The euphoria of the newness of something old and familiar is nearly gone. The cascade of expectations around President Muhammadu Buhari soon afterinauguration have now crystallized around two broad questions: How does he prove to the broad majority of Nigerians that he can convert his cult popularity in parts of the country into a force for the common good? Will he leave office with the aura of his famed integrity and personal mystique in tact?
The first question implies that Mr. Buhari quickly translates good intentions into measurable positive changes in the lives of ordinary people. The mantra of change on which he rode into office must become ‘change we can see and feel!’. The second question dictates that, given his age, he owes it to himself, his children and indeed the nation to quickly enter into a legacy mode and begin to contemplate how he wants to be remembered.
The fierce urgency of the moment is how Mr. Buhari ensures that the throngs that came out to hail him on the campaign trail do not transform into disappointed angry mobs that would hurl stones at his convoy four years down the road or even sooner. In my experience of the trajectory of popularity of political leaders, ‘Hail Caesar!’ very often soon becomes ‘Nail Caesar!” The dividing line can be very thin indeed.
President Buhari’s return to power is largely predicated on one major overriding collective need: our communal desire for a leader whom we can respectfully ‘fear’ in the serious business of doing Nigeria right. Given that predication, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari’s task, as a national leader is ultimately the management of that fear. He has surprisingly not said or done much to frighten anyone since donning the Presidential toga. Beyond routine predictable pronouncements on mundane issues of governance and public accountability, he has hardly threatened anyone. But the threat of consequences is inherent in his body language. And that body language is sufficiently threatening as to compel the signs of conformity that we are beginning to see in some spheres.
The President has functioned more like a lonely old chap who returned to a devastated homestead after a prolonged absence to find that there is so much housekeeping and repair work to do. And he has set about the mending process to the best of his understanding. In the process, he has set in motion a torrent of contradictory forces that will, for good or ill, determine the fate of his presidency.
For obvious historical reasons, this president is not likely to be judged like any other leader in this era. The parameters for his evaluation are inbuilt in the nature of his tedious career and fortuitous second coming. He will be judged first as an ‘old soldier’, a member of that elite corps of nationalistic officers who appropriated to themselves the task of re-uniting Nigeria by fighting and concluding a most unfortunate civil war which, in any case, the armed forces helped to precipitate. Next, he will be judged as someone with previous experience in the leadership of the Nigerian behemoth, albeit one whose previous signature drips of draconian excesses. His allowance for apprenticeship and avoidable error is therefore meager.
Then there is the burden of age, the albatross of a generational curse. I believe he belongs to a generation that Wole Soyinka once characterized as ‘wasted’. His return to power becomes in that sense a last desperate attempt by a member of that generation to redress what is arguably a historic betrayal. People therefore expect Mr. Buhari to salvage himself, his generation, and the military profession and, in the process, re-establish the missing beacons of Nigeria’s tortured nationhood.
It is only fair to admit that so far Mr. Buhari has displayed reasonable understanding of the imperatives of his unenviable job. He literally scrambled the presidential jet a day after inauguration and headed for Chad and Niger in hot pursuit of Boko Haram. Armed with neither a foreign policy template nor any known corps of foreign policy advisers and accompanied mostly by an incoherent assortment of party faithful, friends and otiose bureaucrats, the man has travelled to G7 in Germany and the African Union in South Africa. He has played mascot guest of the White House, flying the flag of a more orderly and responsible Nigeria.
While most of his foreign trips are excusable junkets in the line of his new job, his diplomatic excursions to encircle the rag tag Boko Haram terrorists need commendation. The likelihood that he will rein in the Boko Haram miscreants in a couple of months is indeed high. The signs are good as soldiers sent after Boko Haram militants have started capturing more of cattle than terrorist war prisoners. The imminent defeat of Boko Haram will be no mean feat in a world where terrorism tends to proliferate and stubbornly endure.
In President Buhari’s progress so far, one can discern a measure of altruism and seriousness of purpose. No one can deny that in today’s Nigeria, there is a feeling that someone is in charge. For those who have insisted that the problem of Nigeria has been largely one of leadership, it is safe to say that Mr. Buhari has so far stepped forward to provide the much-needed leadership. For one thing, most Nigerians believe that the president and his deputy possess the requisite moral credibility and honesty of purpose to lead the nation at this point. Therefore, integrity of the leadership persona may be the defining contribution of the APC to our political history if matters remain the way they are.
