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Shakir essa is digital media publisher and PR consultant who is currently consulting at Media allAfrica news, as a radio producer, media relations trainer and digital journalism trainer. He also works as a volunteer youth mentor and freelance …

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DNA Evidence Reportedly Proves Ilhan Omar married her brother

Is this the proof that Ilhan Omar married her own brother to bypass US immigration rules? DNA test from ‘congresswoman’s cigarette butt’ purports to show 99.99% match to her second husband Ahmed Elmi  By Martin Gould In Washington, D.c.

Elmi and Omar married on February 12, 2009 at a Hennepin County office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, southwest of Minneapolis, their license shows. The marriage was conducted by a Christian minister
Elmi and Omar married on February 12, 2009 at a Hennepin County office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, southwest of Minneapolis, their license shows. The marriage was conducted by a Christian minister

A supposed DNA match between Rep. Ilhan Omar and her second husband Ahmed Elmi allegedly proves that the two are siblings.

The match says that Omar’s DNA was taken from a cigarette butt, while Elmi’s purportedly came from a drinking straw. Omar has never before been known to be a smoker, however, she was seen in a grainy picture with a cigarette in her mouth

Is this the proof that Ilhan Omar married her own brother to bypass US immigration rules? DNA test from ‘congresswoman’s cigarette butt’ purports to show 99.99% match to her second husband Ahmed Elmi  By Martin Gould In Washington, D.c.

EXCLUSIVE: Is this the proof that Ilhan Omar married her own brother to bypass US immigration rules? Conservative group’s DNA test from ‘congresswoman’s cigarette butt’ purports to show 99.99% match to her second husband Ahmed Elmi

Ilhan Omar, her both husband and brother in same family photo

A supposed DNA match between Rep. Ilhan Omar and her second husband Ahmed Elmi allegedly proves that the two are siblings  It has long been rumored that Omar and Elmi are siblings, but because of a lack of paperwork in war-torn Somalia, positive proof has never been uncovered  The match says that Omar’s DNA was taken from a cigarette butt, while Elmi’s DNA purportedly came from a drinking straw

Although Omar is not known to be a smoker, a grainy photo appears to show her smoking outside of her Washington, DC home    Republican strategist Anton Lazzaro posted the results hours before he was arrested and charged with trafficking underage girls for sex  Omar’s spokesperson is already discrediting the report due to Lazzaro’s involvement  A shadowy Republican group is behind the surreptitious sleuthing and claims this finally proves the two are siblings

Squad’ congresswoman Ilhan Omar told friends years ago that the man who went on to become her second husband was in fact her brother, DailyMail.com can confirm. And now for the first time one of those friends has come forward to reveal exactly how Omar and Ahmed Elmi scandalized Minneapolis’s large Somali community – while she was still married to her first husband Ahmed Hirsi (pictured together

Persistent claims that leftist congresswoman Ilhan Omar married her own brother to get around US immigration laws may be legitimized by what appears to be a conclusive DNA test. The results of the test assert that there is a 99.999998% chance that Omar and her second husband Ahmed Elmi are siblings. ADVERTISEMENT The report, drawn up by Endeavor DNA Laboratories does not name either Omar or Elmi, instead referring to them as ‘Sibling 1’ and ‘Sibling 2.’ DailyMail.com understands that Omar is Sibling 1.

It says that Sibling 1’s sample was garnered from a cigarette butt and Sibling 2’s from a drinking straw. Omar has never before been known publicly to be a smoker, although her third husband Tim Mynett is.

However, a grainy picture of her with a cigarette in her mouth, said to have been taken outside her home in Washington, D.C. appears as part of the evidence gathered in an intensive investigation by a shadowy conservative group.

A supposed DNA match between Rep. Ilhan Omar and her second husband Ahmed Elmi allegedly proves that the two are siblings.

The match says that Omar’s DNA was taken from a cigarette butt, while Elmi’s purportedly came from a drinking straw. Omar has never before been known to be a smoker, however, she was seen in a grainy picture with a cigarette in her mouthIt has long been rumored that Omar and Elmi are siblings, but because of a lack of paperwork in war-torn Somalia, positive proof has never been uncoveredIt has long been rumored that Omar and Elmi (pictured) are siblings, but because of a lack of paperwork in war-torn Somalia, positive proof has never been uncovered

The test was posted online by Anton Lazzaro, a Republican strategist in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Around 12 hours later Lazzaro was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges. He is now in custody awaiting a hearing on Monday. Lazarro’s lawyer Zachary Newland could not immediately be reached as he was on a flight. However he confirmed by email that the website was put up by his client. Omar’s spokesman Jeremy Slevin threw shade on the report.

‘This is a fraudulent website created by a man charged this week with child sex trafficking and lying to federal investigators to cover it up,’ he said in a statement.

The supposed DNA match between the two was posted on Republican strategist Anton Lazzaro’s (pictured) Facebook page and Twitter feed just before he was arrested and charged with trafficking underage girls for sex Endeavor, which is based in El Paso, Texas did not return a call for comment. The company charges $189 for a siblingship test.  

DailyMail.com understands that a shadowy Republican group was planning to release details of a DNA report in the next day or two. It is not known what relationship Lazarro, 30, has to that group.

Its work could have been undermined by Lazarro as it gives Minnesota congresswoman Omar, 38, an opportunity to try to discredit the information as coming from a tainted source. Lazzaro’s website says that the group garnered a DNA sample from Elmi’s straw in Leicester, England as part of a two-year investigation.

He has recently been living in both Kenya and on the east African island of Zanzibar. The test result appears to show that some of the DNA matches are exact while others are close.

The group behind the surreptitious sleuthing claims this proves the two are siblings. Claims that Omar and Elmi, 36, are siblings have been rampant for years. The allegation is that they married so Elmi, a British citizen could go to school in the United States.

Omar’s her brother and also her second husband posted a selfie on Instagram yesterday just before Trump spoke showing off the trending FaceApp face editor and comparing himself to Angelina Jolie

He followed Omar to North Dakota State University. Lazzaros’ website says: ‘Rep. Omar was a U.S. Citizen for a decade and her brother/ex-husband Mr. Elmi was a UK Citizen. ‘

This is purely a crime of convenience, by an individual with extremely poor ethics now representing hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans in Congress. There was absolutely no threat to these individuals causing them to commit multiple felonies while living in the two wealthiest countries in the world seeking reduced tuition at a public University.

Omar, who was first elected to Congress in 2018, has never fully addressed the question of whether she is related to Elmi. While serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives she did issue a press release in which she called the allegations ‘absurd and offensive.’

A social media post from Omar’s second husband taken in New York in 2017 purporting to be at the Trump Tower

In her memoir, This Is What America Looks Like, published last year, she claims she hardly knew him when they married, saying: ‘I had a Britney Spears-style meltdown, I not only eloped with a man — whom I spent so little time with that I wouldn’t even make him a footnote in my story if it weren’t for the fact that this event turned into the main headline later on — but I shaved my head. ‘Yes, like the beleaguered pop star, who shaved her head in 2007, I took clippers to my own head. Too many headaches, too little sleep — I had to flee myself, my relationships, my hair.

‘The difference between Britney and me is that I wore a hijab, so nobody knew what I had done — except my children who were very surprised. ”Mommy looks like me,” Adnan (her young son) declared.

