Of Zimbabwe: Final Report

The European Union Election Observer Mission presented its final report on the Zimbabwe July 30th harmonised elections… and their verdict is although the elections were largely peaceful and markedly improved from previous electoral processes, they did not quite meet the standards…..

So what happens next:
In a post where I tried to explain what consists FREE, FAIR and CREDIBLE elections, I also included how people placed unrealistic expectations on election observer missions, what they mostly do is: Observe, Document and Offer recommendations, they do not have legislative authority to do anything else.

Priority Recommendations

  1. ZECs independence needs to be strengthened, free from governmental oversight in the approval of its regulations.
  2. ZEC must provide effective and timely information on all steps of the electoral preparations, making all information of public interest, including ZEC resolutions and verifiable polling station level results, immediately and easily accessible.
  3. Voter registration needs to be enhanced in “under registered” districts of the country to ensure universal and equal suffrage.
  4. Legal measures should be introduced to mitigate abuse of the advantage of incumbency and abuse of state resources
  5. State-owned media must abide by their legal obligation to be impartial and provide equitable treatment to all political parties and candidates.
  6. The results management process needs to be more coherent and fully explained to all stakeholders well in advance of the polls in order to enhance transparency, verifiability and integrity of the results process.
  7. The process of aligning the Electoral Act with the 2013 Constitution needs to be pursued and completed.
  8. Develop regulation of political party financing to promote accountability and transparency and as a key step towards creating a level playing field between political parties.
  9. Procedures for the security of the ballot from printing, deployment to polling stations and on Election Day should be reviewed and procedures clearly announced for future elections.
  10. Multi-Party Liaison Committees should be a regular feature of inter-party dialogue throughout the entire electoral cycle, to be an effective conflict resolution tool for political parties and to provide an effective forum for reporting on non-compliance with the Code

And how did the state controlled newspaper react?

EU Poll reads like MDC script

EU poll report reads like mdc script MDC being the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, which to date even after a Constitutional Court judgement on the elections still contests the results.
And besided who needs EU EOM opinion when the African Union Observer Mission to Zimbabwe issued a preliminary report which declared the elections largely a success although they cited a few “issues” and had recommendations they were also offering

Whats this all mean?
What do I know? I am like Jon Snow, I know nothing except that the democratic process in Africa has serious problems and these revolutionary governments need to stop supporting each other in bad politics and policy and patting themselves for doing things they as responsible governments should already be doing and they really need to pay more attention to their citizens, after all they are the ones who voted them into power if you will believe the polls….


“Aint nobody but ourselves that can free our minds”

~B

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Of Voting Wisely: The ZimElections 2018

 

zim decides

In a few hours Zimbabwe will be having its historic harmonized presidential elections. Historic because they are elections without Robert Mugabe at the helm, historic at the level of peace and tolerance (not counting the bomb incident) for divergent views considering the history from past elections where citizens where openly intimidated and when talking anything remotely political was practically taboo, if a random speaker asked for your opinion you just shrugged it off non-commitally because having an opinion was hazardous to your well-being.

On my evening commute from the city in a public taxi, after everyone had paid for their fares, the conductor surprised the passengers by donning a graduation cap and declaring that he was University Graduate and yet here he was working as a Sliding Door Operator, opening and closing doors for passengers just like us, who just like him have dreams too, but working as a “hwindi” (the colloquial name for the minibus conductors and touts who try to get passengers to board their taxis; said to be derived from the sound the minivan door makes as it rolls on its railings and slides shut….. hwiiiiiiiii Ndiii) was never his dream, nor a job opportunity he would never pursue willingly.

He chronicled how he left for work at four in the morning and the earliest he got home was half-past ten in the evening; how he wasn’t even sure if his wife was beautiful or not since he only saw her at night. He is a stranger to his children, they cry when he tries to play with them; never play with strangers they were taught well; he leaves home before they wake up and returns long after they have gone to bed.

