This six part documentary series is presented by the Aljazeera program Artscape. It profiles six African photographers and their vision of their continent as seen through not only their camera’s lenses, but influenced and inspired by their personal experiences in getting the shot to tell their stories. Click on the image below:
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.
News that some senior ministers and former Mutharika’s inner circle were arraigned in Malawi answering for various charges, real and trampled on, yanked the country and the world at large. Authorities in Malawi recently arrested Professor Peter Mutharika (brother to the late former president, Bingu wa Mutharika and president of opposition party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Patricia Kaliati (former minister of communication and civic education also government spokesperson), Goodall Gondwe (Minister of Economic Planning) and Bright Msaka (Chief Secretary) and other high profile officials in the country.
The above bigwigs were accused of, among others, plotting to overthrow the government after the death of Mutharika on 5th April 2012. It came to light that the accused officials wanted to illegally install Peter Mutharika as President after the sudden demise of his brother, contrary to the Malawi constitution that stipulates that the Vice President shall assume power shall the President die or become incapacitated to run the business of the state. Whether what the accused committed or attempted to commit amounted to treason or not still remain to be seen. Again, why did it take almost a year to bring them to book? Why were some left in office for such a long time if there aren’t elements of vendetta and dirt games?
True, many legal minds are in limbo given that the alleged person who was supposed to be overthrown had since already died. It becomes legally untenable even if we consider the fact that the person whom they wanted to stop from taking over the office of President was then suspended. In law, this creates lacunae. For, even if the constitution stipulates that the Vice President will succeed the President in such eventuality, did Banda qualify? Banda was not President, therefore, not legally subject to be overthrown in any means. For, by then, Joyce Banda was neither President, nor Mutharika alive. Again, even the person they wanted to install (Mutharika) had no locus standi. In fact, if one legally examines the offence said to have been committed or attempted to be committed, one comes to the conclusion that the said case is likely to be politically motivated, aimed at either silencing those officials or intimidating them, especially when the question why its taking such a long time is addressed. This means: Mutharika was not there, for after a person dies everything stops. Cadaver nullius in bonis. A dead body is no one’s property. If this case goes on and suspects are convicted, Mutharika will become the first President to be overthrown posthumously. So too, Banda will become the first person against whom plot was made to overthrow without actually being President. This being the case, how then can one sue people for treason that would not be committed under the said circumstance even if we question the breach of allegiance to the sovereignty and the constitution? Will the Malawi judiciary accept such humiliation that will leave it in disrepute?
Looking at the vows Banda made on 7th April 2012 when she was assuming power, that she would forgive those who wronged her so as to reconcile the nation, this recent move is going to affect national integrity, even unity so to speak. Banda emphasized forgiveness on 10 April 2012 when she was outlining her vision for Malawi. She was quoted as saying, “I made a statement for everybody to forgive each other and to demonstrate that I formed an all-inclusive Cabinet so that Malawians can see that I was serious when I [said] I will work with even those that persecuted me,” Now Malawians are asking themselves, is this the way of forgiving and working with those who persecuted Banda really? Does it mean that the good lady has easily and within a short time, forgotten her vows and promises? Former first lady Calista Mutharika has the answer. She was quoted as saying, “We are told that women leaders are better because women are empathetic, is this what we are seeing now? She (Ms Banda) goes on public podia preaching forgiveness, even quoting biblical verses, is there forgiveness here?”
Further, on the day Banda was assuming power, Xinhua quoted her as saying “I had a cabinet meeting with honorable ministers this afternoon and I want to let you all know here that the Holy Spirit descended upon us. To me this was very significant because that’s where we should begin from.” Again, is this the way the ‘holy spirit’ works? Banda also assured Malawians of running the government fairly. In her acceptance speech Banda said, “Mr. Speaker we seek to replace the society which in many ways has been brutal, exclusive and humiliating to our people.”
Those who heard Banda preaching reconciliation and forgiveness can’t believe that she’d embark on such gimmick-cum-gunk. This shows Banda in the bad light as a liar or an unreliable person, if not hypocritical. This is not good for a President who is faced with elections after lapsing her term in office. If anything, shall this go on, it tells of the hurdles head. If this is Banda’s take, it might wrongly be interpreted as her attempts to circumstantially create good ground for rigging come May 2014. For, what she’s doing does not help to nourish and nurture democracy in Malawi. What makes the charges leveled against the accused officials suspicious is the manner in which their case is dealt with. Interestingly, the government appointed two private lawyers to prosecute the case in lieu of the office of DPP. Does it mean Banda does not trust the office of DPP or is it just rent-seeking behaviour of awarding lucrative jobs to cronies and courtiers? Detractors see this as an opportunity for Banda’s cronies to rake money in through such deals. How can such vital case be prosecuted privately in the first place?
Malawi has been in economic ICU for long. Methinks Banda would use her stint in power to revamp the economy instead of pursuing personal interests by dividing the country. Again, is vengeance Banda’s way of forgiving? Who knows?
I am following an informative and interesting 4-part documentary series on Al Jazeera called The Secret of the Seven Sisters. It reveals the details of a secret pact that was made by the seven biggest oil companies in the world to control the industry to maximize their profits. To achieve this goal these comapanies: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Mobile, Chevron, Gulf, British Petroleum (BP) and Texaco, control and manipulate the political and economic arenas of nations. In Episode 2 below, it discusses their fiendish pursuits for African oil: The Black El Dorado.
Greeting’s Everyone! I first have to say that the post Rant from a BlackYo Da! is a good article. Education is the key. America is already behind in Math and Science. We need to be competitive and it starts with parent’s getting involved. The story hit home for me because I don’t know where I would be without my parent’s involvement.
I barely made it out of high school and my undergraduate degree, but because I had parent’s involved in my life, I learned not to give up.
On another note, I need to thank Cedric McCay again. I discovered an education program going on in Johannesburg, South Africa. They are building future leaders. Please not that there is a donate button on the website. I am not recommending to donate or not. I simply saw that it appeared the school is doing positive things with a purpose.
Check out a preview by clicking the logo below:
In the event that you want to learn more, please check out the website by clicking here!
I discovered this geography quiz from Cedric McCay, but it was originally posted by Patrick Memoli.
I thought that I would change it up this week. I found the quiz to be very fun! What will you score!?
Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.
|Your score||Average reader score||Expert score|
You answered 12 of 21 questions correctly for a total score of 57%.
The average reader score is 80%
Julie Wangombe, 23 years old Nairobian and a student at Duke University, first discovered spoken word poetry at Slam Africa events. Today she performs for audiences globally. She is also Kenya’s President-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta’s speechwriter. She wrote his acceptance speech that he delivered on 09 March 2013, soon after being declared the winner of the presidential election. The speech has received praise from many Kenyans, who have described it as inspiring and unifying. You can read the speech here.