Jobs for African Youths

ON March 18 this year, the Compliance Department of Barclays Bank-Tanzania Limited (Barclays/BBT) conducted a Clinic on ‘Curriculum Vitae (CV) Writing & Interview Skills’ for final year students of the Dar es Salaam College of Tumaini University (TUDARCo).

In his opening remarks, the Barclays Director of Planning, Dr. Lotti, pointed out that such Clinics are rarely part of normal curricula in Universities – and, in the event, he encouraged students to make maximum use of the session through active participation.

For her part, Barclays Head of Compliance, Irene Sengati-Giattas, said “there is a gap in the jobs market whereby prospective employers have vacancies to fill – but they experience a scarcity in sourcing candidates with the right skills and mind sets  to fill the vacancies, while job seekers experience a lack of employment opportunities!”

As Barclay’s mission is to help people achieve their ambitions – and doing so in the right way – the Clinic was an act of willing contribution to the society by the Barclays Team, to commemorate the ‘Global Barclays Compliance Citizenship Day.’

“At Barclays, we believe that, as the society around us grows, we grow with it,” Irene philosophised.

Dr. Joyce Chonjo, Deputy Provost (Administration) appreciated the initiative and welcomed the team for many more Clinics and up-skilling sessions in the future.

Feedback from the University finalists

  • Beatrice Kapori, 3rd year student, Bachelor of Arts in Mass  Communications, said “I have learnt lots of things that I didn’t know earlier, which include how to write a CV – and the common mistakes to avoid when writing a CV. Barclays have come in at the right time when we are about to go to the jobs market!”
  • Genovefa Feksi, 3rd year student, Bachelor of Business Administration, said “this is my first training for CV writing and interview skills, and I have really gained a lot. Although I have written a CV before, there are things I didn’t know aren’t supposed to be included. If I were to be called for an interview before this training, I would have been very nervous and scared… The training has really boosted up my confidence as I now know the manner by which to answer questions well. Thank you so much for coming, Barclays!”
  • Alex Mbegu, 3rd year student, Bachelor of Human Resource Management, said “the training was very informative. I have identified mistakes I made in writing CVs in the past. Very recently, I prepared a CV on behalf of a friend and I used first person narration ‘I am…I am’. Luckily, the CV has not been sent out yet so the training is both useful and timely.

With regard to what is next after the CV – the Interview – I have never gone for a job interview, so I have been clueless as to what to expect. However, from the Interview Skills session, I learnt how to tackle questions appropriately – especially in Competence-based interviews. The training is very relevant.”

  • Jackson Simon Shekigenda, 3rd year student, Bachelor of Human Resource Management, said “I have learnt that, through our normal life, we can identify various skills we may unknowingly possess, which employers look for, in spite of not having any work experience!”

Barclays Bank-Tanzania has been operating in Tanzania for the past 15 years – and, currently, boasts a network of 22 branches and 48 ATMs strategically located countrywide, employing over 500 workers serving over 70,000 customers!

Barclays first opened its doors to business in the country in 1925, where it continued to operate until 1967 when its operations were nationalized to become the National Bank of Commerce. With the liberalization of the economy in 1990s, Barclays Bank Plc re-entered the Tanzania market, re-opening its doors in 2000.

Barclays-Africa Group Limited 

Barclays-Africa Group Limited is 62.3 per cent owned by Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays), and is listed with the JSE Limited. The Group is one of Africa’s major financial services providers offering personal and business banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management as well as bancassurance.

 The Group was formed through combining Absa Group Limited and Barclays’ African operations on July 31, 2013.

 

There’s Big Money in Religion — or is there?

WHEN the six-storey building of ‘Televangelist’ Temitope Balogun Joshua (TBJ: born June 12, 1963) in Lagos, Nigeria, collapsed on Sept. 12 and claimed the lives of over 60 people – many of them South Africans – TBJ called that carnage ‘martyrdom!’

Did the deaths result from fighting for, or defending religion… Or  did they result from personal greed, bordering upon criminality?

Ironically, despite that tragedy people – gullible as humans are – still trust TBJ as a prophet and all the controversies behind his ministry notwithstanding!

Currently, Africa has a big number of self-made (read ‘fake’) prophets raking in billions from folk who believe that miracles can improve their lives, not actually ruin them!

It is sad that African Governments haven’t bothered to probe such ‘scriptural abracadabra,’ which defies logic. Is it because Governments, too, have similar burdens in this diabolical game of duping paupers? One may think that, after the ‘TBJ’ deaths were reported, the first thing the authorities would have done was to ban the movement and prosecute Joshua.

They didn’t; they haven’t… And, as you read this, Joshua is a free man who contemplates regularly visiting South Africa, ostensibly to honour his dead martyrs!