To this extent, very few can deny that Mr. Buhari has altered the mood of the nation from one of utter hopelessness to one of conditional optimism in so short a time. All that has been done without a roar. Just the knowledge that there is a man at the helm who is likely to demand accountability and fiercely exert consequences has forced the leadership of a good number of public institutions to begin to self-correct. The feeling is palpable as you step into any of the international airports from outside the country. Officialdom has regained a certain sense of duty and seriousness. A sense of order is visible even though the fog of recent lawlessness remains evident. Electricity supply in most parts of urban Nigeria has inched up. But people remain skeptical as to whether it will last.
No one expects that the president will have tackled the more serious structural economic problems in only three months. He has hardly even indicated the direction of his economic policy. All we have had so far is an avalanche of ever changing fiscal and monetary policy twitches from the Central Bank. In the absence of an economic team, an effete Central Bank has been saddled with developing and implementing both fiscal and monetary policies for over 90 days with arguably disastrous consequences.
Most of the recent financial regulations seem geared towards catching the bigger public sector thieves of yesterday and hedging against dwindling oil prices. But there is great work to be done on the economy. The Naira remains on a free fall due partly to record decline in oil prices and the greed of bankers who insist on sitting on troves of American dollars acquired mostly for speculative purposes. Youth unemployment will have to be addressed while our decrepit infrastructure waits for attention.
Expectedly, Buhari has declared a limited operation against corruption. Perhaps more than the confrontation with Boko Haram, this engagement is a rather tricky but necessary one. It has too many targets ranging from your gateman to the faith merchant at your church; from the presiding judge over your land case to the big government minister in Abuja. But at least a beginning is being made somewhere. But the president must expect the captains of the corruption industry to fight back. And people who have enough cash to float bigger private armies than some African countries should not be underrated. But the anti-corruption war is a pre-requisite for any talk about Nigeria’s development both as a democracy and as a fair society without the prevailing frightening inequality. At this stage, the most important aspect of the anti-corruption crusade should be the retrieval of looted funds. Simply put, just follow the money Mr. President and let the courts do their part.
Since assuming office, Buhari has not said much about the manifesto of his party. But that is mostly all that Nigerians should have to hold him and the APC to their campaign promises. That document and the pre-election pronouncements of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo indicate a clear social democratic idealism. Matters like mid-day free school feeding, affordable universal primary healthcare, free primary and secondary education and cash handouts to the poor and unemployed indicate that the APC as a party dreams of living up to its ‘progressive’ epithet. These incidentally are the areas that will appeal to Buhari’s mass followership especially in the northern half of Nigeria. But how will Mr. Buhari find the money to pay for El Dorado? I am not sure that the people who inserted these utopian items into the manifesto were armed with any pocket calculators to fathom the cost correlates.
Even then, these are hard times for left of center social democratic parties all over the world. In Europe, they have all been roundly trounced in recent elections (Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Australia, New Zealand etc.) except in Sweden. The masses like the rhetoric of bridging the gap of inequality but it is still the ‘dirty’ capitalist pigs that create jobs and generate prosperity. And the APC, if it has any ideological core, had better learn from the recent political history of Europe.
It is curious however that the old general has done most of the business of Nigeria in the last 100 days mostly as a sole administrator. Assisted mostly by bureaucrats in Abuja, the President has embarked on a personalized fact finding mission to get some understanding of the state of the nation. That process seems to have come full circle and must now yield place to a properly constituted government of ministers and myriad other appointees. That is the only way the business of Nigeria can be done with the benefit of the collective wisdom of people who represent a broad spectrum of our people.
Already, we can detect some ambiguity in the Buhari enterprise. By deliberately insisting on disparate elements from the old north in the majority of his strategic appointments, he tempts one to see his stubborn quest for power as something informed by a narrow provincial sense of political hurt. The president needs to quickly pull himself back from the potential abyss of political suicide and reputational hara-kiri.
While Mr. Buhari’s earnestness on major national issues coincides with the anxieties of majority of sensible Nigerians, it is arguable that his approach to the problems is rooted in any firm set of ideas. Common sense may dictate that we should combat corruption, straighten the bureaucracy, secure life and property and generally bring back some degree of respectability to the conduct of the affairs of state. The best that can be achieved with reforms informed by commonsense would be the emergence of an ordinary functional state.
But time has past. Dreams of national greatness are never achieved by ordinary states. The world has changed radically and nations that seek unusual recognition have to do unusual things. They dig into the depths of developmental ideas for innovative policies and ideas that would leap frog them into global reckoning. Our problems are rooted in both the past and in the future: First, we need to briskly right the wrongs of a mismanaged past and transcend them. More importantly, we need to seek modernization of the Nigerian economy and society with religious tenacity and fierce obstinacy.
Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015
and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENTBILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/
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.