Even on the few off days he does get, they just stare at each awkwardly and his wife will be away, working. She is a qualified teacher but runs a tiny flea market right next to the cash dealers, the ones who hold thick wads of cash and sell money at a premium,

and sometimes she comes home with groceries and crisp new notes in a country where cash is a scares commodity, he worries that maybe she sells more than just pirated DVDs and secondhand clothes but he never asks, she isn’t really his wife, he cant afford a wedding, she is just someone with whom shares living expenses with and oh yeah they have children together.

At some point he asked the passengers to show by show of hands if they had family who had left for distant lands in the diaspora whom when they said goodbye at the airport  said that they would be gone only for a little while, its been years and now you wonder the only time they are coming home is in a coffin (that is if you can pay for the international body repatriation fees) Everyone raised a hand, me included, the family structure has gaping holes left by those who sought economic asylum in the better world and sometimes as I rub the dust of my passport the only thing that keeps me here is that I can’t a plane ticket to greener pastures and not out of love for country…..

You could tell as he spoke this colourful account of his life that he was somewhat intoxicated, even he admitted that he had imbibed some cheap strong spirit alcohol known as “Musombodhiya” the only kind he can afford to drown his woes but the fact that he was drunk should not diminish the gospel he was preaching all he was saying was “Please Vote Wisely on Monday

Someone asked the conductor whom he meant when we should vote for when he said vote wisely he laughed and replied “Isnt it obvious? The are three schools of voters those for whom the current regime has been good to, puppets of the regime those who cant think for themselves and those who want change, if you are in this taxi and not in a car of your own you need  change in your life…Vote Wisely

Vote Wisely wise ……. Who am I voting for? Ha! Isn’t that obvious, my preferred candidate talks a good talk but even though he talks such a good talk not enough people are listening, and this is all a numbers game, and out of 23 candidates.

I would vote for anyone who is willing to give him a chance in their next government because man mad great points well the the future is about to begin, dare we relive history…..

As I got to my stop and was getting off, the conductor concluded by asking if anyone had seen the eclipse, it was an omen, the end of an era, “ane nzeve anzwa tosangana paVotelet him ears listen: Vote Wisely

~B

 

 

 

 

Of Barack Obama’s Nelson Mandela Lecture: An Overview

On Tuesday the 17th of July 2018 former president Barack Obama delivered a lecture on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late statesman Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa.

Barack Obama Nelson Mandela Lecture

Nelson Mandela is an African Icon and a global symbol of such epic proportions that I am sure even he would be hard pressed to walk in the shoes the world but we should try to find the Nelson Mandela inside of us

Barack Obama meets nelson mandela

Madiba’s light shone so brightly, even from that narrow Robben Island cell, that he could inspire a young college student on the other side of the world to make me consider the small role I might play in bending the arc of the world towards justice.

Don’t try to be a great man. Just be a man and let history make its on judgments

Zefram Cochrane – Star Trek First Contact

In a lecture to celebrate the birth and life of one of history’s giants, President Obama touched on three distinct facets of the last 100 years of history:

  • Where we have been
  • How we arrived here
  • And the way forward

Where we have been:

And such a view of the world – that certain races, certain nations, certain groups were inherently superior, and that violence and coercion is the primary basis for governance, that the strong necessarily exploit the weak, that wealth is determined primarily by conquest – that view of the world was hardly confined to relations between Europe and Africa, or relations between whites and blacks.Whites were happy to exploit other whites when they could. And by the way, blacks were often willing to exploit other blacks. And around the globe, the majority of people lived at subsistence levels, without a say in the politics or economic forces that determined their lives.Women were almost uniformly subordinate to men. Privilege and status was rigidly bound by caste and color and ethnicity and religion. And even in my own country, even in democracies like the United States, founded on a declaration that all men are created equal, racial segregation and systemic discrimination was the law in almost half the country and the norm throughout the rest of the country.

That was the world just 100 years ago.

