Fighting for energy and human rights equality in Africa

The Congress of Racial Equality Uganda has lost another leader, but the fight continues

Paul Driessen

“She has gone to the Lord,” her sister Diana told me a few days ago. And with Fiona Kobusingye’s passing, after a courageous battle with cancer, the Congress of Racial Equality Uganda lost another leader.

However, their legacy remains, the battles they began rage on – and Uganda and Africa are clearly and consistently demonstrating their determination to achieve energy, health, human rights and living standards equality with Europe, America and other industrialized economies. They are determined do so using the same fossil fuel and other technologies that those already wealthy nations used in their ascent out of the nasty, brutish, short lives that were all of humanity’s lot just a few short centuries ago.

I met Fiona 15 years ago at a Congress of Racial Equality Martin Luther King dinner organized by her late husband and my close friend, CORE international affairs director Cyril Boynes, Jr. They got married, Cyril moved to Uganda, and together they launched the human rights and economic development group CORE Uganda. She served as co-chair and with Cyril mentored young people, co-hosted conferences, and fought tirelessly for disease control, energy development, modern agriculture and clean water.

Like Cyril, she was passionate about these issues, including using DDT and other insecticides – what she called “the African equivalent of chemotherapy drugs” – to prevent malaria and other devastating insect-borne diseases. She wrote in a 2006 Washington Times article:

“I have had malaria more than a dozen times. I lost my son, two sisters and th]ree nephews to it. My nephew Noel got malaria at age two and is still four years behind high school boys his age in reading and writing skills, because it affected his mental powers so horribly. My brother Joseph used to help in an office and with complex farming tasks, but his mind no longer works well because of cerebral malaria.

“We need to calculate the value of those lives affected by being sick with malaria for weeks every year … of mental capacity lost due to malaria … of 1.5 million African lives lost every year. Even at $1,000 to $10,000 per life, the impact of malaria – and the value of DDT – is monumental.

“This month, another malaria outbreak hit the Kabale district in southern Uganda. More than 6,000 people were admitted to clinics in just one week. A spraying program with Icon (a pyrethroid also used in agriculture, and which thus can quickly breed mosquito resistance) resulted in the deaths of two students. That is terrible, but last year 70,000 Ugandans died from malaria. In 65 years, DDT never killed anyone.

“Should we stop spraying, to prevent more deaths from Icon or possible learning delays from using DDT – and sacrifice another 70,000 Ugandans again this year?

“Yes, there are risks in using DDT – or other anti-malaria weapons. But the risk of not using them is infinitely greater. One-sided studies and news stories frighten people into not using the most effective weapons in our arsenal – and millions pay the ultimate price. That is unconscionable.”

After Cyril died in 2015, Fiona moved to New York City to help care for Diana’s autistic son and earn money to provide for her adopted children in Uganda. Even after being diagnosed with incurable cancer, Fiona retained her humor, indomitable spirit and deep belief in God throughout her difficult illness and treatment, right up until she passed away.

She is survived by a daughter, five sisters, eleven brothers, two grandchildren, five adopted children, and many nieces, nephews and other relatives. She remains beloved by all who knew her. Readers wishing to honor her legacy, bury her in Uganda and help support her family can go to her GoFundMe page.

Fiona got emotional when she wrote about environmentalist groups and US, EU, World Bank, WHO and other rich country bureaucrats who she believed were using Africans as test subjects in “energy, malaria and agricultural experiments that perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death in the name of protecting the environment.”

“China and India put up with this immoral eco-colonialism for decades,” she wrote. “Finally, they had enough. They refused to be the environmentalists’ experimental pawns any longer. They took charge of their own destinies, charted their own future, financed their own projects, and refused to be stopped again by anti-development green policies, politicians and pressure groups.

“Uganda, the Great Lakes Region [around Lake Victoria] and all of Africa need to do the same thing. We have the land and natural resources, the bright and hard-working people.

“Let us be brave and bold!” Fiona exhorted. “Let us become prosperous and healthy together.”

