The dramatic risein popularity of the so-calledselfie—the self-taken photograph—strikes me as a symbolic way of understanding a dominant aspect of social behavior in the world. Theselfie has, I suggest, further encouragedthe inflation of the ego and spawned narcissistic attitudes. In making it chic to aim the lens of a camera at oneself, the selfie has helped toempower the cult of the self, even a form of self-worship.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a sourpuss out to scold people for cleaving to a fad. I’m interested in the craze at all only because I have recognized in it a metaphoric handle for explaining a particular malaise in Nigeria.
I have often argued that Nigeria is a form of peacock society, a society where the show-off is venerated. Anybody who attends a Nigerian party and sees the way people dress—men and women—would understand this aspect of social display. From the agbada that sweeps the floor to the gele (head wrap) that scrapes the sky, the scene at a Nigerian party often looks like a human attempt to recreate a gathering of peacocks. There’s the lushness of the Nigerian party scene, its unapologetic celebration of color, its unabashed air of gaudy exhibitionism, and the infectious gaiety of its atmosphere.
Depending on one’s taste, the Nigerian party scene can be resplendent or repellent. But it’s always visually fascinating. It’s as if the get-ups are in a contest, each determined to outshine the others.
This competitive spirit is present in other areas of Nigerian life. Years ago, on a visit to Nigeria, I ran into an old acquaintance on the streets of Lagos. I had known him in Enugu the year after I finished secondary school, and when he and I were junior level employees in a state ministry. In those days, he and I earned N100 per month. After paying rent and putting aside some money for transport to and from work, we had very little left. I remember how he and I often pooled money if we wanted to treat ourselves to roasted groundnut and banana.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I met this young man in Lagos and he was driving a brand new Pathfinder sports utility vehicle. It was his car, he assured me; he was eager to disabuse me of the impression he had borrowed it. And then he informed me that he owned three other cars. He was still single. When I expressed astonishment, he told me that four personal cars meant “nothing.” “There are other people like us who have 10, 15 personal cars,” he wanted me to know. His desire, he said, was to put money together to buy a fifth car, a Mercedes Benz, “for Christmas.”
As we talked, I got to know that the young man had not earned a degree from a university. Nor was it clear that he owned a profitable business. How, then, could he afford four cars—and aspire to buy a fifth? He’d joined the breed of youngsters who used a variety of scams to prey on the greed or gullibility of targets in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. That answer emerged when he attempted to sell me on forming a partnership with him. Since I lived in the US, he said, I should help him identify targets who had some money. He’d go after them with his “419” schemes, and we’d split whatever cash he was able to get. I said, thanks, but no. We parted in mutual incomprehension. I could not understand why somebody would do what he did in order to collect more cars than he needed; he, I suspect, could not fathom my disgust—much less my lack of interest in owning a variety of cars.
That encounter has struck me, lately, as providing a prism through which to illuminate certain compulsions in Nigeria. Why is it that too many Nigerian officials take to the predictable, sordid path of corruption? Why do too few public officials view their exalted offices as opportunities to make a significant difference in the fortunes of society? Why do the vast majority of public officials in Nigeria disdain the idea of legacy, the notion of acting as agents to make their environments better than they found it?
I think that a great deal of the answer is to be found in the craze of the selfie—an obsession with the self—and the preening, peacock sensibility that’s dominant in Nigeria. There’s no question: other societies are captivated by wealth and the wealthy. Some Americans go bunkers when they see a Hollywood star. Professional basketball players like Lebron James and Kevin Durant haul more than thirty million dollars for their ability to drop a ball through a hole. Even the communist leaders of China finally figured out that it would serve their country to enable aspects of capitalist investment and the attendant reaping of profit. (It’s to be noted, though, that the Chinese people are paying a huge price in environmental degradation for the gains of capitalist expansion).
However, I don’t know of another society where so many citizens, including ostensibly educated ones, are quite so complacent about the open, mindless looting of public funds by men and women who are addressed as “Your Excellency” or “Honorable This & That.” On the Internet, for example, a growing number of commentators can be counted on to defend, justify or rationalize every act of corruption, abuse of office, or sheer impunity by Nigerian officials.
I am a fairly attentive student of the ways in which language changes over time to express or accommodate equally changing social attitudes. In this regard, I find the Igbo phrase, “O na eme ofuma” (“He/She is doing well”) particularly intriguing. Years ago, that phrase was often used to make a moral judgment, to applaud a person for acting in a morally admirable manner.
