Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wahala dey o!!!

I had to re-post this cracking piece of Nigerian humor. I'm not sure who wrote it, but the joke is too funny! Read below...........................

Bill Gates organized an enormous session to recruit a new chairman for Microsoft Eastern Europe. Five thousand candidates assembled in a large room. Ayodele, a Nigerian guy, was one of the candidates.

Bill Gates thanked all the candidates for coming and asked those who do not know Java program to leave. Two thousands candidates left the room. Ayodele says to himself, “I do not know Java but I have nothing to lose if I stay. I’ll give it a try.

Bill Gates asked the candidates who never had experience of managing more than 100 people to leave. Two thousand left the room. Ayo says to himself “I never managed anybody but myself but I have nothing to lose if I stay. What can happen to me? So he stays, then Bill Gates asked the candidates who do not have management diploma to leave. Five hundred people left the room. Ayodele says to himself, “I left school at 15 but what have I to lose? So he stays in the room.

Lastly, Bill asked the candidates who do not speak Serb-Croatian to leave. 498 candidates left the room. Ayodele says to himself, “I do not speak Serb-Croatian but what do I have to lose? So he stays and finds himself with one other candidate. Everyone else has gone. Bill Gates joined them and said, “Apparently you are the only two candidates who speak Serb-Croatian, so I’d like to hear you have a conversation together in that language.

Calmly, Ayodele turns to the other candidate and says “Wahala dey o!”.

The other candidate answers “Oh, Oga na wah oooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!”

Bill Gates “ You are both hired”.


The moral of the story: Never give up!

Monday, April 25, 2011

African Leaders: Square Pegs in Round Holes

"Show me the child and I'll show you the man", goes one saying. Well, anyone who follows African Affairs needs to pay close attention to the family backgrounds, histories and family relations of our leaders. We seem to have been ruled by people who, in all honestly, were unfit to hold high office. Someone like (former Ethiopian dictator) Mengistu Haile Mariam: what kind of animal was he? What kind of human being orders the wholescale murder of hundreds of thousands of his fellow countrymen? Could his obscure, lowly background explain his subsequent behaviour? A petty Colonel, of obscure origins, but who somehow managed to rise to the top using street smarts, brutality and guile.

Could we Africans have expected any better from Mobutu Sese Seko? His father a cook and small-time criminal, and his mother (reputedly) a whore? Is it even possible to expect a person of such background to have had a developmental agenda for Zaire. What did he care if Zaire's roads were paved or not! The list of "square pegs in round holes" is endless: Sani Abacha, Idi Amin, J-B Bokkassa; people who really were unfit to hold office, and managed to plunge their countries into disaster.

We Africans really need to pay more more attention to the kind of leaders who are ruling over us: their wives; their family backgrounds; educational achievements; all these things are of critical importance. It's impossible to have any of the major democracies ruled over by a semi-literate, uncouth barbarian (of obscure origins) like Sani Abacha. If America was to be governed by a bunch of High-School dropouts from broken families, it would simply become a Third World country in no time at all. We need more due diligence on the African Continent.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Zimbabwe: What Might Have Been

Sometimes I wonder what would have been had "good eggs" like Garfield Todd and Edgar Whitehead managed to stay the course. They were enlightened fellows, well ahead of their time and they represented all that was best of the Colonial British. With Harold MacMillan's "Winds of Change" blowing, the then colony of Southern Rhodesia might have acquiesced to black, majority rule like all the other European colonies (barring South Africa and the Portuguese colonies). We could have had the upper orders of the colonial British co-managing the country with the best orders of the indigenous Africans. I'm thinking here of people like Joshua Nkomo or even urban professionals like Dr. Silas Mundawarara. We would have had no Liberation War, and therefore no war Veterans to deal with. Instead -- like in Zambia or Malawi -- independence would have been negotiated, with no shedding of blood.

