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.

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