In recent times, however, the phrase has come to denote—almost exclusively—that one has accumulated material wealth. I am disturbed that a phrase that used to specify and applaud excellent moral conduct has been hijacked and coopted to the service of lauding material enrichment. It’s even worse when one considers that the statement does not discriminate between wealth earned through honorable means and wealth that is illicitly acquired. Whether thief or entrepreneur, the same phrase applies.
It speaks to this evolving ethic of the individual, this apotheosis of the self, this sanctification of wealth as the ultimate, singular end. In order to serve this self-centered, money-based standard of achievement, too many Nigerians embrace the absurd. When former President Umaru Yar’Adua lay comatose in a Saudi hospital, his cohorts kept up the absurd impression that he was as fit as fiddle and providing dynamic leadership from his sick bed! The men and women who made that weird argument were not looking out for Nigeria; they were serving their pockets. They reeled in a lot of cash from that depraved enterprise. Yet, in a certain Nigerian parlance, they were “doing well.”
In October 2012, GovernorDanbabaSuntai ofTaraba State was seriously injured when a plane he piloted crash-landed at the Yola Airport. He has received treatment in three foreign countries, including the US, but anybody who sees or hears him can tell that he remains enfeebled. Yet, a small group of political operatives in the state are insisting that Mr.Suntai is ready to take on the challenge of running his state. It’s all part and parcel of this ethic of the self. It’s the kind ofillogic that makes sense in a society where theselfie has met the peacock.
•Ndibe, a professor of African literature, is a contributing editor of USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com. The second part of his commentary will be published next week. Follow him on twitter@okeyndibe
VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public policy networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira, on May 6, 2014.
On Nigeria’s Boko Haram, New York Times Nick Kristof misanalysis on CNN Fareed Zakaria’s GPS. By Chido Nwangwu
A few minutes ago, today May 11, 2014, on #CNN@FareedZakaria, the continuation of fanciful misanalyses and non-factual views about the root causes and “explanation” for the unrelenting mayhem unleashed by the violent Islamic sect #BokoHaram in#Nigeria were repeated by the award-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof @NickKristof and Eliza Griswold, author of the new book The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam.
Kristof especially, wrongly, argues that Boko Haram and similar groups are driven by economic disparity in Nigeria. not true in fact and logic.
Griswold says with a certain antiseptic disdain that Boko Haram is a “mess.” Simply a mess? After killing at least 2,000 Nigerians within 5 years.
Griswold adds it is more a struggle between moderate and extreme Muslims…. Seriously? I disagree.
First, I know that targeting and slaughtering and bombing, primarily, christians and demanding they leave the mainly Islamic northern region of Nigeria and visiting “unholy” fire and thunder on others they consider “Children of a lesser God” is mechanized, religio-political bigotry. It is not economic; it is not moderates versus extremists.
Second, as a child survivor of the 1967-1970 Nigeria-Biafra war, I know the familiar consequences of mis-analyzing and understating the militarized, offensive moves of bigots, especially armed and well-funded groups such as Nigeria’s Boko Haram.
The MDC Alliance led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa is disputing the outcome of the polls alleging that they were rigged to the point of having more votes than registered voters.
While the winner, ZANU PF leader and incumbent president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, acknowledged that there were “challenges” he insisted the polls were free and fair.
The US Department of State said Zimbabwe’s 30 July elections presented the country with a historic chance to move beyond the political and economic crises of the past and toward profound democratic change.
“Unfortunately, Zimbabwe’s success in delivering an election day that was peaceful, and open to international observers, was subsequently marred by violence and a disproportionate use of deadly force against protestors by the security forces,” the department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Six people were shot dead on Wednesday by soldiers and many others were injured. A seventh person is reported to have succumbed to gunshot wounds on Friday at a hospital in Chitungwiza.
The US said it welcomes the commitment by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release comprehensive election results in a form that provides full transparency. ZEC maintains that the election results were an accurate reflection of the voters’ will.
Former colonial master, Britain, also remained concerned about the developments.
“The UK remains deeply concerned by the violence following the elections and the disproportionate response from the security forces,” said UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
She, however, urged electoral stakeholders to work together to ensure calm.
