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 Coffee And The Simple Life

Of coffee with the simple life…..

Coffee outside

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you I had to initially draft this post, the hard way, by candlelight, on a piece of paper I saved from being kindling for a fire, fortunately I had a pen and I did not have to use my blood as ink.

Do you hear that? There’s nothing but silence, well not entirely silence.  just the natural silence of the simple life, broken only by livestock, the chirping of birds and the whispering of the pine trees as breeze blows past sounding almost as if it’s a thousand voices whispering your name……..

pine trees

If you were having coffee with, I would tell you that you don’t realise what a good thing you have going, not until you are back in the city, with its big city lights and the first thing that greets you is an assault on your nostrils, by the noxious fumes of commerce and vehicles speeding dizzily past, no time to say hello or goodbye, not even a friendly wave, only a honk of the horn beep beep move get out of the way……

This is the longest period in my adult life that I have spent in the countryside, at my maternal grandparents’ homestead, I pulled weeds from their graves and felt a connection to roots that hold up the tree that is my existence.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that, the pace of life here is different, slower even and the list of priorities might as well as be worlds apart from what happens in the urban parts of the country. Life is simple, a little too simple, I wish I had my laptop, and somewhere to charge it and definitely some Wi-Fi. I have been off the internet grid for a week and some change, and a part of m feels like the world is spinning without me.

In fact the rest of the world is spinning along however imperfectly without a care what happens in such simple corners of the country. The elections came and gone just like they do and here political aspirants come and they make grand speeches and fancy promises then depart in a cloud of dust and smoke, leaving nothing but tyre tracks from the their shiny new off-road four wheel trucks, never to be seen again until the next elections. And this time, this might be sooner than expected, if a rerun is declared, because well a petition was filed challenging the election results and now we wait the constitution court’s ruling.

Watching a beautiful sunset as the night falls, it’s a moonless night, and it would be a dark night were it not for the sky full of stars, nights like this we used to gather round a fire and tell  stories.

sunset

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you we gathered around a fire, the same fire I saved this sheet of paper from and we told stories, but they weren’t like stories of old, these were real. Stories like about the homestead next to ours the only home without a fire lit, because only death lives there now, and ghostly flames can be seen by late night travellers; everyone there died from some mysterious malady, everyone that is except the first born son who is said to live lavishly abroad but could not come for any of the funerals because they left country claiming political asylum and so now cant return.

It’s a familiar story, those who remain bear a certain resentment for those who manage to escape the shackles of the simple life, chasing paper and never returning except only to be bury or be buried. The last time I was here was for a funeral and before that another funeral, and this land slowly becoming simply graveyards and half abandoned homesteads populated only during funeral services.

Another story that’s not spoken in polite company, the one about the lady who lives by herself, whose husband left, or died or maybe as some suggest she killed him. She is said to be very gracious with her favours as payment in kind for groceries. If you take a loaf a bread to her house, she will accept it with a coy smile and invite you inside, for tea maybe……

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you my plan was to only spend a night, but the simple life has no room for rushing, every time I say I am ready to leave something comes up, an aunt I must absolutely visit, and of course they will insist you cannot leave before dinner, and by the time dinner is done, its too dark to leave, tomorrow first thing in the morning, but of course that means first thing after breakfast of course breakfast is at lunch………

But finally here we are, I had to insist I would return soon and not wait for another funeral.

Have an awesome week

~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 Coffee, Pies and Bombs

Coffee, Pork Pies and Bombs

If you were having coffee with me, I’d say allow me to treat you to what used to be the darling of pies, The Colcom Pork Pie.

Tea colcom pie

You can have a cup of herbal lemon tea, while the pie warms up in the microwave. Can you smell that? I hope you aren’t a vegetarian or don’t eat pork for some reason, if so then graciously accept my apologies and you can have toast instead

french toast

Imagine after all that anticipation, you open the package and are greeted with a crumbling pastry product a pale shadow of its former glory with a meat center that’s now barely existent, that makes you wonder what the quality department takes its consumers for, seriously.

Pork Payi?

No wonder people have taken to calling it Pork Payi? Meaning where is the Pork.

