Monday 20 November 2023

The Racism of the World Health Organization: WHO pays $250 each to 104 Congolese women who were sexually abused by their staff

 Dr Gaya Gamhewage, WHO Director, Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct

WHO pays $250 each to 104 Congolese women who were sexually abused by their staff 


Written by VOA


Earlier this year, the doctor who leads the World Health Organization’s efforts to prevent sexual abuse traveled to Congo to address the biggest known sex scandal in the UN health agency’s history, the abuse of well over 100 local women by staffers and others during a deadly Ebola outbreak.

According to an internal WHO report from Dr Gaya Gamhewage’s trip in March, one of the abused women she met gave birth to a baby with “a malformation that required special medical treatment," meaning even more costs for the young mother in one of the world's poorest countries.

To help victims like her, the WHO has paid $250 each to at least 104 women in Congo who say they were sexually abused or exploited by officials working to stop Ebola. That amount per victim is less than a single day’s expenses for some UN officials working in the Congolese capital — and $19 more than what Gamhewage received per day during her three-day visit — according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The amount covers typical living expenses for less than four months in a country where, the WHO documents noted, many people survive on less than $2.15 a day. The payments to women didn't come freely. To receive the cash, they were required to complete training courses intended to help them start “income-generating activities.”

The payments appear to try to circumvent the UN's stated policy that it doesn't pay reparations by including the money in what it calls a “complete package” of support. Many Congolese women who were sexually abused have still received nothing. WHO said in a confidential document last month that about a third of the known victims were “impossible to locate.”

The WHO said nearly a dozen women declined its offer. The total of $26,000 that WHO has provided to the victims equals about 1% of the $2 million, WHO-created “survivor assistance fund” for victims of sexual misconduct, primarily in Congo.

In interviews, recipients told the AP the money they received was hardly enough, but they wanted justice even more. Paula Donovan, who co-directs the Code Blue campaign to eliminate what it calls impunity for sexual misconduct in the UN, described the WHO payments to victims of sexual abuse and exploitation as “perverse.”

“It’s not unheard of for the UN to give people seed money so they can boost their livelihoods, but to mesh that with compensation for a sexual assault, or a crime that results in the birth of a baby, is unthinkable,” she said.

Requiring the women to attend training before receiving the cash set uncomfortable conditions for victims of wrongdoing seeking help, Donovan added. The two women who met with Gamhewage told her that what they most wanted was for the “perpetrators to be brought to account so they could not harm anyone else," the WHO documents said. The women were not named.

“There is nothing we can do to make up for (sexual abuse and exploitation)," Gamhewage told the AP in an interview.

The WHO told the AP that criteria to determine its “victim survivor package” included the cost of food in Congo and “global guidance on not dispensing more cash than what would be reasonable for the community, in order to not expose recipients to further harm.”


Gamhewage said the WHO was following recommendations set by experts at local charities and other UN agencies.

“Obviously, we haven't done enough,” Gamhewage said. She added the WHO would ask survivors directly what further support they wanted.

The WHO has also helped defray medical costs for 17 children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse, she said. At least one woman who said she was sexually exploited and impregnated by a WHO doctor negotiated compensation that agency officials signed off on, including a plot of land and health care. The doctor also agreed to pay $100 a month until the baby was born in a deal “to protect the integrity and reputation of WHO.”

But in interviews with the AP, other women who say they were sexually exploited by WHO staff asserted the agency hasn’t done enough.

Alphonsine, 34, said she was pressured into having sex with a WHO official in exchange for a job as an infection control worker with the Ebola response team in the eastern Congo city of Beni, an epicenter of the 2018-2020 outbreak. Like other women, she did not share her last name for fear of reprisals.

Alphonsine confirmed that she had received $250 from the WHO, but the agency told her she had to take a baking course to obtain it.

“The money helped at the time, but it wasn’t enough,” Alphonsine said.