Her beloved Cyril shared and stoked her passions. He too wrote articles and spoke to Ugandan officials, journalists and students on these topics. A biotechnology conference he organized at the United Nations featured experts like Norman Borlaug, father of the first Green Revolution. The audience included scores of high school students, many UN staffers and people from all over New York City.

Cyril also served as executive producer for a documentary film about the ways modern genetically modified crops dramatically reduce the need for poor African farmers to hand-spray crops with pesticides, while preventing pest damage, increasing crop yields many times over, and bringing hope and much improved living standards to African farm families.

He too dreamed of a prosperous modern Africa and described how he, a devout Christian, was deeply inspired by a Jew (business professor, economist and author Julian Simon) and a Muslim (banker-economist Muhammad Yunus). He pilloried the Rainforest Action Network for its incessant human rights violations: its campaigns to prevent Africa from using DDT or other insecticides, fossil fuels or even expanded hydroelectric power.

Cyril brought me to Uganda, to see firsthand what they were accomplishing. The three of us spent tow frenzied weeks speaking to government, radio, television, high school and university audiences on these subjects. Thanks to George Mason University, we were able to give soccer balls, shoes, shin guards and uniforms to grade school boys who previously had to play barefoot with rags rolled and tied into a ball.

Fiona and Cyril aided her extended family and mentored scores of promising young people. One of them, Steven Lyazi, steadily improved his writing skills and published many articles online, before he was tragically killed in a horrific bus accident in 2017.

“Calls for us to live ‘sustainably,’ use wind and solar and biofuel power, and never use fossil fuels, are a demand that we accept prolonged starvation and death in our poor countries,” Steven wrote in one article. “They mean desperate people will do horrible things to survive, even just another day.”

In another column, he pointed out that wind and solar power are far better than wood and animal dung fires. But in reality they are nothing more than “short-term solutions to serious, immediate problems. They do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. Our cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and for faraway villages wind and solar must be only temporary, to meet basic needs until they can be connected to transmission lines and a grid.”

When will the day come, Steven wondered – echoing what Fiona and Cyril had been saying for over a decade – when politicians and activists, who say their care about the world’s poor, “stop worrying about global warming, pesticides and GMO crops – and start helping us get the energy, food, medical facilities, technologies, jobs and economic growth we need to improve our lives?”

Fiona, Cyril and Steven live on in their eloquent, passionate articles. Their long battle for equality and human rights, through access to modern technologies, will continue – bringing their dream of a free, prosperous, healthy, vibrant Uganda and Africa ever closer to reality.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and other books on the environment.

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52 thoughts on “Fighting for energy and human rights equality in Africa

  1. If you want to see what good can happen in Uganda read “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis Majors. Some people really want to help and are doing wonderful things in that world.

  2. These topics have been discussed often here on WUWT and many of the same points as in the article have been made in comments.

    But the personal accounts of someone who had to suffer from the actions of alleged do-gooders** who do NOT have to live with the consequences has put a lump in my throat. That is one powerful article.

    **More like evil bastards. I was using the term do-gooders loosely.

      • And once again worth stating that while technically there is no ban, you will lose all aid from the US and Europe if you do use DDT.

        • Agreed. The ban is written into contracts from USAID – you signed or you didn’t get the aid. This is how “domestic ideas” in the USA are enforced in other countries without the public knowing about it. This extends to all sorts of things. The UK can give Uganda sports facilities, or France can donate well pumps, but in the contract it will say that they will ban abortions, or give out condoms in high schools, or some other totally unrelated thing.

          I believe the demand to ban DDT was built into all USAID contracts for many years. Perhaps a former USAID staffer can inform us definitively.

          One motivation for such language in the “deals” was that DDT was being sold over the 1counter in loose bag form – spooned out into a plastic shopping bag, and used with wild abandon by anyone and everyone with no concept as to dose or need or personal protection. All people know is, “It works – it kills every walking thing.”

          Pressure on South Africa was mounted to get them to stop using DDT – the claim by Griff that it was never banned is incorrect – it was done under the radar and in the press. So great was the pressure that eventually RSA succumbed and went through one summer season without it. So many people died they told the pressuring organisations to get stuffed and went back to using it. Why? It is safe and effective. Duh!

