Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is sporting success directly related to democratic freedoms?

We saw the success of the Ghana Under 20 very recently. In the same year, Ghana successfully changed governments through elections held last year. President Obama also chose to visit only Ghana much to the chagrin of many an African country. The Ghana senior soccer team was the first team to qualify on the continent for the 2010 soccer world cup showcase.

Take Zimbabwe. After brilliant promises in the 80s and 90s, the country has gradually been sliding the rankings scale over the last ten years. This is also the same time that inflation soared to astronomical levels. The economy tumbled into a see-saw. Take South South Africa. Immeadiately after independence and the new democratic dispensation in 1993, SA went on to win the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. They also won the Rugby Worl Cup and were very close in cricket. After the Zuma Mbeki debacle, the South African senior team management has taken it as a full time job to hire and fire coaches. Reason? Sliding perfomace and strings of poor results.

Is sporting success directly related to democracy and and good economic management? I say to a very large extent, Yes. How about Nigeria then? For some time, the only good thing that came out of Nigeria was the senior soccer team. And Cameroun? Paul Biya seems to escape international glare. No one notices that he is creeping silently and brutally to three decades in power. Yet the senior Camerounian team has been doing well under the circumstances.

In Africa, however, sporting success is directly influenced by the government of the day. It is the government of the day that puts in place administrators either on merit or on other grounds. It is the government of the day that determines whether to abuse sporting funds or not. It is the government of the day that decides to tear gas fans in a stadium when they parrot opposition slogans or not. Yes, democratic space has a lot of influence on the sporting success of a nation.

This is for you, Comrade Knox.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bits and Pieces

It has been two weeks here since Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew his party from attending cabinet meetings. He also withdrew from chairing the Council of Ministers as stipulated by the Global Political Agreement that gave birth to the unity government formed on February 9 this year. Life is now much better in Zimbabwe, at least we have climbed out of the catastrophes’ of last year. We now drive straight to a petrol station and fuel is back to normal supplies. Smoke is now billowing from our industrial sites spanning from Masasa in the East, to Graniteside and Willovale in the west of the Capital. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of air activity at our Harare International Airport. Kenya Airways now flies in and out of Harare three times a day, South African Airways four times a day, Ethiopian Airways three times a week, British Airways through Comair once everyday. There is of course our own Air Zim which continuously jets in and out of the airport to various domestic routes, South Africa, Zambia, Nairobi, Dubai, China, Singapore and London amongst other routes. Life was getting back to normal.

In the streets, Zimbabweans are very optimistic. Infact there is a very large class of people who believe that this setback to the coalition government is all but very temporary. Having been trained in negotiation skills, I should say President Mugabe is driving a very hard bargain. We must also give it to him, the man is a shrewd negotiator and you may not want to be at the other end of his table. It is now very clear that the MDC has been outmaneuvered at every turn. Yet, it is the party that holds the key to economic revival. Zimbabwe’s economy in my view remains one of the strongest in Africa. Lets face it, this nation has seen it all, yet never at any point would you drive into Harare and visibly see the distress. We are indeed a very resilient people.

And so as I write, I’m pinning my hopes on a settlement. Both the MDC and Zanu PF will be traveling to Mozambique for a summit that is gunning to settle these differences. Hope is one of the things that has guided many Zimbabweans to weather our economic, social and political storms. We still believe that we have our heads above water. We also have a lot of pride, a never say die spirit and an abundance of patience. Sometimes when I listen to my people speak, I get convinced that I was born in the right country, with the right genes. I will put my shoulders on the wheel, and God willing, we will take our place as Africa’s Paradise in the not too distant future.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is South Africa ungrateful?

I was listening to BBC World Radio 1 this morning. The subject matter was that of Nigeria's rebranding exercise. It is a whole topic on its own and I will have top dedicate a post to it. However, what came out of the conversation rang a very loud bell in my ears. The Chairperson of the rebranding exercise was bitter that South Africans are an ungrateful lot. She argued with good reason that during the incarceration of Nelson Mandela and apartheid, Nigerian civil servants used to contribute their personal earnings to further the cause of South Africas' freedom, justice and equality for all. She also said that many of the South African freedom fighters were sheltered in Nigeria for long periods. Today, however, South Africans treat Nigerians like dirt.

I remember when I was still in Primary school in the 80s in Zimbabwe. Once a week we would sing songs of solidarity for our oppressed colleagues in South Africa. During our open days and parents' days, we would perfom dramas' of freedom, castigating the white oppressors of our friends in SA. It was emotional. I may need to remind you that Mugabe has always been an avid pan Africanist. Lets suspend the debates of what is happening in Zimbabwe now, for now. As such we felt at one with our brothers and sisters. When I got married, I had the fortune of staying in the very apartment that the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki used to stay in. The apartment is at Gail Court, along samora Machel Avenue, close to Pinsau pub, for those that take the holy waters of babylon.

Today, each time I visit South Africa, I am saddened. I have never sought refuge in South Africa, and never will. But I feel so shaken by the ignorance that is displayed by the average South African, not only towards Zimbabweans seeking refuge there but towards any other African. The situation is particularly bad for West Africans' and in particular Nigerians. South Africans are of the view that they live in heaven. But they forget, that there is not a single African country that was independent that did not contribute towards their indepence. We all fought alongside them.

Isn't it time they were educated about this? Am I expecting too much?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

U20 doing well

The U20 Ghana soccer team has done well. I congradulate them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

God has blessed me again.

Just when I thought
That the world had come to an end
When enemies were plenty
and friends very few
God blessed me again

Again and again
He keeps loving me
And I love Him too
Thank you God for the double gift...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Refraining from politics for a short while.

You will all notice, that from where I stand, I must take a short sabbatical from blogging about politics. I shall need to re-establish my feet, re-engange my safety nets, and assess the situation. The days of shooting from the hip are hereby suspended.

You all know what I mean, dont you?

Friday, October 2, 2009

It is good to be home

After some time, being away,
It is so good
to be home.

To touch, to see, to smell, to taste
all the familiar surroundings
it is wonderful to be home

I am coming, from a far away land
where I was a teacher, and a student
all rolled into one

To all the wonderful people I know,
you are appreciated!
It is good to be home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Debunking South Africa's crime rate.

With just under a year before the world's most popular sport descends on South Africas shores, figures just released show that the country's crime rate is far from rescinding. South Africa is the world's most crime riddled nation with a woman being raped every 18 seconds, and numerous murders occuring per day. President Zuma earlier this year appointed a tough talking and seemingly no nonsense police chief who promised to wipe crime off the face of South Africa. However, the figures on the ground are speaking a different story.

The South African crime rate is a problem that does not require populist politicking like President Zuma is always doing. It is a manifestation of centuries of segregation, political upheavals and inadequate distribution of wealth. It needs a multi-faceted approach. South Africa must embark on a massive job creation exercise twinned with a massive roll out of adult education. Most of the middle aged South Africans have never seen the insides of a classrooom, especially the ones that did not go into exile during the 80s and early 90s when apartheid was reighning supreme. During my stay in South Africa, I was amazed at how some South Africans view the killing of another being as being the equal to just killing a goat for a meal. I blame ignorance for such a warped view about life. Education helps in cultivating values and subsequently morals in human beings.

The inequal distribution of wealth makes some sections of South African society to believe that it is right to rob from others who have amassed undeserving wealth. South Africa is a developed country in some sections, and poorer than the poorest place on earth in others. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to know that if there is poverty in a sea of plenty then there is trouble.

The political leadership, black and white, ruling and opposition, must come together and address these issues. The police alone will never be able to curb crime, even if you go and train them on the moon...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is Obama facing racism?

News this week is that the first black US President has been facing tough resistance on his proposed health care system reforms. If you recall well, these health care policies were controversial from day one of the campaign.

However, former US President Carter yesterday put the resistence straight on the shoulders of plain cold racism. Most white Americans, it seems, are trying to find a way, anything, to discredit this new black President. We must all admit, being the first black president in a country that has been characterised by race divisions for centuries was never going to be a walk in the park. There are still some remnants of white supremacy, and indeed on the balancing scale some black supremacists. The scale may not even out in the next 5o years.

But we must be careful with these race matters. Most of the time, race is played to overshadow incompetencies, sometimes giving undue advatages to undeserving office bearers. I am an advocate of President Obama because I believe in his intelligence, not his colour. I would like to see President Obama judged not by the colour of his skin, but by the matter in his head.

I have no doubt that President Obama is good for Africa, Europe and the Middle-East. He is a moderate, unlike the texan born, cowboy gun totting Bush who invaded half the world. Issues of his race are a reality, but his colour alone MUST NOT be used to discredit his policies. Policies must be attacked for what they are, and not by whom they are made.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ghana let down in BBA 4...