And he was right, I did look like a little boy.’ She didn’t even name Elmi in her memoir. Although Ilhan Omar is not known to be a smoker, Elmi has been seen smoking along with her current husband Tim MynettAlthough Ilhan Omar is not known to be a smoker, Elmi has been seen smoking along with her current husband Tim MynettOmar was married to Ahmed Hirsi — who she later remarried.

They have since divorced and in March 2020 she married Mynett, her chief fundraiser But others have long claimed that she married him so he could go to school in the United States. She had come to America as a refugee fleeing war in her native Somalia, but he had taken up British nationality. He followed her to North Dakota State University, after their marriage in 2009.

A Christian minister performed the ceremony despite the fact that both are Muslim. Somali blogger Abdihakim Osman Nur told DailyMail.com in February last year that he had known Omar growing up and suddenly her brother arrived in Minneapolis. At the time Omar was married to Ahmed Hirsi — who she later remarried.

They have since divorced and in March 2020 she married Mynett, her chief fundraiser. ‘No one knew there had been a wedding until the media turned up the marriage certificate years later,’ Nur said, about the Elmi-Omar marriage. ‘People began noticing that Ilhan and Southside were often with a very effeminate young guy,’ Osman said, referring to Hirsi by his nickname. ‘He was very feminine in the way he dressed — he would wear light lipstick and pink clothes and very, very, short shorts in the summer.

Ilhan Omar and her Husband brother

People started whispering about him, added Nur, who spoke in Somali through an interpreter. ‘Southside and Ilhan both told me it was Ilhan’s brother and he had been living in London but he was mixing with what were seen as bad influences that the family did not like,’ added Nur. ‘So they sent him to Minneapolis as ”rehab”.’ Nur said that Omar kept her marriage to Elmi quiet, with no one from the Somali community invited to the wedding that was held at a county office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

He explained: ‘When Southside and Ilhan got married, a lot of people were invited. It was a big Islamic wedding uniting two large clans in the Minneapolis community. ‘I would say there were 100-150 people there.’ But he said: ‘When she married Elmi, no one even knew about it.’ Nur said he believed Elmi and Omar sought out someone outside the Somali community to conduct the ceremony because an imam would have known they were related and would have refused to marry them. Elmi and Omar married on February 12, 2009 at a Hennepin County office in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, southwest of Minneapolis, their license shows. 

The marriage was conducted by a Christian ministerIn the late 2000s Elmi (pictured) appeared in Minneapolis, said Somali blogger Abdihakim Osman. ‘People began noticing that Ilhan and [Hirsi] were often with a very effeminate young guy. He was very feminine in the way he dressed — he would wear light lipstick and pink clothes and very short shorts in the summer. People started whispering about him. [Hirsi] and Ilhan told me it was Ilhan’s brother’ The marriage was conducted by Christian minister Wilecia Harris.

When DailyMail.com approached her in 2019 she would not discuss the ceremony or why a Muslim couple would have asked her to marry them. In a Facebook message, Harris’s husband Marcus told DailyMail.com: ‘My wife doesn’t want to be involved or interviewed about Congresswoman Omar.’ ‘It’s not going to happen, not now and not never.’ Lazzaro’s arrest could complicate the latest attempts to prove the congresswoman may have broken federal immigration laws. According to a press release from the Department of Justice in Minnesota, Lazzaro ‘conspired with others to recruit and solicit six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts.

‘ ‘The indictment charges Lazzaro with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, five counts of sex trafficking of minors, one count of attempted sex trafficking of a minor, and three counts of obstruction.’ He is being held in federal custody until a hearing on Monday. Lazzaro, who has appeared on Fox News and other conservative media outlets has posted pictures of himself posing with former president Donald Trump, former vice-president Mike Pence and other leading Republicans.

According to the Daily Beast, which broke the story of his arrest, the FBI had raided Lazzaro’s luxury apartment in the Hotel Ivy Residences in downtown Minneapolis in December last year.

‘The indictment accuses Lazzaro of having ‘recruited’ at least five underage victims for paid sex between May and December last year, and trying to entice a sixth. It also says he ‘knowingly and intentionally interfered’ with the investigation as it closed in on him,’ the Daily Beast reported. The outlet said law enforcement served the condo building’s management company with a search warrant seeking Lazzaro’s bank records and video surveillance footage a week before the raid.

At the time, Lazzaro told the Daily Beast: someone had ‘made a false allegation against me,’ and he said the matter was ‘almost resolved.’

Author: Shakir Essa

Blogger and News Editor

How the Universe is Way Bigger Than You THINK?

If we could travel outside our galaxy and look back, this is what our Milky Way Galaxy might look like from above. An artist created this illustration using data collected by astronomers.

Did you know that our star, the Sun, is just one of hundreds of billions of stars swirling within an enormous cosmic place called the Milky Way Galaxy? 

Our Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Within it, there are at least 100 billion stars, and on average, each star has at least one planet orbiting it. ... Our Sun is one of at least 100
Without a telescope , we can see about 6,000 stars from Earth. That may seem like a lot of stars, but it’s actually only a small part of the whole. If you think of the entire galaxy as a giant pizza, all the stars you can see from Earth fall within about one pepperoni on that pizza. In fact, for every star you can see, there are more than 20 million you cannot see. Most of the stars are too faint, too far away or blocked by clouds of cosmic dust.

Our Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Within it, there are at least 100 billion stars, and on average, each star has at least one planet orbiting it. … Our Sun is one of at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way

The Universe is everything we can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. It includes living things, planets, stars, galaxies, dust clouds, light, and even time. Before the birth of the Universe, time, space and matter did not exist.

This is what the Milky Way Galaxy looks like from Earth. Have you seen it in the night sky?
Our Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Within it, there are at least 100 billion stars, and on average, each star has at least one planet orbiting it. … Our Sun is one of at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way

The Universe contains billions of galaxies, each containing millions or billions of stars. The space between the stars and galaxies is largely empty. However, even places far from stars and planets contain scattered particles of dust or a few hydrogen atoms per cubic centimeter. Space is also filled with radiation (e.g. light and heat), magnetic fields and high energy particles (e.g. cosmic rays).

The Universe is incredibly huge. It would take a modern jet fighter more than a million years to reach the nearest star to the Sun. Travelling at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take 100,000 years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone.

Without a telescope , we can see about 6,000 stars from Earth. That may seem like a lot of stars, but it’s actually only a small part of the whole. If you think of the entire galaxy as a giant pizza, all the stars you can see from Earth fall within about one pepperoni on that pizza. In fact, for every star you can see, there are more than 20 million you cannot see. Most of the stars are too faint, too far away or blocked by clouds of cosmic dust.

No one knows the exact size of the Universe, because we cannot see the edge – if there is one. All we do know is that the visible Universe is at least 93 billion light years across. (A light year is the distance light travels in one year – about 9 trillion km.)

The Universe has not always been the same size. Scientists believe it began in a Big Bang, which took place nearly 14 billion years ago. Since then, the Universe has been expanding outward at very high speed. So the area of space we now see is billions of times bigger than it was when the Universe was very young. The galaxies are also moving further apart as the space between them expands.

