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Recent security scandal and flaw in South Africa exposed President Jacob Zuma’s weak spot. It’s reported that an Indian plane carrying a wedding entourage landed at a military base near Pretoria contrary to the norm and law. This act of aggression and transgression to the security of the country regarded as Africa’s big brother, miffed and irked many people in and outside South Africa.
The plane carrying the suspicious family of Gupta and their Indian guests was heading for a wedding between Vega Gupta and Indian born Aakash Jahajgarhia in the Sun City, left South Africa paralysed. Controversial as the Guptas have always been, enjoying special treatment thanks to being business partners to Zuma’s son Duduzane. Like any prince in a corrupt Africa, Duduzane is a source of wealthy for any con man that’s able to fix and use him. This is what the Guptas were able to do. Untoward Zuma-Gupta’s relationship is an open secret in South Africa since 1994. Just as his rape scandal of 2 November 2005, the Gupta scandal has galvanized Zuma’s dectactors who want to see a thorough investigation into the matter. Again, thanks to cronies and tribal politics Zuma has always survived.
One South African political analyst Fabian Scherer puts Zuma-Gupta’s marriage of convenience as thus, “The issue shows to what extent private businessmen, particularly with good relationships with the president and his family, have gained influence on South Africa’s parastatals.”
Fabian is not alone. Zuma-Gupta business baffled even other countries that once hosted him. In India, Mail and Globe quoted a source who was in Zuma’s entourage reporting how Indian authorities were shocked saying, “They were asked why the president is hanging around with these guys… they don’t have a great reputation in India.”
Despite all ire and the way the scandal has roiled South Africa, Zuma seems to remain unmoved. Even his son is scantly touched but the whole burden is on the shoulders of his officials and confidantes. His government jumped a smoking gun saying that it was “gravely concerned”. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was quoted as saying, “Government is gravely concerned at this violation of the security protocol and total disregard of established practice for clearing the landing of aircraft in a military facility that is of strategic importance to the country.”
To show how influential and out of touch the Guptas are, one of them was quoted as saying, “I don’t know what they want…. The airplane had permission. No airplane in the world can land without permission.” Who permitted the plane to land and not only to land but land in the military base?
A day after saying that there was nothing wrong about the Jet landing, the Guptas were quoted as saying, “In light of what happened… the family would like to issue a general apology to all affected, including the South African and Indian governments, the local authorities, the South African public and especially our guests,” said Atul Gupta in a statement. You can connect the dots and see the big pictures Zuma-Gupta cabal does not want anybody to see.
Though all is left for the government-cobbled commission to investigate, some major question any person can ask are: “Is South Africa reliable security wise if anybody can just get into its territory and land at the military base without any detection?”
Why didn’t the Guptas want their plane to land at O Tambo International Airport? Did the plane have illegal items such as weapons, drugs, illegal immigrants and whatnot? Why taking such a risk which would have resulted into bringing down the jet had such a thing happened in countries like US or even in South Africa had the military decided to intervene?
Will South Africans keep on staying aside and look as Zuma-Gupta relationship is driving their countries to demise? Are Guptas the mere pawns Zuma uses to man his business as it has been the tradition of African corrupt rulers? Is Zuma being used due to being gullible? M&G ran a story in 2012 accusing Zuma of benefiting from the Guptas and wrote, “There is evidence that the Gupta family is helping first lady number four, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, pay off her R3.8-million home loan.” There was no logical rebuttal to these belittling allegations from Zuma. This means what’s alleged was taken as true.
Why haven’t Zuma and his son learned from the plights-cum-quandaries of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak? Ask Guy Scott, Zambian vice president who was recently quoted as saying, “I quite like him, he seems a rather genial character but I pity him his advisers.” Will SA rid itself of the Guptas and their tick-like menace?
Op-ed submission by Project 21
Problems infecting and affecting the black community must be addressed in a serious and sincere manner. Many of these problems center around moral values that were once readily available and in abundance among black Americans. Now they are increasingly becoming rare.
To deal with this crisis, there should be a focused and concentrated effort, originating within black churches, that renews hearts and minds. This renewal should focus on Christian moral values as the answer to the pervading psychological ills that now afflict black America.
That blacks are in need of spiritual, social and economic renewal is no secret. A certain segment of blacks have succumbed to behaviors that most would label as counterproductive and undignified. Frankly, these behaviors are embarrassing and morally disturbing. What’s worse is that these behaviors are now being accepted as “culturally authentic.”
Under the current societal trappings of “tolerance,” “diversity” and moral relativism, blacks have willingly relinquished the painful but necessary process of self-critique. This behavioral and spiritual deficiency leads black culture to define “authenticity” as comporting oneself with stereotypes that the generations of many of our grandparents and great grandparents sought to avoid and overcome. In other condescending terms, this “authenticity” is often equated with “acting black.”