I was starting to enjoy the exciting twists in the Big Brother Africa Revolution but after seeing the elimination of Ras Wayo and no introduction of a Ghanaian female housemate, I think the concept of the revolution was not fully thought through and rather unfortunate.Some of the twists are pointless to the core: why are there more housemates from certain countries than others when in fact the idea of having a continental show was to bring the various countries together. With the introduction of 12 female housemates into the house on Sunday, there are now 4 Nigerians, 2 Kenyans and other multiple entries for some other countries while Ghana has no rep at the moment. Is this all in the interest of exciting viewership? Or are some countries better represented in the house because M-net/DStv stands to gain more from those countries?One funny thing is that Big Brother has allowed 'voting conspiracy' this season and most likely alliances are going to be formed along nationalities. This would most likely create a lot of antagonism among housemates and yet M-net came out boldly to say that they changed the voting rules this year so people would vote to save their favourite instead of voting out their least favourite to promote 'positivity' instead of negativity.In a surprise announcement, Ghana's representative, Ras Wayo became the second Housemate to leave the BBA House during the show's first Eviction Show. Wayoe entered the stage to a crowd chanting his name to a Reggae tune. He told IK, the host, that he was not surprised to have left the House and does not think his Rastafarian way of life played a part in viewers not voting for him.Well Ghanaians aren't surprised either because his Jamaican patois became an issue immediately when he was introduced into the house. So why was Ras Wayo chosen to represent Ghana in the first place? M-net and the producers of the show chose someone whom in their view would over the best entertainment value for viewers from all participating countries. What made Wayoe the best candidate for Ghana when the whole of Africa thought otherwise only in the first week of the show? Could individual countries choose their own reps instead of having the producers force representatives on them?M-net must understand that even though the Big Brother Africa concept is hugely to provide entertainment for Africa, for some of us, it is an issue of national pride and as I Ghanaian I am disappointed at the so-called revolution!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Its time.

Im so happy, ladies and gents, to thank you for the hospitality that you gave me in Ghana. They say we meet to part, and part to meet. But I do not think we are really parting, because we will always meet on these blogs.

Yes, I will be leaving Ghana at the end of September. I shall miss Spintex Road, the giant Tetteh Quashie, my workplace in Ridge, Labadi on Sundays, Banku and Tilapia etc. But this is also an opportunity, for you guys to also come to my home country, so that I may reciprocate your hospitality.

You were all so great, and everyone in Ghana is hospitable. I am a much better person than when I came.

And, I have a promise to make, "I WILL BE BACK!"

Watch this space.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I have not forgotten...

how to blog
how to research
for the shenanigans in Africa,
Im just sorting out
some personal issues...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dangers of citizen journalism and blogging!

We all love to blog. But there are dangers looming. Many bloggers in the middle-east have been jailed for merely doing what we are doing. Last night I listened to a frightening BBC program where the hot topic of citizen journalism was under discussion. There is a whole section of the world, especially big media houses and journalists who believe we have no right to be disseminating information. They argue that bloggers are loose canons, accountable to no one and have facts which cannot be verified. These are very sound arguments, which we as bloggers must do well to avoid.

But we are the eye on the street level. We are the voice of the voiceless. We are paid by no one, and so we write without bias. We write what we genuinely believe to be true representations of facts.

But be warned, ensure whatever you write can be authenticated. Soon enough you will begin to see defamation cases against bloggers coming up. You must also know that you are liable, much in the same way as any newspaper.

Food for thought.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gadaffi Gathers Gang!

Libyan leader Gadaffi has gathered about twenty African heads of state to celebrate 40 years of his rule. Gadaffi seized power 40 years ago through a military coup. He immediately promoted himself to the rank of Colonel. For a period from 1992 he and his country faced international condemnation and isolation for the bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie in Scotland. Relations with the west have however thawed in the last year or so, and Gadaffi was this year allowed to travel to Europe.

Known as a brother by many African states Gadaffi has never ceased to amaze anyone who has cared to look at him closely. Known for sleeping in lavish tents outside hotels whenever he travels, and being guarded by a team of beautiful female security personnel, Gadaffi has always drawn the ire of many. Colonel Gadaffi is also known for giving lavish presents to to other heads of state who have cared to tow his line.

But Libya remains relatively poor compared to other Arab states with similar resources. There is no freedom of speech, lack of basic infrastructure and other amenities. Yet Gadaffi was rumoured in 2002 to have supplied Zimbabwe with fuel for almost six months.

The question still lingers, do African heads ever learn? It is the same old story of lavish parties and spending sprees whilst the respective countries suffer. What can one give to a country after 40 years? Even a CEO who has headed a company for 40 years will find himself irrelevant. Celebrating 40 years of rulership? What message are we sending? What is the objective? What are we gaining?

Thursday, August 27, 2009


A 24 year old Harare (Zimbabwe) housemaid strangled her newly born baby to death using a plastic bag.Renisah gave birth to a baby boy around midnight on August 16 in a toilet while the rest of the household was asleep. After delivering, she strangled the infant with a plastic bag before wrapping it in a skirt and hiding it under a bed.

The following morning, she dumped the body in a bin outside the house. Renisah has since been arrested and appeared in court. She was convicted on her own plea of guilty to infanticide charges and remanded in custody to August 28 for sentencing.

When asked by the Magistrate why she had committed the offence, Renisah said: "I do not know what had gotten into me." The Prosecutor urged the court to pass a severe and deterrent sentence on Renisah. The Prosecutor said the sentence should reflect the court’s abhorrence to crimes of that nature.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Semenya, the Man!

Tests have revealed Caster Semenya's testosterone level to be three times higher than those normally expected in a female sample, an article on BBC Sport reports. Leaked test results show Semenya testosterone level is 3 times than expected.

This is not the official result!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Undressing Semenya!

By now you may be aware of the news surrounding South Africas 800 metre sprint sensation Caster Semenya. After setting an 800 metre world record sprint time at the ongoing Berlin Olympics, rumours of "her" gender have clouded her victory. Is she a "she"? That is the question.

Semenya looks anything but an 18 year old girl. Semenya also acts anything but a woman. At the finishing line of the 800 metre race in Berlin she performed weird gestures that are uncharacteristic of females. Her pictures circulating on the internet also show a small bulge on her trunks depicting what looks like a not so well endowed male organ. The whole fiasco is dumb founding!

Yet can any person be judged on looks alone? Why was she not tested before the race as this is not the 1st time these rumours have erupted around her? Is she a victim of an unfair process? Why has this been announced before the test results are out?

Interestingly her former High School Headmaster even admitted that he only discovered Semenya was female when she was about to graduate! But her father has said he is prepared to say a hundred times that Semenya is a girl. Her grandmother is shocked! Her mother cannot understand why the world is being cruel to her little girl.

I am looking at pictures of Semenya right now. She does not look or act like a woman. What tests are they going to conduct on her? How? Where? When? Who? Many questions, little answers.

Your thoughts!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Shower Boy" Clocks 100 Days in Office!

Shower crazy South African President Jacob Zuma has now been in office for 100 days. No one would have imagined we would be blogging about this man as a President two years ago. Pitted against the intellect Thabo Mbeki, all political fortunes seemed against the Zulu Boy who had not seen the insides of a classroom beyond the equivalent of Standard II. Yet, in a shocking turn of events, the man took to dancing in semi naked costumes, rubbished the efforts of Aids Activists by claiming he had taken a shower after sleeping with an HIV positive woman to wash out the disease and the South African masses were mesmerised.

Today, it remains to be seen whether this "Shower Boy" will wash out the poverty strewn across the South African plains, rinse the country of crime and corruption, and flood the ever present threat of colour divide. Some have already started crying foul, whilst others are calling for the man to be given time. Whatever the case, Jacob Zuma has showed such a spirited fight for the presidency that he should re-direct his efforts towards solving some of the problems be-develling South Africa. Of course, it will require much more than asking for a machine gun and dancing semi-naked in front of helpless women.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We also want to go to UK!

Its all out in the open now. Robert Mugabes government has now classically disclosed the bone of their contention with respect to the so called sanctions imposed on them. Essentially, the sanctions are an elaborate travel ban. Last week, a spokeperson for Mugabe`s party finally said it all. According to him, all they are asking for is to be allowed to visit the UK, to send their children there for school, and to allow their their wives to shop at Harrods! This Africa my brother!

What happened to Mugabe bringing the best education ever? Why would the liberators want to send their children to the imperialist land? What happened to Zimbabwe being the land of milk and honey, and Mugabe and his cronies never wanting to be there because its cold? What happened to "...keep your England, and I will keep my Zimbabwe?" What happened? Whats happening?

So after all these years of unleashing untold suffering on us the poor and innocent citizens, its all about your shopping trips, your children`s education at Oxford, your wifes monthly shopping at Harrods!

How disgraceful can we sink? Please stop this nonsense, please take care of our fathers, mothers, sisters and cousins who are suffering. We need a government, by the people and for the people. We do not need self serving pervets who masquarade as revolutionaries. NO!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

His Excellency, The President, Head of Government, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces!

Zimbabwe: The state controlled but Party abused daily Herald newspaper in Zimbabwe has been ordered to call Robert Mugabe as The President, His Excellency, Commander-in-Chief and Head of State and Government each time they mention him in any article, news bulletin or program. Zimbabwe never ceases to amaze me, but on the whole, I am a depressed man.

The reason why Mugabe now wants this chain of titles is because since the formation of the Governmnet of National Unity in Zimbabwe on February 10, 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai has been inaugurated as the Prime Minister and Head of Government. Indeed the Agreement that sets out this unity Government clearly states that the Prime Minister shall be the Head of government. However, fearing for his waning light because of being in the shadow of a fairer minded Tsvangirai, Mugabe who because of his iron fist on the state media, has ordered that his name be called as such everytime his name is mentioned.

It reminds me of Kamuzu Banda of Malawi who wanted to be called Life President, Ngwazi, President Kamuzu Banda. But that is short of Mobuthu Sese Seko who ended up with about 12 names including Marshal, First Citizen, Liberator etc. Obviously Idi Amin fared very well in this category. You may ask whats in a name? The underlying common thread in all the leaders I have mentioned is their dictatorial tendencies. Dictators are usually so afraid of anything, everything. They fear their shadow. They fear their people. They fear their friends. They fear their enemies. They fear the west.

They love fellow dictators in the east.

Facebook Vs Freedom of Speach!

From facebook...

