Wednesday, February 6, 2008

February 3, 2008

Zimbabwe 2008: The election whose outcome is predetermined

Zimbabwe finds itself at the crossroads and the bank created at independence in 1980 of justice, freedom and equality seems to be bankrupt and it is evident that the promissory note that was given to citizens at independence will not be honored on March 29.
A central bank should ordinarily represent a repository of trust and integrity but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been reduced to a theatre of games and machinations while the nation is at its knees groping for solutions and desperate for direction and answers.
At last week’s announcement of the monetary policy statement, Dr. Gono has this to say: "We have chosen a low-key presentation of this monetary policy statement for strategic reasons while we prepare for a comprehensive post-elections policy program.’’


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February 3, 2008

Cash Barons – Flatwater Revisited

A case has been made that Zimbabwe is under siege and, therefore, the end should justify the means. In about 56 days, Zimbabweans will be faced with a choice about who should shape their future and they will have to think seriously about the role of state institutions in undermining or promoting their collective interests.

The RBZ has boldly asserted that it has been forced to go beyond its mandate because of extraordinary conditions prevailing in the economy. It is has been pointed out that the actions of the Western countries combined with the nefarious activities of unscrupulous business and political actors have created the economic mess.


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January 28, 2008

Zimbabwe 2008: The triumph of the politics of fear

It is now a reality that the harmonised polls will be held on 29 March 2008.

Only last year this time, the conventional wisdom in many opposition circles was that President Mugabe would not secure the mandate of his party as a candidate when his term expired let alone him being democratically endorsed as candidate of the party for the 2008 elections.

Many experts advanced the notion that Mugabe would not last the year as the head of state and ZANU-PF will disintegrate into tribal factions. A combination of internal party contradictions and confusion was meant to facilitate the exit of Mugabe from the political scene.


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January 24, 2008

Obama v Clinton/Clinton and lessons for Africa

Both Senators Obama and Hillary Clinton are democratic Presidential nominees and their emergence as the front runners of their party represents a historic and defining moment in American history.

Since the founding of the republic, the White House has been the exclusive preserve of white males and the thought of an African American and a White Female, albeit a former first lady, being prospective custodians of American values, interests and way of life was certainly not in the minds of the founding fathers of the USA.

The intersection of race and gender in American political life and its dominance in the 2008 elections has to be understood in a broader context of the evolution of the country’s democratic order and the consequences of the civil rights and women suffrage movements.


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January 21, 2008

Africa 2008: Citizens, Money and Power in Africa

There are many big questions that should inform African conversations but regrettably we are all guilty of small talk in respect of some key and fundamental issues that have to be addressed if Africa is to advance its cause.
The role of citizens, money and power relationships in shaping Africa’s destiny have to form part of the great debates between and amongst us. Who does Africa belong to? What are the obligations of African citizenship? What should be the role of the state in a developmental state? These are some of the questions that come to my mind in the quietness of my time when occassionally I reflect on the African condition and the seemingly helpless state of affairs that my continent of birth finds itsef in. After more than fifty years of trying and US$600 billion worth of aid, the frontiers of poverty have not been reduced in the continent.


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January 17, 2008

Africa 2008: Citizens and Power – The Zimbabwean Case Study

Political power in any democratic and constitutional order is held by the holders of sovereignty. It is true that without following a principle of containing and balancing legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, there can be no freedom and no protection against the abuse of power. The separation of power principle between the three branches of the state is so fundamental to the protection of any constitutional order. It is generally agreed that any atmosphere where any of the branches of the state can operate with excessive limitation from others and one branch can rule out the decisions of the other branches necessarily undermines the principle of sovereignty and the rule of law. Africa is a challenged continent in so far as locating political power in the context of the wishes and aspirations of citizens.

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January 13, 2008

Obama’s audacity of hope and lessons for Africa

After two primaries, Obama has won 16 delegates compared to Senator Clinton’s 9. The results of the New Hampshire primary have demonstrated the resilience of Obama and underlying the hype following the elections is the undeniable fact that Clinton and Obama ended up in New Hampshire with the same number of delegates i.e. 9 each making it a draw.
Even if Obama may not make it as the candidate, the politics of America will never be the same.

What Obama represents to America and to all global citizens who are trapped in seemingly hopeless situations is already evident in the courage and determination of the marginalised to invest in meaningful change politics.
When Barack Obama stepped up to the podium at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, few in the world let alone outside his home state knew anything about him. His place in American history is not only secure but inspirational. His message is so basic and compelling. It captures the imagination of anyone who cares about life and the importance of positive activism.
Obama has entered national politics at a defining moment in American history when the names of both the incumbent President and his deputy are not on the ballot box


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January 13, 2008

If Zuma & Shaik are guilty, who is innocent?