          The pressure not to control malaria properly (southern Mozambique used to be malaria-free) would not happen if it was endemic in Canada, or France, as it used to be. They are freaking out over two cases of measles. What do you think they would do if 50,000 people died per year from malaria? Watch from the porch?

          Does anyone remember a few years ago there was a single case of a tropical mosquito-borne disease in NY City? They sprayed so many chemicals in such profusion that it wiped out the crayfish and lobster population in the Hudson river – every living thing practically. It took many years to recover, and the river bed is still heavily contaminated. Why did they do that? Because they don’t what those diseases in their lives – environment be damned.

          The campaign against hydro power in Africa is beyond sick. It is a crime against humanity.

        • According to USAID DDT is used “safely and judiciously”

          Malaria has environmental dimensions as well. USAID employs strict environmental guidelines, approval processes and procedures for the use of DDT, a pesticide used on crops to kill mosquitoes and all other World Health Organization-approved insecticides, ensuring their safe and judicious use.
          USAID aims to provide global leadership in developing, implementing and …
          https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/global-health/cross-cutting-areas/environmental-health

          Have a look at https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1864/PMI%20Strategy%202015-2020.pdf
          page 9 and 15

          “Similarly, with the successful scaling up of ITNs and IRS, resistance to key insecticides, including pyrethroids and DDT, is now being identified from a growing number of malaria-affected countries . This has forced many countries to switch to more costly insecticides for IRS and has raised concerns about the possible decrease in effectiveness of ITNs .”

          “Most agree that failure of malaria eradication efforts of the 1960s and 1970s was primarily the result of the development and spread of resistance to chloroquine, the first-line treatment for malaria, and DDT, the primary insecticide used for IRS . Lack of alternative drugs and insecticides and failure to explore approaches to mitigate this resistance resulted in a resurgence of malaria, which ultimately led the international community to abandon its eradication efforts .”

          DDT is not effective due to prior use and developed resistance.
          I believe it is still used on mosquito nets as it deters even resistant mosquitos.

      • Standard egregious sideways B.S. from Griff.
        There is no evil that a Socialist can’t wave away by twisting facts to conform to the most ridiculously faulty political doctrine ever imagined.

      • This is a perfect example of lying while saying something that is technically true. You do, I hope know the truth, that all aid from the EU is predicated on not using DDT. Even if it is an unwritten rule, it is still the rule, and how the haves treat the have-nots. You should be ashamed of your statement. The US does not have malaria because we used DDT to eradicate the Anopheles mosquito. To our eternal shame, we do not extend that great blessing to others.

  3. The green blob hates people. If one remembers that one fact, many of their otherwise inexplicable beliefs become quasi -reasonable.

  4. Average farm worker in Uganda is paid ~$30/month
    https://africapay.org/uganda/salary/salary-check#/
    using electricity for cooking, refrigerating, light, water would be 2kWh.day (guess)
    At minimum US generating price $0.042 – Uganda $0.044
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing
    2*0.042*30=$2.5/month about 8% of income
    add to this the cost of electric white goods and connection fees.

    Are you certain this farmer would be able to afford this?

    • ghalfrunt ==> Unless one has been on the front lines of humanitarian efforts among the world’s profoundly poor, it is difficult to view these issues correctly. While my wife and I worked for an international humanitarian charity in the Dominican Republic, our then teen-aged youngest son attended an international high school there. His school arranged for their students to visit a “Haitian Batey” — lower than a slum, more like a depression era hobo camp — and do a video report. The experience change our son’s life — his comment to us “Did you know that these people have nothing? really NOTHING!” We did know, but it was news to him — his heart was changed.

      Of course, the profoundly poor will not be able to afford to pay for basic electricity — nor should they be expected to. Electrification of developing countries often requires that the government or the wealthier portions of society absorb the cost of supply basic electrical power in the beginning – as progress and development lift the economic status of the people, then they can be asked to pay for electricity.

    • How does the minimum generating price in the USA compare to the price from intermittent solar or wind, backed up by diesel generators? I suspect “green” electricity can’t come within spitting distance of that price. If families are freed from the need to scrounge twigs, branches and dung, might the farm not become more productive? If the family had light in the evening from LEDs using 10-20 watts for a few hours, might the children not be able to study more adequately, and earn better wages?