"...Facebook appears to be upping the ante against Twitter with the launch of Facebook Lite, a simplified version of the site, which provides a stream of user updates and looks similar to the microblogging service.

The social network has invited a select group of its users to test the new stripped-down version of the site while it is in beta phase. Some industry pundits believe Facebook is rolling out 'Lite' to compete more closely with Twitter's real-time news and search capabilities.
However, according to technology blog
TechCrunch, the development is more focussed at this stage on providing a simpler version of the site so it will work better in countries where bandwidth is limited and on mobile phones, where downloads are slower than broadband...."

As Africans, the advent of so many sites has created some confusion amongst us. The proliferation of these sites has also seen rogue governments cracking down of those who wish to freely express their opinions. Clearly the advent of internet in Africa has meant that banning newspapers and radio stations perceived to be anti satus quo is progressively becoming less and less relevant.

I have noticed amongst my friends of facebook, the overwhelming urge to vent their anger or express an opinion over some issues dominating our lives.

Question: How long will it take the internet to enhance freedom of speech in Africa?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Has America come a full circle?

I found the caption below, which hit the headlines on Thursday last week very revealing of what the US policy is. Here is Mrs Clinton:"It is long past time for Eritrea to cease and desist its support of al-Shabab and to start being a productive rather than a destabilising neighbour. We are making it very clear that their actions are unacceptable. We intend to take action if they do not cease."She added: "There is also no doubt that al-Shabab wants to obtain control of Somalia to use it as a base from which to influence and even infiltrate surrounding countries and launch attacks against countries far and near."Mrs Clinton said if al-Shabab obtained a haven in Somalia "it would be a threat to the United States". And America would act if this continued!

The US policy does not change, whether there is a black, pink, blue or white boy at White House.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Obama Scandal brewing in Kenya

I find it odd that Clinton arrived in Kenya this week after the recent explosion of Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate throughout the media. It was said that Clinton was going there to talk about corruption scandals, which happened in 2007. It was also said that she was going to see Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is now the Prime Minister. Odinga is Obama’s cousin, who is dogmatically claiming that Obama was born in Kenya. It has also been claimed that Odinga is the agent responsible for helping Obama cover up the birth certificate scandal within the Kenyan government.

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was where the buck stops in the birth certificate fiasco. It is her underlings that are responsible for clarifying Obama’s citizenship, making this story interesting. Call me paranoid or conspiratorial, but I think this is a coincidence worth noting.

By Geoff Linsley.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How far would you go?

In all discussions with fellow Zimbabweans we always come to a deadlock when the question of how far we are prepared to defend our principles we can go. For starters, President Mugabe has made it clear that he has once fought for Zimbabwe and is therefore ready to die for the "gains" he obtained in his fight. It is because of this fight that he feels ordained to rule to his last breath. On the other hand, we the younger generations always have so much to lose, our jobs, our houses, our cars, our girlfriends, comforts etc.

In South Africa, and indeed across over parts of Africa, I have come across people who have branded us as cowards, people who cannot unshackle themselves from the bondages of an old tyrant. To make it worse, about 5 million able bodied Zimbabweans have fled to other countries. Can you imagine how much difference 5 million people would have made in the last election, or in protest marches, or in anything. So much strength, so many numbers, all gone to waste.

Will you die for an ideal which you believe in? The boers in South Arica ruled for about 4 centuries because they declared that it is better to die fighting for an ideal which you believe in than live without it. The same courageous words have been used by icons such as Mandela and abused by tyrants such as Mugabe.

Will you die for your country?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meet Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein

Name: Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein

Age: Unkown

Sex: Female

Country: Sudan

Crime: Wearing a trousers

Punishment: Flogging (40 special Lashes)

Should the "civilised" world be allowed to fight unfair religious practices?

Monday, August 3, 2009


Thats what we call our brothers from Africas most populous nation, Nigeria. Last week, the army ended up killing about 700 people in pursuit of a rebel group that was seemingly small and seemingly relatively harmless. But it turned out the group was not that small. What worried me though is the fact that the army captured the rebel leader alive. They then handed in over to the police. This is perfectly legal and normal, except if you become aware of the fact that this guy had orchestrated the deaths of several policemen as his rebel outfit was targeting them.

And so whilst the world was being shown a video of the man confessing his sins and expecting to hear of the court dates, and trial dates etc, we were shocked hours later to see pictures of an arrested man who walked into the police station come out in a body bag with his body riddled with bullets.

Did the end justify the means? That is the question we need to ask. In most cases in Africa decisions and actions are taken on a populist basis or they are taking riding on emotions. I agree the rebels had to be eliminated (Legally of course) for the government to take effective control of the whole country. but riddling a person with bullets under police custody still baffles me.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I remember Zimbabwe when I was young, beautiful, spotlessly clean, and on time. We had state buses than ran every route on the hour, every hour, all the time. We had clean public toilets. The street lights all worked. There was no water or power cuts. Our currency was at par with the Pound Sterling, Not the dollar. You would have to give me 2 US Dollars for my single ZimDollar. We named our land Africas Paradise. We also named it the land of milk and honey. We called our Capital City, Sunshine City.

There was fighting and poverty all around us. South Africa was not independent and we housed them. We supported them fight arpatheid. We sang revolutionary songs at Primary School denouncing the boers. We sent troops to Mozambique to fight the RENAMO bandits. The war raged on for about 15 years. Mozambique was a war ravaged country. We took thousands of Mozambican refugees and housed them. We had an interest in Mozambique. Our oil supply pipeline from Beira runs through Mzambique, but I believe when we sent troops we were genuinly supporting our brothers.

Zambia had practically collapsed under Keneth Kaunda. The Zambian Kwacha was worth less than toilet paper. We laughed every night and wondered how on earth a country could decay to such an extent. We had no intention whatsoever of going to Zambia for any reason, howsoever. Malawi had always been colonised for us by the white man. Zimbabwe had always taken cheap labour from Malawi. So Malawians, whilst not outrightly ill treated in Zimbabwe, it was always mutually agreed that they were lesser important than us. They cooked for us, bathed our children, tendered our green gardens, took out the rubbish bins. We were kings.

We also heard stories about Mogadishu, Djibouti etc. We even sent troops to both, to restore peace and stability.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. We now beg for jobs in Mozambique. The South Africans are burning our too many brothers and sisters. Zambia is practically fed up with us. Malawi is laughing. Oh, how the might have fallen.

Cry my beloved Zimbabwe, cry!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beautiful Lessons From Ghana

This week I have decided to publish a piece from a fellow Zimbabwean Blogger who has written extensively about "our" (and by that I mean Zimbabwean) perception of Ghana and why Obama chose Ghana. I have included his e-mail at the end so if you feel motivated enough, you may comment on this blog and drop him a line too. The article is rather longish that my usual dosage, so I have split it into 2 parts. This blog post was first published in one of Zimbabwe`s weekly newspapers and online publications two weeks ago.

I love Ghana.
If I had to choose an African country other than Zimbabwe, as my home it’s fair to say Ghana would have little, if any competition.
Perhaps it’s the fascination of a one-time visitor. Perhaps it is judgment that is clouded by the comfort of being a passer-by; by the beauty of being a visitor who often is accorded kindness, something that often fades the longer you stay among your hosts.
That is possible, but even my interactions with most Ghanaians outside Ghana persuade me that they are a good and cultured people. I would happily live among them.
A couple years ago, when Ghana celebrated 50 years of independence, I wrote in these pages about my first and only trip to that beautiful country on the West African coast.
I wrote about the warmth the people of Accra exuded; about the atmosphere which made it so easy — it was like I had been transported to an old country that I had once lived in centuries ago. It reminded me of Zimbabwe in many ways; a Zimbabwe that now existed in memory.
It brought back a lot of memories but it also gave a glimpse of some of the pain that runs through every part of the continent.
I have always found a strong connection between my country and Ghana. Perhaps it’s the maternal connection. For this is where Zimbabwe’s original First Lady, Amai Sally Mugabe was born and raised.
I did not know much about her but I think she was a good woman. For sure, she looked and sounded like a good woman. She had a certain aura around her and seemed to always have a permanent smile.
We knew her not for her beautiful costumes but for the love that she showered upon so many children.
She did not have one of her own but you wouldn’t have known, for she was always surrounded by happy kids. Our then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe had been a teacher in Ghana and here he had found himself a beautiful wife. As I walked the streets of Accra and spoke to the cheerful men and women that I met, I couldn’t help but notice a little Sally in most of them.
They were happy to have me, a brother from Zimbabwe and many remembered the Sally connection. Even in death she remained a uniting point; someone whom diverse people from different sides of the continent could relate to and talk about with fondness. Few are so blessed whether in life or in death.
But I also had some painful moments on that trip. This was the first Sub-Saharan country to gain independence in 1957. Yet what I encountered in the suburbs, beyond the smiles and cheerful welcome were many sad stories of a people whose circumstances could only be described more kindly as “challenging”. Here in Accra you came face to face with the plight of a whole continent that had escaped the yoke of colonialism in the last half century.
I spoke to Ghanaians who gave various versions of their history. They are a proud people; this is the land of the legendary Ashanti Empire, a favourite subject during my history lessons in high school.
I learned of the turmoil that the nation went through in its early years. In 50 years it had seen it all — almost everything that every other African country has gone through or will go through — one-party rule, military rule, failed attempts to institute democracy and finally, the present beautiful phase of peaceful multi-party democracy.
On reflection, Ghana almost encapsulates the evolution of the continent — the challenges, trials, errors and successes, of the post-independence era. No wonder US President Barack Obama recently chose it as his first proper African destination.
Five years after my visit to Ghana, nothing has happened to diminish my affection for that country. If anything, looking at the continent’s political landscape, Ghana seems to have turned a corner.
The ordinary men and women may still be struggling economically but the country has at the very least managed to tame, for now, the one institution around which chaos grows in most African countries: the election.
The last three elections demonstrate that it is possible in Africa for the election to be a facility through which people can successfully make free choices and that the incumbent does not have a divine right to remain in power at all costs.
Former President Jerry Rawlings was the last of the military rulers but by 1992 he had been re-born, leading Ghana for two four-year terms under the 1992 Constitution. That two-term requirement was observed.
The seminal election of 2000 was won by John Kufour, the opposition leader, beating John Atta Mills, the man representing former President Rawlings’ party.