How we arrived here:

A second World War, even more terrible than the first, along with a cascade of liberation movements from Africa to Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, would finally bring an end to colonial rule.

A new age began founded on principles of democracy, rule of law, civil rights where the marginalised could re-imagine themselves in a world of freedom equal rights and democracy…..

But it hasnt all been sunshine roses and progress. Globalization and technology though growing economies have greatly reduced the demand for workers and by extension influence of labour movements resulting in economic inequality “a few individuals control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity”

The politics of fear and resentment is now the order of the day, as those in power corrupted by unaccountability and greed seek to maintain their influence and wealth at the expense of basic rights of everyone else through lies and coercion.

“Who needs free speech as long as the economy is fine”

No individual – not Mandela, not Obama – are entirely immune to the corrupting influences of absolute power if you can do whatever you want and everyone’s too afraid to tell you when you’re making a mistake. No one is immune from the dangers of that.

“In other words, for far too many people, the more things have changed, the more things stayed the same”

The way forward

So on Madiba’s 100th birthday, we now stand at a crossroads – a moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity’s future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world. Two different stories, two different narratives about who we are and who we should be. How should we respond?

Barack obama Nelson Mandela lecture

 

The president’s lecture has been said to be a rebuke to particular individuals but without mentioning any names and some have felt targeted by the speech but I kept thinking of a quote from one the books on Obama’s Summer reading list

An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned

Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

It basically means that someone who has a problem with something cannot easily laugh it off or take it lightly; hence, old women (who typically have dry bones) feel uneasy when dry bones are mentioned.

“We’re going to have to learn from the mistakes of the recent past.”

Basically democracy is more than just elections we need to work harder to achieve equality; to strive to embrace people with views divergent from ours and the power is in the hands of the youth to remake the world

Barack obama

President Obama’s closing remarks are the kind which 100 years from now we will look back upon and say this is when history was made:

Madiba reminds us that: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart.” Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let’s remember that truth. Let’s see it as our North Star, let’s be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, “they kept the march going, that’s why we live under new banners of freedom.

“Its a long walk to freedom.”

 

~B

Did you see the speech what are your thoughts?

You can read the full transcript of the speech here: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT THE 2018 NELSON MANDELA ANNUAL LECTURE 

Images courtesy The Obama Foundation

Of the unFairness of some things

Ever stepped on a piece of dirt and you walk with a limp like the princess who couldn’t sleep on fifty mattresses because there was a pea underneath, well like that but instead it’s something beneath your shoes and maybe you try dragging your shoe as you walk to remove it. (Do you remember an old sprite advert where some trendsetter steps on gum and tries to scrape it off as he walks and people thought it was a new style of walking and copied him.)
Anyway there you are trying to remove the offending dirt and you may even consider shaking your fist and swearing at the heavens why they go let this happen to you.

fist-at-heaven

Then you see someone walking with no shoes and suddenly you realise somethings just aren’t fair.

Fairness

Life isn’t fair when you are wondering where your next meal will come from and your elected leaders are showing off shiny new campaign vehicles telling you how they have your vote.

ZanuPf Campaign vehicles

Life isn’t fair as you walk the streets on trash collection days and see what the gated community folk throw away and you wonder what they do for a living in a country with 90% unemployment. You see someone go through the trash and collecting what they can and you wish you were half as crazy and twice as brave……

litter

Life isn’t fair when you pass a mother quietly asking that you buy something, on the pavement of a busy sidewalk. Small children beside her. You wish you had something to give except kind thoughts.

selling ware

Life isn’t fair when you feel like you are the lost generation born free and sacrificed by the revolution which overstayed its moment in the sun, shrivelled and yet still unyielding not letting anyone else have their moment in the sun

Life isn’t fair when the only qualifications you need to get ahead in life is to inherit the war credentials of your parents, doors open as if by magic when you use your father’s war liberation pseudonym as a password.