The Milky Way is a huge collection of stars, dust and gas. It’s called a spiral galaxy because if you could view it from the top or bottom, it would look like a spinning pinwheel. The Sun is located on one of the spiral arms, about 25,000 light-years away from the center of the galaxy. Even if you could travel at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers, or 186,000 miles, per second), it would take you about 25,000 years to reach the middle of the Milky Way.
All the individual stars we see in the night sky are in our galaxy – the Milky Way.

The universe is far bigger than we could have imagine

  • The Milky Way is a huge collection of stars, dust and gas. It’s called a spiral galaxy because if you could view it from the top or bottom, it would look like a spinning pinwheel. The Sun is located on one of the spiral arms, about 25,000 light-years away from the center of the galaxy. Even if you could travel at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers, or 186,000 miles, per second), it would take you about 25,000 years to reach the middle of the Milky Way.

Author: Shakir Essa

More than 350,000 suffering from famine conditions in Ethiopia’s Tigray, says UN

More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are suffering famine conditions, with millions more at risk, according to an analysis by UN agencies and aid groups that blamed conflict for the worst food crisis in a decade.“There is famine now in Tigray,” the UN aid chief, Mark Lowcock, said on Thursday after the release of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.“The number of people in famine conditions … is higher than anywhere in the world, at any moment since a quarter million Somalis lost their lives in 2011,” Lowcock said.

Most of the 5.5 million people in Tigray need food aid. Fighting broke out in the region in November between government troops and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The violence has killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 2 million from their homes in the mountainous region.Ethiopia rejects calls for ceasefire in Tigray, claiming victory is nearThe most extreme warning by the IPC – a scale used by UN agencies, regional bodies and aid groups to determine food insecurity – is phase 5, which starts with a catastrophe warning and rises to a declaration of famine in a region.The IPC said more than 350,000 people in Tigray are in phase 5 catastrophe.

This means households are experiencing famine conditions, but less than 20% of the population is affected and deaths and malnutrition have not reached famine thresholds.“This severe crisis results from the cascading effects of conflict, including population displacements, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets,” the IPC analysis found.For famine to be declared, at least 20% of the population must be suffering extreme food shortages, with one in three children acutely malnourished and two people out of every 10,000 dying daily from starvation or from malnutrition and disease.“If the conflict further escalates or, for any other reason, humanitarian assistance is hampered, most areas of Tigray will be at risk of famine,” according to the IPC, which added that even if aid deliveries are stepped up, the situation is expected to worsen through September.

The Ethiopian government disputed the IPC analysis, saying food shortages are not severe and aid is being delivered.Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told a news conference on Thursday that the government was providing food aid and help to farmers in Tigray.“They [diplomats] are comparing it with the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia,” he said. “That is not going to happen.”Mituku Kassa, the head of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee, said on Wednesday: “We don’t have any food shortage.”The Nobel committee should resign over the atrocities in TigrayBut the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said a humanitarian nightmare was unfolding.“This is not the kind of disaster that can be reversed,” she said. Referring to a previous famine in Ethiopia that killed more than 1 million people, she said: “We cannot make the same mistake twice. We cannot let Ethiopia starve.

We have to act now.”The World Food Programme executive director, David Beasley, said that to stop hunger from killing millions of people in Tigray, there needed to be a ceasefire, unimpeded aid access and more money to expand aid operations.According to notes of a meeting of UN agencies on Monday, the IPC analysis could be worse as “they did not include those in Amhara-controlled areas” in western Tigray.

Author: @shakiressa

What is Signal? The basics of the most secure messaging app.

Existing Signal users might be getting more notifications than usual. “Jack is on Signal,” “Cathy is on Signal,” “Miriam is on Signal,” all pings showing phone contacts who are joining the secure messaging app.

Those pings reflect the fact that there’s been an influx of new users. Known for its end-to-end encryption and independent structure as a non-profit organization run by a foundation — not a big tech company — Signal has previously been the communication method of choice for activists, people in the hacker community, and others concerned about privacy.

Recently, it’s gone mainstream.

Recently, Facebook-owned WhatsApp — which is end-to-end encrypted using Signal’s protocols — began issuing a privacy update notification to users making clear that it is sharing user data with Facebook (which it has actually been doing for years). That’s led people to look elsewhere for a secure communications app, helped along by Elon Musk’s Jan. 7 tweet which simply stated: “Use Signal.” 

Over the past three years, Signal has also been investing in more infrastructure and features to support its users. That’s a good thing: Signal first saw an increase in users in the spring as people participating in anti-racist protests around the killing of George Floyd realized how closely law enforcement was surveilling them and asking companies to hand over user data. It’s only become more popular since then. As of this writing, Signal is at the top of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and its two-factor authentication onboarding system even got briefly delayed Thursday because so many people were trying to sign up.

So, thinking about joining Signal? Bottom line: If you care about privacy, it’s a good idea. Here’s what you need to know.

OK, so what is Signal?

Signal is a free, privacy-focused messaging and voice talk app you can use on Apple and Android smartphones and via desktop. All you need is a phone number to join. You can text or make voice or video calls with friends, either one-on-one or in groups, and use emoji reactions or stickers just like in other apps. But there’s one big difference: Signal is actually really private.

Is the Signal app secure?

Communications on Signal are end-to-end encrypted, which means only the people in messages can see the content of those messages — not even the company itself. Even sticker packs get their own special encryption

Signal created the encryption protocol (basically, the technical way you implement this) that other companies including WhatsApp and Skype use. Plainly put, it is the gold standard of privacy. 

Is Signal really private?

Yes — and that privacy goes beyond the fact that the content of your messages is encrypted. You can set messages to disappear after certain customizable time frames. Plus, Signal collects virtually no data on its users. The only information you give the app is your phone number, and the company is even working on a way to decouple that from using Signal by making encrypted contact servers. If the police come knocking to Signal for data on its users, it says, truthfully, that it has no data to hand over.https://d

Part of the reason it collects no data is because Signal is a non-profit organization, not a for-profit company. It has no advertising, so no incentive to track users. Instead, it’s funded by grants and private investors — one of whom had a huge personal interest in making a privacy-oriented platform. Though a small group of privacy activists created Signal in 2013, it has grown in recent years. In 2018, WhatsApp founder Brian Acton donated $50 million to create the Signal Foundation, which now runs Signal. Acton got on board with the mission to make a truly private messaging service after Facebook acquired WhatsApp and Acton reportedly left the company amid clashes with Facebook over how it was eroding WhatsApp’s privacy.

Signal vs. WhatsApp (and other messaging apps).

Both Signal and WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted using the same technology. That means the content of the messages you send and calls you have are both private. However, Facebook collects lots of other information in the form of usage statistics, metadata, and more. And there’s no longer a way to opt out. https://d-29504138532505392658.ampproject.net/2012232217000/frame.html

Signal does not have as many fancy customization features as WhatsApp, like backgrounds. But when it comes to true privacy, there is no comparison. 

You can see a full list of alternatives to Facebook-owned messaging services here.

Another app rising in popularity is Telegram. Telegram says it’s also all about privacy, but it actually has plenty of downsides. Messages on Telegram are not truly end-to-end encrypted by default. Plus, the fact that private groups are unlimited in size, can be joined via a link, and are explicitly not moderated has made it a hotbed for toxic and illegal content, like terrorism and revenge porn (also known as non-consensual pornography). Signal does not moderate content either, but it limits groups to 1,000, and is more about communicating with people who are actual contacts than joining groups of strangers like on WhatsApp and Telegram.