Lessons From Ghana (CNTD)

That this was accepted was a big positive in the life of Ghanaian politics; an important step in its evolution from a country formerly subject to the rule of force as opposed to the rule of law. It gave hope that even a ruling party can lose an election and accept the result.
And so it was that for eight years, Ghana was ruled by the former opposition and the former ruling party became the new opposition.
It was not easy but it worked. It was moment of pride when a fellow student and colleague during our days at Warwick University, Ben Kunbour returned to Ghana as an MP on the opposition benches.
In 2008, at the end of his last term Kuffour stepped down and his party’s candidate Nana Akufo-Addo contested the election. The main rival was Atta Mills, who had unsuccessfully contested the last two elections against Kuffour.
The election was close and it went to the Run-off stage where again the result was very close. Atta Mills, of the opposition won the election by a very a small margin: 50.23% to 49.77% for Akufo-Addo.
Atta Mills become President of Ghana — at the third attempt, fulfilling the old adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
So, in effect twice there has been a reversal of fortunes for the ruling party in Ghana — the ruling party between 2000 and 2008 is back again in opposition.
Conversely, the opposition between 2000 and 2008 is back in power as the ruling party. And, incredibly, all this has been accepted and Ghana is moving ahead.
This is a phenomenon that one would normally observe in the older democracies in Western Europe and North America.
Even South Africa, which has done well to uphold elections, is yet to be seriously tested: that is, it is yet to get to that point when the ANC faces a more serious threat to its position as the ruling party.
Ghana tells us that it is possible for the election to mean something to the voters. It tells us that it is possible for leaders to be decent enough to accept defeat, in the same way that they welcome success.
It tells us that losing an election is hardly the end of the world; it educates us that there is life for a political party and its politicians after losing an election; that it is always possible to make a come back.
The last time I wrote about Ghana I finished with the following words, “One day, I hope to return to Ghana. I hope to see the finished Tetteh-Quarshie Roundabout (an extraordinarily large roundabout that was then under construction).
I hope to sit down and chat to the good men and women at the chop-bars of Accra. I hope to talk to a new generation of leaders, ready to take on the challenges that the next 50 years present. . .I hope that in 50 years time, the men, women and children of Nema (an old and dilapidated residential area in Accra) will be smiling and laughing in more comfortable surroundings”.
I still have those hopes for that beautiful country. And I am pleased that they seem to have found a comfortable and smooth road after the first 50 tumultuous years. As it happens, Ghana has recently discovered that it has black gold within its borders — I hope, unlike elsewhere in Africa, this substance fuels growth and not corruption, wars and deprivation for the ordinary people. I hope it is a blessing, not a curse.
And when I say so, I also have my own home, Zimbabwe, in mind. We are travelling a similar road. But I hope we won’t have to wait 50 years to appreciate that the election can be true agent of political change; that people can contest elections freely and fairly and that winners and losers can live peacefully side by side, doing their business and waiting to contest another day.
We were fortunate to have Amai Sally Mugabe; the Ghanaian girl who became a Zimbabwean mother — I hope we take a few lessons from that beautiful land on the West coast of Africa. One day, I shall return.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Friday, July 24, 2009

Beastly, Bouncy Kenyan Baboons!

blabbering boasty big bouncy beastly baboons
sauntering sacarstically for scarce Kenyan food
if you are a mean menacing machine looking man they scutter
but God be with any weary wobbly whining weak woman who tries to scare them...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sour Grapes!

It is the second week
Since Obama left Accra,
Yet rumblings from Zimbabwe,
Nigeria, Kenya and "Others"
are still echoing in the hills.

Zimbabwe has done one better than the rest,
writting unprintable words in the government controlled herald...

Hush, Hush good people,
when you are democratic,
Obama will come to you too!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nelson Mandela.

July 18th has been declared Mandela Day in South Africa. Seen as an iconic figurehead in the fight against apartheid, "Madiba" is reverred across the globe for his ability to hold together a fragile black and white fusion of South Africa Society in 1994.

Whilst some hardliners argue that he has not spoken out enough about white dominance, I unreservedly respect him for his ability to let go go of power when the whole world wouldnt have minded him being in power till death. He is indeed, a very great man.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What an eventful week!

By Sunday Air-Force One had left a trail of choking fumes across the cool Accra skies. Obama had come, seen, spoke, and left.

On Monday Mugabe yet again hit the headlines, for yet again the wrong reasons. In a constitutional reform exercise taking place in Zim, Mugabe and his goons are insisting on a draft they hastily crafted last year at the expense of a consultative process where the people give their views on what the Zim constitution should contain. So in the first consultative meet on Monday, Mugabe hired thugs who disrupted the whole process by drowning the speaker of Parliament in an effort to thwart the process. I would like to invite those who see a hero in this man to seriously give me their thoughts on this one. Barbaric means to stiffle the will of the people.

On Tuesday we tootled off to the Hague where Charles Taylor was standing trial for eleven counts of various crimes of killings and war crimes. Ever so eloquent, the man vehemently denied that he used to rip out the organs of opponents and eat them. He appeared human, and appealed to the courts human side. It was a very good show, and I am sure his lawyers are thoroughly happy. Except of course, the graves are still there in his home country, and quiet a few people still have short arms because their hands were chopped off. Torture and rape victims still roam the streets, and honestly, someone was responsible for this. Someone has to pay. Let the encumbent rulers take note. The Al Bashir indictment and subsequent madness from fellow Africa dictators will not outrun justice!

On Wednesday, the space shuttle Endevour finally blasted off. Its a race against time, the US government wishes to retire the shuttle fleet by next year. The Obama administration will also sign authorizations for the deployment of people on the moon, much like what they have done with the artic. So before you know it, there is going to be a permanent presence on the moon. I remember my late uncle was always pertubed by these excursions, and he would almost always ask..." And what is it that they are looking for up there which they cannot find here?" He died a miserable man, no one answered him.

We woke up today to the news that the ICJ prosecutor will receive an envelope containing names of the perpetrators of post election violence in Kenya. Oh! I can hear you gasp, and you are not all alone. We all thought it was water under the bridge. But hell no. The Kenyans deliberately forgot to tell us that they were given an ultimatum to investigate all the post elections violence and bring the perpetrators to book. In Kibaki`s infinite wisdom, they hastily assembled a commission of inquiry which they hoped would die a natural death. Kofi Anan had the uneviable task of ensuring this would go smoothly. Sensing that he and the rest of the world were about to be, yet again, get duped by African political murderers, Anan cried wolf. The ICJ Prosecutor sprang into action and Anan will be making available the names of all known perpetrators. This will be a very interesting ball game as it plays out.

So what can we learn this week. The days of wanton disregard for human rights and mass political killing are over. The world is changing, and for the better. You can no longer kill political opponents like flies and get away with it. The days of Idi Aminiism are over!

Monday, July 13, 2009

He hit the spot!

I did not have too much respect for Obama before he came to our shores. But honestly, he hit the nail on the spot that drives it home. Africa is for the Africans, and we must not live in the past. We cannot blame the west for "all" our ills. Surely we have contributed in part to our present predicament. Zimbabwe plotted its own downfall! Coming from a black American of African descent, I think the lean boy has all the chance to say whatever he wants. We have been used for far too long to painting our arguments in black and white.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Barack Obama in Ghana

In exactly 9 hours Ghana time, Air Force One will touch down gently at Kotoka International Airport. The lean, smooth talking, and astute President of the USA will gently make his way down and wave to an expectant crowd lining the tarmac to welcome him African style. History will be made. America is coming to Africa.

At exactly the same time tomorrow, Air Force One will gently taxi to the end of the runway, before speeding at breakneck speed for take off. Mesmerised, we shall watch in amazement as arguably the most sophisticated airplane on the planet kisses the Accra clouds before disappearing over the sea and hurtle towards its home in Washington. Again history would have been made.

The tomato seller will go back to her table at the roadside. The Y`ello airtime crew will sprawl across the Accra streets as before and eke out a hard living. Teachers will go back to their old classrooms, lawyers to their old courts, engineers to work, and children to the same old classroom. So much will happen, but vey little will change. Its sad.

I would have wanted to see Ghana capitalise on this trip beyond just the media hype. I would have wished for Ghana to drive a very hard bargain, give Obama a Trade and Development Agreement to consider, increase the quota of exports from Ghana to the USA, advocate for cancellation of more debt, enhance private sector partnerships, acquire grants to build roads, hospitals, schools, dams, power generating plants, water purification, medicines, technology..everything that is on our "want list".

What is the reward for democracy, America needs to be asked? Why should Mugabe stop his age old antics to admire Ghana and this historic visit? Where is the incentive?

We must go beyond receiving these meaningless pats on the back, we are not kids, and we cannot be silenced by candy! We must know where our bread is battered, and if it is not buttered, we must seek more butter. It is good that these guys come, Obama is the 3rd sitting American President of the USA to come to Ghana over the last two decades, but not even one of them increased the export quota of Ghana to the USA.