He was quoted by BBC as saying ‘I’ll be travelling to South Africa to meet people from South Africa and other nations who find South Africa easier to visit, in memory of the martyrs of faith…’

Martyrs of faith, indeed!

Joshua’s move was received with mixed feelings. While some people opposed it and called for his arrest – and others urged South Africa to deny him entry – yet others showed staunch solidarity with him!

Let’s face it. How come that people who assert to be followers of Jesus the Christ also follow run-of-the-mill prophets whose principal aim is to make money out of desperate, ‘herd-instinct’ followers?

How can a tycoon like TBJ ‘faithfully ‘follow’ Jesus Who told Zacchaeus to sell whatever he owned, distribute the proceeds to the needy – and ‘follow’ Him? Jesus implied that nobody can serve two masters, namely God and wealth! [See Luke 9:1-10].

Jesus also cautioned the world to be wary of false prophets who hoodwink millions. It is written: ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing – but,, inwardly, they are ferocious wolves!’ [Matthew 7: 15].

Aren’t the ‘wolves’ amidst us devouring the children of God in the name of performing miracles they’re really incapable of?

How can Jesus, an advocate of the poor, be associated with the rips-off routinely done to paupers? Will Joshua get away with ‘virtual murder’ simply because his ministry boosts Nigerian income whereby six-out-of-ten South Africans visit Nigeria only to attend his sermons? What have the Nigerian authorities to say about this carnage?

Although collapse of the TBJ synagogue might be seen as an accident, it nonetheless shows how dangerous our cities have become after corrupt public officials turn a deaf ear to a  corrupt construction industry and dubious landlords!

How many building in African metropolises are ‘waiting’ to collapse and kill thousands even as the authorities look the other way? We’re told that Joshua’s building wasn’t the first to collapse in Nigeria – nor will it be the last!

When that carnage occurred, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan visited the scene. Instead of reprimanding Joshua he was quoted as saying, “my coming here is to express my personal condolences to Prophet Joshua, the ‘Synagogue of All Nations’ – and, of course, the bereaved families!”

Can such a ‘leader’ tackle such problems by taking on those behind them?

People were shocked byJonathan’s sympathetic words to a person he was supposed to order to be arrested forthwith… He didn’t! Why? Was Jonathan afraid to take on Joshua for fear of losing voters from the latter’s hangers-on? Was he induced?

How many ‘Jonathans’ are political bedfellowa with the ‘Joshuas’ of Africa? How many otherwise innocent people have to die so that our rulers would wake up from the deep slumber they’re in?

It’s sad to note that, currently, African governments wantonly allow witchdoctors (and ‘witch pastors?’) to turn their people into prey while the relevant authorities stay clear on the sidelines – as if they’re not responsible for the security of their hapless citizenry! How many more should die for our authorities to act, putting a stop to the madness and dupery?

The Growth of the Cement Industry in Africa

PLANS by Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote to invest in the Mbinga coalmine to use the minerals as energy in the production of cement in his planned large cement firm at Mtwara is likely to kick-start a re-engineering of energy sources in the country’s fledgling industrial sector, a section of observers believe. The reason is that the industrialist seeks large production activity and is also investing in a 300mw plant in Mtwara, to boost industrial activity and conversion of natural gas to electricity, but seeks to use coal to generate cheaper power for the cement factory. That should lay the basis for other industrialists to use that source to diminish their own costs .

 

The Nigerian industrialist and top rated businessman on the continent, whose key specialty is cement where he runs factories in a number of African states apart from his Nigerian homeland, made remarks in that direction on the sidelines of an important investment conference attended recently by Vice President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal in Dubai. He made mention of those plans in his conversions with Dr Bilal at that conference, the second Africa  Global Business Forum hosted by the United Arab Emirates. The Nigerian magnate is perhaps the single most important industrialist on the Tanzanian scene, set to change the country’s outlook in cement and energy sectors.

 

Already observers and government officials were extremely happy with the investor’s move to dig deep into Mtwara to place a few of his most important investment in the country, on account of a cry from that area to get a bigger slice of economic activity that uses natural gas within the region. Now the industrialist is raising the stakes in a different area, that the country’s untapped coal resources are part of its future and not an irrelevant resource of the 19th century, and not applicable in this era of green technologies, etc. Coal is a resource of prime importance in energy production as it is just a matter of burning it, unlike hydroelectricity which has to be generated in a more expensive manner, or gas that has to be processed in an even more expensive outlay. Coal is plentiful in Tanzania.