Zanla

Life isn’t fair when you have a nation full of graduates who can’t get jobs forever waiting to put their degrees to use.

Graduates playing soccer

Life isn’t fair when everyone’s a dealer of sorts, running a side hustle to survive, and the only lesson little minds are learning, is to be dealers and only look out for number one.

Life

Life isn’t fair when political parties already in power alongside their state captured media hold us at ransom spending money to campaign for votes promising to deliver all sorts of good things, instead of just doing them and letting their track record speak for them.

Life isn’t fair when I just don’t get how campaigning for elections works because only those who haven’t been elected should campaign; since they haven’t had the opportunity and resources to show case what they can do; whilst those already in power well they are in power…….

Life isn’t fair when someone won’t be bothered to register to vote because well history has led us to believe one’s vote is no more important than making an X on a piece of paper and flushing it down the toilet.

Life isn’t fair when it feels like my civic right to vote is simply to pick one who tells the best sounding lies so that they can loot the country next.

Life isn’t fair when so many lies go unchallenged, that truth not only loses it’s edge but honesty becomes a commodity, bought, sold and sometimes stolen.

Life is unfair when I don’t remember how to dream when I can’t imagine life with bullet trains and spaghetti roads, how can I when I don’t remember what it feels to go into a bank and not only will my money be there but having birthed interest too

Life isn’t fair when I can hardly get myself to have hope and imagine a new world…… To dream of tomorrow.

Life isn’t fair, who said it had to be; it could be worse but I am here, now happening.

Life isn’t fair but I play my part let it not be said of me that I simply watched as others decided for me……….

~B

Photo Credit The standard

Of Coffee With Best Laid Plans

If you were having coffee with me I would welcome you like an expected favoured guest, and tell you to kindly disregard the mess, just find somewhere to sit and make yourself at home….. what will your poison be? I am having lemon tea which may or may not have a nip of gin.

This is ought to be day 17 of my blog everyday challenge but unforeseen circumstances kept my posting schedule rather erratic. When you plan things in your head everything is in a neat straight line but life likes to throw curve balls, whats important is what you do with them, catch and throw back!!!!

Reality Vs Your Plan

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that my grandma was laid to rest following a beautiful catholic mass. My uncle, a staunch Seventh Day Adventist (for some reason they do not see eye to eye with Catholics) even made the comment that the singing was beautiful ruined only by drums that were played in the background. He likened it to someone preparing a scrumptious meal and then ruining it by adding way too much hot spice. I felt a twinge of guilt because I rather like my meals spicy; but they say one man’s meat…..

If you were having coffee with me; I would tell you how South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday evening, well it was either that or risk an impeachment process. Its a situation somewhat reminiscent of what happened with our own president, it makes one question if democracy and electoral processes aren’t really just an elaborate scheme without real substance.

It would also be with deepest regret I informed you the passing away of one of the champions of democracy in Zimbabwe; President of the opposition party The Movement for Democratic Change MDC Morgan Tsvangirai. At one time he was poised to be president of the country but the former president Robert Mugabe had run-off elections declared followed by a rerun election in which he won a landslide victory. Again this is also why I wonder what democracy means to Africa because every other country seems to have problems with its presidency, its even rumoured that the colon cancer Morgan Tsvangirai had was somehow induced to take him out of the political field, but people talk, people will always talk………

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that………… the only thing better than hanging only metres above a smoking volcano; for a breathtaking, front seat view. of a volcano erupting, dangling from a helicopter, whose pilot’s definition of fun is to let go of the controls , wave both hands and say “look ma NO HANDS”... Is to have someone to share it with…

Audience

Here are a few choice posts from fellow bloggers taking part in my #FEBlog Challenge

FEblog Challenge

Dante #Feblog Day 15: Democracy Just another word in the dictionary

Mel #Feblog Day 2 Dating And Social Media Expectations

Mable Maybe 

Quarter Wife I’ll be Watching the Relationship Olympics, Thanks

 

~B