#ThisPie

If you were having coffee with me I’d tell you that my vote just might be for sale to the person who can guarantee an economy in which a company can afford to put proper meat filling in its pastries to make a pastry pie I can still afford to buy……

According to a poll conducted by the Orange Door Research via an sms-based survey sent to 1200 people:
48% of all respondents said the economic situation was the most critical issue facing the country,
23% said free & fair elections
17% Corruption, & 12% improving basic services

According to Zimstats 98% of youth are employed in the informal sector. So our graduates have a 2% chance of getting a formal job…..

If you were having coffee with me I’d tell you that our elections are 35 days away and it looks like candidates are pulling out all the stops

From a Minister officially opening a bin;

Minister opens bin

well to be fair he was opening a new sports center nearby but I guess the commissioning fever got to his head, we’ll try not to even think about why the bin already has trash inside……. but the internet go crazy checkout the #chinamasachallenge

And then on to something a little more sobering the bomb attack on the president as he was leaving a rally in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe now that one has me in shock, I never thought we would stoop to senseless violence, I thought we had our problems but at least we never lost our heads and went the route of trying to bomb the President. Fortunately he survived the blast and the were no fatalities although almost 40 people were treated for various injuries.

Various conspiracy theories are flying around from the one about the bomb being a stage managed incident to get sympathy vote and as an excuse to increase military clamp down and then there’s the one about it being a falling out between the president and the army, or that the former president might have had something do with it and a whole lot of other theories ranging from absurd to down right alarming.

There was also a bombing attempt on the Ethiopia’s Prime Minister at rally in the capital leaving scores injured and several critical and a single casualty…..

Violence usually begets violence and here’s to praying that this isn’t the start of a journey down a dark bloody path.

Have an awesome week Stay Classy!

~B

 

 

 

 

Of The Unchanged Changing World

The unchanged changing world

Or is it the changing unchanged world.

Nothing stays the same, everything changes but its somehow weird how the more things change the more they stay the same.

change ahead road sign

Change

We fight the same wars over and over again, the battles change names, but the war is still the same. We want freedom, our rights to have rights, to liberate ourselves, we want equality, to learn from our past, to move on from our past, we want our land back, our votes to count, our elected leaders to deliver the promises they made during campaigns but most of all what we want is peace of mind……

My parents and their parents before them grew up in a world where settlers took our land and they become second class citizens in their own countries. You invite someone to your table, to share a meal and they help themselves to the biggest piece of meat, you tell them to feel at home anyway and they kick you out of your own home…..

The war of liberation came, lives were lost, blood was shed and on 18 April 1980 Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Independence Day 18 April 1980

Reconciliations were mad,e we moved from the past we faced the future. It would have been perfect had the victory been more than in name, yes we got independence but we did not get our land back nor the means of production, and twenty years down the line we still had not. The imperial government that once colonised us refused to honour its promise to help finance the land reforms.

The 2000 Elections were coming up, the ruling party was losing the support of its war veteran base and the opposition party was gaining ground and asking why almost 20 years later we still did not have control of our farms, we did not have our land. The government started a new land reform and land redistribution act, a new war dubbed “Third Chimurenga: Hondo Yeminda” (war for farms) farms belonging to white farmers were  invaded. Settler farmers were forcibly removed, it was messy business, it was something that needed doing but it could have been handled better but hey we got our land back, right? Maybe………

The ruling party government got to decide who got the farms and who didn’t and that’s mostly senior government officials and some loyal party supporters. We might have got our land back but its still in the hands of a few and some of those seem to not even know what to do with it, the blame is on droughts, climate change and lack of funding for inputs….

37 years later we have our land, we have our independence but it feels like the same battles  over and over not all citizens are equal and people’s rights get violated, a cloud of oppression hangs about and we blame sanctions, sanctions are easy to blame, sanctions are enforced by countries that seat on boards of organisations who probably don’t like us much, who grant us our independence with one hand and steal our economic freedom with the other.

  • excerpt from Confessions Of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Sanctions are easy to blame because Sanctions will not come and knock at your door in the middle of the night and  arrest you for inciting civil disobedience or causing unnecessary alarm and despondency.

Elections are coming up next year and if history is anything to go by the same presidential candidate has been winning, so will probably win, how can he not, lest we forget, he gave us our independence we are forever grateful how can we be anything else…..

The world changes and everything stays the same…….

~B

Day 17 Blog everyday challenge

photo credit Zimbabwe Independence :Victoria Falls Guide