For how long shall we remain the ululating class? For how long shall we proffer wide smiles for merely being labelled the good boys. We must ask for more, we must demand more, we must want more! We must close this gap. Let their gestures be backed up by meaningful economic exchanges, which are aside from AGOA and HIPC and all those one size fits all policies. America must show the world that the reward for democracy is economic partnership, outside the normal realms of peacemeal offers that they offer the length and breadth of the world.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kinky, Creepy Michael Jackson

And so it gets even worse. The thriller star has not gone to the tiller. Someone drained his brain. Just like the video of thriller, this is getting kinky, creepy, and kocky. Please let the poor man rest in peace!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Like little kids...

Just like little kids, who have done their homework, we are supposed to be very happy to receive the US president...

Michael Jackson Live Memorial Coverage

For a strange man, he sure got the world`s attention. I was, however more fascinated by the smashing Janet Jackson. What could I have done, all stations were showing a strange funeral?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trailblazing Barack Obama

And so he will come to Ghana this weekend. Accra will come to a standstill. Millions will flock to see him, hear him, speak. He will assure us, as usual, that America cares so much for us. He will tour the Cape Coast, acquaint himself with the evils of slavery. Maybe he will shed a tear.

And thats just about all. This is merely a sentimental visit. I dont see any value to it. How many American presidents have been to Ghana before? And what did they change, apart maybe from building one of the most sophisticated embassies in Accra? Or, as some small voices are saying, is he coming after the scent of oil? Is he?

Monday, June 29, 2009

So near, yet quiet far!

I want to talk about Bafana Bafana, the South African national football team. They played four games in the just ended Confederations Cup, won one, drew one and lost two. They faced Spain twice and lost twice to them. And they are very happy! Oh God, you lose twice to the same team and beat your chest?

What is wrong with us? Celebrating mediocrity! If we have improved, as the pundits want us to believe, why didnt we beat Spain, at least once? It wont matter how sexy the football you play is, we need to count a series of victories, period!

This got me thinking. We tend to want to console ourselves as Africans so much. When we achieve 45% of the target we celebrate, because at least it is not 20%. We never seek to get 75%. We are happy with being "nearly there, so near yet so far!" Why dont we grab the bull by the horns? Why are we happy with half jobs, half truths, half satisfaction, half completion, half of everything?

Food for thought!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Of Thriller, Of Black and Off White!

Umbilical cord cut black
Yet white became and could not go back
Dizzying dazzling dangling child
Life was lived on the wild

Thrilling spectacular sounds
For which many gave a pound
Glitter from tender five
Many died to watch live

The world sits and mourn
For a man who was a cultural yawn
With a destitution to become white
And such values as light as kite

The path of life is the same
You choose to walk it in shame
Or manipulate talent in fame
Such is the fate of fame

Small boys shrieking in bed
All for a moment to get fed
Grand juries failed to nail
But God in eternity will not fail

Rest in peace Michael!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zenawi Zooms on light!

I finally got it. Good news. The Ethiopian strong leader Meles Zenawe has said he now wants to retire. This is after 19 years at the helm of Ethiopia. Under Meles Zenawi's leadership, Ethiopia has undergone dramatic change since 1991. A political system, based on ethnic federalism, has replaced the centralised rule that existed during the years of the feared Mengistu dictatorship.

Mr Zenawi has also said, he wishes to see a new breed of political leadership taking over, a breed that did not fight the so called wars of independence. This is very significant in African politics for a number of reasons. Congo`s Mobutu was a liberation hero, so was Kamuzu Hastings Banda of Malawi, and Zimbabwes Robert Mugabe. These men have one thread in common, they clung or still cling to power at all costs. And their reason is that, if they give up power, they cannot trust anyone else who was not part of the liberation struggle to take the reigns. What Mr. Zenawi`s move demostrates is that, leaders must realise that there is indeed so much more life after they go, whether voluntarily or by the push of democracy. Such leaders as Zenawi who quickly take the cue must be regarded highly.

There are some positive things in Africa, indeed! In case we lose focus, whoever that comes into power in Ethiopia must be a person who is not only clean of the liberation war mantra, but of corruption and all the other viles that bedeville our beloved continent.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Butchering Bloggers Biggest Blunder!

I have never blogged about any issue outside beautiful mother Africa. I had a reason. I am an African first. I let other minds dissect their own political scenarios. But I was shocked over the week end at the news coming out of Iran. I am concerned about their allegedly stolen elections and all the protests and resultant arrests. But, having more such problems of our own in Africa, I was yet to lose sleep over Iran. But the government went on to perform one of the most despicable acts of stiffling democracy. They arrested about a dozen bloggers for writting out their minds on the fiasco.

Bloggers have become the most effective and efficient journalists of our time. Bloggers have no bias, they speak their minds. If ever any political leader has any wit, they would rather listen to what bloggers say rather than any commercial and best selling newspaper. Bloggers speak for the people. Bloggers represent the street level mentality. It is folly to stiffle them.

For the un-initiated, there is a test for democracy called "The Town Square Test". It is simple, if you cannot go to the middle of your own city and shout your views, then there is no democracy in that country. Despots and tyrants do not want to hear this. But it is going too far if you crack down on bloggers. Jeez! How low can these despots get.

Let us all support these fellow bloggers, and do whatever we can in our own small ways to ensure we preserve the bloggosphere that is the nerve centre of ideas and information. I want to get this message out clear and loud to all the tyrants and dictators. We will not stop until you do the right thing. If you arrest the Iranian bloggers and think you have shut them up, we will blog about Iran. The information will still disseminate to the people. Jeez!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bloggers Meet.

We have a small group of bloggers, where we meet and share experiences and ideas once a month. Yesterday was only my second time attending, yet I woke up a changed person today. I am a very talkative person, I love to share ideas, and whenever I can, I love to be on top of the situation.

But I found myself listening, thinking. I found myself having to reflect on what my peers were saying. They were speaking about slavery. They were not speaking, from the confines of a history text book, crafted neatly by some proffessorial historian, trying to hem out a point whilst hiding another. They spoke from within, from what they had seen, heard, smelt, and even touched. It was a heavy discussion.

The big question was, would our destiny have been any different, if we had not been enslaved. The net effect of slavery, is that, like in a hundred meter race for development, Africa is a competitor that has one leg shackled. And that is not all, Africa is a competitor that has been pulled back from the starting line up. I warned you, it was a heavy discussion.

I was of the opinion that, we need not spend our energies, weeping over the transigencies of the past. I tried pracariously to interject, to say we need to rise up, and catch up with everybody else. But in the end, I concluded that slavery is one topic I had not given enough time and thought. Apart from what my history teacher taught me, I have never opened my eyes to it.

I am promising you, and myself, that I shall look into this topic more closely. I want to have a deeper understanding. They say if you need to know where you are going, you must first establish where you are coming from.

So much for having promised that my next 10 blogs would be about the positive things about Africa. But who knows, there could be some silver lining to it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 positive things about Africa.

I had secretely vowed to contribute my next 10 blogs on the positive things about Africa and its politics. I was motivated by the fact that, most of the time, we dwell so much on the negatives to an extent where we blight the positives. In any case, most of the so called international media relentlessly spew acres of filth and dung about us on a daily basis. I wanted to be the change, to highlight that after all is said and done, we are just like everybody else.

But when I sat down to think hard about it, I realised I had embarked on one of the toughest assignments I have ever given myself. Where would I get 10 positives things to write about Africa and its politics. I poured through newspapers, went over the internet, spoke with friends and searched all possible avenues I thought had answers, but to no avail.

I still havent found the first positive thing worth blogging about. Maybe you can help.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Investing in metal snakes.

I woke up to the most pleasant news to ever come out of Africa in decades. You may think it has to do with the coming of Beyonce to Africa, or our preparedness to host the 2010 soccer showpice, or even any wanky news that is supposed to brighten up a gloomy day. But no. It is far from that. It has to do with steel and locomotives. It is news of an investment in rail road infrastructure.

After getting independence from our colonial buddies (I refuse to call them colonial masters), each African country has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do meaningful things. Some countries inherited robust infrastructure which had all the necessary ingredients to propell the countries to economic dominance. But as the years went by, we specialised in rendering such infractructure derelict. We undertook destructive policies and destroyed the foundations that had been laid for us.

So you can imagine how humbled I was when I learnt that the Ethiopian government has embarked on a major construction, not rehabilitation, of 5,000 kilometers of new rail infrastructure. Presently, the only stretch of rail in Ethiopia is from the Capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti. However, over the past few years, the trains could not even reach Adis Ababa. The chief engineer admitted that over the years they have been experienceing about one derailment per week.

Africa must do more to embark on such projects. I met a friend who had never seen a train before she went to London. But the west has embraced trains to an extent that they are the veins that pump blood all over the body economic of such countries. Countries like Japan have revolutionised trains to an extent that it is now better to take a train than fly between places. Whilst we persecute political opponents, stiffle media freedoms, rape basic rights, steal elections and pull down our own development we should stop and reconsider.

This is one hell of a good story which I will not hesitate to write about over and over again. Well done Ethiopia.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who do the Bongos think they are?

Any death, in Africa, is a cause for great sorrow and pain. Even criminals, deliquents, prostitues and murderers receive respectable comments when being "sent off". It is our culture, we never speak ill of the dead. However, this week we had a sharp critique of this culture which was caused by the death of Africas longest serving president, Omar Bongo of Gabon. Having assumed power in 1967, there is a whole generation of the population of 1,4 million plus Gabonese which has never known any other leader.