 

Analysts are not surprised that it is in the cement sphere that the idea of using coal has surfaced most strongly, as cement factories use large amounts of electricity, where in Dar es Salaam it has habitually been Wazo Hill cement factory that is considered the biggest power guzzler in the city. With the right infrastructure more large consumers of power could switch to using coal and letting available electricity be spent on activities where burning coal can’t do to generate energy, and it is possible some other industrialists would see the manner they can adapt their energy needs to such resource if it is cheaply available. Dangote is largely the first to come up with practical plans in that direction, whereas planners in the National Development Corporation (NDC) habitually see coal as another area for generating electricity, despite that the country has numerous hydropower sources, and gas is now added.

 

Another sphere where this initiative could start making a difference is in costing of cement, as local industries have been urging the government to place higher taxes on cement imported from outside, citing in particular Pakistan, that it was undercutting the market for local cement, which is assailed by high taxes and circumventing factors in seeking to keep its costs down. With this initiative, and especially if the railway system is improved enough for coal to be transported cheaply around the regions, large energy users who use boilers could avoid high costs of hydro or gas generated electricity, not to speak of heavy fuel generators for instance the one still being used at the Tegeta power plant, by Independent Power (T) Ltd. The plant under its new owners is billed to shift to natural gas.

 

With the Nigerian industrialist, the best thing to do is to place the factory not far from the coalmine, and with the railway planned from the Mtwara seaport to the shores of Lake Nyasa, if it has investors like Dangote and others so that it can be implemented rapidly, more industries could be constructed in the zone, using coal from the Mbinga mine or others. There is plenty of coal in the Mchuchuma coalfield but the Nigerian investor seeks to put up his own investment so that costs can be controlled, part of the reason being that the ownership of the coalfield is not entirely in the private sector, and purchasing energy or resources from the government via a parastatal organization can be a problem. That is what Wazo Hill investors and others reel from, without viable answers up to now, and might find it more useful to follow the lead of the more recent newcomer to the local industrial scene.

 

However the road is not going to be altogether rosy as activists could start pointing out that coal has a greater incidence of environmental impact for instance from greenhouse gases than other sources of energy. Yet it is unlikely that a generalized argument about greenhouse gases could make an impact, except if there are local limitations of using such energy, or the kind of systemic controls enabling limited impact on the surrounding areas, not affecting local ecosystems for example. Unlike the use of mercury in washing out soils to obtain gold pieces, coal does not spread out into the environment via the soil but air, and has in some cases constituted an agency to overly change climatic phenomena when its use is on large scale, as it was so in various industrial states in Europe.

 

The degree to which coal is still being used to generate energy differs from one zone to another, with Europe having generally abandoned the use of the resource, while rapidly industrializing China is seen as the worst offender in green house gases largely on account of its extensive use of coal. There is still a lot of coal use in South Africa where it has sparked a measure of debate, which means substantial coal use in the local context is likely to attract a degree of environmental unrest as coal is inseparable from heavy smoke, soot and at times significant localized climatic disturbances. Yet at incipient stages of large industries, it might be the break investors need.

 

In that case the degree to which Dangote may succeed to cheapen his products and dampen pressures for higher taxes on cement imports would also indicate that other industrialists can do the same by adopting use of the resource. That is also going to add pressure for opening more mines or liberalizing ownership of existing mines in case they are not run by the most efficient producers, while also keeping the lid on rising electricity prices. In case many industries abandon the use of electricity at least for heavy energy needs, in a situation where electricity generation is set to rise, it would also ignite organizational change on the part of TANESCO and its affiliated energy producers. The local industrial scene becomes more competitive, when energy is less monopolized than at present.

Ebola is Still a Significant Drain on African Economies

As the Ebola death toll spirals into the thousands in West Africa, the outbreak could have a spillover effect on the region’s deadliest disease. The outbreak has virtually shut down malaria control efforts in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, raising fears that cases of the mosquito-borne illness may start rising — if they haven’t already.

So far, at least 3,000 people are estimated to have died of Ebola in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the current outbreak, although World Health Organization (WHO) staff acknowledge that official figures vastly underestimate the total.

By contrast, malaria killed more than 6,300 people in those countries in 2012, most of them young children.

Overall, malaria deaths have fallen by about 30% in Africa since 2000 thanks to national programmes supported by international funding agencies such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the US Agency for International Development and the WHO’s Roll Back Malaria initiative.

The schemes distribute free bed nets to protect sleeping children from mosquitoes, train health workers to find malaria cases and offer tests and treatment at no charge to patients.

But the Ebola outbreak has brought those efforts to a standstill in the three affected countries. “Nobody is doing a thing,” says Thomas Teuscher, acting executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“It’s a disaster in all ways possible. The public-health impact will be huge.”