She said she later went bankrupt and would have preferred to receive a plot of land and enough money to start her own business. For a visiting WHO staffer working in Congo, the standard daily allowance ranges from about $144 to $480. Gamhewage received $231 a day during her three-day trip to the Congolese capital Kinshasa, according to an internal travel claim.

The internal documents show that staff costs take up more than half of the $1.5 million the WHO allotted toward the prevention of sexual misconduct in Congo for 2022-2023, or $821,856. Another 12% goes to prevention activities and 35%, or $535,000, is for “victim support,” which Gamhewage said includes legal assistance, transportation and psychological support. That budget is separate from the $2 million survivors' assistance fund, which assists victims globally.

WHO’s Congo office has a total allocated budget of about $174 million, and its biggest funder is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The UN health agency continues to struggle with holding perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation to account in Congo. A WHO-commissioned panel found at least 83 perpetrators during the Ebola response, including at least 21 WHO staffers. The youngest known victim was 13.

In May 2021, an AP investigation revealed that senior WHO management was told of sexual exploitation during the agency’s efforts to curb Ebola even as the abuse was happening but did little to stop it. No senior managers, including some who were aware of the abuse during the outbreak, were fired.

After years of pressure from Congolese authorities, WHO internal documents note it has shared information with them about 16 alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation who were linked to the WHO during the Ebola outbreak. But WHO hasn't done enough to discipline its people, said another Congolese woman who said she was coerced into having sex with a staffer to get a job during the outbreak. She, too, received $250 from the WHO after taking a baking course.

“They promised to show us evidence this has been taken care of, but there has been no follow-up," said Denise, 31.

WHO has said five staffers have been dismissed for sexual misconduct since 2021. But in Congo, deep distrust remains. Audia, 24, told the AP she was impregnated when a WHO official forced her to have sex to get a job during the outbreak. She now has a 5-year-old daughter as a result and received a “really insufficient” $250 from WHO after taking courses in tailoring and baking.

She worries about what might happen in a future health crisis in conflict-hit eastern Congo, where poor infrastructure and resources mean any emergency response relies heavily on outside help from the WHO and others.

“I can’t put my trust in (WHO) anymore,” she said. “When they abandon you in such difficulties and leave you without doing anything, it’s irresponsible.”

Thursday 16 November 2023

When leaders of Neo-liberal Slave states get the guts to answer back their Wicked Bosses: US, UK are world's leading terrorists - Museveni

 President Museveni

US, UK are world's leading terrorists - Museveni 

Written by URN

President Yoweri Museveni has hit out at the United States and the United Kingdom embassies for issuing advisories to their citizens not to travel to Uganda over terrorism concerns.

In a statement, about the just concluded Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja districts, Museveni said if anybody is to issue any advisory it should be the government, not outsiders.  

“I hear that the panicky Americans and British sent out what they call advisories to their citizens not to come to Uganda. These are mistake makers. If the situation was so bad, it would be us to advise people not to come to Uganda; not the British and the Americans. We know what we are doing, always. Even if a mistake occurs, we know how to handle it. These advisories by some of these actors is another form of interference in our internal affairs by these elements,” Museveni said.  

The president noted that even the terrorism that is going on in most of Africa and other places is the handiwork of the West. 

“Part of the terrorism in Africa is either created or conserved by some of the actors that try to be global policemen. The chaos in Libya, and the surrounding countries of the Sahel (Mali, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, etc.) was caused by some of these actors. The terrorism conservation project in Eastern Congo for the past 20 years, is by the UN which is controlled by some of these actors through the undemocratic structures of that body, such as the Security Council. It is amazing how the UN can supervise and co-exist with killers of Congolese and Ugandans in Eastern Congo for the last 20 years and they are not bothered at all,” Museveni said.

Museveni thanked Uganda’s security forces for ensuring that Nyege Nyege festival successfully ended without any major incidents. He however admitted that there was credible information that some elements from outside actually tried to infiltrate the occasion.