As a young official under President Leon M'ba in the 1960s, he rapidly rose to prominence and was given key responsibilities and in 1966, he became Vice-President. He succeeded M'ba as President upon the latter's death in 1967. Bongo headed the single-party regime of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) until 1990, when multi-party politics was introduced. He was re-elected in multiparty presidential elections held in 1993, 1998, and 2005. Although he faced intense opposition to his rule in the early 1990s, he was eventually successful in consolidating power again; most of the major opposition leaders of the 1990s came to support him and were given high-ranking posts in the government (This is begining to sound like an African curse-Does Kenya, Zimbabwe ring a bell?).

During Bongo's long rule, ethnic tensions were subdued and Gabon was generally stable and peaceful. The country benefited from its oil wealth, although most of the population remained impoverished and Bongo and his associates were routinely accused of serious corruption. After Cuban President Fidel Castro stepped down in February 2008, Bongo became the world's longest-serving ruler, excluding monarchies.

So what is wrong with all this? I will not be shaken in my assertion that when it comes to democracy and politics, there is no meaningful contribution that anybody can give after 10 years at the helm. What new ideas will one come up with after having been so used to the system. The same goes in some circumstances to some CEOs and even some very regular jobs. You are no longer of any meaningful value for any change if you stay at a place for more than 10 years.

Now we are told that the late Bongos son who is the Minister of Defence has sealed off the whole country, deployed soldiers, cut off internet access and ordered state radio to play sorrowful music to mourn the president.

Honestly, who do these Bongos think they are?

Monday, June 8, 2009

COMESA`s rotating chairmanship a disgrace.

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a preferential trading area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981. Nine of the member states formed a free trade area in 2000, with Rwanda and Burundi joining the FTA in 2004 and the Comoros and Libya in 2006. COMESA is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community.

In 2008, COMESA agreed to an expanded free-trade zone including members of two other African trade blocs, the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). COMESA has also mooted the idea of a single currency, a move which will make the trading bloc a pacesetter on financial and economic consolidation on the African Continent. Undeniably, COMESA is very important to the development of member states as well as the African continent as a whole when it comes to issues of trade and investment.

However, over the week end, the body handed over the chairmanship of the bloc to Zimbabwean long time president, Robert Mugabe. Given the ambitions of COMESA, Zimbabwe is a sour thorn in the flesh of the bloc at the moment. A decade of economic mismanagement and a disgraceful human rights record have been the cornerstone of the nation that has taken over the cahirmanship of the bloc. Presently Zimbabwe has disbanded the use of its own currency, and although once touted as the model African economy, the country is teethering on the verge of collapse. The education system has broken down whilst health and health care systems are basically in the intensive care unit. Critics have put the blame squarely on the man who has taken over the chairmanship.

Given the seemingly noble intentions of the bloc, it boggles the mind as to whether this rotational chairmanship expresses the ambitions of the body or not. The Zimbabwean leader is known for telling anyone who opposes his view to "go to hell" and his economic management is highly questionable. It must be noted that COMESA delayed handing over this chairmanship to him for over a year because of the legitimacy crises over his controversial election last year.

My humble suggestion is that, these regional trading blocs must show their unity of purpose by making it a condition that the chairmanship is assumed by a leader who furthers the cause of the bloc. I would boldly suggest that rather than make the chairmanship rotate through some nations that are a drag on the body, the chairmanship should be assumed by a leader whose nation tops the GDP of all other member states during the tenure of any incumbent. It is time we take bold steps in making sure some of these well meaning bodies act as they preach.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


A Zimbabwean magistrate has called in witchcraft experts after a Murehwa (Town 100kms out of Harare) woman found NAKED outside her brother-in-law’s house in Harare claimed she FLEW there in a winnowing basket with two others on a mission to kill him. The woman was seen by passers-by outside the house wearing “red headgear” and “some black strings around the waist” just after 6AM on Sunday.

Dozens of people soon gathered, some throwing stones at her until the brother-in-law she was on a mission to kill RESCUED her from the mob. After admitting to a charge of public indecency for public nudity, prosecutors recommended that the woman be given a non-custodial sentence. Prosecutors say the woman will now be a state witness in a future prosecution of her father-in-law and aunt whom she claims “flew her” to Harare on the mission to kill her brother-in-law.
The woman claims the trio “took off” from a cemetery in Murehwa in the dead of the night, but once they got to Harare, she balked when asked to carry out the killing. Her father-in-law and aunt then FLEW OFF in anger, leaving her stranded at the property. Refusing to take chances, a Harare magistrate said the woman should be remanded in custody just in case she “flies back to Murehwa”.

The magistrate then warned the prison officers: “If she escapes, the Prison Service should explain.” Experts from the Zimbabwe Traditional Healers Association (ZINATHA) were expected in court on Thursday to provide guidance on the bizarre case which is set to reignite a national debate on witchcraft. The magistrate said: "This narration is a bit of a novel situation and we need guidance from the experts to clarify certain issues. We cannot solve it on our own. She insists that she magically flew from Murehwa to Harare and if we release her on bail, she might fly back to Murehwa”.

The practice of witchcraft is illegal in Zimbabwe after witchcraft laws were changed in 2006. Under the colonial-era laws that existed before then, it was a crime to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft. New laws say anyone accusing another individual of witchcraft must show proof of their allegations. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act 2004 says judicial officers can rely on expert evidence “as to whether the practice that forms the subject of a charge… is a practice that is commonly associated with witchcraft.” Prosecutors have vowed they are determined to charge the father-in-law and aunt with practising witchcraft in what would be a test case for the country’s witchcraft legislation.

Have you any views?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Branding the backside!

SWAZI residents were asked on Tuesday to debate a politician's call for HIV positive citizens to be branded on the buttocks, which has sparked an uproar in the country. The Times of Swaziland asked for feedback on best ways to combat HIV and rights to freedom of speech after Timothy Myeni told fellow politicians that all Swazis should be tested for HIV and their backsides marked if infected.

"I have a solution to this virus. The solution will come from a law that will make it compulsory to test for HIV. Once you test positive, you should be branded on the buttocks," the member of parliament said last week. "Before having sex with anyone, people will check the buttocks of their partners before proceeding," the newspaper reported him saying.

Landlocked Swaziland is one of the world's poorest nations with the highest HIV prevalence in the world under the rule of Africa's last absolute monarch King Mswati III.
Miyeni, who leads a popular gospel group, has stuck to his call for compulsory HIV testing but apologised for the buttocks branding suggestion. "I'm very sorry for saying HIV positive people should be branded. I did not know it would turn out like this."

"I have seen that the suggestion was very offensive and many think I was discriminating, so I withdraw my statement," he said last week.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stern test for Zim`s GNU!

The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton has said the US will not resume aid to Zimbabwe for as long as there are no guarantees that it will reach the intended beneficiaries. She also added that it would be in the best interests of everyone if President Robert Mugabe leaves office. For a freshly inaugurated government that had pinned its hopes on the superpowers pumping in money into the economy, this is a hard blow. Mugabe and his cronies had hoped to pull the wool over the world by pretending to form a government of national unity. It is next to impossible for a leopard to change its spots.

Events in Zimbabwe are not getting much better. Political activists are still being hauled before courts under barbaric abductions and torture. Lawyers are wantonly being arrested for representing these political activists. The media is still gagged. Mugabe continues to hold on to the unilateral and unlawful appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General. High court orders for release of political detainees are being flung out the windows. Prisoners are dying of hunger under inhuman conditions in custody. To make it worse, you could disappear for writting a piece like this one in Zimbabwe.

Hilary Clinton`s statements are a stern test to the existence of the newly formed Government of National unity (GNU). We know President Mugabe as having a very short fuse. He can easily snap with these statements and return to his tired mantra of the US plotting to invade Zimbabwe and some other gibberish about sovereighnity and sanctions. We also know that Mugabe`s cabal of Army, Police and Secret Police Generals who have so far stood by their word never to salute Morgan Tsvangirai as a national leader are frothing at the formation of the GNU. They want the slightest of excuses to bow out of the GNU. The regime that has ruled Zimbabwe over the last 3 decades had got so used to having it its way. They owned all the mining concessions, all the businesses, tourist attractions and related services. In 2000, they apportioned the whole country to themselves under the chaotic and often violent infamous land reform program.

Amazingly President Mugabe still commands unrivalled respect amongst the general populace of Africa. They see him as a hero, who has done what some (Especially South Africa) want to do but are unable to do. Speaking to a Zimbabwean journalist in London late last year, he told me that Africa was free to take Mugabe if they so wanted him. It seems Zimbabweans in general are fed up with the man.

Will he snap, or hold himself? The next few hours and days will tell. I will not be surprised if he snaps. His insatiable appetite to travel to Europe and the US has got him so angry that he has grown impatient over these countries for refusing him the chance to do so. Surely the owners of Harrods must be missing Grace Mugabe (Mugabes wife) as one of their most opulant, lavish and reckless spenders.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Is a Mercedes yet to be Zuma`s Achilles Tendon?

With less than two weeks into office, President Zuma`s government has been caught in a storm over yet another Mercedes. Zuma himself, who is not a stranger to controcersy, was fired from being V.P. because as part of the corruption charges against him, he had received a Mercedes ML from Thint, a French Arms Company which the SA government was purchasing weapons from. Now his newly appointed Minister of Transport has also just received a Mercedes from an assortment of transport contractors as a gift for his appointment to head the transport portfolio. These guys went further, they threw a lavish party at the hand over ceremony.

We have always suspected the Zuma administration would not be above board. I warned the South Africans before going to the polls to be very careful with their vote. I strongly feel, South Africans are yet to go through what most of us in Africa have gone through. They are still new to this game. And as such they still vote with emotion, rather than reason.