      In what universe does reliable, cheaper electricity not promote the growth of incomes and better living conditions?

      • Paul ==> The “solar panel and a single light bulb solution” is an effort to keep the poor poor. The profoundly poor aren’t poor because they don’t have a light bulb. . . . . and their children are not left behind because they don’t study in the evenings . . . they are left behind because their schools don’t have materials, better teachers, enough desks and chairs and paper and books and science labs…..and classroom with electric lighting.

        In the Dominican Republic, which is by far not the poorest nation, we did project after project supplying free basic supplies to schools….paper, pencils, rulers, chairs, desks , chalk — it is hard for children to learn to write when they have only one piece of paper per week.

        Safe clean drinking water — even a single village hand-pump well providing safe clean drinking water — often was the greatest need. With this, children would not be sick half the time.

        Economically, villages and towns with electrical power, even the intermittent kind found in the DR, were much more successful and productive — and the difference in standard of living between those with electricity and those without were both stark and enlightening.

        • Kip Hansen February 26, 2019 at 8:20 am
          Paul ==> The “solar panel and a single light bulb solution” is an effort to keep the poor poor. The profoundly poor aren’t poor because they don’t have a light bulb. . . . . and their children are not left behind because they don’t study in the evenings . . . they are left behind because their schools don’t have materials, better teachers, enough desks and chairs and paper and books and science labs…..and classroom with electric lighting.
          ————————-
          gh
          Better and more classroom materials and teachers are not a result of reliable high capacity electric grid
          ————————–
          kh
          In the Dominican Republic, which is by far not the poorest nation, we did project after project supplying free basic supplies to schools….paper, pencils, rulers, chairs, desks , chalk — it is hard for children to learn to write when they have only one piece of paper per week.
          Safe clean drinking water — even a single village hand-pump well providing safe clean drinking water — often was the greatest need. With this, children would not be sick half the time.
          ————————–
          GH
          none of this requires electricity – just more funds.

          • gh ==> Tell that to the school your kids (or grandkids or relatives kids) attend. Shut their power off for a week and see what happens.

            There are no funds for poor schools in poor countries — which is the same excuse for no electricity, by the way.

            Just for a moment, try to imagine yourself trying to get through your average week without electricity at all — no refrigerator, no lights at night, no HVAC, no fans, no computers, no internet, no TV, no……and the same at your place of work (if your professional could actually happen without electrical power).

            It does not surprise me when I hear people say the electrical-equivalent of “No bread? well, Let them eat cake!” — one really has to not only see it, but live it for a while before the reality sets in. I hope you get the chance someday — it will change your way of thinking.

          • Not directed at anyone specifically. Just a place to jump in.

            Meanwhile, back at the outhouse, things are piling up. As a frontline humanitarian worker in Africa, including Uganda and many other countries, for over 20-years, my observation is that your arguments fail to account for the continued globalist onslaught against sovereign natural resources, which perpetually usurp and undermine necessary “home grown” support for economic transformation of African Nations in general. I guess Socialist don’t believe Africans are a capable people?

          • Sean C ==> I am interested in which “arguments fail to account for the continued globalist onslaught against sovereign natural resources, which perpetually usurp and undermine necessary “home grown” support for economic transformation of African Nations in general.”

            When my wife and I spent 10 years doing humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic, all of our efforts and finances were expended on helping local organizations (all the way from a village group of concern mothers to national health and educational agencies) — helping existing, interested and dynamic local organizations help their people. One government minister once told us “What makes [your group] so different, and why I love working with you, is that you don’t come in and say “This is what we’re going to do for you!’ but rather, you say “How can we help you?”

      • Paul Stevens February 26, 2019 at 7:36 am
        If the family had light in the evening from LEDs using 10-20 watts for a few hours, might the children not be able to study more adequately, and earn better wages?
        —————
        totally agree – but this could be generated by localised battery storage and solar panels. 10 watts led lighting for 200 dwellings for 5 hours a day would need 10kWh – this is not a large installation. (it will not support cooking or other high power usage)

        One of the major barriers to electrification is the cost of a grid connection. A grid connection in Kenya, for instance, is estimated at USD $ 400 per household. This is nearly one-third of the average per capita income of a Kenyan.