“While polling day passed off peacefully, a number of concerns have been raised by observer missions, particularly about the pre-election environment, the role of State media, and the use of State resources. There is much to be done to build confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral process.”
Baldwin urged that any appeals against the results or the process be handled swiftly and impartially.– African News Agency (ANA)
Today, Monday July 30, 2018, Zimbabweans [went] to the polls to elect Robert Mugabe’s successor. For pretty much the average life expectancy of many Zimbabweans, one man has ruled the country with an iron fist. Eight elections were held during his rule – and every time, that fist ensured victory for Mugabe.
The current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, the man who finally ousted Mugabe in a bloodless coup last November, has also crushed his enemies ruthlessly in the past – but his iron fist lies within a well-padded velvet glove.
Mnangagwa goes head to head at the polls with Nelson Chamisa, 40, who took over as leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after Morgan Tsvangirai died earlier this year.
Whoever wins, this election heralds a new dawn for Zimbabwe. Mugabe has gone. Things will never be the same again. Certainly, Mnangagwa brings a lot of baggage from the Mugabe era – having been the former president’s righthand man.
But he is different in many significant ways – today, Mugabe even urged voters to turn their backs on his leadership, and went so far as to wish Chamisa well. Most importantly, Mnangagwa understands business and is determined to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s moribund economy and give the people what they so desperately want and need – jobs.
He is primarily a soldier, having left Zimbabwe as a teenager in the early 1960s for military training in China. He has fashioned himself after the former communist leader Deng Xiaoping, who modernised China and laid the foundations for the economic powerhouse it has become, while maintaining a strictly authoritarian regime.
Deng abandoned many orthodox communist doctrines to incorporate elements of the free-enterprise system. Mnangagwa seems determined to do the same for Zimbabwe. He is a wealthy man in his own right, having run Zanu-PF’s and his own businesses since the early 1980s. He has been mentioned in a UN report on the plundering of mining and logging resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo together with General Sibusiso Moyo, who is now the foreign affairs minister.
Over the eight months since he took the reins from Mugabe, Mnangagwa has given clear signals of a clean break with the past – actively courting the west, preaching and practising peace instead of violence, eschewing corruption, meeting business leaders and white farmers, and generally projecting himself as a reformist. He has met personally the many business missions that have visited the country this year, and has promised to get rid of the cumbersome bureaucracy that currently stifles new investment. He has suspended Mugabe’s populist indigenisation act, which required foreigners to cede 51% of their shares to locals (ZANU-PF, of course) in all sectors except gold and diamond mining. He has even made it his election slogan – with party supporters everywhere sporting T-shirts proclaiming “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
While Mugabe was a consummate manipulator, skilfully playing people off against each other and weaving a complex web of patronage, Mnangagwa is a much more of a strategist. He will be prepared to make tough decisions that could ultimately benefit the economy. He has certainly been more successful in attracting foreign investment in the short time he has been in power than Mugabe was in decades of berating the west.
The MDC’s Chamisa is just as pro-business as Mnangagwa, and to his credit has surrounded himself with several capable technocrats. There is no whiff of corruption about him and he has been drawing massive crowds in many rural areas which, under Mugabe, were no-go areas for his party. And of course the MDC’s democratic and human rights credentials are well established – while those of Zanu-PF are a constant cause for concern.
Should Chamisa win the election, there is no doubt that the world would welcome Zimbabwe back into the fold with open arms. But Mnangagwa is smart enough to realise that international recognition of his government can only come if this election is acknowledged as free and fair by the global community. While Britain has been unswervingly supportive of the post-Mugabe regime, the US has reserved judgment – recently renewing its sanctions on Zanu-PF leaders and companies, but promising to lift them once credible elections have taken place.
And there’s the rub.
Many believe it is impossible for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to run a free and fair poll. It is accused of rigging every election since it was established in 2004; it is still staffed largely by the military and Zanu-PF loyalists; and it has shown shameful bias towards the ruling party in recent months. For example, the law says the ballot paper should be in alphabetical order, which places Chamisa second on the 23-person list. The commission cleverly formatted the paper into two lop-sided columns, in order to place Mnangagwa at the very top of column two.
So this election could bring three possible results: if Mnangagwa wins, the MDC already has enough ammunition against the electoral commission to cry foul.
If Chamisa wins convincingly, it will be a new dawn indeed – but the military might not accept this, as the Generals have already invested a lot in Mnangagwa.