There is a pattern that most African nations have travelled. A country gets independence, and at that time it is endowed with all the instruments you can imagine, perfectly capable of cataputing the country into prosperity. Between ten and twenty years afterwards, people vote with their emotions, and dictatorships take root. It is only after a devastating downward spiral that African nations begin to realise that they need real leaders with vision rather than emotional personalities who they hope to use to spite their past with.

I wish "Shower Boy" very well. I just hope he will not take South Africa down the same route that we have all travelled. I dare him to prove me wrong!

Putting a cost to Democracy!

I heard one of the most horrific excuses why democracy cannot prevail today. Asked why the national broadcaster in Malawi was only covering the ruling party, the head of the corporation calmly told the AU Observer Mission chaired by Former Ghanaian Presdinet Kuffour that he simply had no money to cover all political parties.

You will recall that Malawi is not exactly your model of democracy, even by the low standards we deploy in Africa. But I find it harrowing for a national broadcaster to insult our conscience by putting across such a lame excuse.

Malawians go to the poll tomorrow. So far there has not been any notable violence. We hope it ends that way, and that the elections will really reflect the will of the people.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today, 30 years ago!

On the 15th of May 1979, the political landscape in Africa was introduced to a fresh player. His name was Jerry Rawlings. On this day, today, 30 years ago, there had been a mutiny by junior officers in the army in Ghana. On May 28, 1979, Rawlings, together with six others who were arrested earlier, appeared before a General Court Martial in Accra, charged with leading a mutiny of junior officers of the Ghanaian Armed Forces on May 15, 1979. There was strong public reaction, especially after his statement had been read in court, explaining the social injustices that had prompted him to act. The ranks of the Armed Forces, in particular, expressed deep sympathy with his stated aims.

When he was scheduled for another court appearance on 4 June 1979, Rawlings was sprung from custody. With the support of both the military and civilians, he led a bloody coup that ousted the Supreme Military Council (SMC) from office and brought the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) to power and he bacame the head of state. Six moths later, he relinguished power to a democratic civilian government.

On 31 December 1981, JJ as he had come to be affectionately known, deposed the same civilian government he had relinguished power to, and became chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC). Composed of both military and civilian leaders, the PNDC oversaw some of the most remarkable free market laws and regulations in Ghana to date. This is despite the fact that the international community was citing human rights abuses. In 1992 JJ was elected Executive President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, and went on to be re-elected in 1996. In 2000, he handed over power to John Kuffour of the opposition NPP party who had pipped his preferred choice JEA Mills.

This is by no means a short history. The man has come of age. Two quick observations. He is one of the few military rulers who handed over power to a civilian government. He is also one of the few leaders in Africa who went on to hand over power to an opposition party at the expiry of their term without trying to re-write the constitution.

Today, 30 years ago, JJ entered the African political jungle. You can judge for yourself.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The World Must Stop Watching and Act!

It happened in Rwanda. It happened in Daffour. It happened in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, everywhere! It is happenening now in Sri lanka!

I was disgusted when the UN Secretary General last week said that the government of Sri Lanka must know that "the world is watching." Let me give you a background. The Sri Lanka government has declared war against the rebel Tamil Tigers. Tamil Tigers are a rag tag movement opposed to the government and have been in existence for over 20 years. It is good that the government must anhilate them, but how?

After having been driven off their strongholds last week, the rebels have been driven into a small part of the country. In order to repel the government offensive, they have marshalled between 50,000 and 100,000 civilians as human shields. The government insists it will not be detterred and will therefore attack the rebel held position. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have already died. Yet Ban Ki Moon has the audacity to declare that the world is watching!

The world has watched one too many genocides. The UN must be accountable to us. The crime of genocide was not created to make people commit it, but rather for the world to take preventive measures. So the world will watch until tens of thousands are butchered before going in with little tents and small bottles of water and a few food hampers to the survivors. This system is not working. The UN must work as a preventive force rather than an after the fact body. The whole idea is to prevent the killings, rather than wait and want to charge some individuals after thousands are dead. We should take the UN to task.

In Iraq, when the coalition forces invaved, the UN was quick to withdraw its staff. The UN "runs away" from deadly situations. They watched in Rwanda, they watched in Daffour, they watched in Iraq, they watched in Zimbabwe, they watched in Somalia and they now want to watch in Sri Lanka. Cant they get tied of watching? This is death on defenceless civilians we are talking about. This is not an action packed movie! Its life! Its death!

Stop watching! Do something! NOW!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mystery Shops in a Jungle Mix

I have two short and sharp warnings. Do not get anything on internet advising you of any mystery shops, where you dine and wine at fine restaurants, get foot spa etc whilst receiving cheques of between USD4,000 to 8,000 a month. Life is not that easy. Are you Queen Victoria? If not, then dont expect such freebies from the internet without a catch!

To all my facebook using friends, beware of junlgemix. There is a programme that is redirecting facebook users to a fake facebook web site. I have previously had my laptop crushed by a virus I got from facebook. Be warned!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mexican Swine Flu Virus Week.

It is spreading. It is like no other. It is caused by swines. Swines! Of all creatures, swines are turning out to be what they really are, swines! How did we get here? Where did we go wrong? What are we to do? No one has an answer, yes including the renowned WHO, which supposedly is our last line of defence. In Mexico people are now wearing masks. Yes, masks! Schools have been closed. Over 100 people infected. I shudder to think what will happen if the virus spreads to, say London, Lagos, Rio De Janeiro. Cities with multitudes of human habitations. Cities that can be brought to their knees, by a virus. In Mexico the government has asked people to keep reporting for work. Its a nightmare. One more week with industries shut, and Mexico will spin nicely into economic catastrophe.

So what is the link between the Avian virus, Swine Virus, September 11, London Underground bombings, Mumbai terror attacks etc. Fragility! That is the answer. The world is now more fragile than ever before. One small explosion, or virus in one small corner of the world can cause untold suffering in the whole wide world. The four corners of the earth are loosely strewn together by an old decaying cord called development. It can be broken by a swine. It can be broken by one Afghan man with a bazooka. Do you not find it funny that after all our investment in medicines, high tech medicine, nuclear power, war planes faster than sound and so forth, we are helpless against a mere swine. Where are we going wrong? How did we get here? What shall we do? Do you have the answer? Tell me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The dirty is a reality gossip blog and I aint trying to make this the same. I like to speak my mind, throw tantrums, and raise dust. But not in vain. This lonely voice is for the voiceless, for the speechless, for the down trodden. I do not own a carbon car, perhaps never will. I have not been to the glass slipper project. I am not showy, never have, never will be. I am just an African, trying to correct, or just crying out over so many wrongs, against people, against the land, against the sea.

I sympathise with the victims of the Myrtle Beach Fires, I sympathise with victims of piracy off the Gulf of Aden, I sympathise with political victims in Madagscar. I respect the freedom of choice as expressed in South Africa today, I hate terrorists. I am who I am, and no one can change me, even by threats!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

World Earth Day 2009

When I was young, we would plant a tree each, on this wretched earth, on a day we called national tree planting day. Nowadays, we only have leaders, who care about the type of cars they drive, how many storeys their mansions have, how many wives they have, how many people they should kill to safeguard their power, how many diamond mines they should allot to their cronies....

In Africa environment is taking the back seat, the earth is crying, the rivers are choking, the seas are black, the animals are dying, children are smarting from industrial smoke, old people are coughing blood...

Today is world earth day! What have you done about it?

The power of language

When the colonialists set foot on this gene-rich but technology-deficient continent ages ago, they started taking away more than just our resources. They took away our languages, and with it our culture. I always get irritated when you read or hear international news media saying "...Portuguese speaking Mozambique or Angola, French speaking Cameroun or English speaking Uganda..." The connotations behind these labels reach far beyond merely labelling one sovereign country with a language of an erstwhile forceful colonial master. It represents, me thinks, a perpetual, permanent and irreversible mark which we are being made to carry for centuries to come.

Africa has so far managed to unlock political free will, independence which to some extent now encompasses economic sovereignty and other freedoms to the exclusion of our freedom to our languages. I remember when I was in Primary School in the 1980s, our teachers suddenly passed a rule that all indeginous languages had been banned from the school grounds, and we were expected to start speaking in English. Those found wanting were sent for punishment which often included hard labour. When I look back now, I get the feeling that we have been battered so much that we are no longer proud even of our own selves.

In the United Kingdom alone, I know of many African families whose kids cannot speak any word of their mother toungues to the total preference of English. In Africa, you still get respect and high societal positions by being merely eloquent in English, or French, or Portuguese. The more you "break" your own language the better.

Language encompasses more than just a means to pass messages from one person to another. Language is a heritage. Language is culture. You are who you are because of where you came from, and where you came from is characterised by language. We must begin to be proud of our languages, our cultures, our heritage. I have heard of the argument that you cannot express certain scientific methods or processes in some languages, but that argument falls flat if you look at the Chinese, the Japanese, the Asians, and the Arabs. Language, like culture is dynamic, it evolves and adapts to circumstances.

Be proud of who you are!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dragging Mandela out of his cocoon...

Yesterday was the last day for campaigning in South Africa. The South Africans go to arguably their most important poll since the new constitutional dispensation in 1994 on Wednesday.

I was not amused at all when Jacob Zuma dragged poor old Mandela from wherever he was resting to a rally in Johannesburg. I respect the old man so much that I felt a lump on my throat seeing through what was happening. Zuma does not need Mandela to help him on anything. The old man must be left out of the shenanigans of these blood thirsty leaders of todays ANC.

