Victory for Zimbabwe as Mugabe resigns after 37 years in power. Museveni next?

If you haven’t already heard the good news Zimbabwe’s 93 year old president Robert Mugabe finally handed in his long overdue resignation letter. The date 21st November 2017, will go down in history as the day Zimbabwean lives change forever, for the better, we hope. This is a momentous event many have spent years campaigning for, so its no surprise that people are out celebrating in the streets. Generations have come and gone with Mugabe still being in power but it is clear that with each passing generation the baton of change continued its journey and yesterday afternoon it finally reached its destination.

In a letter read out by Jacob Mudenda, the speaker of parliament Mr Mugabe said: “My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power” 

For days the question on everyones lips were “Will he resign?” and now he has the question turns to “Who will replace him?”. The natural presumption being the ousted ex Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa AKA The Crocodile. Who ever takes up the role we can just hope that Zimbabwe get to see what real leadership looks like.

Under the Mugabe regime Zimbabweans have “suffered the second most severe episode of hyperinflation in recorded history.”, the needs and suffering have not been met for years, many Zims have fled the country and have vowed to never return as long as Mugabe remains in power. Indeed, he did some good things and was once the hero that fought against white oppressive dictatorship rule in then called Rhodesia, a regime that put the lives of foreigners over the people of the land. But like a guest that has outstayed their welcome, Mugabe seemed to not get the hint that he had over stayed his welcome, and with time turned from a hero to a tyrant.

My feeling is that many of these leaders that fought for independence feel an entitlement to stay in power till they die, but that is not how democracy works. One day the people will rise up against system and no one is above the system as shown in Libya, Egypt and soon Uganda (?)

I’m sure these events have inspired Ugandans to do the same and get the current president Museveni out. In my recent trip to Uganda I had my first taste of tear gas and witnessed clashes between those against Museveni and the police.

After three decades in power Ugandans are growing tired of their leader who is attempting to further corrupt the system by trying to raise the age limit which currently stands at 75 years old.

Togikwatako!” (Don’t touch it) was a word of warning to Museveni and comrades shouted in the streets and written all over newspaper headlines. (Rooting for Bobi Wine to be president!) These people just don’t know when to stop.

Mugabe out, Museveni next.

“If you want to see how the poor die, come to Grenfell Tower”

No truer words spoken in this time of mourning where almost a hundred people have died in Grenfell Tower. Each passing day fuels me with anger and sorrow for the Grenfell victims. This didn’t need to happen.

This shocking incident highlights the injustice and negligence practiced by those in high positions, those who seek to cut corners in order to fill their pockets, and do so at the expense of innocent lives. The government and Theresa May’s reaction has been nothing short of useless and beyond disappointing, a “failure” as quoted from the Prime Minster herself. If that building was a multimillion pound luxury apartment full of wealthy people, the fire would have been put out in a blink of an eye. In fact, there would have been fire extinguishers on every floor, sprinklers fitted, fire alarms up-to-date and working, adequate fire escapes and there certainly would’t be flammable cladding on the exterior of the building.

These people like you and I, died long before they actually met their horrific deaths, they were dead to the council and the government, it only just manifested itself on the 14th June 2017. They died the moment their pleads for safety were ignored.

The events that lead up to this incident, during and after plays into the idea many of us have held onto for some time now. London is undergoing a social cleansing, this has been the agenda of the Tories since coming into power, profits over people is their motto. Evidence unfolding from this tragic event only prove this once a speculative idea, to be in fact true. Day by day more incriminating details emerge, from the constant complaints and worries voiced by the tenants ignored by the authorities, the use of cheap flammable materials to make the exterior look less of an eye sore to its wealthy neighbours, today we found out that many of the victims were poisoned by cyanide, a toxic gas given off by the burning insulation, the same lethal substance used during Nazi Germany’s gas chambers. In the words of MP David Lammy “this was criminal”, an accident waiting to happen, arrests need to be made and quick. We need justice.

What pains me is that these were ordinary people and could have easily been anyone. Many on the brink of a breakthrough like the talented artist Khadija Saye, 24, who lived on the 20th floor with her mother. Her beautiful work is on show at the Venice Biennale. Syrian refugee Mohammad Alhajali, 23, was studying civil engineering at the university of West London, lived on the 14th floor of the block. His brother Omar, 25, managed to escape from the fire after becoming separated from Mohammad, who was unable to get to safety. They fled from one tragedy just to meet another. Many untapped talents, if given the opportunity to reach their potentials could have easily been able to move out of Grenfell and into one of the million pound houses that the tower overlooks. Now we will never know.