But if there is no clear winner, the most sensible way forward would be for the two protagonists to agree to a marriage of convenience – otherwise known as a government of national unity.
• Wilf Mbanga, once falsely classified by Mugabe’s government as ‘enemy of the people’, is the founder, editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean weekly, published in the UK and Johannesburg
The founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has called on Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, to resign due to what he considers to be the continuing failure of Buhari to stop the incessant killings by militant Fulani herdsmen.
Oyedepo who spoke on the theme, “Enough is enough” recalled that “When I was talking in 2015, people were saying my own was too much, now everybody can see what’s happening,” he said. ”What has moved forward in anybody’s life? You don’t know it’s war. Why are they attacking the Christian communities? Why has nobody been arrested? I can tell you this, the authorities and the powers that be are behind them.”
“We must wake up and push this evil back. Not one of those so-called herdsmen – they are jihadists – has been brought to book till date. Herdsmen don’t shoot; they have been here all along. They are just taking cover under the herdsmen to assault innocent citizens. They wake up in the night and slice innocent children to pieces. Yet, you have a government in place. What!
“The most honourable thing for any non-performing leader to do is to resign. The most honourable thing is to resign. That’s my own for Mr President. Resign! Get out of office! Even our Islamic friends in the North are calling on him to resign. Because that’s the noblest thing to do. Or are we going to look at one system destroy a whole nation?”
AFP: Hundreds of Nigerian troops are missing after Boko Haram jihadists overran a military base in the remote northeast, security sources said Sunday, in the second major assault on the armed forces in two days.
The militants invaded a base holding more than 700 soldiers in Yobe state — where they abducted over 100 girls from a school earlier this year — in an hours-long onslaught Saturday night, a military source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Fewer than 100 soldiers have returned following the attack, which took place just 24 hours after Boko Haram fighters ambushed a military convoy in neighbouring Borno state on Friday.
The two assaults have highlighted the tenuous hold Nigerian forces have on the ravaged region despite claims by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government that the country is in a “post-conflict stabilisation phase”.
“Boko Haram terrorists attacked troops of the 81st Division Forward Brigade at Jilli village in Geidam district. The terrorists came in huge numbers around 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) and overran the base after a fierce battle that lasted until 9:10 pm,” said the military source.
“The base had 734 troops. Currently the commander of the base and 63 soldiers have made it to Geidam (60 kilometres away) while the remaining 670 are being expected,” he said, without elaborating on their possible fate.
“We don’t know if there were any casualties among the troops. That will be known later,” he said, adding that the base was new and the troops had recently arrived from Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
A leader of a local anti-jihadist militia said the soldiers sustained casualties, but was unable to give a toll, attributing the attack to the Abu-Mus’ab Al-Barnawi faction of Boko Haram, which is known for targeting Nigerian forces.
“We learned that they drove from Lake Chad through Gubio (in nearby Borno state) and attacked the base,” he said.
Geidam resident Fannami Gana said the jihadists “overwhelmed” the troops.
“We don’t know the details of what happened but we learnt they were overwhelmed by hundreds of Boko Haram gunmen,” said Gana.
Nigerian army spokesman Texas Chukwu said he did not know about the attack.
“I am not aware of the attack because (I) have not received information from there,” Chukwu said in a text message to AFP.
On Friday, 23 Nigerian soldiers went missing after Boko Haram ambushed a convoy outside Bama, leading to the loss of several military vehicles.
According to a military officer, “around 100 terrorists” attacked the convoy.
The sophisticated attacks highlight the continued threat — and evolution — of Boko Haram, an Islamic State group ally, said Yan St-Pierre, counter-terrorism advisor and head of the Berlin-based Modern Security Consulting Group.
St-Pierre suggested the attacks could be because Boko Haram fighters are vying for control of the faction led by Abubakar Shekau, the long-time jihadist leader who is reportedly ill.
“When a near-mythical leader is on his way out there’s always a battle to establish who could be next,” said St-Pierre.
The attacks show the persistent threat of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, he said.
As the jihadists exploit rampant poverty in the region, the Nigerian army, which is overstretched and under-resourced, struggles to keep the insurgency in check.
“The supply of Boko Haram fighters is always there, either through kidnapping or economic reasons, they tap into a wide pool of personnel, they find a way to replenish their strength,” St-Pierre said.
Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler, came to power three years ago on a promise to defeat Boko Haram.
But while there have been clear military gains since a counter-insurgency was launched in 2015, suicide bombings and raids remain a constant threat, particularly to civilians.
Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency has devastated the region since 2009, leaving at least 20,000 people dead, displacing more than two million others and triggering a humanitarian crisis.
By Rev Joshua Amaezechi, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com,Minister of the Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA) and Lead Chaplain, at the Kalamazoo County Jail
History, they say, often repeats itself. This happens because we fail to learn from it and avoid its pitfalls. A look at history may provide a path for President Trump to reshape the US foreign policy on Nigeria in a manner that promotes life and advances human progress. An alternative is to ignore history and follow the known path of executive and economic convenience as was done in the past and live with the outcome.
History is perhaps about to repeat itself. Igbo Christians as well as their neighboring Christians in the middle belt of Nigeria have been facing unchallenged terrorist attacks from radical Islamists “Fulani Herdsmen” who overrun Christian communities, killing women, men and children and seeking to take over their lands. There had been many cases in which the Nigerian Military under President Buhari had been accused of aiding and abetting these attacks as killers were neither arrested nor frontally confronted by the State Security. Official policies of the government of President Buhari to reduce arms in the hands of civilians ended up only disarming the natives, thereby giving the invading herdsmen an edge over their victims.
Like Nixon, president Trump has declared that the killing of Christians in Nigeria would no longer be acceptable to the US government. During a recent visit of President Buhari of Nigeria to the White House, president Trump was quoted to have said:
“Also, we’ve had very serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem, and working on that problem very, very hard, because we can’t allow that to happen.”
President Trumps commitment to protect Christians in Nigeria was reaffirmed in his speech on the National Day of prayer and aligns with his campaign promise to tackle the problem of Boko haram and Islamic terrorism, twin problems which as believed by the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) are geared towards the Islamization of Nigeria. But Nixon’s declaration on Biafra is different from President Trump’s promise to protect Christians in Nigeria. While the later was a declaration of a high profile presidential candidate, the latter is the declaration of a sitting president. However, both declarations place similar moral obligation on the US government to act decisively to protect Christians, especially at this time when 99% of the strategic Armed forces of Nigeria are headed by Muslims and mostly kinsmen of President Buhari who is widely known for his nepotism and unflinching support for the spread of Islam.
The moral obligation of the US comes to the fore as the Igbo people and the peoples of the former Republic of Biafra who are mainly Christians and Omenana Jews gather on May 30 to remember the estimated 3.5 million of their folks who were killed during the Nigerian Biafran war. Already, Nigeria’s ‘President Buhari’s government has deployed Soldiers and combat airplanes to the region ahead of the May 30 memorial, even when that region is known to be the safest and peaceful part of Nigeria. While it is a moral tragedy that genocidists who should have been in jail, were allowed to become Presidents and heads of states in Nigeria, some with streets and public places named after them; it is even a greater moral evil for the bereaved to be denied the freedom and solemnity to mourn their dead.
It is the aggregation of the pains and sorrow of many Christian families who lost their loved ones due to Nixons dereliction of his moral obligation to save Biafra from genocide and its interplay with current persecution of Christians in Nigeria that makes May 30 a day to watch for President Trump. The moral burden of allowing 1967-1970 to repeat itself will be too much for the US to bear.
From 1967 to 1970, the Igbo people of the South Eastern Nigeria, with over 80% Christian majority faced the danger of extinction in an avoidable war between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra. The US presidential candidate, then former Vice President and front runner in the presidential election Richard Milhous Nixon attracted widespread attention and support when on September 8, 1968 he issued a statement calling on the US to intervene in the Nigerian-Biafra war, describing the Nigerian governments war against the Biafrans as a “genocide” and the “destruction of an entire people”. Following his declaration, the Christians of Igbo land felt a sense of relief with the expectation that Nixon’s victory at the poll would usher in a shift in US foreign policy on Nigeria and a departure from Lyndon Johnson’s half-hearted interestedness, evidenced by minimalist provision of relief to the starving Igbo in the Biafran territory.