With decent, enlightened, economic policies our country could have been an "African New Zealand" on the Southern African highveld, with living standards to match. Sadly, that was never meant to be. Instead, the lower orders of the Colonial British upended the political tray and had their man, Ian Smith, to represent them. These mechanics, hairdressers and all the rest of the sundry hordes who had been flushed out of the gutter of Great Britain, and banished to the tropics, were never going to acquiesce to black majority rule. "Not in a thousand years" was there supposed to be majority, black rule, so said Smithy.

Well, any extreme action always produces an extreme reaction. Since enlightened racial co-existence, and mutual, economic development was now impossible, we had to wage a guerrilla war to expel these barbarians from our midst. And we're now paying for that short-sightedness and lack of foresight by those "Petit-Blancs" who had managed to worm their way into power. Instead of a multi-racial, thriving country under the management of an enlightened, technocratic, elite, we're now being held to ransom by the last remnants of a guerrilla army. Lord help us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Me and Blaise Compaore (payback is a bi**h!)

I was in high school in '86 when Thomas Sankara arrived for the Non-Aligned Summit that was held in Zimbabwe. He literally shook the place up. He even upstaged the usual centre-of-attention, Muammar Gaddafi. For the duration of the summit his name was on everyone's lips as folks asked, "who is this Sankara fellow?" That's how I became a Pan-Africanist, living in a country where few knew (or had heard of) "Upper Volta", or were even familiar with what is known as Francophone Africa.

Now, 25 years later, it appears that me and Blaise Compaore have a rendezvous with history. I've been waiting for this moment, literally, for a quarter of a century. When the demise of Blaise is announced, I'll savour the moment like no other. The evil conspiracy of French President (Francois Mitterrand) and his official boot-licker (Blaise Compaore), literally shattered one of the greatest experiments in positive upliftment ever attempted on African soil. I hope the gallant people of Burkina Faso bury Blaise Compaore in a shallow grave; the same dog's grave that Thomas Sankara was (initially) buried in. What goes around always comes around.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Africa: Open-Heart Surgery

I hate to say this, and I say it with a heavy heart, but some African countries now need to be put either under direct U.N supervision, or to be administered by neighbouring African countries that have better governance structures. I'm thinking here about Guinea-Bissau, Somalia and Swaziland. These three countries need to be saved from themselves. I'm a rabid Pan-Africanist and I'm not a cheerleader for colonialism, but how do we guarantee decent lives for the next generation of Somalis and Guineans?

In Southern Africa, Swaziland must now be put under the direct supervision of South African bureaucrats. To leave that country in the hands of the ruling Dhlamini clan, engaging in incest, debauchery and bacchanalia, while the country is degraded to a failed state is just plain wrong. Life expectancy in Swaziland is now 32 years old. There are only a million Swazis, and so having them administered from Pretoria would not be a bureaucratic hurdle. This is doable.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Here's An African Solution For The Usual African Problems

This weekend elections were being held in Nigeria while at the same time, the presumed loser in Cote D'Ivoire's recent elections,Laurent Gbagbo, was holed up in his bunker and unwilling to cede power to his adversary, Alassane Ouattara. We all know one thing: Nigerian elections tend to be marred by fraud and incompetence on a grand scale, and yet the loser never fights on to the bitter end, taking up military action as he defends his turf. Why this total contrast between Nigeria and other African countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe & now Cote D'Ivoire.

Well, in a nutshell: the regional rotation of Presidential-power can explain the total contrasts between post-election scenarios in Nigeria and Cote D'Ivoire. The Nigerian political elite made a tidy agreement amongst themselves: in one electoral-cycle, Presidential powers will reside in one region, and then in the next electoral-cycle, Presidential power will be rotated to another region. Brilliant! Another important note: implicit in this "tidy political arrangement" is the notion of term-limits. Since different regions are all waiting for "their turn" to rule, you cannot have a situation where one politician rules for over twenty-five years or more, as is the case in Cameroon, Zimbabwe or Uganda.,

This Nigerian solution to a potentially murky Nigerian problem should be adopted by all other African States with sharp ethnic or regional divisions. Furthermore the Nigerian practice of teaming running mates from different regions must also be encouraged. In the tragic case of Cote D'Ivoire, having Guillaume Soro and Alassane Ouattara (two Muslim Northerners) as President and Prime Minister designates, was an error of Biblical proportions. Alassane Ouattara should have sought out a heavyweight politician from the South as his Prime Minister-designate.