Shakir Essa

Hot to be a DICTATOR? 7 Steps to Becoming a Dictator

7 Steps to Becoming a Dictator

manual for strengthening your power position as elected leader.

January 7 2021

(Shakiressa.com) As a democratically elected leader, getting absolute power is no easy feat. Just look at Hitler, or more recently, at Zimbabwe’s Mugabe, Russia’s Putin, or Turkey’s Erdogan. Here are some helpful tips for a prolonged iron rule.

photo: how to be a dictator

1. Expand your power base through nepotism and corruption.

This is not just a tactic adopted in third world countries. Scandals like Bridgegate, Koreagate, Monicagate and Watergate demonstrate that the powerful will always find ways to abuse their privileges. Be warned, though: You will eventually be rumbled, so corruption tends to work only in the short term.article continues after

The lesson: Make sure to surround yourself with loyal kin who you can trust to do what’s best for you and your family.   

Photo:How to be a dictator like urdogan

2. Instigate a monopoly on the use of force to curb public protest.

Dictators cannot survive for long without disarming the people and buttering up the military. Former dictators such as Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Mobutu Sese Seko of the Congo, and Idi Amin of Uganda were high-ranked army officers who co-opted the military in order to overthrow democracies in favour of dictatorships. Yet democracies are not always more popular than dictatorships. In reality, people prefer dictatorships if the alternative is chaos. This explains the nostalgia for rulers like Stalin and Mao, who were mass murderers but who provided social order. One retired middle-ranking official in Beijing told the Asia Times: “I earned less than 100 yuan a month in Mao’s time. I could barely save each month but I never worried about anything. My work unit would take care of everything for me: housing, medical care, and my children’s education, though there were no luxuries…Now I receive 3,000 yuan as a [monthly] pension, but I have to count every penny—everything is so expensive and no one will take care of me now if I fall ill.”

Indeed, when given the choice in an experiment, people will desert an unstructured group (analogous to an anything-goes society) and seek the order of a “punishing regime,” which has the authority to identify and reprimand cheats. This lawlessness can be seen in hunter-gatherer tribes, too. When anthropologists visited a New Guinea tribe, they found that a third of males suffered a violent death.  

7 Steps to Becoming a Dictator

The lesson: Any aspiring dictator who restores order, even through coercion, is likely to earn the gratitude of his people.

3. Curry favour by providing public goods efficiently and generously.

Benevolent dictatorship was practised by Lee Kuan Yew, prime minister of Singapore for 31 years. Lee believed that ordinary people could not be entrusted with power because it would corrupt them, and that economics was the major stabilizing force in society. To this end, he effectively eliminated all opposition by using his constitutional powers to detain suspects without trial for two years without the right of appeal. To implement his economic policies, Lee allowed only one political party, one newspaper, one trade union movement, and one language.article continues after advertisementhttps://93192547278b31c4b30b0c0af0b9a441.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

Socially, Lee encouraged people to uphold the family system, discipline their children, be more courteous, and avoid pornography. As well as setting up a government dating service for single graduates, he urged people to take better aim in public toilets and handed out hefty fines for littering. Singaporeans tolerated these restrictions on their freedom because they valued their economic security more. On this point, Lee did not disappoint, turning Singapore into one of the world’s wealthiest countries (per capita).

The lesson: Restore the economy and develop large infrastructural projects that create a lot of jobs; it will strengthen your power base.  

4. Get rid of your political enemies…

…or, more cleverly, embrace them in the hope that the bear hug will neutralize them. Zimbabwe’s former dictator Mugabe abandoned the unpopular practice of murdering political rivals and instead bribed them, with political office, for their support. Idi Amin, who came to power in Uganda after a military coup, stuck with the murderous route: During his eight years at the top, he is estimated to have killed between 80,000 and 300,000 people. His victims included cabinet ministers, judicial figures, bankers, intellectuals, journalists, and a former prime minister. At the lower end of the scale, that’s a hit rate of 27 executions a day.

The lesson: Keep your political enemies close to you.

5. Create and defeat a common enemy.

By facing down Nazi Germany, Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt, and Stalin sealed their reputations as great leaders. Legendary warlords such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon were military geniuses who expanded their countries’ territories through invading their neighbours. Dictatorships feed on wars and other external threats because these justify their existence—swift military action requires a central command-and-control structure

2011 arab spring dictators Bashar al-Assad, Hosni Mubarak, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Muammar Gaddafi

More than half of 20th-century rulers engaged in battles at some point during their reign, either as aggressors or defenders. Among dictators, the proportion rises to 88 per cent. Democratic rulers find this tactic more difficult to adopt because most wars are unpopular with voters. To attract support, the ruler must be perceived as a defender, not a warmonger. The former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher received a lucky boost to her popularity after Argentina, a military dwarf, invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands; she triumphed over her Argentine enemies. Another former British PM, Tony Blair, was not so lucky. Although the 9/11 attacks did much to strengthen his government, his decision to attack Iraq (ostensibly to defend Britain from a long-range missile attack) sullied his legacy.

The lesson: Start a war when your position as leader becomes insecure. Having generals in top political posts will certainly help.

6. Accumulate power by manipulating the hearts and minds of your citizens.

One of the first actions of any aspiring dictator should be to control the free flow of information, because it plugs a potential channel of criticism. Turn the media into a propaganda machine for your regime like Hitler did and Erdogan does now. Other leaders, such as Myanmar’s ruling junta, shut down media outlets completely. Democratically elected leaders are somewhat more restrained, but if they have enough powers, they can rig an election or do away with meddlesome journalists (like Vladimir Putin’s Russia) or, if money is no object, build their own media empire.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owned nearly half the Italian media, encompassing national television channels, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Unsurprisingly, these outlets carefully managed Berlusconi’s public image and shielded him from criticism. Aspiring dictators should note that muzzling the media is most effective in an ordered society: A 2007 poll of more than 11,000 people in 14 countries, on behalf of the BBC, found that 40 per cent of respondents across countries from India to Finland thought social harmony was more important than press freedom

The lesson: Control the media or, even better, own the media. It’s as simple as that.

7. Create an ideology to justify an exalted position.

Throughout history, leaders have used—or in some cases invented—an ideology to legitimize their power. In the original chiefdoms like Hawaii, the chiefs were both political leaders and priests, who claimed to be communicating with the gods in order to bring about a generous harvest. Conveniently, this ideology often passed as an explanation of why the chief should occupy the role for life, and why the post should pass to the chief’s descendants. Accordingly, these chiefdoms spent much time and effort building temples and other religious institutions, to give a formal structure to the chief’s power.

Henry VIII of England started his own religion when the Pope refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He created the Church of England, appointed himself Supreme Head and granted his own annulment. Other ideologies include personality cults such as Mao-ism or Stalinism; some serve to unite a nation divided by ethnicity, religion or language.

Shakir Essa @shakiressa

Impact of Social Media on Political Mobilization in East and West Africa

Africa needs journalism that innovates and supports innovation in a modernizing continent, he says, one that not only grows, but promotes growth and the development of society. It needs journalism that not only generates the ideas that are the engine of social transformation, but also moderates the debates that emerge from these societal changes.