        But the project was marred by cost overruns and inflated and misreported new connection numbers. On top of this, newly connected households often have very low consumption levels and low-income customers were often unable to make payments, even at subsidised rates.

        Pay-as-you-go solar systems and appliances, for example, can provide a much lower barrier to entry. Compared to the high upfront connection costs noted earlier in Kenya, a 15-watt solar home system costs on average USD $9 per month for 36 months after which point the household owns its system.
        http://theconversation.com/millions-of-urban-africans-still-dont-have-electricity-heres-what-can-be-done-92211

        Most thermal power stations (including micro-nuclear stations) require water to operate turbines, some require additional water for cooling – water is often not the most abundant resource.

        President Trump has also called for “America First” cutting funding for offshore projects. Self funding of expensive projects with little chance of even a return that covers construction costs is thus unlikely

    • Of course the farmer would be able to afford it. Abundant cheap power would lift the entire economy, including the farmer’s income. The reality is that the farmer can’t afford to go on living without it.

    • Our farmers could not afford it either. You don’t realize it but all urbanites are subsidizing the electric bills of farmers. If we didn’t, our food would be a LOT more expensive.

  5. “Calls for us to live ‘sustainably,’ use wind and solar and biofuel power, and never use fossil fuels, are a demand that we accept prolonged starvation and death in our poor countries,”

    Eugenics by any other name smells just the same.

  6. The logic goes like this: We are already raping the planet. We cannot sustain our wasteful and greedy pillaging of the planet’s resources. If the poor people of the Earth achieve first world living standards, then the depletion of the planet’s resources will be all the faster. It is our duty to prevent the poor from achieving first world living standards. example

    You won’t get the greenies to say something like the above, but they act like that’s what they believe.

  7. OT:

    Scientists Present New Artifact Evidence From An Arctic Island That Was 5-6°C Warmer 9000 Years Ago

    “ … Even though today’s CO2 concentrations have eclipsed 410 ppm, Zhokhov’s summer temperatures may reach just 1° or 2° C above freezing during its warmest month (July). The island is surrounded by a sea of pack ice year-round, even in summer. During the Early Holocene, Zhokhov Island was open-seas accessible. It was teeming with waterfowl species that require 100+ days above freezing to breed successfully. Non-freezing days may reach only 60 per year today (Makeyev et al., 2003). Zhokhov Island’s terrain was overlain with birch trees. The northern limit for birch is today 600 km farther south (Makeyev et al., 2003). … “

    http://notrickszone.com/2019/02/25/scientists-present-new-artifact-evidence-from-an-arctic-island-that-was-5-6c-warmer-9000-years-ago/

    5 to 6 degrees centigrade … warmer than now …

    • Yes, and every so called “AGW threatened” species was alive back in those warmer times. MOST of the Holocene was warmer than now.

      But now days “researchers” can get funds to study how a little warming will threaten some species that the researchers SHOULD KNOW already survived a warmer climate.

      If they can massage the data properly, they can get their studies reviewed and published…and become YET ANOTHER STUDY THAT SUPPORTS AGW.

      • So much for, “unprecedented warming”, and “warmest evah”, and “record temperatures”.

        Looks like BOM needs to keep ‘cooling’ the past.

        i.e. Anthrophobocene Klimutechange.

  8. Lefties don’t care about consigning a few million impoverished people to horrible premature deaths.

    They’ve done it before with DDT…they will do it again on a far grander scale with AGW if they get their way.

    Lefties (Democrats) are doing something similar here today with illegal immigration. Annually, tens of thoussnds of migrating girls and women are raped and abused, and children die en route and are sold into slavery due the the “attraction into danger” that illegal immigration is.

    The left doesn’t care…just more collateral damage (to others) on their Grand March to Centralized Power…centralized power in their hands.

