Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Africa’s new crop of deadly clowns

It started with Zimbabwe’s dictator, Bob Mugabe. After ruling Zim since independence in 1980 Mzee Bob got a taste of power, loved it and decided to keep it.

Over decades the people of Zim got tired if him. They voted him out. But since he controlled the instruments of power and state muscle (army, police and party thugs) Mzee Bob decided to stay put. He thumbed his nose at his people and millions of Zimbabweans have now voted with their feet and fled the country.

Zimbabwe is run by Mzee Terror, his wife and cronies company limited. Ironically the people of Zimbabwe fought and died for freedom and independence in the chimurenga war of liberation. The liberators have turned into a terrorists.

Mzee Bob has been forced into a hated power-sharing form of government with opposition leader Morgan Tvangirai. This wa after the mzee clearly lost the elections. But he would have none of it

Enter Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. He too, had a taste of power and decided that no one else looked pretty being president of Kenya, except himself. So when the Kenyans voted him out, he decided that they were out of their minds. So he fiddled with the figures and crudely stole the elections. This was with a lot of help from the Kenyan electoral bodies appointed by Mzee Mwai himself.

The Kenyans told him to stuff it and decided to fight. More than 1500 Kenyan souls died in the mayhem until Mzee Kibaki agreed to common sense. He was forced o share power with the real winner, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). And Kenya now even has a new constitution.

Just when we are about to relax we hear there is another clown in Cote D’Ivoire. Monsieur Laurent Gbagbo, who has been ruling have the country for the past 10 years, has also taken a taste for power. Last week he got soundly clobbered by his opponent, Alassane Ouattara. Now war drums are sounding out all over the country. There is a smell of blood all over.

I was just wondering – is that it? Is this a new trend in our continent? In the post-independence 60s Africa had crude and brutal coups and a way to change power. Lately we have decided butchering each other as a way of sustaining power is too crude for almost everybody. Now we are having the blatant stealing of polls.

If you lose? Well, you stick around forcefully. You are wearing the guns. You have the murderous thugs on your payroll. You have the muscles. That, in common language, is called dictatorship. Is that the new trend in Africa?

Do people have to be pushed around until, in desperation, they decide to go for their pangas and stones and butcher each other? Because one can see it coming. Former President of Sausi, Thabo Mbeki has tried to talk sense to the two Ivorian leaders, but both sides seem to be adamant. Both have appointed and sworn-in their governments.

Looking at all those instances and you will find no noble ideal for the good of their people. In all cases it is all because of naked greed in all the three cases I have mentioned above. It is all about who does the eating.

One wonders – is Bongo next? Is that the shape of things to come or are we also going to opt for governments of ‘national reconciliation? I can see it being experimented in Zenj. Will it work?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We demand a new constitution now!

Maybe she was being starry-eyed after being sworn-in as a new cabinet officer in the ministry of constitutional affairs last week. The brand new minister, Celina Kombani rejected the need for to overhaul the Tanzanian constitution branding the call for it “pedestrian.”

Privately I doubt if she lives in such a cloud-cuckoo land not know the overwhelming call for a new constitution. I gather she said that such talk is “pedestrian” which I wonder if the reporter wanted to equate with the Kiswahili – maneno ya mtaani.

“Let them come with something concrete in writing, showing which sections (of the constitution) have problems, why and suggest the alternative. The government should not be forced to respond to these sensitive issues through reading newspapers.”

Do I detect am tinge of pooh-poohinh of newspapers and the media in Aunt
Celina’s dismissal? Because I suspect that her ladyship is implying that
what is read in the papers ought not to be trusted or taken into serious
consideration. Only those words uttered in official circles are ‘serious’ and intelligents while the rest of us are bull-shitting! Only they can think and have the monopoly of brains.

If there was no need form constitutional review and reform why did the Prez, Jack Mrisho himself, think that the heavyweight issued merited a whole ministry? He should have made her a minister for something else.

Strange. For, at the same time opposition MP for Wawi, Hamad Rashid
Mohammed of the Civic United Front (CUF) has cautioned against the now
tired tactic of government pussy-footing to escape from responsibility.

Mr. Hamad said that his party has filed more than three letters to the
Government talks over constitutional changes nothing has been done: “Who
does not know the long cry of having a new constitution, we wrote a letter to
President Kikwete when he took over the office in 2005, and likewise to
former President Benjamin Mkapa but nothing has been done.” He said
That the ninth parliament he prepared private motion but was not given
a chance either.

Academics, politicians and the public at large have been clamoring and
calling for a review of constitution and everyone knows that – except Aunt
Celina. She thinks all that is “pedestrian.”

Which makes one wonder – was there a need for a whole ministry of
constitutional affairs? If so – then what is her job description then?
Maybe to tell Tanzanians that there is no need for a new constitution. So we got ourselves a brand new ministry of constitution affairs to tell us that we don’t need a new constitution! No wonder we have a bloated cabinet.

I hear that the minister cautioned that if not handled properly, it could
plunge the nation into serious problems.

Indeed. Dismissal and pooh-poohing of such matters of national importance
as “pedestrian” does not bode well for Bongo. Or, maybe Aunt Kombani
was a bit excited and loudly thinking with her mouth.

The minister further claimed that the craving for a full review of the
constitution was not in the interest of citizens and the government. It
reminds me of statements I used to read during the cold ideological wars between eastern European and capitalist countries,
of the 50s and 60s. Then you got those statements from the ministry of

Today, I would wish that politicians should check their gearing systems,
before engaging their mouths. The demand for a new constitution is real. It should not, at any moment, be treated as a gift from politicians to the people of Bongo who voted for them in the first place!