He says that malaria drugs are sitting in govern-ment warehouses, especially in Liberia and in Guinea, where medical supply trucks have been attacked by people angry with the government’s handling of the Ebola outbreak. Liberia had planned a national campaign to distribute bed nets this year, but Teuscher says that it may be difficult to launch that now.

Routine health care has collapsed during the outbreak, because both patients and providers have shunned clinics for fear of infection. As a result, tens of thousands of people could die from treatable causes, says Estrella Lasry, a tropical-medicine specialist for medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (also known as Doctors Without Borders) in New York. Those include complications of childbirth; trauma and other acute conditions requiring surgery; and causes such as diarrhoeal disease, respiratory viruses and especially malaria. With proper treatment malaria can usually be cured completely, but if left untreated it can develop into a severe form that is often fatal.

“It’s a disaster in all ways possible,” says Lasry. “The public-health impact will be huge.”

As of August, the WHO had not seen a year-on-year increase in people with  malarial symptoms reporting to clinics in Guinea, the only Ebola-affected country where such data are available. In fact, malaria deaths in Guinean clinics decreased for the first half of this year compared with 2013. But that is not necessarily good news, says Teuscher. It could mean that the illest people have been staying away from clinics, scared off by the Ebola outbreak, and their deaths have gone unnoted.

Furthermore, the symptoms of malaria mimic Ebola, so many people who might have malaria are avoiding clinics for fear of learning the worst, says Alice Johnson, a nurse and clinical mentor for Last Mile Health, an organization in Boston, Massachusetts, that trains health workers in rural Liberia.

Ebola’s impact on malaria programmes is likely to linger long after the outbreak ends. In Guinea, for instance, authorities bury Ebola victims with their bed nets to prevent the spread of infection; this has raised suspicion that the nets have some inherent connection to Ebola.

And health workers are afraid to do blood tests to confirm malaria because Ebola is spread by blood and other bodily fluids. That could lead to people who do not have malaria being given antimalarial medication, which can contribute to the development of drug resistance in the parasite that causes the disease.

It is important to get malaria control programmes back on track, says Teuscher, in part because they could help to fight Ebola.

For instance, in Sierra Leone about 2,000 community health workers have been trained to go into villages to find and treat malaria. They could also be trained to detect Ebola and help infected people to get care, he says.

“Potentially, we have an army of people available in these countries who have experience delivering malaria treatments,” says Teuscher. “They’re still there; they just need to be helped to do a good job.”

A New Constitution is Serious Business

JUDGING by the look of things, it’s obvious that the Chama cha Maulaji (CcM) is hell-bent to impose its will on Tanzanians. Refer to the recent sideshow whereby CcM was able to ‘pass’ the so-called new Constitution through the CcM-packed Constituent Assembly!

How can the said document be referred to as the ‘people’s Constitution’ while the views of the people as collected by the statutorily-constituted ‘Warioba Constitution Review Commission’ were snubbed and sidelined?

Who are these ‘people’ in the first place, anyway? Do ‘people’ mean a gang of self-seekers who doctored the Commission’s Constitutional Draft to protect and foster their vested interests?

When those in the CA on that fateful date started voting to ‘pass the thing,’ we’re told, ‘they’ fell shy of the required two-third votes, and the Draft hanged in the balance!

Then, suddenly, ‘they’ manoeuvers this way and that – and, presto: the requisite two-thirds votes were ‘found’…!

Elation, self-flattery and whatnot were evidence as the dying horse managed to legalize its hocus-pocus. Caught between a rock and a hard place, CcM applied every trick in the book to ensure that its project succeeded even if it meant rigging [a.k.a. ‘chakachua!]

Will ‘they’ get away with that kinf of murder, so to speak?  Will Tanzanians swallow this bitter pill that’s aimed at allowing a kit and caboodle of virtual swindlers to fleece them wantonly?

Now we’re told that the ‘thing’ is waiting for a presidential go-ahead – which it will surely get!  – ready to be rolled over to a referendum! Will the voters consent to a thing they know is the product of deceit and self-preservation for people grappling with accusations of alleged corruption?

Will the hoi polloi watch from the sidelnes  as they did during the haggling to ‘pass’ the doctored document – thereby finally getting a raw deal? Or will they say ‘enough is enough?’ Verily, time will tell!

Those who keenly followed what was going in the ‘Bunge Maalum la Kuula’ (BMK) in Dodoma will agree that the goings-on were a sham. After the ‘Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi’ (UKaWa) initially staged a good fight in the Assembly, CcM showed signs of losing the battle – and had to resort to maneouvres in the eleventh hour that ‘enabled’ them to ‘pass’ the Draft!

