Connect with us

Strictly Personal

Don’t cry for Mandela’s party; ANC’s poll loss is self-inflicted, By Jenerali Ulimwengu

Published

on

There is losing, and then there is losing. The loss that the African National Congress suffered in the recently concluded elections in South Africa is a loss of a special type. It is almost as if the erstwhile liberation movement willed this loss on itself.

This is Africa’s oldest political organisation, which, with its longevity and the special task imposed on it by history, became more than a party or a movement but rather became more like a nation — the nation of Black South Africans.

I mean, if you were a Black man or woman in South Africa and you wanted to identify as somebody who wants to be respected as a human being, you were automatically ANC.

True, this is somewhat exaggerated, but it is not very far from the truth. For most of its life since its founding in 1912, it always identified with and represented the people of South Africa, taking an all-inclusive approach to the struggle for all the racial, ethnic, and confessional groups in the country, even when the exactions meted on the country by the most nefarious ideology on the planet could have suggested, and did indeed, suggest a more exclusivist outlook in favour of the majority racial cohort.

It sought to unite and to mobilise energies nationally and internationally, and create a more equal society for all, that would be in sync with the most advanced and progressive thought of the world at different stages of its career. It became home for all South Africans regardless of colour, creed or social station.

Even after Apartheid was officially promulgated as the philosophy and practice of the national government after 1948, the ANC hardly veered from that steadfast philosophical vision. To galvanise adhesion and grow ownership, the ANC adopted strategic blueprints for the future, including the Freedom Charter of 1955, setting out the basic things the movement would do when it came into power.

In the face of intransigence on the part of the Boers, the ANC saw the need to alter strategy and accept that armed struggle was inevitable, and launched the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation) to spearhead armed insurrection.)

Though MK was more effective as a propaganda tool than a fighting force, it did the job of getting the white minority in the country to realise that their lives of comfort were numbered as things stood, and that it made more sense to seek some form of accommodation with the Blacks.

Once that was effected, even those Whites who had been diehard supremacists suddenly realised, with regret, how stupid they had been all along: Not only were these Blacks, long considered subhuman, not only fully human but also corruptible—just like the Whites.

And so the White establishment set out to work on their old enemies, corrupting them to the core with the luxurious goodies that up to then the nouveau riches had not imagined, with things like the erroneously termed “Black Empowerment”, a programme designed to yank from the bosom of the people a handful of individuals with sufficient appetites to make them forget about the Freedom Charter.

Probably more than anything, it was this that spelled the start of the demise of the ANC. In the past, we had seen former freedom fighters in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau scramble into the blinding lights of Lourenco Marques, Luanda and Bissau, to be destroyed by the perils of Original Sin.

But South Africa was different in that the erstwhile oppressors simply took even the former “terrorists” by making them filthy rich, detached from the depressing realities of the masses of their people, by making them, in effect, traitors. So much so that when the workers at Marikana went on strike against a company owned by the current president of the country, the latter had absolutely no qualms about sending in the police to kill scores of protesters!

Now, the phenomenon of two sitting presidents being replaced by their party is spectacular in itself, but it belied a body politic that was groaning under its dead weight of sleaze and factionalism.

It may seem to some observers that the only thing that kept the various hungry factions together was the white-run oppressive system, and that after this was replaced with money-making cabals of ex-comrades, we found an ANC that was ideologically bankrupt and politically rudderless.

Now the ANC has to deal with the electoral result that has denied it an absolute majority for the first time, its crimes and misconduct have caught up with it. It has been sent to a political purgatory to atone for its sins, but while there, it must choose whom to work with among its sworn enemies:

Will it choose the DA, a lily-White party whose feeble attempt to ‘bronze’ itself with the recent choice of Mmusi Maimane as its head failed miserably? Will it rather be Jacob Zuma’s MK party, which is shamelessly an ethnic outfit bent on rehabilitating a misfit who has been disgraced multiple times as a rascal and a thief? Or could it be the EFF’s Julius Malema, whose day job has become, for some time now, to lambast the person of the current president and chief of the ANC?

We shall see.

Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jeneralionline tv. E-mail: jenerali@gmail.com

Strictly Personal

Appraising 25 years of return to democracy, By Jide Ojo

Published

on

Last Wednesday, May 29, 2024, marked exactly the silver jubilee of Nigeria’s return to civil rule. However, the celebration has been shifted to June 12 in commemoration of the 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola which the military junta of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled. It was the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, who did that. In a tweet posted on his X handle on June 6, 2018, Buhari said inter alia “Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day. We have also decided to award posthumously the highest honour in the land, GCFR, to Chief MKO Abiola. In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12, 1993, was and is far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1.”