In assessing the situation, we can conclude that the black church has failed its moral and spiritual obligation of leadership, because, despite the many claims to the contrary, the behavioral effects and cultural degradation are now too abundant to ignore. Of course, not all black churches have failed. Collectively, however, churches have failed black America.
Further, many well-meaning white people, Christian and non-Christian alike, also are silently complicit in this failure due to fear of reprisals such as being labeled “racist” or “insensitive.” In refusing to speak out and condemn unacceptable behaviors, these people passively accept and legitimize a form of conduct that they likely would vigorously oppose if it came from someone in their own family.
Recognizing the impotence of so many black churches, we must assume that many black ministers are evading discussions of personal and communal sin. Sermons regarding the guilt and shame of socially self-limiting and damaging behaviors obviously don’t contain the potent condemnation they once did. It’s a self-evident truth predicated upon the preponderance of detrimental activity that proliferates within black culture. These activities represent moral and spiritual captivity.
The first enslavement of our community was obvious, it was an existential reality recognized by blacks. Unwanted, it was still an accepted reality. It was challenged as a moral evil and was abolished.
This second slavery, when fully understood, is much more reprehensible than the first. Though American blacks are physically free, their spirits and minds are still bound, even though the generations of blacks living in America today are among the freest blacks ever in the history of the world.
I’m angry and sad that a community whose heritage and dignity once coalesced around the lordship of Jesus and his church has allowed itself to come to this. This apparent timidity of the black pulpit, in not properly teaching the gospel of truth and not holding congregations to a higher standard of personal and communal morality, has had disastrous effects.
We know the power of the black church as has been evidenced by history. The black church sustained generations of blacks during periods of American history when society was much more intolerant and unbecoming than it is now. It fostered an elevated level of character that included “blessing one’s enemy” while “turning the other cheek,” even when circumstances made it exceptionally difficult to do so.
Blacks must realize that our cultural redemption won’t come from the tip of a pen of a liberal politician. It will come by returning to the biblical values contained in the Christian faith of their fathers, facilitated by a church that bears witness in the pulpit.
Derryck Green, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, received a M.A. in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his doctorate in ministry at Azusa Pacific University.
The significance of Barack Obama and Eric Holder placing Assata Shakur on the FBI “Most Wanted Terroist List”, with the likes of Al Qaeda’s number two leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (I guess now number one since Bin Ladin’s death), the ONLY (black) female on this list, is and will be lost on most African-Americans. These two “Black” men are sending a signal to their “White” masters that they not only repudiate the struggles of Black people against oppression and for their own empowerment, but that “Black Militancy” itself, is a form of TERRORISM! Further they are now declaring a “war on terror” against the backbone… the heart and soul… of the Black Liberation Movement: The Black Woman!
Unlike the murdered teen Trayvon Martin, whom Obama stated “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”, he sees no connection of his black daughters and black wife to Assata Shakur. Regardless, isn’t one of the primary roles of a man (in most if not all cultures and throughout history) to protect the woman of his community from the unwarranted and unjustified attacks of men from a rival community? What does it say about these two black men who are willing to sacrifice this black woman on the altar of white supremacy? As an American citizen, is she now a legitimate target of an extra-judicial drone killing like Anwar al-Awlaki?
The sad thing is, regardless of this latest blatant act of once again turning his back on the African-American community and perpetuating the system of injustice and “terror” against them, 99% of these same negroes would vote for Barack Obama for a 3rd term as President if they could! smh!
News that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo (63), the wife of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, charged with committing crimes against humanity is a welcome.
Mrs. Gbagbo and her husband were dug out of the bunker by UN and French forces who assaulted their residence in April 2011 after a five month standoff that left the country paralyzed politically, socially, and economically.
For those who hate the snowballing malpractices whereby the spouses and children of presidents usurp their relatives’ power, such bold move is commendable and welcome. At least, somebody somewhere can keep tabs on these mighty creatures of our dirty politics.
Africa is currently evidencing broad light robbery committed by a new crop of rotten and corrupt rulers who pointlessly allow their families and friends to abusively use their power to rob the public. Almost in many African countries, there are unofficial “presidents” behind the curtain in the name of wives, children and partners, not to mention the cabal of courtiers in the upper echelons of power. They make much money by simply vending the office of the president. In this business of vending presidency, many African countries have become wantonly bankrupt.
Back on Mrs. Gbagbo, the BBC reported of the warrants. It wrote, “She was responsible for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution.”