It’s on record that 25 per cent of the Warioba Commission Draft was  tampered with. Andrew Chenge, the chair of the CA Drafting Committee, was quoted as saying that they ‘improved’ the Commission document by 25 per cent Ironically, Chenge didn’t  point out any weakness of the document – which warranted  betterment of same! Did they better it or BATTER it?

Questions arise… Why was it doctored – with some articles  removed or changed? Who authorized such tampering? Who empowered self-styled BMK after it lost legality following UKaWa’s boycot of the proceedings?

‘They’ may go on with this pipedream, believing that the battle has been won… My foot, the battle is yet to commence!

Some bigwigs – championed by Commission Chairman Joseph Warioba and UKaWa – vow to continue with the fight to ensure that the ‘thing’ doesn’t go far!

Again – looking at how the thing was arrogantly ‘passed’ – we’d urge them not to allow people to participate in the process they know won’t be free and fair.

The same ‘tricks of the jungle’ that were employed in this monkey business in Dodoma will be deployed to see that ‘they’ get off the hook. What, then, should wananchi do? Simple, boycott the potpourri of deceits and scams so that ‘those’ plotting to hoodwink them again learn the lesson that Tanzanians not the boobs ‘they’ think they’re!

In sum, if ‘they’ think ‘they’ can get away with murder, ‘they’ must think again!

Wavering on Dictatorship

THE Tanzania deputy minister for Science&Tech, January Makamba, left many in stitches. He’s quoted as espousing dictatorship as the only means to eradicate endemic graft…  That Tanzanians need a dictator to end corruption!

“One way to end graft is visible heavy punishment,” he said. That’s why dictators execute people in public, to show that those who try to overthrow them will face a firing squad. “The aim is to induce fear,”  Makamba argued.

Wow! My foot…! Who wants a tyrant in these times of democracy, accountability and pursuit of human rights?

Makamba needs help to understand the dynamics of top leadership.

However, there’s no need to be shocked by such remarks from a guy who prides himself as an elite youth. Methinks Makamba’s suffering from ‘Chronic Political Monopoly Syndrome (CPMS), having been born and bred under tactful dictatorship whereby his political party has bulldozed the led for generations!

Let’s face it. Without his father’s name, Yusuf, what does January have to deserve being where he’s today?

Does he think we’ve forgotten that his father once said that his son would be appointed a Govt. minister? Lo and behold: he was so-appointed! Is this the style he wants us to accept –to our peril? No, Sir; go tell it the birds!

Who wants a dictator in multi-party politics? The likes of January are pulling us back to tyranny with the miseries currently evidenced! We need ‘clean’ leaders with vision and love of their country, not dictators. We need a ‘clean’ Constitution stipulating how to deal with venal leaders.

Why doesn’t January underscore the fact that, under Benny’s dictatorship, Tanzania was wantonly turned into a private estate to benefit him, his family and friends? Why doesn’t January appreciate the fact that Benny got away with it all because  another dictator protected him?

The time for dictatorship is long gone and whoever seeks to  rejuvenate same must be feared like Ebola, HIV and leprosy, so to speak!

We need leaders who uphold democracy, human rights, accountability; who have what it takes to deliver our people from poverty and tyranny, instead of using them to mint money for themselves!

Ironically, January attacked his government that seeks to to enact a corrupt Constitution aimed at entrenching the status quo which unduly benefits those in power.

However, the man’s entitled to his views. Indeed, we need to do away with graft. But, we can’t do this by installing self-seeking dictators as advocated by him. We need leaders who can apply law equitably and judiciously, not dictators whose personal dictates become law!

We need leaders who’ll use the Constitution to lead judiciously, not rulers who abuse it. We need leaders who abhor graft; who act sanely and responsibly; leaders who aren’t in cahoots with corrupt elements; who condone and protect criminals.

We need leaders whom criminals’ will fear and respect, not ones they can use wantonly…

I’m aware that January undertook Conflict Resolution studies,

an academic field seeking to alleviate – and, possibly, put a stop to — conflicts whose ‘good’ source is poor leadership, dictatorship!

January accuses the extant system of embedding leaders obtained through corruption. If he seriously means what he says, shouldn’t he be first to resign from that system?

Suffice it to say that Tanzanians must beware of his likes, some of whom have plundered our resources and positions.

In a nutshell, January is politically bankrupt, daydreaming of sending us back to the old dark days of tin-pot dictators..