Chief Abiola’s running mate, Babagana Kingibe, was also awarded a GCON. Furthermore, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), a tireless fighter for human rights and democracy, and for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 election was posthumously awarded a GCON. Buhari said further that, the June 12, 1993, election was the freest, fairest and most peaceful election since Nigeria’s independence.

1999 to date has been described by political historians as the Fourth Republic. Recall that the First Republic was between October 1, 1960 and January 15, 1966. The Second Republic was between October 1, 1979, and December 31, 1983, when the military struck. The Third Republic was between 1990 and June 23, 1993, when IBB annulled the June 12 presidential election. Thus, the Third Republic was inchoate and inconclusive as it was aborted without a president being sworn into office. Out of Nigeria’s 64 years as a sovereign nation, 29 years were administered by military junta.

How has Nigerian democracy fared under civil rule in the last 25 years? Poorly. Leadership remains a bane of Nigeria’s progress. Although there are 11,082 elective political offices in Nigeria, the occupiers have been more concerned about personal aggrandisement than selfless service. That is why our elections are heavily monetised and prone to violence. Politicians, more often than not, adopt the Machiavellian principle of ‘the end justifies the means.’ They do all they can to compromise the electoral process and manipulate it to their advantage. For instance, campaign finance laws are breached as they spend far above the legal spending limits. Though there are copious laws against electoral violence with stringent penalties, the masterminds and the arrowheads more often than not do not get caught while their minions who get caught are bailed out of detention without prosecution.

If the Independent National Electoral Commission should publish the list of those successfully convicted for electoral crimes in the last 25 years, most Nigerians will be surprised at the infinitesimal number. This has sustained the culture of impunity in our electoral process. Little wonder INEC has been in the forefront of asking for the setting up of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal. Will Nigeria’s devious political class allow that law to be passed? That will be political hara-kiri!

So, since many of Nigeria’s political leaders ‘bought’ or procured their electoral victory, their loyalty does not lie with the electorate but to themselves and their rapacious political class. Because of the heavy spending on elections, the primary objective of Nigeria’s political class is to recoup their investment with super profit. Thus, there is a nexus between unbridled political spending and corruption. The truth is that if all the political officeholders were to live and survive on their basic salaries, there would be so much left for infrastructural development and good governance. However, while they are quick to show us their pay slip, the humongous amount they receive as allowances, estacodes and kickbacks are never mentioned.

Does it not occur to you that nobody will spend billions of naira to contest for a political office only to collect a sum of money that will not defray his or her political expenses? The truth is that not all politicians are bad but the good ones are very few. According to the former American President, Abraham Lincoln, “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good.”

I watched a vox pop conducted by a lady in the United Kingdom asking Nigerians in that country if they would like to get £100,000 and move back to Nigeria. All the respondents said no to the offer. She probed further why they didn’t want to come back home, and unanimously they said it was because of our leadership problem. They all fingered leadership as Nigeria’s number one challenge. The irrefutable fact is that Nigeria is a crippled giant to borrow the words of renowned Professor of Political Science, Eghosa Osaghae. Yes, while I admit that we are not where we used to be, we are at the same time not where we ought to be. For many years, Nigeria laid claim to being the biggest economy in Africa but today we are number four after South Africa, Egypt and Algeria according to the International Monetary Fund.

Twenty-five years into this Fourth Republic, we have had seven general elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023. We have also had five presidents namely, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and the incumbent, Bola Tinubu. Two political parties have ruled at the centre; the Peoples Democratic Party which governed from 1999 to 2015, while the All Progressives Congress has taken over the leadership mantle at the centre from 2015 to date. Unfortunately, whether you’re talking of the APC or the PDP, or the three tiers of government namely, federal, state and local; what is common to all of them is poor governance. All the development indices that are pointing south are a cumulative non-performance of all the former holders of political offices and the incumbents. As we say, governance is a continuum.

I have said, time and again, that no individual has the magic wand to turn things around for the better in this country. The President, being the overall boss should work collaboratively with state governors and local government chairpersons. However, the president must lead by good example so he can serve as a moral compass to helmsmen and women at the sub-national level. I’m not comfortable with the spending spree of our political office holders who luxuriate in ostentatious lifestyles with their families while the majority of my compatriots languish in poverty.

Nigeria’s political leaders should imbibe the culture of prudence in the management of public finance. The borrowing binge should also stop. Many in the executive arm holding political offices are indulging in reckless borrowing under the guise of funding developmental projects. At the end of the day, there is nothing much to show for the huge public debts. It is important to block revenue leakages and stop oil thefts. It is an act of selflessness, not selfishness, of our political officeholders that will lead the country out of its current economic doldrums.