    Pure evil…that most of our major institutions are participating in and actively promoting:

    Media (MSM daily propaganda)
    Law (legislating from the bench)
    Academia (they subsist on public monies – home of the left)
    Science (regrettably)
    Government (esp. entrenched dark state)
    Crony Capitalists (business on the receiving end of public funding)

    We have truth on our side. I hope it is enough.

      • According to SJW’s in the USA our society is rife with racism, sexual exploitation, and violence against people of color and women. This is not a safe destination for the women of Guatemala.

        • Indeed, if one was to believe the SJW view of America, those Guatemalan women would be better off staying in Guatemala, of if they do flee they should flee to some Muslim country, SJWs seem to think Muslim’s can do no wrong.

      • In the Socialist countries like Zimbabwe and Venezuela and N. Korea, women don’t need domestic abuse as a reason to flee. Do they Griff?

        • Nor do they from the dictatorship of Eritrea or the religious dictatorship of Iran or the regions plagued by Islamic terrorism in Nigeria, Syria and Iraq.

          But specifically the question raised was rape and abuse of women from Central and south america… and it is plain that they see a horrific incidence of female directed violence, which is nothing like that in the USA.

          for all its faults and problems, the USA remains a shining example of democracy, prosperity and tolerance to the world (if not what it was in the past).

      • I would probably flee Guatemala if I lived there.

        To be deemed a refugee, one must demonstrate that one is in danger in one’s own country and the local government is unwilling or unable to provide protection. One must also demonstrate that one is in danger for one of five reasons: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. link In other words, just because your country is dangerous, you don’t necessarily get to claim refugee status if you are in the same boat as the rest of the population.

        If one lives in a safe country which normally doesn’t produce refugees, one needs to identify with a persecuted group to gain refugee status. If one lives in Jamaica, where homosexuality is illegal, one could claim to be homosexual. link

        How many refugees get away with fake claims? Some. How many refugees are unjustly denied refugee status? Some. I have no idea of the real numbers and I bet nobody else does either. It does seem obvious though that there is a strong temptation for some folks to falsely claim refugee status.

  9. Socialism has created poverty, dependency, and severely limited personal freedoms everywhere it’s been implemented. We have scientific proof that it doesn’t work to make societies prosperous or free.

    Despite such a dismal track record it sells to the poor who see a way up, the uniformed, and those who seek to benefit from administering the programs.

    Our opponents have chosen climate as the battle ground. Now that they’ve made the connection obvious in the USA we have the opportunity to beat them down. As we have before. Living in an echo chamber they have made a great mistake. I believe that the tide has really.

  10. Does anyone seriously expect me to believe eco-colonialism was the reason China became an industrial nation later than Western nations did? How about its old strong traditions, lack of trade with the West, and Communism? How much colonialism happened in China since a significant Western environmentalist movement started after China’s Communist revolution?

    • No Donald. China was later joining the modern nations because the western nations used military force and occupation of treaty ports to impose trade on their terms, disabling efforts to modernise and force Opium on the Chinese population. This eventually came to an end and after WW2 China was not going to accept any more impositions from the West, which fortunately for them meant they viewed eco-imperialism in the same way as being forced to accept opium – an entirely valid and just comparison.

      • Bad timing mostly.

        Chinese history is often described in terms of Dynastic Cycles.

        It has 3 main phases:
        The first is the beginning of the dynasty.
        The second is at the middle of the dynasty’s life and is the peak of the dynasty.
        The last period is the decline of the dynasty, both politically and economically, until it finally collapses.

        When the gunboats arrived, China was in a weak phase.

        The other problem was a huge balance of payments problem for the British. That led the British to push opium on the Chinese. link

        There was also a series of rebellions in the 1800s and early 1900s. link

        China was a mess. I would argue that the Japanese handled the western problem better. It became obvious when Japan handed Russia a serious licking. link

    • David Harris ==> “A study published last year by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene showed that malaria is still the major cause of death in Uganda with approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Ugandans dying each year from the disease.” source

      The Ugandan government does, in fact, claim a number 1/10th of that.

      Health statistics are hard to pin down in parts if the world where organized medicine is still a dream.

  11. Eco-colonialism. I like that. It conveys both the inherent evil of denying others the development that the colonialists take for granted and the profound backwardness of the eco loons.

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