Prelude to Bedroom Democracy

Friday, 19 December 2014 08:21
Grace Marufu Mugabe, former personal secretary in the office of president with whom President Robert Mugabe had an affair even before the death of his terminally-ill wife Sally Hayfron is the most influential woman in Zimbabwe now. She’s but a king maker thanks to sharing bed with the big man. Mrs Mugabe who’s currently scheming to inherit power from her aging and long-time president seems hell-bent to fulfill her desires shall Zimbabweans not stop her. Mrs Mugabe seems to be ahead of the game after taming her husband as she separated him from his comrades. She recently saw former Vice President who fought liberation war, Cde, Joyce Mujuru being shown the door to perfect her art of power seeking. After Mujuru hit the road Bulawayo 24 News quoted Mrs Mugabe as saying “I never wanted to do this to her (Mujuru), but the way she treated me, I was forced to do so. She tore the party regalia which she was wearing to an extent that she moved undressed in protest over my nomination.” It is now obvious.  Arguably, the problem is not the allegations that are all over the place that Mujuru tried to ouster Mugabe as it was maintained during firing Mujuru. The problem, if anytying, is Mujuru’s refusal to support the king maker Grace in her quest for power. It can be simply said that Mujuru was fired because of Mrs Mugabe’s vendetta and act of vengeance.

For Mrs Mugabe power is a family business. Thus, Mujuru had to support and respect her the way she did to her husband, the president. In other words Mrs Mugabe wanted to be treated like the president she share bedroom and be with.  This was very hard especially for the person who sacrificed her youth fighting for the freedom Grace and others are abusing and misusing. In this game of power enjoying and abusing, Grace was appointed a head of ZANU-PF’s Women’s Wing before being appointed secretary or minister for Women’s Affairs in the same week.

Grace has become a power to reckon with. Whoever teams up with her surely, ends up being promote d to power as it recently happened to her friend and chief organizer, Oppah Muchinguri, who was appointed secretary of Transport and Social Welfare. Who knew that a divorcee and a mere clerk would claim such ladders easily and quickly? These are the rewards of bedroom politics.

Again, how many Graces does Africa have now? Apart from Mrs Mugabe, Janet Museveni the wife of Ugandan long-time ruler Yoweri Museveni is another king maker. Mrs Musevni came to limelight after running from Member of Parliament and won. For the first time, the first lady became an MP which is arguably lesser position compared to being first lady.  Thereafter, her husband appointed her a minister responsible for oil-rich area of Karamoja Affairs.  Rumours in Uganda have it that Janet is groomed to take over after her husband. Many people related to Mrs Museveni including her sons in law were once accused of trying to secure plots in the area. Again, for the first lady to be an MP or/and minister doesn’t it create conflict of interests?  Who cares in countries were bedroom politics are rife? Who can stop such a first lady if at all she shares bed with the big man whose weakness and strength she knows too well?

Looking at what transpired in Zimbabwe, first it become difficult to note if Mrs Mugabe is ushering the beginning of the end of her husband’s long-time regime. Secondly, will she succed? If she does, does she have what it take to run the country? Will her husband, thanks to old age surrender everything to his wife even if it means bad ending? Does Mrs Mugabe know the murky waters she is entering? Will Zimbabwe let Mrs Mugabe fulfil her mission and ambitions?

Given that Mrs Mugabe’s scheme seems to have succeeded by drowning her political manmade enemy, will she achieve what she is dreaming about? Will Emerson “Crocodile” Mnangangwa who was appointed VP let her fulfil her dreams? What a tough encounter that pities a croc against power hunger lioness!

In sum, we’ll next week visit another country where bedroom politics are ubiquitous as the presidents scheme to see to it that their sons are stride into their shoes shall anything happen. Importantly, we need to ask what Africa has to do away with such abuse of the office of the president.

More Viewpoints on Bedroom Democracy

This week our person vis-à-vis Bedroom Democracy is none other than Janet Museveni the wife of Ugandan long-time ruler Yoweri Museveni who is another king maker. Mrs Musevni came to limelight after running from Member of Parliament of Ruhaama constituency which she captured easily thanks to being first lady. Once again, a big name Museveni paid dividends. She became a first African sitting first lady to become an MP which is arguably lesser position compared to being first lady.  Thereafter, Mrs Museveni’s husband appointed her a minister responsible for oil-rich area of Karamoja Affairs.  Rumours in Uganda have it that Janet is groomed to take over after her husband shall he step down or anything happen. Many people related to Mrs Museveni including her sons in law were once accused of trying to secure plots in the area. She became a first sitting first lady to become a minister in her husband’s government. Again, for the first lady to be an MP or/and minister doesn’t it create conflict of interests?  Who cares in countries were bedroom politics are rife? Who can stop such a first lady if at all she shares bed with the big man whose weakness and strength she knows too well?

For worse or better, Mrs Museveni, just like Mrs Mugabe created a precedent which in the future-if this dangerous move is not stopped-many first ladies are likely to draw from and benefit from Bedroom Politics. Trying to find a solution of how to do away from or completely halt this new development of Bedroom politics, we need to study and understand the phenomenon. One important aspect of this phenomenon is the fact that most of first ladies who use their spouses to seek power unconstitutionally seem to be the wives of long time rulers. Therefore, to make sure that democracy is introduced and followed in Africa is the first step to foil this power grab using the bedroom.