“I want to congratulate the security forces for successfully protecting the suspected sinners of Nyege Nyege in Jinja, until their function was over, without a single incident. This shows you the strength of the Uganda security system to be able to guard such a long pre-announced massive public function, the threats of the terrorists notwithstanding. It is true that the pigs of ADF in Congo had sent a few infiltrators to try and disrupt the function of the suspected sinners,” Museveni said.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Museveni wondered why the grasshoppers were not coming mid-way into November the month in which they appear.

“This is Museneene…Where are they? Climate change? I do not eat the Nseneene. However, I always wish the Nseneene, the fish eaters, etc. good luck. Inform me when the Nseneene appears. How about the enswa (the flying ants)? October is Kashwa- the month of the enswa. Did they appear?” 


Tuesday 14 November 2023

Latvian woman ‘withdraws’ rape case against Pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa of Epikaizo Ministries International in Bugoloobi: Cites forgiveness as the reason to withdraw the rape charges

 Pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa


Ugandan Prosperity Pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa of the Bugolobi-based Epikaizo Ministries International accused by Saulite Anda, a Latvian national of rape: 3 detectives arrested for bungling rape case involving pastor Twahirwa 


Ugandan pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa of the Bugolobi-based Epikaizo Ministries International charged with raping Latvian tourist, remanded: Lady in Latvian tourist rape saga fears for her life 


Pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa alias prophet TJ Collins of Epi Kaizo Ministries-Bugolobi who was accused of rape wins humanitarian award 

Latvian woman ‘withdraws’ rape case against city pastor 

Written by Ernest Jjingo

Saulite Anda, the Latvian national who earlier this year accused a city pastor of luring her into the country before he allegedly raped her, has since withdrawn the case, The Observer has learnt.

According to the withdrawal letter dated July 18, 2023 that The Observer has seen, Anda cites forgiveness as the reason to withdraw the rape charges against Pastor Joseph Collins Twahirwa of Epikaizo Ministries International in Bugoloobi.

The withdrawal letter is addressed to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the director of the police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID).

“I humbly submit my application to withdraw the above-mentioned case after forgiving Mr Twahirwa Joseph Collins wholeheartedly,” reads in part the withdrawal letter addressed to the office of the DPP.

Adding; “I hope from today (August 23, 2023) and onwards, he will live freely since I have no other grievances in reference to the above case.”

According to the stamp on the withdrawal form of the Criminal Investigations Directorate, the same letter was received on August 28. When contacted, Irene Nakimbugwe, the deputy spokesperson of the office of the DPP, acknowledged receiving the withdrawal letter which she says was dropped off by an unknown person at Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court and they cannot ascertain whether it was really written by Anda or not.

Nakimbugwe added that they told the person who dropped off the letter to tell Anda to go and see the DPP personally to understand her reasons of withdrawing the case but they have never heard from her and currently don’t even know her whereabouts.

“We have failed to get in touch with either the person who dropped off the letter or Anda herself. If she was indeed intending to withdraw the case, she should have come and approached us because we took so much interest in her case. At the time the case was ongoing, she came personally, met the DPP and told her the ordeal she had gone through. The DPP went over and above to ensure that the pastor is apprehended and the case is sanctioned and then from nowhere we receive a letter that she is no longer interested in the case,” she said.

Because the DPP has failed to verify the authenticity of this letter allegedly from Anda withdrawing the case, Nakimbugwe says that the state will still go ahead with prosecuting the pastor for the alleged crime since he was already committed to the High court pending trial and only waiting for the High court to give them a day for the hearing and proceed.

Speaking about the matter, Pastor Twahirwa, 28, a lawyer by profession, claimed witch-hunt, wondering why the DPP continues to prosecute him when the complainant has since lost interest in pursuing the matter.

“I am being witch-hunted and I have been deliberately denied justice in my own country for the past one year. I have made losses and many things yet many people depend on me,” Twahirwa said, adding that he was the first to file a case of cyber harassment against Anda on January 1 this year but no action was ever taken.