Gbagbo’s regime was booted out in 2011 after a long standoff between his forces and those of his former rival-cum-opponent, current President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattra. Gbagbo organized sham elections and once he realized he would not win, he decided to cling unto power unconstitutionally, the move that force international community to intervene. This move saw Gbagbo off from power after chaos left 3,000 people dead and thousands displaced.
Now it is obvious that Gbagbo and his wife are going to face the music. Gbagbo was captured and handed over to the ICC by the authorities in Ivory Coast in April 2011 after his government fell. Apart from facing charges before The Hague, Gbagbo and his wife also were charged with economic crimes such as robbery, looting and embezzlement in Ivory Coast.
Simone, a doctor of History was instrumental ideologically for her husband. She is said to have orchestrated violence against ethnic and religious groups who supported Alassane Ouattara, her husbands rival. She waged unfettered humongous power during her husband’s presidency. Differently from other seating African presidents, the Gbagbos, just like any other African kleptoclatic and nepotic rulers, did involve their children effectively. Gbagbo’s son Michel is facing charges of participating in violence that saw over 3,000 dead. This means that the whole family is behind the bar simply because they were able to abuse the power of the president.
What transpired in Egypt where the former dictator and his sons are behind bars is once again repeating itself in another African country. Like a blind family, there was nobody to warn others of the bandwagon of benefitting from the power of the president. Greed comes first and regrets later the Swahili sage has it. Whether the children are likely to surface before ICC is the matter of time. Given that the whole family partook of the dirty fame of violence, chances are that they’ll be issued with the warrants.
Simone becomes the first African woman and the first “First Lady” to be indicted by ICC. If there is anything Ivoriens won’t forgive Simon for, is nothing but forcing her husband to cling unto power knowingly such a move would lead to mayhem as it subsequently happened.
Now that Simone is facing the charges as a wife and confidante of the president, will the seating presidents, their wives, families, friends and majordomos get it? Again, time will surely tell.
Op-ed submission by Project 21
If something is good and it is enjoyable, it’s not surprising that people want it to last forever. We want the goodness to be unceasing. We want it to be sustained. But the sad fact is that nothing lasts forever. Even the cosmos is subject to the vagaries of time and will one day cease to exist.
Within black America, despite the hardships we have faced, there have been many favorable developments that have benefited our people. They should continue. Unfortunately, many appear to be unsustainable.
Consider the example of the black family. Formerly the bedrock of our community, the black family is now failing. Around 70 percent of black children are currently being born out of wedlock, and the availability of marrying-age black males is restricted by a very high, albeit declining, incarceration rate.
Several of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which many charge with maintaining a tradition of scholarly excellence in our community, are slowly but steadily falling by the wayside. Schools that were once virtually the only choice for black higher education are now failing to receive broad economic support because, in part, they become enmeshed in non-educational issues, reflect poor management and often produce graduates who exhibit sub-par academic achievement.
The rapid pace and major accomplishments of the Martin Luther King-era civil rights movement left the establishment black special interest groups with a hard act to follow and few critical hurdles to overcome. Today’s civil rights lobby is largely a “go along to get along” movement that often focuses on the wrong issues.
When presented with the declining black family, subpar educational achievement and a lack of progress on key economic issues, today’s self-professed black leaders seem quite ineffective in comparison with the greatness of their predecessors.
Even effective past efforts by the Nation of Islam to make black America more productive and independent are not being replicated today. Given Minister Louis Farrakhan’s current advanced age and declining health, we must wonder whether that movement will be sustained beyond his passing.
Conversely, there is an important institution that remains sustained, in form if not in substance. That institution is the black church. Why has the black church been sustained, and generally what are the keys to sustainability?
For institutions, organizations and movements that want to last, they must, at their core, contain the materials and the chemistry that it takes to be sustainable. Like kernels that always produce stalks of corn and create the kernels that grow yet more corn in the future, these institutions, organizations and movements must include what is essentially a genetic code that ensures their sustainability.
Sustainable entities must embody long-range plans with provisions for course corrections (consider the U.S. Constitution), systematic processes for leadership succession (consider the Catholic Church) and flexibility to evolve (consider creation itself).
Probably the most important key to sustainability for black American institutions, organizations and movements is a willingness on our part to work diligently and selflessly to make them successful. The reason that kernel of corn is successful in producing more corn is because earth, water, air and sun are always there to do their parts. Likewise, we must be committed to serving as the equivalent of the earth, water, air and sun to ensure that our institutions, organizations and movements are sustained.
While all good things inevitability come to an end, they do not have to suffer a premature demise. With work and care, good things can be sustainable for quite some time. As a result, we can avoid the hazardous stops and starts to our efforts to preserve ourselves as a people and as a community within the larger American nation.
B.B. Robinson, Ph.D. is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21. You can visit his website at http://www.blackeconomics.org