 If the first lady can become an MP, and a minister, what’ll stop her children, friends and cronies to vie for various political positions in the government and party of her husband? Many would wrongly think that Mrs Mugabe manipulated and used her husband because of old age. This might be true save that in Uganda the story is different. Some first ladies are more powerful than their husbands as it once happened in Romania under Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu whose wife Elena was in 1973 became a member of politburo of the Romania Communist Party, and thus, becoming the second most important and influential person after Ceausescu himself.  Elena is believed to have more desire for honour than her husband. It is said that she used professors to write her a Dissertation which culminated in being awarded a PhD in polymer chemistry though she did not have even a single undergrad degree. Elena is said to have dropped out of school at age 14.

Despite all maneuvers by Elena, just like another controversial first lady Jiang Quing or Madame Mao the mistress to Chairman Mao of China, did not grab power as she was destined. For her husband’s government was brought down by mass unrest culminating in the capture of Ceausescu and Elena who later were sentenced to death and faced a firing squad on 25 December 1989. As for Madame Mao, she was later expelled from the party after showing disrespects to revolutionaries. Thereafter she was tried and convicted and sentenced to death before commuting her sentence to life imprisonment in 1983. Qiang served her term till 1991 when she was released under medical grounds after being diagnosed with throat cancer

Turmoil in South Sudan (An Open Letter)

Dear your Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit the president of the republic of South Sudan (RSS),

Dear Dr Riek Machal leader of rebels,

          I hope you are fine, and now you can sleep peacefully after signing a peace agreement in Ngurdoto Tanzania. I salute you. True, the whole region welcomes this breakthrough. May God add grandeur and blessings.  Reaching such a juncture after fighting for a long time is recommendable and welcome, especially, for the people of South Sudan. I understand. You both, hand-in-hand, fought for the emancipation of your esteemed nation referred to as the youngest nation of the world which it is. Again, you country is young but you are not.  This being the case, your maturity is an asset for the young nation shall you respect those signatures you appended on the agreement recently. Please, live up to your words.

          Ngurdoto accord is the third. Prior you signed two accords you ended up breaking. I implore you.  Please, no failure of the accord should be repeated. Africans have it that strong evidence stands three times. Three times becomes a good number in order to give a person the atmosphere of learning from his mistakes. I hope this applies to you. Therefore, this last or third time you appended your signatures, shall be violated, it means, you will be sending your noble and young nation to purgatory wantonly and pointlessly. It should nary happen. The blood you shed during fighting for your nation wasn’t in vain. But the blood shed due to your difference, if bloodletting isn’t stopped, will haunt all of you so much so that whatever any of you aspires for in power won’t become meaningful or successful. Human blood is different from the blood of animal’s. It is sacred and blessed. It is not supposed to be spilled without any necessity or reason.

          Gentlemen, when you gained your independence through separation after fighting for decades, we, your brothers and sisters were happy. We knew the lengthier and tougher thoroughfare you journeyed to reach at the point of breaking away. We evidenced your torments, ire, angst and predicaments. We were thrilled when you fulfilled your dream of becoming a nation. Again, when you turned noble guns you used to fight for the nation against one another, those who tortured you and despised us for celebrating your rebirth, were happy some telling , “You see, these guys can`t do anything for themselves.”   They kept singing the same song of calling others slaves and many more bad names. Please, stay put in the vision of making a peaceful nation by avoiding warring pointlessly.

          Gentlemen, I full understand the responsibility you have on your shoulders for both sides. Please don’t allow trivial and tribal sentimentalities drift you away for the peril of the nation. Those brothers and sisters, who, for three times, offered to mediate, have a lot of things to do. They won’t get time every time you fight. Don’t make them become tired of you. Use them to forge ahead instead of wasting time fighting and causing mayhem pointlessly. The world will laugh at you when your people starve and face stagnation economically, politically and socially. Please sit together and devise how to utilize the gifts of resources God gave you. Please show your patriotism and the lesson you got from past mistakes. Reinvent your image as people and a nation by shunning tribalism, regionalism, cynicism and other trivial things. Time will nary wait for you especially at this time the world is running while you butchering one another. Wars have nary built any empire save to bring it to its knees. This is not the way to go for wise and courageous people like you.