In Nigeria's previous election, the Northern, Fulani aristocrat, Musa Yar'Adua teamed up with the zoologist from the Delta region, Goodluck Jonathan; as unlikely a combination if ever there was one, and yet they prevailed in the elections. And when President Yar'Adua passed away, the ascension of Goodluck Jonathan allowed the South-South region of Nigeria to have it's first go at the Presidency. Brilliant!

So, there it is my fellow Africans: An African solution staring at us in the face. It was not bequeathed to us by the old, British colonialists but instead was cooked up by bloody-minded members of the Nigerian political elite. It's adoption will prevent much of the African carnage that we see on our television screens.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Strength in Unity

On April 3rd, 2011, the new Somali State of Azania was formed,and so that now makes three States (Somalia, Somaliland & Azania) cut out from the old State of Somalia. Any Pan-Africanist just has to wonder out aloud:"When will this all end". I'm sure that this "State" of Azania will henceforth provide all the accoutrements of statehood, like a national flag, national anthem, maybe even, a few gold medals at the Olympic Games. But - like most African States - it will fail to provide the most basic necessities needed in today's modern world: the rule of law; a functioning bureaucracy; potable water, food & shelter.

Some Africans are under the impression that the colonial borders should be dismantled and new States formed (along ethnic or religious lines). True that may be, but Africa is the most diverse Continent on Earth. It would be un-workable trying to detangle our colonial-era States and then trying to form multitudes of (non-viable) mini-States. Southern Sudan was an extreme exception. Let's leave the borders as they are and work on giving the peoples within these borders a decent life, rather than trying to re-arrange the Continental map.

Breaking up Africa into a hundred or so Mini-States just would not work. We would end up like the Native Americans of Canada who exist as "Bands", or as roving "Tribes", and yet lack any strength of unity, numbers, and purpose to chart their own course. These Indians are virtually wards of the Canadian State. That's where we Africans would end up -- as wards of more powerful States and entities like the U.N.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


In all civilizations, the successes of that civilization are often buried deep in the ethical/moral/cultural structures of that civilization. And yet at the same time the failures of that civilization are often buried in the very same ethical/moral/cultural structures that give rise to that civilization's successes. Most societies of black Africans are organised along age-lines (or age-sets) with (male) members of a certain age-group seeing each other males as contemporaries. Now, herein lies the problem that befits most African societies: in adulthood, members of a certain age-set (or age-group) are loathe to take counsel, or heed the advice, of their much younger brethren who belong to different age-sets. It's for this reason why you hear that a certain African President in his 80s is refusing to take counsel from a fellow President (whom he considers his "Junior" and might actually be an old man in his 60s).

It's a problem that befuddles politics in my native Zimbabwe. President Mugabe, as we all know, is an old man of 87, and resolutely refuses to take counsel from anyone not of his age-group (that means just about everyone). Minister, Didymus Mutasa is a sprightly old 76. He does acquiesce to the orders of his 87 year old President, but anyone younger than him in age, he rebuts their counsel. So, in other words, you have to be older than 76 to talk sense to our venerable Minister, Didymus Mutasa. In the opposition we have the Liberation War Hero, Dumiso Dabengwa, who's 71. Now, Dabengwa is always at pains (when challenged) to tell us that he's senior to much of the military folk who are always in the Zimbabwean papers. He too, won't take counsel from anyone who is younger than he is, or who was Junior to him during the Liberation Struggle (1966-1979).

So, there it is in a nutshell. We're ruled by a doddering, aged, gerontocracy that (for cultural reasons) is totally incapable of taking counsel or heeding the advice of anyone who is not within their age-group or age-set. That cultural dichotomy has led to a lot of fatal decisions and blunders being made in Zimbabwe, and is partially the result of why we find ourselves in such a sorry state.