Digital media and journalism as a sector is evolving, and there are plenty of job opportunities in the field. However, Aspiring journalists have to build their experience and gather certain skill sets to thrive in the industry, said: shakir essa ( shakir is a somali digital media and journalist news publisher at allafrica

Somalia specialist Peter Chonka, for example, argues that the blurring of public and private boundaries inherent in the country’s social media environment can be disruptive. It has resulted in a lack of coherence in political communication by state actors

If you’re interested in starting (or growing) a career as a media in east africa, then you have a lot to learn from shakir essa

Shakir started his career in journalism as an intern at the allAfrica news website and quickly scaled through his career as a journalist, amplifying African voices and stories.

Shakir Essa on, July 6th,2016 for a 30-minute Facebook Live session where he’ll be discussing journalism ans digital media as a profitable career choice, and the skills aspiring journalists need to acquire.https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD

Register for this Facebook Live below and ask shakir all your pressing questions.

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Some of the topics we’ll cover:

How to make it as a digital and journalist

Media career choices for young people in East Africa specialy somalia

Moving from employment to entrepreneurship

Personal PR: Social media etiquette and how it impacts your professionalism

Why young Africans should demand quality content from media outlets (African advocates of public interest journalism)

Facebook Live Details: shakir essa2018  facebook live 

About shakir essa

Shakir essa is digital media publisher and PR consultant who is currently consulting at Media allAfrica news, as a radio producer, media relations trainer and digital journalism trainer. He also works as a volunteer youth mentor and freelance journalist.about:blankREPORT THIS AD

Shakir Essa served as an Editor at allafrica news media and somali news tvs

Latest years shakir had a successful career at one of the africa leading international news sites and radio, the ALLAFRICA.

While working for AllAfrica,  he works as trucking industries on Amazon prime in USA

Also he led several productions including creating digital content for younger audiences and news coverage of somali politics

In June 2016, he took one of the lead roles in setting up somalia and the breakaway region somaliland 

For live broadcasting on social media His work helped direct the day to day running of the live broadcasting and training journalists on storytelling and social media skills.

Shakir Essa served as editor at allafrica news media and somali news tvs

WORLDREMIT The global market is estimated at $700bn a year. Nigeria alone received an estimated $24bn in remittances in 2018, up from $4bn in 2013

As a youth, Ismail Ahmed was forced by the outbreak of civil war to escape his homeland – Somaliland – and take refuge in the UK. Today, the company he founded is one of the most successful money transfer companies in the world. Profile

At the end of August this year, WorldRemit, one of the leading players in the world of international money transfers, put in a reported $500m bid for the takeover of the US app-based remittance company Sendwave. Not bad going for a company that was founded only 10 years ago by a Somali entrepreneur, Ismail Ahmed.

Remittances today account for more than FDI or overseas development aid. The global market is estimated at $700bn a year. Nigeria alone received an estimated $24bn in remittances in 2018, up from $4bn in 2013.

Photo: The founder of worldremit ismail ahmed

Many economists predicted that the economic meltdown caused by Covid-19 would lead to a massive drop in remittances and as a result, adversely impact emerging markets. The World Bank, at the start of the pandemic in April, estimated a 20% fall in remittances, anticipating catastrophic consequences.

However, these predictions were confounded when some countries, such as Kenya, posted growing year-on-year remittance numbers as at August. Ahmed is not surprised by this. He says he couldn’t fathom the World Bank estimates as experience had shown him that remittances were generally countercyclical.

The rise in remittances, for example in countries like Kenya, has been attributed to a number of factors. One is that many of the people sending money back home are actually those ‘essential workers’ who have kept health facilities going, and provided the services that have kept the economies of the West afloat.

In addition, government stimuli had cushioned the economic blow and the different economic mitigation schemes have meant that in some countries, such as the US, disposable income at the end of the month has at times actually been higher than what many workers were earning before the pandemic.

Ahmed says that the figures for WorldRemit, as at October, were quite strong for the year. “The only region where there was a noticeable fall are the Gulf countries, especially with Indian workers sending money back home.”

Recalling his life story, he says it seems that he was destined to work in money transfer services. He was born and raised in what is now Somaliland and he reflects that his family often received monies from a relative working in the Gulf.

With an excellent head for figures, he was awarded a World Bank scholarship to study economics at the University of London in the UK. But before he could take up the offer, the Somali Civil War intervened.

In the chaos that followed, he managed to escape and thanks to the money sent to him by his brother working in Saudi Arabia, he was able to purchase an air ticket out of Djibouti to the UK.

Expertise in the world of remittances

Fascinated by the world of remittances, he wrote a research paper on the subject at Sussex University; and whilst at the London Business School, as part of a case study project, he put together a model of a remittance business. This was to become the blueprint for what is today WorldRemit.

Before setting up WorldRemit, Ismail worked at the UN to advise on the system of remittances after 9/11.

While working on a UN Development Programme for Somalia, out of Nairobi, he noticed fraud involving senior colleagues. He blew the whistle and, for this, was dismissed.

He fought his corner, alleging unfair dismissal. He won his case and substantial compensation. This was the seed money he used to launch WorldRemit together with Catherine Wines, who also had extensive experience in money transfers, having herself restructured a remittance business that was subsequently sold to Travelex.

He says the scope of their ambition right from the get-go was big – hence the name of the company. As a student, he had experienced the frustrations and high charges involved in sending money back home. Working at the UN, he had realised that the process could be expensive as well as far from frictionless.

Right from the outset, he says, he knew that using rapidly improving IT technology was going to be the ace in their pack. Properly deployed, it could challenge the two giants in the field – Western Union and Moneygram.

He sees WorldRemit as an aspect of the increasingly important fintech sphere. The runaway success of M-Pesa and mobile money in Kenya underscored to him, in the early 2000s, the enormous potential of digital.

However, breaking into the market wasn’t plain sailing. The dominant players had, in many cases, struck exclusivity deals with banks or agents and seemed unassailable.

Given the very tight space left in the market, WorldRemit started with a single agent in both Uganda and Kenya. But the company still managed to get considerable business. This proved to them that their business was viable and also that the market was growing apace.

It was not long before WorldRemit became a substantial global player. Today the company operates in over 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide and sends money from 50 countries to more than 150 nations.

The acquisition of Sendwave will make it a company that generates over $200m in revenue and manages more than $7.5bn of remittance flows.

The deal will strengthen the company’s position in the US, the world’s biggest source of outward remittances. “You can’t be big in money transfers if you’re not big in the US,” says Ahmed.

Industry more streamlined

The remittance industry has definitely benefited from having more players in the market: costs have been drastically reduced and the spread on exchange rates has also fallen considerably. However, some analysts warn that it is becoming an increasingly difficult area in which to make money as competition is eroding margins and the marketing costs to acquire new customers are greater than the gains.

Ahmed doesn’t agree; he counters that the industry will not only grow but will evolve. One factor behind the resilience of remittances has been the digitisation of payments. “Somaliland is pretty much a cashless society today. In Kenya, 90% of remittances are non-cash based, with the majority going to mobile money. In Nigeria 90% of international money transfers will end up in a bank account. So even during lockdowns, remittance flows still take place.”

He believes that the digitisation of remittances will also enable countries and analysts to better understand and make use of data that is now more readily available.