          Gentlemen, the women of South Sudan are tired of burying their children and husbands. Children are tired of burying their fathers. People are tired of burying their kinships. Even birds and other wild animals are tired of hearing gun shots. South Sudan is crying wanting you to heal her from megalomania of in-fighting and greed for power. South Sudan is whining and shrieking for her children. She is bleeding to death due to the injuries inflicted by her own children. Who bewitched you brothers? God created one South Sudan for all of you equally. Therefore there won’t be any South Sudan for some of you by excluding others. God doesn’t apply  Exclusionary edict or apartheid. South Sudan is for all Shuluk, Kakwa, Dinka, Didinga, Nuer, Luo, Toposa, Lotuho and all other communities equally regardless the size of the  population of one community compared to another or others. You fought for the nation as one people. You will always live as one people.  Your motto should be:  South Sudan, One people instead of South Sudan, Many People or Divided Communities. It doesn’t work and it can’t work.  The leitmotif of war doesn’t help anything except dressing you down.

Gentlemen

          Allow me to end up here saying, enough is enough. This time prove your detractors wrong as you make your people happy and safe in a peaceful country.

Long Live South Sudan

South Sudan, One People

South Sudan, One Spirit

South Sudan, One Body

South Sudan, One Mission

South Sudan, One Destiny

That is my contribution.

A Final Break with Colonialism

When news broke that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was chosen a head of African Unity (AU), tongue wagged especially in the west. Mugabe has no good rapport in the west. Western media started to ‘remind’ the world how dangerous Mugabe is. They forgot that the same Mugabe once stole the thunders especially during the liberation campaigns when he well and skilfully articulated the vision of Zimbabwe better than Ian Smith.

           For those who support African renaissance, the election of Mugabe was blow to the west especially after it branded Mugabe all bad names just because he wanted to redistribute land in Zimbabwe. Now that AU seems to have started deviating from their former colonial masters, maybe, this will end the message to western countries whose grand narrative has tried consistently to define everything even if their definitions are always wrong. When he took a podium to talk Mugabe didn’t mince his words and his vengeance against west. For he was quoted as saying that Africa wanted relationship with friends but not with colonialists and imperialists he said have no place in Africa. To show how unputdownable Mugabe is, he took a swipe on Morocco saying, “As long as our brothers in Western Sahara are under Moroccan occupation we are not totally free.”

        Is AU starting a new phase of rebellion against her nexus with colonial masters? Does it know the consequence of its actions?

          It is obvious that Africa is trying to show western countries that she has her way of doing things especially after China proved another fresh air to African economies. The west used to use economic clout to bully Africa. Again, after the world prediction of the economies of the world prove that Africa will do better than many western countries, maybe, just maybe, African leaders have gotten a hunch of trying to reorganize their alliance with the outside world,

          By electing Mugabe AU chair, African countries apart from sending the message, are trying to  warn western countries that the status quo doesn’t hold water anymore especially at the time there is a new kid on the block. After Africa being ‘maltreated’ by the International Criminal Court (ICC) methinks it is time for Africa to hit back hard especially where it hurts, under the belt. Appointing Mugabe the chair of AU is a sacrilege before western countries which we are waiting to see what they will do.

          Electing Mugabe head of AU is obviously a tactical move of testing water. AU leaders are not only dismayed by western clientele economic relationship but also they are annoyed by way it robbed them some of their dear ones such as Muamar Gaddafi who used to financially support AU. They can feel the gap that China is trying to fill in. remember, Mugabe, a good friend of China was elected Chair of AU in the hall China that built and gifted to AU. By electing Mugabe AU Chair, African leaders are trying to dispel the myth that if one doesn’t agree with what western countries want he will be in trouble. Mugabe has weathered all storms from west and he is still going from strength to strength in the politics of the continent.

          Now that Africa has clearly and loudly made her statement, what will west do to show its interpretation of the statement? Will it put up and give in and start to lick the wounds or reciprocate by reducing the aid it extends to African countries? Again, shall west try to punish Africa for electing Mugabe; will China stay side and look or come even more forcefully? By the look of things, shall west act unwisely in this zero-sum game, two winners are easy to predict, Africa and China will carry the day. It is obvious that Mugabe has no financial muscle like Gaddafi.  He’s the gift of the gab on top of strong and sound friendship with China which has become the life line of Mugabe’s government. Remember. Zimbabwe and Tanzania have a lot of ivory in their store as they agitate that they should be allowed to sell them. Another factor that helps Mugabe to triumph is the fact that many African countries are facing land issue thanks to surging the landless population. Maybe, they will take a leaf from him. The neighbouring South Africa even Namibia still faces the same. Who knows? Will this new awakening Africa is making awaken western countries to stop treating her like a baby that has no brain?    On the flip side, does AU expect anything new from Mugabe? Does AU want to use Mugabe to voice its anger against west? Is Mugabe using AU to intimidate his enemies? Who is using whom in this game of treacherous nature?