they have to stop the celebration." The other obvious question, which was not asked, is: Since there were no new revelations in these presentations, why now?
The Bush Administration policy toward Africa, which obviously comes from those much higher up than lame-duck Bush, is centered on "good governance," respect for human rights, and unrestricted free trade. One theory for signalling the end of Museveni's almost two-decades-long dictatorial regime, is that his image is not "liberal enough" or too tarnished to implement the bankers' policies in this period. In other words, he needs to be a "liberal fascist," not just a fascist.