He also anticipates that the infrastructure backbone of remittances, which is ultimately about matching and settling trades, can help play a greater role in business transactions such as purchasing machinery or goods from abroad, as well as in intra-African trade, where too often buyers need to access dollars or euros to settle a payment within Africa.

Remittances have often been overlooked as a development tool, he says, but today they are a key indicator from a macro-economic perspective. Nonetheless they have been criticised for being ‘unproductive’ capital in that they are used in the ‘receiving’ country to make basic purchases.

Ahmed refutes this and says that as well as covering expenses such as school fees, food or medical bills, a big chunk of remittance payments goes to starting new businesses, investing in land and property.

shakiressa.com

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(Shakiressa.com) photo: shakir essa digital marketing

Reasons Why You Feel So Emotional All the Time

6 Psychological Reasons Why You Feel So Emotional All the Time

#1: Unchecked expectations

Shakir Essa 10/17/2020 · 10 min read

Shakir essa
Shakir Essa

Why am I so emotional? has to be one of the most frequently asked questions I hear as a psychologist.

But it’s a tricky question to answer, primarily for two reasons:

  1. Many different factors affect how we feel emotionally. Everything from your genetics and attachment style to what you ate for breakfast and how much sleep you got last night play some role in how you feel emotionally.
  2. There’s no clear standard for how much emotion is “normal.” For example: There’s no rule book that says feeling 6 out of 10 anger is normal, but 8 out of 10 anger is abnormal. Or that feeling angry for a few minutes is normal but feeling it for a few hours is abnormal.

Still, many people do experience higher and more prolonged levels of painful emotion than they need to. And while this excessive emotionality is sometimes due to factors outside their control, frequently that’s not the case.

Often it’s subtle psychological factors that are the real cause of feeling too emotional.

This is good news because, in general, a lot of your psychology is under your control — unlike your genes or what your parents did to you as a child.

What follows is a collection of subtle but powerful psychological causes of excessive emotionality. If you can learn to identify these in your own life, there’s a good chance you can use that knowledge to regulate your emotions more effectively and feel a little more emotionally balanced as a result.

1. Unchecked expectations

Expectations are beliefs about how other people or things in the world should behave or turn out.

There are two major problems with expectations, both of which often lead to heightened levels of emotion:

  1. They’re rarely updated as often as they should be. Suppose you have an expectation of yourself that you do A+ work all the time. While this may have been (sort of) reasonable as a very bright student in a pretty easy school setting when you were 16, it may not be all that reasonable now that you’re a 45-year-old working professional with a mortgage, 4 kids, and sick parents. In other words, your expectation of stellar work all the time is the driving force behind your perfectionism. And your perfectionism is probably driving a lot of excess anxietystress, and self-criticism.
  2. We often use expectations as a defense mechanism. When you believe that something (or someone) should be or act a certain way, it can give a false sense of certainty and control about things that are fundamentally not under your control (and therefore, anxiety-producing). For example: Is your expectation that your children get straight As in school really about your kids’ best interest or is it more about alleviating your anxiety and guilt about not being around your kids enough and this having negative effects on them? The illusion of control and certainty that comes from expectations can make us feel better in the moment. But long term it tends to make us feel worse because it’s a form of denial.

There’s a time and place for expectations. But here’s the thing: If you never check in on your expectations, update them, or investigate what function they’re really serving, they can easily lead to a lot of unnecessary emotional pain and distress.

The trick is to make sure that you are being thoughtful and intentional with your expectations.

Make a time to check in with your expectations for key people and relationships in your life and adjust them to be as realistic and helpful as possible.

2. Worry

When people say they feel so emotional, one of the most common forms is feeling too anxious.

But here’s the thing many people don’t understand about anxiety:

Anxiety doesn’t just happen. It’s created and maintained by the mental habit of worrying.

This distinction between the anxiety you feel and the worry that leads to it is crucial. Because if you want to feel less anxious, the only real solution is to learn to manage your worry habit better.

Ultimately, worry is a form of thinking — a version of negative self-talk, to be more specific. It involves trying to problem-solve things in the future that either A) aren’t really problems, or B) you aren’t capable of solving.

Like all other emotions, anxiety is not something you can influence directly. You can’t decide to be less anxious any more than you can decide to be happier. Emotions don’t work that way.

We can only influence our emotions indirectly, primarily through the way we think.

If you’re constantly worrying about the future, you’re going to constantly feel much more anxious than you need to. On the other hand, if you can reduce your habit of worrying by just 20 or 30%, you’ll take a major chunk out of your excessive feelings of anxiety.

If you often feel too anxious, it’s because you’re worrying too much. The trick is to validate the anxiety and take control of the worry.

3. Rumination

Rumination is the flip-side of worry. When we worry, we engage in unhelpful thinking and problem solving about the future using our imagination. When we ruminate, we think unproductively about the past using our memory.

For example:

  • You get home from work and try to engage with your spouse or play with your kids, but you keep going over and over that nasty comment your manager made to you during a meeting at work.
  • After a fight with your girlfriend, you replay the fight repeatedly and search your memory for all the examples in your past where she’s been just as guilty of the thing she’s criticizing you for.

Like, worry, rumination often feels good or helpful because it feels like you’re doing work and solving problems. But in reality, you can’t control the past any more than you can control the future.

When you get stuck in a habit of rumination, it only fuels your anger and shame in the long run. And as a result, keeps you feeling more emotionally volatile.

Also like worry, rumination tends to be compulsive because — very briefly — it makes us feel good. It gives us a sense of control that temporarily alleviates our anxieties or insecurities.

  • Rather than accepting the fact that your manager doesn’t really like you, you temporarily make yourself feel better by analyzing the situation over and over to try and find out what you could have done or said that would have made things better.
  • Rather than exploring the possibility that maybe your girlfriend was right to criticize you, you distract yourself from your feelings of shame by getting defensive and angry and making her out to be the bad gal.

Now, this doesn’t mean thinking about the past can’t be helpful sometimes. To the contrary, calmly and objectively reflecting back on our past can be enormously helpful and productive.

So how do you know if you’re doing unhelpful rumination or helpful reflection?

The best indicator I’ve found to distinguish helpful reflection from unhelpful rumination is intentionality. When we get stuck in cycles of unhelpful rumination, it’s typically a relatively mindless and reactive process — we just find ourselves rumination. On the other hand, genuine reflection is usually very intentional — it’s initiated deliberately and thoughtfully.

Finally, helpful reflection is always aimed at understanding not feeling.

So ask yourself:

Am I dwelling on the past to genuinely understand something better, or am I doing this to make myself feel better or avoid dealing with some other uncomfortable situation or reality?

4. Waiting for motivation

Most people look at motivation as fuel — when you feel good enough, inspired enough, or motivated enough, it gives you the energy to do things:

  • If you feel energetic enough, you go for a run.
  • If you feel inspired enough, you work on that creative project.
  • If you feel motivated enough, you write a new blog post.

And while there’s certainly some truth to this idea that feeling good helps us take action, when viewed in isolation, it’s actually dangerous.

Feeling good does make it easier to do hard things, but it’s not a requirement for doing hard things.