The relationship between the petty bourgeoisie and political elites in a post colonial state is a subject that requires critical interrogation not only because it informs the kind of democratic order and political morality that is necessary to push back the frontiers of poverty itself largely a legacy of the colonial state. The end of apartheid in South Africa ushered a new era in which political power was transferred to the majority of the citizens through their elected representatives. Republicanism formed a foundational basis of the post apartheid state underpinned by a government of laws and not of men.

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December 30, 2007

Be the change that you want to see

NO SOCIETY can ever be greater than the sum of the actions of its citizens. The end of each calendar year is like a birthday of a natural person that provides an opportunity to take stock and reflect on past achievements and challenges of the future.
Indeed, when we say many happy returns, we are celebrating life and its renewal because, like water, life makes a difference that cannot be reduced to any monetary value. The quality of life of any people is causally linked to human action and not inaction. It would be unreasonable to wish many happy returns to a dead person or a person who makes no difference to the lives of people.
Hope and faith is all we have as mortal beings, but in both, possibilities and opportunities exist to advance the cause of human civilisation in a manner that defines history and leaves a legacy for future generations.


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December 24, 2007

The paradox of African liberation and change


IN 1994, South Africa became the youngest African country that was born from the womb of apartheid and its foundational constitutional order was uniquely informed by not only the experiences of other post-colonial African states but other nations outside the continent.
The deracialisation of South Africa was a costly project principally because the stakes were high and the settler community had invested in making the country an extension of Europe with its own race-based constitutional order underpinned by a balkanisation concept. Blacks were apportioned their own land under the apartheid structure where they were presumed to be free, notwithstanding the unfair resource allocation.


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December 19, 2007

Zimbabwe and the Jacob Zuma factor

AS SOUTH Africa and indeed President Thabo Mbeki digests and reflects on Jacob Zuma’s victory as the president of Africa’s oldest political party, the African National Congress (ANC), there is no doubt that the political actors in Zimbabwe are also challenged by the implications of a Zuma presidency underpinned by strong support by President Mugabe’s strongest and most vocal critics i.e. COSATU and the SACP.

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December 17, 2007

The EU-Africa relationship post-colonialism

THE controversial EU-Africa summit is now history but will forever be remembered for the Brown-Mugabe debacle that at the safe signified an attempt by former colonies to negotiate a new and just post-colonial engagement with former colonial masters.

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December 10, 2007

Beyond Lisbon: setting the African agenda

THE EU-Africa summit held in Lisbon last weekend has come and gone but Africa’s challenges will remain.
For the first time, Africa came to Europe as a united block specifically more on the Zimbabwean issue than on the key issues on the agenda of the summit. The Zimbabwean stand-off that has prevented the indaba from taking place for seven years has its own historical significance and provided an opportunity for Africa to take the values debate head on with its former colonial masters.


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December 03, 2007

Implications of Zuma winning ANC leadership race


THE colonial state was founded on the notion that natives could not be trusted with the vote and, therefore, they had to be excluded from governance issues. The value system that underpinned the colonial state informed the constitutional order of the day.
The role of the colonial state was to promote, protect and sustain the hegemony of the settler community. At the core of the colonial state was the need to commodify native labour and this was achieved by systematically alienating natives from economic resources.


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November 27, 2007

Africa's enduring economic apartheid


APARTHEID is a social and political system of racial segregation and discrimination that was popularised and institutionalised by white minority governments in South Africa for a 46 year period from 1948 through 1994.
The term apartheid (from the Afrikaans word for “apartness”) was introduced in the human vocabulary in the 1930s and used as a political slogan of the National Party in the early 1940s, but the philosophy underpinning it was an integral part of the colonial South African experience that dated from 1652. In 1948, apartheid was institutionalised and supported by a complex legal and economic system that stratified citizens along racial lines.


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November 18, 2007

Does indigenisation threaten law of succession?


THE political destiny of Africa is now notionally in the hands of the natives in all of its states while the key economic decisions about Africa’s future continue to be made by non-Africans notwithstanding the last five decades of uhuru.
The democratisation of Africa’s economic space is the enduring challenge that confronts the continent with equal measure, irrespective of the stage of economic development of the individual states.


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November 11, 2007

Defining the role of the state in post-colonial Africa


THE purpose of this article is to assess the role of the state in light of the last 50 years of post-colonial experiences.
The extent of the state’s role in the transformation and development of Africa continues to be debated particularly in light of the unorthodox institutional arrangements that seem to have facilitated economic development in the East Asian economies. Post colonial African politics have been heavily shaped by controversies over the role, size and strength of the state.
What is the role of the state in post-colonial Africa?


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November 05, 2007

Mushore's ordeal and the New Zimbabwe we want


JAMES Mushore, one of three professionals who founded the first merchant bank controlled and managed by blacks in Zimbabwe, the National Merchant Bank of Zimbabwe (NMB), made history in 2004 when like the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, he fled to the former colonial power, England, for fear of his life in post colonial Zimbabwe.


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