Zuma sings about getting his "Machine Gun" each time he is confronted by any of his misdemenours. The new ANC Youth Leader, a school drop out called Malema, was successful in constructing one English sentence when he unashamedly announced that "We are prepared to kill for Zuma" Now for any one mortal soul, to drag Mandela from wherever he was with his private life to be paraded with these blood thirsty hounds, is surely taking our elder African statemen for a ride.

The ANC should not have allowed this to happen, regardless of how desperate it is for Wednesdays vote.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vote Rigging and India.

My greatest fear came to be. The USA went on to shoot the poor Somali Pirates to rescue their beloved Captain. The French killed them too. All this happened over Easter, a time we should all have been "celebrating" the Death of Christ! Death begets Death! The Pirates have vowed to "kill" any captured US or French seamen. I told you so. It will get worse, not better.

So I will take you all to India this week. The World`s Oldest Democracy is going to the polls. And guess how many elligible voters are there? Yep, a cool 700 million. SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION VOTERS! God! Just imagine what African incumbent leaders who like to rig their way through would have done. They would have declared 100% victory, all 700 million voters claimed to have voted for them.

Mobutu was once asked about a 100% vote he had just amassed in poor Congo, and he replied that some people wanted to vote for him 110%, some 120% and so on, if the electoral laws had permitted them. The man was chased out of Congo like a dog barely 18 months later.

There is a cruel joke I heard from a Zimbabwean friend. The joke goes like this: One day Robert Mugabe, his wife and 3 kids decided to play a game of voting. To be fair he called in his Registrar General, who was then the Chief Elections Officer, to administer the election and count the votes. After casting the votes in a simple hat, and the RG went into the next room to count, he came back a few minutes later and announced that Mugabe had won a landslide with a total of 7 votes. There were 5 voters in the room!

We should look, listen and learn from India.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not Hung Over!

I am not hung over.
I am back from Easter.
It was a good holiday.
Yes I had fun, thank you for asking.
How was yours?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Debunking the Somali Pirates

The Somali pirates have been in overdrive this week. 6 ships in less than 5 days, that is an average of 1.2 ships being taken per day. Yesterday, they nearly met their match, a courageous crew of 20 Americans carrying a cargo of vegetable oil and corn laced with soya destined for Mombasa fought back and regained control of the ship. The pirates however managed to escape with the captain, who we are told is still being held captive as the bargaining chip. By the time I went to bed, news was that an American War ship was heading towards the spot. What an action packed flurry of activity on the high seas, someone please make a movie of all this.

But the news reports are as usual playing games with us. Why isnt somebody telling us why this is happening. Why are these Somali seamen hijacking ships day in day out? Are they insane? The reason is simple, its pay back time! The Somalis claim that these powerful nations have been trawling their shores for a long time that there is no more fish in their part of the sea. And Somalis used to earn their living from fishing. Also, the fact that these big boys ships use their territorial waters has resulted in so much pollution that you can now hardly catch anything off the coast of Somalia. To top it all, the meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia has ensured Somalia has been in a state of destabilization for the last 20 years.

This is not a case of lawlessness, this is as political as it gets. The Somalis are only making a political point, in a manner that is available to them. I am a bit afraid though, now that big bully America has had her children scathed, she may decide to launch an all out offensive against these poor pirates. This could well mean long drawn battles deep into Somalia. Such a move would not only be catastrophic and bizzare, but suicidal as well. Remember big boy America does not have a macho record in Africa, and non other than Somalia dehorned them. Sad developments, but with interesting connotations! Let the games continue.

Monday, April 6, 2009

South Africa is sweet-oh!

It was the only African country at the G20 in London last week. It is Africas biggest economy. If you havent been to Cape Town, then you havent been anywhere! Welcome to South Africa, beautiful, rich, powerful...and disgusting. After 8 years in which the SA media went overboard in exposing Jay Zee`s (Short for Jacob Zuma) seemeingly insatiable appetite for corruption, the man has walked free today. There is nothing surprising here, after youth leader Malema threatened to "kill" for Zuma last year, something had to give. Chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe said phone-tap evidence suggested political interference in the investigation. What else could the man have said, the ANC was blowing so hot Zuma had to be dropped like a hot potato.

The media in SA has already predicted that in about 4 weeks time, Zuma will take the reigns of Africas most powerful nation. Having grown up in a poor rural KwaZulu Natal, it remains to be seen whether the "Shower Boy" will finally transform South Africa into an African country. I actually had a friend who argued that South Africa is not part of Africa, and he was right. You just need to see how the most powerful nation on the continent can afford to have so many poor shack dwellers in such a sea of plenty. Or is it because SA, has not yet been liberated?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why do we have double standards?

For the past two days the world media has been abuzz with how Michelle Obama has set the fashion trends at the G20. True to the expectation, she made it a point to show us more than two outfits a day. The whole world was caught in a frenzy and heaped praises on her taste. Designers were even falling over each other to dress her. But that will not happen in Africa. On BBC World News today, angry messages were being hurled at Cameroons first lady because she dresses well. People were apparently disgusted that she is doing an overkill, and some even hated the way she does her hair. 2 first ladies doing exactly the same thing, but getting 2 different reactions.


Isnt there a credit crises in the US and shouldn`t Michelle Obama have been sympathetic to all those Americans who have lost their jobs too? Little food, for a little thought.

Enjoy your week end!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The significance of Rajoelinas withdrawal from SADC.

The Indian Ocean island country of Madagascar decided to withdraw from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina announced on Wednesday. Rajoelina said that the business community leaders asked the High Transitional Authority(which is his new arrangement of leadership-I refuse to call it a government) to help them. He also said the business community had told him that they were not ready to compete with their counterparts in the SADC.

Hard questions must be asked. How come SADC is so easy to pull out from? How come Rajoelina feels confident enough to just walk out without fearing for any repurcussions for his country? True, you may think it is all to do with preserving his ill gotten power against an organization that has said it will not recognize him. But, to me it points to the inherent weaknesses of SADC.

SADC has always been a coalition of the so called liberation freedom fighters in Southern Africa. Its purpoted economic cooperation pales into insignificance when you compare it to COMESA. With time, SADC is losing its relevance to newer and younger political parties who feel, and rightly so, that they can do away with this group of old men. Rajoelinas withdrawal is so far the first, but I am willing to bet my last dollar, that it will not be the last. SADC must shape up to the realities of the new political dispensation of younger, less corrupt leadership, who have nothing to do with the so called wars of independence.

If SADC had stepped in politically when the people of Madagascar were crying out for help, it should have been able to quell this disaster. But because SADC is what it is, a useless gathering of liberation movements who are all about looking out for each other, they failed to make themselves useful when the Madagascan crises was unfolding. This knee jerk reaction of rushing to suspend Madagascar after the fact, only buttresses my long held suspicion that this group is not compatible to the politics of today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama the celebrity?

Have you noticed how Obama still speaks like he is on a campaign trail, like he is at a rally? Dont you just feel that he is more of a celebrity than a President? Has the reality of him being President really sunk in? Am I the only one?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Its embarassing to be Southern African!

I dont condone Rajoelina. I dont like coups! But Rajoelina didn't kill anyone and got into power on a wave of popular support. That cannot be said for Zimbabwe. It is a section of the population that wanted him to do what he did. He did not kill hundreds, black out the media, throw out observers and diplomats, deploy the army, police, war vets, youths etc. It may not be right, but it is the people that got him there. Of all people, SADC wants to slap sanctions on Madagascar! Give me a break! Wont these sanctions hurt the innocent Malagasy? This is the rhetoric of SADC when it comes to Zimbabwe sanctions, that they are hurting innocent people. So the islanders of Madagascar are not innocent people. Since you know it all, why not appoint the tried and tested Mbeki to mediate. Maybe Ravalomama can sign another funny agreement and share power. Shame on you SADC! Why do you always have to be againts the people? Zimbabweans were prostituted by this regional bloc. It is embarassing to be Southern African!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Will Mugabes Friends Please Stand Up!

This week, the new finance Minister of the Inclusive government in Zimbabwe revised the country's budget. It doesnt look good. The revision is coming barely two months after the budget was presented by one Patrick Chinamasa, a failed lawyer, but staunch Mugabe loyalist who has dominated most of Mugabes cabinets since 1985. His highlight, being floored by Roy Bennet in parliament after calling his ancestors thieves and murderers.

Having hoped that the international community (I have asked before what this animal is!) would fall over each other to bail out crumbling Zimbabwe after forming the unity government, the coffers remain dry. This March, the government is unable to pay all civil servants. Diplomatic missions have learnt other means of survival wherever they are, their pay has been erratic since 2002. We now know why Mugabe bit his toungue and formed the unity government. We also now know why his heart skipped a beat when Morgan Tsvangirai escaped death by a whisker in the fateful accident that claimed his wife. Mugabe and his goons and goofs have bled Zimbabwe dry. As at january, there was no more money left in the coffers, that is why they scuttled to settle with Morgan. He is their ace.

Mugabe has reduced the once mighty Zimbabwean economy to a basket case. Now we are told, 88% of revenue collection is coming from beer and cigarrets imports. "We are now implementing the basic law of hunting economics," the new minister of Finance declared. "What we gather is what we eat." I can inderstand him. A country of 12 million people is expecting only 1billion for the whole year. For all his thundering and masquarades, Mugabe has reduced Zimbabwe to a "Hunting and Gathering Society." You will need to go back to your history books to see how many centuries this man has single handedly wound back the clock for Zimbabweans.

He is now asking for "his" friends to please come forward and bail him out. We wait to see how many admirers he has, now that push has come to shove.