Which makes sense if you really think about it…

  • If someone held a gun to your head and said to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes, you could do it… regardless of how you felt initially.
  • If someone said here’s a check for $1,000,000 if you finish that blog post you’ve been meaning to write, you could do it… regardless of whether you were feeling inspired or not.

The point is simple:

We are perfectly capable of doing difficult things despite not feeling like it.

But here’s the most important implication of this idea: Doing important things makes us feel good!

  • Working on a creative project regardless of how you feel will lead to you feeling more inspired.
  • Going to the gym regardless of how you feel will lead to you feeling more energized.

Action leads to motivation at least as often as motivation leads to action.

The problem is, most people don’t really believe this. And so they sit around waiting to do important things until they feel like it.

Unfortunately, this habit of waiting for motivation leads to a lot of chronic shame, sadness, and self-criticism. Because you’re essentially living in a chronic state of procrastination — putting off the things you know you should do and doing something easier instead.

When this habit gets really entrenched, it leads to a state of perpetually low self-esteem and poor self-worth, which makes you keenly vulnerable to difficult emotions and bad moods.

On the other hand, when you stop waiting around for motivation and learn to make your own by taking good action regardless of how you feel, you buffer yourself from the effects of stress and painful emotion.

5. Passive communication

Passive communication is a tendency to ignore your own wants and needs and “go with the flow” of other people’s wishes in order to avoid conflict.

For example:

Your spouse suggests going to a movie for date night. You think to yourself, It’d be nice to go to dinner instead so we can actually talk. But then you think to yourself, No, he always complains about “fancy restaurants” and how expensive they are. Better just do a movie. At which point you find yourself saying, Sure, honey.

Obviously, deferring what you want and doing what someone else wants isn’t a bad thing necessarily. In fact, for any relationship to function healthily we need to be able to sacrifice and compromise sometimes.

But many people have gotten into a habit of always compromising on what they want and always deferring their needs to those of others. And for most significant relationships in our lives, this is just as unhealthy as never compromising.

The reason is, it leads to chronic resentment and anxiety. And when you’re chronically resentful of people and at the same time anxious, it’s very difficult to maintain a balanced, non-reactive emotional life.

When you habitually avoiding external conflict, you’re simply shifting all that conflict inside yourself.

And when you’re full of inner conflict, your emotions are going to feel all over the place and extreme.

If you want to cultivate true emotional peace and stability, you must learn to be assertive. You must learn to express your wants and needs clearly and honestly.

6. Unclear values

Answer this question to yourself honestly:

How much of your time do you spend doing things you genuinely want to do?

If we’re honest with ourselves, I think it’s probably a lower number than we’re comfortable admitting.

Of course, there’s boatloads of privilege wrapped up in that idea: Many people, out of sheer necessity, have to spend nearly all their time doing things they don’t especially want to do.

That being said, it’s a strange phenomenon that so many of us actually have the freedom to spend time doing things we really care about, believe in, and are passionate about, and yet… we don’t. And as a result, we live in this state of constant low-level shame about ourselves.

This perpetual sense of feeling like we’re not spending our time wisely is a huge vulnerability to feeling overly emotional.

Think about it: If you’re already feeling bad about yourself for wasting time, procrastinating, or indulging superficial goals at the expense of genuine ones, even small stressors and setbacks are going to hit you that much harder.

Part of this chronic procrastination is a result of the waiting for motivationproblem described above in #4. But I think there’s actually a deeper reason why we live in this perpetual state of self-disappointment where we’ve got a list of things we should be doing or working on and yet we find ourselves wasting time on things that don’t really matter to us…

We don’t really know what our values are.

I mean, we kind of do. We know the vague outlines of our values and what we want:

  • You know you want to get in shape and be healthy.
  • You know you want to spend more quality time with your family.
  • You know you want to be more creative.
  • You know you want to travel more.
  • Etc.

The problem is, these are all incredibly vague, non-specific ideas. And that lack of specificity makes it extremely hard to actually move forward on any of them and gain the emotional benefits of doing so.

If you think about the most emotionally resilient people you know, I bet most of them have this in common:

They have specific, clear goals and values and make steady progress toward them.

Because when we spend our time and energy doing the things that really matter to us — the things we really value — it’s like a super injection of emotional stability and energy.

But the trick to getting there — the trick to getting over the chronic procrastination hump — is to get really clear about your values. And to make extremely clear, specific plans and systems that will help you move toward these values.

So, don’t be satisfied with vague values. Take the time to really get to know your values in a clear, concrete way.

When you do, you’ll find that you’re able to make much better progress toward them; and as a result, feel more confident and emotionally stable as a result.

All You Need to Know

If you chronically feel more emotional than you think you should, there’s a good chance one or more of these habits may be a significant cause:

  • Unchecked expectations
  • Worry
  • Rumination
  • Waiting for motivation
  • Passive communication
  • Unclear values

shakir

Somaliland: East Africa’s largest conduit for illicit cheetah trafficking to the Gulf

Somaliland: East Africa’s largest conduit for illicit cheetah trafficking to the Gulf
Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime
Somaliland: East Africa’s largest conduit for illicit cheetah trafficking to the Gulf

A cheetah cub receives care from representatives of Somaliland’s Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, in a village near Erigavo, Sanaag, in August 2020. According to reports, the cubs were being held by local farmers who surrendered them to the authorities, as the result of conflict with the mother cheetah near their livestock. (Photo: Twitter / Ministry of Environment and Rural Development)

Somaliland cheetah

A recent spate of cheetahs being seized in Somaliland has shown that the illicit demand for these animals remains strong. Cheetahs are highly prized as exotic pets in the Gulf states, and in supplying this market, traffickers have heavily impacted local cheetah populations in Africa, a situation compounded by the fact that many animals die en route.

In late July, two cheetah cubs were rescued from a 25-day ordeal at the hands of wildlife traffickers by the Awdal region police in Borama, a city in Somaliland not far from the Ethiopian border. Members of the local community helped look after the dehydrated and underweight cubs until the rescue team arrived. The cubs were then given care by Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) staff before being transported to a CCF safe house.

Two cubs rescued near Borama, 24 July 2020. The cubs had reportedly been in the hands of traffickers for 25 days before their rescue. (Photo: CCF)

These cubs were part of a series of recent seizures of cheetahs in Somaliland. Through July and August, 20 cheetah cubs were rescued over five missions jointly conducted by the ministry of environment and rural development, the Selel regional administration and the Somaliland police, with support from the CCF and Torrid Analytics. 

On 14 September, two cheetah cubs were seized in the Sool region in the south-east: the youngest was only two weeks old. In total, 25 cubs have been reported as seized or rescued in Somaliland so far this year.

A six-month-old cheetah cub, in the care of Somaliland’s Ministry of Environment and Rural Development and the Cheetah Conservation Fund, en route to Hargeisa, 29 July 2020. The cub was one of eight rescued over three missions in Somaliland in late July. (Photo: Cheetah Conservation Fund)

Cheetah trafficking in Somaliland is not a new issue. Since 2010, when reporting became more consistent, there have been 193 rescued or surrendered cheetahs. Nearly a third of these occurred after the country ratified its Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Law in August 2018, which has reportedly led to increased awareness and better coordination between wildlife officials, police and the army.

Many of the cheetahs seized in Somaliland are believed to originate in Ethiopia, which shares an 800km border with the self-declared state. At least 25% of seized cheetahs in Somaliland have been found at or near the Ethiopian border – the two cubs intercepted near Borama in August, for example, were less than 15km from the border. 