Continue Reading

Strictly Personal

Time to end ethnic jingoism; we thrive or die together, Tee Ngugi

Published

on

Earlier this month, some members of Kenya’s Gikuyu, Embu and Meru (Gema) communities met at the Limuru Conference Centre to discuss how President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua’s policies have affected them and chart the political way forward.

Its organisers dubbed it ‘Limuru 3’ to indicate that it followed in the footsteps of two prior conferences held at the same location that defined the political direction of the communities and the country.

The first was held in 1966. Although given a national outlook by the presence of Tom Mboya and people from other communities, a Kikuyu agenda was at the heart of it. Kikuyu political elites used the conference to reduce the influence of Oginga Odinga in the ruling party Kanu and the country. Limuru 2 was held in the lead up to the 2013 elections.

It endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta as the Gema presidential candidate. The common denominator in all three Limuru conferences is a Gema tribal agenda.

It’s not just Gema who have this kind of tribal grouping. Daniel arap Moi and Ruto used Kamatusa, an acronym for Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu, to further a tribal agenda.

Other groupings like the one bringing together historically pastoralist communities show the fear minority tribes have of big tribes.

The Mulembe nation movement tried to promote a “Luhya consciousness” among all the Luhya sub-tribes. What all these groupings show is that we are still fearful and hateful of one another so many years after independence.

Beneath the façade of national symbols, commemorations and institutions, we are still different tribes inhabiting an administrative unit called Kenya. We are first and foremost Kikuyu or Maasai or Somali and only superficially Kenyan.

Unfortunately, this tribal paradigm of seeing and interpreting the world, and organising, will take us nowhere. It is false and misleading
Gema communities are not the only ones suffering under the chaotic, wasteful and corrupt Ruto/Gachagua regime (a newspaper called them ‘A Cabinet of Blunders’).

All communities are affected. Ruto’s increasingly ruinous taxes do not exclude the Kalenjin.

We are all offended when billions are set aside to renovate palatial residences and replenish motorcades while school feeding programmes are left without funding.

Everyone is disgusted by the filthy displays of wealth by the new political elite. It is as if they are competing to see who wears the most expensive watch or belt, or who drives the costliest car.

We all look on in dismay as we witness officials — from the president to ward representatives — gallivanting around the world at a huge cost to taxpayers. We are angered to see billions budgeted for entertainment while street families are increasing.

Limuru 3, therefore, should have brought all Kenyan communities together to discuss the way forward. We have precedence in the Ufungamano initiative that brought all communities together to discuss national issues.

I am sorry to disappoint tribal demagogues, but there will never be a special destiny for one community. That option was forever excluded when the British cobbled us together in 1895.

Tee Ngugi is a Nairobi-based political commentator

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Musings From Abroad38 mins ago

UN joins Sudan’s warring sides with Israel, Hamas in global list of child rights violators

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Wednesday, added the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Israeli armed...

Sports1 hour ago

Namibia bowled out by Australia to reach T20 World Cup Super 8

Namibia’s hopes of reaching the T20 World Cup Super 8 was on Tuesday night truncated by Australia as they were...

Tech1 hour ago

Mastercard Foundation expands EdTech Fellowship to Egypt

The Mastercard Foundation has extended its EdTech Fellowship Egypt following earlier programmes in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. The EdTech...

Culture2 hours ago

SA officials launch probe into accident that killed musician Shebeshxt’s daughter

South African authorities have launched an investigation into the tragic accident that claimed the life of the nine-year-old daughter of...

VenturesNow4 hours ago

Kenya’s govt authorizes sale of its stakes in 6 publicly traded firms

According to President William Ruto’s office, the Kenyan cabinet has accepted a government proposal to sell shares it owns in...

Politics5 hours ago

Economic reform won’t stop despite hardship— Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu

Despite mounting difficulties that have stoked popular unrest, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu declared on Wednesday that economic reforms would go...

Metro8 hours ago

Expect new national minimum wage soon, Tinubu assures Nigerian workers

The lingering new National minimum wage saga between the Nigerian government and organised labour may have been put to rest...

VenturesNow9 hours ago

IMF, Kenya seal staff-level agreement, recommends fiscal consolidation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Kenya struck a staff-level agreement on Tuesday, according to the multilateral body, opening the...

Politics9 hours ago

Amnesty Int’l accuses Nigerian Army of unlawful detention of female terror escapees

Rights organization, Amnesty International, has accused the Nigerian army of unlawfully holding young women and children who had escaped from...

Sports1 day ago

Female footballers beat up referee over poor officiating in Tanzania (Video)

A football match in the Tanzanian women’s league between Ceacea Queens and Yanga Princess on Monday was thrown into chaos...

Trending