“In this age of austerity, the poor die for other’s prosperity” – Ben Okri 

#JusticeforGrenfell

 

The case of Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya minority has left us thinking is she a Hero turned Villain?

Her silence on the issue of genocide and persecution of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar was questionable, with widespread violence and terror against the Rohingya and other minorities in the Rakhine state, how could Suu Kyi not be aware that her people were being persecuted and still not do or say anything to condemn these actions? Why was she choosing to stay quiet? From the outside looking in it appears as though her first year in power is not going too smoothly.

With mounting pressure from the international community as to what she was going to do about the situation, she finally broke her silence in a recent interview with the Guardian and gave us all an insight into her stance on the problem in Myanmar:

“I don’t think ethnic cleansing is going on, I think ethnic cleansing is too strong of an expression to use for what’s happening”

I guess from that we can infer that Suu Kyi is very much aware of the current state of things in her country, but just doesn’t perceive people being targeted for their ethnicity and religion and having to flee for their lives into neighbouring countries as ethnic cleansing, it’s apparently “too strong of an expression”. Disappointing and shocking are just a few words that come to mind when I hear these words coming from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate. These words were enough for me to question her credibility, for someone who had been through a struggle (put under house arrest for just over a decade under former dictatorship rule) and been oppressed its funny how quickly she forgets what oppression looks like.

Although a year into the new diplomatic government the problems Myanmar faces today have been around for decades and realistically speaking can’t be solved in a year, Myanmar has always experienced conflict between its ethnic minorities, it almost runs through the veins of Myanmar.

Rumour has it that the outburst of violence against the minorities in the Rahkine state is over land, the Rohingya minority occupy land that the government and investors want to use for development and their refusal to leave has resulted in an outburst of violence and forced expulsion. Whatever the reason may be I think we can all agree and say something needs to be done to stop the discrimination and killing of innocent people.

Has Aung San Suu Kyi turned into a villain? If I’m being honest, I’m on the fence, the woman she is today seems to be a shadow of the woman I grew up reading about and admiring. Nonetheless, as much as I don’t agree with her treatment on the matter I need to bare in mind that things are never as they seem for that reason I’m still waiting to see how Suu Kyi will solve this problem and bring peace and unity into Myanmar in the next coming months and years, it is going to be an uphill battle that is for sure.

 

The floor is yours President Barrow.

Last week Gambia’s former president Yayha Jammeh at last agreed to step down officially ending his 22 year long reign in the country. Shortly after conceding he headed for Equatorial Guinea where he will remain in exile.

Just as all seems to be going well and we’re about to pop the champagne, it is revealed the in the weeks running up to his exile Jammeh stole $11.4 million from Gambia, spending the money on luxury cars and other goods. Of course, how could he possibly leave empty handed and without further crippling the country’s finances?

The 2016 Gambian elect saw it’s youth come together to oust it leader and elect Barrow into power. If its one thing this has taught me it is that when the youth exercise their rights to vote they are able to take back control from the hands of those who see them as disposable and decide their own futures for themselves. It gives me hope, although not always possible, this situation has shown it can be done.

So now the floor is yours President Barrow, let’s see what you can do for your country and its youth, men and women. Let’s see if you can do better to stop your people travelling through desserts, sea and foreign lands to get to so called greener pastures in Europe.

No pressure.

Your time is up Jammeh!

The political tension in West Africa is growing as Yahya Jammeh is yet to step down as president following defeat in last year’s election. 

In December 2016 the Gambian people cast their votes for a new leader and democratically elected the former Londoner Adama Barrow. Problem is the current leader Yahya Jammeh has rejected the results and is now refusing to step down. Here we go again.

Yayha Jammeh former military coup member has been Gambia’s president since 1994, his refusal to concede has caused tensions in the region resulting in an estimated 26,000 people fleeing Gambia to Senegal and other neighbouring countries.

His feeling of entitlement and pride has led to this situation that could very easily take a turn for the worst if he does not leave by 19th January 2017. The same day that is supposed to be the inauguration of President-elect Adama Barrow. Talk about raining on someone’s parade. 

Such leaders profess their love for their country and its people yet disregard their voices, democratic rights at such a crucial time. 

Your 22 year reign is up Mr Jammeh, the people have spoken.