Nixon won! Unfortunately, rather than act to end genocide in Biafra, President Nixon followed Lyndon Johnson’s policy. Not even the declassified memo from the former US Secretary of State and NSA, Henry Kissinger, describing the Igbo as “the wandering Jews of west Africa..” and calling for a more robust response turned the needle of President Nixon’s neglect to follow up on his campaign promises on Biafra. With these words “I hope Biafra survives”, he gave up Biafra. The result was that estimated 1 million children and civilians were starved to death following the official blockade of all access of food aid and medical relief by the Nigerian Military Government.
While the Watergate Scandal put the final seal on Nixon’s presidency, many would argue that his foreign policy failures, including his relative silence over genocide against Biafransate deep into his political capital leaving him with no significant goodwill. We know how it ended: President Nixon resigned!
The World Health Organisation says it is preparing for “the worst case scenario” in a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
WHO has recorded 32 suspected or confirmed cases in Bikoro, including 18 deaths, between April 4 and May 9. The cases include three healthcare workers, one of whom has died.
This is the country’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team. Efforts to contain the latest outbreak have been hampered because the affected region of the country is very remote.
“There are very few paved roads, very little electrification, access is extremely difficult… It is basically 15 hours by motorbike from the closest town,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama said.
Cases have already been reported in three separate locations around Bikoro, and Mr Salama warned there was a clear risk the disease could spread to more densely populated areas.
WHO is particularly concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, which has around one million inhabitants and is only a few hours away from Bikoro.
“If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak,” Mr Salama warned.
The organisation has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists to the region in the coming week or so.
Nigeria’s government this week ordered that travellers from DR Congo should be screened as an additional security measure after the fresh outbreak was confirmed, but the request was rejected by Nigeria’s health workers’ unions, who have been striking since April 18 over pay and conditions.
The country does not share a border with DR Congo but memories are still fresh of an Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed seven people out of 19 confirmed cases. ref: AFP
Who will succeed President Paul Kagame? Ask the ruling party – Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) – and Rwandan citizens, says the president.
“The succession plan is not mine. If it had been, I would not be here now; I would have left because that is what I intended to do,” President Kagame said last week during a panel discussion at the Mo Ibrahim Governance summit in Kigali.
President Kagame was elected to a third seven-year term in 2017, after a constitutional referendum led to the suspension of term limits.
Under the amended constitution, a presidential term was slashed from seven to five years, and set to be renewed only once. This allows President Kagame to run for two further five-year terms when his current term ends- potentially making him rule for 34 years until 2034.
But even after winning his third term with an enviable 99 per cent of the vote, President Kagame said he had no intentions of leading past two terms, and was only persuaded by Rwandans to stay on.
“I intended to serve the two terms and leave; that was my intention and it is clear, I don’t have to keep defending myself on it. I was deeply satisfied in my heart … until people asked me to stay,” he said.
“And even then, it took some time before I accepted; finally I did because of history — the history of my involvement in politics and being a leader which started from childhood.”
The Rwandan head of state argued that it was never his ambition to be president in the first place, and that he was not prepared to lead the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, turning down his party when they fronted him as a leader.
“In 1994, my party had taken it for granted that I was going to take the helm as the leader. I told them to look for someone else. I told them I wasn’t prepared for it; it was not what I was fighting for,” he said.
“I became vice president and Minister of Defence. Later, then president (Pasteur Bizimungu) had problems with parliament and was impeached. They turned to me and asked me to lead and I said yes.”
President Kagame warned that although it appeared as though his longevity in power has been left for him to decide, there will come a time when no amount of persuasion from his party or the citizenry will convince him to stay.
“If I were to reach a stage — and I will not reach that stage — where people ask me to continue… and when I feel I cannot do much for them, then I will tell them no. Even if they insist, I will also insist on going,” he said.
The president said that once he is out of power, he will support his successor.
But in a country where rights groups have alluded that the political climate only favours the ruling party, it is unlikely that President Kagame’s successor — whenever he or she comes — will come from outside the RPF.
On top of overseeing a strong recovery of the Rwandan economy, ensuring peace and stability, the RPF has consolidated political and financial power since taking over power in 1994.
This is to the point of having several other political parties seeking for coalition with RPF rather than contend for influence.
•Mugisha, Rwandan journalist and author Of Sheep That Smell Like Wolves is based in Kigali, Rwanda. He contributes to the East African.
Special to USAfrica [Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @Chido247 @USAfricalive
“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.
Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.
Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.
Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.
Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.
In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.
“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.
By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.
“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency
Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.
“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.
The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.
Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.
North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.
Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.
Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.