Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011

This post is to all the Rugby fans out there. I'm here at home waiting for the first Semi-Final to kick off (01:00 AM Pacific Time). I have to admit, I've only watched the first game (New Zealand V Tonga) live. Work, family, and time-distance have conspired to keep me from watching more live games. Mercifully, you can now follow all the highlights online, and that's what I've being doing. I always enjoy watching the Pacific Islands teams (Fiji, Tonga and Samoa) and I've always had a soft-spot for the English (colonial sentiments). But this year was not the year for either the English nor the Pacific Islands teams. The French are in the semis, but this is not the French team of old, playing with Gallic flair. This team is more mechanical (less Latin, more Teutonic). Rather, it's the Argentines who have have been playing with what I would call "French Flair".

I no longer can roll off the names of Welsh and Scottish players off-the-top-of-my-head like I could as a schoolboy. I think Gavin Hastings was the last Scottish player I could recall. I wish the Welsh all the best in their semi-final game against France. I feel sorry for the Japanese. They always play with heart, but rugby is a physical game, and they're just too small of stature to compete. I do wish that they would "borrow" some players from the Pacific Islands just to make up for their lack of size.

I've never been a fan of the Springboks, despite the gallery of Zimbabwean players they always exhibit. I wasn't sad to see them lose in their quarter-finals against the Aussies. This leaves us with the All-Blacks, who I presume will beat the Aussies tomorrow and then go on to win the final next week. They've hosted a great tournament. Too bad it's bang in the middle of a packed sporting calendar-year. It's been a great tournament, and a great showpiece for the great sport of rugby.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mo Ibrahim Prize For 1st Ladies

I'm still stunned at Rupiah Banda's graceful exit from Zambia's political scene. Given past African history, and the fact that it was a tight race, I was expecting mayhem on a grand scale. I was expecting the loser, President Banda, to resist stepping down by all means, plunging Zambia into chaos. But, no such thing happened. President Banda conceded defeat to the challenger, Michael Sata, and wished him well as the next President. Amazing!

Some pundits have proposed that Rupiah Banda be awarded this year's Mo Ibrahim Prize for African leadership, but I suggest an even more revolutionary stance: let's have Mo Ibrahim establish an award for African 1st Ladies, in order to encourage good behaviour and to help our young African democracies firmly establish democratic principles. Furthermore, I propose that the 1st winner of this  award should be Mrs. Thandiwe Banda, Zambia's former 1st Lady.

We can never know the wise counsel that Thandiwe Banda offered to her husband, Rupiah, but let's presume that it was bloody good! In our young, African democracies, the 1st lady is often the Chief-of-Staff of the President, and his most trusted counselor. If she gives faulty counsel, then things in that African tend to fall apart. Think of Cote D'Ivoire under the Laurent Gbagbo/Simone Gbagbo tandem. That 1st lady from hell, Simone Gbagbo, was almost as responsible for the chaos that engulfed Cote D'Ivoire as her husband Laurent Gbagbo

Let's thank our ancestors for having Mrs Thandiwe Banda as Zambia's 1st lady at such an important time in Africa's democratic transition. I don't know what candid advice she gave Rupiah, but it worked! And once again, I'm proposing her for the first recipient of The Mo Ibrahim Prize for 1st Ladies. I salute Mrs Thandiwe Banda; she is a genuine heroine.