As known cheetah populations in Ethiopia total no more than 300 adolescent and adult specimens, it is clear that the trafficking of cubs is taking a significant toll on cheetah populations. Ethiopia and South Sudan, along with Somalia/Somaliland where cheetah populations are unknown, are also the last remaining stronghold of the North East African cheetah subspecies, Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii.

Cheetah cubs are mostly taken from the wild when the mother hides them to go hunting, either opportunistically by nomadic herders or by poachers. A cub can sell for between $200 and $300 in Somaliland, although prices vary greatly: an unhealthy cub can be bought for as little as $80, while a healthy, older cub can cost up to $1,000. The same cheetah can be sold for up to $15,000 in the Gulf states. 

Mortality is high, as most cubs are removed from the wild at only two to eight weeks from birth and are subjected to maltreatment and poor nutrition in the hands of poachers and dealers, compounded with the rigours of the trip across the Gulf of Aden. While difficult to estimate, it is thought that more than 60% of cheetah cubs die before they reach the market to be sold.

Somaliland is vulnerable as a conduit for the illegal wildlife trade not only due to its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula’s wealthy consumer markets for exotic wildlife, but also due to the country’s rampant poverty, weak legal frameworks and a lack of environmental awareness. 

Corruption also drives the cheetah trade. There are instances of illegally obtained cheetah cubs being sold back to smugglers by corrupt officials after a confiscation has been reported. That being said, Somaliland’s cheetah trade has been more extensively researched than other countries and regions of Somalia. Its relative importance as the main cheetah trafficking route into the Middle East might be in part connected to underreporting from other countries.

Across the Gulf of Aden

From Somaliland, cheetahs are transported by boat – hidden in hampers, crates or cardboard boxes – from the northern coastline across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen at an estimated rate of 300 cubs per year. The 140 nautical miles between the ports of Berbera in Somaliland and Aden in Yemen can be covered in just over seven hours at a dhow’s average speed of 20 knots.

Once in Yemen, cheetahs are reportedly transported by boat or road across the Saudi border to animal markets such as Al-Jazan or Al-Khouba, or delivered to Saudi traders, who will then offer them throughout the Gulf states to known buyers on ecommerce and social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, or, more recently, through private chat groups. 

Research carried out by CCF researchers found that at least 2,000 cheetahs had been advertised online between 2010 and 2019. Most were found on Instagram, with sellers offering cheetahs in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

Delivery to the UAE, Qatar or Kuwait from Saudi Arabia can be made by road or air. An investigative report published by Le Figaro quoted an employee at the Kuwait airport who stated that:

“It is enough to mention that they are ‘cats’ on the box and to pay certain people I know. It is easy for me because I work there and I know who will take the money. I give them between KWD500 and KWD1000 ($1,600–$3,200 to allow illegal animals (through the country).”

There have also been isolated reports of cheetahs arriving in Oman from Yemen, as well as being transported from Oman into the UAE via the Hatta border crossing.

An illegal status symbol

Cheetahs have long been popular household pets or hunting companions in the Gulf states, where they are viewed as status symbols. This popularity has been boosted in recent years by wealthy or famous individuals posing with their exotic pets on social media

However, few cheetah owners know how to provide the proper care for these animals, with some social media posts advertising cheetahs that have been declawed – an extremely painful process for the animals. 

Many pet cheetahs in the Gulf states do not live beyond the first year, and few live longer than five years, according to information collected by CCF.

CCF veterinarian Dr Asma Bile prepares cubs rescued from traffickers to make the journey to Hargeisa to the CCF safe house. (Photo: CCF)

Trade in wild cheetahs for commercial purposes is illegal in all the Gulf states, either through the states being party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or through domestic legislation. 

In December 2016, the UAE enacted a law banning the private possession of exotic and dangerous pets, although only one seizure (of four cheetahs) has been made since 2015, suggesting that the ban is seldom enforced. 

In Kuwait, where no cheetahs have been seized in the past five years, the National Assembly approved a draft animal welfare law that penalises illegal trade or possession of predators in December 2015. In Qatar – where discussions continue over a law regulating the trade and ownership of dangerous animals – the ministry of municipality and environment announced the arrest of an Arab national in July 2016 for trading in cheetahs.

Under CITES regulations, however, captive-bred cheetahs can be traded commercially by registered facilities. The CITES trade database reports that 16 “captive-bred” cheetahs were exported into Armenia from Bahrain and the UAE between 2009 and 2015.

However, the probability that cheetahs in the Gulf (both those kept as pets and those exported) are truly bred in captivity or traded in compliance with national laws or CITES regulations is low.

First, only two such registered breeding facilities exist worldwide – both are in South Africa.

Second, cheetahs do not breed well in captivity. Based on information from the International Cheetah Studbook, a voluntary register of captive cheetahs worldwide, the first report of captive-bred cheetahs in the Gulf states was in 1994. Since then, six facilities have reported a total of 304 cheetah births in captivity, with a 31% mortality rate for cubs under six months. 

No births have been reported by these facilities since 2016.

It is therefore more likely that purportedly “captive-bred” cheetahs in the Gulf come from elsewhere, as suggested by the “captive-bred” cheetahs exported from Bahrain to Armenia. There are no known cheetah breeding facilities in Bahrain, suggesting that the cheetahs’ real origins were masked.

A contentious issue

The issue of the illegal cheetah trade has been on the CITES agenda since 2013, when it commissioned a study that led to decisions and recommendations aimed at reducing demand and encouraging international collaboration. However, the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP), held in August 2019, voted to delete these decisions based on a report from the standing committee to the secretariat

The report concluded that the illegal cheetah trade was limited, based on official seizure reports from nine countries that cited 32 specimens (13 live, 19 parts or products) between 2015 and mid-2018. Based on this, the CoP agreed that matters related to the illegal cheetah trade could be addressed by a Big Cat Task Force, jointly run by CITES and the Convention for Migratory Species, which is currently in the process of being implemented.

However, Kenya and Ethiopia – two cheetah-range countries – argued that the numbers reported by CITES “underestimate the full extent of the trade, since they only include confiscated animals appearing in official records and omit data from many countries, including key primary source countries for trafficked cheetah”. They cited information showing 393 cheetah specimens (274 live animals and 119 parts), including the 32 seized specimens reported to CITES, during the same period.

The countries’ joint statement – submitted to the CITES CoP – went on to add: “Given the perilous state of [East African] cheetah populations that are the source of illegal trade, any ongoing trade in wild cheetah is alarming.”

The recent spate of seizures in Somaliland seems to confirm those fears. The illegal trade in wild cheetahs appears to be continuing apace, with potentially grave consequences for East African cheetah populations. DM

This article appears in the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime’s monthly East and Southern Africa Risk Bulletin. The Global Initiative is a network of more than 500 experts on organised crime drawn from law enforcement, academia, conservation, technology, media, the private sector and development agencies. It publishes research and analysis on emerging criminal threats and works to develop innovative strategies to counter organised crime globally. To receive monthly Risk Bulletin updates, please sign up here.

AUTHOR: Shakir Essa Digital Media Publisher, at ALLAFRICA News Editor, Author and Political Analyser

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